Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Freecycle.... where have you been all my life??!! Being the thrifty, sale-loving, let's-make-a-deal sort of gal that I am, I have no idea why I didn't get on this bandwagon sooner -- but it's been GREAT for getting rid of stuff in the moving process (and not feeling guilty for throwing perfectly good stuff away).

The packing is going slow but steady. I get a little panicky and feel overwelmed because after doing regular stuff like washing dishes, cooking meals and taking care of Madison, at the end of the day I'm only able to get a few more boxes packed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stressed, Blessed & Catatonic

The packing & moving process is coming along slowly -- I'm already pretty stressed out trying to get everything done, or rather, doing the mental summersaults to think through how to get it all done. I keep saying, 'And THIS is why we haven't moved before now.' Yeah our apartment here is pretty small, especially after having Madison, but I think I'd rather have a tooth pulled than go through this moving process again... and we're not even halfway through it yet! NO fun.

This morning I am a zombie after getting less than 3 hours of sleep last night. It been a rough & busy weekend, and instead of getting rested up last night, I'm worse off this morning. We didn't go to bed til late, then Madison decided to wake up at 2:30am and 3:30am, crying for 45 min. on the 2nd waking & refusing to go back to sleep. After that, I never fell asleep again. :-( So I'm very grumpy today. :-P

Ah but there are little highlights and blessings amidst the turmoil and chaos. Madison celebrated her 6 month birthday yesterday! It seems nearly impossible that a half year has gone by since she joined our family. She has turned into such a sweet little snuggly doll -- I don't know what we'd do without her.

Madison LOVES tags -- whether it's on plush toys, blankets or clothes -- she'd rather play with the tag than the toy itself --

Wow... was it that long ago? I didn't notice her getting so big!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We have big news.... We are moving back to NY!! We're excited but little bit overwhelmed as this has all come about a bit suddenly. What happened is a true testimony of God's faithfulness in our lives...

While we have been very content in Nebraska and enjoyed living in Lincoln, it has proven very difficult when it comes to visiting family. Any time we want to see our families it requires us taking multiple days off from work and flying across the country. It was OK for a time when it was just the 2 of us, but with Madison, it's not only tough but impossible financially. Plus, we really wanted to be able to raise our kids closer to family so they would know & have relationships with some of their relatives growing up. So we knew that someday we would move away from Nebraska as our closest relatives live 8 or 10 hours from here.

Last summer around the time Madison was born, Matt sent a letter to several statesmen (senators, congressmen, assemblymen) in New York to see if any of their offices had any job openings. We figured it was a long shot but since he's doing that sort of work now, it would be an easy transition. Other than one thanks-but-no-thanks letter, we didn't hear anything back. Not a big deal - we just figured it was worth a shot, even if it was a long shot.

We planned to fly back to NY for Christmas this year to spend the holiday with my family and our many friends in the area. Just a few days before leaving, Matt received an email from Congressman Randy Kuhl's chief of staff asking if he was still interested in moving back to NY as the congressman had a job opening in his Fairport (Rochester) office. Matt replied that not only were we still interested in moving back but we would be in the area in just a few days! That being said, plans were made for Matt to have a job interview with the congressman's office the day after Christmas, just before we returned to NE.

The news that we might be moving back made everyone back in NY very excited. The job interview went well but as the chief of staff was not present and the hiring decision would come from him, we continued to wait. And wait, and wait. Our only correspondence from their office after the interview said they would 'be in touch soon'. Well, that could mean anything - either a job offer or a no thanks. So we continued to trust the Lord & tried (sometimes without success) to be patient knowing that He was the one that had brought this whole thing about in the first place.

Finally, last week, a full 3 weeks after the interview, Matt received a call from Kuhl's office. They offered him the job!! While this was exciting & gave us high hopes, it wasn't our deciding factor. The real clincher was whether or not the salary would be enough considering the higher cost of living. We had sat down ahead of time and figured an estimate of what the higher rent, gas, utilities etc. would cost us. Especially since I am at home full time with Madison, we knew they would need to offer at least the figure we came up with in order for us to be able to afford it on one income.

