Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Bread

I tried this bread recipe that I linked to earlier. It's healthy, delicious, and I think it'll freeze well. I'm looking for ideas for more breakfast items that are healthy and aren't cereal. If you've got any, please comment... I made a few modifications, so I'll post the way I did it.

Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Bread

3 c. whole wheat flour (I used white wheat)
3/4 c. sugar, heaping
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. allspice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

3 eggs
1 regular size can of pumpkin
1 med. tart apple, chopped
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. canola oil

1 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 (3x71/2 in.) loaf pans. Put first set of ingredients in one bowl. Beat second set, adding in dry, and then stir in raisins and walnuts. Bake for about an hour, until toothpick comes out clean.

This makes two loaves. I think I might double the recipe and freeze the extra loaves. It's a dense, hearty bread, so it is filling. Enjoy!

Pregnant productivity...

I got so much done today that I thought it might be fun to list for my own enjoyment.

- Went to Staples and measured printer/copiers. Discovered that the cabinet above our kitchen desk has plenty of room for one. Did a happy dance. Started making plans for drilling a hole in the bottom of said cabinet. (Have I mentioned that I've been mooching printing services, what little we've had, off of friends and relatives, since ours died and I didn't want to be bothered with buying a new one? I only had one frantic late night walk up and down our old street, asking random neighbors if I could print off boarding passes for the next day. =)

- Arranged kitchen desk and drawers with things that might actually be useful, like stamps and envelopes. Wow! We've never had a desk with drawers in all the time we've been married. What a concept...

- Lugged out an empty clear plastic container. Gathered things from random corners of the house. Succeeded in making a cute, functional craft box.

- Wrote and mailed a long, newsy letter to a long lost friend who likes snail mail. This is big!

- Researched the steam mop my parents have offered to get me for my birthday. If anyone has any ideas in this area, please pass them on. I'm dying to find a more effective way to keep this white linoleum clean.

And David is finally home! He's going to get to take his off Friday tomorrow, and I'm thrilled. And my sacrifice to have him gone seems very insignificant in light of the results of his leaving me. A child molester is now in jail. He will never hurt any more little girls, and maybe the ones he did hurt will be able to begin healing...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was down to the last of the firewood Dad gave me. It's long, chunky, and well seasoned, oak that burns like a dream... Who to get firewood from? Dad and I trolled CraigsList together, and we settled on a guy promising seasoned hardwood, delivered and stacked, reasonable price. Dad called and asked the big questions. Yes, it was seasoned, cut last year. It was mostly oak and some maple. Etc., etc.

So, I had a half cord delivered last night. The young eager guy in work gloves on the back porch started stacking. The wood looked kinda white, even in the dark. He told me it was mostly maple. That should've been my first clue. What happened to the promised "mostly oak?" Sarah was here with me for my fire experiment.

We started out burning Dad's good pieces. After they were going really well, and I had a nice bed of coals, I added a log of the new stuff. Getting it into the light made my heart sink. It was pretty white and fresh looking. Putting it on the fire confirmed my suspicions. It smoked and smoldered and popped and took forever to light. I'd been had. We looked at each other sadly.

Later on, in bed, planning my strategy for nicely asking asking the guy to come and take his useless wood back where it came from to season for at least another year, probably two, I remembered the name I'd written on the check that I sincerely hope he doesn't cash. I had to smile.

It was Jar*d Greenwood.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A few fun links...

I love the internet! It's a treasure trove of great ideas for frugal living. I found a nice article that sums it up neatly, especially the part about being content with what you have... the fun of fruality.

I thought this recipe will be useful to have in my arsenal. Sometimes I like to make something that calls for cream of chicken soup, but I don't always like having to use the can. I'm guessing this recipe is better anyway.

I'm looking forward to making an easel out of cardboard for Seth to use later on. I've bookmarked this page.

And now I'm off to catch up on devotions and laundry with a cup of hot cocoa! Enjoy your day!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday fun...

