Archives for October 2010

Dream a Little Dream


I am a dreamer.  A day dreamer, night dreamer, all the time dreamer.  A dreamer with an active imagination.  With all this dreaminess there is often quite a bit of disappointment.  Because dreams don’t always come true.  Of course, the fulfillment of dreams all depends on how you view things.

When I was little I dreamed of being a famous actress.  This is a common dream for most young girls, I suppose.  At least most young girls who like to be on stage…and I did like to be onstage.  I learned at a young age, though, that being famous would mean a lot of elbowing around, jockeying for position in a pool filled with talent.  I may be a dreamer, but I’m not a big fighter.  It only took a few experiences of rejection to scare me away.  Maybe I should have tried harder, but the fact is this dream was just that – a dream.  It wasn’t a passion.  You have to have dreams combined with passion to power through that type of rejection.

As a young adult, I was made aware of a tiny little gift I had with words.  That’s nicer than saying I am long winded and just happen to be able to spin my wordiness in a way that’s comprehesible, right?  About this time I did my first Beth Moore Bible Study and I determined that I would one day write Bible studies like Beth Moore.  I dreamed of holing myself up for hours at a time with nothing but my Bible and computer.

It didn’t take me long to realize that God created only one Beth Moore.  That’s not to say I couldn’t write a Bible study or two someday, but trying to match the spunk and verve with which Beth Moore writes is like saying I’m going to go out and be a 7 time Tour de France winner like Lance Armstrong.  Just because I can ride a bike doesn’t mean I can win the race, ya know?

As I’ve gotten more mature (notice I didn’t say older) my dreams have evolved a bit.  I dream more realistically.  I dream about what my children will think of me when they’re grown.  I hope it’s good things as a result of happy memories.  I dream of seeing my children grow and mature in wisdom and knowledge.  I dream about what they will be like/look like/act like as teenagers and adults.  (Sometimes I fear this to!)  I dream of where life will lead us as a family.  I dream about the experiences I want to give my kids – where I want to take them, what I want to expose them to, who I want them to see and meet.

I dream of living in a mansion and having two maids – one to clean my house and the other to do my laundry.  I dream of handing my personal shopper a grocery list and having her return an hour later with bags in tow, then handing them to the cook who prepares all our meals for us.  I dream of the private jet that will shuttle us to our private island in the Carribbean…

Um…not all of my grown up dreams are realistic.

I do dream of exposing my kids to a world outside their own.  I dream of taking mission trips as a family.  I dream about serving our local community together as a family.  I dream about introducing my children to the concept of missions in a real and tangible way, passing along the heritage that is so rich in our family’s history.

I dream of sleeping through the night.

I dream of having a greater involvement in the Russian culture with my children beyond simply teaching them the language.  I dream of having a greater impact through my writing  beyond simply sharing the mundane moments of our days.  Even when the mundane moments are pretty funny. 

For example as we drove in the car yesterday Sloan asked me when our dog, Sadie, would have puppies.  I told him she wouldn’t because she was fixed to not have puppies when she was a baby.  “Oh,” he said.  “Did you fix her because it’s so messy and gross for dogs to have puppies?”  “Um…” I answered.  “Yeah,” he continued.  “When dogs have puppies they shoot ’em out all goopy and black…like a rocket.”

I dream of better monitoring what my children see on TV.

I dream of touring Europe with my husband…. I can check that one off the list!  The only problem is now that I’ve done it once I dream of doing it again and again.  Gonna have to reign that one in.

I like dreaming.  Sometimes it’s all that gets me through the long days.  Other times, however, it breeds discontentment so I have to keep the dreaming in check and be as realistic as I can, while still allowing the occasional hope to peek through (like the private maid and personal chef – I’m not letting go of that one too easily).  The thing with dreams is that so often you can look back and see God’s hand in them and see how they came true.  Sometimes they are realized in a way that’s a bit different than you imagined, but often they’re even better than what you imagined.

Dreams are good.  Dreams are scary.  Dreams sometimes require action.  And that may be the scariest part of all.  I can’t sit back and lay out my dreams before God and then wait for Him to make them happen.  Sometimes I might have to chase a dream without knowing if I’m supposed to trusting full well that He will make that clear to me in time.  This sometimes requires a rather frightening leap of faith.

The best part about trusting God with your dreams is looking back and realizing He gave you far more than you could have asked or imagined.  Even in the heartaches of the past, I see how He carefully wove the fabric of my life to bring about the fruition of dreams I didn’t even dare to dream.  Perhaps that’s easy for me to say as my life is abundantly blessed.  I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that there are hidden heartaches and unrealized dreams that are hard to let go of.  But if I’m willing to look beyond those circumstances and really stare into the face of what’s before me I could say this without a single doubt:

My life is a dream come true.  And I never even tried to dream this up.


