Friday, January 30, 2009

Flashback Friday

Today is a very special flashback/good memories/wishing-for-what-could-have-been. I'm a day off, but tomorrow is my mom's 70th birthday, a milestone she'll be celebrating in heaven. She's been gone almost 14 years, and I can hardly believe it. She is forever 56 in my mind, actually even a bit younger since her short time being 56 was filled with an illness that made her not herself.

I still miss her so much, and will until I see her again. I've so missed having her be a part of my children's lives. She would have loved them greatly, and they would have loved her right back.

What's sad about the passing of time, is that memories of people you love start to change. My memories of her use to be like watching a movie in my mind...all moving pictures with sound, etc. Now my memories are more like snapshots in my mind. The animation has faded. But there are some memories still vivid of who she was that will stay fresh as long as I choose to remember. So here are some fun memories of mom...

She loved black walnut ice cream. Ice cream in general, actually. When she got to the end of the carton, she would leave one spoonful in the bottom, so if someone asked her, "Did you eat all the ice cream?", she could answer truthfully that she had not eaten it all.

She loved to make popcorn balls on Friday night. She was not too fond of sharing them.

She was not known to be the best cook, but a few things she made very well. Caramel pecan rolls, Mississippi Mud Cake, peach pie, lasagna, hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes, meatloaf, to name a few. Truthfully, there weren't a lot more than that. Her hamburgers were always painfully dry. She loved making stuffed green peppers, though she may have been the only one who liked them. Oh...and she made great Saturday morning breakfasts. Sausage, fried eggs and biscuits. Mmm.

She was a voracious knitter. Loved to fix herself her nightly cup of tea and sit down to knit. My all-time favorite Christmas present was a hand-knit sweater from her. She had made all the pieces and they sat in her knitting bag for a loooong time while she went through her surgery and subsequent illness. She eventually lost all her vision and couldn't finish the sweater. So instead she took it to a knitting shop, explained the situation, and they finished the sweater for her. Would not accept a penny for their work. I hope whoever that was knows what a precious gift that was. I've never worn it, because I'm so afraid something would happen to it. I hold it now and then...and just remember.

She grew beautiful roses. This was a love passed down from her mom. They were gorgeous, and one of the few times I saw her seriously, crazy angry was the day our yellow lab ate an entire rose bush from her garden. Ate it. All the way down to the ground.

One trait I especially admire about her is that she just did not speak unkindly about anybody. She always held her tongue, even when I knew it was so hard. She always looked for the best in people. She always found a positive spin to put on a tough situation. Even when she was very, very ill and life was getting very tough for her, I remember her saying, "Oh, I know so many people have it so much worse than I do." And she truly believed it.

She did not like complaining. I remember many times telling her of something I thought was perfectly acceptable to complain about, and her response would be, "Well, this is a great opportunity to practice forgiveness." (or patience or any other thing I needed to be practicing.)

One skill she totally lacked was athleticism. If you ever said, "Mom, could you throw me the ( )?" Whatever it was, as soon as the words left your lips, you immediately regretted it...and then ducked! She could be looking right at you, pull her arm straight back, and then shoot something off so far to the side it looked like it must have come from a mysterious third arm.

She left us too soon. I had so much more I wanted to share with her, so much more I wanted her to be a part of. But I know that she is in heaven. She had a heart for Jesus, she fully anticipated a life with Him when her life here was done. So there is peace in that. I wonder if there are windows in heaven. I like to believe so. I think there are moments so special that Jesus Himself must say, "Come here, look at this!" I have thought of that on the day each of my babies was born. My firstborn, just a couple months after she died. I needed that new little life. And I believe she celebrated with us. My second born, who came out looking so much like my mom it was difficult for me to absorb. A daughter. Finally, I was once again a part of a mother/daughter team. And my third born, a surprise to us, but such a gift. And the day I hurt more than I thought humanly possible when we thought Beth would be meeting her grandma way too soon, I think maybe she joined in with all those prayers, literally at the feet of Jesus, for her granddaughter's healing.

