Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy (almost) New Year!

Even More Family!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!




The world must see this!

Luke 2:8-14:
...there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kings and Queen of the Hill

Today's December Photo Project pictures are from the Christmas card photo shoot.  The closer pictures are better, but do not do justice to the size of the snow pile next to our driveway.  So I felt compelled to include the out take so you can see the mailbox and the driveway for a bit of perspective.  You can also see that even though the kids are older now, the let's-look-happy-with-no-hat picture plan still has its difficulties...

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Train is Moving Fast

Well, there is much to say, including a full description of the Train concert Edwin and I went to, along with how very Minnesotan we were to stand outside for an hour and a half before said concert, but I have no time to say it.  We've had a fun week!  But Christmas is only one week away, and today we really have to buckle down and get it all done or at least planned so we will have time to enjoy our special days and our guests.  So I will attempt to keep the December Photo Project going, but continue to have little to say!

Merry Christmas, and may we all remember the reason for the season...

Luke 1:68-70
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old..."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disco Santa

Disco Santa has been on my Christmas tree all of my life that I can remember.  And that is saying a lot, considering that my family did not have a Christmas tree ornament tradition, or not one that I was aware of, anyway.  We, like many families, had some old ornaments, some new ones, some that my sister and I made at school or church, and some that people had given to us.  Now and then there was a year that Mom would decide to do something more trendy with the tree and buy new, coordinating ornaments of some variety.  But for the most part, there were a few ornaments that were always there, and this was one of them.  I'm not sure how Disco Santa went with me when I got married and left home, but he did, along with a few other ornaments from my childhood.

Edwin's family, on the other hand, has a Christmas ornament tradition.  While growing up, Edwin and his sister, Amy, received an ornament from their grandparents each year.  Most of them are dated, so we have ornaments on our tree that go back to 1968.  Many of them are hand-painted, and they all hold great memories.  Getting married in December means that we also have a few cherished "first Christmas together" ornaments from thoughtful wedding guests.

The Christmas ornament tradition has continued in our own family, as now Edwin's parents give each of our children an ornament every year.  As you can imagine, our tree is filling up quickly with five new ornaments added each year, but we do cherish those ornaments.  When we decorate the tree, we divide the ornaments into groups for each child and they admire them a bit before hanging them on the tree.  Then they proudly point out their ornaments to any and every visitor who walks into our home.

I'm not sure what will happen to our Christmas tree when the kids leave the house with all of their ornaments, and I am not going to think about that now.  But I have a feeling that one day, Lord willing, we will be buying Christmas ornaments for our grandchildren, too!

Psalm 144:12
May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All That Deep, Deep, Deep Snow! All That Snow Has to Go!

Children's Choir Concert

Last night the Good Shepherd Children's Community Choir Concert took place, a whole five hours before the blizzard began.  (It was originally scheduled for last Friday night but was postponed due to a big snowstorm.)  All children did a great job!  I love to be able to actually hear my kids' voices (Anna, James, and John are in the choir; David has moved on to the adult choir with a deeper voice, and Daniel is anxiously waiting till next year to be old enough.) among the small crowd.  Our church has been blessed with very talented choir leaders and the kids are learning so much, and they really enjoy singing to the Lord!

[Choir photo to come...]

Meanwhile, I think we may be seeing our first real blizzard.  Wow! the snow is deep and flying sideways.  Stay tuned to find out if we make it to the work Christmas party, which is tonight at a fancy downtown hotel...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December in Minnesota, reprise

My grumbling about the temperature this  morning has led me to remember when life was not as easy.  Well, that, and the fact that one of my children has been practicing the 12 Days of Christmas on the piano all week!

I wrote this on Dec. 19, 1999. David was 3, Anna was 2, and James was 7 months.  We are now living proof that God carries you through the rough spots, and children do get older!
Reflections on a not so great month...

You know the tune...

