Archives for June 2010

Bits and Pieces

Yesterday was the big day. Landon got his cast removed.  I’ve never had a cast before, but I imagine that had my arm been wrapped in plastic for almost a month I would want to bend and straighten my elbow over and over and rub my hand up and down my arm like he did.  It was really adorable.  He seemed quite thrilled with his ability to once again move his arm.  He now has a removeable splint that he’s supposed to wear while he’s playing (so essentially all day long) for the next month.

Right.  Good luck with that.  He’s already figured out how to take it off.

I had to take all three kids with me to have his cast removed.  I was worried.  But they did great.  They didn’t freak out when the saw was turned on and niether one of them asked if they could have a cast put on. 




I cleaned out the bins of old clothes in the basement yesterday.  I filled four oversized garbage bags to be dropped off at Goodwill and a fifth garbage bag filled with clothes that had apparently been home to our mouse family last year.  Do you know what it does to someone like me to have to stick her hand in a bin that has obviously harbored small furry creatures?  I’m surprised I didn’t go into cardiac arrest.  I kept expecting little zombie mice to start crawling out of the box and up my arms.  I didn’t even try to see if any of the clothes were salvagable.  I just dumped them in the trash bag.


Lee and I are still attempting to keep up with P90X.  The workouts themselves, while hard, are not that bad.  Finding the time to do them, however, if proving to be a bit of a challenge.  I can only get up at 5:00 AM so many days before I turn into crazy-psycho-needs-some-sleep mommy.  I figure I’m of better use to my kids awake and alert but slightly flabby than super fit and walking in my sleep.

And finally, to cap off this most random of posts, I will let you know that it appears someone got a hold of my new camera yesterday and took several pictures.  I’m not going to name any names, but the evidence is compelling.






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I’m looking for Jiminy Cricket

jiminy_140x143Disney makes it look so easy.  You wish upon a falling star and anything your heart desires will come to you.  But even Jiminy Cricket realized that it took more than wishing for a dream to come true.  You have to listen to your heart and follow.  Let your conscience be your guide.

Of course, I try not to take theological guidance or direction from an animated cricket, but I do believe there is a nugget of truth buried in there.  But from my point of view as a believer, I believe my Jiminy Cricket my conscience to be the Holy Spirit.  It is this still small Voice, the Voice of God Himself, that I must listen to.  And it is this still small Voice that I often ignore, or worse yet, simply don’t hear at all.

Life is noisy.  Bills, responsibilities, work, commitments – all of these contribute to the noise.  And sometimes the noise gets so loud that it’s difficult to hear the Voice.  But there are moments when the Voice breaks through the noise.  Usually these moments are relatively quiet moments – in the still of the morning, or late at night, when the noise of life is in a brief slumber.  It’s in those moments that I’m reminded that wishing upon a star is not really going to get me far.  I might need to get up and start walking toward the star instead.

Lately, Lee and I have felt stirrings within us.  The moments come at different times for each of us, but the thoughts, dreams and ideas are the same.  Some of the stirrings require small, but meaningful, planning and action on our parts.  For those of you that know Lee and I well you know that planning isn’t, ahem, our strong suit.  We tend to fly by the seats of our pants and, while we always have the best of intentions, this means that many big plans get dropped along the way.  We’re working on this.

Other stirrings, however, will require a significant amount of prayer, hard work, diligence and faith.  And the faith part?  It’s a doozy.  I have personally never been much of a skeptic.  Faith, in it’s simplest form, comes fairly easy to me.  I’m not one to question or doubt.  In some ways, this is a very good trait.  But other times I have to remind myself that it’s necessary to think critically and not operate on blind faith.  In other words, I sometimes have to make myself question the concept of faith so that I can better defend my faith.  If that makes any sense at all….

All that to say, some of the stirrings within my own soul require a depth of faith that I haven’t yet grasped.  A complete, life altering, Here Am I Lord type of faith.  It’s the type of faith that may require me to be uncomfortable.  I may have to sacrifice some of my comforts.  I might even need to let go of some dreams and desires.

Can I do it?

I recently read this post from Shawn Groves.  It only further spoke to my already softening heart.  If my life were a home movie, what would it look like?  Hmmm…

So I’m not being totally cryptic, we’re not considering selling all our possessions and moving to far east Siberia to live in a cabin and start a slavic revival.  No need to worry!  We are, however, trying to open ourselves up to the What If’s. 

What if God called us to far east Siberia?

What if God called us to serve in missions?