My parents came into town last night so Seth and I wouldn't have to have his birthday completely on our own. It was great! Everybody got a nice, big breakfast. I let Seth blow out a candle on his breakfast cornbread. =) He loves blowing out candles, and I figured he needed some practice before his birthday cupcake. Hey, if blowing out candles floats his boat, its his birthday! By next year, he probably won't even care anymore...

Then we all loaded up and headed to the local children's museum. I've been hearing about this place for awhile, but I decided not to take Seth until he was 2. I knew he wouldn't enjoy it before he could walk anyway, and I wanted to save something for a special milestone. Kids do things earlier and earlier these days. If we don't save something until later, what will they have to look forward to? Just something I've been pondering.... Anyhoo....

The museum was WONDERFUL! Keep in mind that I worked for a children's museum in DC, and I don't praise these places lightly. This children's museum is the best I've ever seen. The types of imaginative, hands on play that they had were right up my alley. He could spend years in there and not exhaust the possibilities for experiential learning. Several times, I marveled for a couple of minutes that I live in a country where places like this for kids actually exist.

The best part was that Mom and Dad split the cost with me of a family membership for the year. Now we can go back over and over again... and I think that's going to come in handy this summer with a newborn. And I can tell that Seth wants to return because he had the biggest meltdown of his life when we had to leave the big bus he was playing in. He whimpered and said, "Ride bus," rather pitifully at intervals all the way home. Very untypical behavior. It could also have something to do with the fact that the whole day was plenty overstimulating...

I talked to David on the phone tonight. He's in the middle of another big thing. Again. And I thought I was doing really well with it until I started crying right then and there thinking about how he missed Seth blowing out his candles today. There will be a little party on Saturday, but its not the same. Seth has been asking for him more and more the last few days. I didn't know how hard that would be to hear. I hate telling him that Daddy will be home in a few days.

We're hanging in there... Leftover chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting help ease the pain. =)

January 26, 2009...

Seth, today is your 2nd birthday. I can now measure your life in years, and that seems so strange to me. I will never forget my joy on the day you were born, but as great as that day was, my joy has only increased since then...

Every day, I am so thankful that God made me your mother. It was a gift of pure grace. And every day, I love you more than I did the day before...

You are the delight of my heart each and every day. I love you, but I also like you more as you grow. You are becoming your own person, and I love to watch you learn about the world around you. There's nothing like watching you play and talk and sing. Each night, when I rock you and kiss your head, I think, "Remember this moment. Don't rush off to do something else. One day you won't have this soft head to kiss in the evening." So I don't rush off, and I hold you as long as I can. Enjoy your candles and your cake, little man. I think I just may enjoy them even more than you do...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


It's 12:12 a.m., and I'm down here on the computer, in my bathrobe, munching on peanuts. Lately, I've been hungry at night, and, annoyingly, I have to get up and eat something or I can't fall asleep. =)

But I have plenty of energy to burn while I'm lying awake, trying to go to sleep. The past couple of days have signaled a transition. Instead of feeling mildly sluglike, all of a sudden I've got a burst of frantic energy. I can't stop my brain from thinking of all these little things I'd like to do. I lie awake, planning Mother's Day presents and Valentine's cards. I mull over new breakfast recipes I want to try. I think about shelving options for Seth's play room and how to arrange things in the baby's room.

I guess I must be in full on nesting mode. I don't remember it being quite like this last time, but maybe that's because there was less to do without a toddler and a house. But I really want to take advantage of it before I lose this energy and go into full on third trimester aching and apathy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Handprint crafts...

In my past life, I was a part time preschool teacher (while I was in grad school). I had a toddler class, actually, of 11 kids that were between the ages of 14 months and 2 years old by the end of the year. They were capable of far more than you'd think they were at that age, and I loved it. I still amaze myself at my ability to get 10 toddlers to sit down at a little table, all together, and eat lunch for 15 minutes...with none of them strapped in. I was superwoman. =)

I got a lot of cool craft ideas from that job, but I've gotten lazy, and I haven't utilized them like I should. Tonight I was looking for handprint art ideas, 'cause who doesn't like to see their kid's cute handprints memorialized forever, right? I stumbled across this page. If you want to keep an idea for future reference, I recommend right clicking on the pictures and copying them to your pictures folder in Microsoft.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Homemade Convenience Foods....

