Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009.......

It's been an eventful year. Some of which has managed to make it onto my blog, most of which has not... Today as I say 'farewell' to 2009 and 'hello' to 2010 I thought I'd take a moment to update those missing months.

July came and went with a bang befitting a fireworks display. In the course of that one short month I said 'See you on the flip side' to my brother-in-law, his wife, and their 3 children as they headed off to South Korea courtesy of Uncle Sam. I still miss them even with Facebook and Skype keeping us closer than we ever could have hoped for 10 years ago. Then 2 weeks later we packed up as much as we could fit into the Uhaul and moved to Indiana. Russ has a wonderful job now. He's so happy, so peaceful, knowing he's doing God's work where God willed him to be. It's an amazing thing to be living in the perfect will of God. We may still make mistakes, but there is a peace we have never felt before.

Our home is situated at the back of the church grounds. From our carport we can look out to see the beautiful church building. Russ has his own office where he can go and work on his schoolwork without interruption from the children (or at least a LOT less interruption from the children). There is a large gymnasium where they can run around and be children, as long as there is no food being served! The members are so warm and friendly. It's like we've known them our whole lives. It's everything we could dream of and so much more. I just wish family wasn't an 11 hour drive away.

Summer melted into Fall as Russ, the children and I tried to make a new schedule and get used to the new normal. It took me all fall to get used to having a church service at 8am. That's a little early in the day for me to be completely church presentable. I've learned to let go of a few vanities like makeup and jewelry in favor of 10 more minutes in my warm bed. School has gone well for Zach and Josh. Josh was placed into the High Ability Language Arts within a month or so and seems to love it. Zachary came home this Christmas break with a permission form to administer the SAGES Test for Giftedness on him in early January to place him into a similar High Ability group. Alex began preschool at the church, and he LOVES IT. It's just sometimes a challenge to get him off the computer and out the door. LOL!

Winter has been an adjustment for me so far. Snow here has been dustings. I'm used to Pennsylvania winters where they got a 12" snowfall already. We traveled back to PA for Christmas and we all enjoyed getting in the snow and having a snowball fight. My kids are pretty smart, they used the van as a bunker and Dad and I had a hard time getting to them without risking damage to the van. Christmas with family was a great time. I saw many of our family members, and several more friends. I even managed to surprise Russ with a brand new baton for Christmas among other little things.

All in all, I have to say that while it was a lot of change to take place all at once, it's all for the better, and I am very much looking forward to 2010. I'll have one son hit double digits, all my sons enter full time school, and hopefully pay off a few major headaches in the bill department. It's going to be a good year, because I know who holds me up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

PACKING! Aaaaaagh!

I'm done working.
The kids are ALL HOME with me!
Alex is finally successfully adapting to the potty training.


I am packing.

I am packing for a four day weekend interview that will more than likely change our lives. If successful we will be moving 3 states west and starting a whole new adventure. I am packing up cute short sets for a BBQ. I am packing up swimwear for the hotel. I am packing up church clothes for the interview and vote day. By the end of the week, I will be packing up the van, packing up the cooler, and finally packing up Russ and the kids and heading out.

I am also so hopeful of this weekend's vote that I am packing up the house. I'm not super packer yet, but I'm putzing around getting a few things done. Already checked off my list, anything that was formerly hanging on the family room walls, anything resembling a longaberger basket, all my boyd's bears, all candles, and all Christmas Decor. Next up, craft supplies, dishes that we don't use everyday, and excess clothing (such as winter clothes).

Keep praying, friends!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Overwhelmed, but all positive

Tomorrow is my last day at work.
Friday is the kids' last day at school.
Vacation Bible School starts on Sunday evening.
Russ is on vacation here at home with us all next week.
My cousin Emily gets married next Saturday.
I'm hosting a Pampered Chef party on June 23rd.

AND.... The biggest news.....
The interview went SO WELL that within 30 minutes we were all asked (even the kids) to come to Indiana for a long weekend in mid-July for a BBQ on Saturday, Russ leading all the hymns and music on Sunday morning including singing a solo for special music, and a church vote in the evening.

It's going to be a whirlwind around here for a LONG while. I hope everyone has their tray in the upright and locked position and their seatbelts securely fastened.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And then the volcano erupts...

