"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

29 November 2012


Well, we're settling into our new home, and it feels alternately really good and scary to think that this is it. This is home for a long time.

Wheeee! (No more packing-unpacking-packing-unpacking...)

Yikes. (We're going to be here next year. And the year after that. And when B goes to preschool. And when he's ten and taller than me.)

Wheeee! (No more packing! And unpacking! And deciding where things need to go!)

So far, owning a home has been unexpectedly expensive. Refrigerators are stupid-pricey. The kitchen faucet died on our first night here, so after N tinkered with it for WAY too long, we bought a new one. Then the furnace went kaputz, so we endured three very cold nights until we could get someone here to replace a part that had burnt through.

And last night, we thought the microwave had broken. But N fixed that.


And we still need a lawnmower, a rake, something to put in front of the fireplace so little hands don't explore inside, and who knows what else.

It's a little overwhelming.

But it's HOME!

In other news, Little B's vocabulary (and enunciation) is growing by leaps and bounds these days, and it's kind of funny to hear some of the things that come out of his mouth.

Like how he refers to himself as "Bubby" (because that - or Bubsie - is what I call him more often than not) or as of yesterday, "Button" (NO idea where that came from). N and I both laughed uproariously the first time he did it, though, so he may just be doing it for the kicks now.

B also refers to our home as the "new 'ouse," and because he thinks "new" means something good, he has taken to saying, "new Daddy." N's not sure whether to be amused or alarmed.

I am being beckoned to the garage, so that's it for now. I'll be back soon with a Compassion post!

21 November 2012

Temporary Hiatus

Hello, blog buddies

I just wanted to let you know that I'll be gone for a few days, 
until we get an internet connection set up at our new house

I just like saying that. 


Little B likes to say it, too. "Nu ha-uth."

Okay, friends
 I shall return soon
(hopefully, with some more pictures)!

19 November 2012

A House, A Fridge, & More

I'll start with the most exciting news first: Today, we spent more money than we ever have in our whole entire lives. We are homeowners!

It's all a bit surreal.

Then we drove all over kingdom come trying to buy a refrigerator.

Good news: Sears, Lowes, and every other major appliance store has amazing prices on their refrigerators for Black Friday.

Bad news: Everybody and their cousin's best friend seems to be buying refrigerators, because most of the ones we had looked at last Friday night (and were still in stock then) were back-ordered through the end of next month.

Since we couldn't very well go a month without a refrigerator, we decided to just get the one that was available where we were. I think it was meant to be anyway, because the other ones would have been just a little too wide for the space we have. They will deliver it tomorrow afternoon.

The movers will come early tomorrow morning to drop off our belongings (hurray for familiar things!), and we will begin the craziness of unpacking. But how nice to think that this will be the last time we unpack a home for a good, long time!

Wait a minute. Did I just say that?
This morning, the little man and I went to the store this morning to stock up on cleaning supplies for the new house. As I wheeled the cart up to my car, an older lady was getting out of her car next to my spot. She exclaimed, "That is one beautiful child!" and proceeded to chat with Little B while I loaded my trunk with my shopping bags.

And this afternoon, we sat down to a late lunch at Chick-fil-A. B was being quite rambunctious, chattering up a storm, waving hi to strangers, and patting people's legs as they walked by. A woman sitting near us with her mom and two children kept laughing at B's antics, and when we got up to leave, said, "Oh, he's just so cute."

It's so nice to have other people, especially strangers, say kind things about our children. Especially when they're being less-than-angelic.
I might have some more exciting news to share soon, but I don't want to jump the gun. So while I leave you in suspense, check out these photos from the past few days.
A little bear accompanied us to the playground last week.
A nearby preschool class came to play during their recess. B was a little intimidated by their teacher.

So he kept an eye on her from the safety of his "hiding spot" behind the slide ladder.
I think these are so neat. They have all the planets with the names in 7 languages.
"Do it!" is one of B's most common phrases lately. It means he wants to do it himself without any parental help.
Rocks make good, clinking noises against metal posts.
A very persistent little man ... he was at this for a WHILE.
Isn't this a fun name for a maternity store?!
We joined friends for their family reunion. B discovers he likes salsa.
"Donkey Tail": hot dog in a tortilla. B wasn't impressed.
He loved the horses outside the restaurant, though. "Ride, ride, ride!"
All that black in the sky? Birds. It was enough to give me nightmares.
B had a hole in his sock today, and kept taking his shoe off to tell me his "lock" (sock) was "bwokie" (broken).
Why didn't we think of this sooner? Flipping through this little booklet kept B entertained for the entire time we shopped for a fridge today. He liked the page with the electric razors, pointing to the blue ones and saying, "Daddy? Razor?"
But this, of course, was his favorite page.

