Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Photos!

Excited is not even the word.  Ecstatic.  Possibly.  Very pleased, to say the least!  Last Friday we had family photos taken by Ashley Read Photography.  Our family has known Ashley for over a decade.  It has been a joy to watch her grow and mature into the beautiful young woman that she is today.  Her talent to capture the beauty of people and bring out their personalities in her photography is simply amazing!  We went to Tippecanoe Battlefield in Battleground, IN.  The day was just perfect - not too hot, but the sun was shining.  The ground was dry, the leaves had turned.  We all had a great time.  So, you can see our post on Ashley's blog, and also on my Facebook page, but here are a few of my personal favorites . . . (In addition to the one at the top of the blog, and the updated individual poses of the kids at the right!)

I loved the railroad tracks.  Such a great artistic element!

Mallory's toothless smile will be remembered forever.

Love those colorful trees!

Kind of wish the trees in the background were more colorful, but it's still a great shot!

Kids being goofy . . .of course!

A little more refined . . . and posed!

This was captured at a moment's notice.  And I love it!

My sweet husband - the best Dad I know!

And smiles with Mom! Wish we had more times like this.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Living Room Transformed!

When you buy a house, you learn that making a house a home is a work in progress.  There have been many times during the past 11 years that I have wondered why we didn't buy a newly built home.  The first answer: we couldn't afford one with a basement.  The second answer: we couldn't afford one that had character.  The third answer: buying a 60 year old home from it's original owner was so nostalgic.  So, we are the proud owners of a 1939 one and a half story cottage style home (with a few craftsman characteristics here and there).  

We have slowly redone rooms throughout the house.  Some out of preference, some out of necessity.  A few years ago, Brett tore out the vinyl flooring by the front door and installed ceramic tile.  I loved it!  In doing so, he discovered hardwood oak floors that appeared to be in pretty good shape.  So, we have debated, periodically, about whether or not to tear out the carpet and expose the wood floors.  It would be a gamble, for certain.  We didn't know in what condition we would find them.  We could always install new carpet, or refinish the floors if they were really bad, but we could not (financially) replace the hardwood.

So, last July, we repainted the office (formerly known as the dining room).  When we embarked upon this adventure, I did not know that simply painting a room would take over a month and eventually involve ripping off both the door and window trim, and also ripping out the carpet.  But, when you're married to a contractor, home remodeling is never what you expect it to be!  We were pleasantly surprised to find that the wood floors in the office were in fantastic shape!  However, due to the length of time we had already invested, we stopped with the one room, even though it left a nasty raw edge of carpet going into the hallway and the living room.

See the raw edge there between the two rooms?

It wasn't until eight months later (that's March, people) that we finally tore up the carpet in the hallway.  We found that it, too, was in fairly good condition.  There is a bit more wear in front of the bathroom door.  For obvious reasons, of course!  This part of the project ended up taking a little over a week because it involved making new oak thresholds for the doorway openings.  They were handmade by the wonderfully talented Waffle, and are simply beautiful.

Fast forward to July 2010.  I came home from a work on a Monday a few weeks ago, feeling rather angry, frustrated and let down.  So, the Waffle came home to find me taking out those frustrations on the living room carpet! (Better than him or the children, right?)  My timing wasn't the most fabulous, I must say.  We were scheduled to have a birthday party for one sweet little girl in our life that following Saturday.  And, as usual, we had so much to do.  The Waffle, however, loves much (and has learned much).  So, even though I know he was tired and didn't want to be a living room remodel contractor, he pitched in and helped anyway.

After ripping out that last bit of nasty old carpet, we also repainted the fireplace wall that never got painted a few years ago.  It really needed it - the white was no longer anywhere near white.  It was a dingy beige, at best.
The old wall desperately needed to be painted.  And see those doors underneath the row of books?  
I detested them.  They were handmade by the original owner, and had been painted 
so many times that they didn't even close all the way!  (I'm sure they were lovely at first.)
But, see the horrible old, black hardware?  I have despised these cabinet doors for a very long time.

Well, look here, no more doors!

