Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin carving . . . or eating?


The first time Brendan helped carve a pumpkin, he gagged. Josh pulled up a handful of "guts" and squeezed it and Brendan had to look away. We crossed "future doctor" off the list.

The first time Tori helped carve a pumpkin, she was fascinated by the "guts" and would even reach out to touch them.

The first time Rachel and Owen helped carve a pumpkin, they ate the "guts". And rinds. And anything else they could get their hands on.

Do you see how this is progressing? I would never even consider eating what comes of the pumpkin but they could not keep their hands off it. I think Brendan had to work on not gagging again.

I have more pictures of the actual carved pumpkins but for some reason they are on the internal memory of my camera so that means I need to find the special cord to connect my camera to the computer. It could be a few days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can't hardly wait

I finally chose my guitar. I hope I made the right decision. I have mentioned many times my tendency to overthink things. I know it would have been better to go to a guitar store and try out a few but because of time and lack of patience, I just ordered one.

Actually, I ordered it twice. :) I ordered it yesterday and was feeling okay about it. Then a question was raised about the shipping policy and I got nervous and cancelled the order. It wasn't so much the shipping I was concerned about - I just started feeling like I should go to the store and get it there. So as of 5:00 last night, that was my plan. Then I did some more research, got some more advice, and decided I really didn't want to drive to the store (a little over an hour away) and re-ordered it today. :)

Now I am anxiously awaiting my Squier Affinity Strat HSS. It's black with a white pick-guard. I like the look of it and it has good ratings so hopefully I like the sound and feel of it. The customer service rep said I could expect it to arrive in 2-3 business days. Oh, yeah. I'll be rocking by the weekend.

I have been practicing every day and noticing improvements. I am going through the chromatic scale quicker now and can find the three chords all on my own. Moving from one to the other is still tricky for me. My fingertips went from feeling slightly numb in spots to blistery. There are no blisters but they're a little tender. I love it, though. It is a reminder that I am learning to play guitar. And I just keep smiling about it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On my way

About 4 years ago, Josh and I went to see a play at Jackson Community College. We were walking around the building waiting until it was time to be seated and there was an advertisement for someone giving guitar lessons. It hadn't really occured to me until that moment that I could take guitar lessons. It wasn't too late and I hadn't missed my chance. The idea was planted but I kept putting it off. Another year went by and then we found out we were expecting twins and it was put way off. I started thinking about it again about a year ago and talked to a few people about it.

Part of the problem was when and where to take lessons and from who? Then I thought about Chris, one of the guitarists in our church's worship band. There were several times, after hearing him play, that I would think, "I want to play like that." Hmm, maybe he could teach me?

I asked him about it and he was quick to say yes. Almost a little too quick. He asked if I had a guitar. Of course not. That would mean I was serious about it and it would be a financial investment in what had only been a far-fetched dream. A "maybe someday" dream. No problem, he said, you can learn on mine. But that meant I had no excuses anymore. Nothing to keep me from my first lesson.

So I had my first lesson last night. And I loved it. I have spent several hours since then researching guitars and trying to figure out what I want so I can get it as soon as possible. My nails have been shortened to better hold the strings. I have an acoustic guitar I borrowed from a friend so I can practice until I get my own. I know it's going to be hard. I still have to look at a diagram about 5 times before I get my fingers in the right position for one chord. But it's going to be worth it. Oh, is it going to be worth it.

Brendan has also shown an interest in learning to play guitar so we are going to get him a guitar, too. Tonight he and Tori both played the acoustic one and really enjoyed it. And I could just see us having a big family jam session in the not-so-distant future. Awesome.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A New Family Activity

Up until recently, we only had one child bike seat on the back of Josh's bike. I didn't want one on the back of my bike because I question my sense of balance. So Josh would take Rachel or Owen for a bike ride and have to take turns and I would stay here with the other one. We decided to look for a bike trailer and mentioned it to my parents and they knew of a family who had one they were no longer using. Ask and you shall receive!

We've used it several times already and it's so nice to have. Now we can all go on bike rides together and no one gets left behind. It's also something Josh can do with all the kids when I'm gone. I would feel guilty sometimes because Tori would ask to go on a bike ride in the evenings but if I was going to be gone, then they couldn't go. Now nothing holds them back but the weather.

Just Plain Cute

These are just some really cute pictures of Rachel and Owen. There's nothing else to say - they are just cute and make me smile all the time. Yes, those are my shoes that Rachel is wearing. I have to apologize for the video - I rotated the camera part-way through to get a better shot and didn't realize it wouldn't auto-correct. I love listening to her talk so I still included it. :)

Identity Crisis?

