Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Every Morning

Yes it is nearly May and there is snow in my yard, but there are also sure signs of Spring. Check out what I captured from my side door this morning:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Confessions of an Over-eager Blogger...

Or, what I have learned (so far) about blog etiquette.

This week has been a bit of a learning experience. I have never had anything "published" before, and now I know why there are teams of editors for people who publish their writings for a living.

I have my own team of sorts, that I didn't know was there, and it is a good, albeit humbling thing.

Lesson #1: Know thy audience: Or rather, know that you may not know thy audience, and they may not know you. They don't all have assumptions about your writings or personality based on personal experiences that they share with you, because let's face it, they may have never met you! I was checking out some of the features on my site tracker the other day and was amazed to see that people from Belarus, Slovakia, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, El Salvador, Brazil and Korea were checking in on my blog!

Lesson #2: Fact check: I posted something this week in a hurry, and I had a mantra running through my head that I recalled from somewhere back in US History. I used it as something I loved about this country, and then I was reminded that it was actually a segregationist mantra--yikes! *blushes* I really should have taken a minute to look it up and confirm what I was saying. Accuracy is important even in one's personal writings, when they are up for the world to see. Thanks for the save dear editors!

Lesson #3: Someone else's news isn't always yours to tell: So if you are one of my readers who knows me in real life, you know that I have a very enthusiastic, exuberant side of me that is extremely loyal to both my friends and family, and that when something great happens, I desire to shout it from the rooftops! Now, this can be a good thing, but sometimes your greatest strengths are also your greatest weaknesses. Sometimes someone else wants to do the shouting. This is something I will probably have to work on my whole life long. My last personality test compared me to Oprah. That is really great, but it also means that I require an audience of many people. Which makes blogging a super outlet. Unless you use it to steal thunder. Thank you again dear editors.

I don't do well with criticism. It cuts me to my core. BUT, it is necessary, and it will make me a better person and writer, so I cringe as I write this (because sometimes you get what you ask for), but in the interest of growth, bring it on!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lots of livin' going on

My parents are going to arrive for a visit on Sunday, and there is so much to do before they get here! The weekend that they return home is a doosie for our fam! It is the weekend that my mom graduates with her Master's degree, my brother graduates with his teaching degree, it is Mother's Day weekend, and the weekend of my sister-in-law's baby shower! Whew! It's exhausting just thinking about it. Since I won't be physically present (boo hoo), I want to send gifts for the occasions, however, this is the time of year where Ben and I really have to tighten our belts, because he doesn't attend school during the busy summer camping season, which means no GI Bill money comes in. So we live on substantially less May through September.

All of that being said. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be blogging less frequently than normal. Probably taking a bit of a blogging break so that I can make a bunch of gifts to send back. Once the gifts are given, perhaps I will post pictures of whatever creativity I have mustered on my family's behalf! ;)

Fun and busy times ahead!

PS--I also ask for your prayers. It is supposed to snow yet again tomorrow. I'm not sure how much more winter my heart that is longing for Spring and life can take! I'm sure it will be fine, it has just been so long this year!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We are off to the illustrious Fargodome today on a business and family trip! Hurrah!

When we were driving through North Dakota a few years ago (while I was still teaching my multigrain class--as I refer to my diverse group, you know, as opposed to whitebread?), we stopped for a meal at the Cracker Barrel and I was shocked to see a disclaimer that they welcome all races without discrimination at the door. I wasn't sure why they needed such a sign until we sat down to eat, and the place was filled to the brim with elderly white couples settling down for lunch. Then I got it...Oh! The Cracker--Barrel! It made me laugh--I hadn't seen such a homogeneous crew in a very long time. Now it has been awhile since I have seen much else!

That is one of the reasons I love our country. We are different, but all a part of one nation.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Today I raked up a bunch of pine needles and leaves and picked up many small limbs from the recent wind storms. It was a lot of work, but my iPod came in handy, and Nehemiah took a really great afternoon nap to give me the time.