And here's the thing...prayer is just conversation with God. And she is in His presence in heaven. I believe that with everything within me. So tomorrow, when I am longing to make her a Mississippi Mud Cake and get her some black walnut ice cream and tell her Happy Birthday and that I love her, I'm going to trust my God to give her that message for me. I'm asking Him to tell her I'm thinking of her. Tell her I'm doing great. But to also tell her I miss her like crazy. Still. Always.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maybe It's Me...

Today I had the unfortunate opportunity to drive - for quite awhile - stuck a few cars behind a school bus. This bus had a lot of stops to make. So we crept and stopped. Crept and stopped. Must have been an early release day for some schools, because normally I'm good at timing my route to avoid that. Not today. And I was in a hurry.

So, besides singing along to the radio and sighing a lot, I had some long moments to stare at the car in front of me. And it made me start to wonder... why do people "decorate" the back window of their car? I mean inside the car, like the dashboard to the back window. We've all seen the hand-knit afghan with stuffed animals. That car usually also has an "I (heart) cats!" bumper sticker. But the car in front of me today was a new view. She was all decorated for Valentine's Day. I so badly wish I had a picture to show you. The full length of the back seat, covered, with stacks of tacky silk roses. A white teddy bear holding a red heart on each end. On those hearts was written "I (heart) you". Me? Was this message for me? Who is she displaying this for? As much as I know, bumper stickers, window clings, and window decor is meant to be read by the person behind you. Well, I'm flattered, but I never met this lady before in my life! I wondered if perhaps her sweetheart had snuck into her car and decorated for her as a sweet surprise. Well, he clearly wasn't thinking if that's the case. Unless that's just her thing. Maybe he just couldn't take the stuffed cats anymore. Or maybe he, wisely, had nothing to do with this.

Maybe it's me. I'm always behind the trends in most...okay, all...areas. Maybe I just haven't been clued in yet that the new thing is to decorate your back window for the season/holiday. Maybe this is a step up from the antenna ball trend. If that's the case, I'm just going to have to be out of this trend. I don't have a back window sill in my van. Sigh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Menu

Here's another wacky idea, who knows if it will last...I will try to post a recipe every Monday. Tried and true, family approved. If nothing else, a good way to keep a record of these recipes for my kids.

With the weather so chilly, I thought a good start would be a favorite soup. My kids love this, and will even happily eat it as left-overs.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef (or chicken or turkey)
2 cans petite diced tomatoes, 1 with green chilies
2 cans black beans, drained
2 cans kidney beans (dark or light), drained
2 cans small white beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 small can sliced olives
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix

Brown ground beef. In large soup pot (or slow-cooker) combine all ingredients. Add enough water for the consistency you like. If you like it on the spicier side, add a can of diced green chilies. You can adjust the combination of beans to whatever suits you. Allow to simmer for 2 hours on the stove top, or 8 hours in a slow-cooker.

To serve, top each bowl with some grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and some crushed nacho cheese Doritos. Mmm. Also great with warm cornbread. An alternative way to serve it is to place a scoop of rice into each bowl instead of sour cream and Doritos. My kids prefer the Doritos, hands-down. But I like the rice...

Ah...this would also be a great Super Bowl Sunday meal!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback Friday

I had an idea for "Flashback Friday" for a couple reasons. One is that I don't have an ultra-exciting life to blog about. Another is I stumbled upon a couple oldie-but-goodie pictures that have a great story. I found myself thinking how it would have been fun to blog about those things when my kids were little and continually giving me great stories to share. Well, it's never too late! My kids love hearing stories about goofy things they did, and they, hopefully, will enjoy seeing these stories documented here. So here it goes...

