Friday, September 29, 2006

Just so happens

The one day, ONE day, that Sam and I decide that he will get off the bus all by himself while I stand at the door, is the one day that the bus completely drives by the house. With him on the it. I could see him sitting in there, looking out the window to see if I was standing waiting for him. Down the road the bus went. LONG gone. Out of sight. I called Ed and said, "It's not a good thing when the bus drives right by with our son on board". I called the bus garage and they were actually on the radio with the bus driver. She turned around and I saw them pass our house again. So out I went. To make sure she knew right where to stop. She stopped at the private drive before our house and I could see that Sam told her it was the next driveway, as she pointed to me, standing there waiting.

No apologies, nothing. But I didn't care. I just wanted my son off the bus. Where I could make sure he was ok. He was steaming mad. At me. For waiting for him. By the time we got to the steps he was in tears and I asked him if he was scared and he just started sobbing. Still mad at me for waiting, but I knew he was scared. Of course explaining that I WAS standing at the door waiting for him when he was supposed to get off, didn't matter one bit. I said we'd try again on Monday.

I pick the one day the sub bus driver starts. Thought it was yesterday. Guess I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This week is our first week of having a job chart. It's on a large white dry erase board hanging up in the laundry area. Everyone has jobs. Some jobs are the same every day. Like Sam is responsible for plates every night at dinner. Alina's responsible for forks. Ed's responsible for drinks and I'm responsible for dinner. Other items include Sam picking up his toys in the living room twice a week. Both of them picking up the basement toys once a week (they have very few toys out as I rotate them every other week so there's not so much out at once). Alina putting away her markers and books twice a week. Mine is a bit more with the daily duties of laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, etc. It's working quite well. Though I haven't been sticking to my jobs due to an inordinate amount of work coming in and lots and lots of phone calls for meals. But Sam asks daily what his job is for that day. Now the trick is to keep at it and not let them slide out of keeping up their jobs. Writing it out was the easy part. Doing it is the hard part!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

once in a lifetime

This past Thursday, after delivering a meal to a family, Alina and I dropped by Grandma Pat's house. We are rarely over on that side of town, so I thought it would be nice to drop in and see her. Grandma Pat is not really the kids' grandma. She's their adopted grandma. When Sam was born, we lived right next to Grandma Pat and Grandpa Chris. We shared the same driveway. I could hear her on the phone, sitting in my own house. That's how close our houses were. We also attended the same church (and still do).

Then we moved when I was pregnant with Alina. And the couple who bought our old house actually go to our church too. And we knew the husband when he was in jr. high and high school when we lived in Lansing. Small world.

So as I was leaving, Brian came out and said hi. Grandma Pat said, "you should see what they've done to the house." Brian said, "Come on in and see."

I was hesitant at first. I didn't want my memories to be changed from what I remember our house to look like. But that hesitation didn't last long. How often do you get to see your old place, all redone? I've been wanting to see what they've done to the house as we'd always get reports from Grandma Pat and Grandma Chris to what they were doing over the past 2 1/2 years. So I stepped in.

Everything was different. Well, not everything. There were some things that were the same. The kitchen floor, counter tops, stove, light (our favorite light that I wanted to bring with us) and our old bedroom floor. Oh, and the bathtub. Everything else was different. Different colors, different rooms, added rooms, finished rooms. The basement was totally refinished. What was mint green cinder block walls was now a deep brown drywall, asbestos tile floor was now carpet. An added office. A finished upstairs with added marble bathroom. Hardwood floors. It was beautiful. I was shocked. All's I kept saying was, "You guys did an amazing, amazing job!!"

It was a totally different house. Even the outside. But my memories didn't change, of which I'm glad. I still remember moving-in day. Bringing Sam home. Redoing the kitchen the week of Christmas and setting up the tree with a refrigerator and stove in the living room (it was a small living room, so it made for a fun time). Ed putting in new basement windows. Painting the bathroom a pink color that sure looked different in the store. Moving-out day. Walking through an empty house and crying b/c I didn't want to leave, as I didn't have any memories of our new house. That house was all I knew. It was heart wrenching.

