Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Have you ever seen that movie? My husband thinks it's one of the funniest things he's ever seen, and I can hardly stand it. Why? Because no matter what they do, they can't seem to get it right. I can't stand watching them run into one obstacle after just drives me crazy.

Tonight we had a very "Planes, Trains, and Automobile" kind of night.

It all started a few nights ago when Mike and I were talking about the two of us going out on a date this weekend. Leah calls from the backseat, "What are you two talking about?"

"Daddy and Mommy are going to go on a date this weekend," I replied.

A short pause. And then, again from the backseat, "I think, in this family, that a date means three people should go!"

How could you pass that up? So today, we headed out on our family date. The plan? A quick stop at Walmart, then off to the zoo to take in a new Christmas movie at the IMAX theater. After that, pizza at a place we've never been to on the other side of town. We (thought we) had a $25 certificate that we bought on for $2. Then, home to put up our Christmas tree!

So we left at 3:30, and made a stop at Walmart. Now, you have to understand that Mike hates going into Walmart on a slow day, much less on the Saturday afternoon before Thanksgiving! But we found a parking spot a mile from the entrance and he begrudgingly went in with me. It was a date, after all! So I head right to the thing that we need to buy. They are out of it. Completely. Back another mile to the car, and off to the IMAX.

We walk into the theater and see a bunch of people just sitting around. Strange, but whatever. We go up to the desk, and see a sign: "The IMAX theater is closed due to technical difficulties". Of course it is. But the cashier tells us to check back in awhile to see if it is fixed in time for the 5:00 showing. So we decide to head into the zoo for a little while and find the gorillas and parrots, Leah's favorite animals. Thankfully, they were all alive and well and we enjoyed an hour in a very quiet and empty zoo. Then we went back to check on the theater. Still shut down. "Oh well," I said, "we can just head to the pizza place a little early."

So we walk back to the van. I take out my folder with all of our certificates in it, and what do I find? No certificate! Apparently we had talked about purchasing one but never had. Mike thought maybe we should just drive up there anyway, but I didn't want to if we could first get our hands on the discounted certificate.

Well, our house is too far away, but my sister lives about 15 minutes from the zoo, so we headed over there to use their computer and buy a certificate on there. I get to the website, and find out that this restaurant is only selling $10 certificates, which is probably why we didn't buy one in the first place! We didn't think it was worth it to drive all the way across the city just to save 10 bucks, so we abandoned that idea altogether.

Back to the van. By this time Leah was tired and ready to eat, if not just ready to head home. I still wanted to salvage some bit of this family date, and Mike was just hungry and thirsty. So we drove to our old stand-by restaurant and had supper. It was delicious as always, but not quite part of the adventure that we had hoped.

But there was one part of our date night left! The tree!! We got home, put on some Christmas music, and started pulling the tree out of the box. (Yeah, I don't do real). This tree is a second hand one from my parents and so we haven't used it before. We got all the branches out and Leah was dancing around all excited to finally put it up. Actually, so was I. Mike came in to help (remember, this is a family date!) and says, "Hey, where's the stand?"

So a quick call to my mom told us that the stand is sitting in their porch, three hours away from our house. Of course it is. The "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" curse had reared it's ugly head yet again. I ran to the store to find something there. Nothing. Seriously nothing. And I'm done. I'm not going to drive around this city at 8:00 at night searching for a Christmas tree stand. I'm just not. Bah Humbug.

So our evening ends! The old standby leftovers are in the refrigerator, and the Christmas tree is strewn about our living room. Leah is sad that not only did she not get to watch a movie she also did not get to put up the Christmas tree.

But...we still enjoyed our time together as a family, and Leah was right, sometimes dates are more fun with three.

But, we would like to trade in our "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" kind of night for a "Groundhog Day" one. Because I think we earned a do-over!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn turning into Winter...

The radio station that I listen to has started to play Christmas music 24/7. I wasn't sure I was ready for it but I've found myself enjoying it as I work around the house this week. And I did some Christmas shopping yesterday! So, I decided before I completely switch my brain over to the winter season I better finish up a few fall thoughts on this blog!

I know I left you hanging nearly a month ago. I went hunting for those promised pictures of the third winery but couldn't find any, so perhaps I didn't take any! I'm not sure anymore. However, I have other pictures that will hopefully satisfy any other desires you may have.