When Ben came home, he was happy, and we decided to have a good old-fashioned leaf burning. Ben made a fire pit in the middle of the driveway and went to town collecting my piles in the trailer on the lawn mower. It was really nice, and we even roasted hot dogs for dinner.

Here are some photos of the fun:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Make your own paints

When I was at the park the other day with a friend, I was telling her about some fun make your own recipes I have happened upon. One for making your own stickers, and some for making your own finger paints and bath paints. She asked that I post the links up on my blog, so here they are:

I hope you guys enjoy these, and let me know how they turn out, because it will be a little while before Nehemiah is ready to use these fun things yet! :)

Friday, April 18, 2008


Man, what a day! Please tell me I am not the only one out there that has days filled with mishaps and mayhem! This morning as I was walking under our door-mounted pull-up bar, Nehemiah looked up at it longingly. Oftentimes I lift him up. He likes peering at me from up high while I hold him up; remember the picture?

Well this morning, I lifted him up, and on the way down, he bonked his chin on the bar and bit his tongue hard-core! It is all reddish-purple, like he actually bruised and cut it. I didn't think you could bruise your tongue!

Then after a fun trip to the park, we were snuggling on the couch and Nehemiah head-butted my front tooth! The poor guy! There he was thinking he was all safe (again), and BAM! A bump on the head. :[

Then when I was off to my Friday night nursery job, I shut my finger in the front screen door!

Come quickly tomorrow! I shall sing to you and greet you with a kiss! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jumpin' Jack

We went to a friend's house for dinner, and they have two things Nehemiah loves; a trampoline and a 9 year old daughter! :) Here are some pictures of our foray.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I think the dog has PTSD

or some kind of a complex anyway! A few days after we came home from the hospital with Nehemiah, and Ben's first day back at work, I woke up around 6am to nurse and realized it was a beautiful, sunny morning. I thought it would be nice for Maltby (our dog) to spend some time outside until I woke up again for good.

At about 9am I heard a ruckus, and swore that someone was breaking into our little house. I rushed out of the room, and found Maltby inside. I thought perhaps I was delirious from lack of sleep and had not actually put him outside to begin with, but I still couldn't figure out the noise. I went in the laundry room, and it became apparent that Maltby, upon seeing the screen blown out of the window, and the window open, decided to jump through our window and into the house. I'd say it was a good 4 and 1/2 feet. I was really surprised! Then I noticed that the wind had picked up unexpectedly, and there were a few large limbs down in the yard. I figured Maltby was so freaked out that he climbed to safety. Feeling bad for him, I petted him to calm him down and fussed over him quite a bit.

The rest of the summer, Maltby spent his time ruining our screens trying to climb back in the windows. I chalked it up to him adjusting to the new baby. Since then however, he has been, REALLY FREAKED out by the wind. I mean crawl under desk and hide freaked out! It is quite humorous to watch an 80 pound dog curl up under our desk, though it can also be annoying when he is on you like ugly on an ape at the slightest hint of a breeze!

Last night, he spent the night wandering the house scratching on doors and whining. It was really windy yesterday, and I think he had a ton of pent up nervous energy. That morning around 4am, as the wind began, he nudged his way into the nursery and licked Nehemiah until he woke up. Because, as you know, 9 month olds are great comfort when one perceives a hurricane!

Uugh! I must admit my patience with him wears thin--especially when he deprives me of one of my current best friends...sleep!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cruisin' the Ave

Back when I was in high school the local ne'er do wells used to drive their low rider cars up and down a street called Nevada Avenue. It was known as Cruisin' the Ave.

I am happy to report that we now have our own Ave Cruiser! Yep...Nehemiah is scootching backwards. Not crawling--he hasn't mastered sticking his butt up and getting his knees under him yet, but he does enjoy himself. He grins up at you while motivating around the house. :) How fun!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hail the Conquering Hero!

