Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, yams, rolls, pie, cheesecake, leftover turkey sandwiches - we are blessed to have such a feast!
Holidays - we are so blessed to have times of celebration - to concentrate on Thankfulness, our Savior's Birth, the coming of a new year, and everything in between. It sets our hearts to think about something outside of ourselves.
Almighty God - I am so grateful for a God that is so much bigger than even my imagination. Those of you who know me well, know that at times I can be a bit controlling - sometimes, in my mind, I even think I'd like a predictable God that I can wrap my mind around, and plan my day around - thank you, Lord, that you are not! My God is great, my God is strong, my God is mighty - there is nothing my God can't do for you (for those of you without a pre-schooler, this is a song they sing - so appropriate!)
Nutcrackers - my boys are still enthralled by them. Thanks to the $$ store, we purchase a new nutcracker army each year - not for decoration or for actual nutcracking (and especially not for balleting), but to stage elaborate Christmas battles, wielding swords and axes. At $1 a piece, the fact that they are all missing limbs at the end of the season is an easy pill to swallow - they offer so much entertainment!
Kind-hearted friends - I have the best of them. I am blessed to still be in touch with old friends-Trish, Tab, Alison. It takes about 2 minutes grab a cup of tea, catch up, and feel like you've never been apart. I have made some of the most fabulous friends in recent years, and they have enriched my life to no end - Darla, Jane, Deb, Annette - I am lucky to know you all.
Family - I'm blessed to come from the best family ever, and doubly-blessed to have married the most amazing man and start my own best family ever. I hope I do as well for my children as was done for me . . .
Unrelenting schedule - many times a burden, but a blessing in that I am physically able to take on many tasks, that I am mentally gifted to handle organization, and that I can truly enjoy my rare periods of down time.
Love - "........and the greatest of these is Love." I am so grateful for a loving heart - our Lord has given us the greatest of gifts - to give and receive.

Wow, that's a lot of "blessed" and "best" - I am truly thankful for it al.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What a sport, eh?

Friday evening, as we were relaxing at home, my request for the boys to get ready for bed was met with immediate groans and complaints . . .

"It's Friday!"

"Tomorrow is stay-at-home day!"
.
"We get to sleep in - we should get to stay up late!"

I reminded the boys that we needed to be at hockey practice at 7:30 AM. While that might be sleeping in for me, it certainly isn't a Saturday morning kind of sleep in! Once they were reminded about their first hockey practice of the season, the grunt and groans greatly reduced their number - not unto extinction, but reduced none-the-less.

On Saturday morning, I went upstairs to wake the boys up to get ready to go.

"Good morning, guys! Do you remember what today is?"

Colton sat straight up in bed and said, "Mommy, I am so glad I'm a hockey player."

I'm sure later in the season, you'll endure blogs about early Saturdays, metal bleachers, and cold bums - but on that morning, I was glad they were hockey players, too!

Chance's age group got right after it, doing drills. Colton had about 5 or 6 kids in his group, with one "Patience of Job" kind of gal teaching them how to skate. It was fun to watch both ends of the spectrum. Here are some fun shots of our morning . . .

Both boys are ready to go . . .

Colt started off a little shaky . . . .

And spent lots of time here . . .

But was fabulous by the end!


Nice pass, Chance.



He shoots, he scores!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mine's Bigger Than Yours . . .

One thing I often find out at scrapbook retreats like the one I just went to is that when I think I have wayyyy too many scrapbook supplies, all I have to do is look around and realize that not only am I not the worst, in this group, I don't even come close!! These ladies know how to shop!


During a "dittie" on Friday evening, in which each person shared a favorite scrapbooking tip, I learned of a fabulous new adhesive system from Tracy. I could hardly contain my excitement when I went to Tracy's work station to try out this new tool - this was before Tracy was mad at me for being to nice to her mom - but that's another blog!


I just had to order one - I briefly considered adding it to my Christmas list, but knew I didn't want to wait that long. Besides that, Matt had just admitted to spending $71 on a bird hunting license, and I knew my opportunity for buying a $35 adhesive gun (with about 7.000 yards of adhesive) was now or never. At the time of this post, we are still at about $35 per goose (that's two geese killed, for those of you who are math challenged), and I'd trade a good adhesive gun for a goose any day, so all is well with the world . . .


