Monday, December 31

these are the lazy, crazy, hazy days...

1. Lazy. Yes, we would appear to be, from an outsider's perspective. Napping, staying home, sleeping in, etc. We prefer to call this the "recovery period."

2. Crazy. In the past 2 1/2 weeks, we have had much happy craziness. Family visits in CO & OH have kept us running. We're home for the long haul, we've been to the grocery store to replenish our fridge, and hopefully we're not going crazy any more. Michael returns to work on the 2nd, Nate & Lissa are visiting through the end of the week, and after that I am sure our life will be back to the "boring" craziness we call normal.

3. Hazy. We're fighting some crazy upper respiratory bug, and hard. Aaron's coughing and hacking, Michael's down for the count, and I'm emerging, victorious. I hope. That was round 2 for me.

I feel as if I've been absent from the blogging world for years. So much to catch up on, so many "what I made for Christmas" posts to write...

Until then, happy last day of 2007! Wasn't it a great year? God is so gracious. Any family traditions for reflecting on His Works that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, December 26

The Amazing Race?

Our travel adventure ended well, in that we arrived in Michigan, unscathed, and before Christmas Day, by about 15 minutes.

We got to Springs in plenty of time for the great Pack-n-Play drop off (thank you, Newlands) and with about 3 hours to check in, clear security and wait with bated breath for our connection to Chicago, where we would catch yet another connection to MBS, a mere 20 minutes from home. I was fairly confident that these flights were still scheduled, as I had signed up for the "Flight Change Alert" call system.

We got to the airport check in, only to find that our second connection had been cancelled, and that no flights would be leaving Chicago until Wednesday to get to MBS. Huh, interesting. We had just dropped off our rental car, having been confident of our departure. The agent scheduled us instead to fly to Denver, then Chicago, then to Grand Rapids, a 2 1/2 hour drive from home. We would arrive at 8 something. OK, well, a phone call to mom & dad confirmed that they could pick us up.

One 34-minute trip to Denver later found our flight to Chicago delayed - first 3 hours, then 6 hours, then 7 plus hours. To complicate matters, Chicago seems to be somewhat of a hub *grin* so this was affecting a LOT of travelers. The airline was down to one customer service center, with a queue about a mile long. It really probably was, considering the bendy configuration. We found a sympathetic agent who switched us to a different airline and printed off some official looking documents (which really only means too many codes for me to make sense of them) and sent us on our way, which at this point meant Denver direct to Detroit, another 2 1/2 hour drive from home.

To make an already long-enough story short, the sympathetic agent apparently did the switcheroo wrong, and we ended up running (ok, walking briskly) between concourses for a solid 2 hours trying to find a way to get out of Denver and back home. Michael commented that he didn't remember signing up for the Amazing Race.

Thankfully, we arrived in Detroit with few issues. When we boarded that plane, I was so relieved to be heading closer to home. Aaron was a fabulous traveler, napping in the carrier during our airport escapades (thank you, Michael) and for a short while on the plane. Thankfully, dad made the trip to come get us.

Our luggage has yet to arrive. I think it went to Grand Rapids without us. Since we switched airlines, there is really no telling if it will arrive before the weekend. Or all together. Or at all. The (no doubt) overworked agent who reported our baggage delayed neglected to enter one of the tracking numbers. Fabulous.

A very unexpected bonus - upon our arrival to Detroit, we had no car seat. We were expecting a loaner, similar to the situation in Colorado Springs - we returned their car seat when our bags and seat arrived. In Detroit, apparently, they "can't" take them back. Or don't, but regardless. We got a brand new Evenflo convertible car seat, very similar to the one pictured above. Now we have to decide what to do with it. I have a few ideas...

I keep having to learn these lessons about my own expectations and the plan that God has for us. I keep having to learn that despite the situations that seem stinky to me, God has not forgotten, and He is carefully placing each new event in my life. He might be doing that to see how I respond, He might be doing it to stretch me, but I don't really need to know why. I just need to remember that God has it all under His control. Whether it be a death in the family, a nasty case of a mystery virus, or lost luggage and a longer trip - His control does not waver. He is good, all the time.

