Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Time is Coming...

Time for children goes by much slower than it does for an adult. As a kid I felt like Christmas and my Birthday were never going to get here! I waited, and waited and waited until it was finally here! Now I don't wish for my Birthday to come as quickly, and although I love the Christmas season I dread the Christmas shopping. I made a wish list and a gift list this year...a first for me. I typically do my shopping last minute and whenever people ask me what I want, my mind goes blank. I can't seem to think up "things" that I want. Most times I am happy to just get some cash or a gift card that I can store away for a time that I find something that interests me. Gift giving is fun and even more fun when you give a gift that someone will treasure and love! I guess one of the reasons I don't like to shop for gifts is that I never seem to find that perfect gift.
I am really looking forward to this Christmas. This will be the first Christmas that one of my boys will be old enough to open a gift and be excited about what is inside. I remember the excitement my sister's and me had growing up as we opened our gifts. My parents have a video recording of me and my sister Heather opening our "Lady Lovely Locks Dolls" and the dorky way of celebrating our new play toys. I also remember sheepishly hitting the box that held my brand new pair of roller skates because I didn't know how else to react about the one gift that I dreamed about opening on Christmas morning. My toothless smile doing all it could to keep itself from revealing the black hole in my mouth because I was more excited about those skates than I wanted to make known to everyone.
Christmas just isn't the same for me anymore. I cherish the time I spend with my parents, sister's, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws and Joe's parents and the new traditions I will make with my husband and sons on Christmas morning. I'm sure gift giving will always be part of that tradition in my family.
Christmas is a time for me to think about how little I need and how much more I can give. I live a comfortable life and have plenty of stuff. Gaining more stuff isn't going to make me happier. If Jesus was to come up to me after Christmas and ask me a question I can't hear him asking, "what did you get for Christmas?" He would probably ask me what I gave people in need for Christmas.
Yes I will do what I always do around the holidays. Buy a real tree, decorate it with my family while listening to The Carpenters or Amy Grant, make Christmas cookies, gain weight, wrap gifts, and open them on Christmas morning, travel to visit parents and siblings, go to 2 or 3 Christmas parties that you don't have time for but squeeze them in anyway, and when all is finished take a deep breath and be glad that I have a whole year before I have to do it all over again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

the girls all grown up!

I know you all may not know the ladies in this picture so I will introduce you. From the left. Nicola my cousin from my mom's brother. Love her to pieces! We are a few years apart in age and grew up together. She is like a sister to me! In many ways we are a lot alike.
Krista who is Nicola's older sister. She was born the same year as me. She is also like a sister to me. She can be a goof ball which is one of the things I love best about her. She is also like a sister to me. We grew up playing with barbies, and playing dress up.
Heather -The Bride- My dear sister two years younger. We have an understanding of each other. I am very blessed to have had a sister close to me in age. We shared so many things, some not willingly. I remember our nasty fights, but more so I remember our good talks in our room before bed. We loved to play together and laugh together. We became really good at belching the ABC's. I know, weird, but that is who we are, weird. Lot's of people don't get our humor and may think it is dumb or obnoxious, but we are secure in who we are and so long as no one gets hurt we enjoy a good laugh.
Kim - my other sister 7 years younger. I never thought I would develop such a deep and close relationship with a sister 7 years younger than me. I think the younger siblings are almost forced to grow up faster as I notice Kim maturing much faster than I did. She has been married for a year and a half to a man of God. Love her goofy, fun loving personality. Kim and I also have a special connection and understanding that I hope we never let go of. There is something special about a baby sister. Though young I still learn things from her. She went from the annoying younger sister that was ganged up on by Heather and me to a confident and caring person that I have come to admire.
My most cherished memories are with one or all of these lovely ladies. I wish I lived closer to them. There is nothing better than a sister and cousins that feel like sister's!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


My best poop story was when I dropped poop out of a dirty diaper right next to Jake when he was around 7 months and he grabbed it in both hands and tried to eat it. that was gross.
Well, Friday after I got home from MOPS I put Jake down for a nap and didn't bother to put a pull-up or even underwear on him since he just peed and I thought he had pooped at the church that morning. Ten minutes into his nap he called me in and told me he pooped. It was only a little so I cleaned him up really fast and told him to go to sleep. 30 min go by and he was very quiet. I start to hear him chit chatting and walked in his room to find his mattress, his hands, his feet, and the bed rails covered in poop! Not only that but he managed to pull his pull-up off and throw it on the floor with a big clump of poop! I guess once you are potty trained you don't like the feel of poop on your butt and he thought he could clean it off himself!
I only wish I had taken a picture of his poop painted bed to show you just how gross it was! The only thing that would have made this even worse would be poop in his hair!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Things I wish I were better at, or knew how to do it.

There are some things that I really struggle with and thought it might make for a interesting blog. (I'm trying to work my way out of the boring blogger category)!

I like making lists because they really reduce stress for me. I always have a list of some sort. Grocery lists, To Do Lists, Wish Lists...etc. As good as I am with making lists I am not the greatest at completing them. I may have a to do list but won't get it done until weeks later, or have a grocery list but forget to bring it with me, therefore resulting in a couple of trips to the store rather than one.

