Friday, December 29, 2006


Bruce finished the kitchen over the weekend. He started tearing out the last cupboards, sink, and drywall Thursday. And had everything in by Sunday. The kitchen looks fantastic.

Our new countertop. Gorgeous!

The finished product. It's a far cry from how the kitchen looked before we started. Thanks Bruce for working so hard!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Keeping Quiet

It's nearly impossible to keep gifts a secret with a 2 1/2 year old in the house. Especially when she goes shopping with you, picks out presents, helps wrap them... We're just asking for trouble. Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Holidays

Gearing up for another year of holiday cheer, we've begun the traditional Christmas preparations. Saturday we went to get a tree. Typically we go with my parents to a 'cut it yourself' place. So, we bundled up, loaded in the car, and drove to meet my parents. We followed them to the tree farm only to find the place closed. No sign, no trees for sale, nothing. Dang. Not knowing where else to go we headed for the local grocery store who had trees for sale out front. It just isn't the same. Those pines and spruces have been cut for months. The forest scent is long gone and the needles can't seem to fall from the tree fast enough. As luck would have it, a lady walked by and said 'If you want fresh trees, come to our tree farm. ' I recognized her as a teacher at my old high school, her son is a substitute teacher for my brother's school, and they live out by my parents. What a small world. So, after a few false starts we had the opportunity to take Carlie on her first hayride to find a tree. It was a lot of fun but it was freezing. Maybe 25 degrees and windy.

Last night we decorated our beautiful white pine. We dug out the box of decorations and turned on our favorite Christmas music (Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God). Carlie was so excited to help string the lights and hang the bulbs and other ornaments. Our tree is a little bottom heavy when it comes to decorations... Afterward we wrapped presents all the presents, except for Carlie's. Carlie wrapped a few by herself - and she really likes tape. It was a nice evening home together preparing for the holidays, the Holy day, preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus together.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cookies and Logic

Life at home with Carlie is vibrant, exciting, and often times - illogical. She's almost three and has a system of logic that only she can understand.

For example: Yesterday she wanted a cookie, not dinner. This was the subsequent conversation.
Carlie: Can I have this cookie?
Bruce: No.
Me: I'm making dinner. You'll be eating noodles in a minute.
Carlie (tearfully): I don't want to eat dinner. I want to eat a cookie.
Bruce (picks her up): You need to eat healthy food to grow up big and strong. You can't eat cookies all day, you would get fat. You want to be healthy.
Carlie (angry): But I want to be fat!

Um. Nope. Probably not. But I bet she did want that cookie pretty bad.

Sometimes I'm good with the preschooler logic stuff. The day before the cookie incident I scored! Dinner can be hard because Carlie is so excited Bruce is home. She dances, sings, doesn't sit down at all to eat. So....

Me (completely exasperated): Jesus gave us this food and He wants you to sit down and eat right now.
(note: I had already told her to sit and eat, but what I wanted didn't matter. But she does want to make Jesus happy. One day she asked if He could peel her apple instead of me)

Carlie (stops dancing): Did He say that Mom? Is He saying that now? Can you hear Him?
Me: Yes Carlie.
And then she sat down and ate her dinner!

I wonder what tonight will be like, but I bet it won't be boring!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

P-A-P-A spells Papa!

Carlie is learning to spell. She goes around the house shouting 'm-a-m-a spells Mama!' 'p-a-p-a spells Papa!' and 'C-A-R-L-I-E!' Those are the only words we've tried to get her to spell and, so far, she's caught on really fast. I guess we should teach her other words like dog, cat, etc.

Okay, as I was typing I heard a crash. Never good. I ran to the livingroom and found Carlie pulled down this little pretend fish tank filled with water and fake plastic fish that look like Nemo. She wanted to put her play-doh in with the fish. (I don't know why) The floor was soaked and the play-doh can't be rescued from the confines of the fish tank. I guess we should teach her to spell s-o-r-r-y...


