Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog Back Log: Christmas Pops?

On December 6th (just a few days before our lives would change forever) Husband and I were treated to a performance at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.  We decided to make it a date night because afterwards we would be heading to the "Charthouse" for dinner with Husband's company.  Plus, we knew that our weekends out would be limited in the near future.  It was a delightful night overall.

However, let me make some observations about our time at the Symphony...

Husband and I were under the impression that there would be some of the traditional  Christmas music.  You know, things that we sing in church or even music sung by old crooners like Bing Crosby.  We were surprised to hear music from "Home Alone" and more contemporary, unfamiliar type tunes that didn't really seem to capture the REAL meaning of the season.  I did appreciate some of the Hanukkahinspired music withits upbeat tempos.  There were some other fun things that were added into the performance that made it all the more fun -- antlers on the orchestra, a three-year old conducting, and noticing one of the violin players had a service dog with antlers, too.

I must tell you that there was one significant and redeeming moment in the whole performance.  When I sat down and looked at the program and noted that they would at least be performing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.  I turned to Husband and asked if he thought that people here would know that they are supposed to stand at the playing of the chorus.  He thought probably not and I was bummed.  As the orchestra started the piece I looked at Husband and "played" like I was getting ready to stand up.  I sat back for a few more seconds and realized that people way down in the pricier seats were starting to stand.  My heart leaped to my throat!  I stood immediately and watched as more and more people stood.  I could hear people around me asking why they were standing.  I cried.  Little did they know it was in reverence to the King of Kings.  Did they not hear the words more than just "hallelujah?"  That was the best part of the whole performance for sure.

On a side note... when you are singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" remember that it was written poolside right here in Phoenix, poolside at the Biltmore.  Here in the Valley we are always dreaming of a white Christmas.  That's when we pack up the family and head north for the day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Funny


When my Papa saw the hint of the camera flash while under the tree, he quipped "I'm sure I'll be seeing this on your blog."  I assured him that he would.

You see, it takes a great deal of work to get our tree set up.  First, one must take it down.  And by down I mean someone must unhook the 100 lb box that is suspended from our garage ceiling.  It requires at least three people.  Much to the chagrin of the men in my life I climbed the ladder to unhook the second chain.  All was well.  Next, you have to haul it inside.  No big deal in the grand scheme of things.  Then we have to piece it all together.  I think it has four pieces to create a nine foot beauty of a tree with a six foot base.  Yes, it's HUGE!  And we love it!!  For this photo we had to laugh because my dad was doing something with the cords and all the branches were still "closed up" and then all of a sudden... BOOM... they all came down and thus it looks like Little Flower's Grandpy was consumed by the bottom of the tree.  Hummm... maybe you had to be there.  We thought it was funny.  Thankfully, none of those branches bopped my Papa at all and he kept right on with what he was doing.

However, the funniest part of the process was that after all was said and done Husband found an ornament still on the tree!  It was no worse for the wear.  It wasn't one of our breakable ones.  However, it did make us ponder if we could put the tree away mostly decorated.  HA!  We wouldn't do that but it was a tempting thought for about 2.3 seconds.

Now we need to decorate our tree.  But for the next few days it will sit somewhat naked in the living room and delight me even though it only has one ornament and lights for now.

Back Log of Blogs

Well, it's almost been a month since thoughts poured forth on a random variety of subjects to this space.  My dad commented yesterday that he missed reading my musings.  We will see how this all continues when the baby comes in a few weeks.  However, my dad's comments did somewhat inspire me to try and work  on the things that I have been thinking about since I last posted.  So, I will try and catch up on a few things.  I will date them "in the past" but I think that they will be prefaced with "Blog Back-log."  (and will be added before this post - so scroll on down)

So, stay tuned for updated things from elections to baby shower.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog Back Log: Showered with Baby Love


Today was my baby shower hosted by the lovely, talented, encouraging, gracious, kind, and devoted women of my church.  There are many more words that I could use to describe them all but I only have so much time and so much space.  I arrived to quite the spread of food for lunch.  Someone even found out that I am quite the fan of crab and made a hot crab dip - it was yummy! (As was every other little morsel devoured for our luncheon.)  Lunch was then capped off with a very delicious and CREATIVE cake (shown above) that was made by one of my dear friend's mother-in-law who happens to be quite the talent in cake decorating.  As if that needed to be pointed out!  I don't usually leave the pictures on this post so large but you really need to get a feel for this cake.  Yummy and beautiful.  I am glad that I was not the one who had to cut it... I don't think I could have done it!

After cake came the barrage of gifts for our Little Flower.  I was sweating after it was all said and done (in combination with the large amounts of people and hormones, I am sure!)  We received some very lovely gifts.  Many homemade with love, others from our registry, and others still gave things that I really hadn't thought much about.  All in all, the gifts filled up the 4-Runner and we had to give a basket to my mother-in-law and we will pick it up tomorrow.  Other friends and family have written to say, "your gift is in the mail" or "I will bring it by on such-and-such a day."  I am overwhelmed and grateful.  There are still a few "large" items that we need to buy but God in His provision has granted us some wonderful discounts and unexpected financial provisions to cover those costs.  We are blown away by how many things are coming together.

Now, we just need to get it all put away and assembled (if required!)  I have some photos up on flickr of many of the homemade gifts and a couple of my favorite outfits.  Again, if you need an invite to see those photos, let me know and I will get you the link.  Flickr will also be the place to see photos of Little Flower when she arrives.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blog Back Log: The Day After

While this particular blog is dated November 5th I am really sitting on the couch a month later pondering my thoughts of the day after the Presidential election.  Was I excited with the national results?  No.  Not so much.  Does that change the outcome... not a bit.

I think that this nation is in for quite the roller coaster over the next four years.  I think that some of the proposed policy issues by the next administration are horrific - health care would be one of them.  As I have watched the process unfold over the last few weeks my confidence has not grown.

Locally, I am highly impressed with the fact the Prop 102 (and similar Prop 8 in California) passed with what seems to be a confident declaration of the people.  The people have spoken is what the opposition say of the statute.  But when the people "speak" about an actual constitutional amendment there are riots to be had and churches to be taunted.  On other local levels a conservative march was made here which I think is good.  Now that our (Democratic) governor has been tapped to be Secretary of Homeland Secretary we are saying our farewells and looking forward to Miss Brewer (GOP) to leave her Secretary of State position and move to the "ninth floor" and try to get us out of the $2 Billion state debt that our "beloved" Governor will be sticking us with. 

I'll stop with my rants because they really accomplish nothing.

I find comfort in the fact that all of this didn't take Jesus off His throne.  Nor did it surprise Him.  The gospel is going forth.  While I am not convinced that this is the end of the world as we know it, it may be the end of the Republic as we know it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blog Back Log: Election Day


I voted today.  As though you couldn't tell by my spiffy little sticker.  However, this sticker is different from any other "I voted" sticker that I have seen before.  Husband was a little jealous of it when he saw it.

Tonight we will grab some chicken wings from a favorite local restaurant and settle in with Fox News (and other channels) to watch the national results come around.  We are also quite interested in some local races and issues that are on the ballot.

America, where shall we go from here?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Friday, as you know, was Halloween.  Husband and I were pretty excited to spend a fairly quiet evening at home passing out candy.  I got a great deal on some yummy candy - oh about 100 pieces in two bags.  We had a pretty good showing last year.  I thought we would almost run out this year since the day was on a Friday.  We didn't carve a pumpkin but we made sure to turn on lights to let folks know we were, indeed, home.  Neither one of us are super into Halloween but we like to see the little ones all dressed up.  I thought that the little ones would be around about dusk and the older kids after dark... anticipating a slow down around 9:00 PM.


Yeah... so what I thought would happen was very different from what ACTUALLY happened.

Our first trick-or-treaters came at about 7:15 PM (about an hour after I thought they would start) and we had two very excited princesses on our patio.  I was excited for the parade to start.

Little did I know that would BE the parade.  Two little ones all night.

Unfortunately, I opened the bags of candy to put in a festive bowl.  So, now we are stuck with all the mostly chocolaty goodness... darn.  hee hee!

On the upside, we got a kick our of making my tummy into a little pumpkin at 30-weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Hello, my name is Jessica and I am an avid people watcher.

"Hello, Jessica."

It's true.  Sometimes when I go out to run errands I get excited about what kind of things I will encounter with people in society -- whether they intend to be noticed or not.  I watch people in their cars (which I do more frequently these days because my husband usually drives us places), I watch people in the store, wherever.  There are times that I think back to college and if I had to do it all over again and think maybe I would have been a sociology major... or probably not.  I could write a book on people, I think.

It's not that I am staring at people by any means.  I have this uncanny knack to notice things.  Although, one might dispute that when I cannot find my keys and they are laying in plain sight on the counter.  Sheesh.  My husband wonders if I pay attention in church sometimes because I notice what the children are doing or this or that.  When I can then tell him details from the sermon he shakes his head and replies, "I still don't know how you do that."  Such is life.

