Friday, August 31, 2007

All creatures great and small

Ta-da! The major part of my blog overhaul is done! What do you think!? I'm pretty excited. And now that it is done, hopefully I can get back to pretty regular posting. :)

I figure for the most part my new title and tag-line are self-explanatory, but I thought I'd give a little more background, and give some credit where credit is due.

The whole buffalo/butterfly concept has been with us for a couple of years now. It originally came from the 'woman' book out of a pair of marriage books Greg and I were reading by Gary Smalley. Here is an excerpt from For Better or For Best, by Gary Smalley. He was talking about all the differences between men and women:
The best example I can think of to illustrate these differences is to compare the butterfly with the buffalo. The butterfly has a keen sensitivity. It is sensitive even to the slightest breeze. It flutters above the ground where it can get a panoramic awareness of its surroundings. It notices the beauty of even the tiniest of flowers. Because of its sensitivity, it is constantly aware of all of the changes going on around it and is able to react to the slightest variation in its environment....

The buffalo is another story. It is rough and calloused. It doesn't react to a breeze. It's not even affected by a thirty-mile-an-hour wind. It just goes right on doing whatever it was doing. It's not aware of the smallest of flowers, nor does it appear to be sensitive to slight changes in its environment... The buffalo isn't 'rotten to the core' just because he goes around stepping on pretty flowers. In fact, the buffalo's toughness is a tremendous asset. His strength, when harnessed, can pull a plow that four grown men can't pull.

We immediately loved the idea, and it has stuck with us ever since, and in some ways we've even taken the analogy further. It's been really helpful as one son started being less of a baby and more of a, well...buffalo, to teach him how to be gentle with the women in his life. Dale knows that Mama is a butterfly. :) And once another baby buffalo came along, it's been nice to know that in a house full of maleness, the delicate sensitivity of a woman can be appreciated and respected. :)

Now that you know our creature counterparts, what best describes those in your house? Let us all know in the comments section, and the best one will win...uh...a big virtual smooch from me. :) Because I don't know how those big-time blog sites are doing all that
freebie stuff. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I’ve never minded thinking about things – I’ve enjoyed it. But it seems like ever since liver disease came along, all my thinking has been compounded, for both good and bad. I think a lot about liver disease, and living with it, and transplant, and what that will be like. I think about parenting in general, and home schooling and marriage and spirituality. I think about my blog, my house, my to-do list. I think about a lot of stuff.

We all do.

It seems like with all that thinking going on all the time, I’ve had a hard time focusing. I’ve never felt the need before to have a big purpose to my life, or at least not to think about my purpose. But with all these things in my mind, and all of it seeming important to me, how does it all fit together? Looking at all of these things as individual pieces that I must tackle one at a time seems overwhelming. I am just one person, but that is what all of those things have in common: ME.
So how do they all fit together? What is my purpose?

If I had one purpose to think about instead of all those other things, my brain could get a little rest. Thinking about focus and purpose, I remembered a verse from one of my favorite books, Ecclesiastes. After 12 whole chapters of making sure the reader knows that pretty much anything a human being can find to spend time doing is temporary and meaningless, the author sums it all up by saying, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Well that is a relief. The ‘whole duty of man’ (or woman, in my case) summed up in 6 words!
Sadly, my relief is short lived. I had a suspicion, and quick
web search confirms there are over 6,000 commands in the Bible!

So much for focus.

However…I soon remembered Jesus addressed this issue when asked about God’s commands: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

Ahhh…now there is something to bring my purpose into focus. Something I can apply on a daily basis. It’s not simple. No, in fact it is pretty complex – it applies to every aspect of my life, from the moment I wake up, until the moment I go to sleep, and every little thought, word or deed in between. But it is a great place to start. It’s very straightforward, very applicable. And while the command itself may not be simple, obeying it simplifies my daily life and thinking patterns. And that is a very good thing.


The blog may be quiet for a couple of days... I'm working 'behind the scenes' on some changes. Sort of a blog makeover. :)

In the meantime.... a few odds & ends:

- I have changed some settings so that you should be able to comment without being a member. So...comments please!!! :)

- I've added a box on the right that is supposed to send you email updates when I post a new entry. Not sure that this is working yet, but I'll keep at it.

And today's parenting quote, one of my favorites from my perpetual calendar:

I find joy in receiving my children in prayer as gifts from God. As I do it almost daily, I find that it enhances my appreciation of them and my relationship with them.
-Jack Taylor

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just another music monday...

Just when you think kid camp is all worn out, fresh material comes along! Mimi gave Dale an extra package at his birthday party - but not a birthday present. Nope - this was all decorated for Music Monday. Dale did great at waiting until this morning to open it

We went to Paris first thing (gee that seems to come around often...) for a Rx refill and groceries and listened to Dale's new Bible songs CD on the way. A very welcome rest from Veggie Tales, which Dale must have every time he gets in the van, and we all have every word memorized...probably even Alan. His first words will probably be "if you like to talk to tomatoes..."

