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The Coffee Stop

Updated: 2014-10-06T20:51:40.441-06:00


Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!


Last night, as things were winding down and I was preparing for school the next day, I finished cleaning the kitchen and started the dishwasher. I set the boys' clothes out and sorted through the mountain of papers that somehow find their way home each day. I pulled out the lunch kits, which smelled of garlic sausage and cheese, and headed for the kitchen and some antibac cleaner.

And stepped in a puddle of water.

I glanced down to find a small pool forming under my dishwasher door. Huh? What did this mean? What would I do? Don't tell me my new-in-April dishwasher was failing! What was to become of me?!

I woke Chad, desperate for answers and reassurance. He looked at it, asked me why I hadn't mopped it up, told me he couldn't deal with it now, and went back to bed.

I got up this morning and hand washed two cereal bowls and spoons - Chad had fed Kolten already. My dishes have been piling up all day and I haven't had the time to deal with them. My plan was to cook the kids an early supper, rush them to piano lessons and from there to Awanas, and then, in the short hour-and-a-half of blissful, child-free time, come home and hand wash a day's worth of dirty dishes.

Welllll, Chad was home for lunch and took a quick look at the dishwasher. We decided to give it a go and see what happens. So far it's running fine and there is no water on the floor...yet. I'm continuing to check on it, but praise the Lord! It looks like it's hands-free dish washing for me!

The Day Stuff Happened


Ten years ago today, at almost exactly this time, I was standing before a preacher, pledging my love and fidelity to the man of my dreams. Since that day, he has become more than a dream. He is my life, my love, my friend, my support, my encourager and my comfort. He is the soft place to land when life knocks me down. He has filled the last decade with love, laughter, fun, excitement and challenge. He is the father of my three sons and a wonderful partner in parenting.

Ten years ago I could never have imagined where this life would take me. It has been a journey on which I have learned much and hopefully grown - not counting the *few* extra pounds I've picked up along the way. I have been abundantly blessed for one so undeserving. God has given me more than my heart's desires.

Chad, I love you more with each passing day, month, year. Thank you for the last, and best, ten years. I can't wait to see where life and love take us from here. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!



Happy Birthday, BFF

My good friend is turning 30 today. She's one of those very special, unique people that, if you're lucky, you meet once in a lifetime. We've been friends for just over five years and our friendship is one of God's greatest blessings in my life. I count it a privilege to know her and an honour to call her 'friend'.

So, Happy Birthday, T. You are truly "30 and Fabulous!"

The New Additions


I realized I forgot to include our puppy's name in my previous post. His name is Oscar. We got him from a family and they had already named him, but I like it. He's used to living on an acreage, but is doing well adjusting to city life.He's been with us for three days and has already been to see the vet for his shots. He goes on July 6 to have the snippity-snip, and then back two weeks after that for a booster and rabies shots. In his short time with us, he's also taken his first swim in a pool. He ran straight into our friends' yard and headed for the pool. The cover was on and I guess he thought he could walk on water. Craig managed to fish him out.I took him yesterday to get him a bigger kennel and also got his face shaved and nails clipped. Here's his new look.I also had to call a tow truck service to come and let me in my car. I had left it running (didn't want the dog to get too hot) with my purse and spare set of keys inside while I quickly ran into the church. Oscar hopped up to see where I was going...and stepped on the locking button. No amount of encouragement could get him to jump up a second time. He just sat there looking pathetic and innocent with this aren't-you-going-to-let-me-out? look on his face. The towing people had a nice laugh, but made me feel better when they said it's not the first time someone had called with the same predicament.Since I wrote the above, Oscar has been fixed and is back home with us. They sent him home with a cone around his head to keep him from irritating the incision site. That lasted all of 24 hours. By then I was done with following him around to carry him up the stairs. The cone was too big and him too short. Every time he tried to run up, the cone would hit the back of the next stair and send him tumbling backwards. While comical, probably not the best thing after surgery.Also, I discovered he didn't fit in his kennel when I tried shoving him in and got him stuck. I had to twist the cone - and his head - to get him back out. Connor was also sick that night and sleeping on the floor in our room. It made for a VERY long night, lying awake, worried that Oscar would sneak out of the room and puke on my new living room carpet - which he's done a few times already - or that Connor would end up kicking the dog, starting a chain reaction of events, or need a middle-of-the-night emergency trip to the hospital. THANKFULLY, neither happened and Connor is now feeling better and the cone is gone.In other exciting news (a little sarcasm there) we have another family that decided to move in with us. There's six or seven of them altogether. This family has their nest right under our deck on one of the beams. I was outside with Oscar after it rained, and peeked under to see if the eggs had hatched. I had seen the mom and dad coming back to the nest with worms a few days prior. This is what I saw. I sat on the grass and took a bunch of pictures. After about ten minutes I heard a familiar call and turned around to see the dad returning with supper. The next day I went out to check on them and both parents had left the nest. I was able to capture these pictures. The chicks have all since left the nest and we see them around every now and then. Today I saw one hop into the weed bed on the side of our house and shortly after, the mamma bird returned with more worms. We're really hoping they will continue to use the nest year after year.[...]

