Thursday, August 28, 2008

Piles and Piles

Tonight M comes back from his conference - Yippeee!  4 Days alone with the boys has not been easy, but everything went smoothly and I am thankful.  I did think I broke my finger yesterday and wondered what to do with them if I went to Urgent Care, but I waited it out for a few hours and think it will be fine.

I have had this goal all week of getting through my PILES that have accumulated around the house.  The other night I went around the house and counted how many piles I had that needed to be cleaned up - a total of 10!  I guess that is my way of cleaning.  I go around the room and make a pile of things to get to later.  Most of them are paper piles, which have now gotten so big that they've ended up in 3 reusable Trader Joe's bags.  Everytime I go to Trader Joes I think "Bummer!  My bags are still full of my piles!"  and I have to use their bags and miss out on the weekly raffle :)  

This week my piles included: a pile of jewelry (a big wad of necklaces that are knotted together), about 7 piles of papers to be filed or thrown away, piles of clothes, piles of  books I need to read, and a big pile of dishes.  Every time M goes away on a trip or conference, I think "This is the week!  I will defeat all of my piles!" but since he last went away over a month ago, they all still remain.  Except for the jewelry pile - I finally tackled that one two nights ago.  

Baby steps, baby steps.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Body Blues

You ever have those months where your clothes just don't fit anymore?  Yes, I said months.  For some odd reason, my body has been changing the past few months and I have been gaining weight.  Embarrassing to admit, I must say, but hey, if everyone else can see it, why not just bring attention to the elephant in the room, right?  (No pun intended)  I keep thinking something must be up with my thyroid.  Of course, that's what all women want to think is happening when they gain weight, right?  Over the past 2-3 months I have gained about 10 pounds and have no idea why.  I am not eating any differently, and I am actually wogging more than normal.   (Wogging= My walking/jogging routine).  I know for a fact that it is not muscle, either.  There is definitely new jiggle going on.  I know I'm not pregnant, in case you were wondering.  Maybe it's just that my 32 years have caught up with me and my metabolism came to a screeching halt.  Whatever it is, I don't like it.  I don't like opening my armoire and closet everyday to dozens of outfits I can no longer wear.  I don't like getting wedgies.  I don't like that I feel I still need to cover up just to go in my backyard pool.  Not fun.  And the worst part about all of this is the "gain effect".  You know - how it affects every other area of your life?   You feel gross about yourself so you aren't in a happy mood.  You just want to wallow in junk food.  You want to lay on the couch and feel sorry for yourself.  You size every other woman up who walks by thinking "am I bigger or smaller than her?"  (and the people you are smaller than becomes a dwindling population).  

When your weight bothers you, everything else seems to bother you too.  Like tonight - I'm really annoyed at the length of my bangs.  They're just so annoying, and I can't fix them until they grow out a little more.  Ugh!  And then my ankles - I have all of these flea bites on my ankles and it looks like I'm a drug addict down there.  We don't even have animals!  Where are all of these freakin' fleas coming from?  (Sorry - I know that word is like cussing to some people - including me).  But I just feel like cussin'!  :)  

So, I guess I'm in a funk.  Tonight I'm in a bad mood.  Sorry you just had to witness it.  I hope your ankles and bangs are doing just fine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Do You Want To Be?

Today M left for his Christian Songwriter's Conference up north.  Part of me is so sad I can't be there.  I've written songs since I was about 14 years old and have a few hundred in a notebook somewhere.  Very few actually have music to them, although when I was 16 I "hit it big" when one of the worship songs I wrote became a regular fixture in the Sunday services at my church.   Since then I have dabbled a bit, but writing the music with the words never came really naturally to me. Still, I wish I could be there.  One time I met Sara Groves when she was just starting out and she said "Write for an audience of One. Even if no person ever hears your songs, just write for Him.  That is your calling."  Those words were always an encouragement to me.

So from the time I was 14 until I was about 19, I dreamed of becoming a recording artist.  Does every girl go through this stage or was it just me?  It wasn't until I was in college that I heard talent much more beautiful than mine, and I realized I probably didn't have what it took (although now I've heard some pretty bad voices out there that have made it!) :)  Truthfully, God just never opened the doors in that direction for me.  But somewhere inside, that girl still lives.  The girl that wants to sing her songs and touch people's lives.  Who knows...maybe someday, but it would be helpful to have some actual material on hand, huh?  