Dale, to brag on him some more, was a model citizen on the grocery trip. This is the child who I would haul all 3 feet and 40 pounds into the kid seat in the cart, probably up until I was too pregnant to do so, just because it was that worth it to me to contain him. Then, all the time Alan was riding in his carseat in the cart, I put Dale in the big part for small trips, and just didn't make the big trips alone. Well...Dale has been bumped. Alan now sits in the prime seat, which means...Dale is on the loose! I've wondered often what this day would be like. Strongly considered one of those kid leashes. But, I'm proud to say (based on today's experience anyway) that won't be necessary. He stuck by pretty close, and didn't give me any heart attacks grabbing for all the glass jars of pickles and spaghetti sauce. He did have his hands on a jar of olive oil once, but he must have believed the look in my eyes when I oh-so-sweetly asked him to unhand it. He didn't even pitch a fit when I said no to "cartoon" cereal. Don't get me's not like he never strayed farther than my reach, but you have to lower your standards, you know? By the time you've done it all but the produce and you're trying to bag some plums before everyone scrambles, what's it going to hurt if he's 12 feet away "drumming" a watermelon?

Alan slept like a little angel all the way home while Dale and I snacked on our new pretzels and listened to his CD.
Nana came over after lunch and entertained Dale and Alan while I worked as fast as I could around the house. Pretty nice deal for everybody - I got stuff done, Dale and Alan got company, and we all got to visit with Nana! :) While I was putting Alan down for his nap, Nana was putting up our snack, and Dale had some kind of mini-meltdown over the whole thing. He went in his room and shut the door. Nana and I visited a little more, and then decided Dale must have put himself down for a nap. :) Nana left, and I didn't even go investigate - I just hit the couch for a nap of my own...and got to sleep a whole hour! Yippee! :)
Everybody woke up in a better mood. We played and ate and played some more. About 7:00 we went outside for a little while, and then came in for the boys' bath. Alan - little genius that he is, has figured out what a hairbrush is for:I thought this was absolutely the cutest thing he has ever, at least. ;)
After Alan was asleep Dale and I read a chapter of his current library book (a boy and his horse - yeehaw) and then said prayers and I turned out the light. He almost immediately appeared to tell me I need to go to bed too. Then he almost immediately reappeared to tell me he couldn't find his flashlight. I tried the whole shrugging "I'm sorry..?" method...but that wasn't going to work. I told him I didn't know where it was. He said, "yes you do!" Not accusing me of lying to him...just in denial that I wasn't going to be any help, I guess. I didn't feel like a battle, so I went to see about it. I had him look under his bed, and .... whaddya know?! He went from the edge of hysteria to laughing about his hiding flashlight in an instant. I wasn't exactly amused. His Daddy's right.... that boy would argue with a fencepost! I have a pretty good idea where he might have gotten that....but to protect the innocent we'll just leave that up to your guesses. ;)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday August 25th

Happy Birthday Dale, part 2! :)
Greg and I got an early start to Dale's unofficial birthday - Alan was up at 5:30! Thankfully that is not an every-morning thing like it was for a while.

When Dale emerged from his room all sleepy-eyed at 7:30, his first words of the day were, "I'm so excited - it's my birthday!" Sure thing, little buddy!
It is a tradition in my family that whatever you are eating for breakfast on your birthday always has a candle in it. Pancakes work best, but bagels and toast are fair game. Cereal is not recommended (which means, according to our super-scientific Devine Family Blog poll that the majority of us would have to veer from our usual breakfast habits to participate in the birthday candle breakfast tradition). Anyway, I got super fancy this year and tried a new trick I read in a magazine recently - pancake batter in a washed-out mustard bottle! FUN!! We'll be doing that again and spelling all kinds of things. For this day, it was great for 4's.
Spent the morning getting things ready for the party. At 12:00 Dale sat down at the set table and said, "I'm just going to sit here until the party starts." (The party was scheduled for 1:00.) Dale sat for about 2 minutes.
He played with the "Singing Monster" (sings a happy bday song). "Singing Monster" was on loan from Kristin - Dale loves it! He was a suprise (and very welcome) guest for Dale at the party.

He rearranged the Car characters around the cake. "Mama, Mater's tow cable got stuck in the cake!"

Finally it was 1:00. Presents first. Everybody gave Dale something to wear and a little something fun. Works great for us - his wardrobe is greatly expanded and he is not overloaded with lots of new toys! :) He loved everything. I love a kid who can be enthusiastic about opening item after item of clothing. Better enjoy that while it lasts!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23rd

Happy Birthday, Dale - Part 1

So - 4 years ago today was Dale's first day out. He slept through most of it. Okay...pretty much all of it. In his defense, that day got off to a pretty rough start for him. Today, the start of his 5TH year, had a much easier beginning. Leave it to Dale though, he had to do things at least a little differently. I took this pic of him when I checked on him just before 5am:
All in all, it was a really strange day, for a birthday, and here's why. Even though today was the actual day, Dale's bday party is Saturday. This is a concept he's had a hard time with for some reason. After days of trying to explain, I finally sent this email out to family Wednesday night:

Hey everybody... just wanted to let you know if you have sent Dale a card or ecard or plan on talking to him tomorrow.... we aren't planning on telling him it's his birthday. Didn't start out to do that, but his party is Saturday and his birthday countdown construction paper chain we made has turned out to match up with the party instead of the actual day, so instead of making a big deal out of tomorrow being the 23rd and then stretching everything out over 3 days we're just letting him think that his bday is Sat. I tried to explain otherwise for a while, but he didn't seem to get it, so we're just going with it. I tell you all this so that #1 - if you don't hear from him about a card you sent, that's why, and if you see him or talk to him...don't say 'happy birthday'. Lol

