Sunday, September 30, 2007


"My flesh and my heart my fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, and Food

This weekend is Garage Sale weekend in our neighborhood. For those of you who love garage sales, you can imagine my frustration at not being able to get out to the sale right across the street and the ones just up the street. I've been back in bed the past few days, but I did have the fleeting thought go through my mind this morning "maybe I could just make it outside and across the street". I decided it was more prudent to attempt getting to the window and just look out!

And then my dear husband came to rescue and said he would go by the garage sales and make sure there wasn't anything important I was missing! (Michael does not like to go shopping, or garage-sale shopping) So, on the way home from taking Andrew to soccer (along with all three other children --- I wonder what the other soccer moms think of this Dad who shows up with 3 kids and a baby and no wife!) Michael found a bookshelf at one of the garage sales! Yeah! It was quite large, and made of real wood, and fitted perfectly in his office (And, Michael even bargained with the lady to get it for $10!). This afternoon he was able to get all the piles of books off his floor and onto shelves!

Another thing I've missed by being stuck at home is Thrift Store Shopping. It's that primal instinct of "the hunt" and the possibility of discovering treasures (or good deals) that draws me. My two sisters went out yesterday to several local Thrift stores and Goodwills. This morning Michael found a pile by my door with a beautiful card. They had found me three lovely blouses and a pair of Lauren khakis!

And then there is the Food side to this illness. My appetite has been so bad for almost a year, and when I get stuck in bed it pretty much disappears. Sometimes I think I ought to change my profile on this blog -- I've not been feeling like a Foodie recently. :) Anyway, I was pretty discouraged about eating this morning and had no idea what to ask Michael to bring me. So, Michael took over and told me he would find something to "tempt" me. (Michael is NOT a foodie -- or rather, he is not a kitchen person, but he has certainly developed a much broader appreciation and understanding of food since we were married :) ) Up came a tray with a beautiful array of food. There was a plate with sliced strawberries and slices of two kinds of cheese, a plate with two kinds of crackers and half a whole-wheat english muffin, and three little glasses with cottage cheese, stewed apples, and yogurt. That definately made my day! Thank you, Michael!

With an illness like this, there are so many ups and downs -- sometimes hourly, usually daily, always weekly. I have been so encouraged today just thinking about the things I've written above, and how God has sent little blessings to me in the midst of trying times. I pray that I will continue to be patient and faithful through the down-times that are ahead and keep looking for the blessings.

I thought I'd post a few more pictures from the kids' outing earlier in the week. They had so much fun. And today they got to go out to Panera for lunch with Auntie Em (this was her gift to James for his birthday). (Another foodie note -- they brought me back a whole-grain bagel which has certainly added interest to my fare this afternoon!!!!)

I have memories of going with my sisters and my Mom to a pumpkin place like this when I was a child. We were allowed to pick our "own" pumpkin to bring home.
I hope you all have a good weekend!

A note to Jenny and Sabine -- could you send me a comment (which I will not publish) with your email address so I can "comment" back to you. Thanks :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Few Thoughts From Today

Often I ask the children at the end of the day, "What was your favorite thing today?" Yesterday, my favorite thing was introducing baby David to crayons. I asked Michael to pick me up a set of chubby crayons and after dinner I sat him on my lap at the table to let him start drawing. He was so cute! He sat there contentedly for quite some time, his tiny yet chubby hands grasping the crayons and scribbling on the paper. He was so sweet!

Today the children (except David) went off with Grandma and Auntie C to celebrate James' birthday. They went to Auntie C's for an indoor picnic (due to rain) and then went to a pumpkin store. They brought back a number of specimens and some beautiful photos (which I may publish later in the week).

Michael went food shopping for us yesterday as my sister was busy studying for tests. He did a great job and followed the list I sent. He took James and Baby David and even managed to pick out David's first pair of shoes! It was fun to watch David walk around as if he was wearing 5-pound weights on his feet. He'll get used to the shoes before very long.

I am working on coming to grips with the fact that this recovery is going to be long and slow. Sometimes it is hard to give up thoughts of going to social functions, visiting friends (or having them visit), go shopping, etc. Looking on the bright side, I'm having plenty of time for reading, being home with the kids, and working on small little scrapbook or crafting projects. I'm trying to teach myself that it is okay to miss out on things (like the picnic/pumpkin outing today). In the end everyone is happier if I'm not a basket case at the end of the day. :)

I am reading a book on World War I right now. This is a portion of history that I know little about and would appreciate any recommendations of good books with an overview of this time. I've been so fascinated by World War II and hearing so many first-hand accounts of it when we lived in Scotland. I figured I ought to find out more about the War that preceeded it.