I tell you all this to set you up for my latest encounter.  Public bathrooms are not my favorite place and not usually a place one sets up to people watch.  Well, I didn't really watch this person but rather observed her actions from within my own little stall.  If given the opportunity, I will usually wait until the bathroom is clear to do my business.  A girl likes a little privacy.  Anyway, I listened as the woman next to me was leaving.  I noticed her fun little shoes and off she went.  Wait.  The door opened.  She's gone.  I missed something.  ARGH!  She didn't wash her hands!!  Now, I am pretty sure she out in the store thumbing through fabrics and spreading the germs.  Yuck.  I may not have thought it so bad had the craft store bathroom been even slightly pristine but that was not the case. 

I am not one most would consider a germaphobic-type.  I could probably handle it if someone "forgot" to wash their hands at home but would obviously prefer them not to forget said step in leaving the bathroom.  I mean, what do you do when you go camping and you forget the "wet-ones" among other things.  Sigh.

With all that to say as I continued my shopping business I was looking for the woman's cute little shoes which would not be hard to find.  It's probably a good thing that I didn't spot her.  It's probably better not to have a face with the action this time.  It helps me to think maybe she left the store without touching anything.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photo Shoot

So, we have figured out that our little girl will most likely be a little "ham" when it comes to the camera.  Just like her mama when she was little.  This could be entertaining.

We had a fun "family ultrasound" on Saturday.  My dad came in from New Mexico for it and of course Husband's parents were there, too.  It was a fun time to have an extended time to watch Little Flower bounce around, stretch, and even yawn a bit.  The tech said she was fun to watch and she had a great time taking photos of her.  What a delight to see her and know that everything is going well inside.

In this particular photo it seems as though Little Flower is blocking her face from the sound waves.  It was amazing to see some of her facial features in other photos but her long, little fingers amaze me in this one.  We found out that she is breech but we are not too worried about that yet because she still has just under three months to turn herself around.  But it made "taking her picture" a little easier, I think.  If you want to see more of these photos you can log into Flickr to check them out.  Of course, if you need to be invited to see our photos just let me know and I will be more than happy to "let you in."

As if this wasn't enough excitement for the weekend, we celebrated my dad's birthday while he was here which was fun - as he will be in Louisiana (or on the way back from there) on his actual birthday.  We spent a lot of time together as a family, playing games, looking at baby stuff, eating, and enjoying the unusual, yet more than welcome, cooler temperatures.

The weekend was quite grand, I would say.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Belly on Up to the Bar

... almost literally!

Husband and I began the first night of four (over the next few weeks) of child birth classes.  The lady teaching our class was a trip.  She said that she would only be teaching that first night -- which I am kind of bummed and glad about.  She recently retired as a nurse and is a spitfire.  I was pretty sure she was on something - not really, but you know what I mean.

We had to laugh when she was telling us stories of what kinds of things they used to give women in labor back in the day when she started her nursing career.  One in particular was the giving of alcohol and moms would just be drunk as a skunk when they delivered.  I cannot remember if it was to slow contractions or to get them to relax or what.  But she did a great impersonation of what this might look like.  She agonized over the fact that it would tap right into the main IV line.  It was kind of funny.

So, we are thankful that there have been other advances in medicine since then.

Monday, September 29, 2008


That's how many miles my little trusty 2000 Plymouth Neon had on it when I said good-bye on Sunday.  Sigh.  We were tired of the "three car shuffle" in our drive way and God certainly ordained the timing and the sale of the car.  It was a good time to say good-bye.

I bought this car (well, it was purchased for me) in May of 2000 with a mere 17 miles on the odometer.  We've come a long way baby!  All those glorious miles are mine and boy I have been a few places in this car.

It made a few trips from New Mexico to Nebraska while I was in my senior year of college.  I put on a few hundred miles to cover a soccer game and then go see my cousin get married.  Then there was that trek out to Yellowstone the day after I graduated from college (I got stopped in Cheyenne, WY for going 80 in a 75 - drove away with a warning well taken).  I explored the national park for six weeks, encountered a buffalo, and drove back to NM.  Of course there are the commuter treks back and forth from Los Lunas to Albuquerque to work, visit friends and family, and more over the years as I lived and worked in the Albuquerque area.  Of course, there were a few trips to Lake City, CO where a Neon has ventured into places no Neon should probably ever venture.  I think it had a SUV complex.  No worries - there were no scratches or mud where there shouldn't be any.  There were many a random trip around the state of New Mexico for this or that and to visit a campus here and there.  The summer of 2004 had to be one of my favorites - I drove from Albuquerque, NM to Ocean City, NJ and back, with side trips from New York on up into New Hampshire (and a slight detour into Maine because I missed my turn.  It turned out for the best because I then got to explore some exquisite NH back roads).  All in all that summer I tacked on 7,000 miles by myself.  It was, it was grand!  In 2006, it was a luggage hauler for the college students that I took down to New Orleans for hurricane relief work.  Of course there was a trip to Arizona (the rest of the time I flew) and now there have been a couple of trips back to New Mexico in the little Neon.  It's been a great car, I tell you what.  Never did it get below 30 miles to the gallon... the best ever was when it got 37 miles to gallon.  WOW.  My fun little stick shift.

So, now I drive the 4-Runner.  It's not bad by any means.  It will be better to get in and out of with a prego belly that will in a matter of months be a baby in a little car seat.  It will be easier to maneuver the automatic with kids in the back, too, as well as deal with traffic during rush hour.  Even today at the doctor I was told my hips and back may do better without having to twist and turn out of the little car that is much lower to the ground than the 4-Runner.  I am not bummed about the 4-Runner, it was more the saying good-bye to what the Neon represented in my life.  It was like the perpetual souvenir of all the places I have been over the last 8 1/2 years.  Now, it is with a family that needs it more than I do now.  It will be trucking across the Valley of the Sun and tacking on more faithful miles.  On the up side, I know the family so maybe I will see glimpses of the Neon from time to time.

The 4-Runner and I will make new adventures... on to my third car in life.

For some reason, the song "Saying Good-bye" from the movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan, keeps running through my head.  Well, only a certain part...

Wanna laugh, wanna cry... it's time for saying good-bye... la la la... la la la... it's time for saying good-bye.

I wasn't around for the final transaction of the sale, which was probably for the best.  I had some things to take care of and then he came to tell me that the Neon was gone and he watched it drive away.  I'm not going lie... I teared up a bit.  I think I will chalk some of it up to being a little more sensitive these days... umm... yeah, that's it. 

Thanks for the memories, little Neon!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How deep? How wide? Is it noisey in here?

"The survey shows religion in America is, indeed, 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep."
             -D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion, on the findings of a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in which 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation and 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many   religions can lead to eternal life. ( 6/24/08)

Which then reminded me of this tidbit of wisdom:
"Waters that make noise are but shallow."
            -John Owen, 17th Century Puritan

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I really don't remember the last time I had a real bout of the hiccups.  I do know that it has been several years because they usually make me laugh and sometimes in the midst of the laughter I get a bit frustrated, too, because the NEVER seem to go away.  This fact has made the last few months of pregnancy rather entertaining.  Hiccups have returned.  However, I have yet to have more than three at one time.

I can almost predict when the hiccups will come.  Usually after I have eaten or when I change positions in bed and sometimes sitting up right.  One time I even hiccuped along with the clock as it rang the time - we were in perfect sync on two of the chimes.  I laughed at that!  Must take talent, right?  :)

However, yesterday morning was even more entertaining.  With all of my random hiccups we knew that Little Flower must have them from time to time.  We haven't seen her hop in my belly with them yet as she is still quite small.  Yesterday morning I was laying on our bed reading after Husband went to work.  All of a sudden I saw my stomach hopping more than usual and in a rather rhythmic motion.  I realized that I was watching my little girl bounce with the hiccups.  While that was entertaining in and of itself I then realized she was getting frustrated with them -- which caused her momma to laugh even more.  She was moving all around and still bouncing with the hiccups!  It was really quite a sight and experience.  Obviously, now she is big enough for us to see her hiccup episodes from time to time.

It was funny... maybe you had to be there.


Friday, September 12, 2008

A Post 9/11 World

While this is a day late... and maybe even a dollar short I couldn't help but ponder our history.  It's interesting how much has changed since September 11, 2001.  Then again, it's interesting to think on how things may be the same or never changed at all.  It's somewhat odd to me to be in an era that has been so duly named, "A post 9/11 world" and everyone knows what that means.  There's no need to figure out if you belong to that title or not -- we all do.

Through all the memorials and radio clips yesterday that brought a lump to my throat, and the words "Let's Roll" from United 93 gave me goosebumps as I drove across the 202 on my way to dinner -- what came to mind was what I was doing that day.  I am sure if you ask anyone they can tell you what they were doing when they heard about the attacks on American soil.  Other generations remember what they were doing when JFK was shot in Texas, others when Americans landed on the moon, and now this present generation is marked with 9/11.

