January 31, 2008

Written to avoid doing the things that I really should be doing

As I was walking into a well-known discount store tonight, every person leaving had a snow shovel in their cart. We're supposed to get hit hard tonight. I can almost feel the "snow day " prayers of every student and teacher in Hillsdale county!

Our second retreat starts tomorrow, so I'm relieved to get some snow. Sledding just isn't the same without it. Our ice broomball tournament would have been pretty soggy, too, if we had kept Tuesday's warm temperatures all week. Seriously though, two more weekends and I'll be ready for warmer weather.

I took Jack to see his doctor today because he's been tugging at his ears for a couple of weeks. I just assumed it was teething because there weren't any symptoms of anything else, but he's been exceptionally cranky the last two days and hasn't slept well at all. After sharing his symptoms with the doctor, she said she felt strongly that it was an ear infection. However, after examination, she said that his ears looked "pristine" and that he's probably going through some new developmental stages. Translation: I don't know what's wrong, so you're just gonna have to deal with it.

Kyle also went to the doctor because he hasn't been feeling well (again). It turns out that he does have an ear infection. Shoot, I thought that maybe he was just going through a new developmental stage too . . .

January 30, 2008

At least I'm not salivating

When we brought Murphy home, we got a bell to hang on the back door and trained her to ring it when she needed to go out. She does really well with it (though she still chooses to go in the house sometimes). Until Jack started crawling, I didn't realize how conditioned I had become to letting her out when I hear the bell. Jack loves to ring the bell and more often than not I have the door unlocked before I realize that it's not Murphy. It's a good thing Jack doesn't have a collar or who knows what I might have ended up doing.

Here's a little video from tonight that made me think of this.

January 29, 2008

The More I Seek You

The band at our retreat this weekend led a song that that I don't remember hearing before. I love the lyrics and I am still trying to soak them up. I think it might be the only reason I didn't have a nervous breakdown with everything I had going on this weekend. Here's how it goes:
The More I seek You
The More I find you
the more I find you
The more I love you

I want to sit at you feet
Drink from the cup in your hands
Lay back against you and breathe
Feel your heartbeat
This love is so deep
It's more than I can stand
I melt in your peace
It's overwhelming

While we were singing this on Sunday morning, I had Jack sleeping in my lap. His head was against my chest and I had my arms wrapped around him. While my comprehension of something so divine will never be complete, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of how God feels about me now that I'm a parent.

January 28, 2008

Back up early, back up often.

Well, Kyle is in Jackson right now picking up our new computer. We actually got a pretty good deal on a display model (almost half-off)! Fortunately, they were able to transfer all but 5 or 6 video files from my old computer. They aren't completely sure, but they're guessing that this was all caused by a virus. They could have fixed it, but the computer is 4 years old and the cost of fixing it was a lot more than was wise to put into a computer that old.

Sara left a comment today with a good reminder to save early and save often. I think it might be a good idea to start using my external hard drive to back things up.

Kyle and I went to bed right after Jack went down last night. He woke up at 2 AM and was fussy for about an hour or so, but went back down and slept until 6:30! We felt so much better this morning! We left him with Sherry Williams for the day and went to Panera Bread for lunch and to see Juno. Kyle and I both really liked it.

We also stopped by Target and picked up some diapers that Jack can wear in the pool when we take the senior teens to the Family Center this weekend. I'm so excited to see how he does in the pool!

Alright, Kyle just walked in the door, so I'm off to re-install software, re-type papers, etc. Nevermind. I'm going to bed.

P.S. My camera new camera lens that I bought in December to replace my broken one stopped working today. It's just not my week.

January 27, 2008

Totally spent

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Our first retreat is officially over and it went so well. We had great weather . . . snow on the ground . . . not too cold. The sledding hill was in perfect condition. The new addition to the Field House gave us a place to enjoy warmer activities (including, but not limited to, DDR and Karaoke). Our staff was, as usual, phenomenal. Campers stayed safe (only one went home sick). Best of all, campers were incredibly receptive to our speaker's message. By anyone's standards, it was a success.

The days leading up to the retreat were so stressful for Kyle and I and that took it's toll on us and left us running on empty for most of the weekend. Jack didn't let us get much sleep the past two nights and that just kind of compounded our stress. We are incredibly tired and ready for our day off tomorrow. I think we're going to find a sitter for Jack and get lunch and a movie.