Anyway, it came today. WOOO HOOOO! I love that UPS lady. Okay, I don't really love her, because when she doesn't have packages for me, she's actually kind of annoying - but today, I love her!!




Can you imagine having to study so intently to load some glorified double-stick tape?



Darla made so much fun of my excitement - saying I thought I was cool because I had this "Adhesive Gun 7000" or something - she ran through the room making "vrooming" sounds as I tried out my new machine. I think you can see from the picture below that she's just jealous . . .





My scrapbook gun is bigger than your scrapbook gun - so, ha! Thanks, Tracy ;-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The answer to your question is Rice - again, Rice

Last week, we were headed to a nearby town to meet my parents, as the boys were going to spend the weekend with them. When I picked them up from daycare, we were listening to Positive Life Radio in the car. They were doing a special pledge drive called Rice for Cambodia. We have given to this campaign in the past, and I was planning to give to it again, but thought the boys would also be old enough to be involved this year.

As we were driving through town, I just let the radio guys speak for themselves for awhile. After about 10 minutes, I asked the boys what they thought about buying rice for people who didn't have food right now. Chance had a couple questions, but I think understood the concept right away. Colton wasn't so sure. I asked the boys if they would like to use their allowance or do some extra chores around the house and buy one bag of rice together - $9.00. Chance immediately said yes. Colton immediately said no.

Colton said he was saving his piggy bank for a dirt bike, and he wasn't giving any away. I tried to explain that he could leave the money in his piggy bank and do some extra chores. He said if he was going to do extra chores, then he would put that money in his piggy bank too! I tried to reason with him - do you understand that these kids don't have anything to eat? His answer - then they can just go to Wal-Mart and buy some chicken nuggets. They don't have a Wal-Mart. Well, that's not my fault!!

I'm frustrated, so I drop the subject for a minute. Chance uses the short window of silence to voice his immediate hunger and ask to go to a restaurant. We are already late to meet Grandma and Grandpa. Well, then let's go through the drive-through. We'll get something once we get to where we're meeting. (Now with tears in his voice) I'm hungry now and I want to go through the drive through!!

At this point, I may have raised my voice more than a little bit - I can't believe this!! There are children in Cambodia who haven't eaten for days! I suggested a way you guys could help them, and all you can talk about are dirt bikes and drive throughs! I can't believe I'm raising such inconsiderate children!!!!!!!

The car was silent for the next few miles. Then, Colton says tearfully - well I don't even like rice, and I don't want to talk to strangers, so I can't take those kids any rice, and I don't like it anyway!

So, we spent the next few miles explaining to Colton (who is 4), how the rice campaign worked, what happened once he gave his $$ for a bag of rice, and how helpful it would be. After many questions (and a frustrated Chance trying to help explain the concept), both boys agreed that they would like to buy 1 bag of rice.

I called in my pledge, as well as theirs - they were excited to hear our name on the radio during the song break when the DJ's were thanking the recent donors.

Once I got home, I was still frustrated with their reaction. I know they are young, but I was hoping to make more of an impact with the radio program. I told Matt of our conversation, and he suggested we have a rice dinner one night the next week.

Fast forward to last night . . . .

We got home from work/school/daycare, and I started my usual dinner routine. Colton was hungry, so Matt suggested he could help make dinner if he wanted to. I told him I had dinner on the stove, but he could set the table with bowls, spoons, napkins, and glasses.

What's for dinner?

Rice.

What else?

Rice.

That's all?

Yes.

The boys were pretty surprised, but ready to be good sports. We said the blessing, then talked about the decision the boys had made to buy a bag of rice. The bag they bought will feed a family of 4 for about 4-6 weeks. I had set out some seasonings, and told everyone they could have as many servings of rice as they would like, with whatever seasonings they wanted. But, there would be no dessert or snacks after dinner.



Chance - so, do they have this for dinner every night?

Yep.

What do they have for breakfast?

Rice.

Lunch?

Rice.

Every meal is rice?

Probably.

Wow - that's a lot of rice.

By the end of dinner, I think all of us had a better appreciation for what the Cambodians are eating. I realize that we are so fortunate not to have to experience the hunger that these people experience - where the rice is not boring, bland, or yucky to them - it is just simply a blessing. It was a great lesson for all of us.

