Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas gifts that make me happy

Two of my favorite Christmas gifts I received this year were the apothecary jars I got from my sister in law (aren't they pretty??) and my kitchenaide that I got from Dave (isn't it pretty??).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

And, a couple of "just for fun" pictures of Graham

Some Christmas Memories...

I had the chance to go to Lorie Line with my mom, her best friend Bonnie (in the red scarf) and a couple of Bonnie's friends this year. (Thanks again, Bonnie!). It was so fun! Don't we all look so cute?
Speaking of cute...take a look at the Leno/Buck cousins!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I went out to help my dad with something the other day (and let's be clear here...this is a rare occurrence.) We went to an an area that can only be described in one word...desolate. Everything was snow covered and you could see to what looked like the edge of forever. It was so cold--we have had wind-chills of 50 below zero during the time I have been staying here. When it is that cold, you can almost SEE the cold. Part of the reason for our task had to do with an irresponsible landowner that hadn't taken care of his cattle, and as a result, several had died. I could see the body of one cow from my vantage point. It was clear to me that she had tried to find some respite from the bitter cold, as her final resting place had become a small ditch. As I sat there in the warm pick-up, I looked across this desolate plain and saw the sun. At first, I was stuck by the inconsistent nature of the picture. The sun was there, but you certainly could not feel it's heat. Everything around me seemed dead from the cold, the only signs of life came from my dad and I. And as I took in the scene, I felt a tug at my heart...like there was a lesson to be learned here. And then it hit me. God, like the sun on this day, cannot always be felt. But, he is always there. Pervasive, and as real as a hot summer day, he had never left. The only thing that had changed was my ability to feel it.

Merry Christmas

I love my mom's Christmas trees(she has tons of them around the house, but I am posting pics of the two big ones). She has one in her formal living room that is red and gold and absolutely chock (or is it chuck?) full of STUFF--vintage toys, bears, you name it. If it is red, gold or whimsical, it is on there! It is so fun. The other is in the kitchen and is a white Christmas tree and is decorated in silver and blue and white. So pretty! I am also attaching a picture of the mantle because it too is so pretty and festive! At night when all the lights are on, it is quite a sight!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Barack Obama named his new education secretary today. I was anxious to hear about this appointment as Isaac will be starting school next year and I have often wondered what changes might happen to the school system. I am also seriously contemplating homeschooling, and was wondering what his stance might be on that. Here is a blog I found that was interesting:


I do not know why the links I post lately are not direct links to the site, you will have to copy the link and paste it onto the web browser using your right button on your mouse.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blizzard...the view from here

Here is the current view from my basement, kitchen and living room windows. Glad we stayed hunkered down in the house all day...It was actually sort of nice staying home and not being able to go anywhere (even all interstates and highways are shut down!). I have been in my jammies all day and got to take a nap for the first time in probably three months! It was wonderful. I'm thinking of my dad and brother, though, who have to go out in this stuff and feed the cattle. Hope they (and the cattle) are doing alright!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Christmas recap

We had our little Christmas with the boys tonight. It was the only time we could do it between now and Christmas where we wouldn't feel rushed. We like to take our time and enjoy the night, and Dave always like to do it on a night when he doesn't have to go to work the next day. We have a tradition of getting Applebees takeout the night we open gifts, so that's what we did. Sooooo yummy. Then we opened our gifts. Graham was an ACTIVE participant this year, which was a change from last year when he missed the whole thing because he was in bed. He seemed to really like his gifts. We got him the Little Tikes shopping cart, some books and a truck. Isaac got the batman cave (a hot toy this year...had to look like crazy to find it!), a bunch of mini transformers and a leapster game. His transformers are going back to the store because even though I paid quite a bit for them, they fall apart when you start to "transform" them, which was very disappointing. Then, his leapster got fried a couple of weeks ago (yet another of our electronics/appliances that has stopped working recently...are we living near a nuclear power plant or something??) so when you put in the game, you can hardly see it. I suppose I will have to bite the bullet and just buy him a new one, but oh how that pains me. The stupid things are not cheap! But he is getting more leapster games for Christmas from other people. Maybe I will wait until after Christmas...If anyone finds a cheap leapster somewhere, let me know!
The best part of the evening (for me) was my gift from my sweet husband...a kitchen aid mixer! I have wanted one forever! Now I can bake up a storm!
Take a look at these pics from tonight (click to enlarge)...love Graham's little cheesy grin.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The rate my space debaucle

