Monday, December 17, 2007

Our new favorite park.

As I was driving around neighborhoods I ran across a terrific little park that I just had to share pictures of. It was rainy the day we had time to drive by so we just got out for a few minutes. It's sunny today but I have way to many kids to go there. Perhaps later this week. As I look at the pictures they don't really do it justice, I'll have to take some more pictures next time we go!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My boys...

Sometimes a child will say something that just strikes you funny in the moment. Or, sometimes it is something sweet or profound. I'm writing these down almost more for me to remember them than to share.

After paying $12 to go to a really fun indoor play place Jonathan says "That was really fun! And it didn't even cost a dime!"

Ian "I want Jonathan to sleep on the floor with me so we can have connotations" I say "you mean conversations" he says "yes commentations"

Some of our dialog last night at Taco Bell -

Jonathan starts to mention that he misses some of his friends from Washington. So we start talking about a few of them. Then he starts talking about his new friends here. Then I mention that there is a slight possibility that one of his friends from Washington might move south somewhere near us (is that vague enough for a blog... I have him more info than that). Then Ian gets so excited he almost falls out of his chair and says oh we need to pray! This is the boy that for the LONGEST time we could not get to pray at bedtime for anything! So he doesn't start until every hand that is currently holding a burrito is holding the hand of the person next to them. So here we find ourselves in taco bell on the high table with Ian praying that this certain friend and family will move to Texas! Nothing makes a heart swell more than seeing there children seek God on there own. This leads me to our next moment.

Jonathan- "Jesus picked a great place for us to live" (referring to Texas) Then Ian says "yes lets pray that we don't have to go back to Washington... we don't belong there" Oh yeah that is what my 4 year old said, funny thing is that we have never said that about Washington... that was all him.

Lately having conversations with them has been more fun than with adults. There are just a kick!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Little reflections.

Children are but little reflections of there parents running around being the "at home" version of us in public.

So it never seems to really sink in that my children hear everything I say until I hear them say it. There are many phrases that weren't too offensive hearing adults say but when you hear it come out of a childs mouth you realize how vulgar it really is. Ok so vulgar is a bit strong for anything that would be said in our house but you get the point.

Today as we shopped in a book store for Christmas gifts Ian walked by me looking at all of the eye level items in sight. He ran accross some childrens books and one of them looked a bit scary, I think it had dragons on it or something. So in true Ian fashion he began talking, and talking, and talking about it. You have to picture this with a 4 year old that has one of those very baby like voices... not speach but voice. Then he begins to describe this scary book and in all honesty I'm only halfway listening to him at this point since I'm there with a purpose and we are running out of time before we need to move on to our next stop. Then my mommy ears picked up on a word that I say quite frequently but have never heard come out of Ian's little mouth. It was "crap" that got my immediate attention. Then I quickly searched my mind to try to extrapolate what he had been saying before that so I could piece it all together. Finally after quizzing the boy It all came together. "it was so scary that all my crap came out" When just then the guy at the end of the isle who had obviously been trying to hold in a laugh let a big hoot! I have learned to embrace those moments and enjoy them rather than be embarrassed, it is so much more fun!

I ran to the next isle nearly falling over in laughter to tell James of the event. Of coarse this would be a childs rendition of "it scared the crap out of me" Funny how they inturpret things so literally. So what must they think of holy Sh** how confusing that must be (we don't say that by the way), although I used to say holy crap and then Jonathan said it a few times and that became a thing of the past. I'm rambling now so I know I'm done.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Freak of nature...

For those of you at the cookie exchange that manage to track down my blog this is what I was talking about. This is my pregnancy with Ian in 2003. (top picture with black tank in front of piano is in 2001 Pregnant with Jonathan 33 weeks - he was born at 35 weeks)
Left to right top #2 33 weeks #3 34 weeks, blue shirt - 38 weeks, red shirt - not sure I think around 5-6 months. Gray sweatshirt - I can't remember but it just looked really funny.
Ok that is all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hands Down My Favorite Childhood Cookies.

A little explanation : I don't tend to have the average tastes. I'm not a big chocolate fan. I would gladly have any flavor of cake but chocolate, any flavor of ice cream but chocolate, and any flavor of chocolate but chocolate (white, flavored with essence of whatever).

So after hearing that it should come as no surprise that my favorite cookie... isn't chocolate. In fact my first words were "I don't want any" to a chocolate chip cookie. NO JOKE!