16 November 2012

On a Sunny Thursday Afternoon...

On a sunny Thursday afternoon,

I go to an aquarium to pick up our family's very first annual passes (to anything), and I delight in watching my little boy's excitement over the "wee-shees" (fishies). 

I am unable to take pictures with my camera, because it says the memory card is full. Impossible. I just emptied it yesterday. So I take blurry phone pictures to send to N at work.

I receive a fun phone call alerting me to the safe landing of dear friends after their five years in Australia. They have a layover in our city, so I dash home, hurriedly pack supplies for the little one, fill the tank (can't get over the $3.05/gallon prices here!), pick up Husband, and spend too much time in traffic get to the airport.

I learn that N and I are referred to as one person sometimes
I'm okay with that. 
Especially when it's in a squeaky little boy voice.

And I get to cuddle our friends' unbelievably adorable baby girl, with her head full of red hair, who I've never met before.

We get home, and N says he will put B to bed so I can go out with Heather to her Sunday School class' ladies' night.

I have an amazing quinoa salad for dinner. 

   When I ask N to take a look at the camera, he asks, "Where is the memory card?"

And I remember: sitting by the futon where I uploaded pictures yesterday. 

15 November 2012

On a Cloudy Thursday...

On a cloudy Thursday morning, 
I go to the library, my little helper feeding books one by one into the return slot.

I wash TOMS,
and I wash clothes.
I make coffee in our bedroom.
I laugh at fluffy Scout, who always looks slightly perturbed.
And I delight in my colorful Lucy blanket that is growing stitch by stitch.
What happens on your Thursday morning? 

14 November 2012

I'm Going to Kill That Dog: A Stream of Consciousness Post

Catching up on last night's DWTS results show.


Blogging during the commercials.

I hate that man on the Allstate commercials.

I wish I could figure out how to upload videos. Something to do with converting the files from how my camera records them. Low on my list of to-do's right now. 

There's a dog down the street who will not stop barking.

I'm having violent thoughts about that stupid dog.

I am very noise-sensitive.

Wearing socks right now because my heels are cracking.

I really dislike socks.

I'm grateful I have socks to wear, because:
1. It's kind of a miracle I packed any socks to bring instead of putting them all in storage, because I rarely wear them, and more importantly,
2. I've been reminded a lot lately about how much I possess, both materially and immaterially. 

Thankful for a husband who takes us out to dinner because I've had a long day and need a treat -- after he's had a long day himself.

I really, really love our little boy. He's a bundle of wonderful, and he's just so stinkin' cute to boot!

Prayed for mercy during B's pre-bedtime routine, asking God for a full, uninterrupted night's sleep. Nothing seems more blissful than that tonight.

My Compassion post for the month is currently featured on their highlighted blog posts page! I feel pseudo-famous. (Can you tell I've had a long day? Anything remotely nice seems like a HUGE deal.)

AND ... drumroll, please ... We're closing on the house this coming Monday! 

I'm going to kill that dog.

But my heels are cracking.

And "Newsies" is just too awesome. Good call, DWTS producers.

12 November 2012

Curses on You, Coxsackie!

I placed a call to our former pediatric office in Saratoga this morning, because I just wanted to have some answers. I've been sleeping on the floor of B's room for the past two nights, because he has been very wakeful. It's just easier to soothe him when I'm lying right next to him instead of hauling myself out of bed and lurching down the hall half-awake.

The phone nurse (the nice, non-alarmist one) called me back right away, and after hearing what Little B has been through for the past few days, she poured out sympathy.

Sometimes, we mamas of little ones just need to hear kind words.

And then she said she thought it sounds like it might be the coxsackie virus. Curses. I thought we'd left that behind when we moved from NY, since it seems to be a northeastern thing (it was named after Coxsackie, NY, after all).
We obviously didn't go to church yesterday (germ-spreading is NOT okay). While Little B napped, N and I had a rare, quiet morning together, me with my cup of coffee and library book, with Nichole Nordeman playing softly in the background. What a merciful treat to have that hour of quiet!

Our little boy is so good-natured overall, and I am especially thankful for his sweet character . Other than the momentary bouts of intense pain he experiences when the meds wear off and a bit of extra fussiness, he has, for the most part, been quite his usual chipper self during the day. It makes the sleepless nights bearable, and honestly, I have kind of loved waking up to his little voice saying, "Mama! Mama!" accompanied by gentle taps to my cheeks. When I open my eyes, he smiles big and waves right in front of my face.
B loves his daddy! I'm quite fond of both of them.