Owen watched me put up Rachel's hair and grabbed a ponytail holder and tried to put one in his hair. I thought it was so cute, I helped him out and managed to take a few pictures before Josh took it out. :)


Last week, Josh and I took Brendan and Tori to the great city of Chicago for a couple days. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, ESPN Zone, American Girl Place and the Lego store. The kids decided Chicago was a pretty awesome place. :)

It rained the first night, which put a damper on my plans of walking around downtown but when we walked into ESPN Zone, some guy came up and gave us a card that was good for unlimited play for an hour on all the games! He couldn't use it because he was chaperoning a large group of kids. It was such a blessing for us. We played all kinds of games for an hour and then had dinner there. We walked back to our hotel and enjoyed our spacious, upgraded suite.

On Wednesday, we headed to the American Girl Place first and Tori had her doll's hair done and picked out a new outfit for her. She loved looking at all the neat things for sale there. Then we went to the Lego store and checked out all the neat Lego sculptures. For some reason, Brendan declined to have his picture taken.

We went to the Hershey store and also walked down to the Sears tower but decided to not ride up after finding out there was zero visibility.

All in all, it was a great trip and we all decided Chicago is a place we want to visit again. Rachel and Owen stayed with my parents and had a wonderful time. We decided a 4-hour trip coupled with no naps and lots of running around wouldn't be something they would enjoy right now and would therefore make it harder for us to enjoy. I look forward to taking them someday soon!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Handbag Giveaway!

I never thought I was much of a purse girl, but lately, I've been getting into it a little more. Maybe I've been repressing that side of me. There is still a limit to the price I will pay for a cool handbag but free is definitely the best! Handbag Planet is giving away 24 handbags, one each hour, on October 15 when they launch their new website. Click here to enter!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Okay, I have been tagged and I never even had a chance to run! :) I don't have a big base of people I know who blog - there are only 3. And of the 3, one tagged me and one was tagged by her! So that leaves one, who I will tag at the end of this post. I do have one more friend who blogs but she has said she doesn't really get "into" the blogging world so I won't tag her. :)

Here's how it works:
- post the rules on your blog
- write 6 random things about yourself
- tag 6 people at the end of your post
- if you are tagged, just do it and pass the tag along!

Okay, 6 random things:

1. I know how to knit! I just learned a year ago last summer and really enjoy it. So far I've done dishcloths and am working on a blanket. At my current pace, it should be ready by the time Brendan is old enough for college. I do enjoy knitting but can't do it while typing on the computer or eating or reading a book - so, it doesn't get done that often.

2. I have started downloading Mark Driscoll's podcasts from Mars Hill church in Seattle, WA, and love them. He is an excellent speaker and very knowledgeable of the scriptures. I normally pick music over "talk" but he and Dave Ramsey are my choice for talk now.

3. I am a list person. I love writing out things to do and then checking them off. I try to keep some paper and a pen with me at all times just in case I think of something to write down.

4. I really like to laugh. I like movies that are romantic comedies because I like to laugh and leave with a smile on my face. I enjoy going to comedy clubs, although those are sometimes a gamble whether the comedian will truly be funny or not. I tend to pick friends who have a good sense of humor and enjoy laughing, too. And I love spending time with family and laughing at shared memories.

5. I love Chicago! I just went there twice in the last week and would go again in a heartbeat. The city is beautiful and I love walking around and finding something new everytime I go. I don't think I'm a city gal but if I had to be, I think I'd pick Chicago.

6. I would love to go to Ireland and Italy someday. And I don't want to just do the "touristy" stuff. I want to see what it would be like as a local - what they eat, where they shop, how they live. I found out my grandma's great-grandparents were both born in Ireland so there is some connection there.

Okay, there you have it - 6 random things about me. And now, drum roll, I tag . . .

1. Wendi!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Music Of My Life

Here it is - the songs that made the final cut for the "music of my life". The party was fun - we almost didn't have a cd player to listen to all our cd's! Wouldn't that have been ironic? But one was located and we listened and talked about music and what it means to us. There is talk of more cd parties in the future. There are so many great songs out there and it was hard to narrow it down. In the end, I chose songs that have a strong memory attached and also songs I still like to listen to today. So for that reason, there are some that have a very strong memory (New Kids On The Block, anyone?) but that did not make the list. Maybe they'll make the next one. :)

1. You’ve Got A Friend by Carole King, Tapestry
I remember this song from my younger elementary years. We would listen to the light rock radio station a lot. I still love this song and the message about friendship.

2. I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel, Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
We had their greatest hits on 8-track and I love every song on there. This one is definitely my favorite though. Amazing lyrics.

