Saturday, September 29, 2007
We celebrated her birthday at her Grandma & Grandpa's house this afternoon. I'll post about that tomorrow, hopefully with the cute cake pictures.
What's the strangest thing you've told your child?
Friday, September 28, 2007
My friends in Jefferson City are off to a church couples' retreat this weekend. I wish we could go! We went a few years ago, and had a fantastic weekend. It was fabulous - I hope they all have a great time of rest, renewal, and eating. (This place feeds you really well!)
Down to this week's 5 for Friday:
1. Self-cleaning ovens. I recently ran the self-cleaning cycle on my oven - we've had the thing for a little over a year, and I hadn't cleaned it. It heated up the kitchen quite a bit, and boy! did it smell awful. But I remember when we were renting in our first years of marriage, cleaning the oven with the "Easy-Off Fume Free" stuff. Nothing in the name of that product is accurate. It's not easy, and it's not fume-free. So I'm very thankful that I can just push a button and lock the oven door and it does its own thing.
2. Whole milk. Since Wendy's now a year, we've switched her from formula to whole milk. Much, much cheaper! She's tolerating the milk well, too. Tomorrow I think she might get her first peanut butter sandwich! :-)
3. Minivans. Last weekend the in-laws brought the wonderful new-to-us minivan in trade for James' old rusty '77 AMC Hornet. I'm so glad! The van is so much easier with Wendy. We've had a lot of running around to do this week, and it's been much easier than it was with our other car. Somehow we keep inheriting vehicles...we've got three in the driveway right now, and all of them were given to us by different people.
4. Real pizza - not the frozen kind. Last night I splurged and went to get Papa John's for us for dinner. For those of you who did not know that we now live in the boonies, let me just say this - there is no pizza delivery to our house. In order to get real pizza, it involves calling to order, driving 20 minutes to get it, waiting in line, and driving 20 minutes home. A bit different from our time in Jefferson City, when I had Papa John's on speed dial.
5. Good baby photographers. I could not do what these people do! We get Wendy's pictures done at Portait Innovations in Franklin, TN. They do any kind of portraits, but they're really good with babies and toddlers. Wendy was crabby, since she refused to take a nap on the way, but they still got more than 20 great poses, so that it was hard to choose. My aunt went with us, and she said that when the pictures were done, the guy who put the most effort into entertaining the baby came out of the studio and leaned against the wall and sighed. I'm sure he was worn out! You can see most of the good pictures on my facebook page, if you're interested.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
After we came home and I put her down for a nap, I checked my friends' blogs. I followed links around and ended up on this site. It tells a heartbreaking story of a precious baby girl and her family. As I read it, tears poured down my face. I thought of all the times I get frustrated with Wendy and her high energy level and propensity for trouble. I complain because I'm always chasing her or picking up after her, because she's so busy. And what I feel now, after reading that blog, is how dare I!
How could I complain about my vibrant, healthy child? The poor Farley family was hanging onto their little girl's every breath, and I get upset about books and toys in the floor? I have been so blessed. I don't even know the Farleys, but I'm certainly praying for them. I hope you will, too.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Usually her adventures make me either smile or sigh, but not react with panic. However, while we were at the store yesterday, she pulled out something new. I think she'd been planning it for awhile and was waiting until I was sufficiently distracted. We were at Target, at the checkout. Wendy was strapped into the shopping cart, and I was talking with the cashier and digging my debit card out of the diaper bag. (Diaper bags are like purses, only bigger -whatever you want goes straight to the bottom.) I find the card, swipe, enter pin, all the while talking with the cashier. I glance over as I'm about to put the card back in the bag to see... my little Wendy STANDING in the seat of the shopping cart, with the belt still snugly attached at her waist.
I said, "What do you think you're doing?" and grabbed her, and she just calmly looked at me out of her innocent baby blues...
Mama is always over-reacting.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I just found out that a friend of mine from our high school youth group needs our prayers. Her name is Marissa Young - I don't know her married name. She gave birth to twin boys Saturday, Lennox and Callum. They're 7 weeks early and both in the NICU. Lennox is doing pretty well and breathing on his own, but Callum is very sick. Please pray for Marissa and Lennox and especially little Callum...I can't imagine having a tiny preemie newborn in the NICU.
