Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trouble for breakfast

Sounds so dramatic...all is well. Actually, all is fantastic!

After a fun weekend...Friday night in the Valley and Saturday church and cards with friends...we are home, as in...our home.

Sweet Man probably won't have to work for 2 weeks, until our trip to the beach. I tremble with excitement....

Embracing the normal, today we relax: play games, listen to podcasts from my man Rob Bell, go for a walk in the sun, watch movies (we decided that it is time to share the brilliance that is The Princess Bride with the babes. Prepare for a barrage of one-liners from Bug.)

And I'm cooking...lots. I forget how much I like to cook until I'm in my own kitchen. I love days where we don't have to do anything.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Finito...oh, I'm so glad that spent hours on this and I actually love it.
And I love having my buns and chin and classy hotel decor documented for all of cyberspace to see....

Ah, who cares...I love my new cardi!!!!
You're going to see it a lot....

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I have a good,white tablecloth. You know the only comes out for special meals with special guests. It's on my table at home right now...the home that is supposed to be spotless and in "show" condition.

This cloth has a quarter-sized grease spot on it. (Perhaps the reason our house is not selling...?)

I've scrubbed and soaked and bleached, and it has faded, but not disappeared.

I've covered it with a candy dish, pumpkins, candles...but it's's not right in the center but at one of the place settings...a reminder of a shared meal.

I walk by the table and each time my eyes go right to that spot. And I wonder if any other person who passes by notices it.

How could they not?

I have children. Children who have made mistakes. One child whose mistakes seem to be ingrained, bad habits. Mistakes I am sure have a lot to do with how I have parented him. He's a glass-half empty kid and the glass is half-filled with the wrong stuff. But no compassion from me. His thought patterns trigger at least my intolerance and at most my anger.

Does anyone else see it?

I have scrubbed and soaked, but my eyes go right to his faded stain reminding me of the last times we narrowed our eyes on a mess.

I feel like I have a few choices...1. continue to scrub and bleach and work at this stain 2. ask advice of others ..."see that do I get rid of it?"  3. toss the tablecloth  4. love it...acknowledge the stain and appreciate the memory

I have a Father who knows my stains, some I have yet to see...but loves me like I'm spotless.

If I can just love Bug like He loves him. Like He loves me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet release

Random updates:

The Shalom Cardigan is coming along...the first one I almost finished is small enough to fit I'll finish it probably. The significantly larger one pour moi is coming along...without the pressure of a deadline...since I blew right past it.

Bug is fighting a cold.

My laptop is on its way to be fixed.

Sweet Man will be released from this gig on Friday...which means... not much, except that we will bid farewell to this lovely hotel and travel all the way home (~30 minutes.) We'll stay at the house until our trip to Florida in the middle of next month...SM has a meeting, we're tagging along and staying an extra week. First plane trip for the babes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My nemesis

It's my 10th (?) attempt at this easy  pattern....hrummph...there's no way I'm giving up now. And of course, I set for myself a completely arbitrary and impossible deadline...I shouldn't even be taking time to type. Oh, yes, so wise.

I. will. finish. it...this time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now's your chance

We like movies around here.

And bargains. 

Check this out and consider joining us. 

I hope to go to the last three.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter hike

There's that moment I have before every excursion of any sort...usually as I'm just gaining consciousness in my warm bed...."I don't have to go. I could just stay here."

I'm glad I didn't allow that circling thought to land in this brain. So glad I reached out to the dark and the cold.

We hiked 7+ miles in the Hocking Hills...the annual Winter Hike. Five other friends from church went...none I knew very well Saturday morning...but I got to know each of them as we naturally rearranged our pairs as we walked. Love that. Sharing our stories on the path.

It was beautiful...the weather was warm enough to shed layers with the sun out but cool enough to keep the snow and ice.

There were just a whole lot of other people there enjoying it with us...we had to wait in line to start the trail...really.

Next year...I'll do the annual Winter Hike on a different day. Just was fun.

Kids were safe and sound in the Valley. I hustled back to Sweet Man and met friends (who we don't see nearly often enough) for dinner...

great hiking + wonderful, wise friends + 2 free fajitas dinners @Abuelo's (you, too, can have freebies) = one fantastic day

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I tried to avoid it...but she turned four on Friday.

I loved 3. She says funny things like, " Don't put your foot to me!" and "Anythin's not coming out."

My SIL says it will just keep getting better...each age. Okay...I yield to time...and the compelling call of celebration...of cake and balloons and presents. Grandma J and Opa came to help party. She brought kisses; he brought flowers.

I know I'll love four.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow flies and so does the time

Where has this week gone?

We took advantage of the snow outside to stay inside this hotel most of the week, excluding a trip out to one of my sweet SIL's house for dinner and a stock-up trip to Meijer.

This morning, it took 20 minutes to clear the van when we finally made the trip to COSI I've been promising...

Otherwise we were here, swimming, reading, eating, knitting, schooling, Wii-ing, vegging...

