29 September 2008

Time flies

I am anticipating that October will be a more reasonable month for us. Every single weekend of September was occupied with moving. Daniel got sick twice, Annalivia was sick once. I was wiped out all of the time, which I found out today is probably due to an extremely low hemoglobin level. Poor Dennis has been a slave to us, work and school.
October will be better, I pray.
And hopefully, I'll be here more often. Thanks to those of you who have been checking in. I hope your Septembers were lovely.

22 September 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Family favorites edition

Since my job in the words of my facebook description, "Cog in the wheel of family functionality," I am getting back to menu planning and closer attention to the financial aspects of home management. Here's what we're eating this week.

Monday: Tuna Noodle Casserole, Sauteed Green Peas
Tuesday and a visit from Grandma Alice: Baked Potatoes with optional fixin's -- broccoli, cheese, bacon, and my fave -- cottage cheese and onion, Chocolate Caramel bars
Wednesday: Frozen Ziti and Salad
Thursday: French Toast (Annalivia's request) with Fruit Salad
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: away at the last hurrah in Rock Falls
Sunday (after church): Roast Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Salad, Grammy's Apple Pie

Grammy's Apple Pie Recipe
6-8 large tart apples (I'm using Jonathan this week), peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
juice of a lemon
Mix together and pour into prepared pie crust. Apples should make a nice mound in crust.

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
Cut butter into flour and sugar until pea-sized. Carefully pour over and press into apples. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Groceries for the week were $73 and included some crackers, peanut butter, cheese, potatoes, etc. that we don't really need this week. And I already had the pasta made and the apples purchased. I forgot cottage cheese, but hopefully, I can hold the budget down! We'll see how it goes.
For more menu planning ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday.

21 September 2008

Mr. D

Daniel is getting so big now. He's learned how to say, "Mommmeeeeeee!" with this sweet affection and will frequently come up and give me hugs and pat my face and say my name lovingly. I think it's so adorable. Annalivia always called me "Momma" not "Mommy" until she was older. Daniel drags out the "eeeeee" so it it sounds especially sweet.

He's also adopting a lot of other sweet mannerisms. When he answers in the affirmative, he will most likely say, "Yep" even when he is sobbing, which is awfully darn precious. He says, "oh, okeee" a lot and has all sorts of other words too.

And he is still absolutely enthralled with trucks and trains to the extent that he will lie in bed and say the names of the engines on the island of Sodor over and over again, interspersing them with the names of the family. And he can play by himself with trains and trucks and some little construction vehicles for a long time, giving them sound effects and crashing them into each other occasionally. I love watching the little boy emerge from my baby.

He has also perfected the role of persecuted little brother. And so far, Mommy and Daddy have been playing into it. One shriek from him and we immediately say, "Annalivia! What is going on?" It's just recently that I've been realizing that he has been happy to use this to his advantage. We're trying to be more fair.

But regardless of whether we are enjoying him or correcting, it's just a neat time to be around little Daniel. I'm glad to be here.

Church without leading it

Today the kids and I got up, got dressed and walked the block and a half to my home church. Dennis is in Rock Falls packing more of our stuff up, so it was just the three of us. The morning started pretty well. Daniel went to the nursery, Annalivia went to Sunday School and I went to an adult class taught this week by my Dad. Dad had a great lesson, if I do say so myself -- some really wonderful insights.
I was excited for church and only slightly daunted by Daniel sobbing and crying for Mommy when I walked into the nursery. Annalivia was going to stay in Godly Play for church, so we went up to the sanctuary. The opening hymn was The Church's One Foundation and the pipe organ was incredible. I almost cried with gratitude for the music.
Then we read the opening prayer and litany which involved references to this church's history and the association with the denomination, and from there, the rest of the morning seemed like Denomination Propaganda Day. I realized that, in actuality, it must have been Heritage Sunday (though I did not see that listed in the bulletin anywhere), which was used by our denomination back in the day to celebrate our past. There was a sorority from the college there and I just felt sorry for them that they had to be there on a day which was obviously for "insiders." Even as a former insider, I felt like it was a day for a special few. I don't really like that.
Anyway, the music was lovely. The choir sang a great anthem and Daniel was inspired to sing along with it. After that, the kids did not last through the rest of church. We ended up in nursery and a back room and finally, in the courtyard outside the sanctuary, where we could at least hear the organ, for the rest of it.
The best part of the whole morning, though, was sitting by Dad and Grammy and Gramps, my brother-in-law, and my niece. It's just really, really nice to be around family and to worship with them is an extra-special treat, I think.
And as for going to church as a civilian, as it were -- loved it! I'm looking forward to next week.

