Monday, March 30, 2009

Memory builders

We asked the girls today at lunch, "What are some things we could do this spring and summer to build memories with you? What would you like to do?"

Here were their answers...(Daddy threw in a few too)

1. Camp in the backyard and make smores the same night
2. Water balloon fight
3. Go to Slyvan Lake (Daddy)
4. Explore a cave (Daddy)
5. Fly a kite
6. Go on 7 picnics (we have 7 boxes so we can check them off when we do it)
7. Ride bikes AND wear helmets (Go Lydia with extra precaution!)
8. Put up the hummingbird feeder
9. Plant flowers
10. Hike through our woods and pick up trash
11. Take the girls rock climbing (indoors...this was also Daddy's)
12. Make pretty rainbow crafts (I can this one with ease!)
13. Blow bubbles
14. Make a snowball inside...What? This is clarified with ..."Dad, we can just fill the bathtub with ice cubes and play."

So here it is...our checklist! We are letting them add as they think of things but this will hang on our refrigerator so that we can cross things off as we do them. (I have two type A's who LOVE to check things off lists) We should have a pretty fun spring and summer!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We went to my hometown on Friday morning to get our taxes done, when I drove up into my parent's driveway I noticed a few cars from ND. (That means my brother and his wife had come down...flooding in Fargo). When we went in and my sister-in-law had her two sisters and her grandma with. Now being a family girl, I couldn't just get my taxes done and leave, so we canceled our afternoon hair apts and stayed all day. My girls were in heaven! Adult to child ratio was VERY good in their eyes!

The girls spent the night and I went home to sleep and bring Carl back for the day. We had a blast! There has never been this much estrogen in my house - ever! Growing up with 4 brothers, 2 cousins who lived with us, and there was always a hired mom and I were always out numbered. We had lunch yesterday and there were 9 females and my brother. Needless to say, he had to "find things to do" outside for the afternoon.

We had a crafty afternoon making bows. I am so excited to be able to take a whole pile with when we go to Ethiopia.

Grace and Lydia putting "love" into the homemade rolls.

Lydia with the finished product.Adie's vocabulary has increased 10 fold this week. She is starting to talk in sentences which will hopefully lead to a lot less frustration for my little spit-fire.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I love Thrusday nights

We again had the Larsen Small group this Thursday night with another couple from our church, Clarence and Williemae. Ohhh they were so much fun and learning part of their story was a real treat for me. I love walking talking history know that is anyone with grey hair:) You see they moved to this town (I think) 46 years ago and were the only African American couple in a town of 30,000. I can't imagine what life was like and to hear some tip of the iceberg stories really broke my heart. I don't really know what it is like to live with sterotypes because of the color of my skin. I am saddened to think that I have done things that might have hurt others without even thinking.

I love their spunk and zest for life and I am so thankful that they are apart of my church family. I am going to learn so much from them and they are such willing teachers!

Here is my challenge for you. Invite someone over for dinner! And make sure they are not your best friends. Venture out and make some new friendships. Dinner is just exactly what it is...dinner. You are not asking them to be your best friends, nor do you have to be in the same small group for the next 5 years. It is not threating and trust me people don't care if you can cook...order a pizza!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crafty pictures

We had some friends over to play today while their Mommy and Daddy are sand bagging in Fargo. We decided to get out the sweetened condensed milk and food coloring to make paint so we could decorate some eggs. Seth (the one year old) is taking a well timed nap for this activity.

Here are a few pictures from last Friday's playdate and flower planting. Luke does so well being the only "dude" around. I have to say after about 1 1/2 hours he was ready to go home. (Notice how Grace didn't want to be in the picture:)

The coons are back...

Two nights ago, Carl woke me up by saying...

"Ang, get up and help me figure out where that noise is coming from."

He woke me from such a deep sleep that I wasn't quite as concerned as he was at that moment. I fumble around and put on my robe and jokingly said while still half asleep, "I bet it is those coons trying to stay out of the rain."

Sure enough, I send Carl outside to investigate. (That is a man thing to do...I clean all the bathrooms...he can be the warrior to try to slay coons in the middle of the night while in the rain with rocks.)

