Thursday, July 31

Still a great deal!!

Money Saving Mom still has her ebooks marked waaaay down! Go here to get the whole humongous package for $8.97 - today only!!

When Life is Hectic

I remember sitting through night after night of meetings during my first years of college, frustrated beyond all comprehension. I had things to do that needed doing for crying out loud, and these scheduled meetings seemed like a pointless waste of time. Thankfully, a couple semesters into it, Someone With Power decided the same thing and consolidated the meetings to one night. They also figured college students to be literate, and substituted some of the meetings with announcements. A relief to be sure.

The worst part about this whole wrench-in-my-schedule was that Certain of the people in charge would look at us condescendingly and say "If you think you're busy now, wait until you get OUT of college!" and kind of chuckle under their breath. This would make me roll the eyes of my justice-seeking soul in disbelief. I was almost positive that this was not the case.

Well, 5 years (plus) later, I can say that they were most definitely wrong. There is a vast difference between creating your own busy schedule and having someone else create immovable appointments for you.

However. Sometimes in the schedule-creating, you don't say no quite often enough, or commitments overlap, or there are Major Conflicts of Interest, and life just gets more and more hectic until you feel like yelling "STOP THE MERRY-GO-ROUND! I'm GETTING OFF!" Which, being interpreted is, "I need to burrow under my covers and sleep while everyone does just fine without me"

So what do you do when life gets hectic? Part of me wants to hold on until my fingers turn white and barrel through, with the idea that whether or not the job actually gets done well, at least I can survive it. But, as one of my professors used to say, "God does not give brownie points for being busy!" Not to mention, that attitude is just a little bit self reliant. Oops.

What is it that we "HAVE" to do, anyway? Sometimes, good things, church programs, friendships, housework, fun activities come waaaaay too high on our priority list. What we HAVE to do is honor God. We HAVE to behave ourselves in a way that demonstrates to the world that we know Him. And we HAVE His help, His strength, and His grace to survive even the most hectic of times.

It's true that sometimes we have to say no. Sometimes we even have to call someone back and tell them we goofed, and we can't help with ________. And sometimes, we can't call anyone back because we were the ones doing the calling around for help. So sometimes biting the bullet and getting the job done is the only option.

God is my audience, my final judge. Before I ask "what will others think if I don't do this or if that is done this way" I need to be concerned about God's perspective. I needed a reminder of the basics this morning - He calls me first to be a follower of HIM, second, a wife, third, a mother. Everything else? Bonus.

I say YES a little too often, without thinking. Like, you know, about a month ago, when August looked open and free and easy and I forgot about weekly OB visits and pending child preparations. And toddler-entering-the-terrible-twos. And a variety of other things. Today, I need to quiet my heart, take a gigantic deep breath, and concentrate on the basics.

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

God has me, my family, and even our hectic schedule in His hands. Isn't it great that we can trust HIM? No matter what, He is our refuge, our very present help. And when life gets hectic, watching Him work out the details is even better than burrowing under the covers for a long, long nap.

Wednesday, July 30

Three More Days!

I've always liked the odd-year birthdays best. Don't forget to come back Saturday and help me celebrate my 29th. You and I will both be very glad you did!


I know I've told you before about Money Saving Mom and all the great savings to be had by simply reading her blog and taking part in the deals she blogs about. I've been able to significantly reduce my Grocery Game subscription due entirely to the info found there!

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What makes this deal so good is that this ebook package includes the ecourse Supermarket Savings 101--this course alone is worth much more than $5.97 and will teach you how to drastically reduce your grocery bill. You'll learn how to cut your grocery bill by up to 50% or more and have fun saving money at the same time!

Go here to read more about this huge sale! Hurry, though, the price goes back up tomorrow--get this money-saving ebook package at a ridiculously low price while you can! (as an added bonus, you will be helping me out - I earn a percentage of sales generated by people using my link!)