And when I can, by His grace, remember this - all is well! I do not worry, fret, and wring my hands! I can focus instead on the post-travel clutter, the stack of accumulated mail, and the installation of our new (FREE) Superman-logo-embellished keyboard and optical mouse. And maybe, just maybe, my house will be spic and span and ready when our luggage arrives.

Thursday, December 20

which do you prefer?

Thinking about purchasing some bakeware - much of mine is shot - and the question is: which variety to get? Anybody ever used silicone? What are the pros & cons of this variety vs traditional non-stick? I'm specifically interested in getting a bundt pan, bread pan, and muffin pans, and I would love any input!
Ok, so I'm not really taking that much of a blog break. But I wanted to post this for several reasons. One, I wanted you to see our final product from all of our funny Christmas family photos, and two, we didn't want to post this before the recipients opened the cards. So if you haven't gotten a card from us? We love you, we wish you a Happy Christmas, and here is your card. We are saving trees, don't you know?

Also, today is our 4th wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary to the world's most perfect man for me! It's flown by and I have loved every minute! God is GOOD!

Be sure to check back after Christmas for some "what I made for Christmas" posts. I've been taking photos of my homemade gifts and I'm so excited to share them with you!

Tuesday, December 18

Travels with Child in tow

Aaron is a traveling champ. At least, he was while we flew out here. We had one 45 minute flight from MBS to Chicago, and then a 2 1/2 hour flight to COS. The second leg was what we were most concerned about, but he did great. When we landed at COS, the people in all the seats around us almost simultaneously burst into praise. "He did such a good job" "Great job, buddy" and things of that nature.

We are so thankful.

Of course, we cheated. Big Time. Can you say "Baby Einstein DVD" - and lots of snacks. And prayer, which is NOT cheating.

Aaron has had a harder time getting used to the new time zone. Today, we have victory. A full night's sleep and two glorious naps. Our happy boy is back. And we are grateful.

So - what are your thoughts on electronic distractions? Some of me likes it, some of me doesn't. I would love to hear what you think!

Saturday, December 15

safe arrival

We are safely and happily in Colorado. However, our bags did not make it. *sigh* They are still waiting in Chicago. Our airline has a "reimburse for necessary expenses" clause. You'd better believe we are going to use it. Joyfully. I could use some new jeans.


Friday, December 14

Blogging Break

We leave today for vacation in Colorado! Hurray for God's provision and goodness in allowing us to visit our family.

Please pray for us as Aaron is traveling for the first time on an airplane. We leave at 6:45 pm and as that is very close to his bedtime, it could either work for us very well (ie, he sleeps) or backfire on us (ie, he screams) Please pray that we would handle the situation with grace.

and that we wouldn't get kicked off the plane for having a screamer.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Thursday, December 13

and how exactly do you do that?

Michael and I were watching the news last night - and heard the words "vac*ine recall." I will not even begin to tell you how angry that made me. OK, yes I will.

When you recall toys, you can send them back. When you recall a vac*ine? Not so simple. "Hello, we are here to retrieve the bacteria that inadvertently was injected into your child. This will just take a minute."

"This is not a major health concern" the manufacturers say, and in the same breath that they also say "there is no way to tell how many children received a dose."

Some people have other soapboxes. This is mine. No matter how you feel about vac*ines, just please, please make sure you do your research so that your children can have medical treatment and prevention of disease in the safest possible way. And in the way God leads you. But please, PLEASE do your research first.

Wednesday, December 12


When was the last time you bought a CD and loved every song? For me, a good CD purchase is usually one that fewer than 3 songs are "throw away" - I skip them because I don't like them, they get on my nerves, etc. etc. I'm pretty picky when it comes to music...just ask my voice instructor.

No genre is excluded from this general rule - the style of music usually has no bearing on whether or not the 3-song rule applies. The style of music DOES affect whether or not the CD's actually make it into the player to qualify for the 3-song rule. *grin*

When I got this Michael W Smith CD (It's A Wonderful Christmas) in the mail to review, my first inclination was to listen, review, and chuck and/or find a friend whose tastes differ slightly from my own. Actually, I was thinking "more than" slightly. Usually when I hear MWS's name, all I can think of is "Friends are Friends Forever" which I do NOT like. And I think it's more than just the lyrics. But we'll leave it at that. *wink*

So, despite the taste in my...ears? I decided to do my best to keep an open mind, try to forget the name on the album, and just listen.