We've had a wonderful fall...lots of fun outside and in, and as I write this Mike and Leah are in the backyard raking and jumping in the many leaves that our 4 large trees produce and then dump in the yard.

A few of our adventures are detailed in the pictures below...the first three are of a really lovely trip Leah and I took to the pumpkin patch on possibly the most beautiful fall day ever, and the last one is of our princess on Halloween. A sweet old man answered one of the doors we went to, and said, "Now, what are you supposed to be young lady?" "A princess," she replied. "Oh, my, I had one of those once," he said. "She's 45 years old now!" It was a special moment as for a second I think this precious neighbor had a wonderful memory of his little princess.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday Date

Several weeks ago Mike and I were downtown in the Old Market to celebrate Mike's birthday. As we often do when we are in this part of the city, we spent some time walking through the various art galleries and stores. While in one we picked up a brochure for something called Studio and Vine, and it intrigued us. Wine? Art? Fall colors? Sign me up!

We did a little more research and discovered that "Studio and Vine" was a bus tour through part of the Loess Hills in western Iowa. The bus stopped at three wineries and two artist studios over the course of a Sunday afternoon. We thought it sounded wonderful, and invited our wine club to join us. While we had several people interested, by the time Sunday arrived no one else could go, so it ended up being just a nice day away for Mike and I.

We were a little nervous when we received an email telling us to meet at the senior center in Council Bluffs, but our fears were quickly dismissed when we drove up and saw all varities of ages represented. So our adventure began!

Our first stop was at Sugar Clay Winery, which won the award for the most beautiful area of the day. You may enjoy their wine if you enjoy the taste of dirty socks, but I would probably skip Sugar Clay next time. However, the scenery was beautiful, so I may return with my own wine just to enjoy the area!

Our next stop was King Crossing Winery. After our first experience we didn't hold high hopes, but we were pleasantly surprised. No wine stood out like dirty socks, and there were a few that we would like to try again. The medieval decor was really fun, and the views of the vineyard were gorgeous.

The next stop was an art gallery located in a little barn in the country. While it was quite unassuming from the outside, the photography displayed indoors took my breath away. The art is by John and Debora Scanlan, and it is simply beautiful.

That's all for now...coming soon...more pics, one more winery, and one more studio.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lame Excuse for a Blog Post...

Yes, I know it's not a real update...but hopefully this will satisfy all curious onlookers until I get my act together enough to post pictures and write about the 5th birthday that someone in our house just experienced. Mike is gone for the weekend so I've been dividing my time between being ultra-productive and fairly lazy, which is just the perfect balance. At any rate, a real post is going to come soon, but for now, I've been tagged!


4 things...
I was tagged by here we go!

4 things I was doing 10 years ago:
*Teaching 7th/8th grade in Worthington, MN.
*Adjusting to living life for the very first time on my own, without any roommate.
*I can't remember anything else too exciting! :)
*Nope, still nothing.

4 things on my to-do list for today:
*Clean Leah's toyroom (in progress...)
*Take Leah out for pizza (just got home)
*Do the dishes (done!)
*Read a book (soon!)

4 jobs I have had: (I've had many odd jobs. Mike keeps encouraging me to do a blog series about them. Perhaps I shall...)
*Dental assistant (first job!)
*Dairy Queen
*Cook at a summer camp
*Typed/Read phone conversations between the hearing and deaf/hard of hearing

4 movies I have watched more than once:
*Pretty Woman
*Never Been Kissed
*Shawshank Redemption
*The Princess Bride

4 places I have lived:
*Sioux Falls, SD
*Warwick, NY
*Worthington, MN
*Atlanta, GA

4 places I have been this year:
*Southern California
*Colorado Springs, CO
*Sioux Falls, SD
*Boelus, NE

4 places I want to visit:

4 TV shows I watch:
*Amazing Race
*Friends (still!)
*Ace of Cakes

4 things you may not know about me:
*I hate daily cleaning, but I love a big cleaning project. (Which works out well for someone who hates daily cleaning!)
*I love searching for good travel deals on the internet (even when I'm not going anywhere!)
*I love to read a good romantic suspense book...and often do judge a book by it's cover (much to my husband's dismay).
*I just quit one of my two jobs this week...for many reasons, but I am looking forward to having dinner at home with my family more than once a week. Gulp!

