Monday, December 31, 2007

Circle of LIfe

Dan's brother Andrew called this morning to announce the arrival of baby Gavin. He's a week and a couple days early, but he gave his mom an easy time getting here, and he's very very cute. And then, a few minutes ago, Dan's mom called to announce the passing of his grandmother. We knew it was coming, but it still sucks, though as Dan said to his mom, there's comfort in knowing these things aren't arbitrary. Our days are all numbered, but not by cosmic chaos--by a God who holds all our days in his hands and brings us home when our work is done.

Welcome, Gavin. You've got cool parents, and your brother's gonna love you.
Goodbye, Estelle. See you later.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not long now

In 6 weeks it will pretty much be determined who the GOP presidential candidate is going to be. Never in my life have I cared. Heck--never in my life did I know what the caucuses were for! Now I not only know what they're for but I'm pleading with folks in the caucus states to look into Ron Paul, especially if, like me, they've always found themselves choosing a candidate based on who they were voting against rather than for. That's how I've always voted. But not this year!

Today I'm adding a new sidebar item: the Ron Paul Fact of the Day. Seeing as I only find time to blog every now and then, chances are it won't be changed daily, but I am going to make an effort to change it as often as I can. When I talk to people about Dr. Paul it always comes out that they barely know who the guy is and know virtually nothing about his platform. I think more people would support him if they had a clue what he stands for. The Fact of the Day is my little way of trying to spread the word.

If you're a registered Republican and aren't sure yet who to vote for in your state's primary, please check out Ron Paul's issues page on his website.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Today she is two.

Wow. Two years old. I have a two-year-old. This is weird.

Two years ago this very minute I was facing a c-section and so tired and anxious to meet my baby that I just didn't care. It feels like it was much more recent than that, though the scar has faded nearly completely and I'm finally okay with the fact that nothing went the way I wanted it to.

We came up to Ventura to celebrate Abby's birthday with Dan's parents since we couldn't come up for Christmas. "Greena" (Grandma) bought her a lovely (and yummy!) cake and a big 2 candle which she lit with what looked to me like a torch. Daddy helped Abby blow out the candle, and then we sang, which was a mistake. Apparently we sounded just awful, because Abby burst into tears, and that was all she wrote. We ate cake while she sobbed on my lap. Eventually she pulled herself together and said, "Want some!" We gave her her own piece; she dipped the fork in the frosting, tasted it, and said, "All done." Ahhh, that's my girl. I was much relieved.

She really cleaned up in the gift department. Yesterday we went to Adventures for Kids, an awesome children's bookstore here in Ventura, and bought her a shelf-ful of books. Then today she got her very own set of Lynx golf clubs. Pink. Full-on backpack bag with built in stand, a driver, a 7 iron, and a putter. She's shockingly good at putting. She actually grips the club right and everything. We got some wiffle golf balls--pink, of course--for her to practice with. And when we get home we're getting her a play kitchen. I really can't wait to see her play with that; I foresee lots of time spent with that. She loves her play food and play set of pots and pans.

The one shadow over the day is the news that Grandma Estelle, Dan's paternal grandmother, is not long for this world. Hospice started today and Dan's parents are going up to Visalia tomorrow to be with her for a while before she passes. Now comes the awkward and anxious days where every time the phone rings your stomach drops. Her Christmas present still sits on my kitchen counter; the photos for my Christmas cards are en route, and I was waiting until I could send a card with it before I sent it. Regrets, regrets.

So say a prayer for us in these coming days--for the funeral, for a peaceful passing, and for the patience and wisdom that is required when parenting a two-year-old.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Me and my girl (and guy)

My computer has this great little camera on it and a program called "Photo Booth." Abby accidentally launched it today, and boy did she have fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas...

...and all through the house was the scent of Crispex mix and the strains of the "Hallelujah Chorus." Once upon a time I sang first soprano on that song. It's hard for me to sing now, not just because I can't hit half the notes anymore, but because it reminds me that I'm getting older.

We put the presents under the tree after Abby went to bed tonight. I don't like being on this side of Christmas morning magic. Through it's been many, many years since I knew the truth about how those shiny boxes got under the tree, it's a whole 'nother reality to be the one to actually put them there. No clue if Abby will be all that wowed--after all, she saw me wrapping them--so I guess next year will be the start of the true shock and awe of an empty space being suddenly chock-full of goodies--not that we'll fill it with too much chock.

