January 27, 2009

In ten minutes or less . . .

::: Something with the template for my blog makes bullet points impossible. This drives me crazy.

::: We've charted our course for our trip to Florida and I'm SO excited. We'll be staying in Knoxville, TN on the way down and in Lynchburg, VA (to visit my brother in college) on the way back. I'm not crazy about the windy mountain roads on our route home, but at least will be scenic. I'm just hoping for no major fog or snow.

::: Jack can now identify (at least) four letters of the alphabet. This came as a shock to us over the last week as he started pointing these out on our shirts, water bottles, etc. We couldn't figure out who had been teaching him this . . . certainly not us. And then we realized, it's this toy:

My aunt got him this magnetic letter set for Christmas. Jack pulls our step stool up to the refrigerator and plays with it multiple times daily. When you put a letter in the base and push it it sings a little song like this:
"D says duh,
D says duh,
Every letter makes a sound
D says duh."
It also has a button that plays the whole alphabet song. It's amazing how quickly he's picking up the sounds that the letters make as well. The best part? They don't scratch the refrigerator and when it comes to magnetic letters, that's hard to find. This toy comes with my highest recommendation.

We also have these refrigerator letters, which he played with quite a bit until he received this gift. They won't scratch the fridge either.

::: I officially am the sole shareholder of "Less Ordinary Designs, Inc." Setting up an s-corp will hopefully spare me a little more tax-wise in 2009.

::: I love new etsy shops. I think this one could grow quickly. I'm waiting for them to post some of the pears that they had on their blog last fall . . . I love the little beads on those!

January 24, 2009

Before you know it . . .

The days of rocking Jack to sleep are long gone, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I miss them every now and then. I'm glad he's learned to fall asleep on his own, but every so often, I wish I could rock with him and watch his eyes drift shut as the sleep smiles flicker across his face. The days are flying by and sometimes I fear that we won't take the time to savor those little moments that won't be available to us forever.

Our pastor at our church is doing a sermon series on stewardship and he mentions every Sunday that the first gift that we have to give is our time. A few Sundays ago he said something about time being the only thing that if withheld, can be repaid. We can't really make up for lost time.

A few weeks ago, we started a bedtime ritual in which we let Jack drink his before-bed cup of milk in our bed with us. It doesn't happen every night . . . especially on the nights when Kyle and I aren't both home. But when it does happen, we treasure that time with him.

Kyle's not home tonight, but when I was pouring his cup of milk, he said "mommy and daddy's!" and ran to our room. So, I followed him and we cuddled for a while.

When he was done with his milk, he just kept giggling and giving me zerberts. Every time, he'd look at me and say, "more?" And when I said, "yes, please," he'd do it again.

I finally said, "It's time for Jack to go to sleep in his bed" and he said, "NO!" I reminded him that his airplane and football blankets were in his bed. And he responded with, "Flowers!"


He said, "Flower blanket" as he started tugging on our sheets. Our sheets have little leaves all over . . . which is what I'm sure he was talking about. I love it that he wants to spend time with me. I know that won't last forever.

In other news, we had our first tinkle on the potty on Friday morning. I was changing his diaper and he said, "pee pee." And I asked if he needed to go potty. He said he did. I assumed he didn't really know what he was talking about, but I decided to go along with it. I sat him on his seat and ducked next door to his room to get a book. When I got back, he had already gone! I think we still have a long way to go before we're ready to potty train him, though.


I'm not sure the CPSC even understands the CSPIA. I just finished watching the raw footage of the former director, Julie Vallese, talking about the act. She uses phrases like "the law is not defined" and "our understanding of the law . . . " Huh? Did you guys write the law, or no? Am I missing something here?

Like I said a few days ago, I have mixed feelings about all of this. But it's frustrating that the people responsible for the law are so vague. The interviewer really pulled out some information about resellers and consignment shops, but I wish she would have questioned her about homemade items for children.

And don't even get me started on the "mommy bloggers spreading misinformation about this" comment . . .

A fine example

Remember when I was all like, Jack doesn't know how to share and I can't imagine where he learned that? Well, it seems as though we may have found our answer.

Not sharing from Sara on Vimeo.

January 23, 2009

We have a heartbeat!

"Oh, no. I'll find it." That's what Stephanie said (with a comforting combination of cockiness and confidence) when I asked if it was too early to hear anything.

And she did. The relief that swept over me when I heard that little heartbeat was more familiar than I thought it would be. Jack was sitting on Kyle's lap and they were sitting next to me. When that faint whirring sound started, I was immediately taken back to almost 2 1/2 years ago, laying in the room next door listening to his heartbeat for the first time.

The little guy measures 6 weeks 2 days, and the heartrate was 115 . . . which is right where it should be. I got so choked up. It became very real. We are having a baby. Another one. A surprise. I can honestly say that I NEVER thought that would be the case.