But walking through it on Wednesday, I realized that I didn't miss it. I'm glad Brian and Katie love it as much as we did. Brian said they're going to redo the kitchen and will give us the light as the brushed nickle wouldn't match the stainless steel appliances they would get. I didn't say no. :)

Some day maybe the old owners of our house will come through. I'd let them in as we know them since we go to the same church. Again. Small world. There's still a lot, A LOT, that we want to do to our place. But that's a whole different post.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

a full day

Today's agenda includes:

1. Take Ed to work. We've been SOOOOO spoiled with having two vehicles for the past week. We've been a one car family for the past 9-10 years. Thanks SO much A&A!!! I hope it felt loved this past week while you were gone. :)

2. Work. No explanation for that one.

3. Make dessert

4. Take Sam to school.

5. Go to store to pick up storage containers and bread for meals.

6. Deliver meal to family that just had baby. Hearty chicken noodle soup, french bread, salad and dessert.

7. Home to work some more.

8. Wait at bus stop for Sam.

9. Airport to pick up friends.

10. Back home with said friends so said friends can take their meal and well-loved car home and go to sleep.

11. Pick up Ed.

12. Off to coffee house to hear some amazing music by local musician.

13. Eat dinner in there somewhere.

14. Crash in bed. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Today I was amazed. More than once. With people I didn't even know, talking to them, hearing their words. It started with a call to a home of several kids (14 to be exact) that were in an accident this past Sunday (apx. 6 were in the accident). Mom and two kids are still in the hospital and they needed meals. I talked to one of the older daughters and received all the information I needed to start making my calls.

Call one: This family was "near and dear to her heart" she said and could take more meals if needed.

Call two: She was so willing. After giving all information a comment came to my ear that said, "I was a part of that accident." Out of the blue. Totally not expecting it. I asked what happened and she told me. My heart broke. I could tell she was trying to keep it together. I wanted to reach through the phone and give her a big hug. I could relate, in a way, of knowing you've caused pain to someone in a car crash. I think it's one of the worst feelings in the world. She said the mom was one amazing lady of God and wanted this woman to know that it was going to be ok. And completely forgave her. I was speechless and I could tell she felt the wrought, raw, incomprehensible emotions of knowing you have done something painful and yet be fully forgiven. I literally had the chills.

Call seven and nine: "I saw that accident on the way to church. I will definitely take them a meal."

Call 11: "That's odd. I'm taking a meal to someone who got in an accident on Sunday too. Sounds like someone different though." As we chatted and she asked some more questions, we realized that the family she was taking a meal to was my call #2 family that was in the accident too.

Not one person was put out by taking a meal for 9-10 people. I can't even describe the emotions that rolled through me. Awe, shock, sadness, grief are some that describe that hour on the phone. Tears, chills, shakes were the physical emotions I went through. Everyone was intertwined some how and yet didn't even know each other.

It was amazing to see God work through each phone call and see people reach out to others whom they didn't even know, to care and not shy away from a challenging situation. That, to me, is showing Christ's love. What an honor and humbling experience it is to watch it happen before my eyes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

One more

I tried one last recipe for the past week and it was a huge success!

Mini Taco Bowls. These were easy and very tasty. I switched some things up and added a 1/2 packet of taco seasoning and a bit of medium hot fresh salsa instead of just salsa. I topped it with a spoonful of lite sour cream and a splash of taco sauce instead of ranch dressing. And instead of ground beef, I used ground chicken. Ed and I each ate two and it was just enough. The kids devoured theirs and one for each of them filled them right up. With a side of chips and the fresh salsa, it was a filling, yet a very cheap, easy meal.

This week is sporting new recipes of Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken and Mac and Cheese Lasagna, along with another dose of home made pizzas. A review will be coming out of yay's or nay's from the table occupants...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

broken heart

Today 4:20:

Sam: "Mom, why do you always wait for me to get off the bus?"

Me: "Because I like seeing you get off the bus. And I like waiting for you."

Sam: "I don't want you to wait for me anymore."

Me: "Why?"

Sam: "I want to come into the house all by myself. Like all the other kids do."

Me: Silence and a broken heart that it has started. Complete independence. I just wanted to cry.

Fire up the oven!

Last week while preparing my menu for the next couple of weeks, I came across some recipes that looked pretty tasty. I have not tried all of them yet, but this week has sported two new recipes. Both were very tasty and very easy.

Monday was Fuss-Free Raviolo and Cheese Bake.
The prep time said it would take 5 minutes. And it really only did take 5 minutes. After making it, I thought that to make it even healthier, you could use all organic products and even the pasta could be made to be more healthy (like home-made wheat ravioli with any kind of stuffed cheese of your choice). This was dinner Tuesday night as well and it was gone.

Wednesday was Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.
Again, anything can be put into this. What took the longest was slicing the pototoes. It could have baked a bit longer, but if I had sliced all the potatoes the same exact width, it would've only taken an hour to bake. This is one of those times it would've been good to have the big Pampered Chef grater with attachments. I did get a good work out cutting 3 pounds of potatoes though! The cream cheese and sour cream didn't make this the most healthiest of meals. Next time I'd like to try it with fat free/reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream. Maybe turkey instead of ham? Hips may not complain so much then.

