Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ode to Green

This is my ode to green. Since we moved in I have been saying I want to paint the kitchen green. In the beginning Dave was hesitant, but he slowly warmed up to the idea and ended up picking out the color. It took three coats of paint and a full day in the kitchen for me to like the color. Oh, it is definitely green!
Once the kitchen was painted we went through our pictures and picked 4 pictures to enlarge and frame. Two of the springs we were in Europe we drove up to the Netherlands to visit the Keukenhoff which is a large estate about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam. Every March-May you can visit the estate, walk around and see all the bulbs, mostly tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, etc. It is similar to the Disneyland of flowers and if you are in Europe during these months you MUST go to Keukenhoff.
We picked out our pictures, enlarged them and this weekend we should be receiving them back from the framers. I cannot wait. Dave is crazy and enlarged one of the pictures to 24x36! But it is gorgeous and will go on the wall you see in the middle picture.
Our kitchen flows into the family room, so now we are trying to figure out how to tie the green into the family room. On either side of the fireplace we have built-in bookshelves, so we decided to paint the back of the bookshelves. Yea! It looks fab. Monday night Dave looked up a "how-to" decorate a bookshelf on the internet and then put it all together. He is SO funny.
We are slowly making our house our home which is so fun. In the process we are also learning more about each other, our tastes, and how we make decisions. It is funny.
A couple weeks ago I wanted to go to Home Depot to pick up some paint chips. Apparently Dave thought I was going to actually pick out the paint color and was surprised when I wanted to leave the store with every green paint chip in the store. Once we got home he continued to insist that I could pick whatever color I wanted...but as I hesitated and thought and contemplated he burst in and said, THIS one!
Dave is very decisive, is very artistic, and has definite opinions. After we took a trip to Tuscany he painted what is shown in the third photo. It looks great in our new green kitchen. Now we have to pick out fabric for roman shades that I will make for the kitchen, and panels that I will make for the family room. Brea took me to several fabric stores this morning and we cut a million swatched. I am so excited to finish up this project...though I suppose it will not be totally finished until we get some new furniture.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Miss Hadleigh Claire Bakes

The little miss has turned into quite a little helper. She LOVES to follow me around the house and help move the wash to the dryer, and vacuum, make beds, fold clothes, etc. Her new phrase is, "I do it" or "You help" (you refering to herself) or "Hadleigh Claire do".

In the past couple of weeks she has been helping me cook. It is fun, but sometimes cooking seems a little dangerous (with hot burners, etc). I am thinking baking is a safer option. Monday the little miss helped me bake snickerdoodles. She was SO excited when I said we would bake cookies. She helped me measure out and "dump" all the ingredients into the mixing bowl, especially loving to "tap" the flour. Yesterday we made granola bars and she was so excited to get to tap again.

Rolling each cookie into a ball was super fun and Hadleigh did a wonderful job. She did not completely get the rolling, but the cookies taste wonderful.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can You Say Mastitis?

You have it right folks, 8 teeth. How is that possible? Annelise is dentally advanced. And what some MAY call cute little teethers, all I see when I look at them is mastitis waiting to happen.

While I was prego with Hadleigh my good friend Sara had her first baby, Ellie, and shortly afterwards ended up in the hospital with a horrible case of mastitis, cover your eyes boys...that is a breast infection. After watching that I swore I would be very diligent to not end up in the same situation...ouch! And now I have little, crazy, elf, Annelise, who now has 8 teeth and has been a chomper from the beginning. I have considered weaning altogether, but I cannot get the crazy elf to take a bottle. ugh. So I have been dealing with the chomps, until last week.

I had a horrible time sleeping last Tuesday night, and woke up on Wednesday SURE I indeed had mastitis. I packed up the girlies and ran to the doc. It seems I definitely had an infection that was threatening mastits, but not quite. Good grief! I was sent home with a prescription in the event it did take a turn for the worst, and had a phone consult with the lactition. She seemed completely horrified at my current situation, or maybe more at Annelise, and at my inability to stop hello...I do not like being trying everything here.

After another day of dilligence and much prayer all seemed to clear up. I am now following very precise instructions from the nurse...though Annelise is proving not to be a "normal" baby...she can chomp without warning.

