Monday, March 31, 2008

Things the boys do and Mommy says...

The boys talked Grandpa Bop into buying them a rubber snake. Kim is afraid, very afraid of snakes. So, what do the boys do? They sneak up on their lovely mommy and thrust the snake at her. She will scream and they double over in laughter, even Teddy Dean! I have quite a dilemma, do I stick up for my lovely bride and take the snake away? Or do I hold momma while the boys scare her? Right, like there is even a choice, sorry Kim.

Under the mommy says department: Last night Calvin was wired and would not go to bed. Kim said to him, "Calvin, Brett Favre called and said you should go to bed." Calvin was amazed, "Brett Favre called me!"

Prediction time

My heart wants North Carolina and Memphis to make it to the championship game. My head says that North Carolina and UCLA will be in the big game. Regardless of who wins the UCLA/Memphis game, I believe that Carolina will win it all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Things They Say

Calvin's best line of the day:

Me: Why is Teddy so upset?
Calvin: He slept on the other side of the pillow.

(I'm pretty sure he meant that Teddy woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Close enough!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why We Blog

Since we started blogging last June, I've had many people ask me, "What is a blog?"

"Blog" is short for web log. If you separate those six letters (w-e-b-l-o-g) differently, you can spell we blog. That word separation is, according to Wikipedia, the origin of the term "blog."

The idea of a blog is that it is an online, reverse chronological log. It can be text, pictures, video, music, artwork, or a combination of these elements.

The topics and purposes of web logs, or blogs, vary. People use blogs as personal diaries, cultural commentary, business advertisement, chronicling of a trip, adventure, or process. Some do photo logs. Some people use a blog as a way to inform, much like a book, but in bite-size daily doses.

Why do we blog?

Mostly, it is an easy way to, with one typed note, keep in touch with many friends and family. We can give updates about our children, life, school, plans, thoughts, reading, to everyone we know with the click of a button.

Besides writing about our family life, our second biggest category is books. Ken and I love to read and we like to tell others about what we think are good books.

We enjoy writing about things we are learning in life, that perhaps it will encourage others. I know this is one reason I read several friends' blogs regularly: for encouragement.

I also enjoy blogging because there is something about writing that makes things click in my brain. It helps me to think more clearly and process what is happening in our lives. And, if I went to the trouble of writing it, why not share it with everyone I know (and don't know...this is, after all, the world-wide web!).

We know many of you reading this have blogs of your own. I'm curious, why do you blog?

Please comment to this post and share your answer!

The Things They Say

Funny things Calvin said today:

"My tummy is growling for donuts."

"Are we going to the semi-marry today?"

"When naptime was over, I thought, 'Hmm...maybe Teddy wants to watch a movie.'"

"Mama, I put a worm in your hair."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

That's What Little Boys Are Made Of...

Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails,
that's what little boys are made of!
~ 19th Century Nursery Rhyme
Today was gorgeous--warm and sunny and perfect for playing outdoors. The boys tossed aside their outdoor toys today and instead turned to nature. Bugs, in particular. They discovered an anthill. The anthill led them to a mud puddle. They splashed and slopped in the mud until they had dirty brown faces and wet filthy pants legs. Meanwhile, I was pulling some weeds from the garden. Calvin found a slug and then asked if I could please find him a worm. Every time I dug up some earth with a creepy crawly in it, I called out, "Worm!" and the boys would come running over for a new treasure. Then they found The Worm. It was the biggest I have ever seen. Teddy was the first with the guts to pick it up. Soon they were both taking turns holding it, giggling uncontrollably as it slipped around in their hands.
I was delighted to watch my boys being boys.
I just didn't want them to touch me with those muddy worm-germ hands.
When it was time to go inside, it was straight to the bathtub, of course.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Lost theory

My co-worker, Shawn, has a theory about Lost that I want to share. He thinks that Richard is the captain of the Black Rock pirate ship. Think about it, he never ages, he was already on the island before Dharma showed up, he would have the money to finance Ben (treasure from the pirate days) and he would want to protect the island because he has benefited from its "healing" powers for the last four centuries. Also, he needs someone from Dharma (Ben) on his side so that he can benefit from the Dharma technology, communication and transportation systems. That's also why Widmore is bidding on the Black Rock painting and journal: not because he already knows of a connection with the island, but because he wants to find the shipwrecked Black Rock and its lost treasure. Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Library Storytime

Making Banana Bread

Grandma Patti had Calvin help her make banana bread yesterday.