What if God called us to go serve a meal to the homeless in downtown St. Louis?

What if God called us to adopt a child?

What if God called us to have another child?

What if God called us to rise in the early hours of the morning and pray over our children instead of sleeping in?

What if God called us to move to small town USA simply to minister to our neighbors?

What if God wants us to stay right where we are and continue to serve those around us quietly and effectively?

What if God wants me to drive my smokin’ hot minivan with pride all the while pouring His Truth’s into my children’s hearts as I shuttle them from here to there? 

The bottom line is this: We want to be ready for the What If’s, no matter what they might be.  Lee and I each have hopes, dreams, desires and vision.  Some of them line up and will be easy to implement – some do not match entirely and will require joint prayer.  But we want to stop ignoring the whispers that have grown louder over the past few months.  We want to quit talking and start doing.  Which takes planning.

*sigh* If only Jiminy Cricket could serve as our family manager…

The Carpenter’s Son

On Friday the kids were doing what kids do…fighting.

Well that, and playing outside.  At one point I looked out the window and saw Sloan surrounded by several pieces of scrap wood, a hammer, nails, the electric screwdriver and a saw.  Um…that seemed like a good moment to go check on them.

“What are you doing, bud?” I asked as I stepped out onto the driveway.

“Oh I’m just making a chair for Tia and me to sit on,” he replied.  He balanced a piece of wood precariously on another and raise the hammer high above the tiny nail pinched between his fingers.


“Yeah?” he asked, squinting up at me. 

“I think we should wait for daddy to come home before you start hammer nails into boards.”

It took a bit of convicing, but he finally agreed to hold off on smashing his fingers and sawing his arm off.  And when Lee got home, Sloan pounced.

“Canwemakeachairdad, IreallyreallyreallywanttomakeachairformeandTiatositin. Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleeeeeaaaase?”  Lee agreed to help make a chair…on Saturday morning. 

And make a chair they did.  When it was all assembled, we threw down a piece of plastic and opened up some cans of leftover paint and let them have at it.

It turned out quite nice:











Yep.  We like our new chair…


We like it a lot!


As luck would have it

Part of my Craig’s List money went toward a minor room redecoration.  I never liked the bedding I bought for our king size bed a couple of years ago and last year when we recevied our new furniture it just accented the ugliness of our bedding.  So I bought new bedding.

Here’s the thing – I don’t have a decorator’s bone in my body.  Which makes the fact that I recently started freelancing for a decorator’s blog slightly humorous, wouldn’t you say?  The fact is, I just don’t know how to put together a room.  I don’t know what looks good where, how to hang photos, what pieces to use for accents – it’s just not my strong suit.  So given that knowledge, I’m pretty proud of the minor changes I made to our bedroom.


Obviously, finding the right bedding was my first goal.  As soon as I saw this bedding online, I fell in love with it.  I ordered it two months ago and it just arrived yesterday due to back order issues.  Just in time for my birthday.  Yes, I am 29 AGAIN today.  Lee seems to luck out on birthday gifts wouldn’t you say?  Last year our furniture happened to arrive the day before my birthday as well. 

Remember this?

So here we are, one year later, and my bed is finally outfitted properly. 



I also bought new side table lamps since our old ones didn’t match and were not even remotely cute.  Behold, the glory of a cute side table lamp:


Many thanks to HomeGoods for being the perfect place for non-decorators like me to shop.  And naturally we needed a few accents in the room to pull it all together.  Naturally.


Lee’s not overly crazy about the urn.  “It’s weird,” he keeps saying.  “What’s the purpose?”  And I’m all, “Dude, you obviously know nothing about decorating a room…”

Weird urn aside, I like how things are coming together in there.  I still need to figure out what to do in one naked corner and I need to re-hang a few pictures that don’t look right and, eventually, I’d like to repaint the walls.  But what color?  Those are the types of decisions that stress me out.

For now, however, I’m going to rest my head on some cute pillows and let out a sigh of accomplishment because I conquered my fear of redecorating a room!

Now if I could only get my husband to take the suitcases down to the basement as they are totally messing with my Feng Shui.


