Friday, April 30, 2010

OSU Softball

On a beautiful sunny day we headed to a free OSU Softball game and Suzy and the boys came with us. It was a lot of fun, despite the fact we lost 0-11 or something crazy like that.

It was a lot of fun just being out in the sun and hearing the outdoor sounds of Spring.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Plans

I'm making detailed plans for my family to survive by in my absence. You know, since I'm leaving them for 10 days and flittering away to the East Coast in less than a week!

The funny thing  is, when Rob leaves for a few days, or even a week, the only thing he needs to let me know is when he's leaving and when he'll be back.

When I leave however, I have to write a detailed list of who's supposed to be where, when, why and what they'll need to eat. Each day I have a plan for who takes Leeann to school, where Titus goes while she's at school, who picks her up, where the kids are for the second half of the day, when Rob picks them up, what they eat for dinner and what needs to happen in the evening (swim lessons, care group, who watches the kids when Rob has evening meetings, etc.).

These are all tid-bits of information that are stored in my little mommy brain. Rob doesn't have to store this information in his brain because I have it stored in mine. I have a sneeky suspicion that my family is going to be super grateful for me once I return. It's part of my fantastic plan!

In the meantime, I know these three are going to have a blast together. Rob's a great daddy. He's such a great daddy that the kids adore him and I have been a little irritated lately by the fact that the kids have been fighting every meal about who gets to sit by him. Literally. Every meal!

I'm a wee bit hopeful that a prolonged absence will cause them to fight over who gets to sit by me, for at least one meal! It probably won't happen, but at least I can hope!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today, April 24th is the day I've posted my 1,000th post. And this makes 1,001!

What a crazy adventure this blog has been. I've enjoyed documenting and sharing my family's journey over the last four-and-a-half years. I really love having my journey through motherhood perserved with stories and pictures. Sometimes I go back and read through old posts. I treasure every post I've written.

I love that I get to share our journey with all of you. But honestly, I'd keep writing even if no one was reading. I hope someday my kids will read my blog and get a picture into their growing up years. They are just now getting to the point that they will have some lasting memories. But, because of the stories and the pictures that are compiled here they will get a glimpse into the early years of their lives.

And of course, looking back through my posts reminds of how quickly time flies. I am reminded of how short life is and how quickly trials are replaced by the joy that comes with seeing God's hand at work.

I also love knowing I have some strange 'connection' to the outside world. In some strange way I hope that I've touched, encouraged, or inspired someone somewhere to do something worthwhile.

If there's some way that this blog has been more than just entertainment in your life (which is certainly okay too) and you'd like to share it in honor of my 1,000th post... I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment. I'll be honest, bloggers love comments. Well, at least this blogger does. Remember, it's something about the 'connection' to the outside world.

Thank you to all of my faithful readers for peaking in on our journey. I hope you all stick around for the next 1,000 posts. At one post a day that's almost another 3 years. My kids will be 7 and 9, or more likely 8 and 10 (I don't blog nearly every day).

I'm sure a lot of great stuff will take place over the next 1,000 posts. Here's to living (and blogging about ) the adventure we call life!


Leeann was just eating lunch at the counter and all of the sudden she gasped as her cup full of water hit the counter. In a very calm, very loving tone (honestly, I really was calm, it was an accident... no one wants to get in trouble over an accident!)

I grabbed a towel and began to sop up the water when I realized it had creeped under my book. My brand new, signed copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks! Inside I screamed, "NOT THE BOOK! I WORKED SO HARD FOR THAT BOOK!"

As I picked it up I tried to hide my panic as I gasped and said, "Oh no, my book!" Again, rather calmly given the circumstances... but Leeann started to cry. She's so sensitive and knows how much I love that book. Isn't she so sweet? I just adore this little girl. Lucky me, the book has a pretty slick, fancy cover and I think it will probably come out unscathed!

 Now you can all sleep at night.

And I showed Leeann that the book is just fine, I think she'll come out unscathed too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The night I met The Pioneer Woman

This is Melissa in front of Powell's bookstore. You know, the Powell's that's an hour and fifteen minute drive from my house? The one that was 30 minutes away from the Powell's that The Pioneer Woman was actually signing books at. If you don't get lost that is...