Tuesday, July 29

advice needed

Great title, huh? I was over at the midwife's house yesterday and she took a look at my food journal and immediately told me I need to eat more protein. I guess I'm only getting about half of what she recommends. I'm honestly having a hard time getting food into my body (the whole running out of room dilemma) and since I haven't gained much weight she is slightly concerned that I bump it up on the nutrition in order to help my stamina during the birth process. Good nutrition also guards against things like hemorrhage and anemia - both of which are things I want to avoid!

So, anyone know of a good tasting (and good for you) protein powder that I could add to a fruit smoothie or make a shake with?

Monday, July 28

Works of God Monday

This weekend, we began the prep work for our siding project. My fabulous parents came over all day Saturday and helped, for which we are incredibly grateful. Aaron especially enjoyed spending lots of time blowing bubbles with grandma in the front yard while we all sorted and re-assembled the garage.

The big praise is that every step of the project was faster and more inexpensive than we originally thought. Those of you who have ever been involved in any sort of home improvement project know that this is very seldom the case. Praise the Lord for allowing us (ok, dad and Michael) to get so much done and at a relatively minor cost to us for this first stage of reconstruction! You can see photos here.

Also this week we had been having problems with our shower (not the tub part, just the shower) causing water to leak out of our wall (!!!), so dad and Michael took a look at that as well and it ended up that some little part needed to be tightened - no welding involved! Another amazing blessing - and am I ever glad to be able to use the shower again!

So now it's your turn!! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

If you don't have a blog, please feel free to leave your works of God testimony in the comment section!!

there are no words.

Really, there are none. At least, if I go by the old "if you don't have anything nice to say" rule. And I'd better.


Uh, please don't forget to check out the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival this week. We'll just pretend it's all in honor of my pending 29th birthday. But you really do need to check it out. The post has only been up for 14 minutes and already there are 158 giveaways for you to sign up for. You can also host your own giveaway, if you so choose (I think I'm saving mine for Saturday, though. I'm bettering the odds for you, my friends!)

Friday, July 25

just one more week

My birthday is at the very end of next week, the day after Aaron turns two, and I'm planning something fun for all of you - a teeny little blogging birthday party! Please make sure to come back and visit next Saturday!!

Thursday, July 24


While I won't be doing much extensive blogging on the reasons we are considering the birth options we are considering until the final decision is made, here is a really well researched, well written article about one of the possibilities. I was greatly encouraged to continue to press on with the prayer for a successful VBAC.

It is a very long article, but well worth the read, in my opinion. If you're looking specifically for safety stats, scroll down to the section labeled "A Competent Midwife" and check out the third paragraph. You'll see how "greatly encouraged" barely describes my thoughts.

Kayaking, anyone?

Like many people, we have friends & family spread across the country (yea, verily, the globe!) and every once in awhile my traveling feet get to being kind of itchy and I like to dream a little about going to visit.

For quite a few years, I've known about the Priceline service of city pair flight searches, where you type in where you want to travel and from whence, but in the past 6 months or so I've discovered a new and wondrous outlet for my travel dreams -

If you've never visited, you must. In order to have the most dreamy travel dreams, when you arrive at the home page, click on "deals" then on "buzz" where you can select "lowest fare" and sign up for email alerts notifying you of the best prices on flights for your selected cities. I've got flights from MI selected to places like Colorado, Oregon, and California. (are you sensing a theme here? GO WEST!)

And every day or two (you can opt for daily or weekly alerts) I get an email letting me know what prices other people are finding on flights for the next oh, year or so - or you can even plug in a price and Kayak will send you an alert when a flight is found in your price range.

For someone like me, with a minor case of wanderlust, this is a tool that gives me hope and the glimmer that yes, there is a possibility...

Wednesday, July 23

more chances to win!