The relief I felt in that room was short-lived. My anxiety returned on the way home as I worried about . . .well, everything. Here's how the next 8 months of our life will go:

January 23 - February 8 . . . winter youth retreats
February 8 - February 14 . . . increased valentine's day card business? possibly? hopefully?
February 14 - February 28 . . . gone to Florida
March 1 - March 4 . . . MI CCCA conference on the west side of the state
March 30 - May 15 . . . Baseball season for Kyle (ugh) and getting ready for summer camps
May 31 - August 13 . . . Summer camps
August 13 - September 16 . . . wrap up summer camps, get ready for fall programs, get ready for baby #2
September 17 . . . Due with baby #2

It'll all work out. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Getting into politics early . . .

Later on in the day, I got him to say "Biden" when I asked who the vice president was.

Getting into politics early . . . from Sara on Vimeo.

January 22, 2009

Where should the line be drawn?

By now, you've surely heard about the new children's product safety laws that will come to fruition in February. Many etsy sellers and sellers of handmade children's products are facing extinction.

It doesn't only affect the sellers. It affects those of us who buy the products. I love the fact that I can find one of a kind gifts for baby showers. I look at some of the things that I wish I would have known about before Jack was born and I'm sad that they won't be available if we have another.

On the other hand, before any of this came out in August, if I were to ask you if you thought the government should take action to make sure children's products were safe and lead-free, what would your response have been?

Is finding a balance possible? Is there a good place to draw the line that would allow large manufacturers to be held accountable while still allowing small businesses to avoid, well, going out of business? Are we asking to have our cake and eat it, too?

I have no answer. But I do have links.

Jcaroline wrote a really easy-to-understand summary of this piece of legislation.

Etsy wrote an open letter about the situation.

Kathleen Fasanella offers some ineteresting commentary/advice.

You can see what children's products on etsy would cost under the new law here.

Jcaroline provides some insight on what she might do if she were a seller of handmade children's prodcuts.

January 21, 2009

A much needed vacation . . .

I just got an e-mail in my inbox. It's from Walt Disney World confirming our reservations. I'm so excited.

Last week we made a quick decision that once our youth camps are over next month, we're taking two weeks off and heading down south. Kyle's grandparents live in Palm Coast and we're going to stay with them for a bit. We only see them during the summer, so it'll be good to catch up and relax with them! In the middle of our time with them, we're headed to Orlando for two nights and two days of Magical fun at Disney World. Our friend (and former staffer), Kristi works there and seriously hooked us up. Once we're there, our plan is to talk her into never leaving Disney.

So . . . good times with family, Disney World, and WARM WEATHER (or at least, warmER weather)! What's not to be excited about?

Um, maybe the 36 total hours in a car with a 20 month old. I'm trying not to focus too much on how stressed out I am by the thought of having the back of my seat kicked for 18 hours straight. I think it'll be worth it. But I am open to any tips for traveling that far with a child this age.

January 20, 2009


I'm watching Emma this afternoon. No big deal. I've done it before. She and Jack play pretty well together (though, they're both learning to share so that makes it interesting).

When it was time for Jack to take a nap, Emma was looking a bit tired, too. So, I decided I'd put Emma down, and then Jack. Emma went down and had been quiet for about 5 minutes before I started with Jack. Jack did not go down so quietly and screamed as I was getting him ready.

Which, of course, woke Emma up.

Which, of course, made Jack cry even harder.

I sat there in the hallway between Jack's room and the guest room thinking, "How am I ever going to handle two children?"

I know I'll be able to handle it, but how much will have to change? Will I need to quit my job? Will we need to take them to a day care center? We have a perfect arrangement right now, but will that work with two children?

Deep breath.

At some point I would have thought this all through. At some point, we would have sat down and figured this all out. I just thought we'd have it figured out BEFORE we got pregnant.

His legacy

I don't care which political party you support . . . I think we can all agree that George W. Bush hasn't been the most popular president we've ever had. Right? Even if you are one of the few that absolutely love him, you have to admit that your opinion has not been the prevailing one . . . at least during his second term in office.

Yes, he's made decisions and said things that make me cringe. But I think the bottom line is that he was our president. The position alone means that he deserves our respect. And he earned that respect every day by making the hard decisions that we will never have to make.

I might not agree with the decisions that he makes, or the speed in which he makes them, but hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? I think it's always easy for people who weren't responsible for responding to a situation to criticize a response. Who's to say, given the same circumstances and information, John Kerry, John McCain, Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton would have responded any differently? Fortunately for them, the world will never know.

As bloggers have been writing about the last 8 years, I'm amazed at how much I've forgotten regarding the situations through which President Bush led this country and the hard decisions he's had to make. But there is an untold story to his presidency that I hadn't heard until recently. Cameron Strang, editor of Relevant Magazine, wrote a note in this most recent issue about the legacy of President Bush. Here are a few excerpts:
Recently, I was reminded of one of the most significant untold stories of our generation, and it happens to center on our outgoing president. It’s a story so important that I contend a hundred years from now, it will actually be the primary thing history uses to define President George W. Bush’s administration. And it has gone virtually unreported by the media . . .

