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Friday, December 26, 2008

To Christmas and Beyond

Well, Christmas was a little different this year to say the least. We've had so much snow that the majority of our holiday festivities were either canceled or postponed. We did make to our homeschool Christmas party, that happened right before all the snow hit and hit and hit again. I think we had at least a foot of snow, but I'm pretty sure it was more like 16 or 17 inches (although it partially melted one day, before we got a ton more). Our street was full of icky snow ruts and frozen melted snow. No fun!
Thankfully, we were able to get out this week and even managed to finish Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. I haven't shopped on Christmas Eve for years (in fact, I'm not sure I EVER shopped on Christmas Eve before) and I don't intend to repeat that next year! I've already started my Christmas shopping for next year. I got some good deals on some nice things, so I have a head start!
We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at home, just the three of us. We spent Christmas afternoon and evening at Colin's parents' home. Ian was so antsy to open presents! He just couldn't wait. We had a nice Christmas and got a really cool present for the whole family. Colin and Ian were really trying it out today!
They played Wii bowling and Ian even managed to get a strike or two!
Tonight was Ian's Christmas program at our church (another thing that was rescheduled due to snow). The kids were performing the Christmas musical Christmas Comes to Lone Star Gulch. It was really cute. The kids dressed up like cowboys and if they didn't have a main part, they were a towns person. Everyone was on stage for the whole performance (except for the tiny kids, 2's and 3's). The two and three year olds came in at the very end, dressed for the nativity scene. I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea to dress the little ones as Joseph and Mary and a lamb and an angel, but that's what they did. It led to quite a bit of laughter. The lamb was all over the place. He stared in amazement at the audience, tackled his older sister twice, ran off stage and later returned. Mary spotted her mother in the front directing the singing, so she hollered from on stage " Hi Mama! Hi Mama! Mama! Mama!" while waving and holding baby Jesus rather peculiarly and then proceeded to run off stage to make sure her mama knew it was her and managing to lose her head covering. When she returned to the stage she tripped on her robe climbing the stairs! Ian was certain that the little kids had ruined the play, but we told him they didn't, they just provided the comic relief! And yes, I did manage to get most of the chaos on video. I'll try to post it later. What a hoot!
Hope your Christmas was filled with love and all the people you care about and that you remembered why we celebrate Christmas...the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Movies

You know, I used to love to watch movies, not every single one that came out, but a lot of them. I used to care about what the movie stars did and, not so much. One reason for my change in attitude is movies changed. They used to be fairly clean or they were rated so you knew it wasn't what you would want to see. Hollywood and the constant paparazzi gave us a little too much information if you ask me. I honestly don't care what kook is running around in their underwear or without it...ugh!
Enough of the soapbox. What I really wanted to talk about was a movie I watched tonight and an article I read this week about romantic comedy movies.
I'll start with the movie I watched, Click. I watched it on TV so I know I escaped some bad language (thankfully). I really liked the message of the movie. If you haven't seen it, it's all about a man who is basically overwhelmed by his life. Work and family are hard for him to balance. He ends up getting a "universal remote" that actually can control his life. He can now fast forward to the "good stuff". Only when it is too late does he realize that all the stuff he thought was unimportant really was the good stuff. It does end happily.
Very good message in that movie. Don't wish your life away. It goes by fast enough without us wishing we could get past where we are today and get on with better things. Treasure what you have been given. Your family, your friends, even your work. Make sure your priorities are where they should be. Treasure each moment.
So, that was topic number one. On to the second topic, romantic comedies. The article I read said if you want to stay together, don't watch romantic comedies because they lead to unrealistic expectations from love and relationships. I happen to like romantic comedies. Without them, I never would have met Colin. About a month before I met Colin, I watched You've Got Mail and the idea of chat caught my fancy. So, disregarding my mother's sage advice on chat rooms (for the most part she was correct) I signed up and about a month later I met Colin and the rest is history.
I would really be interested to know some background on the people they did the study on for this article. Were they only influenced by romantic comedies to have all these unrealistic ideas? Did they read trashy romance novels which are WAY more unrealistic? I'm just really curious, because it seems to me that if you are already firmly grounded in reality, a romantic comedy is just a sweet, fun movie!
So I guess, unless I find more information that supports their ideas, I'll just stay where I am, enjoying my occasional romantic comedy. Maybe I can find one of favorite ones on television this month, Christmas in Connecticut. I love the old movies!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Dogs

Well, we got snow today. Enough to make driving on the road a bit treacherous and make our big ditch the perfect sledding spot. So after arriving home safely from the harbor area, Ian took his disc sled out to the hill and had a blast. His first path that he chose made him wind up in the bushes (not that he minded) but Colin saw and helped him choose a better path. The snow was just right to pack down so Ian's path got smoother and faster each time he used it.
While Ian was playing in the snow we took the dogs out in the snow. Oh my, they love the snow. Dilly turned into this crazy snow burrowing thing, leaping and dipping her nose into the snow, she was nearly dancing in the snow. Buster thought it was great, too even though the snow was up to his belly. He was hopping through the snow like a bunny and then he thought it was great to eat the snow. For a while the dogs played together in the snow. They were hilarious!
Usually we get snow and then it's gone the next day. We'll see what tomorrow holds for us, it's really cold, 27 degrees, so this snow might still be here tomorrow and maybe for most the week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Christmas Party

Today we went to our first home school group Christmas party! Ian was up early, he was so excited. Colin surprised me last night by saying that he was going, too. I loved that! I didn't expect it, but was thrilled to have him along.
We met at a church and the party went in stages starting with crafts. Ian made Christmas dog tags, a gingerbread man magnet, a snowman pin, a wreath ornament and a cute paper Christmas tree. I got to make the Christmas tree, too! I don't think there was a craft there that Ian didn't like. He was very serious about his crafts, too!
After all the crafts were in their drying spots, it was time for lunch. We all brought goodies to share. I took little smokies with cranberry sauce and chili sauce mixed together as the sauce over them. Very yummy! Colin and Ian enjoyed the oranges and grapes, too. They're such fruit bugs!
After lunch, it was time for some games and face painting. The big kids did a Rudolph relay (they put Vaseline on their nose and had to stick a red circle to their nose while they ran down and back). I helped with Bingo and then there was a "snowball" toss through a snowman with 3 holes. The kids got to keep their snowball and eat it later (they were marshmallows in a bag).
The entire thing was very laid back and no one felt pressured to move faster or anything. It was a great time. In fact the only bad thing about the party was the wind and rain outside making us nervous about an approaching storm!
This party was the beginning of what should be a very Christmasy week. Ian has a party at AWANA on Wednesday and at Home School Sports on Thursday. Colin has a party at work on Thursday and I have Christmas Bunco on Friday! Whew! I'm tired just thinking about all of it. That's a lot of cooking! It's okay, though, some years are full of Christmas parties and some years aren't. I like the ones that are full of parties, it's more fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Snooper

In my day, I was a horrendous Christmas snooper. I remember being probably 9 and we lived out in the country in Kansas. That meant we had animals to take care of and being winter, it was COLD! So my mom took care of the animals while we kids stayed in the house nice and toasty warm (and by ourselves). I'm certain that if my mother hadn't given us the warning: don't go in mom and dad's bedroom, I wouldn't have had any interest in going in there, but since she did give that warning, I just couldn't keep myself out of there! So I went in and found a big box that wasn't taped up and I looked inside. Jackpot! The presents for me and my little brother. Of course I had to share my discovery so I called my little brother and we looked for a while and then put things back the way they had been. I guess we weren't too successful in getting things back in the same spots because later that night I heard my full name hollered and I got two spankings that night. One for getting into the gifts and one for lying about it. My little brother got a spanking, too, just not as much as me because I led him down the path of Christmas present snooping. I think he learned his lesson and didn't snoop anymore. Me? Well, that's another story. I still snooped, I just got sneakier. I actually partially unwrapped presents just to see what they were! I never got busted for that, though..told you I got sneakier!
Fast forward to Christmas 2007. I had my son Ian's Christmas presents in my closet in a box on a high shelf. When he was supposed to be playing in his bedroom, he had actually gone and gotten a chair, pulled down one of his gifts, examined it and then brought it to me and told me it was as nice as he thought it was going to be! I can say he wasn't being sneaky! I can also tell you he came very close to losing that gift (he probably should have!)
Fast forward to this Christmas. This past Sunday, in fact. Ian had a Christmas program practice so Colin and I decided to run a couple of errands. We ended up buying a couple of little gifts for Ian. Unfortunately for us, Colin is not sneaky and had left the gifts uncovered in the back of the van (no trunk in a minivan). Also, he had left the van unlocked and Ian had heard me tell one of his teachers that we had done a little Christmas shopping. So while we were talking to some people from our church, Ian was hanging over the back seat in the van looking at his gifts! I don't think he saw much. Next time, I'll put the bags in, I know how to hide things in the back of the van!
Well, at least my Christmas snooper isn't sneaky, at least, not yet!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Shopping Adventures

