December 31, 2007


I'm feeling guilty about this post, but I feel it must be shared. The video below is of Kyle making our son cry. Why? Because it's a little bit funny. But mostly really, really sad.

Every time Kyle makes his fake crying noise, Jack responds with tears. Every. Time. I hate it when Kyle does this, but as soon as he stops Jack goes back to normal. I think he's inherited a little of my empathy. I told Kyle that this may be a bad thing when it comes to any kind of organized sport.

So, here it is. It was taken a little over a month ago. If it doesn't break your heart, I don't know what will.

December 30, 2007


We've set limits for Jack. We told him no e-mail until he's 2. But we did let him start texting at 6 1/2 months.

December 28, 2007


His first injury (well, the first one that needed a band-aid).

I think the most important thing that I learned from this was that I now use words like , "ouchie."

December 27, 2007

Love this.

I went shopping at Briarwood today and was sucked into the Pottery Barn. I've kept my distance from PB for a few months because it's all so expensive and makes me feel like I need things that I really, really don't.

BUT, I had a gift card to spend and I knew I could get more for my money with all of the great sales going right now.

I did get some fantastic deals . . . $3 picture frame, $5.99 paper lanterns, a fake olive tree, etc. I even found a frame that is still selling at full price ($39.00) for $11.99 on the "as-is" table and I can't find anything wrong with it! I only spent $5 beyond my gift card and came home with some great finds. It felt good.

I think my favorite part of the trip to Pottery Barn was the festive bag that they gave me. It was such a great design!

I feel like I need to do something with it. I used to make cool envelopes out of patterned paper. I've tossed around the idea of making envelopes and selling them on etsy. Do you think people would buy envelopes on etsy? Who knows?

Anyway, maybe I'll make some practice envelopes with this bag. And if you're lucky, you might just get one in the mail.

December 26, 2007

Under the tree . . .

My house is a disaster. It looks a little bit like Fisher Price and Playskool had a baby, and then that baby threw up all over my carpet. There are so many toys! Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not complaining! We're so grateful for all of them and I didn't realize how few age-appropriate toys Jack had until we let him play with the more challenging ones. He's a lucky kid to have grandparents, aunts and uncles as generous and loving as he does. We've decided to put all the toys in the basement (eventually . . . they're all sitting in piles in our front entry) and bring one new one out a week and maybe rotate some in and out. Otherwise, we'll be overwhelmed with PLAY!

Jack got quite a few clothes too! This was a lot less thrilling for him than it was for me. I'm so grateful that he now has enough clothes of the right size that I don't have to do laundry nearly as much as I have been. Yay! Not to mention that they're all adorable! He's becoming such a little man!

I got a lot of great stuff for Christmas, too! Kyle got me a new flash for my camera and a sweater that is the most beautiful shade of green (and you know how I love green) and some other miscellaneous items. I also got a sewing machine, some clothes from Old Navy, the Love and Logic early childhood pack, a Magic Bullet blender, a portable ipod dock, gift cards, and much, much more! I'm so thankful and overwhelmed by the generosity of my family!

I think my favorite part of Christmas day was Kyle opening his gift! We had decided that this year we wouldn't do gifts for each other . . . just stockings like we've done the last two years. When we really need something, we buy it and we can't really afford to buy a whole lot of "wants" so the stocking thing works out well. BUT, I really wanted to get him something special this year because he always sacrifices things so that I can have what I want (I need to write a post about that sometime).

A week or two ago, I let him know that I was getting him something because I knew he'd feel bad if I blindsided him with a gift and he didn't have anything to give me. I explained to him that I didn't want him to spend much on me because I was buying his gift under "special circumstances." The mystery created suspense and I think the suspense about killed him.

Anyway, he has wanted an ipod touch since the day they were released. He also knew there was absolutely no way that we could ever afford one, so he never really asked for one. A few weeks before Christmas, I combined a Sam's club gift card that I had been saving along with the gift giving efforts of several family members that I knew were wanting to buy gifts for him and was able to purchase one! He was so excited and I was thrilled! I was just thankful that my family was willing to go in on this with me, because there's no other way we ever would have been able to afford one. He definitely deserves it!

All is calm . . .

All in all, Christmas was insane. So many places to be, so much to do . . . it wasn't anyone's fault, it was just crazy. I guess it was kind of my fault for thinking we could do it all. I kept saying to myself, "Something has to change for next year or I will never enjoy Christmas again." One blog that I read regularly talks about the "Christmas tacos" tradition that she and her husband initiated this year to make Christmas less about the busy-ness and more about spending time together. This has started me thinking about what kinds of things we can (and should) scale down in order to make the holidays less stressful for everyone involved. I think the main thing that will make it less stressful for me next year is not having to worry about having a cranky baby if he misses a nap. Honestly, he did so well for the hours we were keeping but today he was his happy self since he got a full night of rest.

I'm feeling slightly more relaxed today, but I'm spent. Jack just went to sleep, so I should too. Lukapalooza* starts tomorrow, so I'll need my energy!

*Lukapalooza is the name I gave to the Luke family gathering . . . which lasts five days and four nights. It's at camp, so Kyle, Jack and I sleep at home and go there during the day.

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Not what I expected

About a year ago, every started telling me about how much fun this Christmas would be . . . you know, with a baby. In my head, I always scoffed at this because of course Christmas would be fun. Christmas is always fun.

But I'm here to tell you that Christmas is decidedly LESS FUN with a baby. I don't think I've ever had a Christmas as un-fun as today. And it's only 9:42 AM.

The un-fun-ness started yesterday when he missed his afternoon nap because of a Christmas party. It continued when he didn't get to bed until 11 PM last night. We knew we'd pay for it and we were right because he didn't sleep well last night and woke up at 5:30 this morning and had no intention of going back to sleep. We rushed around trying to feed him breakfast and get the car packed for our trip to my parents his afternoon, and, well . . . to make a long story short I came home from Kyle's parents house so that Jack can get his full nap. We put his nap off this morning until we couldn't anymore and he was past the point of going to sleep easy so I knew he wouldn't sleep in a house full of people. And now I'm sitting at home alone. On Christmas morning. Eating leftover pizza because my stomach was going to eat itself if I went any longer without food. I'm pretty sure that all of this is worsened by my ongoing recession. Should I add a "Bah humbug!" right here?

This is not how I pictured Jack's first Christmas.

Better luck next year, I guess.

December 23, 2007

The night before the night before . . .

It's 8:40 PM and we're just getting dinner in the oven. It's that busy, busy time of year. Didn't someone say it was the "most wonderful" time? I'm sure I'll feel that way in a day or two.

We are headed to Dexter tomorrow to celebrate with my mom's side of the family. We're making a few stops along the way, though.

I wasn't too set on having Jack's picture taken with Santa . . . it wasn't that important to me. It's not that we are anti-Santa or anything, but it just isn't something I had really thought about. However, I was shopping in Ann Arbor on Thursday (after my horrendous Jackson shopping experience on Wednesday . . . more on that later) and saw a baby sitting on Santa's lap getting her picture taken. She was SCREAMING but it seriously was one of the cutest pictures ever taken. They have a great set-up there (at Briarwood) and it's not as cheap looking as some of the "meet Santa" backdrops that I've seen.

So, we're thinking about stopping there to have his picture taken tomorrow. The only thing that's making me think twice is the fact that it will cost $15.

PLUS, we're stopping by U of M hospital to see our friends who just had triplets! They're doing great and we're so excited to see the girls in person! Honestly, I'm excited about our family celebration tomorrow (in fact, I'm going to write a post about that tradition sometime), but this is probably the part of the day that I'm most excited about!