I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, when the CD started, I had to open up the multi-disk player to make sure I had the correct album - the orchestration that began track #1 was a surprise. About a minute into it, the solo vocals began. Mr. Smith also used several choirs in this song, and throughout the album, including a boys choir - and that really made parts of this album sparkle. I loved the choirs.

Track #2 was entirely instrumental, and had some very nice moments - glimmers of traditional Christmas themes - I liked track #2.

"The Promise" is the title of track 3, and for me seemed to have a little Feature Films for Families flavor. I loved the use of the choirs. I love choirs at Christmas. Some may say the pure, full tones of the choir made a nice contrast to Mr. Smith's voice, which is not so rounded. I don't happen to have this opinion. This song was so-so for me.

#4, "Song for the King", starts with "Once in Royal David's City" on strings. I love strings. Added brass, and then about a minute into it, a piano and violin in a relaxing and simple theme. You can easily imagine this as a lullaby for Jesus. Until the last minute or so, when the same theme is augmented in a majestic way, then quieted for a piano/violin finish. The entire song is instrumental.

So far, we're 3 for 4. Not bad on my 3-song rule.

Number 5. A duet with Mandisa? Now, you are my friends, after all. Do I really need to tell you how I feel about that? This is the first song I cannot stand even in passing. Skip. We won't even go into the "let's light a candle/for peace we pray" lyrics. OK we will. This song's lyrics go from Santa and nations to lighting candles for peace. Nowhere is Jesus mentioned (although "manger scene" is in there.) SKIP.

"A Highland Carol" begins with bagpipes and a theme reminiscent of "Blessed be the Name" and although I'm not big into bagpipes, this was a nice tune.

Number 7 - "Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah" is entirely choral. Read the lyrics. It begins with a boy choir, and is gorgeous. No church would have any problems with their choir singing this beauty. It has a traditional hymn sound, and it made me want to stand up and sing. This is my favorite song on the whole album. It's about this time that I think, "maybe I will keep this CD" You can listen here.

"Son of God" reminds me of a church cantata - a solo at the beginning, choirs taking over - and I can see this song IN a cantata - all the repetition of the "singing gloria" would be good for reflection on the nativity. And the text is pretty good for the solo part, too. I would pick a different vocal style for the soloist. But you knew that.

"What Child is This" is a simple arrangement on piano and penny whistle. It is beautiful.

So if you're counting, we're 7 for 9. I'm raising my eyebrows in surprise at this point. As I am sure you are.

"Audrey's Gift" is a piano arrangement of the same simple theme that has woven through the entire recording. This is not a vocal song. You know, this CD could easily be a soundtrack to a movie. Easily.

We are on the last track of the CD, "All Year Long" and it is full of M. W. vocals. A few choirs, a subtle insert of a secular world view, and we're done. I didn't care for that one.

So, friends, we have listened through "It's a Wonderful Christmas" and Mr. Smith squeaked by on the 3 song rule. I don't think I have a new favorite CD, but I don't think I'll be tossing this or finding a new home for it. And I do love "Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah" enough to make a mental note that if I ever direct music again, I will need to look into it.

M. W., you have squeaked by! I give you one out of 2 socks. Surprised right off.

Tuesday, December 11

soft lazy beautiful flakes

"Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" Ps. 51:7

Monday, December 10

that is what I get for slacking off.

So, we're traveling to Colorado at the end of the week. And in order to take our son with us, it would probably be a good idea to take his birth certificate. Oh wait, I never went to the county clerk's office to pick that up.

I seem to remember that on 8/4/06, when we were discharged from the hospital and got all those instructions on how to get a copy of the birth certificate that they told us it would be $10. I remember thinking it was awfully inconvenient, and couldn't they just give it to us at the hospital and add $10 to our bill?

I called today, so it would be ready to pick up. And now it's $12.

