Thursday, April 30, 2015

Oatmeal cookie fail, Mustaches, Laura Ingalls, and Playing Outside

It feels so great to be back in the blogging business again.  I think the time is also coming for me to hop on Facebook again too.  I have so many messages in my inbox that I am feeling it would be good to check them, and respond to friend requests.  We also have an adoption ministry event coming up that I am excited to promote, contact people about, and request help in some areas from the people in my groups.  

Our new computer is working well and we slowing figured out how to find all the photos on blogger so now I am free to photo blog again.  I have 11 posts and 96 photos scheduled within the next two weeks so check back often.  Once I get back on FB I am going to try to figure out networked blogs again in hopes that it will automatically post on FB whenever I blog... we shall see.  

These photos are all random and pre-surgery photos... that means they all were taken in March!  Now that we have a working computer I am somewhat more hopeful about the possible potential of not being so behind on photos :)  Promises, Promises... We will see, right? 

Once I fell in love with Gluten Free Oatmeal, it took about 30 seconds for me to start searching for cookie recipes.  Finally I just got my mom's recipe from childhood.  They were so good and thick and moist and amazing growing up.  Well... once I subbed out almost every ingredient for something "Shelly Safe" things started to go down hill.  They tasted good, but had to be scraped off into a bowl and used as granola.  I am pretty sure that the coconut sugar sub is the reason for the cookie fail.  I tried to search for "coconut sugar" cookies and of course it just turns up with recipes for cookies with coconut in them... sigh.  Some day I will figure this out.  I tried a tweaked recipe of this again recently and the same thing happened.  I guess adding more egg and xanthin gum isn't the ticket.  I think if I added some smashed banana I could make it work, but it would really alter the taste.  

Nailed It!!!

Oh how I love the theme nights at iGnite!   Mustache night was a bit stressful as we first tried to buy fake mustaches with no success.  Brandon came up with the brilliant idea to use electrical tape!  They turned out great!  

M and T:  Cheese!  Can you see our mustaches? 
Late last fall M and I started our journey through the Little House books.  We finished in early March and have since read Charlotte's Web, Caddy Woodlawn, and Addie Across the Prairie.  We always love book suggestions.  M loves being read to and I love reading chapter books!  Finally!  I must mention that the books are heavily censored to avoid violence and negative terms and ideas which would easily become part of M's vocabulary and thought life.

We Finished the WHOLE SERIES!!!!!!
M decided on his own to draw a picture of his special dog friend Maggie and cat friend Spot and send it to Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judy in the mail.  We were so proud of him and this healthy display of grief (after Maggie's death).  He drew Maggie at school and finished the rest at home.

M and the neighbor boys love playing together.  They all have balance bikes and they love racing!

M: I am going to get you L!
We have a raised landscaping bed in our back yard.  It was built around a tree.  The pavers provide a great little hideout for a curious and brave little girl.  It is actually much deeper than the picture shows.
T: You can't see me in this hideout! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Almost back in business

I am excited to announce that our family has a new addition... of the computer variety.  Very very soon I will be able to stop using the "old white computer" and use our new MacBook Air!  Yay!  We are still working out a few things with the photos and how to transfer them and store them in a way that avoids iPhoto (which is done now anyway) and the new Photos program.  We are going to use the Adobe Light Room (or something like that) and hope this will be a much better and safer option for us.  Once we have photos back on the computer I will be able to do lots of blogging once again. 

In the end we are going to sell our MacBook Pro back to Apple... after putting in a new battery and hard drive.  The whole situation was a lot of drama and we are spending a lot more than we would have liked, but as I use this "old" computer I am reminded that Macs (if they aren't duds) can run for a LONG time. 

Check back for tons of cute photos and stories soon... oh and I have been saving up lots of awesome quotes to share too!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Our MacBook Pro is a Dud!!!

I am sure I sound like a broken record on this blog, venting about being unable to post pictures because of computer problems.  Well, the problems continue.  Our "silver" computer is dead... like the gray screen that never ends dead!   Our computer is 2.5 years old and it has been nothing but problems from the first day.  We have called the Apple Care people in the early days.  We have taken it to the Apple Store more than once.  Of course it often performed better there than at home. 

Computers are expensive!  Macs are VERY expensive.  I am a Mac person... and not because I am trendy and flashy... but because I have used them all my life and I love them.  Their trendiness does not fit with my fleece wearing, mini-van driving, kid carrying personality, but their convenience does!  I love that photos on the phone sync to the computer (in theory).  I think the simple commands and the easy navigation etc. are lovely. Macs are great... but our last Mac has tainted our view of them.  Should we spend A LOT of money on another computer that could be a dud?  It is a hard call.

My inner quest for justice has me wanting to march into the Apple Store and demand a new computer or half price or greatly reduced.  After all, Apple products are supposed to work for a long time... right?  More than 2.5 years of half working, right?  Ahhh!!!!