Well, my fifteen minutes of fame was more like five minutes! Last night when I went into HGTV's "rate my space" I was surprised to see I had made their "today's most viewed" and had been the second most downloaded file of the day. I was so excited I called my mom, mother in law and sister in law to have them pull it up. Well, about an hour later HGTV decided it was time to revamp their entire website. They crashed the website and when I went into the new one this morning, I was sad to see they no longer even had the "today's most viewed" category (only the "most viewed")! That is totally something that would happen to me! I do not have great luck when it come to these things. Oh well. Maybe God is just keeping me humble.
Here are some recent Christmas candids I have taken of the boys. Our small town had santa come to the senior center and we took the boys. We were so shocked to find the whole thing (including lunch) was free! And, there were no expensive photos to buy...you could take your own pictures! Plus, every child got a present (a really nice toy)! I was very impressed. I can't remember the last time I experienced something that was completely free! (P.S. I didn't get any pictures of Graham with Santa because he freaked).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rate my space

I posted pics of our house on rate my space. Here is the link if you want to take a look. It was today's second most viewed space! Yaaaay!


highlight this link and right click. Go to "copy" and go to your address area at the top of the screen and right click again. Select "paste" and it should go to my rate my space site. You may have to hit "refresh" when you get there. I have no idea why this is so complicated. If I find an easier way to post this link I will.

The kitchen re-do is from our Iowa house.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feeling inspired

I have been feeling inspired by the great decorator's blogs (check out my blog list) and websites lately. There are just SO many things I would love to do to my rooms, and so little time! Plus, I have given up on the image of a "perfect" home. That image does not exist in reality when you live with little kids! If I had to describe my decorating style, it would be country/cottage with a touch of traditional and a tiny touch of modern (just in that I like symmetry and clean lines). My favorite colors to use in decorating are black and white (of course), red (from a cool, dark red to an earthy red), cool taupe, creamy yellow and sage green. The things I couldn't decorate without would be white shelves (I probably over use them!), painted furniture, pictures of my kids, candles, greenery, plates and tons of pillows. Oh, and I LOVE organization. Even though my house probably doesn't look like it, there is an inner organizational freak dying to get out. I love opening a cupboard to clean, organized and labeled shelves.
I am finally finishing up with my Christmas decorating and plan on posting some photos to rate my space later this week. I will be posting a link if anyone is interested...
Here are some photos that have inspired me recently:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This was my first attempt-ever-at a gingerbread house. Isaac wanted to do one, so I bought one of those everything's-included kits from joann fabrics. We had a little trouble with getting the actual house to stick together, but we let it set overnight and the next day it was rock solid. Isaac picked out an elaborate design from the booklet included with the kit, which I attempted to do initially. Eventually it morphed into what you now see in the pictures. It's not HGTV quality, but pretty good for a first try...

Pheasant hunt

Dave and my dad had some time to do some pheasant hunting thanksgiving weekend. Dave was pretty proud of the three beautiful birds he got...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tis the Season...

