Monday, July 21, 2008

There's a Mouse About the House!

I realize that this picture is not very good...but there is, indeed, a little brown mouse underneath that metal cup. And we did, indeed, catch it.

Yes, that's right, a MOUSE! Oh, we've had our fair share of unwanted life-forms in this house: ants, mosquitoes, flies, crickets, caterpillars, silkworms, bees, wasps, spiders, potato bugs, lightning bugs...(I guess that's what you get if you choose to buy a house in the middle of a forest)... but never before something that has made me scream quite so loudly and involuntarily as this mouse.

Thankfully, the Becks were over at the time we spotted Paul and Brian blocked off the doorways while Megan stood on a chair and scared the mouse out with a stick, and I...well...I just stood in the corner with my own stick and screamed. (No, I'm not proud of it...but it's what happened, alright?) Brian finally captured it under a large basket (harming the poor creature in the process), and transferred it into the cup, out the door, and down the street so it could occupy someone else's house.

Oh boy, I hope we don't have a nest of them somewhere....

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Last Sunday was one of those days...and the end of one of those weeks. You know, one of those weeks where, at the end of it, you're surprised that you made it through and you hope your kids can forgive and forget the fact that they'd been ignored for an unhealthy amount of time. I had logged more hours on the phone than I care to count as I tried to help a wonderful, troubled family - and when I wasn't on the phone, my thoughts were far away from my two, sweet, dependent kids who needed me, too. I realize that I need to become better in being able to handle problems without becoming so self-absorbed that I neglect what is most important to me.

Maybe on a more normal schedule, my kids would have been a little better at handling my negligence. But they're not adjusting super well to Brian's new schedule - they miss him terribly throughout the day, and I often have to distract McKenzie from tears when she finds out Daddy won't be there to tuck her in on a given night. This surprised me...the fact that I'm actually fine, and my kids are struggling...I was expecting the opposite reaction. But I think the Lord is giving me more strength than I need so I can turn my thoughts away from me, and onto my kids.

Anyway - back to Sunday. At church I finally tied up all the loose ends with this family (being serenaded the whole time by McKenzie's shrill cry of attention), and packed my kids, bags, books, scriptures, toys, shoes, papers, stickers, and purse (seriously...why can't all the little things stay in one bag?) into the car. As I drove home, I carefully mapped out the rest of the evening - saturated with some serious mommy-kids time. I was excited to have a nice, fun dinner and then move on to books, puzzles and games before winding them down with a nice, warm bath and tucking them into bed with a few songs, and many hugs and kisses.

My plan started off well - we had a pancake party together...complete with fresh peaches, strawberries, raspberries and bananas, and a little powdered sugar on the top (that was McKenzie's suggestion, and it was actually very good!). About halfway through the dinner, Carson dumped his full cup of apple juice onto the white, tile floor (and I know it was on purpose because just after he did it, he looked at me and said, "Ha, ha, ha, ha" in a very sing-songey, mocking tone - ohhhhhh, isn't he cute?). But, this night was all about love, right? So, I gently asked him not to do it again, and filled his cup up with water. Ten minutes later, as we were finishing our last bites of dinner, I glanced down to the massive puddle of apple juice to see hundreds of little, black ants throwing a party around, and in, the apple juice. "OH!" I exclaimed. I moved the kids and the stools out of the kitchen and grabbed a rag to wipe up the mess. The juice had dried just enough to get super as I wiped the rag across the antsy-juice, I ended up just spreading ant guts all over the place. "Dang - now I gotta mop the floor" I thought. So, I filled up the sink with sudsy water and started mopping it all up. As I finished I had the heart-sinking thought,
"'s awfully quiet around here."

Yes, it was quiet because my kids had gotten into the stash of macaroni and cheese, taken 15 boxes of it into the nice, clean living room, opened 3 of the boxes and dumped all the noodles on the floor. I went to get the vacuum out of the hall closet, and by the time I got back, they had managed to open the cheese packet, dump it all over the light carpet, and get their little wet tongues into the mess. Banning them from the room, I started to vacuum, (of course, our vacuum doesn't really work - so I had to get most of the noodles off of the floor on my hands and knees), and spray carpet cleaner into the stained fibers. Ohhhhh, aren't they adorable? After I was blotting up the last of the orange spots I had the heart-sinking thought,
"'s awfully quiet around here."

Yes, it was quiet because my kids had gone into the bathroom and found the shampoo and the soap. They had rubbed it in their hair, on their clothes, and dumped it all over the bathroom floor. Isn't that darling?! It was 6:45 at this point, and my whole evening of mommy-kids time had been wasted. My patience was completely lost, and they were sent to their rooms for an early bed with no stories, no songs, and just one hug and kiss each.

Still seeking for attention, McKenzie kept coming out of her room (until about 9:00). Each time she came out she'd say, "Mommy?" in her sweetest, quietest voice...but I would quietly reply:
"Nope, I'm not mommy any more tonight...mommy is gone for the night. Go to bed and check back tomorrow."

Have I mentioned how wonderful they are?!

Ah, that's just the thing though: they could do it over and over and over and over again...and I couldn't help but love them to death in the morning. What is it about those two little kids? They drive me crazy sometimes - but I can't imagine my life without them. They give me purpose and fulfillment, laughter and joy. And, though this controversial article in Newsweek concluded that having children does not make you happy (which I agree is true in many cases), my two little kids have made my life and my world, and I can honestly say that, for me, having kids has definitely made me happier....even though I have days like last Sunday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sending a Little Love

The kids and I were a little bored tonight - missing Daddy - so we decided to whip out the camera and send a little love over to the hospital. These are some of my favorite shots ... Sorry some are blurry; Kenzie had fun with the camera, too! We hope you get to see these tonight Daddy! We're thinking of you!

