Sunday, January 31, 2010

There's this woman in my life who has greatly impacted me.  She has been there through the highs and lows, through the laughter and tears and, because of this, has become one of my best friends.  There is nobody in the world like her and nobody who can even come close to comparing.  She's sweet and loving, goofy and fun.  She's one of the people I hold at the highest esteem in my life.  She cherishes her relationship with God, she is a loving wife and mother and an amazing sister.

Today, there is nothing more I would rather write about than my phenomenal sister, Tanya, because today is the day we get to celebrate her!  Happy Birthday sweet sister - I love you more than words can express!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

This was passed on to me from my mother-in-law.  I thought the message was quite phenomenal so I wanted to share it with you.  The author is unknown.


I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
'Oh excuse me please' was my reply.

He said, 'Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you..'

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
'Move out of the way,' I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,
God's still small voice came to me and said,

'While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.'

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
'Wake up, little one, wake up,' I said.

'Are these the flowers you picked for me?'
He smiled, 'I found 'em, out by the tree.

I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue.'

I said, 'Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way..'

He said, 'Oh, Mom, that's okay.
 I love you anyway.'

I said, 'Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.' 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Have you seen this movie?
I recently viewed it at the recommendation of my blogging friend, Pennie.  There's not much I can say besides I LOVED IT.  So did Monte, in fact.  He loved it so much that he watched it twice.  Not necessarily by his choice, but more because I fell asleep the first time we tried to watch it (we started the movie at 10pm, I should've known I wouldn't last through it!).  He watched the movie through that night and then he watched it again with me the next night.  It is SO good.  So good, in fact, that I'm bringing it to my mom's house to watch with her soon.  It will be a blast!

However, this movie inspired me a little bit.  You see, I have wanted to learn to cook a lot better than what my current capabilities allow.  My family very likely gets extremely sick of the same ol' same ol' that we have week after week.  There is not much variety in our menu because there is not much variety in my cooking abilities!  In this movie, Julie is inspired by Julia Child and wants to cook her way through one of her cook books in a year.  Well, I went and ordered this same cookbook and have begun my new cooking trend a la Julia!  While I'm definitely not intending on cooking through the entire cookbook, I am finding new recipes to use with the basic staples we have in our home (beef, chicken, rice, etc).  It has been fabulous!  Thus far, I have made two recipes with much success!

The first recipe I made was filets (mignon) in a cream sauce.  I had one word upon my first bite of this: YUMMMMM!  My loving husband documented our first recipe in pictures.  This is some of the ingredients, my brand new cookbook, and my beloved 'Ove Gloves (the best hot mitt in the entire world!  Spent about $40 on the pair, but completely worth it!).

The steaks have been cooked and are on 'warm hold' in the microwave!

As the steaks are sitting, I am preparing the sauce and OH BOY did it smell amazing!

Working hard (I apologize for my appearance!  This was my "getting ready to the minimal amount" day!).

The final product:

I think the best part of it was that even my pickiest eaters were happy with this meal (though almost all of my kids did scrape the mushrooms off of the steak)!  It was fairly easy to prepare and absolutely delicious; I would make this recipe again in a heartbeat!

So, am I on my way to greatness?  I truly hope that my experience in cooking will lead me to better culinary skills and, hopefully, one day having the ability to expand my menu!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A decision has been made.  One that has an impact on me, directly.  One that I'm actually quite happy about.  You see, for awhile now I have been going through this process of fertility.  I've been visiting my OB quite regularly, having ultrasounds, taking random medications - all in the effort to conceive a baby.  The effects of all of this have been frustrating.  The medications make me emotional, one even made me angry at the world (no joke, I wanted nothing to do with anybody when I was on this ... which, once we figured out that it was the meds making me feel that way, I immediately discontinued taking them).  I hate having to follow a schedule of take this, go to the doctor three days later, then go back in a week later to see if maybe, just maybe I will get to have a baby (hehe, that rhymed!).