I woke up on Monday morning thinking "Ok. Today is D-day. Today is the day the seminary said we would know if they have an apartment for us." I went to work intending to call them at lunch. I simply could not remember the phone number. So then I thought "well, I'll call them when I get home from work" and then I had to do something extra at the end of the day and didn't make it home in time. I was starting to get depressed that I hadn't managed to get the information that was so important to me. I headed home, and found that Russ had very sweetly handled the whole thing over his lunch break.

So ... what's the word? Wait. Once again we were told to wait. The seminary in an effort to eliminate he said/she said sends out emails so that everyone has everything in writing and they anticipated those letters would go out on Friday June 5, and we'd have a week to make our decision if we were offered an apartment.

An hour later we got unexpected news, the church in Indiana would like to have a conference call with Russ on Sunday evening June 7. If he got this job, we wouldn't NEED an apartment from the Seminary!! YAY! Ok so we wait for the email on Friday and the call on Sunday and then we'll have nearly a week to make the decisions.....right?

NOPE! The next morning we woke to an email offering us an apartment at the Seminary. It's not available July 1 like we had asked, but it is available August 1. The only catch. We now have to tell them June 8th. That's right, less than 24 hours after the phone interview/conference call, we have to decide about the apartment. During those hours we also have to sleep and work. If we take the apartment we're locked into a year long lease at a pretty substantial rental price. If we count on Russ getting the job and decline the apartment and the job falls through, we go back on the waiting list, and start over. In that case, we'll be moving NEXT YEAR.

I'm so glad I have a stead fast, rock solid, faith filled husband. I'm going out of my mind, and lucky for me, he's picking up all the pieces. I love you, Russ.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

8 years already...

Today my Joshua turns 8. Ok tomorrow afternoon, but close enough. It's so hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday that I became the panicked mother of 15 month old and 2 minute old sons. The moment I looked into those deep deep blue eyes I was lost in love.

Your hair was so blonde it was white, your eyes so deeply blue they looked nearly purple and your ears came out slightly rumpled to the point that your daddy said "AH! He's an elf!" You were not a happy baby. Chronic acid reflux made you sick almost constantly for months and you'd cry incessantly at times. The only person who could make you happy was your Grampy.

You outgrew your troubles and became a happy funny child. You love to laugh and make the rest of us laugh along with you. Everyone who meets you loves you and you are your Aunt Cindy's favorite (don't tell your brothers!) and you love others with a fierceness that no one else can touch.

You are my little helper as long as I'm not asking you to clean, but that's okay, there are other jobs to be done.

Today is your day. We have some surprises in store for you, and the whole school is even cancelling class in your honor. Okay, okay, so they call it "Field Day" but we know better. *wink* Have a happy birthday, son. We all love you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two steps forward.....and then.....wait.

No updates to post to the initial phone contact, but this is how it works. Two steps forward and then wait. At least there's no dancing backwards. My mood, however, is definitely 2 steps backward and I'm battling a round of depression today. Working on it usual.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exciting News!

We got an initial contact call from the church that Russ applied to in Southern Indiana. The conversation seemed very positive, and we learned some very interesting things...

1) the apartment at the Seminary is 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms 1,000 sq ft and the house at the church is 2 bedrooms unknown number of baths and 800 sq ft. This panicked me until Russ and a friend convinced me to borrow dad's laser room measure and find the sq footage of this place we live in now....miraculous answer... 805 sq ft. Downsizing? Puh-shaw. Not so worried about it now.

2) the community where this church is located has about 3,000 people. Hmmm... I think my high school graduating class had almost 700.

3) This church has 2 services with 230 members. The pastor has been there for 26 years.

So in an effort to prepare a demonstration packet I uploaded some raw video to You Tube. Not the traditional approach we would normally take. Here enjoy:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


In order to move to Louisville, we need a place to live while we're there. To that end we asked for campus housing. I called this morning and was told that availibility was "questionable". Basically with tenants only being required to give 30 days notice, we may have slightly less than 30 days notice when something finally becomes available.

However, decisions still need to be made so that when that notice finally comes we can pick up and go. So today, with much sadness, I resigned my job. I will continue to work until the last day of school for the boys, June 12. The following week will be our church's Vacation Bible School, and the week culminates in my cousin's wedding on Saturday. Russ took that whole week off work which will be a welcome change in the routine. We will pack all day and enjoy the family time, and then Bible School every evening. We'll have all day Friday to rest before the trip to the wedding.

