Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sarah Beth!

Today is my sweet, silly Sarah Beth's fifth birthday. I still can't believe how old she is since it seems like we just brought her home from the hospital. What a fun five years it's been!

Sarah Beth is already very helpful; she enjoys helping unload the dishwasher, for example. And every afternoon, she tells me that I need to take a nap. We try to increase our children's responsibilities as they age, and these are the things we plan to add to her list:
  • Setting the table. What a help that will be for me!
  • Keeping her room clean. This will be especially helpful as we put our house on the market.
  • Making her bed.
  • I'm sure there is more that we will add to this list, but this tired, busy mommy just can't come up with anything else!
Since John isn't working this week, he is planning a fun morning with the older two children. Meanwhile, my mother is coming over to help me sort through some things (toys!) while the children are gone. I also need to make Sarah Beth's cake; she wants a pink, heart-shaped one, so we'll see how it goes. If all goes well (and maybe even if it doesn't), I will try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Silly Girl, Silly Vest

I don't know what the attraction of this vest is for Rachel, but she loves it. Maybe she wants to be like her big sister who got to go hunting this year. Maybe she just likes it because she can put it on and take it off by herself. Whatever the reason, whenever Rachel sees this silly vest, she crawls over as quickly as she can and throws it over her head. If you take it off, she just puts it back on. She crawls all over the house all day long wearing this accessory. What a silly girl!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pregnancy Update

After giving you an update on our move yesterday, I thought you might like a short update on how my pregnancy is progressing.
  • Last week, I started feeling better. That's good because I need to start sorting things and packing things for our move.
  • My morning sickness is mostly gone...but I still have some afternoon and evening sickness. So my most productive times will be in the morning.
  • This baby loves cheese. I'm not a big cheese eater; I don't just cut slices of cheese to eat it. But I am now. I can't believe how much Cheddar cheese I'm eating these days.
  • Thankfully, this baby is now tolerating sweets; he was craving potato chips before. Since I have a serious sweet tooth, I'm a happy mama now!
  • Plain water just doesn't appeal to me right now. I'm drinking a lot of tea (sweet, of course!) and Crystal Light. I'm just glad this baby lets me drink orange juice because Rachel wouldn't.
  • Afternoon naps are my friend!
  • Today this baby is eleven weeks old.
Okay, so maybe this update wasn't so short. But I'll try to get a picture for you in a couple of weeks when I finish the first trimester. Would you like that?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Everything (and More) that You Want to Know about Our Move

I'm sorry for all of the book reviews lately, but I've been reading a lot lately. Now that I'm starting to feel better and we have this move coming up soon, it's time for me to start knuckling down and getting to work.

John has this week off work, so my schedule will be topsy-turvy. That means that I may or may not be able to post much this week. Also, I just don't have much to tell you...unless you want daily updates of what I'm doing to get ready to move, and that doesn't sound like fun to me.

I'm sure that you have all kinds of questions about our move, so here are some answers for you:
  • We're not sure when John will actually start his new job, so we're not sure when we're going to move. The plan is, however, for John to go down at some point and find housing for us. Whether he does that after he starts work or at some point beforehand, we don't know yet.
  • His new company will pay for housing for us for two months. That will give us time to sell our house (hopefully!) and figure out exactly where in the area we would like to live.
  • I'm actually looking forward to looking at houses this time. When we moved into this house, I was relieved that John did most of the legwork with me just looking at the few he narrowed it down to. But I'm not so sure about dragging three little children along with us. Hmmm.
  • This will be a company-move, meaning that John's new company will pay to have us moved. Yippee!! I've never had one of those before, but I think it will be absolutely wonderful not to have to pack up anything.
  • Well, okay. I will have to pack up what we need for those two months: clothes, toys, books, kitchen things, etc. But it's not everything in the house! (I should probably start a list....)
  • My goal for this week is to go through the different rooms in the house and get rid of things that we don't want to move (otherwise known as trash).
What else would you like to know? I'm not posting the exact area we're moving to; you'll have to "friend" me on facebook for that!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: The Ale Boy's Feast

The Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffery Overstreet sounded so good every time I read the blurb about it that I finally had to get a copy and see if it lived up to it. I wasn't disappointed. Even though I hadn't read the first three books in this series, there was a short summary in the beginning which brought me up to speed for the most part, and I was able to figure out what was going on. I don't want to tell you too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but I will tell you that this book was written in the same vein as C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The author is a Christian, and he has woven the struggle between good versus evil throughout this book. There even seems to be a fall from Paradise at the beginning with a resolution back to Paradise at the end. And there are several subplots of redemption.

