Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are you ready?

December Photo Project

I woke up at 6:30am this morning and drove to Edgefield even though I wasn't working there today.


Because it's time for the DPP and that drive is incredibly beautiful at sunrise. Even though it's not quite December, I wanted to get tomorrow's post ready a day early. Are you signed up yet for the DPP? The fun thing this year is that even if you don't have a blog, you can also do it on facebook!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Awesome music.

I somehow stumbled onto the youtube channel of The Piano Guys last night. I was blown away. Here is just a sampling of my favorites.

And here's another:
Here's a fun one where they do an impromptu concert at an Assisted Living Center.

And finally, what is better than Taylor Swift? (Who is admittedly, another of my guilty pleasures) Taylor Swift as arranged by Jon Schmidt!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My favorite shots from the day....

We started what I hope will be a new tradition - the post thanksgiving bonfire. Or maybe it's the Sam's birthday bonfire. Either way - it was great fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A while ago, there was some internet chatter about a Perry Noble (local megachurch pastor) quote in which he describes why he refuses to do any hospital visitation. At the time, it really bothered me. I guess it still sort of does. You have this successful man of God who is supposed to be shepherding his flock but refuses to spend time with them when they are at their neediest.
And yet today I was really challenged to rethink my hang-ups with this particular Perry Noble quote. Now I'm not going to say that I agree with everything this guy does or even the way that he does it. But on the way up to my parent's house, Jeff and I listened to an incredibly eye-opening sermon by Mark Driscoll about ministry marriages. (You can find this sermon by searching for "Mark Driscoll ministry marriages" on iTunes. Sorry I couldn't find a direct link.But everyone should listen, particularly those who are in ministry.) He did a lot of research about several evangelical "saints" who had incredible ministries but at great cost to their families. This list included people like John Wesley, Hudson Taylor, A.W. Tozer, David Livingston.

The neglect and indifference to which they subjected their families was heart-breaking. And very clearly represented misunderstanding God's commands for fathers and husbands. They really made "ministry" an idol to which they sacrificed their families. I do not know what Mr. Noble's life is like. I can imagine, though, that managing such a large church is a huge time committment. (I will admit that I still have a problem with someone's decision to continue to grow a church to such an enormous size instead of trying to plant more smaller churches. And the whole multi-site church thing perplexes me. But those are discussions for another day.)

He is right about one thing: that his primary responsibility is to his family. He is a husband and father before he is a pastor. And that is good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Judah update.

Well, it's been a while since I've talked about what all Judah is up to. And even though he STILL hasn't had his 18-month well check (scheduled for next week!), I thought I'd go ahead and post something today.

I'd say we are still on the slow end of language development, but are finally starting to get somewhere. He continues to sign a lot, but yesterday actually said "please" when he signed it. He was asking for a french fry which is probably his favorite food, so I'm guessing he was extra motivated to actually use words. He also sometimes says "all done" (ah uh) when he is through eating. I'm happy that he is also doing more mimicking of the words we try to get him to say, but he doesn't do that consistently yet. He knows lots of animal sounds. Actually when I try to get him to say "cow" he will say "mmmm" which is his word for "moo." Same thing with duck, sheep, dog, monkey, and owl. He still loves making car sounds and will now also make a train sound "chh-chh" that is adorable. His current favorite word is probably "boom" which he will say if he falls, if he tries to push his stroller into my leg, or right now as I hear him plopping down in his crib onto his bottom. He says "yes" (ehth), and shakes his head vigorously for "no." I really try not to worry about his language. Even though he doesn't actually say much, he communicates very well. But when I see and hear about kids younger than him who have bigger vocabs, it's hard not to worry a little. I realize, though, that he is his own person and will learn things at his own pace.

His eating habits continue to improve. For the longest time, the only meat he would eat was sausage or bacon. (I love pig, too, so I can't really blame him.) Yesterday, though, he ate chicken fingers from Chick-fil-A! Today's lunch consisted of a few bites of couscous and an entire can of olives. (The olive eating he definitely didn't get from me. I can't stand the things. That one is pure Jeff) Yogurt and cheese are still staples. He loves peas, corn, broccoli (usually), and occasionally carrots. I was also pleased that he seems to like black beans now too. Breakfast is still is favorite meal of the day.