Hey, consider yourself tagged if you read this and are in a blogging slump like me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Tooth Fairy and other such things....

Leah's first experience with the tooth fairy came this summer when her cousin Katherine was staying at our house and lost one of her teeth. Of course this prompted all sorts of excitement when they discovered that the tooth fairy didn't put the money where they expected it, and the great hunt was on! They finally found it on the toilet, and figured that the tooth fairy must have had to use the bathroom and just left the money there. Wise cousin Katherine (who, at age 6, is already on to such things) looked at me skeptically, but she just gathered up her money and moved on. Leah and her cousin Aaron were beyond excited and couldn't stop talking about that silly tooth fairy who left the money in the bathroom. (It was later discovered, by the way, that Uncle Tooth Fairy had already place money under the pillow, but we didn't find it the first time around. So Aunt Tooth Fairy had to think quick...)

At any rate, Leah has been very excited for her first tooth fairy visit. We told her that usually teeth don't start falling out until you are in kindergarten, so she would have to wait a little while.

This morning, we hear this question yelled from the bathroom, "Mom, how do teeth know when you are in kindergarten??"

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I was kindly reminded (thanks, Cass!) that an update was long overdue (once again)...I can't believe that summer is over and we are looking ahead to fall activities already. One of the fall changes in our home was that Leah started pre-school last week! We chose a little pre-school at a Baptist church about a block from our house, so it's a quick and easy walk down there in the morning. She goes three mornings a week, and after two days she is so excited to go back in the morning. It's a lovely little place, where you just feel happy when you walk in the door, so I know that she'll have a wonderful year there.

The first morning of school she was told by Daddy that Mommy would make her a special breakfast. Well, she interpreted that to be a "Special, super secret surprise breakfast"! (She has a flair for the dramatic). So this picture shows her eating her homemade waffles cut into hearts and flowers. I hope cereal is good enough on the other mornings!

On Wednesday morning as I was walking her to school, she held my hand and said, "I will miss you a little bit, Mommy". "Oh, Leah," I said, "I will miss you too. But I know that God is going to be there with you at school, and you will meet lots of new friends and have a really nice teacher. You are going to have so much fun." Her response was the one that made me throw my sunglasses on to hide the tears. "Mommy, God will be with you too while I am gone." Such blessings from a four year old. I understand what it meant in the Bible that Mary took all of these things and pondered them in her heart. A small statement like this is tucked away and brought out to remind me how much I can receive from my daughter.

(Leah has trouble just smiling for a picture. This was the best we could get! Her red bucket is what they bring instead of backpacks.)

In other things, we had a busy neighborhood weekend with a wine tasting on Friday night. Italian wines was the theme, as our hosts had recently returned from a 3 week trip to Italy. I would have rather gone to Italy, but we had a wonderful time once again with these people who are becoming our friends. Saturday we spent the afternoon and evening at our annual neighborhood picnic....lots of games and food...and rain!! But we, along with about 25 other people stuck it out for the fireworks which still went off in the pouring rain. I was only there because we had promised Leah we would stay, and it did make for an experience to remember! My hot shower felt very good last night.

(Leah and her neighbor friend after the candy hunt at the picnic)

So that's a little of what we've been up to! Change of seasons brings changes around our home too....Happy Fall, ya'll!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


In talking about being married today, I told Leah that someday maybe she will get married! Her response:

"No, I will be a ballerina, and I will live with you forever!"

Today, that warms this mama's heart. In 20 years, probably not.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sea to Sea

I, like many of you, have had a busy summer. We've filled our days with lots of work, lots of play, a little bit of summertime laziness....all the things that go into making a summer special.

But one of the most fascinating things I've involved myself with this summer is something called Sea to Sea. I haven't gotten nearly as involved as the 200 or so people travelling from Seattle to Jersey City, NJ on their bikes, but reading the blogs that many of them are writing as they go on their journey has been a great glimpse into this adventure.

So why are these riders (who range in age from 18-80!) doing this? They are riding in conjunction with my denomination's ministries to end the cycle of poverty for families and individuals across the globe. They have raised funds that will contribute to these efforts, and continue to collect funds from interested people that they meet along the route. Not only do I admire what these individuals are physically accomplishing, but I am completely in love with the causes that they are riding for.

