Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet and Neat


Niki and I were in charge of favors for ladies' retreat this year. I got this idea from pinterest, but re-wrote it for our event. This is a horrible picture, but I just want to document it in case I ever want to do something like it again.  

It says:

The Bible is full of candy references:
Noah sent out a DOVE from the ark.
Moses had BUTTERFINGERS (he dropped the 10 Commandments, didn't he?)
The Israelites journeyed to the land of MILK DUDS and honey. [Apparently I ate that one before I took the picture. Oops!]
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:12 to greet one another with a holy KISS.
There are even M&Ms (Mary and Martha of course).
So in that same vein, we hope you enjoy this year's ladies' retreat. May your rooms be filled with SNICKERS and your hearts be filled with [ALMOND] JOY

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ladies' Retreat Highlights

Ladies' Retreat was a blast as usual. We went to Maranatha in Muskegon, which is beautiful, and the accommodations are wonderful. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Staying up until 4 a.m. both nights. Whew.

2. The most epic game of "4 On a Couch" ever. (And perhaps a little cheating!)

3. Niki almost hitting a car while frisbee golfing. [Sidenote: I'm sooo sore from said frisbee golfing!]

4. Finding out Jeannette's most embarrassing moment.

5. Getting to know a few people better.

6. Jill's jokes (Hey, Jose . . .)

7. Coming home to a baby who was happy to see me! :-)

If you didn't come to Ladies' Retreat this year, you really missed out! We have so much fun, bond as a church family, and make great memories! It'll be the same time next year! Don't miss it!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Saturday 7 (on Friday)

I'm going on ladies' retreat this weekend, so here you have the Saturday 7 one day early!

1. We received a huge blessing last Saturday. Someone close to us called and said she wanted to buy us some groceries and to meet her at Meijer. I thought she meant maybe a week's worth of groceries and was so excited. However, when we got there, she told us to spend $200! That's a month's worth of groceries for us. Amaaaaazing!!! Of course, two hours before the phone call I was crying on the couch because we couldn't pay our bills. God is so faithful.

2. I came across this funny story this week:

Students from an advanced biology class were taking their mid-term exam. The last question was "Name 7 Advantages of Mother's Milk" worth 70 points or none at all. One student in particular was hard put to think of seven advantages. He wrote:
  1. It is the perfect formula for the child.
  2. It provides immunity against several diseases.
  3. It is always the right temperature.
  4. It is inexpensive.
  5. It bonds the child to mother, and vice versa
  6. It is always available as needed.
And then the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell indicating the end of the test rang, he wrote . . .
    
      7. It comes in two cute containers.

He got an A. :-)

3. I've only read one more chapter of Radical since that last entry. My two biggest fears before starting the book were that I'd question my salvation and that the author would tell me I have to move to Africa to be a good Christian. Check and check. Haha. I'm thankful for all the input and encouragement from everyone, though, and I do intend to finish it. Fear is my go-to emotion. If I wrote off everything that scares me as "from the Devil" I'd have to live in a hole. Although I'd probably be scared of that too.

4. I ran over a possum last night. It made a really loud clunking noise which really grossed me out. On my way to the grocery store today, I saw the poor dead possum on the side of the road and felt a little bad. Earlier this week, I found a squished frog in our driveway. Blaming that one on Justin.

5. I loved "The Office" last night. And I made it home too late from work (10am-10pm: whoa!) to catch the beginning of "The Mentalist," but the ending was amazing as usual.  Love that show. So glad to have some quality TV back. ;-)

6. I'm pretty sure I saw Justin for about an hour total this week. Monday night I had Bible Study, Tuesday night he had a game, we actually saw each other Wednesday night from about 8-10! Last night I saw him for 5 minutes since I worked so late and he had to go to bed early. And tonight I'm leaving for Ladies' Retreat as soon as he gets home. Crazy! So ready for soccer to be done!!!!

7. I can't think of a seventh and I don't have time to deliberate. So that's it for now. Have a good weekend, everyone! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Initial Thoughts on "Radical'

Well, I'm part way through chapter 3 of Radical and my fears are already being realized. I hate it!!

