Thursday, July 31, 2008

16 Months!

Okay, I know I am already 3 days late with this and I don't even have any pictures. :( We have been just crazy this week - we are almost done painting! - and I tried to take some bunny pictures of Cory, but needed Brian to help me since Cory isn't exactly into holding still!

Anyway... I've been writing this every time I notice something I want to document. So here is month 16 in review.

Time's flying by! My baby isn't a baby any more, that is for sure!

Just this past weekend when we left him with my parents my mom taught him to say "pe-uw". She has this thing for stinky-ness and he left her a really smelly diaper. Thanks Mom...

Oh, and that was his first ever night away from Mommy!

Now it seems he's figured out that he can copy what we say. If it's a simple word he will give it a try and more often than not it's a reasonably good representation of the word. Look out world, Cory's talking!

Words that he will use without prompting: (in general order of when he started using them)
Ba (Ball)
Nana (for banana - the most important word ever!)
Balloon (sounds like BA-bum)
Soos (shoes)
Wa (water)
And just yesterday he said Baby when looking at a doll and having me say the word.
These last two he's kind of been saying since he was about 7 months old. But he really doesn't actually call us by name.

Daddy's teaching him things like tickling, where he will go pull up Brian's shirt and "tickle" his belly! And also where his own belly is. He will now pull up his shirt and pat his belly when you ask him where it is!

His 4th molar finally popped through so he now has 12 teeth, including one molar on each side top and bottom. We're starting to use the silverware, but no idea which hand he will be yet.

He's definitely becoming more independent and we're working on him coming when we call him. Or not running away when we tell him to. He doesn't particularly want to hold your hand unless you're going the way he wants. That means that he doesn't get to walk.

In general though he's pretty sweet and a happy little guy!

Tomorrow (probably today for most of you) we are going to the waterslides in Chelan. They have some kiddy slides and I think if I go down with him he will love them.

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book: DragonLight

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(WaterBrook Press - June 17, 2008)


Donita K. Paul

Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.”

She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.

“God must have imprinted 'teacher' on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.”

Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh.

Donita is an award-winning author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicle series including DragonFire and DragonKnight.

When not writing, she is often engaged in mentoring writers of all ages. Donita lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she is learning to paint–walls and furniture! Visit her website at

The fantastic land of Amara is recovering from years of war inflicted on its citizens by outside forces–as well as from the spiritual apathy corroding the Amarans’ hearts. With Kale and her father serving as dragon keepers for Paladin, the dragon populace has exploded. It’s a peaceful, exciting time of rebuilding. And yet, an insidious, unseen evil lurks just beneath the surface of the idyllic countryside.

Truth has never been more important, nor so difficult to discern.

As Kale and her father are busy hatching, bonding, and releasing the younger generation of dragons as helpers throughout the kingdom, the light wizard has little time to develop her skills. Her husband, Sir Bardon–despite physical limitations resulting from his bout with the stakes disease–has become a leader, serving on the governing board under Paladin. When Kale and Bardon set aside their daily responsibilities to join meech dragons Regidor and Gilda on a quest to find a hidden meech colony, they encounter sinister forces. Their world is under attack by a secret enemy… can they overcome the ominous peril they can’t even see?

Prepare to experience breathtaking adventure and mind-blowing fantasy as never before in this dazzling, beautifully-crafted conclusion to Donita K. Paul’s popular DragonKeeper Chronicles fantasy series.


Let me be honest here. This is the 6th (and last) book in a series. It is fantasy and therefore the world and "people" who live in it all have non-human descriptors.

I read the first two chapters of this book and it reminded me a lot of the Dragonriders of Pern series that I read in high school. Even with this short read the story was starting to draw me in.

However I think I'm going to have to go back to the beginning or I'm just going to make my reading harder on myself trying to figure everything out!

If you enjoy fantasy then this series is definitely for you. If you have a teen or pre-teen in your house I bet they would really enjoy it!

