Monday, December 31, 2007

A Few Cards...

I made a few cards recently.....Some don't scan well if they have embellishments that stick out....I guess I have a little blue mark on my scanner - I need to clean that off! :)

This one says: Wishing You the Best of Birthdays

This one is making use of some awesome, bird-themed stickers I bought. I found some metal hardware to frame this nest sticker, and punched out some tiny letters....The little bird footprints are part of a clear stamp set...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blog Colors

I changed my blog colors, since the other ones were so Christmasy. I almost hated doing it, because it means Christmas is over. I hate taking down decorations, too. I try to leave them up as long as possible. The Christmas decorations are still up in my house. I got a fake tree, so I could put one up right after Thanksgiving, and leave it up after New Year's.

I also leave birthday decorations up for awhile, too. Crepe paper, balloons, etc. It stays up until my husband starts asking about taking them down....

I also don't put away my suitcase after a vacation. It stays there, with stuff in it-until, once again, my husband starts asking when I'm going to put it away.

I think he's used to me now, and patiently allows a certain window of time for leaving stuff out.

I guess I just want to hold on to the happy moments - the experiences, and not admit they're over......


I have to share something new I learned last night at church. Our pastor was gone, and one of our other pastors, Yoel, shared a great message. (We are very blessed to have awesome speakers who can fill in when our main pastor is gone). Yoel was talking about how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live for God. And, one way He does that is empowers us to be "sincere." This is one of the verses shared with that bullet point:

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." Phil. 1:9-11 (NKJV).

The word "sincere" was emphasized by Yoel, and this is what he explained about the word. The word literally means "judged by light." It is a term used in making pottery. In those days, if an artist created a pot or a jar, after it was fired, they would hold it up to the light to see if there were any cracks in it. If it was "insincere," meaning it had cracks, the potter would throw it out. However, there were some potters, who, after holding it up to the light and found cracks, would use a dishonest method. They would fill the cracks with beeswax, paint over it and sell it. The unsuspecting buyer would take it home, fill it with a liquid and realized it leaked or even broke.

You see, we are pots or jars. We may have cracks in our character that need inspection. And either we expose ourselves, or God will expose us. It is a lack of sincerity to not live out what we know. In order to be found sincere, we must:

1. Allow the Word of God to inspect our souls. (Be in the Word daily, in order to experience change).
2. Do not cover cracks with wax, but repent and let Him heal. (Praise God, he doesn't throw us out, but rather, forgives and heals us!)
3. Humble yourself and believe what God says about you. (Look to His Word for who we are).
4. Be patient. (Not our favorite thing to do!)

Yoel wrapped up his message with Micah 6:8, reminding us that it is God who gives us the strength, courage and ability to do right, love mercy and to walk humbly with God. I'm so glad I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk with the Lord, and I don't have to depend on myself or anyone else. He's going to help me by showing me those cracks, no matter how much I'd like them not to be exposed. Plus, He won't toss me in the trash, but heal me. Then, empower me to walk with Him. What a good word!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Afterglow....

From the looks of the other blogs I read, there's not a lot being written - especially me! I've been trying not to be on the computer that much, with my family home. All of us are on vacation from work and school, so it's been nice chillin' with everybody. The other day, we went to a museum, which was a nice change, and it got us out of the house. My son has wanted lots of cuddling and game-playing. We've been playing Battleship and Aggravation. I have also built some Lego creations with him. We've watched some family movies like Evan Almighty and Hairspray. The girls got to spend some time with friends in the last couple of days, too.

Yesterday, I started getting the "it's almost time to get back into a routine" organization bug. I went through Ben's room, my desk, the office desk, etc. and got rid of a bunch of junk. I made out our family "week at a glance" calendar for the fridge, so we could all get an idea of what our schedules are going to be. It kind of makes me feel better to know we'll be organized in the house when we all start work and school again.

We had a pretty great Christmas overall. I hope you all did too! Melanie got a pink Fender guitar from us, and Amanda got a digital camera for their main gifts. Ben got a Mongoose bike. Then, they each received other, smaller items. Ben got some more Bionicles, Legos and GI Joe's. The girls got clothes they like. I got some jammies, more cups that fit under my espresso machine and the stripey socks I like. I got Joe a cool shirt and three CD's: Colbie Callae (sp?), Kirk Franklin and another Christian one I can't remember (it has a heavy metal, rock sound). I tried to get him a variety of music to try on the new stereo.....

I've been a little pensive since yesterday, thinking about my family and my relationship with God. Maybe I'll write more about that later.....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in the Northwest.....

Yesterday, we arrived home after spending one night at my mom's house. It's about a 2.5 hour drive to get there, and a beautiful one. We think we saw a seal swimming next to the bridge, and we saw a bald eagle, too. The Puget Sound region is beautiful, especially now, with the Cascades dusted with snow.