December in Minnesota means lots of things to me:
A slight case of pneumonia.
December in Minnesota means lots of things to me:
Two sinus infections,
And a slight case of pneumonia.
December in Minnesota means lots of things to me:
Three infected ears,
Two sinus infections,
And a slight case of pneumonia.
December in Minnesota means lots of things to me:
Four inches of snow,
Three infected ears,
Two sinus infections,
And a slight case of pneumonia.

I Don't Want to Get Up...

Today's December Photo Project photo is Edwin's alarm clock, which projects both the time and the outdoor temperature on the ceiling. (I've written about it before, as it is one of the winter thorns in my side - seeing the temperature flashing on the ceiling while I am in my cozy bed. )  Thankfully it rounds the temperature, so what I saw on the ceiling was not -0.9 but just a big. fat. zero.  Time to get up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Does It Look Cold?

I looked out the office window and saw a big, beautiful, pileated woodpecker in the tree right outside.  I nearly froze to death chasing it around for a photo, but it finally got mad enough to fly across the street out of range.  The only picture I got with the bird actually in it did not do it justice, hence the tree, alone.  I guess I need more bird-watching experience, or more photography experience.  Probably both!  That's what is great about the December Photo Project!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Slowly but Surely

We bought our Christmas tree today, and it was covered in snow.  (The picture was taken after much of the melting had occurred.)  This leads to melting in the house, which is pretty much equivalent to raining.  Oh well, at least it's here!  The rain is over, the carpet is drying and we hope to have it decorated by the end of the week.  I'm not kidding, it will take that long once you add all the other things that have to be done this week! 

The December Photo Project has lots of great pictures, all of them much better than mine!  Click on the link and look around at all the images of December.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lego Day!

Today's Photo Project picture is the kids' First Lego League team, known as the Cavemen.  The tournament was today and they did a great job, after working hard over the last four months.  Now they are on their way to the state tournament in January.  Great job kids!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Groovy Cookie

Anna, 13, took today's December Photo Project picture!  Another edited phone photo, but I like it!

Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

There's a first time for everything, and this is my first time to participate in a blog link up.  (Though, in reality, I guess the December Photo Project is that sort of thing too.)  If you want to participate, or just get some awesome cookie recipes, hop on over to the Raising Olives blog.

Here's my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, slightly adapted from a cook book that, if you are from Alabama, you will know as the "Yellow Phone Company Cookbook."  The kids love to open this book to this page because it has a note  from about 19 years ago slid in the book there, telling Edwin where to find things and what to do so he could bake these cookies a long time ago.  I think someone was coming to visit and he was going to be finished with classes before me.  Fun times!

Oatmeal Cookies 
 *Believe me, if you have anything close to a large family you will want to double or triple this!

1 c shortening      
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
1.5 c flour
3 c oatmeal
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped nuts (optional)
1 c chocolate chips (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs. Add flour, salt, and soda (I never pre-sift these - just mix well!).  Add vanilla.  After this point, you may need to stir by hand, depending on the size and strength of your mixer.  Add the oatmeal, nuts, and chocolate chips and mix well.  You could form the dough into a log and refrigerate over night or wrap well and freeze for later, treating them like slice and bake cookies.  Or just cook them now without chilling in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the cookie size.

Enjoy!  And please leave a good cookie recipe in the comments or join the 4 Moms cookie exchange link-up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twice as Nice


Well, I must admit that Daniel, 7, took the first photo for the December Photo Project this year. He took it with my phone and edited it himself. And yes, there are two trashcans in the picture, but that's ok. Maybe he has a future in photography...


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving

Psalm 111


Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,

in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Great are the works of the LORD,

studied by all who delight in them.

 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,

and his righteousness endures forever.

He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;

the LORD is gracious and merciful.

He provides food for those who fear him;

he remembers his covenant forever.

He has shown his people the power of his works,

in giving them the inheritance of the nations.

