as I look back on 2008, wow what a year!  I moved back to SoCal, a place I NEVER thought I'd come back to.  I lived with roommates (all boys), that was strange.  Elliott came into our lives.  we became completely broke, like the rest of the country.  we now live in Colorado, also a place I NEVER  thought I would be.  I'm sure there is more, those are my highlights.
my point is, only God knows what lies ahead.  anytime I try to imagine my future, I'm way off.  He continues to change me into a person I never thought was possible, putting me in circumstances I thought was never available, and hopefully along the way, I open my eyes and ears to His kingdom that IS always there, and learn a thing or two from Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.      Proverbs 3:5-6

everyone, be safe tonight, there are too many idiots that like to drink and drive! blessings for 2009!

Santa's gift

Santa was nice enough to leave Sam and Elliott a note Christmas morning. you can kind of see it in the photo.
Santa explained that his job delivering gifts was in honor of Jesus' birthday and that Jesus is the one we say thanks to, not to him. we tried to connect Santa and Jesus the best we could. I also made cupcakes so we could sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. corny I know, but hopefully the connection was made. I think he got it.

we left Santa cookies Christmas Eve, and we woke up to find he left one behind for Sam. as Sam was about to take a bite, I noticed something else already had nibbled at it. we were pretty sure Santa left us more mice! darn Santa!

it took a few days, but we caught 2 more mice. I hope that is it. I'm sick of finding mouse poop everywhere. seriously, I've found it in such strange places. at least they never ventured upstairs to our bedrooms!

and here are the boys with some of their gifts.
Sam scored a few games, a magic set, and his favorites, these skates and this grabber thingy from his grandparents.

Elliott didn't care about what he got, he just wanted to eat the wrapping paper and play with the bows.

Christmas was nice this year. we were home with each other for once, with no obligations.
of course we did miss the family; next year we plan on taking a big trip up, down, and around CA to see everyone. or you guys could all come to us ... let's flip a coin!

I hope your Christmas was wonderful! let's be sure to celebrate our freedom in Christ everyday, not just December 25th.

goo-goo ga-ga

I don't claim to be an expert at anything. but as I am going through the experience of babyhood the second time around, I've allowed the truth to really set in about a few things. here are some of my latest revelations and so, some mommy advice from me to you.

*if your baby doesn't want a binky, don't force it. if you're on your first baby, you can't imagine what the fight will be like when he/she is 3 and still won't want to give it up. yes, they may be loud now, but better now than later. much better. toddlers have bigger lungs along with a vocabulary to whine and cry about it, a lot longer than any baby would.

*as soon as your baby begins eating solids, don't buy the cheap diapers anymore! I thought I made this great discovery buying Target brand diapers; they're literally 1/2 the price. as soon as Elliott starting eating real food, poop took on a whole new ... everything! it was coming out of ALL sides, which means using more wipes and doing more laundry. it's worth the price, just buy Huggies!

*swaddle your baby as long as possible. Elliott was a summer baby, so I got muslin swaddling blankets, actually my hubby surprised me with them one day. of course he had the best of intentions, but he got this ridiculously humongous size. when Elliott was born, I had to fold them in a strange way to make it work the right way. but since babies grow so fast, that strange folding didn't last very long. now that he's 6 months old, and I have these huge blankets, I can still swaddle him. he calms down instantly when I wrap him. "they say" you ought to train your baby to not be swaddled anymore. personally I don't see the big deal, my baby loves it.

*for whatever reason, I was able to see myself third person the other day. and I now know that I am one of those moms that uses the "airplane" at feeding time, with sound effects and everything. I speak in baby-talk regularly, and I practically scream YAY! when he eats a big bite. today after each bite he lifted up his arms with a big smile, so I of course joined him. that might be our new thing. now that I'm thinking about it, that might get old, raising my arms up and down after EVERY bite. anyway, my point is have fun no matter what you're doing. no he won't remember the specifics of babyhood, you might though, and it's a happy, positive foundation he can build upon.

alright super-moms, I want your advice too.

off the grid

Colorado has many things California doesn't, but the one thing that is the same is the sea of houses you see from any hilltop. out here there is a HUGE air force base, so there are thousands of military families in addition to the thousands of families that are already here.