I remember I was working at Applebee's before going on staff with Campus Crusade.  I had worked the late shift the night before so I slept in rather late.  When I did wake up, my normal routine was to go to the computer and check e-mail.  The news page popped up, as usual, and as I saw the first photos of the towers burning just before they fell, I thought this was some hoax.  You know, where people play with Photoshop a little too much and a little too well.  As I clicked through some other pages I realized there was more to this than a hoax.  I went to the TV and was taken by what was happening to our country.  I realized then that I should call my dad as he was working at the air force base.  He was fine but said the base was on lock-down and they would probably be sending non-essential personnel (him) home soon.  However, on the lighter side of things he mentioned that they (the powers that be) had given him a firearm "just in case."  Seems appropriate enough, right?  Until you realize that they gave him the firearm but wouldn't give him ammunition.  HA!  I don't think they realized who they were dealing with there.  My dad used to shoot competitively for the air force back in the day AND he's an avid hunter (who teaches hunter safety).  He knows how to wield a gun, folks.  Like the rest of the country, I was fixed to the TV until it was time to go to work.  I thought they would close the restaurant but they stayed open.  I think we had five people come in that day.  One of my co-workers was frantically trying to get in touch with his family who were supposed to tour the World Trade Center that morning.  Like many other folks, they were providentially delayed and were safe.   We basically watched the news until the store closed.

I remember flying to Mexico about a month after 9/11 for a mission trip only to have many ask if I was afraid to fly and many were quite the "nervous nellies" about the whole thing.  I told them we had to move on with life and get back to normal - whatever normal looked like now - and also assured them that the Lord has our days numbered and we do not know when He might call us home.  It's true.  However, it can be harder to live those word on some days more than others.

Hummm... it's interesting to ponder our thoughts and feelings of that day.

Where were you?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To the 505 and Back

This last weekend Husband and I went back to my hometown to visit my Papa.  It was a good time and we were glad that we went... as always.

The adventure really began when we left on Thursday afternoon.  I opted to drive the first half so that Husband would not be so drained when he has the more difficult second half in the dark.  Let me just say that the last 30 miles on US 6 are BA-RU-TAL... oh yeah.  Anyway, it was an adventure as this was our first long road trip with me being pregnant and not really sure what to expect.  So, there were pit stops in Payson and Holbrook.  There should have been another one somewhere between Holbrook and Los Lunas - but I toughed it out.  I knew better for the trip home.  Needless to say, I was rather uncomfortable and my ankles were swollen by the time we pulled into my Dad's place.  It's amazing what simply standing up will do for a gal.

Somewhere along the second half of the trip Husband noticed something wrong with our tires and we were still about 150 miles from my hometown.  I prayed through the trip and knew that Husband would be able to handle whatever came our way.  We just prayed that we would make it in okay and that we could deal with the problem on Friday morning.  After a quick inspection at the tire shop we learned just how great the Lord's mercies were for us the night before.  One tire was cracking... no big deal.  But on the front left tire the tread was starting to separate.  Wow... disaster averted.  Husband takes good care of our cars.  We just acquired the one we were driving and all was well.  We knew that replacing these particular tires was in the future.  However, we figure that the length of the trip and other factors pushed them over the edge much before their time.  The other tires were perfectly fine.  Go figure.  As you can imagine, we now have four new tires.  :)

Friday was filled with some fun of the truest sense.  We purchased some green chile to replenish the supply here at home.  It was a delight to smell it roasting.  Then came the daunting task of peeling and packing over three bushels of the stuff.  We worked on it for some time and then put the rest in the fridge to do on Saturday.  Friday evening held dinner from Saggio's (oh for the best calzones EVER) and fellowship with Mark and Renee.  Such sweet friends.  It was fun to see how their oldest, Samuel, is growing and developing his own little personality.  Then to finally meet "miracle" baby, Noah.  Good times.  We even managed a partial game of "Hand and Foot."  One of the funniest moments of the evening was the fact that Mark went to check on something in Sammy's room only to discover a large, wooden wall hanging that we brought for Noah was being cuddled in bed with Sammy.  HA HA HA!!

Saturday morning we thought we would be seeing many a friend at a coffee shop.  Many thought that they would be able to come.  Rather we had one sweet friend show up.  That was perfectly fine because it was fun to just catch up with her.  We will have to catch up with others another time.  Then back to the house to finish off the green chile peeling fest.  The day was capped off with dinner at Powdrell's BBQ... bliss.

Sunday, we headed to church in Albuquerque where we sat under the preaching of the Pastor who first pastored my Dad and me.  We even got some down time with him and his wife between services.  Then off to Mark and Renee's to pick up a sweet gift for Little Flower (more on that in another post).  We rushed home, ate some brunch, packed the car, and finally left around 2:00 PM - a bit later than expected.  However, we made it home at a fairly decent time.

It was a good time.  My dad spent a lot of time with us in the chile peeling department and just hanging out.  He had a few things going on during the weekend as well.  We will see him again in October when he is out here for a bit.  The weather was delightful... amazing to be out at 10:00 AM and not be sweating in the shade... or the sun for that matter!

However, home is home, and we are always glad to be back.  I may have to post a pucture later of our very stuffed-with-chile freezer.  AND there is more still at my Dad's place!  Score.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Years

Happy Anniversary to the man I love most... my Husband!

Today we celebrate two years!  It's hard to imagine that it's been two years.  Is it possible?  Indeed.  We have faced a lot together and look forward to what the Lord has in store for us in the years to come.  It's a significant milestone in a variety of ways.  If you know some of our background you would know why.  If you are curious about it, you can e-mail me and I can fill you in on some of our story.  Through everything we have seen the Lord and His goodness.  His love does endure forever and His faithfulness is sure.  We are in awe of how He brought us together and continues to knit us as one flesh.

We are excited to be celebrating two years together and we have a fun trip planned (which I will have to tell you about after the fact).  It will also probably be out last big "hoorah!" before Little Flower comes along.  We will see, a random trip to California is always a last minute possibility.

My husband is the most kind and caring man I know.  He continually points me to the Lord.  I love that when I get a little crazy he can tell me to take it down a knotch or point out areas where I am growing and areas that probably need some love from the self-control and discipline department.  I appreciate how he is concerned for my well being and prays for our family.  I love that he knows that we will never fully arrive in our understanding of the mystery of the Lord.  He extends grace faster and more authentically than any one I have ever encountered and he accepts it freely from me.  I love that he continues to show me that I am in need of much grace and how to work on continually extending it to others.  We have our quirks, but that makes life fun.  We love to be together and cannot imagine life without the other.  We praise the Lord for His mercy to us in bringing us together despite the pain of the past.

Oh there is so much more that I could say....

We look forward to many more happy years together.  Happy Anniversary, Husband.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Half Way

Today, I am 20-weeks along in this pregnancy.  It's the "official" half-way mark.

It's hard to believe that Little Flower will be here sooner than we think.  In some respects it seems so very far away and that we have been waiting forever.  On the other hand, it's gone by incredibly fast.  There have been some entertaining...well...maybe more along the lines of interesting things that have happened here an there along the way.  I will admit that they are really only entertaining now -- in the midst of the situation, not so much.

Little Flower is moving around quite a bit now.  I say quite a bit because something is more than the previous nothing and I know her movements will only become more intense as the weeks pass.  It's been fun to feel her and yet it is quite an odd first experience, too.  Husband has been able to get her to press back on his hand a few times.  I love to watch his face when he feels for her and when she makes her presence known to him.  Such sweet moments I will for sure treasure in my heart.  I have noticed that she moves the most when I am driving in the car.  Hopefully, that is a sign that she likes the car and not that she has a high disdain for the car.  Goodness, we are commuters...she will just have to get used to it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cause for Concern

Now, I don't usually get very political here but this particular issue strikes a very deep an personal cord with me these days.  Many of you heard about the McCain/Obama forum held on Saturday at Saddleback Church that is pastored by famed Rick Warren.  Warren was the moderator of this debate.  If you get a chance to see this forum online (the links I found are at the end of this post) I think it would be well worth your time.  Needless to say, this event has caused a great deal of talk on so many levels.  As Husband and I were coming home from a delightful day with his parents, where of course this debate came up, we heard more about it on the radio station to which we were tuned for the evening.  Here is the question and responses that were at the center of conversation at this time:

Wow.  This video actually brought tears to my eyes.  Maybe it's hormones or maybe it's the reality of human life created in the image of the One true God... and it has a deep and significant value.  I know this isn't the only issue on the presidential plate but it is a big one for me.  A caller into the radio show shot off his mouth that really only late-term abortions are the ones that really matter.  The ones after only a couple of months gestation were really no big deal.  The host asked what makes the difference for him in late-term and early abortion.  The caller then said something to the effect of, "There is something more there during late-term rather than just a bunch of cells."  I about came unglued... literally.  I almost pulled my phone out and called the radio station to reply to that caller letting him know that I could see my little baby's heart beat at 5 weeks!  But I decided to listen to what other callers were saying for the next 40 minutes or so.