Thanks, Autum!! Check out this link for yet another opportunity to win a major haul of BumGenius...and MUCH more (if you don't want the diapers, they will replace it with a $250 gift certificate)!! You can also try to win 5 baby carriers here.

the Look

I've inherited something from my mother. I'll call it the "teacher look" because I've seen it most frequently in her classroom. You know what I'm talking about. Something changes in the eyes, around the mouth, letting you know that the one giving the look is one hundred percent decided, that nothing will change, that there is a resolute calm and a "no sense in arguing" finality to whatever is expected. When exercised on students, the results can be quite effective. Especially with the young ones.

I loved watching mom in action with her second graders the year I helped out as an aide in her classroom. (we had THIRTY students that year) Working with my mom was BARRELS of fun. She is the most creative, loving, amazing second grade teacher I know. I loved working with her that year, and would do it again in a heartbeat. You know, if I didn't have anything else to do.

If you could see me, you would notice the "teacher look" on my face right now. I am upset. Someone has been rude to one of my friends. Someone who most likely followed a link on my blog and left a rude and very hurtful comment on theirs. And I don't want that to happen again. Ever.

Please tell me we don't really need to have a discussion about how words can cut deeply? How they can leave scars? I think we've all been the recipients of strong words at one time or another over the course of our lives, and we can all agree that harsh and unloving words stick with us for far too long.

In fact, I can still remember some hurtful words that a boy in my class showered upon me in first grade. And for those of you who've lost track of my age, that would be almost twenty-three years ago. When I was six.

More than being upset for my friends, I really am heartbroken that I may have inadvertently been a channel for someone else's ill will. Let me just offer a gentle reminder that anyone's public blog is not the place to express your displeasure or disapproval harshly. The Bible is clear that we are to act lovingly toward others, especially those who are fellow believers.

Today, let me encourage you (as I encourage myself) to shower someone with loving, gracious, and kind words. Words that will be remembered positively and treasured, words that will heal and encourage. Words that people think about when they're having a hard day. Words that really count. Bite back those impatient, unkind, hateful, resentful, loud and nasty words - encourage one another!!

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
"For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

Got any great stories about how God has used someone to speak encouraging words to you, and how it was a blessing to you??

Tuesday, July 22

fabulous giveaway!

Make sure you sign up for a fantastic giveaway - 12 free BumGenius one size diapers!

Can I get an "AMEN?"

Today's high will be a wondrous 74. With a chance of rain.

I submit that God cares about pregnant ladies, swelling, and much needed breaks from heat AND humidity. I will pretend that today is just for me.

***CAUTION - Pregnancy Update!!***
Yesterday was our prenatal and the first class with our midwife. If you are interested in what's going on and want to read in more depth about our considerations and choices to be made, you can read the comment section of this post. I don't want to post about our whole story until later, simply to avoid searching fanatics I don't know from posting their opinions. Because, quite simply, I only care about a select group of opinions (yours of course), but mostly, just God's. Keep praying for us if you will.

The prenatal was great. I am at 34 weeks and the midwife assured me that the baby's head is still down (the OB has not checked for this yet) and the baby is growing great despite my lack of weight gain since my last appointment. (Apparently at the OB I had a "high number" day.) I don't usually weigh myself at home during pregnancy so I really don't know how things are really going. I've gained 7 pounds since my first OB visit in April. Midwife Kelly said I need to do a food journal this week to make sure I'm getting enough to eat. I can do a food journal. I told her it will probably help me eat less ice cream, but I'm really not sure that it will! ;-)

We also had part one of our home birth classes, which gave us so much more information, more things to think about, and it was just really good to have Michael there to ask questions too. We could not get into a class prior to our last birth and yesterday we talked about the benefits of things we didn't know a whole lot about - perineal massage and the use of gravity in labor & delivery positioning, to mention a couple.

If I were just looking at statistics, just using my own logic, it would be an obvious choice (for our family) but we want to be certain that it is GOD making this decision for us and not US deciding based on what we want to happen. We want God to be glorified more than we want a VBAC, more than we want things to work out, more than we want anything. Please pray that we keep that as our focus as we approach the home stretch.