19 September 2008

To end the day

The kids took impossible naps today. They fell asleep on the way home from dinner and stayed asleep until about 7:50. We were just heading back from the drive to a dark house, when Annalivia woke up and said, "Mommy, is Mavis a diesel engine?" I answered her and prayed she'd go back to sleep and as I was beginning that prayer, Daniel woke up and Annalivia said, "Let's sing!" and we launched into the "Engine Roll Call" and that was that. They were awake.
When we got home we noticed that the high school had a football game tonight. Our house is directly across the street from the funeral home in town which backs up to the football field. Folks park in the funeral home lot and watch the game for free sometimes. It's a beautiful night so, after nice baths from Daddy, we went to the store and got a small container of ice cream, then loaded up the wagon with the kids, ice cream, four spoons and a bunch of paper towels and headed across the street to see the last two minutes of the second quarter of the game. Eureka scored a touchdown on our way over and was doing a good job defending their lead by intercepting right before the end of the half. Then we watched the marching band, which, frankly, was a little disappointingly boring, then we came home.
It was a fun treat -- jammies, ice cream, the wagon, the game and the band. We'll have to do this again.

The day we lived

Today is the the two-year anniversary of the auto accident that changed our lives. So much has happened in the years since that day. Surgeries, and therapies, Daniel's birth, another pregnancy, job changes, the alleviation of debt, a move...
Two years later, our lives are totally different, thanks, in large part, to the events set about on that day. On this day, I am so thankful for all that has occurred in the intervening months.
But most of all, today, I am profoundly grateful that on this day, Dennis and Daniel and I lived.

14 September 2008

Casual dinner gatherings

I have a few moments while Dennis gets the kids a bath and so I just want to say again -- I love my family. I love that I can call them up on Sunday afternoon, invite them to dinner at 6, serve them dinner at 6:40, and have a lovely time despite unpacked boxes, unclean floors, and unorganized everything.
Grammy and Gramps and Lil's family came over for dinner tonight. It was nice to be able to just get together without pressure of a big to-do. We had homemade pizza -- two kinds; one was sausage, tomatoes from our garden, mushrooms, and onions and the other was chicken, garlic, feta, mushrooms, and mozzarella, with walnuts to put on top since I forgot to put them on the pizza. We also had a simple salad and sliced apples -- all good wholesome food and all tasty, not fussy, etc.
Tomorrow, Dennis' mom is coming for a little visit. She hasn't been to the big house yet. It looks nice and it is neat to be able to have a special place for our visitors, especially her. Annalivia and Daniel saw her on Saturday, but are very much looking forward to her visit tomorrow. She's going to stay with them while I go have a nuchal translucency test, also, so they get to be together without their mean mother around. That's good. They need a little Grandma-spoiling.
We got the guest room clean and arranged with the lovely quilt the church gave me as a parting gift on the bed.
I am feeling the baby, every once-in-a-while. I know that, technically, this is supposed to be impossible, but I felt Daniel moving early when my bladder was full and I feel this one, too. And I know what it's supposed to feel like by now. There's nothing else that feels like a little golf ball rolling around in there! I'm ready to know more about her/ him. It will be good to see that little love tomorrow!

Run, sistah, run!

My sistah, Lil, is running in a half-marathon in St. Charles, Mo today. This means that she is also running in a tropical storm!
Run, Lilly, run!!

11 September 2008


For some reason, the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks struck me in a profound way this year. I'm not entirely sure why, except that last year, I was having bone graft surgery and the year before officiating my great-uncle's funeral and finding out that the baby I was carrying who turned out to be Daniel had a high risk for a genetic disease. My mind was elsewhere. This year, I've had some time to think about Sept. 11.
Today, I drove up to Rock Falls to officiate a funeral and got to spend lots of time listening to NPR and thinking about the past seven years. I arrived at my church in July before the Sept. 11 attacks. After the second tower collapsed, I went to work and spent the late morning and early afternoon calling people to let them know we were having an impromptu prayer service. I remember very clearly trying to put some words to the shock all of us were feeling and failing miserably. Luckily, everyone else was also failing miserably at processing it all. At least we could fail miserably together.
Remembering that day now, I see the events through the lens of a wife and parent, and my heart feels broken in new ways. And today, again, I fail miserably at putting words to my thoughts. I have a feeling I'm not the only one. So if you still fail miserably at being able to process all that happened and has happened since then, know I'm sitting in solidarity with you tonight. At least we're failing miserably together.

