I am convinced that hilarity blooms in my office! My boss, Craig, and his wife, Kathy, attended a marriage seminar this past weekend, and they are displaying its side-effects today.

Act 1
Setting: Kathy has been power-walking around the town square this morning. When it begins snowing, she decides to come into the office to get warmed up before heading back to her house.

Jingle-jingle (bells on the front door signal an entrance into the office).
K: "It's just me!"
M: "Hi, Kathy!"
Kathy enters, wearing windbreaker pants, a turtleneck and sweatshirt, and pantomimes stomping her feet and blowing on her gloved hands for warmth, then heads to the empty front desk to check her email.
C: "Hey, Kath. Want to go out with me today for lunch?"
K: "Not today, Craig. I've got a whole list of things that I have to get done, and I just don't have time to stop for lunch. I'm very sorry."
C: (Disappointed) "Oh, are you sure?"
K: "Yeah, I... Well, you really want to go, don't you?"
C: (Sincerely) "No, that's okay. I know that you really need to get that stuff done."
K: "No, really, let me go to lunch with you."
C: "Oh no, Kath, I understand."
K: "Craig, I know this is important to you; let me go to lunch with you, please."
C: "Well, if you're sure about this."
K: "I am. Now where do you want to go? Subway?"
C: (Just barely hesitates) "Sure, Subway sounds great."
K: "Oh, I know you want to do Chinese don't you? Let's do Chinese."

(Parenthetical side note: Kathy hates Chinese. A few days ago, Craig tried very hard to talk her into Chinese, but they ended up at Subway.)

C: "No, let's do Subway."
K: "No, I know you'd like to have Chinese. I can eat with you there. Let's do Chinese."
C: "No, no. I think we should go to Subway."
K: "But Craig, I know that you would love to have Chinese today. Let's go there."
C: "Hey now, this isn't about just me. Let's go somewhere that we both would love."
K: "But I know how much you would like to have Chinese. It's fine with me to do Chinese. Let's do Chinese."
C: "No, Kathy, we can do Subway. I know you like Subway."
K: "Ooh, I know. How about we go...no, I'm not dressed for that."
C: "For what?"
K: "Well, I was going to say, let's go to the hotel, but I'm not dressed for that."
C: "I don't know. I know how much you enjoy Subway, and I want you to enjoy your lunch."

Kathy glances into the open door of Missy's office and notices Missy's huge grin and stifled chortling sounds.

M: "Don't worry," (gasping for air) "I'm laughing WITH you. Really."
K: "No you're not! You're laughing at us."

Craig and Kathy leave the office with arms intertwined.

As the door closes:
K: "Let's just do Chinese. Or how about Smokey Row? We could do Smokey Row if you'd like."

Act 2
Setting: Thirty minutes have passed.

Jingle-jingle (bells on the door signal an entrance into the office.)
C & K: "It's just us!"
M: "Hi, us!"
Craig and Kathy enter holding throw-away cups emblazoned with the Subway logo.
Labels: 2 comments | | edit post
I have no idea what to write, but I have time to kill.

One disadvantage to living so far from town: Kimmie is cheering in a basketball game right now, and it is only supposed to last an hour. If we were to drop her off and head back home, by the time we reached our driveway, it would be time to go pick her up again. So Jeremy, Liberty and I have opted to stay in town until her game is over.

We are in my office, just wasting time. We really need to go grocery shopping, but the store is in another town thirty minutes south. Here we wait.

After the game, we are supposed to drop off her friend Rachel who spent the night at our house yesterday. Rachel lives about thirty minutes north. We're going to meet her parents at a little place called Iowa's Best Burger Cafe." I asked her mother this morning, if it really was the best, and she said, "Well, it's not bad, and they have really good ice cream." So we'll see if it lives up to its name.
I have a lot of friends who I don't know.

The cashier at Subway: She is a very nice lady in her mid to late thirties. We say hi and smile every time we see each other. On busy days at Subway, we give each other a sympathetic grimace, and move quickly. On slower days, we chat about the weather or fun life things. On the FREE cookie day, she told me about her last weekend trip and the late nights she had. She's looking forward to spending a quiet weekend at home this Friday. We connect. If we hung out, I sense that she would be fun and laid-back and smiley. We're friends, but I don't know her name, and she doesn't know mine.

Mr. Mumbles: He also works at Subway. He has silvery hair, and he mumbles (hence the nickname). I used to think that I just had a hard time hearing him, but after standing in a long line and listening to his attempted conversations with other customers ahead of me. I realized no one really knows what he is saying. We all smile and nod and tentatively chuckle in what seem to be the right places based on his facial expressions. This lack of verbal communication may be a deterrent to some friendships, but something in his character appeals to me. He really likes talking to people. He is friendly. He has a happy soul, and it is recognizable even if his words are not. I am happy to count him as a friend.