. . . For many people, that’s not what first comes to mind when they think about President Bush’s administration, but the long-term ramifications of his global health efforts cannot be understated.

It was at the 2003 State of the Union address that Bush announced the formation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). At the time, only 50,000 people living with AIDS in Africa were able to receive anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. PEPFAR’s ambitious goal was to increase that number to 2 million in five years—a milestone they’ve actually now surpassed.

Those people getting treatment and education have actually led to another 8 million people not contracting the disease who otherwise would have. Ten million lives saved. And of those, 4 million are orphans, the majority of whom were orphaned because both parents died of AIDS.

PEPFAR is touching every aspect of African society, providing hope to a generation that has been dying off at an alarming rate.

So why has PEPFAR worked where other efforts failed? President Bush insisted on collaboration with African leaders—partnering with them instead of merely pushing our strategies—and then holding those partners accountable for results.

“The innovation was trusting leaders at the local level,” Bush said at the forum. “Instead of saying, ‘We’re going to tell you what to do,’ we helped them determine their own strategies for each country. When they develop the strategy, it’s easier to hold the strategy developer to account.

“It’s the timeless management principal of aligning authority and responsibility,” he said. “If you disassociate authority and responsibility, you can’t have accountability.”

The measurable and unprecedented success of PEPFAR not only led President Bush to re-authorize it this past summer, he actually pushed through a tripling of its funding. For him it was a moral imperative that was non-negotiable.

“A president must have a firm set of principals from which he will not deviate,” Bush said. “I believe in the universality of freedom, and I believe freedom is universal because of an almighty God. It’s not just freedom from tyranny that the U.S. must become involved in, I believe it’s freedom from disease, freedom from hunger, freedom from deprivation. If you believe in the universality of freedom, then you should not shy away from doing your duty.”

. . . As we look at these closing weeks of the Bush administration, it’s easy to see the challenges our country is facing and forget monumental, positive initiatives like PEPFAR. I want to publicly applaud President Bush for taking a stand when others hadn’t, and doing so without the motive of political benefit. He has stood up for those who have no voice, and he did so because it was the right thing to do.

You can read the full article here.

January 19, 2009

Does he remind you of anyone?

Ironically enough, Jack also aspires to save the world someday.

Second photo from http://users.viawest.net/~keirsey/bono.jpg

Old Navy bargains . . .

Use the promo code "EXTRA50" at oldnavy.com and get an additional 50% off clearance items. I just made a killing on 4T clothes, as well as a few things for Kyle and I. And standard shipping is only $7!

Jack is in 2T now, and starting to outgrow some of that stuff, so my fingers are crossed that a 4T will be good for him next fall/winter.

I've had a promotional e-mail sitting unread in my inbox forever and I'm so glad I glanced at it today because the promo code expires today!

This look says it all . . .

So, Jack . . . tell us how you really feel about mom putting flaxseed meal in your banana muffins.

January 18, 2009


I don't really feel like it's real.

A lot of it has to do with having an ultrasound and seeing nothing. I just keep thinking that maybe it's not really real. You know?

The good news is that I don't have to wait until the 30th for an ultrasound to tell me if it's real or not. I received an appointment reminder in the mail on Friday saying that I had an ultrasound scheduled for the 23rd. They were supposed to call if the doctor wanted to see me sooner, but maybe they forgot.

I called the nurse and she said the strange thing was that it had just been put into the computer on Friday. So how on earth did the appointment reminder get into my mailbox on Friday?

In any case, I'm going for another one this upcoming Friday. I'm so nervous that they won't see anything. That they'll tell me that nothing is growing and that I'll have to just wait for "nature to take its course." My face has broken out like crazy this week and I'm worried it means that my hormones are shifting . . . in a bad way. I never had this issue with Jack. But I have to keep reminding myself that I had been pumped full of synthetic hormones for over a year before I had Jack so things will be different this time around.

I've lost three pounds (saying that made me feel like Monica on Friends . . . does anyone else remember that episode?) but my pants feel tighter. I know that you show faster the second time around, but seriously?

My playlist

I have a playlist on my ipod called "Jack." This would lead one to believe that it's songs for Jack - kids songs, lullabies, etc. In fact, it is a list of songs that will always make me think of the months when I was pregnant with him. I have similar playlists for each summer, and other times in my life, dating back to 1999. It's amazing how certain songs can take me back to a particular time in my life almost instantly!

Here's the playlist for my life right now. These are the songs that will make me think of January 2009, and probably all that will happen this winter. THey're not necessarily new songs, but just songs on my playlist right now.

I wonder what my playlist says about me . . .