It breaks my heart that this country has such a hatred for the womb (and marriage).  Many would gladly give up the fight for a human life but would spend their life's savings to save a puppy.

By the way, the comment by Obama that abortions under President Bush have increased doesn't hold up.  You can read more about it here.

While this is only the beginning and issues debates of a more formal setting will be underway soon I believe that this is only a glimpse into the depth, or lack there of, of each candidate.  While there are plenty of things that I disagree with McCain on (and other that I agree with him on) I appreciate his decisiveness and stick-to-it action when it comes his decisions on a variety of issues.  I will also say that I think Obama is unraveling at the edges and there's really nothing that I agree with him about.  I'd love for him to make a decision with conviction and actually stick to it rather than change with the election wind as it suits him and his agenda.  Do I wish we had other options, of course.  Do I know who I will be voting for, you better believe it.

Here are the forum pieces that I could find:
Saddleback Forum: Part 1
Saddleback Forum: Part 2
Saddleback Forum: Part 3
Saddleback Forum: Part 4

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts Disappoinment


Several months ago Dunkin' Donuts closed all but one store in the valley to remodel and open new stores in the valley.  Today was to be the big day.  Husband even joked that I should be there at 5 AM when they opened.  Glad that I didn't do that!

I planned a big day of running errands only to be topped off by one of my favorite donuts (because you can get away with anything when you are prego) and an iced coffee.  I pull into the establishment closest to us only to find a sign below a balloon arch that read as follows:

Due to circumstances beyond our control we are not able to open today.

WHAT?!?!  Say it ain't so.  I am not sure if that was the case for all the new openings but it was a very sad end to a pretty productive day.  Such is life.

I like DD for so many sentimental reasons... 

...random stops there when I was a wee lass with my Papa

...milk and donuts at midnight with Lynn-O while in Ocean City, NJ (walking there in the ocean mist moving in) and donut dates with Ren while in Albuquerque

...random stop on a Sunday morning when my dear Husband wants to surprise me.

Then today... disappointment.  Hopefully, they will open soon or it was just this one particular store.  I need me some Dunkin'.  :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recovering...sort of

Last Friday was an interesting day to say the least.

It really all began Monday of last when I noticed what I thought were bug bites, of great quantity, on my right arm.  Not fun.  Not amused.

Throughout the week we watched them.  I resisted with great success to scratch them... and BOY did they itch!  They didn't really get better.  If anything, they seemed to get more swollen.  Thursday morning we made the decision to call my OB's triage nurse and see what she would say.  After describing my issue she wanted me to come in "just in case."  So, I made an appointment for early the next day.

Friday was to be a pretty busy day... little did we know how busy it would become.  Husband had the day off and his fun parents were coming down to help paint the nursery -- I would be supervising from a distance.  ha ha!  Husband accompanied me to my appointment where my OB was quite baffled at what she saw.  She busted out some books on dermatological issues during pregnancy and kind of narrowed some things down.  However, she wasn't convinced that they were bug bites.  She ordered up some lab work to check out my liver and referred me to my dermatologist.  Surprisingly, my dermatologist was able to get me in that very same day!  Whoa.  I think it may have something to do with being pregnant, I have noticed it gets you to the front of almost every line and sends red flags a waving.

After painting the nursery in record time, scarfing down some lunch, we headed into the dermatologist.  Husband and I were pretty sure that they would just give us some cream and we would be on our way.  Not so much.  She, too, was perplexed at these little red bumps that were in some pretty random formations.  She went the gamut of bug bites, to something else, back to the odd possibility that a little creature had in fact done this to me.  In the end, she wanted to do a biopsy!  I didn't think too much of it until I realized they were putting a couple of stitches in my arm!  Not expecting that... no, not at all.

So, now we wait for all the results to come back from the labs.  I still have some silly red bumps that seem to NOW be getting smaller and don't itch anymore.  However, now I am sporting two cool looking stitches that DO itch.  ARG!!  ha ha ha!!

Needless to say, I was pretty wiped out after Friday and we kept going the rest of the weekend.  I am just now starting to feel like I am recovered from the weekend. 

Thus explains the slight silence of the last few days.  I hope to give you a glimpse into our very bare and work in progress nursery sometime soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sugar and Spice...

...and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of!

We found out on Friday that our little bundle of joy would be all wrapped in pink when we meet her sometime in early January.  Yes, folks we are having a girl!

Friday was kind of a funny day in many aspects.  The night before I was fully prepared to make us breakfast while I gulped down the "required" 32-ounces of fluid they say you should consume before having the ultrasound.  I think it's someones sick joke at times to torture pregnant women!  ha ha!!  Anyway, Friday morning I asked Husband if we could go out to one of my new favorite little places in town instead.  He agreed and it was there that I downed as much tea and water as I possibly could (along with a yummy omelet).

We were excited about the possibility of finding out if we were having a boy or a girl but at only 16-weeks we were a little skeptical at first as to if it would be entirely too early to tell.  In reality, I was just glad to get a little glimpse inside to make sure baby was just doing well in general.  I cannot feel her yet so there are times when one wonders if anything is really going on in there.  At the beginning of the ultrasound I was just amazed at how much she had grown in the last few weeks (and kept referring to her as "he.")  We could see all of her little bones, stomach, kidneys, measure her femur, estimate her weight (6 oz.), and so much more.  It was amazing!  Then came time to see if they could see the "defining" anatomy.  Her little foot was in the way but the tech was able to maneuver her around a bit and discover that a Little Flower would be joining our family!

We were a bit surprised...excited of course...but a tad in shock.  You see, we were pretty convinced, along with most of our friends and family, that we were having a boy!  So many things that I read and just kind of "felt" - turns out I was the exception to many rules.  I laughed when the tech said it was a girl.  For those of you that know me, I have a belly laugh so it made it hard for the tech for a few moments as my belly bounced with excitement and surprise.  Matt and I opted to try and register for some things after the appointment.  I especially wanted to look for girl's bedding because I alreadyhad a boy's room all picked out and not a lick of an idea for a girl's room.  Thankfully, that was pretty easy to find something that we both liked - girly but not over the top... I don't think!

Little Flower has already received some toys from Grandma and Grandpa as well as her first little pink dress for next spring/summer from some loving friends.  Her room has quite a bit of green in it with yellow and pink accents.  Husband wondered if there would be enough pink.  I told him to wait until he sees all of her clothes... she will be enough of a pink accent for sure!  Arizona Grandpa and Grandma are going to help Husband paint in a couple of weeks.  Then we will assemble the crib so I can see what furniture we still need to get and what will be the most practical.

I am starting to get pretty excited about all the pretty little girl things we get to buy!  But trying not to over-do it where everything is pink where we couldn't use some things should we have a boy down the road.

It's been fun for sure!

**We've not been overly excited about some of the photos that the tech has been sending home with us.  The photo's she gives to the doctor are really great!  And we really seem to like the "regular" shots rather than the 3D shots.  Such is life.  We are thankful that we recorded this last ultrasound on our digital camera, as it has the best shots for sure!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wee Ones in Church

Today my heart was delighted by a post by Nancy Wilson over on Femina entitled "Little Ones in Church."  It's not the fact that we are expecting our first child but a rather a-typical way of viewing children in relation to worship, church, and their place among God's people.

I am fortunate enough to be part of a church that desires for children to welcomed and integrated into the worship services.  Not just the older children but even the tiniest of all.  We have had some adjusting to do as the "sounds of the covenant" become louder as the last eight babies to be born are testing out their vocal chords and wanting to chat and sing along.  Plus, there are two more on the way -- one of which is ours!  We have a Mother's room but I think Mrs. Wilson's mention of a Father's room is an excellent idea as well.  Mrs. Wilson makes a good point that the integration of all generations is important, with her focus being on the younger ones in this particular post.  I love her point that their place among God's people is just as important as those of an older status.  It also helps in their training and how to behave in service with the rest of the congregation.

Many would argue that children can be a distraction or that they would not understand.  Let's first tackle the first issue.  A distraction... children?  I can see the point vaguely until we see how children are treated throughout Scripture.  They are not just tossed aside but they are always included in the covenant promises from our Lord.  We are told that children are a blessing and they are a heritage from the Lord.  We are not told that children are a blessing except in worship.  One would think that if they are a heritage from the Lord and a gift - then that's a good thing, right?  Also, children are not the only distractions in church - maybe it's the unchurched guy that's being a little too loud, or making comments during the sermon... or maybe the elderly saint in the front row keeps talking above normal inside tones when the pastor comes to the front because she cannot hear or see very well.  Do we cart them off somewhere to play?  Do we remove them altogether?  No!  We gently address, correct, and work on the issues with grace and truth.  Some issues are easier than others and can be taken care of with a slight tough of the hand or one spoken word.  We find these others as an integral part of the congregation as well.  Are they treated differently because they are over three feet tall?

