Monday, February 26, 2007


After a late dinner and a sad goodbye (I think I've mentioned previously that my parents and younger brother have just moved to North Carolina), my sisters, brother-in-law, and two nephews climbed into their car to go home. Everyone was quiet after the sobering evening. Everyone except for three year old Jacob, who probably did not quite grasp the gloomy spirit of his relatives. He sat in his carseat saying, "Pah" over and over again. (Imagine "pop" without the last "p".) "Pah...pah....pah...pah..." Finally his father asked him to be quiet. Jacob's response:

"But, Da-ad! I'm saying 'pah'!"

How do you argue with that?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Ma, they don't qualify as leftovers if they're still warm!"

Taking into account several factors - nutrition, taste, money, time - Andy and I have been making a concerted effort to prepare good, homemade meals. And this is great. We enjoy cooking together. We enjoy sitting down to eat dinner at the table together. We enjoy controlling the flavors that go into the food we eat. But there is one downfall: leftovers.

Now, in all fairness, this isn't really a downfall. It's actually a benefit. It's nice to have some good leftovers in the fridge. If there are no leftovers, I usually don't eat lunch. Silly, I know, but it's true. I just don't take time out of my day to make a sandwich, unless I feel really hungry or weak. (Note: it's not a good habit to wait until you are weak before you eat.) So for this reason, leftovers are a very good thing. But currently we have the following leftovers in our refrigerator:

  • chicken tortilla soup
  • pasta/bell pepper/sausage/basil dish
  • rice & broccoli in puff pastry
  • fettuccine alfredo
  • salad
  • lime Jell-O
  • cranberry/raspberry Jell-O
  • chocolate pudding
  • birthday cake
  • a fish stick

This presents a challenge. I really do hate to see food go to waste. Elise and I are doing our best here, but I'm afraid we're no match for all this food. Maybe we should have leftovers for dinner tonight...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What I've Been Doing

Andy found these great copies of Little Women and Little Men at a used bookstore the other day. He actually brought every copy the store had for me to inspect, and these are the two I chose. The copy of Little Women is just lovely - really well bound, with attractive pages and type. Actually, Little Men is much the same way, but it is an older copy - 1947, I think - so it is a bit more fragile and has a nice vintage quality to it. I like them. (Little Women is my all-time favorite book. I think this is my fourth copy of it.)

Last fall, I made my first (and, so far, only) crocheted blanket, with the intention of using it as a lap blanket in the living room. When I began the blanket, we had a red-striped slipcover on our sofa. By the time I finished the blanket, we had switched to a blue plaid sofa. Oh, well. Anyway, Andy immediately adopted the red blanket as his own, which greatly pleased me. It's nice to see something you have made being used and appreciated. However, I was still without a reading/watching TV/hanging out in the living room blanket of my own, and I wanted one that coordinated a bit better with the blue sofa. So I made this one, mostly from fabric that I already had, supplemented by a few fat quarters. I backed it with a large brown flannel print, which makes it extra soft and warm, and then I used the same flannel for the binding, just to make things easier.

On Tuesday, I made marshmallows for the first time. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I haven't made much in the way of candy, so I was a little nervous about this, but everything worked out fine. Next time I'll work on making them pretty. This time I was just aiming for general marshmallowiness.

So there you have it - some of the fun things in my life from the past few days (well, last few weeks in the case of the blanket).

Monday, February 12, 2007

18 months and counting...

Last Saturday was Elise's 18-month birthday. Eighteen months. She's not a baby anymore. I guess technically babies are considered to be people who are twelve months of age and younger, but there are some baby traits that hang on after that point. But now...not so much. Elise is learning to run, talk, feed herself (with utensils!), navigate stairs, and climb. She's learning how to use good manners and how to be patient (although those lessons are significantly more difficult, it seems, than the lessons of physical skills). She is beginning to recognize numbers and letters - only as objects, not concepts, of course, but still... She acknowledges the difference between an accident and wrongdoing. She remembers things. For example, she has this little Baby Einstein DVD that we sometimes let her watch, and there is a part where objects ("food from the farm") slide onto the screen from various directions. She points to the empty space where the next object will go, before the object appears, and sometimes will say the name of it before it appears. She is showing signs of being ready for potty-training. little girl is growing up.