******Pregnancy Update Over*******

I can't even wait to look back and see how God leads. He is our rock, and He will guide us as He has promised to do.

Monday, July 21

Works of God Monday

This week, I'd love to tell you about how God cares about root canals, and the bills that result. We have dental insurance, and until last month, I was under the impression that it was GREAT dental insurance. It had always covered everything that I'd needed to have done, including cleanings, fillings, x-rays, etc. I never thought for one minute it might not cover root canals.

So when I had some major pain issues with one of my teeth, I had it fixed without a thought. Then, I found out that the procedure was not covered. Oh, hurray, hurray. That same week, we found out about some other rather significant medical charges that were also not covered, leaving a gigantic hole in our bank account. And I mean gigantic. Oh, did I mention we also got a letter from the city of Midland that week stating that our house was too ugly and had to be fixed by August 1st? Um, yeah. That was a very hard week. God is good, always. ALL of the things we found out about that week have been taken care of in God's perfect way, and in His perfect timing.

So anyway, back to the root canal. The dentist office thankfully is willing to work with us on a payment plan, so last Monday I had the procedure finished. Lord willing there will never be pain again on that particular location!! While I was there, the receptionist asked me if I'd be interested in applying for a partial payment assistance through a memorial fund (a dentist had set this up before passing away). Well, I was and I did and God decided to allow me to receive $200 through this fund toward the payment of the root canal bill! Praise the LORD!!

So now it's your turn!! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

Ten Days

In a mere ten days, our little Aaron will be two years old.

We were hoping to do so many things before he turned two - the big one being take another plane trip so that he could fly for free! But I doubt they'd let me fly now, six weeks from my due date. Although, maybe the change in pressure would do me some good. Why do I feel like I'm letting the deal of a lifetime slip through my fingers?

Today's topic is birthday parties - what do do when your tot turns two. (isn't that clever?) Weigh in now with your thoughts & opinions. Are birthday celebrations a "must have" in your family? Did you celebrate every year with a special cake and lots of themed festive decor? How do you work presents in your family? I'll write more about our plans later. For now, I've got to post for WOGM.

Sunday, July 20


I'm not sure I have posted this recipe before or not, but if I did, it was without the honey. I have been working to try to get as much super refined sugar out of our diet as possible, and tweaked this recipe from to switch honey for sugar. I also omitted applesauce from the original recipe as the honey adds moisture to the mix.

Lower Fat Banana Muffins
2 eggs
1/2 c honey
2 1/2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c milk
1 T vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
1 3/4 c flour (I usually do 1 cup white and 3/4 c wheat)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325, line muffin tins with paper AND lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or spray just the pan and lightly dust with flour. In a large bowl, beat eggs and honey until light and foamy. Mix in bananas, milk, oil, and vanilla. In a separate container, stir together dry ingredients, then add to the banana mixture. Stir until just mixed. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. (Depending on the batch, this can take longer. I think it has to do with the size of the bananas).


Last week, Wednesday, I got a call from a friend whose child is in the same nursery as Aaron. She wanted to let me know that her little one had come down with hand, foot & mouth disease.

Aaron woke up from his nap that day with a fever of 101.2, which is pretty rare for him. We spent the rest of the day snuggled up on the couch drinking watery juice and watching Franklin Turtle videos.

Thursday, Aaron was lethargic and sleepy. Friday, Michael was home, and Aaron went on nap strike. Saturday, same story. He is one crabby, cranky little boy. With a few spots that we're not quite sure about. And a gigantic bruise and goose egg on his left eyebrow from a close encounter with the edge of the entertainment center. He also might be teething and getting that second year set of molars. We are just not certain.

So we are home from church today, praying for Michael as he teaches Sunday School and our church family as we adjust to Sunday life without the Stephens'. We're also praying for their first Sunday in California to be a big ol blessing to everyone at Heritage Bible Church.