Come with me back to February of 2003, Beth was 2 years old. "Always into something" so accurately describes her. Still. On this particular day, Brenna was at preschool and Alex at school. Just me and Beth, hanging out at home. I was on the phone (dangerous time with a 2-year old in the house) and was so happy that Beth was staying busy with her toys and leaving me to my conversation. I continued to peek in on her and she would give me her cheesy little grin and keep playing. The last time I peeked, she had crawled up onto my bed, with her favorite baby, and was completely absorbed in trying to change the baby's outfit. Perfect. A few minutes later, I peeked into a totally different scene...

Brad keeps a jar of Eucerin hand cream by his side of the bed. His hands dry badly in the winter. Anyway, Beth had found that little jar, taken the top off, and proceeded to spread - thickly - Eucerin lotion all over her cheeks and hands. Now, to appreciate this story you have to understand something about Eucerin. It is like Crisco shortening. It sticks, and is greasy, and does not just wipe off. From my gasp, Beth could instantly tell that whatever she had done was not good. She got such a look of "Uh-oh" on her face...I had no other choice but to snap a picture before I began the long chore of cleaning her up. She wouldn't even look at the camera, which made for an even more priceless picture. Captures the guilt beautifully!

We wiped it off, rubbed it in, took a bath, rubbed it in some more, etc. Into the next day, literally, there was a whitish haze to her cheeks. Like a continually replenishing supply of face cream built into her cheeks. But, oh, was she well moisturized! Sweet cheeks.

And here she is, post-bath, reveling in the glow of moisturized cheeks and hands! Notice how the flash of the camera glistened off her rosy cheeks! And I think this is one of Beth's looks that really captures her "what can I get into?" zest for life. Happy girl. Happy life. I love her. And I like her, too. Her middle name is Joy, and she carries that name well! Thanks for the happy memory, Bethie!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prayer for President Obama

So I'm a little behind the news, I admit. I was distracted with our r.. situation, exhilarated by the good report. But Tuesday was a big day for other reasons as well. No matter who is leaving or entering office, the inauguration is always an impressive ceremony. I love the tradition. I love the respect. And I loved Aretha's hat. Only she could pull that off!

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA was invited by President Barack Obama to pray at his inauguration. I loved his prayer, made me cry, and is a good reminder to pray for our new president and his family. He has a big job ahead of him. Here is a copy of Pastor Rick's prayer:

Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.
It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans—united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you—forgive us.
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone—forgive us.
When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve—forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations--and all people--will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"R Word" Update and Random Fun

We have exciting news from our fabulous pest guy, Evan. Today was our scheduled re-check of the traps, and they were empty and untouched! (If I could attach a sound bit, you would hear an operatic "Hallelujah!!!") So it seems as if we got 'em. We still will check again in 2 weeks, traps are still at the ready. And, Brad finished his hatch cover, which is an extra layer of protection to ensure no creature can enter our crawl space. Here is a quote on the service invoice from Evan: "New access hatch appears to be to NASA standards." That's my man.

Here's some random fun: is a fun game-play/charity combo site. You can go there and quiz yourself on math, vocabulary, grammar, geography, and other subjects. There are different levels for different ages, and for each answer you get right, the site donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. (Last year the site generated enough rice to feed more than 2 million people.) And, as my brother likes to say, rice is the perfect food for when you are in the mood for 2,000 of the same thing. Not to make light of hunger...gosh, now I'm going downhill fast. Onward...

Now for a fun joke:

You are on the bus when you suddenly realize... you need to fart.

The music is really loud, so you time the farts to the beat. After a couple songs, you start to feel better as you approach your stop.

As you are leaving the bus, people are really staring you down, and that's when you remember: you've been listening to your ipod.

This gave me quite a chuckle, because I got my first ipod last month. And I sing right along with it, which gives the family plenty of laughs. I'll have to be very careful if I listen to mine in public. Because of the singing, I mean.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh, brother...