Listen to this:
We already have a fairly high view of our morality, so when we add a superstitious prayer, a subsequent dose of church attendance, and obedience to some of the Bible, we feel pretty sure that we will be all right in the end. (pg. 32)
Uhh, yeah, that pretty sums up my religious experience. So imagine my horror when Platt follows it up a few pages later with the verse in Matthew where Jesus says, "Not everyone who cries Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven," (my own paraphrase) and says,
Jesus was not speaking here to irreligious people, atheists, or agnostics. He was not speaking to pagans or heretics. He was speaking to devoutly religious people who were deluded into thinking they were on the narrow road that leads to heaven when they were actually on the broad road that leads to hell. According to Jesus, one day not just a few but many will be shocked - eternally shocked - to find that they were not in the kingdom of God after all. (pg. 38)

Ahhhhh!!!!! My biggest fear! My stomach is twisted in knots again. I know everyone reading this will try to console me. You'll all say, "Sadie - God knows your heart. If you're really that worried, then you must be a genuine Christian." But I don't think Platt would agree. He writes later in the book that salvation has to be more than the desire to stay out of Hell, it has to be complete, radical abandonment to Christ. I'm hoping that later in the book he'll spell out what that looks like and how I'm supposed to achieve it. But then, as I write "achieve" the bells go off in my head: "works, works, works! Salvation by grace not works!" Ugh. Here I am again. Right where Crazy Love left me.

So there you have my initial, terrified thoughts. Stay tuned for more, hopefully less frantic, analysis of the book.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Saturday 7

1.Last Saturday, I tried one of my pinterest finds: chicken bacon pasta. It was amazing!! Although it was definitely more work than I usually put into dinner. It's such a pain cooking 4 different things (chicken, pasta, bacon, sauce) and trying to get them all to be done at the same time! It was good for a special occasion though ( we had friends over).  I'll keep it in my repertoire. (Recipe at the end of this post.)

2. Sometimes I wish I had taken a different path in life. I would like to go back and experience what it would be like to finish college, get a use-able degree. Get a big time job and make big time money. I'm a quick learner. I could do pretty much anything I put my mind to. Be an editor, a writer, maybe even something practical like an accountant. I'd like to know what it's like to live on my own, get married when I'm older, have an expensive, extravagant wedding, a real destination honeymoon. Maybe travel the world. Buy an expensive house in a development, decorate out of the Pottery Barn catalog, drive a nice car. . . . But then I wouldn't have Lucy or all the wonderful things in my life now. I suppose I can't have my cake and eat it too. But it'd be fun to experience life both ways. I'm beginning to realize that barring a major life change or lottery win, I probably won't ever see Rome or Hawaii. It's unlikely I'll ever drive a car newer than 10 years old, or buy anything out of the Pottery Barn catalog ever. Haha. That's ok, though. You just have to scroll down and read the entry before this one to realize why being poor is worth it to me. :-)

3. I did horribly in "Words With Friends" this week. Todd and Laura beat me again, as well as my cousin Elizabeth.

4. In case you're not from around here, we had a major temperature shift this week. Good ole midwest. At the beginning of the week, we had the air on. In the past couple of days I've been incredibly tempted to turn on the heat! Fortunately, our house stays pretty warm. I don't think it ever got much below 66 - which is what we keep our heat on during the winter anyway.  But at work yesterday, their house was 61 degrees all day. It never warmed up! Brr!!! It made me realize that I am so not ready for winter. I despise being cold. I'd take 95 degrees over 35 any day!!!

5. Have you seen that dumb commercial for some kind of pasta side dish? I can't remember what it's called now, but the commercial is these 4 bears (real - not animated) catching pasta in a river, then bringing it home and cooking it up for dinner. Lucy loves it. Anytime it's on tv - even if she's not paying attention, she points and laughs. It's just ironic considering my extreme fear of bears. Haha.

6. Speaking of fears, I have a new one: bibliophobia - fear of books. If you knew me in high school, you realize how surprising this is. I used to love books! I was a voracious reader! But then I read Crazy Love and everything changed. Ok, so I'm not scared of all books, just challenging spiritual ones. Haha. Our pastor recommended the book Radical by David Platt. So many of my friends and family members have read it and raved about how eye opening and challenging it is. I really want to read it, but I'm scared. I'm scared that it's just going to be another book that makes me doubt my salvation. I'm scared that it is going to make me abandon my comfortable life. I'm scared that it is going to open my eyes to what a pathetic Christian I am. I bought it on Monday and have yet to crack it open. But that all changes today. We have no plans. It's a cold, gloomy day. Perfect for cuddling on the couch with my blanket, coffee, and scary, challenging book. I'm sure you'll hear more about it. Stay tuned.

