Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Word of Mouth

My friend Katie McDonnell has just officially launched the website of her photography business. Check out her work at Amazing!

And while you're at it, if you haven't seen the website for Thrive Fitness, Dave's business, you can see what our favorite accountant is up to at

Pass it on!

I've had it!

Lizards in the office! Snakes in the garden! (Literally! I'm serious!)

I just about had a heart attack sitting at the computer when the little lizard who's been living in the office just jumped on a plastic shopping bag and scared the bejeebers out of me! All I need is a bird caught in here and I'm on my way to the looney bin. For a while now, lizards have been getting into the sunroom/office and can't find their way out. Then they leap out of nowhere and startle me. And there are always one or two on the outside window creepin' me out. The current resident is very daring. I first found him on a pile of papers on the desk. I guess I should clean the desk off more often! And my 6'1", 2(ehm!)40 lb. husband will not catch them and toss them back outside.
And then there's the snake. I hate snakes. I hate the way they slither. I hate their tongues. I hate the way they are quiet and sneak up on you. There's a black (supposedly harmless) snake in the backyard now. We've had one that suns itself in the front yard for a while. I think this is a new one and I'm a little afraid that the two have met and gotten to know each other in the biblical sense. The one in the backyard came slithering along the wall while I watered the veggies, went over R's golf clubs and stopped right under the faucet. I finished watering and went inside just watching it until it went back towards the garden and pool pump area where I think it lives. Then I ventured back out, clapping my hands, and turned the water off.
I've got my eye on the lizard, hiding underneath a box. Wait, where did it go? How can I blog and myspace in peace?? Where's Samuel L. Jackson when you need 'im?

Friday, May 25, 2007


Blogpetitive, I know.

I read One Mississippi this week. I had Mom bring it down a few weeks ago because the next book in my pile was a bit depressing and I remembered Mom laughing her head off when she read this one. Well, I laughed too for about the first 1/4 of the book and then it takes a bit of a tragic twist. Daniel moves from Indiana to Mississippi in the early 1970's (the soundtrack to this book would be great). His observations on his family and fitting into the Deep South were witty and hilarious. And Daniel and his best friend taking the Frillinger twins (dogs, man!) to the prom to score sympathy votes from out-of-their-league girls along with the account rest of their Prom night was priceless. However, Prom Night is about their last carefree time together.

The racial issues were the most interesting. Nothing was (sorry) black or white in how the groups managed to be at school together in the early years of integration. No neat and clean Remember the Titans resolutions here. Childress (the author) turns things upside down. A tangent theme and the rest of the book revolves around another minority trying to make it out of Mississippi alive--homosexuals.

A good read overall and one I would recommend.

Next up--I'm halfway through Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking. And the kids and I went to the library yesterday while the house was being fumigated for fleas (in a house with no pets, I don't get this!). Can you believe that was the first time R's been to the library? They're going to revoke my English teacher card. She was nuts the whole time but managed to bring home a few books. I picked out No Roses for Harry (a follow up to Harry the Dirty Dog, one of my favorites) as well as The Book Thief and Black Swann Green. I'll let you know...

Check your fingers

A recent study has discovered that the ratio of the length of your pointer finger to the length of your ring finger may indicate test scores in verbal vs. math skills. If your pointer finger is longer, you do better on verbal tests. If your ring finger is longer, you're more math inclined. Now the ratio of finger length also has a gender/hormone variable so take this with a grain of salt. But it's true for our house.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pizza Margherita

Despite all the bemoaning of my non-Martha Stewart-ness, I did perfect my pizza margherita recipe. And for under $10. That means I can pick up a Yellowtail Merlot at Publix and still come out ahead of Pizza Hut. I wish I had taken a picture before tearing into it because it was beautiful.

Here's my cheap and easy Pizza Margherita:

pizza dough from Publix bakery (sorry, KS)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
red pepper flakes
handful of fresh basil leaves, divided
olive oil
fresh mozzarella (from the deli), 8 - 10 ounces

Take the dough out of the fridge to rest while you make the sauce. Usually needs to be out for an hour or so. Preheat oven to 425.
In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute till tender. Add tomatoes, a Rachel Ray teaspoon of kosher salt and sugar, fresh ground pepper. Let simmer for 20 minutes, breaking down the tomatoes slightly with the back of a wooden spoon. Add chopped fresh basil, let simmer a bit more, and then remove from heat when most of the liquid has cooked down. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Roll out dough thinly and place on pizza pan. Add sauce and thinly sliced mozzarella. Tear the remaining basil leaves and sprinkle around. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 or according to dough directions.

