30 November 2009

crash and burn

We had a very busy extended weekend.  Among other things, it involved making a batch of peanut butter cups as my offering for Thanksgiving dinner (yum!) and watching movies.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Disney's animated Robin Hood and The Music Man for starters.

My boys love musicals.  I think that's fantastic.

We had a wonderful time with Jon's family on Thursday.  It never ceases to be a riot when the family is together.  And my mother-in-law outdid herself again with all the fantastic food.  Yum.  And we all had a big laugh when as soon as everyone was seated at the spread my father-in-law pipes up "Where's the ham?"  He didn't get the memo that the ham was for later in the day, I guess. 

It'll be awhile before he lives that down.

Friday, Matthew and I braved the crazy crowd, but not too early.  We didn't get any "deals" per se, but we knew that would be the case in getting the extra sleep.  We were able to finish shopping for Caleb though, so that's good.

One thing about taking the boy with me to go shopping- I couldn't shop for him.  Duh.

We arrived home and then I mentioned to Jon that I had seen our "big family gift" while we were out, but wondered if I could get a better price elsewhere.  So he and I drove into Appleton and indeed we were able to find a better price on a comparable item.  Which will work just as well and the boys will love it!

Did I mention that getting said item, we ended up visiting three different Wal-Marts and two Game Stops?  Crazy.  But all the store staff were amazing, cheerful and helpful- so that was nice.

We also finished up about 99% of the shopping for our adopted family.  Did I mention that we got a family with two boys?  Well, we did.  And although I was a bit disappointed at first, it's worked out just fine and we've had a good time shopping.

We came home, took the boys to the park for a photo shoot, I made dinner and then we decorated the house for Christmas.

Friday was a fun but exhausting day.

On Saturday, we learned something, or at least I did.  Two things, actually.  One, the recipe for gingerbread cookies on the back of the Grandma's molasses bottle is a pain in the neck to work with and two, if your cutter is as wide as he is tall, he ends up looking like a very tan Stay Puft marshmallow man.  Oy.

He tasted good, but he looks awful.  And I found the old cutter in an ornament box while we were decorating Saturday night, so I may use a different recipe and the old cutter and see how he turns out.  (and yes, I took the picture and then I ate the cookie.  It was delicious.)

But by yesterday, I was hitting a wall.  We stopped at the corner gas station on the way to church, I thanked Jon for the Diet Coke and asked him to take me home.  So he did, and I spent the rest of the day on the couch resting.  It's just several things in combination, I'm sure, and I'm starting to feel better already.  But four days of go, go, go, were I guess too many.

How was your weekend?

26 November 2009


Praise the Lord.

Praise God in His Sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.

Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.

Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

I look at it this way; even when it feels like nothing is going right, I still have Jesus beside me guiding me through.  And I shouldn't be just in the habit of praising when things are going well; no, even when times are tough, it's probably because He's teaching me something that I need to learn.  And lets face facts here- I'm pretty stubborn.

But even in the tough times, I have immeasureable blessings for which I give Him praise!

Don't you?!?

24 November 2009


It's Thanksgiving week, you know.

A man is taking a walk in the woods when he spots a bear.  Now knowing that a human can not outrun a bear (unless it's a Chicago Bear), the man tries to get away but is not surprised when he is tackled by the enormous creature.

While trapped underneath the bear's massive paw, this man's only thought is "Dear Lord, let this be a Christian bear."

To which the creature replied "Oh Lord, thank you for this meal I am about to receive."

What are YOU thankful for today?

23 November 2009

weekend update

My new camera arrived over the weekend, so I just wanted to share with you a couple of the pictures that I took.

This is our girl; she'll be 6 months old the end of this week.  We love her even though she knocked down the Christmas tree.  (That's another post.....)

The boys and I went outside to see how the camera quality was and I'm pretty pleased.  Now if I can just get them dressed up for the Christmas card picture this week, we'll be all set.

It's been fun to upgrade cameras.  The new one has features like image stabilization and face detection.  As soon as I can get the drive on the computer to cooperate, I'm sure that the included disc will tell me all about features that I have yet to learn about.  Not to mention that I went from a 64mb memory card in the old camera to a 2G in the new one!  Woohoo!