This is the super scary parking garage that we parked in. It had one lane ramps for two lanes of traffic hence the HONK HORN sign.  (As you can tell, the Hummer won the chicken fight over my Ford Freestyle).

This picture doesn't do it justice, but the ramp was straight down hill. Like, scary, creepy, I am going to flip my car down hill. After we left the parking garage, got a little lost and turned around, got directions, got lost again and got more directions, my heart started to return to a normal beating pace.

Because of our, um, short-cut, I was fearful we weren't going to make it in time to see her. And I promised my faithful blog readers a picture. Eventually we made it to the right Powell's Books. Whew!

I thought I was The Pioneer Woman's biggest fan. Apparently I'm in good company. Me and 600 other people who showed up!

The difference between all of these other people and Melissa and I? Apparently, they are better informed. They know trivial things like: What location the book signing will be at. 

They also know that her book signings are wildly popular and that hundreds of people show up freakishly early to things like this. Whoops! Knowing information like this doesn't bode well with the iner procrastinator in me. 

When we first got there around 8 o'clock we were told that they had previously handed out tickets--360 of them! Anyone who didn't have a ticket would have to wait for a free-for-all at the end of the night. Since it was 8 o'clock and they were only on number 150, my heart started to sink. We'd come so far to not end up with a blog worthy picture.

But, when opportunity knocks... you take it.

She had to pee. Her table was empty. It looked so lonely. I wasn't sure if I'd get a picture with her, so I did what any good little pastor's wife would do...

I stood up in front of hundereds of people and I took the opportunity to sneak behind the table and sit in the chair that Ree Drummond had been sitting in for the last 3 hours so Melissa could snap my picture. Hey folks, sometimes you have be a little rebellious!

Melissa wasn't as inclined to be rebellious at first, but my bad example wore off on her and she did it too!

Isn't she just beautiful? And funny as all get out too!

After strategically working our way from one set of chairs to another, we ended up in the front row, like 5 feet from PW. Seriously, we kept making friends with the people in front of us, asking them if we could have their seats when their numbers were called. Sometimes I embarrass myself! It paid off, because we spent the last several hours of the book signing watching her and listening to all of the conversations. This was especially exciting because we still didn't know if we'd end up getting our picture taken with her.

And, because I promised you a picture, we strategically lined ourselves up in such a way as to "get our pictures taken with her"... just in case. I'm a woman of my word!

This was the room sometime after 10 o'clock. They had locked us in because the mall was closing. Normal people were at home, asleep. All of us wack-jobs were clinging to our cookbooks hoping to get them signed. And a picture... I wanted a picture with her!

Was that too much to ask?

As we were waiting I snapped a picture of her cute boots. They were the subject of a recent blog post, I couldn't resist!

Finally, at about 10:45 (1 hour 45 minutes after the book signing 'ended' and 45 minutes after the store closed), the last ticketed person had their glorious moment. The other couple hundered people sat on the edge of their seats, trying to anticipate how the rest of us would be arranged to get our moment of glory.

Lucky for us, we'd snuck our way to the front row. While everyone else was forming a never-ending line through aisles of books, we jumped in and had our moment.

And this. This is my moment! I met The Pioneer Woman! I so wish I could have sat down with her and sipped on some Starbucks. I feel like she's a good friend. Knowing someone through their blog is so weird! I didn't tell her that I'd come do her dishes. I should have offered. I'm sure of her thousands and thousands of fans she would have slipped me a card with her contact information and invited me over to her house. Come on, stranger things have happened, right?

And of course, Melissa got to meet her too!

We finally landed in the car at 10:57. I didn't make it back home until nearly 1:00 am. Yes folks, that's an 8 hour tour. It was oh-so worth it!

I got her cookbook! And her signature! And I got my picture with her!

I felt like a middle school girl stalking a rock-band!

I got to meet a woman who has literally taught me how to cook (for which my husband is so grateful!). I got to people watch, and I got to enjoy a fantastic night with a fantastic friend. I'm still on cloud-nine! 

I carried my cookbook around with me all day today and showed it to everyone I encountered. In honor of meeting PW I made some orange mini muffins for my small group. She now has several new fans.

What a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sneak Peak

The details will have to wait. But for now I'll let you in on a little sneak peak with this picture!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pioneer Woman

If it's not one obsession, it's another. Real Estate, Disneyland, Dave Ramsey, The Pioneer Woman. I enjoy them all!

