Monday, November 30, 2009

Salt vs. Pepper Part II

So, to help "answer" the question in the post below regarding whether to put salt or pepper in the shaker with more holes, let me link you here. As with most of the respondents of the comments of the previous post, people really think that they know for sure which goes in the shaker with more holes. I loved how adamantly and positively some of you inserted your comments!

I, too, was adamant. I was in the group of those who was positive that salt went in the one with more holes.


Hey, if Dr. Manners says it is so, it must be! Dr. Manners says that salt is larger and heavier and thus the bigger holes makes complete sense.

However, as you will see, it isn't that simple.

There is actually not a right answer. According to Wikianswers:

The "Flavor" camp says that Salt goes in the shaker with more holes because people use salt more often, and in greater amounts. This equalizes the need, making one shake roughly the same for either spice.

On the other hand, the "Flow" camp argues that Pepper goes in the shaker with more holes because it consists of larger chunks than salt. This equalizes the flow, making one shake roughly the same for either spice.

The International Guild of Professional Butlers has the most complete answer going with the Flow approach and actually talks more about the size of the holes: "The salt shaker may be distinguished primarily by the size of the holes, and then by the number of holes. Salt is coarser than pepper, and needs the larger hole. It is also heavier and flows much more freely than pepper, accordingly there are often fewer holes on the salt shaker to help control the flow. However, there is no manufacturing standard."

Confused? So am I. It seems that this was one of those things that was passed down amongst families as "positive" when in fact, it is much more open to speculation that one might assume.

Speculate away . . .

Salt or pepper?

So here's a debate that took place at our table on Thanksgiving. Which shaker has more holes: the salt shaker or the pepper? In other words, I had these cute little Thanksgiving holiday shakers. One had three holes. One had two. Which one do you put the salt in?

Let's hear what you all think . . . without googling. Then we'll tell you what we found thanks to the handy dandy Internet.

No cheating folks!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A few more recs

BOOK: Redemption By Karen Kingsbury This is the first in a series by Christian Kingsbury. It was a great read -- similar in theme to the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. The idea that love is a decision. It did slip into some "corny Christian" moments if you know what I mean but overall, it was a really good read that I didn't want to put down. However, I am a bit disappointed because it appears the next book in the series switches to the viewpoint of a different member of the family. A bit of a letdown when I felt very intertwined in Kari's life. This book did include a pregnancy, however, I don't know if it is detailed enough to cause those struggling with infertility not to read it.

MOVIE: Vantage Point We watched this last night. Great thriller that I didn't have to work to understand like you do in some action movies. There was some violence and some language but no other inappropriate content. A good, fast-paced, easy watch. Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid were in it too. You can't go wrong with those two guys. Totally infertility safe.

MOVIE: Dan in Real Life So we watched this again the other night. I've seen it many times. It is in my list of favorite movies ... those movies you can watch again and again. There is some inappropriate content. It is definitely not a kid's movie. But it is a really fantastic "non-typical" Steve Carell movie. I have talked to a few people who had a totally opposite take on this movie. But JB and I both love this romantic comedy which pictures a family as it really is. Lots of family included but no real infertility alerts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


We have now trained Scrubs to wait in the kitchen while we all eat. Whenever we call him, he can then run out and eat whatever is on the floor before returning to the kitchen. We often do this near the end of the meal, before we get Elijah out and put him down. We don't want anything on the floor with Elijah on the floor because it all goes directly in his mouth.

So . . . last night during dinner, we did our normal Scrubs routine. My niece Grace is seven years old and as precocious as they come. As he was eating the food she started giggling and said, "That Scrubby . . . he's like a vacuum cleaner. Except you don't have to empty him out."

We all laughed really hard at that one.

After the fam left and we all got naps, we headed out to run some holiday errands. In the car on the way back home, I was talking to JB and said, "No, seriously." To our great surprise, Isaac repeated the word seriously nearly perfectly from his car seat. We thought it was just coincidence but he followed it up by repeating it over and over and over again. He then repeated Wendi when JB called me that. We have decided that we need to start being very careful with the words we use and the tones we use. Crap needs be eliminated completely from my vocabulary so I'm working on that. I also often say, "Ugggghhhh" when something isn't going my way. Isaac has started to repeat that. And my deep sighing. Need to work on that too so my little guys don't get my bad habits.

And while Elijah hasn't said anything particularly funny, the kid just cracks us up non-stop. He is now nearly completely a walker, although he can't do it in shoes very well yet. He also is so unbelievably passionate and goofy. Aunt Elizabeth gave him a plastic cup this morning which he began attempting to tear apart with amazing zest and effort -- his face showing how hard he was working. I wish I could find the words to explain his personality on the blog -- but I guess those of you who don't know him close up will just have to meet him in person.

Anyways, off to eat some dinner and watch a movie. The boys and Scrubby are already in bed.

Night all!

Good bye again!

Grampa and Grama with our boys.

I say good bye so often that long ago, I stopped saying it. I say "so long" now. I say "see ya' later." I pretend I'll see someone again before we move in the hopes to avoid the dreaded good byes. Hate 'em.

I left home when I was 18 years old. That was 1995. Fourteen years ago if you can believe that. In that time, I have said good bye to everyone in South Florida. When we left Kentucky in 2003, we did it again. Said good bye to people we had spent eight years of my life with. And, then, in 2007, once again. This time we left the Polar North after making some lifelong friends during medical school.

I've also had to say "see ya' later" to our families so often. So many visits. So many times they come to see us, and then leave. So many times, we go "home" to see them, and then we leave. It gets easier. It really does. I used to cry every time. I don't cry anymore. It's too exhausting.

But I still hate it.

I remember when I was little. When our grandparents would come and visit us in Fort Lauderdale, I'd sob when they leave. My brother would hide under his bed. We'd lament the loss for hours after they left.

I have a feeling I'll be nursing my boys through that same thing in the years to come.

We won't be stopping our good byes anytime soon. In June, we'll do it again. Leave that is. For two years at least. Maybe four. Go to a new place.

And then say good bye again.

I write all this to say that today, JB's family headed back down to warmer times. Another good bye. We had a wonderful visit. Watched movies. Read. Ate. And then, as you all probably did, ate some more. The only thing that was missing this year was the Macy's Day Parade and football . . . . courtesy of our decision to can the cable. But anyways, it's good and needed to have your house back and get things back to normal, but you miss the familiar presences that you had to say "so long" too yet again.

Even though I know this is the direction our life is taking, sometimes you are reminded. Life is so short. So short and yet we are so far apart from the people that we love. That's hard sometimes. I guess that's why the holidays can be a bittersweet time for so many of us.

