Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our tree…


And part of our day…











Yes, I know some of us are missing from the pictures.  Emily sat next to me so I wouldn’t take her picture.  Hailey is in some shots but they are not attractive and she’d shoot me if I posted them.  :)  And me?  Well, I TAKE the pictures instead of being in them.  Works for me.

The dynamic duo doing some modeling:


Ryan’s new ‘muzzle’…er…ribbon.  He LOVED making everyone laugh out loud.


I think those might be Logan’s favorite gift.  It’s hard to get him to take the hat and mittens off.  Ryan’s set is red and grey.  The sets match their winter jackets, so now they’re fully ready for snow.  Bring it on!

No pictures of our time with the family—too many people to take good pictures.  18 people in the living room gets a bit cozy…so we skipped pics this year.  It was awesome having Brent home and some of Jim ‘s family in town.  Overall, Christmas was a delightful day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

out of the mouths of babes

“It’s COLD in there”

…says Logan, as he sticks his finger into a black olive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

bah humbug :\

Yeah, it’s a grumbly post.  Feel free to pass it up.  At least, consider yourself warned.  :)


Nothing on the calendar today.  That’s a good thing!  After all, I have some hats and mittens that need attention if they’re going to be ready for Christmas.  I am finding that it’s very hard to sew for the boys when they’re around.  (Not sure why I thought I’d be able to, quite frankly.  But that’s a whole other issue!)  Then there’s the whole “I need to get one more thing for her, and something for him, and oh!  I need to pick up something at that store for him and them.”  I HATE shopping! I knew there was a reason I usually swallow hard and do this all in a single weekend in late October or early November.  Now, because things were messed up this fall, I’m STILL trying to tie up the loose ends.  Ugh.  Next year?  It’s back to the power shopping weekend for me, for sure. 

Then there’s the actual celebration.  Who will be here, exactly?  Not sure.  How many am I feeding for Christmas dinner?  No idea!  Not exactly my idea of fun:  “Here, prep a meal for somewhere between 18 and 25 people.  Actually…it will probably be more than one meal.  And some/most of the guests might want/need to stay with you too.  Haven’t decided yet.  We should be able to let you know in time, but be prepared in case we just show up.”  Uh…sure.  Or not.  I am NOT Superwoman!!  (Yes, it’s the dysfunctional member of the extended family.  Makes me crazy.)

I’ve been hoping to get in a lunch with an old friend this week too, but between Christmas and the difficulty scheduling, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I’m bummed—been looking forward to it for some time—but I understand.  I’m still disappointed though…

Sounds like it’s time to turn on some good Christmas music, spend some time adjusting my focus, and getting prepared for the rest of the week.  It WILL be good…no matter what happens, what gets finished, or who comes (or doesn’t!).  Brent comes home on Thursday to spend Christmas here.  It will be the first Christmas with him at home since 2006!   He’s staying until Monday…and I can’t wait!     

Monday, December 20, 2010

a lightbulb moment

I have a child who LOVES to help.  He carries things for me and works alongside me willingly.  He runs upstairs or outside to fetch things without grumbling. He tries very hard to anticipate my every need.  He gets things out of cupboards and drawers to bring them to me before I ask.  Sometimes it’s irritating.   Today I snapped at him.  As soon as  I shut my mouth, I had this flash of insight:

Most women would give just about anything to have a husband who anticipates their every need and helps out willingly and cheerfully.  This child will be a wife’s dream come true when he’s old enough.

And I’m slowly destroying that very characteristic with my actions and my words.  What on earth is wrong with me???  

Time for an attitude adjustment, I guess.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

this child


…told me this afternoon that I was ‘the butcher!’  I was slicing chicken for dinner tonight (teriyaki) and out he comes with that question.  Oy!  Where does he come up with this stuff??  I love the creativity.  :)  First he wants to know why the chicken has no head and how it died, now he assumes I’m the butcher.    What a kid.  :)  Must be time for another visit to Tim’s farm…

Friday, December 17, 2010

a dilemma

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”  Col 3:12

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Gal 6:2

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Gal 6:9-10

So…the question becomes:  what does this look like in practice?