In between today and June 12, I have to host a Pampered Chef party, sort out all the items we're not taking and not storing and get it to my sister's house for a yard sale, arrange the storage of the things I love dearly but am not going to take. That doesn't mention all the normal schedule things that we will still have to do.

I'm in over my head and down to the wire. I hope this is the way I work the best. I really really hope cause no one else is going to come do it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Catching up....Again.

Ok so that dumpster was filled to capacity and set to be hauled away on Good Friday April 10. Much to my dismay I awoke that morning at the ripe ole hour of 1:30am with an unusual tightening in my back on the right side. I had my suspicions and one trip to the little girls' room later I had my confirmation. I spent the next 2 hours trying to convince Hubby that SOMEONE needed to take me to the ER for some phenergan and toradol. I finally told him to do whatever he felt he needed to in order to care for our sons and called my mother in tears. She ran a red light. I'm not sure I've ever seen my very rule following mother do that.

I was admitted to the Emergency Department in record time and had an IV running strong in a matter of minutes. Phenergan and Toradol followed close behind and then a CT scan to confirm a 2mm intruder ripping it's way south. I was released to my mother's care by 5am. I went home wanting nothing but my bed only to find that I had no key and my instructions to my hubby to care for the children however he felt he needed had translated to wake the kids up at 4:30am and take them to your mom. He then proceeded to the ER to find I had been released. Meanwhile I headed to my mom's.

By 7am I was sleeping a drug induced sleep. At 9am I felt an inexplicable drive to call off work, FOR THE NEXT NIGHT. I don't know what I was thinking. Moreso, I don't understand the paranoia that led me to believe that calling in had cost me my job. I then called my friend who works for the company providing the dumpster and we had a good laugh at my expense. I was, in all truth, high as a kite from all the meds. Why would anyone allow me on the phone? Well, because I was home alone.

I passed back out and consequently passed my intruder sometime between 9:15am and 3:15pm. The rest of the weekend was back on track for Easter Festivities. Upon my return to work on Monday (no I didn't lose my job afterall) we all had a good laugh once again at my expense. I promise from now on when I'm drugged to high high heaven (thanks JJ for that very acurate phrase) I will not try to use a phone.

HAPPY EASTER everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

Today is the day. There is a dumpster outside my house that I am determined to fill to capacity. Downsizing has begun in earnest. This may be hard on my men, but the next step will be hard on me. I will be calling in 2 dear friends to force ME to part with some of my essentially useless mementos.

I have this beautiful vision of what our new apartment will look like and it is decidedly clutter free. So it's out with the old in anticipation of the in with the new in a few short months... very few and very short. I better get back to work!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To blog or not to blog....

Ahhh what a question... not something I envision Shakespeare pondering, but nonetheless, my muse of the week. I wanted this blog to be upbeat and positive, and the whole mess with the bed already went and blew a hole in that. So I recommitted to myself that this would not be a gripey whiney blog. But you know what folks? I said I'd keep it real too, and maybe this blog could help someone even if it was only me.

So in minor detail my week has gone something like this Monday came and went without incident, and then Tuesday the world shifted on its axis as we learned that a branch of the family tree (and dear friends of ours) were being ordered to a duty station an entire hemisphere away. 12 short hours later my husband hit a major emotional hurtle in his coursework that left him pondering dropping out of his classes and changing the course of this family forever. That announcement led to me throwing a hissy fit well past midnight. At 9:30am Wednesday morning as I grappled with all this news I got that dreaded call "Your grandmother was admitted to the hospital. We don't know anything yet, go to work, try not to think about it, we'll let you know..."

I went to work and looked at my assistant manager and said "Keep me busy. REALLY BUSY. Mind numbing, can't think straight, can't get lost in my mind....busy." and he did.

It is now Thursday evening. The family is still (as far as I know) going around the world from me. My husband's class issue is (as far as I know) not resolved. He is (as far as I know) STAYING in school (right, honey...this is where you nod to keep me happy)... and my grandmother seems to have once again rebounded herself right back to her 91 year young state.

It can all be done now. I'm ready to accept the new normal, just please, no more for a bit. Please?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Showing off

Ok so the boys got their haircut last night, so here's some pics just to show them off.
Ok what kind of smile is THAT, Zachary?
Joshua LOVES his new haircut. He begged me to take pictures so that they always cut it this way!
Too too cute!! He just HAD to wear his new Bee Shirt that Grammy gave him, and its matching shorts despite the chilly chilly morning!