Next, they won't understand, you say?  Hummm... I watched an almost one-year old girl try to lift her hands to the Gloria Patri on Sunday and her first word is "Amen" after the songs and prayers.  Sure, she may not understand the meat of the sermon but she's still working on the milk side of things - literally and spiritually.  We must be mindful of our children's frame and not have expectations that we can sit down with our children at age four and work on the exegesis of Genesis or Revelation.  Our expectations need to be realistic of where they are age wise and spiritually.  I am amazed as I watch children of all ages engage at different levels with the worship service and the sermon in particular.  (I will mention some of my observations and ideas at the end of this post for those who may be looking for suggestions.)  There are times that I, personally, "don't get" the sermon and it requires more reflection and digging into Scripture after the service.  I like sermons like that from time-to-time because they cause my brain to stretch and dig a little deeper into the Word and ask questions of my husband and our pastor and elders.

With all that to say, I am not totally anti-Sunday School.  But have you thought about where Sunday school originally came from?  It was originally an outreach idea that children could bring their unchurched friends to a place to learn more about Jesus.  Unfortunately, in many churches it has become a place where people just drop off their kiddos and leave the teaching of the Scriptures to someone else - not following up with it when they are home or throughout the week.  It's a place where the parents can find a bit of a breather.  And, unfortunately, it is a place that is the thorn in the side for many as we pull teeth for people to man the nursery or teach.  And what about those who are teaching - what about their time in worship?  I will say that some churches do this well and not all is lost on Sunday School.  I am just asking for us to think through some different things that most modern evangelicals are not exposed to because it is not the norm.

Do you wonder why some youth feel segregated from the church?  Is it because they were never really integrated in the first place?  Have you thought that church is the perfect place for children to work on their social interactions with adults and the elderly?  Have you thought about the blessing of placing your child in the lap and hands of the aged who delight in the young squeals and sweet smell of a baby?  Have you thought about how much your children need to see you model the great honor and pleasure of worshipping the One True God - from the youngest to the oldest?

I am sure I could go on... but I think that I will end this for now.  Below I will list my observations of children engaging in worship - maybe some could work for your family?

Observations and Ideas

  1. Our church publishes all the music that we will be singing for the month so that it can be incorporated into family worship.  Children can pick up on songs quite easily.  Teaching and memorizing the songs together can be helpful when your five-year-old is just learning to read.

  2. For some older kids, I have seen them mark out the ABC's in a notebook and as they hear corresponding words in the sermon they write them down.

  3. Asking children to write down key words they hear in the sermon and how many times those key words are said throughout.  (Jesus is always a good word to use)

  4. Asking each child about what they learned or understood from the sermon starting with the youngest and no one can repeat anothers answer.  This, I believe, is a great way to have higher expectations for your older children.  Parents play, too!

  5. Drawing out key themes of the sermon and whispering them to your child.  I have been reading Edith Schaffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking, and she suggests this as well.  One friend tried it with her five-year-old and it seemed to work well!  It doesn't have to be elaborate - stick figures will work fine.  This idea can be compounded if you have smaller ones that need to be fed during the service or become fussy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Elusive Game

For my 29th birthday (back in March) my family took me bowling, per my request.  We had a great time.  I have horrible form and it usually takes me awhile to warm up and actually do fairly well.  However, I really like to bowl.  I just think it's fun.  Plus, I really appreciate now that, depending on what city you are in, bowling alleys these days are smoke free.

Several weeks after that fun day Husband and I were heading over to his parents house after church.  We called to let them know we had to pick some things up before we got there and we would be a bit late.  My father-in-law told us that there was something on the porch for me.  Of course, this piqued both of our interests.  As we drove up to the house we craned our necks to see what it was.  (Later we would find out that my father-in-law watched as we pulled up and found our curiosity quite funny.)  When we walked up to the door we found this bowling pin which I thought was hilarious in and of itself.

The note attached read as follows:

This bowling pin is to commemorate the 1st celebration of your 29th birthday - and to keep before you the elusive goal of a 300 game.

I think it is just so stinkin' funny because my elusive goal is even a 200 game!  ha ha!!  So, on my desk sits this beat up bowling pin and it always makes me smile.  And yet, we still have yet to go bowling again! 

Soon, soon....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Well, vacation would explain my recent hiatus from the blog world.  Husband and I made a quick trip out while his parents were in Elgin, Illinois to spend time with his dad's side of the family.  I must admit that I had prepared myself for the all to familiar 90-degree weather with 90% humidity that lingers over the heartland of America this time of year.  However, we were delightfully surprised by the weather ordered up for us this last weekend.  I am not sure that it got much over 80-degrees and the humidity, for the most part, was held at bay.  We experienced some crazy storms, but we loved every minute of it.  The funny thing was that we came back to Phoenix just after an intense storm that ripped a roof off a local school building.  We left a cool and not so humid place only to return to a fairly warm (80-degrees) and quite humid atmosphere.  We laughed at the irony.

Besides the weather, the trip was great, too.  Husband had not been back there since he was about seven.  My father-in-law was back a couple of years ago for a wedding that was just a couple of weeks before ours.  So, it was a good time for all to catch up and I think we may get some of them to come out and visit.  I am guessing that it would happen in the winter when they need a break from the snow and it will be to them like autumn -- or after the baby comes.  We went to a historical museum and had a private showing of some things that were from Husband's side of the family.  It was really quite fascinating as we learned where in Ireland they all originated from and the heritage that was revealed.  Husband's Great-great grandfather fought in the Spanish-American war and we were able to see his saddle from that war.  We also found others who fought in the Civil War as well.  It was a really neat time.

We just spent a lot of time hanging out and visiting one little place after another in Elgin (one of the MANY suburbs of Chicago) and the surrounding areas.  Elgin still has a small town feel, although when I think about it, it really is quite large.  We had to partake in the famous Burn's malt at Al's Cafe - which is made with six scoops of ice cream and no added milk.  Needless to say, I had a half malt because I needed real food for lunch, too.  Others, well, they just had the malt for lunch!

Surrounding the good food and fun family, we learned a new card game called Hand and Foot.  It is really fun and can get a little carried away when there are so many people.  It's similar to Canasta, I think.  We had a good time and played it almost every chance we got!  So, some of you out there may be learning a new card game from us sometime in the near future.  Although, we may need a little detox time from the game first.

I am sure that I am forgetting some other fun little adventure but I think that the highlights will do for now.  Additional photos are up on our Flickr site. If you need an invite to see them, let me know and I'll be happy to do that for you!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fruits of Summer

Have you recently walked into your local grocery store or farmers market only to be overwhelmed by the most luscious scent ever?  Well, if not you should march yourself on down to your favorite place to purchase produce and partake in the goodness of fruit now available.  In a couple of different stores I have had the great olfactory experience of fresh and delightfully ripe peaches waiting consumption.  WOW.  It's amazing.  I really just want to sit in the store all day.  I now envy the store greeter's job as he gets to stand there all day as the aroma wafts over him as the doors slide open and closed.  Sigh. 

I think this is quite amazing for a pregnant woman to go ga-ga over any type of food!  I would have added pictures of the peaches but they are long since gone.  And really, pictures don't make up for the really smell of it all.  Just go down to the store and find out for yourself.

In other fruit news... when I moved here after our wedding there was a lot that I would need to adjust to experiencing.  I still have a hard time that I am actually seeing palm trees and cactus in the same landscape, however, it is becoming more of the norm for me.  The other thing was the abundance of fruit that Arizona produces.  Many folks have no need for the produce section at the local grocery but rather just pop out back to harvest limes, oranges, grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, one family I know has grapes, and I am sure there is a plethora or other things that I am forgetting.  My sweet mother-in-law has a plum tree that just would not quit!  She had more than she really knew what to do with.  However, in her resourcefulness she made plum jelly.  Yes, another WOW moment.  Delicious!  Plus, it's SO very red!  She was impressed with the color that I am sure someone would of thought she added coloring.  But no, it's all natural.  Yet another project that I hope she will teach me in the future.

So, while it's incredibly hot here (although the monsoons have arrived early!) there is still plenty to do and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

1/3 of the way there...

Well, by whatever standard one wants to count the ending of the first trimester - twelve weeks or thirteen - I am officially 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy!  What a nice little milestone.    The possibility of a miscarriage drops significantly and I am grateful that all seems to sound and look good so far.  It's hard to believe that our baby will be here in six months.  However, it's also hard to believe that January is six months away.  Where does the time go?

