Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My brother was right

My brother was right, as he often is. Here's the video I was trying to post when I had to leave the library yesterday. And, Eric, I kind of thought this would be the case, but one other time I tried leaving and posting at home and the darn thing was still processing several hours later--I guess there was just a problem with that one. I can't upload another video while one is processing, but that may be because I try to do it in the same post--I'll try doing it in a separate post next time. Now I think I'm going to go back and see if I can get Cody's video on to the blog. It's uploaded, but I cancelled the processing so I could move on.

Here's the post begun yesterday:

I cannot believe that I have been logged in to this computer for 55 minutes. Guess I waited too long for Cody's video to process. I'm going to be kicked off in less than 5 minutes...oh, how nice, they extended me because no one else is waiting. This is kind if ridiculous, though. Why does it take so long?


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What we like about Daddy

So I made it after all. Who needs an afternoon nap, anyway? And of course I decided to lead with the largest video.

Know what's kind of funny? Yesterday Cody and I were talking about home row on the keyboard (he's learning typing in 3rd grade), and I realized that I really don't know cognitively where the keys are. That is completely motor memory. I was like: I know it's a-s, but I don't know what else! I think g and h are in there somewhere. He was saying e and r and I thought those were in the top row, but I wasn't sure.

I always kind of wonder what people are thinking of me when I sit down to the computer with my little one and plug my little jump drive in. I always wonder about the people sitting next to me, why they're doing this here instead of in the comfort of their own homes. The past couple of times the chick next to me has been updating or admiring or whatever it is one does with her facebook page.


Wow. Processing is taking a long time today. Of course this is the longest video I've attempted to upload. Cody just had lots to say. And it's amazing how much stuff there is in a library that little boys really shouldn't touch, especially here on the adult side. I wonder how long I should wait before I should just give up?

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OK, gave up on Cody, let's try Caleb...


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Here's what Cody said, "I like really that he can pay for our house so that we have somewhere to live and then I also like that um he lets me go fishing with him and he lets me borrow his kayak sometimes and that um he loves me and that I love him and he buys basically all my toys. See? This is Bumblebee, my favorite transformer. Say hi."

Motivation

I had some great videos for you today, but unfortunately, it's not going to happen. Well, maybe. We're not going to story time today, though, so I don't know if we're going to make it in to town at all.

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The lights in our kitchen are acting screwy. By that I mean that the one above the sink won't turn on at all anymore, and the main kitchen light goes on and off as it pleases, totally ignoring my use of the switch (as an aside, does anyone know if CFLs are supposed to get hot when they're on? I kind of thought they weren't supposed to, but when I've jiggled the bulb in the kitchen to see if I could get it to turn on, it's been warm, which seems like it could be an additional symptom of the problem).



So, it's hard enough for me to get motivated to cook supper each night. That time between when the older kids get home and supper is my busiest and most stressful time of the day. It's even harder when Scott's not home, because I know that I'm going to hear displeasure about my choice of entree from at least 33% of our children, and who wants to hear that every day? But when it's dark in there, too? Forget it!

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I am a vanishing breed. I don't have a cell phone. Even my parents have a cell phone. I've never really wanted to be that available. In fact, unlike some people, I have no trouble at all letting my answering machine answer the phone for me when I'm busy or even just don't want to talk to anyone. And to be honest, having a cell phone seems like an unnecessary extravagance, and to be honest again, I don't know that I'm willing to give up any of the other things that I spend money on (like food, electricity, our house...) to make room in our budget for that. It's interesting to me how so many see a cell phone as a necessity, when human kind has survived for centuries without them. I guess that's the way it is with any new technology. At first, it's novel, and expensive, but as time goes on, these things become a part of our culture, and somehow we start saying things like, I don't know how I ever survived without my .... whatever it is.



Something bugs me about cell phones. People talk on them all the time. It's as if they're afraid to be alone. At one of Cody's soccer games, I watched one of the other parents get out of her vehicle talking on her cell phone, walk over to the field talking on her cell phone, and spend the entire time that I was there (about half an hour before I had to leave to take Logan to his game) talking on her cell phone. I've seen parents pick up their kids at school doing the same thing. Parents talk on their cell phones at the playground, instead of watching their kids. And perhaps you've seen the commercial for Velveeta where the mom and her son are traipsing through the grocery store, and the mom is cutting everything in half before putting it in her cart? She's yakking on her phone the entire time. Do these people really think that being physically present is good enough? Yikes. They're so busy communicating with all these faceless people on the phone that they don't have enough time to communicate with their own children face to face. You hear about distracted driving. I call this distracted parenting, and it's dangerous.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pictures of all my favorite boys

Here are Cody and Logan with their soccer medals, and Coach Scott :-) Taken Saturday.