This is a sweet story...and so unexpected. The girls have been gone for 2 nights, having a fun sleep-over with Auntie Debbie. One night is not bad, refreshing even. But 2 nights has felt long. Alex casually asked last night, "I wonder what Brenna and Beth had for dinner?" (I know, more food focus...) Of course, he did this in the midst of being totally absorbed in his video game, and there was not even a pause long enough for me to answer before he was saying, "Oh...oh, no...get him! That's so cheap!" Etc, etc. But at least a thought of his sisters fluttered through his ever-fluttering mind.

We are leaving in a few minutes to go get the girls. I went into Alex's room to "encourage" him to hurry up, and saw Brenna's fluffy long pillow up on his bed. I asked, sarcastically, "Did you sleep with that because you miss your sister so much?" He blushed a bit, got that "ah, shucks" grin, and said, "I don't know, I just grabbed it from her room on my way to bed last night." Then he pointed to the large stuffed dog and added, "And that's Beth's dog."

Ah...I love seeing glimpses of brotherly sweetness in him. I know it's in there, but sometimes it gets lost in the sibling-ness of daily life. He has always had a very special fondness for his little sisters, and I tell them often that they are so blessed to have such a great big brother. But he's also a very normal big brother, and will antagonize and frustrate them. A good reminder to us all that at the core, there is still a great love there!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Traffic Alert!!

I am issuing this alert for today and continuing into the unforeseeable future. Please be on high alert. As you can see from the picture, there is a new driver on the road. I have asked her to pull way over to the side of the road if she sees my van coming. But now I'm rethinking that. I don't want her watching that closely for me. Too much pressure for a new driver. So, my dear Jessica, I hereby release you from that. Instead, I will be closely watching for you. I will pull way over if I see you coming. So, if you by chance see a tan mini-van screeching to the side of the road, or perhaps even leaving the roadway abruptly, do not be alarmed. It's just your ultra-cautious aunt taking measures to keep her children safe.

And how is it that you are driving anyway???!! Ugh. Don't get me started. It will waste precious time that I could be using instead to go search for more gray hairs. They are becoming rampant, as I see all these babies growing into...people. It seems like not long ago, I sat up all night holding Jessica on her first night at home, trying to not even let a muscle twitch for fear this baby would squawk and wake her exhausted parents. Now she's driving?

My oldest niece, who is the first person I've watched grow from an infant to an adult, is now married and a mommy to 2 beautiful boys. (I could go wild posting about them if anyone reading this would email me a picture! My scanner doesn't work...) I will refrain to talk about them in the hopes I can do it another time.

And then all these other nieces and nephews growing into young adults. It just makes me more aware of how quickly my own will be there. But now I've gone on too long and probably have a couple more hairs to pull out. Oops...I don't really do that, Marlece. Wink.

Stay safe, Jessica. And remember to not ever drive faster than your guardian angel can fly!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

VICTORY!! (Times 2!!)

Evan just left...he got 3! Ew! Traps re-set. More to come? Or should I say more to leave? We'll see...

Woo-hoo!! Come on, say it with me! "Woo-hoo!!!" We got 'em. At least 2 of them. I'm sorry if the picture is too graphic, but a victory is so much better when it's shared! And to appreciate this victory, you need to appreciate the grotesque-ness of our enemy. If you have it in you to look closely at the picture, check out what a perfect snap the trap made!

Brad had to go under the house this afternoon to replace one of the vent covers that is only accessible by going under. That's how we found the good news. Our pest guy, Evan, comes back in the morning to remove them and reset all the traps. They will continue to trap for the next few weeks just in case there are any more. The buggers.