So, do your kids tend to sleep more or less when they are sick? Does it depend on the ailment? What comforts YOUR cranky kiddo?

Wednesday, July 16

I'm wimpy.

I think I might just be well suited to arctic climes. When I checked on the ten day forecast for our town, I was disheartened to see that it appears my cool, dry summer is about to heat up and get more humid. I laughed as I began to "despair" over a week of 80's & 90's and the humidity that will undoubtedly come with it. I've been very blessed thus far to have enjoyed mostly days in the 70's and low 80's without much humidity. And we do have a couple window air conditioners, so I really can't complain.

Poor Aaron - he wanted to go to the park this afternoon. I told him it was too hot for mommy today. And then felt guilty and played lots with him, inside our cool house. Maybe later this week we will try out the splash park or something.

But we will see - I'm really, really wimpy about the humidity. Really, I am.

So what is your neck of the woods looking like for the next ten days or so? How do you beat the heat?

And, because I'm curious, what is your ideal INDOOR temperature?

sorry, nurse...

So I really DID NOT pray a sick day upon her head, but she was out yesterday, with a broken arm. Oops.

The appointment with my OB went very well, the doc agreed to a heplock instead of an IV during labor (HURRAY!) and also mentioned that he knew we were still praying about a lot of things and he would be happy to discuss anything we felt uncomfortable with or just needed to discuss with him. What a blessing to have a believer as a doctor!! I walked out of the office feeling like I knew him a little better. So that is good.

I've finally regained to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was actually kind of hoping that wouldn't happen, but hey, I can't complain. It is what it is, and it could have been worse.

My blood pressure is looking great (98/70) and I got a fabuloso checksheet from the hospital - a VBAC consent form! I was expecting it to feel like (yet another) upstream swim with me fighting for what I wanted, but instead it was basically a gigantic list of encouragement to go for a VBAC, then at the end you sign on the line whether you want a repeat C-section or a VBAC.

Next Monday, another prenatal with my midwife and home birth classes begin. PLEASE keep praying for us - big decisions ahead! I was just saying yesterday that I'm kind of curious to see what our birth will be like and I'm totally not sure where it will be, but I'm ok with that at this point. Another huge step. I'm just concentrating on enjoying this last few weeks of pregnancy and "Aaron Only" time.

Tuesday, July 15

"super" Tuesday

Today I have to go to the OB. Is it wrong to pray a sick day on the crabby nurse? I think probably, so I will pray a fun and relaxing day off upon her head. HA. I've been spoiled in that Michael has been able to come with me thus far, and today I must venture out alone. Hopefully my blood pressure can withstand the challenge, and I won't have put myself at too great a "risk" by postponing the prenatal visit.

I've been suffering sleeping woes - sore muscles, baby movements, the ol' sinking-into-the-mattress-and-not-being-able-to-escape-or-turn-over syndrome. Last night we did not get back from saying "see ya later, alligator" until 11, after which I woke almost every hour, sometimes from soreness, other times from trips needing to be made down the hallway, even once by a freakish random smoke detector blast (which we never did figure out). Does anyone have any great suggestions for more comfortable sleeping during the last stages of pregnancy? I've tried pillows and disarming the smoke detectors.

Just kidding, of course. They are still on. And intact. And fully functional.

Monday, July 14

Works of God Monday

Today, I need the refresher course on what to do when you don't particularly like what's happening. Tonight, our friends pull out of town, heading for their new ministry. The last few weeks have been a flurry of packing, both of boxes and of schedules, trying to get in as much time with them as possible. God is at work on their behalf for certain! He's obviously led them to go to California, and it's been truly awesome to see how He is working out details to continue to confirm His plan for them. We are excited that they are going to be just where God wants them.

And we are just where God wants us, too, which is equally exciting, even if it's not new and novel. We have been encouraged greatly in the past weeks by the provisions of God. This week, through a variety of unexpected events, we have been able to make the decision to move ahead with our siding project, one of the last major steps in our home renovations.