Jack has no fear. He'll now crawl AYWHERE! I'll leave you with a few pictures of him exploring the kitchen:

This is the bell that Murphy rings when she needs to go out. Jack discovered it and it's become a new favorite toy.

December 22, 2007

As heard on the way home last night . . .

Me: Ugh. I can't believe I almost said that.

Kyle: Said what?

Me: Seriously, you wouldn't believe all of the things that I almost say but then decide not to.

Kyle: Like what?

Me: I've really started to say things in my head before saying them out loud so that I won't say something I'll regret.

Kyle: I need to start my own blog where I can post this kind of stuff about you.

December 20, 2007

Expensive taste, perhaps?

Jack took two naps yesterday that lasted longer than 1 1/2 hours. This has happened maybe four or five times since he was born. Jack slept 10 hours straight last night. TEN. HOURS. It was the longest he's slept since he was four or five months old.

What made the difference?

Well it's hard to be sure. As Kyle and I tried to think about what (besides teething) had changed about his sleeping environment over the last month, we realized that he was sleeping on a different sheet than he ever had. We have two airplane crib sheets from PBK and two sheets that we received as part of a shower gift. At some point about a month ago, both airplane sheets were spit up on so we used the plain white sheet. As an experiment, Kyle changed the sheets back to his airplane ones and voila! He's sleeping peacefully. Not only that, but he fell asleep on his own last night, for his nap this morning and tonight.

Could his sheets really be the answer to his sleep troubles? This could be the start of some very expensive habits . . .

Side note: My friend Cristi is pregnant with triplets and will be delivering at U of M TOMORROW! It seems like we just found out she's pregnant! As you think of them tomorrow, pray for her, Chad and all three girls!

December 19, 2007

Dog walking

Have you ever seen "In Her Shoes?" After seeing that movie, I wanted to become a dog walker for about a week.

I watch Cesar Millan's show and he always talks about how important it is for dogs to be walked regularly. That's hard with a foot of snow on the ground and a layer of ice on the roads. I was watching at my parents house and he convinced me to try this:

We've done it for two nights now and Murphy loves it! She walked for 10 minutes each night (with me by her side and her leash on) and has been so well behaved! Plus, the treadmill that's been sitting in our storage room is FINALLY getting some use.

It's not just for your checkbook . . .

Here's the word that my thoughts have been turned to this Christmas: reconciliation. A word that my spell check has to correct for me almost every time I type it. My fresh appreciation for this word began on Monday when one of the Christmas cards I designed for a friend included the verses found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 - 19 . . . and now I can't get these verses out of my head. I'm not complaining because they replaced the theme song from Gilligan's Island that I haven't been able to get out of my head for over a month. Nevermind . . . it's back.

I've come to understand that there is no time of year that should focus our hearts of the reconciling work of Christ more than Christmastime. Paul tells us, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." This is why Jesus was born. This is why we celebrate Christmas! Jesus came to bring new life and to reconcile us to God. Do you understand that? Is anyone capable of fully understanding it? How many times have I said those words and not really comprehended the full weight of what it means? We've been unfaithful to Him. We are so undeserving, yet God is so perfectly loving and forgiving. Ugh. I know all of this sound so trite but I wish everyone reading this could understand how it's sunk into my head and my heart this week. But it doesn't end there. We need to be like the one we celebrate. We need to be agents of reconciliation in our world.

I know this is a little discombobulated, but that card I helped them with is helping me to experience Christmas in a fresh way this year. In the note on their card they write in reference to reconciliation, "What a gift we need so desperately!" I can't help but agree.

December 17, 2007


That's how Jack would say "teeth" if he could talk. And they're slowly but surely pushing their way through his gums . . . making everyone in our house miserable. They're not quite all of the way through yet, but you can see them and feel them so I'm hoping that the end is near.

It occurs to me as I write that I'm new at the whole parenting thing and it's possible that this could be just the beginning.

December 16, 2007

Snowed in.

There's nothing like a fresh blanket of snow to cover up the fact that you've done absolutely no landscaping to your house.

We were snowed in today. It started snowing yesterday around dinnertime and stopped mid-afternoon today. traipsed around outside for a while trying to get some pictures, but the wind was vicious. I originally walked out onto the deck in pajama pants and a t-shirt and it wasn't long before I figured out that that wasn't going to cut it. I started the day thinking about all of the laundry, cleaning and work on my paper that I would get done. I ended the day on the couch in front of the TV feeling rather lethargic. Cabin fever is setting in.

My Christmas card orders have died down and I was finally able to finish ours . . . I was beginning to think we wouldn't get to send one out this year. I'm hoping that I'll continue getting orders for birth announcements, save-the-dates, etc. after the holidays. I just have to get more designs up! That's one of my goals for Christmas break. I'm a little insecure still about putting stuff out there for people to buy, but my Christmas orders encouraged me a little. It's weird that I fear rejection more about this stuff than I do about most things.

Jack's two bottom teeth are just about poked through. He's also feeling a lot better. Have I mentioned that I read somewhere that babies get one cold a month for their first year and each cold can last about 2 weeks. That means HALF of their first year can be spent sick. Ugh. I hate it when he's sick. He's been so sweet the past few days that he's been feeling better. He's so funny to watch on the ground. He gets on his hands and knees, army crawls to where he wants to go, and then stops and returns to his hands and knees again. I'm pretty sure that he's given up on crawling altogether and will just stick with the army crawl now that he's become so good at that. I'm alright with that. He's easier to catch that way.

Kyle and I went Christmas shopping in Auburn Hills on Friday . . . Christmas shopping on our anniversary has become a tradition. It was nice to have a day just the two of us to sit down and eat and have some time together. Even in the car on the way there and back, we had fun just talking and laughing. While it was nice to have a day that was just the two of us, we were talking on the way home about how we couldn't wait to get back and see Jack . . . we missed him. We did buy a lot of gifts, but we're not even close to being finished.

We had planned on going to Chicago at the end of this week, but canceled that trip for myriad reasons. My sister won't be out of school yet, so we couldn't spend much time with her. With all of the Christmas shopping we've still got to do, money is tight. And, we'd like to get farther past this round of teething before we do a 5 hour car ride with Jack again. I'm bummed because Christmas is my favorite time of year to be in Chicago . . . maybe next year.

December 14, 2007

The boy I met at camp.

About 22 years ago, I was seven years old and I went to camp at SBC for the first time. I had no idea back then that going to camp would have such a profound impact on my life, nor could I ever imagine that I'd choose to work there for 7 years after post-college. I learned a lot at camp . . . about God, about what it meant worship God, about myself, about how I related to others, about who I am and who God wants me to be, etc. On the days when I wonder why on earth I'm still working here, I look back at how my camp experiences shaped my life and I'm motivated to continue.

But that's not what this post is about.

Several years after I started going to camp, I met a boy. I met him briefly as a camper when we were in high school . . . not that he has any recollection of it. I had a crush on him . . . and he didn't give me the time of day.

During my junior year of college, I was sitting in the hallway outside my dorm room and a friend and I had a brief conversation in which she encouraged me to pursue an internship at a camp. Looking back, I understand that most of these so-called "random" moments in my life were laid out for me by One who had a better handle on my life than I do. It was an unlikely venue for a communication internship but the director (who happened to be the boy's father) hired me within days of my first contact with him.

I worked at camp that summer, and the boy worked there too. We became friends and enjoyed spending time with each other, but the thought of anything more than friendship never entered either of our minds. We e-mailed sporadically during my senior year and saw each other a few times when I came home to visit.

