The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.


For the [fill in blank] of birds

April 25, 2008 - 10:05 PM

And I thought I was just afraid of bugs.

Case in Point #1: Last year we put up a bird feeder outside out kitchen table window, thinking we could watch sweet little birds eat seeds while we eat. Cute right? Well, then the birds decided that the place for food was SO nice that they would live on top of the food they so enjoyed and they turned our bird feeder into a bird house. We tried emptying the feeder multiple times of it's grassy contents and fill it full of food, but to no avail. The birds deemed it better a home then a grocery store. Once winter started, we got rid of the bird feeder/house.

Case in Point #2: Last year Josh's RAV, which sits in the driveway, had bird poop all down the side door. We assumed a bird was sitting on top of his car and happened to just poop there, or perhaps it was sitting on the electric wires above his car? We had to wash his car more than normal, but no biggie, it didn't last the whole year.

Case in Point #3: Thanks to our roof leaking this past winter, the excess water made itself a nice hole in our soffit. It was no big deal, it wasn't too big but then as spring neared the birds started coming back... and well, they wanted their house back. Instead, they decided to start picking at our hole to make it bigger and get their bodies into. Josh, patched up the hole and they were thwarted... for the moment.

Case in Point #4: The birds decided to make our grill their home. I have heard of this happening to friends before so I wasn't too bothered. But they would sit there, on the grill, squawk to high heavens as if saying, "Where is our food! Where is our home!" They sit on top of our gutters and holler with all their might, it is a very disturbing sound.

Case in Point #5: There was one other very small hole that the leaking roof caused and it was small enough, and still cold outside, we just covered it with duct tape.  Since then, we have had to actually cover it as the birds starting pecking and gnawing at the duct tape, biting it off and pulling it off to work on making the tiny hole larger.

Case in Point #6: Josh's RAV starting getting bird poop on it again. This time, I was looking out the window and saw how it actually happens. The bird, a very large bellied robin, was sitting on the ledge by the side mirror and was banging his head against the window (smearing bird spit all over the window) and the side mirror. He was pecking furiously, trying to get at something inside the mirror. Last year, this happened only on the passenger side and I assume this bird was the only culprit. A few days later, I saw a thinner robin on the driver side, trying to nudge his way in as well, sitting on the ledge, banging his head over and over on the glass and mirror. (Am told, via the web, that this is a bird trying to defend his territory but maybe he was just after Josh's granola bars in the front seat?)

Case in Point #7: I washed Josh's RAV and parked it in the street a little way from our home, thinking I could outsmart the bird. Did the poop stop? No. The Buick was parked on the street by it and it too started getting the same poop stains down the side. Gross.

Closing Arguments: We have 3 perfectly fine bird houses out in our back yard and none of them are being used. Our neighbor behind us has a good dozen bird feeders for all kinds of birds. And yet... and yet... they are watching us.


A Nervous Gardener Finds Her Joy

April 23, 2008 - 8:48 PM

I tell you what, I was nervous last year about gardening, but this year, I am more nervous.

This year, we are attempting to make this a real working/producing garden... planting in succession, freezing, canning and storing properly, etc. I am planning all our summer menus around the garden. I am spending as little money as possible this year and at the same time, planning and planting as much as possible.

I must remind everyone, I have a black thumb.

Gardening does not come easy for me. Sans last year's garden, at my house, I have plastic flowers OUTSIDE instead of real ones, oy! I've read 4 gardening books at least 5 times this spring, talked to a dozen fellow gardeners, planned it all out on paper and am so convinced it will not work this year.

Have you ever had those times when, you have done something, it was wonderful, everything clicked just right and you were like, "Yeah, I would totally do that again." Anything really... a parade, a food or drink, a location, an event, etc. Then, you do this thing again, and right from the get-go, everything is off. It didn't start how you hoped or remembered or something funky happened along the way, or an off night for the cook.

That is how I have felt every day at the lot. We got into our lots late, it was raining a ton, the water wasn't turned on, etc. Nothing seems to be working out like I had planned and even though some things are in the ground, nothing is sitting right within me.

Our New Lot (notice Leslie's Beautiful Trellis in the back right?)

Even in the midst of it all though, I know the kids are enjoying the time. I decided to make short quick trips to the garden in the late afternoons where we play a bit, make a big go of it, then play a bit more and go home. We plant only a few things each visit and if attitudes go sour we can quickly get up and go. But when the boys work, they really work, and they are getting good. And when they play, they play hard.