Despite my plan of trying to shop throughout the year for Christmas gifts, I have found myself short a few items this year. I think it has a little bit to do with our budget, the horrible gas prices of the summer and fall and two vacations within seven months of each tends to limit available resources for shopping.
So this November I found that I had nothing in my gift box for Ian. I can honestly say, this has never happened before. I always have a gift or two for him in my gift box! This meant that I needed to look at all the Christmas ads, especially the Black Friday ads. I really don't like Black Friday. I love some of the great prices, but I hate the crowds, the deranged morning hours that they choose to start these sales and the general chaotic scene that ensues. Unfortunately, I found that Walmart had a gift that Ian would love, a Lego Castle. Normally $100, it was on sale for $50. So I discussed the situation with Colin and I made plans for him to be at Walmart by about 4:45 am (I told you I don't like the crowds, not to mention early mornings). I had a short list of things for Colin to look for, a game for my nephew Andrew and some other things, but the castle was the main thing. Alas, it was not meant to be. Walmart had put the castles somewhere other than the Lego aisle and by the time Colin located them, the last one was going in to another persons cart. Colin did manage to find the game and an external drive that his dad had asked him to pick up. He headed home so we could drive to the bigger city to go to a couple of other sales and to Group Health so a doctor could look at my lovely new case of pink eye.
We went to Walgreen's so I could pick some webkinz on sale. It turned out to be an okay sale as they were the super small webkinz, not the normal sized ones. We also went to Hallmark so I could get their new singing snowman. While we were at Hallmark, Ian spotted the regular Webkinz and fell in love with a dolphin. Of course, I couldn't buy it with him standing there, so I made plans to go back on Wednesday. I went back to find that it had been sold and that all the Hallmark's in the area were sold out of the dolphin webkinz. They took my name and number and told me they'd call if they got one in.
So when I got home last night I tried looking for it online. It was either sold out or it was an outrageous price ($29.95 for something that was $13.98 at Hallmark...not a good deal at Amazon). So I posted my frustration on my Facebook status and my friend Kitsel responded saying that the pharmacy in her town had a great selection and did she want me to check? I said yes and she checked and they had it! So I will get it from her when I see her at my next Bunco game!
I am going back to my shopping throughout the year! This last minute sale shopping and wondering if the store will have what you want in stock is seriously stressful!!!
Oh, I was at Walmart today and they had two of the castles just sitting on the shelf! Don't you just hate that? The good news is we did get a pretty cool Lego set for $50 thanks to Colin's mom being at another Walmart that didn't even get one of the Lego castles. They said they would make a substitution, so we snatched that up!
I hope the rest of my shopping works out better than these past adventures. I don't think I can stand any more stress!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Address Book

So, tonight I was working on my Christmas cards (those of you who know me, please pick yourselves up off the floor, I know you just fainted) and I pulled out one of my old address books. It's not really that old. I think it's approaching 10 years.
It's funny, the changes that have happened since I filled out that address book. It's just a bunch of names and places in an old book, but to me, I see each person in there when I look at their name.
I see family that I loved who aren't alive any more and I miss them. I see friends who have moved so many times, I'm not exactly sure where they are any more. I see people who were married who aren't now. I see people who were single that are married now. In just 10 short years, life, death, love, changes, they're all there.
I look at that book and think, there are people who need to be added. I didn't know them 10 years ago. There are addresses to be changed. Can you believe that most of my family and a lot of Colin's family don't live where they did 10 years ago?
It's amazing, all the changes that I see when I look at my old address book. Wonder what changes the next 10 years will bring?

The Land of Snot

Well, I haven't written for a while. I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and that you aren't going too crazy getting ready for Christmas!
I haven't written much because since November 15th I have been living in the land of snot. Yes, you read that right. The land of snot.
Ian came down with a bad head cold the night of the 15th. A really bad head cold. Even with his pretty good immune system, it took him 2 weeks to get over it. Since he can never remember to cover his mouth when he coughs, I was exposed constantly to the cold germs and sure enough, I caught the cold about 4 days after Ian.
I'm still fighting it! I thought it was getting somewhat better last Wednesday and I was semi okay on Thanksgiving but, on Friday I woke up congested and with pink eye! Ugh! Now there's snot in my eye (that's pretty much what it is).
I am ready to get rid of this stuff! Enough already! I have antibiotic eye drops for my eyes, but it sure seems slow!
Hopefully, I'll get over this before I start acting snotty (you know I couldn't resist that one!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I know, Thanksgiving is next week, but I've been thinking about Thanksgiving lately and I thought I'd share some of my memories.
Thanksgiving, for most of my childhood meant getting up early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while my mom cooked, driving across (or into, when we lived out in country) town to my Grandma's house. The day was typically crisp, cool, sunny with beautiful autumn leaves in the yard along the drive. I think one year there was snow, but for the most part, it was just a beautiful fall day.
We'd usually arrive at Grandma's around 1 or 1:30 in the afternoon. We'd already be hungry because our house smelled like pumpkin pies and stuffing as that's what my mom always brought. We'd all be snacking from the relish tray, avoiding the celery and trying to grab as many black olives as possible. We always ran out of black olives, for some reason we never had extra cans waiting to fill it back up.
Then we'd eat our Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner, the men would excuse themselves to go back to their football game on TV and the ladies would do the dishes. Only after the dishes were done did we get pie. Then we ate our pie and played Trivial Pursuit. That was my typical Thanksgiving.
One year we had my mom's side of the family over for Thanksgiving. I think it was one of those "we'll celebrate Thanksgiving on another day because that's when we can all come" things. I must have been somewhere around 15 or 16 at the most. We had a fabulous feast, nothing was missing and when we finished everyone was stuffed! My dad was watching TV with my uncle Steve and his twin boys who are 3 months younger than me. My dad likes to make jokes, so he said he had a good idea..."why don't we order some pizza?" What my dad didn't think about was that he was talking to teenage boys, you know the kind, their stomachs are never full. He ended up ordering pizza and they ate it! After having a huge Thanksgiving dinner!
That story makes me laugh every time I think about it. Just shows that sometimes, it's better to keep that funny thought to yourself!
So, those are my Thanksgiving memories, what are yours?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Paula Deen Cookbook Giveaway

Well if you know me, you know I love winning free things! Surprises are great. You might have noticed the button on the right that has Paula Deen's cookbook for kids. Well they're giving a copy away at :
If I'm lucky, the link will be there, otherwise, just click on the button and it will take you there! I think this is a really cute cookbook and I know one little boy that would be thrilled to use it to make some yummy things with mommy!

The Sounds Around Us

Have you ever really stopped to listen to the sounds around you? All the tiny sounds that if you don't stop to listen to, you never really hear. I did that this morning. I tend to do that when I need to walk the dogs as long as Ian is still in the house. If I have Ian with me, I don't hear the sounds because he is a noisy boy.
So what sounds did I hear? I heard little birds chirping in the field behind my house. They sounded happy to be out flying in the sunshine. I heard the wind blowing through the dry tall grasses and it reminded me of the wind blowing over the prairie back home. I heard the hum of the highway a few miles away reminding me that people are busying going somewhere, even if for today, I'm not. I heard the train blowing its whistle as it roared through town. I heard the large bird that sits up high in an evergreen tree and calls out "mom, mom". It really does sound like that, I've actually thought Ian was calling me before when it was really that bird.
The sounds around us are a reminder that there is life going on all around us. There is beauty in listening to God's creation.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Well, the title says it all. Rain. We've got it and plenty of it. Of course if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest you might not understand what I mean when I say rain. You might think, oh a storm with some showers.
Nope. I mean rain. Constant damp drizzling, sometimes sideways, definitely gusty rain. The kind that an umbrella does very little to help you because it's all blowing under the umbrella and coming in at all sides. Yuck!
And I have two doggies that have to be walked. Yuck again! I've only walked one so far this afternoon and am trying to recover enough from the first walk to venture out for the second one.
Poor Dilly, she's been banished to the garage until she can dry off. Buster thinks he'd like to go out, but I'm sure he'll change his mind once we get out there. I walked him this morning when it was only drizzling and he had to keep shaking off while we were walking. I can only imagine how much he's going to love his walk in a total downpour.
Well, I suppose I can't put it off any longer. Wish me luck and pray for sunshine!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cooking Day

Today turned out to be a kind of cooking day for me. The cooking started yesterday when I peeled tons of apples (enough to fill up my crockpot) and started a batch of apple butter. I love homemade apple butter! It makes my house smell so yummy.
The apple butter was done this afternoon so I canned most of it. I had a little left that wasn't enough to fill a canning jar full, so that went into the fridge.
I had also promised Colin I would make brirocks, which are rolls stuffed with a mixture of cooked hamburger, cabbage, onion and carrot. I didn't really feel like making them, but I had promised so I made them. Yum. Ian ate two of them! I think Colin was pretty happy with them, too!
I did get a nice surprise in the mail today. I received a prize from Lipton tea. I entered a contest they had an eon ago (okay, it was probably this summer) and I won $25. Pretty cool, huh? I love that kind of mail!
After all the cooking today I don't feel like cooking much tomorrow. We'll see what the menu is tomorrow. It might be Fend For Yourself night around here!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween


No, this decoration is not found in my yard. I don't decorate for Halloween. It was in the yard of a house in our little town. We kept seeing it on the ground during the day, but tonight we remembered to drive by so Ian could see Snoopy. Actually, we were on our way home from a fun night of dinner out and bowling. Ian was whining that he needed to go to the bathroom right NOW, when I remembered about the inflatable Snoopy. I gave him a choice, go home now and use the bathroom or go see Snoopy. As you can see from the photo, he chose Snoopy. I'll try to post a picture of Ian in his costume soon!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today (well almost..30 min. to go)is my anniversary! October 30th. So nine years ago today I was full of butterflies and fairly humming with excitement and stress! I was also doing a lot of packing (with a lot of help from my family). I was getting ready to wear the dress my mom had made (she did a great job)and walk down the aisle.
We got married in Coffeyville, KS, where I was living at the time. Colin had flown out a week before the wedding and his family flew out about two days before. We had our rehearsal dinner at Better-n-Nothin' in South Coffeyville (I know, not a great name for a restaurant, but I promise they had great food).
Our wedding was in the afternoon and the reception was in the church. Just cake and punch, nothing super fancy.
The funniest thing that happened at our wedding was our unity candle. It would not stay lit! The church had a ceiling fan going right over the candles. So Colin and I were lighting the unity candle during the song Doubly Good (I love that song). Anyway, we lit the candle and we're gazing into each others eyes, when we noticed the candle had gone out. So we tried again. Nope, same thing. Colin's brother handed Colin a match or lighter and Colin tried that to no avail, it would not stay lit. So we stood there quietly laughing at the silly candle until the song was over and then my pastor said a prayer. We didn't realize until later that Colin's dad (who was our co-pastor for the wedding) tried to light the candle while we were listening to the prayer. His dad stepped back before anyone opened their eyes. We never would have known if it hadn't been for the videotape of the wedding!
After the reception, we headed for Springfield, Missouri. Well, after we got in the car. My brother had parked the car so Colin would get lots of birdseed on him. He parked the driver's side closest to the building, knowing that Colin would have to go open the door for me and then come back. It was a good plan, only Colin forgot to open the door for me, so I got the most birdseed on me!
We had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel in Joplin on our way to Springfield. In Springfield, we stayed at the Walnut Street Inn. It was a great bed and breakfast. I wish we could have stayed more than one night. I'd love to go back sometime and stay longer.
The next day (Halloween) we went back to my parents house and finished loading up the Rider truck and we headed out on a week long journey to Washington state with a Rider truck full of stuff and a miniature schnauzer in tow.
It was a crazy beginning to a new life as a married couple and it's stayed pretty crazy for the past nine years. Life is full of surprises and I'm happy to face them with Colin by my side.
Happy Anniversary, Colin! I love you!

The Kindness of Strangers

Today started out pretty uneventful. Ian came down with the stomach flu Monday afternoon (of course, we were on a field trip that I had planned). Poor kid, he started feeling yucky right before we left to go to the pumpkin patch and since I had arranged the trip and there wasn't time to call anyone to cover, we had to go. You know your child doesn't feel well when he keeps his head between his knees on a hayrack ride! We made it through, barely and a few short hours later, Ian was sicker than a dog. He started feeling better late Tuesday, but I didn't want him to over do it, so I kept him home from Awana tonight.
We did have to go into town to pick up Pepper, the miniature schnauzer we are dog sitting for a week. I know, we're nuts, having three dogs in our house. So far so good. I was worried about how Buster would get along with Pepper, but they're fine. The biggest problem is the big baby, Dilly. She has too much energy! I tell you, I think Pepper and Buster look at her, shake their heads and mutter something about "kids!"
Since I was in the big city and I needed my allergy shot, we headed over to Group Health, where Ian was having a cow about his shoe being untied. Yes, Ian is 7 and still hasn't mastered shoe tying! I blame it on rain boots! Ian's only had one or two pairs of velcro shoes because I think they slow down the process of learning to tie shoes. However, living in the rainy state of Washington pretty much requires rain boots, which Ian is happy to wear year round (or at least until he can wear sandals). Which is why he can't tie shoes. I have tried to get him going with the shoe tying for 2 years. I got him a cute book to practice with that showed all the steps...not interested. I tried showing him myself and getting him to practice so he could learn...not interested. In fact, that led to hissy fits because 'it was too hard'. He wanted to instantly be good at it without any practice. Finally, I told him he had a deadline. 3 weeks and then he had to be tying his shoes by himself. I was trying to get him to see the need to practice!
Anyway, there we are sitting in Group Health after I had gotten my shot and was waiting my 30 minutes and Ian starts having a cow because his shoe is untied and he wants me to tie it for him, but I want him to at least try to tie it himself before I help him. He's whining and fussing when an older lady in a wheelchair comes up and asks if Ian is a good boy (she sort of states she just knows he's a good boy), to which Ian replies he's no good. He meant no good at tying shoes so I explain that. That leads to a mom and her young teenage son commenting. The son says his sister taught him how to tie shoes and the mom tells a little of the story. In the meantime, the son comes over and starts showing Ian how to tie shoes. He shows him a couple of times and before I knew what had happened, Ian tied his shoes!!! Amazing! He'll still need to practice a bit, but he's pretty much got it as long as he keeps at it.
So I'm saying thanks to God for sending this young man into our life for 20 minutes. It sure helped Ian and it saved us both a lot of frustration! Isn't God cool to do that for us?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm really not delirious! I know that Christmas is 2 months from today. However, Christmas has come a little early at my house thanks to my mom and dad. I have lamented to my mom over the last couple of years (or longer...probably longer) of the lack of freezer space in my fridge. We're on our third fridge (one was in the apartment) and still don't have enough freezer space. I always have to be careful how much frozen food I get because there's always a chance that when I get home, it won't fit.
After listening to me for years, my mom saw a great deal on a freezer at Sears and decided it was in her price range for Christmas. Of course, when we tried to look at it online, it was sold out! There was a bigger one for $40 dollars more, so I talked to Colin and we decided that we liked the bigger one and would be willing to pay the difference. Since the sale ended today, we ordered the freezer to be picked up at our local Sears store. So we are getting a freezer for Christmas (and I'm excited about that, so I know I'm getting old...old people like practical gifts).
Actually, speaking of practical gifts and knowing you're getting old, one of the people in my homeschool group emailed that she was getting a half a beef for Christmas from her in-laws (she was looking for advice on a freezer). I thought that sounded like a good gift, perhaps not the most exciting gift, but still, a pretty good gift. I know as a younger me, that gift would have horrified me..meat for Christmas?? Maybe it's perspective after paying these high prices. Although it does remind me a little bit of the movie Scrooged, the part where he's seeing a Christmas when he was a child and his dad was a butcher and came home and gave him some steak for Christmas!
Anyway, we will be able to pick up the freezer this week. I am very excited and very thankful. Colin is excited because now we should finally have room for him to have some ice cream!

Grocery Money

If someone offered you $20 to help with your groceries, would you take it? Maybe $30? How about $50?? Would you take that? Well guess what?! That's how much I saved just with coupons on my grocery trip this week. Actually, I saved right about $56.50 with coupons only.
By shopping the sales and using my store cards for discounts and using coupons, I saved about $175 on our groceries. Colin did all the math for me. He kept track of the prices and what amount of coupon I was using for each product.
My best deal of the day was getting a bottle of Herbal Essence Shampoo and a matching bottle of conditioner on sale at Safeway 2/$5 minus my coupons $3/1 and $2/1 = free shampoo and conditioner. Sweet! I love free!
I guess I proved that for our little family, using coupons and checking out the sales, really does save us quite a bit of money!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Frosting on Top of a Great Day

I forgot to mention the end of my great day. This disappointed my sweet husband because he worked very hard to surprise me and then I didn't mention anything about about it!
When I got home last night I walked into a house full of candlelight and soft romantic music. Ian was already in bed. I even got a great foot rub!
What a sweet hubby!! What a nice surprise!