I like to stay organized and keep a clean house. Keeping the house clean isn't that hard for me. I just do my best to stay on top of laundry one day per week and make sure the kitchen is cleaned every night before bed. Vacuuming and sweeping is a must every other day because of how anal I am about dirty floors and when you have a dog your floors can really never be considered clean enough. Organizing is one thing I would like to be better at. I find myself re-organizing things frequently, which isn't always a bad thing but it certainly uses up a lot of time I could spend learning something new. My biggest disaster is trying to keep all my documents and random papers organizied rather than left on my counter tops. I really hate clutter! I would be perfectly happy if the only things I my counters were my kitchen aid mixer, coffee maker and cutting board. Clean counters look so nice! I know how to organize, I am just too lazy to get it done. Which brings me to another thing I am horrible at.
I am a procrastinator! Especially with things like studying, preparing for a class, getting a project done, making phone calls, trying to learn something new, getting my lists done, reading a book(unless it is so good I can't put it down). I don't know why I procrastinate because I like to see things get done and it stresses me out when I put it off. Why would I want to add more stress to life when I have plenty of time to do it? Strange isn't it?
I would also like to be a better host. I like to be hospitable, but I feel like I suck at it. I am a horrible planner. Most stuff happens at the last minute and since I don't prepare myself for last minute events I don't want to be hospitable because I have nothing to offer anyone. Mostly food that is. I never seem to have the right foods stocked away for last minute opportunities for me to have people over. I really like making people feel welcome so this is the one thing I am really working on improving becsuse relationships are more important than getting a stupid list done.
I am also horrible with relationships. I love people! I know it doesn't always seem that I do because I am mostly an introvert but being married to an extrovert can change you a little when he wants to be around people all the time. I recharge when I have alone time. Joe recharges when he hangs out with people. This is a good thing. I want to have people in my life but because I tend to hide in my cave sometimes I feel a little intimidated to come out and socialize. I really have to force myself to come out of my shell. I am typically a very open person and know how to have a conversation, but there is something about relationships that causes me to freeze up. I have always wanted to have that one friend that I feel I can share just about anything with, who I can pray with, call when I am hurting, have similar interests and share the same beliefs about different things. Sounds almost impossible right? Like I have made up this perfect girlfriend that doesn't really exist and I keep searching for her. I have great friends. I have imperfect friends and I myself and imperfect so why am I looking for that perfect relationship? Maybe it is because of all the movies I watch and we all know that most movies are a fantasy. Kind of like watching a sex scene in a movie. Not that I have a habit of doing so, but I will not lie and say that I haven't seen a sex scene. Sex is always protrayed as this mind blowing, going to have an orgasm multiple times per night, always incredible, never disappointing... you get my drift, unless you are a virgin of course(please stay a virgin until you are married). Sex is great, but not always like the movies make it look. Same with a lot of things.
Wow, that one was a long one. I might like some feedback on that one if you have something profound to say or are in the same boat as me. Bottom line, if you are my friend and consider me a good friend I consider you a great friend too. I don't know how else to put it. I don't want those who are my friends to feel like you have disappointed me. I think I just disappoint myself in how I preceive my relationships. I don't get the girl bonding time that I so desire I guess is all I am saying.
I would like to be better at giving people compliments. Joes' main love language is words of affirmation. I might think he is amazing, and hot, and my hero, but it means nothing when i keep those thoughts to myself. I need to do a better job at telling him how great I think he is. I want to give other people compliments too. I want people to feel good about themselves, to know that I approve of them and love them, and think they are beautiful!
I wonder if other introverts struggle with the same things that I do. I bet they do, but sometimes I feel like I just suck and everyone else is great! I say this as a way to poke fun at myself. Not having a pity party, or seeking out a self-esteem boost. I am a pretty secure person, just wondering.
The last thing I can think of that could use some improvement is planning parties. Sometimes I think parties are dumb. I like to get together with people, but planning birthday parties is such a drag for me. I would rather someone else plan the party and tell me what to bring rather than doing the planning myself. I lack creativity. I just recently threw a small party for Jake. I planned dinner, and made a tractor cake. Invited a few people and asked them not to bring gifts. No decorations, just a simple dinner with cake. Boring right?! Hopefully I will get better at this as the kids get older but at the same time I don't want them to expect every birthday to be this big production with tons of decorations. Growing up we had small family parties and sometimes invited a few close friends. My mom would let us pick our meals for the day. Mine was usually some sort of sugary cereal or swedish pancakes. Lunch was usually something like mac and cheese, and dinner was usually BBQ Chicken with white rice. I loved rice and still do! Yum! We were able to pick out what kind of cake we wanted and got a present or two. Rarely would we let our guest buy us presents. I remember being annoyed at my mom for telling people not to bring presents, but now here I am doing the same thing!
Wow. I am bad at a lot of stuff. Maybe I should start a another list and this list will be stuff I am good at cause now I feel like a loser! Ha ha ha ha! Not Really. Just being open and honest about myself.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"How to Land your Kid in Therapy" by The Atlantic

Several weeks back our minister at church read a paragraph from an article that intrigued me and I asked him if I could have a copy of the article. He gave me his but I found it online too and wanted to share it with you. Feel free to comment whether you agree or not. Here it is if you are interested in reading it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

He's 2, but not terrible!

Really? I have a two year old? Someone pinch me cause I don't feel like 2 years has gone by already!
I love this kid though! He lights up my life and gives me more JOY than I ever thought a kid could give me!

Jake has taught me a lot about being a mom!
I thought it would be fun to write about those things I have learn over the last two years being Jake's mom.
1. Hold my tongue when it doesn't matter. This one's is referring to keeping my opinion to myself when it doesn't matter. I've learned to accept others in the way they raise their kids. I am learning to have good relationships with others despite our differences.
2. Always check water temp before putting your kid into the tub!
3. Go on dates with Joe as often as possible! This one keeps Joe and I sane! If we start getting grouchy we know that we need a date night and try to go on one at least once every couple of weeks!
4. Breastfeeding is great cause it's free and so much easier that bottle feeding but when I stopped breastfeeding Jake around 12 months my hormones made a return for the better and our sex life went from good to great! I will be glad when Wade is weened in about 6 months!
5. Time to myself is a requirement! I have done a really bad job at this one! I can sort of consider the boys 2-3 hour nap time to be that time but hardly since I am usually doing housework during that time. I need to find ways of getting out more with my girlfriends!
6. It's nice to have a dog as a vacuum! He saves me from having to clean up having lots of food messes! I would rather have to vacuum dog hair ever other day than have to clean oatmeal or sticky rice off the floor
7. Disciplining with love, a calm heart and not raising my voice. I do this so much better than I thought I ever would! I have a temper. Not a terrible one, but when I am annoyed with repetitive foolishness my heart rate increases and I have worked really hard at being firm without raising my voice and remaining calm!
8. Praying for and with my kids on a daily basis has helped my personal prayer life grow! I have always struggled to be consistent in my conversation with God and having kids has taught me to stay more consistent as I pray often with them.
9. Finding ways to be more frugal by way of garage sales, couponing, and borrowing from others!
10. kids forgive a lot faster than adults do! I've messed up as a mom plenty of times and amazed by how quickly Jake moves on when hurt his feelings.
11. Always keep pants on a toddler when going down for a nap so you don't have a poopie mess to clean up later!
12. shopping for my kids is way more fun than for myself!
13. I never thought I would enjoy watching Elmo's world.
14. Kids hear, see and understand a whole lot more than we give them credit for!
15. I drink more coffee now than ever before!