Two months before graduation, I was offered a full-time job at the camp. I accepted and decided I'd work there for a year before pursuing other opportunities within the field of communication and marketing. The boy was still in college at Spring Arbor and my apartment was two blocks from campus, so I'd see him from time to time throughout that year. We weren't close friends, but our friendship did continue to develop.

The following summer, we worked more together. We had a lot of fun together. We rarely did things just the two of us but the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. In September of 2001, the boy and I began dating . . . officially, that is. It was the time that I thought I'd move on from camp and get a "real job," but I decided to stick aorund.

On July 17, 2002, the boy got down on one knee in McCourtie Park and asked me to marry him. Of course, I accepted his proposal. Almost five months later, on December 14, 2002 at 10:30 in the morning, we got married.

I'm still amazed that I married that boy that I had a crush on when I was only 15. I can honestly say that I am in love with the boy more today than I was five years ago.

Happy anniversary, Kyle.

December 13, 2007


When one googles the phrase "sisters sisters there were never such devoted sisters" my blog appears as the fourth selection. I am shocked at how many people, 1) google that phrase, and 2) click to my blog from that search.

An update

I won the stocking! Yay! I've been bidding on these since before Jack was born and I was feeling a little like it wasn't meant to be. I was about to go to Target and find a cheap one there. Now that I'm seeing the Pottery Barn reindeer stockings, I'm wishing I had bid on one of those . . . but I'll be happy with the snowman.

December 11, 2007

Starting to see the curve

Jack had his 6 month check-up today and his growth curve is actually starting to be a curve (instead of the straight line that it's been since the day he was born). He's actually started to slow down a little. My fears of having the only 4000 lb 9-year-old in the fourth grade are beginning to lessen.

We discovered that our bathroom scale is wrong, because it weighed him at 23.5 pounds the last couple of weeks, but he weighed in today at 22 lbs, 10 oz. This is great because it also means that I weigh a little less than I thought I did . . . every little bit helps me feel better! He's also 29 inches long.

They said he was doing great and meeting all of his benchmarks and milestones, but that he needs more tummy time because his neck isn't developing symmetrically (I think that's what he called it). Will I ever be giving this kid enough tummy time? When he's on the floor, he can roll himself to his belly or his back as he chooses . . . I don't have a lot of control over it anymore. And he's pretty much done with the exersaucer now . . . now that he can get around I think it's become a little prison-esque. The doctor didn't act like it was a big deal, but when he told us to make sure he was getting more tummy time, I just laughed a little in side because the only way to fit more of that in is to feed him while he's on his tummy and change his diaper while he's on his tummy. He's sitting on his own, he's crawling and at times, pushing from his belly to a sitting position . . . but whoops, I forgot to make sure his neck is developing symmetrically. Silly me.

The most exciting part of my day happened when I was standing at the window making his future appointments and I looked at the board of Christmas cards they had behind the desk. I was studying them and then all of a sudden I thought, "SOMEONE STOLE MY CHRISTMAS CARD DESIGN!" I couldn't believe it! I looked a little closer and realized that it was Maria's Christmas card and I was the one who designed it for her. Whew. Her girls go to the same pediatrician (who we absolutely love, by the way . . . you can read here about our first trip to our original pediatrician and why we're relieved to have one that we love).

Speaking of Christmas Cards . . . they've been selling like crazy. I've sold a few on etsy and a TON on ebay. Thanks to those of you who purchased them and/or told your friends.

Alright, I hear Jack laughing like a madman at Kyle so I want to go join in the fun!

P.S. One morning this week, we left Jack on our bed while we were getting dressed and he crawled right off the edge. I've never been so panicked in all of my life as a parent. He had a good cry and was fine, but it opened our eyes to how things need to change now that he's mobile. I felt like putting this in a "P.S." would make it seem a little less traumatic than it actually was for us. There. I've confessed to my negligence as a parent . . . for the whole Internet to see.

December 10, 2007

Less Ordinary Finds

I always come across products and fun websites that I think are cool. I love sharing those things with other people. So, I started a new blog for this very purpose. I actually created it about a month ago and just got around to doing something with it in the past couple of days.

The stuff I post on this page is only cool because I say it's cool. If you disagree, you can start your own site.

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

In the last 6 months, I've learned that there are a lot of hot topics when it comes to raising children . . . breastfeeding, where your child sleeps, when to start solid foods, etc. How you teach your child to sleep through the night is also one of those.

In his early months, Jack had no trouble sleeping. We'd put him down awake and he'd drift off to sleep with no problems. I thought Kyle and I got off easy. We were wrong. A month ago or so this ended. We had to rock him to sleep to get him to bed for naps or for the night. I really didn't mind much. I would guess that in a few years I'll miss being able to do this.

A few weeks ago, it got a lot more difficult. He fought sleep at all costs. We'd start to rock him and he'd arch his back and do everything he could to avoid falling asleep. He wasn't fussy or unhappy. He was tired, but it was a little like he was afraid he'd miss something if he went to sleep. It got really old.

DISCLAIMER: If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I've read every baby book there is out there . . . every baby sleep book, breastfeeding book, baby care book, etc. What I've learned is that what "works" for some parents does not work for others and it's up to parents to decide what that is for their child. I really don't think there is any one "sleep system" that is better or worse than another. All I know is what works for us and feels comfortable to us. I knew right from the start that Babywise and Dr. Ferber were not for us. I know people who love those systems and I know people who have had tremendous success with them and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I don't think they're bad, I just knew that it wasn't our style.

However, I was so frustrated with the sleep battle. So, contrary to everything we felt comfortable with, we decided we'd try to let him cry it out. We didn't get very far.

The first night, he let him cry 10 minutes and then went back in to calm him by standing there and talking to him and then leaving. There was no comforting him. I left about a minute later and he was crying harder. About 20 minutes in, he was gagging because he had been crying so hard and was gasping for air. I went in and picked him up. It took more than an hour to calm him down.

The next night we made it about 10 minutes before he started choking and gagging.

The following days, Jack was clinging and fussy. He was not at all like himself and I couldn't help but think that it was because of the two traumatic nights we had before. During the days following those nights, he'd start to get a look of panic every time we walked into his bedroom and would wrap his arms tightly around our necks when we'd even step foot near his crib. It took us about two weeks to earn back his trust. He still has a little bit of trouble going down at night, but he's happier and more independent during the day. I know some would say that we didn't try it long enough, but I no longer have interest in trying it anymore. And it takes us a lot less time to get him down to bed now then it did to put him down, let him cry and then spend a couple of hours calming him down.

Like I said, I know that "crying it out" works for a lot of people and I'm so glad for parents who have success with it. I think the moral of my story is to not ignore your parental instincts about what is right for your child. I wish I hadn't.

December 7, 2007

I doubt it.

I bid on this Christmas stocking. This is what e-bay said:

"Congrats sarawiety, you're the first bidder. Hope you win!"

Really, ebay? Because if I win, it'll be for the starting price and you make less commission on that sale.

Don't say it if you don't mean it.

A little thing we like to call, "LUNCH!"

December 6, 2007


Pureed acorn squash smells suspiciously like the paste I used in elementary school. I did not eat the paste and do not plan on eating the squash either.

December 5, 2007

Independence Day

In general, today was horrible. I don't mean to be a Donna Downer but it just wasn't good. I realize that many of my posts have been a little negative lately, but hey . . . I'm just keeping it real.