We haven't been up to anything exciting lately, since we've been lying low with B being under the weather (it's near impossible to keep a toddler rested during the day, isn't it?).

Yesterday afternoon, we ventured out to our friends' house so I could trim and re-hem B's blankie. He likes to put the corners in his mouth when he's falling asleep, which I think is quite gross. I've trimmed and hemmed that blanket three times now, so it's quite a bit smaller than when he first got it. I'm going to have to find a new one that he likes before this one disappears!

Just for fun, here are a couple pictures from a playground outing last week.
I put a band-aid on my finger to keep a hangnail from catching. B wanted one, too.
Mama and B
And here are a few pictures that my dad shared on FB recently from Korea; it's so beautiful in autumn there. The backgrounds make me miss the Adirondack fall season. The seasonal change in Texas isn't very colorful.

My parents are returning to Africa at the end of this week. Please pray for traveling mercies for them!
My pretty mama
My suave daddy
From the veterans' cemetary where my grandpa's ashes are kept
My aunt, grandma, and mom

11 November 2012

Honor All Who Have Served

There are many people of all ages and maturity in this country who think that standing up for their freedom and rights means being belligerent and disrespectful.

Today, I hope everyone who lives in America
remembers that our freedom comes at a cost, and often, the greatest cost is paid by the men and women (and their families) who serve this country.

Thank you for your service, veterans.

Photo Credit

10 November 2012

It Doesn't FEEL Like Christmas Yet

We've had 80-degree weather here in Dallas, so between the heat and no leaves changing color, we're just not feeling the holiday season approaching.

We had the rare treat of hanging out with one of our friends from my Houghton days. Dan was in town this week at a convention at the Gaylord Texan, so after picking up some scrumptious kolaches (one of the best discoveries I've made so far in Texas -- beats DD hands down in every way) for breakfast, we drove out to Grapevine to catch up with him before he flew home to PA.
It was so nice to see a familiar face in this new place that we're calling home. It has been over four years since we last saw Dan. We got to see Jamie (his wife) and their girls almost exactly two years ago, but Dan was on a hunting trip, so we missed him.
Little Miss M was just a newborn, and I was about five months pregnant with B
We brought Dan a kolache to try, since he had never had one. We like them so much ourselves, we couldn't let him leave the state without having one, too.

Once Dan left to catch his shuttle to the airport, we perused around the hotel and convention center, because we had paid $12 for parking there was so much to see! The entire place was beautifully decorated for Christmas already, and we very much enjoyed watching all the little trains that were zooming around the atrium of the hotel and feeling the first stirrings of holiday cheer.
Little B was offered his first chance to sit on Santa's lap. However, with him being sick, we didn't think that would fly over well, nor did we want to pass on germs, so we declined.

On our way to the "Kung Fu Panda" snow tubing exhibition, I glanced down at what I had assumed to be the standard, crazy floral carpet that you often find in hotels. Instead, this is what I saw:
N commented today that Dallas has a lot more Texan pride going on than Houston (where he grew up) ever did. We decided that's mostly due to the presence of the Cowboys.

We peeked in at the snow-tubing and watched Po dancing to some rockin' music, but we didn't stay long because it was a frigid 10 degrees in there.
I also found this to be quite interesting. I saw no vending machines other than this one.
Little B fell asleep soon after we pulled away from the hotel, so we drove around historic Grapevine for a little while (really pretty Main Street -- it actually reminded us a lot of Saratoga Springs, though on a much larger scale with many more shops). We popped into Lowe's after he woke up to check out refrigerators for our new house, and then decided to get Mexican food for lunch.

Which brings us to another one of the best things about Texas: Mexican food is so much better here, as is the variety of ethnic foods that are available.

The host greeted us and then said "Hola!" to Little B, who just happens to have a toy cell phone that says, "Hello? Hola!" So B cheerfully said, "Hola!" right back to him, which earned him major cuteness points with the staff.

Once we got back to our friends' house, N and I took turns dozing while B quietly played in our room. I must have fallen asleep the minute I lay down on the floor next to where B was playing, because N said I began snoring! What can I say? We were up multiple times with B last night.

While I helped Heather get dinner ready, N took B out to the backyard to play. When I went to peek at them a few minutes later, our sick, tuckered out little boy was fast asleep in the swing.

