Friday, April 29, 2011

good books

In the past I've blogged a few times about good books I've read but today I thought I'd post about some of my favorite books to read to Wendell.. and a few are Wendell's favorites. Some of these we own and some we got from the library; some are great books and some are just okay; but either way here are our favorites.

My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet (B)

Hoppity Skip, Little Chick by Jo Brown (W)

The Retired Kid by Jon Agee (B)

What Can You Do With A Pocket by Eve Merriam (B)

Grandpa's Hotel by Riki Levinson (B)

The New Adventures of Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey (W)

Franklin's Family and Friends Treasury Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark (W)

The Practically Perfect Pajama's by Erik Brooks (M)

Pearl Barley and Charles Parsley by Aaron Blabey (M)

Klippity Klop by Ed Emberley (M)

What Mom's Can't Do by Douglas Wood (B)

What Dad's Can't Do by Douglas Wood (B)

*** B= both mom and Wendell's favorites, M= Mom's favorite, W=Wendell's favorite***

What are you and your kids' favorites?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Every morning is Easter morning from now on...

Did you ever sing that song in church growing up? At my parents church they sing that at their Easter sunrise service and it's always fun to remember my sister and I singing it together, usually in laughing sarcastic kind of way. Thinking back my family often laughed through times spent with God. Our dinner prayers we always tried NOT to laugh because we'd have to start our prayer over but once of us (5 kids) would snicker then we'd all laugh and then we'd have to start over. I also know that during church we would laugh sometimes to pass the boredom (but I don't think we fell asleep). It kind of makes me think of how our family approached church growing up and like most families, a lot of things went unsaid. I just don't think parents knew how to talk about their faith.. or even thought about doing it.

So, just out out of curiosity, growing up, did your family talk about their own personal faith? And if so, how?

This year our family did an Easter tree where I made a little ornament to hang (like the Jesse tree for anyone from our church) and then a Bible verse to go with it. The tough part was trying to explain some of the ornaments - like the nail, communion cup/bread, thorns or dice represented. I think as children we were fed cartoons and imaginary images which makes it very hard to make it 'believable' as the 'truth'. Don't get me wrong, I think Wendell is too young to watch The Passion but it's also tough showing Wendell a cartoon picture of Jesus floating in the sky up to heaven... kind of like Word Girl or several other cartoons.

I have run into a few problems lately in regards to raising strong faithed christian children. I think Wendell believes that Jesus is always with us (yeah!) but how to respond to him asking Jesus to buy him that toy or when he says Jesus will watch him ride his bike (as he wants to go on a bike ride without supervision)? I, myself, struggle with unanswered prayer (don't we all?) and it's hard to have Wendell learn these lessons at 4 years old. I want him to have strong faith but when prayers go unanswered, it's easy to have doubts, which is not what a 4 year old needs to be learning. Anyways, I know, we need to have some discussions with Wendell explaining that Jesus is always with us but that doesn't mean he will always gives us what we want. As far as Jesus watching Wendell ride his bike and help with safety issues.. well I can't deny him that, but I'm also not ready to let him ride without one of us parents/adults watching out for him.

Anyways, hope you are having a great Easter day! And don't forget.. Every day is resurrection day, the past is over and gone! : )

Friday, April 22, 2011

ham for Easter?

I've got a couple of hams but not for eating.. just for loving.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

warning: lots of self portraits included

I've been thinking about two things I'm hoping to do this summer... I often feel silly and chicken out. So here it is: wear more casual skirts/dresses and hats. Like I said in a previous post, I am very particular about what I wear and I like hats and skirts but I'm not sure I look good in them. So, I did a photo shoot for you this morning, hence the warning.

But first, I have to show you what I bought at Goodwill this past weekend.

These are shorts that I really needed. They are a bit short for me but I decided it was better than nothing and it's hard to find the right length of shorts now adays, either their too short or too long.

And here is a blue jean skirt that I thought I could wear for casual or for church. It's long and flowy but a light weight material so it won't be too hot in the summer.

And last (from Goodwill) is a pair of capri's.

Now on to my hat collection. I have four main hats that I often put on and then take off ten minutes later.

As you can see, I'm not so sure of this first one.

A smile does help... but I think I'll save this one for when I go fishing (another thing on my summer bucket list).

And this blue one I love, love, love. I bought it at Cozumel, Mexico when we went on a cruise with our family a few years ago. I have rarely worn it but it's so cute.. and now that I see a picture, I think it looks cute. So, I vow to wear this more this summer.