I especially want to say a quick thank you to all our military who are spending the holidays away from those they love. God Bless you all!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I was tagged by Brittny to share ten things I was thankful for. I decided this year I would make them things that are not proper nouns. In other words no people (or pets -- sorry Scrubby). This isn't the rule of the tag. It's just a bend in the rule I created to make myself think of the things outside of my normal thanks.

So here we go.
  • Chocolate and peanut butter. My life is better because of these things. It really is. I think God had me specifically in mind when he created these things. I used to limit this food list to chocolate only, but I have recently been made aware of how much peanut butter has impacted my life positively as well. It must share a joint spot.
  • Technology. Microwaves. Internet. My washing machine. These things make my life so much easier. I wonder often how much harder my life would be without these advances. People say technology makes us busier. I'm not sure we would say that if we were walking to our outhouse, scrubbing our clothes, hanging them on the line, washing our dishes by hand, and other such behaviors. And do you know how hot it would be without air conditioning?
  • Infertility. Really. Seriously. Somehow, recently actually, I've become a bit thankful for this "thing" in my past. It has changed me. It has made me so conscious of so much more. The world is full of hurting people. How can we help them? Infertility has also created some lasting friendships as well as some new ones simply by me being able to share this part of myself. Thank you to those of who have shared that part of yourself with me. It puts meaning on that pain in my past.
  • Writing. I'm not sure how I would express myself if it weren't for words that I could type. I've been doing it since I was, nine I think, on an old manual typewriter on a desk in the family room of our mobile home. And then on the computer in my Dad's office with a black screen and big green letters.
  • Music. Right now it's Christmas music. Love this time of year. Isn't God so cool to create music? How much of our lives have music in the background?
  • Smiles. Hugs. Kisses. From a friend, a spouse, a child, a parent. Just love in general.
  • My jogger. I love my jogger. BOB is my friend. Really. We are close.
  • Books. I'm excited about my return to this love. It's been over a decade since I've seriously submersed myself in their pages. Love it.
  • Green grass that you can walk in barefoot.
  • Did I mention chocolate and peanut butter already?

A few pics to share

JB's oldest sister Elizabeth with their Dad.
Isaac loves his Uncle Grant (Elizabeth's husband)

He especially loves wrestling with him. Here he is about to turn and pounce on Grant.

Isaac, Grace, and Nate at the "kid's table."

Grace feeding Elijah his bottle. She is so sweet with the boys. Nevermind that he is nearly as big as she is. She managed to get that little guy to suck down the whole thing in one sitting. Even I can't do that!

Aunt Elizabeth with her two little nephews. Elizabeth has an amazing gift with children. She is such a calm and sweet presence.

Lego time!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

From our family to yours

Thanks to Mom for the beautiful table decoration and JB and Elizabeth for the fantastic food . . . here is our Thanksgiving spread. We were so blessed to be able to celebrate with JB's family. What a fantastic time we have all had together. A huge thank you goes out to our friends Brandon and Brittny who opened up their house so that we wouldn't all be crammed into ours. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and remember those who are lonely and hurting today and always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


As I was taking out the garbage today, I remember thanking my Mom in my head for teaching me to put a couple of extra garbage bags at the bottom of the bin. It's a fantastic shortcut! Then I started thinking, I bet there are tons of fantastic shortcuts that I could seriously take advantage of. So, that's where you come in! Leave a comment and include your shortcut. If it's a good one, I'll add it to the master list I've started below. They can be related to having kids or not related to having kids so everyone can share!
  • Garbage bags in the bottom of the garbage can. I put about five extra bags at the bottom of the garbage can as well as our diaper pail. That way when I take out the full bag, I can easily put a new one in without having to go search one out.
  • Layer sheets and mattress pads in the crib. Put a mattress pad, a sheet, another mattress pad, and another sheet. This saves changing the sheets in the middle of the night, just strip off the top set. We do this with the crib and the bed for our kids. (Make sure you add a waterproof mattress pad.)
  • On Friday nights we buy a frozen cheese pizza and then use up all the leftovers veggies and meats from the week as toppings. You get to clean out the fridge and have a great easy meal!
  • I used to stash extra diapers and wipes everywhere (my car, my big purse, diaper bag, upstairs and downstairs of our old townhouse). I used to keep a stack of diapers in the living room, tucked away in a corner, and change Jack right there on the floor to eliminate unnecessary trips upstairs, to changing tables, etc, etc
  • Always have a packed diaper bag in the car for all children that need one.
  • We keep an old large popcorn tin, lined with plastic Target bags next to our kitty litter box. Every other day or so, we clean out the cat "stuff" and put it into the bag-lined tin. The tin top is very tight, so it keeps the room smelling good as long as we clean the box often. It also gives us more incentive to clean it more's easy.
  • I use crock pot liners for crock pot meals. Cannot say enough about those things. Love them!
  • A cup full of hot water with lemon juice in the microwave for three minutes. Makes cleaning the microwave a breeze...basically steams off the sticky goop.
  • When leaving for a trip with kiddos, dress them in the clothes they are going to wear the night before (after they have eaten and bathed) this way you can put them in the van right after they have breakfast.
  • Line the bottom of your oven with foil, covers better than the drip pans they make. Saves having to clean the oven so often or use your self-clean so often (which shortens the life of your stove).
  • Take care of seemingly trivial things immediately, as in, when they first occur to you. An example: when you have read a library book, put it in your car to remind yourself to return it to the library. Also others' lost items: toys that have either been left at your house or your child may have taken need to go in your car when they are found. Then they are there for your next trip to that friend's house.
  • Since my daughter and all my children before her used a bottle, we would fill a large canister (used for hot coffee or tea) with warm water. This way we always had water we knew was safe and would be warm for bottles. Came in super handy when on the road or out all day.
  • Travel with one thermos with hot water and one with cold water.
  • We also have one portable booster seat that attaches to the table itself in each vehicle for restaurants or visiting other homes.
  • Multiple areas of diapers/wipes in the house makes life so much easier through the day and night.
  • Traveling with a dog I have multiple plastic bags and a jug of water as well as dog food in plastic zip lock bags. Those long trips it really helps. We bought a long time ago a travel pack container that has a food bowl and water bowl all in one container that snaps together. Made my life a lot easier especially when it was just me, a toddler and dog traveling together long distances.
  • I make juice cups in the morning (diluted juice with water) and keep them in the fridge. Then during the day all I have to do is pull one out of the fridge for my three year old and don't have to juggle the baby while diluting juice or just take the time in general. We are always ready to go!
  • To solve the problem of needing rags in the kitchen for both wiping little faces as well as wiping dirty counters and then always getting them mixed up, I bought two sets, one that is plain white for the counters and another that is striped for the faces. No more rag mix-ups!
  • I buy window wipes, dusting wipes, stainless wipes, Clorox wipes - a quick trip around the house before company comes & they think you spent hours cleans when in actuality, it took about ten minutes. Don't forget to use the window wipes on your shiny plumbing fixtures - germ clean or not, they will shine like you spent much more time on them! These are great for quick "make it look like I cleaned" times.
  • I always double or triple recipes that can be frozen. Eat your meal and put the rest in the freezer for a quick cooking night. You can freeze a lot more if you use zip lock freezer bags and remove the air, lay them flat in the freezer. Don't forget to date them. Glad also makes some great freezer to oven containers. By doing this, you are always prepared for that emergency when you need to take a dish to a friend.
  • Buy chicken breasts (I get the large quantity from Sam's). Throw 3-4 in a large zip lock, add some sherry, soy, worcheshire, garlic, & Italian spices to it; get the air out, zip it, freeze it. While it defrosts, it will self-marinade. It's a quick answer to another fast meal from the oven/bbq/George Foreman.
  • When cooking ground beef, I always do three packages at once, even if I only need one immediately. Cook them all, then put into Freezer Bags or Containers and store in the freezer - that way, you have meat cooked already for lasagna, soups and other things that don't NEED freshly cooked beef! Do the same thing when cooking chicken, then cut the chicken into pieces so it's ready to use.