We had to pay to replace our cracked windshield (we almost had that chip fixed last week when it would have been free and didn't . . .and this week it spread too far to be repaired). My Kitchenaid mixer vibrated itself right off the kitchen counter, missing the high chair by mere inches, and took a chunk out of the wood floor. Our house smells mysteriously like sewage and we can't figure out why (good thing I stocked up during the sale on Wallflowers at Bath and Body Works). Jack hadn't pooped for three days and refused to do anything other than cry in my arms . . . ALL. DAY. And I didn't have my sling to carry him in. The poor thing was miserable (the good news is that poop-watch ended at about 4 PM . . . just on time for me to leave him and go to small group). There are more little things that aren't too bad by themselves, but seem huge when all together.

The biggest annoyance of the day, however, was the fact that someone listed an apartment for rent in the newspaper and accidentally put my phone number as the contact number. I don't usually answer the phone when someone I don't know calls and I had a lot of unknown calls today. Kyle finally answered early this afternoon and discovered the newspaper's error. The frequency of the calls increased through the evening. I finally just turned it off. I'll probably think it's funny tomorrow.

Jack's been army crawling for a couple of weeks now, but he did some hands and knees crawling today. You know what I mean by "army crawl" right? It's when he just uses his forearms and thighs to kind of drag the rest of his body around. I put him on a blanket in his room and he was army crawling around while I changed the laundry. I stuck my head out the laundry room door to check on him and he was on his hands and knees after Murphy. He only went a few feet before he planted his face into the carpet. And, of course, he wouldn't do it again for the camera. He did it a little more for the afternoon, but refuses to preform for the camera. There goes his acting career.

Anyway, it's probably time to put those outlet covers in, huh?

Here's how Murphy feels about this new development.

December 4, 2007

I'm not really sure that they love to see me smile

Kyle has small group in Spring Arbor on Saturday mornings. In our ongoing effort to save money on gas, I usually drop him off and take Jack into Jackson to do our grocery shopping while he's there. This last weekend, I was done shopping before he was done at small group, so I had some time to kill.

When we got to Spring Arbor, Jack was asleep so I didn't want to get him out of the car and go into the Archer's house to wait for Kyle, so I decided to drive down the road to McDonald's for a cheeseburger and a diet coke. It was only 10:30ish, but I had eaten breakfast 5 hours ago. It felt like the middle of the afternoon.

This McDonald's is notorious for being so, so slow so I didn't expect to get my food quickly. When I pulled into the parking lot, I could see that there were two cars between me and the one at the order speaker. Any other day, I would have driven away to avoid the frustration, but I had plenty of time and was curious to see how long it would take. Here's the timeline of what happened:

10:31 I pulled into the drive-thru line. Like I said, there were three cars in front of me.

10:45 I arrived at the ordering area. That's right . . . 14 minutes later. Normally, I'd be irritated enough to leave by now, but I was so interested in seeing how long it would take that I was more amused than anything.

10:46 I placed my order. I asked for a cheeseburger and a diet coke. The lady's response? "NO LUNCH!" That's all she said. "NO LUNCH!" She could have said, "We're not serving lunch yet," or "We only have breakfast available right now." Instead, she just shouted "NO LUNCH!" into the speaker. I placed my order and she gave me my total and said, "Please pull around." Unfortunately, the cars in front of me hadn't moved and I couldn't go anywhere.

10:48 The line started moving.

10:50 I paid.

10:54 I got my diet coke (without the cheeseburger because there was NO LUNCH!).

I'd be tempted to say that they're just having a bad day and this probably isn't how it normally is in this particular drive thru, but I can't say that. It's ALWAYS slow. No matter who's working or what day it is, there's always a long wait. I guess this McDonald's does have a fast food monopoly in Spring Arbor.

I waited 23 minutes for a diet coke. I guess the joke's on me.

December 3, 2007

Having my cake and eating it, too.

Kyle and I desperately want to raise Jack to be a person who understands that the stuff we accumulate in life isn't important. Not that things are bad, but just that they're not what life is about. I want to teach him that the important things in life are the things we do that will outlast us. I know he's too young this Christmas to really understand what's going on, but I feel like we need to start now . . . for our sake.

Almost two weeks ago at small group, we got off on a tangent talking about how to keep Christmas from becoming about the gifts. Gifts are a fun part of Christmas, but I don't want that to be the focal point of celebrating Christmas as a family. I thought about starting a "stockings only" tradition with Jack. That's what Kyle and I do for each other. Certainly, he'll have gifts to open from grandparents so he won't be missing out on that. But do you know what I keep thinking about? How bad I'll feel when Jack tells his friends about the stocking full of things he got and his friends tell him about the room full of presents that they opened.

There's a family from our church who decided they'd do three gifts a piece for their kids. When one of them began whining about it, their father said, "Are you better than baby Jesus? He only got three gifts, so that should be good enough for you." How can you argue with that? Too funny.

I asked my group (who all have children older than Jack) how they make Christmas fun without going overboard with gifts. I shared my worry that Jack would feel left out when he doesn't get as much as his friends do. They all had A LOT of great advice on the subject, but one of my favorite things that someone said was that as parents we need to make sure our kids already have a sense of "fullness" before Christmas even comes. That way, whatever gifts they get are just that . . . gifts. Not expectations.

I want Christmas to be a special time of year for Jack, just like it was for me growing up. I want him to be excited Christmas morning to see gifts under the tree and open them. I just don't know how to . . . well, I guess have my cake and eat it too.

Will puree for food

During Jack's first few months of life, I remember thinking that I couldn't wait until he could start solid foods. Breastfeeding was so difficult and I hated being the only person who could feed him. Now, I wish that I could just nurse him exclusively and not have to deal with solid foods at all.

He did so well with his cereal for the first few weeks, but now meal time is one of the most stressful times. He actually has been a little bit better over the last couple of days, but he usually ends up spitting food back at us after the first 4 or 5 bites! He seems to do a little better if we let him hold the spoon. The cup is a completely different story. He loves drinking from a cup. We haven't put anything other than water in it yet but as soon as we set it on the tray of his high chair, he grabs it and starts drinking (and spilling half of it down the front of him).

I had this crazy idea that not only would it save money to make my own baby food, it would also be fun. Everything I had read said to just take one day and make a ton and then freeze it. I think I would have saved much of my sanity to split it up over a few days. I'm pretty sure that our kitchen is still covered with small bits of pureed vegetables.

This week, I had run out of things to puree so I was giving Jack pumpkin from a can for dinner each night (no, not pumpkin pie mix . . . real pumpkin). So, yesterday we spent most of the afternoon and evening pureeing:

  • Butternut Squash
  • Acorn Squash
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Melon
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Sweet Potato
  • Banana

I have a couple of baby food books, but this one is my favorite. They have meal plans that I'm trying to follow. The biggest inconvenience right now is that when he wakes up in the morning he's READY to eat. It's so much easier to nurse him in bed than it is to get up with him and make breakfast. Argh.

December 2, 2007

Dear Jack, Month 6

Dear Jack,

Today you turn 6 months old. Or as I like to think of it, 18 – 24 months away from being potty trained. Changing your diapers has become a whole new experience since you started eating solid foods. We can no longer refer to what we find in your diaper as “poo” because it is too vile of a substance for a word that cute. And the gas . . . don’t get me started on the gas. You almost cleared three pews in church a few weeks ago. And I’m absolutely certain that no one could believe that an odor that foul could come from a BABY as cute as you are. Which means they probably thought it came from your dad and I. You little stinker . . .