Finally, Something to Blog


Okay, that title is just a joke. These last few months have been busy with lots of happenings I would love to have shared at the time. BUT I'm just now getting around to it and to spare the two people who check this blog (Hi Ron and Grandma), I'll give the abbreviated versions. - In February we celebrated three birthdays. Kolten, Connor and Chad. Those are just in my household. We also celebrated my brother's *now* wife's birthday as well. So happy VERY belated to you! March brought three more birthdays for us. Busy months and also a reason why...- Chad and I took a weekend away at the end of March and headed to the city. We left the children with my parents and spent three days foot-loose and fancy-free. It was bliss. We ended our mini holiday with the annual dinner theatre we do with Chad's parents and brother and sister-in-law. It was FABULOUS! We're planning on making it a yearly tradition to give us a breather after the craziness of previous months.- Sometime in April I realized that while I had thought my health was improving from the last year, I had in fact stalled and was slipping backwards. I saw my doctor and found out I'm anemic. We're working on finding the reason, but he's put me on extra iron and it has really boosted my energy. It's strange to have all these emotions after months of numbness, but it's good. I feel good.- I turned 29 in May and that's all I'm going to say about that!- My good friend got married the last weekend in May and I did the music for her wedding. It had long been planned that she would not force me to wear another bridesmaid dress, and in exchange I would take care of the music for her. She knows I love her and, had she asked, I would have put on a dress and smiled for the camera. She also knows me too well and didn't make me. ;-) (Love ya, Kristen!)- My older brother got married the very next weekend. YEAH! He married a gem of a girl. Chad was a groomsman, Connor was the ring bearer and I played and sang during the ceremony, along with good friend and worship team member, Ira. That guy has mad skills on the guitar and I accompanied him while he played musical numbers of "The Hallelujah Chorus" by Leonard Cohen, and "This Year's Love" by David Grey. During the signing of the register, we did the Steven Curtis Chapman song "I Will Be Here". My boys had SO MUCH fun at the wedding and dance. Benen went strong until 1:30 a.m. Connor took a short cat nap around midnight and then was back at it. Kolten lasted until about 11:00 and then crashed on some chairs and slept the rest of the night away. The music was a live band called "Five on the Side." My brother is the bass player of the band and they are AWESOME! We've also gotten to know the lead singer, Sarah, and her husband and drummer, Justin, quite well over the years. Anyhooo, during rehearsal the night before, they played the song "Ballroom Blitz" and my kids went nuts! This happens to be one of their favorite songs from Rock Band. The were psyched to learn the band would be playing that song at the wedding reception. When it came time, Sarah called Connor and Benen up to the stage to dance. I think she wanted them to dance at the front, but Connor didn't miss a beat. He hopped RIGHT UP ON STAGE and began dancing. Benen wasn't long in joining his brother and the two tore it up! At one point, the lead guitarist got down on one knee and rocked out beside them. Connor also got to end the song singing alongside Sarah to "It's, it's a ballroom blitz. It's it's a ballroom blitz." They LOVED it and so did everyone else. One guy came up to shake Connor's hand at the end and handed him $10! The entire night was a blast!- So, after the last crazy six months (and the previous year), I finally decided to take the summer off worship. I won't be leading or participating in any way. Chad really encouraged me, and with the support of the pastor, other worship leaders and my friends, I finally took the leap. Or, in this case, giant step bac[...]

