Monday, March 31

rainy Monday

It's Monday, it's raining (not snowing, HURRAY!) and grey outside, I have a headache and a toddler who is refusing to sleep. (those are two different problems, even though they may sound the same) Did April Fool's come a day early this year?!? *wink*

My "best" April Fool's prank was on my dad, and happened when I was in elementary school. I got some electrical tape and taped the faucet sprayer so that it would spray when you turned on the water. He went to rinse his cereal bowl out and got water all over his school shirt. I was laughing hysterically, and though I am sure he laughed to humor me, I probably wouldn't have been as gracious in the morning. I'm glad I had a "morning person" for a dad. Unfortunately, I did not inherit that tendency, although I certainly do understand the value of getting things done in the morning. (thanks, dad)

So...anybody have any great April Fool's pranks to share? Hopefully you've pulled better ones than I have!

Friday, March 28

and a happy Friday

One of the things I have missed the most about having cable (we got free cable when we lived in our apartment) is access to the USA network at 10pm on Fridays. You may be asking why, and I'm about to tell you.

I miss watching Monk.

We've rented all the past seasons, and it rarely fails to delight. So you can imagine my absolute shock when I saw a commercial saying that Monk is coming to NBC on April 6. I truly was in shock, unable to speak from happiness. I know, I know. It's the little things.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, you might want to give the website a quick glance. And then you might want to tune in. Or you may think I'm a complete nerd. Either way, it was great news to me!!

Wednesday, March 26

the pantry that runneth not dry

Just wanted to quickly share - I haven't been grocery shopping - I mean the "heavy duty" kind of grocery shopping - in about 8 weeks. Sickness, being down to one vehicle, busy-ness of life, quick trips to grab a gallon of milk, eggs, etc., the produce co-op and just plain old wanting to stay home have prevented my usual twice a month shopping days. And so, it has been two months. I was thinking over the weekend about this, and thinking "surely this will be the week I will have to go stock up." And so I planned to take a portion of Monday to plan a menu based on the sales.

Monday came and went. We were busy! So yesterday morning I strolled into our pantry wondering what I could throw together for dinner from what I fully expected to be meager stores. Silly me. I came up with eleven meals I could stretch from that pantry in ten minutes. I am guessing if we throw in a few days of rice & beans I could even make it last longer. Hurray!

Today I'm praising the Lord that HE has blessed us with a pantry that can feed us for so long!

preparation for planting

I always have the best intentions for starting a garden, and then for whatever reason, I barely get to the plant selling places before all the veggie plants are gone, which means a shorter growing season and fewer veggies for us.

This year, Lord willing, it's gonna be different. I'm growing my own little seedlings. And I'm growing my own dirt, to boot.

I found this amazing little growing greenhouse at Home Depot when we stopped in to pick up supplies to finish the LAST STEP for our electrical inspection (Hallelujah praise the LORD!) and thought to myself that this was a great solution to my forgetfulness during planting time.

Included with the cells, draining tray, and dome are these little compressed tablet things that you add warm water to and "grow your own" dirt!! I have videos of that process, and believe you me, it is vile to watch. Trust me.

The seeds are not included, so I bought "Better Boy" tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, colored bell peppers, zucchini and summer squash seeds. And potentially, I will have 72 little seedlings. I don't think I will need that many, so I'll have to find some homes for them in 8-10 weeks when the ground is ready for these little beauties.

The 72-cell greenhouse was $7, but if you don't have friends and family enough to share that many plants, or a half an acre to plant them on, or lots of kids to weed the garden, there was a 36 cell size for around $6 and several other sizes available too. All in all, I got the whole thing for around $13, which would probably have bought about 6 tomato and 6 pepper plants later on in the year. Hopefully I can easily recover the $13 in home grown produce! Who knows? I might get really adventurous and actually plant them in the ground this time instead of using last year's patio gardening method.

Are you planning on a garden this year? What do you like to grow, and how much?

Tuesday, March 25

busy days

Yesterday was my first OB appointment with my new doctor, and we toured the hospital wherein he delivers. A few things were wonderful, a few things were scary, and there are more questions that will be answered on the 15th, after the doctor has gone over my medical records from the last pregnancy.

