Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A little piece of history...

This is Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day proclamation. In 1863, Lincoln acknowledged the Most High God as the giver of gifts and that His mercy outweighs our sins. Wouldn't it be nice to hear words like this coming from the White House today in 2008 instead of the constant fights to squeeze God out of everything? We have much to be thankful for in this country and we must remember, just as Lincoln did, who has granted these blessings.

So, using the words of Abraham Lincoln, we "implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

Our first snowman!

Here is our first Ohio snowman! We had fun rolling him around the yard until he was just the right size, dressing him up, and completing the task with a snowball fight. Isn't he cute?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

This week is Thanksgiving. It's hard to believe it's here already! Even scarier is if Thanksgiving is here, that means Christmas is not far behind. It seems that each year, commercially, Thanksgiving is easily forgotten as we go from seeing Halloween to Christmas when we're out and about. I'm actually very impressed that I have not yet seen any Christmas lights in our town.

I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's the one holiday that is simply about togetherness; family, friends, FOOD, and reflecting on the things that call us to be thankful. I am going to take a break from blogging again this week because we have a busy household with everyone home, two new kitties and Grandma coming to town. I also want to just focus on being with my family and spending time reflecting on the blessings that God has lavished upon me this year.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. This may be a tough time of year for you or maybe this year has been especially hard. At times, it's difficult to find things to be thankful for, but I encourage you to find even one thing that you are able to sincerely give thanks. God calls us to be thankful in the good times and the hard times, for all hope is found in Him and His love is far greater than whatever it is we might be facing in our present struggles.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
His love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Now, our God, we give you thanks 
and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13

And then there were two...

...kittens, that is. We've had a very hard week losing Sebastian. In our efforts to heal, we felt it would be ok to go ahead and get a new kitten, knowing full well that Sebastian will never be replaced. The kids were really having a hard time with the idea that we no longer had a pet. Although Jason and I knew it would be bittersweet for us, we thought it might be better for the kids to take the plunge. So, in our search to adopt a kitten, we ended up with two! They are siblings and are adorable!!

We thought we would stick with our roots and give them Texas names and have gone with counties we've lived in.

So, meet Taylor Bell. Taylor Bell is actually a polydactyl cat, sometimes known as a Hemingway cat. She has an extra toe on each of her front paws. It looks like she's wearing mittens and has thumbs.

And Harris ("Harry") named after Harris County.

They have adjusted very well to their first day in the Curtis Zoo. Their motors run freely and loudly and they leap around playing with each other and whatever they can bat at in the room. They're now sleeping soundly with their motors running in Sebastian's bed. Sebastian didn't really like his bed very much, but these two seem to think it's pretty comfy...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Emily's Piano Recital

Today was the big recital day. I think more exciting than the recital itself was the process of getting ready, specifically, the hot rollers!

Emily did a great job as you will see in the video. Oh, and by the way, I was armed with a pocketful of lollipops. I think Abby got her month supply of lollipops during the 45-minute recital.

We are proud of you, Em!

Thursday, November 20, 2008



He loved to play with the grocery bags 
while I was unloading groceries...

I can't even believe this day has come. I am an emotional wreck as I write this. I'm ashamed to admit that I have on occasion been amazed at how people get so upset when they lose a pet. Well, now I'm that person.

Sebastian found me when I was a junior in college. He had been abandoned by his mother and fit in the palm of my hand. I was not a cat person but couldn't just leave him outside, so took him in. The first night I had him, I put him in bed with me and woke in the middle of the night unable to see him on the bed. Well, that's because he had crawled in my pajama sleeve and was sound asleep. From then on, he had my heart.

Sebastian was a great cat. His personality was much like a dog. He could do tricks, would always come when called and loved to be with people. 

Yesterday, something happened, although I'm not exactly sure what. The vet did diagnose him with hypothyroidism and a mass in his stomach (assumed to be cancer). However, he lost vision and went downhill very quickly. I decided to stay up with him last night and around 11:30, it was obvious he was dying.

My children (especially Emily & Ben) will be devastated when they learn this news today as Jason and I already are. Sebastian has been in my life for 16 years (longer than Jason has!) and I'm already missing his meowing and morning greeting. 

We love you, Sebastian! You were such a good boy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So, yesterday I was changing Abby's stinky diaper. We are trying to get Abby interested in the potty, but she really has absolutely no interest at all. So, um, maybe I've  been a little too expressive lately when having to change the stinky ones, because yesterday's diaper change went something like this:

Mommy: Abby, do you need your diaper changed; I smell something?
Abby: Yeah, I'm poopy.
Mommy: Let's go change your diaper.
Abby: (laying down waiting for the process to begin) Don't say dammit!
Mommy: What did you say?
Abby: Don't say dammit!
Mommy: Oh no, we don't say dammit. That's a bad word.
Abby: Yeah, we don't say bad words.
Mommy. That's right. Abby, who says dammit?
Abby: Daddy does.

Now, before you jump on Jason, Abby sometimes calls Jason Mommy and me Daddy; who knows why! I'll defend Jason. In this case, Daddy really meant Mommy. 

Where's that bar of soap? Mommy needs some discipline!

Monday, November 17, 2008

There's no place like home...

...with the snow gently falling outside, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and a hot bowl of Chicken 'n Dumplings! I think this recipe got the biggest thumbs up of any I've made in our 13 years of marriage! 

Slow Cooker Chicken 'n Dumplings
(taken from and tweaked a bit by me!)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs. butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans low sodium chicken broth (optional)
1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits

1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker. Add butter and cream of chicken soup, onions, carrots and celery.
2. Cover with water and/or low sodium chicken broth.
3. Cook on High for 4-6 hours.
4. 45 minutes prior to serving, tear the biscuits into smaller pieces and drop into the slow cooker. Let them cook on high for 45 minutes.
5. The chicken will fall apart easily. Serve it up!

