Thursday, November 29, 2007

"The Invisible Woman"

Salisbury Cathedral

This piece was printed in the November issue of my local MOPS group newsletter. I read it over Thanksgiving and I was so touched that I just had to type it out here. I wanted to share with everyone else and to also preserve it because I know that sheet of paper would disappear somewhere. Be touched yourself!

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there fore about three hours and I was ready leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking. That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think we can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not! No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some day's I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude--but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She going she's going she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together as well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no on sees."

In the days ahead I would read-no, devour-the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals-we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam! He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make very day, when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see m self as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 am in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by sacrifices of invisible women.

~Author Unknown~

Told you it was AWESOME!

Graphic From

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Is It About Boys And Destruction?

It is becoming more and more clear to this Mommy that Caleb is ALL BOY!! He is starting to play in ways that say nothing more.

The other day he put his tractor toy (push the little farmer and the tractor will drive a short distance) on a kitchen chair, push the farmer, and watch the tractor drive off into the abyss....laughing hysterically. He did it over and over again.

Then last night he took his little puppy toy and put it on the ottoman and pulled the leash to make it roll off the ottoman onto the floor...laughing hysterically, again.

Finally, Chris and I were with him in his nursery. We have stored his infant swing in there for a while. Caleb walked up to the swing and started to push it to watch it swing. He would push it back and then put his head in the right position so that when the swing came back towards him it would bump his head and/or pacifier. He did THAT over and over again...laughing hysterically.

Why do boys do such things?

I think I have my work set out for me.

I Knew I Forgot Something!

Whenever you go out of town with a 16-month old you are bound to forget something. Right? Well, over Thanksgiving I just had to forget the diaper rash cream. Ugh!! And, of course, that was time we started to have some "issues" in that department and I really didn't want to buy more because I have two tubes at home along with a big tub of Butt Paste (still the best, by far) at home. I couldn't leave this problem untreated. It would become a disaster for all those involved. What's a Mom to do?!


I remembered that when Caleb had a nasty case of diarrhea and thus, diaper rash, Chris' Mom and Grandmom suggested cornstarch for his little sore boozer. They said it worked the best at cutting out the sting. I was still skeptical, but I went ahead and found the cornstarch in my Dad's kitchen. We used it like baby powder a few times on Caleb's bottom and IT WORKED!!! He woke up every morning with far less rash and redness.

It is good to know that I have a back-up option for that annoying diaper rash if I am away from home. Cornstarch Works For Me!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In Other Words


"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy."

~ Elisabeth Elliott ~

When I chose this wonderful quote by Elisabeth Elliott I wasn't even thinking about the upcoming holiday season. I just thought it is a great reminder to myself and I really wanted to share it with everyone. But, now I can see how timely it really is.

The past few days have been a wonderful change from the ordinary routine. I've, along with Chris, Caleb, and Eowyn, have been with at my Dad's house. We've eaten turkey way too many times through Thanksgiving dinner and numerous turkey sandwiches and we've enjoyed fellowship with the entire family. My sister and her family and my brother all came into town so we say Thanksgiving and celebrate an early Christmas together. It has been bliss.

But, last night I sat down and thought about all that is coming up in the next month. I have two MOPS meetings left in 2007 to set up for and attend/help run. I have a doctor's appointment. My brother is graduating from seminary with his Ph.D and that means a weekend trip to attend that. We might swing by some friends' house on our way home from that. And then we travel to Illinois (a good 18 hour trip one way) along with Chris' sister (20-something weeks pregnant) and her husband for Christmas on Chris' side of the family. Whoo! As I thought through our schedule I got overwhelmed and discouraged. How am I going to do all this? When will I keep up the house? When will I finish Christmas cards? When will I finish Christmas shopping? When will I bake? On and On my thoughts raced.

Soon after my time of worry and panic I sat down at the computer and reread this post. Sigh! How true it is! Why am I so "harried and hurried?" When I am worrying about tomorrow and making it my "business" I am not thinking about God and His goodness. I am not remembering that He will always provide not only in our physical needs but also in the proper ordering of our lives if we just let Him. I was not allowing Him to do that. I was trying to fit everything into my schedule and not-so-surprisingly nothing seemed to fit just right.

