Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How I do like them apples

My kids and I made some good old fashioned applesauce the new-fangled way today. We borrowed a neighbor's apple peeler/corer/slicer and I cooked the "slinky apples" as my kids were calling them in my electric roaster oven. I never even had to use the potato masher, they just kind of melted into applesauce on their own while we were at the library.

Seriously some of the best stuff on earth.

I love that my kids know and have done the process from picking to peeling (I think I only peeled 4 or 5 apples on the whirley-gig because my kids loved doing it so much!) stirring to tasting. I know exactly what's in that applesauce--apples, water, and some organic cinnamon. And that's IT. No sugar, no high fructose corn syrup. Just a lot of excitement and zeal to give that sauce some sass.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday afternoon plans--family apple picking!

Apple pickingI'm so excited for Sunday. Usually it means Dan heading out before the sun to prep for Sunday services and the kids and I staying in PJ's all morning.

This Sunday will probably start out the same way, but we plan to have some pizza for us and anyone else who would like to join us on a trip to the apple farm for some U-pick apples!

They are open for picking on Sunday from 12-4pm. So:

Pizza @ Scotts after church (around 12:30?)
1:30ish leave to head to apple farm to pick 2pm 'til done

Ed Dunneback & Girl's Farm
- apples, strawberries, pumpkins
3025 6 mile Road, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49544. Phone: 616-784-0058.
Email: dunnebackfruit@aol.com.
Apples, strawberries (u-pick and ready-picked), asparagus, sweet cherries, apple cider, caramel apples, donuts, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, cornstalks, Indian corn, straw bales, recipes, play area, miscellaneous farm market items and more! Open: mid-May thru Oct. seasonal hours.

Located approx. 10 minutes NW of downtown Grand Rapids, Exit 26 (Fruit Ridge Ave.) off I-96, travel 3 miles to 6 Mile Road, Go east on 6 Mile Road, 1-1/4 miles to farm at corner of Peach Ridge Ave. Strawberries available mid-June. Come pick your own, or call ahead and order them all packed and ready to go. Hours are seasonal – 8:00a to 7:00p, depending on weather conditions and ripening.

I'll call on Saturday to see what's in season for picking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

lies...ALL LIES!

Remember that line from Austin Powers, the Spy who Shagged Me? Yeah, I'm glad I do. Because when I'm really upset about someone lying to me, I often think of screaming that, but just the thought of me screaming this line like the slick-haired Frau makes me pause, and it helps the anger subside.

Lies really hurt me. Lies really hurt you. Lies really, really hurt Jesus.

I have lied, do daily lie, and will probably always (but hopefully less and less) lie and hurt myself and other people. But I do not do it overtly or covertly very often.

I don't know whether to credit it to my parents or as a God-given thing, but for some reason when I tell a mis-truth, leave out a detail purposely, and whether I get caught or not, it bothers me to the core. Shaking and rattling my bones until I come clean or make it right.

Like the old Indian saying that a "conscience is a three-cornered stone that when you do something wrong spins and spins making you hurt on the inside until you make it right and make the stone stop spinning. But if you ignore and endure the spinning long enough, the cornered edges become so dull you don't even feel the spinning any more when you do wrong."

I think there must be some people out there that have ignored and endure it so long they don't have any idea that their three-cornered-rock is spinning anymore. I'm trying to teach my children to stop immediately and make things right when they do a wrong.

Not to let something you did hang over you or dis-affect you so much that you go on with life as if it never happened.

For some reason, my sense of justice is so acute it is what made me a killer HR person. I could sniff a 98% truthful answer as potently as fresh-ground coffee. I could read non-verbals like billboards, read the invisible ink of "between lines" of letters/e-mails as if they were written in Sharpie, and wasn't afraid to follow-up or ask tough questions flat out. It saved my company from any poor hires during the time that I was working for them. And the hires that I disagreed with or warned against turned out to be vindicated every time. Except for one--and I am so pleasantly surprised at that one. This justice thing, though, it's a gift and a curse. Black and white isn't a very colorful way to live.

And the same falls true in my relationships. If I ask you a question and you answer it, but then a few weeks later I overhear a slightly different variation on your first story, I know the differences. And I wonder if you ever knew me well enough to know you can't put something past me without me picking up on those slight changes.

Or if I confront you on something straight up more than once and either you give me a surfacey meant-to-be-funny answer and I bring it up again and you don't answer at all, you gave me the answer I already knew but in my heart of hearts was hoping wouldn't be true. And a little piece of me is sad.