Generally, I don’t find these to be hard concepts to put into practice.  But, there is a needy person in our lives.  High maintenance, one might say.  Delightful, fun, funny…and needy.  VERY needy.  It seems that I regularly hear about how this person was there today or over there yesterday, seeking help for this thing or that issue.  Competent to do it with less help?  I think so.  Able to?  No, not really.

In this particular instance, I know the extended family reasonably well.  Have for many years…over 20, in fact.  My every dealing with the extended family has been pleasant and over time I have seen that the extended family is honest, hardworking, and forthright.  Highly respected in the community and at church, I have no reason to distrust their observations about the needy person.  The issue?  They have used words like ‘manipulative’ and ‘controlling’ and ‘conniving’ to describe my needy friend.

Where does that leave me?  How do I do as Scripture says and ‘do good to all people’ if she is using me (and others!) in a manipulative, controlling way?  Where’s the line between ‘doing good’ or ‘being helpful’ and ‘enabling?’   Is there a point where our compassion and bearing her burdens is more harmful than helpful?  What is the best kind of help in this situation?  How do we come alongside and support without being manipulated?  How do we kindly, gently, lovingly encourage/facilitate independence?  For the sake of the young children involved, is there a good way to teach coping skills that are not co-dependent?

It truly is a dilemma.  There are other, complicating factors, but the problem remains:  how much is enough?  What is too much? 

Any thoughts??

bonus time!

Earlier this week, this young lady


came and spent the night.  Her momma needed a place for her overnight since her sister was very ill, so she came here.  We loved having her, and I was very impressed—she slept ALL night in a strange place!  Wow!! None of mine would have ever done that.  Heck…some of mine still don’t sleep all night, even in their own beds, and they’re much older than 12 months!

More morning bath cuteness



My little guys were in heaven!  They adore having babies around and had a wonderful time ‘playing’ with her.  They loved watching her bath—were fascinated by the fact that she was in the kitchen sink!—and were very sad when she went back home.

Although I don’t want your sister to be ill, you are welcome here any time, sweet girl!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

and the fun continues

After we got the kitchen cleaned, the little guys visited with Hailey for a bit, then put on their jammies to go to bed.  Ryan emptied the trash, they brushed their teeth, and hopped on their beds.  I got upstairs just in time to see Ryan spring a leak.  Yep.  A bloody nose.  A good one!  So now that the kitchen laundry is washed, there are pjs and sheets and washcloths ready for the machine.  Oh…and a stuffed blue bunny.

Anything else feeling compelled to make a mess tonight??  I sure hope not!


Do you know what kind of mess it makes in your kitchen when the garbage disposal (full, of course, and running) decides that it doesn’t like hanging out under the sink so it just drops to the bottom of the cabinet???  With the water running.  Ugh.  Apple cores and meatloaf and squash guts everywhere.  Disposal water in my dishwasher detergent.  In the garbage bags.  In the cleaning supplies.  EVERYWHERE! 

yuck.  Yuck.  YUCK.  What a mess!  Fortunately, Jim has a plumber’s hat, so he put it on tonight.  Mess is cleaned up and disposal is back where it belongs.  Dishes are in the dishwasher.  Floor is scrubbed.  Again.  (I cleaned it yesterday, of course.)  Washing machine full of nasty grimy towels is running.

Guess I can be grateful it waited ‘til Jim was home, huh?   And that I don’t need ANOTHER new disposal.  This one is only about 9 months old.   Even icky clouds have silver linings.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

it’s that time of year again

Ahhh…December.  Time for wintry weather, Christmas carols, and the delicious treats from the kitchen.  And, if you live at our house… number 1  

…it’s time for gallons and gallons and gallons of chili to be made!  High school basketball and the concessions stand are a significant part of our winters.

We love high school basketball here.  This is Hailey’s team her senior year, winning the state title at their classification (1A).  SO very fun to watch!!  Last year was the first year since 1996 we haven’t had a basketball player, but Emily was a cheerleader so we had ‘a reason’ to go watch.  This year?  Nope.  No players.  No cheerleaders.  But we’re not—I’M not—ready to leave it behind just yet.  So once again, I am helping in the concessions stand.  We sell hot dogs, chili dogs, baked potatoes (with or without chili) and chili by the bowl.  The little guys (who LOVE being in the kitchen at school!) and I help out as a labor of love for the girls and boys who play, and for my dear friend Ann who runs the concession stand.  In an average basketball season, I make about 15 gallons of chili.  This year, we’re trying something new and selling clam chowder too.

