Friday, May 30, 2008

Makeover for my kitchen

The last couple of days, I have been working on a project that I have mulled over for years now and finally decided to take the plunge on...I am painting my kitchen! It's a bit of a bear because of the vaulted ceiling, but I have conquered the extension ladder and it's going pretty well. I only have to roll one more coat of paint on and then the top part will be done (I am going to try my hand at crackle-painting below the chair rail).




Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A precious moment with my big little boy

...we were reading books together, but then he rolled over and was fast asleep in about fifteen seconds! We used to nap like this when he was tiny enough to fit just on my chest -- but now he's way too heavy and I had to send Abigail to get Bruce (who was working at home) to carry David to his bed!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How does your garden grow...

Our garden is starting to take off -- we've gotten a good bit of rain this month and now the days are getting hot and steamy, so the plants are shooting up.

The last two Saturdays Bruce and David have been working on a new idea for keeping our tomatoes upright. We've always used traditional tomato cages, but every year we've been down here, the plants get huge and tip the cages right over to the ground. I must admit to a good-natured chuckle or two as I watched these big ole "contraptions" (as I affectionately refer to them) get assembled, but yesterday we strung twine between them and I must say that I really do think they're going to work! Another testament to Bruce's talent, first with a yellow legal pad (where he does his "thinking") and then with his tools. I married a talented guy!

Yesterday, besides twine-stringing, we also thinned out the corn, bean, and cucumber plants, hoed and hilled the corn and beans, weeded, straightened out the rabbit fence (a shorter, smaller-link fence inside the chain link), cut out some renegade sweet-gum treelings that liked the tilled soil, and laid down some more black plastic for weed-control.

Pictured at left, clockwise from the top left: tomatoes (fresh salsas, golden mamas, tangerine mamas, and one cherry); Ruby Queen corn; cucumbers; zinnias (inside the white flags; that's what the kids chose and planted this year); wax beans, and to the left of that but you can't see it in the picture are sweet potatoes.

That's everything in our spring garden! (Things like greens, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, have to wait for the fall garden...our southern summers are too hot for them!)

Family day

^In the picture, it just looks like a pillar of smoke,
but in real life, it was a fountain of colored sparks!
Yesterday started rather dubiously, with Abigail waking up by throwing up, but thankfully the day improved from there! She seemed fine after her one episode, and we enjoyed a day of snuggling, reading together, hanging out at the pool for a while, taking naps (all of us except David, who got to watch cartoons!), working in the garden, having some sparklers and fireworks, eating a traditional hot-dogs-on-the-grill dinner, and then we were all glad to see bedtime come!

As I was waking up from my nap, I thought I heard an ice cream truck and figured I must still be dreaming; but no, it really was an ice cream truck! I jumped up, got David (Abigail was still asleep), and we ran out to get ice cream... was David's very first time seeing such a thing and the grin that split his face was was so much fun to watch him! (Just for the record, we bought a treat for Bruce & Abigail, too, and put it in the freezer until they woke up!)

It was so nice to spend the day together...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sacrifices made...

...thank you to all of those who are currently serving in the armed forces, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their life for the abundant freedoms that we enjoy today.

I know that I often forget just how blessed -- just how free -- we are in this country, and how much gratitude I owe to those who have served, to those who have fought, and to those who have died.

Our ultimate gratitude? Owed to the One Who has granted us this country and this life...
"And thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blessed with victory and peace,
may this Heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
And then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, In God Is Our Trust.
And the Star-Spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

~Francis Scott Key

A date!