More reviews

BOOK: Tenth Circle by Jodi Piccoult Fabulous read. Incredibly intriguing and captivating. However, there was a lot of content in it that would lead me to not recommend it. In addition, it was a bit of a "downer" book. It definitely didn't leave you with the warm fuzzies.

MOVIE: Shining Through This was a FANTASTIC movie! I cannot recommend it enough. Other than one scene early on (which didn't even need to be there) it is a movie I can highly recommend as the language and content was very clean. I am not sure why it appears this wasn't a more popular movie because JB and I really enjoyed it. Another 1940's movie set during the holocaust. I really liked it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you

Thank you to my friends. To those of you I know. To those of you I don't know. For encouraging me with the post I wrote on Monday. I was blown away. Not only by the comments on the blog. But by the emails I received. Emails from friends who shared their own struggles with anxiety or depression. There are so many of us. So many of us that don't want to talk about it.

I talk about everything. On this blog I have talked about every aspect of our infertility journey which, when you think about it, is a whole lot more personal than a journey through depression and anxiety.

I knew the Lord was going to eventually have me share this. I just wasn't sure when the time would be. I always pride myself on my transparency, but this time, it felt different. It felt like something that needed to be private for a time.

And so it was.

What started as anxiety turned into depression. Daily crying spells that I couldn't conquer. I had been doing so much better. Nelly's death was the first time that I felt something "bigger than the counseling and medication" had taken over. It was pushing through the skills and coping mechanisms I had learned and I couldn't keep the feelings at bay. I turned to all the skills I had learned in my sessions. They were incredibly helpful. I remembered my doctor telling me that thoughts will come into my head. It's what I do with them once they get there that matters. While in Mexico I did the breathing exercises I had learned. The mental exercises I had learned. And I prayed softly when I didn't have the words to pray out loud.

Today I read my counselor the paper I wrote on the events that occurred in Mexico. I was going to be winding up my sessions because, as I mentioned previously, these were strictly to teach me techniques to deal with anxiety. But we've decided to do a few more so I can work through this event a bit more. I'll share a bit more later. I'll share a bit of my paper. And what my counselor was able to help me with as she listened to me read.

But it's 8pm now. The boys are in bed. And I am midway through a really great book. (I'll update with some reviews when I am done.)

The house is ready for our guests arriving tomorrow. JB's Mom and Dad and his sister Elizabeth and her husband Grant are on their way to Orlando as we speak. They will stay with JB's sister Katie tonight and then the four of them will drive the remaining six hours tomorrow. John's brother Ray and his family will be leaving tomorrow and join us later tomorrow night. We are so very blessed to have them join us for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I hope we all remember what we are thankful for this week especially. I also hope we can remember that there are those individuals who don't have families to spend the day with. My heart is with those of you who are grieving or lonely during this special time. I pray the Lord will especially minister to your heart and give you an extra dose of his love and encouragement this week.


Well, I would call the little food-drive I tried in our neighborhood here on Base a semi-success. There wasn't an outpouring of canned goods. But there was a decent response. And I guess that would qualify as a semi-success.

I am sharing this on the blog not to toot my own horn. I am sharing it because I think it would be a fantastic idea for those of you reading to implement during the holidays or any time of the year. I got the idea from my parents' church. I didn't want to talk about how I did it until I saw whether how I did it worked.

I really wanted to come up with a way to teach my boys how to give during the holiday season. However, they are very little and serving at a soup kitchen just isn't feasible for us right now. So I came up with this idea with some help from my parents' church bulletin. I know my boys don't quite understand right now, but I figure that with each passing year, they'll understand more and more, and I can tell them that we started this when they were just one.

My friend Brittny helped. Together we passed out 75 fliers around the neighborhood. The fliers simply said that we were having a food-drive in support of one of the local shelters. If they wanted to participate, they could drop canned goods off at my house or, I'd pick them up on Tuesday, November 24 (today) between 9:30 and 11:30. All they had to do was put them in a bag or box outside the front of their house.

I think, in total, we had about 8 houses participate. Not too bad. My van is pretty stocked with cans. Any is better than none.

I also think there are ways to make the food drive more successful. Actually knocking on the doors to hand out the fliers and knocking to see if they have canned goods might be better. But then, we wouldn't be able to cover as many houses. So we opted for covering a lot of houses knowing the lack of personal contact might decrease the giving.

Honestly, the whole thing took me just a few hours. I really think that this is something that any of you could do in your neighborhood, tomorrow. If you are interested, feel free to leave a comment. I'd be happy to share with you the flier I used and any additional details. I'm sure this could be done in a variety of ways. I'm sure other people could come up with much better ideas.

But it was a semi-success nonetheless.

Thanks Brittny for the help! It was great to have a partner to keep me accountable and make sure I didn't back out at the last minute because I was lazy or intimidated or anything.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Put the cheese on both sides

Here's something I learned yesterday.