That's all for now. It is a very rainy evening here in the Midwest. I think tomorrow will bring cooler, more Fall-like temperatures.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This and That

Here is a collection of pictures from the week. First off, my dear sister Emily is always doing nice things for us. She works at Starbucks in the early mornings before school and one day this week she brought home a drink she had concocted for me. Right now I can't have any caffeine or any sugar/sweetner. So, she made up a drink with steamed milk, a tiny bit of decaf coffee and pumpkin pie spice on top. It tasted great (since I haven't had the real stuff to know the difference) and I felt like I wasn't totally missing out on the pumpkin Starbucks drinks. :)

My Mom brought me this lovely package on Tuesday. She had been shredding things at the supermarket where she works (she's in the floral dept.) and while taking things to the shredder discovered a whole slew of discarded envelopes from the greeting card racks. Her boss was happy for her to have them, and she shared some of them with me! Yeah for card-making supplies!
Baby David is so into purses right now! He likes to wear this one around his neck and will get Grandma's old red cast-off purse that Rachel now owns and carry that one around at the same time. David is now saying his first word, which is "eye."
Grandma and the kids took a walk down our neighborhood trail on Tuesday and came back with these lovely wildflowers.
And here is the picture of the bloggy prize I recently won!!! Being new to blogging, I'm amazed at how many bloggy giveaways there are. My new blogging friend Jess decided to send me a prize for being the first to attempt to guess her little son's first word (the word was Dexter -- their pet bunny). I did not get the word right, but Jess still sent me a prize.
Jess came up with a terrific prize for me, and those of you who have known me for a long time will wonder just how she managed to send such a perfect gift for me.
Inside the box was a note written on some scrap paper that had a pencil sketch from her village in Maine. Beside the note was a little bundle of treasures tied up in a beautiful linen cloth that Jess had hand-embroidered with a picture from the Runaway Bunny book. (Jess is good at embroidery and sewing and crafting) Inside the cloth were two beautiful stones from the coast of Maine (which I long to re-visit), a teabag or spoon holder and a bag of tea. This teabag holder is just what I've been needing as I 've been driving my family crazy leaving my half-used teabags out on the counter in the hopes that I will make another cup later. And, now that I've finally taken the picture, I can enjoy that teabag! Many thanks again, Jess!

Today I finally finished up this little pink cardigan that I have been knitting for a new baby in church. I LOVE the color pink that this yarn came in. The feel of the yarn is very nice too -- I had to knit it double as the yarn was too thin for my pattern. It came out a nice "jacket" weight for fall.

And that is all for now. The week has not been as good energy-wise as last week. But, maybe with resting this week I'll be a bit improved next week. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sunday Dinner

This weekend I was not up to making Sunday dinner, but my sister took charge and produced a wonderful meal. She went out to a local Farmer's Market on Saturday and came home with fresh spinach and lettuce. She also stopped by the grocery store and came home with these beautiful flowers for me, and all of us, to enjoy. I loved how they came in such a tall package!
Here is the wonderful meal, a bit of a variation on some of what we had last week. Emily made "Bangers and Mash" with a kielbasa-type sausage and made a gravy of onions, apples, and red wine. She cooked up red potatoes and mashed them with butter, cream and parsley. And we had more roasted butternut squash. The salad had spinach, lettuce, pears and dried cranberries with a lemon juice/olive oil dressing.
Em made several arrangements with the flowers she brought home and the table looked nice and festive.
Here is the pumpkin cheesecake Emily made. Our two guests pronounced it "gorgeous".
People keep reminding me that on the road of progress it is often two or three steps forward and one or two steps back. This weekend has been a few of those backward steps, which is discouraging. Looking at these pictures helps to remind me of the many blessings along the way, despite the hardships. One of the weekend's blessings was the arrival of a "bloggy prize" I recently won. Hopefully soon I'll take a picture of it and post that -- it was a lot of fun to receive.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Out and About

Yesterday Michael took me out to lunch! A friend was watching our children, and it was the perfect time to be able to have a date to ourselves, and get me out of the house after my long bout of being housebound. I chose the prettiest place I could think of, within easy driving distance.

