Friday, April 27, 2007

Bear Grylls, You got Nothin' on Us!

My husband has the best imagination - an no inhibitions what-so-ever about using it. It's one of the things I so admire about him. I have like this much (picture thumb and finger poised about 1 mm apart) imagination. Unless, of course, someone I love is 5 minutes late or won't answer their phone. Then, my non-existent imagination goes into overdrive, picture all the ways they could be hurt, in trouble, or other such catastrophic things.

Colton seems to have inherited Matt's spontaneous nature, and Chance (so far) seems to have more of my conservative streak in him.

Last weekend, Matt and Chance went on a fishing expedition to some lakes in the northern part of our state. It is in a pretty woodsy area, and just a beautiful lake to stay at. The first two days, they were by themselves, and then the rest of the family joined them.

They are avid watchers of "Man vs. Wild" on the Discovery Channel. If you've never seen it, this guy - Bear Grylls - puts himself into survival situations, and then you watch, mostly on the edge of your comfy, cushioned couch seat, as he find his way through many perilous adventures, back to civilization. There are many things he has done to survive in these situations, that I'm positive I would have just curled up in a fetal position and died of starvation, dehydration, etc. before I attempted them. He is a true warrior!

But, I digress. The boys (okay probably Matt) thought their little mountain lakes would be the perfect backdrop for a "Man vs. Wild" home video. If I didn't fear marital separation, I would post an excerpt here on the blog - because, folks, it. was. hilarious! At one point, during a handy segment on pooping in the wilderness, you can hear Chance (who is filming at the time) from behind the camera saying - "You are going to be in so much trouble from Mommy for that part!"

Admittedly, they didn't ever look very much like this picture, in which Bear Grylls is actually traversing some dangerous terrain.

Most of the time, it looked more like this picture. But, it was funny, entertaining, and unforgettable none-the-less.

I am so thankful that Matt has the confidence to be funny, silly, spontaneous, and crazy around the family. I hope some of that rubs off on the boys. They will make such great fathers if it does!

Thanks, sweetie. You constantly remind me what it's supposed to be all about. You are a great dad!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thankful Thursday

1. I am thankful for a fun, fun weekend of camping with my parents. For the opportunity to visit with my brother and Maggie, to spend time with mom & dad and Theresa. That Colton got to play with his cousins, and try to show off for Maggie.
2. I'm thankful that Matt and Chance were able to have a fun fishing weekend with Grandpa Ken and all the Messer boys. I'm glad for the opportunity for the boys to get to know that side of the family a little better.
3. I'm thankful that our family is back together this week, instead of in two separate spots. Even though we both had tons of fun, it is hard not to share the funnest stuff with your best friends!
4. I'm thankful that our cows arrived safe and sound. They just make our little pasture look so "country" ;-)
5. I'm thankful that I can still try and see the other person's side of the story, even when they make me so mad that I behave in ways I'm really not proud of. In the same light, I am thankful that in this particular situation, I am comfortable in knowing I've done all that I could.
6. I'm thankful for my family's health. Those that have struggled are healing, and those that have not are grateful.
7. I am ever-so-thankful that my brother's last day is Monday. REJOICE!
8. I am thankful that I get to go on a date with Matt on Saturday (any ideas?). It will be so nice to have some adult time with my husband!
9. I am thankful for Darla, that she would watch my boys so that Matt and I can go on said date. What a sweetheart ;-)
Thank you, Lord, for a beautiful day. For my family, friends, and others that You surround me with. For our blessings, our home, our camaraderie, and Your provision. You are so good.
Please go to Eph2810 to check out more Thankful Posts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

Darla and I have decided to team up on Wednesdays, and give you a complete meal. Today, Darla will feature the main dish, and I'll feature the dessert. Sometimes it will be appetizers, casseroles, desserts - but we're going to try to team-up and give you a great combo each Wednesday!

My dessert contribution comes straight from my good friend Paula Deen - okay, she doesn't necessarily know that she's my good friend, but she has helped me out so many times in the kitchen, that I just wouldn't call her anything else!