Rock & Roll
Eric Hutchinson
Sounds Like This
Kyle and I first heard this guy on one of those "New Artist Showcase" things at the end of a VH1 show. Within 30 seconds, Kyle was looking him up on itunes because we both liked his sound so much. I like to say he's a little like Michael Buble singing Jason Mraz. And we all know that any song that has "na na na na's" in it will make you feel good.

Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
The Very Best of Lisa Loeb

I'm Yours
Jason Mraz
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
If you haven't heard this song, you haven't listened to a radio station for more than 5 minutes.

Hold On
KT Tunstall
Drastic Fantastic

You Are the Best Thing
Ray LaMontagne
Gossip in the Grain
I'm glad Kyle made my listen past the first 10 seconds. Thanks to Pandora Radio for introducing us to this one.

All I Need
Matt Kearney
Nothing Left to Lose

Never Let Go
David Crowder Band

The Unwinding Cable Car

OK, It's Alright with Me
Eric Hutchinson
Sounds Like This
I think this is the more popular of the two songs by this guy that I have on the list. But I like the other one better.

You Found Me
The Fray

Bethany Dillon
Bethany Dillon

Wish You Well
Thousand Foot Krutch
The Flame in All of Us

January 16, 2009

Not my kid

Wicked was, of course, amazing. I would probably say that it wasn't as good as it was when I was there last time, but I still can't complain. The seats that we were in for the first half were so uncomfortable (they were chairs set up in the handicapped area . . . I was supposed to be with a child in a wheelchair, but he wasn't able to come after all). For the second half, the usher let us move to comfy seats front and center in the dress circle. I've never had seats that good for any production!

The drive to and from Chicago, however, was less than amazing. They were treacherous. On my way home, I went almost an hour without ever seeing pavement. The snow and ice were overwhelming and my back and arms still hurt from being tense while driving.

But I made it home, and we had our small group at our house last night. We hadn't met since before Christmas and it was good to see everyone. The adults were upstairs and the kids were with a babysitter downstairs. I heard Jack crying two or three times and I knew without even asking that it was either because Jennie told him "no" or because he wasn't sharing well.

In his defense, he had a poopy diaper, a horrible diaper rash and was up well past his bedtime, but the number of fits about sharing and being told, "no" are rapidly on the rise. Kyle and I don't walk around grabbing things out of the other's hand and yelling, "MINE!" So where does he learn this? We play games where Jack takes a turn, then mom takes a turn, then dad takes a turn . . . and he seems to get it, but when it comes to sharing toys or books, or the attention of an adult . . . all composure is lost.

Oh, and Jack tried to take Kyle's ipod today, and Kyle said, "No, no, Jack." Jack looked him straight in the eye and said, "Let go!" Which of course, was not tolerated. What have we done to make him think that talking to us like that is ok? We're trying to stick to our guns and be consistent with boundaries, but it's a lot more exhausting than I would have thought it would be.

He's still my sweet boy more often than he is a terror. But I too often find myself thinking, "Ugh, this cannot be my kid."

January 13, 2009

Wicked awesome

I'm headed to see Wicked tomorrow, and I could be more thrilled. My sister works for CPS and takes her class to see it every year, but the final performance is January 25, so this will be the last time.

I love going with her for several reasons. First of all, this trip is built up to be a very big deal to her students. They study the musical, take quizzes on it and know all of the songs long before they go. They also fundraise all of the money for tickets. They appreciate this trip so much and their enthusiasm is contagious. Second, being a CPS school gets them a great discount, thereby getting me in at the same discount.

My only fear is that the blizzard warning we're under will prevent me from traveling tomorrow morning.

In other news, we had a shower for Jeanette over the weekend which was a lot of fun. I took pictures of two of the centerpieces, but my picture-taking ended there. I was so busy keeping everything going, I didn't even get a picture of Jeanette!

The theme (albeit, loosely) was "children's books" and I opened by reading everyone "Hooray for You." From there, we ate pizza (one of Jeanette's favorite foods . . . or at least is was when we were planning the shower), designed custom burp cloths and played a game called "Who's Your Daddy." I'm not a fan of shower games, but Joy and I created this game and it was too funny. You kind of had to see it to think so, though.

She received some beautiful gifts and I think everyone had a good time. I started to get a little worried that we wouldn't have many people there because of the snow. While some weren't able to attend, I think we still had around 20 or so.

Comfort and joy

If you don't know at least five people right now, personally, who have been laid off and can't find work, my guess is that you do not live in Michigan. It's a tough time for our entire country, but I feel a little bit like Michigan is a sinking ship.* Watching the morning news is so depressing and causes so much anxiety, that sometimes I mute it when the local news comes on so that I can just watch the national news. Unemployment in our state will hit double digits in the next month or so. The outlook is bleak. I think daily about moving to a different state . . . if it weren't for our house being worth about half of what it was when we purchased it. *

Forget the GDP. I feel like we're already living in a depression.