So we continue on with the nursing...and hope that we will all make it to the blessed day of November 2 when I will have my body back for the first time in 3.5 years and Annelise will be outta luck.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts on Cells

I am trying to remember where my cell phone is at this very moment. I think it is either in my purse in the kitchen, or it is in my diaper bag which is in the guest room, or it is somewhere in the recesses of the floorboard of my car...1993 Buick...yea baby!

Before moving to Germany I was obsessed with my cell. I had this cool flip phone from Sprint...that was just when flips came out. I was actually one of the last people to get a cell, at least of my peers, but it was SO handy! I was always calling someone on my way home from work, and of course when Dave and I started dating it was always fun talk to him. I was kind of a junkie.

When we moved to Germany we got little cell phones, but I really got out of the habit of using it. It seems funny now because being in a foreign country I probably had more use for it than I do here. If I broke down on the side of the autobahn it would have been bad. Anyway, Dave and I were pretty much cell phone free while we lived there...though we did use it quite frequently while we were awaiting the arrival of Miss HC.

I really liked not being linked to my cell phone. Life in Germany in general is a lot slower than life here. When we first moved back here I had a hard time keeping up...not that I really wanted to. We were not anxious to enter the "rat race" and owning a cell phone seemed to opitimize the race. But we survived here in the states for about 2 weeks without a phone. Of course it is hard to look for a place to live and a job if you have no way to be reached. Dave and I marched into the mall and bought matching blue and pink phones.

So, we have phones, though I have lots of thoughts on my cell and try to take a lesson from my time in Europe when tempted to use the phone.

For example, it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving in Germany. I think this is a good practice and rarely talk on the phone while driving. If the girls are in the car with me I refuse to talk on the phone, I just think it isn't safe.

I will not answer the phone when I am in a store. I will not talk on the phone when I am at the pool or park or out with the girls. Of course if I am at the pool I am usually in the pool with the girls. Yesterday Dave and I were at the park with the girls and this mom was walking around with her kiddo (who was young), trying to keep track of him while talking on the phone. It seemed so sad to me!

It is hard because I think the cell is sometimes just one more distraction that takes me away from enjoying life one minute at a time, and from enjoying my minutes with those I am with at the moment.

There are lots of other things that take me away from my family and girls, and I am trying to bring a lot of that into I sit here and type on my blog. I can sit at the computer all day long and be happy, but not engage with Dave or the girls. We have all of these things that are made to make our life easier, but they probably just clutter up my life and keep me from investing on the very people who are right in front of my face.

Of course there are some great reasons to have cells and I am thankful for that. I guess all of that is to say, when in doubt call me at home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Move Over Kraft

I did not grow up on Kraft Mac 'N Cheese. Mom always made it from scratch. I am also not a huge fan of cheese, so I never truly enjoyed mac 'n cheese and do not really ever remember eating it as a child.

I have grown tolerant of cheese when it is cooked in things, like casseroles, etc. Last spring when I was prego with Annelise I got hooked on Kraft mac 'n cheese. I could have eaten it everyday which is nice to have something that sounds appetizing when you are puking and generally nauseous all the time. It was perfect because I would make it for HC and I for lunch. I remember feeding HC, putting her down for her nap, and eating the rest of it while lounging on the couch watching "What Not to Wear" (watching Stacey and Clinton really helps me keep up with what is acceptable in clothing...not that I am in style...but I was able to give Jess some pointers when we went shopping the other day..."you can totally do that, Stacey and Clinton say so!").

Of course eating Kraft isn't the best option. So once we ate through the value pack Dave bought from Big Lots, I began to make Hadleigh homemade mac 'n cheese. Yummy. I have a recipe that is close to my mom's and have been using that. About a month ago I found a recipe called Alpine Bake in my Best of Best Food and Wine Cookbook. That is yummy, just ask the gals who pray with me on Mondays...It is made with mozerella and parmesan and has spinach and leeks. Yummy!