So in your summertime spare time, check out a blog or two! And if you happen to be somewhere near their route give them a shout out, or just a cold popsicle will do! :) And if you really are bowled over like I am by what they are doing, consider donating to their cause. (No amount too small....I was blessed to read yesterday about a waitress at a small little cafe where they were eating who gave $5 out of her tip money...simply beautiful.)

And if you are in my area, come join us tomorrow for worship...we will have many of the Sea to Sea riders joining us as they stop over in the Omaha area for their rest day. We are excited to greet many of them at this half-way point in their journey.

Godspeed, Sea to Sea-ers! And for the rest of you, I know this blog is link-happy, but it's worth your time to check it all out! I can't think of a better way to spend your time!! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

6 Years!

This morning I was up long before the sun to bring my sister-in-law, my niece, and my nephew to the airport. We enjoyed having Katherine and Aaron spend the last week with us, and filled our days with trips to the zoo, swimming, movies, playing around the house, and finally a girls/boys day yesterday where we took the girls for a mini manicure/pedicure and Mike took Aaron fishing. We had a lot of fun, but now it's time to get back into the old routine again.

On my way home this morning, I was thinking about a morning 6 years ago when I also was up far before the sun, waking to get ready to walk down the aisle! It was a very special day, of course. We were so blessed to celebrate with so many friends and family, and we have some wonderful memories of that day. An anniversary is a good thing to celebrate, and I'm so thankful that today we get to be together to do so. We're going to be headed to brunch after church....something I always love to but we rarely do, so our "romantic" anniversary meal will be a brunch! I already was surprised with a dozen beautiful roses (he does well....!) and I enjoy the way they brighten my room.

So this morning, as the sun rises, I just wanted to spend a minute talking about this man that was willing to take me on as his wife...this incredibly patient, loving, faithful, hard-working, kind, intelligent, quirky (ahh, but you gotta love 'em), funny man. I'm blessed to be called his wife.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Yes, yes, yes. I know that the last time I posted anything on here was Memorial Day. No, Leah is not still sitting in that lake lathering herself with mud. Yes, we have been having a good summer. No, we cannot believe that it is half over already. Yes, I'm deeply sorry that I have not posted more often. No, I will not ignore your pleas any longer! Yes, I will write again!

So what have we been up to? Our summer started off pretty quietly, with a few day-cations around Omaha. We've enjoyed a few trips to the zoo, a trip to visit Mike at work for lunch, several trips to the library, countless trips to the park, one or two trips to the pool. Leah took swimming lessons for two weeks in June, and Mike and Leah "enjoyed" spending 2 hours in the locker room during a tornado warning.

We kicked off the last few weeks with an amazing camping weekend spent with about 8 families from our church. Leah even rode on a tube behind a boat! Unfortunately, my camera was left on shore, but she loved every minute of it and is excited to do it again.

Two days after we got home from camping I left for a last minute trip to California to celebrate the life of my dear cousin Jayne's husband Jeff. It was a wonderful time spent with family, and I was thankful that I could also attend the most worshipful memorial service I've ever been to. Leah was able to spend the week with my sister and brother-in-law but was happy to have me come home again!

Four days after I got home from California, I re-packed to go to Sioux Falls to spend the 4th of July weekend with my parents. We drove our non-air-conditioned van 3 hours and spent a wonderful weekend there. The festivities on the 4th were a lot of fun, and we even had time for a trip to Worthington, MN where I used to teach. We drove back today watching the temperature climb. We were armed with ice water and battery operated fans and we made it to our cool house.

Now, we have two more days at home before we leave again! We're heading on Wednesday to Colorado Springs so that I can go to a conference for Learning Rx where I work. Mike and Leah are coming along and will "play" while I go to the conference. Thankfully, we're going to be able to rent a car (it's about a 9 hour drive) so we don't have to sweat it out!

So...that should catch you up a little! Our heads are spinning a bit around here, but we're thankful for a good summer so far.

Now I'm off to unpack, do laundry, repack, and rest!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day in Boelus

We've spent the last few days in Boelus at Mike's parents' farm, and have been relaxing and enjoying every moment. I've read two books, eaten amazing food, gone out on a date with my husband, and beaten everyone at Scrabble. Leah has been out finding and feeding the cows on several occasions with Grandpa and Uncle Steve, and she's gotten to ride in the tractor and on the 4-wheeler, which is a big hit. She's played with their two adorable dogs Salt and Pepper, who follow her everywhere. We're headed home in the morning, but we have enjoyed ourselves while we've been here.

