Monday, February 28, 2011

February in Review

I should call this Falling off the wagon.

1. Read the Bible. I have been reading, but instead of 3-4 chapters a day, I've been only getting through about 1, putting me at about halfway through Numbers instead of at the beginning of Deuteronomy. I read 4 yesterday, so I'm gearing up to get caught up. Time to get serious again.

2. Go back to choir. Due to weather and illness, both the choir director's and my own mental, (I only practice with the choir on Sundays, and I took one off to go shopping, which was Needed) I didn't sing with the choir until yesterday for the first time this month. Blessedly, it was a great song, but we peaked during rehearsal, which was powerful, it brought me and the director, and a couple others to tears. I think I blew my voice during that, because we just didn't get to that same level when performing during the Service. Gotta redo that, so we don't peak too soon. Oh well, at least I'm sort of getting back in the groove.

3. Join a Gym - While TECHNICALLY I have already joined the gym, the only participation I've done is the Yoga class. I was doing some Wii Fit at home during January, but that fell by the wayside. Last week, I wanted to spend the evening with my husband who wanted to cook dinner instead of leaving. It's like by Wednesday he realizes he hasn't been home all week, and wants to have dinner with us, and the boys and I are out the door. We'll probably get the new routine down just about the same time the house is done.

4. Take a Photography Class- HOORAY PROGRESS! I signed up for this Joy of Love class free online class and Loved it. I've been taking some photos on Manual, mostly of my boyz, and it's been fun. This one was my favorite.

Our four hands together on Valentine's Day.

5. Get Boys Healthy - Not doing so well here either. Sam is due to get a repeat swallow study here in the next month or two, he's just in limbo, and really he seems to be doing ok. He's been picking up brother's anger behaviors like throwing things when he's angry. He goes into Time out a lot easier, and doesn't hold the grudge. I'm tired of fighting with Chris. Just when I think he's responding well to doing 'Breaks' instead of Timeouts, he goes and has an hour long meltdown about getting dressed like this morning. It's like he just doesn't know how to deal with his emotions, and it all kind of explodes in Anger. I've made a lot of phone calls. I have contacted his Developmental Preschool. I've put in a call to get him seen and tested to see if Hearing Aids might help, the doctors were to fax referral paperwork today. I've made an appointment for next month with Developmental Pediatrics. We have one tomorrow with Child Psych. I have an email for a Play Therapist, recommended to me, but I haven't decided if I want to call her yet. I don't know if any of these people Can Help, but I need help. I am not succeeding alone. I have to do something.

Next month should be, no wait Will Be better.

Joy of Love, Day 28

It's our last day of my Joy of Love class. Makes me kind of sad. I've enjoyed this class, I feel I've gotten a beginner grasp of some of the basic tricks my camera does.

I'm even shooting in Manual more than half the time. ;)

So, being a little bummed this class ending, our 'teacher' chose our theme of the day to be The Future, and inspired us to take something Hopeful about the future of our loved ones.

So I took the boys over to the new house. Just seemed appropriate to take catch the boys doing what they do best, being crazy, on what will become our new front porch.

I just can't wait to compare these pictures of the boys playing at the house while it was being built, to ones we'll take, when they are older, in the future, when we live there.
Eric's been stressing out, but he's been making all kinds of visible progress doing all the electrical wiring. It looks like mass insanity, but really there's a method to the madness. The kitchen is looking more kitchen-y with light switches and piles of stuff that will become useful.

This past weekend, he pulled a lot of cable, which I love because they look like little bouquets to me. Bouquets of light. This is just one of many.

We're getting close...closer..looks like it will be early April when we move.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 27

Today's theme was What they Say.

And, Chris said Brownies.

Of course, I must comply.


