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Monday, October 29, 2007

Strange Conversations at Storytime ...

Charissa and I sometimes go to story time at the local library. It's a fun way to meet other moms and babies and learn new songs. Today we were hanging out with some moms afterwards and one of them kept commenting on how beautiful Charissa's eyes were. Then out of nowhere she exclaims, "Oh my gosh! I just had the greatest idea! You should dress Charissa as Sinead O'Connor!" I smiled politely and said, "Well there's an idea..." I had no idea who she was talking about. In fact, I didn't even know if she was talking about a man or a woman at first. When I got home it took me FOREVER to find out who she was because I couldn't figure out how to spell "Sinead."

So this is a picture of Sinead O'Connor:And this is a picture of Charissa:
I know Charissa isn't looking at the camera, but I couldn't find another picture with Charissa not smiling.

I mean ... they're both bald with big eyes. I guess that means they look alike.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Strange ....

I think a grand total of 2 people have ever said Charissa looks more like me than Britt. I'm not sure I trust these results.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Gifts!

Apparently my birthday season wasn't quite over yet. Britt had a picture commissioned for me by a guy he knows and he gave this to me last Friday. Isn't it a wonderful picture? I love sunset and mountain pictures so this is really perfect for me. You can't really see the colors of the mountains very well, but they aren't just black. It's a pretty wonderful picture. I feel very blessed that my husband thought outside the box and had a picture painted for me.

The second gift isn't really a birthday present. But it came at about the same time and Britt did give it to me .... so it kind of counts. The second one is a house! YAY!! A beautiful, new house for us!! (Note: not "new" as in "just made" but as in "we're just getting it!"). It's close to downtown and it's in an older neighborhood ... it's really pretty spectacular. Here's a picture of the outside:

That's right! Wrap-around porch! How much fun is that?! The yard needs a little bit of work, but I think it will be very nice.

Bay windows!! This is the "living room." There are two sitting rooms in the house and one is a "family room" and one is a "living room" but we don't know how to tell which one is which. And don't ask about that little bit of wood - we don't know why it's there.

This is a small portion of the "family room." As you can see, it's a very ugly teal color that will be painted quickly.

Our dining room! It'll be so nice to have a place to eat that isn't sandwiched by cabinets and the washer/dryer! We'll actually be able to walk around the table! Imagine that ...

Our kitchen .... not much to explain here ...

The half bath downstairs that will be painted IMMEDIATELY upon moving in because this is just a ridiculous color to have on walls.
This is our third bedroom which will be turned into an office/guest room.

This will be Charissa's room. And yes we will be painting it too.

And this is our master bedroom! Another bay window! I really want to get a big overstuffed chair for in front of the windows and be able to read there.

But I haven't even told you the BEST news about the house. We took our friends, the Sylvesters, to go see it and they found a house right around the corner from us! So now Julie and I get to be neighbors and live out our dream of borrowing sugar from each other. It's going to be great! We think we'll be moving in early to mid December. We'll let you know as soon as we find out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Simple Sign Language

I've been considering teaching Charissa sign language. I've somewhat resisted because .... well it's just something I've never been interested in and so far I've always known what Charissa wants. I looked on the internet and found two sights that are helpful for learning some basic signs. So have at it - learn to say something with your hands!

First 100 Signs - This website has pictures of each step of the sign. It also has a dictionary of the American Sign Language.

My Baby Can Talk - This one has video clips of a woman doing the signs. It has less words though, and some weird choices.

Pictoral Update!

I haven't posted any pictures of Charissa in a long time and people are starting to wonder about her. Don't worry - she's still as cute as ever. And in to everything! So here are a some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to "ohhh" and "ahhh" your way through them.

Because Charissa is "petite" this is what
happens when you put pants on her.

Two peas in a pod!

Her first drumming experience.
I'm hoping she becomes a drummer.

Desperately trying to get to the other
side where she knows her daddy is.

Pumpkin is good!
(Check out those eyelashes! I don't
know where they came from!)

She loves to be under things. I don't know why.
Maybe she'll grow up to be a coal miner.

Britt and two of his favorite things:
Charissa and basketball.
Finally, united.

She's so happy to be able to stand!
In fact, we can't keep her sitting.

This is one happy girl at her mama's birthday party.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Best Printer Ever!

If you're in the market for a printer, and even if you're not, you need to look into the HP Photosmart C5280 All-In-One. It's amazing! I mean, you know it's amazing if I'm taking the time to blog about it. I got one for my birthday and we installed it last night. We printed a picture of Charissa and WOW - it looks amazing! I can't believe it came out of a printer! And Britt had it on the lowest quality setting. Of course, I don't actually know how to use it by myself, but when Britt comes home I'm going to print lots of pictures of my baby girl. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Letter to a New Father

I'm really not a very experienced father. But when my friend sent me an email asking for early fatherhood suggestions, particularly how to encourage his wife, I jumped at the chance to love and encourage him and his family. I reproduce it here (minus some details) for your encouragement as well:

Good questions to ask. The other guys probably have more insight than me, through age, experience, and godliness; but mainly I would just try to let my wife rest as much as possible, do the night shift unless it impairs your work ability (in which case you have to figure something out), make sure I'm getting off early if at all possible, and generally just looking out and looking ahead for her. Offer to make dinner, rub her feet (or whatever hurts), rent a movie, go on a date whenever she's ready to leave the little one (she'll take longer to come to that point than you).