We were not expecting to have an ultrasound until about weeks 16-20 when we found out the gender of the baby.  However, there was a bit of a "scare" and I went in a couple of days before my 12-week check up to make sure everything was a-okay.  They did a doppler to find the heart beat which was nice and stong in the 150's.  Then just to make sure nothing else was wrong they went ahead and did an ultrasound and we got an extra little peek in on Baby Caughey.  I think this photo of the baby is fun because his/her little hands are right in front of his/her face.  It's a normal position but I joked that he/she didn't want to have his/her picture taken... just like his/her daddy!  Although, Husband is pretty good about letting me take his photo these days.  :)

So, there's an update on our little one.  All is fine and the baby is growing well and seems to be pretty strong heartbeat wise.  Our next ultrasound will be at 16-weeks and our doctor will try to see the gender of the baby.  If she cannot tell at that point they will run the test again at 18-weeks.  Then I am guessing we will not see Baby much until he/she arrives on the scene here in the Valley of the Sun.


I was recently at my last appointment with my acupuncture doctor.  She has always had a bowl of candy at the check out desk.  For the most part I can resist the temptation of the goodness inside - except that one time that there was dark chocolate in the bowl... and this time.

I happened to look down and an excited grin came across my face when I saw the familiar "NOW and LATER" wrapper.  It's not that it's the BEST candy by any means but it is wrapped in childhood sentiment.  I was instantly transported to my neighbors front yard where we would play along with her younger brother and sister.  And it was at their house that I think I remember having my first taste of this delightful little "product of Mexico."  Good times, remembered.  Jumping on a trampoline, making a house out of big boxes, swimming in a kiddie pool, riding horses (good ol' Buttercup!), and so much more.

It reminds me of a Starburst at some level yet it is quite unique in and of its own.  So, if you get a chance you should try them.  And if I get a chance I really should buy some more... the THREE I took from the doctor's office just wasn't enough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm a Fan

As I near the end of my first trimester - only a week and a half to go - I find that I am already getting a little too big for my britches.  Sigh.  It's a funny thing because before we found out that I was pregnant I lost about 25 pounds and my clothes were fitting great.  Now that I have gained about six of those pounds back I am barely able to wear the pants that I was wearing when I was 25 pounds heavier!  It's all about distribution, baby.

What to do, what to do?  I was definitely not ready for maternity pants but I was SO very uncomfortable in my forced buttoned pants.  Oh the misery. I have heard about the rubber band trick and a few other things. But I wasn't satisfied. However, one day I made a trip that would forever change how I was feeling in my clothes!  I had been in a little maternity boutique getting some other item and perusing the goods for upcoming months when the sales woman showed me the Bella Band.  On that particular trip I was feeling pretty good in my clothes but I was right back there two days later making my purchase!  I even wore it out of the store!

It's just amazing, I tell you what.  It looks just like a layered t-shirt under your normal shirt and it keeps your pants up even though they may be unbuttoned and you have the option to wear those too big maternity pants if you so desire.  It's worth the about $20 investment if it means you get more wear out of any of your clothes -- it's much better than having to buy new ones that you may only wear for a short time.  It's so very comfy... I can't even begin to tell you!!

So, my little "pooch" is happy and I am happy because I can still wear all my clothes and feel comfortable during what can be an awkward and uncomfortable transition.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday Sleep

I think Friday really took it out of me.  Not that housing a little human inside doesn't already take it out of me, but I think the marathon of a day yesterday really did me in.

Husband and I had these great plans of getting up a bit earlier to wash the cars while they are still in the shade and then he would mow the grass.  I had a hard time getting out of bed.  By the time I did, my sweet husband was already starting on the yard!  So, I cleaned up the house and bit.  After he got cleaned up we made breakfast.  YUM.... benedict!

Not long after breakfast I was desperate for more sleep.  Off to bed with me!  I slept about an hour and a half.  I woke up hungry so I munched on a couple of bagels.

A couple hours after that... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Around 4:45 PM my loving husband woke me up and reminded me that I may not sleep well tonight if I didn't get up again soon.  I protested slightly but got up just the same.  We had a "date night" at home where Matt brought in food from one of my favorite places here (I had the YUMMY Philly) and we watched a pretty lame movie (RV with Robin Williams.  I am glad we didn't invest anything in seeing this flick.)

Around 9:30 or 10:00 I was back in bed and slept oh so soundly until Sunday morning.

The moral of the story.... no marathon days like that when one is preggo!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

3:30 AM to 10:30 PM

Friday was a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNG day.

Here's the run down...

Alarm starts talking at 3:30 AM - we both need to get up and get moving!

Husband cleans up because he's actually going somewhere.  Me, I throw on whatever is available and toss a couple of bagels in the toaster for breakfast.

Drop Husband off at the airport.  He flew to Albuquerque for a car auction.  (We were hoping to purchase a Natural Gas car.  Unfortunately, we were seriously outbid.  Such is life.  What the other guy paid would almost buy a new one!  YIKES!)

From the airport I miss my exit.  Shucks.  Get turned around and head to my in-laws to grab a few more zzzzz's before heading to the church office to work for the day.

Church office craziness until 3:00 PM.

Head to airport to pick up sweet Husband.

Wait in a ridiculous line at Cos.tco for gas.

Head to a fun Italian restaurant to surprise my mother-in-law for her retirement with some other friends.

Partake in some seriously yummy food and then over to their house for MORE yummy food in the dessert-type fashion.

Head home.

Walk through the door wiped out at 10:30 PM!!

To bed, I said, with your head!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Time to Build?

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.
              Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV)

Just over two years ago, I was sitting in a recently gutted warehouse/church called "Light City" in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, LA.  As we arrived, make-shift lighting and electricity were being installed by friends that I had worked with on other missions projects.  It was good to see them in contrast to the stark reality of what surrounded us.  We helped lay cots down for the 1,200 + college students and staff that would be staying at this particular site.  40 or so port-a-potties, push-pump sinks, tent showers, and bottled water would be our facilities for the week.  The scenes of driving into the 9th ward flashed through my head as I tried to settle in for the night as every move on a cot echoed through my ears.  Had we really just driven through an actual part of the United States?  It looked as though we had driven through a war-ravaged country.  Something close to what I have seen third-world countries looking like on TV.  But I couldn't turn it off.  It would be there when I woke up, it would be there when I went to sleep, and it just wasn't going to go away.  That week was hard emotionally and physically.  The stories of families that we met haunt me and yet their continued correspondence encourages me.  Our students were great and many have gone back since that time.  The time spent there has left an impression on me that will last a lifetime... but it also brings about questions that I struggle with often.

When I think of that time my mind always flashes to the above verses in Ecclesiastes.  Is this the time to build there?  I think about this often.  Even more so since we recently watched a renovation in that area on "This Old House."  Not only rebuilds of people's homes but also a community for jazz muscians, something for which New Orleans is quite famous.  There are great things happening there, I admit.  But people are not returning in droves as they thought.  It seems like those who can really renovate are people that have money -- that is my perception, I confess.  I know this is a generalization and that it is not true of all, so that's my disclaimer to that.  Those that are not as well off are usually benefiting from some well-intentioned organization and I laud their efforts.  People will then talk about the revitalization of the French Quarter to justify this or that.  The reality is that the 9th Ward was the most devastated area in Louisiana.  When I was there two years ago the French Quarter which houses Bourbon Street and the site of Mardi Gras didn't seem any worse for the ware with some visible water damage but stores open for business just the same.  It looked like "life as normal" compared to where we had just been about 30-minutes before in the 9th Ward.  What was missing, however, was the droves of people that usually vacation there.  The 9th ward was not a place that tourists put on their "places to see" list.  It was probably a place that many told visitors to avoid altogether.  The other reality is that this place is six feet below sea level.  There is a reason that New Orleans "buries" their dead six feet above ground.  Flooding seems inevitable.  This kind of devastation could happen again but I can't imagine that anyone would just leave that land undeveloped.  I continue to teeter on what is really the right thing to do.

I guess the same argument could be made for places in Florida that have been ravaged by frequent hurricanes.  Or even for Tornado Alley.  Earthquakes in California.  I think that the aftermath of this storm has been so great and so devastating that it has caused a greater need for pause and reflection.

With all that to say, I still don't know.  One day I think it's great that people are there rebuilding.  Other days I am vehemently against it and figure we will be back to square one in 10-15 years. Sigh.

In it all I am reminded that the things of this world are fleeting and life is but a vapor...

As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. - Psalm 103:15-16

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So there I was...

...just laying on the fairly comfortable acupuncture table enjoying yet another blissful nap-time.  Actually, I was pretty thankful that I was falling asleep as that had not happened there in awhile.  My doctor had already come in to "stimulate" the needles at the half way mark - about 30 minutes into the treatment.  As a side note the treatments have been quite beneficial to me in helping my body heal and now in helping to sustain the pregnancy.  I think it works but one has to look away from much of the hooey-philosophy that can go with it which my doctor does.  She just pokes ya.  :)

Anyway... I digress....