When the topic of salary came up during the phone call, they asked Matt what he was thinking. (He hates being asked that - nothing like being put on the spot!) He explained that there would be an increased cost of living and gave them the figure we came up with. They responded without hesitating that that sounded good -- that was the figure they were thinking as a starting salary as well. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!! Not more, not less, but exactly what we had figured would meet our basic needs and allow us to take the job & move back to be near family.

Wow!! We were so excited to witness firsthand the power of our faithful God who is able to move mountains in our lives to bring us to the place He wants us. Not only that but He proved that He truly will give us the desire of our hearts if we are resting and trusting in Him. Proverbs 3:5&6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." He went before us and toiled on our behalf -- we didn't even have to work to pursue this, He dropped it on our lap. Did I already say 'Wow'? Wow!

Matt will start his new job on February 21. He will be running the Fairport office and his primary job will be working with constituent services (helping people get their Medicaid or VA benefits, working with federal programs, etc). It will be a great opportunity for him, and the experience he has had with the Nebraska Legislature will be of huge benefit to him when it comes to the learning curve.
As excited as we are to return to NY, leaving Nebraska will still be bittersweet. He has been here 5 years; I have been here 3 years. We were married here, had our baby here, had jobs here, friends here, church here. We have experienced the good life of possibilities endless. (I had to throw that in ;-) When we came to Nebraska, we thought it had only one thing -- corn. But we leave knowing she has much more -- we leave with a love for her people. We will miss so many things and so many people. We surely won't be gone forever though; we'll be back to visit.

Please keep us in prayer as we have a lot to do in a very short amount of time, as well as a long drive cross country with a 6 month old. But amidst the planning & packing frenzy, our hearts are filled with peace & joy knowing that it is God who moves us on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sitting & Squirming

Whenever I get a glimpse of say Madison's 1 month pictures, I'm amazed at what a tiny, scrawny thing she was. She seems so much bigger now - even though people still comment on how small she is. Here's a new outfit from Grammy --

Man, she is all over lately. She's quickly figuring out how to get around. Sitting, squirming, reaching, rolling to the tummy, rolling to the back, to the tummy again, pushing up, scootching back, twisting around... I can still walk out of the room for a few minutes and she's OK on the floor with her toys, but she's usually in a different spot when I come back. We're not far from the day I won't be able to walk out of the room & just leave her anymore... well, not without some training which requires work on my part. With all this getting around, she's also in different positions in her crib when I go to get her up. Sometimes her cry is a little different and that usually means she got herself up on all fours but now she's not sure what to do. So she stays 'stuck' in that position til I get her up. Poor thing.

We recently introduced her to the Baby Einstein videos, which she loves. The Baby Beethoven is great because it's basically just classical music & toys in motion - good brain food. They are especially nice to put on if she's getting fussy but it's still a little too early for a nap & Mama's in the middle of something. Both baby & the cat sit riveted to the TV for about 20 minutes. They are both pretty funny to watch, so cute --

She's still doing well with her solids. I'll often offer her 2 different things now at each meal. She really does well with anything I give her, but she's becoming especially fond of her fruits - opens her mouth a little wider & with a little more excitement than the other stuff --

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chicken 'n' Beans

I tried the same recipe last night with chicken this time. It also turned out very tasty - but we both agreed we liked the sauce better on the pork.

Also, to answer inquiring minds, our dishes are Pfaltzgraff's Sphere.

