Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday's Feast

Feast One-Hundred Eighty-Five -- March 28, 2008

Appetizer: What does the color dark green make you think of?

Right now, springtime. For some reason, green peas come to mind as well. And salad. Things that are fresh. (It sounds like I'm on $25,000 Pyramid.)

Soup: How many cousins do you have?

The last time I counted, the number was at 18! That's first cousins, and only one of them lives in the United States...but I communicate with several others on Facebook and email.

Salad: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how honest are you?

I think I can honestly say I'm at a nine. I am a very bad liar, and not being honest leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Main Course: Name something that is truly free.

I like this one because it's so tough. I think I'll say God's love -- and it may sound cheesy, but it's true. No matter if you love him or not, he will always love you. There is nothing we have done or can do or need to do to get his love, because it's ours for the taking.

Dessert: Using the letters in the word SPRING, write a sentence.

So precious, really, is new growth.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I like to bake. I like to eat baked things. I have been know, however, to make mistakes in my baking from time to time. Thankfully I can laugh about it.

Casey and I have recently discovered how much we love making (read: eating) the Hershey's chocolate chip cookies. Now, I don't know if you've noticed, but the recipe on the Hershey's bag is the exact same recipe on the Nestle Tollhouse bag. Interesting, because I do not like the Tollhouse cookies. They are flat and crunchy, whereas I like the dough to be more raised and soft. So is it the chips?

Anyway, we decided to grab a bag of semi-sweet chips on Friday evening so we could make the cookies, only the Kroger we visited didn't have any Hershey's chips! They had tons of Tollhouse, though, so I reluctantly grabbed a bag, vowing I would somehow make them to my liking. Note that at this point I was not aware that the recipes were similar. The evening was doomed from the start.

When Casey saw that the Tollhouse recipe called for baking soda he said, "Oh, that's the difference -- the Hershey's recipe uses baking powder!" He's more scientific than me, so I went with it. I was going to look it up online, but did I? No! And therein lies my downfall.

I was only going to substitute the powder for soda, but then Casey decided he wanted the soda because he likes the flat-and-crunchy cookies (and remember that soda was the correct choice anyway), plus he wanted to use all brown sugar rather than a combo of brown and granulated. So there I was (and already tired that evening), mixing two different batches of cookie dough, trying desperately not to get any of the measurements wrong. Both sets of dough were different than normal, but we each went ahead and mixed in our chips and prepared our cookie sheets. I was okay mixing the different batches, but it was up to Casey to get his own cookies in the oven, thank you very much!

Anybody want to venture a guess as to what happened? Casey's cookies rose higher than mine, and my cookies looked more dry and just...I don't know, wrong. We were both already disappointed, but laughing a little already, and then Casey said, "Oh, you know what? I'll bet it was supposed to be baking soda!" and at that point we were both hysterical with laughter.

Two separate batches of cookies, ruined. Just your typical Friday night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Most Sentimental Cut of All

Just rolling along here, trying desperately to keep up with a little boy who is growing too fast for my heart...

Today we took Miles to the barbershop to get his very first haircut. Hard to believe that a kid wouldn't need a haircut for two years, unless of course you have seen him or his photos and the baldness that prevailed for that first year! Casey goes to Don & Dale's every few weeks for a trim, and so we thought we'd take Miles there as well and have Dale give him a classy 'do. Ever the record-keeping Mama, I was armed with video and still camera to capture this once-in-a-lifetime event...and I will confess without shame that I came very close to shedding tears. My eyes welled up a good bit, but I was able to blink the tears back and laugh it off, although it made me feel better when Dale said it was understandable. I like Dale.


Miles was pretty wary of Dale the whole time

But Casey distracted him with peanuts...

...for the most part, anyway!

See me in the mirror? I was smiling!

Can anyone say 'twinkies'?

Miles getting to play with the brush

But not liking it when it was Dale's turn!

After (mug shot style!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Overheard on Sunday

"You shouldn't say 'bring it' during the Lord's Supper."

"What if it's already done been brought?"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When Daddy's away, Mama will pray

I've been blog-absent for several days, and here's why...

Part of the reason I talked last week about my being able to be the 'normal mom' these days was because, for an entire week, Casey was out of the state! He and his campus ministry apprentice Lendy (who is more like a co-campus minister in our eyes) took a group of students on a service trip to Morgantown, West Virginia...that's the hometown of the late and great Mr. Don Knotts for those of you who were wondering. This is the second spring break they have made this long trip -- by church bus, no less -- and hopefully their numbers will continue to grow each year. I hope to join them someday, but it being more a service trip than a vacation type of thing it is difficult to have a little one along.