7. Here's my C25K update: I never did do my 3rd workout last week, so I decided to repeat week one this week. I did it Monday and Thursday, so I need to make myself do one more today. And surprisingly, it is getting a little bit easier! I noticed I wasn't breathing as hard on Thursday and didn't really feel like I was dying! Woohoo!

Here's the Chicken Bacon Pasta Recipe
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don't want the heat) -- I didn't use these
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 grilled chicken breast, sliced -- We don't have a grill, so I just cooked some chicken in a skillet with a little seasoning

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done (according to package instructions).

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon, and add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.  Top with grilled chicken.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lucy Update

I feel like I haven't written much about Lucy lately. So here's what she's up to:

She turned 16 months on Sunday and is just as wonderful as ever. ;-)

She really doesn't talk yet. She has a few words: mama, dada, uh-oh, all done, amen, hi, buh-bye, and then shoes, Chase, juice, and fish (goldfish) - which all sound exactly the same. Haha. She makes a high pitched squealy sound for "kitty," but doesn't really enunciate anything. She doesn't do "moo" or "woof" anymore for animal noises. She does hiss when you ask what the snake says. And she definitely knows what the car says.

She can point out her eyes, nose, tongue, hands, feet, and belly. She does motions to "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Twinkle Twinkle," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "Goodbye Friends" (a song we sing at storytime at the library).

She's terrified of loud vehicles. We live in the sticks where lots of loud trucks go rumbling by. She gets this awful look on her face and runs to me as fast as she can. We say "bye" to the truck as it goes down our street, then she makes her car noise and is happy again. Haha. Silly girl.

She's obsessed with going outside. We play with chalk and she throws her ball down the hill so we have to go chase it.  But mostly she just runs around gleefully.

She understands more than I give her credit for, and definitely follows directions. When she wants goldfish, I tell her to get a bowl, and she does. If ever I ask where her shoes are, she props her hands up as if to say "where are they?" and searches the house until she finds them. When she has a dirty diaper, I tell her it's time to change her diaper and she runs to her room and waits for me to lift her onto the changing table. Her new cute thing is nodding anytime she hears a question in my voice. If I say, "Do you want to eat?" she nods. If I ask if she has a dirty diaper, she nods. If I asked her if she wants to go get shots at the doctor in the right tone, she'd nod. Haha.

She has very little interest in reading books, which breaks my heart. :-( She likes to read on her terms. She absolutely refuses to sit on my lap, but sometimes she'll let me sit next to her and read as long as she can flip the pages at her own pace. One of her favorites is "Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See?" Every time we get to the "I see a purple cat looking at me" page, she has to go find Lola and pet her. Every single time. Haha.

Eating is still a constant struggle. I've gotten in a rut of feeding her what I know she'll eat. Toast with applesauce on it every morning for breakfast. Usually with a banana. Mac n' cheese, grilled cheese, beefaroni (only the kind that looks like macaroni noodles), ham, string cheese, store-bought breaded chicken (I can't fool her with homemade), grapes, strawberries, peaches, pears, and raspberries. She's ridiculously obsessed with raspberries. Too bad they're so expensive.

She loves her crayons. I keep them in a closet off our living room and she'll go bang on the door when she wants me to get them for her. I ask, "Do you want your crayons?" and she nods with the biggest grin on her face. She doesn't really color. She might brush the crayon over the paper a couple times. Mostly she just takes the crayons in and out of the box, puts them in her mouth (grr), and hands them to me so I'll color. Her coloring book is full of beautiful pictures colored by me. Haha.

Her other favorite toys are stickers, blankets, her babies, bags - putting things in, taking them out, carrying them around the house - phones, bowls, and spoons.

She's currently in a transition mode between one and two naps. On days that I work, I wake her up at 6:30, so she usually goes down for a nap around 8:30 and then again at 1:30. But when we stay home, she almost always sleeps 'til 8:30 or later, so it's no big deal to keep her up until after lunch.

I could keep writing forever with things I feel like you should know about my precious baby. But this is already ridiculously long and I'm sure my family members are the only ones who have made it to the end. I just wish I could convey how amazing she is. She's funny and gorgeous and happy and silly and smart and perfect. Take my word for it. ;-)

Sade

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. Good news. I've been doing my C25K workout! You only have to do it 3 times a week, so I did Tuesday and Thursday and need to get one more workout in today. I do not enjoy it at all. But it's only 20 minutes. I can do anything for 20 minutes, right? I watch my Gilmore Girls DVDs and power through.  It absolutely kills the arches of my feet, which probably means I need new shoes, which is definitely not in the budget. And my hips hurt afterward, too. I'm an old woman.

