Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 24) - Pictures Style

My December Thus Far--In Picture Summary

My little helper....complete with temper tantrum-prelude face.
#1 -


#2 - Had a birthday party first thing this month. Like my Hello Kitty cake?

Decorating for Christmas with decorations you've not bought is interesting. One never knows what might be lurking in a box. Both good and bad.
#3 -


There is a beautiful botanical garden in town covered in Christmas lights. Blueberry was charmed by the "duck"

#4 -


#5 - Yes, that is my child in a cage. No, we did not put her there. It just happens to be one of her favorite places to play. Calista, fortunately, does not protest sharing her space.

Blueberry at a band concert for one of her "big sisters". Little Miss Independence insisted on sitting on the bleacher steps a few seats away from us, and spent the whole concert munching on her marshmallow, clapping at the end of songs, and showing everybody her "pretty" in her hair.
#6 -

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year by all three of us getting sick. Fortunately we have a better celebration planned for later in the year; although, it would be nice to get a date night one of these days. Need to find a babysitter here.

Picture is thanks to my Mum who actually has scanned lots of old(er) pictures into her computer and is nice enough to share. One of these days I shall get our wedding photos scanned. Until then--here we go!
#7 -

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daybook December 22

Outside my is a cold, dark night. The Christmas lights from the other cottages are twinkling. We got some Christmas decorations out on the outside of our cottage, but one of major attempts failed and we finally gave up, called it good enough for this year, and now know what we need for next.

I am thinking...about 2012, what it might bring, what I desire to aim for, and how different it shall be from 2011.

I am thankful for...friends and family coming to see us. The next few days will be crazy with various friends (2 sets) and siblings (2 sets) all coming to see us. Spread out, which is nice, but all within a few days of each other. Very happy as these are the first visitors we've had since we've been here (with the exception of my baby sister for one night back in September).

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...the words just keep flowing. "Owie" is one of the funnier, cute ones currently. Chris got a cut on his hand and kept pointing at it, saying "Owie". She caught on fast--and continues to use it. One thing we are going through is getting into temper tantrums. Still trying to figure out how best to deal with these. And a little frustrating as I know some of these tantrums are simply brought on by the fact that her sleep schedule has been completely thrown off these last few weeks, and she's tired.

From the kitchen...comes a severe shortage of Christmas baking. I have stuff I want to do, but just not a whole lot done. The girls did help me make peanut butter balls this afternoon, so at least it's something!

I am pants, a junk shirt, socks, and a towel on my head. Love baths.

I am creating...a new year letter. I've accepted defeat on the Christmas part!

I am explore an Asian market that I just found about that exists here in town. And a Thai restaurant! Things are looking up!

In my mailbox today.. .fun packages full of gifts for others and presents from other people for us and Blueberry. And many Christmas cards. And shoes for Blueberry as she managed to outgrow every pair of shoes she owned in about two days. As in, they would no longer fit on her feet--she would scream at me when trying!

I am reading.. . the "Little Maid of..." books (e-version) by Alice Curtis. Quite good; although, I do feel like sometimes these girls get into adventures and then never have consequences for their bad choices that led to the adventures because they save the day. Otherwise, they are good books!

I am hoping...that I can finish getting the preparations done for our two little ones coming next next week without too much stress or distraction from spending time with my family. So far so good...but ever the organizer, the nagging feeling of it not being completely done is irritating me! Have I mentioned these little ones? Ages 2 and 4, we're going to have a house full of toddlers!

I am hearing...Chris coughing. We've both been sick for the last week, but his cough is particularly frustrating.

Around the house...things are looking quite nice. Not perfect but home it is becoming.

One of my favorite things...the tiny little lazy boy we bought Blueberry for Christmas. It was part of a random monetary gift given to us. One of those splurges I really wanted to get but probably wouldn't have except for being handed a chunk of change with the instructions to buy something for ourselves/her.

A few plans for the rest of the week: finish my Christmas shopping? Hang out with friends and family.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, December 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 23)

#1 - Well the Christmas season is getting into full swing on campus here. The inside of our cottage is decorated, the first Christmas party for the kids is tonight (I had my own first Christmas party yesterday--the ladies on campus all got together). Still need to decorate the outside of our cottage, but the Christmas spirit is in the air. Started on our Jesse tree last night. I think I'm going to enjoy this advent concept. Well based in Scripture but with the fun of putting Christmas decorations on the tree--what's not to love?

I will admit, I was saddened last night as we started talking about Christmas and the advent season. I began by asking them what Christmas is about. They all made the connection to Christ--but they all made it with Christ's resurrections or even Revelations! It took them awhile to come up with the answer of the birth of Christ. The basics--that is what we teach.


#2 - On other cottage news, we're getting a new girl in a few weeks! We've been comfortable with our four girlies so far, but we're excited to have the challenge of taking on some new blood.


#3 - Bad week for sleep. Lots of restlessness. Not entirely sure why, but it seems to be contagious throughout the cottage. We had a good prayer time before bed last night with the girls, and that seems to have settled Blueberry down at least and the other girls. I'm still not sleeping well though. Sigh. I have a sneaking suspicious it's dairy.....sad.


#4 - It's December 2 and I already feel like I'm behind. No Christmas presents planned yet and need to get a Christmas card out. Sigh. Is it possible to ever catch up? Just curious.


#5 - Progress continues on the house. Bit by sometimes painful bit, it comes together. With a sigh of relief and comfort with each portion that does get completed. It's amazing how much a few decorations and pictures can make living quarters, home.


#6 - Have you seen this video? It makes me happy.


#7 - Just because....Blueberry and her ever present Doggy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daybook - November 29

Outside my darkness and chill, crisp air. Finally feels like November. I am always amazed at how dark this campus is despite being "in" a town. So much country around--I love it.

I am thinking...of what all I have to get done the next few days as we're back on tomorrow and also how crazy this month is going to be!

I am thankful for...unexpected breaks.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes words. and words. and more words. Until this last week Blueberry had some words: "Mama, Doggy, Nana, Up, Down." All very useful and greatly utilized words. Then this past week she's had language explosion. "Ba (bear)" - Babe (baby) - a very garbled attempt at "I love you", "No (no, no, no, no, accompanied by emphatic head shaking when she's getting into something she knows is a "no no!"). And then so many other "words" that are her imitating sounds, but occasionally throwing them back out at us. I guess it's not really 'words" per say but sound imitation. But it's still fun to hear.

From the kitchen...I'm still eating up leftover Thanksgiving Apple Spice cake (gluten free of course). Can I say, "Yum" if I made it myself?

I am wearing...jeans and a black shirt. and socks. because it's chilly.