I can still remember the first time I had my favorite cookies. I was about 7 or 8 and it was after school. I was sitting on the floor in front of my parents warm crackling fireplace (must have been winter). My mom brought them out to me on a paper towel, still warm from the oven. I can remember taking a bite and thinking... this is my favorite cookie... ever! They have a little, not sure what else to call it but a bite to them. They pair well with Gingerbread tea (with vanilla creamer) or with a Chai tea latte. Although back in the day, I had them with plain old milk.

This recipe has been adapted from a "make a mix" cook book from the 70's. In the original recipe it makes a large generic mix that you then take a couple cups of then add the cookie specific ingredients. Well, in my house that is a dangerous prospect to have cookies that close to completion in my cupboard so I opted to figure out how to make a small batch.

Sarah's Sassy Snicker-doodles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine in medium bowl:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

a dash of nutmeg.

In a large bowl mix together:

a little less than 1/2 cup sugar

a little more than 1/3 cup brown sugar

Cut in:

1/2 cup shortening

then mix in:

1 egg

Add the dry mixture to the sugar/egg/shortening 1/3 at a time. I use a spatula then switch to hands for the final blending.

Form round balls of dough and roll them in:

cinnamon-sugar and a dash of nutmeg to taste

Place on baking sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.

Stoneware baking sheet - Bake about 9-10 min (7 min for metal pan) Tops should be crinkled and sides just ever so slightly browned. Allow to rest on the pan for 3-5 min then remove to a wire cooling rack to prevent edges from getting too hard. (unless you like them like that!)

There you have it. My favorite cookie recipes. Before I had children I worked for about 3 years and I was asked to bring these to each and every birthday party for 3 years. I would never give out the recipe. At the ripe old age of 30 I've since come to my senses and will now pass it along for others to hopefully enjoy as much as I do... well that isn't real likely but I hope you at least enjoy one batch ;-)

Goose Egg?!?

SO where did the name goose egg come from anyway? These are some of the questions I find my self asking when I hear my son say " Mommy I'm distracted from sleeping because of my goose egg" The goose egg soon became the scapegoat for many a "distractions"

You see the other day while simply walking, I repeat, simply walking. ... Jonathan in an almost choreographed way dropped a lego house, tripped on it then some how hit his leg on the wall and his head on the lego house... seriously ... leaving a scrap and large goose egg on his head. I to this day have no idea how he did that I just know that I have NEVER heard him cry like that... I don't know how he could have hit it so hard but he is very cautious now how he walks with legos ... yeah ok I couldn't type that without laughing :-)

Now of course knowing that this bump looks pretty bad in person and indeed got much worse before better turning all shades of purple, green and the like. We did have a talk with Jonathan so we would know what he would tell anyone that might try to probe him on how get got it! Oh and that is BBQ sauce from dinner on his face.

Chaos = Order.

It seems that way in my life anyway.

Why is it that when I have two children, one in school 5 full days a week, and one in school 2 part time days, can I not keep an apartment completely clean (never got bad but should have been a bit better). Then, add 4 more children and I'm Susie flippin' homemaker. I have the kids clothes laid out, meals all set at the table with color coordinating cups and plates for each child. Dinner even seems to come together better. WHY WHY WHY! Why does it take necessity to make me do it.

I enjoy a clean and tidy house, why can't I do that for just my family? It takes the necessity of adding variables: babies, parents of babies, choking hazards, time crunched days of pick ups and drop offs to make my day go smoothly and end with all the laundry and dishes put away with the floors vacuumed? Its curious but I suppose I'm not complaining.

I guess it is good to know how you operate ... for better or worse.

My Big Helper

Ian blew me away today. He is now not quite 4 1/2 but you would have thought he was a teenager with his babysitting training certificate and everything. He followed around the almost 1 and almost 2 year old watching there every move and giving them age appropriate toys. When he saw them with something questionable he would say, don't put that in your mouth, don't choke on that, let me show you what you CAN play with. He would usher them away from areas of the house that were not "play areas". He talked with them, "read" them books, played silly entertaining games and dances with them. I have to say I feel like I owe him some money. Although, at the end of the day he is tired just like I am and so about that time I don't feel like I owe him anything but a great big huh! ;-)

He is growing up so very fast before my very eyes, but we are enjoying every moment and I'm so proud of him.

Finally COLOR!!!