We've been a bit busy with my birthday, Thanksgiving, church things, and working on the kitchen (of course). But, here are the latest pictures: Bruce has hung the wall cupboards on the stove-side of the kitchen. He's getting ready to hang the cupboards above the sink. We've purchased the new sink and countertop (gorgeous!) and I can't wait for it to be installed. It'll be beautiful! Bruce has put a lot of work into the room already and the progress is amazing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Kitchen Update 2

Well, Bruce has finished the majority of the wiring and started getting drywall up. Today we may start hanging the cupboards on the wall. It'll be great to have our dishes and food in the kitchen again. It gets tiresome searching the house for what you need - bowls on the dryer, plates by the computer, cereal by the washer... I'm thankful the project is moving along at a steady pace and so very grateful that Bruce has the desire and ability to take on these home improvement projects. (I love you, Bruce!)

Carlie at work

My dad came over last week to shoot some video of Carlie. He works for one of the local tv stations shooting news and is working on a project. He'll use the black and white footage of Carlie depicting her as 'every little girl' and a picture of childhood innocence, evoking strong emotions in the viewers. I'll write more about the story when it's closer to time for it to air. It'll be a great.

But, for now, here are some pictures of Carlie's day at work with Grandpa Gary. (You can see the potato chips in her hands - that was her payment for cooperation.)

AP online

My favorite singer/songwriter, Andrew Peterson, now has two of his albums available online for your listening pleasure. You can read the lyrics and listen to the entire album. Take a few minutes to listen.
AP's more recent (and most amazing) albums are available here:
The Far Country
Behold the Lamb of God

The Behold the Lamb of God-The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ cd is amazing (and has the longest title). The first time I listened to this all the way through I cried. It also changed the way I look at Christmas. Christmas is celebrated with pretty, twinkly lights and decorated trees. Sugar cookies and stockings. That may be how we celebrate - but who we celebrate is so much more important. Christmas is to celebrate the day a young girl gave birth to a baby boy in a barn. This baby is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - God come down from heaven to live among us as a man. And later to die on the cross for our sins - to reconcile us with God the Father. Listening to these songs remind me that this was God's plan from the beginning. The album tells Jesus' entire story - starting with God's people in the Old Testament longing for a savior and the Lord promising that their savior will come. So really, it's not a cd of Christmas songs - it's a record that tells the story of Jesus. And that message is worthy to be heard all year through.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rest for the Weary

Lately we've been plagued with unexpected problems. First the kitchen, now the car. Bruce thought it was the battery, then the alternator. It's neither, but it might be an issue with the wiring. That's not good because it means more time. More time to find the problem, fix the problem.

Bruce's time is already stretched thin. Lots of overtime at work. The kitchen remodel, which was unexpected - (but do to circumstances was immediate need). Responsibilities with the fire department. Church and family obligations. He rarely has time to sleep, let alone have time for another project.

I wish I could shoulder more of the burden. I can't help that his department is understaffed. I can't fix cars, or do drywall, or hang cupboards. I help with teaching at church and, admittedly, I could do more. But I think he looks forward to and enjoys the time working with the teens. I try to keep the house functioning. People and dog fed. Clothes and house clean. I admit I'm not good at any of this. I wish I were.

I'm not the one who can relieve Bruce of his burdens, but I can bring his burdens before the One who can. So I pray. I pray for peace at work and safety on the road. For the things of this life to not be so overwhelming that we forget what's important. For us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to seek the Lord's will for our lives in things both big and small. (Should we get a newer car or fix this one? Is this the right lesson to teach this week? Do I really need to argue with a 2 year old over veggies?)

When we're stressed and overburdened by the things of this world- we need to step back. Focus on the one who matters. The Lord, our Heavenly Father, and Creator of the Heavens and Earth. Take time to meet with Him, renew our spirit, and rest in Him.

Oh gently lay your head Upon my chest And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest And the tide can change so fast But I will stay The same through past the same in future the same today

I am constant I am near I am peace that shatters all your secret fears I am holy I am wise I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires Your heart’s desires

Oh weary tired and worn Let out your sighs Drop that heavy load you hold cause mine is light And I know you through and through There’s no need to hide I want to show you love that is deep and high and wide

I am constant I am near I am peace that shatters all your secret fears I am holy I am wise I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires Your heart’s desires

I am constant I am near I am peace that shatters all your secret fears I am holy I am wise I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires Your heart’s desires

Oh gently lay your head upon my chest And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest

(I Am by Jill Phillips)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day!