Winter is here, my sweet boy, and I’m pretty sure you will like it about as much as I do . . . which is very little. No more evening walks down to the lake. Actually, no more walks at all. I can sense the cabin fever setting in. I have to schedule an extra 15 – 20 minutes before we leave to go anywhere to dress you in multiple layers and make sure you’re well insulated . . . this is to keep you from getting cold. This is also to avoid dirty looks from people think that little boys who aren’t dressed in many, many layers have neglectful mothers. The truth is that sometimes when I take you out of your snowsuit and you’re sweaty and a tad overheated. But I continue to put you in it because we wouldn’t want people to think I’m a bad mother, would we?

One new thing you started doing last month is exploring our faces with your hands. You reach up and feel our lips, cheeks and nose. My favorite part of this new little phase is when I pretend to eat your fingers. You usually give me the courtesy laugh. It sounds kind of like a cross between a cough and a loud, “HA!” Come to think of it, you give me the courtesy laugh a lot, Jack. When you get tired, however, this exploration of our facial features crosses over from cute to downright violent. Your eyes are closed and you can’t see what’s going on, so you just reach one arm up and start smacking our faces and clawing our mouths. To be honest, it’s what reminds me to clip your fingernails.

We’re beginning to realize how sensitive you are to the feelings of others. Empathy must be one of your strengths. When dad makes a fake crying noise, you respond with tears within seconds. When he does this (usually to entertain friends and family), I immediately snatch you up to comfort you and remind you how much more I love you than your dad does. It kills me to see you cry. While I appreciate your sensitivity, I fear that this does not bode well for any sort of future in organized sports.

You’ve developed a little bit of an attitude this month. You are beginning to figure out what you do and don’t like and you have no problem letting us know your preferences. You cry to get our attention now and I catch you making fussing noises and then looking over at me to see if I notice. When did you get so clever? I took a toy away from you last week when we were getting ready for your bath and you gave me a look as if to say, “Why do you hate me?” I don’t hate you, Jack. I love you very much. Stop being so dramatic.

You're not crawling yet, but you can pretty much scoot or roll wherever you want to go. I think it's the funniest thing ever when you lay on your belly and turn yourself in circles trying to pet Murphy. You're so fast! Dad thinks you'll be crawling in the next week or two. I think it'll be after Christmas, but I'm pretty sure that's because I'm in denial over how fast you're growing. You just take your time.



December 1, 2007

6 months old

Jack will be 6 months old tomorrow . . . where did the time go? Here are some 6 month pictures. You can see all of them here. Enjoy!

November 30, 2007

Christmas begins tonight at 7 PM

I'm really looking forward to this holiday season and I'm so excited for Jack to experience this time of year for the first time! Everyone keeps telling me how much fun Christmas will be this year with a baby. As if I didn't already know that . . .

You know how everyone seems to have something that serves as the official start of the Christmas season for them? For me, the Christmas season officially begins tonight. Why? Because we have the Living Nativity at camp this weekend. From 7 - 9 on Friday and Saturday, horse-drawn wagons will take 500 - 600 people on a ride through a living re-enactment of the Christmas story.

Our staff has been diligently decorating the Cedar Center this week . . . the theme is Candy Land. The toy trains are running. The almond roaster is set up. The cookies are baked and ready to be decorated. This will be my EIGHTH living nativity at SBC (it's so surreal that I'm in my eighth year working at camp - I honestly never thought I'd work here this long). I don't usually go on the ride. Instead, I sit inside the Cedar Center and mingle. It'll be interesting to be at this event two nights in a row with a baby . . . out past his bedtime.

November 29, 2007

In a perfect world

This week has been one of those "off" weeks. I think the whole "backing one of my cars into the other one" thing started it off on the wrong foot. Kyle would say that the dog escaping twice started it off on the wrong foot. I know this because he's standing over my shoulder griping about it as I type.

My frustration has been exacerbated by my camera. Have I mentioned before that the lens on my camera is broken? Every picture I've taken since late August has been taken with a messed up lens. Unless it was taken from a distance. Then it was taken with a different one. The broken lens, however, likes to freeze up when I need to take a picture quickly. It refuses to focus when I have small children posed and waiting to have their picture taken. If it could talk, I'm pretty sure it would scream obscenities at me every time I turned it on. It's like that.

I got the lens 5 years ago. It originally with my 35mm Canon Rebel. Is it possible that I ever took pictures with film? Kyle got me that camera for my birthday the first year we were married and it goes down as the best birthday gift I've ever received. I've used the lens on my digital camera for about 3 years now. This week, it took a turn for the worse and I fear that it will die completely one day and leave me with no means of capturing the important moments of my day. I realize that my digital rebel isn't super nice (and it's probably gonna quit on me any day, too) but it's all I have and a working lens would be really nice. So, I'm bidding on some lenses . . . and I'm hoping I can get one cheap because cheap is all I can afford.

In a perfect world, I'd have a Canon 5D . . . but right now, I'll settle for a lens that works.

November 27, 2007

All the way home you'll be warm . . .

I'll start over tomorrow

If I didn't already have a "bad day" tag for my blog posts, I would have created it for today's post. The day started out well. I woke up early and was able to shower and get dressed before Jack or Kyle got up. I made breakfast and was checking my e-mail when Kyle let me know that we needed to bring the pack and play to camp for Jack to play in today. This was when things started to get messy.

As I was getting ready to take Jack to work and lugging the pack and play, the diaper bag, a bag of toys, my bag, and my camera out to the car, it struck me that both the door from the house to the garage and the garage door were wide open. I panicked.

Before I go any farther, I need to give you a little background information. Murphy loves to run. That dog is so dang fast. And once she escapes, she does not come home willingly. She cannot be bribed with anything. Well, she can be bribed, but she's choosy about when and for what she will be persuaded. For instance, she'll sit when we offer her a treat. However, if we try to offer her a treat to go into her crate, she is completely uninterested. She'll roll over for a treat. But if we tell her to stay, she gives us the dog equivalent of "heck, no." Some say she's a clever dog. I say there's a fine line between clever and just plain dumb.

Back to my story. I panicked because I heard the pitter patter of little paws down the steps into the garage. In split second, Murphy took off out the open doors. I know it was a split second, but in my mind I saw everything happen in slow motion as I dropped the bags I was holding and start chasing after her. This proved even more challenging because of the invisible layer of ice covering the pavement. I almost wiped out twice. I offered her a treat (which I didn't actually have with me) and she looked at me as if to say, "You're kidding, right? A treat or my freedom . . . which would you choose?"

So, I started chasing her in and out of yards. I tried to corner her, but inevitably she would fake me out and get away. By this time, Kyle realized I was gone, put Jack in his car seat and chased after me in the car hoping that she might fall for the "Do you want to go for a ride?" trick. We chased her down Hillary, Dublin, up and down Bradley and finally we cornered her when we got to the lake. Stupid dog.

After we got back inside and I shared a few choice words with my dog, I realized that she has no idea how frustrated I was. She just sat there licking her paws and staring out the window looking relaxed after the nice walk she got today.

By the time we caught Murphy and I finished loading the car, I was way behind schedule and was rushing to get to camp. Jack was buckled in and I did a quick double check to make sure I had everything. I hit the gas to back out of the garage. I hit the gas a little too hard. I backed the Explorer right into the Saturn and took the side view mirror clean off. I also broke the taillight on the Explorer. By this time, I'm in tears. I know how much it costs to fix the side view mirror because, unfortunately, I have done this before (also when trying to leave in a hurry).

Kyle came rushing out wanting to know what happened and I asked him if I should just take all of this as a sign that I shouldn't leave the house today. Ugh. It was just one of those days, I guess.