A Day of Blessings

Yesterday was such a great day! Colin was home and I got to sleep in, which is always nice. I made Spanish rice to take to my Bunco game for our dinner and that turned out very well.
I had talked to a friend from our old church who is homeschooling and had extra curriculum leftover from last year when one of her boys was in 2nd grade. So we had set up a time for yesterday for me to come over and take a look at the curriculum. I wasn't sure if she just wanted to get rid of it or sell it. She gave me a ton of curriculum!! That is a huge blessing!! With the price of everything so high right now, we couldn't get all the curriculum I had wanted to get. We had pretty much the most important things, but for the rest, I just had to wing it. I would use books or the internet, which is fine and it's awesome that the material is out there, available, but it's a whole lot more work to keep hunting for what you need rather than having it at your fingertips. I had prayed about the need for more curriculum and I have to say that this was an answer to prayer. Thank you, Janice!!
After I left with lots of great books, I headed toward somewhere to sit and wait until it was closer to the time for my Bunco game. I saw that gas at Albertson's was $2.93 a gallon. I'm sorry that wasn't excited enough. $2.93 A GALLON!!!!! Do you hear me?? I haven't seen a 2 at the beginning of a gas price for a LONG time!! In fact, just yesterday in the small city prices were still around $3.40. Since we're a little picky about where we get gas, I ended up at Costco where I paid $2.95 a gallon. That was a blessing!!
Then I had Bunco and we had all 12 people! No empty spots. We ate yummy enchiladas and appetizers and played and had great conversation and so much fun. I did not win a cool prize this time, but that's okay. I won a huge Hershey Bar and some dish towels. The dish towels are very nice, but I recently decluttered and have realized, I have too many towels for the drawers I keep them in!! Maybe someone would like a few very nice kitchen towels as a little bonus Christmas gift. Maybe my mom, she has to do all her dishes by hand!!
I feel very blessed by such a day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm a Winner, Baby!

I won something very cool! This summer I found a contest that was giving away two American Girl dolls. It was from Borders Books in honor of the American Girl movie that was released this summer (I still want to see that, it looked really good). So I signed up and didn't think much more about it until September, when I received a notice in the mail telling me that I had won and had 2 weeks from when I got the notice to fill out the forms and have an affidavit notarized and get it back to them or I would miss out on my prize. So I took care of it the very next day and even sent the paperwork priority mail, so it would get there quickly.
I didn't mention much about winning because, well, you just never know. What if the post office lost my letter? Or something in my paperwork wasn't quite right. I'm telling you now because they were in a box on my front step when I got back from homeschool sports today. They are pretty cute. Ian even likes them. He asked me if they had any American Boy dolls, which as far as I know, they don't. He also informed me that when he watches the movie, he's going to need those dolls. I told him those dolls won't be here by the time we watch the movie. They're going to Kansas to hopefully make two little girls very happy this Christmas. They're for my two nieces, Emily and Hannah. I sure hope they like them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A New Town?

Don't you just love kids and the way they sometimes are so close to getting something right, but not quite? Ian pulled one of those today. We were in the van and he decided he needed to ask me a question. He said, "Hey, mom?!" and I said something brilliant, "Yes?" And then he asked me his question which totally made me giggle. "Dodge Ball City is in Kansas, right?"
"I think you mean Dodge City and yes, Dodge City is in Kansas."
"Oh yeah, right. Dodge City. Thanks."
So there you go. He was so close and yet so far away. Dodge Ball City. Go ahead, giggle, I did. It's pretty silly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photo Challenges

Well, just for you, I photographed the two dogs. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. Have you ever tried to photograph two dogs who have been playing, are miles apart in the height department and refuse to hold still even for a second? I can now say that I have and it wasn't easy! I'm sure if you look at the pictures to the right you might notice that they're a little blurry. Those were the good pictures. Some of the bad pictures resembled modern art, with streaks of color, mostly black, brown and white!
On top of their constant movement, I also kept getting shots of one dogs face and the other dogs heinie. I'm pretty sure no one wants to look at doggy heinies, at least, I don't! I did get one really good shot, but Dilly ruined it by sniffing Buster somewhere inappropriate! Crazy dogs!
I must say that there seems to be some progress with the dogs. Dilly has started to stick up for herself a little bit and is putting up with less from Buster. She's still pretty laid back with him, but now when he takes her toy or tries to grab her tennis ball, she tries to get it back. They actually played together tonight, which was really cool to watch. Buster wasn't growling and snapping at Dilly! He grabbed her tug of war toy (blue tennis ball with three short ropes coming off of it) and for a couple of seconds, they were playing tug of war. Pretty cool.
Also, Buster is keeping Dilly busy and that girl is actually getting tired. Yay! She can wear out our entire family and still be ready to play some more. But following a little dog around all day, well that's hard work!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin Bars

I am procrastinating. I admit it! I need to be making pumpkin bars for Colin to take to work for a retirement party tomorrow, but I don't wanna. I feel completely unmotivated, even though the recipe is very simple and easy.
I feel more like taking a nap. Although I don't suppose a nap at 7:40 pm is a wise idea. Should have taken one earlier. Drat!
Right now I'm listening to the new Christmas CD from Travis Cottrell (he's the worship leader for Beth Moore). Yes, I said Christmas CD. Don't tell Colin, he'd cringe! He thinks I'm nuts to listen to Christmas music at any other time than December (and he probably thinks I should only listen during the latter half of the month).
I figure Christmas was the best present we ever got, Jesus coming to be a sacrifice for the sins of every person, who wouldn't want to sing about that any time of the year??!
By the way, I do not have the new CD, it's playing on a website. I think I'm going to need this CD. It's great. I really like the song on here called: Jesus Saves, it's awesome! Check it out for yourself here:
Hopefully, the link will work, otherwise, copy and paste so you can go to the site, it's worth a listen.
All right, enough procrastinating, time to make pumpkin bars. If you would like me to post the recipe, leave me a comment and I'll do it (no need to post it if no one wants the recipe). Night!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well, Maybe Not Buddy...

So for two days we've called the dog formerly known as Bummer, Buddy. Until today. He was growling at Dilly and I said "You'd better stop it, Buster.". Hmmm, Buster. That could be a good name. Sounds similar to Bummer, it's cute and he answers to almost any name that starts with the Bu sound.
Colin wasn't so sure. He liked the name Buddy. I said we didn't have to decide right away, just think about it.
Then I was sitting in the living room when it occurred to me....Buster, Dilly...uh, I think we have a theme here. That's right...Dairy Queen has a Dilly bar and a Buster bar!!! Of course, Dilly is just her nickname, but still, I thought it was pretty funny!
Plus, Buster kind of looks like the little dog on Buster Brown shoe ads. So maybe we did find a clever little name for him after all!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Well, the new dog is here...on a trial basis. He came yesterday afternoon. Dilly's personality really shined! She was happy to see him, didn't bark or growl at him and she just wanted to play with him.
He, however is not so sure about all this. He has growled at Dilly, nipped at her a couple of times, tried to assert his dominance (yes, by the "traditional" doggy method..humping). Of course, asserting his dominance over Dilly doesn't really work since she's about 5 times taller than he is and easily knocks him off when he tries!
He growls at her over food and people. Dilly on the other hand just wants to play.
We call him "Buddy". His name was Bummer, which is just a sad name for a little doggy. We were going to try to think of some fabulous name for him, but Buddy seems to work, so Buddy it is.
We figure we'll know if he's a good fit for Dilly and our whole family by the time he's been here two weeks. That should give him a week to get acquainted and a week to get settled. If it doesn't seem like a good fit for all of us at that point, then he'll go back to where he was and they'll keep looking for a home for him.
Hopefully, he'll get used to Dilly. We've already noticed that she's moving around more with him here because he's very nosy and keeps moving around to investigate things! I'll try to get a picture of the two dogs over the weekend and post it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A New Dog or Not?

So yesterday at Ian's soccer game, one of the moms had a dog. He was pretty cute, a jackapoo (jack russel, poodle cross). Turns out it's her grandmother's dog and he's getting to be too much for her to take care of. He's fairly young (3).
So I said we would be interested. We've been thinking of getting another dog so Dilly can have a buddy. He would be on a trial basis in case he didn't work out with our family.
However, we'll see if any of this transpires. The mom was supposed to call last night and she didn't. She's supposed to bring the dog over tomorrow, but right now I have no idea if that will happen either. If all else fails, I will see her at the soccer game on Sat.
So there you have it...a new dog...or not. Right now, we wait.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Look and Getting Caught Up

Well, obviously my blog has a new look. And yes, this is all Missy's fault! I'm so excited to find so many new options for my blog. I can't wait to try out the Christmas background! Thanks, Missy!
So on to updates. What's new around here?? Well, I just had a really bad cold and actually am getting over it without an antibiotic! Yes! I think it's all thanks to vitamin c and prayer. I'm really glad I'm getting over it. Ian got a little "vacation" from school last week thanks to me being sick. Well, not a complete vacation, but he got off pretty lightly most days. Which means we have to work extra hard this week to get caught up.
Last night we started watching the "Made in America with John Ratzenberger" DVD's that I checked out from the library. Ian loves them! He especially loves when they talk about helicopters. He made a helicopter out of Legos and he's starting to put together a wooden helicopter kit that my dad gave us as part of his art for school. Today he was sanding the wood getting it ready to paint.
Tomorrow Ian has a soccer game (only 3 more left). Ian really likes playing soccer (even though sometimes he denies it).
Wednesday we have Awana and we're bringing three cousins for Friend's night. That should be fun and somewhat chaotic!!
Thursday we have homeschool sports...hhhmmmm, I'm starting to see why it was so easy for me to get sick.
Believe it or not, this fall's schedule is about half of what we did last year. I think I had a lapse in my sanity at the end of summer last year. I signed up for so many great things to do, only to realize later that they're all great, but not all at the same time. I did learn from that, but sometimes we still get a bit too busy when things overlap!
Well, we're supposed to have another storm blow through tonight and tomorrow. Guess it really is fall now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Poor Piccadilly