Here is a full wall photo:

We painted, got a new piece of artwork, took the doors off, and painted the walls behind the books to match the rest of the room.  I love it!  I can't believe I waited so long to get rid of those stupid doors!

When the day of Mallory's party had arrived, we weren't quite done yet.  We had removed the doors, but not the center rails.  And the wall behind the books was still the same original green it was painted 70 years ago!
Here are a few "in progress" pictures.

This is a closer picture of the 'artwork' that we bought.  It's actually two pieces that have been 
skillfully hung, perfectly plum and parallel, by my favorite contractor, the Waffle.  We were able to 
buy this with the help of my Dad, who sent some money for my birthday.  Thanks, Dad!

Look at those floors!  You would never believe by looking at them that they are 70 years old! 

Monday, May 17, 2010


Mallory and I helped in the kitchen at the all day Scout event for Hayden's pack.

Mallory even got to try her hand at being a chef!

Hayden played an 'Army Ant' in the 3rd grade choir program at school - so cute!

And has also been playing catcher for his baseball team - and loving it!

That'w hat we've been up to!  Longer post later when I have more time - I promise!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Busy? Who me?

I would love to be keeping up with the blog right now.  But have you seen my calendar lately?

I'm a little busy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pasta on Parenting - it's been a while

I haven’t written a ‘Pasta on Parenting’ post in a while. And boy, have I been getting some experience lately! Those kids, you know, they don’t slow down for a minute. The challenges come at you like flaming darts – it’s amazing! By ‘challenges’ I don’t mean that my children are going through challenges, or that we are having problems, or anything like that. I simply mean that being a parent is hard work. There’s always a decision to make, and you can’t make them lightly. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal to take your daughter shopping for summer clothes or sign your son up for baseball or buy them a book at the store ~ all of these things involve important decisions. And if you make the mistake of thinking they’re not important, you may be regretting it later.

What ‘decision’ is involved in buying summer clothes for your little girl? Other than how much money to spend and what size to buy, of course. As parents, the Waffle and I have made it a priority since day one to teach modesty to both Mallory and Hayden. When it comes to picking out clothes for summer, shopping for our 7 year old daughter proves to be much more difficult than for our 9 year old son. Boys wear shorts. The shorts sold for boys are long. Boys wear t-shirts. Most t-shirts sold for boys his size aren’t inappropriate. So, we rarely run into ‘decisions’ that have to be made when shopping for Hayden. Mallory, however, is another story. It isn’t just about picking out a bathing suit. It starts with the clothes. The shorts are too short. They are low-waisted, they are short, sometimes they have words printed on the rear end. Let me ask you this: Why would any mother or father who loves their daughter find it appropriate to put clothes on her that cause another person to stare at their daughter’s butt? I can’t answer that because for me the answer is, “I wouldn’t.” When it comes to tops, there are just as many challenges: spaghetti strap tank tops, bare midriff tops, and tops that say things like, “I didn’t ask to be a Princess” or “Whatever it is, my brother did it.” Really? These things are supposed to be cute? What about teaching humbleness and responsibility? So, when it comes to buying clothes for our daughter, I rise to the challenge. Knee length shorts, no words on the rear, no spaghetti straps, and no sayings that encourage poor attitudes or thinking. I also have a problem with clothes that are too trendy or too ‘grown-up.’ Why do we want our daughters looking like runway models or pop stars? Which ones of them do we want our daughters to look up to (or look like)? For me the answer is simple: none. I want her to know about inner beauty and modesty and make it part of her character that will attract an honest, loving and upright man to be her husband someday. And if I don’t start training her to think and be this way now, when she is twelve it will be too late.