My librarians: Larry and Ella Mae. (Sidenote: I think being a librarian would be a very interesting job. You get to meet everyone in town, and you get to imagine what their personality is based on the books that they check out. Not to mention all of the BOOKS surrounding you!) Larry is a computer whiz and an incredible book-marker maker. He has read every single book in the library including the children's section, he makes great reading suggestions, and he owns every Where's Waldo book that has ever been made. I LOVE discussing stories with him! Ella Mae's first grandchild was born in December, and we counted down the days together. She keeps a bowl of candy on her desk and pushes the pieces off onto unsuspecting children as they check out books. Such fun and diverse people God has made!

My car friend: I've named him Buddy. He must live somewhere near Rhonda's house, because we meet at the same intersection every morning. He is a high school student driving to school, and I am a mom dropping my baby off at her babysitters. I turn left toward him, and he turns right toward me. We always smile and wave as we pass each other, and I pray for his day at school, but he doesn't know that. One day a few weeks ago, he was missing from our corner. Maybe he left his house earlier that day, or maybe he was sick. I don't know. But I missed him. Thankfully, he was back the next day, and has been ever since.

Who are your unknown friends?
Ah, dieting day one, and my first lament!

I went to Subway with the best intentions. After all, didn't Jared find success (and his figure) there? I ordered a turkey breast sub with oil & vinegar, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The tough part came at the cash register when the cashier (more about her later) asked, "Would you like chips and a drink with that?"

I debated.

Say no to the chips, but take the drink...after all, you're thirsty. But I'm not so fond of soft drinks (in fact the only two that I occasionally like are root beer and grape soda) and if I say no to the drink then I can indulge in what I really love, CHIPS!

The angel on my other shoulder interrupted: Why not say no to both, and eat common sense calories?

In a voice of determination, I declared, "No, thank you!" And I was proud of myself...until the next sentence from the cashier.

"Today is FREE cookie day. Which one would you like?"

I chose the chocolate one with white chocolate chips.
I stepped onto the bathroom scale last night and made a decision. I'm going to diet. Lucky you, you get hear all about my dieting laments and celebrations over the next however-long-I-stick-this-out. (Let's hope there are some celebrations!)

I don't think I have ever been on a diet before, and I suppose technically, I'm not really on a diet now. I've just decided to be more choosy about the calories that I'm taking in. Meaning, I'm going to attempt to make better choices on how many and what kind of calories. Since I'm not a mathematical genius, I won't be counting calories. I plan to make common sense choices. For example: if I have an apple and a piece of cake before me, and I'm hungry, I'll choose the apple. Or if I have an apple and a piece of cake before me, and I'm not hungry, I'll say, "No thank you." Now how's that for common sense?

It all sounds like a lovely plan. Let's see what happens.

Preparing all of our year-end statements has been keeping me so busy that I have little time for anything else. So no blogging today. Instead, enjoy these pictures that I have FINALLY gotten developed...

Kimmie's blow-fish imitation

My Little Ski-Bunny!



I saw an article on MSN today that I thought was cute. Here's an excerpt from it:

In 2005, a psychologist named Cliff Arnall (who was, at the time, a
part-time lecturer at the University of Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning in
Wales), declared that he had devised a formula to calculate the worst day. That
year, it was Monday, Jan. 24; last year, Monday, Jan. 23. So watch out, because
today may well be 2007’s most miserable day. Or maybe not.

Arnall’s so-called formula looks like this: [W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA.

All of the letters and symbols apparently represent a sort of mathematical code to track the following:

W: How bad the weather is at this time of year.
D: Amount of debt accumulated over the holidays minus how much
is paid off.

T: The time since the holidays.
Q: Amount of time passed since New Year’s resolutions have gone

M: Our general motivation levels.
NA: The need to take action.

Now that the fun of the holidays is over, we need to make a plan that
gives us something to look forward to. Arnall’s dreaded-day formula was
originally commissioned as a public relations stunt for Sky Travel. The company
planned to use it as a tool for encouraging depressed people to start booking
winter getaways.

“It’s based on no science, no research and it’s incredibly gimmicky,”
says Ellen McGrath, Ph.D., president and founder of Bridge Coaching Institute in
New York City. “But as a marketing strategy, it’s brilliant.”