The highlight of our weekend, however, was spending yesterday afternoon fishing at a little fishin' hole a few miles down the gravel road from the farm. The weather was perfect and Mike, Leah, and I spent about 2 hours just sitting out by the water and throwing our poles in time after time. While we weren't successful catching any fish, we had a great time, and Leah discovered something even more fun to occupy herself. Enjoy the video of our afternoon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ah Spring!

70 degrees. Light breeze. No bugs. Birds singing. Flowers blooming.

Thus led to lunch on the deck. Perfection.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What a party!

As I write, Leah is on the front steps of our house playing with her Barbies. I was sitting out there with her watching her play...these are precious moments. She was busy getting her dolls ready for their party, and then they were off to the party! "But Leah," I said, "your Barbies don't have any pants on!"

"Duh," was her reply, "It's a no-pants party. Silly Mommy!"

I'm hoping that this is one party that I'm not invited to!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meet Mr. Eggplant

No, not the purple kind that you eat (well, that some people eat...for the record, you won't find any eggplant in my garden!).

The real Mr. Eggplant was made by Leah this afternoon. We started with an empty egg shell, a little bit of potting soil, and some grass seed. Leah drew a face on the egg, and we planted the grass seed in the potting soil, which we had put in the egg. Now, our fingers are crossed that Mr. Eggplant grows some hair! Leah has already checked it out about five times since we made it 10 minutes ago, and she is very disappointed that there is no hair yet. Perhaps it's time for Rogaine!

Mr. Eggplant, waiting for his hair to grow:

Monday, May 05, 2008

Getting my rear in gear...

Thanks to some kind and loving friends and family I decided that getting an entry up and running was long overdue. I think it's the most gorgeous morning of the year (Yeah!!! We can officially say winter is gone, although western Nebraska just had a blizzard last week.) so I imagine that we will not be staying indoors much today. We started working in earnest in our gardens this weekend, and I have to be a good gardener and get out there to water. I don't know if my thumb has turned green yet, but there seems at least to be a greenish tinge to it. Mike is building a composte bin as we have been casually composting for awhile now and finally are going to get serious about it. He's been reading about good things to add to the compost to really get it into great soil, and some things are surprising (like newspaper!). I'm pretty good with all of it, but he read that one of the best things is urine. That is where I draw the line. Just the thought of having my tomato plants covered in urine...seriously.

But anyway, I don't know when I became the kind of person who wrote a whole paragraph on her garden, but I'm afraid it is happening.

In other events, Mike and I went to our neighborhood wine tasting again this weekend, and again we had a lot of fun. The theme was wines with labels of famous people, so we brought Fess Parker's Frontier Red. Don't know who Fess Parker is? Does "Davy....Davy Crockett....King of the wild frontier" ring any bells? We really enjoyed the gathering once again and each time conversation is easier and more fun.

And, we woke up bright and early Sunday morning to go and worship in our new sanctuary at church. We are now completely handicapped accessible, and we have room to welcome visitors and visit with each other afterwards. If you check out the link, the new part is at the back of the old church. I couldn't find any pictures of it inside, but it is beautiful and warm, and we are so thankful that God has provided for our little church in this amazing way. Our service yesterday was amazing, and we were able to all gather together for a meal in our old sanctuary, which was kind of cool.

One last thing (maybe if I posted more often, I wouldn't have to go on and on like this!)...many of you have asked me about our friendly neigbhorhood dog. Well, one night this winter we finally had had enough, so Mike called the cops. I felt ridiculous doing it, but at midnight it was our only option. We haven't had to deal with it once since then, so apparently that was effective enough. And more importantly, I'm not feeling like such a crazy person anymore with thoughts of pet-napping dancing around in my mind. to enjoy a gorgeous day. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Lately Leah has been using her beach ball as a soccer ball, and our fireplace as a goal, so we thought it would be a good idea to transfer that interest into something that isn't going to be quite as disastrous. I googled for youth soccer in our area, and found a club that has something called K-Ball for 3-5 year olds. It runs once a week for six weeks and the kids work with college soccer players playing fun little games and working on soccer skills at the same time. Monday night was our first session, and Leah had a blast. There were about 125 little kids there, so it was crazy, but we are so glad that we found something like this for her. Enjoy these pics and the short video at the end of Leah's first soccer experience! A note about the video....the coach was "Shrek" protecting his treasure, and the kids had to act like trees when he was awake so that he wouldn't see them. When he was sleeping they had to steal his treasure and run it back to their base. We have some soccer skills to work on (such as, don't touch the ball with your hands!), but it was sure a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rainy Day Thoughts

It is one of my favorite kinds of spring days...all day rain, where a good book and a warm blanket just call my name, and I can see the grass turn green quite literally before my very eyes.

