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


The first words I heard this morning were, "It's snowing." It was enough to make me want to crawl back under the covers and stay there until April. The first day of snow always sends me into a litany of whining and complaining. I guess I should be thankful that we made it all the way to November 6 without snow!

One thing that I'm so thankful for is all of the people who helped to equip us both before and after Jacks' arrival. He's five months old and we still get something in the mail or from someone in person once a week. There's no way we could have been prepared for him without the help of everyone around us. We're overwhelmed by the generosity of the people we know (and even some we don't know). In fact, we got a gift for our 22.5 lb baby this weekend that made us smile . . . we really do appreciate the thought.

November 5, 2007

Emma? Can you say, "Aunt Sara?"

I had a chance to take pictures of my niece, Emma, when she was just a couple of weeks old. She's beautiful!

There are a few below, but you can see all of them here.

Why is it so dark outside?

It's 3:00 and I'm ready to eat dinner. I can't believe how much daylight savings has thrown me off already!

Jack is officially sitting up. The only time he falls over now is when he wants to move to his back or his tummy to play. I still have to fight the urge to catch him and sit him back up when he starts to lean one way or the other. When I do that, he starts arching his back and kicking as if to say, "Gosh, Mom . . . leave me alone!"

He's just yearning to crawl. I can see it in his eyes. He army crawled himself off the play mat and he's been laying on his belly in front of me now for about 20 minutes. I've just realized that he's not looking straight ahead or at a toy like he usually does. He's looking at everything up high . . . the plant on the end table, the mail on the sofa table, my camera on the armrest of the chair. He's realizing that there's a whole new world out there that he has yet to explore. God help us all (especially Murphy).

My sister got me a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious for my birthday. This is exciting because my birthday was 3 months ago. Also because I thought I was going to have to wait until Christmas for this gift. The premise of the book is that you can puree veggies and hide them in foods that we normally like to eat. I just finished a batch of chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas (not pureed). They're not too bad. I still prefer the Toll House recipe. I pureed squash, spinach, sweet potatoes and cauliflower last night to use in recipes this week. We'll see how it goes.

November 4, 2007

A Long October

I'm pretty sure that October 2007 was the LONGEST MONTH EVER! But November is finally here which means Christmas is right around the corner!

I'm watching the season premiere of The Amazing Race. Sweet mercy . . . there are some crazies on the race again this season. Nevertheless, I'll be watching the show faithfully. A few years ago I thought about applying and I'm pretty sure if Kyle and I hadn't been able to have a child, I would have applied. I don't really want to be on the race as much as I want to be the host of the show or be the person that plans the route. That would be amazing.

Anyway, Jack's 5 months old which means I have new pictures. Thanks to the tripod, we got our first family photo! There are a few below, but you can see all of them here.

November 2, 2007

Dear Jack, Month 5

Dear Jackson,

You are five months old today. This means that after this month, I'll have to hold up two hands when trying to communicate how many months old you are without using words. Gosh, you are SO MUCH WORK!

Speaking of work, you started solid foods this month. I was hoping to make it all the way to 6 months before beginning this new stage, but you wouldn’t wait. The doctor agreed that you were ready. After all, you are more than TWENTY POUNDS! You share a birthday with a baby we met yesterday. That baby is 13 lbs. Sometimes I wish you stop growing so quickly! I just want to enjoy “baby Jack” for as long as possible. I have a feeling that solid food is the first of many things for which I will not be ready.

Remember this summer when I was worried you weren’t getting enough tummy time? I was so silly. You love tummy time now! The only problem is that you won’t stay where I put you! You like to scoot yourself right off the mat and my fear is that you’ll end up with a mouthful of dog hair on the days that I don’t vacuum six times. Last week, I caught you pushing yourself up onto your hands and knees. You kind of looked down at your hands and then looked and me and lunged forward so that you were on your belly again. I said, “boom!” and you laughed like it was the BEST GAME EVER!

We LOVE to hear you laugh. We will do almost anything to make you laugh. Not almost. We will do anything to make you laugh. There are multiple video clips of your hysterics that I can’t show anyone because your dad sounds like a complete fool in them. You, on the other hand, think that he’s the funniest person alive. It’s so annoying that you think he’s funnier than I am. Just wait until you’re 16. You’ll think I’m funny then.

My favorite new thing you’ve begun doing this month is reaching for us when you want us to pick you up. Or if someone else is holding you, sometimes you’ll reach out so that you can come back to your dad or me. My heart melts every time you do this, Jack. Especially when I snatch you up and you wrap your arms around my neck cuddle your face against my shoulder.

Jackson, you need to know that I love to buy you things! When I go into stores, I always bypass everything else and head straight to the baby section. I love finding cool toys and books for you. I have to allow at least 10 minutes while I’m grocery shopping to peruse the baby section.

You need to know this because I remember when I was younger thinking that my mom and dad wouldn't buy me things because they didn't want to. I remember thinking that they denied me what I wanted so that they could spend the money on the all of things that THEY wanted . . . you know, like food and health insurance and a roof over my head. They were like that.

The bad news is that I can't afford to buy you everything that I want to buy for you. Or maybe that’s the good news. I’m not sure. Because even if we were independently wealthy, we wouldn’t buy you everything that you want. Your dad and I want to raise to be someone who understands that stuff isn’t the most important part of life. We want you to become the kind of person who loves to give what he has away. I don’t mean to say that all material possessions are bad . . . I just want you to know where they should fall in your list of priorities. I’m 29 years old and I’m still learning what this means.

I began to worry this week that you had forgotten how to roll over because you hadn’t done it in so long. What I realized last night is that you’ll roll over, but only when I cheer wildly after you’ve done so. You’ll flip from your stomach to your back and look at me as if to say, “Come on, mom! Did you not you just see what I did?!” As soon as my applause dies down, you’ll flip from your back to your stomach and we’ll do the whole thing again.

Your dad and I will always be your biggest fans, Jack.



November 1, 2007

I'm in a recession.

Today was a rough day. If you don't believe me, just ask my husband.

To be quite honest, the last 6 weeks or so have been difficult. I don't know if it's possible to suffer from post-partum depression 5 months after the fact . . . and I'm not sure depression is the right word for what I've been going through. I think that might be a little too strong. I think recession is probably a better description. I've been going through post-post-partum recession. How's that for a diagnosis?

For the last week or so, things were looking up. Circumstances haven't changed, but my outlook on life and my stress level had both seemed to find balance. Today, however, the floodgates opened. With tough decisions hanging over my head, frustration over unmet expectations, deadlines looming, financial stress at a peak and my hair still falling out by the fistful, I just reached my breaking point and ended up crying at my desk in the little corner of our office that isn't filled with papers, boxes and other trash for which we have no other storage area.

As I was driving home for the third time today, I remembered a prayer that I've prayed on other "bad days." Here it is:

Father, give to us, and to all your people, in times of anxiety, serenity; in times of hardship, courage; in times of uncertainty, patience; and at all time, a quiet trust in your wisdom and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I'm praying it as my own tonight.