Measure, mix, and pour ~

A little taste test ~
It's fun to make a mess ~
Finished product (And aren't those blue walls nice?) ~
I guess I'll share with Teddy Dean ~

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Eggs and Morning Snuggles

We have been enjoying our visitors immensely! Calvin dyed "Spring Eggs" with Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa ~

These pictures of my tan kitchen make me smile, because Grandma Patti painted the kitchen a beautiful blue today while I was at class!

Cal was very proud of himself for creating a new piece of jewelry for Grandma Patti. She's been wearing it ever since he gave it to her. Tonight, however, for church, she put on a different necklace. As soon as Calvin saw it, he said, "Why aren't you wearing your noodle necklace?"

A sweet morning snuggle with Bop ~

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Power of the Cross

Tonight we went to church to hear the worship choir and orchestra perform a special Easter presentation. It was fabulous! The music was accompanied by video clips from the JESUS film. It was a moving presentation. As clips played from the crucifixion scene, the choir sang "The Power of the Cross," by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. This powerful song has the following refrain:

This, the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross

The message of tonight's music has set my heart on the true meaning of Easter, that Jesus bore my sin, took my death penalty, and then conquered death.

The song ends in this way:

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds
For through your suffering I am free
Death is crushed to death
Life is mine to live
Won through your selfless love
This the power of the cross
Son of God, slain for us
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross
What a love, what a cost. Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

Calvin's Birthday Party

We had a great family time last night celebrating Calvin's birthday! He chose a Curious George cake ~

And he received some special gifts. The unexpected hit of the night was the pair of sunglasses sent from Uncle Dan and Auntie Lyndsay. He put those sunglasses on and wouldn't take them off.

Some new sports equipment from Grandpa John and Grandma Patti ~

To get a nice picture of him with his new Noah's Ark set, I said, "Put your head down by the box." Well, Mr. Amelia Bedelia did just that ~

Calvin's recent interest in animals garnished him a new collection of Schleich animal figurines, some from Grandma Maggie, some from Mommy and Daddy, which he displayed beautifully atop the ark ~

Line of the night:

When Calvin opened a box containing his first baseball glove, he said, "It's a . . .it's a . . .finger thing."

A special bedtime with guest storybook readers ~

Grandpa, or "Bop" as Calvin says, read a story book called Cool Boppers Choppers. It's filled with be-bop scat and our "Bop" read it like a pro.

Happy Birthday, sweet Calvin!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Calvin's 3rd Birthday!

Today is Calvin's 3rd birthday. We will celebrate tomorrow when Grandpa John, Grandma Patti, and Uncle Ross arrive. But to make today special, he had sprinkles and candles in his cream of wheat, the Special Plate at lunch, and a Krispie Kreme donut that Daddy brought home after school. He also learned how to hold up three fingers. We did a bit of shopping. While we were out, Calvin called out to a stranger, "I'm a birthday boy!"

It seems like just yesterday that I held Calvin for the first time, at 9:30 p.m. on a Monday night. And now he can hold a conversation, dance to the Wiggles, recite scripture, retell Bible stories, count to twelve, sing the ABC's, correctly use words like "generous" and "cacti," tell me the titles of most of his books, and pee-pee standing up. (This one is new. I told him he couldn't do this until he turned 3. The day has come. Messes included.)

I'm starting to understand what all of my older parent-friends tell me: it goes so fast.

Seize the day! Get all the extra hugs and cuddles and kisses and giggles and memories in that you can! Teach, teach, teach! Train, train, train! Love, love, love!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Outdoor Play

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and our snow is nearly gone. We opened our box of outdoor toys. They've been packed in a box for nearly 18 months, so it was like Christmas!

Today, the boys played outside under Daddy's supervision. Ted and Cal shoveled the bit of remaining snow. Teddy ate much of it...

And Ken basked in the sunshine during his study break.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Arlene Schmidt, the greatest mom in the world

Today would have been my mom's 66th birthday. I loved this woman for so many reasons. She has been the most influential earthly person on my life. She taught me the meaning of commitment. When my dad died in 1983, mom decided that she would focus on the kids. She would say, "I stood up in front of the church and told everyone that I was marrying Merlyn and only death would part us." She could have dated and married (we would have welcomed that for her) but she was unselfish and gave her life to us boys. What a great lesson for me and my brothers.

She also taught me how to die as a follower of Christ. She battled with breast and brain cancer for the last six years of her life. She did not fear dying because she knew she would be in heaven. Her only desire was for her family to join her someday in heaven. I am reminded daily that I need to live and die for Christ. I must tell everyone about Christ as I live and when I die I want people to see how Christ changed my life.