While this book is very good, it is not quite in the same league as the series I mentioned above. However, I did enjoy this book immensely, and I plan to obtain copies of the first three books so that I can see how the story began. However, the ending is a little vague, and I can't help but wonder if there is a fifth book, or if the author just wants to leave it to our imaginations. But enough of the loose threads were tied that I don't feel like I was left hanging. I do recommend this book with the caveat that you should really start with the first one in the series.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books Program for sending me a copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More News and an Update

Have you heard our news? I'm pregnant with our fourth child! Oh, you've already heard about that? Would you like an update? I have kept from giving you an update because I'm afraid that I'm going to jinx myself; am I the only one who is superstitious like that? I'm feeling better these days; I'm not nearly as nauseous, and actually I feel pretty good in the morning. I'm still tired and would like a couple of naps a day, but that is to be expected. I'm about ten weeks, so I'm about a quarter of the way through this pregnancy. Even though my belly is growing, it's still a little surreal.

What's our other news? We're moving. This time, though, it's not just a move across town; John has taken a new job in Florida, and we're moving down there next month. Oh, my! There's so much to do! I'm glad that I'm feeling better (knock on wood!). Whenever I think about it, I get overwhelmed, but I know that God will give us what we need in order to get everything done. This will be the first time that I have lived outside of Georgia, but I have family in north Florida which is where we're moving, so I have been down there a lot. It will be nice to be closer to family, although we're moving away from my siblings and parents. It's going to be quite a change, but I'm looking forward to the adventure of it all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Perfect Dog

John and I were watching a show about designer dogs the other day on television, and we found the perfect dog for our family. At least, I think so.

No, we're talking about getting a dog anytime soon, but we do want to get a dog. We figure that we are at least two years away since we want this baby I'm carrying to be walking, at least, before we get a dog. I've also heard the suggestion to wait until the last child is potty trained, and that sounds good to me, too. For me, however, the biggest criterion for when we get a dog is when Sarah Beth and Daniel are old enough to take care of it. Don't laugh at me, please, when I say this; my mother does. Since I have to take care of our house, our four children, my husband, and schooling our children, I think they can help by taking care of the dog. I don't mind reminding them some, but they should be able to feed it and walk it by themselves.

My parents had a Golden Retriever a few years ago, and she was an amazing dog. At the puppy class my mother took her to, they said that she was the only dog owner they wished hadn't heard their talk about spaying/neutering their dogs because she was such a nice dog. But there was all of that hair!! John's sister has a miniature poodle which is a very nice dog, too, and we've thought about getting one of those. Poodles don't have fur, they have hair so they don't shed much. John had a Labrador Retriever growing up, so he's partial to that breed, but they're more independent than a Golden, and we want a nice family dog. We also acquired a couple of good dogs from a local rescue group when we owned our farm. Their purpose was to make people think twice about getting out of their cars when they came over, and Sadie and Sandy certainly did that!

Anyway, back to my point: while we were watching this show, they had all kinds of funny mixed breeds, like the Chiweenie which is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. (Who wants to cross two stubborn dogs?) There was also a Border Collie and a Jack Russell cross which probably never stops moving. But the one that grabbed my attention was the Golden Poodle which is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. Do you see why I was I was attracted? And they even come in a miniature size which comes from a Golden and a miniature poodle!

Then I checked them out on the internet. The puppies I found were $2300. Maybe they're not such a good fit for our family. I guess we'll have to keep looking. But, as I said before, there's no hurry.

Do you have a dog? How did you pick what kind you got: a lot of research or just picking one out from the pound or wherever? How old were your children when you got your dog, and were they able to care for it?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: MacArthur by Mitchell Yockelson and Stephen Mansfield

When I requested this book from BookSneeze, I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting. I did not know much about MacArthur, but I hoped to remedy this fact by reading this book. And I did. MacArthur by Mitchell Yockelson and Stephen Mansfield tells the life story of Douglas MacArthur, starting with how his grandfather, a great judge, and his father, a hero in the War Between the States, influenced his life. This book details some of MacArthur's exploits in the Spanish-American War and tells of his heroics in World War I. But most of this book focuses on his leadership in the Pacific part of World War II where MacArthur really made his name. Then, of course, came his fall from grace, so to speak, during the Korean War.

One of the things I liked about this book was that it also told a great deal of MacArthur's personal life; it didn't just go from war to war, only telling about his exploits in those. MacArthur was a brave man; he like to lead from the front. When the Philippines were invaded, MacArthur had to be ordered to leave. Otherwise, he would have stayed with his men (and been captured, more than likely). He also was a family man; he was devoted to his mother and cared for her after his father died. He doted on his wife and son. I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it, especially if you want to learn more about one of America's great heroes or the Pacific theater of World War II.