Having an eighteen month old is very tiring. I read this excerpt from On Becoming Toddler Wise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. "There is no question that a toddler's mom is a tired mom, and for good reason. The emotional and physical energy needed to supervise an energy-packed tot can take down the most physically fit mom....Never so beautiful does this child look to his weary mom as he does when he closes his eyes in sleep." Just reading that was a little bit encouraging to me. It made me think that I'm not the only mother who is worn out by caring for a toddler. (My thoughts are with Beth now, caring for both a toddler and a newborn!) But at the same time, having a toddler is so much fun. I've never been around anyone who finds such joy in discovery as a toddler. Everything is interesting to her. I love watching Elise grow and learn. I love hearing her say a word for the first time. I love watching her dance. She is a bundle of energy, it's true. She is curiosity on legs. She keeps me busy. But she is so precious. Tiring as this job can be, I wouldn't trade it for anything. (Right now, Elise is sitting in her booster seat, having just finished a snack, and she is going through all the animal noises she knows. I have no idea what prompted this recital, but it's awfully cute.)

It's exciting to think of what the next six or twelve months may hold. I'm in no hurry for that time to pass, but I am looking forward to seeing Elise grow and learn even more. Last night, as I twisted in my car seat for the 100th time (so it seemed) to reach Elise's fallen book and give it back to her, I commented to Andy that it will be so nice when Elise is able to do that on her own. I then immediately chided myself for the comment as I realized that I was wishing away a most precious time. I know that someday soon I will be helping Elise pack for college, or will be watching her walk down the aisle towards a man who will be the object of her highest affection. And today will just be a fond memory, and I will be wishing that I had it back. So I won't wish it away while I have it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is That Weird?

Last night, as my husband was trying to fall asleep, I had to ask him a pressing question. I said, "Honey, I have a question. You know how when you're upside-down your eyes see everything around you as upside-down? I don't. When I'm upside-down, everything still looks right-side-up to me. Is that weird?" He replied by rolling over to face me and asking, "What do you do after I leave for work in the morning?"

But it's true. As a kid, when you hang upside-down from the monkey bars, the world around you appears to be upside-down, right? Not for me. For whatever reason, my brain makes the adjustment and I don't perceive my surroundings as upside-down. They look entirely normal - right-side-up - to me. Now of course that's not true of my perception of individual objects. If you came into my house and turned my coffee table upside down, I would notice. But that's only because it would be upside down in relation to the things around it. When everything is upside down (or when I am upside down, thus making everything else upside down in relation to me), I don't notice it.

Is that weird?

Monday, February 05, 2007


On Saturday, I was reading a book about Titus 2, which led me to read Titus 2 itself. Titus 2 is a chapter of instructions on what virtues should be taught to and practiced by certain groups of people, namely men, women, and slaves. I was struck by the reason given for teaching and practicing these virtues. The reason is for the honor and promotion of the gospel. As the KJV phrases it, "that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10). To adorn the doctrine of God. To make the gospel beautiful. By our actions, we can make the gospel attractive to others. I suppose by that same measure, our actions can make the gospel ugly to others. What a sobering thought.

I love the idea of adorning the gospel. It gives such meaning and purpose to otherwise mundane tasks. It is easy to think that many tasks associated with mothering and homemaking are mundane. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, as I have lately, by the multiple responsibilities that each seem small and insignificant on their own, but somehow add up to a monumental load. But to think that the purpose of these things is to adorn the gospel - to make the gospel attractive to those around me - how wonderful! And this applies to everything, of course, not just to homemaking and mothering. This applies to every job on earth. Office jobs, farming, field techs, golf caddying, preaching, operating, delivering mail, reporting the news - Christians in every area of work, all over the world, have the responsibility and privilege of making the gospel attractive to the world.

I didn't watch the Super Bowl yesterday, but I did watch the awards ceremony afterward. I was struck by a comment made by Colts' head coach Tony Dungy. He was talking about how pleased he was to be the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl (and I think maybe one of the first two to make it to the Super Bowl - the other being yesterday's opponent, Bears' head coach Lovie Smith. But please don't quote me on that fact. I could be wrong.) Such a comment was expected from Dungy, as much media attention has been lavished on this story. But what came next was not as expected. He said (and I paraphrase tremendously- I cannot find the text of his speech) that as pleased as he was to be the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl, he was even more pleased to be a Christian coach winning the Super Bowl, as that proved that "it can be done the Lord's way". This story tells a bit more about Dungy's open and active faith. Adorning the gospel.

