Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Scrapbooking!

Oh yes, I am one of those crazy people who goes all out with the scrapbooking!  Here is my friend Holly (former master teacher, also former classmate of Brian's) at my mom's house this past weekend.  I think we may have done more talking than scrapping... but it was so fun!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book: Heiress

Heiress: They can buy anything they want—fame, power, beauty, even loyalty.

But they can’t buy love.

The beautiful and wealthy heiress daughters of August Price can buy everything their hearts desire. But what if their desire is to be loved, without an enormous price tag attached? When one sister betrays another for the sake of love, will she find happiness? And what happens when the other sets out across the still untamed frontier to find it—will she discover she’s left it behind in the glamorous world of the New York gilded society? What price will each woman pay for being an heiress?

Set in the opulent world of the Gilded Age, two women discover that being an heiress just might cost them everything they love.

This book looks so interesting to me, but the fact that I only got it last week combined with we had a busy weekend and I'm pregnant/exhausted means I haven't even cracked the cover yet.  I have read other Susan May Warren books and they're all fast paced fun reads, usually with a little twist to keep you on your toes.  This is the first in a series and I really do want to read it!

In the meantime you can read the first chapter and also enter to win the contest below!  Or to check out what other bloggers have said you can see the tour schedule.

Heiress, a richly complex historical romance, is the first in Susan's three book Daughters of Fortune series. In honor of Heiress’ debut, Susan is hosting a FABULOUS Gilded Age Giveaway with an opulent prize pack fit for an heiress!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 gift certificate to
  • A sleek silver iPod™ Shuffle
  • A beautiful strand of Pearls
  • Titanic DVD
  • Speakeasy Compilation Music CD from Starbucks™
  • Heiress by Susan May Warren

But do so soon - this giveaway ends 10/5/11. The winner will be announced Thursday, October 6 on Susan’s blog.

Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

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, 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:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Growing... Baby Number Three

Has it been a little quiet around here lately?  There's a good reason for that!  It's called complete fatigue and major nausea that comes and goes randomly.

I'm currently 12 weeks pregnant and I seriously hope the nausea gets better soon.  It wasn't nearly this bad with either of the boys (and yes, about a bajillion people have now told me "well, you must be having a girl").  I've been eating about one good meal a day and then surviving on toast and juice.  Hey, helps with the pregnancy weight gain I guess!

Sadly though I have had to break out my maternity pants already.  Part third baby, part any extra pressure makes my nausea worse and I'm already quite stylish...

I knew I was pregnant before the positive test.  It's not completely unheard of for me to be late, but very rare.  I took 4 tests, one every 3 days starting on the day I was due until I got a positive (the day after my brother's wedding!).  In the mean time the first sign I was pregnant?  The fact that my dreams suddenly got very vivid and I remembered them.  This is a hallmark of pregnancy for me.

However.  When I did finally get that (oh so faint) second line it went from being an intuitive knowledge to an "oh wow, we really are doing this again" reality.

Then the waiting for all the other lovely symptoms to kick in.  The I-can't-sleep-on-my-back at all symptom.  That started about week 7.  The getting-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-pee; also week 7.  The new one this time though? Feeling that twinge when I sit up too fast that is ligaments stretching.  I really don't remember that until about 4 months or later... 7 weeks stinks!

This baby?  Due on Easter!  And yes, within weeks of his or her brothers.  What can I say, we are teachers and we have summer vacation...

And today we heard the heartbeat for the very first time.  Yay!

This post was actually pieced together over a few weeks, but I just can't resist the fact that it fits so well with today's 5 Minute Friday theme!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

18 Months

Eighteen months must mean "have as much energy as possible and wear Mama out" because that's pretty much what's happening around here!  This kid has had more scrapes on his knees than Cory ever did.  I think it's a combination of trying to keep up with big brother and not quite having the balance/coordination thing down 100%.

But he sure is cute while he's doing it!

The Noah

And with this kind of movement?  I didn't even bother trying to get him to hold still with the bunny for pictures!  I'm half amazed the above picture even turned out because while it may look posed he was actually running and I was tracking him with my camera and calling his name to get him to look at me...

Look Mama, chalk!