I want to thank BookSneeze for giving me a copy of this book to read (via my Kindle), but my opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Booking It: May Edition

Since all I've been wanting to do lately is lie in my bed or on the couch, I have had loads of time to read. Reading takes my mind off how lousy I feel, and it keeps the television off. Of course, I haven't wanted to do any heavy reading, but that's okay. There is a time for every season under heaven. (Isn't that from Ecclesiastes?)
  • Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley. When I received my copy of Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley, I wasn't sure what to expect because the story has angels in it. Would it be sacrilegious, making light of angels, or would it be allegorical? It turned out to be neither; it's just a story with angels in it. Melaia is being raised as the next High Priestess when a series of events turns her life upside down. Against her will, she is thrust into the battle between good angels and bad angels (malevolents) who have lost their pathway to the heavens where they belong, and she is unsure of whom to trust. People and angels are not always as they appear. As the story progresses, Melaia discovers that she may be the key to restoring all of the angels to the heavens. At first, she does not know what to do with this information, and then she decides to embrace her destiny. (Read my full review here.)
  • Galileo by Mitch Stokes tells the story of Galileo and his attempt to get the Catholic church to recognize Copernicanism (or how the earth revolves around the sun). Contrary to popular belief, however, Galileo did not want to start a revolt within the church. After he invented the telescope, he just wanted others to give up Aristotelianism (which has the earth as the center of the universe) because of the data he found. Galileo never wanted to fight the church; as a matter of fact, he was a good Catholic and probably a good Christian. His findings just weren't consistent with the prevailing beliefs of the time. When he was asked to recant, Galileo did not hesitate; he immediately complied because he understood that he was under the Church's authority. (Read my full review here.)
  • A New Song by Jan Karon. This book is the sixth in the Mitford series. In it, Father Tim has retired and taken an interim position (a church needs a temporary pastor until it can find a permanent one) on a small island off the coast of North Carolina. With his genuine friendliness and clerical helpfulness, Father Tim changes the lives of many on the island.
  • Nick of Time by Tim Downs is the latest in a series about the "Bug Man." In this book, Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist (someone who helps solves crimes using evidence from bugs) leaves his fiance Alena the week before their wedding to go help one of his friends solve a murder. Then he discovers that his friend has been murdered, and Nick is like a bulldog who can't let go. He must solve these two crimes, regardless of his fiance and impending wedding. (Read my full review here.)
  • A Common Life by Jan Karon is the seventh book in the Mitford series. This book goes back to the engagement and wedding of Father Tim to Cynthia. Along with telling some of their fears and joys of getting married, this book also tells some of the love stories of several of the other characters as they think about the upcoming marriage of their priest.
  • Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay. This book is one of the type of mysteries that are popular right now where a common woman gets accused of murder and has to figure it out (by herself) in order to clear her name. In this book, the heroine owns a cupcake bakery, and the murder victim is the fiancee of one of her good friends. Of course, she figures out whodunit (so to speak), and of course, she finds herself in danger while doing so. This is a light, fluffy read, but it was perfectly suited to my circumstances, except maybe for the whole cupcake-being-food thing.
  • I'm not exactly what to say about Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South by George Edmunds because, honestly, I'm afraid of offending someone. So, if you're easily offended, stop reading. Basically, the premise behind this book that was written at the turn of the century, the 20th century, is that what you have been told about the War Between the States is wrong. Lincoln was not a great president who only wanted to preserve the Union and free the slaves. He was a man obsessed with power who hated the South because it loved democracy more than the North, and he couldn't care less about the plight of the slaves. The South did not start the war; we were only defending ourselves. The South had (and every state still has) the right to secede from the United States because it is a voluntary union. Granted, the author obviously hated Lincoln and everything to do with the North, but he cites source after source after source backing up his claims.
  • The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. When I heard about this book last year, I knew that I wanted to read it. (It just took me a while to get a copy!) Did you know that there were German submarines sinking American ships in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II? If not, you're in the majority because the government stifled the reports to keep people from hysteria. This book is the story of one German (not a Nazi) who came ashore and how he was integrated into a small Southern town on Mobile Bay. It is a true story; the author dug up this German's medals in his own backyard, and then dug up this tale. It is a great read, and I highly recommend it.
  • I also reviewed This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano and Mark Elliott, and you can read the review here.
To see what others have been reading this month, head over to Life as Mom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Ask for Help When You Need it

I don't know about you, but I have an independent streak a mile wide. I want to do things for myself by myself, but this isn't how God made us. He created us to be in a family, a church, where we help others. Even though it's hard, sometimes we have to ask for help.

