Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teens, rigamortis and impatients...

I realize that I haven't been as active in my blog as I used to be... partly on purpose: it was cutting into my "cuddle with hubby after the kids go to bed" time. And partly because I am busy and/or tired. I am growing a human being here people! ;) (While taking care care of three other human beings... although Seth is pretty self sufficient, he does still like my occasional attention. ♥)

But I do want to bring you up to speed on a couple of things.

You can now pretend to be thoroughly interested. Thank you very much.

The youth conference we attended last week was wonderful. Each of the teens in our group seemed to be helped and convicted by one or more sermons. They each shared very heartfelt testimonies with us before leaving for home, and some shared their blessings from the trip in front of the church on Sunday night. God really did a work at the conference, in my heart and my husbands as well. It's funny how I always feel like I get more out of youth conference messages than any other kind of conference. I suppose because the general themes are usually centered on giving your life to the Lord completely, as well as living holy in this corrupt world.

Here is a picture of some very Rambo-ish looking girls as they headed off for the laser tag activity.
Since we spent our actual anniversary driving home from New Jersey.... which by the way, was the longest drive I've ever done solo. It went well (despite the teen boys in the other van counting how many people I cut off... I think they were incorrect but whatever) on the drive down there and home, however, driving in new Jersey was AWFUL!!!! If I never drove on the New Jersey turnpike again in my life, that would be great. Seriously, I was thanking God that we didn't get into an accident.

Anyway, we didn't have an opportunity to celebrate our anniversary properly, and by properly I mean in a steak restaurant, on the 26th so on Monday night we secured a babysitter and went to a new Japanese Hibachi bistro. Here is us as we headed out the door, doing the whole "take your own picture with telescopic arms" thing:

We had a great time and really enjoyed our food. I would have really liked to try sushi but being pregnant, knew it wasn't a good idea. We did try some (cooked) new things like California rolls. I am a fan, Seth is not. Thus I got to eat most of his. ☺And every entree came with a few grilled shrimp, which Seth does not eat so again, I got 'em all. ☺ I soon became exceedingly full and so I shared some steak with him, so it evened out. ☺

And here is my 6 month pregnancy picture. Not the best since I'm wearing black but it pretty much confirms that I'm carrying most of my baby weight in my arms. =( Despite the flappage in the upper arms, I am feeling very well. Nausea is still a "once in a while" issue and is fleeting when it comes. I'm SOOOOO grateful. I do have more aches and pains this time around and I am feeling kind of... OLD. Yup. Old. Some days I feel like my body is about to go into rigamortis.

Since I am feeling so good most of the time, I've been more active with this pregnancy than any other. I'm getting on the elliptical often... ya know, to ward off the rigamortis and all... and I've been doing some work outside in our yard.

Our flower bed is still a work in progress, and it will remain so the rest of this year, but we have some nice little shrubs out now, as well as some flowers!

Day lilies... these are inexpensive perennials. Yeah!

Hydrangeas. Not so inexpensive and also a bit fussy. I don't think they are thriving under my care. But hopefully I can learn to care from them because I do love hydrangeas so much.

And some impatiens, which are doing really well.

I hope you are each doing well also. Aren't you glad it's summer? ♥

Monday, June 28, 2010

Six Years of Wedded Bliss

Saturday marked our 6th wedding anniversary!!

It's hard to believe it's been six whole years since we did this:
The title of this post is very accurate: it's been BLISS!

God truly blessed me with a wonderful husband. After saying "I do" and living with this man for these past 6 years, I know that I got an even better deal than I expected. ;) The longer I know him, the more I admire him. His character impresses me daily. His integrity blesses me with security. He loves God with humble sincerity and he loves me and our girls with consistence. He is kind, always. I hope it doesn't sound arrogant but I really do wish that every wife were blessed with a husband who treated her as mine treats me.
I always enjoy looking through my wedding pictures. I've said it for about 5 yrs. and 11 months: I want to get married again. Same groom, of course! But I want to have that whole special day again and again. Partly to just enjoy it even more fully, and not be nervous or even the tiniest bit stressed. And partly because there are a few things I would do differently.
Our wedding was the first event I'd ever planned... at all. I had not so much as planned a birthday party before this monumental occasion! Added to the facts that I did the vast majority of planning from my dorm room (without a computer or Internet connection) and with a budget of whatever I could scrap together after paying my college bills. I was 20 yrs. old and making it all up as I went. Overall, I cherish the day because hey, by the time we drove away, I had a ring on my finger and that finger was enclosed in the hand of my new groom. Who cares about anything else! As I share with these pictures with you, I'll share with you what were my best choices, and what I would change. Of course, if my over analysis is more than you can tolerate, feel free to just enjoy the pictures and ignore my ramblings entirely!
The groom: Best choice ever!!!!!! He's a keeper!