Have I mentioned he likes to climb?  Just this evening we found him: on top of his laundry basket, on top of the 2 drawer dresser in their room, calling for "Daa" to come and either look at him or help him get down.  Oy!

I realized just the other day that most of the words he says only have the first consonant and then have intonation to finish out the word.  Pretty much the only ones that get other consonants are if they are repeated; Mama, Nana, and Bu-bu (which stands for various things including blankie, blueberries, and milk depending on the situation).
Speaking of milk... the little guy weaned himself last week.  It was rather abrupt and bittersweet.  He just rolled away from me and started crying when I tried to nurse him.  He wanted to get down and play.  I had been sometimes having to convince him to nurse and other times he would ask for it.  But at this point, I think he was just done and I guess that's okay.

Doing everything Big Brother does

Other words that are fairly recognizable:
Dar - Car
Duck - Truck
Meow - Cat
Woo woo - Train
Baa - Ball
Meh - Mess
Uh oh
Bru-oh - Brother
 (and all the other family names he's got down pretty well)
Nak - Snack
Eh - Egg
Wa-a - Water
Moe - More
Ba-ma-ma - Banana (can you tell this is a favorite food?)

There are more, but I've not been keeping track and can't think of them all now.  Many of these are also helpful because pointing accompanies the sound.  He also makes many of the correct animal noises which is fun!  Oh, and when the neighbors dog came to greet us he announced "Mah!" and the dog's name is Max.  I was quite impressed by that one!

He also calls himself "baby" whenever he wants something.  He will point at what you have and say "baby, baby" because he wants to make sure you don't forget to give some to the baby.

Throwing rocks at the park

We got out the large size diapers this month, which fit much better!  And he's wearing all 24 months/2T clothing and some of that is starting to get small.  He also helps me dress him, which is very fun!  I haven't measured him lately, but he loves to stand on the scale in the bathroom (while I'm going of course) and so I know he weighs 30 pounds now.

My Noah is a cheerful friendly little guy, but with a little bit of separation anxiety.  He's very much still a Mama's boy and I think I'm okay with that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book: Here's to Friends

Summary: Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever.

Decades later, they're all back home in Clifden and reinventing their lives, but the holidays bring a whole new set of challenges. Abby’s new B and B is getting bad reviews and husband Paul is acting strange. Still grieving for her mom, Caroline is remodeling the family home, but boyfriend Mitch keeps pressuring her to go away with him. Artist Marley, distracted by a friend's family drama (and a touch of jealousy), can't find her creative groove. And Janie’s drug-addicted daughter has just appeared up on her doorstep! When a long-planned New Year's cruise turns into a bumpy ride, they learn once again that, in your fifties, friends aren’t just for fun—they're a necessity!

My Review: I didn't realize when I picked this one to review that it was the fourth in a series.  I only knew that I'd liked Melody Carlson's books before.  This one is more of the same; light fun reading, but not in a sappy annoying way!  It works okay as a stand alone, but I'm sure I would have understood the characters more if I'd read the first 3 in the series.  I also like that many of her stories are set here in the Pacific Northwest because it helps me get a feel for the setting.

Overall I'd say this is good chick lit.  It deals with some serious subjects, but turns out okay in the end.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here’s to Friends, go HERE.

Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Monday, September 19, 2011 Sale!

Hey readers, have you ever tried out  Or their sister site  I frequently buy my toiletry items from because it's usually either the same price or cheaper than the store and I easily meet the free shipping guidelines.  Two days later and it's at my door.  One less stop for me to make in town with two rowdy boys in tow! would like you to know that they're having a giant sale this week.  20% off selected baby gear and goodies through this Wednesday the 21st.  I only wish they had everything on sale as I need to buy a new Recaro carseat for my growing toddler!

I'm not in too much need of baby gear, but there's always the occasional baby shower, birthday party, or random item it's nice to have on hand.   They also have Halloween costumes, other kid's clothing, and even maternity clothes (the Majamas line is awesome, just saying!).  Some different options! (some of these are not automatically on sale, there is a code on the page so make sure you enter it at check out!)

So what are you waiting for?  If you have a "gear or goodies" need on your list, today is the perfect time to head on over and stock up!