Piccadilly (Dilly) is a happy camper at this very moment. She is rolling around on my carpet trying to make herself stinky again.
I had noticed the last couple of days that she was really biting at herself. I thought she might have hot spots like Lucy had so I gave her a baked potato the other day. She appreciated the thought, but it didn't stop the biting. Tonight I was petting her when I saw a big, fat, nasty flea. For me to see a flea on Dilly's back is a very big deal because she has a thick, wiry, curly black coat. I shouldn't have been able to see anything. Unfortunately, I did. So even though it was already 11, Dilly got a bath. She was happy to come into the bathroom with me until she figured out what I intended to do. Then she tried to dog those long black toenails into the floor. It did her no good, I was determined, so my big dog got half plunked, half shoved into the bathtub where she tried to escape twice and then, halfway through realized she wasn't going to get away, so she sat down in the tub. Just sat right down, still covered in soap. It didn't speed up the process any, but at least she wasn't trying to escape.
So now she's clean and relatively flea free. She even smells nice (although I'm sure she doesn't think so). I think she has decided that whenever she gets a bath she is extra pretty...she sure acted like it after this bath! Dancing around and sitting there looking at me like 'aren't I cute?'. Yup, she's cute!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

After the Buzz 2006

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Getting the Buzz 2006

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Say Cheese!

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Colin's One and Only Attempt at Riding a Mechanical Bull

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Goggles Are Cool!

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Huh, That Pumpkin Might Be Big!

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The Pickle Picture

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My Little Scarecrow

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Mommy and Ian

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Daddy and Ian...Look at the Goatee on Daddy!

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What a Cute One Year Old!

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One of My Favorite Baby Pics of Ian

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Regarding Henry

A simple letter sent my day into sadness today. I received a letter from Group Health (Colin opened it thinking it was a bill) telling me that I needed to choose a new OB/GYN due to the unexpected death of my current OB, Dr. Henry Drygas. I had no idea that he had passed. I haven't been to Group Health since August. He passed away September 3rd, 27 days shy of his 61st birthday. I will really miss him.
Dr. Drygas made me feel instantly at ease when I had visits with him. I never felt nervous or self conscious around him, which says a lot about him since going to see an OB/GYN isn't usually a joy for women!
I met Dr. Drygas around Aug. 2000, when I was pregnant with my son, Ian. I was considered a high risk pregnancy, so I was assigned to Dr. Drygas. I saw him and some of the other docs in his office a lot during my pregnancy. He didn't get to deliver Ian because Ian decided to be born on the weekend when Dr. D wasn't on call.
I do remember him coming to see me in the hospital to talk me into getting a spinal patch (I'd had a botched epidural and they'd leaked spinal fluid, I had a horrible headache). I had already decided to get it, so he just stayed and chatted for a while.
I just saw Dr. Drygas the end of July or 1st of August. It's hard to believe he's gone. I know I'm not the only one who'll miss him. He was loved by his patients. He left some big shoes to fill. Farewell, Dr. Drygas, we'll miss you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big Dog

Lately, I've been noticing that my dog is big. Okay, I noticed a while ago, but her new habit just proves it even more. Dilly has decided since the living room furniture is no longer cluttered with stuff she would like to use it. Big deal, you say? Most dogs jump on the furniture once in a while? Well, Dilly doesn't jump on the furniture...she sits on it. Yes, you read that right. My dog is so big that she sits on the furniture. Especially our ottoman. That silly dog walks right over to the ottoman (she's tall enough that her belly is over the ottoman) and she plunks her booty down on the ottoman. She even put her hind legs on the ottoman. Note, I said her hind legs. This is her trick to try and get away with this. Only her hind legs and booty are on the ottoman, her front legs remain on the ground at all times making it appear that she might just be really close to the ottoman, but not really on it.
She doesn't fool me! I know she's on that ottoman!! She is very unrepentant of this behavior. When I tell her to get off or go, she just looks at me like I must be nuts. She doesn't want to move. Several times this week I have reprimanded her and the only way she would move was if I started to get up to physically move her. Then, she reluctantly saunters off with a glance that says 'I'll be back'. What a naughty girl!!
I guess that's how you know if you have a big dog or not. If they can sit on your furniture...they're BIG!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Cure For Clutter?

I must admit that for my entire life I have been the poster child for living the cluttered life. Being uncluttered I was certain would require too much time and effort to really be of any benefit to me. I was busy. I had places to go and things to do, I couldn't be bothered with getting organized. That was pretty much me from infancy until I got married. Just ask my mother. She tried to make a game out of picking up toys and I would laugh and love watching her pick up my toys and then, when she left the room, I'd dump the toy box out. I was two at the time and shouldn't have been able to pull over something so big, but I did.
After I got married, I was still cluttered (sorry, no fairy godmother to cure being cluttered), but now I was organizationally envious. I saw organized spaces and they inspired me (to want a maid). I assumed the task was still too daunting, so I did what all good cluttered people do..I lived with it. I waited until something absolutely had to be done and then I did it. I tackled mountains on a regular basis. Mountains are tiring, so I'd finish with one mountain and be too tired to tackle the was a vicious cycle. My family was being sucked into this cycle, too. My son rarely picked up anything, my husband left clothes lying around (is this a clause in the marriage license that men must do this?). None of us really liked it, but that's life right??
Well, not so fast! My homeschool group posted a seminar about getting organized. It came through in my email and I glanced at it and thought it looked interesting, but it was on a Thursday night in the "big city" and I had to drive there the day before, so I decided I probably shouldn't go.
Have you ever had something that won't go away? You've already made the decision, but it keeps popping back in your mind? That's what this class was doing to me. I had decided not to go, but I guess God must have other ideas because it kept coming to my mind. Finally, I gave in. I decided to talk to Colin about and see what he said. He said it was fine, so I rsvp'd.
The day of the class came and I was tempted not to go. I am so glad I didn't give in to temptation! I learned so much! Did you know that habits are catching?? Good and bad habits alike are catching. I know where I "caught" some of my bad habits and here I was passing on bad habits to a new generation!
It's been a week since I went to the meeting with the Clutter class. Here's what has changed so far: dishes no longer pile up, they are cleaned immediately after being used and each person takes personal responsibility for their own dish (I wish this had been incorporated in my family growing up, I hated the chore of doing the dishes! This way no one person is stuck doing the dishes), our laundry mountain is getting smaller and no longer do things sit in the washer or dryer waiting to be taken care of, they are dealt with immediately, my bed is made every morning (dad, please pick mom up off the floor because I know she just fainted!).
We have decided as a family to slowly get uncluttered, that way we aren't overwhelmed (and stop before we are uncluttered) and we can do a thorough job.
Just tonight Ian came out of his bedroom with little tears in his eyes telling us he wanted his room clean, he didn't like the way it felt compared to the rest of the house.
So hopefully, we will keep this up. The lady who gave the class said if you keep it up for about 21 days it should become a habit. I know keeping the dishes clean immediately after dirtying them has started to become a habit...Colin doesn't leave dirty dishes in his office anymore!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mom's Got All The Answers

I'll admit that sometimes I've got some pretty good answers for all of Ian's questions. He has a lot of them. I'll also admit that some of my answers don't really make a lot of sense if I stop and think about it. Especially when I'm tired.
Today I was very tired, but it was the night to sign up for AWANA so we headed to the big town and I picked up Colin and we headed to dinner. We ended up at the mall where we could make our choices for dinner. Colin went to Charlie's Subs and Ian and I ended up going to Thai Way for, of course, Thai food. So we were standing in line waiting, watching the lady in front of us order three dinners to go wiping out most of what was in the warmer trays...when Ian asked me "Where is Thai food from?" This is what popped out of my mouth...."Taiwan.............uh, what did I say? Uh, I mean Thailand" Hopefully, no one there heard me say that, although one of the cooks looked kinda smiley after I said that, but I couldn't be sure.
Of course, then Ian wanted to know where Thailand was, so I told him it was in Asia. So he asked me if it was close to Russia and I told him, no China is close to Russia, but Thailand is a more tropical Asian location. At least that answer made more sense than Taiwan, I honestly don't know where that came from, but it certainly proved that I really was tired!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Precious Gift