Ok folks, I promise this is the last you will hear about my bedroom until we make our great move west and I post pictures of my new home, but...

IT'S FINALLY COMPLETE...and oh so comfy!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The End of Family Fun Weekend

The weekend wrapped up with a birthday party for my nephew Garrett. He turned 3 this week! We had Ice Cream Cone cupcakes and tons of fun. We were even given a chance to "visit" with Jason who is still stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. He "spent time with us" via cell phone!

A few pictures to help you get the feel!

It was great. By the time the party wrapped up I had also wrapped up the baby quilt I've been working on all weekend. I'll leave you with a picture and a question... What do you think??

Thanks Elizabeth for being a great "model"!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

VBS Training, Grandma's 90th, and Too Much Pooh!

So it's been another action packed day in the Family Fun Weekend Event! The day started with some AWESOME VBS training at the Carlisle Baptist Church. Fun was had by all, but especially by me as they had Russ write and perform (twice!) a rock and roll rendition of some verses in Peter. I got some video of it, but it's too large to upload and I don't (yet) know how to pare it down.

Anyway, then it was back to the in-laws to sew some more on that baby quilt I'm making. Here's what it looks like so far!

Not your typical pastel baby quilt, but I hope the new mommy likes it anyway. I however, think I will be scarred for life because of ALL THE POOH I'm seeing. TOO MUCH POOH!

So that leaves one very awesome birthday party for one very awesome 90 year old lady, my grandmother, Adelaide Crider. I'll say this: fun, fun, and hilariously funny. I'll let the rest be said in pictures.

My grandmother was so happy to see everyone!

The ultra-cool pictural family tree that my cousins made for her. We all contributed to the pictures, but the real geniuses that worked it all out were Sarah and Emily.

All her children, all her grandchildren, and all her great-grandchildren!
It was a great time of family and celebration. I had so much fun!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family Fun Weekend

It's a Family Fun Weekend. The Sis-in-law is here with her three little people (all roughly the same ages as my little people) for a birthday party for her littlest one, and there is a 90th birthday party for my grandmother tomorrow night.

The fun started tonight with dinner and a relaxing evening just sitting around the table talking and enjoying each other's company. While I chatted, I started working on that other baby quilt from a while back. It took me some time to play detective and learn what fabric theme to use, as they don't know what gender their baby is. A Winnie-the-Pooh themed baby quilt should be done by the end of the weekend (or shortly thereafter since her last day at work with us is Wednesday! I really need to learn NOT to cut these so close!)

The children laughed, the puppies played, and the grown ups chatted over sodas. It was lovely. I'm really looking forward to the rest of my weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Day I've Waited For... Part IV "A Small Glimmer of Hope"

Forward progress for the first time in days, I just received the voice message "The switch of boxsprings has been approved, please return our call to arrange delivery."

Phew. Some hope after a long long road...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Day I've Waited For...Part III "Hurry Up and Wait"

So Russ called last night and paid with a credit card for a new set of split queen boxsprings, right? Wrong. The lady never got it done. So when I appeared at the store today demanding my invoice there was no invoice, but there was one very angry manager.

So now it's 12 hours until church and well beyond any reasonable time for them to come pick up the trash. It's not happening. It has not happened despite 2 reasonably nice days to pick it up and's RAINING. Russ goes BACK to the store again and Angry Manager says "Oh no. I don't care if it is soaked to dripping they WILL take that mattress away for you. They have used up ALL their chances."

Gee I hope that makes Monday go in my favor! Oh and since the invoice wasn't written...we're now sleeping on the floor for one MORE night. Hoping for Wednesday delivery now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Day I've Waited For... Part II "The Flaw in the Plan"

Ok, when I left off the old bed was in my bedroom, and the new bed was on the back porch. Well slightly more than 36 hours later, it's a near total reversal. The update is that my King size mattress and its 2 twin boxsprings are on the back porch waiting for the removal service that I have now paid for, but hasn't yet arrived. The new headboard, footboard, and rails are in my room and fully assembled, the mattress sits on the floor in the middle of it all, and the queen sized boxspring sits in the Youth Sunday School rooms next door a testament to the drama that has unfolded.