It's election day, so I'm getting ready to drag our 2 year old off to the polls. That should be entertaining... It's hard to be 2. Waiting in lines, asking Mom what she's doing (a million times), and asking 'what are your name?' to every stranger you meet (and there will be a lot of them) makes for a busy day. We'll bring along Bear (who is now wearing a new purple shirt) and Smarties (one of Carlie's favorite candies) in hopes of making the trip a little easier.

But I will be setting an example for my daughter. Showing her how to take her responsibilities seriously. It's important to make our voices heard and our votes do count. Remember to get out and vote today - I hope you've researched the issues and candidates and most importantly I hope you have prayed about your decision. Keep in mind that the Lord "He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning" (Daniel 2:21).

If the thought of braving the polls today is still stressful, do what we're doing. Go with a friend and bring along some candy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Pictures

Bruce and I dressed as the Tortoise and the Hare for the church Costume Party.

Carlie as a Bumble Bee.

Carlie in her Bumble Bee Costume at the church party.

Carlie painting pumpkins on Halloween day.

Patrick, Me, Bruce, and Carlie ready to go out for candy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy November 1st

Well, it's November 1st. The morning so many of us awake groggy and zapped from a long night with costumed little ones who are cranky and hyper with too much sugar. (candy, donuts, cider, chips, cookies...) Hooray for Halloween...

Our own little Bumble Bee enjoyed going to the neighbors' houses. She would buzz and say 'trick or treat'. Then very sweetly smile and say thank you. Much better than last year when she was afraid to look at or talk to anyone. Our wonderful neighbors gave Carlie way too much candy, but we appreciate them all the same.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Too Cute...

Yesterday Carlie wanted to take some pictures of us (and Bear, too). Just too cute for words.

Kitchen Update

Well, we've been busy for the past week or so tearing out the kitchen. Here's a few pictures of the progress thus far. Bruce has a big weekend planned so maybe we'll have up some new pictures by Monday. Thanks for looking!

Monday, October 23, 2006

'On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand'

Here are some pictures of Bruce and part of the band at church on Sunday. They did the Jars of Clay version of the hymn 'On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand'. It was the first time Bruce played his mandolin at church. Wow. It sounded really great. Maybe a little more like a performace than a church worship service. Next time I'll try to get some video and post it somewhere. I still have the chorus stuck in my head.
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promise Land.
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promise Land.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sifting for the Past

Here are a few pictures from the afterschool Archaeology class my mom and I teach together. We're teaching in a real small district this month so we only have 7 kids in the class. All boys. They're smart, lots of fun, and seem to be catching on to the things we're trying to teach. We have two days where they get to dig our inauthentic Native American site. (the saturday before dig-day we were out in the 40 degree weather and strong wind digging and planting 'artifacts' such as arrowheads, corn kernels, and bones)

It's so rewarding to see the students learn and to see the excitement when they find their first few artifacts.

(for above photo: The group in square two digging out their quadrants in a hunt for artifacts)

(for above photo: A student sifting dirt witih my mom and looking for artifacts. None this time)

(Above: Carlie digging in square one with the big kids. Everyone having fun in the cold.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

October Chill

Usually when I think of October I picture pumpkins, hayrides, and apple cider. I do not, however, think of snow. But Michigan is crazy like that sometimes. So, on Friday I took Carlie outside to play in the snow. There wasn't a lot of the white fluffy flakes - I think we got an inch and a half overall. But Carlie was thrilled. (this is the little girl who pulled her sled out in August and asked if it would snow soon!)

Here are a couple pictures of our outdoor adventure:

We live in an block house built in the late 1940's and in the winter we have a breeze in the livingroom! We usually struggle to keep that room warm. But now, Bruce and I got something that makes our house cozy. We bought an electric fireplace. The wood is pretty and the fake logs and fire look surprisingly realistic. And it puts out some serious heat. Now we can stay warm during the October snow...

Friday, October 06, 2006

a brief introduction...

Okay - here's the thing. I like the idea of a blog. People who have blogs are, well, you know- they're interesting. (at least usually)

I am not. I'm a stay-at-home mom. A list maker. I'm organized (sometimes...). I'm learning to knit. (I've made a bunch of hats and one of them actually fits someone!) So, my blog won't be like other people's blogs. I won't write about a glamorus career or exotic places - and it won't be full of wisdom. But it will be about real life and family. I won't make apologizies because I like my life. I love my family.

Who knows - maybe I'll even update it sometimes!!