If you would like to read the first chapter of DragonLight, go HERE

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

3 Years

Happy Anniversary to us! Three years ago today we got married. And no, it doesn't feel like just yesterday!

Although by now I think we expected to be in Tanzania working with Village Schools International. Instead we're still here, right where we started (with way more junk) and a kid in tow!

It's not bad, just different.

And I honestly can't imagine where I would be otherwise. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it. I'm not the same person I was 3 years ago and 80% of that's a good thing. The other 20%, well, that's my own fault. But we'll work on that!

This is my all time favorite picture from our wedding. The standing procedure is for friends to fill your car with randomness mostly picked up at garage sales. Our friends Michelle and Andrew more than fulfilled this request of Brian's out of state friends!

Besides the wooden stick horse we had: a telephone for deaf people, an old used bike helmet (pink), a weird yellow one piece quilted pajama thing, jars of peanut butter and honey, multiple beanie babies, a bag of jolly ranchers (opened and everywhere) which we were still finding 2 years later, and finally a little round thing in the tailpipe that made our car sound really funny while driving!

Happy Anniversary, babe, I love you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Book: The Falcon and the Sparrow

I'm going to start a "best picks" list. This is #1!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Falcon And The Sparrow

(Barbour Publishing, Inc - August 1, 2008)


M. L. Tyndall

M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she's only give her heart to Him completely.

Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include:The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption

When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her
return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon.

Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife. Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother? Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again?

And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?


I think I'd call this book a cross between The Scarlet Pimpernel and Lori Wick's The Hawk and the Jewel. Of course you know that the lady will get her man in the end, but the author did a really good job of keeping you in suspense the whole time so that you just didn't know how it would happen. I had a hard time putting it down until I was finished!

There were a few places where some of the details were slightly implausible, but I suppose that's literary license (you know all that stuff in movies isn't plausible either, right? :) Overall, this may be one book I don't give away, but add to my collection!

If you would like to read an excerpt of The Falcon And The Sparrow, go HERE

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Creation X2

We got to go to Creation again this year complements of Compassion. I guess it's kind of our every other year anniversary event! We went 2 years ago, but not last year due to one small child!

This year I remembered to bring my camera...

Creation is an outdoor Christian music festival held at the Gorge. It's right on the Columbia and has a beautiful view!

That's the stage and then there is a big grassy hillside. No assigned seating other than a few chairs down on the level behind the mosh pit (hidden by the curve of the hill in this pic)

And then it's sunset...

This year we went on Friday so we could hear different artists for the evening concert. Skillet and then Toby Mac. Interesting... but I'm beginning to feel old! This is much more a teen/youth event than an adult one. Although to get the teens there you know there were plenty of adults present! And towards the end of their set Toby Mac played a lot of old school DC Talk songs which was fun!

Our view of Toby Mac!

The best part of the day (well, besides running into a friend I haven't seen in years and talking to her for an hour!) was working at the Compassion table. It's so fun to connect with other volunteers and watch/help people pick out a child to sponsor. You can pick a child from any one of 25 countries, either gender, any age. You can even specify a birth date although usually you have to call or write directly to Compassion or go to their website to do that.

This is the table we worked at this year. Ben and Jeff showing off the kids! Ben is from the Tri-cities and Jeff was from Eugene, Oregon. We had to give him a hard time about that!

This is me with Amy Lund. She was the event coordinator for Creation and also the one who signed me up. It was great to get to meet her in person!
And then there was the random kid walking around in a banana suit. I had to get a picture since Cory is the banana boy! It's one of his first words - "nana"!

After the main concert there was a brief candlelight service at midnight. They turned off all the lights in the arena and all you could see were thousands of candles. Very cool. Unfortunately also very windy so it was hard to keep your candle lit, or from dripping wax all over you!

After all that we got home at 2am and then went to paint some more at my parents on Saturday. Cory did fine with Grandma and Grandpa, but I think he was pretty happy to see us when we got there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mooch

Not to be confused with the moosh... my son is a giant mooch!

