Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Morning

A girl of few words as she sat rocking in the chair, she soon turned to all Oohs and Aaahs and WOWs and gasps over each present opened, whether her own or not.

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Christmas Eve

After the Christmas Eve service at our church -- Madison loves Christmas trees -


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Christmas Snow

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Parents Rights In Danger

When I first saw Barak Obama was going to win the election, and knowing the Dems have a big majority in Congress, one of my first thoughts was the fear they will now pass the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. It's a treaty that's been around for, I want to say at least 10 years now, and every time it comes up, it's been defeated. So far. But with those with liberal viewpoints in power, there is now little to restrain them from enacting this in our country. And if they do, parents rights will be greatly in danger and the fundamental right of parents to make decisions in the lives of their children could be stripped away. It's already happened in many countries around the world.

There's a group working to pass a Parents Rights Amendment -- check out http://www.parentalrights.org/. I get their email updates - here's a blurb from their most recent, talking about the treaty's Right to Play Sports:

I could not escape the irony. “The fundamental right to play sports” is being sponsored through official UN programs, promoted by sports heroes in various parts of the world. Yet, the truly fundamental right of parents to guide the upbringing of their children is systematically stripped away – as are the children themselves, in many cases – without charges, without a conviction, without even a trial. Perhaps worst of all, these warped international principles are the ones being adopted here in America. Fitness is important, and sports are great fun, but parents are absolutely vital. Shouldn’t children have a right to those, as well?

If you haven't been aware of the issues connected to this treaty, check out http://www.parentalrights.org/ to see what's going on. And please be alert and vigilant as the new administration takes over. Let's not allow more of our freedoms to be stripped away. 'We the people' must make our voices heard.

Christmas Tree By Night

Are you bored with Christmas Tree pictures yet? I can never get the night lighting right on the camera to take a non-blurred picture. Here was Matt's attempt -- he does a better job than I do, has a better idea of what the buttons & settings on the camera actually do --

Walking In Momma's Shoes





She's just started doing this - and figuring out how to take small steps so as not to trip. I'd like to get her her own slippers, but she doesn't even like to leave her socks on -- I think slippers would probably not be worthwhile just yet.

You can see she still has the recurring rash around her mouth. It started when the weather turned colder and has continued off and on ever since, despite our pulling the pacifier plug. She seems to have a combination of chapped and (her daddy's) sensitive skin. Hopefully mild weather this spring will correct the problem.

Madison loves her little wooden chair that Aunt Alyssa let her borrow (pictured in one of the last posts). She's doing better at not standing in it, but I still have to tell her to sit on occasion. When she does, I say "good girl". Well now Madison is telling herself what to do. She'll half stand/half squat in the chair, look at me and go "Siiiiit. Siiiiit. Good girl." It's pretty funny.

Also newsworthy, she's finally started to cut a few more teeth. (No, that's not what the rash is from. And no, no other side effects so far.) So far she's only had the 2 top middle and the 2 bottom middle -- for months now. I stuck my finger in her mouth this week just to see if I could feel any more. She has one cut through & another trying to cut through on either side of her top two. And she has one cutting through beside her bottom two. She's such an eater - I hope they keep coming quickly! Although, despite not having many teeth to help her out, she has no problem eating just about anything we put in front of her.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Doooo!

I have no idea what she's trying to say, but lately it's Madison's new, "Wow, that's so cool, I love it" phrase. If she spots a favorite toy or opens a gift or walks into the room & sees the Christmas tree, she gasps and says, "Oh DOOO!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pregnancy Insomnia

It's hard to function on 3 1/2 hours sleep. :-(

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The New Job

The job hunt is over -- at least for now. After a month and a half of hearing nothing back from multitudes of job applications, Matt happened to talk to the office manager here at our apt. complex and found out they were looking to hire a full time cleaning/asst. maintenance person. It will be a substantial pay cut from what he's making now (but then, most of the hiring rates around here were going to be), but it does provide a pretty good discount on our rent. Matt will also plan to pick up more students with his part-time College Plus coaching job, and between that and the cleaning job, we think we can make ends meet for a while. He gave the apt. complex a commitment of 3 months which will keep some income flowing but also allow him to keep looking for a more long-term job situation. Maybe in a few months' time, more people will be hiring. So this will hold us over for now. (It's better than NO job!) Matt's also been feeling stifled in office jobs and wanting to do something different, more physical labor, so this will be a nice breather for him. It may also allow him to pick up some handyman skills as he'll be working with the regular maintenance guys from time to time. The fact that he won't have to drive anywhere means no increase in our gas cost which helps too.