Maybe I thought that article was funny because I was feeling down yesterday. Sometimes there are just days when I rely on myself to get me through the day, and I've found out that I don't do such a great job of it. I need to rely on God instead.

Thankfully, God has given me a wonderful husband who cares for me and helps keep me sane, and He has also given me His Word.

I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you!"
(A term borrowed from my friend, DeAnn.)

That's what we did yesterday. Finally undecorated from Christmas, and it felt good. Jeremy's been working quite a bit recently, and we cannot undecorate separately, so it kept getting put-off until we could be together.

I thought the place would look sad without Christmas. (A few weeks ago, I took the stockings down...and put them back up again 10 minutes later because it was just too bare-looking!) But instead of looking bare, the living room looked open and happy. I'm glad we undecorated. The fireplace is dressed for Valentines Day now, and Jeremy proclaimed it "Romantic."
Scrape, thud. Scrape, thud. Scrape, thud.

I shoveled snow for the first time in my life yesterday afternoon, and it was fun! It snowed on Sunday and most of the morning on Monday; our neighbors shoveled their driveway and walkways on Monday morning.

Shoveling snow was always my dad and brothers' job when I was growing up, and since moving out of my parent's house, I had allowed my landlords to take over that responsibility. Now that Jeremy and I are proud home-owners, there's no one else to hand the shovel to, and with Jeremy working at night and sleeping during the day, I'm left looking in the mirror and wondering why do we shovel snow anyway? Can't we just drive and walk on top of it?

So yesterday, a full day after the snow-fall, I decided that someone had better shovel our driveway...especially since the snowplow came through and along the far end of our driveway created a mountain of snow that my car refuses to hurdle. All morning at work, I anticipated shoveling. I went to Dollar General and bought a snow shovel (only $5.00!). As I drove through town, I examined the various shoveling techniques displayed by the townsmen. One man employed the scrape-thud method, while his neighbor demonstrated the chop-chop-scrape-thud method. I really enjoyed the snow-blower method, but the start-up costs for that one were way out of my price-range.

I drove home in trepidation. Would I love shoveling? It looks like fun and great exercise, but would it really turn out to be such a wonderful winter activity? Or would it be just a gigantic waste of time with a huge backache thrown in for good measure? All the way home, I prayed that Liberty would fall asleep, so that I could shovel outside. (Kimmie had a game last night, so she was unavailable for babysitting detail.)

My car climbed the mountainous mound of snow donated to our property courtesy of Mr. Snowplow Driver, and I parked in the garage. Wonder of wonders, Liberty was already asleep, so I carried her to bed and piled her with blankets. I asked God to please keep her asleep for at least an hour and a half (that's how long it would be until dark), and I headed outside.

Shoveling turned out to be really fun! The scrape, thud sounds were pleasantly reminiscent of home, and my mind easily turned to memories of watching from the window while my dad shoveled outside. I wonder if he was ever lonely, or if he enjoyed clearing the snow as much as I did? It was actually fun to see progress as I shoveled. The clean cement appeared after every scrape, and mounds of snow grew higher at the sides of our driveway. During patches of thick ice, I got to use the chop-chop-scrape-thud routine that I had witnessed, and it was really cool! The snow had packed down well from being driven on, so it broke into Titanic-sized icebergs at the introduction of my shovel.

By the time the sun disappeared, I had half of the driveway done. I gazed with satisfaction on the half-scraped cement then went inside for vegetable soup and a sandwich. Liberty was just waking up. God is very good, you know?
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post
I think Liberty has begun teething.

My wonderful, smiley baby now cries. For absolutely no discernable reason. And it is very sad. She started this on Sunday, and continued yesterday and today. She is mainly happy, but every once in a while, she'll start crying. It is sad to see, because she looks so pathetic with her tiny, crumpled face. She looks at me like, "Mom, why aren't you helping me?"

And I don't know how to help her.
The predicted storm actually happened! It began Friday with freezing rain, then on Saturday, the snow started. There was about a half inch on the ground when Kimmie and the twins decided to play outside. The road was completely white, but the grass still stood above the snow in the yard.

In the living room, they plotted their day.
1. Snowball fight
2. Sledding
3. Make snow angels

Once in action, their day really went like this.
1. Get locked out in the cold
2. Come inside and put on all of the clothes in Kimberly's closet
3. Write messages on the road with their feet.