I saw this the other day, and I'm really excited about it. I can't wait to start making my own microwave popcorn. I'm sure it'll taste a lot better than the store kind. I used to try using one of those poppers, but I never seemed to be able to get the grease all the way off. It was a pain.

If I do make the pop tarts, nobody tell my mom about it. It'll be our little secret.

And at the bottom of the page, there's a link to how to make homemade gummies. I bought jello race car molds at a yard sale last summer for a quarter. I'm going to do them for Seth's birthday party next week! I think I'll use cherry flavored juice and cherry jello and see how it turns out. Enjoy!

Sweet preparation...

About a week ago, David was working from home on a Sunday afternoon. So I asked him if I could go to the local Babies R' Us while Seth napped. He was game, so I set out with one main purpose in mind: Buy something especially for this little boy I'm carrying.

When we found out we were pregnant with Seth, I was so shocked that he was a boy that it took my mind several hours to wrap around it. Keep in mind that my mother thought God had told her that I was having a girl. Everyone thought it was a girl... don't ask me why. We left the ultrasound and went straight to Target. And I bought my first baby item for my new son. It was a tiny blue striped sleep and play outfit. I can see it very clearly in my head right now. I took it home and laid it in the bassinet, and I looked and looked at it. It may sound strange, but having it there made me able to imagine having a baby boy for the first time. He became more concrete in my mind and my heart.

I wanted to do the same thing for this little guy. Besides, even though he's a second son, I never want him to feel like all he gets are his brother's hand me downs. He isn't a hand me down in my heart, so I wanted to get him an outfit to help me visualize his coming, too.

So I got there, and I went through all the racks of little boy clothes. And my heart wasn't in it. I came home feeling down, having bought him nothing at all. I immediately started overanalyzing. (I know y'all are shocked. =) Was I so bored with boy clothes that I couldn't even muster up the excitement to buy one little thing? Why didn't my heart thrill at the sight of tiny outfits? What was wrong with me?!!! =)

Well, now I know the problem wasn't me... it was the clothes and the prices. The thought of laying down $10 for an outfit that I didn't find that appealing totally killed my buzz. But putting down $2-$4 for an outfit from the local chi chi children's boutique or Gymboree... now that's exciting! Just look at what I scored at Kids Exchange! This is just the sweetest little thing, isn't it?

When you get up to Seth's size at consignment sales, the pickin's are slim. Boys have worn everything out by then. But there is plenty to choose from in the newborn sizes, some of it hardly worn. I came away with a ton of adorable short rompers and onesies with cotton pants. Since I don't know what it'll be like to have a baby in the summer, I thought I'd better get a combination of those two things. I oohed and ahhed and cooed over the racks. And felt better... =)

I almost laid out all the clothes on my bed last night so I could look at them one more time before I went to bed. I got a lot of things at Kids Exchange, like I've always done, but these things are for my new angel, and so they are what I'm most excited about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm full of tips today! =)

Ok, I know I haven't participated in a good while in this, but I'm full of tips today, so I just had to! I had one of those really good mornings with my toddler. You know, the kind where they play cheerfully with you the whole time, and there's lots of laughing and smiling, and you end feeling like a good mama. We all need those days to keep us going on the bad days...

Tip No. 1- In this declining economy, pay attention to the stores in your local mall or shopping center that are going out of business. Yes, it's a sad thing overall, but you can score some interesting deals on some unusual things. You just have to think outside the box about how you can put them to good use in your home.