I feel like we pat Apple on the back if we go ahead and order a new MacBook, esp. if it is one of the brand new ones coming out tomorrow... they go on thinking that our family is another happy and loyal Apple family.  This is not true, but what can really be done.  There was a time when companies cared more about making things right and maintaining relationships with their customers than selling lots of products.  I am pretty sure that Apple will do just fine without this mini-van mom supporting their product.

So, seriously, what should we do friends?  Should we try our luck at a refund or markdown at the Apple Store... even if it is full of kids half our age but clearly 50 times more cool than us?  Should we just order a new MacBook and hope for he best?  Should we explore other types of non-Mac computers even if I can't stand them/Windows 8 at all?  Who knows?

In the meantime, guess what?  Our OLD white MacBook from Brandon's seminary days came out of retirement.  It is working faster and better than our newer computer. It feels a dream writing on it.  It is awesome.  It does prove that if you have a non-dud Mac, they last a long time.

Sadly, this means I will not be photo blogging for a while most likely... it will happen once we get the computer situation figured out.

If you stumbled across this post because of the title and you truly have an idea to help us... or if you work for Apple and want to give us a free computer (just kidding, well... unless you really do) please leave a comment with your wisdom!  I promise I will brag about you in a future post! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break Recap and Tonsillectomy Recovery Update

M went back to school today.  Spring Break is over!  Routine has returned!  Thanks be to God!  

Much of Spring Break was spent recovering and feeling miserable.  There was WAY too much screen time and WAY too much sugar!  What a combination!  Yes, withdrawals are happening... on both counts!  

M finally turned a corner (in his tonsillectomy recovery) on Friday.  It took him a full week and two days to feel "better" again.  It was a very long 10 days.  Days 5-10 were worse than days 1-4.  We hears this would be the case and it surely was. I still feel like we are coming out of the fog a bit.  Because of the way M metabolizes medicine, he would take a dose and then no longer feel the effects of it after 1.5 hours.  We then had to endure 2.5 hours of waiting for another dose.  It was agony for both of us.  I of course never gave in to his begging and pleading, but it is pretty hard to watch your child suffer in that way.  

The first days after coming home I was pretty good at staying up late and only having to set one alarm, but with wake ups in the night I finally gave in and set two alarms so I could go to bed earlier some nights.  Last night I set no alarms!  Bliss for me!  Bliss for M!  Yay!  

Our Spring Break didn't consist of big trips this year.  We didn't go to any museums or even the library.  We did however do several fun things.  

I have been searching around closets for a while trying to remember where I stashed a bag of dress-up clothes.  One day last week I remembered and they were an instant hit for my kids.  T has been putting on several tutu's and princess dresses every day.  She is a hoot with her fashion sense!  M has been enjoying a clown suit and other costumes as well.  

We introduced T to the art of coloring Easter Eggs.  She was in awe of the dye, but wanted to put all the eggs into one bowl at a time.  I wrote our names and little pictures on the eggs in crayon before dunking them. It was so sweet to see her awe over the images that appeared when she dunked them. M was in need of meds and a bit less than thrilled with the whole process.  I am voting we take a year or a few off from this ritual.  

One Tuesday M and I went over to church for the final CC lunch of the year.  While we didn't attend Classical Conversations this year, they allowed us to come to the lunches.  We missed many this year, but were glad to go to the last one.  M was still not feeling great, but he enjoyed just sitting in his chair and watching the other kids play.  

Tuesday was also Chicken Day!  Charissa and I order 80lbs of split breasts and then cut them, remove fat, and bag them up.  The dads are in charge of the kids and we can get them all ready for the freezer in about one hour.  The kids and dads had great fun playing in the church nursery and in our backyard.  It is such a blessing to do ministry and life with special people. 

By Wednesday we decided that M was ready to go biking.  We met up with Charissa and L and J and went on a big walk/bike ride to Y park!  Overall M did great.  It was NOT cool that this mama forgot his meds in the van and he was 1.5 hours late in getting them.  The way back to the van was pretty brutal.  I felt horrible about it.  Because he was taking secondary meds he did have a painkiller in his system the whole time, but not the big guns. We made it back and I never had to carry him or stow the bike so I call it a success.  If felt great to get a walk in and it was great to see M flying down the hills. 

The kids got such a kick out of April Fool's Day this year.  Most of the jokes were things like, "Look, I see a bear in the backyard."  So cute.  T really got me for real when we were on the walk I mentioned above.  She said, "On no, I dropped my "tired" (her tag blanket).  She does this a lot so I quickly stopped and turned around to get it... it is more precious to me than almost any object we own.  As I was turning around she said "April Fools."  I was so proud of her.  What a smart girl to get that concept. 

We were really struggling to get M to eat and drink, but we found a couple of things that he really liked.  He was a huge fan of Potato Soup and Watermelon!  Both have lots of liquid so we were thrilled!  He is now insisting he is ready for Chili (his very favorite food) so I think we will make it tomorrow. 