Then they came inside to warm up by the fire and figure out what could be used in place of a sled since we have none. While they were busy searching for a cardboard box, I pulled a plastic shower curtain out. They shouted with glee, and raced back outside. There is a huge hill a little distance from our house, but they didn't want to trek that far. Instead, they proposed throwing water on the street to create an icy Slip-and-Slide. I vetoed that idea in the interest of neighborliness (and not watching our insurance rates go up), and suggested they pour the water down the slope into the ditch where our front yard meets the road. Then Liberty and I laughed from the living room window while they took a running start, jumped, completely missed the shower curtain and tumbled head-over-heels into the ditch.
Kimmie had twin girls spend the night on Friday.

You know, twins run in my family and in Jeremy's family, and I always thought it would be kind of fun to have twins. Then I met a lady who has 18 month old twins, a boy and a girl. I watched her unbuckle the first one from her carseat and carry her into the house, then she returned for the second one, unbuckled him from his carseat and carried him into the house, and I wonder: Do I really have enough energy to do everything twice for the next 10 years?

Kimmie's friends are old enough to get in and out of the car by themselves, so I was able to conserve energy there! When they arrived the noise-level quintupled in our house. They are big fans of Liberty, and their antics to get her to laugh were hilarious. Whenever she would squeal in delight, they would squeal in delight. It was very loud, and very fun! They also begged to feed her in the morning and helped me give her a bath in the afternoon. When they left, the house seemed quiet and empty. There were always ten people in my house when I was growing up, and I had forgotten how much fun it used to be to have so many kids around. Thankfully, Jeremy was at work this weekend. The poor man would have gone crazy with five girls in the house!

I don't think he's quite up to twins yet...unless they're boys. Then we'd be tied 3-3.
Our family joke is that despite the frozen-tundra Iowa winters (that we are NOT having this year--although an ice storm with a foot of snow is predicted for this weekend, I'm not sure that I believe it), no one in our household would be able to go cold. At last count, we had 27 baby blankets, not one of which we spent any of our hard-earned cash on. Oh, the variety is endless: patchwork quilts large enough to give Liberty some much needed rolling room on the floor; lovingly hand-knitted or crocheted (I never can tell the difference) baby afghans in beautiful pastel colors; thick , cuddly, cushy blankets; super-soft, cutsey blankets; good-old receiving blankets; and Care Bear-enhanced, thermal blankets.

If we ever add a younger sister to the bunch, we'd better not get any more blankets! We'd have to add a Blanket Room onto our house. And I pity the poor younger brother who has the nerve to come along; he'll be forever in therapy due to the lovely pink blankets that we will wrap him in when he arrives.

When Liberty is old enough to have a grown-up bed, I will stitch each and every blanket together to create a huge quilt, and her husband had better thank his mother-in-law for the lovely cover on their bed. (I will check it every time I visit for hints of closet-shelf dust!)

But while we laugh about all the blankets, I think to myself of all the love they represent to our family. What a gift! I'd like to keep that massive quilt made of blankets for myself in the future, so I can pull it out every now and then, and remember all of the people who sent them and all of the love that Liberty and our family is being wrapped in.
Let me introduce you to Oscar, our fax/printer/copier/scanner. When I first began working here, I named him Oscar, and Craig agreed that it was a very appropriate name because he is a Grouch. (Oscar that is, not Craig.)

Oscar has been more tempermental than usual lately. He is convinced that he needs a sick day, and he is working very hard to convince us that he needs a sick day. Every time I give him a task, he tells me that he can't because he has a paper jam or his ink carriage is stuck or his printheads are out of alignment. The catch is, there is nothing wrong with him. Other than the fact that he's a hypochondriac. I then have to spend five to ten minutes calming him down and explaining to him that there really is nothing wrong. I give him a few tender loving pats (which are becoming less tender as the days go by) and a brown paper bag to breathe into, and he reluctantly agrees to give it another try.

Yesterday, someone attempted to fax us an important document. Oscar moodily chose to hold the document deep inside without letting us know that anything had been sent. This morning, when I asked him to copy a few papers for me, he told me no, because his carriage was stuck. I convinced him that it was not stuck, and he said, "Okay, fine. I'll copy your papers, but first, here's a fax that came in yesterday." He spit the fax out, and began copying, but he stopped halfway through the job, convinced that he had a paper jam. I talked him out of it, and he graciously finished my copying job.

I have finally had enough, and a few minutes ago I called a psychiatrist. That's right, I said psychiatrist, not medical doctor. There is nothing physically wrong with Oscar; it's all in his head! Dr. Andrew will be here shortly to talk things over with Oscar and see what can be done.

While I was typing the previous paragraph, Oscar began growling from the other room. No one has been near him in forty-five minutes, and he must have been feeling the lack of attention. I walked over to see what he was so upset about, and he spit out a blank sheet of chewed up paper. For no reason.