And I'm beat.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sugar and Spice


my cousin, Nick is engaged to be married in March...
on the east coast

so, while his fiance (incredibly sweet and smart, much like him)
and four sisters were in town for the holiday,
they wanted to celebrate

(you might be thinking, poor Nick, four sisters!...
they would be quick to convince you he does not deserve your pity....
rather a swift kick)

I was honored to be included in the girls' day out... know, not being a sister
or a fiance

we squirreled the mini-cousins away to various caregivers and took off for the big city...

well, as big as big gets in these parts...

reservations were made at a tapas restaurant... family...reservations...right...

but we got there eventually...they didn't lock us out or anything...


wonderful, distinct tastes

well, avocado salad was not new to us...'s guacamole...

but tapas is a great way to try something new without committing...

I tried the blackened scallops and the crab empanadas...

glad I didn't there, Daddy-o   {: p

but the bacon-wrapped dates, chorizo meatballs, and mushroom empanadas...

...I'm committed

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year's Day

Still catching up....

We went to the Valley to celebrate New Year's day with pork and cabbage in various forms. I am pork and kraut kinda girl...I craved it when I was pregnant with Bean. My MIL made de-li-shus noodles and kraut for the occasion...yum.

We ate first. Then sledded.

brave Grammy and Bean

Then ate some more.
We watched THE game...well, watched...I was in the same room as the TV broadcasting the game. I mean, if it were a big game I might pay attention, but....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Looking back: Part Two

July: Celebrate the 4th and the union of sweet friends. We take the house off the market. Frequenting yard sales and thrift stores, I sink roots back into our house...anticipating a long stay to help my momma fight this beast inside her. The cancer has spread to her brain.

Sweet Man comes home from Wichita and is perplexed by our empty closets being filled again. A sweet friend asks me to attend her baby's that. My emotions are all over the place, but I experience a week of joy...recognizing the care my God takes with me in the seemingly insignificant. Sweet Man has been transferred to Cincinnati and the kids and I plan a road trip.

August: Explore Cincinnati and have a perfect day at their zoo. My birthday is feted...whoopee. Sweet Man is released in the middle of the month. Really good timing, God. We travel home to celebrate our anniversary while the kids are in the Valley. Mimi has a really bad day and is admitted to the hospital. Sweet Man and I stop our celebration, head to the hospital to spell my dad and find out what we need to do to get Mom home. She is diagnosed with pneumonia...ironic...but now her body is too weak from cancer treatment to fight it. We spend precious hours with her and say goodbye on the 17th. After that, there is quiet and blur.

The last day of the month, we get on with life as Bug has his first day of kindergarten. I have a new camera.

September: We camp with friends again...wasn't sure if I'd be okay, but they are normal for me. Bean gives herself a haircut, we relist the house, and camp with Opa at East Harbor State Park. In the parking lot of Walmart, I lose my ever-loving head with my child...and feel duly chastened by my Savior...thanking Him that the recognition of my own sin develops compassion for others. Sweet Man is called back to work and we return to Cincinnati. I eat a truckload of candy corn trail mix.

October: All things fall and harvest-y are enjoyed!  We never meet a pumpkin themed attraction we don't like. The warm days are spectacular. Summer used to be my favorite time of the year...but I think this year autumn prevailed. Sorry, don't do it for me anymore. I'm moving on.

Sweet Man has a break and then travels to Illinois for a week. Our time is spent at home but there are many trips north. My kids are one click closer to adolescense as they roll their eyes every time I pull off the road; my newest obsession...taking pictures of fall foliage.

One glorious day, we celebrate Mimi again and scatter her ashes. Back to Cincinnati we go for Halloween week. Bug and Bean trick-or-treat for the first time. We have a humdrum visit to the Newport Aquarium.

November: We hustle home so that I can attend another sweet friend's labor and delivery...what a privilege. I hike with church ladies and travel back to Cincy. We explore the historic parks in Cincinnati. Timing a visit to the Cincinnati Museum to see the mummy exhibit while we read about Ancient Egypt was fortuitous. We also stroll through their Children's museum and holiday display. Thanksgiving looms as I realize I can't set my grief aside and continue to function. We celebrate the holiday with both families.

December: We see that Foxy movie...oh my word, what a good movie...have you seen it yet? My search to find out just what and how much is wrong with me continues and Bug, Bean, and I all faint. Depression penetrates, but God prompts me to ask for the right help. In Cincinnati, we decorate for Christmas and learn that Sweet Daddy will be working closer to home. We decorate Mimi and Opa's tree, make cookies, eat cookies, play in the snow, and see friends and family. Our odometer rattles and rolls as we drive back and forth from the hotel-close-to-home to our familys' homes to our house-home. Sweet Man calls it the CAT-close-to-home conundrum...wanting to do everything and see everyone while we can.  The phone can ring anytime with news of a new assignment. But I thank God that we have been home for this season.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking back: Part One

Bloggers do this thing...the year in review...and I think, okay..I'll look back. It was a year to remember as I'm sure the current one will be. I want to remember broken sentences, list form...easily digestible.