On Saturday RaDora came and kept the kids so that Bruce and I could go out on a date...although the kids thought that Miss RaDora coming to play was the main event of the evening! :) Bruce & I went to dinner at The Iron Horse Steakhouse (the food was REALLY good!), to a jewelry store (our tenth anniversary is coming up, after all!), and then to see Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (it was very good; there were two significant divergences from the book, but, although annoying, they are forgiveable enough to make the movie still very good!). We had a wonderful evening together. Often we get so busy and survive on sentence-fragments for so long that I forget just how much we enjoy really talking with each's nice being married to one's best friend! Anyway, we left the camera at home, and guess who used it while we were gone?! After Miss RaDora took the kids out for pizza, they went over to Kroger and got ice cream treats to bring appears that these pictures were taken while they were enjoying their desserts. And now you can see why RaDora is SO much fun to be with...!

The pool is open!

Our pool opened on Saturday and the kids and I went down for our first dip.
Well, actually, their first dip.
The water is still way too cold to get me in there!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

More checkups done for another year!

May is one of those months when a lot of our annual specialist-checkups happen...between us all, we have done cardiology, opthalmology, allergy/asthma, & hematology, as well as our more-frequent specialists for audiology and ENT...not to mention the run-of-the-mill appointments like dentist and pediatrician! We are very thankful to be in an area where there is such excellent medical care available in every specialty that we have needed. Anyway, today was Abigail's annual checkup with her cardiologist (she will be followed yearly because of her ASD device closure back in '05), and my annual checkup with the hematologist (to keep tabs on my blood disorder; it has been in remission TEN YEARS now!...but it is possible for it to act up at any point, so we just watch it). Both of us got clean bills of health and are good to go for another year. We do not take good health for granted...we thank God for every day of life, let alone health!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer days

Each of the kids in a place that they are often found lately...

...and, below, a picture of the kids on Tuesday, when we took a walk through the neighborhood and Abigail got to ride her own bike on the road like a big girl for the very first time.

Bruce's birthday pictures

Here are a few pictures from Bruce's birthday...

(I don't think Bruce actually got to blow out any of his candles...David hogged them all!)

And, below, a more typical rendering of our son than
the little darling you see above!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One year ago today...

One year ago today, we went up on Mt. Rainier with
the newlyweds (Jared & Krystle) and our extended families...

And one year ago tonight, Bruce went into serious A-fib,

and the next morning was admitted to the hospital...

I am very grateful to be on this side of that ordeal,
with a healthy husband who has a much healthier heart...
it's still on the mend, but much better than it was at this time last year!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy birthday, Bruce

Happy 34th birthday, Bruce!
I love you so very much, and
I am so glad that God brought you safely
into the world 34 years ago today...
and into my life 23 years after that.
I am so blessed to be your wife.
"How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.
When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
you will be happy and it will be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house,
your children like olive plants around your table.
Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD."
(Psa 128:1-4)

Shots and sunshine

Yesterday was David's six-year well check-up at the pediatrician...Dr. Gold was delighted with David's growth (he has grown 3 1/2 inches in the last ten months!). I always have to chuckle at the "how is his eating?" question...any of you who have spent any time near David know that he is an eating machine (it's those Polish genes, I think)!!! He got a clean bill of health...and two shots. I had encouraged David not to get too upset in anticipation (that's always worse for him than the actual shot), reminded him that he was a pretty tough kid, and asked him not to be dramatic while we waited for the nurses to come but to be a good example for his sister. He came through with flying colors -- he just held my hand and we counted by tens, and he didn't even cry (although it would have been okay if he did!). As soon as they were done, he started exclaiming, "I was brave! I didn't even cry! I was SO brave!"

Afterwards we took a picnic lunch to a big playground not far from the doctor's office, and the kids played for two hours while I sat in the sun and knitted..."happiness is" for all of us! When we came home, we planted our flower seeds in the garden and around my bird bath, then we all came in and washed off the dirt and sweat, ate dinner, and were ready for early bedtime!