A ritzy clothing store at our local mall is going out of business, and they are selling all the fixtures. Ask me where you can buy about 12 male mannequins... well, actually, I don't really want you to ask. Weird. BUT... all the fixtures included wooden frames with slots on the top (I guess for their sale signs) and plexiglass on one side. I bought 5 of them for $2 a piece, and now I'm wishing I'd also bought the ones that stand on their own. I thought they'd be perfect for displaying kid's artwork quickly and cheaply. This is Seth's morning painting, cut to fit. I'm sure you could find lots of things that can be creatively re-purposed for use in your house. And if anyone has any ideas for displaying all 5 of mine, let me know. =)

Tip No. 2- Painting with toddlers without making a mess can be intimidating. I haven't felt up to it much, but this morning, we tried it. I made sure he was firmly strapped in his high chair, put a bib on him, and then I eyeballed it and cut several sheets of white construction paper to fit the tray. I put a couple of dabs of each color on the top sheet, gave him a paintbrush, and tried not to cover my eyes. We learned firsthand that blue and red tempera paint really do make purple, and it turned out not to be very messy at all. By cutting several sheets, I extended this little craft longer. When he filled up one sheet, I just pulled off the top one, and he could do another.
Tip No. 3- When introducing your almost two-year-old to snow, be aware that he/she may get bored quickly if you don't have a sled (which we don't in the South). So give him a bucket and a plastic spoon! Seth scooped snow for far longer than I thought he would. It works for me!

Parenting workshop classes we'd all like to see...

Just found this through Sand in the Gears. Tony Woodlief is a new favorite of mine, and he pointed me to this page. I think I have some other workshops I'd like to see? Do you?


"Getting to church on time with two small children"... a short course in adequate preparation and crisis managment. Included... chanting session where we all say over and over again... "It doesn't matter that Johnny is wearing a matching khaki and sweater outfit with bow tie. Jesus loves Bobby just as much in yesterday's jeans and a t-shirt."


"Toddlers cannot live on pretzels alone"... stopping the carb craze in your house. Creative techniques to get your toddler to eat a vegetable other than french fries.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First snowfall...

Here in the South, the weatherpeople get super jazzed about the slightest possibility of snow. They do standups in parking lots, excitement in their voices, pointing to non-existent clouds. Half the local evening news broadcast could be about that 35% chance of flurries that they're absolutely positive will be closing schools tomorrow. You wake up the next morning to... nothing. I've been burned enough times that I stopped listening. So when they said, "There's a major snow system headed your way. Your town will get 3-5 inches tonight!", I said, "Yeah... right. Heard it all before. Next."

I had a dream early this morning that I woke up to nothing when I opened my blinds. I was disappointed, but hey, it was expected. So imagine my shock when this was what I really saw out of my living room window! We actually did get the promised 3-5 inches. And I'm soooo happy. I have missed a good snow. It snowed when Seth was born almost 2 years ago. Maybe I'll always associate snow with watching a still, white world while snuggling a wide-eyed newborn. We really don't get much here. This is a rare treat that I'm planning to thoroughly enjoy.

And this is the first time that Seth has actually been able to experience the white, cold stuff. He and David went out this morning, and he didn't last too long before getting tired of wiping it off the car. But now they're trying again. This time I sent him out with a plastic spoon and a little bucket. We'll see if they have more luck. Since I am a skeptical southern mama who was totally unprepared, he has no snow boots and no snow pants. He's wearing his most plasticy shoes and what I like to affectionately call his "redneck snow gear." That would be a pair of sweatpants with a pair of jeans put on over them.

He gets the red nose when its cold from his mama. =) I'm sooo glad that David didn't have to go into work today because he brought all his prep work for his next big thing home with him. We slept late, and I got to make him a good, hearty breakfast (definition- includes sausage or bacon) while we watched the snow fall outside our kitchen window. Snow puts me in a cooking mood. I got it together enough to put pizza dough in the breadmaker. And I think snow calls for rice krispy treats... don't you? =)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekend recap...

Paula is back in B'ham at this point. I think we fit all of her must-dos into the weekend. We shopped until I dropped on Saturday, went to her favorite restaurant, and caught a chick flick in the theater. I gave her earplugs and an eye mask and instructed her not to get out of bed until at least 9:00 a.m. She didn't have any trouble following my orders. =)

She didn't have a ton of luck finding cute clothes. You know how it is... you try on about 20 different things to find maybe one thing that looks good enough and excites you enough to buy it. Now I remember why I never have new clothes. =) Don't even talk to me about shoe or jeans shopping. That can make me break out into a cold sweat.