As you may have noticed, however, my latest obsession has been with The Pioneer Woman. The Pioneer Woman happens to be in Portland RIGHT NOW! By this time tomorrow I'm really hoping you will be staring at a picture of me with my newest hero. What do you say to a woman who has inspired you, who you feel like you know (though you don't), who's blog you visit far too often? I'll probably get tongue-tied and start drooling. I may offer to move to her ranch and by her personal dishwasher. I might gravel at her feet. We'll see how it goes! If you have not been to her web-site, read her love story or tried to cook some of her amazing foods you have NO IDEA what you're missing. Seriously... go there. Now. If you don't you may think I'm wacky. Then again, I may actually be wacky. But this wacky woman is on a mission to get a cookbook and a picture taken with it's author. And yes, I'm driving more than an hour each way to get the signature of a blogger. And I'm not even ashamed of it. I'm questioning whether or not I'm wacky, but I'm not ashamed. The second you taste her yummy sweet potato dish, you'll be stalking her too... I promise!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wicked Step Mother

Leeann and Titus are playing Cinderella. I got cast as the step mother. I don't know how I feel about that!

A Mommy Vacation

It's still hard to believe, but I'm headed to the East Coast... BY MYSELF!

Before we cut up our credit cards we had one that we've been collecting airline miles with. After a bazillion years, we finally earned enough miles for a free plane ticket. And, since it's only one ticket, my fantastically amazing husband suggested I use it to go visit my friend SaraJane in New Jersey.

The decision has actually been made for a couple of years, but this is the first time that it's actually logical for me to go. My kids are old enough (see last  post) that they can be away from mommy for more than a few hours at a time. They are also at the age that daddy can fathom taking on mommy and daddy duties while I'm gone. Though, I am responsible for making a meal plan and childcare arrangements before I go. :0) It's the least I can do!

I originally imagined I'd take a trip for just a few days. But, last Fall Rob and I were talking about when I could plan on going. I was a bit anxious to go in October since I'd just finished 6 months of caring for four very young, very needy children. Honestly, I needed some me time, some time away, some time to breathe. 

Rob was not inclined for me to go away in the Fall because it's a really busy season for our family and we were also planning our mega Disneyland trip. He said, "I tell you what. You can go in the Fall, and be gone 48 hours, or you can go in the Spring and be gone 10 days." I thought about it for .03 seconds quickly determined that Spring sounded lovely. He thought for .03 seconds and tried to figure out how to retract those words!   

In all reality, we both agreed that a trip like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that I should make the most of my time and be gone for a fairly long stretch. I recently found out that SaraJane got the time off of work that she'd asked for, and I decided to book my ticket. So much of me thought that for some reason or another it wasn't actually going to end up happening. But, I HAVE MY TICKET!

So, I leave in 18 days for a 10 night stay on the East Coast!

I'm so excited, though I know it's going to be difficult to leave my family for such a long stretch of time. It will be good for them and good for me, but hard to be away none-the-less. I'm so grateful for Skype.

Do any of you have an grand ideas for what I should do in New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Bit Emotional

I've been a bit emotional regarding my kids lately. It seems like all of the sudden I'm overwhelmed with the fact that I don't have babies anymore. I don't even have toddlers. I have kids!

For years I've felt like I was over-needed to some degree. It seems like every 3 minutes one of them needed me for something. To wipe their nose, clean up a spill, change a diaper, get them a snack or a drink. To get something down, hold something open, pull something out or make something work.

As each day passes they need me for less and less. I'm continually amazed at how much they do on their own now. They can play by themselves for huge chunks of time. They can get by just fine without my intervening at every turn.

They get dressed, bathe (mostly) and brush their teeth on their own. They get themselves breakfast, and even some snacks. They put on their shoes and their coats and buckle themselves in all by themselves. They pick out and play their own games without my help, or knowledge even.

It struck me the other day to realize that I'm no longer in a primarily care-taking stage, but I've moved to a teaching/training stage. I have a short amount of time ahead of me to teach them and train them to love God and love people. I get a window of opportunity to teach them to take care of themselves so they can learn to take care of others. I get to instill in them morals and values, and skills that will guide their future. This is the time they are sponges. This is where they learn, where they grow and where they develop leaps and bounds.