Living Parallel Lives

The kids and I went to Costco tonight for dinner (what? you expect me to cook every night Brian is gone?!)...yummy, cheap, greasy pizza and hot dogs - and best of all, no clean up for me! As we were sitting under the table with the umbrella (thankfully it was unoccupied so I didn't have to try to convince McKenzie that umbrella tables are not all that cool...come to think of it, why does Costco have umbrella tables set up indoors, anyway?), we heard this loud, unfamiliar sound fill up the whole warehouse. I lifted my head to see what in the world was going on, and noticed that everyone else was either looking around as well, or staring out the front doors. I turned around in my seat to glance outside and saw sheets of rain dumping from the sky...seriously, more rain than I have seen for about 4 years here! The tin roof covering Costco was taking a beating, hence the noise. We tried to wait it out, but it just kept getting later and later, so finally we packed up and headed out the doors. I stopped just outside the doors, underneath the awning, and yelled over the sound of the rain to my kids, "WELL, IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE GOING TO GET WET!!!" Kenz was less than thrilled...
I looked to my left and noticed another young mom with two kids watching me with a smile. I gave her a smile back and she yelled, 'HEY! I HAVE AN IDEA! Do you want me to stay here with your kids while you go and get your car, then you stay here with the kids while I go get mine?" Fantastic idea! I thought.
After the switch, she pulled her car up, jumped out, and I started pushing the carts to our cars. It was then that I noticed we each had one, single item in our carts: baby wipes. For some reason, this struck me as so funny, I had to point it out to her, and we both buckled in laughter. "We're just living parallel lives!" she yelled.

Well, I needed that tonight. I needed to buckle in laughter, and I needed to share it with a friendly face. So, to Shannon at Costco, THANKS for a great idea, and a kind smile. :) I'm glad our parallel lives crossed for a moment!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One of my Favorite Things About Being a Mom:

Finding random kids' stuff in odd places... upon further investigation, I found out that Cuddles was tired and needed a 'dark, quiet place to take a nap.'

What a fun thing to find as I was going about the mundane task of putting laundry away! :)


I must, unfortunately, supplement this with sharing one of the grossest things I've ever seen as a mom: Coming into the kitchen after taking a shower today and seeing that Carson had gotten into the fridge, and had devoured half of a RAW hamburger patty.
Maybe I should get one of those fridge locks...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

France - Post 2

To those of you who care about our trip to France...I've posted a few more pictures and shared a few more stories and events of our great vacation. To those of you who don't care, feel free to skim or entirely skip! I won't be offended. :)

Ahhhh - Paris! The most romantic city in the world (that I've been to anyway). Seriously, there's something about walking around the streets of Paris that makes you want to reach out for your loved one's hand and give it a little extra squeeze! In Paris, there seems to be more of an attitude of embracing, and celebrating love than there is anywhere else I've been. It was a perfect place to start our vacation - enveloped in a love that seems so much stronger now than it did 6 years ago while we were planning our wedding...

It was in Paris that I found my true love, however: rich, smooth, incredibly satisfying, chocolate mousse. After our first one I exclaimed, "Oh... we're going to have to have one of these every day." Thankfully, Brian wasn't fact, he seemed pleased with our enriched relationship. :)

The Louvre. Interesting and kind of made me wish I appreciated art more.

The City of Langeais

"Marie! Hurry up! The baguettes!
There goes the baker with his tray like always.
The same old bread and rolls to sell."
Beauty and the Beast! What a great Disney movie...and the one that definitely stuck the most songs in my head while we were in France! (Le poisson, le poisson, he he he, ho ho ho! What a sweet little succulent crab!) Anyway - back to baguettes - could there be anything more satisfying than sitting in the streets of France eating a baguette and cheese for breakfast?! This was a frequent lunch for us...the cheapest, easiest to find, and most filling.

This city is BEAUTIFUL! Castle after castle, river after river, mountain after mountain. We rented bikes for the day and rode 30 miles on small village roads. We visited the castles, saw the landscape, and breathed in the fresh air. It was unforgettable! (Especially the part when it started down pouring on us - dripping sweat into our the time we got back to the bike rental place, we were SOAKING! Plus, I was in jeans and a it made me feel that much more water-logged. :)

The Drive Around France
From the time we picked up our car in Paris and returned it 10 days later to the same building, we had logged 1600 miles. Driving was maybe one of my favorite things - we took back roads the whole time (mainly to avoid the toll-roads) and saw some of the most beautiful scenery God has created. We had hours and hours to talk, listen to music, and enjoy the companionship that sitting in the car forces upon two people. :)

Now, obviously, we didn't just drive the whole time we were there. We stayed in beautiful bed and breakfasts.....

...visited many of Brian's old mission stomping grounds (this was one of the apartments he lived was a little weird to be taking a picture of someone else's house while their windows were wide, we tried to hide behind a tree)...

...stopped to play in the wildflowers a time or two....

...and to have our breath taken away by the beauty of the ocean


To finish off our vacation, we drove into Switzerland and went hiking in the Alps. Many of the trails were closed due to the snow...but we decided to try and go for it anyway. Perhaps not the smartest idea...

The snow was deeper than my knees in some places...and you can see the dark clouds looming in the distance. We were a little frightened we'd be caught in a snowstorm - but everything ended up being great.

The landscape was picturesque...
the breathtaking mountains in the background, the wildflowers in the foreground....and, of course, a handsome hubby in the middle. :)

We had so much fun, and made memories that will last forever - I can't wait to return! I suppose I should stop letting McKenzie have all those pennies she finds around the house...