Despite appearances, Caleb is not falling, in this shot :-) This was taken Tuesday (today for me--who knows when for the rest of you). Doesn't he just looked thrilled with himself? I love it.

Toddler

I can see why they call children of a certain age "toddlers," because that's exactly the right name for what that baby of ours is doing these days. He's got the wide stance, the arms up, the huge smile on his face...He is walking all over, and likes to chase his brothers, too (you knew that was coming). I wish I had a picture to upload, but I don't, and I'm not about to wake Caleb up to get one :-) It just puts a smile on my face to turn around and see that cutie pie lurching down the hallway after me.
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Videos are coming! Just wanted to reassure you all that I will post videos of that precious toddler's birthday celebration, however, his party won't be until Friday or Saturday, and then I won't get to the library to upload videos until the following Wednesday, so be patient :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Love, God's Voice, and others

There's a house on my extended (3 or 4 mile) walking route that has a windmill and several solar panels in its back yard. I have often wanted to stop and ask the inhabitants how much of their household energy they are able to produce themselves, but knowing how I would react if someone I didn't know knocked on my door at 8:30 in the morning, I've never stopped. A couple of months ago I told Scott that we should hook up a bike to our TV so that if we want to watch TV we have to produce our own electricity. I think he thought I was joking. One of the TV stations in the Twin Cities did that during the MN State Fair--they had several bicycles hooked up and passers-by could take a turn powering the broadcast.
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It snowed here yesterday! Just thought I should let you all know so you can be suitably shocked (and Eric, don't tell me how it snowed where you live in August...it's not a competition, right? :-)
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Saturday was Cody and Logan's last day of soccer for the fall. I'll post a picture sometime. Logan was really excited to get his medal--he kept telling anyone who would listen that his coach gave him his first. We also signed them up for basketball on Saturday--that's Tuesday evenings starting in November. One of my favorite things to do with Cody is shoot baskets (for those of you who don't know, my children gave me a basketball for mother's day), so it'll be fun for him to learn techniques or whatever they're gonna teach them. I'm sure Logan will have a good time, too.
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Thank you to those of you who bought popcorn from Cody. He has met his goal of selling at least $400 worth, and he's one person away from having sold to 25 customers--he gets a free waterpark pass if he does that.
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If you'd like to take the love language assessment, you can find it online at http://www.afo.net/hftw-lovetest.asp
Be aware, though, that it's easy to "cheat" on this one.
Let me share a few insights on love. I know that you all already know this stuff, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded, right? So first of all, love is a choice. That means that every day I can choose whether I will love my husband, my kids, the rest of you all. How do I make that choice? Well, here comes the second nugget of wisdom: love is an action. That means that love is something you do. We can show our love through what we do and what we say and how we listen and how we choose to react and behave. And why would we want to show our love? Because if it's not showing, how does the person know he or she is loved? And if he or she doesn't know that he or she is loved, are you really loving that person at all?
If you take the assessment, please let me know what it said about your love language.
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And here's the bi-weekly update on hearing God's voice. I've already told you that God's voice has authority, is compassionate, and is true. That's how you can know that the messages you're receiving are of God. So, one of the ways God speaks to us is through disciplines: scripture, prayer, fasting, and worship. Of these ways, which is your favorite? Or which have you found to be the most effective in your life?

Scripture: Isn't it amazing that this book that was written thousands of years ago can still be relevant this day? That's because the words are God's words, inspired and holy. Have you ever gone to scripture seeking God's voice and not heard it?

Prayer: I realized, when reading this section of Jen Hatmaker's book, that I don't really listen when I'm praying. I don't expect an instantaneous answer. I approach prayer more like snail mail than a phone call, as in, I send off the message and I know that God will get the message and respond at some point, but I don't expect it to be right then. I think I need to expect that more, or at least be open to an instantaneous answer. I wonder how many times I've missed hearing God's voice because I've moved on to the next action item in my prayers.

Fasting: Most people have bad impressions of what fasting is. I think most people see fasting as a self-denial kind of thing, that you do for God, because you think it will please God. I think of fasting as making space in your life to hear God, which, yes, pleases God, but you can see the benefit for yourself as well. If you give something up, something that you've promoted to essential status in you life, you can see that really, God is what is essential. God sustains us. In my life, I have felt the closest to God when I have been fasting, and it's because of that reliance on God to provide for all of my needs and to sustain me. And before you start telling me that you can't fast because you get huge headaches when you don't eat, so do I. It doesn't have to be a food fast, or if you do choose a fast from food, it can be modified. You can eat rice instead of your regular meals, or even just give up one food item or refrain from snacking between meals. Ms. Hatmaker says that fasting can be a way of initiating contact with God when you urgently seek His voice.

