Monday, October 31, 2011

Things My Toddler Has Done: Episode 3

Knocked the wood framed mirror off the wall making a HUGE dent in the top of my lovely cedar chest.

Fell asleep under his crib during nap time...

Climbed up on the table to ring the wind chimes hanging from the light fixture

Swinging from the edges of the table... because he can

Moved a chair to climb up on so he could reach his balloon (with a slightly too short string) - I can hardly believe he figured that one out!

Climbed all the way up on top of the bookcase in their room and was trying to reach one of the glass floats we have hanging from the ceiling.  Then was crying because he couldn't get down...

Left me a mondo poopy diaper and while I was cleaning up (and letting him run loose) he peed on my computer chair.  Which is cloth covered.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I've heard a statistic (and I don't know how true it is) that some 80% of household budgets are controlled by moms.  Advertisers must know this because look how many of them want to work with the women/mom bloggers.  We influence where the money is spent and we tell our friends who influence where the money is spent from their house.  We are relevant.

On the other hand... how many of us know in our heads that what we are doing is relevant yet in our hearts feel that we have little to no influence in the world at large.  If anyone even cares that we spend our days wiping noses and butts it feels like the only time something is said it's in a snide manner.  Like we could have anything important or interesting to say after spending years of our lives attending to little people and their needs while almost forgetting about ourselves.

Where is the balance in all of this?  How do you stay sane in a world where it feels like you are derided for the choice you have made?  How do you stay sane when you're not sure it was the best choice for you?

What makes one relevant anyway?

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gettin' Ready for Halloween

So, apparently the pumpkin patch near us ran out of pumpkins.  But I have never been impressed with their quality or the owner anyway so we saved quite a bit of money and visited our brand new (grand opening today) SuperWalmart.  I know, shoot me now.

Anyway, the selection was still pretty decent and Cory helped me pick out one for each of us.  After dinner we lined the table and began...

Noah was ecstatic about the pumpkins, he's been pointing them out for weeks, and jumped right in.  Cory on the other hand, still can't handle the guts and almost refused to do it, even with a spoon!

I have the cutest picture of Noah, but I got a new lens today and while playing with it... the picture came out blurry. Sad face.

Anyway, after his pumpkin was carved (by Daddy) he was so curious about looking inside!

This is Daddy making the face he wants to put on his pumpkin...

And finally, all of them lit up.  See if you know our family well enough... Can you guess whose is whose?




From left to right...

Noah, Baby, Mommy, Daddy, Cory.  And yes, Cory told us just how he wanted his face and that's what he got!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Rainbow

From our trip over the mountains this weekend.  It was raining off and on and while I didn't get any good shots of the fall foliage on the pass there was a lovely rainbow for a few miles!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things My Toddler Has Done: Episode 2

Put old coins inside a cowrie shell... you know, the kind that has a tiny opening curved inwards?

Ran around the house with a bra that he stole out of my room...

Said his first 2 syllable word distinctively... "apple".  Yes, we eat a lot of fruit!

Be afraid, be very afraid...

Tried to talk to a picture of Grandpa I was editing on the computer.  He's used to actually talking to Grandpa on facetime and didn't understand this!

Climbed out of the shower, pooped on the rug, then came to the door to tell me about it.  For the record I think he was actually trying to make it to the potty, but still... ew!

Learned how to say "yeah" in the cutest little sing-song voice whenever we ask him a question.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Seattle while Sick

Not the best way to travel, but sadly we didn't really want to put off Noah's doctor check-up. So for all our driving we had about a 10 minute appointment and the results of his surgery were deemed excellent and no need to ever come back unless we had some concern.

We did get to hang with my college roommie Wendy for about 20 minutes (whoops on the timing!) and then I took Cory to see Harold and the Purple Crayon.  We got mixed up in the construction around 520 and I thought we weren't even going to make it, but we did, even with time for Mama to hit the bathroom! 

Unfortunately Daddy had decided to take Noah to the mall for some run around time while we were gone and Cory thought that sounded more fun (after being in the car half the day) so he was "disappointed" that he couldn't go to the mall too.  And I realized about 20 minutes in that Noah actually probably would have enjoyed it more than Cory.  The music was super fun and there was a lot of movement to watch, but Cory didn't understand the story very well.  He was a bit too young for that while Noah would have just been enthralled by everything.