I, however, did have some luck... once I decided not to look at maternity shops for shirts. I ended up with several non-maternity long sleeved tops on clearance that will take me through the rest of the winter with no problem. The Target clearance rack was where I really hit the jackpot. I don't think I paid more than $4 a shirt there, and no more than $9 a shirt elsewhere. I'm relieved. I wasn't able to get as many loaner clothes this time around, so the pickings were pretty sparse in my closet, and I only get bigger every day.

And now I am going to rant... Why is it that maternity clothes are so expensive and there are so few places to buy them? Some of the places I bought clothes when I was pregnant with Seth no longer carry maternity, or their selection has gotten a lot smaller. So that leaves me with very little to try on, unless I want to pay $200 for a shirt at Mimi that I will wear for less than 9 months.

Which leads me to another rant. Why is it that the cheapest and easiest solutions are often discontinued? Today it feels like a conspiracy to me. =) I went to Babies R' Us looking for Diaper Doublers. Now, these disposable diaper inserts are so popular that whenever they do have them in stock, I buy two or three packs because I know they'll be sold out quickly. Today I learned that they don't carry them anymore. And apparently, I'm not the only one who will be crying about this. The sales guy mentioned that a man drove two hours to try and get them, only to be disappointed. My cashier said lots of people were asking about them. And yet they're gone? Hmmm, maybe its because they're generic, cheap, and keep you from buying the more expensive brands of diaper? Maybe, just maybe, there's no shelf space available for cheap, useful things like that anymore? Well, they can't take me down without a fight! I've got an alternative in mind already... =)

And on a lighter note... a fun website on the cheapest health foods out there, with recipes included. I think I'm going to try the Orange Hummus and the Applesauce Pumpkin Breakfast bread. Yumm.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Creating a little hospitality...

Paula is here, and its 9:30 a.m., and she's still not up, so I consider this trip a big success already! =)

I'm not very good at coming up with thoughtful little touches. I like reading about them, but I usually feel overwhelmed and incapable of making something cute and sweet out of what I have. But... I really wracked my brain, and this is what I came up with for yesterday.

I moved Seth's round wooden play table (that used to be mine) upstairs to the guest room. I covered it with one of my rectangular tablecloths. It didn't work perfectly, but it was good enough for government work. =)

Seth and I made a quick run to the Fresh Market for flowers. They always seem to have nice ones at a cheaper price than Walmart. I have no idea what kind the purple flowers are, but purple is her favorite color, and I LOVE these. Maybe Vance can tell me what they are...

The picture is one I took and developed years ago at my barn for a college photography class. It was just sitting on top of the dresser in there. Voila!

I put a cloth napkin in my bread basket and filled it with her favorite junk food... And then I took most of the candles in the house and put them around her room. I lit them when we got back from the airport... before she went upstairs.

I had trouble coming up with an idea for her bathroom. But I finally put some little toiletry items I'd saved in my bathroom odds and ends box in a pretty rice bowl. I don't have a lot of baskets, so this was my solution. Add a candle in there, and I'm done! Oh yeah, I also put some nice bubble bath in bathtub.

If I can do it, you can do it. Seriously. It only took a few extra minutes and some waiting for creativity to strike!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote for the day...

"Hillary Clinton says it takes a village to raise a child. I've seen the village, and I don't want it raising my child."- Anonymous

Hah! =)

A little R&R...

... is not what I got last night. The darn cat has gone nuts, and she woke me up to fly around the house like a banshee at 6:00 a.m. I promptly tossed her out on her kitty hiney. She has lost the privilege of sleeping in this house until David gets home. Hopefully that will be tonight, but I'm not holding my breath. Pray for him if you think of him. This case has been harder than he thought it would be. I miss him. I don't sleep as well when he's not here anyway.

But I have a distraction from my missing hubby! Paula is coming to visit tomorrow and staying through the weekend. Yep, after trying to get her up to visit me for two years, we've finally accomplished it. It took a lot of doing. I called her in-laws myself and asked them to keep her kids so that she could come. =)

I'm really hoping to pamper her and spoil her. She's long overdue for some spoiling. See, her husband is in the military, and he's serving in the Middle East right now. She's been on her own with a rambunctious 4-year-old and a 3-year-old for a few months, and its going to be a long haul until he comes back in July.

