Tuesday, October 23, 2007


These are the pictures of Leeann sleeping that I said I'd post a while ago. Better late than never?

This is Titus playing a game of hide-and-go-seek!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So, it's not broken...

Here's our random news:

My dishwasher had latched just fine since I lamented about it's stubbornness the other day. Sorry for those of you who were grieving with me!

I turned the heat on today. We have a sick and twisted goal of keeping the heat off until November 1st, and turning it off for good on May 1st. Today, it was 64 degrees in here I woke up... which was a little too cold for even me!

Titus had his early intervention meeting Tuesday. Not much to note except that they'll keep up on his progress and he seems to be doing fine in all areas other than his verbal communication. Even that he does well with, he just doesn't speak English like I said earlier. She gave us some things to work on with him.

Leeann can recite verbatim, 5 little books about princesses and their values. It was a birthday gift and it comes with a CD that reads the books aloud to you. She's picked up on it quite quickly and can recite each of the books clearly and precisely. We're thinking about seeing if we can get her some educational CD's, like the presidents of the U.S.A., the states and capitals or the periodic table or other such. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Rob's been keeping busy. He's doing a 5 week series on Getting Fit. You can listen to it online at www.northalbany.org. I recommend it, because they're good!

We had Rob's dad and brother down, and my cousin Jenni and her kiddos a few days later so we've been blessed with lots of company lately!

Well, I think that's all I've got for now. I think the kids and I are going to brave the wind and go grocery shopping! Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Herd of Elephants

My children are supposed to be napping. They are up in their room, which is right above mine and for some reason it sounds like I have a herd of elephants over-head. I'm sure that's what's up there because my kids are angels and the must be sleeping!

The kiddos share a bedroom and they are locked in there at sleeping times by a baby gate at the door. There are two beds, two dressers and a rocking chair-- not much to distract them or to destruct. For some reason though I'm hearing a consistent pitter-patter bolt across the floor overhead. Hmmm. It is occasionally interrupted by a loud "thud" and some whining. What are those elephants doing?

And now, suddenly all goes quite. Funny isn't it, how as a mother the times you worry are not the times where it sounds like elephants are going to fall through the floor? Rather, it's times that you can't hear anything at all. The ironies of life!

Monday, October 15, 2007

No, not the DISHWASHER!

I almost had a heart attack today. I had just filled the dishwasher full of dishes, poured the soap in and shut the door. But, when I went to latch it, the latch wouldn't move into lock position. The lock was broken. I fidgeted with it for a few minutes then I got out a butter knife to see if I could persuade it to move like it's supposed to. It was no use. I gave up and walked away contemplating my future without a working dishwasher.

A few minutes later I walked back to the dishwasher to see if there were any bolts I could unscrew, or anything I could take apart to try to fix the problem. What I discovered was a little hole right next to the latch that has a little metal piece that is in some way attached to the lock. I slipped the butter knife into the hole to see what it would do and it made my latch move! Yippie!

So, if you time it just right you can slip the knife in, move the latch part way (but not all the way or the door won't close) and push it closed before the metal part moves back... you can successful close and latch the dishwasher!

Never mind the fact that the top rack falls down on occasion and that you have to completely rinse all of the dishes before you put them in. Minor details! I'd rather have a half-functioning dishwasher than no dishwasher at all.

It's one of those appliances that are not a necessity. If the fridge breaks you have to beg, borrow or steal to get a new one. You simply cannot do without it. A dishwasher on the other hand... not the case. I suppose it would make a nice enclosed drying rack though, that way I wouldn't have to clutter my counter with a drying rack. Hmmm, that's a silver-lining if and when my dishwasher shall decide to completely revolt against me!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the sounds of my running dishwasher. I'll take what I can get!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


As a parent I try really hard to be consistent. If there's a rule, it needs to be followed 100% of the time, or else the rule holds no value. If my kids are allowed to jump on the couches sometimes, but not all of the time... the rule is of no use, my kids will continue to jump on the couch. Especially at this age where the world is so black and white to them (come on, do you really agree with those who say you can reason with a 2 year old?) rules need to be black and white and so do their consequences.