An adult would have let it go and moved on. A mature person would have laughed about the events of the morning and kept a positive attitude. Today, I failed miserably at being both adult and mature. Poor Jennie had to sit in the office with me and listen to me be cynical and sarcastic for the rest of the day . . . well, more than usual I guess. I even caught myself yelling at the girl on the radio for talking about things that were uninteresting and irrelevant. I couldn't snap out of it.

Halfway through the morning I realized that I did not give Jack breakfast this morning. I mean, I nursed him, but no cereal. What kind of mother forgets to give her son breakfast?! Probably an un-adult, immature one.

I'm home now. I know that nobody likes a whiner. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, and other people have days far worse than I do, and if this is the worst day I ever have I should feel lucky, and blah, blah, blah . . . I keep trying to 'look on the brightside' and 'cheer up' but I'm wonder if at this point my goal should just be to make it through this day and start over tomorrow.

November 25, 2007

The difference between "pre-baby sara" and "post-baby sara"

We decided to put up Christmas decorations today. So, of course, I needed to paint our foyer before we could put up decorations. It was the only logical thing to do. It had to be done BEFORE anything went up. It makes sense to you, right?

Let me first say that up until today, three rooms in my house had been painted more than once. The living room was painted the same color twice, only with a flat finish the second time. The basement has been painted twice since it was finished . . . and it is a really large room to paint. The master bedroom, however, still holds the record at 4 paint colors (and I have swatches of light green colors to look at with Kyle to see if we want to change it again). Did I mention that we've lived in the house for 2 1/2 years?

I hate painting. I've painted every room in our house, except for Jack's room, and I hate it more now than I did when we first bought the house. Unfortunately, Kyle hates painting too, so either I paint or the walls would stay stark white. I am just so indecisive and it's hard to tell from a 2" x 2" square what a color will look like covering an entire room!

So like I said, I painted our entryway and main hallway today and it took me way longer than I thought it would. I painted it the same color as the living room. I LOVE IT! I'm not sure why it makes such a dramatic effect to have it painted the same color as the living room but it looks so nice. It was just a cream color before. Granted, it needs a lot of touching up, but we can save that for another day.

I wish I had taken a "before" picture, but here's the after picture:

Anyway, I finished painting at around 10:30 and Kyle says, "Should I start bringing out the decorations?"

All I could think was, "WHAT? It's 10:30? Why would you think I still wanted to decorate at this hour?!" But honestly, a year ago that's exactly what I would have done. Pre-baby Sara stayed up late completing projects and could run on 3 hours of sleep a day. Post-baby Sara is cranky if she's up past 9:30.

I told Kyle that I wasn't planning on decorating tonight and I could sense the relief in his voice and see the look of liberation on his face. I think he likes post-baby Sara better.

November 24, 2007

Not ready for tortilla chips

Lately, I've been trying to convince God of things. In some cases, pleading with him. Trying to convince God that he needs to do or not do certain things for me and how great it would be if he'd help me out of difficult places (most of which concern financial issues). I was trying to tell the one from whom no secrets are hidden and to whom all desires are known what I knew that I needed. How ridiculous does that sound? About as ridiculous as a 5-month-old eating a tortilla chip?

We went to Moe's for lunch yesterday. Jack got restless in the high chair, so I put him on my lap while Kyle was finishing his food. I was munching on tortilla chips and Jack kept trying to grab one and put it in his mouth. When I would take it away, he'd whine (something new he does when he doesn't get his way) and lunge forward to try and take it back.

I kind of wonder if this is what has been going on between God and I over the last few weeks. I'm trying to convince my heavenly Father, the one who created me and knows what I need better than I do, that I know best and he needs to listen to me and do as I say. There are a couple of instances in the Bible when people beg God to let things happen and he says no repeatedly. Eventually, they got their way and ended up in ruins. I don't want to end up in ruins . . . well, any more than I already have.

I know that Jack isn't ready for tortilla chips. It would be ridiculous for me to give him everything that he lunges for or whines about when I love him and know what he is and isn't ready for. I know it's not the perfect illustration, but it helped me to remember that God loves me and won't withhold good things from me. He knows what is best and I will trust him to provide.

I'm going to continue asking God for things . . . but I know it needs to be a little different. I want him to continue revealing more of his character to me. I want him to help me out of my hard places in ways that honor him and mold me into more of who he wants me to be . . . and most importantly, in his timing. I want him to clean my heart of the sinful desires that keep me from reaching my full potential.

I love Jack and I want good things for him (no matter what he could ever say or do) . I'm trying to take captive the lies that I too often believe and remember that God feels more strongly about me than I do about Jack. This love he has for me, combined with the fact that he's almighty, is what I will cling to daily.

November 23, 2007

Has anyone seen my pants?

As heard at Luke Family Thanksgiving . . .

Aunt Karen: What were Jack and Emma for Halloween?

Katie: Jack was a hot dog and Emma was a chick.

Kristen: No she wasn't. Emma was a duck.

Katie: Oh yeah. Well, same thing. A chick is a baby duck.

Blink, blink.

Katie: No?

Sara: You know I'm gonna write about this tomorrow, right?

November 22, 2007

Allergic to apples

Jack recently broke away from rice cereal and started trying some new foods . . . carrots, bananas, avocado and apples.

Allergy #1 has been identified.

When Joy came to visit last week she brought apples from her family's orchard. Kyle and I have enjoyed most of them, but I cooked and pureed a few for Jack. We fed them to him for dinner the last few days and a couple of bites in (both days) he started crying and screaming. We just thought he was being ornery until we noticed a red bumpy rash starting around his lips. On the second day, it lasted for several hours and his lips looked mildly puffy.

I googled "apple allergy" and I found this article. It describes exactly what his reaction was. The weird thing was that there is rarely a reaction when the apples have been cooked. Kyle reminded me that we let him gnaw on a raw apple slice while he was waiting for dinner both nights. So, I guess it'll be a while before we try apples again.

Jack's mouth and lips look a lot better today. Before now, I had never heard of an allergy to apples!

I think we're going to try sweet potatoes today . . . after all, it is Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2007

The biggest frog ever.

My not-so-little 5 1/2 month old frog.

Oh, and the scale says 23.0 lbs, not 230 lbs.

P.S. My posts from my livejournal site are slowly being imported to this one! I can only import 50 a day, so it'll take a couple of days. Now you don't have to go to a separate website to reminisce about what i was doing last year at this time . . . whew, you can thank me later for saving you all of that trouble.

November 20, 2007

Someone learned a new syllable . . .

Da da da da daaaaa da da da da da da da da da daaaaaa ai da da da ai da da da da da *grunt* da da da da daaaaa da da da da da da da da da daaaaaa ai da da da ai da da da da da.

I suppose the "da" sounds isn't necessarily new to him . . . it's just become his absolute favorite. And, of course, when I say "him" I'm talking about Jack - not Kyle. He just repeats it as if he can communicate everything he's thinking and feeling if he just says "da" enough times with the right inflection.

So, this is what I hear. Over and over and over.

Unless he's crying. When he's crying, makes a constant, "ma ma ma ma" sound. He has no idea that I am "ma ma" but it kills me to hear him call, "ma ma" while he's crying. I can't not pick him up. There's a physiological response that prevents me from letting him fuss when he unknowingly calls my name. I think some evil genius taught him to do that. And when I say "evil genius" I am talking about Kyle.

A moo point.

It's a moo point, Jack. You know, like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo.

What's for dinner? 11/18 - 12/2

The problem we have at our house is that we get to meal time, spend an hour trying to decide what to have and then opt for ordering pizza or sandwiches because we no longer have time to make anything. So, I planned out a menu for the next two weeks. No matter who's making dinner we now know what we're having and don't have to spend the time standing in front of an open refrigerator deciding what we're in the mood for.