I'm excited for this stage, but I'm overwhelmed with how quickly the baby stage passed. I remember wishing for the time that Titus would stop throwing his food on the floor. I blinked, and now I can't remember the last time he did. I saw a picture of him at Grandma and Grandpa's house that I'd never seen before. It was me giving him a bath in their sink at 4 months old. He was so sweet, so precious, so little, so helpless. So much has changed!

I graduated high school 10 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. 10 years from now Leeann will be nearing 17 and Titus will be 14. My kids will be driving and making HUGE decisions that will set the course for the rest of their lives before I know it. Just like that.

14 years from now I could be an empty nester. 14 years ago I was 14. I remember 14 vividly. Time flies. I'm not sure I'm ready for time to fly.

It seems like yesterday I was wishing and hoping for my kiddos to gain some independence so I could regain some sanity. Now I keep asking them to stop growing up. They're not listening though. The more I beg them to stop growing up, the more they insist the have to... it's just the way God made them.

I'm so glad God made them just the way they are, but it doesn't mean it isn't a little hard as a mommy. I love my children. I'm so proud of who they are and who they're becoming. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't stare at them an awe and wonder. I'm a mommy. I have the greatest job in the whole world! I am blessed beyond measure. God, thank you for my children, thanks for making me a mommy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Half Marathon!

First let me start by saying, I'm extremely proud of my husband. 13.1 miles is an incredibly long way to run under any condition! He trained diligently, he worked hard, he ran even when he didn't want to, and he raced in some of the most dreadful conditions fathomable. But, he did it! Not only did he do it, but in my opinion, he made great time. I love my husband, and what can I say, I'm proud of the man!

It all started back at Christmas. We have always had a gift limit of $40 per person. Because of this, one is forced to be rather creative in their gift giving. I really wanted to do something special this year. Something thoughtful. Something meaningful. Something lasting.

So, I decided to gift my husband with a half-marathon (I know, I'm so thoughtful huh?). I don't remember exactly how I presented it, but as each gift was opened it was revealed to him that I was giving him the ultimate gift of a half-marathon in the Spring. I think I gave him a running magazine, an energy drink, a power bar and training schedule (thanks SaraJane!). His stocking was also full of running-esque stuff. Each gift had a promise attached to it. Namely, a promise to give him the time to train, a promise to learn how to cook more healthy meals for him, and a promise to pack his lunch at least once a week to help him steer clear of grabbing whatever is convenient.

For whatever it's worth, my stocking was full of candy!

You see, my husband used to be an avid runner. When we first got married he'd run steep hills by our barn (yes, we lived in a barn) like they were nothing. He loves to run. It gives him time to think, to clear his head, and to exercise, which is very important for obvious reasons. He's always ran... just less and less with each passing year.

As the years have gone by, the needs of our family and his job have slowly squeezed out his running time. Hence, the gift of specific times to train. And ultimately, I wanted to give him a goal to run toward (pun intended), that would help him feel a sense of accomplishment on the other end.

All of this came to it's culmination on April 3rd. Half-marathon day! We stayed the night in St. Helens and got up nice and early to head through the back hills to Vernonia, Oregon. The race description said it was most flat, paved trails. Perfect!

Well, what the race description didn't say, is that we'd run into several inches of snow on the back roads, that it would start snowing the second the race started, that it was freezing cold, and that due to all the rain, the trails were actually muddy and full of puddles. Oh, and it failed to mention that it ended up at the top of a really steep hill. All minor details though, because my husband is a trooper!

His goal was to live through it and to have more old ladies behind him than in front of him. He accomplished both with gusto! He was muddy, and he didn't smell pretty, but he ran the race, and finished in under 2 hours, which was his hope. Did I mention, I'm proud?

The kids and I also got to enjoy a special treat. After we saw Rob off, we headed a few more miles down the road to visit Rebekah's family. I've been following Rebekah's cancer (and post-cancer) journey for 5 years now. Her daddy was our adoption lawyer and we got the pleasure of meeting their entire family on our Adoption Day. We've followed each others blogs and kept in touch via the world-wide web, and through occasional adoption related phone calls. It's crazy how well I feel like I know them, even though I'd only met them once before last weekend. It's the beauty of the blog world!