If you are going to make grilled cheese and and cut it up into tiny pieces for little kiddos to eat . . . and if you are going to add deli turkey meat to that sandwich, then you need to put a piece of cheese on each side of the meat. Otherwise, the top half of the bread doesn't stick to the sandwich and when you cut it into tiny pieces you will end up with a bunch of open-faced little sandwiches and a bunch of sections of just plain bread. And you'll have to weed through the whole pile of squares to try to find pieces that actually have meat or cheese on them.

Here's another thing I have learned recently. Or maybe relearned.

Yes, I think it is relearned. I think the first time I learned this was during the five years we spent yearning to be parents.

Life is hard. Just when you think you have it altogether and everything seems to be flowing smoothly, you can get surprised by something new.

Nelly's death surprised me.

I haven't written about it since we have gotten back from Mexico and the main reason is, that I haven't been able to. I've tried. I've started numerous blogs. But I can't.

Here's a fact I haven't talked about on my blog before. And, incidentally, one I wasn't sure I would ever discuss on these pages.

I've been being treated for anxiety and depression for a few months now. Since Elijah was about six months old. It may have been postpartum depression. We aren't sure. But either way, I've been dealing with that. I've been seeing a psychologist. Not really for counseling. I haven't really had a lot of things to discuss in that regard. But she's been teaching me skills to cope with anxiety. To help me get through difficult times.

Our trip to Colorado was where things got really bad. Travelling in airports and being delayed. I had numerous times that without JB calming me down, I may have had a full-blown panic attack . . . anyways the details of what lead to me seeking help can be saved for another blog.

I am not sure why I haven't mentioned this on the blog before. I guess, I felt a bit guilty. A bit guilty that I was depressed and dealing with anxiety after being blessed with my two wonderful packages of joy. I didn't want people to judge me. I didn't want people to worry about me. So I told a couple of people but otherwise, just kept it something private.

But Nelly's death changed all that. My psychologist shifted from just teaching me skills to deal with anxiety to counseling me in the aftermath of a difficult situation.

And she gave me homework. She told me that she wanted me to write about the event. To write every detail. To write how it made me feel. To focus on sensory details instead of facts.

I told her that I loved to write but that since I had gotten home from Mexico, I hadn't been able to write about Nelly. That something about it was too painful to return to. She encouraged me to do my best.

This whole week I've been trying.

I've been working on the piece for awhile and it is "due" tomorrow. It's not my usual writing. It's not very organized. It feels discombobulated. It just isn't what I want it to be. I can't seem to make sense of all the details and get them onto paper.

I'm trying. And when I'm done, eventually, I may try to share parts of it with you.

But I have had a few people email me and ask me how I am doing with all of this since I haven't written about it again.

What I can say right now is that I am doing fine. I'm sleeping fine. I just feel changed somehow. I feel life's fragility in a more concrete way. I feel a bit more scared and a bit more aware what a vapor this life is.

And I'm second-guessing myself. I just want to go back and change something and have her live. And have her go back to her family.

But I can't. And I'm working through that. By myself and with help.

As I continue to process it, I'll share bits. But for now, I'll work on my writing piece that may eventually meld into something I share on the blog.

If you lived here with us, I'd share my grilled cheese with you too. Despite my error, it was still really yummy. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Well as I mentioned in my post yesterday, Keenan went home to his Dad and Mom last night. What a fantastic five days we had with him. It was a bit more hectic and a bit more busy. But there was also a bit more of fun and hugs to go along with that. I am so glad that our friends trusted us enough to watch their little guy for four nights!

With Keenan departed and company preparing to come in, it was time to really get some things done around the house. We didn't plan such a packed day, but one thing lead to another and before we know it, we had clobbered today with chores galore.

Some of the things we accomplished today (in no particular order) included:
  • Cleaned out backporch (W)
  • Majorly mopped kitchen floor (JB)
  • Organized bins under my bed (W)
  • Hair cuts for boys (JB)
  • Baths for boys (W)
  • Bath for Scrubs (JB)
  • Thanksgiving shopping (JB)
  • Vacuumed (JB)
  • Cleaned front window (JB)
  • Nap (W)
  • Cleaned boys' closets (W)
  • Cleaned big hall closet (W)
  • Cleaned kitchen (W)
  • Cleaned top of Scrubs' kennel (W)

All righty. Time to see what my little guys are up to in their new, shared room. Although, to be honest, we haven't moved Elijah in there for their joint nap in the afternoon yet being as Isaac sleeps about twice as long as Elijah does. But we are making progress. Pray tonight goes just as smoothly.


Operation sleepover was a HUGEEE success! 8:00pm to 6:30am for two little boys in the same room. Yipeee!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We are going for it!

. . . two boys in the same room that is.

As I sit at my computer, Scrubs by my side, the monitor is quietly humming. So far, so good.

Since Elijah has been born, we've had him in a pack-n-play in the guest room. Whenever guests (like Keenan) come to visit, Elijah's pack-n-play moves into our bedroom.

We know the boys will probably share a room until they leave for college. It was just a matter of when that transition should finally take place.

We decided that tonight is the night.

With Thanksgiving company (JB's parents, his sister Elizabeth and her husband Grant, and his brother Ray and his wife Gabbi and their kids) arriving on Wednesday and Christmas company (my parents and grandparents) a few weeks after that, Elijah would be permanently camped out in our room.

Or make that Isaac. Truth be told, Isaac is a much quieter sleeper so we have ended up putting him in the pack-n-play in our room and Elijah in the crib.

Philip and Joia just left with Keenan. And we just put the boys to bed, together, in the same room.

Scratch that paragraph about the monitor humming. It is now filled with two little boys chattering back and forth. Fingers crossed that they'll eventually get over the excitement of having a roommate and go to sleep.

As JB always reminds me, in the end, exhaustion always wins.

I'll update you in the morning as to how we fared this evening.


National Adoption Day


Did you know that there are 129,000 kids that are legally LEGALLY FREE for adoption in our country?! These are children in the fostercare system who are available for adoption not fostering. That means the child is already legally free.

However, each year, nearly 26,000 of these children will turn 18 and leave the foster care system without ever finding a forever family.

We can't help all these children. The question is, could you help one?

This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Adoption Day, a national day of celebration of adoptive families and an opportunity for courts to open their doors and finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. Since 2000, more than 25,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day. This year on November 21, families, adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and volunteers will come together and celebrate adoption in communities large and small all across the nation.

Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) fought infertility for ten years. Then she become a spokesperson for this organization. Watch the video below for more information. It's incredibly encouraging and informational:

While we did not adopt through the foster system, it is something that we hope the Lord will one day allow us to participate in. We have also, as you well know if you have read my blog for any period of time, been incredibly blessed by the gift of adoption. Our lives have been forever changed by one woman's choice and one little boy's life. Here's a picture of us with Isaac on the day his adoption became finalized!

