Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So Long August, I Won't Miss Ya

Wow, this has been a roller coaster of a month.  Tomorrow is the first day of school for Brian and I'm hoping for a new beginning, new schedule, new everything.  For everyone.  Brian has moved to the local alternative high school and we hope this will be a good place.  At the very least we think it's more job security.

We started this month at the beach (Long Beach) with my parents.  That was fun.  Then a friend's wedding and Brian's sister visiting.  Also fun.

Then Brian and Allison went to visit his dying grandfather for a few days.  Not so fun (and me being home with 2 little boys 24/7 is a challenge right now).  Then Brian got his wisdom teeth out and either it was a lot harder for him than I remember or it makes a difference when you have them out at 32 as opposed to 19.

Three days after the wisdom teeth extraction (he brought them home, gross!) was his birthday and I made him a pineapple upside down cake from scratch (yes, be impressed, that is unusual for me!) and his favorite ham and potato casserole as those were all soft foods.  However, it was not a super happy birthday as Grandpa was getting worse and we were not in agreement over what he should get for his birthday.

We were actually going to go down and visit Grandpa, but he said he didn't want to see anyone anymore so we didn't.  We got some work done around the house, walked at the park, and had dinner with our lovely pastor's family.  It was a good weekend.

Last Monday Brian was considering driving down to visit his Grandpa anyway, but Grandpa just didn't want to see him.  Monday night at midnight we got the call that he had passed away at home, just sitting in his chair.  So, Tuesday morning Brian left to go help his Grandma and parents and was there for 3 days.

Grandpa Gene
Picture from Thanksgiving 2006

In the mean time I took the boys and my mom and Annika to the waterslides and hung out at my parents with some of my mom's relatives that I don't see often.

They were here because today is my Grandmother's 94th birthday (it's also my best friend's big 3-0!) which we celebrated on Sunday.  We won't mention that my mom accidentally sat on the Red Velvet cake...

Queen for a day... by her younger sister, Patsy

Her party face really came out interacting with Noah.  She was doing the same things she used to do with Cory, making funny faces and noises.  This is the most I've seen her be interested in something for awhile.

And finally Sunday night I opened a letter from my insurance to find that my rates are going up in October... $60 for every plan, but due to the fact that I just turned 30 I get to be in a new age bracket and mine go up $110 a month.  Not something that we can afford right now so I've spent the better part of a day calling and researching my options.  I could be on Brian's plan, yes, but that's just as expensive.  We'll see.  Kind of a bummer because any way we do it, we will be changing plans and I'd already paid my deductible for this year ('cuz unfortunately childbirth ain't cheap).

I have no real way to wrap this up other than to say, I'm beat.  I hope next August is much nicer than this one.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Boy Quotes #3

Awhile ago I pointed out the full moon to Cory.  I asked him if he could see the face and told him there was a "man" in the moon.
"What's his name?"
"The Man in the Moon.  Do you want to give him a name?"
I guess that works...


Last week I made a pineapple upside down cake for Brian's birthday... the following conversation ensued between Daddy and Cory.

"Daddy, the cake doesn't want us to eat the cake"

*surprised* "Why do you say that?"

"Because the cake is people."

For a moment, my son imagined the horror of a nice, home made pineapple-upside-down cake as it realized it was going to be eaten alive.
And finally... driving into town and I commented on this particular sign board that we pass that *always* misuses quotes.  ie.  Does your lawn mower or weed eater have "problems"?  Let us help!
Brian said, "Foul, 5 yards, repeat the down" or in other words, FAIL!
When from the back seat we hear, "Owl, 5 yards from a jinglebell!"
After we quit laughing and asked him what he said he replied, "It was from a quote".

And there you have it!

PS.  I just found out that it's my friend Carrie's birthday this week!  And she has fun birthday news, she's expecting their third child next spring!  Carrie and I have lots in common (hello, she writes a book blog! and has a photography business!), she even lives in the same town as my in-laws, but so far we've not managed to coordinate our schedules to meet up.  But please go check out the birthday gathering (she's giving things away!) and wish her Happy Birthday!  

Friday, August 27, 2010

PSF: I'm in So Much Trouble!

I have a three and a half year old who's pretty much done with naps... and a 5 month, one week old who's mobile!

Hmmm, brother's legos look more interesting than mine... can I get there?

 I'm so cute Mommy!

I've got the one leg at a time thing down!
Here I come!

Put something in front of him that he really wants and he will move the length of his body in just a couple of minutes.  It's kind of an inch worm thing right now, up, move legs a bit, fall forward onto chest, repeat.  But I know it won't be very long before he figures it out!  Unfortunately he still hasn't figured out how to roll from back to stomach so if he rolls over he's like a turtle on his shell!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book: Surrender the Heart

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender the Heart
Barbour Publishing (August 1, 2010)

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'd only give her heart to Him completely.

She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!