Worship: I think when most people think of worship, we think of going to church. And that's an important place to worship and an important powering-up for the week, but Ms. Hatmaker points out that each of us is God's temple. God meets us where we are, and that makes each of our lives a holy place. How does that make you view your life differently? How can we engage in continuous worship?

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In response to my brother's blog from yesterday (I know I should post a comment on HIS blog, but since he reads this and I'm already here, I'll just do it here), three things:
1. I don't understand how Senators Obama and Biden can, with a straight face, say "it's only fair," when referring to making people earning more pay a higher percentage of taxes than those not earning as much. If they're interested in being fair, why don't they abolish the current tax system and go with a flat tax? It's not that I'm against redistribution of wealth--I do quite a bit of that myself through giving to charitable organizations. I just think the government has no business doing it. That is a choice that I make, and everyone should have that choice, including "rich" people.
2. I don't understand how Senators Obama and Biden can think that taxing oil companies more is going to make gas prices go down. Their own characterization of "big oil" is that they are greedy, money grubbing, rich guys. So what makes O and B think that all of a sudden once their administration is in place, big oil is going to say, oh, yeah, we see your point. I guess we won't charge as much for our gasoline anymore because our profits are excessive. I don't think so. That windfall profits tax is going to be coming out of my pocket and yours. So either O and B are not very smart, or they're lying to us--you decide.
3. Watching Joe Biden, it just seems to me like he doesn't really buy in to Obama's platform. If the guy's own running mate isn't confident, why should we place our trust and our future in this guy's hands?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Have I mentioned...

Have I mentioned that I love my husband? I really appreciate all the hard work that he does to support our family...not only his paid job, but everything that he does for us around here, too.


Here's a picture of our little future engineering consultant

:-)

So...are you Catholic?

So I'm going to this Mom's group at a nearby church. It's so nice that I can leave the house at 9:22 a.m. and still be on time for the 9:30 meeting after dropping Caleb off in the nursery! We're reading the Five Love Languages book by Gary Chapman, and I think I'm the only one who gets it (my, isn't that conceited of me). What really tipped me off is when I said I was hoping to find out what my husband's love language is, and they all looked at me as if I had said something really strange. I mean honestly, girls, the subtitle of the book is "How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate," not, "How to get your husband to do what you want." And if you know anything about husbands, you know that the way to get your husband to love you the way you want to be loved, is to love him the way he wants to be loved. Nagging does not (I repeat) does not work.

So anyway, I happened to mention that I belong to a church in a far-away town (which, for the record, is only a half hour drive), and afterwards one of the women was saying I should join their church so I wouldn't have to drive as far. Using my husband as an excuse (as is my practice when he's not there to defend himself), I told her that he doesn't like the Lutheran liturgy--he thinks it's too formal. And then she looked at me and said, "so...are you Catholic?"

What more liturgious Christian denomination is there than Catholic? Makes me wonder if this woman knows what a liturgy is, but it also highlighted to me the lack of diversity of churches in this area. I know of two small Baptist churches, one independent (non-denominational, so they say), one Catholic, one United Methodist, and the rest are Lutheran, of various varieties. When we lived in West Virginia, most of the churches were United Methodist, and where my husband's family lives, most of the churches are Christian Reformed. I suppose this goes a long way to explaining cultural differences in the areas we've lived.

As an aside, I'm getting to the point where I think the liturgy is too formal, too, which is why I'm happy with our non-liturgious Worship. There are good things about using a liturgy, and I'm very thankful that I grew up in a church with a liturgy, because those phrases that we said over and over come back to me when I need them, but at the same time, when you say the same thing over and over and over again, you stop listening to what you're saying, and it starts to lose its meaning. And I think that's when our Worship loses its authenticity.

And I've noticed that liturgies can be downright unwelcoming. First off, in churches that use a liturgy, all of the members know it and don't have to be told how to follow along, but visitors are usually left to their own devices, and get lost quite easily. Second, have you listened to what you're saying? In the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) church where Logan attended preschool, one of the very first things they say every Sunday is that they're horrible, unworthy, and worthless human beings who don't deserve God's love. Obviously, I'm paraphrasing, here, but that's the feeling of the passage. I don't understand why, on Sundays when they know they are going to have more visitors than members present, they decide to lead with that. If I wasn't already a Christ follower, I would have just stopped listening after that, smiled when the kids went up to sing their song, and then bolted out of there as soon as I could, never to return. Who, besides a masochist, would want to be reminded of their worthlessness every week? Now, I have nothing against confession, even corporate confession (which we don't do a whole lot of in our church), but could we please just emphasize God's love and compassion and forgiveness while we're doing it? (I think the liturgy at the church my parents attend addresses confession better).