 As I was thinking about what I used to want to be, I remember some other top choices (besides being a singer):
-A Veterinarian (pretty much gave that one up when I found out I'd have to take loads of science classes)
-A Dolphin Trainer at Sea World  (yeah, same as above)
-An Actress (I really wanted to be Stacy in "Kids Incorporated" until I forgot my lines in a 6th grade version of "Colby" at my Christian school - that did it for me!)
-An Archaeologist (same as above, but replace "science" with "history")
-A Psychologist or Counselor (decided to major in Sociology instead)

By the time I was in college, I realized I had been called to full time ministry and knew that was my passion.  Now that I'm a mom, I know that this is the "highest calling" (rolling my eyes as I say that, like "duh"), but little did I know I'd STILL get to pursue those other jobs I once wanted to do so badly:

-Singer/Songwriter - Something I get to do daily as I write little jingles for my babies, as funny or stupid as they may sound ("Chunky thighs, I love your chunky thighs...")
-Dolphin Trainer - Training two children who can flip through the air, blow bubbles under water, do what I say for a treat - yeah, pretty much the same thing.
-An Actress- What I get to do when I go out in public with my children after they have thrown tantrums, flung their snack in my hair and didn't take their naps.
-An Archaeologist - Who knew I would one day get to search through dirt for lost artifacts, such as car keys, Lighting McQueen cars, pacifiers and the like?  I also get to navigate through water and pipes, trying to dislodge tonka trucks out of the toilet.  What fun!
-A Psychologist/Counselor - Whether it's talking a 3 year old out of a sticky social situation, calming an angry outburst, drying tears, or just counseling myself, saying "breathe, breathe", this is one job I get to do hourly.

Well, I may never get to be a singer or go to the Songwriting Conference with my husband, but at least I live at home with my fan club and they think all my songs are great. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This Monday began our "staycation" since M has two weeks off of work (well, 4 of them he'll be at a conference and 4 are weekend days, but you know...) We decided not to go anywhere far this time because of the price of gas (normally we'd try to go to Morro Bay), although we are going a lot of local places so it probably will end up being the same cost. Here's what we have done so far and some pictures of our time together.

Monday - Stayed home, cleaned, did nothing. Here is a picture of Jaden after dinner. Total mess! :)

Tuesday - In the afternoon, we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific, where we have annual passes to. Jaden was really scared of this sea lion that kept visiting him and cried every time he saw it, but then when it left, he went looking for it. We also went to dinner at Chili's and caught this picture of Jaden praying. Lately every time we go to pray he folds his hands (which is funny because we normally hold hands, not fold hands. I wonder where he learned that?)

Today (Wednesday), we stayed home in the morning and then went to Knott's Berry Farm since they cut the prices in half for adults after 4:30pm. It was the boys' first time there, and they LOVED it. Especially Micah. He kept calling the roller coasters "rocket spaceships" and wanted to go on almost every ride in Camp Snoopy. It was so strange letting him ride some of the rides all alone. He wanted to do it, but we felt so weird leaving him there and just watching from the sidelines. So begins the journey of parenthood, huh?! :) We stayed from 4:30-9:30pm and I even got to ride 2 coasters since there were no lines! I highly recommend going during this time frame because the park had already cleared out and it was just perfect. Here are some pics from our day:

The only family pic we got together :( The boys were not cooperating at this point (we had just gotten there and they didn't know what to think yet!)

Jaden & I on the train:

Martin & Micah on the race cars - Micah HAD to ride the red one because it looked like Lightning McQueen to him :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008


My boys have been fighting off this cold for the past week or so. Finally they both started feeling better but then it came back a 2nd time with a vengeance. On Thursday night Micah started coughing this croup/barking-like cough. He woke up a few times Thursday night but slept pretty well for the most part. Last night, however, he was up almost every hour, not just coughing, but having trouble breathing; the kind of breathing they call "stridor" where it sounds like wheezing with every breath. We were really concerned about him. All night long I kept asking myself, "At what point do you decide to take your child to the hospital?" We put him in the bathroom with steam from the hot shower, ran the humidifier, gave him tylenol, etc... but nothing seemed to be helping. I knew that if we took him in, they would give him a breathing treatment, but I also knew that would be extremely traumatic for all of us (Not to mention run us about $500). We prayed for him all night, held him upright, and transferred him from his bed to our bed about 5x (he just can't seem to go to sleep in our bed). Anyway, we never did take him in and he woke up acting completely normal. He still doesn't sound good but at least he's not coughing. We'll see how tonight goes... We have never had to take either boy to the hospital, yet, thankfully, and we hope to never have to!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Improvement