Saturday afternoon, all of our campers and staff went to the Family Center for swimming and bowling and I stayed home with Jack and put him down for a nap. I had a few things to work on. When I sat down at our computer to work, I saw random patterns of lines all over the screen. I figured that there was something wrong with our monitor. I soon realized that the computer was frozen. FROZEN. So, I manually turned it off and on again. It froze half way through booting up and gave me all of the pretty lines down the screen again. I did this over and over until I realized that nothing that I could do would save it.

This computer has all of my card designs saved on it, including four custom designs that I was working on for people this weekend. It also has our checkbook and several other important documents that I had been working on and desperately need.

When camp ended today, all we wanted to do was go home and sleep but instead we tried to figure out the best course of action for this computer. It's 4 or 5 years old so it's probably time for a new one, but I REALLY need the data off of it.

Kyle and I took it to Circuit City tonight and the results of the diagnostic tests are still pretty inconclusive. We should know more tomorrow morning. I know, I know . . . I should be backing everything up. I've already lectured myself several times today. I'm just praying that they'll be able to save everything.

Anyway, I'll have more to say about all of this later, but I'm at the point where I can't type fast enough to get things down before I forget them. It's 8:14 and I'm going to bed.

January 25, 2008

What I'm really thinking . . .

My tivo is virtually empty and I'm getting dangerously close to doing things that I actually should be doing in what little free time I get every day. If I could only figure out how to end this writer's strike . . .

January 23, 2008

Oh happy day!

Yesterday was quite possibly the happiest day of Jack's life, thus far. I'm not sure why, but he didn't stop smiling all day. I know for sure that it was NOT because he got a lot of sleep. For whatever reason, it was wonderful!

He does this new thing when he gets excited . . . he starts breathing in and out real fast, gets a huge cheesy grin on his face (see below) and snorts several times. If he weren't 7 months old, I'd think it was obnoxious. But he is, so I think it's darling. I just hope it stops before he hits preschool and the kids start calling him something like "Snorty McSnorterson."

This isn't a great picture because I was feverishly trying to get my camera out and capture the moment before it was gone, but it gives you an idea of how silly he was being yesterday.

January 22, 2008

How to tell if you've been out of the loop for the last few months . . .

Watch the Oscar nominations and realize that only two of the movie titles and three of the actors' and actresses' names listed sound familiar to you.

January 21, 2008

Statistically speaking

Did you know that today, statistically speaking, is the most depressing day of the year? You see . . . the Today Show is both entertaining and educational. Thank you, Matt, Meredith, Ann and Al.

My day was a mixed bag of emotions. Over the weekend I had a tooth that started giving me problems. It didn't hurt to bite down, but if I put my finger back there . . .say, to get popcorn unstuck . . . I felt pain that was so intense that it triggered my gag reflex. I knew I needed to call a dentist, and I feared the worst. Dental issues are doubly stressful for me because we have no dental coverage on our insurance plan. Which is why I floss, brush and rinse with an anti-cavity rinse more than once a day. So, I honestly spent all weekend dreading Monday because I knew I'd have to go to the dentist. Would it be a cavity? Would I need a root canal? I kind of let it ruin my weekend. (Insert Donna Downer noise here)

I called this morning and they fit me in at 1:20. Which meant that I had to spend all morning feeling sick about the money I knew I was going to have to spend to get this tooth fixed.

When I got to the dentist's office, they called me back immediately. I spent 10 minutes in the dentist's chair. TEN MINUTES. He couldn't find a thing wrong. It still hurt (like crazy) when he poked around and he said my gums looked a little red and swollen. He put some goopy stuff on it that is supposed to decrease the sensitivity of the tooth, told me to stop putting my fingers back there and sent me on my way. Oh, and charged me $98. NINETY-EIGHT DOLLARS! Ugh. I really do like my dentist, but that was so frustrating.

January 20, 2008

As prayed after watching the morning news . . .

Dear God,
it is so hard for us not to be anxious.
We worry about work and money,
about food and health
about weather and crops
about war and politics
about loving and being loved.
Show us how perfect love casts out fear.

Monica Furlong

January 19, 2008

Do something nice for your oldest child today.