It's not the big Christmas miracle job I was hoping for, but as He promised, the Lord has provided for our needs for today and He's causing our faith to grow. We know this is not a long-term solution, but we will continue to believe the Lord will provide for our needs when tomorrow gets here. We walk by faith and not by sight (like it or not right now!).

Thank you to the many of you who have offered prayers and encouragement for us. And to those of you who offered your basements to us if we really did become homeless. ;-)

Smart Cookie

The shirt says it all!




Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Whole Family

O Christmas Tree - The Big One

This year, we just have our little fake Christmas tree at our place, but we helped put up a nice big real one at my parents' house this past weekend. Matt & my sister did most of the work, cutting, dragging & trimming. They did a great job & it came out just the right shape and size.



Elsie helped too - or so she thought.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh Deer

Deer hunting season ended this past weekend and, unfortunately, Matt did not get his first deer. He was disappointed but I think he's quit beating himself up over it. It was a rough hunting season -- the guys just didn't see hardly any this year. My dad got one deer and another fellow hunter got two. Matt didn't get any and neither did my uncle who hunts with them. Sunday afternoon we put away the hunting gear and washed their, uh, nature-fresh unwashed clothing.

On Sunday night when Matt & I got home, we got a call from my sister. She said, "Tell Matt I got him a deer." My reply was OH NO!! She had hit a deer with their van on the way to Bible study that evening. She was fine but the 8-point buck smashed in the front corner of the van pretty good. My dad ended up going down with his truck, taking the deer home and tagging it. That's not typically the way we like to get deer around here, but unfortunately, it does happen on occasion! (And the sad irony is that we had actually joked about 'if we couldn't get a deer with the gun we could always use the car' - yikes!) This is the 3rd car accident caused by a deer that someone in my family has been in -- and the 2nd with this same van.

Hopefully next year we can return to 'normal' hunting season habits and activities!

December Weekend

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Other Words

A few other words in Madison's vocabulary (some new, some not new but weren't used regularly until recently) --

~ Her favorite word - 'cheese' (She's added some other food words lately too, which I can't think of right now)
~ Her other favorite thing - counting to three, which is often still "two, phwee, two, phweee!"
~ 'More' -- which she generally says now instead of signing
~ 'Please'
~ 'Good girl'
~ 'Yucky', 'Ducky', 'Fishy', 'Kitty kitty', 'Doggy' (which comes out 'goggy')
~ 'Oh no' -- which when she says it, she always sounds like she has a clothespin on her nose!
~ 'Teeth' -- to brush her teeth, and 'potty' when she goes to sit on her potty
~ 'Shoe' and 'socky' -- she loves shoes
~ 'Hot' has been one she's used for a while - for the oven, our coffee mugs, etc.
~ And I have to say, it's too sweet having her saying 'I love you' back to us all the time now. She even says it in response to her Build-a-bear which has a little 'I love you' push button in its hand.

Madison has been calling people by their names more often - including the pets. She's also been singing a lot more lately - along with her dancing - and "reading" her books aloud. It's just amazing how well she communicates at this age -- we're really enjoying it. Of course, I have yet to be able to capture much on video -- typical.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving & December Update

Happy Thanksgiving! After the fact anyway. We had a great Thanksgiving celebration at my parents' place. Because it was a holiday weekend and hunting season, we ended up being down there for 5 days. (We were glad to get home to our own bed yesterday!) We had quite the weekend of feasting, including making different pies for each day (apple, pecan, turtle pumpkin and peach). Matt saw some action while hunting but unfortunately missed a big buck that charged by his deer stand. Another hunter in the group got 2 doe, so Matt "helped" to gut them. He didn't pass out, so that was encouraging. He also helped butcher the deer my dad got last week. He did OK, but he said that if he didn't like meat so much, he'd probably become a vegetarian after that!

Madison has been talking up a storm, and in the last 2 weeks her vocabulary has taken off like crazy. There were a lot of words she could say but we didn't hear them very often. Lately, she's begun regularly using all the words she knows and picking up new ones. Just over the weekend the latest were 'squirrel', 'goose', 'up-up', and 'I love you' which sounds like "ah-thoo". It's amazing too that not only is she saying words but in the right context. With 'squirrel', I had pointed out a squirrel in the tree that the cat was looking at. Two days later she was standing at the door, looks out and sees a squirrel in the tree and says "squirrel". Wow! She's just getting to be quite the smarty-pants. She's also getting bigger and looking more like a little girl and not a baby. She's into her 18-month clothes now and graduated out of many of the 12-month already. The poor thing has had a cold for about a week and has been crabby as all get out, not napping well (or not napping at all). That's been a challenge for me, but hopefully the cold is near an end.