I'm beginning to wonder if he's planning to go Postal on us.
Labels: 2 comments | | edit post
Something I’ve been asking God to help me out with is putting into practice the things that He teaches me. Well, before Christmas, we studied the prophet Elijah in Sunday School. You might remember how Elijah was watching and listening for God for speak to him.

I Kings 19:11-13 says: The LORD said [to Elijah], "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave...

Most of the time, when God wants to communicate something to me, He doesn't use His big, booming voice to get His message across. Usually, His gentle whisper is in use. Gentle whispers can be easy to pass up if you're not listening.

Kimmie had a headache one Saturday about three weeks before Christmas, and she crawled into bed to sleep it off. I was busy in the kitchen and with Liberty when the thought, "I should take her an asprin and a glass of water," occurred to me. I thought it was odd for that thought to pop into my head, and I argued with myself saying, "If she feels like she needs an asprin, she'll come out and get one." I remained busy with my work, quickly forgetting about the asprin. After a while, I began talking to God not for any reason, but just because. The thought popped back into my head. I contemplated it for a while, then decided, "Well, it would be a nice thing to do." So I took Kimmie the asprin and water. Not a big deal.

Three or four days later, Kimmie and I were driving to school in the morning, and we were discussing prayer and the various ways that God chooses to answer. Kimmie said something like, "Yeah, He gave me a yes answer the other day when I asked Him to have you bring me some water and an asprin." She was sitting in the backseat so that she could make faces at Liberty and enjoy Liberty's squeals of delight, so I wasn't sure if I had heard her correctly. "What did you say?" I questioned. She repeated herself and explained that her head had been hurting her so badly, that any light or movement or sound caused great pain. She wasn't able to get up and get her own asprin, and calling out to me for asprin would have hurt her head too badly, so she silently asked God to have me bring some for her. And to think that I almost passed up being His gift to another of His children because I was too busy.
Aaaack! Morning-people disturb me, but I think I'm being converted. Here is a run-down of my typical weekday to prove my point:

1. Kimberly graciously drags me out of bed kicking and screaming at 7:00, or 7:15, or 7:30 or if I'm lucky and she's dawdling 7:45. Kimberly is a morning-person. (In fact, I've had to regulate how early she is allowed to get out of bed!)

2. I blindly stumble around my darkened room hoping that whatever I end up putting on is really what I had set out for myself to wear the night before.

3. I blink my way into the kitchen where Kimmie has Liberty dressed, fed and buckled into her carseat. Kimmie hands me the lunch that I had packed the night before; she grabs my bags and her bags. I lift Liberty's carseat, and we are off into the wide, bright world. (Several new moms have stared in wide-eyed wonder when they realize that I am the first-time mom of a brand-new baby and a teenager. "How do you do it?" they whisper, "I would just die." While mothers of teens look upon me with pity and say, "I'm glad I don't have a baby too." But I am so blessed by having both ends of the spectrum. God knew that I would never be able to button Liberty's outfits in the morning, so He gave me Kimmie! And He knew that when Kimmie's hormonal emotions take over, I would need to be blessed by the smiles of Liberty! His way is always perfect!)

4. By the time we arrive at Kimmie's school, the blazing sunshine has usually woken me up sufficiently so that I more closely resemble a human being. Kimmie kisses Liberty goodbye, entices one last smile from her, then waves to me and says, "I love you; have a good day."

5. I proceed to Rhonda's house, where she and I sit and chat in the kitchen for about fifteen to twenty minutes. I use this time to cuddle my baby and find out what she is wearing.

6. Then it's on to work, where I stay until 3:00 in the afternoon.

7. After work, I drive around town completing my errands, drive to school to pick up Kimmie, drive to Rhonda's to pick up Liberty, drive home.

8. At home, it's time to start supper, and the laundry and help Kimmie with her homework, and feed, change, burp and play with Liberty. After supper, I make my lunch, and lunch and supper for Jeremy for the following day.

9. At this point, Kimmie usually has a game or a practice or an activity of some sort that she needs to be driven back into town for or picked up from which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes when it's all said and done.

9. Back at home, Kimmie puts away the clean dishes from the dishwasher, and refills it with the dirty dishes from the day; I switch the laundry to the dryer, help Kimmie finish her homework, feed change and burp Liberty once again, and it's off to bed...for the kids.

10. Once they are in bed, clothes need to be folded and put away, items need to be picked up (again) from the floors, bags and clothes need to be gotten ready for the next day, and any miscellaneous housekeeping items like sweeping and dusting and toilet scrubbing and checkbook finding etc need to be done.