It's been a funky holiday season. Maui was fab, but it really threw off the season for me--for everyone, really; we've all been talking about it. The last few days since we've been home have been non-stop. I even had to brave the mall this morning to finish up on my gift-buying. We had all sorts of plans to walk the fun decked-out neighborhoods with Abby, our resident Christmas light glutton, but only managed to make it to one. I haven't watched "It's a Wonderful Life" yet, which is my most favorite holiday movie ever, and while I can watch it any time I want to, it's certainly not the same after the holiday is over. Sigh.

And for the first time since 1996, I didn't go to church on Christmas Eve. Church is just so darn hard with a toddler.

But now the rush is over. The presents are all wrapped and in bags to take to my parents' or Dan's parents' places, or else under the tree for Abby's first Christmas morning surprise. The kitchen is pretty much cleaned, my clothes and Abby's chosen for the morning, and NBC is showing my movie. My focus can finally come off the preparations and decorations and expectations and remember why it is December 25 is such a big deal.

A nervous father, a teen-aged mother, and a squalling baby feeling the weight of humanity on his tiny frame for the first time.

Happy birthday, Jesus.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Magical Maui

Dan posted a great post about our trip to Maui. He did a much better job of conveying how wonderful the trip was--and included some pictures, too! Check it out!

Congratulations, Maaike!

Maaike and I met back in 1996 when we were both exchange students in Glasgow, Scotland. We became good friends and kept in touch over the years, even met up in Scotland twice to hang out (which is a much easier trip for her, as she lives in Amsterdam!), the second time being back in 2004 when she came with her sweet (and cute!) boyfriend, Jurgen. We both miscarried back in 2005, and both became unexpectedly pregnant soon afterwards--and had our babies within 2 days of each other! (Christmas Eve is Matthijs' 2nd birthday--happy birthday, buddy!) Then, we got to trade exciting news again earlier this year-we were both expecting #2! Our coordination was a bit off this time, though: Carlijn was born on December 6 and is ADORABLE! Congratulations, Maaike!! Check out the precious pics at Carlijn's website--I use Babelfish to translate the entries in the "dagboek;" though it isn't the most reliable translation at times, it gets the main point across at least!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting political

Frequent visitors may notice the new banner on the page. I've never been into politics, but the last year has really affected my views of government and my role in the system as a citizen. It's the first time I've paid any attention whatsoever to the presidential process before the parties had chosen their candidates. And wow. I really, really love this Ron Paul guy. I don't agree with him on every point, but he's pro-life, recognizes that the government has way too much power in the lives of private citizens, is a huge supporter of homechoolers and wants to restore parents' authority in their children's education, and he is a proponent of health freedom, which no other candidate even discusses. Those are the biggest points to me right now. So I did it. I signed up. I have officially joined a political campaign.

If you haven't done a lot of research yet into the candidates, I encourage you to start with Ron Paul. Like the Constitution? Like your freedom? Check him out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


We got home last night from the best vacation we've ever had. Thank you so much for all of you who offered up prayers for our travels. My dad managed to get out of Oklahoma (I was wrong about it being Texas) before things locked up, and in fact got home a whole day earlier than anticipated, so he had plenty of time to get rested up and packed for our trip.

We were nervous about flying with Abby, and the fact that she still hadn't woken up when we had 15 minutes left before leaving for the airport made me even more nervous--she doesn't do well when she's woken up early. But we managed to get her up and in the car, fed her on the way there, and by the time we got to the airport she was chipper and ready to go.

Until we got on the plane.

Turns out the poor thing was a bit claustophobic. We got on the plane and she immediately started whimpering "Out! Out!" The whimpers escalated to wails, and I, being totally paranoid and freaked about making all the other passengers angry, could swear every ounce of negative energy in the universe was focused on us at that second.

But then she seemed to get a grip. Dan and I started singing to her--the Veggie Tales theme, which is one of her new favorites--and then we were in the air and she was fine! For the next five and a half hours she pranced back and forth between us and my parents, looking at the pics of her on my mom's phone, watching videos on Dan's iPod, and playing with a last-minute toy purchase I made in the terminal: a magnetic Noah's Ark play set. (Side note: Abby was the poster child for the "kids don't need a lot of toys" philosophy. She played with nothing but that game for virtually the entire vacation, and was perfectly happy.) No motion sickness (for either of us, hallelujah) no ear problems (though she did stick her fingers in her ears with an odd expression on her face a couple times during landing), and we disembarked with a bubbly happy girl who didn't fall asleep until we were a whopping 15 minutes from the condo where we were staying. The flight home was even better--no crying at all, and she slept for half the flight!