I have since submitted all the things to do to the Lord and I am at much greater peace. I know what I have to do tomorrow and where I need to go and that is all I am allowing myself to think about. God will take care of the following days as they come to me one by one. I will make my To-Do list each morning and pray that God will help me delete the things that can wait till another time. Of course, there are certain things I must prepare for now such as an upcoming trip but I know that I can prepare bit by bit on a daily basis instead of frantically when it is too late. When I plan this way there is no worry and much more security.

I pray that I will learn how to not do too much but to get what needs to be done when it needs to be done. One of my ultimate desires in managing my home is for my husband and child (and hopefully, children) to feel peace as they come home at night and as they play inside and out and I know a major factor of that peace is that Mommy is at peace with what she is doing. I know that if I can be at peace during these hectic holidays, I can be peaceful during other days.

I pray that everyone give their quickly-filling-up lists during this Christmas season to the Lord as well. I pray that all the things we are doing never blurs the TRUE reason we celebrating in the first place.

Please click through the Mister Linky below to hear what other thoughtful women thought about the quote.

Thank you "In Other Words" for allowing me to host this week. It has been fun! ;-)

Graphic From

Monday, November 26, 2007

Home Again!

Chris, Caleb, and I back home now and it feels great! It is always feels so good to come home after a long take a shower in your own shower and to sleep in your own bed. Aaaaahhhhh! WONDERFUL! I think Caleb was asleep before his little pajama covered feet touched the crib. Now he is playing all his old toys like they were new again and Eowyn has found a new place to sleep on a blanket that I keep failing to put away. I think seeing her so cozy is making me procrastinate even more in putting it away.

The past few days have been wonderful with my family. It was a great change in routine and I couldn't have asked for anything else. I loved seeing my Dad, Stepmom, brother, sister and her family. We laughed, ate, opened presents, and just enjoyed the reunion. That is what I am most thankful for....a wonderful family that is full of love.

Now, I need to pack up the boy and head over to the church to help set up for our next MOPS meeting. Please be sure to check back tomorrow. I am hosting "In Other Words" and the quote if very timely for this Christmas season. See you then!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt


Apparently, Eowyn just wasn't hot enough this evening. She is usually pretty skittish when it comes to cuddling on the couch and any such incident is quite a treasure. She usually wants to stay on the floor or on her beanbag. I guess she was feeling extra cuddly and cozy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Free Online Homeschool?!

Caleb is growing up so fast that it's scary. He is almost 17 months old going on 17 years old. You would think that because of how independent he is these days. Want to teach him how to use a spoon? Give him a spoon and he's convinced that he KNOWS how to do it himself....thankyouverymuch!

As I watch his growth and development every day I am becoming more and more aware of how important proper schooling is going to be. I am in the stages of deciding where I stand on public school, private school, and homeschooling. I confess I am attracted to homeschooling because of the flexibility in schedule and curriculum. But, homeschooling seems so expensive because you have to buy your curriculum. What is a Mom to do?

Well, I came across The K-12 Free HomeSchool and I was intrigued. It is a community sponsored online homeschool academy. All the courses from Kindegarten to 12th grade are tuition free and optional electives are offered at 25-50% discounts. How in the world is all this possible? It is done through corporate and non-profit supporters and also parents who are in the program themselves. Due to the nature of the program space is limited but many families gain entrance after only 2-5 days.

I have to say that this program makes me want to seriously consider homeschooling even more. What a cool idea! Not only do you get homeschooling for free, but you also have a community of other families who have the same commitments you do. I think it is worth a look.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving Smoke Coming out of Fireplace

I am so happy today! Caleb and I are home pretty all day today getting ready for our trip to my Dad's house as soon as Chris gets off work. We are doing some last minute computer work and soon we'll be packing our suitcases. We will be gone till Sunday afternoon sometime. I just can't wait to be around my family, enjoy some delicious Thanksgiving food and fellowship, and take many sweet, turkey-induced naps.

This Thanksgiving is extra special because we are also doing Christmas for my side of the family. Chris, Caleb, and I will be going to Rockford, Illinois for Christmas to see his side of the family. So, I made a special request to my Dad, Sister, and Brother to make Thanksgiving into Christmas too. I just couldn't handle not being around them for the celebration. After much discussion we decided to do a mini-gift gift giving time in that everyone else brings gifts for us and we give all our presents to them. It will be blast! Two Christmas celebrations!! Yeah!!