Pumpkin Patch 2010

I’ve been going to Rambach’s Pumpkin Patch since I was a kid and for nine Halloween’s we haven’t missed visiting this patch with our kids.  (The first year I was pregnant with Sloan).

So Sunday when the weather was balmy hot we decided to make the trek out there.  It feels a little sacreligious to visit the Pumpkin Patch in shorts and T-shirts, but given the fact that I loathe cold weather I wasn’t overly concerned about.  And the best part of this year’s visist was the fact that we got in and out of there without spending a dime.

Because we rock.

The trick is to go without money.  And leave your ATM card in the car so you’re not tempted to get cash out while there.  Then you can honestly tell the kids you don’t have any money.  And you know what?  They didn’t really care.  They were happy to play on the playground, run through the pumpkins and simply enjoy being outdoors.  They didn’t need overpriced pony rides and I had already told them we would buy our Pumpkins at Trader Joes because they’re cheaper.

And so I give you…the Pumpkin Patch of 2010.  And a lame blog post.  Sorry.










He is Dad


I am two or three years old*.  I’m on stage at our church singing my first solo – Away in a Manger.  My hair is curled and I have on a lacy dress.  Is it blue?  I can’t remember.  I am standing in front of the mic singing and he is below, at the bottom of the steps, with a camera in his hand.  He is skinny and has thick brown hair that sits atop his head like a football helmet.  He has a mustache that looks like it needs to be combed every day.

He is Daddy.

I am six year old.  I am wobbling down our Wisconsin driveway on two wheels.  He is running along beside me.  “Pedal faster!”  “You’re doing great!”  “Keep your head up!”  “You can do it!”  He lets go and I take off, exhilerated at my accomplishment.

He is encourager.

I am seven years old.  We are driving in the car and the tape deck is blaring Paul Simon.  He is singing loudly, drumming the steering wheel.  “I can call you Betty and Betty when you call me, you can caaaallll meee Al. Call me Al.”  He laughs and I laugh too.  And together we sing.

He is fun.

I am nine years old.  It’s Christmas morning and my brother and I are sitting at the top of the steps waiting for our parents to let us come down to open presents.  It’s 4:00 am.  I hear mom stumbling through the kitchen making coffee.  She comments about the ungodly hour of our awaking and I hear him laugh.  The he comes around the corner singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and we know it’s safe to come down.  We tear into the living room to see the tree lit and him dancing around it.

He loves Christmas morning.

I am ten years old and we are at Busch Gardens water park in Tampa.  I want to go down the big, plunging water slide but I’m nervous.  He tells me that if I do it he will do it.  Never one to back down from a challenge, I go down the water slide and he follows suit, shaking his head the whole time.  “I didn’t think you’d do it,” he admits sheepishly as he climbs the stairs.

He keeps his promises.

I am eleven.  He brings us into the living room and sits us down.  He tells us that he got a new job and we’re going to move to a place I’ve never heard of – St. Louis.  I cry and react with prepubescent flair.  “I don’t care if it’s a neat city. I don’t know anyone there. I don’t waaannnna go.”  He is probably hurt by my reaction, but he doesn’t let on.

He is understanding.

I am twelve years old.  The neighbor boy is taunting and pushing me so I take a swing at him.  He swings back and a full blown fight breaks loose.  I land a punch and he takes off running.  Later that night his mom calls to inform us that I gave her son a black eye.  After I get the obligatory “you can’t get into fist fights” lecture he looks at me and grins, winks and says, “Way to go, slugger.”

He is awesome.

I am twelve years old.  My mom received a call in the middle of the night that her sister was in a coma after having a severe reaction to a surgery.  I get home from school and he is there, standing in the kitchen – waiting.  “Where’s mom?” I ask.  “She left on a flight to South Carolina,” he answered softly.  “How’s Aunt Joy?” I ask, dread settling in.  He pulls me close.  “She passed away,” he whispered.  This is my first encounter with death.  And he holds me.

He is comforting.

I’m in eighth grade.  My parents have temporary custody of my three cousins.  The house is filled with emotionally confused children.  We fight incessantly.  He is in the middle of Washington University’s MBA program.  Life is hard.  I walk into his room one night to see him sitting at the desk staring blankly at the wall.  I give him a hug.

He is stressed.