I think a couple different things when I see that kind of view. one of my reactions is wow, look at all these people! all these people that God created, with a plan for each one. and one house doesn't equal one person, it probably equals more like 3 to 5 per household. but usually I think wow, look at all these people, what a rat-race! are we living on a compound of some kind?! all these houses look the same; it's one humongous maze of people.

and I suppose this is how it is in most of our country now. I guess what else can you expect with billions of people; where else would they go? you have to put houses that close together now, with a grocery store and a playground in every neighborhood.
have you seen Edward Scissorhands? remember the scene when all the husbands are off to work, having the same car, backing out of the driveway at the same time, all the wives waving goodbye from the house, which are all the same except painted a different color? I also love the intro to the show Weeds. both are exactly what I'm talking about.

that's what I tend to see, it sort of disgusts me. why? we all got here the same way (meaning God made us all without us asking for it) so I'm just like them, right? I'm not doubting God at all or questioning his plan, I'm having issues with how the world has changed His intention. I think I just really want to be in a place where I feel close to God, and suburbia just doesn't cut it for me.
the world has really imposed negativity on our lives - you need this, this, and that to be successful. and that list of things you need always seems to get longer, and it always takes money, and it's become so ingrained as an obligation instead of for passion or for a calling.

there is so much to vent about.

what hubby and I have come to the conclusion on is that life needs to be simpler. it's become so complicated; for many reasons I suppose. when we sit and think about what is really important, we always come back to how our lives will impact our children. what will we pass on? that you must conform?

you may have guessed, we're back on the home-schooling route.

hubby likes to call it "getting off the grid." that doesn't [necessarily] mean we're going to be farmers. he still needs a job to make money; that part we can't get around. but as we live a simpler life, we won't need to spend as much.
we are here for now, in suburbia. but as we learn the area (because we plan on staying here) we'll be looking around for a house with land.

our current house has a good sized backyard, so we plan to start practicing. we want to grow our own herbs and veggies, which means we'll be starting a compost, we'd like a greenhouse, and I want some chickens. cluck cluck! basically, we want to liver greener, and I don't mean just buy organically (sorry, but that to me seems so trendy) but to really use natural resources.

it will be journey, but it's one we both totally agree on ... and for those of you who know us, we don't agree on much. this is the first time in a loooooong time that hubby and I are loving being together, fighting the same fight. it's exciting!


this is my 100th post. I feel like I've accomplished something. what, I'm not entirely sure, but something! it feels good to get something out on paper, ...sort of, and vent to someone? something? that listens, ...sort of. if that even makes sense.
anyway - babe is almost 7 months old now, and we finally have a sitter-upper! he can sit up, I'd say for at least a couple of minutes, and then it's TIMBER, thud! he's working on crawling too. when he's on his tummy, for one he doesn't really complain anymore, but now he can move around in a circle. his tummy stays in one spot, and he uses his arms and hands to sort of spin around - if you can envision that. he's also rolling much more, so he's actually getting around the room. I need to get baby gates ASAP!
he's saying da-da a lot in his babbling. I don't think he knows what he's saying exactly, but cute none-the-less. mama's do so much work, and then they say da-da first. it's just not right!
it's cold out here in Colorado. here is me and my babe staying warm, all bundled up. I love snuggle time with my kids, it's the best. stay warm this winter!

a Grimm death

the mouse is dead ...

after I had gone to bed last night, hubby hears some squeaking. he goes to investigate and finds the mouse on the trap. this gooey, sticky stuff sucks the limbs in more as the animal fights to get away. when he was found, there was no getting out.
hubby has a soft side and really tried to get him loose, but his fate was inevietable. so hubby either had to let it freeze to death stuck in this thing outside or put it out of it's misery.
what do you think he did?
well for those of you who actually know him, this will probably come to no surprise ...
he took the mouse into the garage and got out his pellet gun. the mouse didn't see it coming, and obviously didn't feel a thing.

thought you might like to know - we're rodent free!!

goodbye mickey mouse

squish squash

my new favorite this fall is squash. it seems my taste buds have changed since turning 30 last year. I'm now loving all kinds of veggies. (aren't you proud mom? finally, right?!)