We got to see my grandfather who is almost 93! We had four generations sitting around the table eating homemade chicken and noodles. Mmmmmm. My mom made three kinds of pies, and we brought some Christmas cookies. My grandfather talked about his younger days of learning the plumbing business, first working in Seattle, and then starting his own plumbing store/business in Port Angeles, which operated for 23 years. Since his stroke, he has a little bit of speech difficulty, but it certainly doesn't stop him from sharing, which I'm glad. As we were eating, he stopped, and said emphatically, "We are truly blessed." Then, my mom stopped and said how wonderful it is that we came and we were spending time together.....Nice moment. What I wanted this year....

Then, we opened a few presents, talked some more and watched several episodes of "The Office." HAHA! That show is genius. The next morning, we stayed in our pajamas until 11:00, has an egg and bacon breakfast, and talked some more....

Today, my own little family is going out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory. I haven't eaten there before, so I am looking forward to it. I didn't even know they served anything but cheesecake! :) Then, we are going to a Living Nativity. I am so excited about that. It will be another first for me. I think that it's a good opportunity to turn out hearts and minds toward the Lord, and all that He has done for us, with the sending of his son Jesus. Tomorrow, we will attending Christmas Eve candlelight service and continue this time of reflection and celebration. It's truly the best part for me.

I regret that we didn't take pictures of my grandfather during our visit, but these are some pics of our trip to my mom's house....

From left to right: my brother, Melanie, Amanda and my mom

My 13-year-old brother in the new sweatshirt we got him...

Melanie and Joe (my brother), who look more like siblings...

My Joe dozing on the chair....HAHA!!

Ben and I....

Ben wanted to open presents SO badly! We decided to draw names as to the order, and Ben ended up being LAST! HAHA!!

Joe with my mom's husband in the background...They're not very photogenic apparently...HAHA!! :)

Ben received a Lego Bionicle, which he put together with great focus......Notice the train that encircles the Christmas tree. My mom's husband is a big train enthusiast.....By the way, the house was previously owned by my grandparents. My mom grew up there, and purchased the home after my grandmother died. I have many childhood memories of waking up there on Christmas morning, and peeking down (the bedrooms are upstairs), to see what was under the tree....Then, my grandfather would make us all eggs fried in bacon grease, bacon, oatmeal and my grandmother's homemade bread with homemade freezer jam. The best breakfast you ever had....

Saturday, December 22, 2007


I have presents under the tree now! I'm so excited.

Are you getting excited for Christmas?!?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ben's Class

I helped in Ben's classroom yesterday. I was so glad to get a chance to come in, because I know it means so much to Ben. First grade is quite different from the first grade I remember! It is quite academic, and those kids were working hard from the morning until I left at lunchtime. She had such control of the classroom, and those kids were amazing at staying on task. She is a very business-like teacher, but would always give an encouraging word to each and every child.

I corrected and filed papers, as well as cut out some crowns from construction paper. I just sort of tuned my ears to what was going on in the class while I performed the busy work. I got a kick out of calendar time, when the teacher got out a puppet and used a funny voice.

At lunchtime, I took a chair to sit next to Ben. I swear, I had three children talking to me at once the entire time. They wanted to tell me all sorts of things - it was hilarious! I heard about how tall their parents are, about their brothers and sisters, how many presents are under their tree, that their hot lunch looked like poop (it really did!!), about a girl's braces (yes, braces in first grade), etc, etc! The more I would validate them, the more they wanted to tell me things. SO FUNNY! And then, at the end, they kept saying "Good-bye, Mrs. _____!"

That was fun.

New Stereo

My husband wanted to by a new stereo for a "joint gift" this Christmas. I bought a Bose stereo online and we received it yesterday. It's cool, because our old one didn't play CD's anymore, and we finally bought a quality stereo (even if it is the bottom of the line one). I'm just not a huge technology girl. I don't have to have the latest and greatest. I would have been happy with another Wal-Mart cheapo stereo, but my husband really wanted it, and I thought he should have something quality to enjoy. Enjoy the "fruit of his labor" and all that.......

The thing is-I hate "joint gifts." Dang it - I want presents to open!! I like feeling like a little kid on Christmas morning, being all excited to open presents. My husband said not to get him anything, and he would get me a couple of little things. Whenever my husband says this, I do what he says, and he ends up spending more on me than just "little things." We'll see what happens. I bought him a CD, which seems appropriate to go with the stereo. I think I need to get him a couple more things, because it's pretty lame to see a lone, little CD for him under the tree.

I have nothing under the tree, as of today.