Last year while Casey was gone I needed lots of help in taking care of Miles. I was still considerably weak, was less than two months out from a minor surgery, plus I still had that pesky wound that needed tending to. My parents were able to make it here and spend that time with us, and of course they and Miles loved their time together, and I found their help invaluable. This year I really didn't know how things would go. And to be honest, I was pretty anxious about Casey being gone for seven nights. I know how much he does around here -- believe me, it is a lot -- and so it all seemed very daunting to me.

The day before Casey came home, last Thursday, I had begun to reach the end of my tether. I had thought it would be great if I could do it all on my own while he was gone, but I also was not going to hold myself to a really high standard and then be disappointed if I needed to ask for some help. So, on Thursday morning I asked a friend if she would watch Miles for a couple of hours so I could just have a little time to rest. Two hours of help out of a week isn't bad, and I feel that I can be proud of myself for what I accomplished, especially considering where I was one year ago.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Twenty-Three Months

Dear Miles,

Well...this is it. One more month, and you will be my wonderful little two-year-old. How did we come so far already? Two years ago this day I was blissfully unaware as to how soon you would be arriving, and in such scary circumstances. It is still hard to believe that you came through all of that perfectly healthy. One year ago this day, because of my ongoing health issues, I was still physically struggling to take care of you on my own for an entire day straight. It was frustrating, because I so badly wanted to be what I thought a 'normal mom' should be, but I just couldn't. My recovery has taken so much longer than I thought it would, but these days I think you would agree with me when I say that I am officially a 'normal mom.'

I honestly sometimes can't get over what a beautiful creation you are. When your Daddy isn't nearby, strangers will say how much you look like me. Usually I will answer, "Well, you should see his dad before you say that!" but lately I don't say anything but a thank you because I consider it such a high compliment. I know you're a boy and boys are handsome, but sometimes all I see is a beautiful boy. Who can get past those eyelashes, that smile, those big hazel eyes, and that gorgeous strawberry blond hair? It's almost more than I can take.

Your twenty-third month has been such a verbal month for you. Every day I am amazed at all the words you are adding to your vernacular, and it is a little scary -- and funny at times -- when you repeat the ends of our sentences or questions in your adorable little voice. Like yesterday when I said, "It's going to be okay," and you answered, "Okay?" And I am so happy that you can now tell me, "Hurts!" and point to the place you are feeling pain. The repetitiveness in your speech is wonderful, and it is part of your learning process, but it will be equally wonderful when you come to me someday with your own thoughts and ideas, put into your very own words. Some of your words come out so clear already, but you have kept the babbling so far. I have to say I will dearly miss the baby babble. I will miss the baby. This is partly why Mama has the baby-fever again...

I have been talking about springtime quite a bit lately, and how much I love this time of year. I think another reason it's meaning more to me is that this time last year you weren't even walking yet. We would go outside quite a bit, but it was mostly to take walks with you in the stroller. By the time you were walking, it was so hot outside, and although we enjoy our outdoor time never lasted long enough. But now -- now we are in that stage of changing seasons, and not only am I soaking it all in, I am experiencing it through you as well as you laugh and scream with delight at the wind rushing in your face. I am learning to appreciate the tiniest little things when you find a perfect, tiny white flower amid the dead grass and look at me as though you have found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Not totally sure what we'll do for your second birthday, but I know it won't be a huge thing. The first birthday I even remember is my fifth -- so, I'm sorry kid, but we're just going low-key for the first few years. At least we've got you in training to blow out those candles!

You have hit an even bigger independent stride this past month, and those dreaded terrible two's rear their ugly head every so often. But it seems that with every new challenge your Daddy and I meet in being your parents, there is an even bigger reward, whether it be a new expression on your face or a new word...or those heart-melting run-into-our-arms hugs. Yes, you are what I would call my biggest life challenge, but before that I would say you have stolen a very large piece of my heart and covered it with your sweet kisses.

All my love,


Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Music Mambo

I thought I would do a meme today since I wanted to post but couldn't think of anything to write about...that and I have stuff to say, but I need more time to process some thoughts before I share other stuff. So without further ado, I give you Monday Music Mambo!

Monday Music Mambo

(Today is Telephone Day.

1. Which musician would you like to share a telephone conversation with? What would you talk about?

This turned out to be a great meme for me, because it's so easy! My answer here of course would be Sting. What would we talk about? I guess I've gathered a list of questions in my head about some of his music and lyrics, so that would be one thing. As long as we're talking about a fictitious phone conversation, I might as well say that I would ask Sting if he has any openings for backup singers on his next tour (although he uses the same two women most of the time, and they are just incredible). It would be fun to ask him about his family, and talk about mine.