My, my, my. It seems the frugal choice would have been to get the child his birth certificate before inflation drove the price up. And ok, before his first birthday. At least. And part of me just has to ask - don't I pay county taxes? Shouldn't this sort of thing be covered?

Did you guys have to pay and make a separate trip for your kiddos' birth certificates?

Friday, December 7

a homemade attempt

Amazing what you can learn with a little search engine help for all your plaguing questions. I think I just might try this.

ever have a day like this?

Sorry, sweetie. Your birthday card really will get there. As soon as Aunt Jenny can remember that the post office probably needs a little more information than just your name.

Had any absent minded moments recently?

I'd love to hear!

Thursday, December 6

I remember moving in...

Yesterday my parents made their last house payment

I remember moving in, and boy was that house a mess. Thanks, mom and dad. Thanks for more than just giving me a great home to grow up in. Your courage to bravely remodel and live in a house that needed so much work has fortified me for much more than just moving into our very own fixer upper.

You have taught me not only a good work ethic and minor home fix-its, (yes, I know, my smaller fingers were just better at sanding the corners of the floor and better at scraping the paint off the porch rails). You taught me that God always provides. You taught me contentment. You taught me to trust Him and to do it joyfully. You may not have always felt that way, but I never guessed it.

I know, you're sitting there reading this and shaking your head. That's why you taught (and are still teaching) me the beauty of humility.

And I am humbled that God saw fit to give you grace and strength in the years of our growing up, in the years that He had those hard lessons to teach us all about trusting, about God's provision, about the love of family, and about so much more. Praise GOD for His Goodness at all times. Praise God for parents like you.

I love you guys, and I rejoice with you in God's grace, abundant on your behalf! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Now, do you burn that mortgage or frame it?

Wednesday, December 5


We've all had those days where fixing dinner is the absolute last thing on your mind. I had one of those days yesterday. Who am I kidding? It's very unusual for me to think about dinner all day. My menu has just run out, so I'm fresh out of ideas. Thankfully, Michael doesn't mind eating dinner at 7. Or 8. And yes, we've been known to wait as long as 9.

So what do you fix when you need to shop and can't think clearly? This is the topic for this week's Works For Me Wednesday, so if you find yourself in this "what on earth are we going to have tonight?" quandry more often than you care to admit, head on over and check out what ideas other people have. This is what I made yesterday, put in the Crock Pot at 4pm. I cranked the heat up to "HIGH" and it was ready in an hour. Aaron ate his right then, and loved it. But we ate ours three hours later, over rice.

Easy Chili (served 3 hungry Muths)
1/4 lb frozen ground beef (yep, just toss it right in the bottom)
1 pint home canned tomatoes (but a 15 oz can works too)
1 can chili seasoned beans (we like Bush's brand)
more chili powder

I used white rice since I have tons right now. Brown would be spectacular. I also put some cheese on top - yum. I usually add another can of beans (not chili seasoned) but I did not have any on hand.

Monday, December 3

win it!

I just heard about a new giveaway and I wanted to let you all know about it! is giving away several sets of Modern Parables. If you want to sign up, do it soon and use my referral code (40102) so I can get more entries and we can all win big. If you do win, make sure you let me know so I can bring some popcorn and watch with you.

Just visit this link and sign up for the newsletter (it's not one of those annoyingly frequent ones)

Saturday, December 1

another shameless plug

I've told you guys about Ebates, and some of you have signed up - THANKS! I just wanted to let you know that you have to make a purchase via Ebates by December 31 for the holiday cash bonus to work. If you purchase something after that date, you get $5 instead of $10. (Still not a bad deal)

Mom said my initial explanation was slightly unclear, so here is a quick recap: Sign up using me as a referral, (twomuths at gmail dot com) and make any online purchase, linking through Ebates, by December 31st. ANY purchase - it could be a $2 book on or a big ol' flat screen TV at, it doesn't matter. After the order ships to you, and the transaction is complete, you will get $10 bonus cash (plus whatever bonus cash back you earn with your purchase) in your ebates account, and you can immediately request a Big Fat Check!

In my estimation, this is a snazzy way to buy someone a Christmas gift for free...working it kinda like a rebate! Use my email or sign up HERE