Back to my kitchen…the chili calls—first game of the season is tonight!!  There’s nothing quite like Christmas carols in the background and chili bubbling on the stove.  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

some lessons don’t fade

(Or, never underestimate the power of candy…)

December 2008.  Logan’s been with us about 6 months and has recently turned 4.  Ryan’s still 3.  Logan’s command of English isn’t great due to his speech issues and Ryan is painfully shy.  We stop at Cash and Carry to pick up some coffee syrups on our way past.  When we get to the counter to check out, the checker offers the boys candy canes.  They smile and hold out their hands.  When reminded to say ‘thank you’ they both refuse—Ryan out of his timidity; Logan out of sheer stubbornness and refusal to allow us to ‘tell him what to do.’  I take the candy canes, place them back on the counter, and thank the man but let him know that if the boys aren’t able to be gracious, they may not have candy.  We leave dumbfounded clerks and customers behind, taking tearful boys with us.

Fast forward 2 years.  This afternoon I took the boys and the darling extra girl who is with us on Wednesdays and Thursdays to Cash and Carry.  As we’re driving up, Ryan says “If they want to give us a candy cane, we HAVE to say ‘thank you’ or Mommy will give them back.”   Logan immediately pipes up and says “Saying ‘yes please’ would be very nice don’t you think?  We should say that too!”

Wow.  That lesson apparently worked.  :)

imagine the possibilities

Calling All Men—It’s Time for War

Read this!  He’s far more eloquent than most, and he’s right on target.  Imagine what the world would be like if this war took place!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


At the breakfast table this morning.  I’m not sure what started the conversation, but this is where I picked it up…

Thing 1:  No, you DON’T know everything

Thing 2:  Yes I do!

Thing 1:  No you don’t.

Thing 2: I do!  (complete with a smack on the table…)

Thing 1:  Okay, fine.  Prove it.  What’s 5 + 5?

Thing 2: (triumphantly)  100!

Thing 1: (with a heavy sigh) No it’s not.  It’s 10.  I TOLD you that you didn’t know everything.

It was VERY hard to listen with a straight face.


Having suckers at the last volleyball tournament of the seasonDSC_0050


This is the same twosome that pitched a MAJOR fit on Friday when I told them that their sister was at a basektball game.  The immediate question?  “How come SHE gets to go watch and we don’t?  We had to go to ALL that volleyball just to get to basketball season and now you don’t take us?  Why??”  They were truly indignant.  After promising them that they could go to basketball this Friday, they cheered up.  Mostly.  Now they ask me EVERY morning if it’s time for basketball yet.  They can’t wait to go sit in the gym, watch the games, and help out in the concessions stand.   It’s a good thing we love high school basketball at our house!  :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

God’s favorite, again! :)

A couple of nights ago, we had a conversation at the dinner table about Christmas.  We talked about how the gifts have become a focus for the little guys, and how little they really need.  We decided that we’d like to start a new tradition, giving them ‘experiences’ to share instead.  Ryan LOVES basketball, so I spent some time trying to find tickets to something he and Daddy could do together.  Husky tickets are expensive, I discovered!  And the Harlem Globetrotters are coming to our area in February, but we weren’t sure whether Logan would enjoy it as well, and I’d love to go along.  Leaving Logan home with a sitter doesn’t seem right, so I hadn’t pursued it any further.

Tonight, we were surprised by a text from some friends.  Avid UW Husky fans, they have season tickets to both football and basketball.  They aren’t able to go to the basketball game tomorrow afternoon and wanted to know if we could use their tickets!  Needless to say, we jumped on that.  Unbeknownst to him, Ryan will have a HUGE afternoon tomorrow.  He and Jim will head up to UW to watch the Husky men take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

Once again, I am singing the “I am God’s favorite!” song.  How incredible!  Even little things—like tickets to basketball games—are not too hard or too inconsequential for Him.  With hearts full of rejoicing, I will send my twosome off to basketball.

Then I’m gonna work on coming up with a special ‘experience’ to share with Logan.   How will we see His blessing in that??