2. Name your favorite song with telephone or phone in the title, or has anything to do with telephones.

The first thing I thought of, since I was thinking of Sting already, is my favorite Police song -- "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." The bridge happens to be my favorite part, and it goes:

I decide to call her up a thousand times a day
And ask her if she'll marry me in some old-fashioned way
But my silent fears have gripped me
Long before I've reached the phone
Long before my tongue has tripped me
Must I always be alone?
3. If you have a cell phone, what is your ringtone? If you don't have a cell or don't have a musical ringtone, what would you want your ringtone to be?

I do have a cell phone, but it's just a pay-as-you-go thing so it's not really worth putting a ringtone on it. Not that I don't want one, it just hasn't been a priority because I don't use the phone that often. If I did have a ringtone though, it would surely be a Sting song...just not sure which one.

4. What's Jenny's number?

I used to know this! Doesn't it start with 555? I'll have to look it up.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunshine. And rain. And sunshine. And rain.

Weather can be very human at times, can't it? As springtime approaches, we get so many mixed signals. There is such a moodiness about each week, like the sky can't decide what to wear. Should I wear sunshine today? Or should I put on a few of these clouds for a little downpour? All I know is that when that sun comes out and the temperature goes up a bit, we are out the door. Sunday was a beautiful day, one that makes you say, "C'mon Spring! You're almost there!" even though you know deep down it's going to hide away again until just the right moment. At least it gives us those glimpses into the beauty that is to come.

So, back to Sunday. First we had a baptism, which was awesome. I think that's the first time I've watched Casey baptize someone, actually. He had to run out the door soon after to give a ride to the person he just baptized, but came home a little later carrying some good home cookin' from Bofields! I'm talking chicken strips, fried okra, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls. The works. And the best part was that our little family sat out on the front porch enjoying the food and the sunshine together...Miles ran back and forth to the food more than sat, but that was to be expected.

Today was another nice day, so we went to Sonic for lunch and sat out on the benches instead of in the car or going home to eat. Miles sat there, swinging his legs and eating his fries and popcorn chicken (yes, we eat a lot of chicken). Then it was all about running once again.

Each year I grow to love spring more and more. I think I've always said that summer is my favorite season, but that is not true at all. As our lives have become more and more about going through our own winters of suffering and sadness to arrive at springtimes of joy, my appreciation for the parallel grows.

Praise God for spring!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Somebody's wearing the pants

I think I mentioned it before, but I've been knitting these adorable drawstring pants for Miles. The yarn the pattern requires is Rowan Denim, and it actually fades like denim when you wash it! Pretty neat stuff.

Anyway, I took a break from working on the pants last fall because I suddenly decided to knit everyone a gift for Christmas at the last minute, so all of my knitting time -- plus the needles needed for the pants -- were taken up with those projects. The unfortunate thing is that I am knitting the largest size in the pattern, which happens to be for an 18-month-old....meaning I'm already five months behind. I am now getting near the end of this project, and I have to say that the pants just might fit Miles. I mean barely. Maybe uncomfortably. For a day.

Either way, I am putting those things on that boy and taking a picture, because I have not knitted all that yarn up just to wait for the second kid to wear the pants!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The continuing tale of the cough

Miles had a sort of mini-relapse this weekend with his cough. Casey and I got more worried last night when he coughed on and on, and neither he nor we were getting to sleep. We went in to his room after midnight to give him a breathing treatment, and there he sat, just looking out of his crib and coughing away. Poor little guy.

So we took him back to his doctor today. It was not a good feeling, especially since it seemed like major deja vu of our visit three weeks ago. Miles was pale and very lethargic just like that February 18th visit, so our main concern was that he might be sent back to the hospital. We were even sent to get a chest x-ray just like the time before. Casey and I made jokes a lot of the time, I think because we were nervous about what the doctor would tell us.

Fortunately, the pneumonia had not returned, but Miles' lungs are very irritated. We have to up the breathing treatments from two a day to three, plus he is on another antibiotic and a steroid. He missed most of his afternoon nap, but this evening he was pretty much back to normal as far as behavior, running around and eating well. So far this evening I haven't heard him cough once, so praise God for that!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Colors...Skype...colors again

As it turns out, Summer Harvest on our laundry room's walls was a bit too...summery? harvesty? Maybe it was just a bit too much. The hue is good, it's the shade we have a problem with. The solution is just to move up (or is it down?) one shade to Moonlit Yellow. That way we still have the yellow we want, only a little more understated. I asked Casey when he would be getting the new paint, to which he responded, "Oh -- I'll be getting it today!"