I am often brought to tears as I talk to Calvin about Grandma Schmidt. One day as I was telling Calvin about Grandma Schmidt in heaven he said, "Can we call her so I can say hi?" I wish we could, Calvin. However, we have great joy in knowing that she is in heaven because she put her trust in Jesus Christ. Toward the end of her life she realized that just going to church did not make a person a Christian. She realized that being a good person was not good enough. She realized that she needed to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. She would have loved Calvin and Teddy Dean. I can imagine her laughing at Calvin's crazy statements. She would have loved Teddy's open mouthed kisses. Shopping for "Cars" toys would have brought her great joy.

Mom brought me such great joy in her life and in her death. I want my boys to know about mom's laughter, her love for snacks, her sweatshirts and sweatpants, her cats...but most of all I want them to know what a life given to Jesus looks like.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Recipe Alert: Beef 'N Potato Bake

Our blog name isn't really about the content of our blog. It's a reference to the composition of our family bookshelves: Ken's commentaries and Kim's cookbooks. It means that this blog is a little bit Kim and a little bit Ken.

I do want to post a recipe today, though. Two weeks ago we shared a delicious potluck lunch with our Adult Bible Fellowship group at church. I brought an old family favorite, Beef 'N Potato Bake. Several families said they liked it and wanted the recipe, so this one's for my ABF friends:

Beef 'N Potato Bake

4 cups Southern Style frozen
hash brown potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 packet powdered Brown Gravy Mix

1 cup water
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 10 oz. pkg frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, lima beans, carrots, corn, peas)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can French’s Fried Onions

Heat oven to 400 F. In a 9 x 13 in. baking dish, combine potatoes, oil and pepper. Press mixture across bottom of pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 F. for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in skillet, brown beef and drain fat. Stir in gravy mix, water and garlic salt; bring to a boil. Add mixed vegetables. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Stir in ½ cup cheese and ½ can fried onions. Spoon over baked hash browns. (The casserole can easily be covered and frozen at this point and baked at a later date.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. for 15 minutes (30 minutes if frozen). Sprinkle with remaining cheese and fried onions. Bake 5 minutes longer. Makes 6 generous servings.

I make this one so often I could probably do it in my sleep. We had it yesterday, in fact, and finished the leftovers tonight. We had this a lot growing up, so it's a comfort food for me. Hope you like it!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Homeschooling In Question

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

On February 28, a California appellate court declared that "under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children."

My children are not yet school-age. Ken and I have not firmly decided what course of education we will pursue for our kids. We may or may not ever homeschool. Yet this news out of California has my temperature rising.

So I've been thinking on this for the past two days to figure out why I'm so hot about a court ruling in a different state that will likely be appealed and repealed. I've boiled it down to this: God clearly calls me to instruct and train my children, so I don't want the government limiting my own influence over my own children. Viewed in this light, the government limiting parental rights is an afront to my faith in Jesus Christ. In short, it is an afront to the Gospel.

Parents are teachers, the most important teachers. Whether or not the state says I am a teacher, or says I am qualified to be a teacher, God says I am a teacher. Whether or not I teach my children well or embrace my role as my children's teacher, God still calls me to teach them.

This is not to say that homeschooling is the only God-honoring choice for a child's education.

However, parents' rights to choose how their children will be educated is a critical piece to biblical parenting and worth fighting for.

For more perspectives on this recent news, see this article in the Los Angelos Times, this Citizen Link article, and read Dr. Albert Mohler's blog.

Snow Day Pictures

Getting ready to play in the snow ~

Our cars covererd ~

Pretty deep snow ~

Teddy crying because he couldn't go ~

Snow in Kentucky?

Well, I thought we had escaped snowstorms for a short period in our lives. I was wrong. We had a snowstorm yesterday that dumped around a foot of snow on Louisville. To give our northern readers perspective, this is like the Twin Cities getting two to three feet of snow. The city shut down (well except for Macaroni Grill, which was kind enough to let me work last evening). We took a few photos of the snow (to prove that we haven't turned into sissies) and of the boys (minus Teddy Dean who just plops into the snow and refuses to move; think Christmas Story) playing in the snow. It is fun to play in the snow with Calvin, he squeals with delight as he tackles daddy in the snow. However, I did have to shovel my driveway! It took me nearly an hour to clear the snow. Kimberly commented that we should have kept the snoblower. My thought is that we should move further south! I will post some pictures later, blogspot is having problems posting pictures.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Flat Stanley

A week or two ago, Calvin received a letter from his cousin Jackson. Inside was a laminated paper cutout called Flat Stanley. Accompanying Flat Stanley was the following explanation and request:

We are so excited you have received a Flat Stanley from a student in our 1st
grade class. This Stanley has come all the way from Carter Lake Elementary on
McCord Air Force Base in Lakewood, Washington. In the book Flat Stanley, the
character of Stanley becomes flat and is mailed to visit relatives in
California. As a class we decided to make our own Stanley's to mail to our
relatives and friends.