Menu Planning Monday:
Monday: Quick Chicken Stir-Fry
Tuesday: Leftover Tater Tot Casserole
Thursday: Survivor night at Mom & Dad's
Friday: Chicken, brussels sprouts, broccoli & cheese rice
Saturday: Wendy's birthday party!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Here's my five:
1. Shake's Frozen Custard. James and I grew quite fond of Shake's when we lived in Columbia, Missouri. Then we moved to Jefferson City, then all the way to Tennessee. But surprisingly, there is a Shake's in Franklin, Tennessee. We went there to do some shopping today, and just had to stop by for a yummy bite or two.
2. Easy-going babies. I take Wendy's good nature for granted sometimes. She just hangs out wherever we are, likes to go shopping and to restaurants, and loves to make people smile. That's never more apparent than at the times when she's used up all her good behavior. She was VERY good while we were shopping today, but after about 5 hours she just had enough. I'm glad she's usually easy-going!
3. Frozen tater tots. I made a tater tot casserole to take over to my parents' house last night. Frozen tater tots are one of my freezer staples. Good with any meal, great in a casserole or as a snack. Just don't eat the whole bag.
4. Sunglasses. I don't go anywhere without my sunglasses, because I get headaches easily. If I had to be without them on a bright day I'd be miserable. Maybe that's the kind of thing referred to in the Bible when it says that Leah had "weak eyes."
5. Survivor. It started again!! Yay!! I really enjoy Survivor, and so does the rest of my family (except James - he wishes the women would put some clothes on). I don't like the lying and backstabbing, but I love the challenges and the scenery and seeing how people deal with having nothing. And I always wonder - WHY did these people not practice making fire before going on Survivor??
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I've gotten so many good Blog ideas from reading my friends' pages! "Works for Me Wednesday" comes via Sandi, originally started by the Rocks in my Dryer blog. It's a way to share simple household tips, whether for cleaning, cooking, childcare, finances, anything at all pertaining to taking care of business.
So what works for me? Frozen chopped onion and green pepper. I'm sure that sounds simple, but it has helped my cooking tremendously. I hate chopping onions. I don't know if I'm extra-sensitive or just a weenie, but I get to crying so hard I can't even keep my eyes open. Then I discovered the handy bags of pre-chopped onions in the freezer case at Kroger. I just transfer it to a Ziploc freezer bag so that I can take out whatever quantity I need at a time.
Keeping the onions & green peppers on hand in the freezer also makes it very easy to make a great omelet in a hurry. (For me, "omelet" means scrambled eggs with stuff in them. I'm not good at the actual omeletting process.) Saute the onions & peppers in a little butter, add chopped ham or cooked bacon & cook, then add eggs and a little cream cheese. Absolutely delicious, and I usually serve it with biscuits from a can - gotta love the Doughboy!
Frozen chopped onions & green peppers work for me! What works for you?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I had an embarassing Wal-Mart experience today. Ever been checking out and realize that you didn't quite have the funding you thought you had? It was awful...I felt like everyone in the store was watching...
The menus from this week will include several carry-overs from last week. With all the craziness last week, I just didn't get to several of the items.
Monday - leftover Creamy Pasta Primavera, from Kraftfoods.com (excellent!)
Tuesday - Chili Spaghetti, salad, sliced apple
Wednesday - Speedy Chicken Stir-Fry (Kraftfoods.com), salad
Thursday - dinner at Mom and Dad's for Survivor premiere
Friday - Layered Enchilada Bake (Kraftfoods.com), sliced apple
Saturday - Pizza
Sunday - Leftover buffet
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I thought Wendy was doing better, but her fever spiked again today. I sure hope the antibiotics kick in soon. It would make me feel better if we knew what she was dealing with, but her doctor basically said that she's got some sort of infection that he can't localize. Today was day 2 of antibiotics, so hopefully she'll start feeling better soon. It's quite pitiful to see your baby feverish and achy and tired. She doesn't want to eat, or play, or do much of anything, and she's too uncomfortable to sleep well. She's usually a happy, energetic, hungry explorer who takes 2 long naps and still sleeps 11 hours at night - I want that back!
And the good news is - once she gets well from whatever this is, she gets to go back to the doctor for her 12-month shots, and will feel yucky again for a few days. I do love motherhood, but it can certainly be frustrating when there isn't much you can do to make your child feel better.
I'm so tired.
And I'm thankful she isn't a sextuplet - these people on Good Morning America last week have 2 sets of twins, ages 11 and 9, and a set of sextuplets, age 3. One sick baby is all I can handle right now!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
1. Living close to family. James decided to make the trip to Missouri to visit his boss, Carol, at the last minute. I was able to call my mom and ask, "Can Wendy and I come stay with you for a few days?" And, of course, she said, "Sure. See you when you get here." It was very helpful to have support with Wendy being sick and James out of town.