This is a sponsored post for and the Mom Bloggers Club, but all opinions are my own! And a percentage of the sponsorship is going to #ask5for5 (see previous post)

Ask 5 for 5: A Hungry Child Can't Wait - A Guest Post

Today I'm going to introduce you to Sarah.  Well, actually, I'm going to let her introduce herself.  But thanks to my friend Lindsay for connecting us.  Please read her heartfelt words!

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Krista and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years. 12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Thanks Sarah, for sharing about this so that it makes us think.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fair Time

Last week was our county fair and it was sooooo HOT.  I took about 5 pictures of the boys on the tractors and that was it.  We watched the pig races (lame), saw the animals, saw part of the Predators of the Heart show (complete with a cobra!), and saw some of the exhibits.  And then it took us all of Saturday to recover from the heat!

Friday, September 09, 2011

In Real Life...


Most people who aren't bloggers don't know what that means.  I propose that even bloggers forget what it really means.

When you read someone's blog long enough you think you know them.  But what you really see online is such a tiny portion of real life.

How many times do we think that "if only my house were clean like hers is", "if only my children would just sit still for a cute photo", "if only my husband had a job like that so we didn't have to worry about money", "if only... if only..."

But we really don't know the real life story.  We don't know the way she hates that her husband has to travel for that job.  We don't know the way her children love to pose for the camera, but hardly listen to anything else she says.  We don't know that she has an illness that means she can't clean her house and has a maid service, when she wishes she could do it herself.

There are so many back stories that are never told.  So much real life that goes on between the lines.  It's so easy to assume that you know someone...

But how well do you know the friend you meet every week unless she tells you what's going on?  Would you really want to trade places with another without knowing the whole story?  Is it even possible to know the whole of someone else's story?

Real life is messy.  It's hard.  Everyone has their own life to live.

And each life has it's own blessings.  Hidden maybe, but there if you're willing to look for them.

Where are your blessings hiding this week?

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Let's Go!

Last week Nana and Papa came for dinner and asked if Cory wanted to go home with them.  He was ready and saying "I'm outta here" within 5 minutes.  It was so fast we forgot to pack any clean underwear!  Good thing Nana has extra clothes at her house!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

How to Buy a Toilet

1. Buy a toilet.  Preferably at 7:30am after you have been out late playing games with your friends.

2. Bring it home for your wife to tell you that she doesn't like elongated toilets and so this one is not okay.

3. Take the toilet back to Lowe's (with a 4 year old in tow) and buy a round toilet.

4. Go home and take it out to find that it's actually smaller than the one you currently own.  This is a problem when you are 6'6".

5. Take a nap while your boys are napping so you can go back to the store as a family when they wake up.

6. Take your entire family (2 small boys) to Lowe's and spend at least 45 minutes and 3 different sales clerks in the toilet aisle.

7. Convince a sales clerk to allow you to use their "employees only" ladder to measure various toilets because they are all conveniently displayed 10 feet up.  In the meantime your older son will be crawling around amongst the toilet boxes playing peek-a-boo.

8. Go back and forth between toilets and lids trying various combinations.  Make sure you sit on them in the aisle.  Don't forget the display models out in the main aisle where everyone is walking by.  Your wife will tell you to turn around while she sits down just like she does at home. She is still fully clothed.

9. Watch your older son push your younger son down the aisle in the cart and run it into something so that your younger son gets whiplash.  You will be too far away to do anything about it.  Older son is now relegated to cart sitting as well.

10. Finally decide on a toilet and seat combination that you and your wife think will be acceptable... with some getting used to.  For the record, it's an elongated toilet, but not the one you first brought home this morning.

11. Buy the toilet.  Realize that it is almost 6pm.

12. Go out for dinner at your favorite Mexican restaurant (El Abuelo) to celebrate that you have successfully purchased a toilet without a marital meltdown.

13. Watch your 17 month old son dip his chips in the hot salsa and eat them because you are doing it.  He acts like he likes it!

14. Get home and put the toilet in the garage.  The project will now have to wait until Saturday and daylight (because this project is actually precipitated by having to get into the wall behind to the toilet to repair an outside faucet that is broken - hence the need for daylight).

15. Realize you have spent the entire day buying a toilet.  Happy Labor Day!