Ok I was seriously starting to wonder if ANY of the trees here turned colors or if the leaves finally just gave up and fell off. This week is the first week I have really noticed most of the trees turning colors. I was getting really worried there for a while! So, now I don't have to move back to the NW ... whew! That was a close one.

I love driving through the neighborhoods with the garages in the back, they seem to all be tree lined streets where everyone keeps the front nice and the leaves are all turning now it is soooo pretty. I really do look forward to buying one of those houses in the next year or two. I've been scouting neighborhoods trying to stay really close to work/church. It has been a HUGE blessing to live 3 min away.

So all that to say "fall is finally in Dallas"


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Well here we go, ready or not!

I got a call from my friend, the one with the 4 children (two bio, two almost adopted). And it looks like we are a go on me watching her children. Only, one thing is different... I start next week! This was optional but I don't really have any reason not to do it.

This will be a stretch for me. I've watched this many children before but usually slightly different ages and for different amounts of time. This will be 4 days a week with breaks in there for preschool, kindergarten and ladies bible study. I don't think I'm crazy for doing this but I guess only the blog will tell!

God is so good. We had some pretty lofty financial goals after we got here. The kind of things that you think... we'll NEVER be able to do that! (or it will take our whole lives) And while there are always more/better ways to do things (i.e. buying a house with cash) that we don't quite have the nerve to do, the Lord seems to be providing ways for us to actually accomplish our goals! It has been pretty exciting. We are also blessed to be a part of a capital campaign at our new church. It is awesome to see Him moving in our lives!

On with my day!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Went to Mc'ds today with a group of girls. Part way through the morning I realized that everyone at the table but me (5 others) all had teaching degrees. Now, they don't all actively teach right now but they had some great perspective on the job as a whole. It was very encouraging.

A possible opportunity came up that seems to fit into my grand scheme! Although it may not sound like at first. So I'm most likely going to have to take at least one prerequisite class to get back in to the swing of college. This next semester might be a good time to do it since I don't have residency yet so it might just pay to wait until next fall when I will. So what do I do between now and then? Well, I do have a friend that is in need of one semesters worth of child care for her 4 kids (two little ones, 1 preschooler, and one kindergartener). So the little ones need watching m,t,w,th. The preschooler attends school t,w,th. And the kindergartener only needs to be picked up from school. This would give me something to do, allow me to hang out with some kids, and make some extra money to pay for Ians preschool next year (he wants to go more often so we are looking into a 4-5 day a week pre-k class for him.) Since they do full day kindergarten it is good to get used to going more and he really really enjoys it. This would also free me up to focus my daytime on school, so I don't have to sacrifice to much of my evenings and weekends working on school.

So there you have the most recent development in my life. This is still all a little up in the air since two of her children are foster/adopt and we need to make sure that I am an ok caregiver since I don't have my license here (only in WA). And that the school job works out well. It seems to be one of those opportunities that all the puzzle pieces just fit together but we will wait on the Lord and see.

Jonathan - Has expressed some interest in trying out for a vocal solo at church. So after discussing it with him (what happens if he gets it and what happens if he doesn't) he has been practicing and we will be taking him to tryouts on Wednesday night. YIKES! While we were very pleasantly surprised to hear him practicing (he sounds great!) we are preparing ourselves for tears. Jonathan has a tendency to get very emotionally invested in things. Like this morning he completely lost it when we couldn't find his school folder. So I promised that if we found it we would take it to the school. Well as soon as I got back to the house James came running out with it, he had found it crammed in the back of some books on their book shelf. So I followed the bus to a stop and gave the folder to him. I still don't think that he fully realized what was happening, so I look forward to asking him after school. I'm hoping that he wasn't totally humiliated, while this hasn't happened yet, I suppose that day is inevitable. We'll try to put it off as long as possible. He still wants us to come and eat lunch with him (at 10:30!!) so I think we are in the clear.

Ian - Is also wanting to try out but we assume once we get there he will shy out of it, but who knows. I worked in his class this Sunday and as soon as we got in there he starts pulling up chairs and directing the kids to sit in them all in a row in front of him while he starts to dance for them (very funny!) So, I leaned over to his regular teacher and asked if he is always like that and she gave me this perplexed look and said "he never even says a word". Well aparently it might be a good idea for me to work in his class now and again! It is odd since he does so well in preschool, although that is with 3/4s instead of 4/5s. I guess that is probably a preview of what it would be like if we put him in the "proper" school grade instead of waiting a year.