The Ultimate Reality Show


I have always been a person who sees in black and white, right and wrong. I love to see justice prevail - the good guys win; the bad guys get what's coming to them. My heart goes out to the underdog, the person or persons who are faced with extreme odds, the ones who are picked on and persecuted. Combine that with my love of MMA (mixed martial arts) and I believe you'll understand why I'm so excited about the premiere of this new reality show. My hubby showed it to me. He said it's as if someone custom-made a t.v. show just for me.

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Well, I guess you know what I'll be doing this Sunday.



Since there has been a lot of stuff I haven't had the chance to blog about, I figured I'd do a picture blog. It's all the stuff I've wanted to share, but haven't had the time or energy to pull together. A random day in January...Chad took the boys tobogganing. We live across the street from a big park with two sledding hills, bike paths and a lake. The biggest hill is directly across the street from my front window. When you live in Canada...A convenient way to dry skates. My son, the artist...Benen drew this wonderful portrait. Can you guess who it is? Yup, it's yours truly. If you missed the resemblance, check out my profile pic on the sidebar. Let's rock...Kolten and his BFF formed a band and put on a show.The birthdays...Kolten turned three and Connor turned seven. We held Connor's birthday at the bowling alley and had twelve kids; nine boys and three girls. Valentine's Day...Do I have the best BFF or what? Chocolate and coffee - she knows me well. Wounded little soldier...Kolten, two days after his accident.The End[...]

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to ER we go...


Here's something I never want to experience again - taking my three-year-old boy to the hospital for stitches. I realize I'm not the first mom to go through this kind of ordeal, nor will I be the last, but it's certainly something I pray I will never have to repeat.

Now, being a mom of three boys, I've always understood that emergency room visits would be an unavoidable part of my life. I just didn't count on my baby being three the first time I had to hold him down while a doctor sutured his face. No one really knows what, exactly, happened, but we're guessing he fell off the foot stool in my parents' basement and smashed his chin on one of the chairs. It's actually to the left of his chin, along the jaw bone. It took five stitches in total to close the wound; one on the inside, and four on the outside. The fatty part of his cheek was actually hanging out a bit and the doctor tried to poke it back in as he stitched. One piece refused to stay in and I watched as the doctor took scissors and snipped it off. Yes, I was there through the whole procedure, helping the the nurse and...male nurse/doctor/paramedic (not sure exactly what he was) restrain my thrashing baby.

The one thing I can say is God is good. Actually, He's down-right amazing. I have bragged on this blog that I have THE most amazing, wonderful doctor EVER! And we've seen quite a bit of him in the last two months. As we drove to the hospital, I had the fleeting thought of how nice it would be if he was the doctor on call. I immediately dismissed the notion, not even bothering to put the thought to prayer. The first sound I heard as I entered the sliding glass doors was the sound of Wonder Doctor's voice. At least I thought it might, could possibly be. I stood in disbelief, straining to hear. Then I snuck closer so I could get a tiny peek in the curtained off room. I didn't want to totally violate some one's right to privacy, so I settled for checking out the shoes I could see below the curtain. The feet were the right size, the shoes the right style and...IT WAS HIM! Isn't God awesome? I was humbled as I was reminded again that he knows the deepest desires of our hearts. He knows our inner-most thoughts and even when we can not put words to prayer, He answers.

