Monday, July 28, 2008

We made it

Well, we survived the weekend. Actually, we more then survived; we had a great time! Cale and I also learned many a valuable lesson. For example, we were not made to have to care for children ages 7,6,5,4 and 2.5 all at the same time for more then a 48 hour stretch. Also, kids are messy. Five kids are EXTREMELY messy and ice cream outside might sound like a good idea, but a hose might be necessary for clean-up. It also takes an inordinate amount of time to load up 5 children in all their car seats when you are trying to go somewhere. Plan accordingly.

A great weekend spent bowling, playing water games, running races and through obstacle courses, shopping for and wrapping birthday presents for each other, decorating (and eating) birthday cupcakes, watching movies, visiting a farm and petting zoo, eating ice cream, playing at the playground, reading Bible stories, making crafts and lots and lots of laughing, hugs and shouting.

I'm tired. But my heart is happy as I recall all the great memories made of our time together. Hopefully I will recover in time to do this all again next year!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Invasion

The next 48 hours are going to be crazy around our house. Our four older nieces and nephews (7,6,5 and 4) are joining us this weekend for a cousin/birthday extravaganza. The next two days are sure to be filled with bowling, pizza, movies, cake and ice cream, the first ever cousin Olympics, a petting zoo, water games and a pajama party. And most importantly- lots of great memories from time spent together.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Last night was a recipe for a perfect summer night...

-an old friend unexpectedly stopping by
-dinner on the porch full of vegetables from our neighbor's garden
-an evening of free music at The Fraze courtesy of Over the Rhine
-staying up too late talking with the previously mentioned old friend

Perfect weather, delicious food, great entertainment and most importantly, fellowship.

...a perfect summer night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kate's Cars: A Retrospective

It's a big day today. We're getting a new (to us) car. But it's a car manufactured within the last 5 years which is quite a jump for us. We've been an old (read: junk) car driving family since we became a family so finding ourselves driving a car that was made in a year starting with a 2 is a big deal. We've said a fond farewell to Cale's '92 Corolla. She served us well- 188,000 miles strong- but the time has come to retire her. My '94 Jeep is still rolling along, but it's about to become the "other" car. Technically Cale and I are going to share the new car, but really, we both know it's mine!

Thinking about cars today has caused me to reflect on the myriad of cars that I have called mine since I started driving 13 years ago. (Wow- that sentence makes me feel really old!) When I first got my license I shared a '87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra with my brother. We had only had it a few months when my brother wrecked it about 100 yards from our house. (This was like the third car he had totalled. Why did my dad keep letting him drive??!!!) The Olds was replaced with a car I loved- an '87 Dodge Lancer. It was a little burgundy car that reminds me of summer, the Linesville boys and road trips (to see the previously mentioned boys). Unfortunately, my other brother wrecked that one about a year after I got it. I was not happy. (And as an aside- how did I turn out to be such a good driver when obviously my brothers stunk!) Enter the worst car ever: an '87 VW Jetta. That car was seriously made of tin foil and would have surely crumpled into oblivion if I had ever been hit. I was not sad to see it go! I traded it in right before I went to college when I bought my first car, an '89 Mazda 626. I loved that car and have so many fond memories that again involve road trips, too many stories of being stranded somewhere, and the road between Houghton, New York and Cleveland, Ohio. It served me well and I kept it until after we were married. At that point the power steering and A/C were gone and it was on its last legs.

My Mazda 626 was replaced with an '89 Oldsmobile 98 that was given to us. A big old boat of a car, but she did pretty well up until the time we went to Namibia. We gave it to my brother to use while we were gone and about a month after we left he was driving on the highway and a wheel flew off. Thankfully no one was injured, but needless to say, the car was done. So we came home from Namibia to our trusty Corolla and had to do some car shopping. That is when we purchased the Jeep that has served us very well over the last three and a half years.