A week or so ago I found another recipe that sounded fun, and I made it tonight. I am going to include the link. It was very good and yummy. It is made with squash, so a great way to squeeze some veggies into the meal. And we all LOVE squash, so it was a big hit for us. I will make a small note. When making it just note that the roux is VERY thick, and when the cheese is mixed in it looks like taffy...have no fear once the squash is mixed in it will all work out. Yummy.

Monday, July 21, 2008


It is true, Hadleigh is anal. In the truest sense of the word, my daughter has a poop problem. The problem is she doesn't like to poop and holds it in...and you thought I was anal! The word is this is a somewhat normal problem, but it still painful.

We have tried lots of things. Sometimes she will hold it in for several days and we have to use extreme measures to get rid of poop. Before this problem developed (over the last several months) she had been great at going poop on the potty before her bath. But at this point we are just thrilled when she goes at all. This has been a battle with potty training, though I decided early on that we were going to roll with the punches on the poop front. I just want her to poop daily and once we have that going I will worry about getting it in the potty. This is one reason why we are keeping her in diapers during sleepy time.

We have tried all sorts of things...sitting on the potty for 10 minutes before bed, rewards, etc. She knows she will get ice cream if she poops in the potty, but although she LOVES ice cream she is not motivated to sit on the potty.

She is so anal that she will suck her little tummy in and squeeze her butt cheeks together and moan and moan before she will poop. It is SO ridiculous. When it comes to this we generally have to MAKE her sit on the potty through much screaming and of course she poops...we do a dance, make a big production, give ice cream, etc.

Today we were at the pool when the moaning began. We ran to the bathroom and I had to hold her down on the pot while she screamed to get down. After about 8 minutes she pooped, we celebrated, she got ice cream, major deal. SHe is always thrilled when she poops, it is the anticipation of it that is difficule. Just an hour after the pool incident she had to poop again and it was the same scenario...MUCH screaming for about 5 minutes and then poop.

Today was a good day. I try to make the poop on the pot as fun as possible...but sometimes it is just silly and we just have to make her sit there, even when she doesn't want to. We don't know what to do...other than what we are doing. I just hope it works itself out soon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Many Projects

Thought I would update on our project list. We have been busy. It is interesting being a home owner. We really love our home, but we continue to find little things wrong. We call our house the house of unfinished projects because it seems like the previous owners started and failed to complete a lot of things. We knew about several, but continue to uncover new projects at random. For instance there was a big pile of weeds in one corner of our yard and as Dave went to town clearning it he found a footprint for a shed. Random. And our patio is all ready to have a screened in porch, but it looks like they started the project 5 years ago and then just stopped.

It seems that the owners tried to spruce the house up a bit before selling, and while they didn't do a horrible job, they didn't do a great job. A lot of the woodwork molding is painted (like they just failed to tape it correctly) so now that we are painting colors we are having to paint the molding a bit. Just silly stuff. Glad I am married to McGyver who can fix ANYTHING. And it makes me happy that a lot of the things we are finding were on our list to do in the net 5 years anyway. are some of the things we have been up to...
I decided to keep my $90 per shade at Pottery Barn and make Roman Shades for Hadleigh and Annelise. They turned out well, and were fairly simple. Annelise's is first and Hadleigh's is second.
This is still in process, but it is a picnic blanket. I hope to finish it soon.

And this is our project of the weekend...painting the kitchen. I was REALLY nervous when Dave wanted this color. But I let my color "deficient" husband pick this one out and it is truly a winner. I thought it was going to be too yellow, but it looks super nice. Now if we can only agree on what pictures to hang on the wall! More pictures of this to come.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Centrality of the Gospel

So you have heard me probably mention the gospel and importance of living in light of the gospel. The gospel is not just something that we preach to non-believers, but something that as believers we preach must to our hearts everyday. I do not know about anyone else, but for me this has been a revolutionary discovery for me in the last 10 years.

In the last couple of years Dave and I have been learning a lot about morality, and the difference between morality and Christianity. It is a shame because a lot of people, including myself, seem to think they are more or less the same thing. If I am a Christian, I am moral. If I am moral, I am a Christian. Now, I wouldn't have necessarily said it like that, but I certainly live like that. I posted about that before, so I will leave that alone.