11. But who cares about that stuff? I need to READ! So I take a thirty-minute break around 11:15 PM to read something...ANYTHING! Sometimes, I use this time to call friends and family who I have not had time to talk with in a while, but usually, I use this time to relax. Then I move on to step 10 (see above).

12. When step 10 is completed, it is time for my quiet time with God. I get out my prayer journal, my Bible and my Sunday School book and dig in. Sometimes it's convicting; sometimes it's comforting, but always it is wonderful!

13. I usually drop into bed around 2:00 AM.

Yesterday, during my devotion time, I was contemplating Proverbs 31, and I realized that she too, was a morning-person. Here's how the Bible describes her:

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

(So far, so good. Jeremy has not yet complained about any harm coming to him because of me.)
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
(Well, I select cotton and polyester, and do the laundry all the time.)
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
(Maybe I LOOK like the merchant ships, and the grocery store IS thirty minutes away.)
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her women servants.
(Oi vay! There's the problem: She gets up while it is still night, like Kimmie, because she is a morning-person. Someone should have regulated her get-out-of-bed-time too! Now how can I ever measure up to that? So I decided that I too can be called a morning-person...I'm a Stay-Up-Until-The-Morning-Person, while everyone else is a Get-Up-In-The-Morning-Person.)

My favorite verse is 18: ...her lamp does not go out at night. (Now that's my kind of lady. She's probably up finishing a good mystery!)
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post
Christmas was very good to us (or I should correct that to say, our loved-ones were very good to us this Christmas). The toys and gift cards and clothes will last us quite a ways into the new year, and we are VERY thankful.

One gift that we like is the "Baby's First Christmas" outfits that we received from several people. I think Liberty has four new outfits that proclaim her first Christmas is drawing near (or recently passed), and they are all the size that she does not seem to be growing out of anytime soon. The week between New Year's and Christmas, Kimmie proudly dressed her in her new outfits, and Jeremy and I pronounced her ready to face the world.

But now that Christmas lights are disappearing from the neighborhood, is it proper to continue wearing Christmas clothing? What are the rules about this? I know one cannot wear white shoes after Labor Day, and I know that all name tags should go "high and right" (thank you, PCC & Blackie Scott). So I assume there are regulations somewhere about Christmas-wear. Is there a loop-hole for babies who will eventually outgrow their date-stamped clothes and need to get a use out of them? Or are babies so small that they can slip under the proper-dressing radar? Will the folks from "What Not To Wear" track poor Liberty down later in life, and will she have the opportunity to say, "It's my mother's fault. She dressed me in Christmas clothes in February when all of the other babies were wearing Valentines clothes."

Does it matter? The fact is, I'm too cheap not to get as much use as possible out of free clothes, especially when they are so cute! (Although, I prefer the term "thrifty.")
Labels: 2 comments | | edit post
I used to think that my parents had so many kids just so they could have people to do their housework for them. I didn't realize that our very existence created all that housework!

Yesterday, Kimmie leaned over to me before church started and asked, "When are we going to have more kids?"

"I dunno," I specifically replied without adding that our budget is still hooked to IV's due to the two kids we gained this year.

It turns out that one of her friends in youth group (who comes from a family of five) was telling Kimmie about the chores system they have worked out in their house. Each kid does a chore on a certain day. The rotating system goes like this: On Monday, #1 vacuums the living room; on Tuesday, #2 vacuums the living room; on Wednesday, #3 vacuums the living room...you get the idea.

Kimmie did some quick math in her head and announced that if we would just have three more kids, then in about nine years, Kimmie will only have to do the dishes once a week. I didn't tell her that she'd better be out of the house nine years from now, and doing her own dishes every day. Along with her vacuuming and her dusting and her mopping and lawn-mowing and car-washing and laundry and grocery shopping...
Friday night, Kimmie was at a basektball game, and Liberty and I were playing on the floor under Liberty's bridge when Daddy came home! This was a big surprise because he normally works until 3:00 AM, and we don't usually get to see him until Saturday afternoon around 2:00 PM.

He loved cuddling with Liberty, laughing at her squeals of delight in her new playmate, spectating as she showed off her rolling capabilities (she rolls both directions now) and exclaiming over how much she's grown this past week. He played with her all evening, and both of them had great fun!

We spent Saturday afternoon at the BIG GAME. Oh, what excitement! We had to borrow the college's gymnasium to hold the audience. Our town has one Christian high school and one public high school. Every adult in town attended one of the two schools, and there is a friendly rivalry (well, rivalry might be too strong of a word, but a friendly competition) between the two schools. (Our real rivals are in a neighboring town. Must beat, must beat!) Anyway, back to our competition...