He is such a funny kid. He loves laughing and especially gets tickled during his bath when he tries to squirt me with the bath toys. He also loves chasing Lucy with things like the broom or his popper, but we are trying to break him of that habit. He is getting better and better at obeying and listening to us

He is starting to enjoy scribbling with crayons. He loves using a spoon to eat and actually operates it quite well. He continues to (normally) be a great napper, although I'm currently listening to him fuss in his room. He has 8 teeth, 6 on top and only 2 on bottom.

I've decided that parenting changes as your child ages, but I can't decide if it gets harder or easier. I love that he sleeps through the night and doesn't eat every 3 hours, but knowing how to deal with a tantrum and deciding when and how to discipline is tough. I do know that it definitely gets more fun. I am excited about how he'll continue to change and develop!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photos and a question.

I was getting some pics of the camera and found these from when Jeff's mom was visiting. We had a great time with her and are very excited she'll be back next month. I really loved how these turned out.

I wish I had more to say right now. Sorry. The Christmas crafting has begun. Maybe after I get everything made and handed out I can put up some links to all the great things I'm making.

I do have one question - now that we actually have a kid who can participate in a few things, does anyone out there have any favorite advent traditions? We're going to do a Jesse Tree - I should post more about what we're doing (and the ornaments I'm making!) some time soon. What have you all done that has worked well for your family? Anything especially meaningful?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unlikely to happen again.

I get an email at least weekly that gives me a little blurb about some recent medical studies and also gives some more practical commentary on the findings. Tonight I laughed out loud while reading this commentary about a recent medical study done in Australia. It's definitely the first time that's ever happened and is likely to be the last. Medical research? Usually not that funny.

Anyway, there has been info in the news lately about how you should do CPR to the tune of "Stayin' Alive." Don't believe me? You can even see this in an episode of The Office.

Anyway, some researchers wanted to do a study to prove or disprove that this is helpful. So they designed a study where they had EMS workers perform CPR on manikins while listening to  "Disco Science," "Achy Breaky Heart," or no music at all. They found that although the participants did pump a lot faster while listening to "Disco Science" compared to "Achy Breaky Heart" or nothing, no one pumped deep enough to be helpful. The conclusion of the authors of this study was that therefore music wasn't helpful and maybe we should just use a metronome instead.

Here is a direct quote of the commentary provided:
"A metronome instead of the Bee Gees? Really? The advantage of music is that it can be self playing in the mind of the rescuer, whereas use of a metronome would require the physical presence of the device. Although listening to a song with a cadence of 105 beats/minute did not improve compression depth, it did improve compression rate. That said, the choice of song should be made carefully; despite its perfect rhythm, Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" might not be the best choice in a code situation."

Ha! Now I know what song will be in my head during the next code I go to.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Good Links.

I feel like I haven't had much to say lately. I guess that's just how it is sometimes. In lieu of an actual content-filled post, here are some good links.

1. Ever since sixyearmed stopped posting (sniff), I've been missing reading good medical content told from a Christian perspective. Enter Ali's African Adventures. I have been reading this blog intermittently for a few years now. Ali is now back on the Mercy Ships serving in Sierra Leone right now. You really should check out her blog for some fantastic stuff.

Not that I necessarily agree with all his theology, but Mark Driscoll might be one of the smartest men I know of. Need Proof? Here is what his sermon notes look like.

Need a fairly healthy snack? Try this cookie dough dip, which is made with chickpeas. Jeff wasn't really a fan, but I am digging it. I think it would be even tastier with some added cocoa. And I'd recommend using mini chocolate chips, or some good dark chocolate chopped up into fairly small pieces.

Al Mohler has some rather thoughtful commentary about what happened at Penn State this week. Since everything I've ever read by him is thoughtful commentary, this doesn't surprise me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jazz up your oatmeal.

We eat lots of oatmeal around here. It's actually one of Judah's favorite breakfast foods, and I like that it's fast and healthy. I get tired of normal oatmeal, so have been experimenting with ways to make my morning oatmeal more interesting. Here are my favorites:

1. Before cooking the oatmeal, saute some apples in butter and then let me cook with the oatmeal.

2. Add frozen blueberries at the beginning of the cooking time. Blueberries are delicious and a super food, plus they turn the oatmeal a lovely shade of purple. Yum all around.