And then there's the job situation. One month down & still no job. Matt's only been called for a couple of interviews but the jobs were not offered to him. Less than a month to go -- and half of that is basically holiday season so not a lot of time left for business to be conducted. Being December 1st with no prospect in sight is definitely discouraging. We're kind of at a loss as to what to do now -- other than wait, which feels like wasting time & doing nothing. But we feel we've exhausted all of our options - we've literally applied to anything and everything we can think of and find... What else can we do at this point if there are no jobs open & the ones that are open you don't get called on? So we continue to wait and pray and keep our eyes open. We would covet your prayers! We know the Lord will provide for our needs, but man, it sure would be nice to know how & when!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Graduate

Congratulations to my husband for completing his bachelor's degree and graduating with honors from Excelsior College! We received the diploma in the mail yesterday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pigtails

As Madison's hair gets longer, I'm able to put pigtails higher in her hair, rather than just at her neckline.



Deer #1

My dad got the first deer of the season over the weekend. Now Matt is really itching to get one! (P.S. Hopefully I kept the picture small enough so as not to gross out anyone with a sensitive stomach!)

Job Update

Just a quick update on the job news... First of all, Congressman Kuhl conceded the election last week, so he has officially lost. The job hunt continues to be pretty dry. We've put in zillions of applications in every field from Batavia to Syracuse to Horseheads - an area of about 6000 sq. miles - and so far heard almost nothing back. Matt has had a couple of interviews. One resulted in no offer. The 2nd he just had this morning, so we don't know if he'll get an offer or not. The downside to the job he interviewed for this morning is the shifts they're hiring for run from late morning to late evening, so not conducive at all to family life or to his College Plus job. So it's a bit discouraging. Despite that, both Matt & I have felt less anxious and more peaceful about the whole situation, even as we start the celebration of the holiday season. The Lord has promised to provide for our needs, and though we don't see how at this point, we choose to cling to His sure Word.

"But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (Romans 8:24-25)

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Close-to-Christmas Confessions

Ok Ok! I confess! I did it! I couldn't help it! We've been waking up every day this week to steady, fluffy, beautiful snow... and I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I couldn't help it! I listened to Christmas music!! There I said it. (Now my family will probably disown me ;-) The mood is set for the season in this area. There's a lovely blanket of white everywhere. Makes me want to get the tree up, pull out the Christmas music, and burn some festive candles.

Although, I have been hearing people talk about how Thanksgiving is so "late" this year. I hadn't really been paying attention, but I suppose if I want to feel less guilty, I could justify it by saying in another year, it might already be past Thanksgiving by now!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow Day

The past few days we have been getting lake effect snow like crazy in Fairport. My friend Caryn and I decided to do a snow day with our kids this morning. Wow, is it a challenge getting 4 kids ready for the snow! (And all the mothers out there say, "AMEN!") And both Caryn & I are pregnant as well, so chasing after them and carrying them around with all our snow gear and their snow gear on proved to be quite the workout. We had a fun time though. This was Madison's first experience in the snow. Hard to tell what she thought of it. If she was upright, she seemed to like walking in it OK. If she tipped over and got snow on her hands & face, she'd cry. (She takes after her momma.)






Shopping Day Therapy

Yesterday my sister came over to visit and go shopping with me. My husband graciously offered to stay home with Madison for the afternoon to allow me to be baby-free. Wow, was I ready for that much-needed break! It was so nice to go from store to store, in and out without have to put baby in & out of the carseat. It was great to do fun shopping for once (vs. grocery shopping which is what I'm normally doing!). Plus we got a lot of Christmas shopping done in a short time, so it was a productive day. When we got back home, Matt had dinner made and on the table. What a guy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Hunters

Pretty In Pink

This was a cute little Children's Place fleece outfit I picked up at a garage sale. It's gotten cold again, so it was appropritate to bundle up in something cozy today!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Job, Pacifier & Other Updates

The past week has been such a whirlwind - and an emotional drain. The job hunt continues -- so far not fruitful at all, but it continues. The situation looks a little more bleak every day as both Matt & I sit in front of the computer almost all day long and still come up with very little in the way of job opportunities for this entire region. So frustrating.

To add to the frustration, while we assume Matt's boss has lost the election, we were not able to get the finality we hoped once the absentee ballots came in, as both sides agreed to a full recount. Now they won't even start counting the absentee ballots until at least next week (instead of this past Monday, which is when they would've been counted if a recount hadn't been ageed upon). If there are ballots they object to & do end up going to court, who knows when we'll find out for sure -- could be weeks. We were looking forward to Election Day if for no other reason than to get it over with & know how to proceed going forward -- having a job or having to look for a job. And we still don't know!