I was a little mad at the stereo yesterday, but today, I put in my West Side Story CD and blasted it through the house. That silly CD brings tears to my eyes, I love that music so much! Maybe I like the stereo, but I still want some presents....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Lookin' Kids

Now, aren't these some good-lookin' kids? These pics were taken the other day to send out with our Christmas letter. Yes, I write one of those annoying Christmas letters every year. I can't help it. I personally enjoy receiving them, thank you very much......It's the highlight of my every day in December - to find cards and pics in the mailbox. Then, we put up all of the pictures we receive on the fridge for a couple of months. I like walking by and thinking of the families, and the memories associated with them...

I had a hard time getting my kids to give me smiles instead of goofy faces. Here they are making "Surprise Snowballs." They're a simple dough cookie with surprises inside, like jelly beans and M 'n M's.....Ben even tried getting four jelly beans in one!

This is how I found Ben asleep on his bed, after all the festivities. What a loved bear, huh?

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Thought On the Election

I follow politics only a little. I am not a complete political illiterate, but I am certainly not qualified to get into any debates. I do know this. I swear, if Hillary Clinton is somehow, some way, elected as President of the United States, I will not turn on my TV for four years. I could hardly listen to her husband on TV, much less her!! I simply can't fathom that woman as president. The thought disgusts me.

My Shnoz

I was shopping today, and thinking about what a sensitive shnoz I have. I mean, I have a very sensitive smeller. There are things in this world that I can smell, that other people probably don't. And, there are things in this world that I wish I couldn't smell. Here are some:

1. People's dirty hair.
2. Dirty, nicotine-laden coat.
3. Asian food breath.
4. Sweaty feet in flip-flops.
5. Morning stink.
6. Rave hairspray
7. Cheap shaving cream
8. Old, wet, leather boots.
9. Elementary school right after lunch was served.
10. Motel carpet.

There are some wonderful smells, though. These are some of my fav's:

1. Pavement immediately after it starts raining.
2. A house after someone cooked with garlic.
3. Freshly cut pine lumber.
4. Lavender growing fresh outside.
5. Apple Jolly Rancher
6. Antique wooden furniture.
7. Drakkar cologne.
8. The smell of dirt when pulling weeds.
9. A leather Bible.
10. Presents my grandmother sent me in the mail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

Well, I'm on my Christmas break from school, and guess what happens-I get sick. Great. I was at Wal-Mart re-stocking my empty cupboards, when I started going downhill. I got up to the checkout counter and one of my milk cartons was leaking. The gal wanted me to go back and get a new one, and I said I was really feeling crappy, so I wasn't going to. She asked me if I wanted help out, and I waited on a bench for a very long time. She finally closed up her register, slapped on her jacket, and helped me out herself, she felt so bad for me. Wow. Good customer service at Wal-Mart. That's a first.

Anyway, I'm going to have to do some quick catching up on things after laying low for a couple of days. Today, the kids and I are going to make Christmas cookies. Then, maybe I can have those friends over this next week for cookies and lattes. Oh-the cookies. I have this beautiful, cookie cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens. On one side are gorgeous, anytime cookies. Then, you flip the book over, and find Christmas cookies. I asked Ben to pick out what he would like to make, and he picked some Santa ones.....I should take some pictures today....

I have a lot of presents wrapped under the tree, but I still need to get a few more for the girls. It's getting a little harder to shop for them nowadays. As I perused the toy aisles a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how fun it was to buy them Barbies and Polly Pockets. Now they want CD's and specific clothing styles from particular stores. They also ask for things like guitars and digital cameras. That's just no fun. I want to buy toys!

Well, we still have one kid left who still likes toys. What a blast to buy boy stuff. I didn't grow up with a brother, and he's my only boy, so this is all new to me. He's at such a great age to want to play with most of the types of toys they make now, so it's pretty fun shopping. He likes Legos, and action figure guys and balls and cars. I have to be careful not to buy too much, with his birthday right around the corner in January!

I'm disappointed, that I wasn't well enough to take them down to have a free carriage ride with Santa at this cool furniture store. This store does seasonal things for kids every year. Maybe next weekend...I also want to take the kids to see a drive-thru light display at a huge park near our home. It's something we do every year.

But, my most favorite, favorite thing of all is going to a Christmas Eve church service. Our church had a special Christmas production last night, but they're still going to do a Christmas Eve candlelight service for families. I just find that there is something magical about going to church at night on Christmas Eve. It's such a wonderful time to reflect on the gift of Jesus with my family right before we open up gifts the next morning. It sets such a wonderful, meaningful tone to the following day.

We do something very silly on Christmas Eve. We open our stockings. This started before we had kids. We were dying to open something, so we opened our stockings. Now, we still do it.