I have a couple more recipes I'm going to try out too this weekend and next week. I've missed cooking and may have to heat up the oven today and bake some breads. That's one thing I love about fall is baking and cooking. Can't wait for apple season!!

And here's something I threw together a few weeks back and even made them again last friday but added spinach to the toppings. Homemade wheat pizza crusts with bbq sauce, bbq chicken, pineapple, black olives, garden tomatoes, zucchini, onions and feta cheese. VERY tasty. One of these days I'd like to try a stuffed pizza. So daring, I know! :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I picked up a book called The Whitney Chronicles the other day. It was not the greatest book. I didn't even finish it, but just skipped to the end to read what happened. Very slow. Not a recommended book, unless you're having trouble going to sleep...this'll bore you.

While reading it I came across this statement below. It stood out to me for some reason. It's not a new concept, but it made me pause.

"Ironic, isn't it, that of all the creatures on the face of the earth, only humans don't seem to realize who and what they are. Animals behave like animals, plants like plants and fish like fish. Only we try to behave as if we're God."

It made me stop and think "for what purpose am I here?" Animals are here to enjoy, to eat, to provide clothing. Plants are here to provide food, air, beauty. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why was I made? To bring glory to God. Do I do this? In my words to my kids, my actions to my husband, my conversations with my friends? Am I bringing glory to God? No. Not nearly enough.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I know today a lot of people, our entire nation, is remembering five years ago. The day our nation changed forever.

I remember that I had turned the news on that morning. I didn't usually watch the Today show, but on this day, I did. I don't even remember what they were talking about, but I do remember Matt Lauer stopping, putting his hand to his ear and there being silence. Silence on a live morning television show does not happen. Ever. I thought, "that's really odd". Then the words, "We have reports that a plane flew into one of the Twin Towers." What?? That's crazy. I don't think they believed it either. That it was some type of hoax.
So I stood there and watched.
I don't even remember breathing.
Then they had a crew down by the Towers. Showing America what was going on. Then out of no where I saw another plane come in. Flames and then smoke. I saw it happen. Standing in my living room. It is seared into my mind forever. It wasn't a replay of something. It was happening as I breathed. My brain kept saying that it was happening somewhere far away. Like a different country. A different culture. A different world. That it wasn't real. That it wasn't happening just hours away from where I was rooted to the carpet. I couldn't fully grasp what was going on. It was so chaotic. So horrible.
I called Ed. I remember not being able to get through. Phone lines were jambed. I kept trying to call and call and call. Finally I got through and told him what I had just witnessed. I hung up to watch more horrific scenes play across the screen.
Then the phone rang. It was my friend in VA. We witnessed the towers fall together. Seeing the people run through the streets. The traffic jams. The fire and smoke. The ash colored people walking around in total bewilderment.
6 hours. We were on the phone together for 6 hours. She was pregnant with her first. Sam was 6 months old. We talked about what this would mean. From this moment on, life will be different. What it will mean for our kids.
I still get the shakes and and chills thinking about it. I can't watch replayed scenes of it on television. I look away from stilled images. It hurts too much as all the horror comes crashing back into my mind of that day.
And I squeeze my kids tighter. Kiss my husband longer. Lift up thanks to Jesus for us being alive today. This moment.
My quote in college was, "This is the first day of the rest of your life.". Cliche I know. But true. We can't live yesterday. But today, I can make the most of each moment that God has so amazingly blessed me with.
For today I can be thankful.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the wheels on the bus

Sam's busy day is all over. It started with a big breakfast of blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage. A breakfast of kindergarteners. Then it was off to the Apple store with dad. Home in time for lunch and off to school!!

He looked so little standing on the magic line that leads right into the big yawning doors that look like they are going to swallow him whole. And they did. For 3 1/2 hours. Alina cried all the way home wanting "her Sam". She had some daddy time and then a nap.

4:12 came and went. 4:20 came and went. Ed and I stood out at the end of the driveway, then into the road, then back into the driveway. Back and forth we went, escaping the cars driving by. Smiling at all the bus drivers passing as though they knew what we were waiting for (we live across from the high school, so all the buses pass our house before going into the school at the end of the day). Standing, each with a camera in our hands. Waiting.

4:30 we saw the yellow flashers. Then the red flashers. The little stop sign flipped out from the side of the bus. Out came the next door neighbor. Next was our turn. Yellow, then red, then the squeeking of the long doors and out he came. Big smile on his face. The bus driver was smiling too. We were told that when he got on the bus at school he said, "Are you SURE you know where I live?". I think he's in with the bus driver. He gave dad a hug. Mom was passed by, but that's ok. He smiled all the way to the steps. We sat on the steps and he told us about his day. He was so excited that he got to see the gym. And the playground. His two favorite areas.