It was a tough weekend to be a Big Ten football fan.  I was born and raised a University of Michigan fan and for the second year in a row, the football squad did not win enough games for bowl eligibility.  Ugh.  And "Oh, how I hate Ohio State" captured a fifth win against the Wolverines. Not to mention that Wisconsin didn't pull off a win this weekend either.  At least the Badgers are bowl eligible; gives me ONE game to watch. (What's the fundamental difference between a wolverine and a badger anyway, besides the colors?!?  Get it, maize and blue versus red and white?!?!  Anyway....)

Caleb and I baked a new cut-out cookie recipe this weekend.  Butter cookies.  I might share the recipe; if you're interested, let me know.  The dough tasted fantastic and the cookies weren't bad either, haha.  We froze the cookies with the plan to defrost them and decorate them Christmas week.  Then, since we're going to Michigan for Christmas, I guess we'll take them to share with my family.  Caleb enjoyed helping with the cookie cutters but finds the baking process boring so he was out after that.  But he did reappear to request a cookie, of course.

I'm excited to get together with Jon's family for Thanksgiving this week.  Even though we're usually crowded into my in-laws home, we play games and eat and laugh and have a great time.  And of course, I have a batch of peanut butter cups made to share.  They've been in the freezer for about a week and Jon's been good about leaving them alone.  Of course, one batch is never enough, so Matthew and I will create a second batch when the boys are home on Wednesday.

And finally, yes, you read that right; we did put up the Christmas tree this weekend.  This is against my upbringing, haha, but it was for a purpose.  We'd intended to see how Dina would react before we placed our ornaments on the tree and were possibly met with disaster.  Well, Sunday morning, the tree was on its side, so I posted to my very wise group of FB friends for advice and it was suggested that we anchor the tree.  That has been done as of late yesterday afternoon; and we were a bit surprised to find that the tree was still standing when we arrived home from church in the early afternoon.  We decided to just maybe she scared herself and decided she better not climb the tree.  And the advice I got for keeping her out from underneath the tree is a mixed bag; it seems to be working, but not as quickly as I'd like.  She's pretty stubborn.  Gee, good thing she's a cat or I'd wonder where she got that from.

There ya have it- everything you wanted to know or didn't about our weekend.

How was yours??

21 November 2009

Six Word Saturday

It's that time again!  Join the SWS carnival hosted at Call Me Cate by clicking here.

My six words:

Turkey, pie and family; what fun!

20 November 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday! 2nd edition

Good Morning!

Since I found myself with not much to write entire posts about this week, I've decided that Seven Quick Takes is the way to go.  So, here we go.....

1.  Caleb's conference went okay.  And just okay.  He seems to be a bit behind in reading and math, but maybe it's because he can't seem to pay attention long enough.  As I said before, his teacher is convinced that he's a smart boy with wonderful ideas, but she's at a loss to get him to get his work done.  He already occupies a seat as close to the board and to her desk as he can.  I don't know.  *sigh*

2.  Christmas Day is five short weeks from today.  FIVE!  That's anxiety inducing and exciting for me at the same time.  I get to see my family, and that's the exciting part, but the hassle that exists in trying to get Jon to give me a wish list for my mom, oy.  Gee, that was a long sentence, sorry!

3.  We've signed up to be a part of "Adopt a Family" for Christmas this year.  Again, more anxiety and excitement.  We're excited to be able to give to others, but I did wonder if Caleb's belief in the guy in the big red suit will stay intact through all this.  If it does, great, and if not, that's okay too.  We're anxiously awaiting the information about our family to get started shopping.  I hope they have little girls!

4.  I'm contemplating some Black Friday shopping this year.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.  Jon will be home for the day, so I could get away with it.....

5.  Matthew's fruit sales for the band trip are going better than he (or I!) expected. (THANK YOU SO MUCH those who have ordered!!)  We also found out last week that he has a "trip sponsor" who is helping him to raise money for Orlando 2010.  That's a wonderful blessing!