OK, I promised a post this week on my mode of transportation in high school, along with a short essay on why oldest children are often deprived compared to their younger siblings. I've spent some time this week looking through pictures to see if I could find my car from high school, but I could not. Oh wait . . . not my car. My parents car that they let me drive in high school. They made sure to tell me that several times a week and this plays an important part into my short essay that will come later.

The car I drove in high school was a 1988 Ford Escort . . . wait for it . . . station wagon. That's right. I drove a station wagon. Classy, I know. The back hatch, however, did prove to be useful when I needed to get more than 5 people somewhere and we only had my car . . . not that I ever tried that (wink, wink). I will say that it was usually a mess. And by a mess, I mean trashed. My car now is pretty messy, but it'll never be as bad as it was when I was in high school. When I cleaned it out before college, I found things that I had been missing for over a year. If someone parked next to my car in a parking lot, they probably would have assumed that it belonged to a homeless person who was living out of it. However, this was nothing compared to my room . . . that's another post for another time.

The best part of the car might possibly have been the fact that there was no CD player, no tape player and the radio was stuck on AM sports radio. Nice, huh?

At this point, I just spent a lot of time writing about the tragedy of being an oldest child and how gypped I was compared to my sister and ESPECIALLY compared to my 18-year-old brother . . . it's kind of like my brother and I grew up in the same house, but totally different homes. But I erased it because I felt bad whining about what I didn't have when I really was given a lot compared to many people. My parents are extraordinarily generous and have given graciously and liberally and I really shouldn't complain about them. A lot of what we have and of what Jack has is because of the generosity of all of his grandparents. It just that I'd be lying if I didn't say that it hurts a little to compare my experience with that of my siblings. Maybe that should just teach me not to compare.

I will just leave you with this: In my case, there are A LOT more advantages to being the youngest than there are the oldest. Kyle is an oldest too. Lucky for Jack, I think we'll always be pretty sensitive to his feelings about being firstborn.

January 18, 2008

Conquering the stairs

I guess conquering is still too strong a word . . . attempting is more like it. He's still not very good at them. I love it that in the second photo he looks like he's just discovered The New World . . . AT THE TOP OF OUR STAIRS!

Then again, you can see the potted plant that he dove into last week. Maybe that's what he's excited about.

January 17, 2008

"Uh oh" is becoming my most commonly used phrase

Do your kids bump their heads a lot? Is it normal for 7-month-old children to have so many bumps and bruises? Now that Jack can get around on his own, he bumps his head (and elbows and arms and legs) on things so many times a day. Sometimes it doesn't really bother him. Sometimes I can hear the actual bump, followed by his shrieking. I watch him so carefully and take so many precautions, but he so stinkin' fast. He always has bumps and bruises and I feel like this happens more than it should . . . and of course I feel awful about it. Short of living in a padded house, I'm not sure what else to do.

January 16, 2008

Sew what?

I just finished the DVD that came with the sewing machine that I got for Christmas. I probably learned more in that 20 minutes than I did in my 8 weeks of 8th grade home economics class . . . I feel as if the Southgate public school system has failed me yet again.

Anyway, I know how to use it and now I want to make something! I received my Amy Butler fabric that I bought on ebay today, but I don't know what to make! I have a book by Amy called In Stitches but the patterns all seem to hard to start out with. I need to work my way up to that.

Any suggests for simple projects for beginners?

Feet first

We had Jack in a onesie yesterday and discovered that he will only crawl on his hands and FEET on the hard floor when his knees aren't covered. I need to get the video camera out because it's HILARIOUS to watch in motion! If he had to stop for any extended period of time, he'd twist himself right onto his bum or he'd race for the carpet.

What a funny kid.

January 15, 2008

I wish I got to take two naps a day.

Jack has been sleeping for 40 minutes . . . straight! I have actually had uninterrupted time to accomplish a few things and I'm thrilled. I'm shooting for an hour. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a child that slept for 2+ hours at a time.

Shoot. I hear wailing from the bedroom. It's like he knows when I'm thinking about him or something . . .

I knew it was too good to be possible.

January 14, 2008

She's baaaack!