3. Although I almost always make oatmeal using milk instead of water, I have replaced the milk with coconut milk a few times as well. This gives it a tropical flavor, and you can also add shredded coconut to up the coconut taste even more. As a bonus, coconut is a really healthy fat, so adding the coconut milk makes the oatmeal a little more filling, in my experience. If you have coconut oil around, using this instead of butter is another way to get make it more interesting.

4. Add 1 cup of pumpkin and some cinnamon and nutmeg to the oatmeal in addition to the liquid. Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, so in addition to making your breakfast taste like fall, you are increasing the nutrition by a lot.

5. Top with granola. I know it sounds weird to top your oats with more oats, but the crunchy contrast of the granola to the mushy oatmeal is quite nice.

Anyone else have any ways they like to kick their oatmeal up a notch?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Photo dump.

Time for another iPhone photo dump of all the cute shots of Judah.

Judah with his gramma:

Blowing a dandelion:

Funny little video. It doesn't take much to amuse him.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Living room revamp.

I am not a decorator. I am crafty, but when I check out websites like this one, I am in awe of others' abilities to arrange things in such a pleasing way. I feel like I need someone to come to my house and tell me where to put things, but I don't want to actually pay anyone to. So, all that said, I have not been pleased with the decorating scheme in my living recently. A few months ago, we got a new chair, and ever since then I wasn't satisfied with the layout. I actually think a big part of the problem was that for a long time after getting the new chair, I never got rid of our old one, even though that was the plan. This caused the room to feel cluttered because there was just too much furniture. Out went that old chair, along with two other wooden chairs that were not being used to sit on. Immediately it felt better. But I still wasn't happy.I especially haven't been satisfied with my "mantle". I put that word into quotations because it isn't like a real mantle, but is instead this awkward triangular-shaped space that I couldn't do anything with. Exhibit A: but maybe imagine it looking more cluttered since I actually had already started my rearrangement when I thought to snap a "before" picture. And I apologize in advance that these iPhone pictures leave a lot to be desired.

See - awkward blah space.

What I decided to do was create more of a traditional mantle by moving a mirror hanging elsewhere in my living room. I also found a few other things to put in front. Although it's still a work in progress, I'm really loving the new arrangement.

Items in front include a vase that was sitting on a shelf in my craft room, my button trees, a $5 Hobby Lobby letter painted black, a silhouette of Judah, and some beach glass in a jar we had sitting around on another table in the living room.

Since I moved that mirror, I had a big empty space to fill on another wall. A few weeks ago I made a book page wreath inspired by this one here. Since I relocated my mirror, I finally had a good place to hang it.

The room isn't perfect, but I am happy about the direction it's going. And a big thanks goes out to Sue, my MIL, who helped do LOTS of rearranging in my house this week while she was here. Now I need to post photos of my sewing room transformation....

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Gnome costume how to

I must admit, I really loved how Judah's costume turned out this year. I also loved how cheap it was. I think the total I spent on Judah's costume was around $6. Here's the breakdown:
For the hat, I measured around Judah's head and cut a fairly tall triangle out of an old Christmas tree skirt I had laying around with that measurement across the bottom. I then folded it in half right sides together, sewed up the side, and turned out. The eyebrows are just bushy white rectangles I sewed on the front. For the beard I just cut a pointy, bearded shape and sewed it to the sides of the hat. It took a few times trying it on him to get the length right.

So that it would look like he was wearing tall boots, I just created a tube out of black felt and cut it to the right length to come up to about his knees. He wore these on top of his pants and pulled down over his boots.
The beard kind of covered up the buttons, but I did love how they looked. I just hot glued two big black button onto his shirt (which was turned inside out to hide the graphic on the front). These I can remove now and then he can actually wear the shirt later. The best shot I got of them is the one where he was yanking off his hat.
If your kid is like mine, he or she won't tolerate the hat and beard unless the hands are occupied with something like a sucker, so expect the need for bribery to get a good photo.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Table Re-do.

A few weeks ago I was given (!!) a wooden child's table and chairs from a friend whose children are all in high school now. I actually had wanted something like this for a while, but never saw one that was reasonably priced. Yay for nice friends who give me free stuff. It was kind of scuffed, and painted a dark red that didn't really go with my house.
Some primer and a few sample-sized cans of paint later:

I really love how it turned out. I'm still thinking about decoupaging a map or map pieces on the top, but we'll see....