He doesn't know it yet but Jake really has changed me in so many ways! I certainly don't want to get any older but I really do look forward to seeing him grow older and getting to develop more and more of a relationship with him.
Here he is! My favorite 2 year old! Isn't he a stud!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Boring Blogger!

Yep I am one of those people. I blog only when I feel excited about something and then disappear for a few months. I wish I liked to blog more, but I have been way too busy to even try right now.
To fill you in a little on the last couple of months.
We(my boys and me)just returned home this Labor Day evening from my parents house up in Northern IL. We were there for 10 whole days living it up on their new cute lake home! I can't say that it was relaxing, as traveling with two kids can be hectic, but it was so nice to be with family for those 10 days. We have only been up north twice this year and this was Joe's first time there since January! Joe and I were able to get away for 1/2 a day in southern Wisconsin to go mountain biking on some really awesome single track trails and spend an afternoon out on a speed boat skiing and tubing. Jake LOVED tubing with us! He showed no expression of course, but when we were done he kept saying, "more tubing!" I got up on ski's for the first time in a decade along with my sister Heather and bro-in-law Ben! It is not as fun as tubing for me. Skiing takes too much skill and I have a few bruises that show I am not as good as I once was. On the other hand Joe and John(my sister's husband as of this past Sunday), thought they would both give skiing their first try. Poor guys were unable to get out of the water and suffered with inner groin pulls for the next couple of days as a result. Maybe next time you guys will show up the girls in something! Ha ha ha ha!
My sister Heather is now married to a wonderful guy! The wedding turned out to be a perfect outdoor wedding and our family is complete! No more sister's to be married! Yahoooooo! That also means no more weddings for me to be in! Double Yahooooooo! I like weddings, and I liked being in both my sister's weddings, but I am free of feeling obligated to being in any more weddings.
Now that we are home I am focusing on organizing the house room by room. My amazing husband built a huge set of sturdy wood shelves in our garage for me to be able to clean out my overly- cluttered closets to make room for things that belong in closets. Now I just have to figure out what all needs to come out and then go in those closets!
Next week is Jake's 2nd birthday. Since I am not a party planner and not into having lots of people over for birthday's don't feel bad if you didn't get an invitation. We like things small and simple! I am going to attempt to make a fun tractor cake for Jake!
I will try to post some pictures soon and update my header picture!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lots of stuff happening here!

Summer camp has come to a close so it is so quiet here compared to the last 12 weeks! I miss it already but am relieved for Joe who has put so much of himself into camp! It is tired and in need of rest to revive himself from a long, hard but wonderful summer! We couldn't say enough about our summer staff this summer! They worked so hard and made this one of our best summers! So now we still continue to work hard but at a different pace. We still have rental groups on a weekly basis and school groups are coming in for a day of team building.
Jake , Wade and I enjoyed all of our time out and about walking around the camp, having meals with the campers, making new friends, swimming in the pool, visiting my mom and dad north of Chicago in their new home, enjoying spending time with Joe's brother and wife who are moving here to work at the camp with us!
I have been working on Potty Training Jake this past week. He has done awesome! Everyone tells me how hard it is for boys but he proved the rumors wrong! In less than a day I had him peeing in the toilet and on day four was pooing in the toilet! I am relieved to be done buying him diapers, and with Wade in Cloth that means I spend a lot less each month! More money for our vacation to Puerto Rico this coming January!
Well this is short and sweet! I haven't had internet at my house for about two weeks, which in a way has been nice!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Lives Reborn

Our second week of summer camp here at Rainbow is over and it feels like we are already a month into it. I am glad we aren't since I love walking over to the camp everyday and seeing the campers having the time of their lives! I wish I had grown up going to summer camp. I think I only went once when I was in 7th grade. If you live in Indiana or even the Chicago area look us up at We have camps for kids K-12 and we aren't too far of a drive. I remember taking a coach bus from Chicago to Fort Wilderness Camp with my friend Melissa. It took 6 hours to get there so distance shouldn't be an excuse to keep your kids from coming to a place that could change their life! We are only about a 3 hours drive from the center of Chicago!
This week was a crazy one! We had 4 different weeks of camp going on at the same time. Princess Camp, Jump, Jungle Huts and Mad Camp! Let's just say that the cafeteria was full of rambunctious campers who were having more fun than a pig rolling in the mud!
Joe and I are so passionate about what happens here at the camp. It is so much more than a summer camp. Camp is just camp for some people. For Rainbow it is a place for kids to fall more in love with Jesus or to fall in love for the first time with Jesus! That is why Joe and I came here! It's not just about giving kids a good time, but helping them see God move and realize how much they need him! At the end the week we had 6 campers take the plunge in our pool to commit their lives to Christ by Baptism!

To our Supporters:
God brought Joe and I here for a reason and before we left our previous homes and jobs I did not realize how much more of a mission we were going to be involved in. It is big! Thanks to all who support us by prayer and giving. We wouldn't be here without you! God has shown himself in some pretty big ways since we have been at the camp and has tested us in many as well! Blessings!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where's the JOY?