Wonderful Things:
1. The doctor is a believer, and closed our meeting in prayer, asking that God would give him and us wisdom in our difficult decisions about this birth, and that above all Christ be glorified. How often does that happen?
2. He is going to review my medical records and see how much of my "wish list" he is comfortable with. I love that he is willing to take a look, work with me, and views me as an individual rather than just moving ahead with "standard procedure"
3. He will not induce/augment VBAC labors with any type of drugs. This is great, as it significantly reduces the risk of complications.
4. When the nurse at the hospital asked who I was seeing for prenatal care, and I told her, she said "that is the best possible practice you could have chosen. You should not have any problems having a VBAC." which of course was a big positive.

Scary Things
1. The hospital policies of required IV's/helplock and continual monitoring during labor for VBAC moms. Statistics show that both of these measures can increase the likelihood of repeat c-sections.
2. The hospital itself. While it was much better than I remember *whew* it is still a hospital and I do not like them. This one is a little older, and while the technology is probably more advanced and the staff more qualified, it has a certain aura. I think it's probably just me.
3. The fact that this hospital deals with "high risk" moms a lot. This is scary and good at the same time, for a variety of reasons.
4. I realized for the first time that I will always, automatically, be labeled "high risk" because of my prior c-section. What a horrible thought.
5. We're still not sure where the status is about blood testing and how much of it is necessary. That will be addressed at the next appointment.

And there are more scary things that I have no control over, decisions that cannot possibly be made until the pregnancy progresses, the "what if's" of labor and delivery, the things that my loving and sovereign God has planned for me, our family, and this new little one. Would you please continue to keep us in prayer?

Pray that I will trust my God fully in all things, but especially when it comes to the delivery of this baby. I need to be at the point where I can be at peace with whatever God has, and hold loosely my wishes and expectations of this birth. I also need prayer that I will be able to let go of the prior (perceived negative) experiences and think clearly and rationally through each decision, not allowing the past (and my pregnancy hormones, and fear) to cloud my judgment.

Friday, March 21

PJ deal

Get thee to the closest Kmart! We just came home with winter fleecey blanket sleepers - reduced to $5, and half off that! We got three for just under $8. What a deal!!!

Murphy, and his law...

Thanks, y'all, for praying for my sewing machine. It has had a great attitude. I should have had you pray for MY attitude!

I tried a new pattern. I looked at the size chart, I studied the finished garment measurements, I measured myself, I measured the pattern pieces. I measured it all again. I cut out the dress. Somewhere in translation, the "front skirt" piece has about 8 extra inches. No problem, I say, I can fix that. Also, the dress is about 2 sizes too large.

I have extra black & white daisy fabric. So today, I experimented. WITHOUT a pattern, the way I really prefer to sew. Plan B is basically an a-line tube with straps. It's not quite finished, so the jury is still out. Thank you, mom, for helping me pin. A self-conducted fitting is frustrating, if not impossible.

I may decide to scrap the whole thing, and save the daisy fabric for a skirt later on, for I do have plan C. This dress doesn't look so bad on me at this stage in the game, but all I have for footwear that matches would be inappropriate to the weather. So plan C is to find some brightly colored happy spring shoes.

Plan D: I found a dress at Wal*art of all places. In the regular dresses section. Cute, cute, and cheap, cheap. Perfect.

a great deal

When I see the word "free" it's hard to hold me back.

When "free" is paired with "yogurt" it is a done deal. I have a little yogurt monster.

But when "free" is accompanied by "yo baby organic yogurt"????

Well, just cue the glorious angelic voices and the light shining down from the heavens.

My day has been officially made. (it really doesn't take much, does it?)

Thursday, March 20

the awe continues

I guess it really is in there. Today, it was "nowIknowmy" and the correct, first time identification of approximately 8 letters before moving on to more exciting things, like building block towers and more specifically, knocking over the ones mommy builds.

My thoughts go something like this:
1. I don't think I'm ready for this.
2. Why can't he catch on to first time obedience this easily?
3. Oh yeah. He's my little pagan.

