Friday, January 30, 2009

How much?!?!

Went to Target late Wednesday night to replenish the diaper stash. I am not naturally a risk taker, but there are 2 risky activities I participate in monthly: 1. Getting down to the last diaper and 2. Getting as close to the bottom of the gas tank as possible before filling up.

Anyway, it was the perfect time to go! They had gotten overstock of M & Ms and Starbursts and were selling them for 75 cents a bag! I was very happy. Still am, in fact.
In other news, I convinced Roman that these were pirate mittens. Now he loves them.
Here is Lincoln going down the slide. Notice the sippy cup upside down. This is why I got the carpet cleaner for Christmas.

Here is Roman with his "Mack" from cars on the car mat. He loves that truck.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This is my little crazy man with a twizzler. Oh, he is a cutie. And he needs a zoo. But he doesn't have one.

And this, this is a funny post about Octamoms crazy man and his zoo. Noah and I both laughed outloud. That may not be saying much, but maybe it is saying something.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Julie goes controversial, but what the heck- life is short

I believe that there are some gray areas of morality in the Bible.

And there are people that are willing to die on those hills.

I am not willing to die on those hills, I choose to die on other ones.

I believe in right and wrong.

I believe in absolute truth.

I believe that the Bible is the place to go to discover truth.

I am sad this week because there was an exectutive order signed so that our taxes can now go to support organizations that promote abortions internationally.

I am sad this week because the number of Americans that believe that abortion is wrong is relatively high, but less are willing to die on that hill.

I had a prof in college say: "I believe with all my heart that abortion is wrong, but I am so thankful that I live in a country that allows people to have that option."

What??!!!? It sounds ludicrous. "I believe with all my heart that bank robbery is wrong, but I am so thankful that I live in a country that allows people to have that option."

But I fear that this is where the country (and Christians, unfortunantly) are at. It is wrong, but we shouldn't outlaw it.

We should outlaw guns.

But we shouldn't outlaw murder.

But there is a right and a wrong. There are the 10 commandments and we do know what God thinks about certain things.

And as for me, I will vote on those things.

So when my son asks, "who did you vote for mommy, and why?"

I will tell him:

I voted for what I know to be right.
I voted for what I know to be good.
The Bible does not outline a good economic plan for our nation.
But it does outline a moral plan for a people.
And I will vote as close to the moral plan as I can. Because I know it is right.
And then I will trust God to take care of our economics.
And I will do my part to take care of those who need it.

How can I do otherwise?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Important Things

I gotta tell you, sometimes I feel downright conflicted.

In fact, some days the following passage fits me to a T:

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15

"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Romans 7:18b

(if you haven't read the verses surrounding those, I would encourage you to. Good stuff.)

See, I am kind of caught in the suburbia trap. Or is it just the general humanity trap?

We own a home, so we need to keep it up.
We live far from work, so we need to have transportation.
We are humans, so we need to wear clothes.
We need to rest, so we crave entertainment.
We have kids, so we have sports, activities and friends.

You see, as I have been thinking I have come to a startling realization. Actually, I have just started to embrace a realization that I have always known. A lot of this stuff that we are conditioned to believe is important, isn't. Maybe it is even an addiction, an idol.

So I have a new plan (yes, I am an ENTJ- I make plans. It is what I do).

I came up with three questions to ask myself before I make decisions about our spending and our time:

1. Does this promote "raising up our children in the way they should go"? Will this improve our marriage? (Deaut 6:7, Eph 6:1-4, Eph. 5:22-24)

2. Will this help us love God more? Will it help us worship him in 'Spirit and in Truth'? (Matt 22:37)

3. Will this help us love people around us better? (Matt 22:39)

Because really, what else matters?

This is how it plays out in my life:

When we finished our basement, we did it solidly, but nothing fancy. We wanted space reserved for instruction of our children (fits goal 1), but we knew that we didn't need anything over the top "extra". When we were deciding on countertops for the laundry room, we decided on the prefab one from the Depot. Why? Because I asked myself those three questions and I could not find a way for spending more money on the countertop to help us with any of the three goals.

Something our family struggles with is eating out. And I think there are times when eating out as a family, as a couple, with friends etc. can and does fulfil the goals. But it doesn't always, so that is one we are working on.

Now, I am sure some of you are thinking I am going a little overboard here. I thought I was too. But I have been thinking about it a lot over the last few days, and I don't think I am. Our life here is short. The Scriptures is very clear that our hope is in Heaven. That is where our treasure is. This world is temporal. It can disappear in a blink of an eye. We are supposed to be doing things that have eternal value. Spending money on things that will have eternal consequences. Spending our time with people, not managing our things.

So I am going to continue to work on this. And I am going to continue to ask myself the questions. And I am going to do the best I can, with the Lord's help, to teach my children what really matters.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It is a good thing

Wednesday night I went out to the garage and loaded up all the boys to head to AWANA. I turned the key after all the buckles were buckled. Click. I tried again. Click.