I feel something pulling and tugging on my heart these last several weeks. It makes me uncomfortable and sometimes makes me cry. I can't help but feel my heart beat faster and harder and then this uncontrollable explosion of "I don't know what" takes place and I don't know what to do with it. Is this God speaking to me? Is it the Holy Spirit trying to get me to see something that I am missing out on? Is it perhaps just my hormones from having a baby a few months ago trying to find a balance? I don't have a response but I feel like I can put my finger on what I should put my focus and energy into.
Finding JOY!
Not that I don't have any. I have felt rather joyful lately, but do I have enough of it? Does my joy stand out? Would my friends look at me and describe me as joyful? I hope so but I doubt it. I have a few friends that I could describe as joyful and I love them for that because it helps me stay upbeat! They don't have perfect lives or perfect pasts. As a matter of fact their pasts are much less joyful than what my past was for me. I have never experienced any kind of tragedy, or any kind of loss. I have watched many others suffer from awful things that would probably cause me to fall into a deep depression. I can't say that I have ever been truly depressed about anything. I have been sad and angry about many things. I have gotten over them quickly because they were small things. Small enough that I should not have been sad or angry for any longer than a day. Am I lucky or am I blessed? I'm not sure I would be classified as either but in a way it scares me to view myself as lucky or blessed. The reason it scares me so much is because I feel too lucky sometimes and hope that there isn't some tragedy waiting for me to have to live through, to cry over, to mourn over, and have to find beauty in the pain. I don't think I would be strong enough so rather than worry about what could happen, I want to focus on the JOY that I have now!
The kind of joy that is so hard to understand! The joy that fills the face of the one who lost a husband to cancer. The joy that fills the faces of the children in other countries that lose both parents to a disease and find enough joy in them to pass their joy onto others. The joy that fills the hearts of a mother and father who hold their newborn twin baby boys long enough to say goodbye. The joy that fills the room with singing and dancing by a group of children who have nothing left but the love of Christ.
I don't understand it because I have never been in their shoes. I try to think about what it must be like. It pains me some to think about how a person must feel to go through the rest of life with the memory of someone they loved so much. Even knowing they will see them again one day in heaven, it can't be easy to find that JOY.
Last night I had the opportunity for the 2nd time to see the African Children's Choir sing at our church. They bring so much JOY with them. I am almost embarrassed by the amount of joy they have compared to what little joy I have. I wanted to get up on stage and sing and dance with them and share in the joy they have! To Celebrate with them in the joy that God gives them! Thanks to these kids so many people left last night with an idea of what true joy looks like in the smiles and eyes of those who have lost so much at such a young age.
Joy...I want more of it and I pray my joy can increase without having to experience the pain so many people I know have had to live through to find it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Heaven Is For REAL!

I just finished one of the best books I have ever read today called, "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo. It is a true story of a 3.5 year old boy name Colton who gets really sick and ends up having to be operated on to clean out his insides. He was near death and the doctors were sure he wasn't going to make it. After the boy miraculously pulls through and is sent home, months later Colton begins telling his mom and dad about meeting Jesus in Heaven as well as several other people related to his parents he didn't even know about which proved more that Colton really had visited the eternal place. Over the course of months and years, Colton describes Heaven and Jesus to his parents just as it is described in the Bible, but from a child's eyes and in his own words. It is almost unbelievable to me, but at the same time completely believable. I highly recommend this book! It is a quick and easy read! I was reminded of what a child-like faith looks like and made me look forward to getting to see heaven with my own eyes even more! I hope you get the chance to read it for yourself!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mom's don't have one Title

Mommy's have more than one title! (No offense to all your hard working dad's out there who do a good job at many of these things too)!

Housekeeper - if it doesn't get done by mom it probably won't get done at all and then you will end up living in a heap.

Nurse - I loved playing nurse when I was little and I am still doing it now. Alwaya trying to figure out and diagnose the symptoms and how I can fix it before go to the doctor

Chef - a love/hate title for me but again, who else is going to stuff those little faces with good food to eat.

Comforter - Kids fall down a lot and it's MOM TO THE RESCUE!

Friend - I like to think that my kids will look at me as more than just the person who says "NO" all the time but a person they came come to with anything and trust that I will love them no matter what

Peacemaker/Judge - My time is coming when I will settle my boys first fight over something.

I'm sure you could add some of your own to the list. What are they? Love to all my mom friends. You have all impacted me in some pretty amazing ways!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My blue eyed boys

Sorry some of the pictures are sideways! I am too lazy to go back and change them for ya!

Monday, May 2, 2011

God Loves Terrorists Too!

Okay, so maybe not the post you will REALLY want to read today. I certainly didn't want to make a big fuss over Bin Laden's death but I was also not affected by the horrible event that was caused by him on Sept 11th, or all the other crappy things that Bin Laden has done. He was an evil man and thankfully he is no longer on this earth to harm anyone else. However, as a follower of Christ I look at his death as a lesson to learn to forgive our enemies because Christ died for Bin Laden too. We are called to forgive our enemies just as Christ forgives us for the evil things that we do. Thankfully God is a gracious and merciful God so long as we are willing to except it and repent. I truly hope that I see Bin Laden in heaven when I make it there one day. Of course the things he did was cruel and he should be punished for them, but I hope he had the chance to make a change of heart. I don't wish Hell on anyone!
As I write this my oldest son is sitting on the couch laughing at Looney Toons. He is so precious to me! I can't imagine the pain and even more, the hate I would have to deal with in my heart if one of my family members was killed as a result of a terrorist attack. I would have to dig real deep to find forgiveness for the person who could do such a crime so I am not saying that those Bin Laden has hurt should have an easy time forgiving the guy cause I would have a difficult time doing so myself. Though I can't ignore what Christ says about forgiveness.
As too how I feel about our countries response to this happy and yet sad event in time:
I am proud of our country for finding the guy and doing a great job of protecting us from more harm, but sometimes I wish America would get off it's high horse and realize that we aren't better than everyone else. We are a strong country and I am thankful to live in it, but we have a lot of garbage in this country that needs to be cleared out too. I am not so sure about how we celebrated the death of a man who God loves just as much as he loves the rest of his people. Evil still prevails in our country. I am indifferent about executions that take place in jails. I am not saying I disagree with them, I am not sure where I stand with them. They seem cruel to me, but at the same time I don't want people like that to roam the streets with the potential to do awful things. Bin Laden was a very sick man that needed to die. I am glad he is dead, but sad for him as well.
In conclusion, yeah God for wiping out our enemies and also for the grace you give to those who don't deserve it!
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Guilty Pleasures!