January: Our house is officially on the market. Move into Houston apartment, explore, enjoy the weather while folks at home are snowed in. Spend time almost every day at a park. Mimi (my mom) comes for a 4 day visit and helps celebrate my second chance at having a 3 year old. At the end of the month we move across the city to a small hotel room...the hotel room I smoked out. Settling into this new life with some whining along the way. Mimi thinks she caught a cold on the flight home.

February: Visit the Houston Space Center. Celebrate Bug's 5th birthday. Drive home mid-month and evaluate the public restrooms we have experienced in our travels. Survive a night without heat and have a double birthday party with our homies. Sweet Man takes me along to Vegas for his annual meeting. Ahh, yes, the spa and the pool and the sun...and the bathrobe....what? oh yeah, where was I? We part ways at the airport as he flies to Texas and I head back to Ohio. Mimi is diagnosed with pneumonia.

March: Feel a little blahggy...not much to say...(do I ever have much?) Visit Grandma K on St. Patty's Day where Bean charms an older man. Feel so restless this month...already missing the traveling. Spending more time in the Valley while Sweet Man remains in Houston. He'll be there just a few weeks longer...not worth the 3 day drive there...or is it? Mimi still feels rotten.

April: Sweet Man comes home. I attend the Ohio Tea Party with Mimi. We celebrate Easter. My mom undergoes testing and is diagnosed with lung cancer on Sweet Man's birthday. Four days later, he gets a call to go to Wichita and leaves the following day.

May: Life goes on...many prayers are offered to figure out where I should be. The kids and I travel to Kansas after a fun stop in St. Louis and a harrowing drive through some of the most beautiful country I've seen. Wichita is wonderful and we enjoy 2 weeks there, packing a ton of activity in. But I feel the tug to come back and check in with Mimi. Sweet Man has a weekend break and we go camping with friends. He returns to Wichita.With a little help, I conquer our albatross...that damn pool. Mimi has begun radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

June: Lots of berry picking. We make our annual pilgrimage to Creation Festival in PA. The kids and I talk about safety scenarios. Summer is good. We spend more time at our house and much time cleaning for showings.

Throughout the year, I question the purpose of this blog. It seems that our orbit has come surprisingly tighter and tighter to home...not so difficult to keep track of us. What started as a way to let those at home know where we are and what we are doing, became an important record of life for us.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome 2010

This place got was packed with New Years' Eve revelers ringing in the new year and preparing to watch the Rose Bowl. All evening, it seemed an invisible DJ kept turning up the volume until the climax at 12:00...noisemakers, shouts, kids running and calling to each other across the atrium. At midnight, clamor exploded from the balconies...all I could was take a picture and kiss my man. A spectator, not a participant.

Spectating...nice idea for the new year....I'm gonna sit back, try to keep my mouth shut, and watch a little more in 2010.

What a year...out with a bang, surely.


This little laptop is limping along and the limp may cause it to crash I'll take advantage and catch up. Posting from my phone is a nice idea...but not happening with these chubby fingers.

Christmas Eve was just right...hanging out with Opa, Uncle Nack, and Murphy. Pretty perfect...we walked on the golf course and built an extraterrestrial snow friend....

We went to church together and came back to open gifts. Changing it up this year helped, but we cried a little and told funny stories about Mimi.

So, being home this year (last year we had just arrived in Houston) and with Sweet Daddy only having Christmas Day off, we wanted to do everything...see everyone...craziness, really.

We decided to open our gifts at the hotel...second year in a row...Christmas morning away from home. Yummy breakfast made by someone else. Our traditions travel well, though... the first thing we do is look for the baby to complete our 2 manger scenes and singing a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. And we give 3 gifts each to the kids, like the baby Jesus, of course. Sounds like I came up with those ideas myself, doesn't it? Don't believe it...I women wiser than me.

Then two family celebrations...good fun. Presents, a talent show, lots and lots of Christmas carbs...oh my.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

been thinking...

...and from the height of a just right holiday celebration down into the valley of melancholy I slide...

the parties are over, the decorations packed away...the extra food lingers...{really, two parties in two days with different menus...good grief}

soon I will be alone again...

...and one of my safety nets is leaving for a warmer climate

I don't do resolutions, per se...or rather I don't regulate them to the calendar...instead making grand proclamations of great intention and change...without the consistency to change lifestyle

and today, my blogging anniversary...begs the question....

is it worth it? for whom do I write? you or me?

should I go on just conveying happy information about our travels...dabbling in homemaking, theology, navel-gazing?

I feel the pull of change...a need to protect more...not let people know so much about where I am and who's with me...or not with me...

a resistance to giving information about myself to people I used to talk to but now, for some reason, don't

a resistance to giving information about myself which can be judged and commented upon, suggestions of change noted

and then the resentment of unexpressed expectation...I'm going to say whatever I want here

of the missing an old way of life...with a community, a husband I saw every day, a gym membership mom

can I tell you how my heart is breaking to say goodbye to my love again...with a plan to reunite in 10 days... then say goodbye again...for who knows how's left up to me to decide

having a choice between being embraced by this house and its coziness or venturing into the world to be embraced by Sweet Man...

I know WHO to ask...if I just take the time to do it...

these shouldn't be difficult decisions....