Monday, June 30, 2008

Finishing projects

This is one of our crafts we did on vacation. Several relatives are extremely gifted in the craft department and love stamping and scrapbooking. My cousin Tammy came up with this idea of a desktop calendar. She made these 4x6 calendar pages on white cardstock and left the top blank. Then she cut out squares of colored cardstock and smaller squares of white cardstock. We stamped different designs on the white squares to coordinate with each month.

It was fun to embellish the designs with brads or use different color inks to stamp or color the stamped image. It was enough creative license to make you feel proud of what you did but not too much where you felt overwhelmed and no idea where to begin. The current month sits in a clear plastic frame and the rest wait to be showcased. After each month is over, I'm going to save them for my scrapbooks - how cool is that?

The other project was one we did in my mom's group at church. Several in our family are very good at sewing (I have a very talented family) so I passed along this sewing project. You start with a rectangular placemat and add some grommets, fold it in half and sew the sides up and add some ribbon and you have a bag! The really cool part was that I actually sewed my own bag myself! And it was really neat seeing what everyone came up with. The bags looked so good. I wish I had taken pictures of others but here are my two so you can see what the finished project looks like. The pink one is the one I sewed myself and the brown one is the one I had made at mom's group. I'm planning on trying my hand at sewing some more soon.

Speaking of finished projects, our living room ceiling is finally done! Josh ripped out the old, ugly tiles around the end of April. He bought the boards and my mom and I stained them in early May. Josh's dad came down to help put up the drywall but the beams weren't put up until a couple weeks ago, again with the help of Josh's dad. Yesterday, Josh installed the ceiling fan. Ta-da! Our old ceiling fan didn't have lights and wasn't installed very well - it swayed and wobbled the whole time and I was always worried that it would fall down when someone was standing under it. It was also very noisy and almost too powerful - you couldn't have it on when you were reading the paper or it would fly everywhere. This one is whisper quiet and so secure. It's just lovely.

So now where are we in the scheme of moving? Well, I can't decide. I've started listening to Dave Ramsey and I think that what I want right now would make us "house poor", as he calls it, which means that the house payment would be so high it would make us poor. I have also started thinking it'd be really nice to get new windows in the rest of the house. We've already gotten new windows upstairs, in the dining room, bathroom and kitchen so there is just our bedroom, the living room and the office left. The windows are pretty old and in bad shape so it'd make a huge difference. I think that would give us time to save up more money and finish other little projects without stressing too much and then we could list early next spring. But I could change my mind later today. :) The thing is, I really want to move but I also want to be smart. I'd rather not potty-train two toddlers with this tiny bathroom but there are worse things that could happen.

I haven't forgotten about Owen and Rachel and the big lake - I just don't have pictures so that will have to come tomorrow.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Highlights

We stayed at a resort in Cedarville, MI called Island View Resort. It's right on Lake Huron and was just beautiful. To be able to wake up every morning and see this view all day long was amazing. I would love to be able to rent a place on a lake for a month sometime. Honestly, I'd love to live there year-round but I'll go for realistic.

There was a family softball game one night, a variety show one night and lots of games and laughs every night. Tori did pieces of her ballet recital without any music. She did so good at remembering all the steps - I don't know where she gets the desire to perform from.

There was also an incident with the paddleboat. On it's 2nd run of the week, some boys took it out too far and needed help getting back in. Somehow the rope got wound around something, making it difficult to peddle and when they tried to force the peddles to go, it broke. A boat was sent out to rescue the paddleboat but the boys were on their own. :)

Another highlight was frog-catching. That is one of the best parts about a vacation like this. For a whole week, my kids get to do things like catch frogs and worms and parts of crayfish. I like that they get those experiences but I also like that it only happens a few times a year.

Some other highlights is that there were no major injuries (unless you count the time I bit my tongue really hard, which did affect my ability to read books out loud to Owen and Rachel clearly for a day) and no major sunburns (except for a stupid spot on my knee and also my toes - and I used sunscreen!) All in all, it was a great vacation. And I haven't even talked about our craft projects yet! I'll post about that next and how Owen and Rachel did in a big lake.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I recently discovered I had comments! How fun! There are people reading this out there. :) I thought I had it set up to email me when there was a comment to publish but apparently not. It has been so great to see some other blogs out there from people I went to college with. Now they're all grown-up! Isn't that funny how that happens?

We're back from vacation and I wish we weren't. :) It was an awesome week. Now I have loads of laundry to catch up on. I'm with you on the laundry, Judy!

There will be lots of pictures soon but not tonight.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


My count is now up to 3 - bug spray, coffee and ibuprofen. None of which are hard to find at a store but all of which we have at home so that is a little annoying. Still, one year I forgot a pillow - that was worse.