Monday, January 14, 2008

On The Move

Among Madison's latest in developmental progress (one of which is NOT 'napping well' - UGH!), she's begun to really get around. Not crawling yet, but that's not far away. She is now up on all fours when I put her on the floor. I also find her on all fours in her crib sometimes when I get her up from a nap --

In this picture, I had initially put her down by her toys and she scooted backwards all the way to the other side of the blanket (I hope to have some video of her scooting soon) --

Whenever I have socks off of her feet, the toe goes into the mouth (takes after her mommy... at that age, not now ;-) --

Silly little Swommy --

Pork 'n' Beans

Uh oh - new hobby... taking pictures of dinner. ;-)

Last night - my own creation - Pork loin with dijon, ranch & herb sauce served with beans & asparagus cooked Kim's style (oven baked with olive oil, fresh ground pepper & herbs).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Foods

I steamed some veggies for the 3 of us a couple nights ago --

The beans & carrots for Madison I put through the baby food grinder & then froze most in ice cube trays for later --

Today I gave her green beans for the first time & was surprised she took to them so well. Of course, the whole time I was feeding her I was talking in a ridiculously high-pitched voice going "Oh wow! Beans! How exciting! How delicious!" She thought I was so silly to watch, she didn't seem to notice she was eating a new food.

So now, the list of 'solid' foods she's eating includes:
  • Rice baby cereal
  • Oatmeal baby cereal
  • Applesauce
  • Pears
  • Prunes
  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans

And here she is, lounging after a big meal, vegging in front of football... Takes after her daddy. ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jane Austen on Masterpiece

This Sunday starts the Masterpiece Theatre Jane Austen series on PBS!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Homeschooler's 23rd Psalm

I came across this while searching for Sunday's worship chords. Very cute, very true --

The Lord is my shepherd,I shall not want.
He maketh me to live on less sleep;He leadeth me through the noise of many voices.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me to teach the right lessons each day,
for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of undone
Laundry and kitchen messes, I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me, my teacher’s guides and
Answer keys, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
Of threatening school officials and critical family members.
Thou anointest my head with heavenly wisdom, my cup runneth over.
Surely educated and godly children shall follow after me
All the days of my life and I will dwell again one day
In a clean house with the Lord forevermore.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Matt sent me an article today from FoxNews regarding all the campaign speeches about 'change'. I especially liked this line --

Every time I watch one of these events I’m secretly praying for that little kid from the fable to raise his hand and mention that the candidate (doesn’t matter which one) isn’t wearing any clothes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fat Camp

Matt & I are going to Fat Camp. Not literally, but we are putting ourselves on a more strict eating/exercising schedule. Call it a New Year's resolution, or call it necessity. Either way, it's time.

We both have baby fat to lose -- mine from Madison, him from an empathy belly. My goal after Madison was born was to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time she was one year old (in hopes that I can use the many too-small clothes in my closet once again). She's already almost 6 months and I've still got 20 lbs. to go -- so I figure I'd better get serious!

I'm trying to opt for healthy eating/living rather than going on an actual 'diet'. I'll reevaluate in a couple months to see if that's working. For now, my daily goals are --
  1. Eat healthy
  2. Eat with moderation/smaller portions
  3. Drink at least 1 gallon of water
  4. Exercise

Monday, January 7, 2008

Milking Mothers

Ok... I suppose I'm probably too practical, cheap & a tightwad to actually buy this... but I LOVE this shirt. ;-)

I've seen other fun shirts on cafepress before, but this is definitely my favorite.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sitting Around

Since we returned from Christmas in NY, Madison seems to be taking leaps instead of steps in her growth and development. There are several things she was almost doing before that she is now doing by herself & all the time.

One of them is sitting up by herself. She was doing this before but with less balance. Now, when she's playing on the floor, she has to be sitting up or she fusses. If I try to lay her on her back, that's just not good enough anymore. It makes her seem SO much older to see this little 'kid' sitting on the floor playing, instead of a helpless baby on her back.

Also, since she had so much constant attention in NY with family & friends, she's been even more time consuming at home with just Mommy because she wants that constant attention. I find myself sitting on the floor playing with her a lot... which is fun & sweet but doesn't help me get anything done around the house.

Few more 5 month pictures on Picasa -