I am creating...a Jesse tree for the girls' devotions throughout this month. Rather excited about it. Here's a pin if you're interested in more info:

Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

I am a Christmas party on Thursday--the first of many it sounds like. Except this one is actually for us adults and the majority of them are for the kids here.

In my mailbox this week...was many Amazon packages including a stylus for my Kindle Fire (did I mention my Kindle Fire--yeah, in love with that!), a case, several books, gluten free foods of various sorts (pasta, crackers), much funness.

I am reading.. . Sunshine by Robin McKinley, The 4th Bear by Jasper Fforde, and several books on my Kindle. It's a book for each room?

I am get our Christmas card ready soon...very soon...sooner than I probably can manage...

I am hearing...a video game that Chris is playing, children chattering on the other side of the hall from me, and an occasional "wuff" of air from Calista as she lays curled up in her cage.

Around the house...we have progress! Our living room actually feels like "ours". We have pictures up. Christmas is also sneaking in; although, admittedly, it will be rather thin decorations this year for the simple reason that as I'm trying to set up our house for "normal", I didn't feel like taking it all back down again right away. So we have a nativity set up (a must) and our Christmas tree will go up with some lights. That's about it. In the main cottage, however, we spent all day Saturday decorating and it is ready to go (inside any ways--outside still needs some lights).

One of my favorite things...watching Blueberry read books in her Jarble Language.

A few plans for the rest of the week: spend time with five lovely girls, go to several meetings, hang up more pictures on the wall, do laundry.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PinUps and Pinspirations (Vol.3 )

PinUps: My Top 5 Pins of the Week
(in this particular case--week being a generic term for "the last few months"

My first three are apparently themed:
Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

4. This one, you either get it or you don't. Personally, it cracks me up.
Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

5. I will say "amen" to that! Although it could probably just say read without the fairytale part...

Pinspiration: (i.e. a Pin I've actually used in some way recently)

For the record: doesn't work very well

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dabyook - November 15

Outside my is lightening, thundering, and bucketing rain.

I am thinking...of plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not entirely sure on what those plans will be. But they are being considered!

I am thankful for...our new home and job. Every job and place has bad points, but when I consider the good in comparison to the bad here, I am blessed.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes so much. Every day she learns new words and concepts and skills. Lately she's been climbing on top of everything she can manage to get a leg up onto (and with lots of attempts to climb even if she can't quite reach). The plaintive cry comes shortly after she accomplishes her climbing goal: "Mama. Mama" Until she gets my attention. And then it changes to "Dow" "Dow." (down).

From the kitchen...comes birthday pancakes and birthday cakes. Two of our girls have birthdays this week, so that's taken up a lot of time. I saw this pin on Pinterest awhile ago for birthday pancakes and decided to give it a try.

My cake that I made for our two birthday girls this week. They wanted a vanilla and chocolate, cookies and cream ice-cream football cake. If you are familiar with my non-skills in cake-decorating, you will understand my pride in this cake. I think I did a pretty darn, good job!

I am wearing...jeans, socks, long sleeve shirt. Messy hair. Need pj's.

I am creating...scrapbook pages again! Posts to come.

I am bed soon.

In my mailbox today.. .three pay checks. Two from here and one from editing (yay!)

I am reading.. . Jasper Ford's The Big Over Easy. I do so enjoy these books.

I am decide between wanting a Kindle Fire or if I really want to save up and get an IPad2. At this point, I actually think the Kindle Fire might give me want I'm looking for (at a much cheaper price). Input welcome!

I am hearing...blissful silence. And rain.

Around the house...things are still coming together. We ordered some new bookshelves and they should be here tomorrow. Very excited about this as I should be able to get a lot of this last pile of stuff properly put away once they are situated. Sometimes I wonder if I have to many books. And I'll weed some out. And then realize that the rest I want.

One of my favorite things...story time with my big girls. Most evenings (well, we attempt most evenings) we have devotions and then a chapter or two out of a book before the girls go to bed. Definitely one of my (and I think their) favorite times of day.

A few plans for the rest of the week: chapel, work meeting, parent/teacher conference--all tomorrow. Plus a birthday day. Thursday a second birthday day and preparation to go off of work on Friday morning. Three beautiful days to myself. Almost. Me and Blueberry any ways.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Chris with one of "our" girls.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Snippets of Memories...

To my Blueberry--moments I don't want to lose:
  • You play happily for 5 minutes and then suddenly stop, toddle over, give my knee a kiss with a large "mwah" to accompany it, and resume your game.
  • The tender way you hold your baby dolls, teddy bears, anything that might possibly be construed as a teddy bear/baby doll/crayon, bestowing lots of kisses
  • The look of concentration on your face as you carefully transfer scoops of Calista's food from her food bowl to her water dish
  • The way you try to throw a temper tantrum but do so gingerly so you do not actually hurt yourself. If you wish to lay down on the floor, you carefully scoot yourself downwards to a prone position. If you lay on your tummy, you delicately place yourself face down before beginning to wail. and the rub of the nose as you inevitably hit it a little and come up really crying.
  • The way you'll pick out a book and walk over to me with the expectation of being read to
  • The delight you take in making us smile and laugh
  • The plaintive cry of "Mama Mama" that emanates from your room when you wake up. inevitably followed upon your rescue by "doggy!"
  • The way you use calista as your pillow/jungle gym/baby doll whatever else you are in need of at the moment.
  • The delicate way you will feed her your food--sharing as it were (or getting rid of whatever you don't want to eat)
  • Your consistent and charming use of "da ku" for thank you whenever we give you something (accompanied by a giggle of anticipation if that something happens to be a marshmallow).
  • The way you walk around the house swinging your arms and clapping as you go find something to explore
  • The careful and deliberate manner in which you practice doing something, whether it be using crayons (and proceeding to draw all over the floor, the door, the wall, books, and occasionally the paper you're allowed to draw on) or clambering down a step.
  • Your fascination with phones and how anything and everything can be converted into a phone which you will hold up to your ear and clearly say "Hi!" to
  • How you discovered twirling and take great detail in spinning in circles (slowly)
  • The way you will deliberately tug and pull at my shirt when I don't respond to your signs for "milk" quickly enough
  • The hum of satisfaction you make as you cuddle up to nurse
  • How you've learned naps are not horrible things and will now not only give the sign for nap when you're tired but, once you're sure we got the message, will happily run along ahead of us to your room--all ready to sleep
  • Your fascination with all things doggy or that might be a doggy or could possibly have legs and therefore can be called doggy. or might not have legs but you have no other word for it yet so you stick with doggy.
  • Your attempts to climb in the tub to take a bath (you are so my daughter)
  • Your amazingly neat capabilities of putting things back exactly where you found them--combined with your incredible destructive abilities at emptying the tupperware cupboard/toy box/bags---anything that you feel needs emptying--in two seconds flat
  • Your love of blowing raspberries
  • How you'll chatter to Eeyore and doggy in your crib (accompanied by lots of kisses, the blowing of raspberries, and occasional commentary about Mama) for 15 or 20 minutes before going to sleep sometimes.
  • How you've discovered your nose and will triumphantly point at it when asked where it is, but have not yet made the connection about what eyes are or where they are located
  • Your love of wearing sunglasses and how proud you look when you have them on
  • How you know to fold your hands as soon as we put the bible down at bedtime
  • Your fascination with books, picking them off the bookshelves (pictures or no), and flipping through the pages, "reading" constantly
  • Your love of helping me do the laundry: consisting of me handing you a few small items from the washing machine, you carefully and painstakingly putting them in the dryer, and then trying to swing the door shut regardless of whether or not I'm still putting items in the dryer.
No doubt to be continued....