“Signing up for baseball is a challenge?” you ask. Yes, when the ball schedule has some conflicts with regular meetings time for our church congregation, it does pose a challenge. I sometimes find it tough as a parent not only to tell my son when he will not be able to go to baseball, but it’s also to tell the coaches. I don’t want to make my child be different, but we ARE different. As Christians we are called to be different from the world. At 9 years old, our son understands ‘exceptions.’ We have a rule that we live by: when the congregation meets, we are there. The exceptions to this rule are: illness. So, last fall, when a couple of Hayden’s ball games lasted too long and we missed a service, I had enormous guilt. “What are we teaching our son by letting him miss church to play baseball? That playing is more important than worshipping the Creator?” So, the Waffle and I decided that it wouldn’t happen again. It is important to teach what (and Who) comes first. If the children don’t learn that God comes first at an early age, then they will always be torn when making a choice between social events and church services. I’m an adult and there are still times when I feel tempted to skip services because I want to be doing something else. However, people notice our example. Not only our commitment to being at worship and Bible study, but our attitude, our honesty, our effort, and our concern for others. There are so many ways that we can ‘shine our light’ to the world. We just have to be willing to face the challenges head on ~ and then make the right choice when faced with them.

The bottom line is that decisions that often don’t seem important to us are very important to our children. They pick up on the patterns, routines and consistencies in our lives. But they also pick up on the inconsistencies, the lack of discipline and the hypocrisy. So, give them something they can believe in. Don’t make them wonder what to expect, let them know what’s important and how we make our decisions. That builds trust, and after all, isn’t trust what love is all about?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Game of the Season

First game of the season.  The excitement has been eating at all of us.  I sent the Waffle a text today "T minus 4 hours."  I posted on Facebook an hour later "T minus 3 hours to game time."  We moved Mallory's gymnastics lesson from tonight to Saturday morning, so that we could all be at the field together.  When we all got home, we went into motion like a well-oiled machine.  Eat. Change. Gear. Drive.  It's in our blood.  We've done this many times before.  We juggle schedules, eat on the run, squint into the sun.  All for baseball.

We don't just have a baseball player.
We are a baseball family.

The team dynamics this season are good.  Good coach.  Good players.  With good attitudes.  After the 1st inning we were down by a few runs.  We didn't make them up in the 2nd.  I was feeling 'ick.'  That's the best way to describe it.  We weren't playing poorly.  They were just playing better.  Outs at 1st and 2nd were killing us.  But the boys stayed in the game mentally.  Then the 3rd inning rolled around.  And we had a comeback.  6 run rule.  I love the 6 run rule ~ kind of.  It's a good rule to have when yours is the team giving up runs.  However, when yours is the team making the runs, it kind of stinks to get cut off in the middle of your momentum.

Fast forward.  Sixth inning.  Time for another comeback.  This time it was their team making the comeback.  They are down by one with two outs and a runner on 3rd and their best hitter is up to bat.  He's been hitting it deep into left field.  Right where Hayden has been playing.  The last time he was up to bat, Hayden stopped the ball and held him to a single.  We were so proud.  Now the pressure is on.  On swing number two, he cracks it out there - left field, and Hayden stops it again!  But this time, he fumbles getting it out of his mitt and actually drops it before he throws it to 2nd.  Bummer.  There was a collective sigh in the bleachers, and then screaming, "Get it in!  Throw the ball!  Hold 'em!"  The tying run crosses home plate easily.  But, we're still tied and the 3rd out comes easily when the next batter hits a pop fly to the infield.

Now it's our turn.  One run.  That's all we need.  It's all a blur now.  Who hit, how many outs, who scored, I don't even know.  All I know is that we won by one run in the bottom of the 6th.

Awesome start boys.  Awesome.

 Pre-game huddle

Hayden swingin'

Left Field

Hayden had 3 great hits.  Unfortunately he didn't score this game.  

And I learned something.  It's extremely hard for me to take photos while cheering.  I may have to hire a photographer, so that I can get some good action photos and not have to give up cheering!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Fun Afternoon

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon outdoors.  It was a beautiful spring day in Indiana.  We signed the kids up to go to Camp Tecumseh for a week of day camp this summer.  So, the camp puts on an 'open house' for people to come check it out and enjoy a few of the experiences, meet the counselors and see the camp.  We were really impressed and the kids had lots of fun!  I can't wait to hear about everything else they get to do during camp!
Hayden tried the climbing wall.  And loved it!
Mallory did it too, and did well!
See how high she got!?!
Then they enjoyed a ride down the Black Hole.
And didn't mind posing for a photo together at the end of the day!