2. A loving husband. I take James for granted a lot. He called me when he was on the way to Missouri, just to tell me he was thinking about me. That just made my day.
3. Books. Any books. My latest purchases have been for Wendy; I just love a well-written, well-illustrated children's book, especially if it has a great message - like you should always listen to your Mama.
4. Readily-available medical care. With James out of town, and Wendy's fever getting higher and higher, it's great to know I can call her pediatrician day or night. Yesterday I called them at 8 a.m. and had an appointment for her scheduled for 9:30 a.m. That's fantastic.
5. Chilly mornings. This morning when I took Bella outside it was about 52 degrees. Brr! I love it! Especially after such a long, hot, dry, icky summer.
I hope everyone has a good weekend. James is on his way home to Tennessee as I type. Wendy is (I think) finally on the mend, thanks to lots of TLC (means "no sleep for Mama"), Tylenol, Motrin, and antibiotics. Now that she's getting better, I have to put my house back together... :-)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Please pray for Carol Winslow and his wife, Norma, as they go through the upcoming transition. Carol used to be a very jolly guy; I'm sure you'll enjoy him when we all get to heaven.
The beautiful weather makes me really thankful for my front porch. When Wendy's napping, I can just sit on my swing and read or watch the kids at recess across the street. (We live directly across the street from the local elementary school.) The neighborhood cat often comes for a visit, and we sit and watch life go by. It reminds me of a poster I saw with sleeping Shar-Pei puppies, that said, "Sometimes we sits and thinks, and sometimes we just sits."
Last night's dinner, the Kalamata-Lemon Chicken, was not a big success. I decided to try it because I love the taste of lemon-seasoned chicken, and I grew up eating Kalamata olives (that happens when you live in Greece for several years). The combo didn't work quite right, though. I think I'll make the basic recipe again, but leave out the olives completely and tweak it until we like it. That's one of the things I love about cooking. Don't like a recipe? Change it!
For some reason this morning I was thinking about the big Powerball lottery winner. He chose the cash payout option, so will be taking home, after taxes, more than $100 million. That's a lot of cash. I have no idea what I'd do with all of that money, but I'd be happy to use about $300,000 of it. Pay off the mortgage, the student loans, the medical bills (Wendy was expensive), the credit cards, and start retirement & college savings accounts. If we paid off those bills, the only monthly expenses would be groceries & utilities...how fabulous would that be?? But I don't see $300,000 dropping in my lap, so I guess I'll just keep on with the coupon-clipping and clearance-rack shopping. I like the challenge anyway! :-)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I think I'm finally on track to get my house and various chores in order. It's been a rough few weeks, dealing with the insomnia, but I think it's getting better. I slept for 10 hours last night! That doesn't fix 2 weeks worth of 4 hours a night, but it helps. For some reason, working on stuff is much easier when you've rested well.
I've started reading to Wendy every day. I probably should have been doing it all along, but I wasn't sure how to deal with her very short attention span and wiggliness. (There's a reason one of her nicknames is "Squirmbing.") I decided I'd just read to her when I put her in the crib for her naps. She's not really paying much attention, but the time will come when she does. I really look forward to that. One of my favorite memories of working in the church nursery is of Ashley Heffington, at about 18 months, plopping her little bottom in my lap with a book for me to read to her.
Isn't fall beautiful? We had weeks and weeks of drought and 100+ temperatures, and today it was rainy and about 75. I love it. I can't wait for it to get even cooler. I don't really care for summer and winter, but I love spring and fall. I guess without the extremes of summer and winter, fall and spring wouldn't be as special. Fall makes me want to go hiking and rake leaves and have a campfire and plan for Christmas decorations.
I hope all of you are enjoying cooler weather too!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Monday - spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Tuesday - Kalamata-Lemon Chicken (bhg.com), salad, green beans, rolls
Wednesday - Creamy Pasta Primavera (kraftfoods.com), sliced apples
Thursday - Chili Spaghetti, salad
Friday - Chinese Takeout Lemon Chicken (kraftfoods.com), rice
Saturday - Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce (kraftfoods.com), brussels sprouts, creamy noodles
Sunday - Leftover Buffet!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
James spent most of today working on his car, trying to get it ready to give to his dad in a few weeks. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a big deal, but his car (a '77 AMC Hornet Hatchback) hadn't even been cranked in almost a year. We moved here, drove it back in front of our shed, and it sat and collected dust. For some reason the Allen clan has a fondness for Hornets, to the extent that they're trading us a '99 Pontiac Montana minivan for the Hornet. I definitely think we get the better end of that deal! I've wanted a minivan since we had Wendy; it's hard to get a 23-lb squirmy baby into the middle of the backseat of a small sedan! It's also been hard to change her diaper on road trips - she's outgrown every horizontal surface in my little Mercury. In the van we'll have plenty of floorspace for that.