3. Hard Habit To Break by Chicago, Greatest Hits 1982-1989
I remember riding the bus and listening to this song when I was in elementary school. I remember feeling grown-up because I understood what a song was talking about.

4. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses, Greatest Hits
I was in band in junior high and remember seeing a high school band student play the intro to this on his electric guitar - that might have been the first time I realized how awesome the guitar was.

5. Back In Black by AC/DC, AC/DC Live
This song has the best intro - I just love it. The first time I heard it, I was in a car with my friend Claudia and I just started moving and she thought something was wrong with my neck. She wanted to dedicate it for me at my wedding but the DJ didn’t have it so she had to settle for You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC.

6. Friends In Low Places by Garth Brooks, The Hits
This was the first country song I liked. I always made fun of my friends for liking country and then I finally understood. I love the lyrics in country songs and how they tell a story.

7. Thunderstruck by AC/DC, AC/DC Live
Okay, this is a tie for best intro. This song gets me pumped and motivated. In high school my junior year, our basketball team was having a good year so they would shut all the lights off right before the game and play this song and then turn them on while the guys came out to do warm-ups. Talk about getting the crowd into the game!

8. I’ll Be There For You by Bon Jovi, Cross Road
I had to include a Bon Jovi song! I like so many of theirs but this one is one of my favorites. I remember thinking it had special meaning for me because on my 16th birthday, there happened to be a NCAA tournament game on tv and after I blew out my candles I looked up and Josh was watching the game and not me. We had a fight - he claims he looked after I blew out the candles. There is a part in the song that goes, "I wish I'd seen you blow those candles out." Oh, the drama.

9. I’ll Never Let You Go by Steelheart, Steelheart
When I was in high school, my cousin Keith, who was just a few months older than me, told me he heard this song and thought I would like it. We had been close growing up but just saw each other at family events by that point and didn’t have many similar interests anymore. I thought it was cool that he would recommend a song to me - we often would talk about music we liked and give each other a hard time when we disagreed. So I went out and bought the single and really liked the song. Then 4 years later he died in a car accident. This song brings back precious memories.

10.Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel, Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
I took a psychology class in college and we were talking about how you will often find people who remind you of people you know really well when you’re in a strange place. Just a few days later I was listening to this song and realized that they talked about it in this song - “and every stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be homeward bound”. I mentioned that to my professor, who then came up with an impromptu assignment of having us partner up and pick a theory or definition and find a song that described it. There was some groaning about it but it ended up to be pretty neat and then our exam for that chapter was matching the lyrics of the song to the correct term. I also just love the song for the simple fact that I love to be home and with those I love.

11. O Come All Ye Faithful/ O Holy Night by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Eve and Other Stories
Josh and I were driving home for Thanksgiving a few years ago and listening to a classic rock radio station. Josh said, “Is this a Christmas song? I think it’s O Holy Night.” and I started listening more closely and couldn’t believe it! I loved it. We made sure to listen at the end to find out who had performed it. That weekend I bought the cd and the next year we went to their concert. That was by far the best concert experience of my life. I want to learn to play like this!

12. This Is Your Life by Switchfoot, The Beautiful Letdown
I just think this has a great message - very positive and pro-active. If you don’t like something in your life, change it. This is your life, are you who you want to be?

13. In Christ Alone by Adrienne Liesching and Geoff Moore, It Takes Two
This song is about truth and faith to me. It is the essence of what I believe. I always get emotional when they cheer and talk about Christ standing in victory. The music is beautiful, too.

14. Just Might (Make Me Believe) by Sugarland, Twice the Speed of Life
When I think of this song, I remember driving to the hospital to see Rachel and Owen by myself and I had tears running down my face. I just didn’t feel like I was handling life well at that point and I wanted to believe that things would get better. It felt like Josh was constantly having to reassure me that everything would be okay.

15. When We All Get To Heaven by Brad Paisley, 5th Gear
This song was one we sang often at church. It was a favorite of my grandparents, too. I heard this version not long after my grandma died last year and it made me think of her and smile. I believe it’s true, too, and look forward to seeing her and my grandpa again.

16. You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins, Greatest Hits, Vol. II, American Man
I think this is the one that inspired lidija to come up with this idea so I had to include it! No, really, it’s another reason why I love country songs. The lyrics are just so good and bring tears to my eyes. It’s a good reminder to me to enjoy the moments and each stage of life. There will be a time in the future when I will wish we were all home together more.

17. Love You ‘Till The End by The Pogues, P. S. I Love You
This song is from the movie “P.S. I Love You” and touched me deeply. I bought the soundtrack the same day I saw the movie. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and how beautiful it was. To me, this is the definition of true love. To choose to be with someone and to choose to love them until the end, no matter what. It’s a perfect love song.