There are so many directions I could go with this right now, so many grievances I'd like to air. So many people I'd like to point fingers at. But that's not what this post is about.

Ironically enough, we didn't get to send out Christmas cards this year, but the idea I had rolling around in my head for the theme was "comfort and joy." How badly do we need a little dose of that right now? In a time when anxiety is peaking and the world seems to be crumbling, the reminder that Jesus came to bring comfort and joy is soothing.

You know the chorus of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman," don't you?
God rest ye merry gentlemen,
let nothing you dismay,
remember Christ our Savior
was born on Christmas day,
to save us all from Satan’s power
when we were gone astray,
oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, oh!
Tidings of comfort and joy!
It's not scripture, but it certainly is biblical.

Jesus didn't only come for cheerful people putting ornaments on Christmas trees, while singing "Jingle Bells." He came for the jobless. For the sick. For those who are fearful and confused. For me. Jesus was born to an unwed mother. Who was traveling with her bewildered fiance. A young, inexperienced couple in an unfamiliar, busy, overcrowded town. Trying to pay their taxes, on top of it all. And he was born into a world in which leaders were struggling to protect "Roman peace" and to maintain political and economic stability. Does any of this sound stressful and chaotic? To this world He brings comfort and joy.

We aren't asked to "let our hearts be light" or to shove our troubles in a corner and forget about them over Christmas. We're told to have courage. We're granted forgiveness. We're invited to bring them to the throne of the One whom we worship and surrender them. We're asked to trade them in for comfort and for joy. We're granted Comfort that can trasncend any situation and bring rest to the weary soul. And the kind of joy that is so much more than the happy shell of one celebrating a holiday . . . the kind of joy that penetrates one's heart and seeps into every part of his being.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you . . . Christ is born today.

*Don't read these statements as anything other than hyperbolic speech and my off the cuff assessment of my feelings. I haven't given up hope on our state and though I think it'll get a lot worse before it gets better, I feel a sense of God's moving and presence as we are, well, humbled.

January 12, 2009

Beach Bar Tomato Soup

We have a restaurant near us called the Beach Bar. They are famous for their amazing tomato soup.

You might be thinking to yourself, "I don't like tomato soup." Well, neither do I . . . with the exception of their soup. The thought of any other kind of tomato soup makes me a little nauseous. But this stuff is amazing.

How amazing is it? They don't have air conditioning at the Beach Bar, and on a 90 degree day, you will still find half of the customers eating bowls of this hot, tasty deliciousness.

I don't know if it's THE recipe, but it's pretty close, and might actually taste a little better than theirs (in my opinion).

1 - 8 oz cream cheese
2 - cans of stewed tomatoes
1 - onion
1 qt - half and half *
6 cans - tomato soup (campbells, or any brand)
2 tsp - dry basil
1/2 tsp - garlic powder
1/2 stick of butter
1 tsp - pepper
mozzarella cheese

Finely chop the onion and sautee in the butter. I usually just do this in the bottom of the soup pot that I plan to use. Put the cream cheese and stewed tomatoes in a blender and puree until smooth. Mix all ingredients and simmer until the soup is hot. Then serve, or transfer to a crock pot. *You can substitute 1/2 the amount of half and half with milk, if you'd like.

OH! I almost forgot the most important part. When you serve it, top it with crutons and mozzarella cheese. Don't even try crackers. It's just not as good. And the mozzarella cheese is a nice touch as well.

I used to serve this soup with turkey sandwiches on pretzel bread, but I haven't found the time to make pretzel rolls in the last 20 months or so. Imagine that. Maybe I'll post that recipe another time. It's a nice addition to quesadillas or a salad, as well.

Oh, joy.

Welcome, nausea.

Last night, while we were watching 24, I got super nauseous. I hate that feeling. I never threw up, but I felt really sick. I wondered if it was the stomach flu, but it went away when I started sucking on candy, so I think it's pregnancy related.

I had maybe one or two days of nausea when I was pregnant with Jack, and much later than this, and all I could think was, "What am I going to do if it's a girl?"

January 11, 2009

Blessed be Your name

I've honestly been holding it together pretty well over the last few days. I haven't shed a tear or really worried too much about this pregnancy.

Until this morning.

At church we sang, "Blessed be your name." As soon as I saw the words on the screen, I knew I was going to lose it. This song always reminds me of early in my pregnancy with Jack. So, I sat in the pew and had a good cry and was able to pull it back together before the lights came on. The words have never been truer, though.

When we got home, I was tired and cranky and I'm just feeling down overall. I'm thankful that Kyle took Jack with him to baseball open gym tonight, because I think he's capable of being a better parent right now than I am. I'm using these two hours to pray and pull myself back together.

Only a handful of people know that I'm pregnant. I miss being able to openly blog about it. I started this blog on the day I found out I was pregnant with Jack and only 3 or 4 people read it at that time. Not so much anymore.