Friday, October 7, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 22)

#1 - It's Friday and we're off duty as of this morning. thank goodness. This has been the world's longest week. Lots of activities, one girl down sick for 5 days, and add in a heavy dose of the crazies, and I'm exhausted! On a positive note, though, I've been feeling re-energized about unpacking again, so progress if getting made in a fashion that makes me feel content.


#2 - Blueberry's verbal communication skills seem to grow daily. Doggy is still her favorite word; however, more attempts are sneaking into her speech. Nani or Nana generally indicates food, but she's said a few times now something that sounds like an early attempt at Banana. Thank you is definitely being attempted. Rather vague in actual diction, but clearly a consistent response to being given food. And the garbled babbling is hysterically cute.


#3 - Making friends--is beginning to happen. We have a built in community around us, but its very easy to find yourself isolated in this community if you don't actually go out and try to make acquaintances. Found another housemom with an interest in learning how to coupon, so that's been a good launching point there. And there are others on campus that we are beginning to develop rapport and non-work related connections with--yay! And in the meantime, I thank the Lord nearly every day for one of my best friends being on campus with me.


#4 - I have to confess to a splurge. We needed a new entertainment stand. We found the most gorgeous shelving unit (I can't think of what the word is for this piece of furniture...perhaps it will come to before I finish writing...if not...oh well). Cream with Japanese Cherry Blossoms painted on the front. Love it. And it now stands in my living room ready to be coordinated with. Yay!


#5 - I think one of the hardest things about this job is actually going off duty. First of all it takes some mental work to detach from the day to day running of the home. Second, when you have little girls who get all sad and depressed every time you go off duty because they legitimately want you in their lives every day, it's hard to walk away. Time off is important, because what they don't understand is all the extra responsibilities that come along with the job that make us more than just parents. It's the extra paperwork and coordination with others that I find the most exhausting part of this position--not the actual parenting of the girls (crazy as they can sometimes be!). So getting those breaks of just being able to focus on our lives and home is important. But definitely is hard to create that separation for a few days.


#6 - I'm editing papers again, which is nice. God has placed us in a position where, if we proceed carefully, we should be able to get various students loans, medical bills, and potentially even our house completely paid off in the next few years. And having extra pennies along the way only make it go that much faster. Besides, that's a skill that I don't want to get rusty at. Yay for at home capable jobs!


#7 - Because what would a Quick Takes be without pictures?

Blueberry meets the resident goats on campus. Not so sure about them close up, but thinks they are hysterical at a distance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Odd Moments

Sitting in my own house in Springfield looking at some furniture that used to be mine but isn't...rooms that used to be filled with my belongings but aren' brain telling me the house should smell one way but it doesn't....Very, very odd.

We are back in Missouri for a few days. Well, about 48 hours really. Drove down this morning, will spend all day Tuesday here, and then will drive back sometime after lunch Wednesday.

The reason we had to come back these three days off is because of a prior commitment Chris had that couldn't be broken. Not that we're complaining mind you. Seeing everyone is going to be nice. And I'm enjoying browsing facebook on something other than mobile view!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Daybook September 2

Outside my is dark; however, I know that there is a small pond close by, many trees, hills, and a lot of natural beauty that I'm very enjoying living around.

I am thinking...of an upcoming trip back to Missouri. Get to see some friends if even for a few hours. Yay!

I am thankful helmets. I fell off my bike today with Blueberry on it. Jammed my elbow pretty badly; however, Blueberry was fine if scared. Hope my elbow recovers quickly as it's being difficult currently.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain] much. We have a definite first word of "Out". Mama/Dada somewhat. However, Nananana is 100% banana.

From the kitchen...I did three GF loaves for Blueberry and myself. Need to make some Nananana muffins soon. It's amazing how little food we have to buy here. There is a huge warehouse where I can go "shopping" once a week and stock up on food for the main cottage. If it's donated, we're allowed to use a lot of it for ourselves as well. And even though we've been off the last few days, we've still been able to have some occasional meals from the dining hall. I do need to plan on meals for Sunday/Monday though as they are all on me. Fortunately the girls are pretty good about not complaining.

I am wearing...PJs and my ring sling as an arm sling. Works nicely.

I am creating...or trying to create...a home. Still coming slowly (hurt elbows don't hurt), but someday, I hope, it'll be better.

I am see my baby sister tomorrow! Very excited about this. We're also going to explore the lake a little bit as we've not done that yet.

In my mailbox this week...was a card from my mo my and my latest Enjoy Life magazine (yummy looking breakfast breads I have to try), and a new Paperback Swap book: Shanghai Girls.

I am reading.. . various magazines. Just finished Shanghai Girls. Great read; however, I was bugged at the end to realize it's at least a two-parter and I didn't know until the story just suddenly stopped. Boo! Need a new book now...

I am hoping...

I am hearing...the music of La Bayadare as I'm typing and watching a documentary on Darcy Bussell at the same time.

Around the house...things still feel messy but they are slowly coming together. Much to slowly for my taste, but it does get done, so I guess I just will continue to deal with it :)

One of my favorite things...our new Roku. If you don't know what a Roku is don't feel bad, I didn't know until recently. Basically it's this tiny little box that we can stream our Netflix account and various other things (Pandora, various news stations, tons of other websites) straight to our TV. Love it!