For the sake of her ailing mother, Marianne Denton becomes engaged to Noah Brennin---a merchantman she despises. But as the War of 1812 escalates, Jonah's ship is captured by the British, and the ill-matched couple learns vital information that could aid America's cause.

Relive the rich history of the War of 1812 through the eyes of Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, who both long to please their families but neither one wishes to marry the other. Noah is determined to get his cargo to England before war breaks out, and Marianne is equally determined to have a wedding so that her inheritance can be unlocked and her destitute family saved. When their stubborn games get them captured by a British warship, can they escape and bring liberty to their country—and growing love?


So sorry, no review on this one either... but I have read quite a few of M.L. Tyndall's books and these I particularly enjoy!  I'm not exactly sure why except that her writing just seems to flow for me.  And each story has enough of a twist that you don't really know how it's all going to work out.  My favorite kind of book!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Surrender the Heart, go HERE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Tomatoes

We planted 2 grape tomato bushes and 2 heirloom tomato bushes

We got extreme size!  I made an entire casserole out of the one big tomato

We probably only needed one grape tomato bush as this is one day's harvest... and I can get that much every couple of days!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book: Masquerade

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Bethany House (August 1, 2010)

Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novel is Masquerade. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at
www.nancymoser.com and www.sistercircles.com.

They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth...

1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine.

She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares.

As for Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt from the possibility of discovery and the presence of another love that will not die. Is this what her heart truly longs for?

Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.

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


This is a "modern-er" version of The Prince and The Pauper and I for one, really enjoyed it.  The characters are female instead of male, but being set in the early 1900's I think that gives it the added twist that the girls really don't have control over their lives anyway.

This is the second Nancy Moser book I've read and I really appreciate how she writes.  You get a feel for the time period with all the detail she puts in.  It's not overwhelming, but it really helps you create the scene in your mind rather than the plot being able to be set in any time period.

Both my mom and I felt that the first half of the book is a bit slow, but once you get into it you just can't put it down!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Walking Adventures

This past Saturday we got up *early* for our family and made it to the park for our Walk for Life.  We didn't manage to head out with the main group, but we quickly learned that we would be stopping to chat with friends along the way anyway!

We met some friends and Ella was enamored by the dogs!  Here we're trying to get Mara to pull her along... not very successfully!

A bit later a whole group was taking up the trail (bad etiquette!) and once again Ella was enjoying the dog... hint hint, mom and dad?

Cayenne and Mara

There are at least 3 of these fire hydrants along the trail and I'm trying to figure out if they are actually supposed to be used by the dogs... each one is painted in wild bright colors and designs.

Of course the Columbia's near by so we have to check it out...

And once we got back to the starting area they had set up a whole collection of inflatables.  After Cory jumped in the bounce house for quite awhile we convinced him to try out this giant slide.

I wasn't sure he would like it as it was pretty tall, but he had no fear and went right up...

and back down again!  Multiple times!

Here he is waving at me from the top!

Not to be outdone, Noah spent his day looking cute while riding in the stroller and then sleeping in the pack.  His hair was blowing wildly in the breeze here and I thought he looked a bit like a mad scientist, chewing on Daddy's finger!  (did I mention he has a third tooth?  this one's on top, but to the left of the front teeth)

The weather was lovely for summer here, slightly overcast and cool.  We then went to dinner at our new pastor's house and had a fun time getting to know them and their three girls while Cory played with their boy Josiah who is just a bit older.  Perfect!

(and yes, it helps if you hit publish when you're done writing a post... whoops! :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

PSF: Dusk

Last month I was bummed that they cut down all the branches off the trees behind my house... but this month I'm enjoying the views of the sky in the evening.  There's a planet just off center in this photo, too.

This is an appropriate picture for our mood this week too.  Brian had his wisdom teeth out on Monday and it's been rough.  We were supposed to be visiting his grandparents in Oregon to say goodbye to his grandfather.  He didn't want us to come and we probably won't see him again.  Please pray for him and us.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book: Crimson Cypher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Crimson Cipher
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)

Susan Page Davis


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.


A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.

In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. With enemies lurking at every turn, whom can Emma trust? Is romance the true motive behind her two suitors advances? Or could one-or both of them-have traitorous intentions in mind?

Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system.

Emma races to discover the nefarious plans of her country's foes and unmask their leader before others are killed. She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin.

And yet, her greatest challenge may be deciphering the cryptic messages her heart sends whenever she encounters a certain navy lieutenant... Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but it looks soooo interesting!  I will be taking it with me this weekend and hopefully post some thoughts next week!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Crimson Cipher, go HERE.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

5 Months

I would say, where has the time gone, but looking back at this month, I have quite the record (600+ pictures to prove it!) of where we've been, all of it a whirlwind!

Look who's doing baby push-ups!
(and look at that red hair!)