Of course, before the book and blanket come the dishes and the laundry, and then lunch has to be made and then I have to think about supper, and then, and then, and then. So for a minute this afternoon I'm going to take some time to write a blog, and perhaps pick up a book for a little while. I have soup heating up for lunch, which seemed perfect for today. Why do all our moods seem to tie themselves to different types of food? I seem to tie one food or another to just about anything I am feeling. Except ice cream. I can tie that to any mood!

Last weekend I had the chance to go to Women of Faith with my mom, sister, sisters-in-law, and a few friends. It was the second time I've gone, and although I went into with a mood of "this is just one more thing to do", I really was able to settle down and find great blessing in it. One of my favorite moments was actually an unintentional one, which is probably why it stuck with me. Sandi Patty was performing, and had talked much about the process in her own life of peeling back the layers that we put on, resulting in discovering beauty that is only God-given. After a particularly rockin' song (seriously, Sandi was movin' and groovin'!), she danced off the stage, saying "Wardrobe Malfunction! Ladies, gather around!". So, all her friends who are also speakers and performers throughout the weekend encircled her, while another assistant went "up and under" to correct whatever had malfunctioned. Everyone continued to dance and sing, and it was something that was perfectly beautiful to witness. In a time when layers were most definitely being peeled back, she was surrounded with an incredible love and friendship. It reminded me of the friends who bless me in the same way...some who live close, others who live far away, but who will all gather 'round when I am having a malfunctioning moment, wardrobe or otherwise. I am certainly thankful for these friendships.

I think this may be enough for my rainy day musings today...I have a book still calling my name...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Real Update!

Finally, I'm sitting down for a little bit after a busy weekend and a busy day yesterday. I still have projects piling up (what is it about spring??), but a little snuggle time on the couch with Leah was called for. So we're snuggling, and I'm blogging! Today the weatherman promises 60 degree temperatures, so the plan for the afternoon is to GET OUTSIDE!!! Leah just requested that we build a snow family when we go out, but I very happily told her that there wasn't any snow to build with! So help me if this isn't the real spring...

We had a wonderful weekend with lots of different things going on. Friday night's wine tasting was a lot of fun...we tried several different wines that went with the chocolate that I had provided, and I even managed to make a chocolate cranberry biscotti to dip in the red wine, which was a new thing for most people. Leah had her first sleepover at a friend's house, and it went wonderfully. She couldn't stop talking about all the things she did, and she slept very well the night she came home!

Saturday's bridal shower/waffle brunch went well also. Our church is nearing the end of a building project, and much to our surprise, we showed up on Saturday morning to find the room with the kitchen was not functional at all. So....we went to plan B and used a ping pong table in the youth room as our kitchen, and still managed to get the waffles made. We actually had a lot of fun winging it this way, but we will be grateful for our new church kitchen which will be ready in just a few weeks!

Sunday was the day for much relaxing, and I managed to finish a whole book in a day. Yes, I stayed up until midnight to do it, but it was sure fun. Leah also was given a huge box to make a puppet theater from, so Mike cut a hole for a window, and Leah and I decorated it. We still have to get material for curtains, but it's a hit. Once more I'm convinced that kids need nothing more than a cardboard box and imagination. We've been doing lots of puppet shows, and I'm hoping to record one once and get it on here. Fun!

So now we're in the middle of another busy week, but somehow knowing that the sun is shining and that spring is on it's way makes all these activities better. It's about time!!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Why am I so productive when I'm doing things at the last minute??

No time for a real update...but that will come soon. We're hosting our wine party tomorrow night and I'm helping to host a bridal shower on Saturday. So when all that is done, I will do my darndest to get something on here.

Except we lose an hour this weekend! Oh no!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Now this is customer service!

I think many people, myself included, are much more prone to quickly complain when we are dissatisfied than compliment when we are more than satisfied. However, I know how much I like to hear when I've done something well, and I can imagine that others like to hear it also. So this is a story of a great pizza, and even greater customer service.