Like for us, running out (or even stepping out) into the street without holding mommy and daddy's hand equals (dare I write this for the world to see... gulp...) a swat. 100% of the time you will find this to be the case. This is a significant safety issue, and I'd much rather them learn this lesson with a swat than with a car! And, the reality is, Leeann learned this lesson after only 2 or 3 times and even Titus, at 22 months old (though he had a few more 'reminders' if I remember right) knows that he's not to step into the street.

Anyway, we have lots of variations of that around our house. The breaking of some rules equals time-out, some equal swats, some mean that you need to apologize to whoever you offended. Sometimes you have to back and try it again until you do it the right way, and sometimes you need to fix whatever you broke, tore apart, took from it's proper location in the house etc.

The hard part is the 100% of the time business. If they learn that they can get away with something while I'm on the phone for instance, they will try this. At church, Leeann sometimes things the rules no longer apply and so she retests the boundaries. When we have company over somehow they automatically want to see if the rules have changed.

So, in order to get them not to take advantage of the above mentioned scenarios, the rules and consequences still need to be the same. They may be modified (like taking them aside or into another room to administer whatever the consequence might be), but they must never be changed.

Before you critique our parenting too much, do I succeed 100% of the time? Of course not. Do I strive for it? Yes, because I think it's that important. I can see the behavior of my children quickly diminish when I put my guard down and selectively enforce or ignore the rules. Please don't spend the next 10 years of your life watching me waiting for me to mess up. If you really want to find this to be the case, come over to my house for the afternoon and I'm sure you'll find something to satisfy that need!

Anyway, all this to preface the title of my post. My children are manipulative! They learn so incredibly early what mommy's weak spots are. Today, I was mopping the floor. It was slick and Titus was wanting to come into the kitchen. I told him "No, no Titus, you need to stay out there or you will get an owie." as I replayed in my mind Titus running across my freshly mopped floor a few months ago to land smack on his backside in tears!

So Titus slowly backed out (obviously he understood the instructions) then he kind of looked up at me, tilted his head and pursed his lips for a kiss... then he came running across the floor to me! He didn't want to disobey me, he just wanted a kiss right? Oh, how sweet!

Wrong! He knew that it was the one thing that would melt my heart enough to let him get away with disobeying me. See, pure and utter manipulation from a 22 month old! Just to let you know, I made him obey first then just outside the kitchen we had a kissy-fest!

Leeann is famous for doing this while we have 'the talk' after a time-out. I will be explaining to her why she's in trouble, or I will be listening to her explain to me why she's in trouble and she'll just look at me, burst into tears and say, "Mommy, I just want to give you a hug!" Arggg. How do you deal with that? Again, we finish our conversation and then have a hug-fest... but it's so hard to stay strong in those moments!

Bottom line--being a mommy is tough work, but it's oh-so rewarding! Watching my kids daily grow into happy, healthy, snuggly (see I'm a sucker!) little people makes every inconvenient reminder of the rules worth while. I love my kiddos, and I happen to think they're the greatest most special and wonderful kiddos in the world... especially when they run to me with their arms wide open making the kissy-face, regardless of their disobedience!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Weekend Highlights

Highlight #1: A family in our church had 2 extra Casting Crowns tickets... and being Pastor's Appreciation Month and all, they invited us along with them! It was AMAZING! So good just to sit in the presence of God with no worries or concerns (working at a church makes that a difficult task on Sunday mornings!) If you ever get the opportunity to see Casting Crowns in person it is SO worth it! What a huge blessing. Speaking of, one of the people that opened for them sings the song "Choose to be a blessing for life." I LOVE that song. Casting Crowns sings so many amazing songs that are encouraging, education and just plain true--as brutal as the truth can sometimes be. Anyway, it was a HUGE HUGE HUGE blessing!

Also, Kyndall babysat Leeann and Titus which was also a huge blessing. This is the first time she's watched them and more-or-less the first time she's spent time alone caring for Leeann since she's was 16 months old. Kyndall has proven time and time again that she's respectful, trustworthy and responsible (after all, she is growing up graduated from high school, finished with her college certificate and working at a real job, living on her own. Though I still think of her as 15!) Anyway, being in search of a babysitter I thought about asking her but didn't bring it up to Rob. He brought it up however, and we both decided that it was time. The kiddos had fun, and so did we! Thanks Kyndall!