Well, after much discussion with my loving husband, we decided that this is going to be the last round.  Due to the fact that I already have Clomid in my refrigerator that is waiting to be taken, we decided we will try one more time.  We will go the medical route, go in for the ultrasound to see if I can even TAKE the Clomid, yadda yadda yadda ... to the end result of whatever happens.

Truth be told, I'm just frustrated with the process.  Yes, my heart definitely desires to have a baby - but at this point I'm done trying ... medically speaking, anyway.  I will go through my next couple of appointments and then I'm just done.

You see, something in me really feels like I've already been incredibly blessed with four children, so why not enjoy them to the fullest right now?  If and when God decides that Monte and I get to have another baby, that is the time that we'll get pregnant.  While my heart screams and wants so badly for that time to be now, I know that the situation is not in my hands.  It's in God's.  So, due to the extreme emotions I experience and due to the extreme expense of all of this (even with the great insurance coverage that we now have, it's crazy expensive!), after these upcoming appointments I will no longer be going through fertility treatments.

It will be me, Monte and God.  And only in God's timing will everything work.

And I think I'm okay with that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Mr. Favre,

After last night's game, I really felt compelled to write you this letter.  You see, I have been a Vikings fan for as long as I can remember.  Never once have I been a bandwagon fan, but a true purple and gold lover during the good and the bad seasons.  However, this season was different from any other that I have experienced.  This season our team became an unstoppable force, lead by none other than you, our fearless and talented quarterback.  Our team was not one to be messed with.  By no means is our team filled with perfection, we had our share of fumbles and interceptions, of fouls and missed catches.  But man oh man was this year ever exciting!

This year was the season that my husband and I hardly missed a game.  It was the season where we cheered along and were excitedly anticipating each game that was played.  Then came the infamous playoff game that happened yesterday.  Mr. Favre, I feel it necessary to tell you just how amazingly well you and the rest of the team did yesterday.  You played a tough team and were neck and neck with them through most of the game. You made amazing drives, great receptions, and four touchdowns!  Above it all, though, the one thing I noticed is your spirit.  I was amazed to see how many times their team threw hits at you, one that left me breathless to just watch, and yet you came back to finish the game.  Very few people have the ability to play with the talent that you displayed in this game.

So, Mr. Favre, while the rest of Minnesota may be upset with the outcome of last night's game, I sit here quite impressed.  This year has been one of the most exciting and amazing years I have ever experienced with the Vikings.  This year is the only year that we couldn't get tickets to the games we wanted to attend because your team's popularity had skyrocketed!  This year is the year that the Vikings proved what they can do as a team - and I am ever so impressed with that!

Take time off and relax.  Enjoy your family, enjoy down time.  My hope is that we will see you again next season, but if that isn't in your plans, then I must say 'Thank You' ... for the best season I've cheered through!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What do you get when you mix two boys with shaggy hair and a step-mom with a shears (that desperately needs sharpening)?  Well you get haircut night, of course!  Two nights ago, Iain and Colin were victimized by my shears and they are shaggy no more!  Here is Iain saying a sorrowful goodbye to his shaggy hair (I have yet to figure out WHY he loves his hair so overgrown and out of control!).

Colin didn't mind the haircut quite so much.

When it was done, Iain was all smiles!

All in all, I would say it was a successful operation!

Beyond the new haircuts, a lot has been going on around here!  Monte and I just returned from a wonderful weekend away at a resort in Brainerd.  It was a great and relaxing time for us to be away together!  When we got home, we heard a great report from our babysitter and even saw some of the pictures of the chaos that reigned while we were gone, including this picture of Colin the warrior:

I guarantee you I wouldn't want to cross this guy's path!  He's dangerous, I tell you!

While we were up north, we were able to spend some time with Monte's brother and sister-in-law on Sunday before we came home.  It was great to see them and we had a wonderful time watching the football game and catching up with them!  We're excited to head up there again in a couple of weeks for another visit!