Personally I thought they did a fabulous job and it was a really fun show although this grandma in the row in front of us kept giving me dirty looks when Cory forgot to whisper his questions about the show.  Seriously?  Half the audience was under 8 and there were plenty of other kids talking too!  It's not like we were at some adult show and I'd inappropriately brought my child!

Anyway, it was all good and we got back to Frank and Sandy's condo in good time for a late dinner and bed.  Then the adults watched episodes from all the current TV shows so I now have an inkling of the regular culture of the other 75% of the US!  (We don't watch TV at all)

Sadly, this morning we were all still sick so we skipped church, visited Whole Foods and PCC Market for some gluten free items (there's a whole post on this coming) and then headed back over the mountains.  Probably just as well because my parents went west later and said the eastbound traffic was stopped for 10 miles and we just sailed right through.  Glad we missed that!

Some days I miss living in the big city, but then I visit... and realize I like my side of the mountains!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Hope finds the hopeless when a storm hits.

It's Christmas weekend 1949, and despite the threat of a storm, the townspeople of Frost are determined to continue their holiday traditions, if only as a means to forget the war that they had all just suffered through. But the suffering hasn't ended for Dottie Morgan who lost her only son in the war. She's preparing to wallow in her isolation for the weekend, when Violet, nearly a spinster at age 29, dares to make a request that will force Dottie to publicly revive the memory of her dead son.

When a storm traps the two women at home with a strange young man who has an unbelievable confession and a neighbor with more to do with Violet's past than she would like, no one can predict how this Christmas will give them all a second chance.

Read an excerpt here and find out the story behind the novel.

My Review: I read this book in the last couple days.  It got off to a bit of a slow start, but then started going pretty good.  This is one of those stories that just kind of drops a character in your lap and you find out the story from where they are with some comments and memories that help flesh out the story.  I'm not always a fan of this device in storytelling, but with this story it works well.  It adds to the mystery of the story and the storm.


Contest: Warm up to Christmas early this year with Susan May Warren's Baby, It's Cold Outside! To celebrate the release of her new Christmas book with Summerside Press, she and the publisher are giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting an early Christmas Party on Facebook!

Read what all the reviewers are saying here.

One festive winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking this link. Giveaway ends on 10/26!

But, wait there’s more! Join Susan May Warren on 10/27 for merriment and a few early Christmas presents at her Baby, It's Cold Outside Christmas party! Grab your Christmas sweaters, socks and pj’s and join Susan and a few friends for a fireside chat about her recent books (Heiress & Baby, It’s Cold Outside), holiday traditions, favorite Christmas recipes, a trivia contest and more! Invite your friends and don’t miss the fun!

RSVP here and we'll see you on October 27th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST!

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Little Fireman

There have been lots of cool field trips lately!  This one to the fire station open house on Saturday.  Cory didn't care as much about climbing in the fire trucks this time, but Noah... Noah cried when we lost our place in line because one truck was the first responder.  I think he would have sat there quite awhile if there weren't other kids waiting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book: Love on the Line

Love on the Line

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.


Alright, so I haven't read this one yet either, but I have read 3 or 4 other books by Deanne, including her previous one, Maid to Match.  They are all fun reads set in historical context.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love on the Line, go HERE.

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, three RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her latest releases, Beguiled, Maid To Match, and Love on the Line are now available.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children. Click here to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things My Toddler Has Done: Episode 1

Doesn't he just look so sweet and innocent?  Like you could snuggle him all day long?

Carriage sitting with Nana at the Cider Press last weekend

Well, he did all of the following... just in the past week:

Put pins in the air vent of my sewing machine so that it made a horrid noise when I tried to sew - thankfully I have a friend who is a sewing repair man

Scaled my plant stand and knocked a plant off the 3rd shelf - dirt everywhere

Pulled the just-filled-with-pears dehydrator off the table - Brian was not pleased since he'd done the work

Got into my sharpie collection - thankfully he only colored on his clothes and a random piece of paper

Fell off a chair and sliced his upper gum by bashing it on the edge of a table at school

Figured out how to climb in and out of his crib simply because I pushed the rocking chair too close - this one is going to be the death of me... especially at nap time...