A few plans for the rest of the week: as it is Friday--see my sister on Saturday? We go back on duty at 8am Sunday. Monday we have the girls at home all day. Might try to go to the park or something. Lots of unpacking.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Meet My Girls

We are obviously limited on what we can share/say about the four young ladies who we currently claim as "ours"; however, I can still introduce you to some degree to them. In getting to know them, Chris and I have both come up with an animal nickname for each of them, so here they are:

Mama Bear--Mama Bear is the oldest of the girls. She is our only middle schooler and is diving headlong into puberty. This has led to a number of fun conversations with her that I've never expected to have for quite a few years with my own daughter. Talk about on-the-spot training. We call her Mama Bear because she is very much the protector/boss of her siblings who also are here (not with us). She can display that "mom" attitude towards some of the other girls as well--which can be both good and bad depending on if she's just bossing or actually protecting and helping them. She is the one pretty much all the girls follow. Vivacious and fun, behaviorally she is the most solid of them all--which is god for us given her leadership role she has. Some typical teenage behavior stuff, but hey, what girl doesn't go through that. She and Chris have hit if off really well, excellent as she definitely needs some solid male relationships in her life.

Turtle--The next oldest is Turtle. Where Mama Bear and Chris have hit it off, Turtle and I have also formed a tight bond. Turtle is one who has taken us by surprise. We were told that she is very reserved and doesn't open up quickly to people. So not what we've seen. She doesn't open up quickly or much, but she has opened up to us for sure. Turtle can be fun and bouncy and silly. Definitely the actor/writer/artistic one of the group; always wanting to play act. She can also be quiet and pensive and moody. If poked, like a turtle, she will draw into her shell and only come out with patience and encouragement. We also call her Turtle just due to her general movement--especially when it comes to chores. Slow. Slow. Slow. Definitely a good strain of passive aggressive behavior running through her bones :)

Busy Bee--Always moving is the best description for this beautiful little one. Fantastic if I need help folding laundry (especially Charlotte laundry!) or doing other chores, as she is always looking for something to do. Can drive you insane if we're doing something, and she's ready to move on to a different activity (five minutes later!). And her movements include emotionally as well as physical activity. Sunny and cheer to upset and crying can happen in the span of 2 seconds. Fortunately, as we're getting to know her, we're discovering exactly how bright of a child she is (possibly the intellectually brightest of the bunch; although, it's easy to miss that fact if you're not watching her closely) and are encouraging her to utilize those brains in how she acts and behaves rather than just caving into whatever emotion is running through her little body at the time.

Siamese Cat--Our last one we have come to see as a cat. Swishes her own tail to her own beat. Can be lovely and cuddly and charming when she wants to be. And will bite your ankles when she's mad at you. Cat has given me a run for my money, but she can be a darling at the same time. The youngest of the girls, she definitely is trying to grow up very quickly, especially to match the oldest two. Which can definitely lead to some interesting times.

So that's a brief summary of four new ones. They are lovely, charming, squirreley young ladies. Some of the experiences some of them have had and things they have seen are ones that no kid should ever know exist. And while that definitely can lead to some interesting behaviors at times and conversations, they are still fantastic and I feel very honored to get to mommy them.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Catching up on Blueberry

The world of Blueberry has greatly changed the last few weeks. For those who care, here are some updates on my darling little girl.

She is now one years old and most definitely a toddler. She began to attempt walking the week we started packing up to move here, and while she still sits down hard on occasion when walking she is walking probably 90% of the time now and enjoying it immensely. You can see her getting braver and trying to move up to running. Not quite yet, but it cometh soon!

She has also managed to push in 3 more teeth since we've been here and is working on at least 2 more, possibly four (all her eye teeth). Heaven help us, teething and transitioning has been fun. We have once again had the realization of exactly how much this little one depends on a regular nap schedule. The days we have been unable to maintain that regular schedule have been rough at best. And it takes several days to get her settled back in again. But taking the time to get her re-scheduled is totally worth it as she is a much happier child.

We're pretty sure Blueberry has grown again--definitely has put on weight--but can't say how much on either scale. However, she is still a tiny little miss all around. Thriving though, so not worried about her.

The girls love her. We've actually had to create a "Blueberry Monitor" for our on days otherwise it was a constant stream of "Can I sit with her for lunch?" "Well I want to sit with her in the van." "I get to sit with her at dinner!" The Blueberry Monitor gets to sit by her (if they want) for all meals, van trips, etc. So much simpler.

Talking--not yet but she's trying. Perhaps a few attempts at "Da-de" and "Mama" but not enough that we'll claim it as first words. Her sign language continues to improve. She now signals "nap" and has created her own sign for being thirsty (wide open mouth!). She still confuses "milk" and "food" at times, but has "please" down pat. We're beginning to think her first real word might be "out" which is said frequently to Calista and which she has begun to imitate with great gusto.

In the world of food--we've tried wheat. Not for sure yet on that one. We've taken her back off of it again, and will try in a few days. One time she got hold of some cereal (unrealized by us) and did break into eczema all over, but when that cleared up and we tried her on some other wheat based stuff, she didn't break out. She did however have a foul temper for about a day. Not sure if that was sleep schedule or being off of the wheat, so we decided to not give her any more, wait a bit, and try again.

She is now trying to feed herself with a spoon. Rather messy affair, and she'll still occasionally tolerate us feeding her baby food, but most of the time she wants to do it herself. Loves bananas and blueberries (how apropos). Would seriously eat her body weight in both if we let her. Squeals in delight when she sees them (also squeals in delight/terror when she sees Calista. At least it sounds like terror, but then she'll go and poke Calista in the eye attempting to pet her, and give her hugs, so I don't think that's really a problem).

Other fun things: she loves blowing kisses and really is a very affectionate little girl. Gives great hugs (when so inclined) and is getting very expert at giving actual kisses. There's nothing better than the feeling of two little baby arms wrapped around your neck and little baby smooches just take it over the top.

And she has definitely taken to her two pink, fuzzy blankets as some of her favorite items in the world. Will unpack an entire bag just to pull out her pink blanket if she knows it is in there.

That's been another fun game. Unpacking things. She began pulling things out of boxes as we were trying to pack up and move here. Not helpful then, but she's had a grand old time pulling things out of boxes as we've been unpacking since we got here. Rather helpful actually as she'll toss it on the floor, and all I have to do is pick it up and put it where it goes. Just have to be careful she doesn't get her hands on breakables.

We can see her beginning to mimic us so regularly. The other day she appeared to be "cooking" as she kept trying to stir a spoon around and around a bowl. She is very lovey with all baby dolls, stuffed animals, and anything that she perceives as a baby in any way.Even her babbles are sometime distinct tonal mimics of our words. Such fun.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Almost a month?

I cannot believe it has been nearly four weeks since I posted last. The time has just flown by. Sadly, I cannot report that my house is completely unpacked and we are settled. I can, however, report that it improves daily--albeit slowly.