Handmaid flower bouquets, flower girl wreath and decor. Major money saver and I was pleased with how they came out. I hit the clearance racks at craft stores and sat down with my maid of honor and just did what we thought was pretty. Isn't my little flower girl a sweetie? Her parents were my Sunday School teachers growing up.

My beautiful bridesmaids. I had 5 chicks at my side while my hubby had only 3 groomsmen (it's just not that important to guys to travel all the way to California to see their friend get married, ya know!) We made that work fine though. What I would do differently is the dresses. They came out nicely and I'm so grateful to Jessica (the bridesmaid on the lower right with the long gorgeous hair) for working so tirelessly to make them. But when most of the bridesmaids are flying in from out of town, it was stressful on her and me to make sure they were finished and actually fit well. Since then, I've seen nice dresses in stores like JCPennys that would make great bridesmaid's dresses with an added ribbon around the waist and aren't too expensive. And of course, Internet opens up countless options.

My photographer was wonderful. My budget was quite small. A typical wedding photographer was out of the question. I decided to put a simple ad up on a bulletin board at the local community college in the photography classroom. One student called me. She was almost done with her photography course, and had worked on a large team of photographers for up scale weddings. Mine was to be her first solo wedding. She had a journalistic style, which I loved but she also included a few important formal shots. She was VERY unobtrusive. You hardly noticed her as we went about the day but what we ended up with was a wonderful collection of two photo albums, a CD with every single image (hundreds) and as an extra, simply because she wanted to give it a try, a DVD slide show set to music. Our cost: $500. That was a big chunk of my budget but such a terrific deal. Now that she is well established, her base package is about $3,000!!!

My veil was bought off eBay for $20...

The groomsmen: Seth's brother, brother in law and his father as the best man. Something you should know about having marines as your groomsmen: They yell "Hoo-ra" (or how ever you spell that!) when you kiss. ;)

I loved, and still love my rings. Seth did an amazing job selecting them. His ring, however, he helped me select, and I'm glad he did because what I would have gotten was not what he liked! But on the day of the wedding, his rings were no where to be found! We used his brother's ring for the ceremony and then found his actual ring right after everything was over! Oops! In this picture, you see Seth's boutonniere, which along with my bouquet were the only fresh flowers we had.

We rented a local church out of necessity. This church happened to have a women pastor.... that was interesting. She had strong opinions about how everything should go but, to my great relief my home pastor handled her, and her opinions, perfectly. He he he.

My mom's little touch to the back of our rental car. Loved it.

My brother in law serving cake. I seriously did not even think about who would help serve at the reception. My planning did not include those kinds of details. But my husband's family demonstrated, as they have countless times since then, that you can always count on them to help out.

My pretty sister in law. I just think this picture of her is awesome and had to share it. If she finds out, she will probably throw something at me. =)
My dress. *sigh* This was probably the biggest "wish I could do over". My dream dress was always one with a big tulle skirt with sparkles and flowers and all sorts of frilly foo foo la la nonsense all over it. But, I had become frustrated and discouraged as I looked for a dress with a big skirt that wasn't very low cut in the bodice. So when I came across this simple high necked dress that was well within my budget, and the sales lady said it looked great, I bought it. In hindsight, I should have put it back on the rack and slept on the decison. But it was a long drive to the store, time was running out and the low price tag caused me to just buy it. In the end, it felt a little plain and even with the high neck, I wasn't entirely comfortable wearing it. But... oh well.

The tiara you see in this picture (which shows us in the back of a rented SUV and Seth rolling the window up for privacy so we could... pray? Um... never mind).... was an impulse buy but a good buy. A week before the wedding, I felt an undeniable need for something sparkly and fancy. So I paid $80 for this very pretty tiara. It is actually, along with my veil, the only items from the wedding I saved. Most were given to engaged friends or lost in the cross country move, but this tiara gets brought out of safe keeping every year on June 26 for me to wear and look silly in. =) I even bring it to youth conference when it falls on our anniversary.