The story inbetween goes like this. The bed company arrived with all the new bedding sans orders to remove the old. Enter babbling woman mode, and I sent them away saying repetitively "I don't know what to do. There's no where to put the new bed. I don't know what to tell you." So my new bed sat outside in boxes.

Russ arrived home at 3:30pm. By this point I had managed to get the 2 twin boxsprings out of the house without much difficulty, but no manner of fighting, cajoling, pushing, pulling or shoving would convince that king size mattress that it was out of my life for good. Maybe it knew something that I didn't. Russ helped me fold it in half, bungee cord it, and shove it down the stairs as a king sized mattress burrito. We then started unpacking and prepping the new bed for installation in our room.

By 4pm I was at the bottom of the stairs in anxious anticipation of my new and glorious bed, but by 4:20pm I was terrified that I had made a terrible mistake. We couldn't get the headboard up the stairs. It was too large and cumbersome to make it around the weird little angles and up the narrow steep stairs. Finally around 4:30 we twisted it the only way we had left, pushed up a few of our dropped ceiling tiles, and made it!!

After the headboard the footboard was a cake-walk, well with the exception that being a solid piece of wood, we think it MIGHT just have been heavier than the headboard. A little maneuvering later we had installed all the side rails, and bottom supports and felt that we had earned a trip out to dinner. We thought we'd also stop and ask the mattress company if there was anyway to remedy the removal glitch and come back for the mattress, 2 boxsprings and trash from the new bed. After the woman twisted my words around enough to make a saint angry, she charged us another $50 for "Recycling fees" and said they'd pick up all the trash today (Friday the 13th, I should have KNOWN better!!!!)

So then we come home from grabbing a fast Wendy's meal and make our first attempt to get the queen sized mattress and boxspring upstairs. It's now about 8pm. An hour later, many fights, many many MANY tears, and 3 bruises on my tired body, the boxspring will not make it. There isn't any way. I'm so tired and upset that Russ and I decide to take out the bottom supports, lay the mattress (which we squished up the stairs) on the floor and go to sleep.

Friday the 13th....

I get up (around noon) check my facebook, and lo and behold my dear friend Julie says, "Hey Steph, what about a split queen boxspring?" A what? I know they make a split KING but a split QUEEN? NO I had NO IDEA!! So I call the mattress store again, "Sure we have those. It will cost you $100 to switch the boxsprings out and another $65 delivery fee." You're kidding right, Nope! So Russ calls back after I yell and scream and stomp my feet awhile, and he pays it! They tell him that it will be delivered tomorrow (Saturday the 14th) "Oh and Ma'am" he says, "will they PLEASE pick up the trash and mattress tomorrow too please?" She replies "Absolutely" and an hour later she calls to say that there is this "little known rule. Switches require management approval at the warehouse and he's gone for the week. We can't get it approved until Monday, so we can't deliver until Tuesday next week."

So ... I'm still sleeping on the floor... inside the frame of my gorgeous new bed...with all the trash on my backporch...a boxspring in the Youth Sunday School room ... and church meets in about 36 hours. Great.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Day I've Waited For...

So it's the day I have waited for!! My new beautiful queen size sleigh bed arrives today. I woke up early to receive the phone call stating "we will be there between 9am and noon" ... wait, a three hour window?? You don't know when you're coming? Ok no big deal.

So now I'm home here with Alexander waiting with tremendous anticipation for the truck to arrive. At 10am it finally comes!!! They pull up to the back door, get out, and open the truck! I am SO very happy!! But wait! They start unloading and heading toward the house!! This isn't right. I calmly say, "You're not going to have any where to put that until the king size bedding is removed." Then it all unfolds in just minutes....I paid for the bed, the mattress and boxspring, delivery and set-up. I did not pay for removal of the old bedding. How was I supposed to sleep last night, wake up after Russ left for the day, and still remove my king size?? This is insane. So my new bed sits inside its cardboard boxes on my back porch, the mattresses are inside the church's Sunday School half of our house, and I'm on the phone with people who might be able to help me.