I'm planning to have all her favorite foods and junk, take her shopping, out to eat, and to the movies, and maybe even to get a manicure or something. I'm going to fix up the guest room with candles, and the bathtub is even clean enough for a bubble bath. She's going to get an uninterrupted night's sleep around here if I have anything to say about it!

Anybody have any other ideas of little things I could do to spoil her? I want to make her room really inviting. Any tips?

Friday, January 09, 2009


Things have gotten a bit crazier here now that the holidays are over. David is now working a lot in preparation for some job stuff that will be taking him out of town a good bit in January and February. It hasn't been as bad as I was anticipating, though.

I've had a few conversations in the last couple of days in which people in my life have expressed a lot of frustration and/or unhappiness. Everybody might've been a smidge happier if I could've given them a bit more of myself, even though I wasn't the problem they were discussing. And I was tired of feeling like I couldn't please anyone.

I told David this, and he said the greatest thing: "Well, you've made me very happy lately. You've been great about me working late, and I really appreciate x, y, and z that you've done." Now, guys, that is one of the best things you could ever say to your wife! I highly recommend it. And it reminded me that I've been pleasing the ones that I'm called to minister to first. If my husband and son are taken care of, I guess I'm doing ok.

I have been thinking about things I would like to do differently in 2009:

1. Spend less time on the ever addictive computer.
2. Have a set time for singing and dancing with Seth. Get some kids movement cds.
3. Make a craft supplies box, and actually use it to make things with him.
4. Take more pictures again.
5. Actually take steps toward getting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans once this pregnancy is over.
6. Be more consistent with quiet time and prayer.
7. Ask God more what He wants me to do instead of charging ahead, even on the things that seem small.
8. Become better at picking up the phone. I'm not good at doing that. At all.
9. Cultivate contentment and thanksgiving in my heart.
10. Read more high quality books.
11. Be less stingy with time and money. Make bigger meals that will feed more, and be more willing to invite people over for dinner instead of hoarding the leftovers for freezer meals. =)
12. Be less content with spiritual apathy in my life. Desire to see growth in my relationship with Christ every year that I live, instead of coasting along.

There are tons of others that I could mention, and these are obviously not ranked in order of importance. It's good to think about what you want to change...

Now off to make a cake for dinner with friends and pack to go to Nana and Papa's for a long weekend. Cheerio!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I didn't say much about my feelings about finding out that this little one has man parts. =) Actually, I'm relieved to find that I haven't been that disappointed. I don't feel beaten down and hurt that God didn't answer my prayer, at least right now. Sure, I have had a couple of misty eyed moments, and its hard to let go of the little girl dreams, but overall, I'm excited about having boys... plural.

I think I may even be more excited than I was when I found out about Seth. And I really think that this is because I already know what it's like to have a boy, and I know that it's wonderful. He is my little love bug. I can look at him and pictures of him as a baby and get a glimpse of the joy of having another boy. Instead of an unknown, I have a pleasant "known" to look forward to. That is making a bigger difference than I thought it would in my heart and mind.

I woke up with a lot of excitement and gratitude in my heart today. I think it helps me to visualize the future to know the baby's gender and see its little face. We have been blessed beyond belief with this child. His very existence is such a miracle to me. Especially when I think about how I wrote this once upon a time not that long ago.

And I have to laugh. I never, even for a single second, imagined that I would be the mother of "boys" without another estrogen producing member of the family. What does that even look like? I'm such an emotional girly girl in so many ways. It's total weirdness. I so wonder what God is up to... =)

Monday, January 05, 2009

And it's a...

A sweet image like this is what I've been keeping in my mind and heart since we found out. It helps as the image of a pink and green nursery fades away. And I'm far more interested in the possibility of a third child now. =) I'm not getting a shopping buddy this time around, but maybe later? Who knows....