And now here we are...on the verge of a new era in our family! A family with a nice car. Is it necessary? Do we need a nice car? Certainly not, but we sure are thankful for the way God has provided and worked it out so we could get this car. We are off to the bank to get some cash money to make it ours!

ps- Our new car is a Mazda 6 Sport Wagon. Yes, we are the proud owners of a station wagon, but this is not your mama's woodchuck from the days of old! (And my mama drove one of those for many years!)

pps- Why do I refer to cars as she? Is that weird or what? I think that is Cale rubbing off on me!

ppps-Happy 200th post to me!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Finding my way

I have had a rough week. Nothing life-shattering in the grand scheme of things, but a pile of disturbances that have toppled me over more then once in the last few days. I wish I could tell you that I have handled it well. I wish I could say that I've been trusting the Lord the way that I should. I wish I could say that I haven't allowed my circumstances to overwhelm me.

But I've kind of made it a point to not lie so I won't tell you those things.

I've floundered and doubted and questioned and taken my eyes off the only One that really matters. I've complained and stressed and tried to figure things out by myself. Not surprisingly, I didn't get very far before something else blindsided me. I hate the place I've allowed myself to be the last few days.

But I love the One who has cleared my vision and lifted my burdens and given me a firm place to stand.

Has everything suddenly worked out? Of course not. But that's not what I'm going for. I'm just trying to find my way following the One who never leads me wrong.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vacation: In Pictures

We have been on a mini-vacation of sorts the last few days. We had a lovely time, but arrived home to a leaky toilet on the newly installed floor. So here are a few pictures until I have either a) time, b) the inclination and c) a combo of a and b to write more about what we did!

at Presque Isle
my bathing beauty blowing me kisses
enjoying watermelon at Chatauqua Lake
Haven and her cousin A
silly girl enjoying the beautiful summer night

Haven's first merry-go-round with Nana at the zoo

Monday, July 7, 2008

A new week and it's quiet around here

It's quiet at my house this morning. There's no almost 2.5 year old keeping me company. Since there's so much quiet bouncing around these walls, I've been reminded of a few things I've been meaning to share, but since I'm feeling uninspired a list format is all I've got!

-I mentioned last week about my efforts to do more hands-on project-y things with Haven. Well, a source of inspiration has come from a great little book called "The Preschoolers Busy Book" I heard about it on one of the kid crafty blogs I frequent Plum Pudding, which has also been a great resource. The book is filled with simple, easy ideas as well as some more involved projects. I highly recommend it and you can buy it super cheap on Amazon.

-I read this post last week that really encouraged and challenged me about my attitude in taking care of my home and how I'm spending my time. I have added Elizabeth George's "A Woman After God's Own Heart" to my immediate read list!

-I know I always seem to be singing the praises of some new foody blog, but seriously my new favorite is fantastic. Dinner with Julie is a year in the kitchen of a food writer/stylist/cook who lives in Calgary. She is documenting what she fixes for dinner every night. Despite her work in dealing with more "sophisticated" food, at the end of the day she's just a mom trying to feed her family. I don't even know how I stumbled onto her site, but I'm so glad I did. I have been reading through her archives the last week or so and have made three of her "recipes" already. She is full of great methods to use in cooking and has tons of great lower-fat/calorie recipes. She's witty, too, so it's a great read!

(After several people commenting on the fact that some her dinners come across as food no one fixes on a weeknight (or ever!) she offered this advice. She says is that if you write out in detail what you're actually eating for dinner it sounds much more impressive. For example, the other night we had grilled chicken breasts and vegetable couscous. Doesn't it sound much better when I say we had Grilled Buttermilk Herb Chicken and Couscous with Summer Roasted Vegetables, Feta and Chopped Fresh Herbs? I like it!)

-A huge praise- I don't have a hole in my bathroom ceiling anymore! We found someone to do the work relatively quickly (and cheaply) and he's working away this week to give us two working bathrooms again. We are so thankful to have this almost taken care of!

-Cale and I were doing some shopping yesterday and wandered into Pottery Barn Kids. We weren't in the market for anything because Haven won't be moving into her new room for at least 6 months and we won't know what we need for our new baby for a long time yet. BUT...sometimes good deals just can't be walked away from. We got Haven a quilt and shams for her bed at a most amazing price. It was the last floor model that they had and I couldn't pass it up! We didn't buy the sheets that are shown with it (I don't really like them!). We'll probably do some polka dots or something. I've got lots of time to plan, so there is no rush!