So what have we been doing the last 3.5 weeks?

Week 1 -- Training week. This whole first week we bounced back and forth between training sessions, shadowing other Houseparents, unpacking enough to get at least a functioning household, hanging out with our girls at the cottage they were staying at, and attempting to cook some meals so I could eat. Our chef on campus is fantastic; however, as he is somewhat limited to the ingredients he can use as a lot of what he has to utilize is donated, taking on the challenge of cooking for food-complex people is double difficult. He enjoys a challenge, however, and has been doing his best. But we're helping out as much as possible by communicating a lot with him and bringing meals for me to eat as necessary.

We have met most of the staff who work here. I think we see some good friend potential in several of them. I'll be glad when we actually have time to develop relationships!

Our training was, unfortunately, not as helpful as we would have like; however, it gave us enough to be going on with. We were supposed to have had 2 days off at the end of that first week, but we wound up using that weekend to prepare for the girls coming back on Monday. We knew if we didn't, we were going to wind up hurting ourselves in the long run. However, not having those two days to just work on our house was frustrating because it meant that we really didn't get any time to focus solely on setting up our own house until we had been here nearly 2 weeks.

Our cottage is requiring a lot of TLC. Cupboards have been scrubbed, dozens of bags of trash have gone out, oodles of maintenance requests have been written up, and I still feel like we have a long way to go. However bit by bit it comes together.

Week 2 - Monday the girls came home. This whole week was interesting as we were working on relationship building, boundary setting, limit pushing (on their end), and trust establishment. All in all, I think it's coming together well. More about our girls later. In general observations though, we have a fun cottage to be working with.

The thing that made this first week particularly difficult to work was the continued training sessions we had to attend. It meant shipping the girls off to another cottage (or three) for about half the days. And poor Blueberry had more babysitting between this week and the few previous ones than she has had her entire first year of life.

Tuesday of this week was her birthday. Mommy had a hard time this day as it was one of our few all day training days, and she couldn't be in that session. Between the realization that my baby is now 1 (and most definitely a Toddler), not being able to celebrate properly (although we did have cake and the girls were infinitely amused by watching Blueberry get chocolate smashed all over face), and having to be separated from her most of the day--I had a bit of a rough day. But I survived. And am even more thankful that we had a birthday party for her before moving. Once again Chris' birthday disappeared in the rush of insanity. Poor boy. Need to have a proper celebration for him next year.

This week also involved a lot of hurried changes in the cottage. We had put in a few requests for improvements to our part of the cottage, and it all came together this week. A team was in and what these volunteer teams do is work around the campus in the mornings/early afternoons and then in the later afternoon/evenings they hang out with the kids. Well, by the end of the week we had a chain-link fence up around "our part" of the cottage yard so we can let Calista run free again in the backyard. All of the rooms in our part of the cottage are painted (yay!) and look so much nicer than the stark white on white that they were. I had one evening to pick out paint colors, so I will confess to sticking basically with what our home was in Missouri. I knew I liked the colors and it was simpler and faster to decide that way. Deeper blue in our bedroom and our living room/ kitchen are actually a brown (already painted, and we decided to not change it), but if anyone ever comes to visit who has seen our old house, they will recognize much of the general color scheme in the rest of the rooms.

Week 3 - The first three days of our third week we had off! We work on a 6/3 schedule, so our off days rotate regularly. It's an interesting schedule, actually, as it allows for us to work with our girls all days of the week (just not every week), and also gives us days off in the middle of the week for getting our own work done as well as occasional weekends. 6 days is definitely long to work, but having 3 days off is fantastic. Unfortunately, we did great the first day off and then all three of us were sick to some degree or another the last two days off which really limited how much work we got done on our apartments.

While we were off, the girls started school. We came back to work on a Wednesday morning, so they had already had two days to get settled into their school routine (it's an interesting system. We establish how the cottage works, but then on our off days, we have "Relief Houseparents" (RHPs) who come in and are supposed to continue running the cottage as we have established. The success of that is really dependent on the RHPs themselves as well as how well we have worked to set up systems for them to work within).

This week was definitely a little rougher than the first week. The girls had gotten comfortable enough to really start pushing limits. Plus the change of school starting was another factor in everything. But I think we came out positively in the end. And several of the girls have really bonded with us which is fun.

We did get to explore the town a little bit. As employees here we have an automatic annual free pass to the local botanical gardens--beautiful. Took the girls there one day. Beautiful gardens. Quite large and includes waterfalls, caves, rocks, as well as regular gardens. Will enjoy exploring more as the weather cools off (it has been so hot here).

Sunday was our first Sunday at "our" church (the one the girls have already been going to). Will fully admit that it's not the kind of church we would have chosen to attend if it was just us, but rather than providing another change and point of instability in their lives, we will continue to attend this one at least for now. It's a nice enough church, just not our style.

As I type this we are now on the tail end of our second three days off. We have successfully managed to get a lot more done this time around as well as getting a lot of sleep and down time--both of which were desperately needed.

More to come...

Monday, August 1, 2011

We're Moved and Related News

I'm sitting in bed resting my poor, exhausted feet and legs, looking at a very box-y, just moved in looking bedroom. Pandora is playing soothing tunes, and Blueberry is (thankfully) snoozing blissfully in her room.

The last few days have been exhausting, stressful, crazy, glorious, and insane all rolled into one.

Saturday: We did the amazing and moved our entire house into the U-Haul in 3 hours. Can I say a HUGE thank you to the 14 wonderful people who came and helped us load the truck. Particularly my brother who saved me from having a nervous break-down when Chris came to me early on to inform me that he didn't think we could fit everything into the U-Haul. I probably could have done the Tetris game myself and made it all fit, but my job was supposed to be inside directing action from the inside (and playing hide from Blueberry who would freak out and want me whenever she saw me, but then was ok as long as she couldn't see me). And my version of the game probably would have involved a few moments of tears in frustration! The end results of the truck was an impressive packing job.

The rest of the day we finished packing up the car boxes/bags, checked into our hotel (we decided a good nights sleep was invaluable), having a few laps in their pool to sooth our aching muscles, and had dinner at my brother's house. The Last Supper as it's commonly called in my family (given the number of "Last Suppers" we've had in our lives, one would think we should really come up with a new name).

Sunday morning started bright and early as we met my sister and brother-in-law at our house, worked hard at fitting the final boxes and bags into the two cars (wound up not quite fitting everything--discovered later that we didn't pack any jasmine rice; I think I might die if we can't buy it in town--and also couldn't fit my indoor plants. Hoping they can come at a later trip), and by 9am we set off.