10 September 2008


Right now, we are living in a house with some of our stuff, but not all of it. I am tempted to think that those things that have not made it here are not worth moving, but unfortunately, that category includes our medicine cabinet, pantry, baking stuff, laundry and cleaning supplies, etc. We sort of need that stuff.
One thing we are debating NOT replacing is our microwave. At the parsonage, the microwave was included. It seemed to me like we just didn't use it very often. Of course, here, I've found a dozen reasons to use it every day -- warming up butter, heating up leftovers, boiling water for tea. The thing is, with a little patience and/ or forethought, those tasks can be completed without the microwave. Granted, it would be easier to heat up water for tea if I had thought to bring my kettle with me. But a pan works pretty well, too.
The nicest thing we are discovering is something we knew all along -- how great it would be to have family and friends nearby. Mom and Dad came over for dinner last night. Lil and her daughter stopped over on the way back from taking her eldest to school today. We've decided to make a standing date at Mika's, the local amazing coffee shop, on Tuesdays when we take the big kids in our families to school. Friends are trying to organize a get-together nearby. I have been the one holding up the gathering, but it is good to know that these things are possible, and even probable.
In the light of such enjoyment, with the big things being so much easier, the little challenges seem, well... little! And definitely surmountable. Someday.

09 September 2008

The morning so far

It is a gorgeous morning here in central IL. The sun is shining and it is cool and crisp and one can tell autumn is not too very far away!
We were all up early today mainly because we all went to bed early. Daniel fell asleep during dinner at 6:30. I fell asleep about 5 minutes after putting him in his crib. Annalivia was in bed by 7:30. Dennis stayed up late and got up early, but he's very noble and good and kind and cleaned up the kitchen, did laundry, etc. What a guy...
Today is a Tuesday which means that Annalivia is at preschool. She's attending a little preschool class of 6-8 kids on Tuesday and Thursday at the retirement complex where my grandparents live. And since today is Tuesday, it is the day I get to answer affirmatively when she asks me if she can "Please, please, please go to Noah's Ark today?" unlike the other five days of the week. The kid likes preschool.
Daniel and I are headed up to Rock Falls about 11:30 today so I can meet with the two families for whom I'll be doing funerals this week. We won't get back until 6:30 or later, so I actually planned dinner tonight. I have Porkchops with Artichokes in the crockpot right now. And thanks to my brilliant KitchenAid mixer that mom got me, I was able to whip up some french bread in about 5 minutes. And there's an apple pie finishing its time in the oven.
AND Daniel is playing with his trains in his bedroom upstairs, so I have time to get the kitchen clean and set the table, too. I'm so thankful for this big house and room to play. What a gift.
It's nice to be productive, especially on a beautiful day like this. I guess I should try to get 12 hours of sleep more often!

08 September 2008

C'mon energy surge!

The first trimester is done. I recall that this is when one is supposed to have "renewed energy". I don't think my body has gotten the memo yet.

06 September 2008

And in better news...

THE OFFICE IS PACKED!!! Thanks almost entirely to my incredible husband who packed as I sorted, it is done! Hooray!

AND -- Daniel is much better, my nephew who was in the hospital last night is expected to be home tonight, sans appendix. And though I had two church members die today, both deaths are blessings and such a huge relief to family and friends, and I know heaven is rejoicing tonight.

Now the bulletin to finish and the sermon to get down on paper...

05 September 2008

Not exactly coasting to the finish line

This last week of employ has not been easy. The kids have been sick -- Daniel has been especially hit hard by the typical cough/wheezing/ can't-hardly-breathe thing that he gets every few months. The move is not done. The office is not packed. The sermon is not written. The bulletin is not finished. And last night, we found out that a beloved member of our congregation fell at her care facility, breaking her neck. She is now paralyzed from the neck down and is not expected to live through the weekend. So there will be a funeral to do next week, also, and a very somber gathering on Sunday.
And it has been cloudy and raining and cold -- in the sky and in my spirit. Time for a turnaround.