So - today was a 'non-birthday'. Even so, luckily for us, Gramps couldn't just ignore the occasion and brought by doughnuts. Chocolate w/sprinkles for Dale, of course. Still didn't tell him it was his bday (he wouldn't have believed us anyway).
He enjoyed the doughnut much more than the expression in this pic says he did - I promise, Gramps! :)
We had plans to go to Paris to pick up prescriptions and tube-feeding supplies for Alan. Dale wanted to go to
Big Lots "and get that Duck that me and Daddy saw." I didn't even know they had been to Big Lots, but hey - I'm game. Dale got his dollar bill that has been on the refrigerator forever and said he wanted to buy something with it.
So off we went, Dale and Alan and me. Our first stop was the pharmacy/medical supply store for Alan. In usual Dale fashion, he talked the lady's EAR OFF. It felt weird when she asked how old he was to NOT tell her it was his birthday, but I just didn't feel like explaining the whole thing.
So...on to Big Lots. Through the toy aisle, and sure enough, there's
Duck. Also found some Christmas (yes, Christmas!) stickers on clearance - had to get those.
I'm not usually one just to buy a toy for no particular reason, but it WAS his birthday, and he had a dollar he wanted to spend and I was impressed that he had remembered it all that time. So, home with Duck.
This meant getting out ALL the Thomas Trains when we got home. Alan always loves this as much as Dale.Does he just look TOO CUTE or what in those overalls and tennis shoes?! :)

They entertained themselves all afternoon playing trains. We also watched, in two parts, the
Cars movie in anticipation of the big Cars party Saturday.
Mimi & Gramps came over for a little while, and the pharmacist delivered Alan's prescriptions that weren't ready ealier. (Is that service, or what!?) Dale talked her ear off as well. She has a little boy who is 3, and Dale grilled her on the names of all the Thomas trains to see what her little boy has. She didn't know she was coming over for a pop quiz!

Daddy got home just in time to play for just a little while before bedtime. We read the 23 Psalm before prayers. Dale's been inspired by this cutie, and so have we! :)

So anway, we've been reading Psalm 23 for a couple of days now. Last night, I did what I have always done with lots of things with Dale - let him finish a phrase. This is how it went:
Mama: "and I will dwell..."
Dale: "in the house of the Lord"
Mama: "for.."
Dale: "five."

Monday, August 20, 2007


There are just under 24 hours left to vote in the all-important breakfast poll!!!!! Please vote!!!
And WHAT, oh WHAT do you 2 'others' have for breakfast?????

Escaping from: daily routines, church & predators

Let's see.... when last I left the blog, I had just attempted the early morning drowing of a spider. I really didn't have time to write about it, but did anyway. I was on my way out the door all on my own that morning. What a wonderful day! I spent all day Saturday teaching colorguard (flags for the band) at one of our neighboring schools. It was great! I got to 'do my thing' and get a break from my regular life. (Don't get me wrong - I love my regular life, but getting away from it is so rare!) Greg kept both boys all day! :) Since you-know-who still won't take a bottle, they all came to visit me mid-morning so Alan could nurse, then again at lunch, and mid-afternoon. Greg and the boys spent the day shopping and running errands.

Dale spent 2 or 3 days last week asking for apples. We hadn't had any in the house in a while, so once we got some for Dale, Greg and I were very amused at his apple-eating method:

Had to leave church mid-service again this week. :( Mom had invited us for lunch, so since I wasn't going to be in church, I just went to their house and cooked lunch, lol. So when they all got back from church, lunch was ready! We were just finishing lunch when Dale looked out the window and said "What are those animals?" We looked where he pointed and saw 2 big black ugly buzzards. Have you ever seen a buzzard walk? It's hilarious. If you combined a chicken walk, a duck waddle, and a very dizzy drunk man, you'd have a walking buzzard. After our initial amusement, it occurred to us - uh-oh - what poor deceased creature is attracting these birds to our (my parents') yard!?! Mom hadn't seen one of the 2 cats that morning (the good one, in my opinion - sorry KC! - NOT that I would wish ANY harm to the other one.... he's just kind of a grump). Anyway, Mom and I went out, following the buzzards, rounded the corner and saw a group of 4 all congregated, bob-waddling. My heart was pounding - I was sure I was about to see a pet cat carcass. Long story short, couldn't spot anything the buzzards might be interested in, and kitty-cat eventually shows up, safe and sound. :) Dumb ol' birds.

And right on the heels of stalking buzzards yesterday, I felt like a pioneer woman defending my own back yard today.
Dale was out playing and wanted to slide, but there was a spider web across the slide. So, I wisked it away (no spiders in sight). Well, of course, then there were spider webs on the other side of his fort-thing where you climb up to get to the slide. I got rid of those too, and yet, Dale still wasn't climbing up. I prodded him, and he said, "I'm just looking at that thing hanging underneath there.

Holy smokes. That thing is about half the size of a small head of iceberg lettuce. So.... forget about sliding for today.
We move waaaay over to the other side of the yard, and Dale wants to play chase. Not my idea of fun with Alan on my hip. (I'm sure Alan wouldn't really enjoy that either.) Instead we opt for Simon Says. Simon had just gotten going good when, genius that he is, suggested putting on Daddy's sandals that had been left out in the grass. Dale put on one, and then says, "I can't".
Simon wants to know "Why not?"
Dale says "they have ants in them"
So then Alan gets to feel after all what it's like to be on Mama's hip when she runs. Dale only had a couple on his feet, and it didn't even seem to bother him that they had bit. I took both boys in and went after the ant poison powder. I disovered that anywhere there was mown grass covering up good grass, there were fire ants underneath. Great.
So our backyard that just yesterday seemed so safe and secure is actually a haven of venemous, predatory creatures! We went in before we saw any snakes.... or started attracting buzzards.