The works of his hands are faithful and just;

all his precepts are trustworthy;

they are established forever and ever,

to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

He sent redemption to his people

he has commanded his covenant forever.

Holy and awesome is his name!

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

all those who practice it have a good understanding.

His praise endures forever!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

December Photo Project

December Photo Project


I tried to do this project last year, but I hope to actually do it this year - a picture every day for the month of December!
If you are interested in joining this project, click on the picture above for instructions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still (Different) Here

Well, it has been a while!  We had a lovely three weeks in Mexico Beach, Florida, with family.  That was followed by two weeks of school-starting chaos (It always seems more chaotic if you wait to start school in October!).  Then I was lucky enough to tag along with Edwin last week to the annual big work meeting, held this year near Austin, Texas, so the kids got to spend another week with their grandparents (Thanks, Ed and Gail!).  And now we are back to chaos...

Every morning it is darker and darker, so it is time for me to face the fact that winter is really coming, like it always does.  There's the darkness, along with today's high of 39 with light snow in the forecast.  The wind is howling like mad.  And that is the end of fall, which was nice this year, though I was not around for too much of it!  Winter and, surprisingly, summer are the two seasons which begin very suddenly here.  Winter always too soon, and summer always too late, but both always start very abruptly.  It seems the temperatures go from 60 to 30, or 50 to 80, overnight and then there is no looking back.  And such is life, different here.

One day in the near future I hope to write some "real stuff" piling up in my head, but for now I just wanted to say I am still up here somewhere, and I couldn't bear to leave the "Comment Trouble" post at the top of the page any longer.  If there is anyone out there who still checks my blog after this long of an absence, I thank you heartily!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Comment Trouble

Something weird is going on with my comments.  If you have tried to post a comment lately, it probably disappeared.  I only know about the problem because a few people have mentioned that they commented, and yet I never saw it.  Sorry about that!  I will try to find the time to look into the problem soon.

It is normal for your comments to NOT show up immediately under the blog post.  This is because I have chosen to "moderate" the comments before publishing them.  That means I read them first and then publish them.  It is my blog, and I want to maintain complete control over what is here, not to keep away opinions that might disagree with mine, but to be sure that I know what is published under my name.  This will continue.

But, normally, your comments should be posted within a day or two after you make them.  I usually check for comments more frequently after posting, allowing them to be published quickly.  So please don't stop commenting!  I will try to fix the problem soon.

You could help by trying to post a comment below.  The comments I make get published right away, so I can't really experiment with a fix unless I have some "real" comments!  Thanks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Running...

Well, we've just about run out of hot weather for the summer, I'm afraid.  I woke up to 50's and walked (instead of ran) in the bright, cool sunshine.  A high of 72 is a bit disappointing for the last week for swimming at the pool, but I guess it does justify why they close even before Labor Day!

I have finally made some progress on my goal to be able to run 3 miles without stopping.  Unfortunately, at nearly the exact moment that I began to feel like I might, perhaps, one day, begin to like running, and that it may actually be possible for me to achieve this goal outside, before getting back to running on the treadmill in the basement, I started noticing a pain in my hip that continued to worsen. Ugh.  I am officially old.  Now I am plugging the Aleve and back to walking for a week or so, and not getting too far with that.

In researching hip pain in runners, and by talking to friends who are actual runners, I have determined that the whole "Oh, my bursitis" issue is most-likely due to running in the wrong shoes.  So last night Anna and I went out shopping and came home with a shiny (and very cute!) new pair of actual running shoes of a very specific variety, hopefully the exact shoes that will cause my joints to line up in such a way that I can continue to run and not be weary.  And get out of the car pain free, like a 42 year old should.  Time will tell!

...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time Keeps On Slippin', Slippin', Slippin'...

Wow! August already!  I want to assure you (I know really of only 1 dedicated blog reader) that we are still up here.  We are enjoying summer and staying away from the computer.  Stories are building up in my head, so maybe one day I will write them.  For now I will keep going to the pool as much as I can, and steaming toward arranging the Fall schedule for school which is, of course, more complicated than ever (I say that every year!).