These topiaries (I just love topiaries) were from the dollar store. The runner was made from left over bridesmaid dress material.

The cake was a FABULOUS choice. It was actually from a local grocery store! The bakers there were excited to be making a wedding cake and really did a great job. The cost was of course substantially smaller than a fancy bakery and it tasted REALLY good. Many people complimented it saying it was the best wedding cake they had ever had.

I think the key to ordering a wedding cake from a grocery store bakery is to keep it simple. I doubt they could have handled a wedding cake shaped into Cinderella's castle very well. But simple smooth butter cream with piping, with a colored ribbon that I provided them looked really elegant to me. The florist at the grocery store put together the bouquets for the top of each floating tier. It was exactly what I wanted it to be.

My Beloved and I:

It may sound strange, but one of the best features about the church we rented was the lawn. Although small, in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, a lawn is rare and I was so pleased to have actual living grass in the background of our wedding day. =)

Although you can't always expect grass in the desert, you can always count on wind!

The entire wedding party. Notice my brother in law is standing on a song book because he felt like a dwarf next to my statuesque maid of honor.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hitting the road!

We leave tomorrow for New Jersey for a youth conference!

So if you think of me, pray for our safety and Lord's blessing on the conference. And pray that my ankles don't swell to ginormous portions in the swelling Jersey humidly. Its expected to be in the 90s with thunderstorms. I will be driving a 1980-something little Toyota with the teen girls in it, while my hubby gets our van since there are more boys than girls. Although the Toyota has no CD or even tape player, and no cruise control, it DOES have air conditioning!!! Thank you, Lord! It does not, however, have a single cup holder but if I have to, one of those girls will be my designated Diet Pepsi holder. =)

And one of them can hold the tissue box while I cry from saying good bye to my girls for 4 days!

As I prepared for this conference, I reminisced back to a few years ago when it was Maddie I was expecting while chaperoning youth trips. That year, we drove the church bus out to Indiana. My ankles and feet were at least triple their normal size by the time we arrived. Every time I sat down in that hot bus, I could literally feel them expanding. We had a great trip overall but something you may not realize about hotel rooms filled with 5 woman is that it means there are 5 (and maybe more is someone really brought their collection) different body sprays being sprayed several times a day. What happens when you mix peach body spray with pear body spray with sweet pea body spray, etc etc etc? It stinks. Real real bad. Yuck. And then... teen girls get cold. And turn off the a/c. So the room is stinky AND hot. And then, someone suggests eating dinner at White Castle and... well... I shalt spare you the details of what White Castle burgers do to already smelly situation.

So... before we even pull out of the church parking lot, the rules will be made clear:

1. I will sleep by the a/c and no one NO ONE will touch it but ME! Unless you are intending to turn it up...

2. No fruity sprays will be sprayed inside the hotel room. Please step outside the room and contaminate the hall way.

3. We will not eat at White Castle. Ever. Never ever ever.

4. Do not turn off the a/c under any circumstances. When we start to see our breath, I will consider lowering it. Until then, NO TOUCHY.

And that is all!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Beloved!

My girls have a wonderful Daddy. He truly is a great father. Seth is so balanced about his fatherhood... he is tender with his wee little girlies, but also firm and his word is law. He is their best play companion and is always up to rolling around on the floor while they "wrestle" with him. He is also always willing to allow them to accompany him while he works, when it is possible.

He is patient. He is consistent. He is wise.

He does diaper duty. He holds them when they are sick. He carries them when they are tired. He pushes the stroller and weaves it around crazily while they squeal in delight. He makes otherwise "grouchy wake up from nap time" fun with his silly antics. He makes the best chocolate milk ever. He makes the girls think that our old mini van is a race car and beats everyone on the road (even though its really just coincidence that we pass people- usually). He reads lots of story books.

He gives kisses, and correction as needed.

He protects the girls and guards their innocence.

My girls are so blessed to have such a daddy, and I am so glad for that.

Baby Maddie:

Baby Eden:


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Me and my agenda

I am a woman with an agenda. I always have been. For as long I can remember, I constantly have 2 or 3 or sometimes more projects or goals floating around in my head that I want to bring to fruition. Anything form a do-it-yourself project around our house, or updating something at the church, or completing an online course or selling something, making something, etc.

I wanna get stuff done.