We have another trip in the making that we're greatly anticipating.  In researching where we wanted to go for a vacation, Monte and I also had to look into the option of childcare while we're gone.  Normally, if we travel during the summer months, his parents are available to come and watch the kiddos for us.  Unfortunately, they winter in Arizona, so if we're looking to get away during those months, it's rather difficult. We found someone who was willing to watch them at a ridiculously high price and, after much discussion, we realized that we could pay for airplane tickets for all four of our children for just a couple hundred dollars more than what our babysitter's offer was.  So, after some chatting with my in-laws and chatting with my husband, we decided that the best vacation we can take is to head to Arizona and see my in-laws at their winter home!  We're going to take all four of our kids with us and they are going to stay at their grandpa and grandma's house while Monte and I stay at a nearby hotel.  We would all be staying with Woody and Marion, but their winter home is not quite as capable to hold so many guests as their summer home, so their offer to have the kids stay with them made this retreat feel like much more of a vacation!  On top of that, my friend, Nick, manages a hotel in Arizona and was able to get us a wonderful rate at that hotel chain, so we're staying a mere 10 minutes away from my in-laws and get to still enjoy vacation as a whole family!  Sounds like a trip planned in Heaven to me! :)

On top of all of that, my Pampered Chef kit arrived yesterday, so I spent a lot of time washing and trying to find spots for all of my new stuff!  What a wonderful week it has been.

Now, though, I have to sit back and walk away from my blog, as my house appears to have been internally hit by a tornado called my children and it needs some major attention in the cleaning and laundry department.  So, off I go to take care of these tasks!

Come back tomorrow for an update on construction!  I would tell you now, but I want to include some pictures, and the sun hasn't come up yet, so I can't go take the pictures now!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Welcome to another blog carnival I've decided to participate in!  This carnival was started by Keely at Mann Land 5 - hop on over to her blog to participate!

1. Hair color..Au naturale..or not?
If I have to be honest, I can tell you my hair is definitely NOT its natural color.  By nature, I am a blond but in recent years my hair has been a wide array of different colors.  Now, it is about as close to natural as it has been in a LONG time.  

2. If somebody has food in their teeth or lipstick on their teeth do you tell them?
Yes, yes and YES!  Even if I don't know them, I find a way to quietly let them know.  I can't stand it when it's ME who has the food in my teeth and nobody tells me, so I find it a good thing to let people know when they do (as long as I find an appropriate and discreet way to inform them)!

3. Would you rather have a million dollars or your vision of the perfect body?
A million dollars.  My body can always be worked on, potentially WITH the million bucks you're handing me! ;)

4. Favorite magazine?
Every Day with Rachael Ray

5. Bra style..lacey or plain?
Lately I'm a plain Jane girl, entirely because I don't even a little bit like it when the lace on my bra makes the shirt I'm wearing look ... goofy! :)

6. If you walked into Victoria's Secret..would you most likely come out with something sexy or comfy?
Sexy.  I can easily get my comfy at somewhere that will cost me much less money!  If I'm spending the money, I'm going to get the look that I think Victoria's Secret intended (for my hubby, of course)!

7. Do you fake and bake?
Nope.  I had a bad experience with it in high school and don't like to.  We spend a lot of time on the lake beginning in early May (when the water is too cold to be in, but the sun is shining so beautifully that we have to take the boat out!), so I usually end up with a nice tan by mid summer anyway!

8. What's your favorite body part on a man?
My husband has some amazing abs - and I'm a big fan!  Though I do have to say that his smile is pretty killer, too! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm thrilled to say that we have finally found the way to make the flames burn extremely hot in our home ... starting by using our wood burning fireplace!  This is the first time since I've lived here that we've used the fireplace and the experience was fabulously wonderful!  My studly husband built the fire for me ...

... and oh BOY were those flames burning!

"Sit long, talk much, laugh often" ... yes please!

Doesn't this look like the most wonderfully peaceful place to sit and relax?!