Boys at Play

My surprise joy this year has been Miriam. She has been so cheerful and helpful this year. She loves walking to and from the water with me, she holds my hand and talks my ear off the whole trip. She makes up little stories for me or tells me about her day. With the constant talking of her brothers, she has used this time, just her and I, to catch up on the events of the day. It is odd to hear her speak in such complete thoughts, again, because she rarely gets a word in with her brothers. Today, she even made up a song, "I love! my mom and dad! and i love! to obey them! zeke and max! are my best brothers! in the world!"

Working Miriam

In any event, I make no promises this year... call me the candidate who sees their loss coming and starts dissing themself early. I don't know what will come of it on a produce side, but on a charater side, for the kids and I, I can already see beautiful fruit coming.

On Sheep and Bicycles - Have I written this before?

April 17, 2008 - 12:12 AM

A long time ago, I wrote of how the boys know that when on a bike ride and I say their name they must immediately stop their bikes. One time, thanks to Zeke knowing my voice and obeying it, it saved the life of a then little 3-year-old Zeke with training wheels when a car came rushing out of a blind alley.

Now we have 3 kids, 2 on bikes who ride fast and one who is just starting on training wheels. Over time the rules have not changed: stop at all intersections, wait for the "clear," always look in driveways and of course, stop immediately if you hear mom call your name. Covering all those instructions, something that I love and am ever so thankful the boys have always done, is that they obey me - first.

Though I long for, and am working hard at having, our children growing in their obedience and respect for other adults over the other adults, they need to heed our instructions first no matter what.  Most definitely, when it comes to our bike riding on busy streets at these ages, it is all about "obey me first."

Flashback... I remember driving to work one day on Lincoln Way (4 lane busy road through Ames). In the left lane was a whole back log of traffic (me included), the right lane clear (why I don't know). A car going the opposite direction from us wanted to take a left across our backlog of cars. The car ahead of me waved him through.

What the car ahead of me did not know was that there was an impatient driver a few cars back who swerved out of the left lane ( I just happened to look in my rear view mirror at the exact moment he did this) and came barreling full speed (ie more than 35mph) ahead. Nothing I could do to stop it, I watched in horror as the person taking the left was absolutely demolished and spun around by the guy in the right lane. Yes, the driver ahead of me was nice enough to wave the person over, but they were not checking in all the blind spots.

Tonight riding to church, it made this mama so proud. They stop, before the red concrete, and wait. Sometimes Miriam and I take a while but we are still coming and the boys never have to look back because they know we are coming. Car after car will wave them on. They stand there and shake their heads with an emphatic "NO." Car after car will wave them on again. They don't move... they attempt to direct traffic like a traffic cop, waving their hands to the sides... but they do not move. They don't get close to the road and they don't move and they are not even tempted to move. When the cars finally see me coming they think the boys will move, but they don't. When I say "clear," the boys move.

In theory, I know the drivers are just trying to be nice, waving on the boys to go ahead... they think it is safe. Do they see the speeding car behind them? Do they really have the boys on all angles? Do they truly know what is best for them? Do they understand all their strengths and weaknesses? Do they love the boys as much as we do? Do they see the bigger picture for their little lives? No.

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." (John 10:1-5)

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-3

Happy Birthday Handsome!

April 15, 2008 - 8:19 AM

Give this guy rotting apples and he'll make apple pie from scratch...

Pie Man

We love you!  Happy Birthday and Tax Day!

The Lost Seinfeld Episode - The MIssing Band Aid.

April 9, 2008 - 7:21 AM

I suppose one of things one loves about Seinfeld is that, in reality, the situation is innocent and charming enough but as in all Seinfeld, the ending is a bust. Truthfully, this situation was really wonderful the whole time through, learning to cook Mediterranean food, delicious ingredients, with a good friend & yummy wine, I had a wonderful night last night... but this one little thing that honestly kept me up last night, made the cynic in me decided to turn it into a Seinfeld episode...

Jerry somehow meets this woman who is a cooking instructor and is attracted to her. He signs up for her cooking class, gets Kramer to come with, attends the class and sits in the front row. The whole time you are listening to her give instructions with intermittent overlays of thoughts going on in Jerry's head. Jerry is not paying any attention to Kramer who is soaking up every second of it more than Jerry. Jerry is contemplating if the woman is truly worth it,, yada, yada, yada.