This one I bought more for the color, if you haven't noticed, I'm a fan of colors. I might have to wear this one tomorrow in honor of earth day.

And good old UNI.. can't fail.

And this last piece is actually a dress I wore outside last year. It is a strapless dress... the ONLY reason I wore it was because I was in a wedding last year and had to wear a strapless dress. I wore this one outside on occasion to "lay out" and get tan. Since I don't enjoy wearing strapless dresses I thought maybe I could pull it off as a skirt. But I'm not so sure.


I can't decide.

And this last picture is what my bed looked like when I was done.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed my photo shoot. Do you have any goals or things you want to do this summer?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

gearing up.. working out

Still working out as usual and unbelievabley, loving it. Yesterday I did a 45 lap swim and found that my legs can create some serious power in the water. I got pretty worn down in the lungs and breathing but my body was ready to take off... which is very interesting because usually I'm a VERY slow swimmer. Then today, I went out and ran a new loop, down Ansborough, across back roads up to the park on Maynard, up 'cardiac killer' (the hill behind the park), down to the trails on my way out to George Wyth but turn on the Heartman Reserve trail and back up Hacket (not quite to the YMCA) known to me as the 'heart attack hill' and turned on Maynard to come back home. It was a strong 50 minute run, the longest I've ever ran. Tomorrow I'm gearing up for a chilly bike ride, possibly out on the highway depending on how long I go/how much time I have.

Swim, bike, run... see a pattern? I'm strongly thinking about doing the Olympic distance triathlon with Peregrine this year. The same race as last year only longer. Training wise I can almost do each distance (which I NEVER dreamed I could do), I just need to practice doing them all back to back. I probably won't commit yet as I want to check out some wet suite options.. if I buy a wet suit then I'm looking at doing this long term, which is fine with me.

And I just saw that the first open water swim will be in the middle of May. I'm so excited, although it will be a bit chilly at the rate we are going with this weather.

Anyways, anyone got any races they are looking forward to?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Heaven Is For Real

So one the latest reads out there is called Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. I ran into a friend of mine (Phil's brother's girlfriend) who was just finishing it when I boldly asked if I could borrow it when she was done. She said yes no problem and handed it to me on Sunday. I just finished it and I have to highly recommend it. Not only is it easy and fun to read (written from the dad's point of view) but it puts you one step closer to visualizing what heaven will be like (actually just confirming what the Bible says). In the past few weeks our church had a sermon on heaven, part in due to this book, called Follow the Leader: A Preview to Heaven, taught by Ed Baker. Here is the link if you are interested in listening to what he has to say... I can't really remember too much that stuck out to me outside of what the Bible says. I know one thought I had afterwards (even though not discussed in the teaching) was thinking about all the abortions people have had.. and how sad that makes me but trusting that all those babies are most likely in heaven now. I think they have to be, right? One reason I really liked this book is because it talks about a boy who is almost 4 years old so very close to Wendell's age. Everything that is said makes so much sense it feels like it bridges the gap of fiction to nonfiction. As the dad in the book points out, he always thought of John the Baptist as a "character" in a book and after talking with his son, he realized he is a real person. I just talked to Phil and I said if anything, it makes me realize there is so much more to this world than what we see. Sometimes it is so hard to believe the Bible but when you read accounts like this is just helps you to get one step closer and believing it is true and alive today. It also is another reminder that any pain we have here will be gone someday. I'm also reminded of the sadness I have for those I know who aren't christians. I feel like each person has their own personal path to walk with Jesus but man, it's tough when people choose not to accept him. Knowing that eternity is at stake. So heaven is for real.... and Jesus is alive in heaven right now. So close, yet so far away.

update on "the move"

Well.. it's been off my radar for so long I forgot to post about this. Phil and I have decided for this year that we are NOT going to try and sell our house. So here are the many reasons:

  1. most of the houses we looked at in our price range were not much better than what we have, or they were so much work to fix up that we felt it was not feasible with young kids (and our own inexperience)

  2. we couldn't decide on any particular location - we looked out of town, in town, this side of town, that side of town and nothing really seemed like a good fit

  3. I realized just how picky I am with buying the next house.. so picky that right now I prefer my house over what we looked at (yards, how the house is set up, location, etc.)