M and I are not really the "Home Improvement" type. Part of it is time, part of it is money, and part of it is that we're renters. However, this week we decided to tackle two projects:

1) I needed to re-cover our dining room chairs. Here is a before and after picture. Some of the chairs had gotten really bad, since we have used them for Micah's booster seat that he eats in. I bought this fabric on clearance at JoAnn's for only $5, and then borrowed my friend's staple gun. This was one of those projects that looked a LOT easier than it was. Let's just say it took me 3 days and I was sweating profusely after each chair was finished! :) Because we can't remove the tops of the chairs, I had to just staple the fabric to the sides. From the top it looks good, but if you look closely at the sides it looks terrible. Oh well... It was cheap and saved us about $300 from buying new chairs (which we will need to do soon anyway).

For our second project:
2) We have a HUGE backyard - I believe it is almost an acre. Our landlord has always said he was going to landscape it, but 6 years later, nothing has happened. Since we are renters we hate having to spend hundreds of dollars of our own to fix it up, either. But thankfully M's dad works at a home improvement store and got us discounted bags of fertilizer and seed. M spent all day Saturday seeding 1/2 the yard. We need to go back for more seed now. We're hoping it works and we'll have a green lawn soon.

Lastly, I have raved about Freecycle before (see my other blog), but we hit the JACKPOT with this find!!! We've been looking at pools for awhile now but didn't want to spend the money. I had my eye on the "Easy Set" pool which at Wal-Mart is $275. That model was 4 feet deep and about 10 feet wide. A bit big, but I couldn't find any smaller ones in stock anymore since summer's almost over. Just this week I had been looking at them and we decided not to do it - it was just too much money. Then, lo and behold, I got onto Freecycle and someone posted that EXACT pool FOR FREE! I couldn't believe it. I was sure it had probably been taken, but the woman emailed me back right away and said I was first in line. We spent about 3 hours this morning setting it up and filling it. We haven't used it yet since the boys have been sick, but hopefully by the end of the week we'll get in - it looks so refreshing! The funny thing was that the woman who gave it to us emailed me yesterday, thanking me for taking it from her!!! What a blessing...Thank you Lord!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Blessing of Boys

Today in the newspaper I read a column by a woman who has 3 teenage sons, in which she writes about the blessing of boys and how it seems easier having teen boys than teen girls. She says that [people told her]“…While the parents of [teen] girls are being whipsawed by operatic mood swings and battling over tube tops and short shorts, we parents of boys would be kicking back and enjoying life. I am here to report that it’s true!” Wow. Some people had told me that boys were easier than girls, but I guess I never heard it from a parent of teens before. I can say I am actually a little hopeful!

I wasn’t always hopeful about having 2 boys. I remember when I was pregnant with my second, we dropped Micah off at my friend Janet’s house for her to babysit while we went to my sonogram appointment. We just knew that our suspicions would be confirmed and the doctor would say “It’s a girl!” (whom we had already named Hailey Elizabeth and spoken to through my womb walls). After all, I was carrying different, I felt different, and I “just knew.” However, while I laid in the sonogram room, the doctor said, “Well, I’ve done about 50 sonograms today and they were ALL girls! Except yours – YOU are having a boy!” Martin and I were in complete shock. “What?! Are you sure?” She showed us very clearly. Yep, it was a boy. We didn’t even have time to process the information, as Martin was late for a work meeting already and I had to run and pick up Micah. When Janet opened the door and said “How did it go!?” I crumpled into a pile of tears. As she led me to the back of the house, I was crying so hard that I bumped into a table and a glass figurine shattered onto the floor. Yep, pretty much how I felt, too. She talked to me for about an hour while I just cried and said “I won’t know what to do with 2 boys!” “I don’t even like sports!” “But we already named the baby, and it’s a girl name!” She cried with me and hugged me and reminded me that I would love this baby so much that I wouldn’t be able to imagine my life without him.