This is Cory eating Grandpa's lunch.

Poor Grandpa, can't even eat lunch in peace.
He really looks like he's hating it though, doesn't he?

It doesn't matter that he has just eaten his own meal. Whatever you are eating he wants some of it. We've taught him to say please so at least he's sort of being polite, right?

And then spaghetti for dinner, yum!

Look mom, it really goes best in hair like this!Which happened because someone mentioned that at least he didn't have it in his hair yet... and he recognized the word "hair". Yay for word recognition.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Camp Mis-Adventures

This week Brian is speaking for high school camp at Camas Meadows Bible Camp. This is where I was a counselor when I was in high school. I never imagined back then that I would go back as the speaker's wife!

We were supposed to stay up there with him... but 50+ high schoolers running around and one small child who needs to sleep are not the best combination.

We moved from the speaker's room down to the founder's house, but that made it really hard for me to be involved at all since I think Cory has been going through a growth spurt and just sleeping a ton. The speaker's room is in the lodge and I could have used my baby monitor, but the founder's house was too far away... yet still close enough to be loud!

I did enjoy talking to the founders, but many hours sitting in their house as opposed to hanging out with the kids wasn't exactly what I had planned. Needless to say, we came home with Brian on Wednesday morning when he came down for summer school. (but I did get to watch that crazy All-Star Baseball game that went to 15 innings Tuesday night!)

Cory did have a chance to find the drum set... I think we have a future musician on our hands (I know so if the grandma's have anything to say about it!)

This is serious business!

Wednesday was Lake Day so after summer school we drove up with Brian. We pulled into the parking lot and Cory could see the water. He was pointing and going "wa, wa, wa". Think he likes the water much?

He was giggling like CRAZY at the waves and had no fear of walking out into the water. Unfortunately he did get cold eventually.

He's learned to navigate his dolphin floater toy if he can touch the bottom. And I don't think it will actually tip all the way over (although he certainly tries!) but he does get a face full.

On the way back from the lake we could see the aftermath of the fire from last week. Across the river we drove about 7 miles and the whole hillside was black, clear down to the highway on that side. There were some houses, but they were in the middle of orchards so no worries since the orchards are so green a grass fire won't burn them.

So now Brian is up at camp speaking and I am painting some more at my parent's house. Maybe I'll get some pictures tomorrow!

I guess I was expecting a little bit of a repeat of my experiences in high school. But I'm not exactly a high schooler anymore (10 year reunion 2 weeks ago!) and I haven't had the opportunity to hang out with all of them. I would have liked to play some night games though...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book: Promises, Promises

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Promises, Promises

Barbour - July, 2008


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. Writing had always been a hobby, a way for me to express my innermost thoughts and feelings in a way I sometimes find difficult with the spoken word -- although my friends will tell you 'shy' is not in my vocabulary. Thanks to the gentle nudging of a fellow author -- Tracie Peterson -- in 2002, I took the next step in my writing career and joined the American Christian Fiction Writers. I owe all so many there a hearty hug of appreciation for their constant encouragement and unselfish assistance. I feel a lot more confident thanks to their support and love. For those of you who are also fiction writers looking for a wonderful support group, check them out!

I got involved with web design in 1997, when I was asked to take over running the official web site for the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. That eventually led to a series of negotiations where I was offered the job of running world-renowned actress Jane Seymour's official fan site. That has branched into doing web sites for a variety of clients, including: authors J.M. Hochstetler, Trish Perry, Kathy Pride, Louise M. Gouge, Susan Page Davis, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson, actor William Shockley (the voice of AT&T and Sony) and many others. With the help of a handful of other web site "technos," Eagle Designs was born! Feel free to visit and see our other clients.