I'm doing a Bible Study with a friend of mine, and we're reading Numbers. But the first half has been kind of boring, and I was reading a more exciting book for Book Club, that I just finished, so I got behind on Numbers.
This last week has been a little rough. Somehow February is ending, and we're still in limbo on the houses, it's been putting a lot of stress on both of us. Then we got a recall letter from Ford on my Windstar about salt damaging the axles, and that we need to bring it to be checked, if they need to keep it to fix it, then they would give me a rental. Hooray!
So I took my minivan in on Tuesday, they gave me a rental, a Kia Borrego from Enterprise. It's kind of like an SUV, but no 4WD, and it has technically 3 rows of seats, but the two-seater stroller is not fitting in the 'trunk' when the third seat is up, but fits nicely when it's down. I do get a kick out of putting the seats up and down all by myself, which is something I couldn't do in my minivan.
The next day they called, and said we qualified for 2 recalls, because we had salty induced rust spots on our front subframe (1 recall) and on our axle (another recall) holes actually, and it would take at least a month to fix, they had like 50 Windstars parked unable to drive. We started referring to our car as The Death Trap.
I am Particularly Thankful to God that Ford found these problems, and that something didn't happen to the Windstar while we were toting our Precious Cargo.
The next day (Thursday), Ford calls and gives us a "Choice". They decided not to fix our car. Not worth it to them I guess, was worth it to us, especially since they were all recall fixes, we've put a lot of $$ into that car lately. We just needed it to hold out until next year, after we're all moved in, and able to save up a nice chunk of change. They say we can choose: A. $3500 and they keep our car, or B. Sign that we agree that it's a Death Trap and take the car home and drive it. (Yeah right.) Well, for a day or so, we toiled. We can't drive it. We can't afford a new car, don't even have a down payment.
Well, Eric was perusing on Thursday night and Friday, and turns out if we get a loan (which Dave Ramsey would not want us to do) we can do it. Once we realized, and admitted that we were going to go into debt, it became easier, less stressful.
Friday, we went car shopping, turns out Enterprise is getting rid of their 2010 fleet of minivans, and we could get a good deal, so we drove over and took a look. Turns out my sister in law has the same exact car, so we took a look at hers, and liked it. So we chose a 2010 Grand Caravan. We picked a blue one, currently in Ohio, but we signed our lives away, and bought a mostly new car. Oy.
I'm excited I'm getting a new car, but at the same time, there's been a pit in my stomach, we seem to be acquiring a lot of debt this spring, new car new house, enough to give us ulcers. I'm so worried.

Friday evening, as I'm getting ready for bed, I pick up my Bible, to read another chapter. I was reading in Numbers 14, God is fed up, because the Israelites aren't trusting him to provide, they've seen the Promised Land, but they're too scared to go get it. God gets frustrated. Numbers 14:12 "How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to Trust Me? And with all these signs I've done among them?" [The Message]
It was like he was saying it to me, here I was so worried about the house, and the car, and the partridges in pear trees. And here's God..just like always. Why am I so dense as to forget to just put it all in his hands? We did it. It was done. We bought the car. God's just going to Provide the rest. And I just need to give it all up to him, quit doubting, and Trust Him.

As if to hammer it home, today, our church sermon focused on Matthew 6, and giving up our Worries.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? (Or Cars or Houses) See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [NIV]

Amazing. Sometimes God really has to hammer it into my head for me to get it. Even Chris enjoyed the children's sermon. They played the song 'Three Little Birds' by Bob Marley, a little kid was singing, "Don't Worry about a thing. Every little thing, is going to be all right." I had it stuck in my head, I was humming it, and Chris was singing along a bit with me in his way, 'don't worry because God's got it right'. Yes he does. But I'm getting it. And I'm actually really excited to continue my Bible Studying this weekend, because I can't wait to see what else he's going to tell me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 26

Our assignment today was a little difficult. We are supposed to focus on "the bro-mance" the love between brothers or best friends, and what they do together. Well, Eric's not around this weekend, too much stuff at the lot, so there's not much to take pictures of either, so I thought I'd play around with some cropping of older pictures. Eric is not like me, he doesn't talk about his best friends...I can who his best boy friend would be, but word sharing on that subject isn't manly at all. I have been known to tease him about going on a Man Date, or Dad's Night Out, he's overdue for one of those. But this would sum up what they do, movies, hanging out, eat, drink, "watching tv".