But most of all, she just needs encouragement that God has already given her the skills and is currently giving her the strength and the grace she needs to be a good mother. That's what my wife needed to know most. So encourage her with the gospel, and when she feels like she's messed up something, give her more gospel. She doesn't have to know everything - God will take care of every little thing and cover up our many mistakes as parents. Truly He is good to those who call on Him, to those who call on Him in truth.

And go ahead and start family worship if you haven't already, even with the little one - it will encourage her that you care about your son's body and his soul, and will help her press on in her own (probably somewhat strained) devotional time. Encourage her to take time to be with Jesus on her own as well.

We love you three and are available to baby-care whenever you need us, or just for dinner, or just to get out, or just for encouragement!


Two Dozen and Counting!

On the 11th of October, I turned 24. It's a good solid number. I've acquired enough years that most people take me seriously (although I still have to be careful when I go out with Charissa and not Britt that they don't think I'm a single mother) but I'm young enough that my joints don't hurt. I had a really good birthday this year. Britt and I got to celebrate together on Thursday by going to P.F. Chang's and then on Saturday I had a BIG birthday party. Many of our friends were able to come as well as lots of our family. I think one of the highlights of the party was when one of our friend's two-year-old son sang me "Happy Birthday." True, it was a little mumbled, but it was sweet. It made me think about how Charissa will be doing that before I know it.

Speaking of the little ball 'o' fun - that girl is learning all sorts of new tricks. In the last two weeks she's learned to pull herself up, she's acquired 6 teeth turning her into a mini-Jaws, wave, point her finger at someone while "talking" to them, and recite the Westminster Catechism. Ok, that last one isn't true, but I'm still pretty impressed with her. She's so much fun! Really, if you've been holding off on having kids you should go for it. They are great!

I would write more, but I just finished reading the book Shopping for Time by the Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters and they recommend rising early in the morning, so tomorrow is going to be an early day for me. I completely recommend this book - I read it in less than 24 hours. It's simple, practical, easy to read, and talks about a lot of ways to better use our time. If you want to borrow it, let me know!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tuesday Tip - What's for Dinner?

If you're like me, when 600 rolls around you walk into your kitchen, open the refrigerator and wait for some inspiration to hit you and let you know what you're going to make for dinner. Usually my inspiration takes about 15-20 minutes of opening the refrigerator, closing it, walking to the pantry and opening it but then realizing there's nothing in there that shouts "eat me!" in there so I close that door, and then walk back to the refrigerator and hope that round 2 (or 3 ... or 4 ... ) gives me better insight. Isn't that a colossal waste of time? And then when I finally figure out what I want to make I'll have all but one ingredient that just can't be substituted by something else.

Solution? Meal planning! Or eating out a lot. But then you have to decide what restaurant you want to go to and then figure out what you want to eat there ... and you have to have a large "grocery budget" and not mind eating 2-3 times the amount of calories you should be eating. ANYWAY - you should meal plan. I've been back and forth on this idea for a while because I don't like to be boxed in to eating a certain meal on a certain day. I can't tell you what I want to eat on Friday on Monday. I don't know yet. (For this same reason, I also tend to pack a lot more clothes than I need when we go out of town.) So instead of saying what meal I'm going to make each day, I decided to make a list of five meals that I can make that week. I know that there are seven days in a week, but for some reason I don't end up cooking on all seven nights, so why over plan?

Of course, having the plan doesn't help me come up with ideas of what to eat. I was still racking my brain. And then I had an epiphany - why don't I look through all those recipes I pull of magazines saying I'll making them "one day"? Well, "one day" has arrived my friends! Yesterday I went through all my recipes (a number of which were delicious looking desserts) from magazines and I picked ten to make in the next two weeks. Then from those ten recipes I made a complete grocery list and headed off to the farmer's market and the grocery store. It was great! I always have a list when I go to the store, but this time it felt more purposeful. This time, I knew where those ingredients were going. On a side note - I really recommend shopping at a farmer's market. It's cheaper, there is more variety and it's a lot of fun. Plus the people there know a lot about produce and can help you pick out a good vegetable from a bad one and give you tips on how to store and use them. And babies love all the bright colors. :) By the way - I picked recipes that compliment each other in ingredients so that I didn't spend a huge amount of money at the store. In fact - and this may shock some of you - for two weeks worth of groceries I spent $50. No lie.

So now I have ten magazine pages hanging from a clip on my refrigerator that I can make in the next two weeks. It's kind of exciting. Once I've cooked the meal and I like it, I take it off the refrigerator, cut it the recipe and the picture, mount it on a note card and put it in my recipe box so I will have it when I finish going through all my other magazine cut outs. Which will probably take another two years.

So here's my tips for you about meal planning:
  1. Make a plan. And make one that works for you.
  2. Look through your recipe box, cookbooks, and magazine cutouts that all women accumulate and find meals you want to make. And everyone should get the Kraft Foods Magazine because they have such simple but delicious recipes that are really cheap. And the magazine is free! Go to the website and sign up for it. Side note: as you're going through your magazine clippings and you see recipes you know you're never going to make - throw it out!
  3. Make a complete grocery list so you only have to go once a week or once every two weeks.
  4. Make a list of recipes you like so that you have an easy way of brainstorming your meal plan.

I'm so excited about having a plan! I know it's something silly to be excited about ... but I am and I don't care if you think it's silly. It will help me spend less time in the kitchen wandering aimlessly and more time with my family. So it's totally worth it.