2 yummy recipes I'd like to share -

now this first one isn't like eating vegetables at all, but there is squash in it ... sort of.
pumpkin spice bread
whisk together:
1 3/4 C flour - you can also use 1 C white flour and 3/4 C wheat flour
1 1/2 C sugar - you can also use 1 C regular sugar and 1/2 C splenda
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
set aside
combine the following then add to dry mixture
1/2 C melted butter (1 stick)
1 C canned pumpkin
1 beaten egg
1/3 C water
grease and flour 9x5 loaf pan. bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

a perfect side to any dinner. this is along the lines of mashed potatoes, but squash instead.
butternut squash
1 squash
1/4 C butter
1/2 C sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
halve and seed squash. bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour in a bit of water. scoop out of skin, add all other ingredients and mix with electric mixer until smooth. serve warm. enjoy!

today's adventure

what could be cute and gross at the same time? a mouse running around my house!

the other morning was as normal as ever, I was feeding the boys breakfast and Papa was headed out the door for work. it had snowed the night before, so he was outside scraping the windshield and warming up his truck before leaving.
I headed for the pantry to put something away and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something. all I saw was a dark blur running away. OMG!
I didn't freak out too much since the boys were there. and knowing Sam, he'd want to search for "it" so he could have a new friend.
so I call Papa back inside and tell him "now I'm not crazy, but I swear I saw something scurry that way!" of course he doesn't believe me and does think I'm crazy, but to calm my imagination he lifts up the sofa and does a quick search before leaving for work. of course, we found nothing.
later that day as I'm making lunch, I see nibbles in the bread bag and a chunk missing from a piece of bread. when Papa gets home I show him this - "see? I'm not crazy!"
we got a few traps, but the mouse managed to maneuver around them and so he was free for another night.
so this morning as we're coming downstairs, I remind Papa about the trap. it's the kind that is super sticky, so if/when the mouse steps on it, it can't move. eeewww! I did not want to find the catch; if the mouse was squirming, it could have ripped off its own skin to try and get away. eeewww!

the mouse wasn't on the trap this morning. we did see him on another shelf in the pantry, so Matt grabbed some tupperware (the closest thing) to catch him. he made a break for it and tried to go under the fridge. he was small, but luckily his belly was too big and couldn't get underneath it fast enough. too many carbs from our bread I guess! so Matt pulled him out by his tail and we got him.

so he's a cutie after all. I told Matt I was envisioning the rat from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (can't remember his name now) even though he was a good guy in the movie, he was so gross! he was big and hairy, with huge unbrushed teeth ... not that a rat would brush his teeth, but you know what I mean. big and yellow with bad, no rank, breath. eeewww!

so we talked about what to do with him. if we put him outside in the cold, he'd die for sure. he's not going to be our pet, so what do we do? before kids I wouldn't care so much, but since Sam has been old enough, I try to do catch and release with him like with spiders and whatever else. if I expect him to value life, I can't be killing those creepy spiders, right? they are all God's creation, right?!
so I told Matt to put him in the field near the high school (we're like a block away). I figured he'd have the best chance there. as he's getting the mouse ready for the move, he's feeling sorry for it and decided to put some of the bread he's been persistently hunting each night in there, you know for comfort. ha! what do you think happened next?
yep, the mouse jumps out and into the sink. Matt was so afraid he'd go down the garbage disposal. as he's trying to re-catch the mouse, the mouse is obviously freaking out and trying to jump out of the sink. he can't jump quite high enough, so Matt says "wow he's got some ups for a little mouse!" and then of course as soon as that is said, he got just enough to get out of the sink. so now, he's running up and down the counter. eeewww! we just can't get him, he jumps on the floor again, but this time cornered. as Matt gets the tupperware ready, Matt hits his head on the corner of the countertop, falls to his knees in pain, and that pesky mouse got away. he went in the crack to get behind the dishwasher ... and as of now, that's where he stays.
since Matt hit his head, that made him mad and so he put the trap at his only exit. we'll see if he can get around it again.
if he does get out unscathed, I guess we'll find him in the pantry again tomorrow.

dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years. Here are my Christmas wishes: I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting 'Don't eat in the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

'tis the season

we went to the downtown lights parade this weekend. sorry, no pictures of the floats. they were all kind of corny anyway. but as a parent, you do the majority of things for your kids - this night included. but let me tell you, it was fun being in the cold, sitting on frozen sidewalks, and fighting the crowds to save our awesome seats! we did get a free balloon, cocoa, and cookies from those hosting the event that night. that makes it all worth it, right?!
here is Papa and Elliott. I should've gotten another angle; when you look at Elliott, think Christmas Story. he had on one of those one-piece snowsuit things. it was too big for him, but it still looked like the kid in the movie who just couldn't move for anything. he was so warm and cozy in there; he ended up falling asleep during the parade.