Thanks for the idea "Midnight Oil Mama" on this post! I enjoyed reading your guilty pleasures and I have been trying to think of a good blog title that wasn't a family update so here it is!
So here are some of my guilty pleasures! feel free to join in on the fun and tell us some of your so we can all have a little laugh!

1) Sugar Addiction - I love sugar and it doesn't matter what the food is. If it has sugar in it I will probably like it. People think that I never eat crap because they know I used to be a personal trainer, but they are so wrong! I probably eat my weight or more in sugar ever year! Horrible, I know, but lately I have had a hard time saying no to it!

2)"Desperate Housewives" - I almost chose not to put this one down since it is probably my biggest guilty pleasure. I got hooked on it watching re-runs on Lifetime TV when Jake was a baby when I had nothing to do during the winter afternoons. Every time I watch it I feel like I have to justify watching it by telling myself there is no harm in watching a little night time soap opera, but then the show took a turn for the worse and since then I have stopped, but I still wonder who "so and so" ended up with and whether or not Susan and Mike moved back to Wisteria Lane.

3) My Big City Girl Roots! - I would rarely admit it but I am proud to be from a big city like Chicago. Sure there is traffic, rude people, loud planes are always flying over your house and you can literally have a conversation with your next door neighbor while each of you are sitting inside a part of the house since the houses are built 10 feet apart. I remember catching our creepy, old and cranky neighbor watching us from her window while we played in our back yard. (we got used to not having any privacy).
You get used to all the negative things about living in the city. In a way I feel like being a city girl thickened my skin a little. You just learn to deal with all the stress the city throws at you. I love city food, even the crowds of people at times, and if I paid any attention to sports what better teams to love than the Cubs and Bears! In some way it makes me happy to hear people tell me that I still have a little bit of my Chicago accent left in me! Of course I would never move back to the city but I am still proud of where I come from.

4) Twilight Saga - Yes, I too love the Twilight saga. Besides Harry Potter(which could be another one of my guilty pleasures) I have never read through a series of books as fast as I did Twilight series! The books are thrilling, and leaves my heart pitter pattering as I read about the the strong love relationship between Edward and Bella. Okay I will also admit that I started out rooting for Edward but ended up switching sides and falling in love with Jacob. I don't know exactly why but I guess Ware wolves just seem a little less gay than a blood sucking, pale white and scrawny vampire.

5)`The smell of Weed - not just weeds as in, the weeds in your yard, but the stuff you smoke. Okay, now you are wondering how I know what weed smells like. Yes I have smoked weed before and I will not be doing that again. I was dumb in high school and we all do things we regret, whether it was talking bad behind someone's back or lying to our best friend. It made me very sick and I am glad it did cause I never did it again. But I do love the smell of it and one of the best places to go too to get that wonderful smell stuck in your clothes is any kind of rock concert. I remember going to two different Creed concerts in college and there was a lot of weed smoking going on during those concerts. I didn't wash my sweatshirt for weeks after that concert! It was like sitting around a campfire when all that wonderful camp smoke soaks into the fibers of your clothes. Some people would think I am crazy to like the smell of camp fire smoke. Now you think I am even more crazy for liking the smell of an illegal drug! Whatever... you can judge me if you'd like, but hey, at least I don't go and smoke it just so I can get a wiff of it!

6) Rice - that's right! I love that starchy carb more than any other. I could eat a whole pot of it in one sitting! I love it almost as much as I love sugar! Why? I don't know. I ate it a lot as a kid so maybe that is why.

7) Christian Bale - OKAY let me first explain that Joe and I had a conversation one day about our movie star crushes and we agreed to allow the other one movie star crush that the other couldn't get jealous about cause we both know neither one of us would ever have a chance, nor would we ever leave each other for our movie star crush(wow. was that a run on sentence?). So my movie star crush is Christian Bale. I loved him in Newsies and when I found out he was going to be the new Batman I was very excited. He is the perfect Batman! I only wish he was in more musicals since he has a great singing voice! Joe's movie star crush is Carrie Underwood in case you were wondering, but since she got married she is spoken for so now I don't know who her replacement would be?

I do have more but they really aren't worth blogging about.

I think that about does it! This was fun! Now I want to know some of yours!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

If you like Coconut, try this cake!