As much as I hate all of this, I know there is a redemptive aspect to it. It's that 1/100 of what I think and feel as I reel from the stinging slaps of these injustices is what Jesus feels from me every day. And I need to feel and understand that empathetically to understand how my being faithful in the little things--no matter how tedious, painful, irksome, or sloggingly hard they are, they are necessary to restore His faith, trust, and relationship with me. That every time I am blatantly honest and apologize to someone for not answering the phone when they called because I "just didn't feel like it", Jesus is sad that I didn't feel like it, but says, "yes!", that I was honest, admitted my fault, and tried to apologize and make it right.

That when 2 days after taking a book from the library book sale without paying for it, I return and admit that I walked out of the library without paying for my purchase and am returning to pay the money I owed.

That when I make poor nutrition choices, don't exercise, spend more time nosing around in other people's business on the internet than I do with my kids, think negative thoughts about my husband's work schedule, make snooty assumptions about other moms I see at school drop-off/pick-ups, or only do a half-ass job of my Bible study lesson, I'm also a big, fat liar.

Yes, it sucks. It is painful. It is humiliating. It is frustrating. That's why Paul slashes these words across the page, "WHY do I do the things I DON'T want to do"?

Maybe, because we need to. To feel. To understand. To be reminded. To forgive ourselves and others. To better realize just how deep and wide and long and high is Jesus' forgiveness and acceptance of us. And to cut the people who do us wrong a little slack. Not to let them off the hook, but at least give them some wiggle room, another chance, and some extra time to make things right.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


These past weeks couldn't have gone better if I had planned them myself. Here's a little re-cap.

Week 1: Liam starts Kindergarten.

Week 2: Liam is starting to get his K-garten schedule down and we add in Elli starting preschool 3 afternoons/week.

This is week 3. This week we will add MY activities to the calendar. I'll be doing a women's bible study on Monday nights. Every Monday night. That means homework every week that needs to be done for each Monday study. That is pretty intense going from nothing to a weekly something.

I'll also be attending MOPS two Thursday mornings a month.

The Bible study and MOPS will be times for me to "receive". The study for me to receive instruction on how to get back into studying the Word and disciplining myself for God & me time. To receive encouragement and challenge from other women and maybe even practice my pastoral abilities with others.

The MOPS for me to drop my kids off in classes I know they enjoy while I fellowship with other moms in my age-and-stage of life while receiving encouragement from mentor moms. This is my second go at joining a MOPS colony, I hope my attempt to enter will be a lot less rocky than last time.

DV:FX starts up soon, and we have dates on the calendar for all sorts of school/preschool activities. So much for trying to keep our calendar open and empty so that we'll be ready for a trip to Africa and some concentrated family time, but that's our life.

So, things are about to get busy here. I'm looking forward to a fuller calendar. But not being overly busy to the point where we're stressed out. And I'm thinking my 'extra' time to write will be pretty limited.

Also, my computer has flatlined once. Dan somehow toggled it back to life, but I know that...along with the electrical-taped power cord and various other signs of aging and eminent death are showing themselves more and more frequently. Today's 6 hour flatline was not at all a sweet taste of what is to come.

I'm resigning myself to the fact that I will be without a computer in the near future and have to be OK with that. It sounds out of the question, painful, unheard-of and unnecessary. But when I think that our son is over in Ethiopia very likey going without meals, I think that going without a computer for a season is a very small and worthy price to pay.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm wearing a fully, twirly, girly skirt today. The girls were wearing skirts or dresses (anyone surprised) and asked me if I could dress pretty today too. I guess knee-hole jeans and free T-shirts from church aren't that pretty, huh? Liam asked me why I was all dressed fancy--I think he was afraid the week imploded and it was church day again already.

Speaking of Liam, he's home today with a cough, runny nose, and lots of snorking noises. I had the attendance line programmed into my phone and just pressed a button, left a message, and he gets what he likes to call, "a day off". We went to the library and got Scooby Doo & Batman for him to watch during naptime. Otherwise he'll just ride his bike, scooter, and play all afternoon when the whole reason for staying home was to rest...and NOT share germs with the rest of the K-garten class.

Addi is potty training. After 2 little dribble accidents the first 2 days, she has stayed dry. We just need to get her to do the "other" business on the toilet, then I think we'll be good to go. I'm not quite ready to free her from the beautiful confines of her crib just yet. So I'll still do diapers overnight 'til I'm ready for that next plateau.

The e-vites for a friend's baby shower just went out and it got me very excited. I have some work to do to fulfill my shower responsibilities, but let me just say they are some of my favorite things in the whole world that I get to do for her.