Grabbed my celly.

"Noah, the van is dead"

After a long, animated conference we decided that the most efficient way to get the kids to church was for me to jump the van, something I had never done before.

Thank goodness we still had (have) my parents van in our driveway. Why? Because we haven't gotten around to returning it.

So I used it to jump mine so I wouldn't have to move around carseats.

There were only a few tears and a little yelling.

I stand by my original statement that the "engine block" is in 3 parts.

But whatev

In the end it started.

We went through the Wendy's drivethru since we knew we would be too late for the meal.

We all managed to get something to eat even though I made the mistake of letting Roman "carry" my milk shake into church (he had eaten half of it by the time we got to the table).

And I made the 2nd mistake of setting the bag in front of Lincoln so he pretty much thought that everything was his.

That van has not been good to me this winter.

And I am glad I don't always return things on time.

Especially since Noah's car is currently 25 miles away and will not start.

Winter has not been good to us this year.

But God is good.


Friday, January 23, 2009


The YMCA kids stuff area is one room (with a gym across the hall).

Recently, in the room they put up these large netting "rooms" on one side of the room. 1 "room" has kids furniture, book shelf and books and a little rug. The other 3 rooms change about every 2 months or so. One always has some sort of car/truck/farm toys. The next one is legos or dinosaurs or something and the third usually is more of a pretend play station like a kitchen, or dress up stuff.

Then of course there is just open areas to play and and a table for puzzles and coloring.

So the pretend play station is currently "Princess". The room is decorated with pink tulle and his all of this jewelry, shoes, tutus and dresses. there is a mirror and little dresser.

Last week when I came to pick Deke up he met me at the door with a lovely princess outfit on. Today it was red elbow length gloves, red sparkly shoes, a red dress and a necklace.

He told me that some of the kids were teasing him because he was wearing girl stuff, but then he said, "I couldn't leave because I didn't want to go to the gym and well, I like to dress up." I said, "well, Deke, the reality is that if you are a boy and you dress up like a princess, you probably will get teased. That is just kind of the way it is."

"why?" he asked.

"well, Deacon, boys don't usually wear girl clothes, so people think it is funny when they see it. You just need to decide what you are going to do about it."

He said, "I just like to dress up. I would like to dress up like a dragon, but there are no dragon costumes." I suggested he bring his dragon costume from home.

Anyway, what do you all think? I personally don't think it is a big deal and I don't want to make a big deal out of it, so I don't. Is there a reason to make a bigger deal about it?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Does this sound familar?

The hungry young man came to his mother at night. "momma, what must I do to get more yogurt?" The mother looked at him and loved him. "Go, pick up your fork and eat your chicken and green pepper and rice, then you may have more yogurt."

The hungry young man went away sad because he had a great distaste for his supper.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Conversation (and some other details)

I worked a 12 hour shift Monday night at the hospital. We were super busy with crisis after crisis. I didn't get a break, and I was there late to boot (and all the pirates repeat, "late to boot").

I got home and took a shower and climbed into bed shortly before 9am. I called Noah and here is how the conversation went:

N: How was work?
J: OK, busy. My patient was really sick. The MD and I were on a first name basis by the end of the night. I am really tired, I have been up for 26 hours now.
N: Well, my mom can keep the boys for awhile, Genna will be home if she is not.
J: I have to get the kids to Gym and Swim by 1. Can you call me at noon to wake me up? I don't trust the alarm. I am too tired, I need a call and you to actually talk to me and make sure I am really awake.
N: long pause.
J: Noah?
N: I am not sure that will be possible
J: Don't tell me you are going out for lunch...not when I am telling you that I am only going to be able to sleep for 3 hours...
N: long pause
J: You are? Aren't you?
N: Yes. But it is a farewell lunch...I will figure out a way to call you...

1220- I bolt upright in bed. Alarm says 1220. Glance at the phone. No missed calls from Noah's number. Nice. Eat several cookies and dash off to pick up the kids. Leave a slightly sarcastic voicemail on Noah's line.

1309- Get a slightly apologetic message on my cell.

note to self: don't depend on your husband to wake you up when he will be at a sports bar on a weekday with his peeps.

In other Noah news:

*Noah is spending all of his days in meetings at work. He doesn't know why he is suddenly being invited to all of these meetings. I asked him if it because he is funny during meetings. He said, "possibly".

*Noah likes the phrase 500 mile Club: Have you gone your 2.796 miles today?