Now for the obligatory "I am thankful for..." list. I am so thankful for my Hubby and my son. We are all healthy and happy. I am thankful that Caleb and Eowyn are really blossoming as friends and "brother and sister." I am thankful that I have a husband who supports and agrees with my desire to stay home with Caleb. I am thankful for the rest of my family. I often miss them but that makes times like this that much more sweet. I am thankful that I love and get along with Chris' side of the family too. I am thankful for my MOPS group at church. They got me through my first year of motherhood and now I can serve them too as their Prayer/Care Coordinator.

I am thankful above all for my relationship with the Lord. He has been taking me on a journey back home. He is turning my heart back to my role of wife and mother and he is increasing my contentment each and every day. For this reason my level of happiness has gone way up and that is worthy of great thanksgiving.

Now, I must get back to my preparing for our trip. There are suitcases to be packed and doggie toys to be gathered.


Graphic From

Wordfilled Wednesday

Head over here to see some more BEAUTIFUL scripture.

A Christmas Card With A Mission

It is that time again, folks! Time for turkey, stuffing, football, and family. Of course that is just this week. I know that many people are already making plans for Christmas. Putting up Christmas lights, listening to Christmas music, and buying presents are just a few things on the agenda. How about sending out all those Christmas cards? If you are smart you have already started addressing the envelopes and licking the stamps. I know I have already started writing all the cards for the ladies in my MOPS group at church.

The only problem with Christmas cards, though, is that it can be so hard to find truly beautiful cards these days. Sure, you can find pretty ones and funny ones and touching ones. But, what about the ones that are worthy of putting in a frame after the holidays? Do you have a hard time finding those? What about businesses that want to send out lovely Holiday Cards corporate ? I know you want to make an impression on your customers with your meaningful selection and hopefully gain some new ones in the process.

While I write this post I think about how important a pretty card from home would be for our soldiers overseas. I can only imagine how homesick they are this time of year. There is an organization called Soldier's Angels that provides all types of aide and comfort to our men and women soldiers. I am sure Christmas time is a busy time for these selfless angels.

There is a company called The Gallery Collection that offers those beautiful Christmas cards I mentioned above and they are partnering with Soldier's Angels to send every soldier, who desires one, a Christmas card in a their care package just to say "Thank You For All You Do!". There will also be a blank card that he/she can personally send home. A little taste of home for those who are so far from home and protecting all of our homes. Thank you Gallery Collection for making Christmas a little more special for all of our heroes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Other Words

Lighthouse and Stormy Seas

"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."

~ James L. Christensen ~

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard someone say, "I just don't know how I would handle that without knowing Christ." I would have to agree whole-heartedly. Pretty much all the hard times in my life that were true challenges occurred after I became a follower of Christ. So, I can't really say I've seen both sides of the fence. I just know that Christ has been my comfort during those hard times and I just can't imagine not having his loving embrace during those times.

He was there when I was an awkward teen hating how I looked and who I was. He told me that He loved me no matter what and that I was His beautiful bride. I clung to that throughout my adolescence. Sometimes that was all I had. He was there when my Mom died and He told me He greeted her as she entered heaven. He held me in his arms as a loving Father as I cried, yearning for my Mom. He was there when a relationship tore apart and my heart was broken. He nursed my heart until it was whole again and assured me that He was the Groom who would never leave. Finally, He was there when I was a brand new Mommy and I longed for sleep and validation. He spoke to me quietly during those late night nursing sessions and told me how I precious I was to Him and to my son.

Life has not always been easy since I became a Christian but I know that I have all I need in my arsenal to face whatever is thrown at me. I have the Creator of the Universe right there holding me hand through it all. How could I face life without him? There is NO WAY! I praise Him everyday for His constant presence. And I praise Him for making me "great enough for life."

Go on over to Simple Christian Living to learn from other thoughful ladies.

Graphic From

Monday, November 19, 2007

Homemade Doggie Biscuits

I have become much more adventurous in the kitchen this week because we have been inside most of the time due to illness and such. I reached a new level on Friday when I got the bright idea to try making our own doggie biscuits for Eowyn. I looked all around the internet and I found this one. It is called Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. I stuck to this one because I had all the ingredients on hand and I didn't have to use liver or any other meat product for that matter. Not ready for that...yet.

Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons Peanut Butter (mine were pretty heaping)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cornmeal

Blend liquid ingredients together. Whisk dry ingredients together and mix into wet mixture to form a soft dough. (Note: I had to add a good bit more of flour to achieve a soft dough. It was about 2-3 extra cups. I put it in at 1/4 cup measures and didn't count very well.) Roll out and shape. (I used a shot glass to cut them out) Put on a non-stick cookie tray. Cook 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn off oven and allow to cool inside oven until crisp and hard.

Here they are about to go into the oven.

My Taste Tester anxiously waiting.

Here they are just out of the oven.

Taunting the Taste Tester.

We have a winner!

I knew Eowyn loved her new biscuits when she started to run around the house, whimpering as she was trying to find the perfect place to hide or bury it. My in-laws' dog also loves them and she is pretty picky these days due to her age (9 years old). The true test will be when I bring them to the Thanksgiving gathering and test them on the rest of the family dogs.

Hint: These really do look like cookies that we might eat. So, be sure to warn family members they are doggie biscuits. Chris tried one and was not-so-pleasantly surprised. He said they weren't bad, just very bland.


We're Back Up

Yeah! We got our DSL back up and running sometime yesterday afternoon. It isn't 100% because Chris thinks they did a temporary fix so we could have internet while they fix the big problem. I'm just happy to have my computer back. Yeah!

Now, I have to call the doctor so I can get an apointment for my sinuses and ear. I will be so happy when we can get this family healthy again.

See you very soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So Frustrating

It turns out that our DSL server people had a major crash on Thursday night when they were doing updates. That means we've had no DSL since Friday and thus, no internet. It is taking forever for them to fix it. I am using Chris' laptop that is connected to his Blackberry for internet access. It is SLOW! But, it is enough to write this note and to check my eBay auctions. I will be back asap once the DSL is fixed. See you then!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Was Brought to Tears...

I got this story as a forward this morning in my inbox. I rarely read forwards just like most people, but I read this one. I had tears all over the place by the end. My eyes are all teary right now as I write this. All I can say is, "WOW!:"

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4
year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she
missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got
to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so
she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in
heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is
my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith , "in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays
in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

So Tired....Zzzzzz....Oh Sorry!

Can you tell that I'm really tired today? Yesterday was so long and exhausting. I thought I was on the way to normalcy and Caleb to health when I wrote this post. After dinner I went to Chris' parent's house to pick up Caleb from my Quick Reprieve and he was doing great. Whoo! I thought we were over the hill. Well, around 8 or so he woke up SCREAMING like he had done two previous times that day. I held him, rocked him, played the piano, etc. Finally, it took a good dose of Tylenol and his stuffed monkey that did the trick. He went on to bed.

While Caleb is fighting his issues I am fighting my sinuses. It happens every year around this time. So, I had taken some Sinus Meds and those usually keep me awake at night if I take them too late in the day. The meds are doing their job and I feel much better except for a lack of sleep.

Perhaps the Lord was keeping me up so that I would hear Caleb screaming at 1 am. We had another round of rocking, singing, monkey, and a dose of Ibuprofren this time. He went on to sleep and stayed there until 7 am.

I am calling the Doctor Man at 8:30 and am going to get Caleb an appointment. He's been tugging at his ear much more than I would like. I'll keep you posted on that. The good news is that Caleb is playing pretty hard with Eowyn right now.

Please pray that we get to the bottom of this illness so that Caleb can feel like himself again. Thank you!

So Tired!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Quick Reprieve...Sort of

I just thought I would pop in for a couple of minutes while I had the chance. Today has been something else! Caleb has been inconsolable a lot of the day and that has me worried. I'm wondering about his ear because he has been playing with it a lot lately. Needless to say the house and other duties have been greatly neglected and that has put me in a mood.

But, I am thankful for the lovely lunch at a local Mexican restaurant today with my Hubby and his Mom. Caleb was more or less good for that but it was AFTER a long dose of crying, tears, and snot. We came home afterwards, he took a very short nap, and the tears and snot started all over again. I started the phone calls to Chris' mom (a RN) and my sister. Do I call the doctor? Do I take him in? We were there two days ago and he had no ear infection. Who knows.