We opted for some nice, safe, indoor activities. Disovered a bug in my rice last week, so I saved it for a craft project. We colored it with food coloring and vinegar and glued it to coloring sheets printed from the computer. Suspiciously similar to last week's macaroni...I know. Must be the same person planning all these activities. Oh wait...that'd be me.
Painting on the glue...

Alan entertained himself...And the finished products:In case you can't tell... that one on the bottom right is a train engine. :)

Got a notice in the mailbox when we were gone Saturday that we'd missed some certified mail for Alan. Went to the post office to pick that up today, hoping it was telling us he'd been accepted for one of the programs we applied for a few months ago. Nope - just time to reapply already. How disappointing!
Can't go to the PO without going to the Library...they are right across the street from each other! Exchanged some books, visited w/ Mimi for a little while.
Stopped by Nana and PawPaw's for a few minutes on the way home.
Now both boys are napping. What a good time to blog! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How to kill a spider

Well first, there is the obvious - you squish him. But for a person that can't look at a spider without breaking out in a severe case of goosebumps, that option isn't as simple as it sounds. It give me the heebie-jeebies! I have been known to pound a spider to death with the broom. Not nearly as quick for the spider, but puts a little more distance between me & him. Bug spray is favorite method, but not a good choice with small kiddos in the house. Hairspray is a nice alternative, but doesn't have as fast results and can leave a sticky mess at the scence (not that a squished spider doesn't!).

We have (or should I say had) a spider that lived above the bathroom ceiling heater. It was the second one to take up residence there...must be a happenin' place. It's kind of problematic for the spider-squeamish to get rid of a ceiling spider. Even if you can work up the nerve to squish, you have to have really long arms or a really long tool, then good aim, and then be lucky enough that the spider isn't too close to the heater, a corner, light fixture, etc. And then what happens if you don't kill him, but knock his footing loose? Then you are ducking and dodging the 8-legged pest in a terribly embarassing, goosebump inducing dance, probably accompanied by an odd shriek (no cursing please). The bug spray option has already been eliminated, so really that just leaves letting him stay. UNTIL.... he makes a mistake. Ha!
And that brings me to the next way to kill a spider - drowning.
Found him in the bathroom sink this morning. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I knew I had to make my move quick. Greg would have just grabbed a wad of toilet paper and thrown the sucker in the toilet, but not me. I needed more distance.
Turned the water on full blast. Dang - he's a floater - and a swimmer. The water begins draining....and he hangs on to the drain plug for dear life. Ohhhh no you don't. More water. Use the butt of the toothpaste tube as a hook to raise the drain up. Finally - yikes! reach into the sink to pull the drain completely, and.... bye-bye spider!
Works even better in the shower. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reading: books, minds & magazines

So... 5 minutes after I posted yesterday's blog Alan woke up. I hadn't even decided yet how I was going to spend my precious free time. Oh well. I ended up reading my book, though. Even though this was his second time awake after sleeping for an hour, he amazingly wasn't done yet, so I nursed him back to sleep and just held him while he slept for almost another hour, reading my book after he went to sleep.

I have decided that Alan can read my mind. It'd be kind of spooky, if he wasn't a baby. On the way home from church last night he was riding completely silent. I asked Dale if Alan was asleep or awake. (One of the handy perks of having a big sib in the backseat). Alan was awake. At this point, my thoughts moved to the fact that we'd be putting in a tube when we got home. Alan started to cry. Hmmm.
This morning my first conscious thought came as my eyes half-focused on the alarm clock (which hasn't 'alarmed' us awake in probably over a year, between Alan and cell-phone alarms..but it has nice big red numbers, so you know exactly what time it is each time you are awoken for various reasons in the night). Anyway, my first conscious thought as I read an only slighty blurry, '6:50', was "7:00....not bad". This thought hadn't even completely finished forming in my mind when... Alan started to cry. I'm telling you... he can read my mind.

Another way I know this, is that he will not let me read while he is nursing. I know I said earlier I read while he was napping, but that was while he was asleep. When he is nursing, even with his eyes closed, and is still awake, he cries and squirms and kicks until my hands are holding nothing but him. It's like he knows he doesn't have my full attention. Why he thinks he needs my full attention while he eats I do not know. I just know he gets it.

I've been in a pretty cranky mood today. I don't know....cranky is too irritable of a word to describe it. But down seems too mild. Somewhere inbetween I guess. However you describe it, it made for an interesting moment of discipline indecision today. After Alan's super-duper 2 hour nap this morning, Dale and Alan and I were all on the floor on our tummies. Alan was alternating between bobbing his head up and down, or shaking it like he was trying to get loose from a cobweb. (Please don't write me and tell me this is a sign of some sort of nervous disorder... I think I'd rather just be oblivious, thinking he was doing something cute! lol). While he gestured with his head, Dale and I would take turns 'talking' for him, sing-songing "yessss" or "nooooo", which would then send Dale into a fit of giggles, and I would laugh at both of them, and Alan would grin and switch back to either bobbing or shaking, which would start the whole process over.
After a pretty long time of this game, the moment was wearing out and evolving into something else. I started to play 'Where is Thumbkin' with Alan, but Dale, who wasn't ready to be done with the head bobbing, tried to stop me by grabbing my hands. In the process he bumped my lip. It didn't really hurt, but the whole thing really made me mad. I knew I was in a bad mood, and I didn't want that to color my reaction to Dale, so I just got up and left. I felt like the kid on the playground whose idea for a game is laughed at by the other kids as the most ridiculous thing, even though just yesterday it was their idea to play. Huh. I know.... very grown-up of me to feel dissed by my 4-year old. Oh well...I'm just going to chalk it up to 'one of those days!'