I've been a little wistful today, reflecting on the fact that my baby isn't a baby anymore. She's a toddler, and becoming more and more independent every day. She still comes crying to me when she gets scared (like about an hour ago when she knocked the vacuum over) and if I'm on the floor she's climbing all over me. For the most part, though, she wants to go and explore and figure stuff out. I'm definitely thankful for that; I think it's a sign that she's intelligent and has a good healthy curiosity about life. But it makes me a little sad, too. I already miss those baby days of rocking with the swaddled, sweet-smelling baby with the cloudy blue eyes. Hopefully by Christmas next year Wendy will have a sibling - babies can be somewhat addictive!
Friday, September 7, 2007
Anyone who knows me well or has ever lived with me knows I have a thing about shoes. The thing is - I love them. Comfy shoes, impractical shoes, sandals, clogs, boots or slippers - I love them all. What I love more than my shoes is Wendy's shoes. I know there's no good reason for a toddler to have 4 pairs of church shoes, but who can resist the bright pink sparkly pair from Payless? Or the bright red patent leather from Target? They're so cute and tiny and girly...she'll probably turn out to be the worlds biggest tomboy and only ever wear scuffed up sneakers, so I have to dress her up while I have the chance!
I've seen other bloggers writing a "5 for Friday" blog, and I have gathered it's five things you're thankful for. I think that's a great idea, so I'm giving it a try:
1. Washers & dryers: I have a very hard time keeping up with the laundry now. I can't imagine having to do it all by hand, especially all the baby stuff.
2. Oxiclean: Along the same lines as #1. This stuff is like magic. It goes in any load, especially Wendy's clothes and the dog bed. Especially good when there has been a bad diaper that leaked onto the sleeper, sheets, blankie and kitty.
3. Air conditioning: Seriously. It has been so hot here this summer! We had one morning that our air conditioner had tripped the breaker, and by 9 a.m. it was 84 in our house. Thank goodness all we had to do was flip the switch.
4. Razzberry M&Ms: Have you tried them? They're wonderful! I like chocolate anyway, but these are really, really good! It's probably a good thing that I only got one bag.
5. Facebook: I just got on Facebook for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it helped me to reconnect with a lot of people from Harding that I hadn't heard from in 7 years. It's great to catch up with people, and it's surprising how many of them have migrated to the Nashville area.
Hope everyone has a good weekend!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I was inspired today to actually straighten up the house a little bit. It's been hard to get motivated since Wendy goes right behind me and messes it up again. I got her room clean, put her down for a nap, and worked on the rest of the house.
We had an excellent Bible study at church last night. We watched a DVD presentation by Andy Stanley from Atlanta, on the will of God. It was an introductory lesson, but even so, inspired some good comments from people. The one I thought was most original was, "God is not Google." The person expressing this thought explained that we use Google all the time to search for information. We don't care how Google works, we just want it to give us our answers fast. Even when we don't input the right info, we want it to pull up the right links. We have a danger of feeling exactly that way about God's will. We just want to know the answer to the current question that is bothering us. We aren't interested in how God works or what is behind His reasoning - we just want our cut-and-dried, yes-or-no answer.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
How cute can an 11.5-month-old baby with stick-uppy hair and mustard on the sleeve of her onesie be? Just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. At the moment she's walking around with a Binky in her mouth, a block in her left hand, and she's dragging her pink fuzzy Blankie with her right hand. She loves to carry things and walk back and forth from the living room to her room. And shriek at the top of her lungs. I think the dogs of Kentucky can hear her.
My life has changed so much in the past year and a half - and it has definitely improved. My health may not quite be what it was, but I wouldn't trade my job for anything. Except for those days I want to stamp her little forehead with "Return to Sender" and stuff her in the mailbox.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
How often do we all take for granted that everyone is OK? We talk about work, kids, sports, tv, all kinds of stuff that doesn't matter as much as the essentials - how is your faith? How is your prayer life? Is there anything I can do today to help you? Can I pray with you? Hug you? Cry with you?
I know for sure that sometimes I really wish people would cut through the polite chatter and ask me how I really am. My mission this week is to encourage those around me who are struggling, and reach out to people who are lonely.