My internal clock usually knows when my doctor will return to take the needles out.  I woke up and waited patiently for her to return.  It was taking a little longer than usual and it seemed a little quieter than usual.  Although, it can be hard to tell because I usually have the appointment that backs right up to their lunch hour.  I lifted my head to look at the clock, although in the past I have noticed that the clocks are not always correct, and it said 12:13 PM.  I am usually out of there by noon.  So, I concluded that the clock was wrong and I waited a little more.  I think I waited until the "wrong" clock said 12:36 PM and I thought to myself, "I'm done!"  Plus, I reallyneeded to make a trip to the little girls room.  I sat up and took out all of my needles - not as dramatic as it sounds.  And walked out of the room.  I looked at my cell phone and it WAS indeed 12:39 PM.  WHOA!  I got to the counter and said with a kind of a funny grin, "I think I was forgotten."  The looks on the techs faces was priceless!!  They mentioned that they just said that they were bummed that they didn't see me leave and how I usually stop and talk to them on the way out.  They were getting ready to check to see if I had rescheduled but got distracted by ringing phones.  Apparently, this has NEVER happened before!  I had to kind of laugh about it, really.  I wasn't late to anything and no one was worse for the ware - except maybe my doctor when she found out what happened.  I made my next appointment for next week and walked out the door.

Later in the afternoon, I got a phone call.  Actually, when the phone rang I was pretty sure it was my doctor (who is also now our chiropractor.)  Sure enough!  She apologized profusely and said that this had never happened in her 12 years of practice.  She said it was always a fear of hers and that she has doctor friends in which it HAS happened.  I told her all was forgiven, that I was glad that it wasn't an evening appointment (so I wasn't locked in the building), and that I had even rescheduled to come back and see her.  I would still highly recommend her to anyone. :)

So, I guess there is always a first time for anything.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Photos at 8 Weeks

Baby Caughey 8 WeeksWe had our 8-week ultrasound... a little over a week ago.  And I am JUST now getting the photos up.  It was a funny time as I had to go to the bathroom and my sweet, curious, and high-tech husband started chatting up the tech to see what kind of photos we could bring home.  He inquired about video and other such fun stuff.  In the meantime he even managed to HELP the tech with her computer.  What a guy.  In the end we were able to take a CD home with several pictures on it and they will be able to add more to it as the months pass.  As of right now our next ultrasound is going to be around the 18-20 week mark and that is when we are going to find out if we are having a boy or a girl.  We are excited!!  We forgot to take a video camera with us this time so we could record the heart beating.  Hopefully, we will remember to slip that in my purse for the next appointment.

The photo above is of our wee one's profile.  The empty looking circle at the top is the yolk sac that is sustaining the baby until the placenta is fully developed.  Below the sac is the head taking shape, then it's tummy, and then legs that seem more like fins at this point.  However, at the writing of this post the baby has grown and developed quite a bit over the last week.  The arms and legs are more distinct as is his/her head.  The "tail" is gone and all looks more human rather than like a little seahorse or manatee. (We only know this because we saw an ultrasound photo of a baby at 9 1/2 weeks while we were there :) )  The heart beat was a strong 169 BPM and it was fun to be able to hear it better this time around.

 We were surprised to see that we would also see our baby in 3D this time around.  In this photo we are seeing the baby from the top.  You can see his/her little head and it's arms and still somewhat webbed hands in from of him/her.  What was also really neat about this appointment was that we also got to see Baby move around a bit although he/she is still much to small for me to feel.  Baby measured about an inch big at this appointment.  We also got to see Baby's little eye which we won't get to see again until after the 27-week mark because the eye lids are now fused shut.  It's quite wondrous all the things that are going on and how much the development can really take out of the mother!  HA HA!!  It's getting better day by day, for sure.  I am thankful that I am not as sick as some but I am thankful that I am experiencing some symptoms as it comforts me to know that Baby is still doing well and developing. 

I am sleeping pretty well for the most part - minus the fairly frequent trips to the bathroom.  My dreams are a bit more strange and vivid, although they seem to be calming down these days.  The biggest problem is trying to get and stay comfortable.  That will not be getting better any time soon!  HA HA!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Long Pause...

It's amazing how fast time goes by these days.  I think to myself, "I have several things to post about and I should be able to get them done soon... maybe even today."  And then about 12 days roll by and you are pretty sure you just had that "self conversation" just yesterday.

I have been behind in some other areas these last few days as the schedule as been a bit fumbled here and there for a variety of reasons.  Then I can have the best intentions to get certain things done and the pregnancy sleepies take over.  It's amazing how tired one can be these first few weeks.  However, when I see how much the little one grows each week I am then not so surprised that I am just wiped out at times.

I have been feeling pretty well for the most part.  No, I don't hang out with the toilet at all.  But when I feel nauseated it's because I am tired or I need to eat.  And what I really like to eat these days are chicken nuggets and chicken strips.  It's odd to me.  Oh well.  My dessert at night are usually berry flavored Tums.  All this could be worse, I have been told.  So, I am thankful that have what I have and that the baby seems to be doing well so far.

With all that to say, I think we can say that there will be more posts in the near future.  Goodness, we even have a new ultrasound to share with you all.  I just wanted to let you know that I am still here and it's still worth checking in from time to time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baby Caughey is on the way!

Well, it's true. Baby Caughey is coming to a crib near you in January of 2009!  We are very excited to be expecting this little one and as first time parents we are soaking up all the information we can about what's happening each week and marvel at how God continues to knit our little one together.  It's amazing to think that next week it will barely be the size of a blueberry and yet it has grown SO much over the last few weeks.

Yesterday, we got our wee one's first picture at only 5 weeks and 4 days.  Amazing.  There is really no other word for it.  The large dark area is the gestational sac and then the small white-ish circle is the yolk sac.  At the base of the yolk sac is our baby - a little hard to see but very much there.  We got to see its little heartbeat fluttering in the "live" shots.  The doctor was able to let us hear a couple of beats but it sounded somewhat sporatic because it's so small it's hard to actually pinpoint it with the microphone.

So, there's the answer to what's REALLY been going on around here.  We were sitting on the information for awhile for a variety of reasons.  We are thrilled to be sharing this news with everyone!

Keep checking in for baby updates and other random posts.  :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

UNM Shout Out from NBC

My sweet husband really enjoys watching the show ER.  Last night was no different as we settled in to watch the beloved show.  However, within the first few minutes of the show I looked at Husband and asked, "Did I really hear that?"

Sure enough.

Some new character on the show is a 4th year med student doing some rotation from the University of New Mexico.  It was entertaining as there was small talk about being a lobo (the mascot, a wolf - in case you didn't know) and watching football games as well as which family members had season tickets, etc.  It was still strange to me as I had Husband rewind so I could see it again.  Nutty.  Of course she has the token Spanish surname name.  Oh well.

Props to UNM getting a little shout out from the writers at NBC.  I have heard that UNM has a pretty good med school and a few of my friends are a product of that system.  Apparently, we have arrived.  HA!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thanks for Addressing the Problem

On Sunday, when my sweet husband was ready for dinner he had a particular craving for a certain "fast food" place in town.  It's odd that when one is sick that there can be a disappearance of any food cravings at all... or there can be really odd ones.  This request wasn't entirely all that odd and when the husband is sick I am quick to oblige just about any whim.

So, I order and pull to the first window to pay the nice gentleman that took my order.  I could tell the he was suddenly quite busy and it was a taking a bit longer than usual to process my card.  No worries.  I am in no huge rush.  As I was waiting to get my receipt and card back I look forward only to find that my order is being dangled out the window as though I was a donkey and it the desperately wanted carrot.  I continued to wait and my order was continually dangled to and fro only to know that my food was also cooling down considerably.  I was a bit astonished to say the least.  But it would not end there.  When I was finally through with my payment transaction I pulled forward only to be greeted by a fairly large man who snapped, "Well, I have been waiting for you."

I didn't really know what to say as I was taken aback by his complete rudeness!  I told him that I was at the first window PAYING.  He didn't really seem to care.  He kind of tossed me my bag, I asked him if there was sauce in the bag.  He indicated there was and then closed the window before I could say one more thing.

Fuming.  That would be one word that I would use to describe how I felt.  As soon as I got home I told my sweet husband what happened and then I got on the phone and relayed the story to the manager.  He assured me that he would address the problem immediately and that he would like to treat us to lunch or dinner and to come in on particular days and ask for him.

Yesterday, I went in looking for the manager that I had spoken with on Sunday.  I apparently was talking to a manager and he told me there was no such manager by that name.  My blood pressure started to rise as I thought that I had just been "had" by some other employee.  I again relayed the story to this manager and another manager on duty.  It was then that he did know the manager that I had first mentioned and that the other manager was new and that he was still getting used to a new set of names.  At that I was just glad that I wasn't the victim of yet another rude party.  These managers were certainly apologetic and they complied with what the original manager had promised.  I ordered the exact same meal from Sunday and they were shocked that I didn't want more!  They were trying to give us desserts (which I am not a huge fan of anyway) and much more.  I should have taken advantage of the free drink but opted not.

In it all, they were very nice and I was treated with care.  I think that if those "cravings" come again we will not be leary to go back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ER Record

Matt and I had to make a "quick" trip to the emergency room this weekend.  Don't worry we are fine now.  However, "quick" is not always synonymous with "ER."  So, before we headed there we packed a bag of some books and things that would most likely keep us busy for the anticipated 5 to 6 hour wait we had in front of us.