Yay! The Poll has votes! There is one thing I have never liked about polls, and I've done it to myself: "OTHER". So now, curiosity is killing me. What is the other that I coudln't think of to include in the list of answers that not just one, but TWO people eat for breakfast!?! Oh please leave a comment and let us all know...we might want some too! :) And if you haven't voted...Go Vote!! :)

Caution: Abrupt subject change ahead, followed by an equally abrupt ending!
Our sofa & loveseat meet each other at right angles, in front of a book-case sitting cross-wise across a corner. Now that you are thouroughly confused about our furniture arrangement, I'll go ahead and make my point. Cute story #3 for today. This arrangement leaves what a designer would call 'wasted space' but what Dale calls his 'hole'. He crawls in occasionally to do this or that. Alan found it today, and obviously thought it was a good place to read (or in infant terms, eat) a magazine. This was too much for Dale to pass up, so he joined him:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Macaroni madness on a monumental day

Hello friends.
I have so much to say....and (probably) so little time. I think I will work backwards.

So - first of all.... this is a HUGELY monumental day: Alan FELL ASLEEP, ON HIS OWN, IN HIS OWN BED. This is really, really incredible. I am ecstatic! Or I would be....if I wasn't so TIRED. Little Liver Dude got me up at 5 this morning. That is not good. I finally got him back to sleep just after 6:30. I considered going back to bed, but that would most likely just throw me off for the rest of the day, so I hit the shower. At least I got to see Greg (briefly) before he left for work (at 6). So anyway...Alan had a nap this morning and has been cranky all day (huh - wonder why?) all the way up until this current nap. Oh yes - let's not forget that he pulled his tube this morning. I was drawing up his morning meds, and Dale frantically tried to get me to stop him in time, but it was too late. I decided to get the meds down him orally and just go tube-free for the day. Lucky Greg gets to come home from a long day and work and help me put in a tube! (Always a thrilling experience)
On to brighter things....Dale had a little art project today. Had little (ok, nothing) to do with Water Wednesday, but that's ok. :) We made macaroni art! :) Put a little squirt of paint in baby-food jars, watered it down a little bit (hey! water!) and let the macaroni soak.
Yes - my child is shirtless. You can do that with boys, and sometimes I do. But this morning he had actually gotten dressed like I asked him to, but the shirt he wanted to wear was just finishing up in the washer. Hey - I'm flexible.

Hey everybody! Look here!! ---->
A poll! How fun! Please answer! :)

After it looked like it had soaked up a good amount of color, but before it turned to mush, we laid the macaroni out on paper towels to dry. They dried pretty quickly, and Dale glued them to a piece of paper. I showed him how he could arrange them to make a picture, but he prefers the abstract, apparently. The 'ar-teest'
Hey look! The dryer's done! :)

We had an early lunch (that's usually what happens when you have an early breakfast). Bologna sandwiches today. Dale said, "take a picture of my sandwich." So I did.

Alan before the Tube-pulling incident:

Now...back-tracking to Tuesday...

Invited Mimi for breakfast yesterday morning since *gasp!* - I actually made banana bread Monday afternoon. I COOKED! And it wasn't even for a meal or a special occasion! Wow! Felt like old times. ;) Anyway.... we 'sampled' the bread after supper Monday, so I knew it was good and worthy of sharing. It's a really good banana bread. Not cakey like a lot of the recipes - very hearty and bready. Not too sweet and not too banana-y.
Ok - enough about the banana bread. We had just finished breakfast when I spotted our resident turtle on the move in the backyard. Dale and I ran out to look at him, and -duh - I took pictures of the turtle and not Dale. Not even Dale and the turtle. Oh well... in case you're curious what the turtle looks like: Hard to say if he's a captive or just chooses to stay, but either way we seem to be neighbors. Or yard-mates. Or ... something.

Ventured out to the library after lunch despite the 90-something degree heat. These boys love to go! I've decided to try reading some chapter books to Dale in addition to the usual picture books. Less to look at and more to listen to. Last week I brought home our first selections. Dale did fine with the listening part, but I don't think he liked my story choice. It was about a little boy that accidently used a birthday wish to turn his overly-teasing big brother into a frog. I think it kind of freaked Dale out a little bit. He wouldn't let me finish it, even though the boy got to be a boy again. So we returned freaky frog book and got 2 more. Currently reading about an unhappy middle child who's going to run away from home. Not exactly thrilled with that storyline - 'editing' a lot as I read. Looking forward to the next one - little kid cowboy & horses (please... no surprises with this one!)

