Friday, June 27, 2008


Kate loves food, so of course some of her funniest Kate-isms come from food…

This tastes like candy! (While eating watermelon)

I want a cheeseburger for lunch. What do you think about that?

I’m eating Sponge Bob’s house! (While eating pineapple—for all you non-Sponge Bob lovers “…he lives in a pineapple under the sea. Sponge Bob Square Pants!”)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


We’re planning a short trip to Missouri to visit with some friends. What a blessing to get to see friends, when we’re out here all by our lonesomes (I know it’s not a word.). They are so much fun. They are truly godly people, who have a marriage that really is a blessing to observe. They have two little girls too. It will be fun, since the last time we were together we were expecting our ‘second round’ of babies. Now those kiddos can play together.

Justin met Mike when they were in school together. Some how more than thirteen years later these guys can meet up once a year or so and pick up where they left off. I’m not sure how they do it—there’s a whole group of these guys. They have all been married, some of us have children (six girls, not a blessed boy in the bunch), but we all still keep in contact. We’ve moved several times and we always manage to work it out to see at least some of these guys once a year.

I graduated a couple of years after Justin and I have only managed to keep in touch with one of those girls, and we have only seen each other a few times since I got married. I wonder what the difference is. Really it doesn’t make sense. I’m often the one that talks to or emails the wives. I wonder why it didn’t work out that way with me and my high school girl friends. I just some how left that part of my life behind and I didn’t even mean to.

Well, thanks for letting me join your group guys! I love you all. And I can't wait to visit with you all soon.


Here's my favorite picture I've taken of the girls lately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


There are no words adequate to describe being a mother. You can go from pure joy, to amusement, to embarrassment, and even anger in milliseconds. My children bring me such joy and such trials all at the same time, and often they are all mixed up in each other.

There is the snuggliness (I know it's not a word) of picking up a warm baby after a nap. There is the excitement of each new first, tinged with the realization your baby is quickly growing up. While you are happy that all is well with your little one, you sometimes want to hold them there, just for a little while longer. There’s the anger when they blatantly ignore you. The embarrassment when they declare to the world, what is altogether obvious, but social moirés demand we ignore. There is the total panic when, even if just for a second, you think they are lost or hurt. Then there’s the contentment in holding them safely in your arms.

I am grateful for my little blessings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heaven Help Me, I Laughed

We frequently talk to Kate about God and we pray before meals and at bed time. She asks lots of interesting questions, like “Does Jesus have a house? What is God’s name? And what does the “Holly” ghost look like?”

Last night really got Justin though. They were getting ready to say her prayers when she declared she wanted to pray to Koko—the signing gorilla we have a book about. He tried to distract her, but it didn’t work. She started praying, “Our Koko who art in heaven, hallowed be Koko’s name, Koko’s kingdom come…” At that point he couldn’t get her to stop and left. I think it’s pretty impressive that she can recite the Lord’s Prayer, but that she could make the appropriate substitution amused me. She’s only two and doesn’t have a clue that what she did was sacrilegious. It does show that we still have our work cut out for us, as we teach her to be a woman of God.

And don’t worry she was back talking to God today. She even made her Veggie Tales toys say grace before they “ate.” I wonder what they eat—other than chocolate bunnies of course (see Rack, Shack and Benny).

What Kate's Been Saying Lately

I’ve been amused at some of the more grown-up comments that are coming from our little girl’s mouth. They are perfectly common phrases, but they are either stumbled upon by accident or things she’s picked up that are really funny coming out of such a tiny girl.

I’m thinking…(fill in the blank).

You frustrate me.


I can’t calculate yet. (It fit perfectly into the context too.)

I’m a people person. (This came during a discussion that she was actually just a person, not ‘a people’—so funny and so true.)

My goodness gracious! (I’m guilty of teaching her that one.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Induce Vomiting...

WARNING: a tad gross

Did you know that eating straight salt and pepper induces vomiting? Of course you don’t. Who would ever even think about such an odd thing?

This morning I was playing with my really neat new camera that my mom sent me. Gabby was down for a nap and Kate was playing quietly at her play table. I looked over to check on her and she looked really ill. At first I thought she was choking. Her color was off, but she wasn’t turning blue. She came to me and then puked into my hands. I carried all the barf that I could hold and walked her to the bathroom.

So after getting her cleaned up a bit and the vomiting subsided I asked her the obvious question, “What did you do?”

“Salt,” she answers.

“No, Kate did you eat something.”

She looked confused and said, “Salt,” again.

I shook my head and went on, she obviously didn’t know what caused this. Then I walked to the living room and found that she had indeed taken the salt and pepper shakers from the kitchen table and poured more than a healthy dose onto some of her play food. She had actually eaten straight salt.