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to write this week about my sister's eventful trip to the gym. Well, she beat me to the punch. Threatening to "steal her blogging glory" was all I needed to do to end her 9-month blogging hiatus. I wish I would have thought of this 9 months ago . . .

Anyway, you can read about her adventures here. Just be sure to get your glasses out. She used the smallest font EVER.

If you have time, scroll through some of her past blogs. They're pretty entertaining . . . the weirdest stuff happens to her.

She'll have to keep up with it for me to add her back to my blogroll, though.

Karina and Jack at my parents house over Christmas.

January 12, 2008

I could be a great many things

I know, I know. It's been a long time since I've written anything. There is a lot rolling around in my head right now, but it's so jumbled I don't think I can get it all down cohesively. Instead, I'll just tell you what's going on around me.

January hit hard and the workload at camp right now is incredible. Our first winter retreat is in TWO WEEKS. Our summer camp promotion stuff needs to go out, um . . . TWO WEEKS AGO. All of my family camp materials should go out on February 1. Plus, we're working on a summer curriculum, getting ready for staff training and I'm still working on finishing my paper so my master's degree will be FINISHED. Oh, and we're recruiting and hiring our summer staff. Every year at this time I think, "Thank goodness I won't have to be writing a paper next year at this time." And, every year I'm wrong. I feel a little bit like I'm so divided between different areas and tasks at camp that I can't do any one thing REALLY well. It gets frustrating but I know that it won't be like this forever. If only I weren't so good at so many things . . . :)

In other news . . . Jack is crawling and pulling himself up like he's been doing it all his life. This has made my life much, much more complicated. He's FAST. I look away for a minute and the next thing I know he's shredding a magazine or . . . I don't know . . . putting Murphy in a choke hold. I know I've talked a lot about how mobile Jack has become, but have I ever mentioned what a sweet disposition he has? He loves to give kisses (wet slobbery ones). He loves to give hugs. When Kyle or I sit down, he'll crawl all the way across the room just to cuddle up on our lap . . . for a few seconds before resuming his play.

Kyle just came down and had me take his temperature. He's had a bad cough today and just hasn't been feeling normal. It seems odd to stick the thermometer in his huge ear after using it on Jack's little ears so many times. Of course, he has a fever. Which means we probably won't get to church tomorrow. Between the holidays and fevers over the last few weeks, we've missed a lot of church and I'm missing it. Maybe he'll be doing better by morning . . .

I know this has been a little random and a lot boring. However, I have a few good stories that I plan to write about this week, including one about my mode of transportation in high school and why oldest children are deprived and about my sister's $500 trip to her gym.

January 8, 2008

What he might have been thinking . . .

So this guy said, "Dude, I bet you can't fit that duck's head in your mouth."
And then I was all like, "Oh yeah?"

January 7, 2008

Tornado warnings in January?

Michigan weather is so weird. I'm not going to complain though because it was over 60 degrees today! After all of the below zero wind chills last week, I'll take what I can get! But seriously, it's hailing outside right now. And it's supposed to be in the low 20s by the end of the week.

At least we got a chance to enjoy the warm weather while it lasted.


I sit down to work on my thesis, and the next thing I know . . . I have a chicken salad sandwich in my hand, I've read every blog on my blogroll, checked my e-mail three times, bid on some cool fabric on ebay and am writing a post about how hard it is to get my thesis done.

Do I really need a master's degree, anyway?

January 6, 2008

A pretty boring day.

It took me a little bit to figure out what on earth he was doing, but I realized he was closely examining the spot where the chunk is missing in the floor. He did this for a really long time.

He also learned how to pull himself up on the bookshelf and dump his entire bin of toys out onto the floor.

Fun times ahead.

Mimi the Sardine

Jack got a surprise gift from some family friends yesterday and I'm so excited about it!

Let me back up a little. I was reading a friend's post about feeding her son solid food and saw that he had on the greatest bib! She said her mom and dad bought it for him in Mississippi, so I kind of forgot about it after that.

Fast forward to yesterday . . . her parents (who happen to be the aforementioned family friends) came out to camp yesterday and dropped off a bag that had a cool book and one of these bibs! It's so great! It cleans up so well and seems really durable. We had been using vinyl ones, but they were hard to clean and the paint chipped off within a week. So, we started using our cloth ones that we could put int he washer, but they stain so easily. Mimi the Sardine, the company that makes these bibs, says,
"All of our products are made from Swedish cotton prints that have been treated with an environmentally sound coating to make them permanently water and soil resistant. Just wipe and wear and machine wash as needed."