Afternoon naps didn't go so well, but we were coping ok. Greg called. It was just the time he's been calling to say, "I'm on my way." Good. Only had to make another 1.5 hours. Wrong. This call was to say, "I need to work late. It'll probably be after the boys' bedtimes. Yikes. You know how you ration stuff to last a certain length of time? I ration my energy to last until Greg gets home. Only one thing to do: pack up the boys and high-tail it to Mimi & Gramps'!
Usually works out really well for me to show up over there at meal-time. I get to cook, while somebody else watches my kids, and then we all get to eat, together! (And did I mention somebody watches my kids!?) :) Yesterday's meal was a particularly fun adventure. They had a package of chicken breasts that needed to be used. A quick search of the fridge turned up garden fresh okra, and fresh garden tomatoes. Hmmm....I'm thinking gumbo. Check the pantry for rice, and... it's my lucky day! They have a Cajun rice mix! Yay! Turned out really good; I was pleasantly surprised.
The 90-something degree heat from earlier was now 100-something degrees, so while I cooked, Dale played in the carwash. And then, amazingly, of all things, it rained!

Thankfully, I didn't have a bit of trouble getting the boys to bed by myself.
And speaking of sleeping boys - Dale has just gone down for his nap. Alan woke up from his historic putting-himself-to-sleep nap, but I nursed him back to sleep (some skillful, if slow, one-handed typing back up the way there). I dare go try to sleep? Do housework? Read my book? Oh the joys of being a mom during naptime! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jiggling act

Hallelujah! Alan slept until 7:30 Monday morning! Considering his wake-up times lately, that is pretty incredible! I was able to actually get up before him and do my thing while he was still sleeping. Nice.
Was a very typical weekday for us. A good day. Got out in the a.m. to see Nana & PawPaw. Dale was dying to show them his new loader - still a very hot item at our house! :)

Some Dale-isms from Monday:
"Mama, I have 11 toes. How many do you have?" Upon hearing I only had ten, Dale sat down to count his and show me his 11. He counted three times. If he was disappointed to find one missing he didn't let it show.

Playing with play-dough, Dale stuck the whole wad against his face, covering his eyes and all. He said, "Mama - close you eyes."
I did, and said so.
Dale then says, "Can you see me?"
"Why not?"
Uhhhh....well, Dale, because my eyes were closed!!!

Finally, playing with Alan's plastic blocks, Dale took one in each hand and said, "Mama, I'm going to teach you how to jiggle." I thought he was going to dance with them or something. I sat up and got ready for my jiggling lesson, and Dale began to throw the blocks in the air. "You throw them up and catch them, Mama. That's how you jiggle."

And some Alan pics:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

7 Years

Today Greg and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We agree this has definitely been the hardest year yet, with Alan's diagnosis and ongoing aftermath and all of Greg's job issues. So while we didn't do anything big in celebration, it has been an interesting time to commemorate our anniversary, and it feels like quite a milestone!

We got started early on the 12th: 4:30am!! Come on, Alan... is that really necessary?! The three of us were up until 6:30. We all got up again around 8. I'm afraid Alan is starting to of the possible side effects of liver disease.

I made a big breakfast for our anniversary, at Greg's request, and then we set out for church. Alan has fallen in love with the acoustics in some of the rooms at church. It's kind of hard to have a Sunday School lesson with a 'barking' baby! Lol!
Had Pizza Hut lunch with Mimi, Gramps & Kristin. Kristin goes back to school tomorrow, so we won't see her for about 6 weeks. She has a tradition of giving Dale his birthday present early before she goes back to school. That works out good, since, like any good aunt, her presents are always super fun new toys. We all remember Dale's 1st b-day when he opened Kristin's gift first - a big red truck - and couldn't care less about anything else! So it works out well for hers to get done first, and not out-shine the rest of us when we give him boring ol' clothes and puzzles, lol. This year was a CAT loader with a remote control. Woohoo! (and for those of you that find yourselves opening new kid toys periodically, you will appreciate this: not only was it held in the package with sevearl major twisties, it was fastened to the package with 12 metal screws!!)

After church tonight Alan was in his highchair (doing great with finger foods!) and pulled out his Tube. While we never look forward to that, we were kind of expecting it. This one may have been our longest one yet - somewhere around 3 weeks. It wasn't staying closed very well, so it was about time for it to go anyway. Alan had a bath to get rid of all his supper residue and help soak off the old tape.

Dale ate a sandwich, and then hopped in the tub for a little while too.

After we got the tube in and got Alan to bed, Greg, Dale & I watched our wedding video. It was the first time Dale has seen it, and the first time Greg & I have watched it in a couple of years. I never dreamed when I pledged "in sickness and in health" that would mean the sickness of our child. You just don't expect or plan for those sort of things. It was really interesting to listen to the minister's message and the vows we made each other in light of the past year. Very uplifting. I'd like to watch it again soon.
Greg asked Dale if he was going to get married someday. When Dale said yes, Greg asked him who he was going to marry. I was hoping he would give the proverbial little boy answer to that question, and he didn't let me down: "Mama" he said. :) Awwww.... thanks sweetie. ;)
And how (other than blogging) did I end my 7th anniversary? By hand-washing a pair of my dear husbands dirty socks for tomorrow. :) Not sure if that falls more under "for richer & poorer" or "in plenty and in want", but either way, he's got clean socks for Monday! :)