It's not super well balanced, but at least it's not pizza every night. Wish me luck with sticking to it.

The Best Sloppy Joes Ever


General Tso's Chicken & rice

Popcorn chicken

I have dinner with my small group
Kyle eats leftovers

(I'm bringing meatballs)

Sandwiches, leftovers

Homemade Pizza

Steak & Potatoes


Grilled Chicken Salad


Chicken crescents


Friday dinner - Camp

Saturday dinner - Camp

Grilled marinated chicken


November 19, 2007

One of those days . . .

I do this all the time.

I leave something sitting out on my desk to remind me to do something. I get so used to seeing it there and one day, I pick it up and throw it away or put it somewhere. A few minutes later, I remember picking it up and putting it somewhere, but I can't figure out where it is that I put it. It's almost like those few minutes of my life have been lost forever. Like I enter some sort of "clearing my desk" trance that leaves me with a cleaner desk, but a lot more frustrated.

Right now, I've lost the code for my three free special effects for my video editing program. How will I ever add that "dream sequence" to the staff video without them?!

My office is kind of a breeding ground for lost items. Have I ever written about my office? My office is in a travel trailer. I have one end, our summer program assistants work at the center desks, and Kyle has the other end (with all the windows . . . not that I'm bitter). My end has a couch, so that I have a place to take a nap for people to sit when I meet with them. This couch was also where Jack napped this summer. When I say "travel trailer" you might be thinking that it's a travel trailer made after 1960. But you would be wrong. It's definitely a mid-century gem. Wood paneling, old light fixtures . . . let's just call it antique.

Beside a couch, I have a makeshift desk using four of those cube storage things made of wood-looking laminate (you know, like you get at Target) with a wood-laminate countertop balanced precariously between them.

In the corner of my office is a printer stand that was created for those old dot matrix printers that fed paper up from the shelf below through a hole in the top of the stand . . . do you know which kind I'm talking about? Anyway, my color laser printer sits there. I really do love this printer. It's two years old, so I know there are newer, better ones on the market, but it malfunctions less than any other printer I own. The printer stand is on wheels and the floor in the corner of my office slants toward my desk, so we have wood under the right side to keep it level. That's right. The floor curves up toward the wall. I could open my own skate park in here . . .

On my desk I have a fantastic scanner that I couldn't do without. I like it because it can stand upright which frees up a lot of desk space. My last scanner was donated by my parents and was purchased more than 10 years go. This one is a huge upgrade. The computer on my desk belongs to Kyle and I. It's a Sony Vaio and I love it very much. We bought it 2 1/2 years ago and it's starting to show it's age, but she still runs well. Also, at any given time you can find 3 - 12 half-full bottles of diet coke or water scattered around my desk.

The most important thing to understand about my office is that most surfaces are covered with a thick layer of dirt. Not dust. Dirt. The roads out here are dirt and people who drive by our office don't always follow the 10 MPH speed limit. Also, most surfaces are littered with clutter . . . and honestly, it's not just because of Kyle and I. Stuff gets dumped in here when people don't know what else to do with it. Plus, there are things in here that we inherited when we moved into the office. The window on my door is covered with brown paper so that the sun doesn't create a glare on my computer monitor.

This is where I work. Every day.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about my walls . . . they're as cluttered as my desk is. There are photographs, article clippings, a calendar, magnetic strips, and my framed Bachelor of Arts degree from Greenville College to remind me that I spent $100,000 for a quality education that has allowed me to work at camp. There's a space right next to it for my Master's degree as soon as I finish the thesis (which, by the way, is actually coming along) . . . . to remind me that I went to school even longer and paid even more to stay right where I am.

I love my job(s) at camp, but wouldn't you lose stuff too if you worked here?

November 18, 2007

Playing store

I've filled a few Christmas Card orders this weekend and that's been encouraging! A few of you have asked where you can see more about the cards . . . here you go.

I feel a little bit like a kid playing, "store."

"Sisters, sisters . . . there were never such devoted sisters . . . "

I had the privilege of photographing Maria's daughters on Friday. It was SO cold, but the girls were troopers and we had a lot of fun. You can see more of the photos here.

November 17, 2007

What day is it, anyway?

It's Saturday afternoon, and I've been at home . . . alone . . . for almost an hour . . . for the fourth time since June 2. Kyle took Jack to his parents house to watch the Michigan game this afternoon so I could have some time to work on my paper, but I'm feeling a little like I don't want to waste this precious alone time on stupid homework! I want to clean and organize my house, I want to finish the laundry, I want to make my Christmas list, I want to read my book . . . instead, I'm writing this post.

I took Jack grocery shopping while Kyle was at small group this morning. Ugh. Usually Jack loves shopping trips. Today was different. He was so tired and still isn't completely over his cold . . . he did OK in Sam's Club, but ended up crying all the way through Meijer. As a result, I forgot a lot of what I was supposed to get at Meijer. I don't know if I was more irritable than usual or if people were more annoying than usual, but I was so frustrated during most of our shopping trip.
One thing I've learned as a new mom is that a parking spot next to a cart corral is far more valuable than a spot near the door. Not having to walk a long way to put the cart back is safer when you've already got your little one buckled in with the car running. But there weren't any spots open close to the corrals. There actually weren't many spots open at all. All I could think was, "Don't you people have jobs?!" Then I remembered it was Saturday.

Three weeks ago, we had a group who stayed in the lodges from Thursday - Sunday and we provided the meals. I'm used to only have meals Friday - Sunday in the winter so it threw me off and I haven't known what day it is ever since. Last week we had a group that did the same thing and it messed me up even more! Plus, Joy came this week, so I didn't go into work on Thursday or Friday. I think I'm going to have to post a note on my nightstand to remind me to go to church tomorrow.

Ok, back to my shopping trip. In the store, there were no less than 20 people that pushed their cart in front of mine and left it there while they went to grab something on a nearby shelf . . . as I was waiting. I found myself mumbling, "For real?" and "You've got to be kidding me," under my breath multiple times. Why would you leave your cart mid-aisle while a girl with a screaming baby waited? Have you ever seen the Rob Bell Nooma video called, "Store?" Let's just say that clips from the video played through my head several times as I tried to stay calm.

So, for the first time since last May, our refrigerator has more than taco sauce, onions, leftovers and other various condiments. It actually looks like someone lives in our house. I do miss having meals at camp every day. I've been booking our guest groups at camp since Joy left and I get excited every time a group requests food service because I know that's a weekend (or week) of not having to cook! But with the holidays coming, we have more families staying in the lodges who do their own meals. I'll be ready for it to pick back up in January again.

Totally new subject. In the next couple of days, I'm going to post a link to a new blog I've been working on with some designs for Christmas cards, announcements, etc. that I've been working on. I'm a little nervous because I'm my worst critic and I fear total rejection. I guess the worse that can happen is that everyone hates them and no one buys any. I have had two orders and I have four pending orders from my ebay listings. We'll see how it goes.

November 16, 2007


To a blogger who wrote about things she doesn't understand

Dear mother of three of your own biological children,

I am the mother of a son, who was conceived using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Thankfully, for him and for me, the right and privilege to experience pregnancy and bear a child is not reserved solely for those who have no trouble conceiving. It is so easy to place pressure on infertile couples to adopt using the phrase "there are so many children who need homes." Also, it is ignorant to refer to couples who use ART as "selfish."