I got on their website and discovered that the company is also really environmentally friendly as well!

On top of all of that I love the colors and design!

Thank you to the Crosby's for the unexpected, but very appreciated surprise!

January 4, 2008

Getting his hands dirty . . .

Jack got a little dirty today . . . from the potted plant in our living room. While Jack was playing, Kyle ran to the laundry room to get the clothes out of the dryer. He came back to Jack, looking like he had just been given his first Oreo. Only this was not chocolate. It was dirt.

Kyle ran to him and saw that there wasn't much dirt in his mouth . . . only on his face, hands and all over the carpet. Kyle checked the bag of potting soil and it contained no fertilizers or chemicals, so we're thankful for that.

But seriously, when did he get so fast?

January 3, 2008

7 months old

If you're interested, you can see all of the pictures I took during this sweet boy's seventh month here.

Dear Jack, Month 7

Dear Stinky Face,

I usually begin my letters to you by telling you how big you are and how fast you're growing. Then I plead with you to slow down a little. I think you've finally started to listen! You gained less than 3 pounds in two months! My fear that you would be the only 4000 pound nine-year-old in your fourth grade class have subsided.

There are so many new things you're doing and I'm sure I'll forget to mention something. I forgot to mention your jumping in your 5-month letter . . . oh how you love to jump! The minute your feet hit any surface, you're bouncing up and down. Let me tell you when this new little phase is least fun: When I'm nursing you and your feet touch the arm of the chair. Needless to say, I don't nurse you in armchairs much anymore.

You have teeth now. Sharp teeth. Two of them. The teething process was HORRIBLE and I thought you were going to be mad at me forever! We could see the little buggers under the surface of your gums for weeks and it seemed liked they would NEVER pop through. The day that they did was glorious! You were so happy and you slept for more than an hour! It was like Christmas came a little early! I cringe a little when I think we'll have to do this several more times. I'm kind of hoping they'll all come in at once and we'll just have two or three awful weeks and it will be over! Did I mention that your new teeth are very, very sharp?

Your first Christmas was fairly anticlimactic. You were sleepy and cranky because we kept you awake through nap times and made you travel so much. Several people we talked to were appalled that we didn't get you any Christmas gifts . . . so I explained to them that you're 6 1/2 months old and you don't know what Christmas gifts are. Don't worry . . . both sets of your grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles more than made up for it. I guess we did get you a bowling set, a toothbrush and a few books, but honestly . . . we would have bought those for you even if it wasn't Christmas. When you think about it that way, the last 7 months have been nothing but Christmas gifts for you!

You're now a crawling maniac. I credit your Grandpa Wietholter and Murphy for teaching you how to do this. Grandpa got down on the floor with you and showed you how to move your hands and knees and Murphy has been the primary target after which you chase. You can't get enough of that dog and nothing amuses us more than to see her try and hide from you. You are curious about everything and we have to watch you constantly to make sure you're not reaching for anything dangerous. Oh, how I miss the exersaucer days!

Jack, now that you're becoming more mobile your dad and I are learning a whole new set of parenting lessons. I'm feeling a little bit at a loss for words to tell you how I feel about this. We're learning to maintain the delicate balance between protecting you and allowing you the freedom to try new things. I'm your mom and I want to keep you from ever being hurt. At the same time, the level of confidence and determination you have amazes me and I don't want to suppress that! Sometimes, the new things you try result in bumps, bruises and scrapes and I feel awful when you fall. But I also know that if we never let you fall, you'll never learn to get back up.

So, I promise to let you try new things Jack even if it means you might fall down (though my guess is that your dad may have to hold me back sometimes). Just know that we're always here to teach you how to get back up.


P.S. Our favorite book to read together this month is, "I Love You Stinky Face."

Forced Family Fun

You've heard me mention "Lukeapalooza" in a couple of posts. It's the name I have given to the time when the Luke side of the family all gathers together in one of the lodges at camp for several days and nights of what Kyle's cousin Jason refers to as, "Forced Family Fun." I'm not sure many people know that I call it that. To be honest, there's nothing forced about it. We all really enjoy spending that time together and enjoying each other's company. There are very few families left that still get together regularly after this long and can stand to spend that many days with each other. Having come from a close family myself, I feel fortunate to have married into a close family.