Yum! Though, you know, some days I just want a slice of Pizza Hut artery-clogging MeatLover's pizza. Mmm, tonight's dinner?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Martha, Martha

We ate our first green beans from the garden this weekend--a handful at a time. And though I started this endeavor as something to do with Rebekah this summer, she refused to step foot near the garden because it's too dirty. Hence the name, kid--dirt. By the way, if you live within a 20 mile radius of us, you will have zuccinni on your doorstep this summer. We will be overrun with it.
But that's really it for the whole gardening thing. I've planted some new flowers and I'm trying to keep ahead of the weeds. My herbs are still alive. But I'm no Martha Stewart when in that department. I'll leave that to my mother--along with perfect pie crusts.
Dave made a comment this weekend regarding my housekeeping skills; actually, I think he made more than one. As much as I'd like to be Susie Homemaker or Martha Stewart (minus the bangs in the face, the insider trading charges, and driving away all loved ones and employees) I'm just not. I keep up with the laundry, the house is clean(ish), and I get dinner on the table most nights. It's not grilled salmon on barley mostly because I'm not very taste bud adventurous and while Dave will eat just about anything, he'll eat whatever's on the table. It doesn't have to be gourmet for him. I'm notorious for not keeping the pantry well-stocked. We never have salsa, we run out of milk, I toss too many rotten vegetables. But I do have three bottles of laundry detergent and (I think) about 20 rolls of paper towels.
In my defense, I do pretty well for company. I like to bake for book club or Bible study. I make my own desserts. I plan the big meal well, just not the three nights beforehand. I generally can feel pretty good about the house if someone unexpectedly stops by.
Part of this reflection is based on last week's discussion of Lost Women of the Bible as we contemplated the role(s) of women offered and how we may or may not fit into cultural definitions, how we have different gifts and personalities that don't always align with society's or the church's templates. When does my lack of attention to housekeeping mean I'm failing my family or can I abdicate some part of that because it's just not me? And why do I feel stiffled some days when I have one of most important jobs in the Kingdom--raising covenant children? Sigh, there's always going to be a tension; I sometimes think women feel it more with the feminist movement and the conflicting voices coming at us. I am woman, hear me whine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I love everyday people

That was actually the offertory music for Sunday's service accompanying a slide show of O-wood members serving around town and around the world. How fitting too then that this was the picture from the baptism on Sunday.

The most beautiful aspect of Benjamin's baptism, apart from the actual sacrament, was the picture of God's grace and His Church represented that morning on the platform. The photo hardly does it justice (I'm trying to track down a better shot) but you can see Dr. K, who performed one of the baptisms, Josh and Keely holding their adopted daughter Salem, Barry and Vicki with their son (Vicki's 4 yr. old son is there too, just hidden by the bald guy), and our family. In that small group represents the diversity of the body in age, race, gender and story. *

Salem was born in Ethiopia, abandoned, then rescued and adopted. She's the story of God's watchfulness on the sparrow and of Him using ordinary people to fix brokenness in this world. Barry and Vicki have a great story of finding one another and blending their family together, of God working in hearts, of two cultures coming together. And then there's us--kinda the boring story but a story of grace, God's faithfulness and provision, and a legacy of Christian parents. The beauty of people and the beauty of grace.
*Thanks to Keely for the improved picture.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A blessed Mother's Day

Blessing upon blessing this Mother's Day. Precious Benjamin David was baptized into the covenant family on Sunday. Didn't spit out his binky into the baptismal font or spit up on the Rev. Jakes so I was most pleased. It's amazing to realize that as much as I love my kids, God loves them even more and extends his covenant to them.
Much of our family was there--my parents, Dave's parents, my grandparents, and Dave's sister Jennifer. Dave's other sister Debbie joined us for lunch with the
nephews. A bit hot and smokey outside but otherwise a wonderful day with family. And Mom made tiramisu for dessert too! I slept in my new Mother's Day pajamas last night, which would have been more restful except the precious covenant child keeps waking up on his belly and gets p.o.'ed about it!
Today it's back to normal; everyone has left, Ben's (hopefully) back on schedule, and we're going to Target in a bit.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Catching Up

"One day in summer Frog was not feeling well. Toad said, 'Frog, you are looking quite green.' 'But I always look green,' said Frog. 'I am a frog.' 'Today you look very green even for a frog,' said Toad."