Although I had my camera with me, neither kid wanted to hold still long enough for a picture at the playground, so we will have to be contented with a picture of my knitting!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Singing and signing

At church, Bruce & I teach the 2 and 3 year old Sunday school class. We have been teaching them, along with the 4 and 5 year old class, the sign language to go along with some of our songs. Last night at church, we sang and signed a few of them for everyone to see. They did great...they were a little distracted, but that's to be expected at this age! Like Bruce said, none of the girls pulled their dresses up, and all of the boys kept their hands where they we consider it a success! :) We love working with the little ones and it is exciting to see how excited most of them are to learn some sign language. It's amazing how fast they learn! (Unfortunately, you can't see David from this angle, but Abigail is in the front-middle, in the very-pale pink dress.)
Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Happy 1st anniversary

Happy 1st anniversary, Jared & Krystle!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fun lunch...sad goodbyes

Yesterday the kids and I had lunch with RaDora and two other audiologists, Jackie & Stacey. When you choose a medical professional, you don't expect to find friends...but in the course of our many hours spent getting hearing checks, HA tweaks, and such, that's what has happened!

But yesterday was Jackie's & Stacey's last day -- they are both moving out of state -- and it was great to spend some time with them, but very sad to say goodbye!

Our love and best wishes to both of you...

...from left: RaDora (who is NOT leaving!), David, Stacey, Abigail, & Jackie

Friday, May 16, 2008

Washcloth progress

To everyone's surprise, :-), I have actually started the washcloth (I am terrible about being inspired but not actually starting!), and here is my progress so far. It took longer to get the skein of yarn wound into a ball than it did to knit this much, but the knitting has been enjoyable so far.

For those of you interested in the knitting part, the five points of the star are done separately (cutting the yarn between each), and then all live stitches will be joined to make the body of the star. The pattern is one that was designed by L. Mariana especially for our yarn shop.

Molly was cooperative about modeling for me (it always depends on her current mood!), but she was totally disinterested in the yarn because it is 100% cotton...her fetish is for animal-fiber yarns!

Children's Book Week

In celebration of Children's Book Week this week, I thought I'd share a series that we have been enjoying. Each book in this series has enough content to feel like a "real" book, yet is also simple enough for the kids to read on their own.

The series is the Scholastic reader series; we have been flying through their level 1 collection and I just ordered a few of the level 2 books (we haven't gotten them yet). Pictured is one of my favorites, "Yuck! Stuck in the Muck" .

On a side note, (click links above to go there) is including these books in their current 4-for-3 sale (i.e. buy three, get one free); and with a $25 order, you can choose FREE Super Saver Shipping.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summer vacation...rainy day

We are thoroughly enjoying our first week of summer vacation! It has taken us a few days to adjust to a less rigid schedule, but I think we are finding our new routine. I am really enjoying being able to do my housework in the morning again, as well as getting to some organization projects that I didn't have time for during the school year.

Today we went outside for a couple of hours before the rain rolled in...and then we came in and entertained ourselves since the rain was here to stay! (It's been a great rain...we still need it around here and we're thankful for every inch we get.) This afternoon we made frosted sugar cookies -- flowers and butterflies -- to celebrate our summer vacation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New yarn

Here are the new yarns I bought at the yarn shop yesterday...

A buttery soft (100% nylon), very pale pink to make a lovie-sized blanket for the new niece who is due this summer...

Right: A brilliant variegated aqua in 100% cotton, which came with a pattern to make star-shaped washcloths. These will be for my kids -- our upstairs bathroom is done in that same vibrant aqua and an undersea theme.

Now to move from "aspiring" to "doing"!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A girls' day...

David went over to a friend's house this morning so I could go with Bruce, and then he stayed all day and got to play with a boy his age. This left Abigail and me with the whole day to spend "just us", and we had a wonderful time!

After the appointment, Bruce headed to work and Abigail and I went into downtown Woodstock, Georgia, where we visited our yarn shop, The Whole Nine Yarns...
Then we went next door to The Serene Bean Cafe, where we got fresh-squeezed lemonade... Then we walked around the town square and sat in the gazebo for a little while...