  4. if we upgraded then we may have to say no to some of the things we do now - basically all our "fun" money would become "a house payment" money so we kind of like our very low mortgage

  5. I have come to peace with living in our neighborhood and the schools (although undecided and slightly adventurous since we're not sure where Wendell will go to kindergarten with Edison closing)

  6. we really like our location - Phil and I are both fairly active with various things and we are right in the middle of all the action right now. We leave somewhat close to everything - church, work, trails, preschool, and the library

So here's what worries me:

  • not knowing where Wendell will go to school. It will probably be the new Black Hawk School but we don't know for sure as boundaries are not set (to my knowledge)

  • being stuck in this tiny house forever, never being motivated to sell and never being able to buy our "dream home"

  • the kind of families/kids that will be around our kids

Good thoughts:

  • I have met a few other moms in my "neighborhood" that seem perfectly normal (some not so much) so I'm excited to get to know them and have a little community in my own community.

  • I'm excited for feeling like we will be ministering when we start going to school. I know we are in a middle class neighborhood but I also know that our family is very "christian/family oriented" so hopefully we can be a role model and an encourager to some of the families in our neighborhood

  • I am looking at this as a mission from God, to feel peace and trust that his plan is better than mine.

  • Deep down, I feel like we will eventually move to the "east side".. but that is another post for another day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

clothing designer??

Many of you probably don't know that when I was growing up I always thought it would be cool to be a clothing designer. Not so much for other people, but mostly for myself. Believe it or not, I am very picky about what I like to wear. For the longest time when I was overweight I felt like NOTHING fit right or looked right on me. But now that I'm smaller I can actually wear some stylish clothes and pull it off.

So I've been thinking about trying to wear more dresses this summer just for fun and casual... but most of the ones I find at the stores don't fit right or are too pricey for something to wear around the house/outside. So I went to Goodwill a few weeks ago because often times if the store doesn't have what I want then Goodwill does, and at a better price. I will say Goodwill has several very nice dressier looking dresses and they are all less than $10. I would highly recommend if ever shopping for a nicer dress to go there as they have a great selection of nice modern dressy clothes. But I only found one dress that was more casual and summery. (I also found a very nice pair of dark grey Champion slicky wind resistant sweatpants that were in mint condition for less than $4, perfect for running in the wind.) Anyways, I do like this dress and I think I will wear it but it is a bit short for my taste (and the sleeves show off a little more arm than I'd like). I'd prefer for it go to my knees and a bit longer. But I now have one dress to add to my summer attire. (sorry pic #2 is terrible of me)

But the story doesn't stop there. I got the crazy idea to make a dress, using some extra material that I have stashed out in the garage. So here is my little sewing desk that is down in the basement that I set up this past year for exciting moments like this (not the record player on the right).

Did I mention I didn't have a pattern so I took two and combined and shrunk them (one of them was maternity). The top picture - in the top right corner - is the dress part (I made my dress longer).

And I like the shirt/top part on this next lady (or so I thought) only with short sleeves that aren't quite so poofy/frilly looking. It looks similar to the one I bought at Goodwill.

On day one I had a little helper Wendell who likes to push the foot petal while I sew but after about an hour and me putting the sleeves on upside down (did I mention I've never followed a pattern before - I just collect them when my mom gives them to me) I quit, thinking it was the end. I'm not always a happy person when I have to pull out the seam ripper and doubly unhappy when I can't figure out a pattern. But after taking a break and another look, I figured out what I did wrong and was motivated to get back to work. So yesterday when both kids were napping (a rarity here), I did it!

It's not done, and I'm not sure I'll finish it because it looks a little on the dressy side, and it shows my bra straps a little too much (the sides slide down so I'd have to wear a tank underneath). But I am proud to say I could finish it, and it could be presentable (in my opinion) if I so chose.

On a good note, my mom is sending me some patterns that she found so maybe they will be a little more my style. I should just buck up and go to the fabric store - buy some material I like (something summery and cotton like tshirt) and find a pattern that fits my style. We'll see what my mom sends and if I get enough energy to make another then I'll let you know. My mom says once you find a pattern you really like and is easy then you can use it over and over for different designs/looks, which I did once making dress pants.

So I would say this was my first real attempt at clothing design.
What do you think? I'm happy with my results but not happy that I probably won't really wear it (or make another one with my homemade pattern). At least I know I could finish it if I got motivated (it wouldn't really take much) and then wear it to church or something like that. Oh well.. looking back it was fun and I'm glad I did it. I am motivated to try again.. only with a different pattern and some material that is a little more summery.