2. We've been doing so well with not spending money this week. Until last night when I tried to make bacon in the oven and set off every smoke detector in my house. Dinner was charred, so we went to Wendy's. But we only spent $8.01. Justin is losing weight like crazy lately without much effort and he thinks it's because we've been eating out so much less. Amazingly, I have not enjoyed the same side effect!

3. Thanks to my bragging last week, I acquired some new "Words with Friends" opponents this week. And I was soundly defeated by a few of them. Props to Todd Noorman and Laura Chinn for taking down the master. ;-) I'm really not that cocky. I just like to joke about it.

4. I've been having so much fun dressing Lucy in her fall clothes this week. I went down to the basement and pulled up the 18 month box to try on all her jeans and long-sleeved shirts. She looks so cute in jeans! Of course, she's kind of between sizes right now. The 12 months are too short, but the 18 months are too big. Here's a cute picture from this week just because I'm at my parents' with fast internet:
Adorable hoodie, tights, and shoes!
5. So I'm pretty sure I have pink eye. My right eye has been blood shot for a couple days. I just thought I had allergies at first, but then yesterday it really started to hurt and this morning it was pretty crusted in gunk. Ugh. And of course my left eye is starting to get red and itchy now, too. The worst part is I really shouldn't be wearing my contacts, but my glasses prescription is 10 years old. I definitely can't drive without my contacts. I'm going to call the doctor on Monday and see if they'll write me a prescription sight unseen. Otherwise I'm just going to have to find some OTC drops or something until the doctor can see me. Blech. What a pain. This was Chase's first week of school. His eyes are fine, but I wonder if he brought something home to me?

6. Last Sunday, we went up to Justin's family's campsite for the day. I really wish I liked camping more. I'd like Lucy to have the memories Justin does of camping. But I just think it's the same thing we do at home with much more work. Cooking and cleaning in the dirt, with limited water and electricity. Being too cold, too hot, too dirty. Walking to the bathroom, showering in a gross stall. It's just not my fave. Sorry, Luce. It's not like she has any cousins or anyone to enjoy it with anyway. My siblings need to get with it and start having babies so she can have some cousins her age!!

7. Tomorrow is obviously the 10th anniversary of 9-11-01. I still feel like it was the 90s ten years ago. And it's weird to me that most of the kids I know weren't alive when the terrorist attack happened. They'll grow up asking us, "Where were you on 9-11" like we asked our parents about the moon landing and the Kennedy assassination. I was in 11th grade history class. Appropriate, no? I didn't even know what the World Trade Centers were.  Justin and I watched a documentary on NBC about the attacks last night. It was absolutely horrible to listen to the 911 calls from the people trapped on the 105th floor saying, "It's so hot. They're coming to rescue us, right? Where are the firefighters?" Ugh. Awful.

What a way to end, eh? Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm off to scratch my eyeballs . . .

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Fat Fail

I can't believe summer is over. :-( I don't feel like I did any of the things I wanted to. Here are some of the goals I set for myself earlier this summer:

1. Take Lucy to the beach
2. Take Lucy to the zoo
3. Go tubing down a river
4. Go to Michigan's Adventure
5. Take Lucy to the children's play area at the gardens


Since I'm not going to be working much this summer, I've decided to set some goals for myself.  Otherwise I'll just spend all summer on facebook.  My first goal is to scrapbook Lucy's entire first year.  I have 4 pages done so far.  Haha.  I'm also challenging myself to read 10 books this summer (summer defined as the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day).  

Well, we did take Lucy to the beach twice. Once to Long Lake and once to actual Lake Michigan. You know that story.

And I did take Lucy to the zoo on $1 day.

We never went tubing or to Michigan's Adventure - mostly just because those things cost money.

Justin and I really did try to get Lucy to the gardens, but we just could never work out our schedules. We might still go if the weather stays nice and we can find a day we both have off.

As for the reading and scrapbooking . . .

I read 7 books. Not too bad. And it was a good mix of fiction, non-fiction, Christian, and secular.

The scrapbooking was my biggest fail. Apparently I didn't realize what a huge undertaking it was going to be. I got to the day we brought Lucy home from the hospital. Lol. I'm really rethinking scrapbooking at all. I've been thinking more and more about just doing everything digitally. I get good deals on photo books sent to me all the time.