Yes, I know, none of these earthly churches is perfect, including the one we attend, because earthly churches are human organizations, and we humans haven't figured out perfection yet. Praise God that we don't have to be perfect.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cleaning up

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24M, that's how big this one is. I think that translates to 24 seconds of video. So, does this one really need any explaination? Well, I suppose it does. You see, Scott was all sawdusty, I think from cutting up the tree that made a noise when it fell in the woods, and we always tell the kids to keep the mess outside or in the mud/laundry room, So I was surprised when Scott brought his mess in. Cody, helpful lad that he is, decided to help his dad clean up.

OK, we're off to stop #3...

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So I'm hoping to upload 4 videos today--I doubt I'll be able to, though...this one is of Caleb storming the camera.

I need a see-through windshield for our stroller, if I'm going to keep up our daily walks. It was pretty darn cold out there today with the wind blowing. I had a blanket over Caleb today, which worked to keep out the wind, but he wasn't too happy about not being able to see out. On the other hand, he did fall asleep today, so it was probably a good thing he couldn't see.

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This one is of Logan doing the Air Hogs rocket launcher thingy.

We're running errands today, and I have 7 stops on my list, which probably means that we'll run into both a meal time AND a nap time. It's OK, we'll survive.

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This one is of Caleb using his preferred method of locomotion AND the other one. Wow. So far, so good. I'm going to post and then try to upload the other one--it's much longer, so if you don't hear from me again, you know I had to leave.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rock in my shoe

This morning, I spent about half of my walk, or about 1 mile, with a rock in my shoe. Why would I do this, you ask? Well, I didn't really want to stop, and it was kind of cold out, so I didn't really want to take my shoe off, and it really wasn't that bothersome--every now and then it would jab me, but for the most part, I didn't even know it was there...
So my question to you this morning is, what's the rock in your shoe? What is there in your life that you really ought to take care of, but you just don't want to take the time, or you feel like it's just not worth the effort? What is the rock in your shoe, and just what is it going to take to make you get rid of it?
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So normally during my blogging time, Caleb is sleeping in his stroller in the garage. He falls asleep during our walk. But today he didn't. Right now he is sitting in the box lid that I use to collect recyclables down here, systematically examining each of the papers before throwing it aside, out of the box. So cute (and a perfect example of something that would not be cute if my 5 year old did it).
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I just read Cortney and Brett's blog this morning: http://cortneyandbrett.blogspot.com/. You should read the post from yesterday (Monday, October 20), and pray for their ministry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jodi's birthday

It's Jodi's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Jodi! I think she's 29 now...

Entropy

Do you know what entropy is? Very simply stated, entropy is the measure of disorder in a closed system. And very simply stated, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says that unless you put energy into a system, it will always tend toward chaos, or in other words, the entropy will increase. (Easy as duck soup. That's, like, the one thing I learned from Leslie P. Leifer in p-chem. That, and never sit on the aisle and never wear a hat to class). Not convinced? Take a look at your junk drawer, or closet, or storage room, or garage, or yard, or even your relationships. Unless you put energy into maintaining anything, it will become more and more disordered over time. Our home is a prime example of entropy. Unfortunately, in order to bring order to our system, I need to overcome another physical property, inertia, which says a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by an outside force :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Generic Jenga and Patches

So last night, Logan and I were playing our colored tumbling tower blocks game (right. Because I couldn't bring myself to buy the brand-name Jenga (R) game for quadruple the price), and Caleb thought that was just the funniest thing he had ever seen. When Logan or I would take a block out of the stack, he would shriek with laughter...which is the funniest thing I have ever seen/heard. And then he'd do it again when we put the block on top of the stack.
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I distinctly recall, at one time, saying that I would not put a patch on a patch, and here I am, contemplating putting 13 patches on 9 pairs of pants, ranging in size from 12 mo. to 7, only one of which has never before been patched. See, the problem is, if I don't patch the patches, the children will not have any pants left, and I'm pretty sure that someone would try to take our children away if they were not wearing any pants, ever...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

video

Here's a video of Caleb being funny :-)

The children's library is getting pretty busy. I think they have another story time an hour after the story time for Caleb's age, so we've got the folks from our story time coming out, and the next folks are here waiting.