The public school is in a bigger division than the Christian school, but we play each other for fun. It doesn't count towards anything. Our Varsity boys' basketball team is undefeated this year, and there is talk of playoffs. (Keep your fingers crossed.) Our Varsity girls' team is almost undefeated. I think they've lost a total of two games this season. So we had high hopes, and of course we needed bragging rights in town! (It's a small town, so this is REALLY important. It's one thing to get beat by another team in another town and tuck tail and go home, but it's something altogether different and awful to walk down the street the next day and have to smile and wave at the people that beat you the day before when you had been so boastful about your prospects of winning! I'm just slightly competitive, you know.)

Kimmie and the other cheerleaders had been practicing new and improved cheers to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats...no problem there! And she was very upset the day before the game to find out that two of the six cheerleaders on the squad were not going to be at the game. That leaves only four cheerleaders to represent our school, and what an awful shame it would be to be shown up by the other cheering squad, she informed me. We held our breaths as we drove to the game, anxious to find out just how many cheerleaders the bigger public school would bring. (The state limit is six.)

Ah, relief. They only had THREE! And because of their weak cheering, our boys won the game in the final seconds by one point! Our girls lost the game in the final seconds by two points, but that of course, was NOT our cheerleaders' faults. Just ask Kimmie; she knows.
You may remember that my Sunday School class is studying the kings of Judah and Israel from the Old Testament. Well, we recently studied Asa who was a king in Judah. And I learned some really cool things about God!

Here's a summary of the background (as copied from my Sunday School book): Asa's heart was sincere and loyal to God. His actions showed his loyalty, and God rewarded him by bringing Judah peace. God's blessing on Asa remained until the last few years of his reign.

Asa's trouble began when Baasha, king of Israel, was able to push southward as far as Ramah, just five miles north of Jerusalem, Judah's capital. Obviously, this threat caused Asa to worry. Taking matters into his own hands, Asa sent a tribute to Ben-Hadad, king of Syria. Asa asked Ben-Hadad to attack Baasha. Ben-Hadad did as Asa requested, and Baasha had to abandon his fortress-building at Ramah to deal with the attacking Syrians.

(Now it's me talking.) So my response to this story was, "Hey, cool, Asa used his brain. He was resourceful, and God blessed him by having his enemies fight each other instead of fighting him.

But here's God's response: (2 Chron. 16:7-9) "At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: "Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."

Here are three of the things God showed me about Himself:
1. God delights in blessing His children. When I bought presents for Kimmie this Christmas, I delighted in picking out just the right thing, and I anticipated her facial expressions and her joy when she opened the package. The entire process enthralled me, and I would have been extremely sad if someone prevented me from giving my gifts to her. That must have been the way God felt when he realized that the rescue gift He had been saving for Asa was destroyed by Asa's taking matters into his own hands. How sad God must have felt!

2. God delights in our confidence in Him. When I was a kid, we frequently heard on the playground "My dad's bigger than your dad," or "My dad could beat your dad up." (I even said that once, even though I felt guilty when I said it, because I knew that if it came to proving my boast, my dad would choose NOT to beat the other dad up!) But think of the confidence displayed in that statement, and think of how proud a dad must feel when he hears that his kid thinks he's the biggest and the strongest around. God feels that same heart-bursting sensation, when His kids display their confidence in Him by turning to Him first-and-only in a bad situation. And Asa took that opportunity away from him.

3. God delights in our praise. When God comes to my rescue in impossible situations, the response, "Oh wow, God! Thank you!" pops out, and God LOVES it! When Jeremy tells me how beautiful I am or how wonderful a supper I made was, it fills my heart with happiness, and when I praise my God for how wonderful He is to me, it fills His heart with happiness. But when Asa rescued himself, his heart was not filled with wonder towards God.

It makes me think of all the times that I rescue myself and steal delight from God. I hope that this realization will stick with me, and I will slow down and look to God for rescue. Yay for God!

Liberty and I had a grand old time yesterday evening. We spent most of it on the living room floor, playing with her new "Tummy Time Together Gym" which our family has started calling the bridge because that's what it looks like. (See here.) It was a Christmas present from her Grandpa and Nana, and it is her very favorite. She loves to bat at the animals which activates music and dancing lights, and she'll talk to herself in the mirror for hours. Such happy cooing sounds!

Kimmie had cheerleading practice until seven pm, so Libby and I were on our own, starving for entertainment. We decided to play with the bridge. We lay together on the floor under the bridge and laughed at our silly expressions in the mirror and hit the animals. Libby's been attempting to roll over for the past few weeks, and she wanted to show me what progress she has made. She can get about 75% over, but her rolling arm gets stuck underneath and prevents the other 25%. I was suitably impressed, and we decided that it was about time for me to start making supper.