Eric has two brothers, but they are very rarely under the same roof, and rarely interacting all together at the same time during those moments. We kind of all sit around and watch the kids interact. I started hunting around this morning to see if I could find a picture of Eric and his brothers, and I couldn't doing the same thing. It's kind of weird now that I think about it. This was from 2004.

They did a piano trio for church. It was very cool.

Oh, and here's another one...also from 2004, the boys (and my sister-in-law-to-be) all helping Eric put drywall up in the basement. God Bless Them. That was awful, so much so, Eric's not drywalling the new house.

Dad has been so helpful with the new house. I should get out and take pics more pics of them working together, his brothers haven't come out, but Dad has been out there Every weekend, and even some evenings lately. It's been Awesome!

But really boys, 2004?!? I have pictures of the whole family as a group, but can't find hardly anything of just the boys. My Goodness, something should be done about that!

The (Hopefully) Last Hurrah of Winter

We got a bit of snow yesterday, after a bit of ice. It made for terrible driving, and after an hour on the road, sliding out of three driveways, and slipping, falling and landing on my bottom, I was ready to pull my hair out. The last thing I felt like doing was taking the kids all the way downtown to The Children's Museum.

Then we drove through Eagle Creek Park.

Pretty trees make me feel better.

I didn't have to alter any coloration or brightness, the sun came out, and the trees just started to Shine.

Even a muddy puddle was gorgeous.

We can see the beginnings of budding trees. Hopefully Spring is on its way.

And that winter is on its way out...leaving with a bang!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 25

Our assignment for today was to photograph "when you love them Most".

That's easy, I love my boys most when they are cuddly first thing in the morning. They just want to sit and snuggle on the couch for a while. This morning, Daddy got to be the recipient of the that even more. As for the photo, had to use the flash since it was so dark, and the snugglees couldn't sit perfectly still. They have the same problem when awake, let alone at dawn when shutter speed wants to go for like 20 minutes. So it's a bit of a cheat, but still, my morning cuddles are the Best way to start my day.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 24

Today's theme from The Joy of Love is Where? Where did we fall in Love?

Once upon a time, a couple crazy college kids would hang out in the evening, after marching band practice, after dinner into the wee small hours of the night. Every Night. Sometimes they would take a long walk through the Butler campus.

One of their favorite places to take a walk was the Butler Carrillon, it was a peaceful place, where they could escape, and just talk and talk, about everything. These friends started to become more than friends on the steps of this carrillon. Down the back of the carrillon they could skip down into the Butler Gardens. Or follow a path around the pond to the gardens. One day, the boy asked the girl to go on a date, Les Miserable was coming, and he wanted to take her. They held hands as they walked off again...into the sunset (though I think it was already dark outside).

A couple months later, as their love had grown, the couple was in the mood to be even more crazy. The first snow had fallen, and though they should have been doing their homework at 2 a.m., they decided to take a break and go find the sledding hill, and roll down it, as many a college kid are known to do. As they padded through the gardens that they thought they knew like the back of their hand, they got a little confused. They sat down on a bench, to just watch the quiet snow falling on the gardens at night, to gain their bearings, and just Enjoy It. A pre-engagement proposal, a Promise was made that snowy night, a ring was even given. We knew we wanted to be together forever.

2 years exactly after the boy had asked the girl out for the very first time, he took her to a fabulous anniversary dinner. Then he insisted on going for a walk. Never mind it was Cold. Never mind the girl was wearing heels, and was wearing a short sleeveless dress, and had no coat. An anniversary walk was Needed. And when he found the bench, and when they sat down again, he proposed.

I said yes, more rings were given, and we lived Happily Ever After.

So, it's Our Bench. Our Gardens. Our University. That's our Where.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 23

Facebook Attack.
We are supposed to put the camera down today. How refreshing. And we're supposed to go through old photos and/or stalk our loved one's profile pics, even the icky ones, just to find Joy in the Cuteness. So I did.