Books are a definite passion. Why else would I be writing and publishing them? I firmly believe that a good book can take you away from all of your problems, into a world you've never seen. My favorite food is Italian; I sing all the time, and I once worked with my church choir to do a professional recording for a music CD of our performances.

I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher nestled in the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.


Raelene Strattford knows God has promised never to leave or forsake her. But after the catastrophic deaths of her parents, she doesn t believe it. What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? Gustaf Hanssen has admired Raelene from afar for a while, but his poor attempt at courting her in the past has made him unwelcome in her life. When Gustaf promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?


This book was a quick read for me. It's set in pre-revolutionary Pennsylvania when a teenage girl is suddenly orphaned. No one wants to do business with a woman, let alone a young one. So in order to keep her family's farm she must marry. The problem lies in that Raelene wants to marry for love...

I found that the total disdain for a girl trying to go about her business seemed a bit over the top. It was necessary for the story line, but I didn't think it was completely realistic.

Raelene's journey of disillusionment against God for taking her parents was well written. Overall, a light read.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

At this time, Promises, Promises can only be purchased through the Heartsong Book Club.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Corvette Weekend Again

Hard to believe it's been a year already since that first one... This time Cory really enjoyed Grandpa's car. He loves that it goes VROOOOM and is loud.

The majority of my weekend was spent painting my parent's house. And it's not done yet. Ay! I guess it's a good thing the grandparents were around the babysit!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Book: Sisterchicks Go Brit

Considering I just received this book in the mail on Friday and I then proceeded to spend the next 2 days painting my parents house... I haven't read it yet. But I'm looking forward to! Just as soon as I feel awake enough to concentrate!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sisterchicks Go Brit

Multnomah Publishers (May 20, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.

Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.

Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.

SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.

Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.

A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.

And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!

To read the first chapter, go HERE

Thursday, July 10, 2008

200 Random Posts

Although technically I think it might have been the last post... Blogger doesn't count posts very well!

It took me almost 2 years to get to 100 posts and now 8 months later here I am at 200. Either I have more to say now or... well, I'm just rambling more.

Either way, here's a little update for this week.

The fire from the other day flared up again with our 30mph winds. Driving back down the valley this evening from my parents we could see the smoke and some flames. It has moved quite a bit farther along the ridge and covered about half the distance it was from a housing area. I hope they get a good line on that end as that's the way the wind is blowing...

I took Cory to the doctor this week as he had been whiny for an entire week and I was convinced it was an ear infection because teething couldn't be this bad...

Apparently it can. The doctor pronounced him in perfect health and we found out he weighs just over 25 pounds now. We got some baby Motrin to help with the swelling and he seems to be doing much better.

Although I'm wondering if he isn't also going through a growth spurt... he slept a ton today and kept telling me he wanted to eat every half an hour.

We're quite busy this weekend with grandparents coming to visit and also trying to paint my parents house... wind may be an issue (using a sprayer). Cory will enjoy lots of Grandma and Grandpa time and he's slowly making friends with the puppies.

Speaking of which... considering our family pretty much only owns Golden Retrievers...

What dog breed are you? I'm a Golden Retriever! Find out at

Golden Retriever

The Charmer

Laid-back, sociable and well-groomed, you've got your own hip little pack of groupies who just love to be around you. You have a brain inside that adorable little head of yours, though you use it mostly to organize your hectic social calendar. You never poop out at parties, and since you're popular with ladies and men, as well as children and adults, you dish out your wit, charm and luck to whomever is close enough to bask in it. The top dog likes you and wants to be your best friend, despite the fact that he doesn't really know what the heck you do. No one does, in fact, but everyone loves you all the same. A true foodie, you’ve got your keen ears fine-tuned to make sure you don't miss out on the opening of a trendy new place to nosh. But your youthful days of being able to wolf down food 24-7 are wagging behind you, meaning you've got to watch what you eat so you don’t pull a Brando and outgrow your coats.