Sometimes my agenda gets big. Real big. Like right now. I want to clean and fill our pool, create a giant flower bed in the front yard, repair the front porch, finish a sidewalk to the porch, clean our horribly messy garage and even more messy basement. I want to decorate my husband's office. I want to wall paper my bedroom and the baby's bedroom. I want to plant a row of hosta along the church building. I want to add trim work to the kitchen. And a thresh hold. I want to hang an American flag on the house.

This is just a small spattering of my long long list.

And when I say "I" in that previous paragraph, I really mean my husband. 'Cause I'm an expanding by the minute expectant mama. And he is really good at all that stuff.

But here is the problem: His life's purpose if not to complete my honey-do list. *gasp*

He is actually quite busy with his job as an assistant pastor. Hmph.

So... I do what I can. And I get my supplies gathered to go till my dirt (how silly is it that we BUY dirt?) and then.... it rains. Hard.

The ground is soaked. The soil is soaked. I need to the sun to come out and dry my dirt so I can till it.

Okay so, my husband's life doesn't revolve around my agenda and now I have to accept that the sun also is not at my beck and call. This is getting hard to take.

And then.... my baby girl gets sick and needs some extra care and cuddling. Wow. Is the whole world out to thwart my personal agenda??

So here I sit, with Princess Cranky holding me tight and I think, Well, the yard looks bad. The kitchen is without it's final trim work and thresh hold. The pool is more like a lagoon. The garage and basement reflect the fact that a family just moved in after extensive remodeling. And it's okay.

It's okay because little sickies still get cuddled and curious preschoolers still get to go help Daddy. God's business gets cared for and people, we hope, are helped in the process. Dinners still come out of the untrimmed kitchen. Little girls still get their painted toe nails filthy while playing on the ugly yard with no flower bed, in front of a house with no flag.

It will all get done, eventually. What is not going to get done is the bad attitude and frustration that I usually succumb to when my agenda is not being reached. None of that stuff really really matters. Its all temporal. Its all of this world. Shouldn't I be striving for the things that are of above? (Col. 3:2)

"Wait on the Lord" was the theme I choose for 2010. Here is another opportunity for God to strengthen me in this area.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So now we know...

We had an interesting evening last night....

After meeting up with some teens at a pizza place near by for dinner, we ended up taking a "little" (and we all know that to be a falsehood!) trip to the E.R. last night. After eating some DELICIOUS pizza... have you ever had the kind of pizza with the sauce ON TOP? Gooooooood. Seth loves it and I do too, but I really enjoy it best when we eat it at the pizza parlor and not take it home because when the sauce is on top, it gets cold pretty quickly. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, my daughter's brush with death. Sorry. Pizza distracts this pregnant lady. ;)

One of the teen boys in his kind heartedness toward our girls but in his ignorance of Maddie's food allergies, gave them each a quarter to get a handful of candy from the dispenser machines. Imagine my terror when I look into Maddie's palm to find PEANUT M&Ms there! I pop one in my mouth to confirm that they did indeed contain dreaded peanuts. Maddie had never before actually eaten a peanut before this occasion. We knew she was allergic due to her reactions when someone else ate peanuts and then touched her (hugged her, kissed her, etc.) She once ate off of a spoon that Seth had used to eat peanut butter ice cream with and that ended with her looked like a hive covered lobster.

So.... now she had eaten an undetermined amount of peanuts. What should we expect? We did not know. I looked her over for hives or redness and saw nothing at all. Hmmm. Maybe she is outgrowing this allergy. That would be wonderful! We loaded into our van to run some errands and by then, Maddie started complaining that she didn't feel good. She could not convey to us what the problem was and we still didn't see any of the usual evidences of a reaction but we gave her some benadryl to be safe.

Fast forward 20 minutes and we were hovering over a big pile of vomit in the parking lot of a store. I'm sure I was an interesting sight as I knelt over the blob of half digested pizza, counting how many peanuts I could see! Just what every pregnant lady wants to be doing... carefully examining vomit in a parking lot! LOL!

After another dose of benadryl, we took Maddie home. She was acting much better so we thought that was that. But... more vomiting await us at home. I called the on call pediatrician, who heard the phrase "peanut allergy" and sent us to the E.R. And so to the E.R. we went, where we waited for a few hours to see a doctor for 2.5 minutes, Maddie received a dose of steroid and we went home. A late night but better safe than sorry!