There are a lot of myths and misinformation about adoption. Make sure you educate yourself before you decide that this isn't for you. Make sure you get the facts about this wonderful opportunity.

And if, by any chance, you do choose to adopt because of this blog, PLEASE let me know. It is my hope that this blog can be a place where people learn more about adoption and what a wonderful gift it can be.

Odds and Ends

Just got back from a run with Keenan and Isaac and Scrubs as well as a stop at the park. JB hung out at home, getting his Thanksgiving cooking list together and hanging out with our littlest chub. Man. I know Keenan doesn't weight that much more than Elijah, but even those few pounds made the stroller feel twice as heavy. I couldn't even bring myself to tackle my usual hill.

I had a few reviews to share with you. First, a book:

Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks: Loved this book! Not up with his other top books, but definitely a captivating read. In addition it deals with primary infertility. I think anyone struggling with infertility would find it comforting. It does deal with the loss of a loved one as well.

Secondly a few movies to discuss. Since we don't have cable, we've been watching a movie or two a week.

Valkyrie: I really enjoyed this movie. It was a fascinating look into the German military and the untold stories of those who tried to end his regime before the allies did. This was not a violent movie but is definitely for mature audiences. I also do not remember the language being very heavy as well. It is rated PG-13 so that should tell you a lot.

Hancock: I love Will Smith so I enjoyed this movie. I also enjoy Jason Bateman. The movie started well but then got very strange. In addition there was some really inappropriate content and very strong language. Don't waste your time on this one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily Tally

I thought that today I would do something different. Today, I would keep an updated tally of my accomplishments on the blog. So, check back often for the latest numbers. Polls close at 8:00pm. We'll see what my numbers are by then.

Total books read: 34

Diggers and Dumpers:* 15

Baths given: 3

Total diapers changed: 22 (8 dirty)

Meals and snacks:** 21 (I think)

Toe and fingernails clipped: 60

Bottles and cups washed: 8 (lost count)

Glasses of water for Wendi: 5

Booster/Highchair trays washed: 8

Vacuuming: 3 rooms

Loads of laundry: 3

Boys to the doctor: Times two!

Brushed Teeth: 3 mouths

Funny/sweet things Keenan said today (that I can remember):

  • While I was clipping his nails he told me that I was hurting him. "This doesn't hurt," I told him. "No," he said, "The prickly things on your legs are hurting me." Yes, it's true, I haven't shaved my legs in, well, a long time.
  • I asked Keenan if he wanted some grapes, which we had run out of yesterday. "You have grapes?" he asked, obviously remembering yesterday when I told him we were all out. "I do!" I said. "I bought them at the grocery store just because you love them so much." His jaw dropped open and he said, "You mean you went and got them at the Commissary just for me?" What two year old knows how to say Commissary? :)
  • When Keenan got out of bed this morning he came up to me and lifted his hands to be picked up and said, "My Mommy and I were just at the pumpkin patch. We just got back." He had had a dream about his Mommy. How sweet is that?
  • Keenan asked me, while petting Scrubs on his bed, "What is Scrubs' full name?"
  • While putting on a video for Keenan, he told me I was in his way. "I know," I said, but I have to stand here to get the video started." Keenan shook his head. "No you don't. Don't you know where the 'mote' (remote) is?" Ohhhh, I guess if I used the remote I wouldn't need to stand in front of him to press play.
  • Isaac and Elijah had doctor's appointments today, and I was taking Keenan to Andrea's house for her to babysit him during the appointment. As I was trying to get all three boys out of the house and into the van, Scrubs decided he would not listen and run out of the house. He didn't go far and I yelled at him and he went right back in. As we were walking down the van Keenan said, "You should talk nicer to Scrubs." Sigh . . . this is actually something I have thought about as my boys start understanding more. But it is hard! Another mom at MOPs told me she was working on this. Keenan showed me that I need to work harder. How I talk to the dog is not in love sometimes. Keenan is Scrubs' biggest advocate!

*Isaac's current favorite book, which is one Keenan brought from home.

**Includes myself and Scrubs too.

Well it is nearing bedtime. JB is in the living room with all the boys. Today went well. I even managed a few pictures:

I gave the boys some breakfast to eat while we watched a bit of a movie this morning. I handed the bowl to Keenan and asked him to be in charge so it wouldn't spill. Not sure what happened, but my plan backfired, as you can see from the picture above.

Our schedule was a bit different today. Because my boys had an afternoon appointment (9 and 18 month), they took morning naps. During that nap, I let Keenan take his playdough out. Scrubs thought it was food, as you can tell from the pic above, and was waiting for it to fall so he could eat it.

What a cutie. Can't believe he is going home tomorrow! It'll be weird without him around.

As I mentioned above, Elijah had his 9 month appointment and Isaac his 18 today. It went great. Elijah now weighs 27 pounds and Isaac weighs 26. Isaac is in the 50-60th percentiles for nearly every category except head size (30th). Elijah is, no surprise here, in the 97-100th percentile for every category, especially head size. They are both very healthy and right on track developmentally. Elijah still needs to work on his pincher grasp, and we need to start giving Isaac utensils more often. Other than that, we are doing great!

So that's that . . . time to start putting some babes to bed. Night folks.

National Adoption Awareness Month

I read a fantastic blog by a lady from Minnesota whose story is similar to ours. Her first miracle grew inside someone else. Then her second miracle grew inside her. Her children aren't quite as close as mine but close enough to make the stories eerily similar.

I like her blog because she is a writer too. Because she had a room in her house that was supposed to be a nursery and never was. Because she fell in love with a child not biologically related to her just as we did. And she watched the Lord give her a surprise second blessing when she was simply in awe of getting one.

I say all this to share her entry from November 16th about National Adoption Awareness Month. I have been trying to choose my words on a blog about this special month, when I read her post and realized that she had basically said everything I would have liked to say.

My friend writes about the 129,000 children in foster care in the U.S. waiting for a forever family. She writes, "Imagine the pain we experienced longing for a child. Well imagine the pain these kids feel longing for a parent and wanting to call someone mom or dad. It's enough to make me cry."

I agree.

This year's theme is "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." I encourage you to visit their website by clicking here. But be warned. Your heart will be pricked. If you are anything like me you will want to adopt every child you see. You can click here for an exhaustive search based on criteria of your choosing to see all the children that need a home.

I am becoming more and more passionate about the children in our country waiting for a loving forever family. I know adoption is not for everyone. I am not trying to say it is. But I do feel passionate that it isn't just the families who can't have children who can adopt. Anyone can adopt. And you don't have to be perfect to do it.