I made this last week for my dad's birthday, who is the ultimate Banana Pudding connoisseur - and he gave it the nod of approval! The filling is very rich, and so good. You could use Vanilla Wafers in place of the Chessmen - but those chessmen are so cute on the top!

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Just an Old Grandpa

Colton and I had a great weekend camping with my mom and dad. Judd and Maggie joined us for much of the time, as well as Theresa and her girls. You know it's been a successful camping trip when the kids are exhausted and the adults are relaxed - and that's what we accomplished!

The following is a conversation between Colton and my dad - who Colt and Chance call "Papa Chuck."

Papa - Colton, let's go throw some horseshoes. Then, when we get back, it will be time to "break camp". That's what the cowboys used to say when they were travelling in the West.

Colton - You are not a cowboy!

Papa - Well, sure I am.

Colton - Look at your feet. Those are not cowboy boots, they are just tennis shoes.

Papa - If I'm not a cowboy, then what am I?

Colton - Yer just an old Grandpa!

Papa - You know, there are Grandpas that are cowboys, too! You can be both.

Colton - Sometimes people can be cowboys and grandpas . . . . .

. . . . . . but you, are, not.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Secret Life of M & H

This is the post in which I may burst many bubbles. You see, many of you see me as a mostly nice, God-fearing, honest person. But, I am here to tell you today of our secret life - as prescription drug-running mafia crazies. Our Wal-Mart pharmacist has figured us out, and is now suspicious, so I have no doubt you'll read about us on the news in no time at all.

You see, on Tuesday, when I reported about the dreaded Pink-Eye in my oldest child, we saw the earliest cloudy-eyed signs in my younger son, and made the decision to treat him as well. Our Dr. called in a refill to the pharmacy so that we would have enough medicine to treat both kids.

Matt went to our Wal-Mart pharmacy yesterday at 2:00 to pick up the bottle of medicine, so we wouldn't run out over the weekend.

Hurdle #1-
When Matt gets to the front of the always-horrendously-long-line, the cashier informs us that we refilled the prescription too soon, and the insurance wouldn't pay it. Matt explains the situation with both boys having the goop, and asks what his options are. She states that he can pay for it out-of-pocket. How much? Ummmmmm . . . . since it's a generic, it's $4. Of course, Matt says, I will just pay that. Well, we weren't sure you would want to, so we didn't fill it yet - you'll have to wait about 20 minutes.

Isn't that just the luck of the draw? My insurance co-pay is generally $15, which Matt came in prepared to pay. Instead, he only has to pay the generic rate of $4, but apparently the cashier wasn't sure that he would want to pay so much LESS, so she didn't fill the order. FABULOUS.

Matt wanders around Wal-Mart for 1/2 hour, knowing full well that the 20 minutes was only the most optimistic of guesses. It's now 2:30. He has to pick Chance up from school at 3:00. He goes back to the pharmacy counter. Still not ready - another 20 minutes.

Do you realize how dangerous this is - Matt wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart for 1 hour? We both try to stay away from that store, unless we have a specific purpose. Even then, I'm like a horse at the race track - put the blinders on, drive my chariot (or cart) straight to the milk, load it up, make the turn, and head for the cash register. Wandering at Wal-Mart is never, never, NEVER good for our pocket-book. Now, that just goes to show you what a sophisitcated-type family we are - very cosmopolitan!

Okay, now it's too late - Matt has to go pick Chance up from school. He goes and gets him, and heads back to our friendly, Wal-Mart pharmacy.

He get to the front of the above-mentioned always-horrendously-long-line. The cashier tells him that he needs to have a pharmacist counsel. He says no, we are already using this medicine, we don't need one. She says - we need to talk to you about your refill - you refilled too soon. He says - I explained this when I was here before. We are treating both sons.

You still need to talk to the pharmacist - please move over to Window #2.

The pharmacist proceeds with a line of questioning the CSI actors would be in awe of. How in the world had we used this medicine so quickly? Why did we need this refill? We have two sons? Where is the other one? What is his name? What is his birth date? Do they have the same physician?