This year was the first time in a while that the lake had frozen over enough for skating. So, the guys cleared an area and created a rink for skating. Remember my previous post in which I promised to fill you in on why the paramedics were called? Here it goes . . .

I wasn't there, so I'm relying on Kyle's account of the story. The guys decided to play a game of hockey. Stacy helped uncle Don get his skates on and before they knew it, his skates had come out from under him and he was lying on the ice. How fortunate we all were that someone was taking pictures.

But he was knocked out cold. He came to within a couple of seconds and seemed to be ok. So, everyone gathered for a family picture.

It was during the family picture that he started asking things like, "Who put my skates on?" and "Did I fall?" Kyle's dad called the ambulance. Everything turned out ok and thankfully he was fine, but the group picture that was taken in the midst of it all is priceless.

It's hard to see because of the low resolution, but he's pretty dazed and glassy eyed.

January 1, 2008

New Year's Thanks

I didn't do the obligatory "I'm thankful for . . ." post at Thanksgiving. I like to save that kind of thing for New Year's Day as I look back and reflect on the year.

Here are seven things for which I am thankful:

1. I'm so thankful for a husband who is patient enough to put up with everything I throw his way, strong enough to lead our family with courage and sensitive enough to listen for God's direction.

2. I'm thankful for a trouble-free pregnancy that resulted in a healthy son who continues to grow at an incredible rate. I love him so much and am so proud of him!

3. I'm thankful for a flexible job that allows me to be home with Jack and to continue to work. I have the best of both worlds and I don't take that for granted.

4. I'm thankful that God continues to teach me hard lessons about who He is and who I am and doesn't let me off easy.

5. I'm thankful that we've had enough to eat, a warm place to live and more than we need . . . in a world where a minority of people can say that.

6. Having said #5, I really am thankful for tivo. Especially that we got in on the lifetime service option before it was discontinued. Don't judge. Stop laughing.

7. I'm thankful for our friends and family who love us and I know would help us if the rug were ever pulled out from under us. Figuratively speaking. If a literal rug was pulled out from under me, I know that some of you would probably just think it was funny.

The best of 2007

I decided to go through each month of the last year and choose my favorite post to share with everyone. This was difficult to do. There were some months when I didn't have one that really stuck out to me. There were other months that I had 4 or 5 that I wanted to link to.

So, here's a post from each month of 2007 that I found interesting . . .













Catching up

A few highlights from the last week:
  • Jack and I are both sick . . . again. Actually, we're both finally starting to get over the cold that we've had for the last few days, but it was miserable while it lasted. Being sick during Lukeapalooza is never fun.

  • Lukeapalooza was entertaining. It included a visit from the paramedics . . . I'll write more about this when I get the picture that goes along with the story.

  • Jack is crawling on his hands and knees now. He's still a little shaky, but at least there's no more army crawl. The army crawl wasn't bad, but he ended up with a shirt full of dog hair when he was done.

    He also pulls himself up on whatever he can get a hold of . . . whether it's sturdy enough or not. Needless to say, there have been a lot of tumbles. Kyle went in after his nap yesterday and he was standing in his crib smiling at him.

  • Jack slept for FIVE! HOURS! yesterday. Not all at once, but all of his naps combined equaled five hours. This might be the third or fourth time this has ever happened. Though, he's been sleeping almost an hour right now.
  • I'm ready for Christmas break to be over. It used to be that the craziness at camp started in mid-April as the summer approached. But now, it starts immediately following Christmas break. Family camp info has to be out by February 1. Our first winter retreat is January 28 (or is it the 27th?). The summer youth camp brochure needs to be out in the next few weeks. The web site and other brochures all need to be updated. Our summer curriculum and schedules need to be finalized.

    There's a lot to be done and a lot less time than there was before Jack was here. Grandma Luke always says, "Don't you wonder what you did with all of your time before Jack was born?" No, I don't wonder that. I did all of the stuff that doesn't get done now.

I'm gonna go take down all of the Christmas decorations! Happy New Year!