So this past week got me thinking about a precious gift that I get. You get it, too. Every morning when we wake up we have been given a gift. The gift of another day to live and breathe, to be with our families. Another day of being alive.
Sometimes I get so busy or so caught up with other things that I forget to appreciate the fact that today is a gift to me. There wasn't a guarantee that I would get to see it, to live it, but here I am, experiencing it. I'll admit there are some days that don't feel much like a gift, but even the lousy days are another day of being alive.
You might wonder why I've been thinking about this topic and I'll tell you. I have been bombarded with reminders of just how precious life is and how quickly it can end this week.
One morning this week I woke up and checked my email, like I usually do. In my email was a letter from one of my friends on the Homeschool Lounge asking for prayer for fellow homeschool mom. Her three year old son was missing. I logged in to find out more details and there was an update. Her sweet little boy had drowned in the pond in their back yard. My heart just ached for them. So all week I have been praying for their family. I will continue to pray for them. From the later updates that I read, I know that this family knows Jesus and that they are praying that God will use this tragedy to bring people to Jesus.
Also this week it seemed like every time I checked the news I read about someone else dying. A 13 year old kid at football practice on his birthday while his mom was at home making cupcakes to celebrate his birthday died from an undetected heart problem.
There were other reminders. If the news wasn't enough to make me aware of my mortality, I could always open the email from my mom with an obituary of someone I "might" have known who was close to my age from my hometown. Obviously, my mother has reached the age where she scans the obits at least weekly if not daily. Thanks mom! (I hope you know I'm teasing you mom!) (and yes, she really does forward me obits from time to time).
So back to what I was saying...I know this sounds depressing and it was for part of the week. But then I had another request to pray for a young man in Iraq who had collapsed with a temperature of 108. I prayed and so did many others. He is now back in the states in a military hospital. I don't know exactly how well his is doing, but he's conscious and I think that he is on the road to recovery.
So there you have it. Each day is a gift. We don't know how many we get, so we should be thankful for each one and try to use it wisely.
If you think about it this next week, would you please pray for the family that lost their son and also for the soldier who needs to heal and thank God for the opportunity of another day while you're at it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sleep Patterns and Other Such Nonsense

So today is Tuesday. I say that so my brain can hopefully grasp that fact. All day it kept trying to tell me it was Wednesday. Probably because yesterday was worth two days. I met with my doctor in the morning, found out I have a cyst in my left kidney on top of already knowing that I have lesions on my spine. I think the next time I have a CT scan the report will say that I'm falling apart!
After seeing my doctor I went and spent precious time waiting in the pharmacy. It's depressing to get the wait number 99 and see that the last number they called was 69. Sigh.
Then I went to get my allergy shot. While I was waiting to get that, Colin called and said he had an appointment for the hearing center that afternoon and could I please pick him up at his work and shuttle him back and forth. Sure, I wanted to spend my whole day at Group Health anyway. Sigh.
It was also grocery shopping day, so I went to Safeway, Target, Walgreens, Walmart and Albertson's, all with a stinker of a boy. Ian was definitely not listening well and either wouldn't stay with me or was right in front of the cart and would stop so I almost would run over him!
So with all those activities my sleep last night blissfully came early. After having back pain for a month my sleep patterns have been way off. Going to bed really really late and getting up late. Last night I was so tired I was in bed by 9:30. That never happens unless I'm sick and usually, not even then!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Developments

Well I see that I am slacking in the blogging department. A whole week since my last blog! I suppose that's because there's been a lot going on. I'll start with the results from the MRI. They were good and bad at the same time. My bones are okey dokey, but I have 6 lesions on my spine. 3 are typical spinal hemangiomas and 3 are atypical. They are benign and supposed to be "painless", but I'm not so sure about that. I've read about lots of people who did have pain from these. I have a follow up on Monday. Knowing Group Health, they'll just want to "keep an eye" on them, but not do anything.
My back has been relatively pain free this week. Which is good and strange at the same time. I have no idea what caused it and how it could get so incredibly bad that I could barely lift my head and then disappear in a week or so. Strange. Not that I'm asking for the pain back. No thank you. I just wish I knew what caused it so I could fix it or avoid it and never have that kind of pain again!
I got some great news this week. My mom and dad are going to visit us this November!! Hooray!! I can't wait for them to come and meet Dilly and see some of the very few changes we have accomplished since they were here last summer.
Well, I'm sure there's more, but I had caffeine last night and took my medicine too late at night, so I've been up all night! I still don't feel tired, but I suppose I should try to get some sleep before Ian is up. Looks like Colin will be home today. He's coughing and has a sore throat for the second day in a row. Hope he's not coming down with something like he thinks he might be. Looks like I'd better put soup on the menu for today!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ian and Social Security

Today,since I had an MRI scheduled for 6:15 pm, Ian and I drove into the big city to meet Colin at his work. We got there too early so we decided to go into the lobby, buy something to drink and wait for Colin. We did this because I didn't want to keep the van running and it was too hot to sit in the van without AC. It was 95 degrees!!
So we went inside and Ian got a Sprite and I got a water and we sat down at a table with a slice of banana bread for a snack. I called Colin to let him know that we were there, but he already knew, a coworker had spotted us in the lobby and told Colin we were there.
We were just getting comfortable when a weird beep started going off about every 15 seconds. It was very high pitched, but wasn't like a smoke detector, which is continuous. It was kind of annoying and after at least 5 minutes, I decided to see if I could figure out where the sound was coming from. I walked around, but I really couldn't tell, so I sat back down. Right after I sat down Ian told me " I bet it's the Social Security going off. Yep, it's probably the Social Security."
I laughed and told him I was pretty sure it wasn't the Social Security, but it might be the security system. Ian asked me what Social Security was if it wasn't a system to protect people with alarms. I explained that it's a kind or retirement program. He looked at me and said "Oh, I guess you're right, it couldn't be the Social Security, it must be the security system."
Thankfully, someone came and turned it off not too long after our conversation. So I guess, according to 7 year olds, if you need to find a system to protect your home, you'd better talk to Social Security!!

Happy Birthday, Dilly and Ian!!

Well, I'm a few hours late with this birthday wish, but I'm sure Dilly won't mind!
Piccadilly is now officially one year old as of August 14th. Ian is also one year old on the 14th. Confused? You thought he was 7 and his birthday was in April?? Well, you're right. August 14th is Ian's spiritual birthday. A year ago today (pretend it's still the 14th, okay?) Ian accepted Jesus as his savior. I can't believe it was a year ago. Time certainly flies.
I still think it's pretty cool that Dilly was born that very day. At that time we had no idea that we would be looking for another dog anytime soon, but God knew. He knew that Lucy wasn't going to be around much longer and that we'd miss her and want another "horse" in our house. I call her a horse because she gallops and when she runs in the house it kind of sounds like a horse, that and the fact that she is so tall! It's a good thing she's so cute...she's already eaten/ruined one pair of tennis shoes, a pair of sandals and two pairs of flip flops (those were mine) she also destroyed one of Ian's cleats. She hasn't messed with Colin's shoes yet (I guess she's smart and doesn't go for those smelly things!)
So here's a Happy Birthday to two very loved and challenging blessings in my life!

Martha's Family Cookery Book Giveaway

Well, to keep myself entertained while I have been trying to rest my back I have been looking at various blog giveaways. I found one tonight that looks pretty cool. It's open until midnight on Aug. 15th. They are giving away Martha's Family Cookery Book. It's a cookbook and meal planner all in one. That sounds completely awesome! I can always use some help with menu planning. If you would like to enter go to their website at :
Mountain Morning Homeschool: Martha's Family Cookery Book Giveaway
In honor of this giveaway I'm going to post my favorite rice casserole recipe.
Green Rice Casserole
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. cooking oil
3 eggs
1/2 small onion, minced (I dice a whole large onion)
1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar
3 c. cooked long grain rice

In a large bowl beat milk, oil and eggs together until well combined. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hr, then set on low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Stir during first hour.
***I usually double this recipe because I have a big crockpot and I love having this as a leftover.
I usually make this the next day after we've had a meal with rice. I cook rice extra so I can make this recipe. I usually add extra onion because I like onion and it tastes great in this recipe. This recipe is pretty forgiving, many times I've added extra rice without doubling the recipe and it still turned out great (I just add a little extra milk and cheese).
I first had this recipe at a friend's house. I really thought that I had been eating a rice casserole with broccoli in it, not spinach!
I hope you try this recipe, it's so yummy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Real Pain in the Neck

It's been a little while since I last blogged. I was trying to get better. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working.
I had my ultrasound of my kidneys Friday afternoon. Friday night I had my Bunco night and I felt pretty good. I thought maybe I was getting better. After Bunco we came home and went to bed soon after getting home. When I was laying down I noticed my neck hurt a little. I told Colin, but didn't think too much about it until I woke up Saturday morning.
Saturday morning I woke up and started to get up. My whole back hurt. My neck hurt and I could hardly lift my head off my pillow. When I did finally make it out of bed I could hardly straighten up and when I did the pain in my pelvis took my breath away.
Even my knees hurt! It was like that all day yesterday.
When I woke up this morning it was the same plus my finger joints hurt. So I called and talked to the consulting nurse and found out some interesting information. I found out that I do not have kidney stones, but they want a CT scan of my kidneys to get a better picture of them. Then the nurse asked if they had mentioned anything about some deformity in the vertebrae in my spine which they had not. I asked if it was like arthritis in my spine and although she isn't allowed to diagnose, she said yes it's like that. So I have an appointment to see a doctor tomorrow and see what they say. I do have an MRI of my lumbar spine scheduled for Friday. We'll see how it goes. At this point I am experiencing more pain in my body than I ever have before.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Long Road To Being Well