So, now we're home, my family is sleeping and I'm even contemplating calling it an early (for me) night. Kolten's left cheek and jaw are swollen up like a chipmunk and he's not able to open his mouth wide enough to fit a spoon in which is making it a little hard to feed him. BUT, he has all his teeth and although he's going to turn all shades of blue, black, purple and green over the next couple of weeks, the bruising will fade, the swelling will recede, and the gash will heal. The kids are off school for spring break next week, so I think we'll take it a bit easier. I have play dates lined up for them, but nothing important that can't be changed.

And now, I've got to go change over the laundry and then I'm heading to bed. I may even turn the light off before midnight. Maybe.



I was hoping to maintain this blog better in the new year, hoping to post more regularly, but obviously it hasn't happened. Which goes to show that good intentions will get you nowhere...or in my case, as far as the coffee pot.My life has been a series of doctors' appointments and sleepless nights. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm whining, but it seriously has NOT stopped since the beginning of January. I'll come to a place where I think it's finally behind us, only to have some other strange symptom appear and then it's off to the doctor's office or emergency room we go.Anyways, my ambition and creativity are at an all time low. BUT, I'm gonna add a quick update and hope you'll all forgive me for the scattered, unedited, sloppy, wordy sentences that is my mind lately...thought runs into thought, which runs into get the picture.* First off, please, if you are a praying person, pray for my son, Connor. It sounds bad to say, but I am exhausted with all the weird things happening to him and just need it to stop! If I'm not losing sleep because he wakes me, I'm losing sleep worrying about the weirdness that's cropped up in him. Nothing serious or life-threatening...just weird and bizaare...and I need it to end and for him to be healthy.Since I wrote the above, we saw our amazing doctor and I believe Connor is on the final stretch. One last thing to fix and I'm hoping, praying, we'll all remain healthy.** A conversation a couple of weeks ago...Connor - "Dad, do I have to go to school tomorrow?"Chad - "Yes."Connor - Big long sigh. "I don't want to go. I'd rather stay home."Chad - "Why? What's wrong with school."Connor - "There's this girl I sit by, and everday she loses her pencil and then she always says I took it and I don't! Why would I take her pencil? I have my own pencils!"Chad - "Well, next time she does that, tell the teacher that she's blaming you and you don't like it. The teacher will deal with it."A few days ago...Me - "Hey, Honey, how was school?"Connor - "Good."Me - "Did you eat all your lunch?"Connor - "Uh...I don't think"Me - "You didn't? Why?"Connor - "Some of the girls took my nutrigrain bar and smashed it until it was all in little pieces."Me - "They did?! "Connor - "Uh-huh. And they also took some of my lunch and hid it. They took my napkin, I think."Me - "Oh."Connor - Sounding confused and frustrated, "Why would they do that?"Me - "Um, they were probably just trying to be funny. They were just teasing you."Connor - "Well I didn't like it and I told my teacher. She said that she would take care of it and that they wouldn't do it anymore.Me - "Okay, that's good."Later at supper that night...Connor - "Dad, I told my teacher that the girls were taking my lunch and she said she would stop them. That was some good advice you gave me, Dad."Chad - "Good. Your welcome."Benen - "What's 'a-vice'?"Me - "Ad-vice. It's when you suggest to someone a way to deal with a situation. You give them an example of what they could do."Chad - "I told Connor to talk to his teacher if he was having any problems."Me - "It's suggesting to someone how to fix a problem."Benen - "Oh, like this! Connor I have some advice for you. Like maybe next time, whatever she does to you, you just do it back!"THAT KID CRACKS ME UP!*** My baby turned three on the ninth. I can't believe how quick the time has gone. He's still my baby, though. The problem is he knows it and he's beginning to work that angle. Such a mix of "adorable" and "mischief."He has this one best friend and they are soooo cute together. It's my good friend's daughter, and the two of them are only 6 weeks apart in age. They've grown up together and they have the most unique friendship. I have never seen two kids connect, play and communicate like these two. They are hilarious together! ****At supper tonight...Benen: (trying to get Connor in t[...]