Papa did Christmas lights this year. bad picture, I know. I couldn't find the night-time setting. anyway -
lights are so fun. if you squint, you can see our 10' snowman in our front yard. those blow-up things aren't too popular around here, so we get a lot of people slowing down for a look.
we just got our tree, so I'll have to add a picture of that another time.

I love poinsettia's. bright and bold red, yellow, and green. so Christmas-y. do yours ever live after the holidays? I water it and love it like my other plants, but it seems to have some internal clock and dies no later than the New Year. maybe I give it too much love. I have been known to kill plants doing that!

we're suppose to get lots of snow tonight and tomorrow. "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go ..."

I hope the spirit of Christmas finds you all!

sleep tight

... don't let the bed bugs bite!

my hubby insists that making your bed will allow the bed bugs to have nicer living quarters. he says they like it "cozy" and all covered up. so his answer to not getting bed bugs is ... any guesses? ... to not make the bed of course.

now keep in mind, I do change our bed sheets. my mom has ingrained in me that sheets ought to be changed once weekly, but I'm more like once every two weeks ... or so. sorry mom.
and I absolutely LOVE the feeling of new sheets on a bed - fresh, clean, smells good, feels good, and I always sleep so good too.

I don't think we've ever had bed bugs. seems like something you'd remember if you had, right? Sam has gotten some itchy bites from an unknown source before. bed bugs? not sure.

having a California king bed is nice. we're not snugglers, so we both get our own space to spread out on the bed. and too, there is room for Sam get in there in the wee-wee hours of the morning ... nothing to do with pee-pee!

here's my excuse now - having this huge bed, is definitely a chore to make. if there were two people doing it, it would be a piece of cake and done in 10 seconds. but with one person you have to pull one side of the sheet, walk around to the other side and pull that up. and you can't just do the reach-over; it's too big! I've tried it!
then you have to get the blanket, one side then the other. then the comforter, one side then the other. then the pillows, one side then the other. then the decorative pillows, one side then the other.
whew! I'm tired just thinking about it ...

and I know we've all heard the stories about spiders crawling in and out of our mouths, noses, and ears throughout the night. SO GROSS!

so I'm now trying to find something, anything for my hubby's argument on bedbugs. yes they do like cozy places, but I can't find any proof that not making your bed eliminates your chances of getting them. if you find something on this, please let me know.

now go change your sheets!

good intentions

this is the most snow I've seen in 5 years! we used to live in the sticks of NorCal, Portola to be exact, and we got plenty of snow there.
living in Chico and then in Corona, snow is more like make believe so it was easy to forget about it.
this year in Colorado we've gotten some snow, but it always melted the next day. yesterday was not one of those days.
I took this photo at 815am, shortly after I woke up. I should've taken more later in the day, because there was more to shovel. there was probably a good foot of snow.

this is from my bedroom window looking out onto the neighbors yards. pretty neat to wake up to this. I really do hope we have a white Christmas this year.
probably won't be able to see a thing in the spring; those trees will be covered with new green leaves.
not that I spy on my neighbors or anything!

so Sam and I go out to play and shovel the driveway. I thought I was being a great multi-tasker; I started a load of laundry, I fed Elliott and put him down for his morning nap, and I was entertaining/working with Sam outside.
we were outside for 1/2 hour or so and I thought to check on Elliott. I hear nothing so I continue shoveling. here's what I find coming in another 1/2 hour later -

poor baby! I don't normally put him down for a nap on his bouncy seat, but I wanted to keep him downstairs while we were outside. his swing is out of batteries and if he's in that while it's not moving, he'd wake up within 10 minutes. very furstrating for me. D batteries are expensive!
anyway, I thought I would be able to hear his shrieks, if there were any. apparently, I did not.

I run the risk of looking like a bad mother, I know. I sure felt like it when I found him this way ... although I thought it was funny too, which is why I got the camera!
originally he was swaddled with 1/2 the seatbelt on - only 1/2 because I couldn't get the thingy between his legs. with all his squirming and wiggling, and probably screaming too, he managed to get out of his swaddle and scoot down.

he's been concentrating on freedom these last couple of weeks. I also found him on his tummy this morning in his crib.
he'll be crawling soon it seems, which will be weird because his brother never crawled ... I take that back, Sam crawled for only 2 days, then started walking.

lesson learned. sorry Elliott.