Halfway through the class, the instructor takes off a band aid from her finger and leaves it on the work surface, out of the way, but on the work surface. Jerry's seat and the big overhead mirror to better show the demonstration are directly in line to watch this band aid, just sit there on the surface. He frantically looks around, trying to see if anyone will notice, but everyone has eyes glued on the instructor.

Of course this would be played in and out of the other saga for the night... George pretending he is a visiting Super while he was found downstairs in the "staff only" basement of his apartment trying to turn up the heat on his water heater...

Jerry's internal voice is freaking out and watching as person after person clean up the work area for the instructor but each person just happens to miss removing the band aid. It gets pushed around a little bit and Jerry, knowing the dish is going to be processed soon, is afraid of the worst for this band aid.

Finally, Jerry decides to just make it through the processing part and then he knows he is safe. Then Kramer distracts him and the power goes out for a few moments (thanks to George playing the Super) and even though the instructor starts back up, Jerry is trying to straighten out Kramer for a moment in the post outage confusion. When Jerry finally gets his eyes back on the band aid, it is gone. He looks everywhere but can't find the band aid.

At first he keeps it in his head a little while longer, the food is coming out and looking delicious, he is trying to be nice and try everything but Jerry can't stand it anymore, stands up and shouts, "Where is the band aid?! Is it in here?! Here?!" He frantically scours the food, the food on other people's plates, the trash, but no sign of the band aid. Kramer, who has become infatuated with the instructor as well, goes to her aid and is kicking Jerry out of the class while he is yelling, "Where is it?! Where is it??!!!!" Knocking over tables, etc.

Kramer finds the band aid on the floor asks if this was what Jerry was freaking out about. But it was too late, Jerry was kicked out of the class.

Jerry is sitting outside the class to apologize to the beautiful woman. She walks out with Kramer and Kramer leaves to hail a cab. Jerry apologizes, saying how he just couldn't stop looking at it the whole time, yada, yada, yada... she says no problem, and shakes his hand. She gets in the cab, Kramer steps out to say something to Jerry to the effect of, "You know this was her first time back instructing since her surgery... You know she was wearing that band aid to cover up the final remains from her (insert rare skin disease here)."

Meanwhile, George is back in his apartment and feeling rather proud that he played a good Super and got his heat turned up. He brags about it to Elaine who is over watching his cable for this show she had to se

I *heart* Battle Dish Month

April 8, 2008 - 9:35 AM

Just so you know...

1. We survived casserole night at house church!  Yeah!!  Zeke even had seconds!

2. Last night I made scalloped potatoes and ham and I would normally put onions on half but now, thanks to the blessing of BDM, I just put onions everywhere and wa-la!, the kids ate it all up!  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  Why did I not do this sooner?  Silly Mama!

3. I actually baked some bread in the bread maker last night and it worked!  (The last time I baked in the bread maker it went psycho and threw itself off the counter and broke itself.  Ever since, I have been scared to use the things!)

10 Things... tagged by Alicia M

April 6, 2008 - 12:13 PM

OY! 10 things about myself you probably don't know...