On the back of this paper is a journal sheet that you can fill out about what you did with Flat Stanley while he visited you. Feel free to take Stanley on an adventure and record that adventure on the journal page. You can also send pictures of you with Stanley or of Stanley on his adventure.

Our classes are very excited about getting our Stanley's back and sharing about all their adventures with our friends and relatives...It is very important to our
students to get their Stanley's back so don't forget to put him in the envelope
you send your journal page back in. Thank you for participating...and for making
this Flat Stanley experience a wonderful way for our students to learn about
letter writing, mail, and the postal service.

Isn't that so fun?

We didn't do anything hugely adventurous while Stanley visited; we just took him along to our normal activities. He was a wonderfully easy house guest. He went to Motor Skills class and watched from the bleachers. He went to library story time and heard all about farm animals. He went to the playground where he went down slides ~

and fell into a mud puddle (was thrown into a mud puddle is more accurate) ~

And he was carried around by Calvin, who shouted out to people passing by, "Look at my Flat Stanley!"

So, Jackson, Flat Stanley is in the mail and on his way back to you. I hope he gets there in time. Thanks for sharing Flat Stanley with us!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts on Brett Favre retiring

The comment by my good friend Pat made me think. I am not sad that Brett Favre retired. I was surprised initially, but, as I have thought about it, it makes sense. I thought Brett would retire both of the previous two seasons. He was average at best those years. He was awesome this year. This is the way for one of the best football players in the history of the NFL to go out. He had one of his best years. The Packers did much better than anyone thought they would. Also, Brett has played at least 27 seasons of football (this is figuring from his Jr. High days until last season). That is a lot of football folks.

Sundays will be different next year, but, they will be exciting. The Vikings might actually have a chance to beat the Packers now (sorry Pat, you knew that one was coming). I think the Packers will take a step back next year, but in the next 3-5 years they will win at least one Super Bowl with Aaron Rogers.

One last note to Pat, John and Patti will be coming down in a week or so, you know what you can do to get on my good side again (ha ha).

Go Pack Go

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Things They Say

Some more things Calvin has said that I don't want to forget:

Calvin: What are we having for breakfast today?
Me: Pancakes!
Calvin: Ooh, I can't resist pancakes.

Me: Why didn't you want to talk on the phone last night with Grandpa?
Calvin: I was very nervous.

Me: Teddy Dean! You pooped through your pajamas! Oh no, it's on your sheets.
Calvin: I'm very impressed.

Calvin to me: Teddy took away my toy again. We need to throw him in a pit. (FYI: We had just read about Joseph and his brothers.)

Calvin, after knocking Teddy onto the floor, said to no one in particular: And he fell over like Goliath.

Me, reading aloud from the Read and Learn Bible: "Mary sang a song to praise God. With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I..."
Calvin: Sing it!

Calvin: When I was sleepin' this house started stinkin'.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lost: We've got it all figured out, sort of

I go to Seminary Wives Institute on Thursday nights. I come home at about 9:05 p.m., dump my books and coat in the middle of the living room, and sit on the couch next to Ken. Ken has, without fail, put the kids to bed and is sitting watching Lost. We don't say a word until the commercial break. My sister witnessed this last week and must have thought we were nuts. At least we warned her. We barely turn the TV on all week and then at 9 p.m. Thursday evening we become glued to it.

After the last episode, Ken and I are 100% sure that Mr. Widmore is the key to everything. Ken called it from the very first time we were introduced to Mr. Widmore (season 2, I think). We think Mr. Widmore is the financier of the entire Dharma Initiative! So at the auction in 1996, when he buys the secret journal from the Black Rock, he already knows all about the island, because Dharma started in the 1970's. And he knows that the Black Rock was shipwrecked on the island and is filled with unstable dynamite. Perhaps he even knows how the Black Rock came to be two miles inland. Or maybe the journal will hold that answer.

Anyway, I would venture to guess that Mr. Widmore sent Naomi and her team (Dharma people), that he is thwarting Penny's efforts to make contact with the island, that he somehow orchestrated Desmond's shipwreck on the island (Desmond was sailing in a Widmore-sponsored race), and that he is the mysterious "boss" that Elsi worked for in Berlin. Widmore is the one who is out to get Ben Linus (and the rest of the "hostiles" and hostile-sympathizers), because Ben put an end to all the Dharma people on the island.

Think about it: Dharma is costly. Widmore is the only character with enough money to finance it. Well, except for Hurley.

And if anyone out there was also into Alias, another JJ Abrams creation, you'll understand this one: Ken thinks that Jacob is really Milo Rombaldi. Now that's funny.