There was a huge fat raccoon hiding under the overhang where our two roofs meets. He tried unsuccessfully to throw rocks and try to get it off. So the raccoons are one up on us.

Now once I sleep for awhile and then get woken up, I have a really hard time falling back to sleep. I had a fair bit of time to think... so next time I have a plan to even the score.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Invisible Mom

I had a friend share this me today. It was a great reminder for me.

The Invisible Mom

It all began to make sense: the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

Obviously not, no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books, and the eyes that studied history, and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.” I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no on sees.

In the days ahead, I would read – no devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No on can say who built the great cathedrals. We have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up a four in the morning and bakes homemade pies. Then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” This would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You’re gonna love it there.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day it is very possible that the world will marvel--not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Share this with all the invisible moms you know; and with those who might not be moms yet, but still have theirs.

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.

To my dear sisters: Do it unto the Lord. God bless you and be encouraged in what you are doing.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dove Free samples

I was surfing around other frugal blog sites and came across Free Dove samples. Check it out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adventures in motherhood

God has blessed me with two ridiculously strong willed children who will someday change the world and one who will sing the world into a more beautiful place.

Grace has been singing and dancing around to the Sound of Music all week. She even does the leg movements like Lissa and her favorite is "16 going on 17." Oh that makes a mother's heart nervous....boys, boys and more boys.

I sometimes forget that Lydia is just 4 years old. She just asked me when her friends were coming over. I said, "Two hours." Her reply, "That will be a holy cow long time." Do I say these things? Where does she come up with things like this to say?

Adie has had one of her...let's just say feisty days. She sat next to me on the couch to have me look up at her and jump off the couch saying, "Did you just pee on the couch?" My whole side was warm and wet. "Ah ha" with a head nod. I was thankful we had hand me down leather couches. Accidents like that can be wiped up with little effort. Oh very soon Adie will be down for her LONG afternoon nap...fingers crossed.

Now this afternoon we are having 5 girls over to plant flowers in little cups. I bet there will be dirt everywhere. I am looking forward to getting out our science notebook and writing some observations as our marigolds grow for Mother's day.

I am looking forward to tonight when I am having a project night. Ladies are coming over to work on their "projects" whatever that might be...sewing, card making, scrapbooking...etc. It will be fun to eat our the chocolate chocolatechip cookies and chips and salsa. What could be better than salt, chocolate and conversations?

Off to reading The Wizard of Oz...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joseph - And the amazing technicolor dream coat

We watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream coat almost weekly at our house(It is a musical off of broadway.) Everyone knows the words for every song! I finally know all of Jacob's sons. Here is a little piece of my life...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I am inspired!

I am inspired and I have never met Katie. I have only read about her life for the past 2 years in the past couple of days. Here is a 20 year old woman living in Uganda with 12 children of her own now. She has started her own non-profit to help love, educate and provide the needs for the orphans of Uganda. You can check out her website here. This is a girl who is doing something and not just talking about it. Oh - if more of my generation were like her. I want to be like her. Check it out! I promise you will fall in love with her and her ministry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

11 years ago tonight

I met Carl for the very first time at a play at Cathedral. It was Friday, March 13th 1998. My - the time has flown by. Never in a million years was I expecting to meet my husband and best friend, but oh I am so very thankful that God had different plans for me.

Tonight we took Grace and Lydia and three cousins to a play tonight at Cathedral. It brought back many memories of that night. I honestly thought Carl was "weird." Those were my exact thoughts, but there was something that I liked about him and I couldn't put my finger on it. I guess we needed to hang out more and go to prom together to figure that all out. I love you honey! Thanks for asking if I needed a friend.

one of my favorite things...