5:00 the phone calls started. Nana and Papa. Grandma. Aunt Sue. He told them all that his teacher said he gets to come back tomorrow. He can not wait.

He had dinner choice tonight as it was his special day. He chose mac and cheese with hot dogs mixed in. Not on the side mind you. Mixed in. So to the store I headed for mac and cheese. It was devoured.

I think he'll like school. I'm sure the newness will wear off and he won't be as excited going into 5th or 6th grade. I'll take his excitment now though. And every day here after.

oh...and just a side note to those who have kids younger than school age. Don't be surprised when you get the 1st fundraiser packet home in the backpack on the first day of school. Entertainment book for $25 anyone? :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

a new adventure

Tomorrow is the start of a new phase of adventures in our lives. Sam starts Kindergarten. All the paper work is finished (his note home said that all his paper work is a ticket to get into school tomorrow). We still need to decide what package of pictures to buy. I just can't believe how much there is and school hasn't even started yet! AND I had to have him sign that he'll use the computers in the right way (no going to illegal websights, etc, etc, etc). His first official document that he has had to sign. Crazy.

So the gym shoes have his name on them, his cut off long sleeve paint shirt has his name proudly displayed on the front in big bold letters. He has his box of kleenex, markers and crayons all set to go. His Franklin name tag is setting out ready to be pinned on his shirt.

Ed took tomorrow as his floating holiday so we could have a big take-Sam-to-school day starting with his favorite breakfast. Chocolate chip pancakes. I'd like to make a tradition for first days of school.

He'll be gone from 12:20 until he gets off the bus at 4:12 where we will all be waiting with camera ready.

I hope he loves school. I hope he loves to learn to read, to add, to tell time on a non-digital clock, to make words come to life when writing sentences, to see and experience where other people live around the world, to be an amazing friend, leader, confidant, to learn about life.

Tomorrow starts a new adventure for him. An adventure that will lead him through many struggles, achievements, lows, highs, successes, disappointments, life. School will shape a part of him that neither Ed or I can. But being along side of him through every aspect will be an adventure too. It will shape us. And we will learn together.

We are both ready to start a new phase of exciting unknowns with our son. And he is MORE than ready to tackle school head on and start this new adventure in his life.

Friday, September 01, 2006

lost and found

Something lost:
It finally happened. It started three days ago and ended today with an excited, scared scream from upstairs. "MOOOOOOOOM!!!!!?" with a tinge of question at the end. It was almost the scream when there's a bug in the room, but not quite as scared. Mix that with an almost scream when something amazing and cool has happened, like a "come see!!", but not totally excited. I dropped my cook book and started running towards Sam and met him in the dining room (he runs faster than I do). "It didn't even HURT!!" and I look down and see the smallest tooth out of one's mouth I have ever seen. He was SOOO proud. And his second comment was that he asked to call his dad. That melted my heart.
He's so excited about the toothfairy. We've never really even talked about the toothfairy. He asked the other day, "Do we believe in the toothfairy?" Questions like these stump me because I don't want to lie to him but I don't want to take all the fun out of losing a tooth either. It's a HUGE deal! I ended up saying that it's something fun to believe in, but it's not real. And he says? "Like Santa!" Yup. Like Santa. Luckily I picked up some chocolate coins yesterday at the store.

Things found #1:
I found another baker in the family. She LOVES to help. So I let her. Sometimes more ends up all over her (hence no clothes...easier to clean her up than do more laundry), than in the bowl, but she loves being my helper. And I love that she loves being in the kitchen. Plus she likes to lick the beaters when we're all done.

Things found #2:
Yesterday I found some new sprouts. Why is this exciting? Well because the backyard causes me grumpiness when I have to move the sprinkler. And the faster that grass grows, the less chances I have of loosing my flip flops from the thick sucking clay when it gets wet and end up ankle deep, in bare feet, looking for my flip flops that have disappeared in the bowels of the mud sludge. I've moved on to wearing Ed's yard shoes (at his suggestion) in which my feet have only been sucked out of the shoes twice with little damage to the bareness of the skin sinking in the mirey clay. So yay for the little sprouts! I try not to step on them when I'm trudging across the barren waste land of mud while trying not to grumble bad things under my breath as to how heavy the shoes are that are once again caked with 5 inches of heavy clay. At this I do not exagerate. And amidst my grumbling I apologize to the little sprouts for stepping on them and encourage them to grow. works.