Apparently, Matt had all the right answers to detective/pharmacist Smarty Pants, because she reluctantly hands over the prescription. But, of course, you can't pay at Window #2, so Matt heads back to the . . . . . .always-horrendously-long-line at the cashier. To pay his $4.

I won't even go into the lady with the cart who cut in front of my 7-year-old son in the express cashier line, as they were trying to purchase a root beer and iced tea for their trip home. Doesn't she know who we are? I mean, we are willing to risk our lives, freedom, and reputations to deceive physicians, smuggle, and re-distribute 1 oz. bottles of coveted Pink Eye medicine. Does she know who she's dealing with? I mean, with this type of boldness, we could be willing to do anything! I wouldn't be messing with us, if I were you!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thankful Thursday

1. I'm thankful for the days the God decides to paint a bit more beauty into his creation - I saw the most beautiful sunrise on my walk this morning!

2. I'm thankful for the strength and desire to get up and walk each morning - 10 years ago, who would have guessed that I would see a sunrise, let alone be thankful that I was up that early?

3. I'm thankful for the opportunities we are presented with this weekend - camping and fishing. That we have the financial means to do fun things, and that we have children that like to do things with their mom and dad.

4. I'm thankful that my brother is down to 11 days. WOOHOO!!!

5. I am thankful to be born into this country - that I am free to go to church, pray, and follow my God. I am free to choose school for my children, and they are free to choose their own career path and follow their faith.

6. I am thankful for a very hard-working husband. I am thankful for his willingness to listen when I tell him he's working too hard. God has given me the perfect match! I am thankful he is getting away this weekend, and will hopefully come home recharged and relaxed.

7. I am so thankful for the person I am becoming each day - hopefully more and more into what God has designed me to be.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

Oatmeal Cake
This is one of the best things my mom makes - which is hard to say, because she is the most excellent cook. She makes this cake often for family gatherings, but my favorite thing is to have it for breakfast the next morning - with that 1 cup of oatmeal, it should be considered breakfast food, anyway, shouldn't it??

Anyway, without further ado -

1 c Oatmeal
1 1/4 c Boiling Water

Add Oatmeal to Water, let stand for 20 minutes.

1/2 c Margarine
1 c Sugar
1 c Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
4 t Vanilla

Cream Margarine and Sugars, add Eggs, Vanilla, and Oatmeal. Mix Well.

1-2/3 c Flour
1 t Soda
1/2 t Salt
Dash Nutmeg

Mix remaining ingredients with the butter/sugar mixture. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 350. Frost while hot with Butter Frosting (below) and return to oven for 10 minutes more.

The following ingredients can be put in a saucepan and placed on burner over the oven while baking the cake - most generally it will be ready to spread when the cake is through baking--

6 T Butter
2/3 c Brown Sugar
1/4 c Cream
1 c Coconut
3/4 c Chopped Nuts

Melt together over low heat, and/or use above method.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Threes . . .

Okay, I had posted for the day. Admittedly, it was more of an informational post, and not necessarily entertaining in any way, but I got it done. And, as I'm relaxing a bit, catching up on my blog reading, I get this challenge from Darla.

Well, tomorrow is recipe day, and Thursday is Thankful Thursday, and you know Darla will give me such a hard time if I put this off until Friday. So, here it is, my first ever double-post day! HOORAY!

So, here is my life, in threes . . .

I LOVE: Jesus, My Husband, My Boys, My Family

I MISS: Feeling carefree, Size 12, Having time to read a good book

I HATE: Evil, People who hurt kids, Onions

PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME LAUGH: My kids, My mom, Matt

SCARE ME: Being a widow, Someone hurting my kids, Really anything outside my planned little existence

ON MY DESK: Diet Coke, Laptop, Chance's homework

I WANT TO DO THIS IN MY LIFE: Raise children God is proud of, Touch some one's life that I never know about, Fulfill whatever God's plan is for me

THINGS I CAN DO: Multi-task, Cook, Love

THINGS I CAN’T DO: Hurt someone on purpose; Relax (at least not very well); and apparently I cannot leave a cookie, candy, or any other delectable morsel untouched in my house.

THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN: Photography, Writing, More Cooking

I REGRET: Not finishing college, Not writing a book yet, Every time I have screamed at my children

FAVORITE FOODS: Anything my mom has cooked; Matt's creme brulee; And, well, pretty much anything sweet, rich, or a combination of the two.

FAVORITE TV SHOWS AS A KID: Growing Pains, Gilligan's Island, The Facts of Life

Calling In Sick

At work, anytime you get and/or receive a call at about 6:30 in the morning - some one's either going to be late, or not going to be there at all.

Yesterday, Darla called me at 6:30 - she had the flu, and wasn't going to make it in.

This morning, as I called her at about 6:30, my first words were "you'd better be feeling better . . ."

Because, we have got a nasty case of---

Pink Eye!

Chance came home from school yesterday with a pretty red, goopy eye. By this morning, it was swollen just about shut. YUCK!

I have the best nurse at our local clinic, who worked us right into today's appointments. Thanks, Deb! Anyway, the Dr. informs us that after a full day on the medicine, Chance won't be contagious, so he can go back to school tomorrow - which he wasn't too thrilled about - until he remembered that tomorrow is baseball practice. No school, no practice. Suddenly, this afternoon, he is feeling much better, finishing up his schoolwork that he missed, and ready to go outside and throw a few balls around!

So, hopefully tomorrow I'll be back on track, with life a little closer to normal.

PS - Isn't it a beautiful day!!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lessons Learned

Those of you who have been around me for awhile know that I can be pretty frugal. I consider myself frugal in many things so that I can totally splurge on other things. Matt finds it so hard to understand how I can make the boys eat from the $1 menu when we go to McDonald's, but still take them to get their haircut instead of doing it at home. But, this makes perfect sense to me - the more times I make them eat from the $1 menu instead of a Happy Meal, the more times I can pay to get their haircut, because I HATE to cut their hair at home. I'm not very good at it, and that is one area that it is soooo obvious when you don't do a good job.

Anyway, we had a craft show this weekend, and it was far enough from home that I needed to arrange 2 nights of accommodations. Usually, we put our camper on the back of the pickup and pull our trailer with our wares to the show. ~Yep, we're real carnies, we are!~ Anyway, I was going to have to be there by myself on Thursday and Friday, didn't really want to drive the truck with the camper and trailer, and also didn't want to stay in a parking lot by myself. So, I figured if I could get a couple nights at a hotel at a decent rate, we would save a bit on diesel by not pulling the trailer and hauling the camper, and I could get off easy in the driving department (not to mention, a real shower in the mornings)!

Well, the event we were doing had the small town pretty darn full. I could get a hotel for Thursday night, but not Friday night. Bummer - what to do? Well, I decide to take the Thursday room while I can still get it, and continue the search for a Friday room. I finally find a room 30 miles away for Friday night.

Lesson 1 - If all name-brand hotels within 60 miles have no vacancy, and you find a room 30 miles away, there's probably a reason they still had a room . . .

In my desperate attempt to not drive the truck & trailer combo, I am ignoring the small voice in the back of my head asking if this is a good idea. I go to Travelocity, and it did not show a Travelocity rating, but of the whopping two people who reviewed this hotel, it had a 5/5 "Smiley Face" rating. Oh, then it must be okay, right?

Lesson 2 - If there isn't an actual Travelocity or AAA rating on a hotel, it's not because they just haven't gotten around to it yet. And, for all you know, the two users that rated this hotel could very well have been the drug dealer down the street and the person who rents the rooms by the hour!

So, I begin my craft show trek. Got set up on Thursday, and stayed at a most pleasant hotel on Thursday night. Cookies and milk in the lobby at 8:00, a decent Continental breakfast in the morning, a nice-sized, clean room. What more could you ask for? The small voice in the back of my head is still a bit active, so I check with the front desk two separate times to see if there may have been a cancellation for Friday night. No luck.