This summer has been loads more summer-like than last summer because it has been HOT!  I like hot, so I won't complain.  But it's actually been in the upper-90's a good bit, with the "heat index" reaching over 100 more than a few times.  Humidity in MN, wow.  My kids asked what the heat index is, and I said it's kind of like the opposite of wind chill.  That struck home right away, no more explanation needed!

That's all for now.  There's laundry to do and boxes of school books to open before the pool calls this afternoon.  I hope all of you are enjoying summer as much as we are!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Home Improvement

There is an ice cream social for the Women in the Church at my house next Tuesday.  And there is a gi-normous dumpster in my driveway.  If that doesn't illustrate the first principal of hospitality, you-can't-wait-until-your-house-is-perfect-to-have-people-over, I'm not sure what does.  So when you come over, don't look at that dumpster.  Just sit in the unfurnished but air-conditioned living room and enjoy some ice cream!

And if you have a large item to dispose of, give me a call.  The dumpster is too big for our needs and probably has room for some of your junk, too!

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another...(I Peter 4:8-10)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summertime...

I've been largely absent from the computer lately, and I must say it is nice.  If summer is anything here in Minnesota, it is short.  But it has been lovely so far and we have been soaking up every moment.

We enjoyed a lively visit from my sister, her husband, and five out of six of her kids.  (We'll not mention their drive up here through tornados and that quality time in the gas station bathroom!)  It was like a vacation for all of us, since we did all the fun things we could cram into three days - Como Zoo, Minnehaha Falls, a Twins' game, and the Mall of America.  There was also a lot of play time around here and a lot of eating!

That visit was followed by the annual Music in Plymouth concert with the Minnesota Orchestra and plenty of really good fireworks.  And that was followed closely by two days at the pool, lots of work around the house, a day of rest, and a church picnic.  There was also a plumbing thing; it seems we may be back on the leak-a-week plan.  We have a large plumbing project ahead of us, but the rain in the unfinished part of the basement has stopped for now.  Whew!  I declared we had to stay home this morning to do important things, like laundry, that never seem to do themselves.  Then we're back to the pool, I hope!

The home improvement before and after shots will be coming soon.  The front door will get redone tomorrow and we can declare the exterior done.  The trouble with it would most-likely not show in a photo, but that is still my excuse!

I hope all of you are enjoying summer as much as I am!  If you have any local, Minnesota must-do's for summer, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Reading

I just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea, for the first time as far as I remember. I could say I’m not sure how I missed that one, but I think I have figured it out already. I didn’t read much in school, and I read almost nothing that wasn’t assigned. Actually, I did not really read that much of what was assigned, except in a skimming or Cliff Notes sort of way. What I remember about literature in school was that we never could just read anything; we had to pick it apart, write about it, and discuss it, ad nauseam. I know comprehension is important, and writing is very important. Don’t worry - my children are required to do these things in school, too. It’s just that I feel like if we do that to every assigned book they will turn out like I did and not enjoy reading. And there would not be time for them to read the quantity of good literature out there that I hope they can cram in before college. So yes, I’ll admit it, most of the assigned reading for my kids’ school is just that, reading. Throw in a dinner table discussion and check it off the list.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gigantor Lives!

Let me state up front that this is a long and rambling story. Sorry about that! A better writer would condense this somehow, but I am a talker, not a writer, so listen if you have time…

My Sunday morning started with an orange juice shower. No, it actually started with me making a (very large) pot of chili at 7:00 am. I have a bad habit of putting off the fellowship lunch preparation until Sunday morning. It’s a combination of being too lazy or too busy on Saturdays, but either way, it results in the family waking to strange smells. Then I headed to the shower, a real one. It was shortly after that the orange juice shower occurred. I wasn’t there to see the scope of it, and by the time I arrived on the scene it had been cleaned up, or so it appeared. Thankfully there were no church clothes involved, since a few of the kids are so short of nice clothes it would have resulted in a serious wardrobe malfunction. So I moved on to getting ready to leave.

