Monday, September 28, 2009

It's bucket season

We have the flu again in our house.  Out of nowhere Rob was up every 20 minutes last night getting sick.

I have lots to blog about but not enough time right now.  I need to sleep.  Do laundry.  Unpack the 20 bags from our weekend away.  Take care of babies and my poor sick husband.  Clean everything in sight with Lysol wipes.

I just read this post and will now direct you there for your own blog-reading pleasure.  I can completely identify with cjane (just not the prego part!).  If you are currently a mom to little children, you will too.

Enjoy.  I promise I'll be back soon...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Special zoo souvenir. Really special.

Yesterday we went to the zoo.  I got a few really great shots and can't wait to share them with you.  But apparently pictures aren't all we brought home from the zoo... Robbie picked up a nice case of the flu as well.  Gross.

Of course, it hit just minutes after I looked at Rob and excitedly pointed out that ALL of us were dressed, in the car, and we were EARLY leaving the house for church this morning, too!  I totally jinxed us.  Sorry, Robbie.  

He proceeded to get sick ( his car seat!...) multiple times in the car, and then for the rest of the afternoon, while we tried to keep up with the mess in his wake.  After what feels like 10 loads of laundry later (and a thorough scrubbing of not only his car seat cover and belts but also the couch), both babes are in bed, and Rob gets to have sweet dreams about the Giants' win tonight.  I'm hopeful that the worst is over for Robbie, and will now concentrate my efforts on keeping Ellie healthy as we rehydrate Robbie.  Thankfully, my amazing mom helped us out today and is coming over again in the morning to give me a hand.  What would we do without her!?

Sidenote: do everything you possibly can to keep your child from throwing up in a toddler car seat.  At least the Britax Boulevard.  Just getting the seat cover off was an ordeal - I am dreading trying to reassemble it once everything is clean and dry!  Ugh.  And it said not to machine wash it... I laughed at the thought of cleaning it by hand as I tossed it into the washer.   Seriously?!  Is there anything else that takes more abuse from kids and needs to be machine washable than their car seat covers?  I'm taking my chances.  I think I'd rather end up ruining the car seat than drive around for the next 10 years in a van that smells like puke. 

More from us once we're healthy and mommy's bible study homework is done!  :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I seriously just yelled out loud in excitement...

In case you can't read the email that I copied and pasted below...

And their new store is 5 minutes from my mom's house, and about 15-20 from mine.
So very excited.  I don't think I can explain how very happy I am for this news.  And just as we are beginning the search for Robbie's big-boy room furniture and bunk beds!  I was planning a trip to Northbrook in the next week or two, but not anymore.

So... anybody wanna check it out with me opening day?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fasting and praying

Kate had her MRI today, and part of the update on her CaringBridge site reads:

"The chemo is working and God is moving!  ...Her tumor is shrinking! Praise Jesus! Today we were given a very bright ray of hope during this often turbulent storm."

Have you heard about Kate McRae?  She has a brain tumor and is going through chemotherapy to fight the cancer.  She is so young.  Her family is crying out to God for healing.  They are keeping anyone who wants to pray for Kate updated through CaringBridge as well as their personal blog.  I have links to both on my sidebar, but here they are again...  CaringBridge and McRae Family.  Her situation was brought to my attention through a friend who knows some of Kate's relatives personally.  

Feel free to catch up on their story.  The latest two blog posts on their family blog (second link) explain how they will be fasting and praying for Kate as she has an MRI to find out if the tumor is responding to treatment.  They are inviting others to join them if they feel led to do so.

I do.

I can't imagine Robbie or Ellie being in Kate's shoes.  I can't imagine myself being in Kate's mom's shoes.  I don't know them personally, but they are a part of the Body of Christ that I, too, am a part of.  This is what we do for one another.  I believe in the power of God - if He chooses to do so, He can heal Kate completely at any moment.  With or without doctors, chemotherapy, etc.  So I will be joining the corporate plea on Kate's behalf for healing and yet, ultimately, for God's will to be done and for His glory to continue to spread throughout the earth in any way He sees fit.  I also want to demonstrate my complete dependence on God and desire for more of Him in my life. 

I love the things Kate's dad has to say about fasting.  I am thankful for the reminder that this should be a regular spiritual practice in my life.  I hope you'll join in praying and fasting for Kate and her family.