And the days in between those two flights? Incredible. Beautiful views, the comfiest condo with a great bed, awesome food, and great bonding time with the family. Abby was even able to look Kyle in the eyes by the time we left! I can't even choose which memories to record here because there are just so many. Once I get all the pictures off the camera I'll post a few. Until then, I'm off to relive the days in the sun as I throw in the laundry...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Prayers please

Dad's in Texas and ice storms are moving in. He's got a flight lined up at 5:15 CST (was supposed to be 4:30 but it's delayed--not a good sign), so please pray the flight is able to take off. Otherwise he's most likely not going to make it home before we all fly to Hawaii on Wednesday, and would have to just meet us out there when the weather lifts. :(

Please also pray for the two You With A Mission staff members who were shot at their Denver facility last night. One of them is the nephew of a woman on my homebirthing yahoo group--she said he's in stable condition and will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the injury to his neck. Sadly, one of the two workers killed was his girlfriend. :( Please also pray that they catch the shooter; he's still at large and they don't have much in the way of leads.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.

She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.

An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”



Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.

When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.

The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.

And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!

Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril
* * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Houston, we have a two-year-old.

Well, for all intents and purposes, anyway--we may still be a few weeks from her birthday, but the signs are all there. I try really hard not to assign negative labels to behaviors that are merely part of normal developmental stages, but I have to say I already understand quite well why they call it the Terrible Twos.

It seems like the last week or two she's become extremely opinionated on things like who cleans her face or picks her up out of the high chair or who makes her food. Woe unto s/he who tries to reason with her ("Honey, Daddy is upstairs, he can't make you a hot dog right now."), for s/he shall hear the wrath of the screaming Abby. S/he shall be smote with her little fists and feet, and drenched in her snot and tears. Verily, I say unto you, gird thyself with grubby clothes and many tissues, and stuff thy ears with cotton against her wailing. And choose thy battles wisely.

Of course, her fits are balanced with some of the most adorable displays of affection, and wow does she love Christmas decorations! When we're driving at night we try to stop in front of houses with cool displays, and she just keeps saying, "More! More!" as if we can snap our fingers and light up the next house for her. Tonight when I was putting her to bed she started naming all the things we'd seen: "Christmas tree lights! Santa1 Big Snowman! (She loves those inflatable lawn ones!) Mickey Mouse! Pooh!" Looks like we'll be adding some to our own lawn, as Dan promised her he'd take her out tomorrow to get something for our house. he said she wants a Santa. We'll see what she says tomorrow.

And along with the fits and the love comes these amazing cognitive leaps. Out of nowhere she started counting straight from one to fourteen, and she can usually tell you correctly the first time how many objects you hand her, as long as you keep it under three. She's recognizing more letters by sight, and starting to sing along with a lot of the Veggie Tales and Jana Alayra songs. (Bless her heart, she can't carry a tune in a bucket...maybe that will change?) She's even quoting dialogue along with some Blue's Clues episodes that we've watched a million times, as well as the Curious George movie.

It's going to be quite a ride, these next twelve months. Though from what I've read on my favorite parenting forum, age three is no walk in the park either; in fact a lot of moms on there say it's worse than two. But oh well. That too shall pass, and one day I'll be sniffling about how she's fifteen...

Saturday, December 01, 2007


On Thursday we cleaned out the garage. It was a dire situation. There was so much crap you couldn't walk from one end to the other at all, period. Just chock-full. We didn't get to every single box, but what we didn't deal with was all nicely stacked from the last time we cleaned. We filled a Dumpster to the top and put together a huge pile of garage sale stuff, which we (well, my stellar sister-in-law Kelli and I) did today. Our profit was measly, but we sold at least half the stuff, and I was a lot more interested in getting rid of things than I was in making money. After the sale we packed up the car and took the rest to Goodwill, so we'll get a nice tax write-off from that. And now the garage is clean! Hallelujah!

Among the things we unearthed:

- 2 bags of garbage (nothing perishable thank heavens, but why they were there is beyond me, since we don't even go through the garage to get to our trash cans)

- a graduation cap with a 1998 tassel on it--which is of since neither Dan nor I graduated in '98.

- a diaper bag full of newborn diapers (which were so cute because they're SO TINY! I'd forgotten how small they are!)

We seem to do these big garage cleans every time I'm pregnant; hopefully we'll be able to stay on top of it and skip the next kid or two. My back was screaming by the time we were done. It's a good thing I have the best chiro in the world.