Mike and I enjoy going out for pizza almost every Saturday night. However, in an effort to both save money and not go out into the cold, I started shopping around for good frozen pizzas. We have tried several, including the famous ones that we've all heard about. However, none can even stand up to the pizza that we discovered a few months back, Palermo's. Seriously, I don't give many product reviews on my blog, but this one is worth letting you know about. Their frozen pizzas have rivaled our favorite fresh pizza, and at a price we like to pay!

So I decided to let Palermo's Pizza know how much we loved their pizza. Not because I wanted anything in return, but because I truly just want to let someone know when a job is well done. I emailed them a few weeks back and got a response yesterday, with an offer for some coupons to try more pizzas for free! I'm telling you, I'm now sold for life. Great pizza plus great customer service equals a company I would like to support. And, I think it would be worth your while, if you love pizza too, to run to your nearest grocer and see if they carry Palermo's.

So ends my pizza tale. I'm getting hungry!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Early morning wake-up from an excited child, flowers from my husband, brunch out with friends, surprise phone calls, a day where I only have to do the dishes if I want to....

The makings of a great birthday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My room doesn't work!

We had a power outage yesterday. It was snowing, and the power went out. This doesn't happen very often in our area, and when it does, the power doesn't stay off for long enough to get concerned. Yesterday, however, it stayed off for an hour. One blissful hour.

Blissful, you say? When it's cold and snowing outside? And you have no heat or electricity? That was blissful?

Yes, because for one hour there was:

*No TV
*No computer
*No phones ringing or calls to make (yes, I had my cell phone, but it was low on juice, so I didn't use it)
*No lights, which made lighting candles fun!
*Lots of time to play all of Leah's games
*The fun of following Leah around, as she learned just how much we use electricity. "Mom," she yelled, "my room doesn't work either!"

The power came back just as I was starting to get a little bit cold, but we have a gas fireplace, so I was going to just turn that on. Which brings me to the reasons I wish it had stayed off for just a little bit longer. If it stayed off for one more hour, we would have turned the fireplace on, snuggled under blankets, ordered pizza, and eaten by candlelight. There's something heart-warming about that thought. Maybe the simplicity of it, I don't know. But as I was making supper last night, listening to the TV and the radio both blaring into my world, I decided that maybe we need to have power outages more often.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What would YOU do??

I have a dilemma. One that involves animals and angry neighbors.

The animal is not mine.

The angry neighbor? Well, that would be me.

We live in house where our backyard backs up to several other backyards, and many of the residents in our neighborhood own dogs. That's fine, so do we. However, over the last few weeks one of these backyard neighbors has chosen to let their dog out at all hours of the night. Still, this is not the problem.

The problem arrives when I am awakened from a dead sleep because of this barking dog. This has been happening nearly EVERY NIGHT for the past THREE WEEKS!!! Now, I understand that a dog barks, and it's cold outside so this dog probably isn't thrilled at being thrown out in the cold. But, is it necessary to let your dog out for 10-15 minutes, while they are BARKING THE WHOLE TIME???? And at 3:00 IN THE FREAKING MORNING???? Does it not occur to you that this might DISTURB THE NEIGHBORS??? (The ALL CAPS are necessary to accurately convey my thoughts as I lay in bed, having been awakened ONCE AGAIN by the incessant barking).

So, last night as I lay awake at 4:30, I came up with these options:

1. Send Mike out in the cold to yell at the dog. I'll take my turn in the summer. (Mike didn't take too kindly to this idea.)

2. Open my window and yell at the dog, and hope the neighbors will hear. (I nearly did this last night, and I may go that route just makes me feel like a scene out of a movie.)

3. Call animal control.

4. Talk to the neighbors. This would seem like the most adult way to handle things, but we don't actually know these people, and their backyard is actually several down from ours, so we're not directly connected to them. Besides, at 3:00 in the morning, all reasonable, sensible, mature options seem to fly right out the window.

5. Stand out in the backyard and start barking too.

Alright, my friends. Thoughts and opinions are not only very much appreciated, they are needed. The battle of Hoss v. Dog has begun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The year so far, in point by point fashion...

*I'm cold and sick of winter already. I just read this morning that we are about to have the coldest weather since 2004, and I'm ready to move to someplace sunny. We haven't had our usual Omaha winter thaw, and I've missed it.