Finally, Chris' mom offered to take Caleb for a few hours so I could do a Blitz Attack on the house. I was in the car within 5 minutes. Zooom! I came home and it was Shock and Awe, Baby! After I put three loads of laundry away I took a nice hot shower and here I am. I just had to share the joy of it all. Who needs therapy when you can get a couple hours with no little one to clean the house, shower, AND enjoy a nice dinner with your Hubby? LOVELY!

The best part is that I can spend a lot of tomorrow doing the baking I've been yearning to do all week. That is a rather cheap therapy bill too. ;-)

I Actually Won a Giveaway!

For those familiar with Bloggyland you know there are always great giveaways going on. I am floored by the generosity of many of these ladies. I have probably entered 100 giveaways since I became more serious about blogging and I've never won anything. BUT, today I was over at Enjoy the Journey and there, in sparkling lights, was my name. I entered this contest the other day to win a fabulous ebook called A Recipe For Christmas JOY written by Marybeth Whalen of Cheaper by the Half-Dozen. Now I am anxiously awaiting my instructions on how to pick up my awesome gift. Thanks to Lindsey and Marybeth for doing this giveaway.

Hee hee! I feel like someone just shoved a microphone in my face and said, "You just won a bloggyland giveaway! What are you going to do now?!"

I'm going to blog about it, obviously, and use lots of links to the ladies who made it possible.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wordfilled Wednesday

Be sure to go on over to The 160 Acre Woods for more Lovely Pictures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas Lights That Shine Green

There is so much going on these days in regards to "going green" and finding ways to do the "right thing" to help save the planet or to at least make the earth a healthier place to live. I confess that Chris and I aren't 100% on board with the Green thing. We have a healthy respect for our home but we also aren't going crazy with the doomsday global warming stuff either.

One thing that we are in the process of doing is switching out all the light bulbs in our house. A while back we bought a bunch of Flourescent light bulbs and whenever our old light bulbs burn out we replace them with flourescent ones. Pretty soon we'll be running completely on flourescent lights. Not only are these light bulbs better for the earth, but they are better for the wallet too. Hmmm. Perhaps it is the wallet that screams louder for us. Anyhoo...

With the Christmas holidays coming very soon I know many people are probably already planning their house decorations. They might have pulled their lights out and are starting to untangle that mangled mess they created last year. I even saw a Christmas tree shining through someone's front window yesterday. Well, did you know that you can make the same kind of switch we did to the flourescent light bulbs with Christmas lights ? Yep! You can switch from your old Christmas lights to LED Christmas lights. These little babies use 1/10th of the energy your old incandescent lights use and they last more than 50,000 hours as opposed to the 1500 hours of an incandescent light. That should save us penny pinchers some money this year. These lights are more durable because they don't use that little fragile filament and don't use breakable glass. No heat is created so they are cool to the touch which makes them much safer on your Christmas tree.

If you are like me, jumping on the Green bandwagon is a slow process. Perhaps we can give ourselves a Christmas present this year of LED Christmas lights. That way we can feel good about our contribution to the earth all the while our house looks very pretty and festive. Go check them out!

The Tent Warriors Return

Life is returning to normal today. We have returned from the camping trip and Chris has returned to work after his Veteran's Day holiday. I am so glad to reclaim my house and get that awful smokey smell out of all our clothes. Let me tell you all that happened this past weekend.

You may remember my dilemna after Chris' parents found out they couldn't join us on the trip because there was no spots for their RV. I was so concerned about Caleb's cough (which he STILL has) and the cold nights. Chris' parents offered to take him for the weekend at their home. We grabbed the opportunity and dropped him off with all his stuff. He was ready for a fun weekend with the Grandparents. Chris came home from work an hour early, we packed up the car, and off we went. I was armed with my mini-pharmacy to deal with my own cold and stuffy nose. Needless to say, I was a bit worried about camping myself with a cold but off we went anyway.

Since we were going to get to the campsite after dark anyway Chris and I went through a drive-through and ate some very yummy cheeseburgers and fries. It was great to eat a "real" meal before camping and to have one less thing to do once we got there. Most of the drive was spent talking to the other campers on the phone and figuring out their estimated arrival times.