My sister and I and Blueberry drove on ahead of the U-Haul (Chris driving with Calista in the front seat--apparently she did pretty good the whole trip other than sitting up at the most inopportune moments and blocking his line of sight) and the second car (driven by my new brother-in-law). 5 hours later, we pulled into the driveway of my new home. I knocked on the front door, was greeted by the temporary house parent, handed keys, met our 4 current girls (2 age 9, 1 age 10, and 1 age 11), glanced around our new apartments, and started unloading the car. Moments later the second car and U-Haul pulled in, and the big move started. The teen girls house and then later the teen boys house came to help us unload. We were completely unloaded within 2 hours.

I will fully admit to having one breakdown in the middle of the unloading. To much helpful advice regarding the unloading process coming to late to be of any use and truthfully just being frustrating. But the intentions were good. I was just to stressed (and sweaty and gross) to handle much of anything gracefully by that point!

Later that evening we made a short escape to Heather and Brian's house which they've barely got set up themselves. Food made a world of difference to my mood, and getting a chance to talk about what we're going to be doing, the schedule for the next few weeks, all such important things was helpful.

As their cottage (normally elementary boys) has only one resident, he has temporarily moved to a slightly older boy's home, and our girls have moved to them for the week while we train and settle. Which, while I'm anxious to get to know the girls better and get started, is a huge blessing as having the house to ourselves is nice for now. Plus knowing Heather and Brian as well as we do (Heather's just happens to be one of my best friends!), talking about how to handle the girls, coordinating elementary children schedules (our relief parents alternate between our two houses), rules, and other such concepts will be easier as we're not doing the whole "we're complete strangers having to learn to work closely together in a very quick amount of time" dance.

Last night we got Blueberry's crib set up, our bed, and unpacked cold food. Not much but enough.

Today involved a lot of meeting people. Basically we're learning what goes on around here and all the different house parents and personnel who work on campus and how it all comes together. Had my first adventures in the dining hall. The chef was very nice and quick to accommodate; although, I will probably still wind up doing a lot of my own cook just to simplify matters (and to low risk factors further).

At the same time, we're trying to get settled into our new home. I've barely even looked into the main cottage; although, there is work that will need to be done on that too. For now, just trying to get out of our boxes as quickly as possible. Blueberry's room is unpacked. Not decorated, but the boxes of extra toys/decorations/pictures are in the closet and everything else is functional. I felt it important to give her some normalcy as quickly as possible. The kitchen I can move around in. Stuff is getting into cupboards. Probably not in permanent spots, but at least out of boxes and in somewhere. Our room I shoved a lot of furniture and boxes around this evening (Chris was out training, but one of us had to stay home with Blueberry, so I worked on unpacking), so here too there is at least space to work in.

I'll post pictures when I can find our camera (heh heh) and actually get around to taking some. In the meantime, we're settling slowly. Excited and nervous. I'll feel much better when our stuff is arranged and I feel "home".

The rest of this week is lots of meetings with other people, "shadowing" other house parents, and unpacking. Then starting Monday the girls are ours. One week after we start with them, they all go back to school which is nice as we'll get straight into school routine right off the bat.

OK, much more to share, but I've rambled on long enough for one evening. And as Chris just got back in, I want to catch up with him and then crash. Hard.

Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 21)

#1 - Well, I kind of had my day off. Wound up paying bills much of the day, but I did not pack one single box, so that was good. Also had a friend hang out some of the afternoon, and that was a nice blessing. Now Blueberry is sleeping (poor lamb was becoming beastly by 6pm--put her to bed and she conked out so fast--thank goodness. Her mommy was about to go ballistic!). .... Update-- I love sign language. Blueberry woke up and started crying. I walked in her room and she was standing up signing milk, milk, milk with the occasional please thrown in as fast as her little hands could make the signs. Sleeping soundly again.


#2 - Tomorrow is the big day loading the truck. The U-Haul is currently sitting ominously in our driveway. Very large. We'll be starting bright and early. I imagine my start will be even earlier and probably slightly less bright than everyone else's, but that's the curse of the females in my family.


#3 - My brain is beginning to fill up with thoughts of what's to come. I've done pretty good at holding most of that at bay just because I've had so many things around here that I've had to focus on. But now the new adventure anxiety/glee/nerves are setting in.


#4 - I would not have been done with the packing if it were not for the kindness of my sister-in-law baby sitting Blueberry most of the day yesterday. Blueberry's room was the one room I had yet to touch. Got it done along with several other final items. And then she made us dinner on top of it all. Such a blessing. Thank you :)


#5 - I've been cleaning out my emails tonight. Gotten very backlogged (again). I've had to shake my head and laugh at so many of them as they're completely pointless now as they address plans and ideas that are no longer relevant. Convenient as I don't have to deal with a bunch of them. But bitter sweet others. Sigh. I'm excited, but there's definitely some people I'm heart sore to leave. For all that I've been ready to move out of this town for a number of years, I've also planted some deep roots that are going to be painful to pull up.


#6 - My poor sister is inheriting a large pile of things to get rid of. Tried to contact a thrift store to pick it all up as my plans of a garage sale went bye-bye. Unfortunately they all want at least 2 weeks notice. The downfall (for her!) of renting our house. Oh well. I'm leaving her a freezer full of "mana." I feel like I was pretty ruthless on getting rid of stuff, but then I look around at the house and see all the stuff left and wonder if I should have been more ruthless. I guess we'll see when we get down there. I think one of the weirdest things for me in all this is the lack of knowledge I have of what we're really moving into. We saw part of our wing of the cottage, but not the whole thing. So I'm flying blind on making a lot of furniture decisions.


#7 - As the load of freshly dried laundry warming my feet has begun to cool off, I guess I had better go fold and pack it up before bed. I will post as I can. No idea how busy it's going to be the next few weeks. But stories will be forthcoming. Until then, I leave you my favorite Tolkenism:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daybook July 26

Outside my window...It is hot and sunny. Not quite as hot as it has been, but definitely still way to warm to be lugging boxes around outside. Chris got up at 6am this morning for the sole purpose of working on the boxes in the garage--bless him.

I am thinking...about how it's Tuesday (not Wednesday--thank goodness--I keep thinking it's Wednesday. I'm not ready yet for Wednesday, so it's with a sense of relief that I realize I'm still only on Tuesday), and I only have 4 days until we pack the truck and 5 till we drive away. I have a goal. I want Friday off. I want a day where I can sleep in without waking up early and fretting. No running around. As I know we're going to hit the ground running in our new home/job, having a day of mental and physical relaxation would be a huge help in my personal sanity and stress levels.