Only a two year old, only my two year old.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Property Rights

"It's mine, that's mine, every thing's mine!" -Kate

Happy Anniversary

Justin and I have been married nine years today. It doesn’t seem like it’s been nine years since the dress, the candles, the music, and the cake. Sunrise, Sunset, The Wedding Song, Cannon in D, One Hand, One Heart, the Bridal March. All the careful planning, it was a short but beautiful wedding with a small reception at the church. My mom made all the food, which I somehow forgot to eat while we were busy visiting.

Last night we were talking about how we spent the night before our wedding. He was hanging out with the guys at our apartment. They watched Veggie Tales and Life of Brian—they didn’t even finish the six-pack some one brought. Wild night! My night was so much more exciting. I dipped strawberries in chocolate with my friend Heather and my mom. Then we sat and visited with my sister, a couple of cousins, and another friend. I guess we’ve never been the wild party, staying out all night type.

Our celebration this year looks to be similar to that night in several ways, quiet and unpretentious. We’ll have grilled pork steaks and go to our small group meeting with people from church. No crazy night out or grand gestures. It’s just enough to know that we’re with each other.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Growing Up

Good gracious Gabriella. This has been a week of firsts. You really took off crawling on Sunday afternoon. You still sometimes do some scooting, but you can really get around. Sunday night we, you and I, slept through the night for the first time. I think it’s been a year since I stayed in bed for a whole night. Must have been the crawling wearing you out, huh? Then you pushed yourself up to sitting on Tuesday. I went in to get you up from you nap. I thought maybe it was a bit of a fluke, since you were in the crib, maybe you pulled yourself to sitting, but you did it again that afternoon. I’m proud of your growing, just promise you won’t walk on Friday, okay?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Two's

They don’t call it the terrible twos for nothin’. Little Miss Kate gave me a run for my money yesterday. First it was a potty accident. Those used to just be a bit annoying, but now they are truly maddening, since she used the potty flawlessly while we were away for two entire weeks. This was quickly followed by her telling me to be quiet when I scolded her, which of course went over well… She lost her beloved Sesame Street, which of course means I lost my beloved hour. We both survived though. She picked and fussed until nap time. Ah, what a wonderful time of day that can be when we’re having a rough spot. It’s a break for both of us and a new start.

The afternoon was marginally better. She dumped the bin of toys I gave her sister, stole Gabby’s plastic keys, and refused to pick up her puzzle that she dumped while I was trying to quiet Gabby down. She wet her diaper—twice. I took away two toys. This is war. As I always told my students, you can be stubborn, but I’m better at it and I will win. I even left her with Justin when I went to the grocery. The girl loves to shop.

She finally fell asleep after my bed time last night. She kept crying for the Welcome Inn—the place we stayed when we were visiting Justin’s parents. At first we thought she was missing her Nan and Pop or the constant on the go life style, but we finally found out that she liked that the room had two twin beds (one for her and one for Gabby, when she gets bigger) and that her mattress was put on the floor because we didn’t have a bed rail for her. There was nothing we could dothere's not enough room here to put her mattress beside the bed and even if there were it was just silly. We hugged, kissed, and comforted to no avail. So we gave up and eventually so did she.

It was a long day.

I suppose I did it to myself. I named her after my most stubborn student and what did I get? I just hope that this tenacity will serve her well as she grows older. She can use it to hold on tightly to those things she values and those she loves.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Old Friends

Okay, so I’m sure I’m not alone in loosing track of people over the years, but it’s really been on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it was looking through all the old pictures for the slide show I’m making for my Grannie or visiting with Justin’s old high school buddies, but I’ve been wondering about getting in touch with some old friends.

I’ve kept track of a few close friends, but for the most part those people I spent my high school and college years with have faded from my life. I find myself wondering about them from time to time. I’ve even tried ‘Googling’ some of them. I missed my ten year reunion because it was held the weekend that Gabby was due, so that added to my disappointment. I had so looked forward to meeting up with everyone and reconnecting, even if it was just for a little while.

It all came crashing in today though. When I was in middle school the high schoolers boarded the bus first, and we had to find seats where ever they were available. I was shy, timid, and quiet, so having to search for a seat was torture. I often got stuck in the back with some rowdy boys who thought that it was fun to speak lewdly and make general nuisances of themselves. One day a guy who sat up front offered me the seat next to him. He was courteous, kind, and four years my senior. We became friends and talked about everything—his girlfriends, grades, politics, families, religion.