For those of you who don't know the story about our house (I need to add new photos!), we bought it a little over two years ago on auction after it had been foreclosed and the tenants evicted. It was in pretty rough shape, and through God's provision we have been able to improve it quite a bit. The outside still looks about like this, though, and until recently we thought we would have to wait yet another year until siding could be afforded.

Our loan situation has been little iffy - we had chosen a zero down loan with an adjustable rate interest in order to maximize the use of our savings for the remodel, with the intention that we would refinance in a few years when we'd built up some sweat equity. This refinancing would allow us to get rid of PMI and possibly finish up the multiple projects needing completion to sell the house at the greatest possible financial benefit to us.

So today, we are praising the Lord that He has orchestrated some unique circumstances that will allow us to fast forward some of the steps! It looks like we will begin some preparation work for siding here in the next few weeks (including a Very! Anticipated! Garage! Storage! Area!!) and perhaps by Fall have some pictures of the completed job to post here. We are so excited to see Him work beyond our expectations.

So now it's your turn!! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

Friday, July 11

good ol' Ron

I knew I liked Ronald Reagan. And today, I learn that there is yet another reason to love him. As if this pregnant ice cream addict really needs another excuse.

But, I will take it. *grinning madly* Here's to a delightfully creamy frozen July. And, I raise my cone to Ronald.

What's your favorite flavor?? Do you stick with one, or change it up?

Thursday, July 10

it's that time

Well, I've officially reached the stage of this pregnancy in which none of the clothing created for this stage (or otherwise) will stay put. I speak specifically of shorts, pants, skirts, etc. I feel like I'm constantly tugging and pulling and doing all sorts of gymnastic maneuvers just to keep the bottoms up and stay covered.

It might be time to put away the wide elastic band pants and the non maternity large sized shorts and break out the ugly and hot cover-the-whole-belly-panel pants. It might be a bit hotter and more restrictive, but at least I won't have an indecent exposure charge to worry about. Do you think they would cut a pregnant woman chasing a toddler any (ehem, er) slack in court?

Did I mention those over the belly styles are stinking hot? Anybody have any suggestions? Maybe sundresses are the wave of my future.

Wednesday, July 9

good clean fun

Aaron is easily amused. Give him a washcloth, and he washes. His ears, his face, the floor (hopefully in that order) It's nice to have a child who is inventive and content to play while I file the mountain of papers I've accumulated in the office. More summer pictures here, including one of my growing belly.

Tuesday, July 8

homemade natural sports drink

Michael works outside all the time, and in the heat I wonder if he's drinking enough fluids. Gator*de and other such sport/electrolyte replacement drinks are rather expensive, AND full of nasty high fructose corn syrup, so I recently did a little research and came up with this recipe, which Michael likes a lot better than Gator*de.

2 cups water
2 cups 100% fruit juice (any flavor you like - recently we've used Juicy Juice Kiwi Strawberry)
1/4 tsp salt (important to replace electrolytes in the heat)

I personally reuse 32 oz containers, and I pour the water in, add the salt, shake to dissolve and then add the juice. A 12 oz can of concentrate or a 46 oz bottle of juice makes 3 32-oz containers. Perfect!! Make sure you store them in the fridge.

IF you spent $2.29 on a bottle of juice, it works out to around 76 cents per 32 oz bottle. But if cost is your primary concern, you should be able to get your juice quite a bit cheaper than that.

Also, I just did the nutrition breakdown. Per 8-oz serving (4 in a 32 oz bottle), Gator*de Rain in Berry Flavor has 50 cal, 110 mg sodium, 30 mg potassium, 14g carbs (14g sugars) and that sugar is all from HFCS! And no vitamins. My recipe, using Juicy Juice Kiwi Strawberry, per 8oz serving (still 4 in a 32 oz bottle) has 60 calories, 158mg sodium, 120mg potassium, 14.5g carbs (12g sugars) (naturally occuring fruit sugars) and 60% of the RDA of vitamin C.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more helpful tips!