Well I think that is all for now.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

To Teach or not to Teach...

I find myself considering going back to school so that I can get my BA and teaching certificate. Some of you might find this a bit odd since at church I always pegged myself as the one that is not gifted or interested in teaching Sunday school. I have said that for YEARS. So what has changed? Well my reasons seem to be three fold on that one. #1 Rebellion - I was required to teach Sunday school, in fact tomorrow I'm covering for someone tomorrow and I'm a little excited about it. #2 Mine very own - I don't find it terribly easy or fun to teach my own boys things at home. However, put them in a class full of kids and its a kick. #3 Temperament- I have not always had the patience to handle children, however, after finding my all natural happy pill I'm much better now!

It is odd, I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up until I got came to know the Lord then I wanted to be a pastors wife (mainly just because I really wanted to be like the pastors wife at my church). I even felt that the Lord has spoken to me that I would be a teacher. I explained that away as being a teacher of anything but certainly He was not asking me to go to 4 years of college because I was not interested in that at all. My only desire was to go to Bible College. So, did the Lord speak that to me all those years ago (about 12 to be exact) for now, did I hear Him wrong, or was he simply telling me i would share information with people in general?

I guess there are a few things that get me excited about teaching (warning some of these are not noble, just being real).

#1 I really like to impart information to people, when I get excited about something I love to get others excited too (imagine getting a bunch of early elem kids excited about something!.. So fun!). Anyone who has ever been around me when I get excited knows exactly what I'm talking about!

#2 I really like to encourage, find the kid that doesn't think he is good at anything and find something to encourage them in (this is the "devils" advocate in me). I've seen the impact of when a teacher encourages Jonathan and I LOVE it. Also, this brings in some of the experiences I've had working with foster children.

#3 The starting pay in our school district here for a full time teacher is in the low 40K's (told ya they aren't all noble)

#4 Only working about 180 days per year (oh there's another one)

#5 Being able to work and still get off the breaks that the kids have off. By being able to work I'm referring to the feeling of filling a need, being good at something, and making a financial contribution to the household. I have had a desire to work for a while now but I'm not willing to put the boys in daycare even just for breaks to do it.

So what would all of this look like? Well, I would work for the next two years to get my AA degree in early ed. All distance learning from the local community college. During part of that time I would try to work in a preschool for experience, credits, and reduced tuition for Ian ;-)

Then I may take a year off if I need to establish residency to get reduced tuition at a 4 year college. (I don't think I would need this if we bought a house but while we are renting I would need to live here for a year while not going to college to qualify). Then I would finish my last two years with as much distance learning as possible. Most if not all of it looks to be available online now.

So there ya have it, a thought in progress. What am I doing about it now? Well I have several people who teach here (preschool, elem, high) I'm going to go visit a couple class rooms to get a better feel for it. I may also help out more with Jonathan's class too. I went on a field trip with them and that was an adventure for sure, but fun. Alright, time to put this day to bed!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Misc. Pictures.

Jonathan with his friend Diego on the bus.

Jonathan on his field trip.

Tulip Farm last Spring.
Mighty Warriors.

Have you ever been driving down the road
and you noticed that the lanes just on the other
side of the nice grassy median was oh so clear
and your lane was getting backed up.

Well you might have the thought cross your mind
hmmmm, maybe I could just cross over that
grassy area... BUT YOU WOULD NEVER
ACTUALLY DO IT. Well here ... they do! There
are worn tracks into the grass in certain areas
where people just make there own off and on ramps
it is hilarious! So that is why so many drive
trucks and suvs... its all starting to make sense.

Christmas decorating so far....more to come.

Our Apartment - pre christmas decorating

Decorating for the season.

Today we dug out what boxes aren't in long term storage to find what we had to work with for Christmas. Since the unloading of the truck was sort of a whirlwind of boxes flying to and fro I can't think for sure why I put anything anywhere. But, it is what it is and we are not going into storage to pull a few specifics out from under our furniture, boxes and yard care stuff!

So the main things that seemed to have made it into storage are BOTH fake trees we have, all of our hand made and crocheted stockings (yeah o.k. that one did make me tear up a bit) and many of our extra ornaments I use around the house. We do however have a few of my favorites I have picked up at after Christmas sales. I was pleasantly surprised with a certain snow man that I had forgotten I had adopted last year into our Christmas clan. We also have a set of three alpine trees that will for this year be IT for trees. Funny enough we found enough large sized white lights to do the whole front of our last house... hahaha, and this year we don't even have a house to put them on ( I had gotten them after Christmas so they are still new in the box!!!)