Well, the Christmas season is here and along with all the joy and goodwill toward men, comes the spending of money at a frantic pace. Isaac's list is constantly evolving and being added to on a daily basis. He has been told he gets three gifts from mom and dad (like Jesus did) but that does not seem to matter to him. The concept of "three gifts" in a preschooler's mind is more like 20 or 30 apparently. I have done my best to keep his little eyes off of the toy mailers that get sent to us on a practically daily basis, but to no avail. He just seems to intuitively know what he wants (and wants...and wants...and wants). There's presents for grandmas and grandpas and sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews...and, as I am doing all of this wonderful Christmas shopping my eyes are ALWAYS drawn to those wonderful things I would LOVE to have for myself. The retailers seem to know this in advance, and they bring out the big guns during this shopping season. It never fails. I will be searching endlessly for a particular item in July, but of course I am NEVER able to find anything remotely close to what I want. Fast forward to November, when funds are tight and there is not a single cent extra to spend on myself, I will always find about 150 things I totally love.
Just in time for all of this unabashed spending, every major appliance/electronic item in our household has chosen this particular week to breathe its last breath. My hairdryer. Our vacuum. Our portable DVD player. If someone could explain this phenomenon to me, I would appreciate it greatly. I guess no time is a "good" time to have rather expensive items cease to work. All this being said, I hope everyone, including myself, takes some time during this busy season to reflect on what Christmas is really about, and it's certainly not that pink MP3 player I would love to have (Hint Hint Dave...).

A few of my favorite things...

I was thinking about Oprah's famous "favorite things" show the other day and my mind started wandering...what are my favorite things? Here are a few (in random order):

-Clinique dramatically different moisturizer
-Stride Rite baby shoes
-$1 scrapbooking items (at dollar stores, craft stores or online)
-cheap, matted frames that I can spray paint black or white (I have even been known to spray paint the mats!)
-Magic Eraser
-Children's Place pajamas
-Diet Mountain Dew in the bottle
-Mulled Cider candles at Walmart
-Hand sanitizer
-My Fuji s700 camera
-Baby Einstein DVD's
-"Tough and Tender" all purpose cleaner from Melaluca
-My Cricut
-Paul Mitchell "Freeze and Shine" hairspray
-white or black spray paint...a poor decorator's best friend!
-My Swiffer sweeper vac and wet jet
-Clorox wipes
-Portable DVD player (which recently broke **sigh**)

If you have a minute, email me or leave a comment about some of your "favorite things." I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm in one of those moods tonight that is hard to put into words. I guess I'm a little reflective, introspective and sad...all rolled into one. Probably not a great time to be blogging, but I press on...
Lately it just seems like there have been so many truly hurting people I have heard about. Sometimes I wonder how God does it- how can he see all of our pain at once and not have it devastate him. I know he is God, and his thoughts and ways are so much further above ours. But still, I know he loves us, and how it must break his heart to see our deep pain.
Just today an acquaintance of mine lost her husband--he was told two weeks ago he had cancer and had only a few months to live (he had just went to the doctor for some pain he had been having that weekend). This weekend he came down with pneumonia and was ushered into heaven this morning. They have three children 13 years and under. It breaks my heart. And there are others I know now who have dearly loved ones going through devastating illnesses. And I know they would give just about anything to make it all go away. And I think so often of the children in the world who are being abused, or little ones who have no one fighting for them. It breaks my heart. God sees it all, and it must break his too. But He knows the final chapter. He knows that death truly has no sting, and that he wins, no matter what.
I have heard it said that you become more sure of yourself in your thirties- that you finally really figure out who you are. I don't feel that way at all. In fact, I am much less sure of the answers than I was even just a year or two ago. Sometimes I am completely confused by this life and even my Christian walk. There are many things I am certain of, but there are just as many that I am not.
Even though I have all of these questions now, and I am more aware of my faults than I have possibly ever been, I keep thinking maybe its all part of His plan to make me more like Him. I hope so.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Isaac keeps telling me I am mean lately, and I am taking that to mean I am doing my job of disciplining him well. Tonight I got after him for something and later on, Dave went in his room to talk to him about it and he said, "Mama is mean. I am not even going to talk to her anymore. When I need to tell her I like her, I will write it on a piece of paper. When I need to tell her I love her, I will write it on a piece of paper."