2 questions:
1. what are your ideas for a 500 mile club motto/phrase?
2. If you could choose, would you rather captain a pirate ship or a warship?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2 mysteries solved

1. I figured out what is missing from my car, and thus why my window was broken.
I have an old canvas bag that I take to work. I keep my stethoscope (11 years old and warped), various pens, notes from education meetings etc in it. I usually just leave it in the car. It is somewhat germy since it sits around at work, and I don't like the kids taking things out of it. Anyway, it is gone. The derelict is probably sitting somewhere learning about continuous renal replacement therapy. Or else he is employing my stethoscope as a window breaking device.

I am actually kind of mad now. Those are the stages right? I am through denial, now on to anger.

2. There is a metal mail box that hangs on the wall by the elevators at work. It claims to be an official post office box for outgoing mail. But it seems sketchy to me. Everytime I am tempted to put something into it, I remember that movie where the guy puts all those letters into the mail box that never gets emptied. What is the name of that movie? Oh yeah, "A Beautiful Mind". Anyway, this morning I actually visualized the box being emptied. I now feel free to use it without concern. The only probably is, the guy emptying it appeared to be a security guard and I didn't see an offical postmaster name badge... hmmm...if you don't get a thankyou note, please know that it was written...a hospital security guard just stole it...

Monday, January 19, 2009

What happens when Mommy is sick

1. Everyone still wants to eat
2. The child who is naked, stays naked (he claims he is a pirate dog, and dogs don't wear clothes. Who am I to argue?)
3. The 5 year old boy turns into the caregiver - only he is missing some of the mad mommy skills.
4. The exasperated 5 year old will eventually turn to you and refer to his brother as "your kid".
5. The music will be played loudly - all the classics- "Boys in the Sink", "The Pirates Who Don't do Anything".
6. The sick mommy will demonstrate "The Hokey Pokey" to amuse the children. They will just stare at her.
7. The mommy will keep mentioning going to the illusive "somewhere" but will never have enough energy to pull it off.
8. The mommy will read a lot of books to try to maintain a sense of order
9. The mommy will realize that if she makes an amazing supper even though she is not feeling well, the daddy may think she is a super heroine.
10. The mommy will make cookies. Because when a sick mommy wants cookies, she should get them even if she has to make them herself.

*note: I am not feeling well, but not that bad. If I feel "that" bad, I call in reinforcements. Like PBS. *

Saturday, January 17, 2009


a few days ago I started asking the boys a daily question.

It is meant to give Deacon a chance to explain himself and when he does, I get to see what he views as important. I also use this with Noah and all my friends.

Sorry, I am not working. I need something to amuse myself.

Day 1: If you had to choose, would you be an Elephant or a snake?

Deacon: An Elephant so I could be strong and so Roman couldn't pull me off your lap.
Me: But if you were an elephant, you couldn't sit on my lap, could you?
Deacon: but you chose elephant too, so I wouldn't squish you.

Day 2: If you had to choose, would you be an ant or a spider?

Deacon: a spider so that I could eat insects and swing on my web
Me: I would be an ant so I could avoid eating bugs and so that I would be super strong

Day 3: If you had to pick one restaurant to eat at for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

Deacon: McDonalds because they have a play area.
Me: but would you still like that when you were old?
Deacon: I would watch my kids play on it.
Me: good answer.

Noah and I are thinking Old Chicago or Green Mill. It has to have pizza, but also burgers and sandwiches. Noah is mourning steak.

I am going to try to add our daily questions in my posts. Feel free to chime in with your answer (or your kids answer!) and make sure you defend it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I gotta tell you, today I was going to blog about love today. True love. Or not so true love. True passion. Or not so true passion. True betrayal. Or not so true betrayal.

Actually it wasn't going to be that intense, but it was going to be about love. But now it is not. Why? Because something else came up.

It is zub teens today. We bundled up and went to playgroup and then went to the YMCA for a "picnic" lunch and workout. I finished my workout and headed out to the van with the boys. I spent 5 minute buckling a screaming Lincoln into his seat and then walked around the back of the van to get to the other sliding door to buckle the older boys in. I then went around to the driver's door. And that is when I finally noticed something was amiss. There were glass shards all over my seat. I glanced up and saw that the entire passenger side window was laying on the seat. In miniscule pieces.

Great. I got in and just sat there thinking things through. I glanced around and did a quick inventory. Radio/cd player? check. bag of trash? check. Odd assortment of papers? check. Even more odd assortment of umbrellas, hats, mittens? check. Work badge? check. stroller, sled, bike, trike and small car? check.

Nothing seemed to be missing. I really wanted to just drive home and deal with it there, especially since the baby was already almost asleep.

I gave Noah a courtesy call to let him know what was up and ask him about filing a police report.