We're on the mend now, I think. I had a relapse last night and Ben threw up in the middle of the night--ick, thrown up formula in all those neck crevices. But the house smells great now after a thorough Clorox, Lysol, and Febreeze dousing with the windows wide open.

I love the Frog and Toad books and I'm really glad that Rebekah is into them now. Our favorite is the Cookie story when Frog and Toad need will power to stop eating cookies. I love Toad's final lines after the birds have eaten the rest of the cookies and Frog triumphantly states, "We have lots and lots of will power." Toad says, "You may keep it all, Frog. I am going home now to bake a cake." Dave just told me to not buy cookies for a while since he's weak and Rebekah's still sucking her thumb and I just can't keep my mouth shut. Maybe I'll bake a cake.

We watched The Departed last night which might have contributed to the indigestion. Maybe I had seen too many clips since the movie came out so long ago but very few things surprised me. (Spoiler alert--if there IS any one left who is further behind in movies than me! I knew Mark Walhberg had to come back at some point.) And while the overall plot wasn't as terrific or twisted as I expected, I really enjoyed some individual scenes for the acting, a few one-liners, and some depth.

Onto books. Last book club selection was The Memory Keeper's Daughter. The premise is very interesting: A doctor must deliver his own child in the middle of a snow storm. One baby is born healthy, perfect. His twin sister bears the tell-tale signs of Down Syndrome. In an instantaneous decision, the doctor/father gives the baby girl to the assisting nurse to take to a home for the mentally handicapped. The mother is told she delivered a blue baby. She even holds a memorial service for her dead daughter. But the nurse takes the baby girl to raise on her own instead. The rest of the novel chronicles what happens to the family with a lie like a wall comes between them. While we found some faults with the author's storytelling and character development, possibly attributed to this being her first novel when she's previously written short stories, overall we found it interesting. I usually like the books more after we discuss them anyway.

So then I read our next selection, The Glass Castle, in two days. Horrifying! I was dumbfounded. The author is a contributor for who grew up in the most devestating level of poverty. I was amazed that not only did all 4 children physically survive the malnourishment, filth, lack of medical/dental/hygenic attention, accidents, sexual abuse, but that they all got out! Also very interesting to compare to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

The next book in my pile is A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion which I've been wanting to read for a while but I need something a bit lighter first. So Mom is bringing One Mississippi to me this weekend.

Yea! My mom is coming. Only for the weekend--Benjamin is being baptized on Sunday--but it will be a bit of a break. We've already planned coffee out on Friday night. And Rebekah is taking Granddad golfing in the backyard.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sometimes it stinks to be Mom

This has been the longest few days I can remember. Wednesday night we got NO sleep between Ben rolling over in his bed (and then being frustrated that he can't roll back over) to Rebekah inexplicably waking up--completely alert and perky--at 3 AM and again at 6 full of requests and excuses. Then after a too long day of errands, shopping, swim lessons, Dave came down with a stomach flu around 10:30 at night. Beyond ICK, I will spare you the gory details. So another night with no sleep.

Friday--kept the kids quiet and out of Dave's hair as he recovered. I'm dragging my butt all day, exhausted. Got a decent night's sleep though.

On Saturday morning, I started feeling gross after the first bite of my eggs. I took a shower in anticipation of the yuck that was to follow. Sure enough, it got me too. And I missed the Women's Ministry brunch. Lying in bed around noon, I hear Dave yell for me. Rebekah has gotten her first stomach virus. She was traumatized by the throwing up. And the throwing up, and the throwing up. All afternoon. She pitifully asked me for water or food and I had to refuse. She cried. More throwing up. I'm barely standing up, Dave's slightly better and I'm keeping an eye on Benjamin wondering when he's going to blow. I did load after load of laundry, started sanitizing the house, made runs to the store for more Gatorade and Pedilyte.

It looks like we're all better today. Rebekah woke up trying to make up for all the words she didn't say yesterday and then crashed for an early nap. And tomorrow is Monday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Swim lessons




She's actually doing quite well, though intaking too much water. I didn't get a picture of her tossing her Cheerios!