If you know me or see me around, you know that I hardly ever leave the house without my handy dandy basket. My mother-in-law gave me this as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. It perfect to carry EVERYTHING (purse, diapers, craft projects, water bottles, crayons, snacks, planner, pens, paper etc. This is usually what is inside of it at any given time.) So if you want to give a hint hint to anyone this is a great one! Go here to check out colors and prices. (update: if you go to ebay there are some for $18 - type in collapsible basket)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sewing class

Grace and Lydia had a little sewing lesson today. They learned how to sew on a button. It can be a little tricky to remember which way you started:) They are excited to try again tomorrow. I had enough patience to do two buttons each with a few "start overs."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breaks my heart

We received word yesterday from our agency that there is a lot of corruption going on right now with the whole process of adoption. Please be praying for the Ethiopian government and all the steps in the process. With over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia alone, there is a need, but they have to make sure that this corruption stops. We don' t know when we will get our referral, but we are patient with God's timing.

One a side note: I am ready to get out the Lysol and spray down every surface area in this whole house! I wish I could open the windows and let some fresh air in and the germs out. It has been a long time since the whole family was taken out by a virus all at the same time. It means we slept and watched a lot of movies. Hopefully yesterday was the worst and now we will start feeling better.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I have never..

Blogged in the middle of the night before. I have this nasty cough which is 10x worse when I am laying down and I have already been up since 1:30. When I can't sleep, I spend most of my time praying, but now it 4 am and I need a little change of pace.

I am thankful Carl called in for me last night saying I couldn't read at church. I was trying so hard to convince myself that I would be fine (and I was fine up until I laid down and tried to go to sleep), but he knows me best and I listened to his advice. I was reading out the first chapter in Ruth. I love this book and I am bummed because I spent all week on making sure I wasn't tongue tied saying Elimelech - Naomi's husband. I laughed at myself more than once when I would try to say it and it would come out all garbled because I would add letter or skip some too.

I have a funny story. Last week at church, while I was listening to the text reading, I thought to myself, "I am so glad that I don't have to get up in front of church and read those really long names." Ha - I know God was laughing at that thought because no more than 2 minutes after church the pastor asked if I would willing to read next week.

Randomness from our house:

Adie really has this potty training thing down! She has been even waking up from naps dry. The only thing is to not put her in timeout in her crib when she hasn't pooped in a while.

Lydia has been my little artist using just about anything for a canvas. Napkins seem to be her favorite right now.

Grace is starting to take off with reading and learning her directions. In the van, she always tells me the direction that we are traveling and what the temperature is outside. She is waiting for it to be in the 60's, 70's and 80's. ("because it is just more fun!")

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Larsen's small group

Carl and I decided in lieu of being in a small group at church that we were going to invite one family over each week for a meal. So this week we had Marge and Glen over and they are such a dear dear couple who greet almost every Sunday. They were literally the first faces we saw when we walked into church for the first time. And now they open up the door to greet us each Sunday.

We call them them the "facebookers" of the church. They connect people! I feel we know so many people because of is a wonderful feeling to walk into a place and be "known." We have fallen in love with is great to have adopted grandparents.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I LOVE surprises!

We were able to be in on a surprise get together for a great friend's 35th Birthday! Happy Birthday Heather! My sister-in-law graciously took my girls for the evening (a sleepover movie party) and we were able to drive to the cities to meet them a Bucca's. YUM and a ton of FUN! I love to get together with people who make you laugh until you are crying and you feel like you had a great ab workout! Great friends, great food and great fellowship! I am blessed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Love Hate Relationship

I had to go to the dentist today. I love to know that my teeth are all clean, but I just can't seem to go there without having a cavity. Seriously! I went almost all the way through my school years with maybe 1 cavity and now in the past 5 years I have had at least 1 or 2 each year! I brush and floss. I am a floss girl for goodness sake!

I looked at my poor dentist and said, "Please tell me what to do and I will do it."

He just said, "Sorry, you are doing it all right. Some people just get cavities. On a positive note, you have great teeth."

Ahh bummer!

Since this post is all about teeth. It reminds me of when I was in college and volunteered in the Alzheimer's unit. Every Tuesday for about a year I would go and have lukewarm coffee with "my ladies." We usually had the same conversations, but they were such dear women.

One of them usually started the conversation with, "You know dearie, has anyone ever told you that you have great teeth?"

To which I would reply, "Not today!"

Then she would say, "You know if you were a horse we could get a great price for you."

I would look around the table to bunch of sober head nods! Hilarious! (At least the nurses laughed.)