Highlight #2: Rob's dad, Steve and brother Dan... or rather, "Uncle Dan" came down on Saturday morning and went to the Beavers football game with Rob. They had fun and it was great to have them down here! Leeann and Titus became crazy kiddos in the presence of Uncle Dan, he's got such a way with kids! They also go to come to church with us on Sunday and they got to hear Rob preach which was extra special. I think it was the first time Uncle Dan had gotten to hear Rob preach too! I wish they could have stayed longer, but I'm glad they got to come regardless! Thanks for coming down Steve and Dan!

Highlight #3: We had a very special family date on Sunday. We packed up kind of late on Sunday night and headed to the coffee shop up the street from our house. They have a big screen t.v.! We got some drinks and watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition with Boey's story (see a few posts before this one). I cried on a number of occasions, and even Leeann had tears streaming down her face seeing Boey being sick. She was also rather distraught that they were breaking Boey's house but I assured her it was a good thing, that they were building her a new house that would be safer for Boey!

I found out last night that www.abc.com had full episodes of the t.v. show, so click on over and watch the show if you missed it on Sunday!

Highlight #4: Okay, it happened last night, not this weekend... but... Rob and Titus and I finished dinner and were talking in our bedroom while Leeann finished her dinner in the dining room. We were chatting for a little while and realized we hadn't heard from Leeann in a few minutes and I joked about her sleeping at the table (it's been a while since she's done that though it was quite common in her younger days). Anyway, we went out there and sure enough, she was fast asleep with her head resting on the table! It was SO cute. So, I put the kiddos to bed at 6:30 because they were both obviously tired (Titus's nap got cut super short). Rob went to his meeting and we were sitting on the couch at 9:30 and all of the sudden I heard Leeann yell from her room, "Mommy, I'm all done!" It was hilarious! I think she woke up thinking she was still at the table and wanted to let me know she's all done with her food? Cute. I have pictures, but I need to down load them. I'll try to do that soon!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Oh Man

Leeann's Cheerios ended up making their return to the real world on the living room floor this morning. I think maybe she coughed too hard because she's had a pretty deep cough lately. She's getting to hang out on the couch with 'the bowl' watching PBS. She doesn't seem to mind too much! So, it's a lazy day for us I suppose!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Having fun at the MCOY

M-C-O-Y... that's what Leeann calls it. For those of us who aren't four years old it is also known as the YMCA. Rob and I took the plunge and joined a couple of weeks ago. We've both noticed a little more padding over the last couple of years than either of us would like to see so we're hitting the gym 2-3 times a week. The kids go with us and go to the childcare center while we do cardio and weights, then we take the kids to the gym to 'exercise'. We play tag, we race and kick the soccer ball around. We even went swimming the other day which was extra fun!

I look forward to our times at the gym. It's not so fun to get ready to go but I'm always grateful we made the time once we are there. And, I'll be even more grateful when (hopefully) I start to see the results physically. An added bonus--I usually get to watch Oprah :0)

One thing that probably detracts from my goal of health and weight loss is my fairly new found blended mocha habit. I realized today that I've had one every day since last Friday. Friday I made one at home. Saturday I had a meeting with some ladies at Starbucks. Sunday I had a lovely date with my husband at Starbucks. Monday I had one at our Monday morning staff meeting. Tuesday I made one at home (I had a headache and it seemed to be the only thing that would make it go away... hmmm) and today I got a coffee with Kimmee, a high school girl that I'm mentoring this year.

Yikes. It seems that my habit is spinning out of control. And, like I said, I'm pretty sure it's not helping the waist-line issue!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I finally downloaded my pictures for the first time in a month (hence no posts with pictures lately!)

This is Leeann's First day of preschool picture!

This is Titus not wanting Leeann to get all of the attention!

The kiddos "helping" me make some cookies a few weeks ago.