I am thankful for...all the wonderful people in our lives. Various friends and family members have come to help us with our packing. We had the birthday party Saturday and it went great. There were so many people who came--we feel blessed by the amount of people in our lives who apparently like us for whatever reason! God has been so good.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...steps, steps, and more steps. Still not consistently or steadily. But walking is definitely occurring. Oh, and she has learned that chocolate is fantastic. And her parents have learned that Blueberry on a sugar high is rather amusing but definitely not something to be tolerated frequently. And we have also discovered that she is most definitely my daughter in how she acts late at night when she's too tired but is not sleeping well (think silly/hyper and very talkative).

The chocolate she got at the birthday party. She tried a bit. Looked at both me and Chris with big eyes as if it check that it really was okay for her to be eating this. Then proceeded to devour her cupcake with great relish. Pretty neat too for a 11.5 month old.

From the kitchen...comes random meals. I'm learning the fine art of frying an egg and flipping it with a knife (without breaking the yolk), as all of my spatulas have been packed (including the one I thought I left out for this purpose but which mysteriously vanished! Also have had to resort to theft as I had a chicken to cook and nothing to cook it in--I have a key to my brother's house, so I snuck in and stole a pan. I did try to ask first, but got no answer. So I turned thief instead).

I am wearing...a green dress--trying to stay as cool as possible.

I am creating...a mess. But it's becoming a more organized mess, so that is good at least. Ooo...and I created gluten free cupcakes for the birthday party. Well, Namaste created them. I baked them and iced them. Yum.

I am take a break on Friday. And that's final. So there.

In my mailbox today.. .I don't know. I haven't checked yet. But we did receive a big, mysterious box for my sister recently. I really should text her that we have that!

I am reading.. . book 3 of the Firebird trilogy. A surprisingly good, Christian sci-fi series. The author has actually written some books for the Star Wars world--this has been an enjoyable if at times fluffy read. Fluff right now is good.

I am hoping...that we can actually manage to fit our stuff into our new house without too much fuss. I've got a huge pile of stuff sitting in the garage that needs to be tossed, garage sale-d (looking less and less likely all the time), or taken to a thrift store. I keep adding more. And yet I still feel like we have so much.

I am hearing...Blueberry chatter to herself over the baby monitor. Hopefully the chattering will turn quiet as she goes to sleep and not escalate to crying as she decides a nap is not in her agenda for the afternoon.

Around the house...boxes, boxes, and more boxes. Things are coming along well. The only room I haven't touched at all yet is Blueberry's room. Tackling that one Thursday. All the rest of the rooms are at least 90% done if not more so. Now to get a chance to tackle the paperwork in the study and pay the bills, and I'll be all set.

One of my favorite things...peppermint foot lotion. Especially when combined with a foot rub.

A few plans for the rest of the week: hmmm...pack?! Dinner with some girl friends Wednesday night. Dinner with my siblings one night. Pack. Pack. Pack. Pay bills. Pack. Load a U-Haul. Drive to Arkansas. Leave house, home, family, friends, start new adventure. Unpack.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...
3 days old:

11 months and 2 weeks old:

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 20)

#1 - So in between packing boxes, selling cars, renting a house, renting a U-haul, planning a birthday party, setting up ways to see friends/family, changing addresses, canceling appointments, getting referrals, and acquiring packing supplies, I've been doing a little bit of research on our new home town. So far Hot Springs is rather lacking in the Asian food department. Several Chinese restaurants, but that's about it. I'm getting the impression that Little Rock is going to be somewhere I have to get to know better as they have a larger grocery store offering gluten free foods than Hot Springs does (Whole foods in Little Rock!) as well as at least one Indian restaurant, Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, and a slightly bigger selection of decent restaurants that for sure have gluten free choices. Ah well, at least it's only an hour away.


#2 - Charlotte is on the verge on walking. Yesterday she took one little step (which I missed). Then she took another one--bit steadier. She finally strung together 3 before she sat down very hard. Thank goodness for cloth diapers. Who knows what today will bring! And heaven help me, I'll have a toddler.


#3 - Talk about Toddlers: I was just thinking yesterday how glad I am for procrastination. At least in this case. We've been working on baby proofing the house, and by "working" I mean--planning and thinking about. I did get so far as to buy 2 baby gates and some electrical socket plugs and several drawer locks, but we never got them put up. Thank goodness!


#4 - In further Blueberry news, she has taken it upon herself this week to not only start this walking thing, but to also grow two more teeth and lengthen her wake time between getting up in the morning and her morning nap. Oh and she's also finally started sleeping a consistent, solid 6 - 7 hour stretch every night (i.e. at a time I'm also in bed and should be getting that nice chunk of sleep if I weren't being haunted by to-do lists and boxes that need packing). Which has thrown her mommy completely off any semblance of routine as I've been trying to keep up with all this newness. Of course last night she slept horribly, but I'm blaming the walking on that one. She always seems to have a couple of rough nights when she starts a new major skill like that.


#5 - The packing itself is going really well. My goal has been for next week to be primarily a case of finishing up the little bits and having the time to do all the other little things that need to get done around here. Plus see friends and other important things like that. This week has been simultaneously extremely short and incredibly long. The oxymoron's of time always drive me crazy.


#6 - The problem with packing is that once you've packed something, it's hard to use it and sometimes even harder to find it. Case in point--I've packed my address box. Which means that the two packages that were on my to do list this week are currently stuck here because I have to now go and figure out which box I packed my addresses into so I can then address the packages correctly. Bah.


#7 - Because I can....This was taken at the studio when Blueberry and I were taking that Wee Ones dance class together. Just so cute! By the last class she had figured out that the sticks were for tapping together and the froggy bean bag was for shaking. Not exactly in time with any one else. But she was getting there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Whirlwind

As I sit here ridiculously early this morning, I am trying to gather my thoughts and process everything that has happened to us this last week. As I haven't breathed a word of most of this on here--I now get to spill the beans per say. And such beans they are!

Let's begin with last Monday. On that day I received an email that depressed me greatly as yet another one of my friends informed me that she was moving away. And this time on one week's notice.

As I popped over to her house to help her start boxing up her kitchen (packing kitchen's is apparently my specialty as I've packed quite a few friend's kitchen in the last few years), we began talking about the new job they were going to be doing. The more they talked, the more intrigued I became. Chris and I have had a job that we've talked about on and off since before we were married. Then six of seven years ago we had a discussion about dream jobs--and what she was describing was our dream job. Even more than that, what she was describing to me was an answer to our financial, ministry, job, and even family-goals related prayers for the last two years.

And they were hiring.