My little man is not so little it seems!  I finally found the record of Cory at about 5 months and suffice to say, Noah is already bigger than he was!  Last week he weighed about 18 1/2 pounds (depending on the time of day) and at a week past 5 months Cory was just at exactly 18 pounds.  We'll see what the official weight is at his 6 month check next month, but I think he's bigger than Cory.  He's growing out of his clothes so much faster and it's not just from the cloth diapers!  We're already in entirely 6 month clothes and even some of them (especially the Disney branded stuff) are getting small!  Also moved up to the medium size cloth diapers.

This is the smile I see All The Time, but very rarely catch on camera!

It seems we may have an earlier mover too.  Not so much on the rolling over since we can hardly put him down for 10 minutes without a royal fuss!  But last week I came in to find him up on his hands and toes in his crib with his butt up in the air!  Kind of a downward dog yoga pose.  If we do leave him alone he will move a foot or two from his original position and/or turn himself at least 90 degrees.  He can roll from back to front, I'm finding him more like that in the morning, but he only occasionally does it on purpose I think.

I'm not a fan of baby watching TV...
but my hubby put him there and I had to take a picture...

He definitely has the hand grasp/to mouth movement down this month.  On our road tripping we gave him some of the soft toys with little plastic chew parts and he was able to hold them and chew on them.  Bonus being in the car seat; if he let go sometimes he was able to pick them up again out of his lap.  He does sometimes suck his thumb, but it's not consistent.  More often than not it's two fingers in the mouth, sometimes two from each hand!

Swimming a bit!  Second time for toes in the water!

We are mostly past the spitting up stage, but completely covered in drool.  I don't know that any more teeth are imminent, but he certainly likes to chew on things.  Hold him on your shoulder and within 5 minutes your shirt will be drenched!  I think I'm glad my wardrobe of choice is all cotton because anything else would be ruined!  (that would also be what is on my swimsuit above)

 Soooo much bigger than the bunny now!

And he is such a "people" person.  Most people will do, but he knows for sure when it's Mama!  And Daddy too.  He loves his big brother already and will focus on him whenever he's around.  It helps that Big Brother is always moving and providing such an interesting thing to watch, too!  He will go to most anyone unless he's tired or hungry, but there's definitely a difference when he knows it's Mama.

He smiles at everyone and does this inhale squeal that is awesome!  Last week I was holding him while brushing Cory's teeth and he must have thought it was funny because he was watching Cory, giggling, and squealing.  Then we all started laughing and he was squealing along.  Too much fun!

Doing the exact same thing Big Brother did at this age...
chewing on the bunny!

We are definitely on a pretty good night schedule!  Depending on the daytime activities he will go to bed between 7:30 and 9, get up once to eat, and then be up around 8am.  Sometimes he's up at 11 to eat, sometimes it's closer to 3 or 4am.  No prediction there.  Now, if only I could get myself to bed before midnight we'd be dandy...

Days are more unpredictable.  I think he'd prefer to take a morning nap, usually not too long after he's gotten up in the morning.  Sometimes it's half an hour, sometimes it's 2 or 3 hours.  Which, between that and Cory's afternoon naps, can make scheduling a bit of a hassle!  Noah is a bit more flexible at this point so sometimes he loses out, but he sleeps other places too.

Having two boys in the house, oh, what a wild ride we're on!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book: Licensed for Trouble

About the Book:
PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she's inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect-PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister's house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ's investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max's case without dropping the ball?

Find out more about book one, Nothing But Trouble and book two, Double Trouble.

About the Author:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com.

I enjoyed both of the first two books in this series.  The writing is light and fast paced yet not completely without substance.  PJ deals with real world problems and everything isn't all wrapped up with a bow by the end of the story.
However, I have had no time to read lately so I can't say for sure, but I would guess that this book delivers more of the same!

Enter PJ Sugar's "Sweet" Giveaway

Enter PJ Sugar's

Licensed for Trouble, Susan's brand new PJ Sugar novel, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a Kindle!! You can enter using Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail using the icons below.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a A SWEET Kindle prize package that includes:

  • A brand new Kindle (Free 3G, 6”, Latest Generation)
  • The entire PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest.
Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on September 2nd.

Be sure to check out the blog tour here or purchase a copy of Licensed for Trouble here!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Week Ago

I'm going to skip to the end of our trip just because I love weddings...

My friend Indy got married!
(that's his camp nickname from high school, but we are forever named thus)

Our pastor from way back then did the ceremony! 
I haven't seen him in years and his message was really good too.

Indy has eyes only for his bride!

It was trying to rain on us so they had these cool umbrellas for them to stand under.
The overcast day made for perfect photo lighting too!

A very happy kiss!

Mr. and Mrs.!

Her dress was made by a cousin who is a costume designer in Vegas.  
It had something like 15,000 beads on it, hand sewn!  
It was absolutely gorgeous!

The colors she chose were very "hot" and all the decorations were awesome!

Cupcakes and wedding cake, made by another relative, were also yummy!

They played it safe and didn't make a mess with the cake...

We didn't stay late since we had Noah and also because the only other people I knew were the groom's parents, the pastor, and the photographer (and Brian had never met any of them)!  It was a very nice wedding though and I wish them many years of happiness!