Then we headed home, set up our new hammock, and spent several hours lying in it and reading books together.

We had such a great day! It really made me realize that I need to arrange some one-on-one time with each kid was wonderful to be able to give Abigail my undivided attention.

A daughter of my own...and one who, like me, enjoys the feel of yarn, the taste of lemonade, the beauty of flowers, and hours spent with books, not to mention treasuring our time together...what an amazing blessing!!!

Bruce's heart update

This morning Bruce had a checkup with his interventional cardiologist (the one in charge of putting the device in his heart last year). Our expectations were a bit too high in that we were hoping that he could start weaning off of some of his meds, but that is not yet to be! Nonetheless, we are grateful for how well he is doing; his EKG was normal, he has not experienced a-fib since Sept. '07, and the enlargement has reduced from "gross" to "mild". They want him to stay on his current meds to keep him out of a-fib, and it is unclear when they will be able to wean him. Next week we see the cardio-electrophysiologist doctor and then it will be six months before we go back again. We are so grateful to the Lord for His care of Bruce...a year ago today we didn't even realize yet that there was a serious problem, and here we are now with a much healthier Bruce!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The matchless joy of being a mom

I am so thankful for my precious children...
they are the fulfillment of
my nearly-lifelong dream
to be called "Mommy"...

A typical day in the life of me

Ahoy, seadog if only we could find him a ship that would really sail away...!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day my grandma, my mom, and my mom-in-law!
We love you all so much and are
so very thankful
that you are part of our families...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy anniversary wishes

Happy 15th anniversary
to our dear friends Rodney & Greta!

Friday, May 09, 2008

And not to be left out... my usual graceful way, as the kids and I were leaving for the restaurant last night, I fell down all fourteen of our basement stairs! I was carrying Abigail and when I stepped down with my first foot, my shoe slipped right out from under me and I slid down on my shins all the way to the bottom. I remember thinking, as I bounced and banged my way down, "This is really going to hurt when it's over!!!" And it did! Amazingly -- gratefully -- I am not in as much pain as I thought I would be today. My right ankle is bruised, my left knee, shin, and foot are bruised, swollen, and scraped up, and everything hurts like I've been beaten up, but I am up and around and in discomfort more than in actual pain. I am very grateful for the Lord's protection -- it could have been so much worse -- and I am also thankful that Abigail stayed out of harm's way and was completely unscathed by the ordeal. In fact, when we got to the bottom -- all I could do at that point was gasp and moan -- Abigail cocked an eyebrow at me and said, "Why did you do that?" !!!!!!!!!!!!! David earned a badge of honor in the midst of all this -- he was very levelheaded; he asked if I was okay and then ran to get the phone and called his daddy to ask what he should do to help me. It's nice to know I can depend on him at times like these! Just another episode in my saga of klutzy performances...but I think this is one of the most dramatic ones yet!

David's kindergarten graduation celebration

Last night, to celebrate David's accomplishment, we went to Benihana, a Japanese steakhouse (the kind where they cook your food right in front of you, with all sorts of tricks and dramatic flair). The kids were as impressed and enthralled as we had hoped they would be! Bruce's parents were able to meet us there, as well, so we all enjoyed the time together, not to mention the excellent food. David couldn't stop smiling while he watched the chef, and at some point he leaned over to me and said "Maybe we can come back here another time!" So perhaps it will become our annual end-of-the-school-year tradition...!

Part of my heritage

My mom's latest quilt has been posted
as Quilt of the Week for an online group --
click here to see it!
(you do not have to be a member)
She is so very skilled with all things needle and thread/yarn,
so I am very excited that she has been given this honor!!!
Congratulations, Mom...
and thanks for instilling in me the love
of the domestic arts and for
patiently sharing your knowledge and experience.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

David finished Kindergarten!!!