Thanks, PLR, for hosting the campaign. Thanks, Musicianaries for feeding a hungry nation. Thank you, Lord, for the food in our bellies, and for the opportunity to help others put food in theirs. Thanks . . .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scrapbook Retreat

We had such a fun time at Mountain River Lodge this weekend. It's always a great time of relaxation, rejuvenation, and accomplishment. I got 40+ scrapbook pages done, as well as a couple of extra projects. I think the most pages was awarded to someone who did 101 pages!! So, a lot was accomplished in 3 short days.


It was kind of different this year - I don't know if it was Matt's illness the week before, or just life catching up with me, but I just didn't have the staying power I usually do. Many times, you'll find Darla and I still up at 4:00 am, and setting our alarms for 7:00 the next morning to wring out as much creative juice as possible during the 3 day stint. This time, I was heading to bed about 10:00, and not setting an alarm at all. It felt great - maybe I didn't feel the pressure to "get my money's worth" - or maybe I just felt my body needed a break - regardless, it was nice to relax, I still got a lot accomplished, and can't wait to do it all again!


Some of the more memorable quotes from the weekend:


Heather - "What do you mean you're having dinner upstairs so you can keep working? You just spent like 7 hours cutting out flowers - if you needed some extra time, I would think you could've cut back on that!!" -in response to Verna ditching us for dinner on Friday night.


Sonia - all I have to say is "ATV Horses"!!


Heather - "Anita, can I get you some coffee while I'm downstairs?" "Anita, would you like some ice for your water - I see Tracy isn't offering to get you any . . ."





Tracy - "You're going down, Heather - paybacks are hell. Just wait for the barrage of comments on your blog . . ."


Julie - "You've never been so Sydney's Creations? You have got to go to Sydney's Creations!" (She was right, BTW)


Darla & Heather - "Alyson & Tiffany - you are going down!! Just cause we're old doesn't mean we can't still whoop your young butts at ping pong!" (Oh, and whip them we did ;-)




Heather - "Darla, you're not going to try on your gift????"


Alyson - "Yeah, he's a schmuck, but I'm thinking maybe I should just hook up with him."


Darla & Heather - "Let's review - he takes out the garbage without being asked, he takes you out to dinner in Coeur d'Alene, he asks if you want to stop at the scrapbook store when you pass one - schmuck or not, grab him while you can!!!"


Cali - "He's just a friend . . . ."



We had such a fabulous weekend. Thanks, Deb & Jane for hosting a fun, fun weekend. I wouldn't miss it for the world. You guys are the bestest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hiatus

Okay, the blog will be pretty quiet the next few days, because I am going on a little vacation. I will be going here . . .









To do lots of this . . .






Thanks to these wonderful gals . . .



If you live in the Northwest, or have the blessing of unlimited funds to get yourself to the Northwest, Deb & Jane's scrapbook retreats will be the best time of cuttin', pastin', laughin', eatin', and just plain funnin' you've ever had!

If you don't believe me, I'll regale you with stories of the madness next week. Standby . . .

Monday, November 5, 2007

CBC with a Chem-7, STAT!

When I used to watch the show E.R. pretty regularly, it seemed every patient through the doors needed a CBC, most of them needed the additional, mysterious Chem-7, and all of them needed it STAT! I marvelled at the medical jargon, and left each show with a new vocabulary word for the week.

This weekend, Matt got very sick. We weren't in the ER, but we were in our clinic Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - and I heard the words CBC and Chem-7 - not in conjunction with an abstract patient on a TV show, but about my husband. An entirely different feeling, let me tell you.

Apparently, either a staph or strep infection found it's way into a cut on Matt's hand, and decided to just make itself at home in what is presumed to be a weak spot in his left elbow. Thursday night, his elbow looked like it had a golf ball attached to the end of it, and was feeling kind of warm. Matt spent the evening trying to figure out if he had bonked it or something.

By Friday morning, he wasn't feeling too well, and decided to go in and see the doctor. Since he usually stays at home on Fridays, this meant finding last-minute daycare for Colton (have I mentioned lately that Tina is a saint?), and getting to work late. I will here and now admit that by the time I got to work, I may have uttered a few words about how wimpy guys are when they are sick, about how I still keep the kids at home when I'm sick, and how I couldn't believe we were paying for daycare on a Friday - not that I'm bitter or anything. Anyhow, I completely retracted all such statements later on Friday afternoon--after all the CBC, Chem-7, STAT jargon . . .