Someday in heaven, I'm going to sit down and share a meal with Noah. I'm so intrigued by him. He did what everyone else thought was crazy, simply out of obedience. He just trusted and obeyed, despite the ridicule he must have faced. I want to hear more about that. I want to talk to someone with a mind intricate enough to build something greater than we can even imagine, and simple enough to take the Lord at His word and just do what he was told to do. He must have had a very intellectual mind, to do something so involved. I'm picturing him a brilliant yet simple man. And after I've soaked up all his story has, I will end with this question, "Mr. Noah," (first-name basis seems somehow disrespectful to a man who "found favor in the eyes of the Lord") "Mr. Noah, please tell me why you didn't slam the hatch of the ark just before the rats boarded. I mean, really. Rats???"

And I'm so sorry to mix Jack Bauer with the topics of rats, but we are so excited that "24" is back on starting tonight! Welcome back, Jack! We are recording it to watch at an uninterrupted time, hopefully sometime this week. Love 24. If you haven't seen it, check it out. We have all the seasons on dvd, we got hooked on it a bit late in the game. But now we are caught up and oh-so-curious what this season will bring. Tony Almeida is back...I'm so curious...

There. I've ended on a more pleasant note. Thanks for sharing our victory!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sometimes Rules Should Be Broken

Yes, sometimes you gotta break your own rules. Tonight Brad deserved to break his ice cream rule.

Last night about 8:00...oh, it's a long story...Alex accidentally dropped a brick on Brad's finger. His fingernail is progressively turning black. Ouch. He's hurting.

After being a good dad and cheering on his daughters at two basketball games, he spent the day outside, mostly in the rain, putting up new vent covers around our house. Steel. Because apparently rats can chew through anything up to iron. Not steel. So steel hardware cloth is being placed over all of our vent thing-a-ma-jigs on the foundation of the house.

Ew. I'm dangerously close to itching. All that adds up to a man that deserves a bowl of ice cream. So I went to Safeway and bought him some Mocha Latte Swirl. And I bought some hot fudge. And he's a much happier man.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Big Eating Randomness

The "process" continues! I wish there was a conclusion to report. On Tuesday, 10 traps were put under the house. The bait?? Peanut butter! And if that doesn't work, they add a chocolate bar to it. Seriously. How can something so despicable have such refined taste?! They are coming to check all the traps on Monday morning, unless we hear one trip before then. Brad thinks he may have heard one last night, but not positive. So we will most likely wait until Monday. One cool thing...the guy that is now taking care of the trapping is a man Brad and I have known since before we were married. We love his family, and haven't seen him in a long time. Now we feel like we are in the hands of a professional and the hands of a friend at the same time. Phew! We have also been sleeping with a fan on in the room, so if they are active we can't hear them. We just needed sleep. I feel like since we are now paying to have it be someone else's problem, we can at least sleep at night!

Enough about rats eating perfectly good peanut butter and chocolate...the other big eater in this home is my son! He's 7 months into his teen years, and people have asked if his appetite has grown. To a degree it has, but lately...sheesh! He has easily added the equivalent to an extra meal lately. Comes home from school hungry. And he EATS! Now, I know, I can hear some of your thoughts: Alex has always been a big eater. But now it's turning into this primal, testosterone-driven man hunger...this kid needs constant protein. Yesterday I had made pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips for Beth's Brownie meeting. I had a bunch of extras sitting on the counter, and suggested that he have a couple of those and milk. That's what I would go for! He instead was wanting the full bowl of leftover re-fried beans. A warm pumpkin muffin, or re-fried beans? To each his own!

And he has begun the interesting behavior, that we all stumble into at some point, of staring into the refrigerator for several minutes. As if by looking long enough, something more appealing will appear. Then he opens a cabinet and stares. Then back to the fridge.

Mom: "What are you looking for??"
Alex: "Hmm...I'm not sure. I think I'll know it when I see it."
Mom: "But you've seen it all."
Alex: "Yeah. But nothing has looked right yet."

Yeah, I get that. Can't say as I haven't been there myself a time or two. Or three or thirty.