Right now, time to focus on snails and puppy dog tails. And little boy snuggles; who can forget about those? Seth is going to LOVE having a brother, I'm sure. They're going to get soooo dirty together. And I'm going to have to get a lot more interested in Legos.

This time around, we got to see some 4D images, and they were really cool. The ultrasound tech was really nice. The baby is measuring about 5 days ahead of the current due date of June 1, but they don't change due dates, so it'll stay the same. He currently weighs 11 oz., and I have plenty of amniotic fluid. My placenta is in the front this time, which explains why movements seem a little more muffled than they did with Seth. He looks a lot like Seth did, but his forehead is shaped a little differently, not quite as prominent.

We got to see him moving his mouth and waving his little fists. It was so good to see him again and get better acquainted! I wish I had an at home ultrasound machine that I could use every day for a little look see. Wouldn't that be cool?

And without further ado, I introduce you to the newest member of this family. Isn't he cute?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

No more used toys?

I just saw this on Meredith's blog. I made my blood boil. I am including a link to the Consumer Product Safety Comission website. I encourage each and every one of you with children to email or call them as soon as possible. This is complete and total lunacy, and I am plenty worried about my ability to buy from consignment sales in the future.

Scientifically produced worst song ever...

David is working today, and as I was coming home from taking him his forgotten lunch, I turned on "This American Life." And I heard a cool story about a couple of artists who attempted to produce the most unlikeable song using scientific polling. They had a polling agency ask a bunch of questions about what people liked and didn't like in music.

They found out people hated a wide variety of things, from accordians to high pitched female voices to super long songs. Three of the most universally hated music forms were: children's choirs, opera, and rap. C'mon, children's choirs? People also hated music that was about holidays, politics, and cowboys. They also disliked music that was too slow or too fast; they wanted a moderate tempo.

Soooo... what did these guys do? They created a monstrosity of musical genius combining everything that most people hated. It is the most annoying piece of music I have ever heard. It's also very funny. Go here to listen for yourself. =)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hoping for a...

The date for my 18 week ultrasound is looming near. I should know the sex of this baby by next Monday night. And the closer it gets, the more nervous I get. Knowing the sex of this baby leads to more specific hopes and dreams and thoughts. It leads to us getting down to the business of assigning a name. It's a gateway for me to the second half of pregnancy; a sign that we're moving further down the road to birth.

And I'm realizing that its all going far too fast for me. For a variety of reasons, this very well may be my last pregnancy. And I want to savor it. If I could've been reckless with my already seriously compromised fertility, I would've liked to have waited longer between babies. Why? So I could revel in the joy of focusing on and enjoying one on one time with my little boy. I'm a one on one person primarily. I usually prefer that to spending time in groups. Two kids makes a group, you see. And I mourn the thought of not being able to give each child as much of me as I would like, one on one. Can you tell that I never had aspirations of a large family? =)

But we also had hopes of having a couple of kids who are close in age. And that has a lot of benefits for them, not just for their selfish mommy who wants to hoard them all to herself. So I know that I'm glad that these two will be close together. But I also want to shake my fists and yell, "No! The childbearing years can't be over for me so soon! I'm not ready yet! I want more time!" No more downy little heads? No more nursing? It's a tough thought.

And on top of that, I'm also worrying that this one won't be... a girl. And I suspect that I'm going to experience some grief if it isn't, especially if it could be my last. I have always really wanted to have a daughter. I have a really good relationship with my mom, and because of the nature of life, I get to spend more time with her than my brother does.

My brother is a total mama's boy, but his relationship with her is just different. Now that he's grown, he's moving more widely in the circle of career and work. He has less time to spend with Mom than I do because I am staying at home with my children. He doesn't have the same conversations that I do with her about raising children and keeping a home, and he doesn't know the same wonder of stepping into her shoes as he becomes a mom himself. Good thing. =)

I don't want to miss out on that relationship potential. Boys are wonderful. I wouldn't trade my Seth for a million girls. But I want to have the chance at a mother/daughter relationship, too. They're often more turbulent than mother/son relationships, but they have the potential for a very different kind of fulfillment when your little girl becomes an adult.