Sunday was a family day

This rarely happens anymore... but my WHOLE FAMILY was in the same house (mine) on Sunday!  Sadly, not all at one time.  But we got to see my brother AND my sister (and my bro's good friend Josh) while they were all home for the weekend.  

We went to church together in the morning and had a big lunch back at our place afterwards.  I love Sunday lunch during football season, although admittedly it was a lot more relaxing pre-children when we could nap at will.  Now I just get heavy eyelids and run for another Coke to sustain my energy needed to chase Robbie around!  Not complaining... just different.

While the guys watched football, Robbie decided that storytime on Grandma's lap was more his style. 

And because he is obsessed with anything that has a steering wheel, he was enamored with Grandpa's car.  First the boat, now the Charger.  Dad - you're killing me!  :)
Robbie was in the front yard with me before my dad came outside, and started to make the steering wheel motion as he walked around dad's car.  Then he plopped down in the grass next to his car and just stared at it.  It was very darling.  Clearly he wanted to explore this new territory.

"Grandpa!  Show me your car!"

Not needing any introduction.
"I've got it from here, Grandpa."

He was in heaven!  But remained highly focused the entire time.  He barely looked at any of us as he 'drove' the car, and when he did manage to glance up at me as I did everything I could think of to get a good picture, this is the glazed over look he had on his face.

"Mom, you're breaking my concentration with your photo shoot."

After everyone left, things wound down to a typical Sunday's pace... 

...a little bit of yardwork, during which Robbie trails Rob and tries to get in on anything he's doing.

A little lesson on proper grass seed watering and hose sprayer settings.

Once we had retreated back inside, exhaustion hit; we tried to get Robbie to play by himself and Ellie to gaze at the dangling toys on her play mat... 

Neither were successful.

We did have a moment during which Robbie contained himself.  But it was slightly dangerous so I couldn't exactly rest.

"This is just my size!" ...toy mustard in hand.  Crazy kid.

Some (childless) couples nap on Sunday afternoons.  
This is what we usually find ourselves doing.

And we love every tiring minute!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Fest Saturday

On Saturday we were able to see a bunch of friends in Arlington Heights.  Trisha and Bjorn and their dear little girl, Lianna, hosted the get together - they are home from Hungary for a short time, where they are missionaries.  It was fun to catch up on each other's lives and let our kids play together.  

Heather took the brunt of it, on the floor in the middle of the chaos!  Lianna is clearly loving it... 

Trisha (due with their next baby in December!) captures the moment, while Robbie attempts to escape and Riley tries to rest (can you find her?!).

Too much fun can really wear a little guy out.  
He fell asleep eating his "cack!" (which is Robbie for "snack"), a granola bar, on the car ride home.

Robbie's Friday Fixation

The weekend began with a beautiful Friday - great weather and a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house to play.  Robbie enjoyed sitting in the woodchips and picking the grass.

Somewhere between picking grass and getting in the wagon for a ride, he found a bottle of Children's Tylenol.  It became his lovey for the afternoon, and there was really no arguing with him about it.

::Caressing the Tylenol.::

"I think I'll just set it right here in the cup holder.  How convenient."

Then Aunt Kels came home for a quick weekend visit!  He almost forgot about his little white bottle friend upon her arrival...

Wishful thinking.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's for (lunch or) Dinner?

Yum!  This is what I just made for lunch, thanks to MckMama who blogged her version of Southwest Chicken Salad yesterday.  (Her blog is listed on the left - I love it, and you probably would too.)  I thought I'd pass along the recipe with my own tweaks.

Southwest Chicken Salad

- shredded chicken
- lettuce
- black beans
- corn
- Ro-Tel with cilantro and lime
- shredded cheddar cheese
- torn basil
- sour cream
- juice from 1 lime
- corn tortilla chips

This is a throw-it-together salad that can be modified as you go.  Toss all items listed above  together in a bowl, and add as much of each ingredient as you prefer.