One of these days I need to post about my journey over the last 15 years. Dave should probably do that as well, as we seem to have similar stories about how we have journeyed to Christ and how we currently understand God. I struggled so much in college with what I was taught about God. Is there such thing as a second blessing, can I really loose my salvation, will I ever be able to say I haven't sinned since 1982? That is a lot of pressure! Especially since I liked to say "hell" and other words like that (though most of my friends found that amusing...except when I used it while speaking to a professor during class...YIKES!). I try not to say that least not around the girlies...wouldn't that be nice? Instead of Hadleigh saying Wacka, Wacka, she will be walking around saying, "What the hell?"

The nice thing about my whole journey is that at every step and point it pushed me closer in to Christ, and deeper into scripture to find truth and understand God. How did he save me, why did he save me, how does that all work together. How am I sanctified, what is my responsibility as a believer.

I once asked Dr. Kooistra (coordinator of Mission to the World), if I do not HAVE to read my Bible to gain "points" or to get into heaven or to be better or to be sanctified, why SHOULD I read my Bible, and what is my responsibility in my own Christian life? He responded as Martin Luther probably would have responded, "All of life is repentance! Our responsibility is to repent, and you need to repent because you think you can go a day without reading His word or asking for His guidance." Wise words.

So, here is the link you have all been waiting for...Tim Keller's article "The Centrality of the Gospel". We had to read a portion of it for our study of Galatians this week...when Paul criticizes Peter for being a hypocrite. Good stuff.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Miss Hadleigh Claire is 28 Months

Today Miss HC is 2 years and 4 months old. True to her two years her fav word is "no". Even if the answer is really yes, she says no. This has made me a lot more creative when I ask questions or want her to do things. For example, I do not ask her if she has to use the potty, I just say, "let's go potty!" As if going potty is some kind of game...but it usually works. On the potty topic she is doing well with the potty training. Last week we had a couple of issues, but we have rebounded and are back on the right track. Last Saturday and Sunday she went potty in her car seat. Saturday I thought it was partly my fault, but after washing her seat cover (which can only be removed from her carseat by using a screw driver) I put it back together Sunday morning before church. Dave was upstairs holding Annelise so she would take a nap, and as I was gathering things for church, making snacks and getting bags together Hadleigh was sitting in her carseat. She LOVES sitting in her carseat, so I did not think it odd. As it neared time to leave the house I ran upstairs, dressed Annelise, put her in her carseat and in the car. I came back inside to grab Hadleigh and her carseat and when I grabbed her I noticed she was wet. For real? I was so angry! New outfit for Miss HC, and Dave threw in our bigger carseat. We managed to make it to church almost on time...though I was in a foul mood. Ever since then we have been doing well. THis past weekend we drove up to Knoxville to visit Dave's fam, and she did fabulous on the trip (which is about a 4 hour drive) telling us when we needed to stop.

Hadleigh is now quite a singer. She is amazing. She sings in the correct key, can hum, sing the words, and also clap in rhythm. I am wondering if Dave's musical genes have been passed down to her. Now I have dreams of getting a piano! That is a bit down the road...our first furniture purchases need to be a dresser and a we will see what develops in the future. In the meantime we will continue singing accapella with her, or maybe I should break out my guitar with her.

While the little miss might be a future concert pianist I am not so sure if the Olympics will ever be a consideration. Coordination is not her middle name...and she has me to thank for that. She is getting better at running, but is reasonably clumsy. It is cute and makes us laugh to see her run sideways into a wall or door. Poor thing! Though on land sports might be out, she is doing really well with her swimming. She will now jump (without holding our hands) into the pool, and likes to "swim" from person to person. She will put her face in the water and blow bubbles, and kick.

Hadleigh is a little girl on the go. As soon as she wakes up she is asking about going somewhere. Most often she is asking to go to the pool or to see her friends Jacob, Brennan or Sadie. She gets SO excited when she sees any of her buddies.