If these children leave the foster system (by turning 18) without a family, they will spend the rest of their life without a family, a home-base, someone to call when things get tough. I know this post isn't for everyone. My prayer as a write this is that just one person who reads this will find the Holy Spirit pricking their heart.

Kayla is just one example that touched my heart when I started searching. She's 15. "Although a little shy at first, she opens up once she gets to know you, and shows her outgoing and entertaining side. Kayla is a very loving person and enjoys taking care of others which, combined with a love for animals, suits her desire to become a veterinarian when she grows up. She also loves to swim and play outside, but relishes quiet time for reading. Kayla's looking for a fun and happy family, and would thrive in a loving and caring home able to care for her needs."

If just one child was adopted because of someone reading this post, it was worth writing. While this is not the right time for JB and myself with two young boys and getting ready to move (possibly overseas) in half a year, we know this is something we want to do someday and pray the Lord leads us to the perfect child.

A perfect child for a family that doesn't have to be perfect. Just willing to love them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day two!

Day two is nearly finido!

It was a good day. Here were some of the highlights for those of you who love Keenan or love my boys or just love to read my blog or are bored or nosey or whatever. :)
  • Elijah slept until 6am. Isaac did too. We brought them both into bed with us this morning and the four of us snuggled for about 15 minutes.
  • Keenan joined the party closer to 7an! I think we've tuckered the poor guy out.
  • After Elijah's morning nap, we headed over to Brittny's (again)!
  • I left Isaac and Keenan to play bikes in her driveway and took Elijah, Scrubs, and her dog Brick on a three mile run. It was a lot harder to run two dogs, but we did a good job!
  • Came back to Brittny's and hung out for awhile, letting the kids play inside and the dogs play outside. Poor Brick finally just laid down on his back while Scrubs stood there still wanting to play more. Brick is a golden retriever and just doesn't have quite as much energy as our Scrubby.
  • Everyone came to my house so I could treat to lunch. Pizza, carrots, and apples all around.
  • Brittny and her fam left.
  • Everyone in our house went down for a nap around 12:45pm including me and Scrubby who, due to his play session and run, didn't need Frisbee to tucker him out. When I explained to Keenan that everyone was going to sleep even Christopher and me and Scrubs, he asked me if the dirt was going to sleep too. I wasn't sure how to reply but I told him, "Yes, even the dirt is going to take a nap."
  • Naps were a huge success! Keenan slept until 3:00, Elijah 3:30, and the champion Isaac brought up the rear at 4:00.
  • From about 2:30-4:00, Christopher played with Keenan at our house while Brittny had an appointment. Keenan funny: when he and Christopher started disagreeing about a truck, I took it and told him that all the toys belonged to God. He looked at me and said, "You mean God gave them to us so we could play?" I said yes and his face just LIT up. It was so cute
  • Anyways, they asked me to bring in the little climbing thing from outside so I did. They played like two little boys together, talking, running, wrestling. Other than the disagreement about the truck, it was all love. They had a great time. I took a couple of pics. Love the first one especially.

  • At 4:00, after Christopher had left, I took all three boys out onto the driveway to play with their "bikes." Another Keenan funny here. Scrubby started crying from the kitchen while we were getting our shoes on because he wanted to come too. Keenan said, "What's wrong with Scrubs?" I said that he was sad because I wasn't taking him outside too (adding a dog was just too much at the end of the day.) Keenan said, "I'll make him feel better." He walked over to the gate and said, "It's okay Scrubby. Don't be sad. It's okay." :)
  • Anyways, I held Elijah outside and he did great! We headed in when it started getting dark much to the utter disappointment of Isaac. He was incredibly sad. Keenan, however, took it in stride. Here's a quick pic that I snapped as the sun was setting. I love living on Base where the speed limit is 20 everywhere (and you can get a ticket for going 21). I also love living on such a tiny street. We hardly EVER get traffic.

  • JB came home around 5:30.
  • I left the boys with JB and went to the grocery store for some milk and fruit and also to pick up some Burger King for dinner.
  • Dinner was a HUGE success! Chicken nuggets, french fries, and apples all around.
  • Then it was time to start changing into PJs and diapers and get everyone into bed.
  • Speaking of bed, these pics are from last night but I just wanted to share them. Keenan and Isaac pulled every single book out from the book shelf. While Keenan took a few to the couch to read, Isaac stayed, sitting under all the books reading. When I got him up later, I realized that he was quite wedged in there.
So overall, today was another great success. I am definitely whooped but definitely rewarded in getting three times my normal doses of hugs and snuggles. Keenan is a great hugger and a great little boy. He fits right in!

All righty, off to bed folks. I need my rest for tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First full day with three boys (and a dog)

Brittny is the bomb!

With three boys, I wasn't too keen on the idea of going anywhere that required piling into the van. It just seemed like it would be a little too difficult especially when we didn't have a "reason" to go anywhere. But I didn't want to stay in the house all day either.

What to do, what to do . . .

Brittny to the rescue!

Brittny is the wife of one of the second year residents and while we have been friends since they moved in across the street a year and a half ago and we've done dinner with them a few times, our kids have been different ages and we just haven't gotten together to play. But with Keenan here and Isaac getting older it was perrrrrrfect!

The weather was gorgeous, and Brittny was kind enough to let the boys totally take over her wonderful backyard and house. Our yard isn't nearly as kid-friendly, so this was a perfect place to spend a perfect day.

First we played outside for about an hour. Here are some pics!

Keenan with the mower. He was very excited to see this in the yard.

Not a great picture, but at least I put in the effort. Here are Isaac and Keenan sharing a goldfish snack.

This is the only picture I managed of Brittny's oldest Christopher. He had things to do and had no time for my picture taking interests. This remote tractor was quite popular with Keenan -- although we started Keenan out on a speed slower than Christopher zoomed around on.

They have a dirt hole! Keenan and Isaac loved it.

Elijah spent most of the hour in the swing. He loved it. I tried putting gloves on him (it was about 45 degrees when we got there) but he took them off in two seconds flat. However, he accepted the hat.
How cute is Sophie!? What a little diva! She reminds me a lot of a girl-version of Elijah. Just very passionate and snuggly.

After playing outside for an hour, we moved into the house for another hour of play. While we didn't plan to, we ended up staying for lunch. Brittny made chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. What a gal!

After lunch at Brittny's we came home thoroughly worn out (which was all part of my devious plan!) The boys played a bit more while I changed diapers and clothes and gave out some fruit and cheese. (They were a little too distracted at Brittny's to eat as much as they should have.)