One thing I can be so thankful for (other than the fact that Maddie really was fine once she got all the nut out of her belly) is that even though we ended up waiting for about 4 hrs., two of which we past Maddie's normal bed time, she behaved really really well. I was quite proud of her for being so well behaved in a crowded unpleasant E.R., and for not freaking out when a nurse or doctor examined her.

So now we know what happens with our Madison eats a peanut.

And for this entire morning, Maddie has been the "doctor" for her unwilling patient, Eden.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Garage Sale Treasure

Wanna see what I found at a garage sale yesterday?

I spotted this adorable dresser as soon as I pulled up to the house. I knew right away that it was CUTE and would not last long. I dreaded looking at the price tag, fearing that it would be way out of my spending budget. I had $30 wadded up in my pocket.

The tag read $40. Not a bad price, really. I inspected it carefully to see how sturdy it was. I opened up every drawer and examined how they were constructed. It has rolling casters so I shimmied it around to see if anything was loose. I could tell that it was in wonderful condition and very well maintained.

I walked over to the lady conducting the garage sale and asked her if she would take $30 for the dresser. She instantly said no, and really I couldn't blame her. Someone would absolutely buy it for their asking price, probably more. I only had $30 so I left, a bit disappointed. As I was walking away, the husband called out to me and told me that they had a matching crib that I could have included in the $40. I thanked him for the offer but wasn't really looking for a crib. They seemed like a really nice older couple and I really adored that dresser. So I decided to call my husband and see what he thought of their asking price.

Seth agreed that $40 wasn't a bad price if the dresser is solid and I really liked it. So he told me to give the couple what cash I had so they would hold for me whole I went to get enough money out of the bank. YEAH!

I typically make plans to refinish used wood furniture, and since this dresser is to be used for our girls, I had momentarily thought of painting it white to match their bedroom. But it so charming in the pale yellow. It is 38 yrs. old and has never been repainted nor needs it now. So my plan is to decorate our small "baby" bedroom in pale yellow and lavender. Don't you picture the dresser paired with a lavender damask wall paper looking so vintage and adorable? These plans will have to wait a while but the scheme is being formulated! ;)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I walked into Maddie's bedroom while she was napping to see this beautiful sight.
Wouldn't you just love to have those eyelashes? And perfectly smooth skin and soft rosey checks? I wish a real photographer could have been here to capture how pretty she looked.

And then she woke up with a grin on her face and said, "You're a stinker!"
She gets that playful name calling thing from her father... :/


Sunday, June 6, 2010


I've been MIA on here lately... so what have we been up to?

~On Friday, the Lord surely had His protective hand on Seth and our school group. The students and teachers were all on the church bus for a field trip to the Corning Glass Museum a few hours away. While simply driving from one parking lot to another, the brakes on the bus went out!!! My father in law was driving and thought quickly enough to avoid hitting the car in front of the bus bit instead drove over a curb, leveled a street sign and let the branches of a tree bring the bus to a stop. Not only was no one in the bus injured but the damage to the bus was quite minimal. The street sign, however, did not survive! There was also happened to be (hmmm......) a brake repair place right across the street from the accident, so while the school group continued to the museum, the bus was repaired and everyone returned home safe and sound with only an hour or so delay. Praise the LORD!! If anyone knows the region, you know that there are a lot of big hills that they had driven on before reaching their destination. God really protected that bus full of kids and teachers!

~ I co-hosted a baby shower on Saturday. It was a small shower but I *think* it was fun. Its so hard to tell if an event is actually fun or not when you are organizing it! But I do know we had a ton of food so it couldn't have been too bad! ;) This baby shower was for a new mom who has decided to be surprised about the baby's gender. I had always thought it would make a shower and preparing for the baby harder to not know the gender, but in actuality, she received a lot of very useful practical gifts, instead of 75 newborn outfits! Even more reason to consider being surprised with a future pregnancy. Hmmmm......

~ My Sunday School class only had one student in it today so the two of joined my husband's class of young adults. Hmmmmm.... how can I say this without sounding like an obnoxious wife....? He is an awesome teacher. His lessons are helpful and practical and encouraging and edifying. And he looks really handsome when he's teaching. ;)

~ As I prepared Eden for bed, I asked her if she is a big girl or a baby. She said "Bebe!!" I asked her again to make sure.... yup. She's a baby and proud of it. I don't know how well she will appreciate sharing the baby status with another little princess in October. Hmmm.....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Safe in Daddy's Arms

Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe...
Pslams 119:117