My question for you is this: What stopped you from adopting instead of having children of your own? Are you "off the hook" from this tremendous responsibility because your ovaries function properly? Every couple has their own reasons for choosing a method of becoming parents. Adoption is a fantastic option for parents who want children, and there are, in fact, a lot of children out there who need good parents. I have no issues with adoption and may consider it as an option for the future. However, I do have issues with those who treat adoption as a "fad" that can be written about so flippantly.

If we were to live out your argument fully, there would be no planned pregnancies. Couples would never try to get pregnant. Anyone who wanted a child of their own would adopt babies that came as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. My child wouldn't be here. Neither would any of yours.

The choice of how to bring a child into one's home should never be forced.


P.S. It's spelled "families." Not "familys."

November 15, 2007

Trying my hand at shoplifting

Jack is sick. And now I am too. I was miserable last night. I was struggling to breathe and my throat was raw. The worst part is that I'm feeling what I know Jack is feeling . . . ugh. I hate that he feels this way!

My friend Joy is in town for a few days and I had no one to watch Jack so I thought it would be a good idea to take my sick infant out into the cold so we could all go shopping together! I'm so smart like that. Our first stop was downtown Jackson to visit Swan Creek Candle Company and a camera place to get an estimate on having my lens fixed. We at lunch at Mat's Cafe and went to Ann Arbor to do a little shopping. All afternoon, he kept shooting me looks that said, "Why?! Why would you do this to me?! It's cold, I'm sick and I just want to go home and sleep!"

Things didn't get any better when we got to Ann Arbor. I found something for Jack on clearance at Old Navy and hung it on the stroller as I continued my shopping. I didn't find anything else that I wanted to buy and forgot it was hanging there . . . and well, you can probably guess how the rest of the story goes. Two stores later it was still hanging on the stroller, but I never paid for it. I asked Joy to watch Jack and headed straight back to Old Navy. As I was walking away I could hear Joy telling Jack about what it might be like to have a convicted felon for a mother.

The worst part of the day was the drive back to Jackson. He screamed. It was a hoarse, painful scream. I was practically in tears as I was driving because there was nothing I could do.

Thankfully, the day turned around when we got back to Jackson and we met friends for a surprise dinner for Joy's birthday. Jack was so sweet and his mood did a completely 180. He didn't fuss and sat pretty quietly until we were done eating and could play with him. As we were talking after dinner, he fell asleep in my arms and slept the whole way home.

He's an amazing kid. I'm so lucky to be his mom.

November 14, 2007

A bad dog and a sick child

We trained Murphy to ring a little bell at the back door when she needs to go out. Genius, right? No matter where we are, we can always tell when she wants to go out. The problem is, that after two years of faithfully ringing the bell when her bladder is full, she's beginning to realize that she can also ring the bell to go out and play . . . or to go out and bark ferociously at any of the dogs in the neighborhood. Some times she'll ring the bell 10 times or more.

I stopped letting her out when she would ring the bell within 30 - 40 minutes of going out last. However, she'll ring the bell, jump at the door and yelp until I finally give in out of pure frustration. Tonight, she was outside barking incessantly at the dog that lives in the house behind us. I offered her a treat to come inside. She reluctantly made her way onto the deck and up to the house. When she got in I calmly explained to her that I lied and I wouldn't give her a treat. These are the things that make me worry that I'll be less than effective at disciplining a child.

I spent $71 on gas today. SEVENTY-ONE DOLLARS! I haven't been one to complain about gas prices too much because I realize that if they had increased with the rate of inflation over the last 20 years, they'd be a lot higher than they are now. But either way it's seriously killing our budget. I need people to start buying Christmas cards!

I have a few of my custom Christmas cards on ebay, but to be honest I'm not really that thrilled with my designs. They're kind of bland and boring. I just didn't have a whole lot of time to work on them. I've had two people ask questions about them, but so far no purchases. I guess I'll be ready for next year. Maybe I should focus on save the dates and baby announcements.

Jack's sick. The poor thing can barely breathe out of his nose and it pains me that I can't do anything about it. He hates it when I wipe his face and he's had crusties underneath his nose all day. He's still been in a pretty good mood, but you can just tell by looking at him that he's not feeling great. Will I always feel this sad when he gets sick? I guess I should consider us fortunately that he hasn't had the asthma and breathing difficulties that I had when I was an infant. I'm not sure how I'd be able to handle that!

Well, Murphy's chewing up another burp cloth. I'd better go.

November 13, 2007

Loud chewers

I have several pet peeves, the biggest of which is LOUD CHEWERS. I understand that crunchy and crispy food will make noise when you eat it. I'm not unreasonable. But there are some people in this world that can make crunching noises while eating pudding.

The unfortunate thing about this is that Kyle is one of these aforementioned loud chewers. Thankfully, we've still found ways to make our marriage work. I love the show How I Met Your Mother and I really appreciated this clip from last night's episode:

November 12, 2007

Allow me to be a nerd for a minute

I look at how much the world has changed in my lifetime and I'm amazed. My generation was the first to grow up with personal computers. In general, we're a lot more tech-savvy than the generations before us. The question that remains is whether or not we'll continue to be tech-savvy or will we fall behind as technology advances? Is aversion to new technology related to one's age or to one's upbringing? I guess only time will tell.

I'm in awe of Microsoft Surface and know that soon it'll be so commonplace that we won't remember a world without it. My brother showed me a video clip about something called Photosynth that Microsoft just bought the rights to. Amazing. The video below explains what it is.

What this means is that you could upload a photo of yourself and it could search for every photo of you out on the internet. I've always wondered how many photo albums across the United States I'm in because I walked into the background of their picture. Did someone catch me in a snapshot they took at the castle in Versailles or standing in line for the Dragster at Cedar Point?

It's just stunning.

Worship: The Anti-Stronghold

I've started about 6 posts this weekend, none of which I've had time to finish. The ironic thing is that Saturday morning I started a post about how laid back and easy the weekend was going to be and how much I was going to be able to get done. HA! Not so much.
The weekend was pretty relaxed, but very unproductive. My parents came out to visit Jack and let Kyle and I hang out with them too. They're leaving on a cruise this weekend so we won't see them for a while.

The main thing I want to share about the weekend was how poignant yesterday's sermon was. The pastor at our church has a way of speaking words of conviction without making one feel condemned. The premise of the sermon was that worship is the anti-stronghold. It demolishes everything that stands against God. Unfortunately, we live in a worshipless society. He said, "When people deny God, the only option left to them is to live according to their strongest impulses." I could go on, but I would not do the sermon justice.

I checked our church's website and the November 11 sermon isn't up yet, but I suspect that it will be within the next couple of days. If you have 20 minutes, I would encourage anyone who wasn't there on Sunday to listen. Honestly, any of the sermons you can download there are excellent and worth the time, but if you're only going to listen to one, listen to yesterday's.

November 6, 2007

Taking their family from three to six . . .

Jack was 2 1/2 weeks old when I found out that our friends Chad and Cristi were expecting triplets. I vividly remember that I was pacing around our bedroom trying to get Jack to stop screaming when Kyle walked in and announced the good news. Initially, I was terrified for them. Afterall, I was in the midst of the first four weeks of Jack's life and was working almost full time. The thought of meeting the needs of 4-year-old Carli as well as three infants was overwhelming. But I know a couple of things for sure. First, I have every confidence that they can handle it. Second, they will have a lot of people to help. Third, they get all of the joy that Jack brought to us . . . multiplied by THREE! I'm not saying it'll be easy for them, but I know that they will be triply blessed. I wasn't really sure if "triply" was a real word until I typed it and the spell check didn't flag it.

We had a shower at church for the Hammonds last night. Here are some pictures from the party.

Is she pregnant?

Yes, yes she is.

The big sister

Carli and Lanie