It looks like it will be Josh and I in the truck with Rachel and Owen. Brendan and Tori are riding up with Grandpa and Grandma. Strangely enough, no one has offered to ride with Rachel. :) Maybe today she'll handle it better. We can always hope!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Almost There!

We made it to my parents house and have everything all packed. So far, I've only forgotten one thing - bug spray. My sister and her husband arrived here around 4:30 this afternoon. My brother and his girlfriend were here for supper - it was nice to all be together. I just love my family. They are funny and kind and helpful and supportive. I feel so blessed that the people I like to be around the best are the ones I get to spend holidays with.

Getting things ready for vacation was a little stressful. I like to be prepared for anything so our truck was packed to the limit. I sometimes think of myself as a minimalist but then the truth comes out. I like to have stuff. I think "stuff" will make rainy days or long trips better. I don't like to spend a lot of money on stuff, which is why I love garage sales. But all the stuff in the world can't make a 16-month-old stop crying when buckled in her car seat. If the short trip today is any indication of the trip tomorrow, it will be a long day for Rachel and all those riding with her. How I wish I knew what would make her happy!

I keep wondering how this vacation will be different from last year with Rachel and Owen being older. They are definitely more active, which means that I will have to be more active. Thank goodness for naptime and bedtime. It will be so much fun watching them get to know cousins and aunts and uncles, playing in the lake, and just being able to run around more. Whew - I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Did I mention that I appreciate naptime and bedtime? :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


We are leaving tomorrow for vacation. My mom's family rents a bunch of cabins for a week in northern Michigan and vacations together on a lake. The location has changed several times over the years but the main idea is the same - a place that we can have all to ourselves on a lake. We take turns making meals and play lots of games together. The younger cousins play together and the older ones get re-acquainted and share stories from younger years. There are boat rides, songs around the campfire and delicious snacks. My grandma generously paid for the vacation until she passed away last year. Now it is uncertain if the tradition can continue. Life is always uncertain so we will enjoy our time together on a beautiful lake and make new memories. I am already anticipating good conversation and lots of laughs. :)

We've decided to drive up to my parents tomorrow to make the trip on Saturday a little shorter. Because of that, we started packing up the truck tonight. Because of that, I didn't get much done as far as emptying the house today. And when we get back, Josh will work midnights the next week for a project at work. I can't really guess how that will go and what I will be able to get done and if I'll even end up staying here. I'm trying to be flexible - but that goes completely against my planner personality. I want to know what's going on! A deep breath - and I'm okay. I just have to remember to do that several times throughout the day. A deep breath and a prayer and I'm good to go - for another 10 minutes. :)

In my ballet shoes

Tori is probably the child least like me. Although I wouldn't say she's like Josh, either. :) She reminds me more of my sister than anyone. She loves dressing up and wearing skirts and frilly things. I still hate wearing anything other than jeans. She doesn't mind getting up in front of people to perform. I wouldn't say it's her favorite thing to do but if it's with a group, she does really well. She can be shy but she can also be very outgoing and talk to complete strangers about everything and anything on her mind.
She doesn't like to be funny, which is too bad because she's often hilarious. Just her way of looking at things or wording things is so unique. Hopefully someday she'll appreciate her sense of humor. The odd thing is that she likes to make people laugh but gets offended if you say she's funny or silly.
She is always up for any shopping trip. It doesn't matter if it's to the grocery store or Target (always hopeful for popcorn) or to Lowe's. Tori also has this really sweet nurturing side to her. Whenever she is given any kind of treat, she always takes two and gives one to Brendan. And if she only gets one, she'll often ask if he wants part of it.
That is a short description of an indescribable girl. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Right now, those are Brendan's two career choices. I can't get him to think of an alternative. In his mind, it's simple - one or the other. He goes back and forth between his favorite sport. I was hoping for basketball but he tends to pick football more often. We try to encourage him to have fun and play smart. He doesn't like to be in front of people generally so it's fun to see him on the floor or on the field. To watch him interact with teammates and coaches. We've noticed that as he gets older, he jumps around less during the game and pays attention more. I was amazed when he played football last fall - he just seemed to know what to do. Such a change from 2 years ago when he was running for a touchdown and turned to wave when he heard us cheering him on. Oh, if only I could have gotten that on video!
He's not much for playing with toys but there doesn't seem to be a game he won't play. Board games, card games, video games, sports games. Does this mean he's competitive? I know he likes rules. And he likes to make sure other people follow the rules. He has a very hard time when his idea of what's fair is different than my idea. He tends to handle losing okay, unless he loses often and badly. I relate to that. I stopped playing Sequence with Josh for awhile because he won so much. It's just not fun if you never get a jack and always lose! And Josh always acted like he didn't really care about winning, which somehow makes it worse when you're the loser. Actually, he stopped playing Sequence with me. :) I was okay with that - I needed time to pout.
I need to post about some of my better traits that my kids have gotten from me. Brendan loves reading and is an excellent reader. He will re-read the same book over and over again. And he hates to get rid of them. This could be a negative but I will choose to see it as a positive. He doesn't hang on to anything else and willingly puts things in the garage sale pile. But he sees the value in books. And I intend to encourage that.