I went home and called my best friend, again in shock from the news. Heather said “God must have a big plan for these two brothers. Don’t forget that.” For about a week I felt numb, confused, and then guilty that I even cared what gender the baby was. After all, if the baby was healthy, why did it even matter? And the fact that I could even get pregnant and have a baby? How selfish of me. But it felt like a big deal because we always said we were only going to have 2 kids, and I always wanted a little girl. A little me. A little princess to play tea parties with and dress in cute dresses and braid her hair. And see her pretend that she was Laura Ingalls, just like I did. And now I knew that was never going to happen.

Shortly after my “breakdown”, I did adjust to the fact that he was a boy and started getting excited. All my sorrow washed away and I knew nothing but love for the baby inside of me. And when Jaden came into this world, he melted into my arms and I fell in love with him immediately. It is true, I cannot imagine our lives without him. He is an amazing baby with a fun personality, and I see myself in his little eyes (even though everyone says he looks like his dad).

Somewhere inside, I still think it would be nice to have a daughter someday, but we’ve already decided that if God leads us down that road, we will adopt. Maybe when the boys are a little older and past the toddler stage we will discuss it more seriously.

But for now, I cherish these 2 boys. I have learned to play with cars, build train tracks, play sports (the 3 year old version), and get excited about the trash man coming just as much as them. We wrestle, we throw sand, and we laugh a lot. God knew just what I needed.

I know I've posted this picture before, but it's my favorite picture of Jaden & I:

Micah & Jaden right after we brought J home from the hospital (5/07):

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Micah has been so funny lately - my cousin gave him an old Batman costume that she found, and he has been wanting to wear it every day. What is hilarious is the first time he put it on, he immediately went into super-hero mode. Look at his face and how he put his hands on his hips:

What's amazing is that he has never even seen Batman! Not a cartoon, not a picture -nothing! (At least that we know of!) Yet he knew it was a superhero costume and that's all that mattered to him. He has been going outside in his costume and "assuming the position" whenever he sees kids playing outside. It is so funny!

Jaden has also been dazzling us with cuteness :) Lately he's been climbing up into the rocking chair to read books to himself. I love it! He looks so big in this picture to me!

Last night our neighborhood had "National Night Out". The great thing is that every year it is held directly across the street from our house at the school. The whole neighborhood comes and has dessert together, and someone performs. The fire engine and ambulance were there for the kids to climb in, and both boys won toys in the raffle. It was fun. Here's a picture- the first time Micah has actually gotten in the fire truck and wasn't afraid of it!

Lastly, here's a video of the boys messing around while Martin played guitar. So much for dinner!!


For my birthday last month I got two cookbooks filled with cupcake recipes, so tonight I thought I'd try one out. They are Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting, from the book 100 Best Cupcake Recipes. They really taste amazing, at least to me! :)

Here is the recipe if you want to try them out! (I cut the recipe in half but this is the entire recipe.)

Banana Cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium mashed bananas (about 1 cup)
chocolate frosting

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with paper baking cups. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice in large bowl. Add oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla; beat with electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Beat in bananas until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Frost.

Bakers One Bowl Fudge Frosting
1 pkg. (8 squares) Bakers Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Directions: Microwave chocolate in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually add milk, beating until well blended. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk by teaspoonfuls until of desired consistency.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


So, I've been thinking lately about my photography business. Do I go for it all the way, fix up my website, and start marketing like crazy to get business? Or do I let it stay the way it is, slow and casual, waiting for referrals and mainly "shooting" friends and their friends?

I love what I do. It's just that I don't love the marketing part of it. And I hate charging people for it, yet I need to make a living. I have decided not to do any more free shoots, as I have spent the last 2 years doing at least 50% of my shoots for free. I look at it as a ministry of sorts, as I want to bless people especially when they can't afford photos. However, each shoot takes approximately 5 hours of my time, time that could be spent with my kids, or working on other things I need to get to.

Part of the reason I don't really market is because I'm pretty insecure about what I do. I feel very "green" in this field and still don't really know what I'm doing. Thankfully I know photoshop well enough to make any photo look decent. I am actually afraid to get clients I don't know because I'm worried they won't like the pictures I take of them, that they might be "difficult" clients, etc... It is easy working with people I know and love.

The other thing is that these days, everyone and their mother has a photography business. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it well. Right now I'm just maintaining.

So, please give me your thoughts, your ideas... My website is
I really need a new website look, but I can't afford it and don't know how to do it all myself (what is there is what I made, but I don't know how to do any more than that.) Thoughts, Please!! :)