Matt is flying in from his training on Friday night, and scheduled to meet me at the hotel sometime after the show. He flies in at 9:00, but the airport is a couple hours away, so we are figuring meeting up about 11:00. The show was done for the day at 9:00, and by the time I got loaded up and grabbed dinner, it was about 9:30. I drive the 30 minute trek to the nearby town, and find my hotel. I drove right by it at first - not because I missed it, but because I hoped I was dreaming. Maybe it would look better coming from the other direction. I call Matt on the cell phone . . .

"Honey, remember that great hotel we stayed at in Vegas - you know, the one we got with the free trip? - I think they have transplanted its unwanted step-brother up here to Idaho, because it looks almost the same, except actually worse!"

Matt is still at least 1 hour away.

I check into our room - a process which takes awhile, because the front-desk gal is apparently very tired, not very interested that I am there, and fielding multiple phone calls from other tenants that are angry about the incessant barking dog in the parking lot - apparently these people thought that for their $46, they should be able to get a decent night's sleep. There are many people grouped in the parking lot, as well as the parking lot of the very loud bar next door, and said dog seems to be in a heightened state of nervousness, thinking maybe someone is going to jump right in that tie-dyed '76 Pinto and steal it. Or, maybe it was the self-camoed Toyota pickup - I really didn't give the parking lot too much of my attention - I was too busy fearing for my life.

Lesson 3 - If you fear for your life in the parking lot of your cheap motel, give up the $46 and move on, already!

But no - I paid my $46 + tax, and I am tough enough to stay in this room. At least long enough to wait for Matt!

I park the truck in front of our room, and now I have some decisions to make. I have not had a fabulous day at the show, but do I bring my cash box in, or leave it in the car? Is there someone watching me as I park my car, or (most likely) could they not care less? Maybe I snuck in unnoticed - in my F350 diesel pickup. Okay, probably not. It's okay, this parking lot is so noisy, no one is going to pay me a second glance.


This is the sound that is made, as the once-loud parking lot goes eerily quiet, and I clutch my cash box, textbook style, to my chest - and all the change falls down to one end. Oh crap! How fast can I get to my 2nd floor room, unlock the door, get in the room, lock every possible lock, and shut the blinds? About 5.5 seconds! Oh double-crap! I've left my laptop case in the pickup. And, there is no way I'm going back down those stairs until Matt gets here - it's also just as unlikely that I'm opening these shades even 1 centimeter to make sure the pickup is okay. I'm so sorry Norm (my boss) - if the laptop gets stolen, I'll replace it with my own money! You know, cause I've saved so much by coming to this $46 hotel!

I look around - the carpet is dirty, the walls stained, the bathroom just plain scary. I'm certain there are diseases just waiting to be caught if I actually pull the covers back on the bed. How long has it been since I last called Matt? Seems like hours - - - - it's been 10 minutes. Still about 1 hour to wait. And, the dog still barks . . .

Wait, this fancy phone that I have plays iTunes! I run down my phone battery, playing Rodney Atkins "If You're Going Through Hell" over and over and over. Two girls are fighting outside--wow, I'm learning new words by the minute. Tires squealing. Still lots of noise from the bar.

Matt shows up - thank you, honey, for driving so quickly to my rescue. You are truly my knight in shining armor!

It takes him about 11 1/2 seconds to figure out that we cannot stay in this hotel. Have I mentioned lately that the dog still has not shut up??? Matt calls some other motels nearby--first one, no rooms at all. Second one, only one room left, and it's a smoking room. But, on the third try - the pot of gold. The local Comfort Inn has room available - a non-smoking room, complete with continental breakfast. That's good, because if I'm going to pay for two rooms tonight, I definitely won't have a budget to be buying us breakfast in the morning!

Lesson 4 - The folks at the Choice Hotels Network (i.e. Comfort Inn, Quality Inn), will not let you down. It may not be the Hilton, but let me tell you folks, it's a far, far cry from the "No-Tell Motel."

Lesson 5 - Paying for two hotel rooms in one night is definitely not frugal - boys, even the $1 menu is going to be off-limits for awhile!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thankful Thursday

1. I'm so thankful for a blessed Easter weekend - getting to see my parents, my brother, and Maggie - a wonderful Easter service at our church - a fun lunch out as a family - what a day!