Simple Gifts

Remember that turtle that we rescued from the street and put in the backyard? .... It's still there!! Greg told me last night that he has had to move it the last two times he has mowed to keep from running over it. It is living under a bush that grows right next to the fence. (Actually, this particular bush sort of grows out from under the fence...we pulled it up when we put the fence in, but it has come back as strong as ever!).
This discovery came after Dale's bedtime last night, so he doesn't know yet. Probably best for the turtle if Dale didn't know, lol! Anyway, we decided he probably had plenty to eat, but might be thirsty since it hasn't rained in a couple of weeks. We took the water hose and sprayed down the turtle, his bush, and the grass around it pretty good. It occurred to us later it's probably been getting water from the dew every morning, but ... oh well. What turtle doesn't appreciate a good shower every now and then!? :)

I've noticed myself lately very sincerely thanking God for the simplest little things. One of the more recent ones was stain remover. This was after treating and then washing Dale's new white shirt from Mimi after it got a big drop of strawberry on it. It was the first time he wore it! I put stain remover on it immediately, and it came out of the wash the next day as white as ever, without a hint of strawberry.
Thanking God (out loud!) for something as simple as stain remover got me to thinking...
God gives us all sort of gifts like that: simple little things to make our lives easier, more enjoyable, or sweeter in some little way. How often are gifts like that there for the taking, and we don't acknowledge the Giver? Or even just not accept the gift? How silly it would be of me to regret the stain in Dale's new shirt, and never use the 'cure' that sat on my shelf.
It is the same with much bigger and more important gifts too: God has given us 24/7 access to Him through prayer and His love letter to us, the Bible, but we often ignore those gifts. Instead, we try to struggle through on our own, stressing over the 'stains' in our day.
And of course, there is the biggest gift of all: God's Son, who gave his own life for us. His live, the only gift that can ever wash away the stains of our sins and imperfections. The only gift that gives us life forever. And all we have to do is accept that gift. But we must accept it. No matter what we do, our stains of sin will never be washed away with the gift of God's Son sitting on the shelf.
Thank you, Lord, for all of your gifts, both great and small!! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Oh my goodness! I've really missed blogging!!

Not really anything new or exciting going on... Greg gets up reeeeally early for his hour & a half drive to work. Alan has decided if Daddy is going to be an early riser, he will be too. He has gotten up early all summer, but the last few weeks he's gotten up earlier, and earlier, and earlier. This morning? A Satruday? He got up at 5:30!! And this is not just waking up for a diaper or to be fed. This is, "I'm awake and ready to play with somebody!" :)

There is no way I can catch up on the past week. I'll just post some pics and a few random thoughts instead. First...the pics:
Alan awake and ready for action on one of his early mornings this week:

Dale filling the pool for Water Wednesday:

The Boys

Dale's new hiding place? Hopefully not while Alan's sleeping!!

Other tidbits - I got a haircut this week, & love it! It's my favorite cut in a while. Of course....all my haircuts are good, so this one is really great! (Thanks mom!) :)

We lowered Alan's crib mattress. He isn't quite pulling up yet, but he's getting close, and we don't want any unpleasant surprises!

Greg's been napping on the couch as I've written this. Dale is with Gramps and Alan...well...Alan doesn't believe much in naps these days, even with his early mornings. Anyway... Greg just woke up and told me it's my turn to nap, so I'm making a run for bed while I have the chance!
Happy Saturday to all, and I certainly hope I don't wait so long before posting again!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Corn dogs and construction paper

Monday, August 6
Just Another Music Monday. Dale is getting very clever. He asked me Sunday night if he could watch his Thomas video on music Monday, since it had music on it when it came on and went off. Ahh...good point, but the answer was still no. Instead, I opened a package of inflatable instruments that we've had stuck back for a while. I think they were supposed to be decorations, but Dale didn't care. We started with the guitar, then added on the microphone. We saved the saxophone for the afternoon.
We spent the morning doing this and that and trying to get ready to go to Paris to get groceries and a few prescriptions. We went right after lunch and picked up Kristin to go with us- this is her one week off between work and school.
Got what we needed, and had to shop fast since Alan was pretty restless and not content to just ride. We stopped at Sonic on the way home for their half-price drinks. I better be careful - this could become a habit!! Dale was hungry, so I bought him a corndog. He decided he didn't want it, so Kristin and I began to share it. He then decided he wanted it after all, so he finished it. Nothing like a couple of people oohing and ahhing over what was supposed to be yours to really make you want it!

Both boys fell asleep on the way home. Alan first. He woke up not long after getting home. Dale slept in the van the whole time I was bringing in groceries and putting them away. I finally went and woke him up, afraid he would get too hot.
In the afternoon I finally got around to helping Dale make a paper chain to count down to his birthday. He knows it's August, but was having trouble understanding how long the wait would be, so we made 18 links and hung them from his headboard, to take one down every night at bedtime. I think he gets it now that it's going to be a little while! I don't help any in his impatience - both this year and last year I've bought his plates, napkins, etc 2 or 3 weeks early... in his presence. Oh well...builds excitement, right? Yesterday, as we hurried through the grocery store I bought a cake mix, frosting, and some sprinkles for his cake. The sprinkles were an impulse buy....didn't know what I was going to do with them. But as I unpacked at home, I thought of the perfect thing! I'm pretty happy with my idea for his cake this year. I'll just wait for the pics before I share here. :) BTW...Dale's birthday is the 23rd, and his party theme for this year is the Cars movie.
After supper I went over to Mom & Dad's for a little while - still working on that anniversary slideshow project. While I was gone Greg put Alan and Dale to bed. How lucky am I?! I found out he had a very interesting conversation with Dale. They were talking about when Alan was born. Greg told Dale where he (Dale) was born, and then where Alan was born. Dale asked, "Where was I?" Greg reminded him of being in the waiting room and who he was with. Dale then says, "When Alan is a kid and not a baby anymore can we go back to the hospital and get another baby?" I guess being a big brother is a pretty good deal if he wants to sign up for more!
Alan is finally starting to get somehwere on his tummy, literally. No crawling, but he can scoot far enough to get something that is out of reach. Won't be long now! (better start thinking about some serious baby-proofing...especially since, unlike Dale did, Alan does put everything in his mouth!)