I’m a high school sophomore and I play saxophone for my high school Jazz Band.  We are in Columbia for the All State competition.  We are playing a difficult piece that I struggled to learn.  We win first place.  As a former Jazz Bander I know he is excited.  I see him clapping his hands raw.

He is proud.

I am sixteen and I’ve had my driver’s license for all of 48 hours when I go to a school football game.  While pulling into a parking space I hit another car, denting my car all the way down the side.  Let me say that again for effect…I hit a parked car!  I call him from a post-game party at a friend’s house after deciding that I shouldn’t let my guy friends try to bang out the dents with a hammer.  

He is angry.

I’m a high school junior and I’m sitting on the floor of my room trying for the life of me to figure out the sum of x divded by y multiplied by 4,899.  Algebra…the bain of my existence.  He comes in and sits beside me.  He takes a halting breath and tells me he lost his job.  Then he cries and apologizes.  He is out of work for several months before getting a pretty interesting and lucrative offer in Seattle.  It would be a great career move.  But he ultimately declines and accepts a job here in St. Louis that is a 25% pay decrease so he doesn’t have to uproot us.

He is self sacrificing.

It’s the summer before my senior year and he takes me on a trip to Colorado for a week.  We challenge each other to climb mountains, we white water raft and we spend a week exploring.  He lets me vent and complain about all my teenagery problems.  I am angsty and hormonal and not always pleasant, but he pushes forward and we make memories – just the two of us.

He is involved.

I’m a senior in high school and preparing to graduate.  Our church has a Sunday morning dedication to graduating seniors and he blubbers in the microphone about how I “better not bring home some snot nosed little Texas boy asking to marry me.”

He is a softie.

I am a sophomore in college performing in my first dinner theater.  He stands in the back and video tapes the whole thing.  I can hear him whistling and shouting on the tape. 

He is supportive.

It’s 1998 and I’m studying in Ukraine for a semester.  He calls and says he’ll be in London over Thanksgiving and asks if I’d like to meet him there.  He picks me up from the airport on Thanksgiving night and we go to a Pizza Hut in London for dinner. 

He is a great date.

I’m a junior in college and the family comes for a long weekend.  I introduce them to a “friend” named Lee who spends an odd amount of time talking with them.  Later when they drive home he tells mom that “that boy was awfully interested for someone who is just a friend.”

He is discerning.

I am twenty two and we are preparing to walk down the aisle.  I have tears in my eyes as I look at him.  He looks back with tear filled eyes.  I am grateful for him and I know our relationship is going to change….I didn’t know it would change for the better.  In that moment I was so flooded with love for him that I turned into a weepy, blubbery mess.

He is Father of the Bride.

I’m twenty five, lying in a hospital bed, and I hand him a squirming little bundle.  He picks up his first grandchild and smiles gently.  Even though I know that hospitals make him uncomfortable and he’s worried about how I’m doing, I see his face light up.

He is Grandpa Boss. 

I am thirty *ahem* and I need business advice.  I call him and he spends time he doesn’t have talking with me, giving me guidance, editing contracts and developing my professionalism.  I call, email, text him multiple times and despite the fact that he is wicked busy, he takes the time to help me out.

He is advisor. 

He is wise, discerning, strong, tender-hearted and giving.  He loses his temper easily but is even quicker to ask for forgiveness.  He is humble and I can almost guarantee he’ll tell me I’m giving him much more credit than he deserves.  He is gracious and funny and has a wicked sense of humor.  He works hard (too hard) but also knows how to relax. 

He is Dad.

And who am I?  I am that proud and grateful daughter who kind of adores him.

Happy Birthday (a day late), Dad.  I love you!

*There is a great likelihood  that I did not get all of the details of the early memories exactly right.  They often appear to me as small snippets, like a technicolor film (never black and white…I’m not that old).  I did the best I could to list accurate details. 🙂

Potty Training 103

I’m not one to talk about all things potty on my blog.  It isn’t my schtick.  So you will not be getting all the gory details of Landon’s potty training, as diappointing as I’m sure that is to all of you.

Actually, things have been going as well as they could be around here.  We’ve had plenty of accidents and when I say plenty I mean I’ve got six pairs of soiled underwear sitting in the basement waiting to be washed today.  But we’re also having plenty of successes too. 

The issue with child number three is the mobility of our lives.  When I was enduring this conquering this with Sloan, we stayed home for a week.  We did not leave the house.  It was like house arrest…with leaking bodily waste.  But we got the job done and after seven days it was over.

The second time around proved a bit more challenging thanks to an active four years old and a newborn in the house.  There were many more accidents, but ultimately, we survived.