Nehemiah was particularly chatty this morning during church. It was the high voltage babble of a delighted baby, which is great, when your pastor isn't in the middle of praying. ;) I thought that since he was in such an amiable mood I would try him out in the nursery. It is only the second time in 9 months that he has been out of his parents' care for more than 20 minutes!

When I arrived on the scene, I found one lady in the nursery, with 6 other kids, under the age of 4, without a helper. I was a little nervous, because no one would be able to run up and get me if Nehemiah lost it, and Cindy already had her hands full. But, bless her, she said to go ahead and leave him, and I promised to come back and check in. Twenty minutes later I peeked my head in, and there was NO screaming! I went back up for the rest of the service, and when I picked Nehemiah up, he was blissfully busy playing with "new" nursery toys and watching the other kiddos.

Success! What a blessing!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Seasonal Affective Disorder (I think that's what it is called) seems to be catching around here lately!

As a Colorado native who is accustomed to over 300 days with sun in them a year, it is a big adjustment. Even bigger than living in WA State. The difference for me is that everything was green, lush, and alive there, and here, I haven't seen green grass in well over 6 months. Uugh!

I have one friend who was on her way into town to get Vitamin D, one friend who is tanning, one friend who is on her way to the doctor, and me. My counselor recently suggested getting a sun lamp.

Yikes! It's an epidemic! Pray that God sends the sun, and pronto! Otherwise we are going to have a bunch of grumpy mommas for a long time. And you know what they say..."If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good friends

Do you ever find that you take on mannerisms of your close friends?

Today Ben and I ventured out and there was a robin in the middle of the highway who would not move. Ben eventually honked at him to get him moving. At times like these I imagine what might be going through the bird's brain.

Immediately the Robin thought he was a chicken and had a distinct Mexican accent. He was playing chicken and was going to win no matter what. I had the voice down! When I finished my little imaginary charade, Ben and I were laughing (probably one of those had to be there moments). I sounded just like one of our great friends from our time in the military out in WA. John Tafoya has the best "fake Mexican with an attitude" accent. I ended up sounding similar and it was too funny.

There are those people in your life that you will never forget. The same type of people that you may not talk to or see often, but when you do, there are no hard feelings and you pick up right where you left off. The Tafoyas are that for us. Boy do I miss them! ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Peace Pipe

When I first met Ben in college, he used to smoke a pipe on occasion. He said it was part of his quest to enjoy the delights of being an old man throughout his life. I remember one day when I came out of my dorm room and knew he had a big test he was about to go to...I saw him leaned up against a wall puffing away like Sherlock Holmes on a case. I am not really into smoking, mostly because it makes me sick, but I thought it was really cute. It must be love, eh?

Well, we went out with some fun new friends tonight and Ben thinks that when the guy gets together for a fooseball night with some buddies that they may smoke cigars. He was a little excited, because I bet it has been well over a year since the last time he has done anything like that, and he prefers to do it socially.

It got us to talking, and I decided the pipe may make a comeback...especially if I'm not around. I mean it is reusable. The ultimate in green indulgences, right? Surely if you cloth diaper and smoke, it only makes sense to go with the pipe! Ha!

What random thoughts on the eve of another blizzard.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Swimming Lessons

It's like fake Spring (we are supposed to get 10-14 more inches of white stuff tomorrow night and Friday):

And a few more

of our little fishy!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Plow Watch 2008

Well the snow started over 36 hours and 14 inches ago, and we still haven't seen the plow on my road. It will be an occasion for rejoicing when it comes with its bright orange and flashing lights.

Ben had to shovel out the driveway to go to work. Not easy when it is heavy Spring snow.

It is great fun to attempt to get out of our driveway and off of our street after it snows and before the plow comes. I almost always find myself stuck--I think I hesitate too much (my Dad could tell you about that one). I am so afraid that I'm going to get stuck or careen off the road or into something that I don't give it enough guts.

