Currently

How’s this for a random blog post? (Idea stolen from here).

Reading: A few things – The Gospel Centered Woman (I love this!), The Explosive Child (enough said), Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (The boys are loving this and it makes me soooo happy)

Searching for online: Christmas decorations (mostly on Pinterest). I unpacked my stuff this year and was underwhelmed. In reality, I think I’m going to have to pick up some stuff after the holidays on clearance so I don’t find myself in this spot again next year.

Eating: Poorly. I was great in September and October. I don’t know what happened. January is a good time to start this.

Watching: My favorite shows this fall has by far been The Good Wife (even over my beloved Parenthood) and Parks & Recreation. I really don’t think enough people are watching TGW. D and I love it and this season has not disappointed me a bit. And P&R just keeps getting better and better each season. I had no hope for that show when it started but I think it is amazing now. Oooo and The Sing-Off. The Sing-Off just makes me happy!

Wearing: The Sweetheart Skinny Jeans in Black. I cannot believe I like a pair of Old Navy jeans this much but they are a perfect fit.

Wishing: I didn’t have to spend so much time cleaning my kitchen. Not a real problem, I know.

Drinking: Trader Joe’s Wake Up Blend made with my Aeropress

Cooking: We’re in eat down mode. Money seems to be flying out the window. I’m not into grocery shopping right now. So, we’re eating what is currently in the pantry and fridge.

Making: Rainbow Loom bracelets. A is obsessed with this thing and, I must admit, it is strangely addictive. I’m mostly starting and finishing bracelets that he is making for friends.

Smiling: At my funny kids. Best line recently from A: “I never see my butt.” Said with genuine disappointment

Hoping: To get some time to pull together a special gift we are planning for the boys.

Enjoying: The fact that the Spartans are headed to the Rose Bowl and that, in a house of Go Blue fans, my team is victorious.

Listening: Lord, I Need You and All the Poor and Powerless on repeat.

Doing: Advent readings with the kids from The Jesus Storybook Bible. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this book.

Planning: Mostly just in my mind right now, but a going-away party for friends moving out of state 🙁

Obsessing: Aztec print. I can’t get enough of it. Really wishing I would have snagged this sweater before it disappeared.

Parenthood (Season 4, Episodes 2, 3 & 4)

Don’t read yet if you haven’t seen Parenthood from this past Tuesday. Know what I loved about this past week’s episode? No Mark Cyr.

But, seriously though, the plot line I loved more than anything this week was Jasmine and Crosby explaining the racism and the N-word to Jabar.

Image

 Jabar reminds me so much of our boys. I know a day will come when we have to explain this to our kids. I related so much with Crosby as he sat there as an “outsider” in a way, not knowing what is like to have someone think less of you because of the color of your skin. I have had the same heart-breaking feeling imaging that happening to our kids some day. I thought Jasmine’s message was so honest and hopeful. Can I just play that scene someday for our kids? (Also, who knew the guy from Punk’d would turn out to be a pretty decent actor?)

I also think the writers are doing a great job with the struggle of adopting an older child. It is a two-steps forward, one-step back process and they are showing that well. Joel continues to be perfect. (But did anyone else wonder where Sydney was this past episode?)

I don’t have a lot to say about Adam and Kristina’s plot line. I don’t really understand why they have not told people yet (although, it looks like that is what next week’s episode is about).

A few random thoughts…

  • I still like Hank a lot. And I still think Sarah needs to be by herself for a while (but that doesn’t make for an interesting story, I guess).
  • What happened to Bob Little? Did he lose the election? I liked him and Amber together.

Parenthood (Season 4, Episode 1)

I’m not going to even try to hide the fact that I love TV. Today, I went through my calendar and noted the fall start dates for each of my favorite shows (and new shows that have potential to become favorite shows).

Parenthood started last week. I love this show even when it frustrates me. That is probably why the Bravermans feel like family.

I was worried that Ray Ramono’s addition to the cast would be a bit annoying but I actually really liked him. Last season, I was 100% sold-out on Team Seth. I love a good redemption story – a recovering drug-addict and the re-kindling of what Sarah called “the love of her life.” I so wanted that to happen but for some reason Sarah still loves the mustached Mark Cyr (ick). I’d be more than happy if Ray Ramono’s character, Hank, stole Sarah’s affections. Gosh, I would even be happy if Sarah was just on her own for a bit. Am I right, ladies?