*However, as a matter of perspective, I read a few mornings ago that there was snow in Baghdad for the first time in decades. People were smiling, laughing, gleeful at the sight of snow. They called each other and woke friends and family up to see this thing they had only heard about. In a war zone, a moment of joy, brought on by snow.

*But I'm still sick of winter.

*We cleaned Leah's toy room on Saturday. I have before pics, but I won't post them until I can post beautiful after pics as well. I'm still working on it. But the toy fairy had thrown up in our house and something needed to be done. 2 1/2 garbage bags later we still have a lot of toys, but they are much more accessible and organized. Now I just have to teach Leah to keep it that way!

*We realized last night that pre-registration for area preschools begins now or soon. So I put a call in to our neighborhood church's preschool to visit it. Leah is very excited at the thought. Me, not so much.

*Our wine club met again for the month of January, and we had a lot of fun. Our theme this month was funky labels, and there were some doozies. It's a fun group, and over time I think friendships will develop. We host in March, with the theme "wines that go well with chocolate". I suppose I'm going to have to buy and sample all sorts of chocolate between now and then. *Sigh* the things I do for this group!

*Many of you sent us Christmas letters. Thank you. I apologize that none were sent out from the Hostetler house this year. However, I'm still kicking around the idea of sending Valentine cards out instead, so don't give up on me yet!

*We have discovered something new: Skype!. We are using it to talk with family over the computer, complete with video. And it's free if both parties are using skype! If you have a webcam and high speed internet, and are interested in talking with me or Leah over the computer this way, let me know! I'll send you my contact info. It's really fun.

*That's all I think. Now I have laundry to do, so this is officially:

*The end.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

We've had a great time celebrating the ushering in of the new year today. Last night we went to our friends' Pastor Dan and Rachel to play games and eat yummy food. We didn't make it until midnight, but I enjoyed waking up early this morning and having some quiet in the house before the fun began. My sister and her husband came over for some Rose Parade watching, complete with mimosas and sausage wonton appetizers (thanks, Adia!). Mike also made real egg nog and it was awesome. Trust me. We spent the afternoon at the mall...Leah played, and we did a little shopping. Tonight we're just taking it easy, and enjoying one last night of holiday fun. the spirit of the changing of years, I'm ripping off Adia's idea and listing my five favorite discoveries of 2007. I'm also going to list my five favorite Leah quotes of 2007, just for a little added bonus.


1. Rubbing Vick's on the feet to stop a cough! Seriously, the best thing ever, and it has helped all of us get through this miserable cold season.

2. Freecycle I have been able to get rid of so many things that we don't need, and take on a few things that we do, all at no cost! In the spirit of free exchange, I have thoroughly enjoyed using freecycle.

3. My new Flip video camera. I love the size and ease of use!

4. The planning ahead for the holidays that I did... I started budgeting for and buying Christmas gifts many months ago, and it just made this time of year so much more fun. I was able to find or make something very special for each person on our list, and I didn't feel like all I did was exchange gift cards. I really enjoyed the holidays this year, due in part to this.

5. My new favorite recipe website: Razzle Dazzle Recipes. Aside from having a really fun name to say, I found a lot of really great recipes to try over the Christmas season, and they were all hits.


1. "Mommy, I see a cow!" This was said on our way home from the hospital after having tubes put in Leah's ears. Given that we were in the middle of Omaha, and there was no cow to be seen, I think the anesthesia was talking here....

2. "Is this California?" We were not fifteen feet off the ground in Omaha, flying to LA, when Leah asked this. At this point we had a feeling it could be a long flight!

3. "Lucas, you need to stop crying now! I can't hear my movie!" This came at the end of a long car ride to Denver with my sister Annette and Leah's new cousin Lucas. Leah had been so patient for the whole ride, helping out with his pacifier and blanket. But, we knew she was done being helpful when he was screaming, and she just looked at him and said this, hands over her ears. We had a good laugh. :)

4. "But Mommy, Today is Tomorrow!" I'm famous for telling Leah that we might do something tomorrow, or later, or sometime. This fall she got frustrated with me and told me like it is. It was a good lesson in procrastination, and needless to say, we got the task!

5. "I feel my heart! I feel Jesus in my heart!" This one needs no further explanation.

Happy New Year, Everyone!