Update to follow.....I hope!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stalking the prey

We're all seated at one of those fine eating establishments that gives each child a bag with his or her food in it accompanied by an inexpensive toy. I have told my youngest not once, not twice, (not even sure how many times it truly was) that he could not have his toy until all his consumables had been devoured when I noticed that he had disappeared. I then see a small (apparently disembodied) hand come up and over the table on my side tapping around where his toy had just been. Noticing this event I handed the toy to Daddy on the other side of the table. Eventually a little brown haired head appeared to peek around at the table and see where the prey had moved to. He then (very silently) tucked back under the table and the hand reappeared patting down the other side of the table. Of course Daddy and I had moved it yet again, by this time all 4 of us sitting at the table are in such riotous laughter that we cannot even scold the little tiger for his stalking action. We simply blurt out between laughs "sit down and eat" and life resumes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's March 1

So I realized today that it is March 1st. That may seem to most of you to be very obvious, but it is very dramatic to me, because it means that we only have 4 months until we wanted to make our move to Louisville, Kentucky.

4 months to downsize, 4 months to pack, 4 months to clean...4 very, very short months.

I am now terrified. I think I will go resume my rocking in the corner now, at least until I figure out how in the world this is all going to work...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Eating Out Stag Style

Ok, so Alex had a "slobber party" with his cousin over at their grandparents' house last night which means that once I successfully dropped off my oldest 2 at school I was flying solo until I felt like making an appearance at aforementioned slumber party.

The day started great with a Stand Up Against Bullying Day for the big boys. I dressed them in pink polos and blue jeans and sent them on their merry little way to someone else's care....ahhhh. FREEDOM! So what's a mom to do? Why go back to bed of course! I went back to my nice warm king size until about 10:30am. I had NO INTENTION of sleeping that long, but it sure felt good.

So then it was off to the bank and out to the grandparents. I was literally IN their neighborhood when I remembered that Russ asked me to email his school work to his professor, which was safely saved in his harddrive. So turn around, go back home, fast forward an hour, now what's a free mom to do? Take myself out to lunch!

It seemed the perfect answer. I wanted to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant, but I had no "family time" options to go until next week or so. I head over, walk into the restaurant where Senor says "How many?" I was a little embarrassed, I'll admit, but I screwed myself up, and said proudly "One." Phew. Over. Right? Wrong? Senor repeats looking rather confused "One?" we go again. "Yes, I'm taking myself out to lunch. I earned it." How? By sleeping in? Great, now I feel sheepish and dumb again. Let's make it worse, he walks me around the corner near the kitchen and seats me in the corner, and there is no one else in the section. Oh well. So what. I did it.

Then another young man comes with silverware to take my drink order while we wait for my server to become available. He asks "Are we waiting on anyone?" Innocent enough, but I'm still reeling from my stupidity. "Nope. Just me." Finally my waiter comes, "I'll come back in a minute when your guest arrives. " GRRRrrrr. Now it's just not funny anymore. "No, it's just me, and I know what I'd like please."

So I eat my delicious food ALL by myself, and I'm waiting on the check when another slightly older woman walks into the section. She calmly says "I'll have my usual please." and looks at me, she states rather calmly "We must have been bad girls, they sat us way back here in the corner today." Laughing I reply "I thought they sat me back here because they couldn't figure out a woman taking herself out to lunch." The woman laughed back "nah, I do this at least once a week here. They all even know what I want to eat." Once again, I felt sheepish. What did I have to worry about?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Downsizing: From Scraps to Blankets

Ok, so I know it's not a conventional method of downsizing but I had all these scraps sitting around in totes, and I need to make a baby blanket for a co-worker, and I was just sitting around at the in-laws doggy sitting my puppy all day. Long story as to why she's at their house and not mine, but I digress...

Blanket project 1:

A little girl blankie. Not a baby, no pastels here, or at least very few. This is a toddler with a vibrant personality, so I grabbed up some rainbow fleece and some bold girly patterns and set to work. By the time I was done I was not disappointed in the fabric choices, only the mechanics of the seamstress. It seems that I made it a little narrow, missed a few corner points and puckered the fabric right in the middle, but oh well, I think it's still okay for my purposes...if not, just a good excuse to make another one!
Now that I have my method worked out, I'll move on to the neutral gender baby blanket for my co-worker. That will have to be another day though. This one took longer than I expected. So my to-do list still says...curtains for my kitchen, baby blanket for my co-worker, and whatever else may suit my fancy. What's truly sad is that I started those curtains for my kitchen last summer, they still aren't done, and we're moving out of her in less than 6 months. Oh well...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

By Special Request

Ok, since I was anti blog for a few months there, I missed Alexander's birthday. Not really, only here in blogland, but okay. So I was asked to upload pics of his 4 years of life too. By....none other than Zachary. Ok, buddy, whatever you's your day.