Now, back to our regularly scheduled story . . . . Matt called me at work to say he could not drive himself to the doctor, and could I come get him and take him in. Yes, yes, you evil people, I was still saying he was a wimp at this point - don't you think I feel guilty enough???? Anyway, I head home to taxi him into town, and found my poor, usually tough, macho man sicker than I'd ever, ever seen him before - including the great "Red Tide Seafood Incident" of 2000. It was at this point when the guilt from my sarcastic remarks hit me full force, and I turned into "turbo nurse" in less than 60 seconds. I think at that point I looked something like this . . .



We spent the better part of the day in the walk-in clinic, where some very competent nurses administered IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-nausea medicine, and just plain good care - albeit on a 4' medical table meant for 15 minute visits - Matt's 6'3" frame didn't fit too comfortably. When we were finished, it was off to Safeway to fill more antibiotic prescriptions, to the school to pick up the boys, and them home to the couch, with instructions to return in 24 hours for another round.

So, we all trudged through the next few days - monitoring temperatures (which ranged from 97 to 102.8!), pushing fluids, timing antibiotic doses, worrying, coaxing food, quieting boys, worrying, monitoring sleeping, getting little sleep, checking temperatures again, worrying, pushing more fluids, and taxiing to the doctor. By Sunday, I didn't even care to look like the above nurse, I had turned into this one . . .



Alas, on Sunday, I think we turned the corner. He still didn't feel great, but all that medicine was starting to do its job. His appetite was back, and he even changed his clothes to head into the doctor.

For the last 3 visits, he would sit on the bed, freezing as the cold IV made its way into his blood stream, trying unsuccessfully to spread the paper-thin, white, clinic issued blanket in such a way as to actually be conducive to warmth. All the time, his warm, soft blanket was in the car waiting for him. He had said it was hard enough to look tough walking into the clinic with his "puke bowl" each day - he just couldn't see carrying his "wubby" too!!

Well, my mom made Matt his "wubby" earlier this year. She also makes his favorite - Pecan Pie - pretty much every time we come visit. I told him if he was too proud to carry in his love-laden blanket, then I'd tell mom she just didn't need to ever make him anything again, including another pecan pie!

Either the threat worked, or he was just plain tired of shivering all the way through the IV antibiotic treatment, because by Sunday, he left the puke bowl in the car, and brought this in instead . . .


Isn't he cute?? I can say that now - since I know he isn't going to die - and he's still too weak to chase me down and beat me up ;-)

Thank you Lord, for giving us the strength to get through the weekend, for giving the doctors wisdom, and for healing Matt. Thank you friends, for all your prayers. Thank you, Darla, for driving all over the countryside and watching my boys. Thank you, mom, that Matt had a "wubby" to take to the Dr's office! It's been quite a weekend . . .

Friday, November 2, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Friday - Cookie Edition


O'Henry Bars

Terri Crabill


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

Topping:
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

Head over to Overwhelmed with Joy for more great cookie recipes! Have a great weekend . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Family Resemblance

Colton got to have "Let's Pretend" party at pre-school yesterday. He was so excited to wear his skeleton costume to school, and reminded me about 100 times that I didn't need to pack a snack, because they would have lots of treats at their party.

It was close-out day at work, so I didn't take the time to go in (I know, Darla, I should have gone - but that's another post!), so I was excited to hear how his day went. Matt saw his teacher later in the afternoon, and she relayed this story . . .

All the kids had gotten their picture taken in their costumes, and they worked on an art project to frame them at put them up on the bulletin board. Late in the day, Pam saw him at the board, staring at his picture, very sad and kind of whimpering.

What's wrong, Colton?

It looks like my brother.

But Colton, that's the picture we took just today - see, that's you in your skeleton costume!

I know it's me, but it looks like my brother.




Later, after all of the tricks and treats, we were back home to get settled in for the night. I was unpacking Colton's backpack, and found his cute picture frame.

Great picture, buddy!

Look, mom, it's a magnet - we can put it on the fridge.

That looks so cool!

It looks just like my brothy.

I think it looks just like you - a cutie patootie.

I think it looks just like my brothy, and I would rather look just like me!

I'll let you be the judge - I see many similarities in them, but their personalities are so different, it's not hard for me to tell them apart. They are definitely brothers, but each so unique. Here they both are, each about 4 1/2 when the picture was taken . . .