So this Christmas will be a bit different but we are grateful for where we are and will make due with what we have. I did have to add a few ornaments this year since we needed smaller ones for the smaller trees. I got a little Santa foot ball player to symbolize our new love for the COWBOYS!!! woohooo 10-1. I got a matte finished gold star for the lone star state, and a funny one that is a rustic bird house looking thing with a door that opens and you see a tiny squirl sitting on an out house seat reading a paper. I'll have to get a picture of that one! That pretty much sums this Christmas up.

My First Solo Thanksgiving in the Kitchen!!!!

So this was our first year with just the 4 of us for Thanksgiving in Texas. We were invited to a friends house to have dinner but alas, we had already bought the turkey (and James really really wanted some left overs).

So We scaled things back a bit and I used some shortcuts on a few things. Here is what the menu looked like (we completely cut out a few things that weren't favorites by both James and I since we were the only ones we were really cooking for)

Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes (gravy)
And the oh so not traditional (but James new favorite) Mint Chocolate chip Lactaid Pudding Pie

Ok so the only part of this experience that I will take the time energy and back pain from my chair (hint hint honey!) to write is about the turkey. I have made a few turkey's in my time. I have made the infamous one that got to excitedly learn that the nasty stuff is stuck up the turkey's butt (an unpleasant realization). This was also the turkey that didn't quite get done and I had to microwave parts of it! There was the second one that I was using a recipe that cooks the turkey overnight in the oven... that would have been great if the oven didn't have an automatic turn-off feature that stalled the cooking half way through the night. I have assisted in a fried turkey but I can't take any credit for that one since all I did was find and print the recipe. So this was my first attempt and I let be my guide. I read all about brining (soaking overnight in salt water) So I decided why not I don't have anyone else coming over so if it is a total disaster I can always try again to get the left overs that were really the main objective. So on I went. I didn't have a full size pan so I just flipped it half way.

I awoke Thursday morning at 8 when I quickly did the math and realized that I only had 1 hour to get that turkey ready and in the oven. So I rinsed it off stuffed it with some veggies and a few herbs. poured butter over the top or is it the bottom. The first 2/3 's of the time was cooked breast side down. It got a nice golden brown before I turned it over to be breast side up. When I turned it I got really nervous since half of the skin had decided to stay with the veggies instead of sticking to its position of holding in all of the moisture. The drum sticks were also looking suspiciously done loose at this point. But I let the cooking time go on. I looked in at 3.5 hours and sure enough my tender timer had popped which also made me a bit leery since I had just read that if the tender timer pops it is most likely too done since it usually hits the bone and blah blah blah back to the story. Ok so now it was time to let it set... which I think I actually forgot on each of my other attempts not sure. I don't remember doing it, definitely not the first time. So I went on to make my gravy and eventually needed to take the turkey out of the pan. This is where it gets good... really good. I don't have any of those handy lifter things to pull the turkey out so if you can picture this I have my yellow pot holder mits covered with plastic grocery bags (this is how I turned it over while cooking too ;-) Ok So I put my hands to the sides of the turkey and begin to lift. but the whole top half of the turkey comes apart ... off of the bottom half. then the legs come off and plop back into the pan. At this point I'm thinking. I either did something very right or very wrong and considering I'm seeing most of the poor naked turkey laying there without even its skin on I'm leaning toward wrong. But I decided to let it set like the directions said although it seemed like a moot point since it was all taken apart now.

Ok so I'm not really a great story teller I tend to be really bad at the endings I just sort of blurt it all out... so here goes... This was the most tender (even all the way through the white meat of my 15 lb turkey), flavorful, turkey I have ever had, no offense to anyone who has ever served me turkey. James tells me how much he likes it on each plate of leftovers. You keep thinking you are going to need gravy to make it moist... nope It stands on its own. So after my first couple attempts I'm unashamedly bragging on my turkey conquering this year!!!

Ok so that was long story long! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Randomly Sarah is no more....

So in my true random fashion I have completely lost the information I used to create my last blog, thus I was not able to log in to post anything ;-) Ok laugh if you must ... I am.

Some call it clutter, being disorganized, or plain laziness. I choose to think of it being a bit more intentional. I'm intentionally being random... is that even possible. Well in either case it is what it is.