Last year’s adoption plot-line was PAINFUL to watch. I had so much frustration over how it was handled and then at the last minute Joel (who I refer to as “The Man Who Can Do No Wrong”) and Julia take in a seven-year old boy. I’m still nervous over how it will play out but I thought Julia’s realization in the season opener was pretty realistic when she said, “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.” I hope that is what we get to see happen as the season continues.

(*sob*)

The show closed with Haddie getting on a plane to leave for college. She was full of attitude the whole episode. It was too relate-able. I remember being such a brat as I got ready to leave for college and being super embarrassed as my mom asked some other students for directions when we got to campus. I sat there watching that scene with my baby girl in my arms and decided that we would home-school our kids through college. That is possible, right?

And two quick and parting thoughts…

  • Oh, Drew. Poor Drew. Does he even see it coming?
  • Joel’s Hair. I have mixed-feelings.

Feel free to call me over-invested in the lives fictional characters. I’m okay with that and I know plenty of you who are with me on this.

Notes from Maternity Leave

Our little girl was born four weeks ago which means I have four weeks left of maternity leave. I very much appreciate and need the time off but not working is very strange for me. My job is only part-time and very flexible but it was part of my routine so everything feels a bit different.

In the fall, we signed up for a cable package so that we could watch college football. Well, college football is over and we still have cable. I told D to cancel it this week because the endless amount of home-buyers on House Hunters who claim they can’t live without stainless steel appliances, open concept and walk-in closets is making me cynical about the American public as a whole. It isn’t good when you start talking to the TV in a sarcastic and judge-y tone. You would think I would just turn off the TV but I don’t have the will power so cable must go.

DIB joined his first after-school activity last week and is now a proud member of the Running Club. They literally just run for an hour two-days per week after school. He really, really wanted to participate and I think any way he can get out that extra energy without damaging something is a great idea.

AIB lost two teeth this week. One was very loose and he let me pull it out for him. The one that was next to it was also loose and was kicked out by his brother while they were playing in a ball-pit. He was so happy about getting another $1 that he didn’t seem to care that his brother had kicked him in face.

MNB is growing and doing well. She is doing all the things that babies do. We’ve been enjoying all the cuddles and she is a great sleeper. Since I head back to work in a few weeks, I knew I needed to set up some type of routine so I’m doing the same thing we did with T (which is the EASY routine from The Baby Whisperer). We just started today and it is going pretty well but things are going to be very different this time around with two older brothers who have their own schedule.

Tomorrow, our foster licensing worker comes over to add our new family member to our file. All this means is that she needs to see her and see where she sleeps. We probably won’t be taking any respite or long-term placements for a while but our license still up-to-date since we don’t feel done with foster care yet. In the meantime, we are happily filling out reference forms and answering questions from a few friends who are either new foster parents or getting their license soon.

Saturday Seven


1. Mad Men: Season Four came out on DVD on Tuesday. D and I watched the first episode last night and the most exciting thing for me is the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices. The furniture and fixtures are amazing. When I see something I like, I just have to name it out loud so while watching, I was just randomly saying, “Couch. Table. Chair.” It is probably annoying.

2. I’ve been thinking of making this my profile picture on Twitter and Facebook but D was not nearly as amused by it as I am.

3. I went a little nuts at the Benjamin Moore store on Wednesday with paint swatches and then randomly bought three paint samples: November Rain (way too cool), Nantucket Gray (too dark) and Guilford Green (way too green). The first swatch up there is one I thought I had already decided on, Coastal Fog.

4.  I talked to Heather, calmed down a bit and bought two larger paint samples at Home Depot today (who happily matched the Benjamin Moore colors for me) in Coastal Fog (my original choice) and Sweet Spring (a slightly more green choice).

5. I asked what type of primer I should get to paint over red and the worker at Home Depot recommended Kilz Gold so we picked up a gallon of that as well. She made a comment about the former owners painting the walls red and I said, “Oh, no that was me.” I can’t wait to say good-bye to Roasted Pepper (Behr).

There is no turning back now.

6. Have you heard of Pinterest? You should join it now. Here is a good explanation of what it is.

7. Today was a rare Saturday without a lot of plans. We ran errands and I was able to get this shot of my three favorite people in the world. I so wish I was able to show you their cute faces.

Saturday Seven

1. I have to admit something. I stopped reading the blog that hosts 7 Quick Takes Friday a long time ago. There is nothing wrong with it but it just didn’t make it when I cut my blogroll by fifty-percent. But I like doing these short, quick posts every-once in a while so I kept participating but it felt wrong. Thus, for 2011, the Saturday Seven is born.