UFC 94 - BJ Penn vs. Georges St-Pierre


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I am ON TOP OF THE WORLD right now! Georges "Rush" St-Pierre just finished BJ "The Prodigy" Penn in four rounds. GSP dominated inside the ring for twenty minutes before a decision by Penn's corner and an octagonside physician put a stop to the fight, thus declaring GSP still the undisputed Welterweight Champion of the World. It was incredibly thrilling to watch and I admit my throat is a tad sore from all the whooping, hollering and cheering I did from my parent's basement. With the exception of my wedding day and the births of my children, this would have to rate as one of the most anticipated days of my life!

Of course I was cheering for GSP, and not just because he's Canadian. I mean, how can you NOT cheer for him? He's one of those once-in-a-lifetime fighters whose skill and ability seem to sharpen and improve with every fight. He offers his opponents a great deal of respect inside the ring and always shows a level class that is above and beyond the average fighter.

I really don't know what else to say. I don't want to go on and on and bore you all with the details, and it's too soon to post any of the highlights. I just know it's going to take a long time for this adrenaline rush to wear off so I can get some sleep.

A New Year


I started this blog post on Janaury 4 and am just now getting around to finishing it. There was so much I wanted to share over the last couple of months, but somehow none of it made it onto my computer. I kept meaning to get it all down, but then it started piling up, higher and higher till it just all seemed a little too overwhelming. So instead I've decided to give you the condensed version of the things I can remember, complete with pictures from my new Canon digital camera - Christmas present from Chad. This one has a stabilizing feature, so hopefully no more blurry pictures. Let's begin.* All December we teased Connor, singing "All I want for Christmas..."** Benen was given this shirt as an early Christmas present.If you can't read the writing, it says, "Dear Santa, I can explain everything." It so completely defines our Benen and I laugh everytime I read it.*** Here are some pictures from Christmas at my in-laws. **** The boys got skates for Christmas and Chad built a rink in our backyard. This was their first day on skates. ***** Yesterday's interesting conversation:Chad - "I found gum on the toilet seat."A long pause.Me - "How did you find it?"****** December and January have been the months of sickness. Before Christmas, Kolten came down with a 'chest infection'. He started showing the same symptoms as last year when he got pneumonia, so I rushed him to emergency. The xray showed a white spot on his lungs, but the doctor said he was "hesitant to call it pneumonia." Basically it was a milder case and he's better now.Although we had our first sickness-free Christmas in 10 years, January has more than made up for it. - Connor developed a lump on his neck; we went for an ultrasound and they put him on antibiotics. Basically, there were multiple enlarged lymphnodes due to some viral infection - or so they think. It eventually went away...mostly. In February I'm taking him back for a follow-up exam and will have the doctor check the sore lump on his foot.- The next week Chad got the flu.- The next day Benen developed a fever and a cough. Fever lasted one day and he's still coughing ocassionally. - Kolten followed Benen by a day, but his strange fever lasted five days and was hard to control. He's been feeling better for the past four days.- Three days after Kolten started, Connor caught the fever and also had severe stomach pains. The fever lasted for three days, the stomach pain for two and now he's coughing. He's mostly better and because I think his cough is just due to postnasal drip, I sent him to school.- I thought we were getting back to normal, but yesterday Chad came down with fever, chills and body-aches. It's some weird virus that seems to be running through our house, but *fingers crossed* I think we're at the tail end of it. Thankfully.I'm not whining - honest - just giving you the low-down on the past month-and-a-half. ******* Benen comes up with the greatest words.Toilet paper = wiper towelLost and found = Lost 'n fountainRice Krispies = Rice KripsiesGrandma Sturge = The long Grandma (she lives a long ways away)Normal = Nermal (he cannot say it right; makes me laugh everytime)Root Beer = Root BeardMustache = Muss-beard******** Boys - The Way They See ItBenen - "Mom, you hang with Tracie too much."Me (chuckling) - "Hang? I hang?"B - "Yeah, you know, like 'hang out'."Me - "I know what you mean, and I like 'hangin'' with Tracie 'cause she's my friend."Connor (in all his big brother wisdom) - "Benen, she does coffee with Tracie because that's what moms do."Me - "That's right. It's how we keep our sanity."Okay, I'm done. It feels good to be back and I hope to keep blogging a little more regularly.[...]