In recent Madison news, we made the decison to pull the plug last week -- as in, the pacifier. Because Madison's rash around her mouth kept coming back, we knew it would continue as long as she used a pacifier. And since it was a habit that we'd have to break someday anyway, we decided to give it a try. Last Wednesday was Day 1 -- and was it a nightmare. Madison literally screamed through her whole 1 1/2 hour nap time in the morning, then cried through almost her entire afternoon nap. She did manage to sleep for a quick 30 minutes out of exhaustion in the afternoon and another quick 20-30 minutes in the early evening. I had told Matt I was willing to give this a try for a day, maybe two, but if she didn't start sleeping, we'd have to give up. I'd rather deal with a mild rash than compromise her health by being sleep-deprived all the time! That night she went right to sleep -- without the paci -- and by the next day, she slept fine without it for all of her naps. We haven't given it back to her since taking it away on Day 1, and so far we seem to be doing OK! After the first day, she seems to have adjusted just fine. PHEW!!

Yesterday we spent Matt's day off visiting friends, running errands, and then spending the rest of the day with my brother & his family. Madison was very interested in her new cousin, Katrina. She would walk to her and say, "What's that? Baby." Then she'd pet the baby's head. Makes me think she's going to like having 'her own' baby when her little sister comes. Below is a picture from yesterday with 'Uncle Matt' playing the part of human jungle gym for all the little girls.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Political Party Princess

We attended Kuhl's 'victory' party last night. Unfortunately, aside from not winning victory, it was a 2 hour drive to get there, plus we took Madison, which made for a loooong night. I suppose the only highlight is that we had an excuse to dress Madison up. ;-) She claimed a balloon almost as soon as we got there and spent the evening happily (if tiredly) wandering about. Check out the expression in the first picture. She's been doing this lately - giving this frown/scowl thing.





Jobless

In an election night filled with pretty much only bad news, Matt's boss, Congressman Randy Kuhl, lost the election to his democratic competition. With 99% of the votes counted, Kuhl lost 49% to 51%, by about 4500 votes. We knew it would be super close, we just hoped in the end it would swing the other way. The results are not something we're surprised about - especially after his decisions on the bailout vote - but it does leave the sinking feeling of "now what." So if you hear of any good job openings, send them our way! ;-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Little Girl

And here's my 'baby' who has turned into a little girl! This was before church on Sunday. It's still hard to get her to hold still long enough to get a good shot of her -- and the video below kept losing its focus, I don't know why.









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Welcome Katrina Rose

Madison welcomed a new cousin into the world last week --




Katrina Rose was born October 26 weighing 7 lbs. She is girl #3 for my brother and his wife. She's a tiny little thing! It's so hard to believe Madison was little like that once - and of course seeing Madison next to Katrina, Madison looks huge!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ultrasound Update: It's A(nother)...

Had the ultrasound today.
It's another girl!
Madison will have a little sister!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rhode Island Review

We made it safely home from Rhode Island. It was a FANTASTIC trip. Beautiful state, beautiful weather the entire time, great friends to visit there and the most amazing homemade cooking you've ever had in your life. Lots of fun. I'm kind of at a loss as to what pictures to post since we took nearly 500. And I'm just guessing, while you might be interested in seeing some photos, you're not 500-photos interested. ;-) Here's a sampling below. I'll try to either get a few more posted on here eventually or post a selection on Picasa.

At 'The Breakers' - one of three mansions we toured and definitely the most magnificent inside.

Looking back at a view of Cliff Walk - a 3 1/2 mile walking path that runs along the cliff, the coast on one side and mansions on the other. We walked about a mile of it.

Check out the belly from this angle. ;-)

Our amazing hosts and dear friends, the LeFevre family.

Aunt Alyssa went along to enjoy the trip and to be an extra set of hands to help with Madison.

Visited several old windmills. Many houses and structures in the area are original to the late 1700's.
So many great spots for photos along the coast. Bright sun, crashing waves, rugged coastline, whipping wind, quaint harbor villages... It was perfect.
Us.
Madison's first time visiting the ocean. She loved running in the sand and was fascinated by the sandpipers running around and the seagulls swooping overhead.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rhode Island Bound



Tomorrow we're heading out for a few days to visit friends and see the sights of Newport, Rhode Island. Pray we have safe travel and warm weather. We hope to visit some lighthouses, mansions and the beautiful coast. Should have some great pictures when we return!