Alexander was always going to be my last baby even if he'd been my first. His entrance into the world was a giant cosmic joke right from the start. I won't elaborate on the conception story here for all the world to see, but if my friends really want to know, and don't already, I'll tell you privately. His actual entrance came about like this...

I was three weeks ahead of my due date, and I caught a horrible stomach bug from my preschool aged son, Zachary. After an entire day of illness and no end in sight, I called my OB-Gyn. They assured me that as long as I tried to keep putting fluids in, and didn't start cramping I'd be fine. At about 8pm Russ decided that I was too weak to care for the kids, and he wasn't feeling the greatest himself. He asked his parents to please take Zach and Josh for the night, promising to pick them up by 7am so parents could get to work. We both went to bed immediately.

Russ sleeps with a Cpap breathing machine, and I hate to try to wake him up in the middle of the night, because it's nearly impossible. At midnight or so, I realized that the rolling in my stomach was no longer "I'm going to be sick" feeling and more rhythmic. I started timing it thinking I had lost my last marble, no way I'm in labor, but sure enough, every 5-7 mins. By 2:30 am I figured that I was handling it ok, and I would wait and see if Russ woke up on his own and I'd tell him that I thought I was in labor.

At a little after 3am he woke. I managed to say "I think ..." as I rolled over so I could be sure he'd hear me, and my water broke. I started a new sentence "MY water just BROKE!" and he heard "I think my water just broke." 30 minutes later I finally convinced him that I was 100% sure that my water had INDEED broken. After a confused and frantic call to parents to explain why we would NOT be picking up the big boys, and we were off to the hospital. Well, after I broke rule #1 and took a shower. Hey! I'd been sick for a WHOLE day! I was not going like that!

Since I had been so sick and hadn't eaten, they didn't make me wait, and my C Section was completed in record time shortly after 4:30am. My OB said he'd been expecting my call ever since I had called to tell them I had the flu. They sure could have clued me in!

Alex was born with a double hydrocele. Basically he had 2 hernias where his testicles dropped through. He was okay, but would need surgery shortly after his first birthday. Then at exactly 28 days old, he contracted RSV most likely from an exposure from his older siblings and their preschool. He spend 3 days in a croup tent in the Peds ward. All this medical drama left me weak and a little frightened. We've thankfully seemed to pull through most of it. They told us he'd have asthma but so far they have been wrong. Then last year he spent 6 days and nights in the Peds ward again with the most bizarre case I have ever heard. He had an injury of some sort to his throat and it formed an abcess. No one has ever figured out the injury, but it took 4 and a half days to find the abcess. Once again, I found myself thinking that I was going to lose my son. Thankfully he's a fighter. He has a strong will, which is sometimes a great challenge for me as mom, but when he's sick, I'm thankful for it.

Once he had his surgery at 14 months, he became a different child. It was as if the doctor had removed some little switch. Like in the store, when you see Elmo and he sings this cute LITTLE song. You buy him and bring him home. You remove that little peice of plastic from his battery box and suddenly his singing is incessant and you just want him to be quiet for awhile. Alex felt SO much better that there was suddenly no stopping him, nor could any of us keep up with the little wild child. But he's so much fun! He loves (and seems to have always loved) trains. Thomas started him, and now he's into Geo Trax. My home is filled with everything train and his daddy loves it!

Alex is Grampy's "My Pal Al" and my little partner in crime. He has Uncle Brad wrapped around his fingers, and my daddy singing VeggieTales songs. He brings out the best in everyone he's around because you can't help but laugh with him. I cannot imagine life without him, and I'm so glad that God decided to laugh at Russ and I and our plans and put him into our lives. He's my night owl, my late sleeper, my cuddler, and my clown.

When he was tiny, we'd put him to bed by saying "Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Zachary loves you. Joshua loves you. EVERYBODY loves you." He remembers it even though we stopped long ago saying it to him, so even now he will randomly look at a family member and say "I love everybody." So if you're ever feeling low, just remember Alexander loves you.

9 years ago today...