Eric's current facebook profile picture is This:

It's his Father's Day picture from last summer (June 2010) of him and the boys (Chris 4 1/2 and Sam 15 months). I try to take one every year on Father's Day. This was particularly adorable and poignant, and got me thinking of when Chris fit into that exact same Spring 2007 when Chris was 17 months old and the cross country trip we took that spring. I never did get around to doing a Top 10 of the pictures from that trip (that was A. Before this blog, and B. before I started doing pictures in the updates on Chris's blog, his had a separate folder for pics.). Frankly, there are just too many to do any kind of top ten any justice. So in honor of being set off by the Outfit, I'll do a Top Ten of Chris wearing the same outfit as Sam wore in Eric's facebook photo.

Over the period of 2 1/2 weeks that we traveled, we went from IN to IL, to NB, to SD, to WY, through ID, to UT, to AZ, to NM, to TX, to OK, to MO, to IL and IN. We only packed like 4 outfits each so it was a lot of wear.

So, here goes:

1. Country Baby - Chris and Daddy check out the Covered Wagon at a genuine cowboy cookout in western Nebraska.

2. Chris rides the wagon on the Oregon Trail. In the corner, above all the grass is the base of Chimney Rock.

3. Chris at Mount Rushmore. The 5th President. :)

4. Our family at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

5. Daddy and Chris in Salt Lake City, Utah.

6. Mommy and Chris at the Great Salt Lake.

7. Daddy and Chris take a walk through the Petrified Forest in Arizona . Check out those giant logs!

8. This pic was what got me going today; we were stopped at an old pueblo in the Arizona sunshine, and I can't help but wonder why they didn't call this big sky country.

9. Chris wants to get as close as he can to the viewing window at the top of the St. Louis Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

10. A boy and an Arch. The Last Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 22

Portrait of a Sweetboy.

Of course you don't think you're going to get a great shot on the first try. Turns out today I was lucky, but didn't know it.

Sure, I'll admit it. I resorted to bribery.

Follow the bouncing ball.

Apparently, Sam will do anything for an orange.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 21

Today's assignment was to take a picture of our loved ones' hands. What a Blessing that Chris's friend Emily spent the night last night, and she just couldn't stay away from the piano today. She and Sam were playing beautiful duets. Some people get annoyed or don't let their preschoolers or toddlers play the piano. We have two rules: Only Fingers (no feet or toys) on the piano. And, Only Clean Hands (no piano playing after just eating) play the piano.

Even though I had a pinched nerve in my neck this morning, and a pounding headache, hearing them play, no matter how badly brought me smiles. How can you not smile at the Beauty in this Love?

Just Duet.

I even cracked out the Macro for a little closeup action. And my muse, she was a wonderful model. She even tried holding still for me for a while (you know how it is with a macro and a moving target) until her hands started cramping up.

Beautiful Music, Beautiful Child.


Funny how Es-Ca-Pe looks just like Escape.

And what an Escape we had. My friend Kathleen and I ran away for a full 24 hours, down to the outlet mall down in Edinburg. We stayed in the Comfort Inn, which though they had a pool, it was Cold. Still took pressure off the achy joints.

Jeez I'm old.

Our room was an oasis of calm. Nothing fancy, just Quiet. And it was so nice.

We stayed entirely too late watching a biography on the Kennedy family, and chatting, painting our toenails and drinking Mike's Hard beverages. I think we may have finally gotten caught up on the last few months of each other's lives. ;)

We scoped out a couple of our favorite stores Saturday night, and finished our trip Sunday morning. Had a wonderful Brunch at Ruby Tuesday's, we ate enough to qualify for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! We joked about worshipping at our lady of Edinburg, shopping instead of going to church, but we spent more time being Thankful and Praising the Lord that our families were healthy enough we could run away, and Generous enough to let us do so, than I probably do on a regular Sunday. We really were so blessed to get away for a bit. It was So Needed.

We checked everything off our lists, picking up 'necesities' and only a few frivolities. I took my camera everywhere, though I don't really know why. And we shopped until sunset.

And it was Good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hypothetical Joy of Love, Day 20

Now, ironically, tomorrow's title is rumored be When They're Home. Lately, if Eric's home, I'm Not. Especially tomorrow! My friend Kathleen and I are running away for a shopping spree, leaving tonight, and we're gonna be gone All Night and All Day. A full 24 hours child free. It's been a while for both of us. I may take my camera...I may not.