And quite frankly, I'm worried that God will not give me a daughter because He doesn't think I'd be very good at raising one. As the time gets closer for me to find out, and I get more apprehensive, I have figured out that I am having this thought. The last thing I want to do is hurt a little girl by being harsh and abrasive with her, and I worry about doing that more with a girl than with boys.

There are a million different reasons why God decides to give each family the number and gender of kids they have, and I know this with my head, but there is something in my heart that says, "Please don't pass me by because I'm too screwed up to be entrusted with the same kind of fragile heart that I had as a little girl." I worry that if that ultrasound shows a certain appendage on Monday, I will feel it as an indictment of me. Guilty. As charged... This all may sound incredibly stupid, and it does to me on some days, but this is the place where I talk out my thoughts and share them, in case you've had them, too, and you don't want to feel alone in your own lunacy. =)

God knows what is best for me and our family. Often His ideas are not my ideas. Sometimes I think they turn out better, and sometimes I disagree with Him about the merits of His plans. But I see now as through a glass darkly. I don't know what He has in store. And I know that I'll find acceptance, no matter what happens. It's an exciting life, and I'm glad to be along for the ride. But if you think of me on Monday at 1:00 p.m., say a little prayer for instant joy, no matter what is revealed. =)

Happy New Year!

I'm writing through mildly bleary eyes today. =) The laundry is going behind me, and I've been nursing a Dr. Pepper since all three of us dragged our weary carcasses out of bed at 8:30 this morning. There is little evidence left of the steady influx of welcome guests that this house has seen since Christmas. Seth is napping, and I'm heading there myself soon. We've put some miles on the car, and we've had a lot of fun. Many, many paper plates have been sent off to a landfill somewhere, and ridiculous amounts of sugar have been consumed. And now I'm going to ramble incoherently. Feel free to leave at any time...

I was thinking today that this house is settling into one of its major purposes. When we started looking for a place to buy, a big thing for us was that whatever house we bought would make it easier for us to be hospitable. We believe that our home is not just for us; its supposed to be a place where we can welcome others in in the name of Christ and serve them through meals and fellowship. It doesn't have to be fancy, and it doesn't have to be perfect. But I'm realizing anew that the layout of this house is very conducive to hosting groups. We have much more room to bunk people on sofabeds and floors. There are more bathrooms for their use, and more spaces for their kids to lay down sleeping bags. There are closets that can hold pack n' plays. =) There is plenty of space to put up extra tables for eating and game playing. And I'm thankful for all these things.

We have always invited people in to wherever we were living, even if conditions were decidedly less than ideal. Friends and family have slept under our dining room table because we ran out of floor space. David has used his laptop sitting on top of the toilet in our single tiny bathroom so he wouldn't wake up our guests. We moved the kitchen table and chairs onto the porch for lunch once at our last house so everyone could fit around it. If it can be done, we've done it. But it's nice not to have those constraints anymore. =)

And I'm totally in love with my new wood burning fireplace. I think we've decided that the last owners must have put in a fireplace insert, because we're not sure they came with this type of house in the '80s. We love it! It has vents at the bottom, and I think those babies make it draw like a dream. No problems with smoky rooms after a fire anymore! I know there are those of you that swear by gas, but there's nothing like the smell and crackle of oak logs to me. I think its because we had two large wood fireplaces when I was growing up, and we used them all the time. Daddy or Vance would build us a fire in the schoolroom, and we'd use it while we did our morning work on a lot of cold days. Having a fire in the evening was pretty standard during the winter months. I would lie on the carpet in front of it and read. I'd sit with my back to it until I couldn't stand the heat anymore, cool down for a few minutes, and then come back for more. There's nothing like a cozy fire on a cold day... (Oh yeah, the little guy in the picture above is our friends' Jason and Amanda's adorable baby, Isaac. He was one of our Christmas guests.)

I could say much, much more. But I'm not because there have just been too many happenings to record, and I'm on information overload. I hope you're all having a wonderful start to the New Year, wherever you are. May this year be more full of blessing and growth than the last...