I was going to say that it seems easier to get a computer now that school is back in session, but today all of the computers on the adult side were taken, so here I am at the secret computer on the children's side that no one knows about.

Even with high speed internet, it still takes a while to upload these videos. And then blogger has to "process" the video, whatever that means.

Oop. There it goes. Enjoy.

Logan sliding

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Here's a video of Logan sliding down the 40' "spooky slide" on Friday. We were having camera issues (seems like we're always having camera issues), or I could have uploaded a video of Cody and Logan racing down a different set of slides.

I AM

I AM. That's what God said when Moses asked God what he should tell the Hebrews when they asked who sent Moses (Exodus 3:13-15). I've never really understood that name. I AM? What does that mean? This took place during the exchange between God and Moses when "the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush" (Exodus 3:2, NLT), and I know that God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, but I can't help but imagine God beginning to lose his patience as Moses gives excuse after excuse after excuse for why God should choose someone else. I imagine God saying, in a fed-up, thundering voice, "I AM," just like I would if my kids were being difficult. In reality, it was probably quite different, since God is slow to anger and all. In fact, it isn't until Exodus 4:14 that "the Lord became angry with Moses." You can read the whole story in Exodus 3 and 4 (well, not really the whole story, but the part I'm talking about).

Different translations say things like "I AM who I AM" or "I WILL BE what I WILL BE," but the New Living Translation that I'm reading says, "I AM THE ONE WHO ALWAYS IS." To me this means that God is who and what God is, regardless of our perception of God. We can choose to see God any way we want: loving, vengeful, neglectful, micro-managing, compassionate. But that doesn't mean those things are what God is, just because that's what we think of God. God just is, and God never changes.

I've noticed that the pastors at our church don't use gender specific pronouns when referring to God. One of our pastors always says something like "may God add God's blessing to the hearing and the something and carrying out of God's word" after reading scripture, before delivering the message. It's a little cumbersome, like when I'm trying to be gramatically correct and say he or she instead of they or his or hers instead of theirs (I had a really rough set of council minutes one time because of that). But it makes sense to me to not use pronouns for God. God is so...big and powerful and amazing and indescribable. It's impossible to explain or define God in human terms, and when we try, we fall pitiously short. I suppose that's why there are so darn many names for God, because how can we contain this God, creator and sustainer of the universe, in just one name?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

God's Voice

Do you ever listen for God's voice? In my Sunday small group, we're reading a book by Jen Hatmaker called Tune In: Hearing God's Voice Through the Static, and according to Ms. Hatmaker, God's messages have authority: they are compelling; God's messages are spoken with compassion, as a loving parent; and God's messages are true: God does not contradict God's word, The Bible. So what is God speaking to you today? And what are you going to do about it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

This weekend

So we had a nice weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the kids didn't have school on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, Scott was still out of town, so the boys and I headed to Lookout Ridge, which is an indoor playground sort of near where we live. We all had a great time, and for a good portion of the time we were there, we pretty much had the place to ourselves--most of the daytime clientele need to take afternoon naps. Just one little interesting thing about our kids. Whenever they are playing with other kids, they pair up, and Cody always gets to play with the older kid and Logan always plays with the younger kid, regardless of their ages. On Thursday, the older kid they were playing with was younger than Logan, and he kept saying, "I want to play with Logan," but Cody kept telling him he had to come with him. It's that way with their cousins as well. Tyler and Cody pair up and Connor and Logan pair up, even though Tyler is closer in age to Logan than to Cody.

Then we headed off to the Turkey Dinner at our church. Cody, Scott, and I worked in the pie room, and I'm telling you folks, the pie room is the place to be!

On Friday we went to a harvest celebration at Pleasant Valley Tree Farm near Menomonie. It was so much fun! They had a corn maze (just a little one, so not too intimidating), petting zoo, spooky trail, enchanted forest maze (which was really a labyrinth), two play areas, gem mining (really spray painted rocks), two bounce houses, a pedal toy track, a pumpkin shooter, apple and gourd slingshots, a hay ride, and
a straw maze/tunnels. That was Logan's favorite part. Caleb's favorite part was also the straw maze because he got to get out of his stroller and play. He seemed to enjoy the animals at the petting zoo as well. I think my favorite part was the hay ride. I know that everyone's least favorite part was the swarms of ladybugs.
On Saturday, Cody and Logan had soccer games (isn't that a good picture of Cody?), after which we headed to a nearby state park for a hike with the Cub Scouts.
It was tiring, but a good sort of tiring...and now we're back to the daily grind, and I had to cut my walk short this morning because it was raining, but it's OK, because I've still got the sunny memories of the weekend.