6.  We have a weekend with NOTHING PLANNED!  You know, aside from our Saturday morning date, college football games (GO BLUE!), church on Sunday, cantata practice, and Packer football. As I said, nothing planned! haha

7.  And finally, I have to tell you that I was uber disappointed in the Project Runway finale last night.  Not that "Mean-a Irina" didn't have a great collection to put down the runway, but I really wanted Carol Hannah to win!  So I felt like I got robbed (ROBBED, I TELL YOU!) of precious sleep to stay awake to see it come down to that.  Oh, well.  And if you don't watch PR, you have no idea what this last paragraph was about anyway!  hah.  I'm excited for season 7 to start in January.

17 November 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day

Did you know that November is Prematurity Awareness Month? And that today is devoted specifically to the fight for preemies?

Let me tell you why I have a vested interest here. Bear with me if you've heard most of these details before; I just feel the need to put it out there....

I'm lucky. More than I can tell you about here. It would certainly take up this post and others to tell my story.

Let me try and give you a super short version. (Mom, forgive me if the details aren't 100% accurate.....)

When I was born in *cough* nineteen *cough* seventy-four *cough*, medical science was not advanced enough to save most babies born too soon.

Born at 28 weeks, I was an odds-beater from the start for sure.

Mom says that the day before I was born, she didn't feel 100% like herself, but she didn't think anything was seriously wrong. She was super young at the time too; twenty years old- just for your understanding.

She says that she went to church to help my Aunt put together the bulletin for Sunday, not realizing that she was in labor.

If you fast-forward the story some, I was born the next morning, weighing in at a whopping 2 pounds 11 ounces with a staggering length of fourteen inches.  I don't even think she had a chance to see me; I was whisked off to the University of Michigan Medical Center and given a 20% chance of surviving that first night. TWENTY PERCENT. Takes my breath away to even type that.

Dad tells that my entire hand with fingers outstretched was not much bigger than the tip of his thumb.  That's some scary stuff.

And my stay at the UofM NICU isn't without complications either.  I had a stroke at two weeks of age which gave me mild paralysis on my right side (that translates these days to not having as much feeling on that side, nor reflexes that are as fast) and I have three scars from IV insertions- one on my right pinkie finger, one on my left foot and I guess one on my head, though I've never seen it. I endured a couple of heel-cord lengthening surgeries on my right side; one at age 3 and the other at age 7.  And I have a limp.*  Those things are nothing compared to some.

When I was finally released from the NICU in December of '74, just before Christmas, the NICU doctors told my parents that "she's a sweet baby, but don't expect too much."

They don't take his advice.

I had epilepsy as a child, and while I did have some seizures as a kid, I took medication to manage and by the grace of God had outgrown the epilepsy by age 12.  Some kids aren't so lucky.

I say all that to say this.  As lucky as I was, most weren't.  And as lucky as some babies still are, there are many that still aren't. And that shouldn't be so.  I have a neice that I will get to meet in heaven who was born too soon. What a devastating experience that was for my sister and for our family.  No one should have to carry a baby and then say goodbye.  It just isn't right.

And do you know what the kicker is?  Babies like MamaSpohr's Madeline are still at risk later in life.  And sometimes prematurity happens for a reason....but sometimes there isn't a reason.  Sometimes it JUST HAPPENS.  And that is just not acceptable.

Click the button on this post to find out how you can help in the fight to save premature babies.  So that someday, no more babies are born too soon.

* While noticable to me, most of the time, I don't even think about it.  And most people don't ask about it either, but when they do, and I explain that I limp due to premature birth and stroke, most say "Oh" but the look on faces tells another story.  Like they're glad it isn't them.  And I want to yell "Geez, it's not a detriment, people!  Trust me!"  But there is also the occasional person who apologizes for asking and I tell them that no apology is necessary; I'd rather have you ask and know than wonder.....

16 November 2009


We just go back from a conference with Caleb's teacher.  She's just so nice.  I take back all the terrible mean not so nice things that I may have said thought about her.
She really does love Caleb, is confident that he is a very smart boy with wonderful ideas, and is just convinced that he is going to need to learn to multi-task someday.