In the mean time, when my Loved ones are home...they Play. Eric plays with the boys. He gets on the ground, and wrestles, and he plays spiderman, and tackles, and tickle fights, and all that great stuff. Hearing him play with the boys, and their laughter is my favorite sound on earth.

He was home for a couple minutes this morning, and I captured him playing Play Doh with the boys; A fresh pack of Playdoh, just opened. So they'll probably want to do that again tomorrow when I'm gone. And just like this morning, I expect they'll have a great time!

As will I. ;)

Joy of Love, Day 19

Today's theme strikes a little close to home, "When They're Gone".

Eric's gone a lot. He works full time, and he's been working hard on the house in the evenings and on weekends. It makes us all sad. I know we're blessed that at least he's in the state, and we get to see him for a few minutes sometimes, but it's hard when he's here, but not Here.

So I try to keep the boys happy, not necessarily in excellent parenting methods. So When Daddy's gone on the weekends, which is when we notice it the most, instead of going somewhere crazy and playing, we play at home (also something we don't normally do during the week).

So, the boys and I stay in our jammies, all day sometimes. And I let them eat waffles on the couch while they watch cartoons.

Me? I drown my sorrows in having a Triple Chocolate Meltdown for breakfast.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Joy of Love, Day 18

Today's theme for our Joy of Love class was Going Out. Now, unfortunately, my booboosweetie is unavailable as a Hot Date, for probably the next 6 weeks or so, until he finishes the House. I got him for some time last weekend, though he was still working on stuff, it was for the home we're currently living in, and we got to SEE him.
And as I mentioned yesterday, Mommy has been a Woman on the Edge, and wanting, no, Needing to get out of house, so Yesterday began the beginning of Mommy taking back her Sanity time.

My friend Melissa and I started at Starbucks with Raspberry White Mochas during Preschool yesterday morning. And they were Venti! "Go Big or Go Home!"

And from there, last night, I had Mom's Night Out at Applebee's, drowning my sorrows in their Triple Chocolate Meltdown, and tomorrow, Oh beautiful Tomorrow, my best friend and I are running away for an overnight trip to Edinburgh, the Outlet mall, for a Spring Shopping Extravaganza. Sans children. God bless my husband and my mother in law! So I'm really starting to enjoy "Going Out."

Joy of Love, Day 17

Yesterday's theme was "Staying In" and I'm supposed to be in the picture. Only I had a little Trouble. There was a Problem, I didn't WANT to stay in yesterday. I was desperate to get out. We ended up at Preschool, Starbucks, back to school, Chick Fil-A, home briefly so Sam could nap, then up again to go hide (we ended up taking the dog and kids to the park) while the house was being shown, then I dropped the kids off, and went on a mom's night out. I was not Staying In.

I tried a self portrait, during the bit of time we all stayed in, having massive Tickle Fights. But too much movement.

Oh well. Worse problems to have than too much movement during a tickle fight. :)

These Feet want to go outside. See the ice is melting? These feet are happy to enjoy the weather in the 50s. But I want 60s or 70. I want to have a pretty pedicure (which as you can see I'm in desperate need of), get in some sandals and enjoy the outdoors. Come on Spring, Go Spring!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting OUT

Picture it: 55 degrees. The last of the snow is melting. For some reason the kids are Bouncing off the Walls. They weren't this crazy when we were iced in for a week, but now that it's warming up, the crazy is coming out.

So I took them to the Park when we had a house showing today. Little windy, but otherwise perfect weather for it. So we went to Blastoff Park.

The boys sure did want to Blast Off! Off they went playing and having a great time!

Chris loves Swing Time!

Though a little apprehensive at first, Sam eventually loved swing time too.

Sam Slides.

And Chris just bounces. It amazes me how well his balance has improved since beginning gymnastics, he would have hated to do one of these tightrope things before. Now he was bouncing on it, and walking and climbing all over everything. He was annoyed when I would make him stop moving so I could take his picture.

My Beautiful Boys.