And then there is the issue of today's naptimes. EW. Children should listen to their parents when they say it's naptime, and sweetly comply. A lot of unpleasantness could be avoided this way. Not to mention, it would be a whole lot easier. There is more than one way God teaches us about ourselves, our shortcomings, His Grace.


It's been over 4 years since I went to our local stores and registered for our wedding gifts. I found this to be a frustrating and tedious process, simply because I had NO CLUE what to choose. I knew I needed a blender, but which model should I choose? Which knives? Which pans?

We were armed with a 2 year old version of Consumer Reports purchasing guide, but I couldn't consult that for every decision! We registered at 3 stores in one day, and it was overwhelming! I remember sitting down in the aisle of WalMart, almost in tears, looking up at my fiance of 4 days, and saying "I don't know what to pick" as if the world would end if I picked the wrong paring knives. He sat down next to me, gave me a hug, and said it would be ok to stop if I needed to. Not only that, he still married me. Boy am I glad about that!

I made a very foolish choice when it came to cookware. I picked an inexpensive set of non-stick, waffle bottomed pans. A set of 5. And I was thrilled when I opened the box, thinking how beautiful my cookware looked all shiny and new.

Also very foolishly, I stored the new pans stacked inside each other with no protection between the layers. I cooked with metal utensils. And, you guessed it, the nonstick coating started to flake off, no doubt leeching toxic materials into our food.

And so I've been replacing my pans one at a time, this time choosing stainless steel, and purchasing them when I found a great deal.

For Christmas, I put "nonstick skillets" on my list, and (to shorten this long story) got some money toward that purchase. Tuesday, I finally bought my first one. A red enameled 10" Calphalon non stick covered saute pan. I have to say, the foolishness of my pre-experience choice has never been so clear. This pan cooks like a DREAM, and I finally know what "non stick" really means. I cooked an egg using nothing but the egg and the pan and the seasoning, and didn't have a horrid mess to clean up.

Praise the Lord for His blessings! Today, I see Him delighting to bless my kitchen with a pretty red pan, and freedom from the ingestion of Teflon.

Wednesday, March 19

where have all the dresses gone?

Apparently, there are no pregnant women in Midland who wish to wear dresses. Except me.

I went shopping for a couple hours last night, and did not see one single maternity dress. I went to 7 stores. It boggled my mind, as I see racks and stacks of dresses for non-pregnant women. I even tried on a few of the "regular dresses" that seemed like they might be able to pass for maternity gear. Some of them fit fine, but were all too something - too low, too short, too loud, too dowdy, etc. Come to think of it, that's not really a pregnancy related problem.

I'm at that stage in the game where I can't wear my maternity dresses from my first pregnancy because my belly isn't big enough, but my regular dresses are a little snug. Ok, more than a little. And Midland's maternity clothing selection has never been fabulous. Most of my collection of clothing are hand me downs from friends and garage sale finds, mixed in with a few new things from nearby cities and some online buys.

I wonder if I can sew something before Sunday. Those "one hour" patterns seldom are, but here's hoping. Pray for my sewing machine. You know how they tend to get an attitude when there's a looming deadline.

Here is where you come in. Both of these fabrics will be made into maternity gear, I just need help deciding which will be first, for this coming Sunday. I'm singing in the choir for the Easter cantata.

The one on the left is a brown and burgundy rayon/poly crepe, a thinner fabric, but would never need ironing. It would be breezy and cool.

The black and white on the right is another poly/rayon blend that has a smoother finish and a heavier weight. It might be a little warmer, but I'm not sure it says "SPRING IS HERE!"

Will you help me choose? Vote! State your opinion! Voice your concerns! Tell me to drive to another city and go shopping! Just don't tell me to shop online. I need to try things on...especially at this "Is She Fat or Pregnant?" stage.

Tuesday, March 18


Ahh, toddlerhood. It sneaks up on you. One day you're sponging carefully around the umbilical cord, and the next you're dodging tsunami-like splashes. Aaron loves his bathtime letters. He sees them and starts "singing" the alphabet song. He's sure getting gigantic.