1. I would love to live on a sustainable homestead. This is really strange since I love the city a lot, I love buildings and architecture immensely and will never give up my enjoyment those things found in mass. But I would love to live away from everything and have to work hard for everything as a family. I would love to learn to raise chickens and other livestock for food, from milking cows to actually killing the chickens, de-feathering and all. Some people think it is glamorizing things and it is not fun, but I think having our garden last summer taught us a lot and the garden this summer being more of a food source for our family this summer will cause us to experience that lifestyle more.
2. I HATE Oreos but I LOVE Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.
3. I started drinking coffee by adding a half package of hot cocoa mix to a cup of coffee. This is crazy because I really don't like chocolate... well, I like brownies sometimes if they are just regular brownies without extra chocolate chunks and such, and will eat an occasional chocolate bar but only if it has nuts, but that too is rare.
4. I used to smoke (sorry Mom!) and quit the day before getting married, cold turkey. I have only smoked 2 cigarettes after that day, one the day before RN got married and once before MP got married and am now done for good, though the craving is still there.
5. I used to cover up the birthmark on my face with makeup. Now, I hardly ever even know it exists. (I actually asked my husband before writing this out if it was still on my face, duh Dana!)
6. I talk out loud to myself while exercising... if it is doing something I like (sweatin' to the oldies, nordic track, lifting weights) it is encouraging things like, "Come on girl!"... if it is something I do not like (running) I curse the whole time, non stop, under my breath if kids are running near or out loud if they are far away.
7. I almost didn't graduate college for 2 different reasons... first, for my BArch I needed 169 credits and I had 168.5. I snuck my way into a tennis class that met the second half of my last semester of college in order to graduate. The second was that my second to last semester of college was half at ISU and half at the College of Torino, something ISU frowns upon but thankfully was able to sneak by on that one too.
8. I am a horrible actress but in my sophomore year of HS I got the lead in the school play one week before opening night. The play was Dracula and the lead actress quit. Now, my sister was the supporting actress and I was a techie but because of my sister and me wishing I was as cool as her, I hung out all the time there. When the lead actress quit, she flippantly pointed as me and said, "She could do it." The director knew I stunk but was desperate and in one weekend I memorized all the lines and blocking. I got to rehearse 3 times and then perform for the crowd, insane!
9. I always read the first chapter of a book and then immediately read the last chapter. I only recently started doing this since I have been married. Josh reads all these exciting novels before bed and the suspense in them drives me crazy. I read the first chapter to know the players and then the last chapter to know the ending. If the ending seems good I will read the whole book. It drives Josh absolutely crazy.
10. I initially HATED the internet and computers when I entered college. Mind you, when I entered college hardly anyone owned a computer or had email addresses. I flat out refused to use them except when forced to do so for class. Ironic now that it is our bread and butter.

I would love to tag you all but then who would you tag? I will tag Maren, in hopes she'll blog and post a cutie Jem picture... Nancy, so we<

Survival of the fittest!

April 3, 2008 - 3:26 PM

Nope... just a wrap up pf Battle Dish Month! We survived!


- Children will now eat marinara sauce no matter what crazy veggies concoctions (various types of onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc) I put in it and eat the sauce on top without having to pick out anything.
- Children eat whole grain pasta.
- Mom will now eat whole grain pasta and not complain.
- Children have started eating "Daddy Bread" (aka crazy whole wheat/grainy/oaty/flaxy/chunky bread Josh bakes in the bread machine) like it is going out of style.
- Children eat oatmeal, cottage cheese, applesauce without complaining and now love them!
- Mom will even eat "Daddy Bread."
- Children will eat Wild Rice Soup, Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Jambalaya, etc, without having to pick anything out.
- Mom and children now eat cauliflower.
- Children now eat asparagus.
- Children now eat whatever fruit is served (even pears!) and if the skin is edible, they will eat said skin.
- Mom will eat pears.
- Family has found some edible casseroles that they enjoy.
- Children eat omelets with everything in them.
- Children eat lettuce and other salad greens.
- Children eat caramelized onions and olives on pizza.
- Children eat spinach in their lasagna.
- Children eat a white sauce on their pasta.
- Children have grown to expect weird things in their food and will eat said weird things.
- Food budget has come way down! Hip, hip hooray!

All in all, I think it has definitely been a success! After one meal toward the end of the month (I think the one with the spinach in the seafood lasagna) the kids all ate up their food quickly and without complaining and I was simply beaming from ear to ear... I was one proud Mama! 

I am very excited too that I found ways to plan meals better with new recipes and use fresh ingredients and use them all wisely. I am also very glad to get the budget way down and still be healthy and not sacrifice on quality.

However, I think the ultimate test will be the next house church dinner... the proof of the pudding is (definitely) in the eating!

You hear of this thing happening all the time, right??

April 1, 2008 - 1:26 AM

I kept looking at my daughter thinking something was weird about how her she looked ...

New Bangs

Yep, she got her bangs cut... not by me, or by her... but by her brother.

Thankfully, her hair was post-nap-time-tosselly at the time of the shearing AND some of her front hair was back SO the chunk that was cut off WITH her natural wispies AND general tossel of a girl who hates wearing her hair up (sans the other day) MAKES it not TOO noticeable. (Obviously, if her mother didn't figure it out right away!)

And sure enough, there by the couch was a pile of Miriam's golden locks. And sure enough, she said that she liked it... a lot.

Note to self: Think of all the other typical silly things done by children, like things in noses, ears, sockets, (a little late for) hair cutting and the like, and warn children of them now. These things happen even if you think you watch them like a hawk, oy!

Note to self: This is why I pray my kids will always be found out.


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About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
   Travels in Germany & Austria
   Travels in Czech & Poland


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