2. I almost didn’t even want to look back at last year’s resolutions. I already know they were not all accomplished but here is a run-down:

  • Become parents: done. And I don’t think we are doing too bad a job (but I’m always open to learning how to do it better)
  • Read thru the Bible: Not so much. I read half of the Old Testament and the Gospels. It just did not happen this year.
  • Eat at home: Mostly done. We enjoyed our CSA this summer but it was way more food than we could handle. I still need to figure out how to cook for four people, including one with a food intolerance (me) and three with very limited food preferences.
  • Read five books: Well, I did not read all the ones I listed but I did read To Kill a Mockingbird, I’m Down, Cringe, Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood, The Help, Growing Up Black in White, The Girl in the Orange Dress, and The Connected Child. Plus, a lot of children’s books (notable mentions go to Grace for President, Corduroy, The Hello, Goodbye Window, The Jesus Storybook Bible and Bear Snores On).
  • Get in shape: Hah! Our elliptical machine stopped working and we gladly said goodbye to it last week via Freecycle. I ran like four times. I took many walks pushing a two-year-old and large baby this summer. But, no, I did not get in shape.

3. Things that did happen in 2010 that I did not predict:

  • I got my nose pierced (after wanting to do so for nearly 10 years).
  • We bought a mini-van. We are now one of many, many silver mini-vans on the streets of the suburbs of Detroit.
  • We cared for six children in our home – five boys and one little girl. I didn’t expect to have this many placements our first year of foster parenting. And I didn’t expect to love being a mom to a little girl so much (after years of saying I only wanted boys, M changed my mind).
  • Enrolling a child in preschool at the private school my husband and I attended. Eating my words.

4. Goals for 2011…

  • A new wall color for the living room, hallway and kitchen
  • Finally watch the tutorial DVD that came with my camera
  • Memorize 24 Bible verses
  • Connected and happy boys
  • More prayer, more Bible reading, more journaling/writing
  • Cook one new recipe per week

5. Some things I am really looking forward to in 2011…

  • The arrival of my best friend’s baby boy (any time now!)
  • A new niece in March…or February 🙂
  • Preschool soccer games
  • Reading books on our new iPad (I’ve already started with Same Kind of Different as Me). Our house is being overtaken by books – I am happy to have this space saving way to read.

6. My favorite television shows of 2010: Mad Men, Parenthood, 30 Rock and Modern Family. My favorite movie on 2010: The Social Network (although, most others didn’t stand a chance because I could not stay awake for them).

7. Here is my first verse for 2011…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Style Friday

I watched about half of the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. A few of my favorite shows won big awards. I thought Jimmy Falon was pretty good. I thought Tina Fey was robbed (but, I’ll admit, I overly identify with Liz Lemon so I think Tina should win just about everything). I probably watch too much TV. My viewing goes in spurts though since we don’t have cable and rely on Hulu and Netflix to catch up on shows. I’m usually a season or so behind on things but I’ve come to prefer watching shows on DVD without the commercials and all the waiting to find out what happens next week.

I don’t have a lot of patience, you see, which is why I prefer television to movies these days. It takes a really good movie to hold my attention.

But this is a post about fashion. There were lots of navy blue dresses worn on that evening and I loved them all. Julie Bowen was definitely my favorite but all the ladies in navy looked just lovely.

As lovely as these dresses are, navy is pretty safe and I appreciate someone who takes a fashion risk.

I saw all these ladies pop up on “worst dressed” lists but I have to disagree. It is nice to see something besides the norm and each of these ladies have the personality to pull it off. Perhaps the most “talked about” dress was January Jones. It grew on me the more I saw it. We can’t expect her to dress like Ms. Betty Draper all the time.

So there you have it: a fashion opinion from someone who spends most of her week in black yoga pants and a t-shirt. Usually accented with a bit of spit-up or food stains. I’m not complaining. The thought of walking a red carpet is just terrifying to me and I’m content to live vicariously through these women a few award shows a year. I’m quite happy in my world.

*Photos from InStyle

7 Quick Takes Friday

Writing a well thought out, coherent blog post is not very feasible lately. So, here are seven quick takes…

1. If you are friends with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you know that we have had some success this week using Supernanny’s Bedtime Method. You can read all about it at the link, but here is how we are doing it at our house.