That's all I've got! I'm off to find some constructive ways to use my Hay-less time!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My girl

My sweet girl is just one month shy of being two-and-a-half. That blows my mind. She is a delightful girl a majority of the time, but watch out for that minority. She can be quite the handful. A friend who wrote a reference letter for adoption said in her letter something to the effect of Haven requiring a strong hand. I thought that was a brilliant way to put it.

One of the reason I started writing this blog was to document our life. I do that well with some things, but feel like I've been remiss in keeping a good record of what Haven's been doing lately. So if you don't care about all the funny things Haven says or does, then stop reading here. If not, prepare for a sappy mama sharing about her girl.

The girl talks non-stop. She goes on and on and on, full paragraphs, barely stopping for breath. Honestly, it wears me out. But she's also funny. Here are a few of the funny and or common things that we hear around here:

-Come here, Baby Mommy
-I have di-a-rhees (thankfully this isn't all that common, but has been of late!)
-I do it myself
-Scue me, pease
-Is that a little bit yucky? (always in reference to an animal and asking you if you like that animal)
-Wanna read?
-Last night- refers to anything that happened in the past. As in, "I went to the zoo last night" (she went 4 months ago!)
-Where'd ya buy dat? (She asks this about everything and then follows up with...)
-How much did you pay for dat? Was it 45?
-At the grocery store- Mama, is that too spensive?
-Hang-a-burger (hamburgers)
-Plaper lips (paper clips)
-And every night before bed she says, "Zeebee and BunBun are scared!" and then I ask her what to tell them and she says, "Jesus is with us!"

Haven never seems to amaze me at what she understands and can do. She knows her ABC's and recognizes about 10 letters by sight. She can count to 13 (and then it becomes sixteen, eleventeen, sixteen- we're working on it!). Haven's getting pretty good at dressing and undressing herself. Those shirts can be tricky sometimes, but she is persistent.

She can sing Jesus Loves Me all by herself as well as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. We're also teaching her the doxology and it's very fun to hear her pipe up at "Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." We have been working on some very basic Bible memorization and she is picking it up so quickly it blows me away. She loves to pray and her prayers are becoming much more than just repeating us, but really what is on her mind. Last night we had finished praying and I was singing a song when she asked me to stop because she needed to pray more. It makes me so glad to just see glimpses of her heart!

I love being Haven's mom and am daily reminded and amazed at what a gift she is to me. Part of the inspiration for this post is that I'm getting a little weepy because she's leaving me on Sunday for a few days for some time at Nana's house. We'll go up to my mom's on Thursday to spend a long weekend. As much as I'm looking forward to being alone! In my own house! I'm going to miss her. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with all my time without having her company. I'm sure I'll figure it out quickly, but tonight I'm sad thinking about her being gone. She's just growing and changing so much and is so her own person and I love who that person is becoming. I love watching it develop and unfold and getting to be part of that development. Seriously, I need to just stop here or I will keep going on and on and on. I just love this girl!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Merry Christmas to me: Part 2

We have had an insanely busy week. Haven and I have had a crazy amount of running around that was necessary this week and it's left us both a bit out of sorts and my house neglected. But the craziness is subsiding and I'm looking forward to a long holiday weekend. Much of the busyness has been good stuff, including where I went last night. I had my second cooking class as part of my Christmas present from Cale.

Last nights class was Pies and Tarts and it was a great time. Unlike my first class, this one was part demonstration and part participation. Everyone got a chance to help make part of the recipes (I made a chocolate ganache for the tart). We made a Triple Berry Pie with a Granola Crust (my favorite!), a Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Caramel Tart and a Meringue Topped Banana Cream Pie. The instructor was great and the whole class was really relaxed and fun. I'm not sure that I will make the tart or banana cream pie anytime soon, but I'm planning on trying the (no-bake) berry pie this weekend. It was so good- different and easy!

Sadly, I've used up my Christmas gift at this point, but I am hooked on these classes. I am sure that I'm going to have more in my future. Too bad Christmas is sooo far away!