Here is our conversation:

J- "My passenger window is shattered. Should I file a police report?"
N- "Is anything gone?"
J- "no"
N- "you probably should anyway"
J- "I think I will just go home."
N- "you can't drive home with no window with the kids in the car."
J- "yes I can"
N- "no, Julie, you can't. And you won't"
J- "actually I can and I will. Do you know how long it took me to get the baby in his seat? I am not going to do that again."
N- "you can not drive home without something over that window. Go into the Y and see if you can get some tape and a bag or cardboard or something."
J- Why don't you just get me the number for the police department?
N- "you can't drive home like that. The kids will be too cold. They don't have proper winter gear on."
J- "Noah, I don't put mittens and hats ON the kids, but everyone has 1-2 pairs of mittens, and a hood and a hat in the van!"
N- "I am surprised, but you still need to get the window covered."

So I drug them all out kicking and screaming without kicking and screaming myself. Do you know why? Because I remembered the passages in the Bible about submission. And I have been reading a lot about it. And I am really bad at it, but I am trying to get better. Also, Noah has never sounded so unyielding before. He may give suggestions but he never tells me what I can and cannot do. So I was slightly startled.

Anyway, we went in and the KidsStuff staff took the kids from me and got them all settled in and comforted back in the room and I went to talk to the desk and wait for the police. Guess what? the YMCA custodian went out to my car with a shopvac and cleaned up all the glass for me and covered my window with a bag. Wasn't that so nice? I LOVE my Y, and even more so now.

What I learned today?
1. The Y is a good place to have a car problem
2. Noah can put his foot down about things occasionally
3. Things actually turned out better when I listened to him instead of following my own plan
4. Sometimes, when it is zub teens, it is better just to stay home.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What I discovered today

1. When it is -15 out it is best to just tell your kids to run fast (like a blur) from destination to destination. This way no one can see that the coats may or may not be zipped, the hats may or may not be on and they may or may not be wearing gloves.

2. If your children's coats do not get fully dry in the dryer during the 36 hour laundry fest, they may or may not get hard and crinkly when they go back on little bodies heading outside.

3. Jello chocolate pudding powder apparently did not give the 3 year old the surge he was seeking.

4. Jello chocolate pudding powder all over a wood floor requires multiple levels of cleanup.

5. If you have your children walk across the Jello chocolate pudding powder in bare feet you can compare food prints to the prints left at the scene and deduce which child did it. Of course, your motherly instincts already told you who did it.

6. If you run into the church kitchen to grab the booster seat for the baby, your 3 year old will pick those precise 30 seconds to spill a glass of lemonade all over the gym floor and take 4 brownies from the dessert table.

7. Apparently people at church don't see enough spills. They all seem a little shocked when pink lemonade hits the floor. Prehaps they should come over for some desensitization?

8. The grocery store is essentially empty at 9:00 at night on a sub zero day (can we just call that "zub"?). However, at the moment you commit to a line and start pulling out your coupons and store credit, three crabby people will get in line behind you.

9. I can get through a day without exercising and not feel the least bit guilty.

10. There is nothing sweeter than an 18 month old pointing at you and calling you mama, and there is nothing more dangerous than an 18 month old pointing at you, calling you mama and knowing that there is nothing sweeter than he.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tag Team Parenting

It has been a looonngg day. I need a shower and some food and then just to curl up with a book. But the house needs to be cleaned, Bible study needs to get done, laundry needs to get set up for the start of 36 hour weekly laundry fest and thank yous need to get written.

The kids and I hung out around the house this morning, trying to prepare for the day and instituting a new "screen time" award system. Then it was lunch and off to Gym and Swim for the afternoon. I actually swam with Roman today which was fun, and also got a 3.5 mile run walk in. Deacon did a .5 mile run/walk with very little walking. Straight from there I drove to my moms to drop the boys off so I could go into work for a few hours to help out a coworker.

Noah picked the boys up and then got a babysitter so he could get to his meeting. I came home from work and threw everyone in the van to bring the babysitter home. Then we had to stop for gas. Finally everyone is home and in bed. It was a lot of work! Especially in sub zero temps!

Everytime I work an evening shift I suddenly remember how stressful it is. It feels like you spend the whole day preparing for it and getting geared up for it and you go straight from Mommy to nurse without a break.

That is why I like working nights. I help put the kids in bed and then take a 1-2 hour nap. Get up, take my time getting ready and go into work. In the morning I sleep while the kids are at my moms. I guess it is important to me to have the transitions before I jump into the next mode.

Now, I'd better get started on my list or I will never get to my book!

Monday, January 12, 2009

ER visits

I am sure there will be a lot of ER visits and broken bones in my future, having 3 boys and all. Up to this point, however, things have been pretty quiet on the medical front. We have made 2 trauma dental visits and 2 after hour care respiratory visits, but no ER.

I actually diligently avoid the ER. It is expensive and takes so much time! In the middle of the night when Roman could barely breathe I would neb, check capillary refill and check for pinkness. Monitoring, monitoring, and hoping things wouldn't get worse. And telling myself continually that the best place for him was at home. I didn't need to go to the ER for simple reassurance, and they really hesitate to admit healthy kids with respiratory ailments because of all of the hospital germs.