Random thought for the day:
I love cheese. I love it melted over a casserole, sliced with crackers or fruit, on a sandwich or in a tortilla. I love cheese! :) Mom, Kristin & I had our own little cheese-tasting party this past winter while Kristin was home over the Christmas holidays. Tried 2 completely new kinds of cheese, plus a new variety of cheddar. Yum & fun! We should do that again!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sneaking in a weekend post on Monday

In March of 2006, my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In January of that year, my mom and I began collecting photos of them and their family throughout their 50 years. (Part of this collecting involved 'sneaking' into their house with our spare key while they were away to search through their albums and boxes. We took what we needed, making careful notes of where every picture had been stored, and snuck back in later to put it all back. We did 'oops' and left one picture out on the coffee table. Nana commented later on finding it, and wondered how it got out. Whew! Close call!) Anyway... we took all these pictures (over 200 of them) and scanned them into my computer. This was hours of work. We then put the scanned pics into a power point presentation 4 songs long, complete with animations and clip art. For the anniversary party, we surprised them with the slide show up on a projector screen and presented them with a video copy.

Happy 50th Anniversary!
March 2006

I tell all this to tell what we did this Saturday. Somewhere along the way, that video copy got lost (recorded over?), so Nana & PawPaw haven't been able to watch their gift in over a year, or show it to any friends. This Saturday we finally borrowed another projector and set up the slide show at my house (since it is on my computer) and surprised them one more time. It was so much fun! A little mini-party complete with brownies & ice cream! :)

That was Saturday evening. Backing up to Saturday morning...
Dale had his mind SET on going to see Nana & PawPaw Sat. morning. We had originally planned for him to spend the day with them Thursday when we went to Dallas, but decided to take him with us instead. He must have had himself all excited to be with them, because he really had them on his mind, and finally Saturday morning he couldn't take it anymore. He asked persistantly for a couple of hours, and finally I took Dale and Alan both over while Greg was mowing. Alan and I stayed for a little while, and then left Dale there for lunch and the afternoon. He later migrated to Mimi & Gramps', a few blocks up the street, and came back home when Mimi & Gramps came over for the slide show party.

Sunday was another church day. Alan and I missed Sunday School again, as that is usually his naptime, but we came on separately and made it for church. This Sunday was our pastor's last Sunday before going to a new church in a new state, so we had a finger-foods reception after church Sunday night. It was both a sad & happy good-bye, sad because we'll miss them, happy for their new plans. Greg missed part of the last devotion and prayer - he was holding Alan and Alan discovered the large room and even the hallway had great acoustics! He sounded like some kind of tropical bird, 'barking' for everybody to hear!

There was still lots of daylight after church, so Mimi & Gramps invited Dale to come play in the car wash for a little while. I guess I didn't explain well before....yes...the car wash is at their house! Yay! :) That makes it twice as fun (and doesn't run up our water bill! ;) )

Nana and PawPaw stopped by on their way home from church, and we all sat outside for a while. Alan watched it all from his swing, and was even joined by Nana for a little while:

This is where I would like to make some witty or sentimental statement summarzing the whole thing, but I'm blogging in the middle of the day, Dale is asking a hundered questions, Alan could wake up any moment, I have to make a grocery list, the dryer is about to buzz... ahh!
The End.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Slushes, sloshes, sprinklers & car washes!

Alan - untying my shoe!
Good thing I went to bed early last night....because Alan was up at 6 this morning! What is with these early mornings!?! Since I want to get on to bed now in preparation for tomorrow's early call, I will spare you all the details of our morning (we cleaned house, we played... all the usual) and skip to the 'good stuff'.
Daddy got to come home early today, so he was home by 2:00. Yay! I had to go to the post office, so Dale rode with me. We were going to get sno-cones while we were out, but I gave him the choice of Sonic, since Sonic has re-instated half-price drinks in the afternoons. Dale picked Sonic. Yay! Slushes for us. :)

Around supper time, Mimi called and said she had a suprise for Dale for Fun Friday, and he would need his swimsuit. We couldn't imagine. It was a 'car wash'!! Dale ran through ONCE before he realized - "Hey! Can a put my blue car in here?!"

I bet he 'drove' a mile this evening in that little blue car...round and round. Once, after almost an hour, he was sitting still in the car just looking at the car wash. Mimi asked, "Are you getting tired?" Dale said, "No, I'm just waiting for the car in front of me to get done." :) I love that imagination! Sure enough, he sat there for a few more moments and then drove on through! :)

Of course Alan got to get in on the action, too:

Most definitely qualified for "Fun Friday". Thank goodness it's only 5 days until Water Wednesday! :)

Just kidding.... I'm sure the little blue car will need washing even before then. ;-)