For today, he just needs to get his work done.

To my understanding, she's going to try with Caleb some sort of "good behavior/ getting work done sticker chart" that apparently some of the other kids in her class already use.  And she said that this is a way for us to better know how it is he's doing in the classroom from day to day.

Because the music on the bus is loud and it makes him forget, you know.

13 November 2009

play it again

The minute we moved into this house, my mother-in-law was hatching a plan.  Nope, not to organize the kitchen or to help decide what color to paint the living room.

For a piano.

She had even gone as far as to say that if we were to find one on the internet, she'd help with the cost or pay entirely if the cost was more than reasonable.

Months go by and we don't have much luck.

Word gets around that Jon used to play piano as a kid...gee, I wonder who let that out....and even our church's director of music and her husband jump on the "get a piano" bandwagon. I figure when it happens, it happens.

We don't cross paths with our friends for a few weeks; we're away for various reasons and so are they.  But a week and a half ago the wife comes to us with a "surprise".

Turns out that the church property in the city we moved from is for sale.  And there are not one, but two pianos in the building.  And our church friends are on the district advisory board that oversees the sale of this property and the eminent disposal, sale or donation of all items left on the premises.

The piano is ours if we want it.

Jon and his brother took the van last Saturday afternoon and brought the piano home.  I didn't even really care at first; not for myself, anyway.  Caleb wants to take lessons so that he can play drums in middle school and Matthew asked if he could take lessons too.


You know how sometimes you didn't even know you wanted something until you get it?  Yep, that's me.

I play enough to be able to sight read the treble clef for sure; bass clef is a bit rusty. (I sing soprano, in case you didn't know.)  I can tell you that I know I got to the end of  'Teaching Little Fingers to Play', but then never went on to the First Grade book.

I regret that now, I tell ya.  Turns out my Mom was right.  Again.  Dang. ahem...

But I have had fun this week taking our church hymnal and plunking things out.  And the boys are enjoying taking lessons from a copy of the same book that I used and I'm sure Jon actually used.  I know his brother Jason played from that book, because his name is written on several pages.  And some cousins of our boys used the book too.

The piano is in desperate need of a tuning, but we have that scheduled for Wednesday of next week.  We found a guy in the next town over and his rate was even less than we had expected.  And of course, my in-laws have graciously covered the cost of getting the piano tuned.

I'm warning you right now.....don't be surprised if videos of lessons start showing up here!

**there's no picture for this post because it would seem that my camera is AWOL.  Hopefully it didn't decide to find a place to die.**

12 November 2009

I belong to the King

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love.
I shall dwell in His palace so fair,

For He tells of its bliss
in yon heaven above,
And His children in splendor to share.

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

I belong to the King,
and  He loves me I know,
For His mercy and kindness so free

Are unceasingly mine wheresoever I go,
and my Refuge unfailing is He.

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

I belong to the King,
and HIs promise is sure-
that we all shall be gathered at last
In His kingdom above,
by life's waters so pure,
when this life with its trials is past.
I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1John 3:1

words: IR Smith, 1896
music: JL Hall, 1896

11 November 2009

dig it

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his
annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work as the ground
was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The
old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to
plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be
digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles
would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me,
like in the old days.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.


At 4:00 the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived
and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They
apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do
under the circumstances.

Love you,

09 November 2009


I'm doing my best to keep in mind that when times are tough, or nearly impossible, and we manage to keep smiling and pull through- that's when we can realize that we've already been through and survived what we thought was worse before.

My husband already has plans to look back and laugh.

Me, not so much.

06 November 2009


I am certain that I am going to perish at an early age.

The cause?

Having to constantly repeat myself to all of the male inhabitants of my home.

If I told ya once, I told ya a thousand times……

"Don’t run in the living room!

Don’t jump on the couch!

Stay off your brother!

Wash your hands!

Find something to do!

Quit that!

Clean up this room!

Go brush your teeth!

Yes, you can have a snack!

Don’t touch your brother there!