As a child I did get stitches twice. Once when I cut my lip open on a fireplace fall and once when I dropped a glass pop bottle and got a piece of glass in my leg. Of course that was after I had confidently assured everyone that I WOULD NOT drop the glass bottle.

When I was a sponsor on a high school missions trip to New Orleans I spent a number of hours in an ED there with one of the students. It was suspected that she may have broken her nose. All I remember about the experience was that it was really, really cold. A little overkill with the AC.

My next time in the ED was when I was newly married and in my first year of hospital work as a RN. I was walking across the street (in the cross walk but against the light) from the parking lot to the hospital. Right in front of the ED. I got hit by a car and thrown through the air. Anyway, they brought me into the ED, of course. Pretty embarrassing. I was fine. I had some Xrays and a pretty scary ride on a gurney thing. Ended up with some PT for my knee. It wasn't a true ED visit, however, because I didn't have to wait at all. I was wheeled in, taken care of and sent home. (They covered my shift, wasn't that nice).

My last time in the ED didn't end up being a true visit either. I was about 32 weeks pregnant with Lincoln and I got the flu or food poisoning or something. I am one of those people that generally does not vomit, and if I do it is usually once. Or twice. Anyway, I was SO SICK and was getting really dehydrated. My OB decided that I should go in and get fluids. She said just to go to the hospital and they would decide there based on who was busier if I would be treated in the ED or Labor and Delivery. We got there and the ED was packed, apparently. Because I was so far along a L & D nurse was going to have to be in the ED monitoring me and the baby anyway, so they just sent me up to L & D where I was treated promptly with some fluids and sent home. (I was very pleased that the nurse agreed that it was time to come in. A 32 week pregnant woman who needs 2-3 liters before she even needs to pee is a seriously dehydrated person!) Oops. Did I just let the Too Much Information Turtle out?

Anyway, on the cold, snowy Monday- what are your ED stories?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How my brain works...sorry, guys...

Here is Deacon on the new bunk beds. Well, this picture was actually taken when we first got them up. Now there is a railing and the spiderman sheets are on the upper bunk by the spiderman (removable) decals. The Cars sheets are on the lower bunk by the Cars (removable!) decals.

Deacon does wear shorts and teeshirts even in January.

We got the ladder for the beds yesterday and Lincoln can now get up on the top bunk. Problem is, he has no concept of edges. So I am doing a lot more monitoring then usual and the ladder may end up getting nixed.

In other news, I am not getting any shifts at work. What that means is that I will have 20 extra hours of freetime each week and no money. What that means is that I will be doing more of my free activities: blogging and running. And I may start couponing. I actually did some really great transactions at CUB this week that made me feel like I saved a lot of money. I think I did. And since I came up with a dynamic and fool proof housecleaning plan I am not going to have to spend as much time on that as I previously thought.

So I also may start reading some fiction. Or I may start studying for a nursing exam. Or I may start preparing for homeschooling.

And I decided to teach Deacon how to read, so we are working on that.

The part about the dynamic and fool proof housecleaning plan? It is probably not dynamic or fool proof and it is bound to take more time then I have allotted for it.

I am also putting lotion on everyone around here. If you come over I will try to put some on you too. (In a perfectly appropriate way of course, like your hands or something). See I cleaned my linen closet. I am too embarrassed to show you pictures of what it looked like. But it was bad. So I cleaned it out and now I have some things that I just want to use up so they will be gone. Like samples and stuff. This week we are all going to have soft skin and nicely conditioned hair and Listerine breath.

Did I tell you about the time that I accidentally drank mouthwash and Noah called poison control? It really is a good story. We were living in our first apartment, newly married. I am not sure what happened. Maybe I was laughing? Or maybe I wasn't. Anyway, I swallowed some mouth wash. Not good. I was like gagging or choking or whatever one does when one swallows mouthwash. Noah grabbed the bottle and it apparently said that if it was ingested poison control should be consulted. But he didn't have the poison control number handy so he called HIS MOM to see what it was. So he gets the number and calls. I didn't know what he was doing, until I hear from the other room. "no, she is not a kid. She is my wife! She is 20". They told him to have me drink some water. I am sure the consultant just died of laughter after they hung up. Thanks, honey. It was somewhat sweet that he was concerned.

I had my wisdom teeth out this week. It was a simple extraction so I just had Novocaine. Anyway, the last 2 nights I have taken a Tylenol PM before bed to help with the soreness and to help me sleep a little sounder. This morning I had a terrible dream in which Noah died and some EMT at some sporting event stuck a needle in my arm to draw blood without even feeling for a vein! Now that is poor practice and is definitely not cool. So then Noah died, of what I am not sure. But I was crying in my dream and I woke up and I was crying for real. I think I have done that once before, but it is a very strange experience to wake up crying because your husband is dead but you can hear him conversing (notice I didn't say yelling?) with the boys downstairs. So I may lay off the benadryl for awhile.