January 9, 2009

Beep, beep.

When Jack is blocking my path or is moving slowly and we want to get him moving, we always say, "beep, beep." He thinks it's funny and tries to do it to us . . . often trying to push us over while we are standing still.

We were in Target today and there was an older couple in front of us. The man was using a cane and his wife was helping to support him as he walked. I slowed down and just moved slowly behind them because there wasn't really a "polite" way to pass. You can totally see where I'm going with this, can't you?

Jack saw this as an opportunity to play the "beep, beep" game. He said, "beep, beep" and giggled with glee. I just tried to quiet him down. Luckily he hadn't drawn any attention to us . . . yet. When they didn't turn around, he said a little louder "BEEP, BEEP!" The woman definitely heard Jack and turned around, but luckily we were close enough to the door that I was able to say, "Yes, Jack, there are a lot of cars out in the parking lot, aren't there?"

Three weeks

We had our ultrasound today. The technician saw nothing. Not a heartbeat. Not even a sac. I was prepared for that, based on my estimation of only being 4 - 5 weeks, but it was still a little heartbreaking. I managed to keep it together, but I was dying on the inside.

So, I go back on January 30 to check then.

I keep telling myself not to get my hopes up, but seriously, if they don't see anything on the 30th, it's going to suck whether my hopes are up or not, so I might as well have hope, right?

One thing I'm sure of . . . the next three weeks are going to pass very slowly!

January 8, 2009

Then and now

Kyle and Jack went "sledding" today. Which is what we call it when Kyle pulls Jack around our flat back yard in the sled. Jack's new boots came in the mail this week. We wished that we had ordered them in time to have them when we had the 15+ inches of snow! But we got a few inches this week so we wanted to test them out.

I pulled up his sledding pictures from last year and was so amazed at how much he's grown. He's in the same sled in both photos. Now that I'm looking closely, he's also wearing the same hat in both photos, too.

7 months:

19 months:

The boots held up very well, and were very easy for Jack to walk in . . . just in case you were wondering.

January 7, 2009


Huge sigh of relief! My hcg level was at 124 today, so it's going up! Which means I'm actually pregnant!

We scheduled at ultrasound for Friday, but I really feel like that will be too early. Based on when my symptoms started, I honestly feel like I'll be more like 4 or 5 weeks. I told the nurse that and she said it couldn't hurt just to check and just to be prepared that we might not see anything and I might have to come back.

It might not hurt her because it pays her salary. Needless ultrasounds aren't cheap. [added on 2/9/09 . . . just got the bill today. $400 each. Lovely. Buy more cards.]

Oh, well. Compared to what it cost to get pregnant with Jack, this kid's a bargain!

Dear Jack, Month 19

Dear Jack,

I started this letter to you on the 2nd of January, which was your 19-month-birthday. If I were still writing then, I'd only have told you about what a handful you had become. I'd tell you that I felt like one of those parents I used to see in stores and felt sorry for because their kids were so out of control. I'd tell you that your whiny-ness was driving me crazy and that my patience was wearing thin. I'd tell you that repeating the word "more" over and over will not necessarily get you more. And I'd tell you that continuously repeating the word "obey" will not automatically cancel out the time out you're about to get. The terrible twos have arrived. You are testing your boundaries and some days you're ok with the limitations that we set and on other days you're going to fight them tooth and nail.

I get through these days and still feel good about being your mom because I know that setting boundaries is our job. I know that telling you "no" and putting you in time out are a few of the things that are helping you to learn how to be a good person. The kind of person that other people will want to be around. The kind of person who will make a positive difference in our world. We're trying to teach you how to live.

The last few days have been a little better. You've been so sweet. You have been obedient, complient and loving. There have been some moments and several time outs, but overall, things have been rather docile. If I didn't know better, I'd think you want something. You've started to pucker up when you kiss me rather than just push your wet mouth against my cheek. You even ask for kisses sometimes. I will soak up these days as much as I can. Doing so helps me make it
through the rough days.

I know that this was your second Christmas, but I kind of feel like it was your first. You appreciated everything so much. After you went to bed tonight, we took the Christmas decorations down and I'm a little afraid that you'll be hurt tomorrow when you come out and see our tree-less living room. You're already going through Christmas light withdrawal. You seriously notice EVERYTHING. On Saturday night, it was dark out and we drove past a house that used to have an inflatable snowman and santa in the front yard. I have no idea how you could even tell where we were because there were no lights on anywhere, but you started asking "tanta?" and "nowmean?" Nothing gets by you.

You enjoyed hearing the Christmas story, but I think the phrase "baby Jesus" confused you a little. You could point at the picture and understand baby. And you could identify Mary, Joseph, the angel and the animals, but when we said "baby Jesus" you don't quite get it. You know Jesus from our prayers, and from other Bible stories. But this is the first time you've been introduced to him as a baby.