Seattle Children's Theater presents: Harold and the Purple Crayon

You may not know this about me, but I love drama.  No, not between people, but drama on a stage.  I have participated as much as I could, but I usually end up on the music side, hiding behind, below, or above the stage with my flute.  I love to be part of the show though!

When I was in high school I took a drama class although the biggest role I ever had was as a "villager" in the Princess Bride.  I don't think I even said anything!

One thing we did do though was attend the Seattle Children's Theater workshops and a play.  We did some cool improv things as a class and then after the play they talked to us about all the things that went on behind the scenes and answered our questions.  The true drama geeks in our class were over the moon!

I believe I've been to one other show at the Seattle Children's Theater, but I can tell you, they always do a wonderfully professional job even if it's called a "children's theater".

This weekend I'm taking my older son to see Harold and the Purple Crayon.  We have a copy of a video (and I need to watch it this week as I don't know the storyline!) so he's familiar with it.

I'm pretty sure he's going to love it and I can't wait to tell him we're going to a show in the "big city"!  I'll be sure to let you know how it was!

The show runs through the end of October so if you're in the area check it out!

And, I noticed that next spring they'll be performing A Single Shard.  I would LOVE to see this one!  It's not actually a Newberry Award book, but I think it should be.  It's a 2002 Newberry Award winner and I read it because my mom's class was reading it and it's a fabulous story.  I'd love to see how they bring it to the stage!  (this one would be better for upper elementary/middle school though)

I am being provided with free tickets to this show, but my love for theater is all my own!

Friday, October 14, 2011


When you're a mom of boys "catch" has a lot of meanings.

"Mom, catch me"

"Here mom, catch"

Catch up with the laundry (see: boys), catch up with your friends (when?), catch.

Sometimes I feel like a juggler with one too many balls in the air.  One of them is always flying off somewhere it shouldn't (not even nicely dropping at my feet).

I wonder how long this will last?  As long as the boys are home with me all the time?  Until they move out?  Forever?

Don't get me wrong, I love them to pieces, but some days... I think I'd like to catch a break!

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book: Reclaiming Lily

Reclaiming Lily

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?


I read An Irish Washerwoman's Tale a few years back and it's one that's stuck with me so when I saw Patti Lacy had a new novel out I wanted to read it.  It did not disappoint.

As I was telling my husband, I would probably qualify this as "women's fiction" because while there is some small element of romance it's incidental to the story for the most part.  I really LOVE books like this.  In fact, I read this one all in one day, I couldn't put it down!

One thing that's misleading about the synopsis... this story is really more about Kai than either Gloria or Lily.  It's an amazing story (with flashbacks) of how she came from revolutionary China to become a doctor in the US and her dealing with cultural differences as well as this family disease.

The story is told in altering points of view between Gloria and Kai, but for the most part Kai is the main character.

I really know so little about China and it's history so this added something to the book for me as I felt like I was learning as well as enjoying the story.  Although it's not exactly a pleasant story it's so well written that you are just pulled in.  Think of it as a drama movie rather than a chick flick.

I highly recommend it!


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

Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to enliven Patti's gray matter. A third book, The Rhythm of Secrets, released in January of 2011. Patti's, Reclaiming Lily, documents a tug-of-war between a Harvard-educated doctor and an American pastor and his wife for a precious child and explores adoption issues, China's "One Child" policy, and both Christian and secular views of sacrifice.

Patti also facilitates writing seminars in schools, libraries, and at conferences and has been called to present her testimony, "All the Broken Pieces," at women's retreats. She also leads a Beth Moore Bible study at her beloved Grace Church and has had a blast planning the September 2009 wedding of her firstborn, Sarah.

Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worcestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Little Boy Heaven

The first of October is always a festival at our local airport.  This year the FedEx plane actually let kids climb all over it...