I think this is enough randomness for one post. By the way, I am not planning to do much in the way of 500mile updates on here because the participants progress is being charted on the new spreadsheet. Feel free to leave your own comments regarding the challenge if you have something (kind) to say.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Diorama pics! Finally!

Embattled Santa, read the story HERE!

Without further adu, the Gingerbread House. Or is it a Military Diorama? From the twisted wreckage of summers playing WWII [we didn't play "army" - that was for kids who watched GI Joe, who weren't nearly as literal, and who hadn't seen The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, Bridge Over the River Kwai, Twelve O'clock High, Von Ryan's Express, Kelly's Heroes, Combat!, Tora! Tora! Tora! and Patton] colliding with winters building gingerbread houses out of Graham crackers under the watchful eye of jean-jumpered homeschool moms (and playing Battle of the Bulge in the snow).

And to be fair, while the idea had germination in my mind from too many model magazines and books like this one, I had plenty of help from Matt, Emily, and two other parties, both of whom didn't seem eager to take any credit for this. Maybe it's because one is a lawyer and the other a conspiracy theorist. Dunno.

Anyway, gaze upon the marvel that is the bombed out gingerbread house Matt built. Seriously, it looks right out of WWII.

And that's the gingerbread house. Yeah, that's it.

Well, there was the rest of the diorama. Here is a guy repelling onto the scene.

Yeah, he's repelling. What? I didn't mention we had a helicopter?

We did. And Humvees.

And eight tiny reindeer. Well, seven, after that turncoat Prancer gave up Santa. [We had to do something, JoAnn Fabric only had seven reindeer ornaments]

Mother Nature has not left reindeer without natural defenses. Here several reindeer are attempting to retrieve the M2 machine gun from the crashed sleigh, and Donner lines up the bazooka.

This is one of my favorites. Each of the reindeer had to be modified with a Dremel tool and then reglued into suitable battle poses. I gave Blitzen the BAR. Because BARs are cool. And so is Blitzen.

A good diorama is in the details. Here are a few more.

It was funny, a lot of people studied our work for a long time, yet a good number of them managed to miss the helicopter. And yes, there was a pilot in the helicopter. Some people seemed suprised, but we weren't going to miss that.

Lastly, here is the whole thing again. This pic does the best justice to the beautiful wall Matt and Emily built. Sadly, I didn't get a great shot of the cool crashed sleigh Matt built up out of gingerbread.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Three 22nds

Twirling each other in the blue chair in the new school room is the favorite activity. And I thought the room was to be used for education. No puking yet though, so I am not complaining.

Lincoln thinks that multiple games of ring around the rosie is a huge thrill. Deacon is glad to comply. And I am glad that he is. I always get dizzy. And yes, that is peanut butter and jelly all over their faces. Deacon probably decorated the toast that morning.

This is Deacon discussing Christmas presents with his buddy Evan. He is really embracing the new cordless phones.

Post Awana applesauce. What could be better?

This picture was actually before Deacon popped in. Who knew applesauce was so good?
Deacon and Roman are very close, but they don't normally get in trouble together. But these younger two? Not good. Not good at all. Look at them, can't you just see it?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why can't he stay oblivious?

One of my parental goals this year (apart from reading parenting books, playing with the boys more, refusing to let their attitudes and actions affect my mood and teaching them to read) is to try to find a friend for Roman (not that he will accept whomever I pick, but I at least can facilitate 3 year old introductions) and to invite Deacon's friends over to play more often.

On my walk today I was mulling over a problem and came up with proactively helping Deacon form friendships as a possible solution. You see, my boy is oblivious no longer.

Deacon is a very friendly and sociable child. Some say he is active and rambunctious. Others say he is wild. His dad says he has a good heart. Here is what I say: he loves life and he picks up cues from adult's actions rather than their words. When he is at home with me and his brothers he is calm and will spend hours "reading", being read to and doing puzzles. Yeah, he can hoist the mainstay with the best of them, but he is not out of control. But if you give him "permission" by your actions to be rowdy, then he will be rowdy.

Today he came with me to the grocery store and had half the groceries in bags by the time I had finished paying.

Anyway, before his classes and places where I am not I always carefully remind him that he needs to listen to the teacher, not bug the other kids etc.

He really likes other kids. All other kids. There isn't a kid he doesn't like. He will tell me sometimes "so and so was being naughty. They always get in trouble and they don't listen." But he never really seems to have a problem with them himself. Until lately.