The binki and blankie. This is how Titus looks most days and how I will probably always remember him looking in my mind as I look back on his baby/toddler years!!!
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22 Months Old

Titus turns 22 months old today. That puts his birthday a mere 2 months away. It will be his once in a lifetime extra special birthday since he will turn 2 on the 2nd of December! We went to Wal-Mart the other day and I was scoping out potential birthday presents already :0)

In other news, I packed away Titus's 6-12 month clothes on Friday and pulled out his 12-18 month stack. It was fun to get so many new treasures just by opening up a box! Once again Aunt Suzy has graciously passed along plenty of little boy clothes perfect for this stage! The pants fall off of him and every thing's a little baggy... but the 12 month pants are too short and some of the other clothes are getting a little too snug. So, I kept out his jammies, jeans and a few of my favorite shirts in the 6-12 size but I'm in process of laundering all the new clothes. It's like Christmas, only better!

Titus is becoming quicker to try and mimic more words, and some of the words he's already saying are becoming more clear. So, I feel like he's making progress! He gets more and more fun each day. It's so awesome to see both of the kiddos grow and grow and grow...

Yesterday the four of us sat on the couch and watched High School Musical while eating ice cream. It was a special treat for all of us and the kiddos LOVED it. Titus couldn't help but clap and dance along with the movie!

Well, Tuesday's are my day 'at home' where I get to do lot's of fun stuff like laundry and housework! I better hop to it, it seems as though I have enough to last me until bed time tonight!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Special People

There are four families that have had a lasting impact on me, three that I have never met. One family I met only briefly, on our adoption day. I read about them almost daily. I pray for them, I cry with them and I rejoice with them. I hold my kids just a little bit tighter every time I read about their pain and suffering. Sometimes I squeal with delight when I read good news. I'd like to introduce you to these four families who have been devastated by cancer in their young children.

Rebekah is a bright-eyed five year-old little girl who has been fighting cancer since April of 2005. Her daddy was our adoption lawyer and I started to work with him that same month Rebekah was diagnosed if I remember right. I was going through the stress and chaos of trying to officially make our daughter part of our family and they were going through the stress and chaos of keeping their daughter alive. I've been reading Rebekah's blog nearly from the start of her ordeal. She's fighting cancer and winning, though each day provides for trials as the family learns daily that fighting cancer leaves lasting wounds, physically, mentally, relationally and emotionally. Rebekah is a tough cookie and a beautiful little girl. She got to make a special trip down here on Leeann's adoption day, I'm so glad I got a small glimpse of her personality by meeting her in person. www.rebekahspage.blogspot.com.

Second is Rachel. I learned about her from Rebekah's blog. Her family lives in the mid-west if I remember correctly. She lost the battle with cancer at the beginning of the summer. She was only seven years old, with the faith of giant! Her family is still grieving daily as they learn to do life without their precious daughter. It's heart wrenching to read about their loss. I've cried on a number of occasions reading her blog. I started reading it a month or two before her death. I thought for sure she was going to win her battle. I wanted so badly for that to be the case! You can read about her here: http://www.caringbridge.org/mn/rachelhansen/index.htm

Third, baby Lexie. She lost her battle just 11 days ago. She was only 10 months old and battled cancer from birth if I remember right. They knew that they would likely lose her from very early in her life as she only had less than a 10% chance of survival. They made the most of her short time here on earth, and they didn't take a single day for granted! http://www.caringbridge.org/cb/viewHome.do I've been reading her blog for a couple of months now after seeing a news article about her.

Finally, there's Boey. I learned about Boey when I found out that Extreme Makeover Home Edition was coming to Corvallis (the town right next to ours). She's a spunky go-getter full of faith and life. She was diagnosed in January of 2006 and I believe she's battle cancer for the 2nd time. She's an amazing young girl and her story is worth following as she fights this battle with cancer. The latest post on her blog almost brought me to me tears... good tears! Extreme Makeover airs her show this Sunday at 8:00, so make sure you tune in! http://www.jenessabyers.com/. The call her a warrior, and a warrior she is indeed!

These are four girls with very different stories at different stages in their fights with cancer. Their families are all full of faith, hope and love and their daughters have all been an inspiration to me in so many ways. Click on some of the links above and get to know their stories... you'll be so glad you did, and I promise you will hold your kids a little bit closer tonight!