  • We have a routine that involves the following: diaper change, lotion, pajamas, teeth brushing, reading two books (Bear Snores On & The Rhyme Bible Storybook), prayers, cuddles
  • Up until this week we have been staying in M’s room until she falls asleep. But sneaking out when she fell asleep was stressful and took a LONG time. We are sticking around for less than five minutes now.
  • When we leave, we give her a kiss and say goodnight. She starts crying.
  • She gets up and stands at the door. We go back in, tell her it is time to go to sleep, give her a hug, and lay her back down.
  • If she gets up again, we go in, firmly tell her it is time to go to sleep, quick hug and lay her back down.
  • Every time she gets up after that, we go in a lay her down without talking to her or making eye contact. This goes on until she stays in bed.

It has worked at bedtime wonderfully. The first night we went in 20 times, the second 2, a few nights only once and tonight 11 times. It work at nap time yesterday but not today at all. But because she didn’t nap, bedtime was an hour earlier. We are pretty happy with the progress even if we still have some tough times.

2. Speaking of sleeping, T sleeps like a champ. After his late evening feeding (10 pm – 11 pm), he is sleeping until around 5:30 am. When he wakes, he needs to be soothed but does not necessarily need to eat and we can usually get him to sleep another hour or so. Last night, he slept until 6:40 am. I think that is pretty good for an eight week old.

3. Thanks for all the suggestions on our last post. It is so nice to get some advice from those who have been there. Keep it coming!

4. Shout-0ut to my friend, Carrie, who lent me Gilmore Girls: Season One. I’ve been watching it while I feed T (which can take a while). I know lots of people who love this show and so far, I like it. Also, I’m enjoying re-living the early 2000s through the music, clothes and references in the show.

5. I’m sure you have heard about the child who was sent back to Russia by his American adoptive family. The whole story is so sad. I have so many questions for the family who sent him back and for the agency who did that adoption.  What is even more frustrating is all the reports coming out now on orphans from Eastern Europe having attachment disorders and/or fetal alcohol syndrome. Of course families need to be made aware of these risks and how to deal with them but I don’t feel like the media is helping out the orphans of Russian at all by emphasizing these possible challenges. The thing is that adoption is about the kids not the parents. For pro-life, Christians, especially, we must understand that despite a child’s challenges, they still deserve love and have a much better chance in life with a family than in an institution.  I am not saying this to be judgmental as I certainly do not know what it is like to raise a child who physically threatens you or your family.  But if we really think everyone deserves a chance at life, that has to extend past our views of what happens in the womb. Those are just my thoughts; I know it is an incredibly complicated issue.

6. Now to go totally off topic and be random, a friend made us dinner a few weeks ago and one of the sides was roasted carrots with pistachios. I ate them all. Seriously, I mean, I did not share them (I tried to give them to M but she is not a carrot fan). I’ve been googling “carrots and pistachios” and have found several recipes that I cannot wait to try.

7. I went to Trader Joe’s with T last Saturday and was overwhelmed by the attention he attracted. I can’t blame people because he is, in fact, the cutest baby on the planet, but it was a little shocking for my introverted-self. The cashier even offered to carry out my groceries for me.

We are really hoping to podcast soon. Really, I’m not just saying that. D is wrapping up his semester and it is at the top of our “to do list” next week. Thanks for all the prayers!

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

For Fans of The Office

I was listening to NPR today and heard this great interview with “Pam” from The Office: Jenna Fisher on Fresh Air.

I laughed and, even teared up a bit, listening to the interview. I just love this show so much and feel emotionally involved with the characters. I know in like 20 years I’m going to be making my kids was re-runs of the show on TV and they will probably think it is stupid, sort of the way I am with my parents and MASH.

The whole interview is great but my favorite part was when Jenna said, “The Pam part of me is very much in love with the Jim part of him (John Krasinski).” D and I have high hopes for a real life love match.

Jim and Pam

K and I both really like The Office. K (and me as well) were a little annoyed that Jim did not propose to Pam in last nights season finale. That was disappointing. Pam might go to New York and leave Jim all alone and who knows what will happen then.

 

However, this was not the only sad Jim and Pam news. For some reason K and I decided to get some fish when we were living in our apartment. After killing 3 in 2 weeks we finally got two that seemed to be able to live longer than a month in our home. We decided to call them Jim and Pam (we don’t know which one is which). Our fish are now located in our office where I forget to feed them all the time and let the water in their tank get disgustingly dirty. We don’t really think about them all that much. Today I went in to feed them and one of them was floating on the top of the water dead. It was the smaller of the two fish so I decided that it was Pam. Jim is now left all alone. K sees some connection between the two Jim and Pam’s since it happened so close together. I just think I killed a fish.

 

Here’s Jim all alone in his tank

 

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