Ben on the other hand is an amazing driver. In the snow and out. He ought to have his own theme song for peeling out in the snow. He guns it and slides around a bit, and then roars off in his intended direction. I am green with envy over his mad skills.

I'll be waiting for the Return of the Plow before I venture out.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I live in Narnia in the era prior to Aslan's reign! Here's what happened today...all 8 inches (or so--since we're not to the end yet):

Nehemiah trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue

A Snowy Smile

Real Eskimo Kisses!

We're trying to enjoy it, because in 3 months, we'll be roasting!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

As I type, we are sort of gearing up for a storm. There are estimates of anywhere between 3 and 12 inches of snow or rain within the next 24 hours. The thunder rolls and the lightning flashes. We are ready...we have a few unwatched movies, several recorded t.v. shows to catch up on, and a bunch of new books from the library to get the creative juices flowing. :)

We are on the verge of the storm as far as Ben's work schedule goes as well. This week he will have 2 days off in a row, and as it turns out a few others here and there. After this week, it may be nearly 6 months before that luxury presents itself again. There is very little certainty about that because the schedule at camp seems to be in a state of flux, except for those 10 steady weeks in the middle of the summer. We are gearing up for the Spring Retreat Season, then Summer, and then the Fall Retreat Season. I wish I felt as prepared for this as I do for the weather! I am taking steps to make sure that I have activities planned and prepared for so that I can stay busy with Nehemiah. Just pray that it all goes well and that I know how to stay healthy for myself, Nehemiah, and Ben! Gracias!

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Teacher Moment

Trying to teach volume? Need a quick tip? This is what I used to use with my students. :) Every third grader I had could draw this out in their sleep, and quickly too! A wonderful thing during a standardized test *groans* or during a kitchen bonding time *grins*. I posted this after reading about the much loved Mr. Gallon over at My Many Colored Crayons (which I ADORE!). And while I do love me some Mr. Gallon (hee hee), I am all about simplicity and ease! So for those of you who would like an explanation of how best to do this, start with the G for gallon--leave lots of space inside--this is important. Then draw 4 large Qs (for quart) inside--once again very open in the middle--then 2 Ps (for pints) in each Q and 2 Cs (for cups) in each P. It's a sort of venn diagram-ish sort of thing, and super easy! Oh, the different colors help kids see it easier initially, but once they get it, they can draw it with any ole' thing! ;)


Two days ago, I looked out my window to this and nearly cried:

Today it may reach 60 degrees, most of the snow is gone from the land, and I feel like doing a Spring Dance--hurrah!

I got a surprise after-Easter package from my Grandma in the mail. There was a little something for me, and a little something for Nehemiah.

It is great to have a grandma! Especially when she is so sweet! In a way my blog reminds me of her. It is my little daily journal of odds and ends.

Ever since I can remember, the little squares on my grandma's calendar have been her journal. It is so cool. A little bit of the weather and whatever was accomplished in the day fills each square--not a lot of pressure, but when you write really small, it is amazing what you can fit! :) Anyway, here's to Grandmas! (And yes, that is my sewing maching lurking in the background...I can't bear to put it away just yet--is it laziness? Or as I prefer to think of it, am I waiting for a bit more inspiration to strike?!) ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Our Business Idea

I have to say I am naturally just a little suspicious of people stealing ideas (just because it seems like such an easy and natural thing to do--imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all), but I think my friend Susan and I came up with a good one for our fledgling (meaning just conceptual at this point) WAHM business.

I have told a few people about it, and I find that they are excited and contribute some rockin' ideas, so I'm breaking down to blog about what we've settled on for now. :) AND I would LOVE some feedback in the form of ideas, if there is a good market, and business start up suggestions--because I know some of the moms reading this blog have so much more experience than I do with these kind of things...

First off, our credentials. I am a certified Elementary School teacher, and Susan is an English and Drama double major. Throw those two heads together, and what came out? An idea for making Imaginative Play Birthday Kits!

What the?