Well, I'm still working on getting better. I've been taking my antibiotic so some of my back pain has gone away. I'm still having pain that comes and goes, I never know when it will start hurting. So I still have a couple of tests to get. Friday I will get an ultrasound of my kidneys to know whether I have kidney stones or not. I also have an MRI of my spine scheduled, although I doubt that they will find anything, but at least I'll know for certain, I hope!
One thing that is no longer hurting my back is walking the dog. Colin was talking to a lady who might be in his van pool (whenever that happens, until then, he's on the bus). She started talking about her dog and so he talked about our dog and it turns out we both have Airedales and Dilly's daddy and their dog came from the same breeder, so they might be cousins. Colin started talking about how Dilly likes to pull and she said that her dog did that until she got a head collar for him. So we bought one called a Halti. Man, I love that thing! Dilly can't pull. Well, she can try, but if she does, it turns her head to the side and she stops pulling. It is a joy to walk her now. We actually look forward to it! I didn't realize how badly walking her when she was pulling made me feel until she stopped.
So, while I am trying to feel better, I heard some bad news about my neighbor. We were out weeding and watering the garden and Mr. Neighbor was outside working. He got to talking to Colin and told us that Mrs. Neighbor is sick. She has Alzheimer's. I don't know if they've known this for a long time and just haven't mentioned it or if they recently found this out. I'm sad because she is such a sweet lady and Ian just loves her. I'm not sure how old Mrs. Neighbor is, Mr. Neighbor is either 81 or 82 and I think she's a little bit younger.
Well, it's late. I know I had more things to say, but I can't think of them right now. Take care!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dr. DeAnn

Well I had to go back to the doctor this week as I was still in pain. Two whole weeks of pain. Let me tell you, it's not fun.
I had called in to talk to the consulting nurse and she wanted me to be seen right away. She said my symptoms sounded like kidney stones. Colin had taken the van downtown to meet the bus, so I begged a ride from a neighbor to get the van so I could make it to an afternoon appointment with my doctor. I almost requested a different doctor, but I didn't.
So I made it to my doctor appointment and it was very frustrating. I explained that the pain seemed deeper than just some back muscles and that it had moved (it started on the left, but now it was mostly on the right and sometimes on both sides). My doctor was still talking like it was my back. Hello?!! Is anyone listening???? Obviously, my doctor was not. I explained that it didn't feel like a sprain. He asked if I thought it might be my Hodgkin's coming back. Hmmmm...who is the doctor here? Aren't there tests that would tell you exactly what is going on?
Finally he said 'I suppose it could possibly be your kidneys' and he ordered a test for that. He also ordered physical therapy for my back and an MRI of my spine. Still stuck on the back sprain!
Yesterday I got an email from my doctor saying that there was some bacteria growing from my test. I have a bladder infection, maybe a kidney infection, too. I'm now on an antibiotic and I'm having an ultrasound to look for kidney stones next Friday.
So it looks like I was right about it not being my back and my doctor was wrong. He sure didn't listen very well and didn't take measures to rule out other possibilities. So just call me Dr. DeAnn. I diagnosed this one better than my soon to be gone doctor (he's moving his practice to another town, thankfully).

Monday, July 28, 2008

VBS and Back Pain

Well, I haven't written for a while for two reasons. First, I was busy with VBS this week at our church and second, I've been trying to cope with the pain in my back.
VBS was great! Ian had a really good time. I was the craft leader for the elementary group. The crafts went pretty well. Our first craft was the only one that was a little tricky. It was a really cute name tag with a horse wearing a cowboy hat. The kids loved it, but it had a few too many steps for trying to finish in 20 minutes! Thankfully, the rest of the crafts were easier.
My back bugged me the entire week. Every day after VBS I took a nap. I'm still dealing with my back, but I'm not sure that I agree with my doctor's diagnosis. For one, he didn't check out anything. No feeling my lymph nodes, no blood test to check and make sure it wasn't an infection. He just said 'you probably sprained your back' and had me get an xray of my back. The other reason I disagree is the pain has been moving around. It started on my left with a little pain on my right and now it's the opposite. Weird. I suppose if it doesn't get better soon I'll need to go get a second opinion. *Sigh* I don't like going to the doctor. Here's hoping it will get better all on its own.
We did have a little bit of excitement around our house on Saturday. Colin and Ian went to the Festival of People downtown and went to the classic car show. They brought home some elephant ears for us to munch on. Ian and I were sitting in the living room when I started hearing a lot of cars going by our house. I looked out the screen door and saw lots of classic cars going by. There must have been 15 or 20 cars going by. They stopped in front of our house. I told Ian to tell Colin that the cars were at our house. Colin leaned out the door and one of the guys asked for directions. Turns out they got lost on the way to someones house! Nice for us though, part of the car show came to our house!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Life Since Our Trip

Well, life is slowly returning to normal since we got home. I still have some laundry to do from the trip. I got slowed down by whatever I did to my back. We've all been a little more tired than usual. Even Ian has been sleeping past 8 am, which is almost unheard of for him.
Even though my back has been messed up, I was able to do a little decorating. This past Monday night, someone on our home school group posted a Queen bed frame (headboard and foot board). I emailed them, sure that someone else had asked for this. To my surprise, I had an email telling me that it was mine if I wanted it.
Even though I hadn't even seen it, I'd only read a description of it, I wanted it.
So I made arrangements to pick it up after my doctor's appointment and after some errands and after Colin got off work.
It turned out to be a very pretty bed frame. Colin set it up the second day we had without even being asked. I am happy to say that my pillow will no longer slip between the mattress and the wall. Hooray!!
I'm calling this more of my freestyle decorating because that's exactly what it was. Free! I'll post a picture for you. It's really great. It's a blessing!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tales From Our Trip- The Final, Final Chapter