Here are the boys playing together before naps.

Around 1:15, I went for it! I put all three boys down at the same time -- Keenan in the double-bed in our guest room, Elijah in the pack-n-play in our room, and Isaac in his crib. Success! They were all out in about two minutes flat. I took Scrubs out into the front yard and wore him out with some Frisbee before moving into the house and collapsing on the sofa with Scrubs sprawled out beside me. I'm not sure I slept, but by the time Keenan woke up at about 3:00, I felt very refreshed and ready to tackle the second part of the day. Elijah followed at 3:30, and Isaac brought up the rear at 4:00. That kid is a champion sleeper.

After that, we had some apple for a snack and watched a bit of Eight Below. What a cute movie. JB got home at 5:00. At 5:45 or so we did dinner -- hotdogs, vegetables, and some pear. Before dinner I stripped all three boys down to their diapers. After dinner, we let them play for a bit while we cleaned up and got things ready for their bath. Here's some pics of the three of them playing together pre-bath.

After dinner it was into the bath and then one-by-one, the boys checked out for the night. Elijah at about 7:15, Isaac at about 8:00, and Keenan at 8:30.

The day was a smashing success. I am pretty whooped, but not that much more whooped than I am watching two kids. I think the thing that surprises me is how much of my day included changing diapers, clothes, and feeding. It was a very large part. You don't have much time to do much else with those things factored in times three.

Scrubs was a good dog for the day, although I have to tell you all, and sorry if this is too much information, but I think the dog has been getting too many table scraps again. All day I kept checking diapers only to realize it was Scrubs passing gas. While I have been typing, he keeps blowing me away. Ugh!

Keenan, is a great kid. Isaac calls him "Ri-ah" which is his sister Moriah's name. But Keenan doesn't seem to mind. He is quite active but also loves to sit next to me on the couch and read books or snuggle up under a blanket and watch a movie. His favorite games so far seem to be playing chase (he likes to be chased) and putting any toys he can find into Isaac's crib. The other thing about Keenan is that he talks like he is a teenager! He cracks me up nearly every few minutes with something new.

A lot of the funnies concern Scrubs.While eating his breakfast, Scrubs was putting his cold nose on Keenan's toes. "I'm making a river for him," Keenan said. "My toes are the river. And he can go under the river." He also tried to get Scrubs to play hide-and-seek with him. I tried to tell him Scrubs didn't know how to do this, but Keenan was pretty confident that he could.

In addition, Keenan has reminded me how many times Scrubs is a good dog. Every time Scrubs does what he is told, Keenan says, "What a good boy. He listens so good to his Mommy," or some other combination of this. It has made me realize that most of the day, Scrubs is listening. We've even recently trained Scrubs to stay in the kitchen on command instead of having to shut the gate to keep him there. Thanks Keenan for helping me see the light!

I've also realized how much of a difference one year makes. Keenan is a little over one year older than Isaac, but he can communicate with me soooo much more. He told me today that he was cold in his bed. When I was washing his hands in the sink he told me I was pressing too hard on his stomach. Actually he said "Owie. I think we should stop and I should just go watch a movie." He can convey so much of what he is feeling.

I watched the boys in the tub. Isaac can still sit sideways with his legs straight ahead. Keenan cannot. He's too tall. So much will change in the next year. They grow up so fast.

All right, time to get my sleep on so I can tackle these three little men (and the dog) again tomorrow!

Night all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Walking, credit cards, three kids, and more!

So much to say . . . where shall I start?!

Well first of all, let me say that Elijah started walking tonight. Like really, really walking. He's been taking 1-2 steps but tonight he really figured out what it was all about. Scroll down to the post below to see for yourself! We are actually very happy that Elijah is starting to walk. My forearm and shoulder are really tweaked from carrying his chubby little self all over the place in addition to the times I need to carry Isaac still. In addition, it is hard to go to the park or anywhere that Isaac can walk around because Elijah wants to get down on the ground with him. So two walkers is actually a good thing! I personally think the biggest change is the "beginning to crawl" stage. Once they can pull up, they can get to all the same things they can walking. So bring it on!

Secondly, Keenan is here with us for the next few days! Philip and Joia took little Moriah (who gets to fly free!) on a trip. They won't be back until Saturday. I feel very honored that they would trust me with their sweet boy for five days. I am hoping to take lots of pictures (not a "Joia lot" but at least a "Wendi lot",) so stay tuned!

Thirdly, last night after returning from Target where we had to pick up some child-proofing objects for our home, JB got on the computer, logged into Quicken to do our bills, and got a great big surprise! Someone had stolen our credit card number and had already, in just two days, racked up over $1,000 worth of purchases online. Yikes! Needless to say that caused both of our hearts to skip a beat. John was on the phone in two seconds flat and got everything taken care of. We had never thought about this before, but after talking to our bank, found out that we are only responsible for purchases we make -- period. Our card was destroyed, and we will now be in a "watch" system to try to catch other perpetrators. We are not sure where our card number got swiped from. We are assuming Mexico but just aren't sure.

Otherwise, I have decided to lay low this week. Isaac woke up this morning not feeling well and not acting himself. JB and I talked and I made the decision not to go to MOPs today and to opt. out of Bible Study on Thursday as well. I did what I always say I would not do and just put too many things on my plate this week. So, now, my plate is clear other than a doctor's appointment (9 and 18 month) for the boys on Friday. It's just going to be me and my four boys (Scrubs is definitely counted) for this week. We are going to hang out around the house a lot and just lay-low so as not to stress ourselves out. It should be a fun (and blog interesting) week! Stay tuned!

It's official!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A fly on the wall

I made it. Made it through JB's Sunday call. I try to have a good attitude when JB is on call even though I miss him like crazy. Miss him and miss his help just as much. I usually do fine all day. But about 5:30, when the crazy evening hours kick in, I really, really, really start to miss him.

A lot.

A fly on the wall in our house between 5:30 and 7:30 last night would have seen some interesting things.