The kids and I did one bigger day trip!  We drove south one day to the place Brandon and I lived while he was in seminary.  We spent the day with some dear friends.  It was so much fun to watch my kids play with "two sweet boys."  I got such a huge kick out of my kids begging to do something over and over again and the boys being less than thrilled to play.  They are awesome with the kids and such a blessing, but it sure made me smile and think about some of the things I used to do with them over and over and over again.  It is a reminder that my children will grow and change quickly too... they already are.  While we were visiting we were able to stop at my favorite grocery store for some amazing deals!  Friends, I get such bargains there that it easily pays for our gas for the trip.  I focus on produce, rice, coconut milk, spices, tortillas, other ethnic foods.  We also were able to go on a little walk/bike ride to a park near our friend's home.  It was almost all up hill on the way there.  M pedaled the whole time and didn't need a single much to get started.  I was so proud of him! T had quite the potty training drama.  TMI warning!!!  Poo Warning!!! Suddenly on the way she needed to go to the bathroom... NOW!  Well, I did eventually look for a bush on a property line and allow her to go.  Sadly she had already gone a little bit.  I took on her under and allowed her to just wear her pants and skirt.  She was fine with this.  We arrived at the park and started playing.  I didn't expect that she would holler "Mommy, I did go poo."   I asked in a hopeful voice... "April Fools?"  Nope!  This was real.  She did indeed have poo in her pants and no panties to hold them so down the leg it went...  Usually when I go walking I have wipes and two sets of pants and panties... this time... nothing.  I found three tissues and one wipe in the stroller... oh dear.  Well, I managed to get her cleaned quite well and she did still have a skirt on so we were able to continue at the park for a while.  Another walk, another lesson learned!  Later, back at the house T wanted a snack and chose dried apricots.  I was distracted and later noticed she had eaten all that was left in the bag... many apricots. Oh dear!!!  Luckily we were at their house because Little Miss had many quick trips to the bathroom that afternoon.  I was a bit nervous to drive home for fear of explosive issues, but everything ended up fine.  I typically try to keep the kids awake when we are driving home in the late afternoon, but this time I let them sleep and there were no tummy rumbles!   Even with all the potty stuff, it was a great day with great friends!  

On Friday we hosted a small play group here in the morning.  T had a hard time with Baby J which is typical, but draining for me.  It was fun to see another friend's Baby B and for T to help hold the baby.  It is heart warming to see her treat the baby gently. It was fun to catch up with the moms.  It was awesome to see M feeling better.  He was acting for better or worse like our typical M.  I was celebrating that the pain was coming to an end!  

On Friday evening we went to church for the Good Friday service.  Two of the CC Directors volunteered to do nursery duty so I was able to attend the service.  It was an incredible service.  Brandon (and many others) work so hard on this service and it shows.  There were many videos, music, interactive elements, communion, etc.  The setting was the sanctuary, but it was transformed to a place of total darkness with the cross in the center and the seating all facing the cross.  It was a very powerful time for all who attended.  

On Saturday I had a great Huddle in the morning while my crew went to the Men's Breakfast and helped reset the Sanctuary for Easter.  On Saturday night Brandon was ahead of schedule and was able to watch much of the Final Four game.  He even called me in for the last intense minute.  It was so exciting to see the Badgers win... yes they are also playing as I type this... so Go Badgers!  M wore his lucky shirt to school today and on the last two game days as well!  I stayed up way late working on prep for Sunday and cleaning the kitchen. 

Finally Sunday was here!  Jesus Is Risen!!!!  What a glorious morning celebrating with our church family!  We usually just munch on fruit at the church breakfast, but this year I made an egg bake for my crew.  It was so tasty.  We were able to eat it at church and the kids felt like they were not missing anything.  Both kids were excited to see college kids in town for the weekend.  The services were wonderful.  So much time goes into them and it shows.  It was truly a celebration for our Risen King!  After church there was a quick lunch and then a nap for M and a fight with no nap for T.  Brandon dealt with her while I started prepping dinner.  I made a huge Easter dinner for our family and for some neighbors/friends and their two kids.  There were only 8 total people and one was a tiny baby, but we had plenty of food.  The crowd favorites were a spinach and strawberry salad and the best ever sweet potatoes (that is what the recipe is called).  I made my first ever big girl (non-cured) ham and gravy.  I did call my mom twice.  It turned out great.  Everything was tasty.  Our friends brought two beautiful desserts and we feasted.  The left over feasting has continued today.  Huge blessing for me... no cooking and very few dishes!  I was such a fun time with friends and the kids both ate well and did quite well while our friends were here.  

M was so excited to get back to school day and we were all excited to get back into routine.  Our break was good.  We made some good memories.  We survived the tonsillectomy and recovery!  We are hopeful that warmer days are coming!