FAMOUS GOLDEN RETRIEVERS: Bono, Robert Redford, Joe Montana, Julia Roberts

LIKELY PROFESSIONS: Journalist, Intelligence Agent, Venture Capitalist

I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it's fun! Try it out and see what you are!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Smoke on the Water (and fire in my yard)

I tried to post this last night, but Blogger wouldn't let me upload pictures... It's not so exciting now. I can only see one little plume of smoke.

But yesterday afternoon my best friend called and told me there was a fire across the river...

This was the view from my front yard

I have a snazzy zoom lens so really this fire is probably at least 3 miles away and also across the Columbia River.

I waited until dusk to get some more vivid pics.

You can see the flare up on the left between this picture and the one above it.

This is an unpopulated area so there were no homes in danger to my knowledge. The lights at the top of the ridge were emergency vehicles, I could see the flashing lights before it got dark.

The fire was running to the right (south east) due to some steady wind. And going behind the neighboring building so I couldn't really see it, plus it was getting full dark and I was getting mostly blurry pictures.

This seems to be our annual summer fire. I hope there aren't any others though! We live in town, but are high enough with good breaks in buildings that we can see a lot of the hills around us. This fire was north east of us. Last summer it was north and 2 summers ago it was directly east.

Good luck to all the firefighters everywhere!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


So yesterday was my 10 year high school reunion (yes, you all now know how old I am).

I'm not sure what I was looking for going in, but I've been thinking about this for months, maybe even years. High school was not a pretty time for me.

I guess I was hoping that things would have changed. We could all get together and be friendly.

Instead I found that for the most part people were only willing to talk and hang out with their old friends and the cliques were very much still alive.

So Sad.

I'm sure it didn't help that less than half the class was there and many of the people I hung out with on a daily basis didn't show up.

Still I wonder. Why is it that I feel the need to be validated by these people who made my life so miserable 10+ years ago and that have no part in my current life?

I thought I was beyond that.

Once I left high school I realized that the only reason it's such a big deal is because you spend more time with your classmates than you do with anyone else. When you're graduated you begin to see how silly and isolated that little world really is.

Too bad people always seem to revert back to their old behaviors when they get back with the same friends...


It wasn't all bad though. I did see a few people that I had wondered about and others that I just don't get to see often.

Here's the one and only picture that was taken...

Jeff (now in Florida), my good buddy Dawn (now in Spain), Chris (who I had heard nothing from or about since we graduated - now in Portland and working for Nike), me, and Brian.

Was anyone else's 10 year reunion the same as mine? Chris' wife (taking the picture) mentioned that she works as an alumni director so goes to a lot of high school reunions and that as the years go on it gets better.

I can only hope!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Firemen Adventure

My poor little son, Cory, has had a fever since last night and is pretty darn miserable. It's not high enough to take him to the doctor although I do hope it goes away soon. Today he alternately laid in his bed and whined or laid on me and sucked his thumb. I guess I don't mind the snuggling, but I don't like to see him so sad.

He was much better on Tuesday night when we went to the firemen's party that Grandpa Derald bought him at the auction in March.

He got a fancy hat, but was more interested in Grandma wearing it...

We got to ride in the fire truck (lights flashing, horns blaring) around to a big field so they could shoot some water. Cory was fascinated by the lights!

And by just about everything.

The party was courtesy of the Dryden volunteer fire department.

Cory even gets a chance to help spray some water/foam from a hose!

And then Daddy helps him check out one of the other engines that had hose on the back ready to be laid to a fire.

The is the biggest water hose they have. The truck holds 1500 gallons and it can be emptied in under 3 minutes. That's a lot of water!

After the party we went up to Great Grandma's place for an early 4th of July dinner. Cory ate half of Grandma's dinner and then I had to share mine with her. I have a big eater for a son!

After dinner we went up to her room and Cory found her old typewriter. He thought it was just for him with all those fun buttons to push!

I sure hope he's feeling better tomorrow or this may be the only 4th of July celebration we have this year.