The Name Game

Naming our babies - always so interesting. I am the pickiest namer out there, I am certain. The first name has to NOT be on the top 10 most popular, have a great meaning, not be associated with any unsavory characters in mine or Michael's life, and sound good with our last name. It also has to have more than one syllable and, for reasons I cannot explain (because I have no logical reason), cannot begin with the letter M. It also cannot have the "oo" sound in it.

We've got the girl name all settled. If we have a girl, her name will be Cadence Abigail. We've had that settled for quite some time as it was Aaron's alternate name. (you know, had he been a girl..we would not name a son that, obviously.)

Over on the sidebar are our choices so far for a boy's name. I'm not guaranteeing that the winner of the poll will be the name we end up with, but here's what we are thinking, and we would like to get some feedback. Mostly I would like to get some feedback, since I'm not sure on one HUGE point*.

Here are the contenders:

Evan Michael (meaning: Evan = God is gracious and Michael = "who is like God?")
Simon Gilead (meaning: Simon = God listens and Gilead = heap of testimony)

And variations on the same theme.

*The "huge point??" Are "Aaron" and "Evan" too similar? Will it sound like we're trying to build a super-cheesy singing group or a sparkly family magic act or something? Another problem with this name is that Evan is ranked #40...and going up...and, especially when paired with Michael, seems a bit common to me.

I really like the name Gilead, especially the meaning - how cool is it that someone's life be a heap of testimony to our God and His working - but it might be a little extreme for us, for a first name. Might be. I'm just not sure.

So, vote've got a few more weeks to weigh in. Please vote, and please leave a comment. C'mon people, I need your input.

Monday, July 7

Works of God Monday

God is at work, here and all around the world. Seems like every day we hear about another tragedy or seemingly unjust circumstance that affects us either directly or indirectly. I'm so glad that God is good, all the time, and that His ways are NOT our ways.

I'd like to praise the Lord this morning for a few things. One, our independence!! I'm so grateful to live in a country that is free - this weekend's celebration and time with friends and even the freedom to attend church or go buy groceries or whatever we need to do without fear - a huge blessing from the Lord!

Two, God provided, through a friend, a ton of clothing and shoes for Aaron for the fall. I'd been having a hard time finding stuff at garage sales this summer and was wondering why...but God had it all planned out. I'll actually have to buy very, very little for him. Another huge blessing. (and thank you, friend!!)

Three, the wallet robbery incident could have been so much more serious. I'm thankful that we noticed it right away, and glad that more items were not taken from our van. Praise the Lord for His protection!!

So now it's your turn!! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

Saturday, July 5

and there goes the neighborhood

This morning, we realized our van had been robbed. Missing? Two jars of loose change I use at garage sales and, unfortunately, Michael's wallet. Michael never leaves his wallet in the van. And of course, the one day he does, *poof* it disappears.

Thankfully, the thief only got $40 plus the change.

The officer that came over to file the police report said it was the first of such incidents in our neighborhood. He also said it was probably just some kids looking for cash. I pray he was right, and we won't ever have identity theft issues. However it goes, it means canceling our credit cards and our debit card and replacing all the pertinent and valuable information stored in a wallet. Not to mention the actual wallet.

So...Thief, I have two questions...

Why us? We have the junkiest house on the block, no questions asked. The yuckiest yard, almost the oldest vehicles on the block. I've always been so secure with the thought of thieves avoiding us due to our obvious lack of steal-able stuff.

And, why couldn't you have just taken the cash and left the wallet? Hmm???

Thursday, July 3

a bit obsessive

So three posts in one day might be overkill, but I need tell this story. Today.