Yesterday morning, he was playing with a LeapFrog ball that sings the alphabet song as it rolls, and the song stopped at the letter "P" and out of Aaron's mouth comes "QRSTUV" all hooked together like one word, and my jaw dropped. I called Michael, incredulous. At least we know it's somewhere in his subconscious, even though we are unable to duplicate the miraculous event.

Saturday, March 15

c'mon, spring!!

Yesterday I aired the house out - it was a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures close to 50 degrees. And I made Shyla's soup recipe for dinner. The high for today? Predicted at 36. Oh, well. I guess I'll have to figure out something warm and soothing for supper tonight, too! With being sick, I've slacked waaaay off on menu planning!!

Michael is working today since he missed Thursday. We are so thankful he has such a flexible boss. Aaron and I have to run to the bank, and do a couple other errands, like hopefully taking advantage of some great deals on cereal.

So our intestinal illness has morphed into a respiratory illness. Weird. It's like the virus knows how to knock out our immune systems, then kick us while we're down & out. This time, all three of us have it to some extent. Thankfully, I have all the herbal supplements I need for respiratory issues. And I'm not puking, so little Muth #2 can get some much needed nutrition!!

I'll be sooooo thankful when Spring is here and we can get plenty of fresh air!! AND exercise!!

Speaking of which, does anyone have a great pregnancy workout video they would recommend? I am in a desperate search, and I'm horribly uncoordinated. I mean, horribly. I could never quite master the "box step" or whatever the crazy thing was called at NBBC in aerobics class. After a whole semester, 3 days a week. So you see what you're working with here. Any ideas?

Friday, March 14

I wouldn't believe it myself!

If I hadn't just lived through it, I would not believe it was true. Wednesday morning, guess what I woke up with? More "severe digestive distress." Thankfully, it seems to have been a 48 hour variety instead of the considerably longer version I came down with a short week and a half earlier - it has been a rough 4 weeks.

I've got some herbal remedy ideas from a natural momma/midwife friend of mine, to boost my immune system and hopefully strengthen my overall digestive health. I hope to start on these today so that the next time this nasty bug comes a-knockin' I'll be ready.

Aaron got a mild case, Michael stayed home from work to care for his sick family. He's such a wonderful husband & daddy. The photo is of the boys cleaning a toy at the sink - isn't it so adorable? Please excuse the dirty pans and dishes. I have been sick...and I'll clean up today, I promise!!

Tuesday, March 11

and I quote

I'm reading Silent Knife, a book about C-section prevention and VBAC, and this little gem made me laugh out loud today.

"It's hard to be relaxed when people are standing around watching the clock and waiting anxiously for your uterus to burst"

I'd say.

the best laid plans

I almost forgot my 8:45 appointment.  I remembered at 8:04.  Thankfully, Aaron was eating his toast and eggs and strapped into his high chair, so I had time for a 4 minute shower and a chance to blow dry my hair.  Surely I'm not the only mother to abandon her child in the high chair, albeit momentarily?

Our taxes are almost done.  Thank you, Turbo Tax.  This year, I promise, I'll keep detailed records of our clothing donations with It's Deductible.  And I'll get reciepts when I donate.  And I won't lose the interest statement from the bank and have to call them for a replacement.  And I'll have another baby.  Just so I can have a "Life Change" for Turbo Tax.

This year, we won't go into debt.  But we'll still be able to re- side the house.  And build a wall of bookshelves in the living room to house our huge library that is 
currently occupying the closet in the office.  The office that needs to be converted into a bedroom.  Before September.  And, we will win a free car to replace the Mazda. Of course, the interest will be paid as part of the deal.  Let's win a vacation, too.

I'm good at thinking up magnificent plans.  Not so good with the follow through.  
I guess that means instead of blogging, and trying not to freak out about the crazy format of this post, I need to go and dust. 

Monday, March 10

in the spotlight and the shadows

This week is missions conference at our church. Dr. Anderson from Baptist Mid Missions is the main speaker for the week and there are three great families here to share their ministries with us. The flags of all the countries where our missionaries serve hang in the auditorium. It's an exciting week.