Okay, back to the story. What are we ready for? Day 10?? I think that's right. So here we go.
Day 10: Sunday morning. I woke up feeling much better. We gassed up the van, took it through a car wash to get rid of all the bugs and headed over to Wal-mart to pick up some supplies. Colin wanted to find something to make the weather stripping on our van windshield stop flapping. We had a little section in front of the passengers side that kept coming up and flapping. Very annoying. We also wanted to pick up something for breakfast as all the motel had was make your own waffles and those aren't usually great. So we went in and came out with more than we had planned on. We broke the first rule of shopping: don't go hungry!
So we came out with chips, lunch meat, buns, a hoagie to be shared by everyone (we had done this previously on the trip when we stopped in Evanston, WY. We had been in a grocery store to use the bathroom and grab a snack when we saw the lady in the deli department making a humongous sub had 30 pieces of meat! It was half of a loaf of sour dough french bread. It only cost about $5. It ended up feeding about 5 of us). Colin had located some super glue for the windshield and we found a few other things to buy.
After mending the windshield problem we were on our way! Off to see the Golden Spike.
Well, okay, not the Golden Spike, it's in a museum in California. We went to the site where they drove in the Golden spike to connect the railroads creating the transcontinental railroad. Boy, was this out of the way! It's out in the middle of nowhere. It was really neat, though. We stayed long enough to see them move the trains and we watched a Charlie Brown movie telling us all about the Transcontinental Railroad. We got a couple of neat souvenirs; a train Christmas ornament, a book to read to Ian, and of course, a magnet for our fridge. Our fridge is full of magnets from places we've been, it's a fun reminder of some great memories and experiences.
We had our lunch (a slice of the hoagie sandwich) as we headed out again. We paused long enough to take our picture by the sign for the Golden Spike. Some other people stopped, too, so we took turns taking pictures for each other. Then we left.
Guess what else they do in the middle of nowhere, Utah?? They test rockets! So we were able to stop and look at some that they had on an outside display. Colin really liked that! We just stopped for a minute, though, we were getting behind schedule.
We headed back toward the main highway and drove for quite a while seeing mainly farms and ranches and some beautiful horses. Our next big stop would be in Boise, Idaho, where we would stop for dinner. It was about 7:30 when we got to Boise. We headed to Cracker Barrel for dinner. I had a $25 gift certificate to use there (I'd earned it through My Points). It paid for dinner and the tip. Hooray! Dinner was great. I had their fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy. Ian had a kids meal with fried shrimp. Colin had French toast and bacon and an egg, I think. I had a bite of that French toast...yum! Unfortunately, the gift certificate did not pay for our souvenir shopping, which cost almost as much as our meal! We did find a cute gift for Colin's parents to thank them for watching Dilly.
We left Cracker Barrel quite happy. We headed toward an historical landmark that had significance to Colin's family. A marker of a massacre on the Oregon Trail. One of Colin's ancestor's helped rescue one of the survivors and even fought the attacking Indians. Again, we took pictures.
Finally, we were on our way to Ontario, OR to find our motel. We stayed in Ontario on our honeymoon moving trip to Washington. We got there around 9:30, which seems to be our average arrival time. We were so happy when they told us that the pool was open 24 hrs. a day (even though the signs said 11). So we finally got to go swimming!!! Ian and Colin even got up in the morning and went swimming a second time while I slept some more! We had breakfast and went over to Jiffy Lube to get the fluids in the van checked and topped off and then we headed for home.
We stopped for lunch at Taco Time in La Grand and ate the crunchy tacos I had been craving. We also stopped in Yakima at a fruit stand where we bought some cherries and they gave Ian an apple. That boy gets more stuff given to him!
Colin took us over White Pass and we got some pretty cool pictures of Mt. Rainier...I posted one earlier, so I'm sure you've already seen it. It was a very pretty way to go.
We got to Colin's parent's house around 7:30 and I was really hoping to get home before dark. I hadn't planned on Colin's mouth. Boy, was he keyed up. 10 hours of driving and he'd had caffeine. At 8:30, I announced that it was 8:30. It didn't make him budge a bit, he kept talking. I finally had to ask him to come make room for Dilly's crate. He did a little. I think his mom did a lot more. In this process, we discovered why the floor where I was sitting was all wet. Colin hadn't pushed in the drain plug in our cooler, so all the melting ice was leaking into our van. I think it's still drying out. And yes, Colin was still standing around talking. So I took the leash from him and got Dilly and put her in her crate and said we needed to go. By the time we left it was already after 9. I was so tired and ready to be home.
After we arrived home, Colin went to get our house key from our neighbor and talked some more! I believe he talked for about 45 minutes!!! It was long enough for me to walk the dog and pretty much unload the van by myself. I love Colin, but sometimes he can just talk too much! I got very annoyed with him and he apologized and we both realized we were very exhausted from our trip. We had big plans for getting things done the next day, but I think mostly, we slept. Oh, wait, Colin did mow the lawn and do a couple of things. The road trip really hit him hard Wednesday morning when he tried to get up and go to work! He tried at least three times. Once at 5:30, so he could walk to the bus. Once at 6:00 so he could drive to the bus and once at 7:00 so he could drive to work. None of these worked and he finally realized that he was just exhausted and ended up taking a sick day. We slept the majority of Wednesday in our own bed, which is nothing like a hammock! It's good to be home.
So there you go, I finally did it! I got to the end of the story. I think I'll it it the way any proper story ends.
The End

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tales From Our Trip- The Final Chapter- I Hope!

Okay, I am really going to try to finish the stories from our trip. My back is cooperating for the moment. So here goes!
Day 8: Thursday. I could feel that the end was rapidly approaching. This day we headed back into Rocky Mountain National Park and went to Bear Lake, where I did not see a bear. I did see a beautiful lake that we walked all the way around. I think it was about a half a mile around it. I was still having trouble breathing with the altitude and what was left of my sinusitis. Most of the family decided to go on a mile hike to see a waterfall (Alberta Falls, I believe it was called). My mom and I opted to wait. She has bad knees, so it wouldn't be good for her. I really wanted to go, but I knew that I just didn't have enough air and it wouldn't be a smart decision for me to go. So we sat around and talked while we waited. Ian went with Colin and somewhere on the way, he managed to fall down and skin his knee. Thankfully, Aunt Becca had band aids!
By the way, Bear Lake is a very popular place to visit in the park! We had to park in a parking lot several miles away and ride a visitor's shuttle to and from the lake. Ian was so tired, he fell asleep on the ride back to the van!
Day 8: The 4th of July. Happy Independence Day! Becca's sister and her family was supposed to come out and visit, but her kiddos got sick, so it was just the ten of us. We spent the morning resting and then making potato salad and deviled eggs. We went up to a big rock to try to get a family photo. It was a bit too sunny, so they weren't the best pictures. We decided to try again later at a different location. Bob had planned for us to watch the fireworks that Estes Park sets off from the area near Twin Sisters. It was really hot when we left so we kind of forgot how cold it gets around dark. We were sitting there, waiting for fireworks and freezing and then tons of people came. I am sad to say that some of them who sat very near to our children, were less than sober. We moved the kids closer, but even then the topic of discussion from these people was pretty disgusting. Then the fireworks started, but they were very far away and kind of behind a tree. I sat there thinking, I'd like to go sit in the van. I thought that for a while and finally I said it out loud. So my mom, my dad, Ian and I all went back to the van. It was yummy warm in the van! We were all happy to be out of the cold and we could even see the fireworks a little better from the van. I was really happy that we went to the van early because it was already dark and my mom has to go slow. She would have had a hard time if she had tons of people walking with her while trying to find her way carefully in the dark.
So the fireworks idea was a good one, it just didn't work out the way we had envisioned!
Day 9: Time to say good-bye and head home. We cleaned up the cabin and loaded up the vans. There was crankiness and sadness. We were all ready to sleep in our own beds in our own homes, but reluctant to say good-bye, knowing it would quite a while before we see each other again. I was up at 4:30 am, I just couldn't sleep and I felt like I had a lot to get done before we left. Besides, the bed we had been sleeping in would have been heaven for Gilligan. It swayed and cupped you just like a hammock. So every time one of us would roll over the other would rock and rock. Colin compared it to a waterbed, but I preferred the hammock comparison. Sure, it had waves, but no waterbed I ever slept in was cupped like this bed!
We headed out around nine and drove to Estes Park, where we tried one more time to find a pocket knife for Ian. Let me explain this to you. On Tuesday, when we all had gone shopping in Estes Park, Bob and Becca found pocket knives for Hannah and Emily with their names on them and Colorado on the other side. The girls used them for whittling and Ian was rather envious. Andrew already had a pocket knife, so Ian was the only kid without one. So Colin thought it would be neat to get one for Ian. So on our second trip to Estes Park, we went to the store where Bob and Becca had found the knives, only they didn't have the name Ian (sorry Ian, it's almost like trying to find my name somewhere, talk about next to impossible!). We decided to give it one more try before we left Colorado. We just wanted a pocket knife for Ian. It didn't matter if it had his name on it. So we went to almost every store in town. I kid you not! If it was downtown and had even the most remote possibility, we went in. We did find a tiny Swiss Army knife, but it didn't have much on it and it was almost $20....keep looking! We found scary looking blades at least five inches long. Uhhh... not for a 7 yr. old!!!!! Finally, we stopped in the Colorado Homestead store where Ian had purchased two light up globes and a stuffed Bison that Grandpa named Billy. They didn't have any pocket knives. We asked if they knew of any stores that might have a pocket knife suitable for a 7 yr. old. The lady told us she was certain that the store by Subway had them. Oh, that store, by where we STARTED our shopping??!!!
So we went there and at first, I thought it was another dead end, but then the sun shone through the window onto a display and harp music began to play!!! There it was a whole display of pocket knives with elk or wolves and Estes Park on them. Ahh, sweet success!!! It only took an hour to find! Well, three trips and one hour on the last trip! Colin chose one with an elk for himself and Ian chose one with a wolf howling at the moon (well I helped him choose, he was too distracted by the marionette puppets). I also found a brown ball cap with a moose and Estes Park embroidered on it for me! Ian and Colin had purchased hats on our first trip, so now we all had hats that said 'Estes Park'. Ian used his money and bought himself a horse marionette puppet. He was very excited about it! Bob's kids had been in to puppets and it got Ian excited. Andrew bought a coyote puppet and Emily had purchased a horse marionette puppet (not the same as the one Ian got) and all the kids had put on several puppet shows using puppets and stuffed animals. It was very cute!
So now, with our purchases in hand, it was time to head for home. First stop: Brigham City, Utah.
Now keep in mind, every motel we stayed at had a pool and so far, we'd arrived too late or too tired to use them. Colin was determined to get there early enough to go swimming this evening.
We stopped in Loveland, CO to grab some lunch, get the fluid and tires checked and gas up. Good thing we had the tires checked. They had been affected by the altitude. The pressure was at 42 lbs!
For lunch, I had a burger at Burger King. When we reached Wyoming, we pulled over at a rest stop and ended up getting 50 cent ice cream cones at McDonald's. I'm not sure which one got me, the burger or the cone, but I started feeling bad. Colin had to make several extra pit stops, so I could be sick. I messed up our schedule! I think it was almost 9 by the time we got to our motel. I wasn't going swimming since I wasn't feeling good. Colin didn't go swimming either!
Okay, I thought this was going to be it, but my back says, enough! So hang in there, we're really close to the end. Only two more days to tell about. I will finish the story soon!