I canceled my OB appointment for this morning. It was a horrible time for us, schedule-wise and I have another visit scheduled for the 15th. And I must admit that the idea of a 40 minute drive each way with a 15-20 minute wait and a 5 minute appointment WITH a toddler in tow whose nap would be non existent did not really appeal to me. Especially since I'm feeling good and doing fine. Especially since I have another (more important!!!) meeting scheduled for this afternoon and we would have to go right to that one after the OB appointment. (notice, if you will, the lack of nap)

I felt no remorse, no guilt, had no second thoughts.

So I get this call from the mature, old school nurse who asked me to reschedule for the 8th and wants me to come in at the exact same time. Whereupon I tell her that is not going to work, whereupon she tells me in no uncertain terms that I'm putting myself at risk by waiting until the 15th. "Especially" she added, "since it has already been more than two weeks since your last appointment."

Imagine the hairs on my neck standing on end. The reason today's appointment was not scheduled earlier is that there were no openings when I scheduled my next appointment. It was an office blunder.

And what are they going to do this time that is so all-fired important that it can't wait another week? Check to make sure I'm still measuring correctly? Check my blood pressure again? Listen to the baby's heart rate again? Then tell me that everything looks great?

"You know" I said with an auditory smile, "I'd really just prefer to wait until the 15th. It's only one more week." And she repeated her earlier argument.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the same nurse who, on my first visit to this new doc, rattled off a list of scary and invasive tests that they were planning to do and then said cheerily, "Now let me take your blood pressure!"

Since she repeated her argument, I repeated mine (that's only fair, right?) "You know" I said, with a little less of a smile, "I'd really just prefer to wait until the 15th. It's only one more week."

Silence. I could almost hear crickets chirping.

"All right dear, you take care of yourself now. I will make a note of this and we will see you on the fifteenth."

Knowing how medical records are kept, I wonder what "make a note of this" means. I wonder if this will show up like the previous "go against the flow" medical decisions I've made. "Patient refused to reschedule" or "Patient refused adequate medical care" or something to that effect. I'm sure on paper I appear to be the world's most difficult patient.

Really, dear nurse, you could have saved yourself a call and me a momentary spike in my blood pressure.

I won't be eating THAT again!

I know there is a lot of sugar in strawberry jam. I knew it when I spread it on my english muffin for breakfast. But I really didn't expect the child inside to enjoy it so much.

We've got another "happy hallelujah" dancer, folks. The likes of which this world has never seen. I am telling you, we've had a dancing baby for the last 22 minutes solid. And this baby is running out of room.

I guess maybe I should just stick with fresh strawberries.

Now the real question is, I wonder why ice cream doesn't have the same effect.

they're having fun, apparently

Be sure to check out my mom & dad's blog for some of their vacation photos and a great video clip.

Wednesday, July 2

maybe it's just Wednesdays...

So Aaron's finally (sadly) making the transition from two naps to one. I know, I know...I am very, VERY blessed, and I need to be grateful for the 23 months of multiple naps and not whine. I'm not whining.

But Aaron is. He wants to get out of his bed now.

Last Wednesday, no naps. None. And a very grumpy boy ensued. We are on track for that again today. Thankfully, no evening midweek service tonight - it was canceled. We are spending some quality time with our friends who are moving away, instead. I'm taking the pack n play.

Thankfully, Aaron has been quietly playing in his bed for the last hour, so I was able to get a little work in. Maybe the quiet playtime chased the grumpies away. Maybe he'll surprise me and conk out this afternoon. Maybe I can tire him out with a rousing game of "running errands"

Ah, life. Full of maybes. Full of possibilities. Full of opportunities.

Tuesday, July 1

More Family Photos

Sunday night after church we had a little photo time with Mom & Dad so they could take some current photos to Oregon with them for Nate & Lissa. Here are some of our favorites from our little shoot. I especially love the ones with my parents - capturing laughter on camera is a beautiful and rare delight. Aren't my parents cuties? I sure wish we could be nearer to Michael's family!

(hey Kara! Look! You can see my baby belly!! This is what I look like 31 weeks pregnant!)