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days


My cousin forwarded this video to me and I thought I'd share it with you all. It made me laugh. Enjoy!

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Christmas Traditions


We're entering a season that is full of various traditions. Each family has their own special way of bringing in the season, different things they do to mark this blessed time of year. As the boys are growing up and getting older, Chad and I are beginning to find ourselves anxious to pass on traditions from our childhoods to our children, as well as discover and make new traditions all our own.

Today is just such a day. We feel the boys are of a certain age where we can now share with them a timeless classic of holiday fun - Home Alone. Chad has gone out to pick up supper and buy the movie and tonight we will be having an old-fashioned family movie night. I am SO excited. The boys are going to love this movie. They are, after all, boys. And what boy doesn't like watching people fall down, get hit in the face with a paint can and have their hand burned on a door knob? It's going to be a night full of laughter and fun. I can't wait!

For What It's Worth


My son is obsessed with money. Seriously. I'm starting to get concerned and wondering if somehow I've failed in teaching him the really important things of life. Everywhere we go he wants to know how much everything costs, how much money I have and why he can't have more money. It's starting to drive me crazy! This is often how the day goes.

"Mom, how much money do you have?"

"Never mind, Benen."

"You have more than a hundred, don't you?"

"Benen, let it go."

"How much money is this?" (Holding up a quarter)

"It's twenty-five cents."

"Wow! That's a lot! What can I buy with this."

"Not much."

"But what?"

"I don't know, maybe a few candies."

"Can I go buy some candies?"


"Why not? I have the money."

"Benen, we are not going to buy candy right now!"

"Can we go after Kolten's in bed for his nap?"

"No! I can't leave Kolten alone by himself, and furthermore, I am NOT taking you to buy candy! You don't need candy, it's not good for you and you get plenty of treats a day! Be thankful for what you get. Don't ask me again."

"But mom, maybe we could just-"

"BENEN! ENOUGH! I said not another word!"

A little bit later...

"Mom, you know that money I gave you?"


"Can I have it back?"


"No, I mean that money I gave you for a Christmas present." (A few coins)

"Yes, Benen, I know what money you're talking about."

"Can I have it back?"

"I already said yes, you can have your piggy bank back."

"No, I don't want the piggy bank, just the money. Can I have it?"

"Benen! I have already said 'yes'! Just go and get the money!"


A little later again...

"Mom, is that your wallet."


"What are you doing with it?"

"I was ordering something online." (Christmas stuff)

"Can I look through your wallet?"




"Why not?"

"Because it's mine and you don't need to look in it."

"But I just wanna see how much money you got."

"Benen, the answer is no."

"But mom-"

"Benen! When I say 'no' I mean NO! Do not ask again or I will send you to your room. No is NO!"

A little later still...

"Benen! What are you doing?!"

"I'm just lookin' in your wallet."

"I told you not to!"

"Well mom, how come you have this one dollar?"

"Because my Grandpa gave me that dollar bill a long time ago. Now shut my wallet."

"How come I don't have any money that someone gave me a long time ago?"

"Benen, just close my wallet and give it to me!"

"It's not fair."


That's a typical day for me. There are times I just wanna scream and tear my hair out. Honestly, I'm so sick of talking about money. I've heard that a lot of marriages suffer because of "money issues" but I've never experienced anything like this!

The Handsome Ring Bearer


As promised, here is a picture of Benen as a ring bearer. I still haven't found the chord for my camera, so I had my friend email me the one she had. Now, tell me, isn't he just the cutest thing?