Super Concentrated and the Amazing Caleb

I use All laundry detergent. It works well (and as you can imagine, as the person responsible for laundering the clothes of 3 active boys and a husband, I'm in a position to know which detergents work well), and is less expensive than the other detergent that works well. Scott also does some work for the company that manufactures All, so in a way, I'm supporting his business, and therefore our family, by using All. Lately the detergent manufacturers have been on this super concentrated kick. They contend that we are saving the environment by buying products with less packaging. Probably true. But I think it's a racket. We consumers look at that tiny little cup that they say is all we need to get our clothes clean and we don't believe it. No way could 2 tablespoons of detergent be enough to clean a washing machine full of grass/blood/dirt/various body fluid/chocolate milk stained clothing. So we put more in, and suddenly, that bottle of detergent that was supposed to wash 32 loads, is only washing 20.

The Amazing Caleb, this weekend, walked the diagonal of our living room unassisted, twice! And we have witnesses. Amazing. And then, I think we've discovered Caleb's first word, because as we were walking to the bus stop this morning, Caleb dropped something and then immediately said, "Uh oh," in that cute little boy voice of his. He has said uh oh before, but this time it was clear that he knew what it meant.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sigh

I just heard Caleb sigh in his sleep on the baby monitor. Awwww! I just thought I'd share with you today that Caleb is Daddy's boy. He lives for when Daddy comes home from work. He cries when Daddy leaves the house. And he's just a bit more fussy when Daddy's away on business. Miss you, Daddy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jabbering

Isn't he cute, jabbering away like that? The library doesn't have speakers for their computers, and I didn't bother to put the headphones on when I watched the video there, so I didn't realize you could hear Caleb so well. That was last night, and he was pretty tired, so I think he did pretty well considering.

Know what bums me out? When I get home from being gone most of the day, and there are no messages on the answering machine. It doesn't bother me that no one calls while I'm home, but for some reason I always feel a little let down when I get home and realize that no one called while I was out. Hmm.

Video

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Well, that wasn't so difficult. He's a little far away, but we'll take what we can get, right?

So, Caleb is awake this time, so I'm not sure how far I'm going to get with this, but I've got to at least try.

At my sister in law's suggestion (she's so smart), I freecycled (a verbing for sure) for a firefighter costume, and I actually got one! It's too small for Cody, but Logan will love it. In the 45 seconds or so that I talked to this woman in the parking lot of ShopKo as she was giving me the costume, she told me that she really appreciated the scriptures at the end of my emails, that she normally would have donated this firefighter costume to somewhere long ago, but that for some reason it was still hanging in the closet, and that she had been home sick yesterday and the scripture verses came at just the right time. Coincidence? Or did God place me in this woman's life to provide hope and encouragement at just the right time? Gives you goosebumps, doesn't it?

I believe the latter. It's happened enough to me both ways (I've been the person providing the inspiration and the one receiving it), that I believe this is one of the ways God speaks to us. Some would say God doesn't have time to worry about all those little details, but I believe that God cares and does place reminders in our path. I see His hand in everything.

So let's go back to my purpose in life. It's to bring glory to God. Despite my shortcomings (which are huge) and my flaws (which are many), God desires to first, have a loving, two-way relationship with me, and second to use me to further His kingdom: for me to love others--to be God's hands and feet, so to speak. So each day, I live out my purpose (when every day life doesn't get in the way), by using my life to point to God.

I doesn't cost me anything to have those scriptures as my signature on all of my emails, but by doing this small thing, I have impacted a life. And I'm convinced that as each of us go through our days, we are presented with countless opportunities to impact another's life in a positive way, and many times, we will never be aware of the fact that God has used us to impact another. Are you in tune to these possibilities? Are you willing to accept the call?

And that'll be all for now. Caleb is currently under the desk, trying to eat my jump drive. He's been very patient, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ready

I'm getting ready for tomorrow...are you excited?
Big bummer. My silly computer is doing silly things. But I'll have something for you. Here's a picture of Caleb helping make applesauce on Saturday.

Gettin' Old

My feet hurt. The bottoms. Isn't that a strange place for feet to hurt? I wondered if it was due to flip flop usage, but I haven't worn flip flops in weeks, and my Dad wears flip flops more than I do, and his feet don't hurt, as far as I know. Just in the past few days my knee has started hurting, too. I briefly wondered if the knee was because of the feet--because I'm walking funny because my feet hurt, but my current favored explanation is that it's a crib injury. That's the knee I use to push in the side of the crib so I can put the side down. Scott's back has been hurting when he gets up in the morning, too. Wanna know what's really wrong with us? We're getting old.