2. I'm thankful for my mom's recovery, and how much better she is feeling.

3. I'm thankful that Darla is feeling better.

4. I'm thankful for my mother-in-law, that she is able to help out with the boys this weekend, and that the boys are soooo excited for her to come.

5. I am thankful that my week as a single mom is almost over.

6. I am thankful that I am ready for tomorrow's craft show.

7. I am thankful that baseball starts next week - I'm ready to spend some fun times at the fields!

8. I am thankful that I got all my plants planted this weekend - and that the things I planted last year are popping out in the most glorious way!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

I'm shamelessly copying Darla, and going with a recipe today. This is one of my favorite bar cookies to make. And, wherever I take them, they don't last long!

O’Henry Bars

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup Karo corn syrup
4 cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter

In a mixing bowl, combine vegetable oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Add rolled oats; mix well. Press oat mixture into a greased 13-in.x 9-in.x 2in. baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

For filling, mix chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler. Cook on medium-high heat until mixture is melted. Spread over oat mixture. Cool 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: about 4 dozen

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hash House - I'm Jealous . . .

Matt is in Las Vegas at training this week. He is there with three other gentlemen from his office, and I am certain they are attending all sessions of their meetings, not skipping out on even the most boring stuff, heading right to their hotel rooms at the end of each day, and ordering room service so as not to subject themselves to too much sin and temptation in the "Land of Excess." Okay, off with the Mary Poppins hat, and back to reality . . .

The only thing that really bothered me about his solo trip was missing breakfast at the Hash House. We discovered this fabulous little restaurant on our last trip to Vegas. Okay, okay - Martha Stewart discovered it, a friend of ours watches Martha Stewart, and she suggested we stop there next time we went South. It was an excellent suggestion!

Twisted Farm Food

That's their motto. They have unique food, good down-home choices, and HUGE portions. I really don't know anyone who could clean their plate at that place, no matter what they ordered. But, it's not just cheap, bulk, average food - it is soooooooo good.

So, as I am home, slaving away as a single parent - cleaning house, diving through the endless laundry pile, trying to put a nutritious dinner on the table (thank you Burger King), buying new baseball cleats because my older son is growing faster than I can clothe him, getting ready for our next metal show, and trying to find some time to read a couple chapters of Mere Christianity (which I can't seem to limit to a couple chapters) - this is the picture my husband sends me from his new cell phone------

I won't be petty and expound on why he sent me a picture of his lunch at Hash House instead of his breakfast, but it's something about not being able to get up this morning after an evening full of activity last night. My only consolation is that his mom reads my blog - so at least he'll be getting chewed out from two of us!
Yeah, my fat-free Cole slaw and leftover hard-boiled egg sandwich tasted just as good while I ate at my desk and worked diligently on my invoices - um I mean, my blog!

Monday, April 9, 2007

From Oceans to Prairies

Cow Day

So, Saturday was cow day at Uncle Sam's ranch. The boys loaded up in the car bright and early Saturday morning, and headed for Yakima. They had a great day! They got to help herd the calves, climbed lots of fences, ate a great "ranch-hand" lunch, and had tons of fun with their cousins and the other children there.

They all had great stories to tell when they got home - you know the regular things boys would be interested in in a situation like this - who got cow poop on their boots, who got cow poop or pee on their pants, who helped give shots, who helped hold legs, etc.

For those who have not been to a "cow day" (I'm not being condescending - this includes me, too. I just gather all the wonderful pictures and do fabulous scrapbook pages about it!) it includes many wonderful things for the calves - branding, shots, and the would-be bulls getting turned into steers. I'm thinking the calves look forward to this day all spring long - wouldn't you?

The turning the calves into steers part obviously had the greatest impact on Chance. As everyone was telling stories about their day, he pretty much only had one thing to say -

"Mom, it was totally gross. They were turning the boy cows into steers, and I actually touched the barnacles with my hand! It was sooooo nasty!