Monday, October 10, 2011

R.W. Knudsen Review

I have to admit... this pregnancy is kind of kicking me in the you-know-where.  Some days it feels like I barely survive on juice and toast.  So when the R.W. Knudsen people contacted me to see if I'd like to try some of their juice I said, "yes, please!"

I received a selection of their juices as well as some new flavors of Sparkling Essence waters.  The juices were definitely my favorite. 

Actually, this Morning Blend was my absolute favorite and I can get it at my local Safeway.

The thing about R.W. Knudsen that I like so much is that all their products are made with natural (and many of them organic) ingredients.  And they taste so good.  It's like you can tell there aren't any added chemicals.

There are so many different flavors of their juices, there's bound to be one for every member of your family.  Even my son, who normally doesn't like juice, liked some of these.

A couple other things to note:
I wasn't actually a fan of the Light juices as they take out some of the juice and then add rebiana (a derivative of stevia) to make it just as sweet with less calories.  I really can't handle the flavor of that sweetener.  I just like my juice with all the natural calories I guess!

The Sparkling Essence beverages caught me by surprise.  Perhaps if I'd realized they were like flavored sparkling water it would have been okay, but I was expecting something sweet!  I'm not a huge fan of carbonated water so this wasn't my boat.  But if you like mineral waters then I'd recommend these.  The new flavors are coconut and lime and they taste natural with plenty of flavor.  They are also a zero calorie alternative to sodas... just saying!

Overall, I really love the R.W. Knudsen company's commitment to quality natural products.  Even if some of their products aren't for me, many of them are!

R.W. Knudsen provided me with free samples to try however I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own (obviously :).

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Toddler Style

It's too bad you can't see that that hat is a bear and has little bear ears sticking out the top too!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Birthday Time!

Friday was my dad's birthday.  We went up to have dinner and celebrate.  I had made my inaugural run to Costco and got home way late so poor Noah had to be woken up from his nap at 5:30 to go and we were of course late.  But I did manage to get the cake in the oven while we were eating dinner! 

Pineapple Upside Down cake of course! 
(and yes, that is a dog bone in my son's hand and yes, he did try to eat it at one point)

I believe this was his reaction to Papa telling him NOT to eat the dog bone.

And the saga of the cake... because it had just been in the oven while we were eating it was still warm.  I put the candles in, but then realized that Annika wasn't there yet so we were waiting before we sang.  Some time later when I did go to light them they were all leaning over funny... I pulled one out to fix it and realized that the entire bottom half was missing... melted into the cake!  So we managed to get them to stand up long enough to sing, but then we had to eat around the wax in the cake... good thing I didn't put in as many as his age or there would have been no good cake left to eat!  And what a waste of cake that would have been!

Happy Birthday Daddy, here's to many more with equally goofy things happening!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

On Friends...

I realize it's not Friday anymore, but I missed this one and then couldn't resist the topic!

I have been so blessed in my life to have found wonderful friends.  Not a few of them I would say weren't found, but serendipitously "placed" there by Someone.

Take the fact that I went off to college... stayed for 3 weeks... then dropped out because I was too homesick and freaked out about not being able to get a work-study job.  But out of that I gained one of my best friends that the college had given me as a roommate.  We lived together later for another year of college and a year post college.  (Hi Wendy!)

Take my friend Holly.  When grad school didn't find me a teaching placement I went with one of the summer profs to her school so I would at least have the "pre-school" teacher meetings to observe.  She was a history teacher so she handed me off to the science teachers.  Holly.  Who after hanging out with for two weeks (thanks grad school for making me find my own placement) then allowed me to be her student teacher for the year.  And once I started dating Brian we discovered they had gone to middle school together.  And she even had an awesome video of him as the Velveteen Rabbit from 8th grade!

Then there's my local best friend.  I'm not sure when exactly we met, somewhere around 8th or 9th grade, but we spent the rest of high school sitting next to each other in band class and spending our summers chasing grade school kids around at camp.  (Hi Becca!)

I have so many other friends spread all over the world that I am so blessed to know.  Girls who follow after God and encourage me.  Girls who care about their families and other people.  I just hope they're as blessed to know me as I them.

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