Missions conference always gets me thinking. When I was a girl, my parents shared with me their burden that the gospel be spread throughout the world, and made it very clear that if I felt that God wanted me to be a missionary, they would be supportive and happy to see me serve in that way. I was grateful for this, as I had heard stories from missionaries about how their families were not so supportive.

College came, and Northland has a great missions and ministry emphasis. As I went through school, I guess I kind of expected to be a single world traveling missionary, or some other full time vocational Christian worker. I was thrilled by this - excitedly awaiting God's direction and guidance to my perfect fit in ministry. I remember a series of events caused me to have a chat with dad about "full time ministry" and what that entailed. Shortly after, the lightning bolt of understanding struck me and I was all conflicted.

I wrestled with the idea that maybe God did NOT want me in "full time vocational ministry" and I admit this was a great source of panic. It completely upset all that I had been planning and every single one of my own expectations. When I realized what I was panicked about, I felt rather foolish.

You see, even though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time, I somehow had adopted the idea that my serving God full time was dependent on where my provisions came from - who wrote the check. I'd somehow arrived at the conclusion that if my checks came from a church, a Christian school, or a mission board, I was a full time vocational minister. And if, I reasoned, I was in full time vocational ministry, everyone would know that I had made great sacrifices and that I was the most surrendered I could possibly be.

And selfishly, I wanted a front row seat in God's work overseas. I wanted to watch as new believers were baptized in a river, risking rejection by their families. I wanted to see growth of a brand new baby church, to watch in person instead of via flashing images on the screen with missionary narration. I wanted to get my hands dirty. And I wanted to tell stories that would get other people excited about serving God, too. I wanted God to use me to make an impact on the world.

I did not want to entertain any ideas that maybe God had something else for me. Of course, it's easy to brush those thoughts aside - "would Satan want me in missions?" I would ask myself, as if that would settle the whole thing.

I'll tell you what Satan DID want - he wanted me to keep my heart from being truly surrendered to do whatever God wanted. And Satan still wants that. When I struggle with discontent in my family's ministry, when I get frustrated at all I am "not doing," and when I wish we weren't doing as much, when I ignore God's leading to reach out to the neighbors, when I ask God "why?" and when I push for my own way. God wants my whole heart, my whole mind, and my whole self to be surrendered to Him. He wants me to serve Him one hundred percent.

And so I am learning to be ready, willing to do whatever He leads us to do. I am learning what it is to follow. And to keep following. And I will keep learning to daily surrender, and keep rejoicing at God's work in the world - in the spotlight, and in the shadows. He doesn't need me, after all, to accomplish Great Things. He is GOD.

Friday, March 7

it's Friday, and all is peachy.

In college, my beloved voice instructor introduced me to the term "gospel song" as being descriptive of a sacred song that was not a hymn. Up until then, "gospel song" had held for me a very honky-tonky-southern-gospel-y connotation.

And when I say, "up until then" I really mean that hearing that term still gives me a case of the southern gospel laughs. I mean FITS of laughter. I can't do it, I really can't call anything for real a gospel song. I've sung plenty of gospel songs in the honky-tonky-southern-gospel-y style, but it was for fun. Now, it's fine with me if you like southern gospel, or honky tonk, or whatever. But for me, it's amusing. You can call me stuffy. I don't mind. *wink*

So today, I judged at MACS. I judged the male vocal solo category. I was a stand-in judge, a last minute addition. It was fabulously fun, bringing back more memories and hilarity than one person has a right to enjoy. There were a few mangled foreign languages, a little voice cracking, and a lot of furrowed brows. There was even a "gospel song." Ending the day was a brilliantly executed aria from The Magic Flute, and when I say brilliant, I mean that the boy sang in German and had us all in stitches. That is brilliance. It was a very good day.

So, thanks Deb. And Brett. You made it all possible. And, I miss you.

Wednesday, March 5

Strange Lives?