Coconut Cake

Bake a box of white cake mix and let cool completely. With a fork, poke a bunch of holes in it and pour a can of Eagle's Brand sweetened condensed milk all over the cake. Put in the fridge and chill.
For the frosting mix a tub of cool whip and 8 oz of coconut cream(found in the non-alcoholic section of the alcohol aisle). Make sure you mix the can of coconut cream before you mix it in with the cool whip since the liquid sits at the bottom of the can. Spread all over top of cake and sprinkle with sweetened coconut flakes(opt). Serve cold! It is soooooo yummy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

First week with Two

Wade is a week old today! It is so sad to me how quickly babies grow up. Sure he is still a little guy but I can't believe how fast a week goes by. I have to admit the first couple of days without my family here helping me out was a little scary. I remember being pretty emotional when I had Jake after my mom left. Having a new baby is no simple task the first week, especially when you have a toddler who is so used to having you all to himself 24/7. It has been even more of an adjustment for him than for me. I felt guilty the first couple of days when I had to put Wade's needs over Jake. Jake is my number one pride and joy and I missed it when it was just Jake and me. I don't feel that way anymore but let me tell ya, the first couple of days I literally felt like a bad mom for telling Jake he had to go play by himself because I had to feed Wade...again. I think he is starting to get it now. Sure he still whines about it from time to time, but I think he understands that Wade gets hungry and needs me to take care of him.
Wade is a great baby! He still sleeps a lot and that has been wonderful. I hope he keeps it up! He has been an easy baby to nurse and so far no issues with throwing up like Jake did. From day one Wade has been sleeping about 5 hours into the night before he wakes up to eat. Getting up once throughout the night is nothing to complain about. I think Jake was more of an every 3 hours at night baby for the first several weeks. I am wondering if Wade has been able to go longer since he was a whole pound heavier than Jake when he was born. hasn't been that difficult. My pessimistic side actually expected this week to be worse than it was. I am relieved that I was wrong.
For just having had a baby a week ago I feel absolutely fantastic! I have healed very quickly and love it that I can wrestle around with Jake once again! Thanks to everyone for all your words of encouragement. I am very blessed to have such a supportive group of friends!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wade Robert's Birth Story

I am now a mother of TWO! Woa! I don't know what I am going to do with two yet. I can't comprehend what my friends go through who have twins! You parents are super parents!
Well I better get this down while it is still pretty fresh in my mind!
Wednesday night I was enjoying my favorite TV show, Survivor, when I had a really intense contraction. I literally thought I needed to poop so I quietly walked to the bathroom and nothing happened. I didn't want to make a big deal about it since we had two of our interns from camp over and I have had a lot of contractions the last couple of weeks.
Exhausted from a long day of playing with Jake I chose to head to bed early. My day was rather horrible so I had a feeling that I was going to hit hard labor sometime in the night and wanted to get as much rest as possible.
I had two strong contractions at 11:30pm and then again around 1:30am. I got up to go to the bathroom both times and felt better. Sometime between 3:30am-4am I woke up with pretty painful contractions so I began to time them and by 5am they were 5-6 min apart, sometimes closer. I labored for that hour or so without waking Joe. I wanted to make sure that this time it was for real since I had two nights of labor with no progression. By 5 I knew it was the real thing. They were starting to really hurt. I called my mom and dad in Chicago and told them to get here when they could. My mom was going to try to make it for the birth! Next I went to the bedroom and told Joe it was time to have a baby. He called the midwife, gave her the heads up and told her we would call her when we needed her to come. Knowing how long I had labored with Jake I was not expecting things to move along so quickly. Boy was I wrong, and so glad too! We had a friend come pick up Maximus(not supposed to be around when the midwife is here), and then had another friend come pick up Jake around 6:30am and by that time my contractions were intense and on top of each other. I was still able to walk around in between them, but once they hit I would collapse on the bed or couch and try my best to relax every muscle in my body. I decided then it was time to jump in the tub and see if the warm water would help numb the pain a little. 30 min later I was feeling like I needed to push! I couldn't believe I had dilated so quickly! Joe called our midwife to find out where she was and by the time he hung up the phone I couldn't wait any longer. I had to push! After my first push Joe asked, "was that a push?" I don't remember answering him. I just gripped his hands and pushed again and felt the head coming down. A third push and his head was crowning. It was so cool to reach down and touch his head while I waited for that last push. I told Joe to get ready to catch the baby and with one more push Wade was born in the water in our living room and without any help from our midwife. She actually walked in the door about 3 min late and she took over from there. I was able to deliver the after birth without any trouble and Wade took to nursing like a pro within 20 min of being born! I went straight to my herbal bath to get cleaned up while the midwife checked all of Wade's vitals, AGAR score, and measured and weighed him. Joe came to the bathroom to tell me our boy weighed 9 lb 2 oz! I thought it was an early April Fool's joke! I was for sure that he was going to be around 8 lb or less! I must say I never thought I would deliver a baby over 9 lbs. Is it wrong of me to feel proud?
My parents arrived about two hours after Wade was born and I was up and moving around within a few hours with no more than a back ache. Water Births are amazing! I wouldn't do it any other way ever again! I highly recommend them!
The last couple of days have been so easy compared to my first time having a baby. I have had no swelling, very little pain, and had a very small tear. My back has been about as sore as it would be after a hard weight lifting workout.
Wade has been a fabulous nurser and has slept great the first two nights. Jake loves his little brother as much as an 18 month old can understand. He is able to say Wade's name and calls him Bubba as well. I think these two are going to hit it off rather well. I have fallen love all over again! Babies are so precious and a gift from God. Thanks for all your prayers and words of encouragement as we all were waiting for Wade's first appearance. Feel free to come by and visit us!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring and my "slow cooker"

I am still pregnant! Ugh! I can't tell you how frustrated I was when I waited 21 total days past the day I was told to expect Jake, and now I am once again in the same boat at 13 days past the expected day of arrival. Of course that day is just a date they give you and it doesn't always mean it is going to come even within a few days of it, but for crying out loud! I am so sick of being pregnant. The bending over to pick up everyone's stuff(JAKE!), the constant nesting state that I have been in for the last three weeks, the restless nights of sleep, the not so comfortable intimate moments with my husband, the pressure, the pinched nerves, the low back aches at the end of the day, the elbows and knees that Jake has perfect aim with, all the comments I get from people who I don't know that ask when I am due("why aren't you getting induced?" "you look miserable" etc), never feeling comfortable in any kind of sitting position, going to the bathroom every 30 min. Yeah, the list goes on. If I am not constantly busy or have plans I wait around in sheer boredom and think about what I would be doing if I wasn't pregnant.
Whine Whine Whine. I know I need to grow up and stop complaining. I could be on bed rest and not be able to do anything but lay around listening to my son whine because his mama can't get up and play or take him to the park.
My one perk for not having gone into labor yet is that today is the first day of Spring! I can gladly say that this baby will not be a winter baby. THANK GOODNESS!
I have pretty much everything ready to go. We set up the birthing tub last Tuesday thinking for sure something was going to happen last week. I just love how it has been taking up so much room in my living room!
I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my midwife and really hoping I will not be making that appointment. Seriously Baby! Let's get this party started!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