I'm in that situation right now: needing help. A couple of weeks ago, I complained to my mother that I just didn't think I could do this (be pregnant and take care of my children and my home) for another six weeks (when my first trimester would be over, and hopefully I would feel better). And she said, "Then get some help." She followed that suggestion with a list of people who might be able to help, topping the list with a high school homeschooled girl. That night I gave her a call, and she was willing and able to come over and help me three mornings a week.

This girl has been a huge help. Mostly, she plays with my children so that I can rest in my room. But that's enough. I get to rest and my children aren't stuck in front of the television. She also fixes lunch for them and cleans up afterward. When she leaves, I put Rachel down for her nap, and I spend a few minutes with Sarah Beth and Daniel before sending them to their rooms for play time.

Why is it so hard to ask for help when we need it? Why is it so hard to realize that we actually need help?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jury Duty

I received a summons in the mail for jury duty starting today. My first thought was, "Oh, no! How do I get out of this?" Why do we try so hard to get out of this civic duty when, if we were in court, wouldn't we want "good" people on our jury?

I have served jury duty twice before but in a different county. The first time, I was twenty-one years old, and I had to take off from my summer job of interning in a local hospital pharmacy. We listened to three and a half days of testimony before deliberating for less than an hour. Does that tell you anything about the case? It was a waste of time for everyone involved except maybe for the lawyers who, I'm sure, got paid regardless of the fact that we only awarded $1 to the "winner."

The second time I was summoned for jury duty, well, there's a little story here. John received a summons, and I laughed at him. Less than two weeks later, I received mine, and he laughed at me. What goes around comes around, I guess!

This time I was summoned for the grand jury. We met one day a week for two months, and we heard ten to twenty cases a day, determining if there was enough evidence for a trial. We only had to determine "probable cause" which is much looser than determining whether someone is actually guilty or not. This time, I was pregnant with Daniel and had Sarah Beth who was 18 months old to worry about. Thankfully, my mother was able to keep her, and my duty only lasted (usually) during the morning, so I was able to take Sarah Beth home after eating lunch with my parents.

Both times of serving jury duty were learning experiences. I was able to get out of jury duty this time because I have three small children, but I can't help but wonder what I'm missing. Yes, I admit that part of me wishes I could participate this time, but it's more important that I take care of my children. Besides, who would take care of my children while I served?

Have you served on a jury before? What were your experiences?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Year's Goals: April Review

It's that time again, time to review my goals for the New Year. I'm not doing well, but I think I have a good excuse.
  • Homeschooling. Nope. Not at all. Since I just want to lie on the couch all day, I've given up...for now. When I start feeling better, however, I plan to start kindergarten with Sarah Beth. We'll work hard until the baby comes, and then the plan is to take a few months off, finishing up sometime in the spring or early summer.
  • Rachel walking. She has started cruising a little bit, but she really isn't interested in walking. I keep telling her that she must, MUST be walking before this baby comes. I'm NOT carrying two babies!
  • Being a better wife. Right now, honestly, John is being a better husband. He is such a big help these days.
  • Memorizing Scripture. We'll get back to this, hopefully, soon.
  • Reading two books a month. I'm getting a lot of reading done these days. It takes my mind off of things.
  • Practicing hospitality. Hopefully, when I'm feeling better.
  • Crocheting. Ugh! I haven't picked up a hook in a couple of weeks. I don't understand why crocheting exacerbates my nausea.
  • Exercising. Ha! I can barely get out of bed in the morning, so I'm certainly not getting up early to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Cleaning schedule? I don't even have the energy to vacuum the living room, much less clean anything else.
I think I'm going to put my goals on the shelf for a few months, maybe even the rest of the year, until things settle down. Who am I kidding? Life won't settle down at the beginning of next year, either, with a new baby in the house. Maybe I'll get back to my goals, and maybe not. And I refuse to feel guilty about it at all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: Nick of Time by Tim Downs

Nick of Time by Tim Downs is the latest in a series about the "Bug Man." In this book, Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist (someone who helps solves crimes using evidence from bugs) leaves his fiance Alena the week before their wedding to go help one of his friends solve a murder. Then he discovers that his friend has been murdered, and Nick is like a bulldog who can't let go. He must solve these two crimes, regardless of his fiance and impending wedding.

I enjoyed this book. It was the first in this series that I have read, but I didn't need to have read the previous books to understand this one. Throughout this book, Nick's friends and Alena's pastor give good, sound marital advice to them, but they ignore it. While this book is not overtly Christian, the characters act morally (at least the "good" ones do), and the pastor is treated with respect. However, Nick is a jerk. He can't seem to talk to anyone without trying to offend them, and that really put me off. I may not read anymore of these books just for this one reason. Other than that, I would recommend this book. The plot line was intriguing, and the ending sure was a surprise! It was not at all what I expected! For these reasons, though, I may have to try another one in this series.

I would like to thank BookSneeze for a copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.