We had lunch on the patio of the Brick Street Inn.
And we stayed around to read our books for an hour or so after lunch.
Then we decided to try and give me a little exercise by walking up and down the street a little bit.
Here is my fall purse that I knitted last year.
I loved the color of these shutters. You can't see the golden door with the magenta trim that stood next door. The colors were terrific!The sun was very strong, and so not ideal for pictures, but I tried anyway. The pink flowers on this stair railing were just gorgeous!
It is so wonderful to have lovely Fall weather here at last! My sister and I were just looking at old issues of various Fall magazines and trying to think of some Fall menus.
A happy weekend to all of you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Last Few Days

I was very excited to be able to cook Sunday lunch all by myself this week! It felt so good to be creative again and back in the kitchen. We had roasted butternut squash with lots of herbs.
Here is the complete menu -- baked pork with sauteed apples and onions (that idea came from "Farmer Boy" and Rachel recognized it right away!), the roasted butternut squash, and roasted green beans. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Monday we received a visit from the parents of the Bride from the wedding Michael performed on Saturday. They brought by one of the arrangements from the wedding. I was thrilled! Pink is just about my favorite color for flowers. Some of the roses were a little spent, but my Mom fixed up the arrangement today and we are enjoying its beauty and the very heady perfume of the lilies.

I made it to church on Sunday! I'm continuing to make progress and walked down the block today to try and start building up some stamina. I may not have mentioned, but I'm following a very strict hypoglycemic diet and that is helping immensely.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

End of the Week

This afternoon was overcast and very rainy here in the Midwest. It felt like very "cozy" weather. Michael was away most of the afternoon officiating at another wedding. That makes three weddings he's performed this year, and a fourth that he participated in. (Interestingly, each of these weddings had chocolate brown as the main color!) I'm afraid I had to miss this wedding as well as the last one, but I was able to have a relaxing day at home with the children instead.

The children and I tried out my new teapot (a gift from the last wedding) at teatime today. It has a wonderful strainer that sits inside the top so you can use loose tea without the hassle of holding up a strainer. The pot worked so well. The children sat around oohing and ahhing at the downpour outside and drinking their tea and eating snacks.

Rachel and Andrew and I are reading Farmer Boy right now and so we got through a few chapters today. I always loved that book because of the abundant descriptions of food all throughout. My memories are not letting me down, the book is so fun to read.

Tomorrow I am hoping to make it to church! This will be the first time since my "crash" in July. I've been progressing well this week and am no longer bed-ridden! Yeah!!! I've been able to help with lunch and dinner and one day managed them both by myself! (I'm still not doing much of the clean up) I am so thankful for the progress.

Happy Sunday to all of you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Duck

My Dad made Andrew a flying duck for his birthday and brought it over on Monday for Andrew

When Grandma came the next day to help around the house it was her job to have the children paint the duck

I never took a picture of the finished product, but it looks terrific! I'll have to include it in a later post.

We've completed our first two days of school this Fall! So far things are going well and I am able to monitor from the couch in the loft where we do school. I haven't taken the "first day of school" pictures yet, but maybe sometime soon.

Fall is not here yet -- the weather is still very hot. But, my family gave me two beautiful mums and we have squash on the table with the apple-cider flavored candles. So, with the air-conditioning on, we can pretend it is Fall!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Andrew's 5th Birthday

Here is the excited birthday boy, eager to open his presents, and thinking he can't wait until the afternoon.

Everyone received a present from "Lady's Grandma" and these were allowed to be opened upon Andrew's return from breakfast with Daddy.
James makes such silly poses for the camera!
Baby Cakes was very excited about everything. He LOVED the balloons and has been pointing and ooohhhing at them since they arrived on Tuesday.
Andrew requested plain pasta with butter for lunch -- the children's favorite thing to eat.
Here is the birthday boy with the shirt he really wanted me to make for him. Aunty Em made the cake and we iced it with whipped cream and decorated it with chocolate chips -- a simple solution to decorating.

This is about the most expressive I've ever seen Andrew on camera!Everyone is helping with the present-opening and card-reading.The "piece de resistance" was a remote-controlled tractor. Andrew was so happy.And here is the scrumptious looking cake, which I had to forego for healthier options.
I was thankful to be well enough to participate in the festivites and fix lunch for the children! Maybe by the time the next birthday rolls around I'll be able to make the cake too, although Em does a terrific job!
And now it is September, one of my favorite months in the year!!! The weather here is perfect -- it feels like about 70 with a nice cool breeze and plenty of sunshine. My sister brought home candles that smell of spiced apple cider and squash from the farmer's market which she intends to cook for us tomorrow.