Anyway, the kids and I enjoyed the pleasure of their company in their nice warm home while Rob ran in the freezing cold rain and snow. Thanks Adams Family for having us over! This is a wonderful family who has endured more pain and trials in the last 5 years than any family should have to endure in a lifetime. You really should head over to their blog, God is weaving a mysteriously beautiful story of trials, faith and hope as we speak. Rebekah's mommy has recently been diagnosed with Lou Gerig's. I once read a book about it and also watched a movie about it... I still remember both in vivid detail. I can't even begin to imagine living with it. Please hold this family up in your prayers... I know they value them dearly.

Home Again, Home Again...

We made it home from our 4+ day trip over the river and through rolling hills of nothingness, and a lovely little town called Ellensburg, Washington. It's especially lovely because it's home to Rob's two wonderful Grandparents (and all the goodness that a stay at Grandma's house means... yes, my gaining streak continues... and my diet starts tomorrow. Or the next day. I hope anyway, we'll see how I feel).

The drive home today was gorgeous, and the company in the car was fantastic. My kiddos are hoots, I tell ya! These have to be two of the funnest, funniest, most fantastic kids known to man! They're daddy's pretty super too!

After a relaxing weekend with few responsibilities, I was quickly reminded of all the undone chores I'd left behind. I'm really hoping to get some blogging done tonight, but I feel obligated to at least get some dishes off of the counter and some bags put away.

Hopefully, you'll read more from me soon. If not, I'm stuck in la, la, laundry land... and swearing to myself that next time I leave for a trip I'll do so having left my house perfectly clean. Next time. Yup, next time for sure!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So Much To Blog

I still need to blog about Rob's half marathon, and Easter, and our trip to Ellensburg... and I have plenty of pictures of each event!

However, I'm not going to blog about any of those things because we won't return home from Washington until tomorrow, and I don't have my laptop with me (nor do Rob's grandparents have wireless internet).

I just felt a strange need to post something, once I saw that my last post was on the 2nd. I feel like a slacker! I promise I'll get some pictures up at some point. Probably sometime before Christmas. Perhaps even before the 4th of July?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Total Money Makeover Winners

Alright, we finally chose the winners. I told you I'd post at 8:00, but we were on I-5 at the time and there was no way I was going to try to post from Rob's Blackberry. It still takes me 13.7 minutes to write a 2 sentence text message!

But, we did do the drawing right at 8:00. It was a pretty fancy method of random selection. I tore small pieces of paper from a piece of paper previously lost in the deep-pit I call my purse. I folded them up, placed them in my cupped hands and let Leeann choose one.

Char, you are the random drawing winner!

Then we spent the next 20 minutes of the drive trying to decide who to give the other book to. This wasn't easy folks! We'd like to give one to everyone. Unfortunately we only have 6 books and have already given 2 away. That leaves 4.

Lucky for 3 of you though, we've decided to give the remaining 2 to blog readers also.

Bill (with the understanding you'll let Becky borrow it!), Jared (with the understanding you'll influence many, many people in the years to come) and Jessica (with the understanding you'll use all of that fancy knowledge you and your husband have gained to get yourselves out of debt as soon as humanly possible), you 3 are our winners! It is our deep hope that you all pass along the information you gain and that you'll also pay-it-forward once you're debt free!

For those of you who didn't win a book, I strongly encourage you to head to Dave Ramsey's website. He has a radio show you can listen to on-line. I like to listen while I'm preparing dinner. He also has a fantastic web-site that has an endless amount of information that will give you a road-map to financial peace.

If you have specific questions I'd be happy to chat with you about my understanding of what Dave would have to say about your situation. If I don't know the answer I'd be happy to help you find it. I also strongly encourage you to pick up the book or check it out from the library... it's a good read!

This is exciting! We hope to help as many people as possible realize the beauty having your money work for you instead of against you! I really can't express to you how good it feels to be debt free. It's like a HUGE weigh has been lifted from our shoulders.

If you are in a place that you feel like a financial weight is on your shoulders I hope you are encouraged to do whatever it takes to get yourself out from underneath it. It's so worth it!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Late for School

Suzy introduced me to a new website. It inspired me to try a little something new on Leeann's hair this morning which made her a full 10 minutes late for school today. Whoops! At least her hair is quite adorable this morning!

Too much fun!