I haven't seen the latest life expectancy estimates, but according to the last one I knew about, I'm getting pretty close to middle age. I know that those of you a generation older than me who are reading this are now snickering, but it's true. My life is about half over. Gone are the days when I bounced. I have unexplained aches and pains. I no longer think that nothing bad is ever going to happen to me, in fact, I'm pretty sure bad things will happen, and I have no doubts as to my mortality.

My brother is even closer to middle age than I am, and he hasn't gone out and purchased a flashy convertible (that I know of), but he does seem to be questioning his direction and purpose in life. Do you ever think about that? For the past several years, I haven't taken the time to figure out my direction. I've been so busy just staying afloat, that I haven't been able to even pick a direction in which to swim. I keep coming back to what the infamous "they" say: if you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it. Now you could say that raising those precious kidlings is the most important purpose or direction that I could have. And I agree, I really do. I am so very OK, thrilled, even, with being my kids' mom right now. But I'm also starting to think about how to instill direction and purpose in their lives (you're right--that's not up to me), and I think that it's important for me to model this for them...

I am pretty clear on my purpose in life, so I guess I've got that going for me. And I suppose that my purpose goes along quite nicely with my present circumstance. There's a bit of a disconnect there, though. I'm not living and breathing my purpose with every moment, because I allow every day life to get in the way. I suppose that if I can get past that, my direction will become clear as well.

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I have arrived as a blogger. I may even be one of the cool kids now (although I would never be so bold as to add myself to their ranks). Someone has left a comment on my blog, who is not related to me, and with whom I did not spend hours and hours in a moving vehicle. In fact, I'm not sure she even knows exactly who I am. I guess I'll have to introduce myself now that she has some context and may remember me :-)

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We've reached the stage in Caleb's life where we're following him around with the camera, trying to get pictures of him walking. Some of you know what I'm talking about :-) He doesn't do it on command, though. So tomorrow, you may get a video or you may not (I know that you all have Wednesday marked on your calendars now, because it's library/video uploading day).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Correction

I apologize--it's Ashwin Madia. I knew Madira didn't look quite right. And I saw an Al Frankin ad (Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota) during (you guessed it) The View. I must not be watching enough TV during the day...or perhaps he stepped up his campaign since there's less than a month to go.
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I've figured it out! I'm having sympathy morning sickness. Every day for a week I've woken up nauseous, and now we know that a good friend of ours is pregnant. Good to know what's going on there :-)
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We canned another 26 quarts and froze/refrigerated another 5 quarts of applesauce this weekend. Whew! That's a total of 37 quarts canned and 6.5 quarts frozen or consumed. Scott tells me that there are still some apples left on the tree, but I have a feeling those apples are not going to be turning into applesauce. Caramel apples, maybe...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hole-y socks and political ads

What is it with boys and socks? My kids' and husband's socks are awfully hole-y. I understand that my favorite brother in law goes through quite a few socks as well, while I still have socks in my drawer that were there in college (well, not in that particular drawer). I briefly considered the idea that maybe Scott's socks constantly need replacing because he has fewer socks than me, but I don't think that's the case. I think he has just as many or more than I do. It could possibly have to do with frequency of wearage, since I hardly ever wear socks during the summer, while the boys wear socks every day. Hmmm.
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Sometimes I will turn the TV on during the day, and I have noticed that only political candidates from the Republican party air ads during the times that I'm watching (even during the View!). Actually, I have seen ads for Ashwin Madira during the day, but he's the only Democrat. In the evening, the ad coverage seems to be about equal. This holds for both the national and the local candidates. So what does that say about how the political parties in the U.S. view people who watch TV during the day? I don't pretend to know the answer, but I find it interesting to speculate.

And have you noticed the signs? They are all (all) blue and white. OK, some of them have some red along with the blue and white, and I think McCain-Palin has a little bit of yellow on their sign, but they are all blue and white. The only political sign that I've seen that is not blue and white is for Kitty! who is running for State Assembly. I have no idea who she is or what her platform is, but I'm tempted to vote for her just because she had the courage to be different.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NEW Just Bunches and Middle Child



About this picture: Thursday (and Saturday and Tuesday) is bath and shower day in the Blauwkamp household, and today Logan and Caleb elected to take a bath. They were so cute in the bath together that I just had to take a picture of them (maaaa-om!). What you don't see (or actually, you can just see a little bit of) is that the colors of the shampoos and soaps all match the decor of the bathroom. Just an indication of one of my many compulsions. In fact, up until a week ago, I had orange baby wash in that bathroom, and that was OK, because I had burgandy body wash (the colors in that bathroom are a mossy green and burgandy). Now the body wash is also green and the orange clashed horribly, so I had to replace it with green. The labels all have to be facing forward, too.