Fast forward 20 minutes. I came back down to the kitchen, all ready to go except for my shoes. That’s when my feet stuck to the floor, and I discovered the scope and reach of the orange juice shower as well as the deficiencies of the clean-up effort. Now I have no choice but to mop the floor before church. Ok, I do now realize there were some other choices, but this was my feeling at the moment, which I know some of you can understand completely! I grabbed the two nearest boys who were fully dressed and they began to move the seven chairs and four stools out of the kitchen. One of them began to scrub o.j. off the chairs, too. I grabbed the bag of trash someone had pulled out but not really dealt with and sat it on the garage step (still not dealing with it). Then there was a flurry of super-fast aerobic sweeping and mopping. I ended up quite hot, asked another boy to get me some water, and dashed up the stairs for my shoes. We were still going to be to church on time!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ticket to Ride

On Sunday afternoon we found ourselves with some extra time due to schedule changes at church. We had planned a trip to Duluth for Saturday and Sunday, but upon discovering that we could not spend the night on Saturday, we decided we couldn’t face six hours of car time on Sunday! Not enough recovery time from the last trip! So we had lunch on the sunny patio of Smash Burger (calorie loading) and headed over to Wayzata for a bike ride on the Dakota Rail Trail.


The Dakota Rail Trail starts in Wayzata near Lake Minnetonka and ends in St. Bonifacius. It is mostly level, crosses very few roads, and has several really scenic bridges over the lake. (If you are from the south, you’ll appreciate knowing that the new bridges smell exactly like Six Flags! Good memories!) There are shady portions that felt like heaven on that sunny but probably not much warmer than 70 day. There are also a couple of good eating spots right on the trail, including the Minnetonka Drive-In.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Few More Miles Before I Sleep...

We took a quick trip to Alabama last week and saw the entire family!  It was a great time, but we are still recovering from nearly 2800 miles in 6 days.  So, in lieu of a real blog post, I'll just put up some pictures from our trip!

Oh, and we are having some work done on the house this week, too (and steaming toward the end of the school year!) - exterior painting and new doors - so there will be some before and after shots in the next couple of weeks.  For now let's just say, "Goodbye orange house!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Comfort of Sovereignty

You may have noticed a theme in my last few posts: the sovereignty of God.  It is such a comfort to me to know that God is in control of every. single. thing.  There is much to be said about the subject, but for now I just want to share a link to a quote that sums it up so well.  Today's post at Girl Talk is short, but well worth reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saw it Coming

A long time ago in a land far, far away (Florida), we had David, born right on his due date after 20 weeks of labor. (Don’t worry: I am nowhere near ready to write about our long and complicated child-bearing history, so that is not the point of this post.) It was the beginning of a baby parade that wound down just over seven years later when Daniel was born here in Minnesota. Now Daniel is seven, and we are fresh out of babies. We’re not even a parade any more. Just like that – seven years pass and things are totally different.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not pining for the days of sweet babies and toddlers. I enjoyed those days immensely, but I thought I would miss them much more than I actually do. I am thankful that God gave me just as many of those sweet, trying days as He had planned for me. I’ve had just enough days with diapers to change (ten years straight!), just enough days of packing a huge bag before leaving the house. I’ve had just enough days of scheduling around naps, just enough days of saying, “Hold on to the cart” while trying to navigate the grocery store parking lot (in the snow). While I am sure I have not answered the “Are they all yours?” question for the last time, people ask that much less often now that the kids look more like a gang of friends than a pack of babies. “Who in her right mind would bring 5 kids under 8 years old to Sam’s Club if they were not all hers??” I wanted to scream more than once. And yes, we are aware of what causes that.