I love salads that begin with little pieces of lettuce; I get bagged lettuce and chop it up even smaller than it already comes.  I like a lot of lime juice. I also love to get the $4.99 Southwest-seasoned rotisserie chicken from Target and pull the meat off, dicing it into small bite sized pieces.  I can stand a fair amount of heat, but the Ro-Tel was a bit much even for me, and it overpowered the flavor of the rest of the salad. If you like things mild, I'd recommend substituting simple diced tomatoes or even chopped fresh tomatoes.  Go easy on the sour cream.  Crush the tortilla chips and throw them in last.

And yesterday I learned a trick from Rachel Ray (although I find her slightly annoying, I like her recipes and she has great tips)... if your lime feels firm and not very juicy, stick it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will give up more of its juice when you squeeze it!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mixed bag...

As my babies are having 'firsts' every day (first smile, first noggin crack, first time to remove one's own diaper and run nakey and free!...), I had a first of my own today.

I went to Women's Bible Study at my church!

So silly, right?  I've grown up in the church, going to youth group and small group and ministry trips of all kinds.  But since graduating from college, I have not been able to be in a regularly-meeting bible study at church.  First it was my job that prevented me from attending (retail does not lend itself to regular schedules).  Then it was the fact that Rob and I had not found our church home after getting married.  Once we finally settled in at Wheaton Bible Church, we got pregnant and have been chasing babies around ever since!

I am so thankful that Rob is willing to spend his Tuesday nights with the babies, after working a ridiculously long day, so that I can be a part of this bible study.  Already I feel so blessed and encouraged - I know my small group leader from another venue (is that the right term?) years ago, although I haven't seen her in a long time.  And the other women in the group have already been so welcoming.  Added bonus is that my good friend Heather is in the group with me!  I think it's going to be a wonderfully challenging 10 weeks that will hopefully lead me closer to Christ and find me identifying more with Him than before I started.  

Finding regular time on my own to study God's Word might be a little bit of a challenge.  Already tonight as I tried to start the first week's lesson, Robbie woke up out of his sleep (totally uncharacteristic).  Wow, the leader tonight that said that our attempts to spend time in God's Word would be under attack really knew what she was talking about!

So forgive me if the blogging takes a bit of a hit.  It's for a good cause. :)

For the sake of our family and close friends that live far from us, though, I will not stop altogether!  


Another reason to celebrate this day, September 8th...
The birth of Caleb Daniel Misomali!  
My dear friend Jen and her husband Ray welcomed their second child into the world this afternoon.  Do you remember that cute little guy, Tyler, who came to visit us with his mommy a month before Ellie's arrival?  He's the proud big brother.

Jen is my hero because she declines the (blessed) Epidural.  I don't know how she does it.


At the same time, we struggle with the sadness and heartache that life throws at us.  It is hard sometimes to rejoice with those who are rejoicing while at the same time weep with others who are struggling.  This is where we find ourselves right now.  We know that God is not surprised by the events that unfold in all of our lives, and we are crying out to Him for mercy and grace for many reasons, while we praise Him at the same time.  I am reminded of the promises God has made to us, and so thankful for them - He will never leave us; He will give us enough grace to make it through each day; He is near to the brokenhearted; He knows the number of hairs on our heads and loves us deeply and personally; He sent His only Son to die for us so that we could spend eternity with Him; He prepares a place for us in heaven if we confess Jesus as Lord; He hears every one of our prayers; it is in His complete power to heal; He weeps with us; one day He will wipe every tear away. 

None of this is wishful thinking.
It is true.  
See for yourself if you prefer not to take my word for it (which I would encourage you to do!)...

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
Lamentations 3:22-23
Psalm 34:18
Luke 12:7
John 3:16
John 14:12
Proverbs 15:29
James 5:16
John 11:35
Revelation 21:4
Psalm 139

If you don't have a bible, you can look these verses up on Bible Gateway HERE.

Labor Day Weekend

I don't know where each of you live that read my blog... (well, some of you I do)
But around here, it's feeling a lot more like fall.  I am in love with this season.  Plus it makes my hot Chai Lattes taste so much better!

With the changing of the seasons comes a change in our window gummies.  
Goodbye, sweet birds and blossoming tree!

And helloooooo, fall tree with harvest moon and corn!  
I was a little confused by the mushrooms that came with this set...?  Anyone have an explanation for this?

We had a great Labor Day weekend - Rob's youngest brother Brad and his wife Christine came to visit us and meet Ellie.  We have missed them so much and Robbie had a great time playing with them (they are so great, they never run out of energy with him).