Thank you, to my dear husband, for making such a cozy warm place for our family to relax.  The flames were definitely hot that day and I'm anxious to build a fire again soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I've spent much of today in reflection over this past year.  Much of it has to do with the fact that Monte and I decided to stay put in the house we live in, thus bringing me to thinking about friendships - new ones formed, old ones treasured and, sadly, ones lost.  This past year seems to have been a significant year for the latter of that list - it seems that friendships have been lost in abundance.  Truth be told, this bothers me a LOT.  Some of these lost friendships were with people who were in my life for a short period of time.  While the time they were in my life was very significant and they were friendships I treasured dearly, I feel a bit of a frustration when I think about the fact that the significance of the friendships have already worn out.  The thing that hurts more, though, is the lost friendships with people who have been in my life for many years.  One of these in particular is frustrating to me.  See, if I am honest with myself, I would say that the friendship had diminished several years ago when life got busy for both of us and communicating and seeing each other became much more difficult.  Something in me decided it was time to put finality on the end of this friendship and I closed the door on it this past year.

Surprisingly enough, it still hurts.  The friendship that had died years earlier, one that truly was effortless because we both put zero effort into it - that's the one that bothers me.

The entire theme of friendships has been playing on my mind and I finally figured out why:

Monte and I are staying in this house and I currently have less than a handful of friends in this area.  That bothers me to no end!  When we talked about moving, the thing that made me excited about it was the fact that I would be living closer to my sister and my brother, closer to the friends I have in the northern suburbs - closer to the people who I feel safe around because I know them inside and out.  It was exciting to know that I was going to be near the people I so dearly love.  By no means am I saying that I'm not excited about staying here - I truly am thrilled about it - I just wish I had the friendships in this area that I do elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong, I have done quite a bit to form friendships and get to know people.  I've joined the MOPs group at my church, I've chaperoned many events at my kids' schools in order to meet people - I have put myself out there.  The problem with this is that, while I have met many wonderful people, these people are still my acquaintances.  I truly don't feel that I can even say they're my friends, and that makes me so sad!  I want the kind of friend that I can call up out of the blue just to say hello and see what they're doing for the day.  My sweet sister is amazing, as she is my friend that I call every single day!  I just wish there was someone that I could invite over for a playdate and feel comfortable having them and their kids in my home.

Right now, I just don't have that.

Lord, I'm feeling a major void inside because I haven't yet established relationships with women in this area.  Please open the doors to lifelong friendships, to people who can be that friend that I so desperately need.  I give this situation to You and trust that You will bring the answers my heart longs for.  I love You Lord - thank You for loving me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I think it's safe to say that we went from having a house with a tiny garage to having a garage with a small house!  Okay, our house isn't small, but next to this new garage it definitely looks that way!  I'm not complaining, though, our garage looking like this is just another sign of progress!  We're moving forward and I am loving it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Today I woke up feeling less than beautiful.  The thing that really shook me about this feeling was that I wasn't feeling less than beautiful in the physical sense (though I will admit I'm not all that strikingly beautiful first thing in the morning!).  The thing that shook me was that I was feeling quite ugly in my spirit.  I woke up feeling grumpy, feeling frustrated with having to get out of bed, as my almost-four-year-old woke me up several times last night needing to be tucked in for the fiftieth time, feeling exhausted and feeling run down.  I had no desire to make today a good day.

To top that off, I was harshly awaken by my daughter yelling, "THERE'S A MOLE IN OUR HOUSE!"  Can I tell you a secret?  Kami + Rodents = a BAD situation.  I'm totally grossed out and appalled by them and want nothing to do with them!  Thankfully, my boys came to my rescue and promptly removed the rodent from inside our house and I was left to sit in my crabbiness and left to feel sorry for myself due to having had such a harsh awakening this morning.

As I came upstairs to be spend some quality time being crabby on the computer, all these verses kept popping in my head: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!"  "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God"  "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good His love endures forever"  "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name".

What a way to check my attitude!  I realized through these verses that I so dearly love, that my attitude and my heart were NOT in the right place this morning.  Instead of seeking the beauty, I settled for the ashes.