So, the other day I was in the supermarket line, waiting for the woman ahead of me as she s-l-o-w-l-y loaded her groceries onto the belt. As I waited, my eyes wandered to the tabloid headlines. Don't tell me that this doesn't happen to you - I know it does. These headlines frequently amuse me. "Live dinosaur robs museum" etc.

One tabloid had, in 2 inch hot pink letters "Inside the Strange Life of Suri Cruise" with these bullet points:

- No TV or Happy Meals
- No medicine ever! Just herbs!
- Scientology play dates

And I thought to myself, sounds like the Cruises are being pretty responsible parents. I mean, I make sure when Aaron has "play dates" that the families we go play with have beliefs that line up with ours. I use herbs to treat certain symptoms. Aaron's never had a Happy Meal, and although he does watch TV, it's pretty limited.

Not that I expected more out of a tabloid, but I do think it would be interesting to meet the editor who thinks these qualities warrant a hot pink "Strange Lives" label. Maybe that editor's kids eat Happy Meals every day? The chuckle that this little supermarket tabloid gave me was big enough that the smile did not leave my face when I realized that the slow grocery loader had forgotten her wallet. I was almost grateful that I'd had so much time on my hands that I'd had to resort to tabloid headlines for reading material.


Monday, March 3

the produce

Any of you living in the greater Midland area who are looking for a great source for less expensive produce, shoot me an email (twomuthsatgmaildotcom) or leave a comment with your email address included. I'm part of a co-op in the area and we are looking for some new members! I will get you in touch with the lady in charge.

Here is the rundown:
-you can order as much or as little as you want or need. No need to buy a whole case of something as there are others who will split with you.
-convenient online ordering - you are emailed a catalog, and then place your order on an automatic "splits page" - it's so easy!
-organic and regular produce is available, as well as specialty items such as juice, jam, eggs, etc. Many items are priced less than grocery store prices, and as you may know, it's awfully hard to find good quality organic anything in this area. The produce is fresh and YUMMY! I'm not really an "all organic" girl, but if the price is close enough to the non-organic, sign me up!
-pickup in the Freeland area
-no dues, just occasional help unloading truck!

Some sample prices from my order this month:
Avocados, 69 cents each
3# bag Empire apples, $1.87 each
Red seedless grapes, 97 cents/lb
Organic pineapple, $1.45 each

This month's order is due by Saturday morning, so be sure to let me know if you are interested in taking a look at the catalog.

Sunday, March 2


So Aaron and I are staying home from church today. Why? We certainly aren't sick enough to be contagious, (I am rather weak, still!) but we've heard through the grapevine that there are plenty of church family members who ARE sick, or have been this week. Many of them are children. And I for one do not wish to trust my weakened immune system to the germy oasis of a sick community.

I'm normally not a germophobe. If that is even a word. I try my hardest not to think about the multitudes of sick children sneezing their way through the building on a daily basis for school, or the fact that four year olds use the same room as the one year old nursery. I don't ask if they disinfect the toys. I have enough other things to worry about.

But two weeks of sickness have made me extra cautious. Next week, Lord willing, we will finally be back for corporate worship. Isn't it amazing how a couple weeks away from church can really throw you for a loop? I miss the fellowship, the congregational songs, and the exposition of God's Word. I will be thankful to go back to church. And I am also thankful that the illness of the individual members does not indicate the spiritual health of our church body!!

Saturday, March 1

This is what happens...

When you're sick for 2 weeks and don't venture into the pantry, several things happen. The pantry stays in disarray, and the onions, well, sprout. And grow long tentacles. Not to mention the rest of the house and the tentacles growing there.

I'm feeling better (can you hear the angel voices?) Thanks to the love and support of our friends and church family, Aaron had a fun week playing with various friends, and I got a lot of sleep.

I would never wish this sickness on anyone. It was horrible. I lost close to 10 pounds in the last few days, and although I'm not devastated about the number on the scale by any means, getting the stomach flu is not the ideal way to achieve a weight loss goal. And the time for weight loss is definitely not during pregnancy! I am so thankful that I did not have to go to the hospital for fluid replacement. Praise the Lord for electrolyte drinks, even by the teaspoon.

Hopefully you all stay healthy - Spring is coming!!