40 week pics

These were taken a week ago when I was 40 weeks pregnant. I am only 5 days overdue(if my due date was correct) so hold on everyone. This baby will come into the world when it is good and ready. I thought it would be cool to have a baby today(March 13th) because Jake was also born on a Sunday, Sept 13th. There is still time for labor to start and make that happen so we shall see!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Due Date Today...deepest thoughts

I haven't been sleeping well the last several nights. Always wide awake wondering if tonight is the night the baby will come! All the anticipation makes my hearts race to the point where I start to freak out and all I can do is pray to help me change my mindset. I haven't had very many positive thoughts about having a second child lately. Especially not about the labor part of it. Jake's birth was not a terrible experience but it certainly was not one of my favorite experiences either. At least up until the point he was finally out! I don't look forward to labor for the second time at all! I have to be completely honest about this and tell you that being in pain is not something I tolerate very well. I hate being on my period and that pain is nothing compared to giving birth! I don't even have bad cramps when I am on my cycle! I would rather hike the Appalachian Trail all over again than go through what I am about to go through again. I know that sounds extreme because a 6 months hike shouldn't sound more appealing than a 6 hour labor(if I get lucky with only 6 hours of labor).
You would think I would have a lot more confidence the second time around. I don't. I am more scared this time because I know how bad it hurt and I didn't have another child to care for the first time. Plenty of moms do this and we all get through it, but that hasn't changed my apprehensive heart about what I am truly feeling inside. I know it will all change once the baby is finally here. I don't even know what I am having so I feel no relationship to this new person I have been carrying for 9 months. We have names picked out but I can't even call it by name until I know if it is a boy or girl.
I want to say that I am tough, but I don't feel tough. Most people think I am crazy and "tough" for having a baby at home. I might be crazy, but I am certainly not tough. I know I can get through it. I did it once and I can do it again.
Every birth experience is different from the first and as tired as I am of being pregnant I just never seem to feel ready to go through with it(as if I have a choice). *sigh* I must sound like a big wimp!
Jake is now down for a nap and that is where I am about to head myself. No signs of labor yet! My gut tells me it will be soon though. Pray that I will not have so many negative thoughts and learn to relax when the time comes.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I guess it is time for an update.

I am now in the middle of my 38thth week of pregnancy. That is exciting for many reasons. One, I look forward to finding out what this little one is going to be in a few short weeks(that is, unless it decides to wait three extra weeks to come out like Jake did). I was sick for a good two weeks this month which didn't allow me to get hardly any sleep at night or even naps during the day. I feel much better now and doing all I can to avoid catching another cold before I have this baby.
Speaking of which...this pregnancy has been a breeze and I was happy to get on the scale yesterday and see that I have only gained 21 pounds, unlike the 37 I gained with Jake. I haven't been trying to control my weight or anything. Seriously... as much of a health freak I usually tend to be, I have been living it up on eating lots of food, not necessarily junk, but just a lot of food. I love food!
Jake is now 17 months old and such a joy to have around! I never knew how much fun it would be to have a kid! Of course I miss my freedom to do what I want whenever I want, but that is a small sacrifice to make to have the chance to raise my very own child and be able to get 100 hugs from him everyday.
Jake has been talking up a storm. The last two weeks his vocabulary has jumped from just a few words to trying to say everything! Of course he doesn't say them correctly but he is trying and his sign language has developed more as well. He loves animals, and making their noises, reading books, playing outside(no matter how cold or nasty it is), playing at day care, crawling all over our dog Max, eating(go figure), watching Baby Einstein and cookie monster, and waking up before the crack of dawn(grrrr!). I can't complain about much when it comes to being a mommy. It would be nice to have a kid that liked to sleep in a little later, but hey, at least he is very comfortable putting himself to sleep in his own bed and doesn't wake up in the middle of the night.
Toddlers are so funny to watch! I wish I had a baby language translator that told me what he was jibber jabbering about. Anytime Jake gets hurt he has no problem yelling at the structure or person that did the deed. He points and says, "that, that, that" over and over again. As much as I treasure these moments now I look forward to when Jake is in his preschool age and we can have more grown up conversations about life. He has become a cuddly little guys as well. He loves to wrap his arms around my neck and hold onto me as long as I will let him. I never thought I would enjoy having my child cling onto me so much since I am not a touchy feely kind of person(unless it is with Joe of course!). I love all the hugs and kisses Jake gives me, and yes, even the times he just wants to be held for no reason other than to be held(right in the middle of trying to get something done).
Onto other topics...
We are in the middle of re-modeling our little double wide trailer. I know it doesn't sound worth the effort or money, but if you have been to our place before you would probably have agreed that we really needed a little more space and a garage. The garage was finished last September thanks to many family members and friends as well as donated materials to get it done! It is so wonderful to have a place to park my van out of the wind, rain and snow. We cut a hole the wall of the house going into the garage for a laundry/mudroom. It is almost finished! I will be so glad to have my washer and dryer back. You don't realize how grateful you are for something until it is taken away from you! I haven't been doing cloth diapers since December because of not having a washer and dryer so it will also be nice to save that money we have been wasting away on disposables. I have to admit it has been nice to not deal with messy diapers that need to be dunked in the toilet and let's not forget the smell! Well, they do save money and that is worth having to put up with the nastiness of them!
My husband has been working his butt off since October trying to work extra jobs to pay for our mortgage on our home in Anderson all while trying to get the remodeling done on the house. Thankfully our home in Anderson is now occupied with another lease to own renter which means Joe can stay home more! I miss him so much when he is gone, but thankful for the sacrifices he had to make to provide for us. I would hate to be in his shoes and have to leave him and Jake at home for 4-5 days at a time, week after week. We made it work and life is pretty much back to normal.
I do have some belly pics to post but can't find the cord for the camera to download them so I will save those for another blog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