The third time around is almost feeling like an impossibility.  He is having to be trained in Pull Ups most of the time, which is not overly effective in my opinion.  But he really doesn’t like the picture on the front to disappear so that works in our advantage quite a bit.  So far we’ve only had one major accident in public and that was yesterday at Walmart.  Thankfully we made it out of the store before the dam broke. 

He told me he had to go, then changed his mind and said he didn’t have to go.  And I believed him. Sheesh.  It’s like I’ve never done this before.  Mom fail.

Otherwise we’re doing alright in public.  And at home.  Thankfully we are planning on getting new carpet soon so I’m not overly concerned when accidents happen on the floor.  In fact, I’m kind of glad because I figure it will speed up the much needed process.

And speak of the devil, he just said he needs to go potty.  Excuse me while I go fulfill my motherly duty and get up close and personal with my child.  No one ever said motherhood was boring, right?


It has become tradition each year in the fall for the kids and I to go to Twin Oaks Park for amateur photos (I am so amateur, too – I really wish I knew how to take better pictures).  Afterwards they play on the playground and we go out to dinner.  You can see last year’s pictures here.

The weather yesterday was beautiful and, despite the fact that it was Landon’s first official day of potty training, we headed off to the park for pictures.

I did not get the shots I hoped to, though, so if another nice day opens up I may go out and try again…if they’ll let me.  This is all I could come up with.  For all you photographers out there, I’m all ears to advice.  Particularly, how do you take a good shot on a sunny day?  If I face them toward the sun they squint.  If I turn their backs to the sun, their faces are too dark.  So I had the sun beside them for the pictures which means that half of their faces are shadows.

That frustrates me.

Still though – they’re pretty dang cute.















Sloan, a child after my own heart, has lately grown quite a love for writing.  He has taken off in the reading and writing department and is rarely far from his spiral notebook.  Yesterday I encouraged him to try writing a story and he wanted me to take a picture of him working on it.  He was so proud of his story about Max and Nick going hiking in the woods with their “fery frins” (furry friends).  The acorn may not have fallen far from the tree in this child…


I wouldn’t let Tia play on the playground in her Strasburg dress (mean mommy) so I made her change into play clothes.  She then spent the next thirty minutes crossing back and forth on the monkey bars.  So much so that her little hands are blistered and red.  Another acorn, she is…


Landon is an acorn, himself, but for those of you who have seen his obsession and freakish skill with a basketball (and baseball, and tennis ball and football) you know that the tree he landed close to stands a little taller than me.

Does this make my butt look big?

To all the men who read my blog…you know who you are.  I just want you to know that I’m on to you.  I’ve almost got you guys figured out.  Oh yes I do.  I have now birthed two beings of the male persuasion and raising them is giving me unique insight into all of you.  Be very afraid.

My most recent insight come to me this morning in the form of my seven year old who has suddenly become very aware of what others think and how his peers perceive him.  This is not something that surprised me, although it makes me sad that this awareness has creeped in so young. 

This morning I laid out his clothes for him, as I do every morning that he lets me.  Some mornings, when he’s feeling particularly ornery and independent he wakes up and dresses before I can get to him.  Because it’s chilly out today, I made it a point to get to his clothes before him so that he would wear pants.  Because the boy hates pants.

I laid out a pair of loose fitting cargo pants.  They were a cotton material and I thought he would like them because they weren’t tight and they fit more like sport pants.  I paired them with a Star Wars T-Shirt to sweeten the deal and prepared breakfast.  Suddenly Sloan came stomping into the room.

“Mom, I am not wearing these pants,” he huffed.

“Why?” I asked, preparing my argument for why he could, indeed, not wear shorts when it’s 40 degrees outside.

“People will laugh at me,” he replied.

“Why would people laugh?  Those pants are cool!”

“No, they’re not,” he moaned, slapping his hand to his forehead.

“Why are they not cool?” I said, stifling a laugh.

“Look at the back,” he said, turning around.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It makes my butt look big in the mirror!” he wailed.

I let him change into jeans.  Then he wanted to change into a tie dye shirt, “because that’s really cool.”  I’m trying to win the war, folks…not the battle.

But this just proves that us girls are not the only ones checking out our butts in the mirror.  You guys do it too.  And you care.  You care about image and how you look.  This isn’t isolated to my kid, because my husband…he cares too.  So does my brother.  I’ve kind of been surrounded by the male species most of my life.  You care.  You check.  You build outfits based on the perception of your butt.

Your secret’s out…

Guess what we’re doing this week?


This is the part where you get down on your knees and pray…