Owen and Rachel have this whole range of facial expressions that I absolutely love. Owen's eyebrow tends to raise up, which gives him this skeptical look. I don't even know how to describe Rachel's expressions. She's good at making her face do all kinds of things! She can go from a sweet, shy smile with pursed lips, to a full-blown pout with tear-filled eyes in minutes. Very dramatic and emotional. I will concede that probably comes from me but I tend to be more private with my emotions. She wants the world to know! Owen will get angry but then gets over it and moves on to other things. I love watching them interact with their completely different personalities.

Rachel is very cautious and wants to know the details of a situation before she decides to try it. (It's scary how much she sounds like me when I try to describe her) Owen just jumps into anything headfirst. I think his motto is, "act first, think later". We could have some interesting times ahead with him! Maybe they will complement each other - he'll encourage Rachel to try some new experiences and she'll encourage him to slow down and think. I can always hope. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So Much To Learn . . .

Wow, this blogging stuff is addicting. I have not gotten much done today and I will blame it on this. Yesterday was such a productive day that it makes today look twice as bad. It's fun to learn and figure out new things on this, though. Don't be surprised if it changes often in the next couple of weeks!

When we found out at our 20 week ultrasound in Oct. 2006 that we were having twins, we knew we'd be outgrowing our small home quickly. We had been thinking about moving for a couple of years already because of really small bedrooms and a really small bathroom but there was so much about our house we loved that we decided to wait it out. Then when we found out we were having another baby, we thought, "Okay, we can put Brendan and Tori in one room and the baby in another for a little while until we can buy a bigger place." So when we were told to prepare for 2 little ones instead of one, I immediately thought about moving. We were able to fit two cribs in the one room so the immediate need was solved. The problem is that finding time to fix up our house and look for another house is a little tricky with two toddlers.

We had hoped to have our house ready to list by the end of May but that came and went so quickly. Our new goal is mid-July. Yesterday I thought it was very feasible. Today, I'm not so sure. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and then wonder if anyone will want to buy and if there is a point to doing all this. We could make it work here if we had to. But we're ready for more space - both inside and out. We're both private people and would love to have more trees and land between us and the next house. I like our house - it's comfortable and it's not so big that it takes a long time to clean. I think God can use us here and teach us many things about contentment and creatively using space. I'm trying to balance between being grateful for what we have and wanting to fulfill the desires of my heart. And also a little worried that what I want won't be what I want after all. So with all of this uncertainty, I want to be okay with whatever happens. I'm not a "whatever" type of person. I'm a planner and someone who likes to know what is going to happen and when. Just ask Josh - almost every day he gets an email asking what time he's going to be home and heaven help him on the days he's late. I just need to know. So whenever I feel that anxiousness in the pit of my stomach, I try to take a deep breath and pray that I'll relax and just let it go. I imagine staying here longer and that's okay with me. I imagine moving into a bigger house with a couple acres, get excited, and I know that will be okay with me, too.

I've started packing up toys and games and extra things we don't really need to keep the house uncluttered and it's starting to not feel so small. Hmm, maybe the small house wasn't the problem after all.


I'm going to give this a try and see how it goes. So often I think of things I want to write but never take the time to get a journal and write it down. But I'm always on this computer! So we'll see if any of my deep thoughts can make their way to print. And if they seem deep after I get them out of my head. I've read so many great blogs lately and feel the urge to get in on it. I chose the title of my blog, More Than It Seems, for two reasons. One, I feel that there is much more to me than what people think and I want to be honest and open with others to give them a chance to know me. What they do after that is up to them. Two, I know the same is true for everyone - there are so many layers and parts to everyone than what is visible and I want to be daily reminded of that and look beyond the obvious. Okay, there are three reasons - I really like the song, More Than It Seems, by Kutless.

My husband, Josh, always jokes when I write email that I am writing a book so this might be a better venue for me. I've twittered, too, but get frustrated because I run out of characters so quickly!

ps - "twitter" is a website - You can register and search for other friends and ask them to "follow" you so on your home page you can read what they're doing. You only get 140 characters for each response, although you can respond as often as you want. Those 140 characters get used up in a hurry!