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Have you seen the commercial for NEW Just Bunches? I think it's pretty funny. All those guys in a wind tunnel with their bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats, blowing the flakes away. By the way, I really thought I would like Just Bunches a lot, because Honey Bunches of Oats is one of my favorite cereals, and I like the bunches the best, but it was too much of a good thing. So the plan is to buy both cereals at the same time and then mix them to my liking.

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I can see how middle children might have issues. Everyone always pays more attention to the youngest--we parents of youngest children would say that's because it's necessary to pay more attention because they are less independent and need more help, but it doesn't really matter that there's a good reason: the fact remains that the youngest gets the most attention. The youngest is always cuter, too, if only for the reason that behaviors that are cute at age 1 are completely unacceptable at age 5.


Then there's the oldest. He always gets to do everything first. And everyone's really excited when the oldest does something first, but by the time the middle child gets around to doing that same thing, it's old news. Doesn't matter that it's a first for the middle child, it's just not nearly as exciting as when the oldest did whatever it was. Case in point: I have already cut down on the number of sports pictures that I buy of the kids, even though this fall is only Logan's 2nd time ever playing a sport. Cody's been playing sports for years, so it's old hat.


The middle child never gets anything new, because he's getting hand-me-downs from the oldest, but the youngest gets new stuff because the combination of the oldest and middle children using things wears them out. There are never any pictures of just the middle child. The oldest child gets pictures taken of all those firsts that are just not as exciting by the time the middle child gets to do them, and the youngest child is just so darn cute, but the middle child only gets group shots. The youngest gets to spend time alone with mom or dad, because as I said before, he needs more attention. The oldest gets to spend time alone with mom or dad because he's off doing those things the middle child is still too young for (like Cub Scouts or Feed My Starving Children). The middle child always has to share: things, time, attention.


Now we can say that the middle child used to be the youngest child, and that's true, he used to enjoy all the perks of youngest-dom. But is that few years of being the youngest enough to make up for a life-time of always being in the middle?






Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blogging at the library

So, we still have dial up internet access. Archaic, I know. It just doesn't seem worthwhile to invest in high speed internet, when pretty much all I do with it is check email, but one drawback to dial up is I'm not able to upload videos and send them to y'all (well, I could, but it would take hours, and I'd probably get kicked off and have to start all over--not worth the frustration). And I know that you all would love to see videos of the kids (not to play favorites, but probably especially of the youngest one, who's doing such exciting physical feats these days), so my plan was (emphasis on the was) to find a video clip I wanted to share, put it on my little jump drive, and bring it to the library to upload to the blog. Great plan, right? But, this plan requires forethought and planning, which sometimes I'm good at, but not when I have a sick 11 month old clinging to me and fussing all day (he's doing better so far today, by the way). So I'm here at the library, blogging, but no video and no jump drive. I guess you'll all have to wait another week...

And since I'm at the library, I feel inspired to let you all know that I am on book overload right now. Usually I read one book at a time, and I'm good with that. I love to read, in fact, you could say it's my main form of recreation these days. Right now I'm reading Tune In: Hearing God's Voice Through the Static for my Sunday morning women's group, and I'm reading The Five Love Languages for a local mom's group, and I'm reading various fiction titles (one at a time) for fun. And I was reading Three Simple Rules, because our sermons in September were based on that (small) book, and I'm reading the Bible, and I have on my nightstand, Facing Your Giants, recommended to me by my sister in law (and so of course I want to read it, if she thinks it's a good book). Oh, and tonight I will begin reading Captain Underpants with Cody. So the problem is, I'm having a hard time deciding which one to read, when I get some time to read. I'm also having a little tiny bit of trouble keeping everything straight (I need to have ch. 1, days 1-3 of Tune In read by Sunday, and chapters 5-6 of Love Languages read by some Thursday in October...maybe the 3rd Thursday?). When I see it typed out like that, it doesn't seem like so much. I think to myself, what are you complaining about? It's only 3 books (plus the Bible) that you're currently reading, and you'll get to Facing Your Giants some other time (if you can remember that Jodi recommended it). Perhaps the real problem is my brain is so full of other stuff, some of which I actually use from time to time, that adding just that tiny bit to it throws my brain into overload. Humph.
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