Here's to hoping that tonight will be a better night of rest, and that he's feeling much better tomorrow. We'd love your prayers, friends!

09 November 2012

God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man: A Compassion Post

Yesterday was one of Those Days.

Bubby woke up multiple times through the previous night, because he has been sick: runny nose, fevers, no appetite, etc. Poor kiddo.

He woke up super-early in the morning, so he was worn out by naptime.

Then he woke up just fifty minutes later ... inconsolable.

Wanting to be held.

This is my kid. The one who is Not A Cuddler.

I asked him if he wanted to go on a walk, and he said yes. But he didn't want the stroller. I knew I wouldn't last long carrying him in my arms (read: not-buff-mom + solid-toddler = shortest walk in the world), so I convinced him that he needed shoes, put him in the Ergo, grabbed my phone and keys, and we headed out.

Just a couple blocks down the street, I stepped off the curb to cross over to the other side ... and fell. I hadn't seen the slope in the road where there's the space for the sewer/drain (like this), and my right ankle rolled. I jerked my body to the side so I wouldn't land on Little B. My left knee took most of the impact, along with the thumb on my left hand, which was protecting B's head.

B started crying (mostly from surprise) while I hoisted myself onto the curb and called my friend to see how far away she was (she and her boys had taken a walk to the library).

Then I pathetically hobbled home with blood dripping down my leg, singing chipper toddler songs to distract my shaken little boy.

These are the kind of days that make me grateful that there is a Bigger Picture. That life is going on all over the world. That God has a Plan. 

And part of His plan is being worked through Compassion.

Tonight, as I was feeling overwhelmed after a day of driving all over kingdom come north Dallas to find a pediatrician who could check out Little B, I checked my email. In my inbox was the lastest blogging assignment from Compassion.

Did you know that Compassion bloggers take trips to different parts of the world to visit with sponsored children in person? How utterly cool would it be to meet those precious children and their families, to see how they live, to touch and be touched in our hearts? I often wonder how much of their world is truly conveyed in the letters we get; I've lived and traveled in a lot of countries and cultures around the world, but I still don't know what life India or Burkina Faso is like.

In just a few days, there's a Compassion team heading to darkest Peru,  to experience "firsthand the daily challenges of children in poverty and witnessing how Compassion works in their lives." Won't you join me in praying for the team and the dear little ones they'll be visiting.

I'm thankful tonight for the reminders God sends my way, such good, much-needed reminders that the world does not revolve around me, that He is so much bigger than my worries about my child and my tears, that He heals hearts, bodies, and even souls.

Earlier tonight, at one of the times when B woke up, I swayed with him in my arms, and I sang, "God is bigger than the boogie man."

Because I need that reminder, too.

07 November 2012

You Can Come, Too!

Daddy's takin' us to the zoo tomorrow, 
Zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow
Daddy's takin' us to the zoo tomorrow,
And we can stay all day!

We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
See the elephant with the long trunk swingin'
Great big ears and a long trunk swingin'
Snuffin' up peanuts with a long trunk swingin'
And we can stay all day! 

See all the monkeys; they're scritch-scritch scratchin'
Jumpin' around and scritch-scritch scratchin'
Hangin' by the long-tail (huff huff huff)
And we can stay all day!

There's a big black bear he's a huff-puff-a-puffin'
His coat's too heavy, he's a huff-puff-a-puffin'
Don't get too near the huff-puff-a-puffin'
Or you won't stay all day!

Well, the seals in the pool all honk-honk-honkin'
Catchin' the fish and honk-honk-honkin'
Little tiny seals all honk-honk-honkin'
And we can stay all day!

Well, we stayed all day, and I'm gettin' sleepy
Sittin' in the car gettin' sleep sleep sleepy
Home already gettin' sleep sleep sleepy
'Cause we have stayed all day.

- original lyrics by Peter, Paul, & Mary
We spent Saturday afternoon at the Fort Worth Zoo and had a rip-roarin' good time. 
Here are a whole lot of pictures. Enjoy!
Stinky, stinky flamingos ... seriously. The entire area smelled TERRIBLE.
"Beh-bay?" (baby)

"Ly-oh pee-pee?" (lion pee-pee)
Hi, Mama! I'm in a bird cage!
"Kangaroo song! Kangaroo song!" ... said N. :~)
Random creature in the corner of the kangaroo enclosure
"Pin-guins" as N calls them. I have given up trying to get him to say it correctly.
Me: "Come this way, bubsie." B: "No, dat way" (running in opposite direction).
All tuckered out