Barnacles, huh? Matt, am I mistaken? I thought you took our boys to a ranch, not the ocean!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son* of God!”

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thankful Thursday

1. As this is Easter Week, my first and foremost has just got to be Jesus - He died on the cross for my sins, bore more pain than anyone should have to endure - for me. How amazing is that?

2. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my boys for Spring Break. We had a great couple of days.

3. I am thankful for Darla, who picked up my slack at work, so I could take said time off and be with my boys. She is just the bestest of friends.

4. I am thankful that I get to spend some time with my brother on Saturday, and have a little pre-Easter lunch/dinner.

5. I am thankful for these beautiful Spring days, and even though this nice weather makes my job absolutely hectic (which makes Darla's gift even bigger), I am still thankful to walk in the sunshine, and watch my surroundings come to life again.

6. I am ever-so-thankful that I can write this blog, that like 2 people actually read it, and that I've been blessed to encounter so many other neat people through it.

Have a great day ;-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Voice of Truth

One of my favorite all-time songs, from Casting Crowns-

Oh what I would do to have, The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in, Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone, Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is - And He's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name, And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me, Time and time again.
"Boy, you'll never win!" "You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have, The kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant, With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors, Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name, And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me, Time and time again.
"Boy you'll never win!" "You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
The voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
I am reminded of this often, as I look at the opportunities presented in my life. This boat I'm in has become so comfortable - carved by the experiences of my past. Am I ignoring His hand, reaching out? Am I missing a chance to walk across the water? The voice of truth is not always a loud one - many times just a whisper. And, God is asking me to quiet my reasons, my justifications, my "what ifs", and just LISTEN. I will choose to listen and believe . . .

Monday, April 2, 2007

2007 Inaugural Camping Trip

The top of Steamboat Rock

We had a fabulous camping trip this weekend. It is so great to get back together with friends you haven't seen for too long, sit around a big campfire dodging sparks and cooking s'mores, basking in the fresh air even though sometimes the wind was 100 mph, hiking and playing and walking and riding, and sleeping so hard because you have done all of the above to your heart's content all day long.

Colton got rid of the training wheels, and this is him, on one of his first trips around the loop that our camp-site was in. That gleam of accomplishment in his eye was so fun to watch!

What this picture doesn't show is the HUGE fit that he threw on the way home because Matt threw away his training wheels, and Colton wanted to keep them in case he needed to put them back on the bike later. I guess we all like to have those crutches to fall back on, especially when we just learned something new!

We had a great time hiking to the top of Steamboat Rock - there were 8 adults and 13 kids on that hike! Matt was questioning our sanity from the very first moment. But, it was an incredible experience for all the kids (and adults, as well). My nieces tackled something that I wasn't sure they would be able to do - and even they really weren't sure they would be able to do it. The rosy cheeks, happy smiles, and proud faces were quite a sight at the end of the journey. It wasn't an easy hike, especially for the youngest ones - but they all did a great job, and we got to take some great trophy shots at the top of the hill! I don't think this adventure will be too quickly forgotten.

Chance and the older kids played a lot of baseball, football, kick the can, and ghost in the graveyard; they dug countless holes on the beach in search of water; they rode their bikes in endless circles, racing around the loop our campers were on; and put on a fabulous show of teamwork, inclusion, and just-plain-fun.

All-in-all, a really wonderful time. And, did I mention, we climbed to the top of this . . .

Sunday, April 1, 2007

What Is?

What are piles of sand-filled, mud-caked dirty laundry?

What is a camper in dire need of a vacuum and some Lysol?

What is a garbage can full of empty water bottles and pop cans?

What are two tired boys, with circles under their eyes, both insisting they are not exhausted?

What are two new "fix-it" projects, found on the first camping trip of the year, which should probably (hopefully) be fixed by next trip?

What are 2 horizontal miles and 800 vertical feet?

What is - the comfort of my own bed?

All of the above are proof of a fantastic weekend with friends and family - of which a detailed post and pictures will follow tomorrow. Hope y'all had a great weekend as well!