I gotta go. I feel like I need to redeem some time that I lost being sick. I still need to get our Christmas cards out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Got My Grades!

I got my official Fall Quarter grades this morning! I got a 4.0 out of Anatomy and Physiology Lecture, and a 4.0 out of the Lab. I got a 3.3 (B+) out of Physics, which is way better than I ever thought I would end up, but for the record, I think I deserve an A-.

Anyway, YAY FOR ME! I'm so proud of myself. I worked dang hard.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I am so proud of myself!! As of 11:00 this morning, I have completed all of my final exams! I have worked extremely hard, and here's one of my rewards:

This is the top portion of my lab practical that I picked up this morning. YES!! My professor said that I was one of 3 who got 100%!!! Then, he said that I have a 108% out of Anatomy and Physiology Lab!!! Now, that's what I call a payoff.

This morning I took my A&P lecture exam. It was tough, but I think I did pretty well. As of the other day, I had a 97% out of the class, but that was before a quiz and the final exam. I'll have to wait until Monday for my final grade.

Last night, was the Physics test. That class was pure torture all the way, so boy, did it feel good to finish it!!! I even pleaded my case with the professor about the overall grade I thought I deserved. I won't go into too much boring detail, but I have spent so many hours travelling back and forth to get help (during the professor's very limited office hours) to complete assignments in that class. I applied for a tutor the very first week, and never got one. I would also come an hour early to every class for minimum help, since other students were there also. It was miserable to say the least.

I have literally spent almost every waking hour studying for the past three months. My family is going to be so glad to have me back! I can't wait to BE back!! Gotta go. My husband and I are going out for brunch - what an incredible thought!! Yippee!!!

Oh, and by the way, ALL credit to God for helping me through this with success! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Real Quick

OK. Real quick. Every day except Tuesday this week I've had a test. I nailed my lab practical today. YES! Tomorrow is my last Physics exam. Not super high hopes there. Then, Friday is my big A&P final! I think I will do well. I try not to have too much confidence - just study my butt off and trust God for the rest. Then, thank Him for the good grades. :)

Amanda is driving now! She went on her first solo drive this morning to her "devos" group at Starbucks. The Lord's going to be hearing lots of quickie prayers from me every time she goes out the door.

Melanie is at her first gymnastics meet tonight. Her dad went to see her. She is doing a beam routine. With Ben in AWANA on the same night as her meets, Joe and I are going to tag team it if it's an away meet (like tonight). I'm kind of sad to miss the first one, though. :(

Ben is going to be tested for the "highly capable" program in our school district. His teacher wanted me to apply. If accepted, he will be bussed one day a week to a special enrichment program. He is reading incredibly well, and is progressing rapidly. It's interesting to see. He grasps things so fast. That kid can memorize verses so quick, it's incredible. He is zipping through his AWANA book.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm a bragging parent. I just truly marvel at my kids' accomplishments. It's cool to be a mom and see these people that came out of you, and now they can do all of these things you never did, and become things you never will. Too amazing.

Anyway, I can't WAIT for Friday!!! I am already planning the friends I get to invite for a latte.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I had something happen yesterday that I was especially brokenhearted about. I just couldn't stop crying about it. My son hugged me at one point. My girls hugged me at other points. My husband hugged me too. My son said that if I drink milk when I'm sad it will help me forget about it. He said that when he was sad on a Monday, he kept drinking milk and on Saturday, he just forgot all about it.

I wonder if he made this up on the fly to come up with a way to make me feel better. Or, I also wonder if he chose milk because he was my longest breastfed baby. HAHA! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Ben Cuteness

I was just chillin' with my latte and watching a guy catch a fish in a river on TV. Ben was sitting with me, and I said "Doesn't that look so fun to be standing on the river fishing?" He said "Yeah." A couple of seconds later, he said "Wouldn't it be cool if the TV was a portal, and if you saw somewhere you wanted to go, you could just jump in?" I said, "Yeah!" Then, he proceeded to pretend to jump into the fishing show, so I pretended it was him who was catching a fish just then. "Look! Ben got one!" I said. Then, he had to jump back home, so he said, "Pretend you don't see me, K?" And he jumped back home with a whooshing sound (had to have the sound effects, right?)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ben's Plans and Thoughts

The other day, Ben said that he has a plan for when he is a Dad. He says that everyday at 4:00, he is going to take his children to the park.

He also wonders why there are earthquakes, and what happens to make them.

He also wants to know why the people on the other side of the Earth aren't upside-down.

And, why doesn't the Earth ever turn (rotate) the other way?

How does Santa get in if all the windows and doors are locked? (We don't have a fireplace).

If we're out shopping together, and I see something I want to buy for him, I can just buy it, and he will pretend it is a surprise when he opens it on Christmas.