See, I was waiting for this to happen. He loves to talk but he stutters pretty severely and he has trouble with certain letters and sounds. He is also on the short side. I have heard kids make fun of him before, but he hasn't seemed to notice so I haven't said anything to him about it. There is a boy he knows at church that isn't very nice to him, and yet Deacon really likes the kid. There is another boy at the Y that I have also observed being mean to Deacon, and yet Deacon always goes back to the kid and keeps trying to be friends.

I have not been able to understand how he doesn't see this. But he does. This is what I have heard from him in the last 36 hours (usually off hand comments while we are in the car, or working on a project- just like a man, huh?)

"The other kids were saying that I am wearing a skirt. But I am not. My jersey is just kind of long. It made me feel really bad, but then I decided just to go to the other room. They didn't follow me."

"So and so used to be my friend, but now everytime I sit next to him or try to talk to him he moves away."

"Mom, I don't say 'cool' right. It is hard for me. When I say it, it sounds like I am saying 'tool'. You know, like a hammer or something."

So, here is what I have been doing: 1. Encouraging him not to do the same things to others. I have explained to him that saving seats is rude and he should just smile and say hi to whoever sits next to him, 2. He has a couple of good friends that love him. I have noticed that for the most part the kids that we have made efforts to have over and get to know better seem to be more understanding of his speech. So I am going to try to have kids over for him to play with. 3. Teach him about differences and how God gives us all different gifts, talents, looks, skills.

What do I want to tell him?

I want to say, "those kids are mean to you! Stay away from them. They are not worth your time! You deserve better! You are important, you are significant. Don't keep going back and getting hurt!"

But then I think about it more. Isn't he doing the right thing? Treating kids nicely and politely and still trying to be friends even if they are rude? Refusing to let them and their attitudes and actions affect his mood and make him slink away, hurt and offended?

I wish I could be like that. Even when someone treats me badly, always ready to approach them with a smile and another olive branch.

I have a feeling that our struggle with this is just beginning. I want to teach him to be brave and self confident with the ability to stand up for himself; but I also want him to be kind and perceptive of why people are the way they are and not to be so busy standing up for himself that he forgets about others.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I wrote the following on a friend's facebook wall:

I have so many goals they are innumerable. I make new goals for every area, spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, environmental, spatial, transportational, financial, relational, entertainmental, educational, vocational, technological, recreational, parental, marital, literarical...

And yes I made some of those words up. Or rather added inappropriate endings to real words. Whatever.

I don't always write all of them down, but they are in there- floating around my head and trying to organize themselves into a little army, trying to take control of my life.

For example, environmental. NBC is spending lots of money trying to make me green- why shouldn't I let them? I live in suburbia. We all have garage door openers and Central AC. And we all put our recycle bins out faithfully every other week. And they are always full. I grew up recycling- sorting cans and bottles and snipping the little pop can things that kill ducks. Ok, I never did that because my mom was anti pop and I didn't even know what they were. But we sure did recycle!

When we moved to Indiana, I asked someone where the recycling bins at our apartment complex were. I was told that if I wanted to recycle I would have to haul the stuff downtown to the salvation army. You should all be gasping in disbelief right now. I was appalled. The thing was- the SA didn't even have a full program. For the 2 years I was there I winced everytime I had to throw out a can or bottle.

And then we moved back here. I was working with some kindergartners at church and one of them said something about recycling. One of the other children said, "my mom doesn't recycle". You would have thought he had just announced that his mother was in jail for murder. The other 4 kindergartners at the table stared at the kid with wide eyes. This was highly unacceptable.

So I recycle. And I reuse things. And I don't buy paper towels. And I haul out my trash in the bags from the grocery store. But my environmental resolutions for this year are two: 1. Potty train Lincoln so we stop contributing diapers to the landfill. 2. Do less laundry. If people complain about my kids wearing the same clothes for days in a row, I will quote them statistics and prove to them that I am being green. And they should be too.

So there you have it.
I gotta go make my sign for my new laundry room. It is gonna say, "When you have a healthy respect for laundry, it proves you have a healthy respect for the world."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

500 mile club housekeeping details

I know I have been flaky about this...the 500 mile club started January 1, and I am just getting details out? Not good.

So far (you are welcome to join late) the club members are:
Julie (6 months)
Noah (6 months)
Matt (6 months)
Becki (8 months)
Billi (8 months or did you want 6?)
Karla (8 months)
Josiah (?)
Sandi (?)
Erica (6 months. Probably 3 would be a better goal for her)

The groups resident geek, M@, made a google document for us so that we can update our miles online and it will automatically update our new average per day and all kinds of cool stuff like that. Thanks Matt! It inspires me to run when I can fill in miles on the color coded chart!