This morning my mom and I were on Skype for about half an hour when I noticed that my aunt, who is my mom's only sister, was online as well. So I called her to see if she wanted to have a conference call with my mom and I, which of course she wanted to, and not a minute later there we were -- all talking together for free on our computers! Now, this might not seem like a big deal to you, but consider this: my aunt lives in East London, South Africa. She is eight hours ahead of us, so while it was almost noon here, it was almost eight o'clock at night where she is. I haven't had the chance to speak to my aunt in a couple of years now, so it was a treat hearing her voice (with my uncle chiming in from the background). The funny part was, I was the one who set up the call, and then the two sisters just took over the conversation! Not that I minded, it was actually very humorous. But you can imagine what it must be like for my mom, whose only sibling lives on the other side of the world, and it's been that way for nearly thirty years. I don't know how they do it. That's what makes the Skype thing so cool (shouldn't I be getting paid to plug them this much?). You're instantly connected -- audio and/or video -- and it is free.

Update on the laundry room: Casey didn't actually buy the Moonlit Yellow yet, but only because he wanted to bring one more sample home to make sure we didn't want that instead. After looking at them in different lights, I'm pretty sure I still like Moonlit Yellow. I'm thinking I have to like it, because I don't think he's going to paint another color after this one.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

There's no place like Home Depot

My husband has a weakness. It is one that I'm sure many are familiar with themselves, men and women alike, but probably this is a weakness more common with men. Ladies, since you and your husband bought that house, I'll bet there is one particular place where he is spending a lot of his time. You know it, don't you -- that huge building with the inviting orange logo on the front...

That's right: Home Depot.

I can make a simple mention of our need to visit 'The Depot,' as I call it, and you can see the gleam forming in Casey's eyes. Then they glaze over as he begins to imagine all of the things he might add, plant, renovate or paint. That last one is the one he does most and does best. If I want a room painted (and if we've both agreed on a color), it is pretty much guaranteed that Casey will have it done -- this includes prepping the walls (spackling, sanding, wiping down), priming then painting a couple of coats -- in about two days.

Don't get me wrong, I too adore Home Depot. I think (since becoming a homeowner, anyway) that it is a very magical place with magical things that can make my house oh-so-pretty. I just don't have the same enthusiasm for the work as Casey, bless his heart. But I love that he loves to do that kind of work. I mean, he really enjoys it. Me, I am happy to let him paint away as I sit in front of the TV with my latest knitting project.

We decided just recently to make some changes to the laundry room. It is the room we move through many times a day, because it is where we enter and exit the house from and to the garage (for us it is very strange to think of using the front door). Because of this, we wanted it to look as inviting and as sunny as possible. And what could be more sunny than yellow? Now, the laundry room is not a big room by any means. But if Casey and I have learned anything in the past few years, it is how to use every bit of space in an efficient way. That doesn't mean we've made it happen all throughout the house, but we are getting there. Slowly but surely.

I recently talked here about some of our new organizations, one being the big set of shelves I wanted to add to the laundry room. I just love it! I'm still working on exactly what I want to put there, but it's mostly full at this point. One of my best ideas (I'm bragging because these ideas are far and few between -- cut me some slack!) was to take down the big brown kitchen-looking cabinets above the washer/dryer in order to open up the room just a bit more. In their place we'll have some nice, open shelves across that wall.

When we moved into this house nearly three years ago, the laundry room walls had a very quaint wallpaper on them that we actually liked. It was neutral and had a sort of garden theme going on in small pictures. I didn't think we'd do anything to the walls for a long, long time. Then I saw some renovations in a magazine and my mind went to work. I think it was the idea of the perfect yellow along with removing the cabinets that made us think, Okay, now we have to do this!

One thing I love about Casey and I visiting 'The Depot' to pick out a paint color is that somehow we have always been able to eventually come to an agreement on one color. We will do our own individual searches, then come back together to compare our finds. I've learned that, no matter if you think you know what color you want, you will still take some time looking through every shade of that color. And I don't know why this is, but the names given to the paint colors always seem important to me. Why is that? Not that I'll necessarily reject a color based on its name (our dining room is painted in 'Cold Cash'), but I can be influenced.

The color decided on for the laundry room is called Summer Harvest. One that Casey had found before that was called Bicycle Yellow, and in his opinion was too much a 'radioactive yellow.' I don't know what it is, but when the color is chosen, it is so exciting! Even more exciting is when the paint person punches in the code and mixes it all up together on that machine thingy, then pries the lid open to reveal your paint and uses a hairdryer on the spot he or she puts on the lid. Anyone not familiar with this whole process is at this point saying, "Huh?!?" Just trust's thrilling.

So far, the cabinets are down (why didn't we take a before picture?), the wallpaper is peeled, the walls have been sanded/spackled/wiped down, and the primer is on. See what I mean? We only went to Home Depot last night, and before we went to bed Casey had that wall primed. Our new white shelves sit in the garage as they await their new home on the laundry room wall, and even though I realized later on that having open shelves means making sure things look a little neater at all times, I'm okay with it. Wasn't making this room look better the whole point after all? And so, I am very excited to see the finished product. If it looks as good as it does in my mind, maybe I'll share a photo or two.

And if I know my husband, the final coat should be up this afternoon.
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