This was great the second day, too...didn't make it to the third!


What we're reading this week...

Ok, I'm totally embarrassed by my reading selection, but I was really interested in this book (which is also soon to be a movie). It's very popular with the teens right now (which may speak volumes to my maturity level?), and I had heard from other folks (my age and up) that the books in the series (there are 4) are really good. So, I thought I'd give it a try and it is pretty good so far. I'll give a little away, the theme is vampires...ooooh

Happy Reading!
(Click on the images to link to Amazon's website.)

Jason's Reading...

My Reading...

Emily's Reading...

Ben's Reading...

Abby's Reading...

Oh what a beautiful morning...

Went to bed last night knowing there was snow in the forecast for this week. We did get a little bit of snow yesterday, but it didn't stick. Woke up this morning to this...

We are still very awed and impressed by the snow! It's beautiful!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

To Market, To Market...

Great friends of ours from Texas were here visiting last week and it was so good to see them! You know, there are different kinds of friends, aren't there? Just think of those friendships you have that easily pick up where you left off as if the time in between didn't pass. There's sadness there because the time spent together is much less than once was, but so thankful to have time together when it occurs.

Well, I am so blessed to have a handful of such friends and here is one...

Allie & I met several years ago at church. She was the "Pastor's Wife" at our church (& oh how she loves to be called that...hee! hee!) and I was a little intimidated by her in our first few meetings. We laugh about it now... Allie is confident to share what she is feeling/thinking most of the time. I have come to love this about her because I can talk to her about anything and know I'm going to get a straight and honest answer. She is a hero among moms, let me tell you! She has a set of triplets and a set of twins, and I'm not kidding you, she was born with a cape under her clothes. She is Super Mom (& is hating that I'm saying this about her), a devoted wife and an awesome friend! I miss you, Allie, and I'm so glad we got to spend some time together last week. I miss our lunches together and our girls night out, making fun of Elliott (er, I mean talking about how wonderful Elliott is), and trying to better ourselves as Moms by bouncing ideas off each other. 

So, we took Elliott & Allie to the Westside Market, which is a cool open market. We had fun walking around making fun of the pigs' heads, pork butts, and all kinds of crazy things you can get there. (And, yes, people really buy the pig's's only $8 for a large one!) From there, we sampled beer at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, visited Lake Erie and then returned to our house for some Texas Taco Soup and Ohio Buckeyes, complete with a few rounds on the Wii.

Elliott was our pastor in Houston as well as my boss. I learned so much working with him and miss that relationship. However, he is still my Pastor and has so much wisdom and knowledge. We are blessed to call you friend!

We love you guys! 
Until next time...

No Grape Gum Allowed!

In our lifetime, we meet so many people. Some we meet in passing and with some, we are fortunate enough to share bits of our lives. As we get older, those who have impacted our lives are the ones that we will remember. I received word today that one who had a great impact on me passed away.

Ann Chamlee is one person I will never forget. I met Ann when I was in tenth grade. I was looking for a new piano teacher at the time and knew of Ann's reputation as a teacher in my hometown. I set up an interview/audition with her and prepared myself the best way I could, for I knew that if she wasn't impressed, I would still be looking for a piano teacher.

I remember one of the first things she said to me. "Don't ever chew grape gum when you come to your lesson. Don't even chew grape gum before you come to your lesson because I will still smell it on you when you get here. I can't stand grape gum!". You see, Ann was, I guess you could say, quite an expressive lady. 

I was honored to become her student after that interview/audition and I quickly learned that I would always know where I stood with her. If she was pleased with my work, there wasn't a louder cheerleader on my side. If she was less than pleased, you can guarantee I left the lesson very clear on what needed to be improved.

I looked forward to my lessons every week because I looked forward to spending that one hour each week with her. I loved her laugh, I loved her musicality, I loved her sense of humor, I loved her bluntness (is that a word?) and I loved the way she sat with her leg crossed, foot resting on her knee with her skirt hanging down, coffee cup in hand! I learned much more than piano skills and I will be ever grateful that I was a part of her studio.

The ivory keys in heaven are playing beautiful melodies today and you can be 100% certain, there is no grape gum in sight!

I love you, Ann!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Taking a break...

I'm going to take a break from blogging this week. Some great friends of ours will be here this week and we are looking forward to spending time with them. I will return next Monday with "What we're reading this week".

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh my!

Website Wednesday is not going to happen today. I am sick and parked on the couch. It stinks to be sick with a two-year-old at home. We're watching the Doodlebops, though...woo hoo! So, I dozed off and woke up with this cute face looking at me. Fortunately, it was washable ink!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Haircut...

Poor Abby (& poor Mommy) were tired of brushing through the tangles in Abby's long hair, so now she's sporting a new do... 

Isn't she cute?

Diary of a Pine Cone

Our experiment is now complete! We ran the pine cone under water about 8 days ago. Within one hour, the pine cone was completely closed, every single scale. The pictures show the daily progress as the pine cone began to dry and the scales slowly opened. 

Day 1:
Cold and wet...

Day 2:
Still pretty wet, but just a few scales 
on the bottom are beginning to open...

Day 3:
Not much progress from day 2; 
just a few more scales beginning to open...

Day 4:
More scales opening on the bottom and the rest of the scales 
are not closed as tightly as the past few days...

Day 5:
Really seeing some progress here; scales are
opening on the bottom and top...

Day 6:
Wow! What a difference a day makes...

Day 7:
Almost completely dry...

Day 8:

You, too, can try this experiment at home. No experience is necessary; just a willing pine cone and a patient observer!

The End!