Wednesday, Chris and I talked it over. I called the director for the company and he confirmed they were still looking, but not exactly for the position that we were wanting. But it was a similar position, and could lead into the opening we were wanting. He said to go ahead and put in our applications, and that he was actually going to be in town next week, so we could do an interview then. That night we put in our applications and went to bed not knowing what to think.

Thursday morning I check my email first thing--we have an email from him. He had reviewed our applications and would look to see us. Immediately. On location. Could we come?

Ensue a flurry of phone calls back and forth between Chris and I. Quick plans and discussions were made. And by 2:30pm Friday afternoon we were on the road, Blueberry in tow, heading to Arkansas.

Yes, Arkansas. To interview to be Relief Houseparents at a Christian children's home for foster children, orphans, etc.

Saturday morning we arrived at the home ready for the interview. One of the first things we were told was that unfortunately he couldn't offer us the position he originally intended.

Our hearts sank. Five hour car trip for nothing.

And then he went on (I'm pretty sure he was enjoying himself). The position he could offer us was that of full time Houseparent to one of the girl's cottages (the children of the home are broken up into six cottages based on age/grade level. Each cottage has it's own set of houseparents)--specifically the little girl's cottage (ages 0-10ish). In other words--exactly the position type (and gender and even age range of kids) that we were most interested in!

We talked and talked and talked all about the home, what happens, how it operates, what our roles would be. Then we drove around in a golf cart and saw all over the beautiful campus, went into the house we would be parenting (if hired), and learned even more about how everything operates. The more we saw and the more information we learned, the deeper our desires grew to be a part of this ministry. Almost from the first moments of hearing about the job itself several days ago, and definitely from the moment we took that fateful step and submitted our applications, both of us had been so excited, but even more, so sure in our spirits that this was where God was leading us. And every moment of that interview simply confirmed our initial response.

Finally after about 2 hours of talk and viewing, we went back to his office and he offered us the job. We accepted on the spot.

And so, in less than two weeks now (July 31/August 1), we will be driving back to Arkansas this time with U-Haul and puppy dog (and child of course) in tow to start a new chapter of our lives that is so entirely different from anything that has come before, it feels like God just pressed the reset button.

Years of prayers, even more years of dreams, all answered in one fell swoop. It will be hard work, sometimes emotionally exhausting work. But it's work that we are both eager to take on. We get to raise our child as we want to raise her--and we get to raise other children right alongside her. We're going from being parents of 1 to parents of potentially up to 10 or 11.

And even as I write this I can hardly believe it. Although if I look at my "to do" list for the next 2 weeks, the reality sets in firmly!

Already my living room is full of moving boxes. I'm trying to plan a make-shift first birthday party/farewell party for next week, see girlfriends who leaving is going to be really hard, make sure I'm stocked up on some Thai ingredients so I don't starve to death (not really that strong on the Asian food stores that I can tell), and sort/pack/toss/sell every item in my house. Oh, and figure out what to do with our house and sell one of our cars as well! Phew. If this is where God has led us, I'm counting on Him to give me the energy and nerves of steel for the next few weeks!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daybook July 14

Outside my is baking hot and sunny. My vegetable garden is growing nicely and I have the first fruits of my labor. Well, first pepper of my labor would be more accurate. One jalapeno pepper. What to make? Such decisions!

I am thinking...about Mara Jade and Calista--our two puppies. Calista is currently stretched out at my feet. Mara Jade, sadly, is no more. We've wrestled for a long time (several years) about what to do with her. She has rather bad hip dysplasia that several times has irritated her skin so much she winds up bald, sore, and miserable. While it has been better for about the last year, a few weeks ago we started seeing the signs of it returning. Unfortunately there is very little we can do for her. Between that and the fact that she has been steadily becoming more and more ornery and less and less predictable, we finally came to the decision that it was time to put her to sleep. Not an easy decision as she was our first dog and has been a part of our lives for about 8 years now. However, when we weigh her happiness in life (which has been very up and down the last few years due to her physical problems) as well as add into that our concerns about the safety of our child around her--we knew it was a better decision to put her down with love and holding nothing but good memories of her than to wait for things to get worse or disaster to strike. If someone would have been able to take her in and love her, we would have given her away. But the truth is at her age and in her condition, the likelihood is extremely low of finding someone without kids who was willing to put in the time, money, and energy that caring for her would take to make her genuinely more comfortable. So today we said a sad goodbye. I just hope we can keep Calista happy enough without her pal around.

*9pm update--Well the deed is done. And the vet confirmed that we definitely made the right call both in regards to our concerns about safety around children and also our concerns for Mara Jade's comfort with the hip dysplasia. When she saw the raw patches of skin from where Mara's been nibbling at her hips in discomfort, she said it was definitely time to put her out of misery. Sad but it's always nice to have professional confirmation of a correct decision. Now to comfort poor Calista who is wandering around the house and asking us where her puppy has gone.

I am thankful for...a healthy little girl. For all of our ups and downs this year, the early, early, early birth of a friend's baby has reminded me how blessed we have been.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...So much is going on. The skills she has are steadily becoming more natural. Her sign language is really taking off currently. I need to learn some more signs to teach her since she's picking it up so well. And we're literally just waiting for her to take that first step. She'll stand up on her from a crouching position. She'll throw balls from standing. And she'll even walk with help. You can see her considering how to take that step, but it just hasn't happened yet. My bet is that when she does she's going to take off running.

From the a resolution to not go to bed at night unless everything is completely put away. Doing pretty good so far. We'll see how long I keep it up. I need to though as it really makes the beginning of my day so much nicer.

I am wearing...brown culottes, and a red shirt. Nothing fancy.

I am creating...plans for a first birthday party.

I am going...on a road trip.

In my mailbox lately....Came a nice squishy package from Thailand for Blueberry's birthday. Such fun!

I am reading.. . I just finished reading the last in the Rhineland Inheritance series. Well, the last that I have. I think there are more?

I am hoping...for an answer to a long-time prayer. And the strength to deal with the results of that answer regardless of what kind of answer we get.

I am hearing...static over the baby monitor. Pretty quiet otherwise. Blissful.

One of my favorite things...marshmallows. I really do have a thing for them. Which is why I don't normally keep them in the house. Chris wanted some to make a dessert with. Need him to make the dessert ASAP or I might eat them all.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
- pack for the road trip
- pack up a friend who is moving away (sad)
- keep my sanity

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...


The ball--her security blanket in the pool

The weird little hand motion she does when she wants something or wants to go somewhere.

Daddy cuddles...

Playing ball in the pool

My current favorite picture of my Blueberry

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One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...