  • The fly would have seen me flip a spoon of carrots out of a baby food container all over our carpet.
  • The fly would see Mom's feeling of success when she realized that Joan's recipe for "Tex Mex Something" was a big hit! Yay for food everyone likes.
  • (And yes that means I actually really, officially, cooked!)
  • Then the fly would have also seen what a mess "Tex Mex Something" makes.
  • Next the fly would have seen me forget that I didn't strap Elijah in when I put him in his chair. So when I took his tray off to get him out, I turned around for one second to set the tray on the table, and then remembered he wasn't strapped in and turned around just as he tumbled into my arms.
  • (At this point, even the fly would be breathing pretty heavily.)
  • The fly would have witnessed bath time.
  • Mom catching Elijah just as tried to stand up (again) and nearly knock himself out on the back of the tub.
  • Then the fly would have seen Isaac trying to stand up because he saw Elijah do it.
  • Mom would then try to explain why Isaac understands what "not standing up" in the tub means even though Elijah is still pretty clueless.
  • Then the fly would have seen Isaac decide that a good time to pee in the tub would be when it is completely empty and Mom is drying off Elijah and getting ready to take him out.
  • I wonder if the fly would have laughed along with Elijah (okay and Mommy too) at that one.
  • The fly would have seen two little naked boys make a mad dash for their room.
  • I'd explain to the fly that this is the best way I have found to give the boys a bath at the same time. Dry them off and let them go, then race behind them, lotion them up, and put diapers on them before anyone else decides that this would be the perfect time to go to the bathroom.
  • I then put on pajama tops only so that I can change each boy into their thicker overnight diaper right before bed without taking off and putting back on those tight pajama pants. Brilliant, huh?
  • Then the fly would have witnessed Mom needing to go to the bathroom and both boys wanting to go with only to have Isaac open a cabinet door and hit Elijah in the forehead with enough force to throw him backward into the side of the tub.
  • Loud noises!!!
  • The fly would have wondered where Scrubs was. Look back in the dining room, Mr. Fly. Scrubby is still in there searching every crack and crevice of the booster seats for more "Tex Mex Something."
  • Scrubby liked "Tex Mex Something" even more than the boys.
  • But Scrubby likes everything.
  • Except peppers. John couldn't trick him with peppers.
  • Next is a time-out for Isaac for running his big car right into Elijah's nose. Only Isaac was actually excited to go to time-out. Ran the car in and then turned around to walk himself onto the rocker in his room.
  • Note to self (and fly): come up with a less popular place to have a time-out.
  • Oh and then, for the eighteenth time that day, Elijah managed to get himself stuck somewhere. This time it was underneath the dining room chairs.
  • I would have laughed hard if he hadn't have been crying so hard.
  • At the end of the night the fly would have seen Isaac give Elijah a huge kiss and say "night-night." Isaac would then put his finger into his dimple and say "SSssssh" before Mom put both boys to bed and curled up on the couch with a book.

And then this morning, the fly would have seen JB wander home, bleary-eyed, before eight this morning for some family time!

That's our last call for the rest of this year! Yipeee!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Birthday Party

Yesterday was a joint birthday party for Moriah and Chloe. It's a busy time of the year so Joia and Andrea decided to have the girls' party together. What a fantastic idea! It was a beautiful day with a perfect temperature and not too much wind. We had a wonderful time! Here are some photos of the day.

Birthday cakes. Joia is so talented.

The birthday girls. Chloe (Erik and Andrea's daughter who just turned one) and Moriah (Philip and Joia's little gal who will turn one next month.)

All the men hanging out by the water.

Moriah was under the weather so she was banned to her own pack-n-play. Elijah and Chloe shared the other.
"Now Chloe, I really think this would make a lovely earring for you." (Shortley after this he removed the bow from her head.)

"Okay Chloe. Now let's go over this again. When I say you share the cheerios, you say 'Okay'."
The four big brothers eating together. Jonathan (Chloe's big brother), William (Reagan), Keenan (Moriah), and Isaac (Elijah)

Tiffany and Matt's four week old Reagan.

Matt, Tiff, William, and Reagan
Isaac eating a chip.

Erik, Andrea, Jonathan and Chloe

"Really guys. What did I do that was so bad?!"

The birthday girls with their moms.

This face is why I love Elijah so much. He's such a goof, and I just love it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My happy list

There are many things to be happy about today. They include:

1. Family times: Moriah and Chloe's joint birthday party today at Lincoln Park was a smashing success! I'll post more pictures of it tomorrow. But for now, here is one which indicates our fantastic family ability to all look at the camera for a photo at the same time.

2. Our military: No matter what your stance on the war or our government, there is one thing that we can all agree on and that is that we owe our lives to those men and women who dedicate their lives so that we can be free. Our niece Grace sent JB and Uncle Matt (U.S. Army reserves) this picture on Veteran's Day. Click on it to see how she worded her thanks. What a sweetie pie she is.

  • Hearing from Kelsey: I finally got a letter from one of my dearest friends, Kelsey who is training to be a nun at a convent in Nashville. She is very limited on how often she can write (I think she can write non-family two times a month -- don't they know she and I are sisters?!), and apparently she put off writing me a "real" letter because I had told her I was going to send brownies and she thought she could send me a thank-you note instead. Only I never sent the brownies so I kept getting bumped to the next month. Ha! Anyways, I did a happy dance when JB brought her letter in from the mail. I've been trying to write her once a week, and I include copies of some of my blogs. Kelsey was never a great blog reader so she joked in her letter that it took not having Internet to get her to read my blogs. Anyways, I am so enjoying the long-lost-art of letter writing with my little sister! She's doing wonderfully and so enjoying living a life of poverty and prayer.
  • K-love! I'm not sure if it is new or if I just found it, but we can now pick-up 95.7 K-love. I had been very frustrated since we moved here because the only Christian radio station we could find played some much more adult contemporary music than JB and I like. However, now we've got something much more in-line with our youthful spirits! Yipee!
  • My dog: JB said I ought not to write this in danger of jinxing it, but Scrubby has been sooooo good since we got back from Mexico. Honestly, he's turned into a regular dog, just laying around, playing a bit, and not being nearly as annoying as he sometimes can. I've really enjoyed him this last week. Praying that this means he is totally out of his puppy-stage. I know some people want their dogs to stay puppies forever, but in Scrubs' case, growing up is preferred. After dog camp, he was so tired that Isaac played trains on his back for nearly 30 minutes!
  • My husband: He truly is the perfect man for me. I feel like I really fell in love with him all over again in Mexico. Not that I didn't still love him of course, I just fell more in love with him. He is such a wonderful father and amazing help to me and the boys. Right now he is in the living room playing legos with Isaac. People ask me how I do it with two boys so close in age and a dog that requires more work than the average pup. I have a few tricks but the real trick is that I have a husband who helps me more than I deserve. I love him so much.
  • My boys: I fall more in love with each of them everyday and for totally different reasons. Isaac and his sweet spirit, gentle nature, tender smile, and innocence. And Elijah for his curiosity, passion, and never ending spastic glee. They make my heart dance every time I think of them and kiss and hug them. Even on the hard days and the long days. I am so blessed by our two miracles.

There is so much more but I need to put Isaac to bed. Night all!