Last summer was so much fun while I was on maternity leave. We spent so much time with my family and had so much fun. This year kind of pales in comparison. My siblings and nephews are growing up and all over the place, so it seems like we're never all together anymore. Luke moved to Florida.  Libby had a boyfriend and a job all summer. Ty got his license and turned into a teenager who likes his friends more than his awesome family. No one had any money to do anything fun.  I don't think we even had one family day at the pool. :-(

At the same time, it was nice to hang out with my little family a lot this summer.  Lucy and I also enjoyed hanging out with Kelly and Presley a lot.  And let's be honest, I did spend a fair share of my time on facebook . . .and Pinterest.

I'm sad to see the warm weather and lazy days go, but ready to get back into the fall routine, to start making some money as I go back to work more consistently, and even to start making those cozy chilis and stews and burning my fall candles. So, summer, it was nice. See you again next year. Feel free to come early!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. Lucy's new trick this week is turning on her radio. She has one in her bedroom on top of her little bookcase.  She figured out which one is the power button, so she stands up on her little toes and fumbles around until she finds it, waits a second to hear the music, then starts shakin' her little booty with the biggest grin on her face. She's so proud of herself.

2. After having my hours cut to about 18 a week all summer, we are in a terrible place financially. I'm pretty sure this is the worst off we've ever been.  I'm honestly to the point where I don't even care anymore. God will provide what we need, but we've been doing our best to cut back. This week I hardly bought any groceries. So we had some pretty nutritious and delicious meals: Kraft macaroni and cheese, chili dogs (twice!), etc. And I have done SO well with not spending money on extras . . . like my daily McDonald's Dr. Pepper. I honestly can't remember the last time I got one! Amazing!!! (I stocked up on Dr. Pepper 2 liters a few weeks ago when they went on sale for 88 cents, so I'm just making myself drink that.)

3. We finally went to Lake Michigan yesterday. I've wanted to go all summer, but it has never worked out. I figured yesterday was probably about our last chance, so we packed up and headed out! I forgot how long of a drive it was. It took forever. It was kind of a windy day so the waves were crashing . . . and Lucy was scared to death. She had her nervous face on the whole time we were walking toward the water, but I really thought she'd be ok. She liked Long Lake earlier this year. But when Justin stuck her toes in the water, she screamed like someone was stabbing her!! I brought some toys for her to play with in the sand, but she refused to get off the towel, so she just kind of sat on the edge gingerly patting the sand with a disgusted look on her face. Eventually, we got her in the water on my hip. She was ok as long as I was holding her tightly. We even get a couple grins out of her when I jumped the waves. Crazy nervous kid.

4. I read a book this week: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross. I picked it up last Saturday during my solo trip to the library (which was fabulous).  It was pretty good. Nothing mind-blowing. But an easy, fun read. I got 3 other books, but now I'm not in the mood to read any of them. Haha. I do that all the time. Thank goodness the library is free!

5. I had a little meltdown on Tuesday. Justin has been coaching soccer for about 3 weeks now. He has practice every weekday from 5:30-7:00, so he goes straight there from work and doesn't get home 'til 7:30 or 8. And the "single-mom" thing is starting to get to me. I feel like I never get a break. And then I feel selfish and stupid for needing a break. I've wanted this all my life. I should be soaking up every minute and not complaining. But Lucy has been really clingy lately, and I can't ever do anything by myself or get anything done. I think it's the worst on days that I work. Because then I add 2 more kids to the mix. At least Lucy takes 2 naps, so when we're home I get 2 breaks. At work, I get about an hour and a half without someone pulling on me or calling my name or crying at my ankles while the 3 kids nap. And then I come home to an empty house, make dinner while Lucy cries at my feet (because I invariably can't cook fast enough for her), she refuses to eat what I make, then I have to entertain her for 2 hours during witching hour before bedtime. I try to keep her awake so Justin can see her for at least 10 minutes a day, but it's exhausting!!

Anyway, Tuesday night after she was in bed, I bawled to Justin about all of the above. Fortunately, there was no practice Thursday or Friday of this week, so I could have a break for a while! Unfortunately, there are still a good 2 months of soccer, so the end is not really in sight. I can do it!

6. My parents gave me their treadmill last week, but so far it has sat in the basement untouched. I really want to start Couch25K this week. I've been gaining weight like crazy since my body figured out I'm not breastfeeding anymore and I went back on the pill. Plus, I could really use the supposed endorphins exercise is supposed to provide! So ask me this time next week how I did!

7. My new obsession this week has been "Words with Friends" on facebook. I'm pretty much unbeatable, so this is my official challenge to all of you!
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