I feel like I’m living in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

All photos were taken with my new point and shoot, courtesy of my parents.  I love my Pentax and the quality of pictures it takes, but the thing is a mammoth and, to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about hauling it around the Zoo with me.  It made me nervous.  So I’m excited to have a smaller camera that I can stick in my pocket.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

What We’re Up To


It’s summertime.  And the livin’ is easy…

But I’m not gonna let the livin’ be lazy.  My kids get up at the crack of dawn.  It’s not unusual for us to be up, fed, dressed and ready for the day by 7:30 – not because I want it to be that way, you see.  I would give a limb for them to sleep until 8:00 just once.  Heck, I’d be thrilled if they slept until 7:00!  So with everyone waking up so early, what on Earth will we do with ourselves all day everyday?  This week we started our summer schedule and built in to every weekday is “learning time” from 8:00-9:00.

It looks a little like this:



And Landon usually looks like this because I make him leave the room and play quietly by himself while the older kids work…something he’s not overly fond of.


This time is being spent on their Russian homework, Tia’s English Alphabet (poor girl, we’ve spent so much time on the Russian that she doesn’t know her English letters at all), Sloan working on his summer packet from school, math, reading and writing in their journals.  It’s actually going really well.  The kids are able to get all of their work out of the way early which frees them up to play the rest of the day.

We set a reading goal for Sloan this summer.  If he reads 10 books, we’ll go to Chuck E Cheese.  If he reads 20 books, we’ll go to the Magic House.  If he reads 35 books in English and 5 books in Russian we will spend the whole day at Six Flags.  So far he has completed one book and is chomping at the bit to go to the library to check out new books.

We’ll do that as soon as I pay off our overdue book fines.  Ahem… 

I think I’m going to like this schedule.  It’s tough, for sure.  I would much rather let them watch TV all morning so I could play on the computer, but I know this is a more productive way to spend these early morning hours.  It means I will have less time to blog, which is probably not a bad thing.  It will mean I need to be much more disciplined with my time, which is definately not a bad thing.  But it will also mean that I will be able to send Sloan to 1st grade prepared and Tia will finally know the difference between the letter H in English and the letter H (which sounds like N) in Russian.  It’s kind of important that I teach her that…

What are your summer plans?

Hey Becke’. It’s Your Birfday!


Happy Birthday to my amazing, funny, wickedly talented, godly, beautiful sister-in-law, Becke’.  I didn’t have a sister growing up.  It would have been fun to have one, but God has blessed me with a great sister-in-law who shares many of the same passions and loves that I do.  The need for a sister has been fulfilled in Becke and I am grateful.

Some things you should know about Becke’:

– She is an amazing singer.  Seriously, the girl can hit some crazy notes.

– She is a gifted writer.  And photographer.

– She’s very crafty, although I don’t think she would say that she is.  But compared to me, she’s a flippin’ Picasso.

– She is really good at applying make up.  Way better than me.  I’m always amazed at how put together her face is.

– She is equally gifted at using a curling iron.  I, on the other hand, tend to look like Simba if I try to curl my hair.

– She is a master wasp killer.  She needs nothing more than a Steno Pad and me yelping on the sidelines.

– She will sometimes answer to the name Coco Mama.  Try calling it out in a crowded room – I bet she turns around…

– She has a wicked sense of humor.

– She has the most tender heart and really loves the Lord with all her soul.

– She is a great mom.

– She’s very patient and level headed.  Unless someone drops a salt shaker and breaks it.  But she recouperates quickly.

– I really can’t think of anything that Becke’ can’t do.  She’s like Mary Poppins…practically perfect in every way.

We love you Becke’!  Hope today is great.



On Saturday night, our family got to witness the beauty of adoption firsthand.  My dearest and oldest friend, Lindsey and her family welcomed a new addition in a most special way.  Lindsey’s sister, Laura, and her husband, Luke, brought home their daughter from Ethiopia.

Meet Zemma.


Isn’t she yummy?

All I can think about when I see her little face is how her life has changed.  In an instant she went from orphan to daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin and niece.  She went from no hope for a future to limitless possibilities.  She has been grafted out of loneliness and into a family.  A family that will love her unconditionally for all time.  A family that will pour into her.  A family that will teach her what it means not just to be someone’s child, but what it means to be God’s child.

Her life will never be the same.

What a beautiful picture it was and how honored we were to witness Zemma’s homecoming.  To see the delight on her family’s faces as they finally met the little one for whom they had been praying.  And as Laura and Luke walked up to the crowd of excited faces, I couldn’t help thinking of what it would be like the day that I would cross the threshhold into my own heavenly home.  I too have been grafted into a forever family.  I too was once lonely, lost and alone.  I too will be greeted by those who are delighted to have me come home.  I too have been redeemed.  Out of the ashes came forth beauty.   


It’s a marvelous thing.

Welcome Zemma.  May you forever and always cling to your Daddy.