Yesterday in church, our pastor made the sad announcement that a man from our congregation had been killed in an ATV accident on Saturday. His wife, teenage daughter, parents, and mother-in-law were there at the church service, sitting in the row just behind Andy and me. Their pain and grief were evident as they wept; but their faith was even more evident as they lifted their hands and voices to heaven and worshiped with the rest of us. Adorning the gospel. The man who was killed was baptized just two weeks ago, along with his daughter. This recent statement of faith was reassuring to all of us. Our pastor spoke of the gifts of salvation and freedom from death that are available to all of us, and five people decided to accept those gifts and took the first step toward doing so. The young man whose life ended so abruptly and so tragicly was adorning the gospel.

If there are days - and there are - when I can think of no other compelling reason to be kind, to be patient, to hold my tongue, then I pray that this reason will remain ever present and forefront in my mind.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Today has been a little bit stressful, and for no good reason. Just one of those days when the little things - and I mean little - add up. Elise wouldn't take a nap; the printer wouldn't work; the broiler pan drippings were so baked on that I got an aerobic workout just by scrubbing it, and it's still not clean. Stuff like that. But then I left to run some errands, and the little things began to add up to a pleasant, peaceful sum. Elise happily read her books in the car and didn't fuss once; I passed Andy on my way out, so I knew he would be home to greet me when I returned; I made a pitcher of iced tea (yes, I know it's February. I really, really like iced tea.); the weather was beautiful today; and when I got home, there was an issue of Martha Stewart Living waiting for me. So it is turning out to be a good day after all.

Speaking of Martha Stewart Living, I had decided sometime during the holidays that I wouldn't buy any more magazines. My only exception was maybe a quilting magazine, if it had patterns that I would actually use. And the quilting magazine that I like only comes out quarterly. I am a sucker for magazines, truly a marketer's dream. So I just decided I wouldn't buy any more. About a week later, I received gift subscriptions to three magazines. :) It was such a treat - here I had decided not to spend money on them anymore, and all of a sudden three of them show up in my mailbox every month. Pretty cool, huh? Now I just have to be careful that the glossy pictures don't seduce me into spending money on things I don't need. I once heard that the more television you watch and the more magazines you read, the more money you spend. The TV thing seemed intuitive, but I was surprised by the magazine correlation. It's the same advertising principle as television, I know, but I was still surprised.

Speaking of spending money, if you are in the mood for doing so (how's that for resolve?), you should check out this site. It's Goodwill - online. Apparently the Goodwill stores take things that they consider to be especially desirable, valuable, or collectible, and they sell those things in an online auction. The beauty of it is that the employees who are posting the items are not necessarily experts in antiques or collectibles, so you can frequently find things for well under their retail value. The only things I have purchased are a few Charlie Brown books, but it's fun to browse. I personally like looking for teacups and quilts. Yeah, I know.

For all you moms in the Seattle area, I was recently introduced to a great place. The Child's Play Cafe in downtown Bellevue. Fantastic. A little pricey to frequent, but really a great place for a break every now and then. I went yesterday with some friends and their children. There is a charge per hour per child. They have a large, supervised play area for children over 18 months (although they're not entirely strict on that - Elise went, and she is not quite 18 months), and several smaller, unsupervised play areas for all ages. They have a decent menu for adults - mostly light lunch fare such as salads, sandwiches, and quiche - as well as a great kids menu. You can purchase individual snacks for your child - Goldfish, string cheese, etc. - or a toddlers platter or big kids platter. Both include finger foods. They also have a full espresso bar. You place your order at the counter, and they bring the food to you. They keep a running tab for you and you just pay for everything when you leave. There is a complimentary Cheerios dispenser - nice touch! The restroom is fully stocked with all sizes of diapers, wet wipes, Desitin, bandages, etc. I was a little nervous about leaving Elise in the play area at first, because she wouldn't be able to see us where we were sitting, but she walked right in and never even looked back at me. She had a blast. The young woman in charge of the play area caught my eye almost every time I looked that way and let me know that everything was okay (she must be accustomed to nervous parents), and she flagged me down when Elise needed a diaper change. Anyway, the whole gist of the place is that moms (or dads, although there weren't any there yesterday) can relax, have a latte, read a book while their kids play in a safe environment. It is a great idea, I think.

So, there's my post for today. Nothing in particular. I'm going to go drink some iced tea now.