Click to enlarge

Here are some recent scrapbook pages that I have completed. The first two layouts chronicle Graham's month by month development his first year of life. I am not sure if you will be able to read the journaling, but its fun to see through pictures how much he has changed. The other layouts are for Graham's first taste of solid food and a couple from Isaac's scrapbook.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sweet Baby Boy (click to enlarge)

I do not even WANT to think of the amount of time I have spent trying to get a good picture of Graham. Today at the park we finally had a bit of success. My thanks to the guy on the giant lawn mower/leaf picker-upper that drove through at the park and captured Graham's attention long enough for me to take some pics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The election is one week away. It seemed like it would never arrive, and now that it is finally almost here, I find myself becoming more discouraged with every passing day. If you believe the polls (which I generally do not put a lot of stock in), a McCain/Palin supporter could be led to believe it is over. And if that is true, we could be on the cusp of an America we barely recognize. An America where even the most basic rights under the constitution (the right to life, the right to freedom of speech, the right to bear arms) would be in jeopardy. Its not about political issues anymore. Its about righteousness and our basic freedoms. The very foundation our country was built upon is being jeopardized. I am only 32 years old and I never dreamed I would live to see a day where this sort of thing is happening in our country. If someone dares say something against Barack Obama, they are investigated and defamed. This scares me to death. Things are moving so fast. I wonder what sort of world my children will be living in. Am I preparing them for what is to come? Am I prepared? How can my prayers really make a difference in the larger scheme of world events? All these questions have been bumping around in my ahead and fear has been gripping my heart.
But then I remembered whose side I am on. My prayers are not my own. I have the power of the creator of the universe dwelling in me, and he makes sense of my jumbled and inadequate prayers. As believers in Christ, we need to wake up. Its not too late for prayer. This morning I took some time to pray for our country, something I should have been doing long before now (instead of being afraid). I did not pray for John McCain to win. I did pray that God's will would be accomplished and that, no matter what, Christians would be given the strength to endure anything we may have to go through in the future. That is all I can do, and that is more than enough. The scripture I believe He has given me through all of this is:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO." Deuteronomy 31:6.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Imagine you are the owner of a company.
Its a small company, but your employees require quite a lot from you as their owner/manager. You are not only in charge of the training of your employees, you are also required to care for their basic needs, some of whom lack even the simplest of skills. You must also provide meals for your employees, which you will cook yourself, and you must listen as what you have lovingly prepared is subject to descriptions such as "yucky" and "horrible."
You are also in charge of maintaining the safety of your employees. Remember, some of them lack even the most basic skills to keep themselves safe. You will have to make sure at every waking hour that your employees have not put something in their mouths that could make them sick/choke them, or have accidentally walked onto the street while playing outside. You will constantly be afraid of something happening to your employees.
At your company, you are also in charge of all building maintenance. You will spend hours fixing and cleaning the building, only to have your employees trash your hard work in a matter of a few minutes. You will then be expected to start all over again
and clean up after them. As building maintenance supervisor, you are required to keep inventory of all needed supplies such as food, clothing and cleaning supplies. You must attempt to get all supplies at the cheapest possible price so as to keep your company in the black.
Not only are you responsible for the training, safety and basic care of your employees and all building maintenance, you will also handle all conflicts between your employees. You will try to provide successful conflict resolution between your employees, but most of the time you will fail and the conflict will continue.
As owner of your company, you will head up the company "fun committee." As head of this committee you are expected to provide fun activities for your employees. Not only should the activities be fun, they should be educational. Should you resort to the television as your "fun activity," you will feel guilty. As owner of your company, you will need to get used to your "friends" guilt and fear. They will be your constant companions as you perform your job duties.
Now imagine you don't ever get to leave your job. You must work at all hours of the day, every day. At night, you may sleep for a few hours, but you must continue to be on call should one of your employees have a problem. Should you ever get the chance to take a brief break away from your company and your employees, you must carry a cell phone with you so someone can reach you should your employees have any issues. If you attempt to do your OWN fun activity at your company, you will be constantly harassed by your employees who will undoubtedly need you the entire time you are trying to do your activity. Then, (you guessed it!) you will feel guilty that you are not being a better employer.
You must perform all of the above job requirements to the best of your abilities (but even then, you will doubt yourself and wonder if you are running your company into the ground). Oh, and there is no monetary compensation or vacation.
Welcome to the world of motherhood, where you will be amazed at the things you will do for love.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Signs of Progress...

Here's a few pics of some areas I have been working on in my house lately--our master bedroom, an area in our family room in the basement, an area in the kitchen and our front door.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.