When we got there, they took us right into triage where we actually saw a doctor straight away.  Then to another room to wait for about 10 minutes and finally to our little room in the back where we would wait on results. 

After it was all said and done.  We were in and out in one and a half hours!  Unbelievable!  It has to be some sort of ER record, right?  That would beat the urgent care on most days.  We were thankful for God provision and headed home to rest and recover.

Monday, April 14, 2008

"On Modesty and Going to Church" or "How We Present Ourselves to the Lord"

The Church has been complicit in teaching that there is no propriety to dress.  We used to dress to the nines on Sunday morning.  In the 1960's, that began to change - students and surfers and Jesus freaks began turning up at church in jeans and sandals.  That's all well and good - I'm not suggesting the church copy five-star restaurant and post a maître d' at the door to hand out jackets and ties to men who show up in T-shirts.  Everyone, even those who disdain or can't afford spiffy suits, should be welcome in church.  But perhaps we have erred on the side of casual.  I've noticed that I worship differently when I'm wearing more formal, fancy clothes.  I'm more inclined toward reverence.  I'm readier to meet a king.  The prayers I pray when I'm wearing my pj's are, not surprisingly, often more intimate, and there is a place for pj prayers - but that place may not always be church.  We Christians in our institutional churches so want people to come worship with us on Sunday morning that we hesitate to impose a dress code upon them.  And yet what appears welcoming, what seems hospitable, may in fact be a failure.  It's God, after all, that the people are coming for, and helping them dress appropriately may be part of preparing them to meet Him.

         -Lauren F. Winner, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, pg 76-77 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"There was no 'choice'."

These were words that brought great encouragement to my soul today as I stopped to talk to a particularly lovely woman today who had a sweet almost-one-month little blessing boy with her.  She was familiar and her story first came to me on March 31 as I watched the news.  You can watch the two-part (fairly short) story here...

StoryTellers: Life or Death Part I
StoryTellers: Life or Death Part II

I knew that this family lived here in Maricopa but never did I think that I would actually run into her.  Or that I would have my wits about me enough to recognize her.  OR that I would actually go up and talk to her.  Today presented such an oppotunity in a not-as-crowded-as-usual market setting.  She was leaving the dairy section and I was headed there.  I saw her face and the almost unmistakeable red hair-- her story flashed through my head.  I saw her little boy and my eyes welled up with tears.

I thought to myself, "If I happen upon her later I will stop to talk to her."  I decided that if I did see where she was I would just go talk to her.  In the baking aisle our encounter took place.  It was sweet to hear more of her story.  I thanked her for choosing life.  She said when she knew that she was pregnant, there was no "choice."  I about lost it right there in the middle of the store.  She is a sweet, humble soul.  She starts her treatments in May... and we will pray.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Driving Distractions

While driving on the Loop 101 on Friday afternoon Matt and I saw an unusual sight...

...A silver mail box affixed to a wood post...

Not so odd until you know that the mail box is smack-dab in the middle of highway CONSTRUCTION!  It's true.  There it was in the midst of all that was going on and we flew past it at about 65 MPH in the thick of traffic. 

We laughed and looked at each other to confirm that we had both just seen what we thought we had seen.  Goodness.  Then we laughed as we joked about what the address might be...

Construction Site 529
Between Indian School and Thomas-ish
East Valley
Loop 101, AZ  85000

HA!  It was entertaining and yet another moment in which I would like to figure out how to snap a photo of it without getting mauled by a car or have a variety of "waving" from passers-by.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Faith Persevering in Trial" or "I Waited for the Lord"

I waited patiently for the LORD;
         And He inclined to me,
         And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
         Out of the miry clay,
         And set my feet upon a rock,
         And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
         Praise to our God;
         Many will see it and fear,
         And will trust in the LORD. 
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
         And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
         Which You have done;
         And Your thoughts toward us
         Cannot be recounted to You in order;
         If I would declare and speak of them,
         They are more than can be numbered.          
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
         My ears You have opened.
         Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
         In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
         And Your law is within my heart.” 
I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
         In the great assembly;
         Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
         O LORD, You Yourself know.

Psalm 40 1-9

This Psalm has brought great comfort as of late as we wait for the Lord to show us what He has for us in the coming months.  It's a wonderful place to be and to see the small (and the BIG) things that God is doing.  We will rejoice in them and praise Him for His works.  He is the God of all comfort.  We find peace in knowing these simple truths.  Simple, yet so complex for the human heart and mind to comprehend.  We are in a good place and these are exciting times.  So, while we wait, we will pray, love others, declare His righteousness, and seek to do our best in obedience to Him.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Where Oil and Water Mix

It finally happened.  I helped my sweet mother-in-law make soap about a week ago.  I waited until now to tell you about it so I could get some final product photos and because, well, I am just now having the time to sit down and write about it.  :)  I am reading a book given to me by my mother-in-law that explains how to make a variety of natural soaps.  It is quite interesting as it gives some tidbits on how soap was developed and how it works.  I must admit that I have a whole new appreciation for this product that I use everyday with little thought to how it does what it does.  It was more of a mentality of "Well, it's always here and I was told to use it."  Rather than really knowing the whys and how's of it all.  It's an interesting process that happens really fast... at first.  Once the soap is poured in the "soapbox" then a whole new process begins to happen and it's a game of hurry up and wait.  The box then needs to sit in a thermal stage.  The box is covered with a top and a BUNCH of towels to keep the heat in that is emitted from all the chemical reactions going on in there.  It helps the soap set up.  24-hours later we open the box to find a lovely batch of soap.  But the process is not done yet.  Even three days after the thermal stage the soap is still feels like a soft cheese.  Not really what you want when you head to the showers.  At this point the soap is ready to be cut and have a variety of decorative things done to it if one so desires.  Then the soap usually needs to sit exposed to the air for another SIX WEEKS to harden and cure (making sure there is no live lye still in the soap.)  So, while it is a timely process it is quite fun.  I hope to be making my first batch on my own in the coming weeks.  YAY!!

In an attempt to further my pampering creative skills my sweet mother-in-law gave me a recipe to make lotion.  It was beyond me that I could really make my own because, you know, like beef, lotion comes from the store!  (ha ha!!)  Well, I gave it a whirl and it didn't come out half bad!  However, I must admit the fragrance isn't the best.  I think that I must have used a bit much of the essential oil and I think this particular one needs to be coupled with another fragrance and not just stand on its own.  All in all, the lotion itself is really quite nice that it light and not heavy and oily.  It feels really nice on the skin.  I may try it again.  But I am not so sure what to do with all this lotion that I already have.  Maybe I will just use it on my feet for now.

So, I will let you know how my first batch of soap comes out in the future and any other recipes that I try in this arena.  So many ideas!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Written Word

Journal and Pen"Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write." - John Adams, 1765

I like to write.  It doesn't really matter what it is that I am writing as long as I enjoy the feel of the pen I could just keep going.  I will say that my favorite thing to write is personal correspondence.  Nothing beats a real letter delivered right to your mailbox.  Nothing seems quite as delightful as opening a letter from a friend or loved one.  They have taken time and thought to actually write something down and then to send it.  I love letters - sending and receiving.  My husband will tell you that I have a fascination with stamps, too.  It's true.  Not that I collect them but I love to buy the different designs to send out.  While I love the traditional "flag" stamps and all that they stand for, I really love to find the different designs and put a little something extra on my letters.  While most would never notice the extra touch, I always look at the stamp. 

While I was explaining to my husband reasons I like to write I think I started to sound a bit fanatical.  It's more the experience and satisfaction of writing than the final product really.  I like the sound of a mechanical pencil on paper (which was probably the only thing that really got me through me college calculus class!)  I love the feel of the pen in my hand.  I love the thought of a nicely picked piece of stationary and how my colored Sharpie pen glides across with each stroke.  I like the look, the sound, the feel.  The smell of a Sharpie is not always so delightful, though... but it doesn't deplete the experience one bit.

Along with writing I love to type.  Matt recently bought me a new laptop computer and I am simply in love with the keyboard.  I love the way the keys feel and the sounds they make as I click, click, click away.  It's the experience indeed.  I like to write e-mails.  Although, these days I don't seem quite as on top of it as I used to be.  The downside for me in typing is that my mind moves much faster than my fingers.  I will think that I have typed out a particular word only to go back and find several missing!  I do have my share of typos.  Maybe that will work itself out someday.  Such is life, I suppose.  But that is when I can be thankful for spell check and the "discipline" of proof-reading.

So, for some it's the end product of writing that is the great satisfaction.  While I do like the end product I greatly enjoy the experience much more.  For me the end product is a nice little perk. 

I like paper goods, ultra-fine tip Sharpie markers, blue pens, stamps, Hallmark seals, mechanical pencils, my blog, my journal, and obviously words.  What more can I say?