Congratulations to David,
who has completed Kindergarten!!!
^David and the papers from
his last day of kindergarten!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Postage rate hike (again)

Just a reminder that the price of postage is going up again...the new rates take effect on Monday, May 12th.

Be aware, though, that the "Forever" liberty bell stamps (see picture at right) do NOT need a 1 cent stamp accompanying them. They are valid, as is, you may want to go buy a book or two at the current price!

If you would like to verify this info (hey, I'm a skeptic, too, so I understand!), visit the post office site here.

Meet the fish...and everyday adventures

Yesterday Bruce had a work-related dinner out, so the kids and I used the time to run errands. We went to the library to drop off donated books and pick up some new ones to borrow, to Payless for shoes for Abigail (no luck), to Hallmark for the next couple of months' worth of cards, to Washington Mutual to pay the mortgage, to the post office to mail a care-package to a friend who is serving in the Army in Iraq, to Family Christian store to pick up the new Bible that Bruce bought me for my birthday, to Sally Beauty Supply for a new pair of haircutting scissors (the tips of my old pair got mysteriously bent...), to WalMart for a few groceries and a bunch of landscape and home repair project supplies, and then, since the kids did so incredibly well during all of that, I treated them to dinner and playtime at Chick-Fil-A.

When we got home, I unloaded half a dozen bags of new sand into the sandbox, stacked up bags of mulch and stone, set out and watered the new plants I bought, took everything else into the house, checked the garden, bathed the kids, put them to bed, tidied up the house, and then decided that I would clean the fish tank, a chore which has needed to be done for a couple of weeks but kept getting pushed off 'til the next day.

And here's where Murphy's Law comes 9 o'clock at night, when I had finished cleaning and went to put a new, clean insert into the fish tank filter, there were none left. I am very picky about having an extra of anything when it is running low because I don't like to run out of I have no idea how I managed to be out of these...but anyway, the fish water was a mess from getting stirred up, so there was no way I could in good conscience leave it overnight in that state. So as soon as Bruce got home, I ran over to Kroger (two minutes away)...but they don't carry fish tank filters. So off I went to WalMart (fifteen minutes away) -- again -- late at night, which is NOT my best time of day! I didn't realize when I started the project that it was going to be an ordeal!!!

But, against all odds, the tank is clean and is a pretty accent in the living room again, and the fish look much happier. After all of that rigmarole, I thought I'd share a picture of our fish and their clean tank... The fishes' names change every time you ask the kids what they are, and our algae-eater is (uncharacteristically) right up front looking at me (he spends most of his time hiding inside the ship). The two goldfish were ten-cent feeder goldfish...when we got them a year or so ago, the pet shop had been out of the fancy goldfish for a while, and after the second or third visit with the same results, the kids were terribly disappointed not to have fish to take home, so in desperation I bought these...and they have been the healthiest, hardiest, and most friendly fish we've ever had!!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Counting down...

As you can see from our new countdown clock (in the right hand sidebar), we are SO CLOSE and are counting down the days until David completes kindergarten! The end of the school year seemed so very far away when we started, and it's hard to believe that's it's almost here already. David is happy about summer break but doesn't really understand what it entails...I, on the other hand, am very excited about it!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy birthday with a twist!

Thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes for my birthday!!! In the morning we went to church, and Abigail and I got to wear our new mother-daughter dresses, which was so much fun.

After church, we all went to Applebee's for dinner, where I got to eat my favorite Three Cheese Chicken Penne. After dinner, we came home for the happy birthday song, ice cream cake, and birthday presents.

The "twist" of my post-title is this...I woke up yesterday with another ovarian cyst causing much pain, so I hopped up on pain meds, gritted my teeth, and put my game-face on...but then after our festivities, my in-laws left for my brother-in-law's house, and I went to sleep on the couch and stayed there the rest of the day!

We always do things with dramatic flair, even on my birthday!!! :)

My birthday bouquet (actually, two bouquets --

roses from my husband and chrysanthemums from my children!)