To be honest, Jack, the idea of God coming to earth as a baby is mysterious to most of us. I mean, it's true and we get it, but if we're honest with ourselves, we don't really get it. God in human form. Walking among us. Living perfectly. Teaching us how to live, yes, but more importantly, dying so that we can really live. I read a blog post a few weeks ago called "The Simple Truth of the Gospel." The author is way smarter than I am, because while the gospel can be compacted into a neat little set of stories, I don't find it to be really simple at all.

Have I lost you yet? I guess what I want to tell you now is that I want to talk to you about these things. I want to wade through this stuff alongside you. I want to teach you what it means to be a follower of Christ.

I know that it has to become a personal decision for you, but for right now, we make your decisions. We decide that you'll have brocolli and chicken for dinner, rather than donuts and popcorn (um, on most days). And we hope that as you start to make decisions about what you eat for yourself, you'll know enough truth about nutrition to make wise decisions. And right now, we decide for you that you're following Christ, hoping that when it's time for you to decide on your own, you'll know Jesus well enough that you'll choose to follow him on your own.

Like I said before, you're testing your boundaries and show a tad bit more independence every day. I know I can't make the rules for you forever. But I'm doing everything that I can to equip you to make wise decisions on your own someday.


January 5, 2009


So, I called the RE clinic today. We had an appointment with them in November to discuss hormone issues and the likelihood of me being able to conceive again. We hadn't started anything . . . meaning no injections, no meds, no doctors. So, needless to say, they were just as surprised as we were.

Seriously, how is this possible?

I had blood drawn and the nurse called this evening and said my hcg level was at 47.


I happen to know that at 4 1/2 weeks with Jack, my level was 211. I personally think I'm about 4 - 5. It's so crazy that we really have no way of telling. With Jack, everything was so meticulously planned out, that we knew almost down to the hour when he was conceived. For me, this is uncharted territory.

Anyway, my seemingly low hcg level made me really worried, but the nurse didn't seem bothered by it. She does want me to have it checked again on Wednesday. That's 48 LONG hours.

Double ugh.

January 4, 2009

How to use a firewire cable

We have a firewire cable made by Best Buy and Kyle just discovered that it has this written multiple times in small print down the length of the cord:

"If you need to detain a burglar until the authorities arrive, this firewire cable can render approximately three perpetrators immobile when properly hog-tied."

That Geek Squad is just a laugh a minute . . .

Shock and Awe

I woke up this morning thinking about taking a pregnancy test.

Let me back up.

My hormones have been messed up ever since I had Jackson, and they were screwed up even more after I stopped breastfeeding. Because of this, I've been relatively miserable and also I have symptoms that have constantly made me wonder if I'm pregnant. I know that I'm not, but I just always feel like I am.

So, the things I dealt with over the last two weeks weren't unusual. But there were two things that really made me wonder. Last week, I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. "I haven't been this tired since I was pregnant with Jack," I said to Kyle. Also, I've had horrible heartburn . . . also something I hadn't experienced since I had Jack.

So, this morning, I woke up thinking about it, but by the time I got to the bathroom, I had already forgotten.

We went to church and out to eat with the Wilsons, Wattersons and Hammonds. On the way home I thought my bladder would explode. We brought Jack into the house and I will always have a vivid memory of trying to put him down for a nap and hold it at the same time. I didn't really think I was pregnant. I just needed to rule it out for my own peace of mind and I didn't want to have to wait until the next morning.

I took the test and left it on the counter. The second line appeared before I had finished washing my hands.

I called for Kyle and said, "Is that a second line?! Is that a second line?!" I just kept saying "unbelievable" over and over. The test was really old, so I drove all the way into town to buy another one. You know . . . the digital kind that says "pregnant" or "not pregnant."

I don't have regular cycles. So I have NO IDEA when I got pregnant or how far along I am. Or (gasp) if it might be a false positive. I was taking a medicine that was supposed to make me start my period and, well, I didn't. But I don't think this medicine could cause a false positive. Was I pregnant before I started taking it? Is that dangerous? I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow to see if I can get a little more information.

Holy cow.

January 2, 2009


*Baby shower for Jeanette this Saturday. Yay! I still have some planning to do, but I love every minute of this kind of stuff. If you have any brilliant shower ideas that you LOVE, let me know.

*My newest thing is that I think I should have my own talk show. Seriously. I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but I'm not REALLY good at any one thing. So, I know enough to carry on intelligent conversations with people who are REALLY good at whatever it is they do but I'm down to earth enough to ask the questions that normal people would ask. Plus, I'm not funny enough to have my own sitcom, but just funny enough to keep people entertained. I know that I'm not the stick thin, super pretty people that you usually see on talk shows, but there have been less attractive people than me hosting talk shows, for sure. Besides, I'm endearing. Also, I just looked up the word "endearing" to make sure I really knew what it meant.