Oh, no you don’t!

Put that away!

What did I just say?

Do we eat dessert every night?

Because I’m your mother, that’s why!"

Over and over and over again. My sis says that we just need to invest in tape recorders and just hit “play” every time. But won’t that invite carpal tunnel? Never mind.

Then there are the ones for my dear life mate. Fortunately, those are fewer since I refuse to be HIS mother.

“Don’t forget to make a savings deposit.”

“Aren’t you going to pack a lunch, dear?”

“Please don’t put your dishes in the dishwasher. Leave them on the counter and I’ll do it.”

(His mother never had a dishwasher and he hasn’t the first clue how to load one.)

and the most recent one:

“Have you had the oil changed in the car yet, honey?”

Nag, nag, nag.

05 November 2009


Last week the boys were on "fall break".  Here's the conversation they had once they got off the bus on Wednesday.

C: "Guess what, M?  We have four days off of school!"

M: "No we don't, we have three."

C: *getting indignant now!* "Nuh-uh!  We have four!  My teacher said so!"

M: *who's pretty exasperated at this point himself* "No, C.  Thursday, Friday, Satur.....oh!"


04 November 2009

ornament exchange!

Want the chance to brighten someones holiday?

Just in time, if you write a blog, you want to get in on the Bloggers Ornament Exchange!  Simply write a post telling others and then link back to Pampering You!  All entries are due Nov. 12th!

Hurry, there's still time!

Wordless Wednesday

03 November 2009


I'm entirely too frustrated this morning to write a cheery post.  I'm even too frustrated to write about what it is that is frustrating me, for fear that it will come across as the fault of just one party.

I just ask that you pray for our family.  We're seeing a storm on the horizon and at this point are doing our best to batten down the hatches and wait it out. 

Several things are sort of happening all at once.  Don't get me wrong; there is a bit of sunshine, but the clouds in the distance are pretty dark.

We're struggling, but in the midst of our struggle, trying to remember that God is bigger.  And that's really all that's necessary, isn't it?

02 November 2009

pictures, please.

We had a great weekend. And one where we were actually all home for a change, so that was really nice. Friday of course, M has a quiz meet, so once again, the weekend will surely go by and we'll wonder what happened.

Someone somewhere warned me once that this would happen as the boys got older. Heck, even 2009 has gone so quickly we're shaking our heads.

**We pause this writing for the purpose of the mad dash back into the house for one thing or another....for them to get back outside just in time to catch the bus....ah, Monday.**

On Friday, we went to our "local" farmers market to choose two pumpkins for carving.  And of course, as I expected, we ended up taking home two of the largest pumpkins on the lot; good thing I only paid twenty-four cents a pound.  Even so, the total kind of took my breath away when the kid nice young man at the stand uttered "thirteen...."  Youzers!

At least our purchase solicited a "holy cow!" from Daddy when he came home and saw the massive offerings weighing down the dining room table.  The boys were pleased at his reaction.

Now there's some sort of unwritten parenting rule that at every activity of any sort, pictures must be taken, right?  Be it for the purpose of preserving memories or embarrassment on their sixteenth birthday, pictures are a necessity, aren't they?

It would seem that my digital camera does not agree.

Now, it its defense, as if it needs one, the camera recently entered its fifth year of use.  I know, I know.  While being totally absolutely fairly barely state of the art then, it is almost an embarrassment to me now.  I mean who walks around with a camera that is only 4.1 megapixels anymore?  I'd almost rather have all the pictures from my classic bad hair years displayed for all to see.

I said almost, people.  ALMOST.

Do you know how frustrating it is to take pictures of priceless moments only to get what looks like it went through a hurricane on the other side?  And the blue 'file error' screen, are you kidding me?  Fanfreakintastic. Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, there's not money right now to make a shiny new purchase- seeing that all that fell from the trees this year is leaves, dang it.

So, I have a few pictures to post this week, but they aren't the quality that I'd like.  And I pinky swear that I will spare you the viewing of the pictures that someone took of the cat doing her business. Someone small and seven, I suppose.

After all, there are some things that do not need captured for posterity.