I’ll never forget the day he showed up at my door step though. I had accidentally left my report card on the bus and he ran it over to me. My mother was worried that any young man that was willing to do that would be interested in more than friendship. In all honesty a year later he asked what my parents would say if I were asked to prom. I knew they would say no, so he didn’t ask me formally. We kept in touch after he graduated from high school and joined the service. He came by to visit and talked with my family. He even called me and told me that he had met the girl he was going to marry. It was bitter sweet. I was so great to know he was happy, that he cared enough to tell me, but then again I had thought perhaps when I was grown our friendship might be able to blossom. That was the last time we spoke. I tried to find him two years later when I was engaged, but couldn’t find him. Over the years I’ve tried a few times, but not had any luck. It can be quite hard to track down someone who has a common name and serves in the military, thus moving frequently. Today I found out where he was. His obit was in the local paper where we grew up. So in memory of my friend Ron, I think I’ll send out a few extra emails and try to stay in touch.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Home Again

Vacation. Justin and I used to be able to pack up on a whim and run off to visit some friends or go camping. Now that we have two beautiful little girls it’s a bit more challenging. We took our longest trip ever and had the two little people with us. Two weeks away from home. We planned, schemed, and made lists. All in all, I don’t think I forgot anything of any importance, a pretty grand accomplishment.

Two weeks ago we left in the wee morning hours to drive to Kentucky to visit my parents. The girls did great on the drive over. It’s about eleven hours over, including all the stops for the bathroom and eating. The time there is spent mostly hanging around the house and scanning an obscene number of pictures of my dad’s side of the family. I’m getting pictures together for a reunion for the fall and I literally spent hours scanning in old snap shots. I spent a quiet evening with my dad’s mom going through all of her photo albums. It was nice to have a visit with her, just the two of us, even if I did have to sneak out of the house after the girls went to bed.

My little sister was able two be with us three of the evenings. Our last night there was so fun though. Kate talked Aunt Holly into playing hide-and-go-seek. It was Kate’s first attempt at the game. As most two year olds are, she was horrible at it. We all laughed so hard. First we’d hide—she’s okay with seeking, but it was even better when we had her hide.

“Is she out on the porch?” Justin asked in mock shouting as he searched.

“No!” called a little voice, “I’m in the kitchen. Under the table.”

Then we traveled to Ohio to see Justin’s parents. We had planned to stop just outside of Cincinnati to see an old friend of mine, but her step daughter had gone into labor causing a change of plans. We still ate in our old town at Justin’s favorite chili restaurant. Kate thought it was odd, but she eventually ate some of her chili cheese sandwich.

We spent our time in Ohio going from one activity to another. There were parks to visit, pools to swim in, and paths to walk. We were able to visit with Justin’s grandmother while we were there too. With our family of four we couldn’t comfortably stay with his parents at night, so we had a little house in the village where they live that we stayed in. It was really nice. I enjoyed having a place where we could retire at night and put the girls down.

On our way back we were able to see my friend Miss Margie and have breakfast with her. It was so good to see her. We weren’t able to visit long, but it was wonderful to spend some time with her. Margie and I had worked together for several years and we always had a great time. She’s a wonderful lady. We chatted about the school where we used to work and her new grandbaby.

We drove on to Evansville to visit with some of Justin’s high school buddies. One of them has two little girls that are each a year older than Kate and Gabby. The girls got to play for awhile, before we headed off to dinner with Ryan and the littlest one. Then we met up with another fella and his fiancé for ice cream. Miss Emily was a big hit with Kate. Kate demanded to sit with Emily and hold her hand as we walked back to the car. We’re so happy that our friends are doing well and are happy. It had been a long time since we had been with everyone. We got back to our hotel and put the girls down at about ten-thirty that evening. We would have loved to have spent more time visiting, but after two weeks we were anxious to get home. We had a long day, but finally made it home at about five-thirty yesterday evening.

Then came the crazy part of being away… When we pulled up, our driveway has been cordoned off. The city tore it up to replace a water line a few weeks ago and they had newly cemented it. We couldn’t pull in to unload and Justin’s car was stuck on the driveway. We get inside and the clocks are flashing. We wonder if everything in our fridge and freezer need to be tossed. I opened our mail and found a notice that we owe over $700 in taxes to the state of Kansas. Next as I’m carrying things upstairs and find that the shelf that holds my jewelry box and some books fell off the wall and dumped it’s contents all over the floor. Great. Well, my dad says that we can drive over the concrete, just not park on it tomorrow. We talked to the neighbor and found out that the power was out for just a couple of minutes. The state of Kansas, who has already deposited our check, must not have correctly credited the check I sent—because that’s the amount we already paid. The only one of our little disasters that didn’t work out as soon as we discovered it is the shelf. I’ve cleaned it all up. Now to find the other half of the three sets of ear rings that seem to have disappeared and our return home will have been a success.


Some of my favorite quotes from Kate while we were gone…

Justin was trying to get Kate to let him give her a bath (she always wants my mom to do it). “Maybe she needs a break,” Justin quipped.

Our little fireball squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye before she said, “You need a break.”

Gam gave the bath.


“Kate, are you holding Gabby’s hand?”

“No, Gabby’s holding my hand. She keeps it safe, like a band-aid.”

As we were preparing to go out, Nan wasn’t moving fast enough to suit Kate, so she went and got her sandals for her. As she handed her one, Nan asked, “Is this a hint?”

Kate didn’t miss a beat. She handed her the other sandal and said, “Here’s another one.”