*Remember when I was all like, "I just earned myself a new ipod?" My deal with myself was that when I hit 1000 sales, I get myself an ipod. But I couldn't do it. I made it to the store, stood there and looked at them and I choked. I couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on myself. I need to send Kyle out to do it.

*I think yesterday was the first day that I didn't get a wave of anxiety when I sat down to check my e-mail. So, that's good. But I went from selling 30 - 40 cards a day to selling 2 - 3 a day. I'm glad for the change of pace, but it's also mildly depressing.

Tangled up

Kyle and I are tangled up in google.

What I mean is that when he opened his gmail account about a year ago, it attached itself to my blogger account and now I can't un-attach it. It really wasn't a problem until last month, when I opened a gmail account to escape the hotmail nightmares that I was having.

Hotmail nightmares: I was getting 30 - 40 e-mails an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) and randomly, once or twice a day, when I responded, the responses would just send repeatedly until I deleted them from my outbox. A few of you can attest to this. I know that's an Outlook issue, but the hotmail issue came in when they would shut my account down for 24 - 48 hours because they thought I was sending spam. It had me in tears. Seriously, I think my heart rate just went up just thinking about December.

Anyway, I opened a gmail account. But since my blogger and google reader accounts are attached exclusively to kyle's e-mail address (even though he opened his gmail account way after my blogger and reader accounts were opened) I have to sign out and sign back in every time I want to post something or look at any of my feeds.

It's livable but IT'S SUCH A PAIN.

I know that I can manually transfer my reader feeds over (and maybe clean out a few of the blogs I don't really read much), but I'm not sure what to do about the blogs. I'd take any advice anyone has to offer . . .

January 1, 2009

Best of 2008

I was looking over the last year and chose my favorite post from each month.

That's actually not true. I had a lot of favorites so honestly, it kind of ended up being random.


And if you're really bored, you could check out the best of 2007.

Which camera do you use?

I get asked this question A LOT. I was asked it again today by a mother of very active twins (Hi, Jennifer!) which prompted this post.

I should start my reminding you that I’m not a professional photographer and there may be a lot of different opinions about which cameras to use and which lenses are best that run contrary to mine, but this is what I’ve learned in my limited experience. I know NOTHING about Nikons, but I do know a little about Canons. This post = my opinion only.

I think the most important thing to note when selecting cameras is that a better camera does NOT make you a better photographer. More expensive cameras do not automatically equal better pictures. Sorry if that bursts anyone’s bubble. I get a lot of people who say, “You take great pictures . . . you must have a really nice camera.” But no one ever says to my sister, “You’re a great teacher . . . it must be because you work from a great curriculum.” No one says to my cousin, “You’re a great chef . . . you must have a great set of pots.” And certainly no one attributes a dancer’s skill to her shoes or a pianists’ skill to his piano.

Great photography is not a result of a nicer camera. Granted, the right tools help (just as nice pots and pans make things easier for a chef and a good curriculum might help a teacher), but unless you know how to use the tools, it makes little difference. Using any camera with the built-in flash on automatic will give you the a similar result to a nice point and shoot. That’s just the plain truth. At the same time, some people have cameras a step or two down from the one I have and take pictures that are way better than mine! It has a way less to do with the camera than it does with the photographer.

The bottom line is that if you want to take good pictures, the camera you use matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as learning to use the camera you have.

That said . . .
I use a Canon 40D (updated in August 2009: Canon 5D Mark ii) and I switch between 3 & 4 different lenses, but I use the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens the most and the 50mm f/1.8 when I’m outside with the camera (it’s a lot cheaper to replace if it breaks . . . which I’ve done twice). In my opinion the 50mm f/1.8 is such a good value that there’s really no excuse not to have it. The lens that I really want? The
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L. Got it!

Anyway, I used to say that for people who are buying a camera to shoot family, friends, everyday life, and other personal things (non-professional) the Rebel xsi is the best you can get for the money. But the 40D is so much cheaper now, that it’s about the same price as the Rebel. Actually, many professionals actually use the Rebel too! It’s a great camera that has all of the capabilities of a DSLR without the bulk.

The 50D is the new upgrade of the 40D. You’ll see a lot of 40Ds (and now 50Ds) selling used on ebay, because a lot of people get them and realize that it’s a little more camera than they need. The 40D is a good option, especially if you want to take the time to learn to shoot in manual or if you want to shoot semi-professionally. The 50D offers some minor upgrades from the 40D, but not enough to make me want to spend the extra money right now. If you’re upgrading from a 40D, the price would have to come down a lot to make the small improvements worth spending that much. And I’m not sure the differences in the 40D v. the 50D make it worth the current difference in price.

Also, if you’re thinking about upgrading to a nicer camera, maybe think first about buying a nicer lens.

Ok, there are my pseudo-educated thoughts on cameras. Happy new year!