I enjoyed chatting with all 3 brothers within the span of the same week--that is unheard of.

I'm trying to watch calories. I was reading the back of a cereal box extolling the virtues of healthy eating and how many calories a person should/should not consume in a day and was just curious as to where I stand in those numbers. So far I've consumed 600 calories today between breakfast and lunch. No cocoa laden coffee or snacks for me thus far today. But not enough water, either. ugh. That'll be the next thing I start tracking and working on improving.

I'm almost done with the "fun" book I'm reading and I think I'll jump into my 2 required adoption books next. Like a pool on a chilly morning, I'll just squinch up my muscles, hold my breath, and get it over with.

Dan and I have been watching season 1 of "Scrubs" after we get the kids to bed and before we go to bed. I think we both have this dire need for being together and soaking in some easy funnies without having to exert any energy and a way to wind down after some grueling days adjusting to the new schedule of the schoolyear--be it for church or home-life.

'at's it for now, folks.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Growing old...GREYSfully

So, I'm sighing and rolling my eyeballs while waiting for my dawdling daughters to brush their teeth. I happen to glance at myself in the mirror--not something a busy mom has a lot of time to do often. And I think the light must be hitting my hair funny.

I lean in a little closer...adjust my locks a bit...pull a few strands out of the way...then lift one up. And there it is. I shout, "I think I just found my first grey hair!" to Dan, who laughs and says, "have you looked at my head lately...I've got lots of greys".

I decided to stop coloring my hair about a year ago. After seeing Addi's reddish-auburn hair began to wonder what my "natural" color really was.

Well, I'm all about keeping it real. And I like silver jewelry and have a pair of shiny silver Addidas sneakers, so I guess I can handle a few silky strands of silver running through my hair.

I just don't think they fit with my freckles and youthfully exuberant outlook on life.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One of these things is not like the other
We all decided to make 'sad faces' at lunch before taking Liam to K-garten. All except, Liam, of course. He was too excited!

He loves to pick out his outfits...

He carefully chose his own outfit, even down to the tan socks he's wearing underneath his crocs--"because I'll have to change into my gym shoes and I need socks inside of them". He's way too smart already...

Elementary home for the next 5 years!

For the next umpteen years, this will be our children's place of learning.

Long walk to the door...

He was so focused on getting to the door he almost forgot his 'specially packed back pack. Note: I was the single parent dropping my child off at the curb. All other K-gartners had entourages and camera crews escorting them from car to classroom. I had a tiny amount of guilt, but I think this was the most organic way for Liam to start school. He's not the big fuss type of kid. Ellison will be a whole other story...

She did it!

Whew. No tears. He made it all the way to the doors. I did it. I'm ok. I can go to the grocery store now...

Home on the bus...

He has three neighbor GIRLS riding the same bus home...they are taking turns sitting with him each day. I think he'll be OK on the bus. My biggest fear is assuaged.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A mommy's blessing

low liam 3 by you.

Coming into our lives a *ahem* little before we had planned or expected, but changing them in a way we could have never imagined.

The most active baby I've ever had in my belly. Not happy until you were mobile. Once you learned to walk and run you've never stopped.

Your insatiable appetite for learning mirrors both your dad's and mine so much I don't know whether to burst with pride or worry. But, it helps me know that you'll love school--at least the learning part.

It was adorable how you were so focused on walking up the sidewalk to the K-garten door that you almost left your backpack in the van today. I'd rather have you so independent and confident albeit a tiny bit forgetful rather than...well...clingy.

Promising us to try to remember every single thing so you can tell us about it rather than being tight-lipped and private, I hope you always want to share your life and experiences with us.

The dough for tonight's requested meal of pepperoni pizza is in the breadmaker, and the applesauce is in the fridge. I hope your day is going great and that you get to try out the zip-line, that the locker didn't stick or pinch your fingers, that you meet and like Danny (and that he's a 'good' kid too), and that your ride home on the bus is everything you dreamed it would be.

I haven't shed a tear. I'm so happy for you. I wish I could go with you. I loved school. I pray that you will soak it up like a sponge, and either be totally oblivious to the "bad stuff" like kids being mean to each other, unkind words, or whatever else could go wrong, or that you're able to handle it well. I hope we've done a good job with you at home these first 5 years to prepare you for this and all the other exciting life experiences looming just on the horizon for you.

I'm praying so many things for you, Bugaboo. My heart is full. So much love to you always, my firstborn son.

Happy first day of K-garten Liam. Now, I'm off for some "me" time...!