We got to the state park and set up camp. There was a fire already going and it was COLD. I quickly put on my sweater, coat, and wool hat. Once the tent was set up we were able to enjoy the camp fire as we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. There was tons of talking and catching up and then we headed to bed. Chris is very good at setting up a warm tent and I never worried about being warm once I was under the covers. It was just the changing clothes and possibly having to get up to go potty that really stunk.

We slept pretty well, considering the location, but the air mattress seemed to be acting oddly. It just wasn't very firm even though we pumped the fool out of it. Well, it turns out there was an unknown leak somewhere in the mattress. So, by morning we were sleeping "snuggly" against the ground. Ugh! We got up and dressed quickly and Chris got the fire going again. We ate breakfast and greeted our friends as they emerged from their tents one by one.

The day was spent roasting sausages, sitting by the fire, tons of talking, napping in the hammock, falling out of the hammock, canoeing between the cypress trees, napping in the tent, and just enjoying time with my husband. The beauty of camping is that you don't have to know the time and you do what you want when you want. You eat when you are hungry and you sleep when you are sleepy. It is a great change of pace.

Once the night came the temperatures dropped again very quickly. By this point I was pretty tired of the cold. I think the cough made me a lot more sensitive to the cold. The group sat by two big fires and played a fun board game. There was much laughter and wonderful fellowship. By the end of the game we were quite ready to hit the sinking mattress. I was woke up in the pre-dawn light by my screaming bladder. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be. I got up in the cold and walked to the bathhouse and returned. By that time I was pretty much awake and I couldn't get back to sleep.

The rest of the morning was spent warming up by the fire and eating breakfast. Chris and a friend returned our canoe and I broke down the campsite. Once everyone had their cars ready to go we planned stopping in a bigger city and eating at IHOP. There was a party of 8 and apparently IHOP can't sit 8 stinky campers. We waited an hour for our table. One couple left because they were sick of waiting. I think the remaining 6 were sitting at a table before that couple left the parking lot. Oh well! We ate some real food and dreamed of showers and laundry.

Chris and I got home and unloaded the car. I took my shower and I SCRUBBED. I washed my hair, soaped up with Dial soap, washed my hair, exfoliated my skin, conditioned my hair, and used fancy, good smelling soap. It felt GOOD!! After Chris showered we retrieved Caleb from the Grandparent's house and then Chris' partner returned Eowyn. We were a family again!! There is nothing like home!!

Until next year, I will dream of campfires, hammocks, and hopefully, a new FIRM air mattress. Did you hear that, Honey?!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Caleb's Best Friend

Chris and I have returned from the camping trip and are thrilled to be back home and our family complete again. Caleb did stay at Chris' parents' house for the weekend and Eowyn went to a friend's house. When everyone was back home it was very clear that Caleb and Eowyn were so happy to be back together.

My heart swells everytime I see how well Caleb and Eowyn play together. They LOVE each other so much! Caleb will go into the utility room and steal a piece of Eowyn's doggie food and will run all over the house with that one piece just to taunt Eowyn. He will steal Mousers, the most favored toy, and will hold it up in the air and run and run until Eowyn can't handle it anymore. There are plenty of games of hide and seek. When Caleb is eating in his high chair Eowyn will always be right by his side to stand guard beg for food.

When it is time to relax and enjoy a little tv there is sometimes a competition for who gets to stay on the bean bag. Caleb loves to sit there when he watches his Baby Einstein video and Eowyn curls up there with Mousers like it is one of her dog beds. Maybe I should tell her to put a bean bag on her Christmas list.

While there is plenty of competition and antagonizing between these two kids there is also so much love and affection. I feel like I am raising a brother and sister who will punch each other at home but will make anyone else regret they even thought about harming the other. If Eowyn forgets herself, gets overly excited, and knocks Caleb over she is the first to run over to him to check on him and lick his face. Just recently I caught Caleb walk up to Eowyn and give her a big sloppy kiss right on the head. I paused whatever I was doing and I reveled in the beauty of their relationship. Eowyn is most definitely Caleb's best friend. I am looking forward to the many years ahead with these two. It will be precious.