From the kitchen, I could hear her occasional grunts of effort over my pan-rattling, and I stopped every once in a while to offer some advice or encouragement. Finally, it happened. She rolled completely over, and looked so startled at the change in perspective, that I had to laugh. The bridge is designed to be used at tummy-level also, so I adjusted its configuration and she continued playing. She was really good at holding her head up, but she hasn't figured out that life is easier when you put your elbows underneath to support yourself. She looked like a tiny U with her little pot-bellied tummy the only part of her that touched the floor. Her head drastically outweighs her scrawny tadpole legs, and so she kept see-sawing with her head usually closest to the floor. Apparently, she had quite a bit of gas left in her tummy, and that of course, got squished out regularly over a peroid of about 30 minutes. She sounded like a tiny motorboat.

I'm sure she'll be happy to read this when she gets older!

I got a surprise package in the mail yesterday. I LOVE packages, and you must know by now how much I love surprises, so to have those two items combined was incredibly wonderful! Melody, my best friend and neighbor from when I was growing up, mailed me a George Barr McCutcheon book!!!! Aaaahhhh!!!

I'm sorry. That wasn't excited enough.


That's a little better.

She and I share a passion for old books and a love for George Barr McCutcheon in particular. We have hunted old one-room bookstores filled with sunshiney dust-streams and creaky wooden floors, the internet, ebay, garage sales, friend's houses, and musty-smelling dungeons filled with books, books, books, in pursuit of our treasure.

I can remember entire days and nights spent together reading a book aloud to each other when we were in high-school, and giggling. Oh, the giggling! How silly we were! Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick and Graustark by good old GBM were two of our favorites back then.

Remembering the "good old days" and wonderful friendships brings a smile to my face and peace to my heart.

Thank you, my Mel. (Or should I say Frank)

From: your George (Missy)
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post

I like to call this one "Confused by Christmas." Do you realize that I put the lights on the tree four times...and took them off three times before they were all on and working correctly? But before you judge too hastily, this is the first time in my life that I have put lights on a Christmas tree. That was always my dad's job when I was growing up, and the past few years, it has been Jeremy's job. Now that I've done it (a few times) I have a plan in place for next year. Hopefully, it will be a one-shot process!

Kimmie was my little elf this year. She loved decorating, and we had so much fun together. She insisted that we stop and take pictures every so often. She took all of these pictures...except this one. I insisted that she hand the camera over.

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..." (Notice the baby swing behind me?)

Goofing off...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(Oh, see the picture resting sideways against the railing. I bought that five years ago, before Jeremy and I were married, planning to put it up in my living room, but I've never had a frame for it. I kept meaning to buy one, but I never did. Anyway, for Christmas this year, Jeremy gave me a gift certificate to get my picture professionally matted and framed!!! He's so wonderful!)

Finally, it snowed! Yay for me!

We were all in the car, headed for the stores on New Year's Eve. Kimmie had gotten Christmas money, and we rushed to blow it ASAP. (She needed some clothes.) Suddenly, the sound of tiny frozen balls of sleet sounded on our windshield. Jeremy looked at me, and I looked at Jeremy. A wide smile slowly crept across my face. "Do you think it will turn to snow soon?" I whispered hopefully.

It had not yet turned to snow when we arrived at the store. Jeremy was reading a book, and he desperately wanted to finish it, so he stayed in the car with our sleeping Liberty while Kimmie and I skipped inside to SHOP! (I think Jeremy was also trying to avoid following us around the store. We tend to get a little crazy with trying on hats and old lady clothes first before we settle down for some serious shopping.)

We were in the dressing rooms about an hour later when I heard Jeremy's voice. "Are you almost finished in there? It's really snowing outside." Kimmie shouted, "It's snowing? Really?"

It really was! And it really did all the way home! Great big beautiful snowflakes! They hit the ground and melted immediately, but they were beautiful!

It's supposed to snow again this Friday. I heard it on the radio this morning while I was driving to work.
Vacations should be outlawed. Or work should, one or the other, because we just aren't capable of doing both. I vote for cancelling work.

I'm still un-New-Year's-Eve-ing, and I just can't get back into the work mode right now. Thankfully, Craig's worky enough for the both of us today. He came back all fired up, and he's been plugging away faithfully all day. I keep walking into his office looking for a chat-buddy, but he's FOCUSED. He just laughs at me and gets back to work. *Sigh*
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post