And we are now 6 weeks away from the big eating of Girl Scout cookies! I am the cookie mom for Beth's troop, which means that starting in 6 weeks when the cookies come in, my van is going to have the constant aroma of thin mint cookies. And my living room will be lined with cases of cookies. (Imagine the staring that Alex can do then!) Today we begin taking pre-orders, and cookies will be on the brain continually. I wish this didn't come so closely on the heels of all the big eating we did during Thanksgiving. And birthdays. And Christmas. And New Years. And last night for no reason. But today I've been good. I had my oatmeal with flax seeds and blueberries. The day's not over yet, but so far so good. Anyway...

And Brad has, once again, given up his nightly ice cream indulgence. I'm proud of him. He decides something and just does it. Doesn't complain about it, or make everyone else suffer with him. (Like some other adult in this home!) Just quietly does what he's decided to do. His cholesterol crept back up a bit since last Spring, so he is determined to bring it back down before his check up in April. He'll do it. I've known him more than half my life, and he still is the most disciplined person I have ever met.

That must be where Brenna gets it. She is the only one in our house (including pets!) that I would not put into the "big eater" category. This girl LOVES M&M's. Loves them. It was on her birthday list, to have a giant bag of M&M's. So Alex gave her a huge bag. She also had saved out all her acquired M&M's from Halloween, and traded other candy for additional supply. She's such a collector! So she has dumped all these candies into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. She keeps it in her room and eats 5 everyday. Just 5. She gladly shares them if asked. Doesn't hoard them, just savors them. So sweet. I could never let Beth keep that much candy in her room. She would plow through them! Alex too. But Brenna is just that way. She savors. Love that about her. I want to be more like Brenna when I grow up.

So, I've probably bored you with this. Truly just random thoughts on big eaters, with a gentle update on our crawl space visitors. In fact, I did it so gently that I didn't even itch. I better be careful...I'm getting there again!

Monday, January 5, 2009

They've messed with the wrong family!

The last few days have been very "interesting" around here. I alluded to it a bit in the first entry...the adventure going on under our house. I'm finally brave enough to talk about it. It all started last week, with some scratching noises in the middle of the night. A bit unnerving. Brad went under the house on Thursday to investigate it, with the intention of laying a few mouse traps. Well, that turned out to be an all afternoon event. It turns out we have a couple (?) rats living under there! I know, isn't your head itching just at the thought?! Do you relate to that? My head itches in response to...well, lots of things. As I type this, I've itched twice. Describe something gross to me, I'll have to itch. Tell me about a flea infestation, I'll itch for you. I could go on, but I'll get back to the rats. Brad took Edgar under the house with him to let him have a fun hunt. Then he put out a bunch of poison pellets and traps.

Early that evening, we noticed our phone line to the kitchen was dead. Yep, they chewed through that wire. Since they apparently are so "smart", I was hoping they were trying to use the line to call all their friends and alert them to the poison. "Abort! Abort!!"

Last night, continued scratching (apparently that means they are gnawing on something to sharpen their teeth! ew..more itching.). So today, we called in the big guns. He came in the form of Jeff from a local pest control company. And you know what? Jeff says they think trapping rats is fun! "Mice are so easy because they go into whatever trap you put out. But rats are smart and very suspicious, so it takes a lot of strategy and adjusting to get the rats. It makes it fun!" Well, thank God for people like Jeff!

He confirmed that these are Roof Rats. Roof Rats look like large mice. "They have kind of a cute look" Bless you, Jeff. They also leave a different type of dropping than the Norway Rat. Norway Rats are the more shaggy, nasty looking rats that I tend to picture. Excuse me...another head itch. They began hanging out at our house because of the abundant supply of bunny pellets on the side of the house. We thought those bunnies had been eating a lot. (Anyone in the market for a couple bunnies??) And it seems that our house is not insulated well enough to be very hospitable to rats setting up homes. But we have made a great place for them to get out of the cold and have a snack.