America The Comfortable

It feels so good to be back home on American soil! My recent  nine day trip to Haiti proved itself to be difficult in a number of ways  for me. I have never been to a third world country besides my four  visits to Mexico since I was a high school student. I am not quite sure  how to process my thoughts as I write. So much happened and I don't want  to bore you will all the petty details.
Our first day consisted of flying to Miami and then to Port Au Prince. Getting my first glance at a third world country from the air threw my emotions into a whirlwind of uncertainties. I had a small picture of what Haiti would look like based upon my husbands last visit over a year ago. Although his last visit was 9 months before the earthquake so this was going to be a new experience for him as well. I was warned of Haitian men crowding around us once we landed and had our bags, not asking if we needed help, but basically grabbing our bags out of our hands so they could get a few bucks out of us. Luckily all I had was a back pack, but my poor husband had two duffel bags that weighed 50lbs each. They were all over him like flies on cow poop! He literally had to elbow a guy off of him and firmly said, "No Merci" a bunch of times. They apparently don't know what NO THANKS means in their own language.
We were happily greeted by a pastor friend of Tina's (missionary we were meeting to work for), who thankfully spoke a little bit of English. I was relieved to have him with us. I felt way out of my comfort zone and we had not even left the airport yet! I was most worried about our crazy and long drive through Port Au Prince and then through the mountains to get to Jacmel where Tina lives. It is really only about a 60 mile drive which typically takes about 2.5-3 hours to get too. This trip took us 4.5 hours and let me tell ya my butt was ready to get off that hard seated mini bus. Our trip through the city was quieter than expected, not the city itself, but the five of us traveling in the van. We sat in awe of the sights, rubble, crowds of people, millions of tarp tents(due to the earthquake), and the nasty, stinky blanket of garbage that covered the streets.
I was already wishing I had never left the ground at the Miami Airport. I was nervous, I felt vulnerable, unsure I would even make it home alive(a little extreme I know), or that this trip would even prove itself to be worthwhile seeing all the damage the country has had to deal with for the last year. It was so hard to feel even a little hope for Haiti. So little progress has been made and before the earthquake even happened they were already a country in a heap of poverty and spiritual warfare. Now people are fighting to survive even more!
During our visit I was able to experience some of the worst driving roads ever as well as a couple of crazy markets where people were selling all kinds of food, clothes, shoes etc. I was also flashed by an old man...YUCK! Tina also took us into one of the tent cities that were basically the size of a soccer field. It was full of tarp tents that had 8 families in each tent. These were not big tents by any means. I chose not to take pictures here because I felt like I was invading these people's lives. My friend and I were immediately greeted by a little 5 years old who held our hands throughout our tour through the tents and when I asked what her name was all she said was, "I want to go home with you!" It broke my heart to hear that since she was only wearing a shirt and was covered in dirt. She was a beautiful little girl!
The biggest and scariest event of our trip happened within the first 24 hours of being there. We borrowed Tina's truck to run an errand and on our way back had a wreck with a two guys on a moped. We had been making a left turn and they came up on our left side and basically T-boned us. The passenger feel off and got up right away, and the driver was down and quickly on his way to hopping up, but when they saw we were white he promptly laid back down and acted as though he was really hurt with the hopes of getting more money out of us. Within less than a minute the truck was surrounded by 50 Haitians, screaming back and forth at each other and at us. We later found out that they were yelling back and forth at each other because half of them recognized the truck to be Tina's truck and to leave us alone because we were friends of Tina's, while the other half were trying to keep the driver on the ground, pretending to be hurt and didn't care if we were friends of Tina's. It was a little terrifying since the four of us in the truck were all white, didn't speak Creole, and all I could think about was, "are these people going to start beating us up?" I seriously felt like we were in one of those movies you watch where the white men get beat up to death while visiting another country. My friend Aggie and I sat in the back seat of the truck, with the windows rolled up and the doors locked praying that Tina would show up soon and get us out of that mess! Within 30 min of Tina showing up and making a few calls to the police the situation was taken care of. It ended up being the moped driver's fault but there was still a court visit that took place as well as helping him cover part of the damage to his moped.
Now that I am home I look at the things I have with much more gratitude. Lots of times I wished we had a little bit bigger of a home with more storage space and play area for us to have more kids. After getting a glance at the concrete15x15 shacks that a family of 4-8 Haitians has to live in with no running water or electricity I think I am doing rather well in my double wide trailer with a new attached garage, clean running water and electricity. I am even more thankful for my old stained carpet and the poor insulation which causes a draft that keeps our heater running all day. Life is very easy for us in America, but you don't really understand that until you see how bad it could be with your own eyes. I knew it was bad in Haiti, just from what I was told from others that had visited before. I never knew the greatness of how bad until I got to experience it for myself.
I’m planning to go back to Haiti when our youngest child is a couple of years old. I wasn't able to do much by way of helping out on projects since I was over 30 weeks pregnant so it would be nice to get the chance to get my hands dirty and feel like I contributed to the cause. So much more needs to be done and the only thing that puts Tina's many life saving projects on hold is "MONEY." That is all! MONEY!
Nothing more profound comes to my mind about our trip at this point. I hope my thoughts aren't so jumbled you are able to get a small picture about my experience. It certainly was not a place I really want to go back too, but it is a beautiful culture of people who were very excepting of us and Tina will always need people to come help her in her ministry. It is my one connection to a place where I can be involved in doing what God commanded us, which is to look out for and care for the widows, orphans, and the poor.