The little miss isn't the most verbal girl, but she is slowly getting there. One of our most fav things to do recently with her growing verbal skills is to pray before she goes to bed. We have always prayed with her, but now she likes to pray too. After I pray for her and Annelise, we pray for our family. She loves saying everyones names, and often remembers people on her own (like her cousins). After we pray for our family she asks to pray for her little girl friends, and she will go through all of her buddies and say them by name. Sometimes she needs a little prompting of names. After praying for her little girl friends we pray for her big girl friends (and she just repeats all of the names), so we pray for all of the folks in our community group, and a few other folks that Miss loves. Our final prayer is for our friends in Iraq. We always pray for Wes, Seith, Alex and Ricky, and then any others that come to mind. Praying with Hadleigh is one of my favorite things to do in the day. It is fun to pray so specifically for people by name. When we were in Baumholder and the guys were deployed Dave and I would pray every night for them. It was such a wonderful discipline, and a way to stand with our friends who were missing their husbands. I am glad Hadleigh and I are able to do that in such a special way now.

That is about all I have to say about Miss HC. She is my sweet little girl and I love being her mama.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Elf is 8 Months

Annelise is getting SO big. She has accomplished much this month. She had her first airplane ride, and first hotel experience. It is odd to think that by this age Miss HC had been to 11 countries and on a plane and in hotels numerous occassions. Welcome to the US and the second baby...I think there is a bit of evolution in the family. When you just get married you can really still act single...there is still a lot of freedom to do what you want and go where you want...with one kiddo you loose a little freedom, but still the little one can still do a lot of stuff with you. We were willing to take HC to Community Group with us and put her down at Sara's house, we took her to several countries, etc. Now with two, being free things a bit of a thing of the past. Just the thought of being in a hotel room with both of the crazies is enough to push me over the edge! But in light of that we are still committed travelers and I refuse to sit still for too long. Though at this point our exciting travels are to Tennessee not to Spain.

This month Annelise has improved her eating techniques. She has added more food to her list, like squash and green beans, and probably other things I just cannot think of what else. A HUGE milestone is that on Friday she took a bottle for the first time. I am SO thrilled about this because it could possibly mean a little more freedom for me in the near future. She has been against the bottle from the minute she was born. I remember in the hospital I asked the nurses to keep her overnight and feed her formula so I could get some sleep (go ahead and judge me now), but the nurses could not get her to take a particular baby! So Friday I was able to get her to take a bottle of apple juice. She refuses formula, but I figure we can work up to that. I will probably still nurse her until she is a year, but having the bottle just give me a little more freedom.

Sitting up is a fav past time for the Elf. She loves sitting and playing with different toys, or eating cheerios (another fav). The funny thing is that a couple weeks ago I began to sit her in the high chair and give her some cheerios. I thought she was eating them until one day I glanced at the seat of the high chair...where there was no less than 100 cheerios sitting on the cushion. I guess they weren't quite making it to her mouth! But now she is addicted to the cheerios and they are making it to her mouth.

Annelise LOVES to roll. I can put her down on one side of the room and she will roll to the other side if she sees something she wants. She is also wiggling on her tummy to get something she wants. It looks like an army I think mobility is in her near future.

Sleeping is going reasonably well. She will sleep from about 6pm-6am. The naps have calmed down and are a little more predictable. She will usually sleep for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Sometimes she will sleep for longer than an hour...but not consistently.

Annelise is quite a talker, and loves saying Nanananananana. She loves Hadleigh and it is fun to see them interact. Hadleigh is a great big sister and is usually willing to share, and also to entertain Annelise. Often when Annelise is crying she will go up to her and start talking to her, giving her toys, or patting her on the back. Generally that will calm Annelise down long enough to give me time to finish my task and pick her up.

Going to the pool is one of our fav activities and Annelise LOVES the water. She enjoys sitting in her floaty and just kicking it while Hadleigh and I play. It is nice to have that card in my back pocket when it has been a hard day...I know the pool will generally work to calm her down.

As I am putting Annelise to bed at night we have been singing together. I love doing this, I actually think it is one of my favorite Mommy sing with the girls before bed. We have been singing a song based on Zeph 3.17, and I also enjoy singing "My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness".

The older she gets the more fun it is to see her little personality, and to interact with her. I love making her smile and giggle and talk. She is a little sweet girl.