Trapping at our house may take some patience, because we learned that between the cat being down there, Brad being there, traps being a new thing in their familiar environment, etc., they will be very skittish and skeptical of anything. So, it's a process. Why does everything have to be a process?? I was hoping he would leave with 2 dead rats in the back of his truck, but no. The "process" starts tomorrow at 1:30, with the traps going down. A couple places where they have had easy access are being fixed. We'll get 'em. They've messed with the wrong family.

And get this...we also are not a hospitable environment for them to try to gain entry to the house because of "all the activity" in our house. Translation...3 kids. Beth in particular goes nowhere quietly. I am not telling her to be quiet until I know the rat problem is in our past. I am going to encourage her to walk down the hallway using big, booming steps. I'm going to encourage the kids, especially after dusk, to shout to one another from room to room, to slam their bedroom doors. Alex will not be practicing bassoon or saxophone until after dark. And he won't be allowed to play any soothing jazz-style music! No mood music for rats! And Brenna will practice her flute, sustaining a few high notes that are still being perfected. As I type this, Alex is playing the theme to Charlie Brown on the piano. That'll work. That's kind of a frantic-paced song. If they are trying to sleep, that'll keep them up. Again, they've messed with the wrong family.

So, there you have it. I have literally not slept peacefully or deeply since this started. I feel very jumpy and on-edge. I am very sleep deprived. This kind of thing really creeps me out. When I hear of a rat, I picture the sewer, garbage, etc. Not my home. Another itch.

I've heard from a couple of you that's it not easy to post a comment on this. That's one of the things I'm figuring out, what setting to choose for comments. I'll adjust it and see if it works.

Thanks for sharing my itch!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why Chocolate Chips and Snickerdoodles??

Here we go! I'm so intrigued about this blogging business, and decided to venture into it myself. I love reading various blogs. Getting a peek into others' lives seems to give me insight into my own. I have no idea how this one will shape up. I guess I'll figure that out as I go!

So, why "Chocolate Chips and Snickerdoodles"? Well, it goes without saying that I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. I love to say "chocolate chip cookies", I love to hear someone else say it, I love the smell of the chocolate chip bag, the baking of the cookies, and, of course, the eating of the cookies. The whole experience. I've loved them since I was 11 years old. Here's the story...My mom was going through her 2nd brain surgery. I was a bundle of fear. I didn't know if my mom was going to be okay. The idea of the adults in my life was to tell me as little as possible, I suppose their idea of protecting me. But I received that as "It must be really bad if they can't tell me anything." So I tried hard to overhear conversations and figure it out myself...a very insecure time. During my mom's hospital stay and beyond, ladies from our church were bringing dinners to our house. I came home from school one day and the meal had already been dropped off. Right in the middle of the kitchen counter was a lovely plate of...chocolate chip cookies! Something happened when I saw those cookies. It was a little touch of reassurance. As if the Lord Himself reached down and gave me a big hug and let me know things would be okay. I don't know why it was seeing the cookies that gave me such reassurance. My mom was many wonderful things, but not much of a cookie baker. Now when I get to take dinner to someone, I always bring some sort of cookie or dessert. It speaks comfort and reassurance to me. I'm so glad He didn't choose to comfort me through broccoli. Chocolate Chip Cookies just taste so very good with cold milk!

And, Snickerdoodles are the first type of cookie I remember making over and over. Fond memories of baking with friends, arguing over who got to add which ingredient. While laboring all afternoon over what to call this blog, one of my favorite 13-year-olds suggested Snickerdoodle! Perfect!! (Thanks, Amanda...cookies coming your way!)

We do have some "excitement" going on around (specifically under) our house that I may get brave enough to blog about tomorrow. I suppose it's a good story. And I suppose it will be funny to me someday. But not today. Maybe tomorrow...

In the meantime, go find yourself some comfort...

"I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

...and if you need some cookies, give me a call! If you'll excuse me, I have some baking to do!