Both of my babies are fond of snuggling with Aunt Christine!
And who wouldn't be...

I will post some more pictures of our trip to the splash park once I get Christine's files... I left my camera at home (!).

Robbie is now very interested in mommy's make up, and he loves to play with the brushes.  I thought this picture was hilarious, because he's playing in my make up but daddy has dressed him in a very interesting (boyish - meaning, not matching) outfit... 

I could not stop laughing at this shot!  The socks and those chunky legs... oh my.

We enjoyed cheering TU on against Wheaton on Saturday night at Wheaton College.  Although we got smoked, it was fun to see other friends and Alumni at the gathering and game.
Robbie has a new friend in Cooper Heth, who is just a few months older than him.  Cooper is also big for his age, so Robbie is well matched with him!  
Cooper is getting ready for football season, and Robbie, concerned that he lost his paci, is chasing Cooper around trying to put it back in his mouth. 

Highlight of the game for Robbie: when the train would go by on the tracks just on the other side of the soccer field!  He would frantically say "Choo-Choo!"

A great weekend all in all... hope yours was fun too!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ashes, ashes... we all fall DOWN!

Robbie cracked his head pretty nicely last night on the step up out of our kitchen.  He navigates this one step a thousand times a day without a problem.  Last night I think he was just overtired, and not feeling especially coordinated.  It's the first really bad head bonk he's had, and he did the crying-without-breathing thing for a few seconds until he got over the shock of the fall.  After he recovered, mommy did her own tear-shedding.  :)  

Today at lunch:  "Check out my goose-egg!"

"It doesn't look very big or blue today, but last night it had my mommy pretty worried!  I don't know what the fuss is about."

He recovered well, and although it's his first decent injury, (sadly) I know it won't be the last.

We are now the proud owners of a soccer ball ice pack.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Once upon a time... a beautiful land far, far away there lived two small children.  The eldest was a prince, although he was still very young.  And the youngest of the two, a brand new dainty princess.  

They did not like to sleep, for there were many fun things to do around the castle and the land they lived in.  On this particular morning, the prince woke up just as the blazing sun began to rise in the East.  His mother (the Queen, by default!), decided to take the prince and princess away to explore the fair country before the fog above the pond was burned away by the sun and the dew disappeared from the roses.

Princess slept peacefully while the Queen and prince assembled their satchels and filled them with good things to eat and drink.

And then they set off for their adventure at the break of day...

They snuggled under warm, fuzzy blankets in their chariot, for the seasons were changing.  All around them, the birds danced and sang in the morning light.  The little prince watched them quietly, filled with awe.  Ground squirrels fearlessly darted back and forth, in front and behind them as they strolled along.  While the townspeople slept, another world was awakening!

Although he did not have the words in his vocabulary to describe the things he could hear and see, he knew deep in his heart that God had made the world around him.  It was so beautiful and intricate and perfectly woven together. 

The prince removed one of his stockings and explored the tall grasses that hung over the path with his fleshy toes.  (They are just as good as fingers for touching things, you know.)  

"Where shall we go next?", pondered the prince.

The princess did not have an answer.  She was unfamiliar with the land and everything was new to her.  She looked to the Queen for guidance.

"We shall venture down the path that weaves through the trees around the pond!  For there the flowers and grasses grow up into the sky and reach towards heaven." declared the Queen.

As they quietly followed the path, the sun continued to rise and they sensed that they were not alone.  It did not bring them fear, as if they were being followed by a stranger.  They felt their Creator all around them, stirring up wonder and joy and peace.  He was showing the prince and princess who He was!

Even the Queen, who knew many words, could not describe the beauty that surrounded them.

The prince did his best to observe and not disturb the peaceful land... but the bright yellow flowers looked very lonely, and in a voice only he was able to hear, they begged him to play.

Blooms opened all around them and welcomed the beginning of the day that was sure to bring good things to many people.

The Queen, the prince and the princess feasted their eyes upon the rainbow that seemed to explode at the end of the path, celebrating their departure and encouraging them to return again soon.

As they reflected on their adventure, the Queen did her own 'reflecting' of sorts.

And they lived happily ever after... for they were always under the watchful gaze of their Creator and deeply loved by Him.