Now, Billi asked about exercise class conversions and submitted a conversion chart. I took some things out and left some things. So, here are the finals. If you do some other form of exercise, use your best judgement how it should be recorded. You are on your honor :)

Swimming 1 mile= 4 miles
Biking 4 miles = 1 mile
Running 1 mile = 1 mile
Walking 1 mile = 1 mile
Stair Climbing 10 minutes=1 mile
Rollerblading 15 minutes=1 mile
Exercise Classes 15 minutes=1 mile
Lifting Weights 20 minutes=1 mile
Playing Sports 15-30 minutes= 1 mile depending on sport

*note: the spread sheet already has the swim/run/bike conversions in it. So if you biked 20 miles, enter 20 and it will calculate it down for you and give you 5 miles against your 500. However, if you rollerblade for 30 minutes, just enter 2 miles into the running section to get it counted.

*note 2: since I have been a flake about this, if you haven't yet started you can start now and just plan to go a few days later like Jan 5- July 5 or something.

*note 3: Billi, I will contact you on facebook to get your email so we can send you the document

The Looming Figure

I just returned from spending a long evening with some friends, most of whom are younger and cooler then I am. But it was fun, even though looming over my head were the thoughts of paint that should be on the cabinets, blog posts that should be written, laundry that is obscuring my bed and toys that are covering almost every square inch of my floor.

Oh, and the new steam cleaner I got for Christmas that I haven't used yet.

We need a pirate ship manager. Noah told me today that I need to take a "more active role" to ensure that all of the pieces of the playmobil pirate ship stay together. Apparently I now need to not only monitor the real apples in my kitchen, I also need to keep track of the Pirate's apples, beets and carrots. I suggested that we take the small pieces and put them in a bag and hide them for now. Why did that even come up? I am not quite sure...

Where was I? Oh yes, Looming figures. I was driving down an unfamilier road in very snowy, slippery conditions. I got home safely but could not get my car up my driveway because, well, my driveway is steep and slippery and snowy. Wait. Did I just say car? I have apparently been hanging around my cool, young friends too much. Hi. My name is Julie. I am 28 and I drive a minivan.

I couldn't get my minivan up the driveway. I was halfway up and stuck. So I backed up and tried again. It was worse. That time the van was stuck with my back van end practically on the street. So I got out and started shoveling. Noah had stuck the Christmas tree (yes, children. Christmas is over. The tree is dead. Did you hear me? It is deeeeaaaddddddddddddd. Did you know that it actually has been dead for several weeks now? We have a green, dead tree in our house and needles all over the floor. Noah interjects: "even though mommy took your tree away, the spirit of Christmas- love, generosity and the sweet baby Jesus-can live all year long in your hearts". Did he just say that? Seriously?)

Anyway, as I shoveled, I kept catching the tree out of the corner of my eye. It was continually scaring me because I felt like a dark, looming figure was lurking on my snow drift.

Ok, I titled my post after that sentence. Wow.

Do you remember the scene in Aladdin where they almost cut off someone's hand? I discovered that I know very little about Disney movies. I haven't seen most Disney movies in probably roughly 15 years. I remember approximately 1 thing out of each movie that I have seen and apparently there are several that I haven't seen. I don't know anything out of those. I have a very low movie IQ.

Our VCR is broken. We have a handful of VHS movies, but obviously they are currently useless to us. We have 18 non kid DVDs in our house right now. 11 of them belong to us, 6 to others, and 1 I have no idea where it came from. Of the 11 that belong to us, 6 of them are nonfiction commentary kind of things. So if you are following along with the math you know that we have 5 "fun" DVDs. Oh, and Season 1 of Dark Angel.

They are:
The Matrix (which I haven't seen)
Princess Bride
Passion of the Christ (which I haven't seen)
Lady Hawke (is that one ours??!!)
Pirates of the Caribbean

I am beginning to get a feel for why my movie IQ may be low. Well, the lack of movies that I have seen and the fact that I fall asleep during most movies.

I have decided that I have chronic fatigue syndrome or something, but today my friends staged an intervention for me and told me that the problem is that I just don't sleep much and that is why I am tired.

So, to answer your question. No, I am not drunk. I am just tired. Good night, and GO VIKINGS! (that one is for you, baby sister)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Chaos

I wrote the first blurb. A coworker who desires anonymity wrote the press release. Footage to follow.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Heights (or is it Depths?) of Villainy

Roman informed me tonight that Super-Heroes wear underwear.

Super-Villains do not.

I bet you can't guess which way he was planning to roll :)



Have I told you before how pirate-y our house has become?

We hoist the Main Stay.

We swab the poop deck

We save princesses.

We sing about Rock Monsters.

Because of course we are the pirates who DIDN'T do anything, but then became true heroes.

Deacon is Elliot. Roman is the other Elliot. Lincoln is Pa Grape. I am Mr. Lunt or Eloise the princess and Noah is always the Dread Pirate Robert.

We say arrgh a lot.

What else do we play?

The Backyardigans.

Noah and Roman have been perfecting their super villan laughs.

Then my baby laughed his baby super villan laugh.

The day after he called me "mama".