I'll explain...

We think that there is a market amongst parents who A) live in a more rural area with fewer places to go have a party, or live in a city but are tired of the current "birthday circuit" B) Are a little tired of over commercialization with character licensed everything C) Want an exciting birthday party and D) Would like the party favors to be more "green"--something a child will take home and use over and over again...not break in the car on the way home and never look at again. And, oh yeah, a lot less plastic. :)

Anyway, we have several (okay, like 20) theme ideas that we will need to narrow down, but I'll toss out a few...

Slumber Party Kit: Pre-cut fleece squares so that each girl can tie her own blanket to take home, and some kind of pillowcase decorating activity. Sleep masks that we make will be included, and possibly cake ideas, and recipes for facial masks, etc.

Pirates: Felt pirate hats, a different colored beard for all pirate boys (Red Beard, Black Beard, Blue Beard, etc) ;) , and braids for pirate girls, directions and props for a "Walk the Plank" game, etc.

We are hoping to find things to make that are relatively easy but that spark imagination and can be put altogether to make one original and fun theme party! We have a few themes for girls only, boys only, and coed, and even the beginnings of a Socially Conscious Party where the activities are made from Recyclables--and we follow the 3R's principle. :)

We may add story starters to get the ball rolling, and I have some thoughts about networking with some other WAHM businesses to provide themed invitations, Parent Birthday Party Survival Kits, etc.

So, what do you think? Is it doable? How much would you be willing to pay for such a thing (ie: could we recoup our material and labor costs)? Any fabulous ideas you are willing to share? What size kit would be best (I was thinking one for 6 kids as a base and then add a per kid fee on top of that for extras)? Can you buy accessories and things (like a roll of caution tape) and legally sell them as part of the kit? Or do you have to create everything yourself to be within the law? Just a bunch of the things running around in my head currently. Do you know of any good "start your own business" resources (books, websites, blogs, etc.)?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What a day!

Nehemiah had a weigh-in this morning. First one since his 6 month appointment since we don't vaccinate him monthly (the verdict is still out on that one for us--whether we will selectively vaccinate or skip it altogether). He has gained a little under 2 lbs and dropped from the 87th percentile to the 64th. It isn't cause for concern, which I am glad to hear. :) I was a little nervous because I know he hasn't been gaining as quickly as he used to. He doesn't really eat cereal though--he has never liked it, and when we found that he did like the finger food types of cereal, he started having an allergic reaction to it. We're going to try again in a month. All that aside, we had a really fun afternoon!

It was Nehemiah's first swimming lesson! He is my little fish! He loved the kickboard and the noodle and just feeling his body whooshing back and forth in the water. I was flipping him over from his back to front and accidentally dunked him, and he didn't even fuss! It was great. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Day at the Park

Well it was almost 40 degrees and sunny, so we got outside! Here are some photos of our first foray to the park...notice all of the snow is still not gone. :)


If someone wants to hit a cloth diapering family where it counts, what can they do? Hmm...how 'bout cause their just over a year old (and thus no longer under warranty), uber cool, front loading washer to break down and cost over $300 and 2 weeks to fix! Um yeah, it happened.

So now there are Huggies sitting in the nursery. Ben and I chose Huggies, because every other diaper brand we tried when Nehemiah was a wee little one caused him to have some major diaper rash issues, and we were too cheap to go with the Huggies (hee hee). I was amazed when I pulled these top of the line disposables out of the pack. They felt so, hmm... well, fake! No soft fabric, just slippy-slidey, papery plastic.

It is weird, because when Nehemiah was first born, I thought they felt so cozy, and now that I am used to cloth--I was a little shocked at my reaction. And Ben's too. I guess we're converts.

One interesting thing--Nehemiah doesn't look nearly as chubby! Hee hee! He fits in his clothes better because they are made for the majority of kids, who wear disposables and not cloth. His pjs were so easy to zip up!

But I miss my little guy's cloth diapered booty! ;)