9 years ago today I felt like I had been pregnant for an eternity. I was only 3 days past my due date, but I was as big as a house. Russ and I woke up very early (for me not so early for an Army Specialist) and were at the hospital at 6am. I was not in labor. By 7am I was IV'd and laying in a bed with all sorts of monitors everywhere, one on my finger, one on my belly, and I still swear there were 3 dozen or so more. By 8am I was wondering why I had to be there at 6am. By 8:15 I thought I would bolt right out the door and keep my baby inside as my Dr came in with Pitocin and an amniotic hook.

Meds were a welcome relief at 10:30am, but not the news that followed. I was only 3 centimeters, meaning I wasn't even a true third of the way to done. By 3:30pm Russ, our dear friend, Kat, and I were pretty bored. A wonderful nurse came in and said something that sounded like music to our bored ears, "Ok here we go. Push."

At 7:30 my Dr. finally made his appearance. He tried with no avail to use forceps and told me a C-section was in my VERY near future as I had worn myself out completely and had never gotten more than the crown of my baby's head out. About an hour later, I lay in recovery completely unaware of what my son looked like, while Russ was holding him and loving him right from the start.

9 years ago I couldn't have imagined what Zachary would be like today. He's so smart, funny, helpful, wise beyond his years at times. His dad and I swear that from the time he began to talk he carried around an invisible shotgun cocking it whenever he disagreed with what we had told him "Well, well, (chhk, chhk) I think (take aim) ... (BOOM!)" and blowing holes through all of our carefully chosen words. He taught us to talk to him and treat him like a little man right from the start because he is just too smart to "dumb it down" to a child's level.

He's more than just a budding artist. He paints the solor system, or Wooly Mammoths better than his mom, and even helped me on my artwork for Penn State last year saying things like "I think there needs to be something right there. You have a hole in the picture."

He accepted Christ while sick a few years ago saying "Mom can you pray to your Jesus to make me better. I know he can make me not sick" and in a moment of perfect clarity I responded "no I won't because He can be your Jesus too. All you have to do is ask Him to live in your heart and then tell Him you don't feel well. He will listen to you too." He loves to just sit and read his Bible. He tells me he recently finished all of Isaiah. I can't say that I've ever read that book cover to cover myself.

He loves to sing. Is there ever any surprise there when one of our children appreciates and participates with music?? One Sunday morning Russ was feeling rather put down about using contemporary praise music in our Sunday morning services. He had been told that no one was "getting anything out of them" and that he was wasting time and money. We were in the kitchen making lunch and discussing the different possibilities when Zachary came in the kitchen with Joshua close on his heels asking "Dad what's the second verse of Days of Elijah? We know all the parts up to that one spot and all the words after it, but we can't get that one spot right. We love that song. We want to know ALL of the words."

I never ever thought I'd have a 9 year old son, but I do, and I love him more every day. Happy Birthday my baby, my son, my Zachary.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


As you may notice I have added a slideshow to my blog. These are courtesy of my flickr account. Some are my zany family members, some are landscapes, some are artwork I've made, and some are well...just photos.

More to come when I get my new camera....hopefully TOMORROW!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Long, long ago, Russ and I decided that our children deserved a better answer than "because". As they grew we explained why birds don't fall out of the air, why they couldn't have cookies for breakfast, or why they can't watch videos rated higher than they could count.

Now 9 years later, I would give my left arm to look at my child and JUST say "BECAUSE" without hearing a dissertation on why they think I said no.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Catching up...

I was reminded this morning that I haven't been on here in forever and a few days...

So catching up...

Russ - is in the midst of his second semester at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for his Master of Divinity in Church Music. He is still doing it online, but this will be the last semester for that which leads me to ....

Me - I am currently working at Lifeway Christian Store and prepping the house for the great move west that will likely come in July 2009.

Zachary - will turn 9 in a few days. He's in the third grade and preparing for the PSSA exams this March.

Joshua - is 7 and 1/2 and in the 2nd grade. I finally met someone this year that is helping me diagnose his minor speech issue. More info on that to follow in the coming weeks/months.

Alexander - is ornery as ever. He just turned 4 and still has not successfully potty trained in the least, but we're still not pushing. Of course, that sentence could change at any moment, especially after we see the Baby Doc next Thursday.

Ok....caught up? Alright! Then I'm off to pick up the first piece of some new bedding for the new twin over full bunk bed that will arrive tomorrow. Pics will follow! Assuming I figure out how to post them!