Thank You God for showing me my fault and checking my heart in the midst of a trying morning.  Thank You for letting me trade my ashes in for Your beauty.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I think that's the decision that I've come to: my ovaries are on strike. Today, Colin and I headed out to yet another appointment with my OB. I was so proud of Colin, he was so very good at the appointment and everybody at the office found him to be simply adorable! That was the good part of the visit. The not-so-good part of the visit came when the doctor discovered that, over the last month, I have developed a cyst on my ovary.

Wait - what did you say? A cyst? No, I've never dealt with cysts before, you must be incorrect.

Alas, I saw the ultrasound and I saw what you called a cyst (though I must admit that ultrasounds never look like much of anything to me at this point except a bunch of black squiggly lines!). The thing that boggles my mind is the fact that the cyst formed in the last month. It wasn't on the ultrasounds that I had in December. Trust me, we looked back at those, too. So, while I was on birth control which is supposed to help prevent things like this, a cyst formed.

I'm beside myself. I don't know what to say. I'm on birth control yet again for another month. A whole stinking month! I know in all reality that a month truly is not that long to wait, but when you've been on this journey for even a couple of months, a month sometimes feels like eternity.

I'm not going to lie - I have questions that I know are unanswerable. I wish I knew why God allows some people to so easily conceive and yet I can not. I wish I knew what was truly going on and whether or not I will ever carry a baby of my own in my arms. I wish I had the answers, yet I know that my desire to have all the answers leads me off the road of faith and onto the road of self reliance. So, I will sit back and know that I don't have these answers right now and I will know that it's okay that I don't have the answers.

Can I be honest? During this journey, I think I have been putting more trust in modern medicine than I have in God. I've been relying on my next doctor's appointment, on the next prescription they give me, on the next step of the journey. I think I have to admit that part of me knows that I am having so much trouble because I haven't truly lain this at the feet of my Savior. I haven't let go of this dream and trusted God with all of the answers. It reminds me of a poem I heard as a child:

"As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because He is my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried, 'How can You be so slow?!'
'My child,' He said, 'What could I do? You never did let go.'"

Psalm 62:8 seems to be the answer I am seeking: "Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him [God] at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower)." [Amplified Version].

What better words to describe the position I am in? I truly am ready to trust in, lean on, rely on and pour my heart out to my Savior. He is the one that I need. He is the one I trust. He is the ultimate physician and He is the one who holds my future baby in His plans.

Thank You Lord for bringing this verse to me in a time when I so desperately needed to recognize You more than anything. Please forgive me for relying on myself, for trying to take control of the situation I'm in, as if anything I could do could ever be greater than the work You can do in me. Father, take my heart and make it Yours. Mold me into the woman You designed me to be. Help me to have a heart that first desires You. Help me to seek You first. Please Lord, I don't know what it's going to take for my body to conceive and carry a baby to term - but You know. I pray that Your healing hands would touch my body and cause health and perfect function to reign in me as Your love, Your life and Your Spirit reign in me. I love You Lord and I thank You for this work You have begun in me - and I thank You that Your Word says that You will be faithful to complete this work. You are awesome, Father! I love You and I stand in awe of You. I am fully Yours.

Monday, January 4, 2010

We spent time at Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharol's (Monte's brother and sister-in-law's) house:

We had a really really good time!

We had fabulous times with wonderful family members:

.. and my absolutely gorgeous husband kept me smiling all weekend!

... and our kids kept busy with the lego land they were building:

The next day we travelled to Tanya's (my sister's) house and hung out with these great kiddos:

I spent a lot of time being a baby hog of this beautiful baby girl:

We had an unbelievable spread of food:

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my sister and my mom:

And my siblings, my mom and I ended the evening by being the dorks we so naturally are:

We had a completely fabulous Christmas vacation - now it's time to get back to our normal, fabulous daily life!  Hoping your Christmas was as wonderful as ours!