Now, imagine having to look in those eyes and see pain and uncertainty. Next Wednesday, we are taking him to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. We did this with Connor when he was Benen's age, but I don't remember feeling as sick about it. I'm trying to keep in mind that I am doing what's best for him, though it certainly isn't easy. I laid in bed and cried last night, just wanting to wrap him in my arms and shield him from what I know will happen. I realize it's not that big of a deal, and certainly not anything life threatening, but I still hate for him to have to go through it.

With Connor I was unprepared and went in blind. This time I'm getting organized. I'm bringing a DVD player and movies and I'm putting together a special present for after the surgery. Connor got one when he had his done, but I sent Chad out after to find something for him and there wasn't much selection in the small town where we stayed. I'm also planning to stay the night in the hospital with him. Thankfully I'm not pregnant this time. A hospital stretcher isn't comfortable on a good day, let alone when you're nine months pregnant and bursting with baby!

A Little of This and a Little of That


Boy, I feel like there's so much to say, yet I can't seem to come up with a clever way to say it. As a result, this post may seem mundane and boring, which, ironically, IS like my actual life. But here goes - a little bit of random.********************Some of you may have read that Benen was the ring bearer in a wedding on Saturday, September 20. I had promised to post some pictures and have yet to deliver. And it'll have to wait as I lost the chord that connects my camera to the computer. When I do find it, I'll get the pictures up.But let me just brag for a minute. That kid was absolutely, hands down, THE handsome-est thing I've ever laid eyes on. 'Course he gets it all from his daddy. Now, I've had the opportunity to see Chad in a tux before and he takes my breath away, but this was the first time I've ever seen Benen all dressed up. It literally left me speechless. His suit was black with a chocolate brown vest and tie and a white dress shirt. He looked SHARP! I was on music duty and had to play for the processional. I tried to glance up and catch a glimpse of him walking up the aisle and nearly lost my concentration. He was just the cutest thing ever! I really hope I can get the pictures up for you to see.And, of course, him being Benen and all, he charmed the socks off everyone he met that weekend. There wasn't a girl, young or old, who wasn't in love with him by the end of the day and there wasn't a guy he met that didn't end up thinking he was the coolest little man. He got to hang out with the wedding party for Friday and Saturday and he just loved being treated as one of the guys. It was a special time for him and he loved the attention. Naturally.********************About two years ago I took my oldest two boys to see a homeopathic doctor. We were having some "concentration" and "listening" issues along with some allergies that were undetected. The doctor tested the boys and ended up listing a whole whack of "food sensitivities" and telling me to put them on a grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free diet. It was a challenge, but we tried - to the best of our ability - to follow the strict eating guidelines. We found some amazing results in Benen's listening and concentration, but never really noticed a difference with Connor.We did this for a year until my husband began researching what, exactly, a "food sensitivity" to gluten does to you. The boys didn't have "celiac disease", a condition that's becoming more common and well known. They simply had a "sensitivity" which has a varied range of effects. After realizing the gluten wasn't the cause of the boys' hyperactivity and skin problems (but rather the corn and corn products) we began giving them gluten again. About 6 months ago they returned to a regular diet with regular bread and foods. The only exception was their lactose-free milk.Now, six months later, Connor is complaining of frequent stomach aches and having some issues. I figured it was the gluten and took him off it again. It seems to have helped some. And this past week I took all the boys to see the doctor. We all had appointments to deal with our problems.Connor - He had some blood work taken to check for food allergies and any other problems that could be causing his stomach pains. I'm wanting to rule out any serious digestive track problems and double check that his "food sensitivity" hasn't developed into anything more serious such as celiac disease. He HATES-WITH-A-PASSION getting needles, so the doctor put on that special topical cream that completely freezes the area. It's the same stuff they give kids when they have to stitch a wound. He was still a nervous wreck, but he didn't flai[...]

Over His Head


So, I'm standing at the kitchen counter making muffins when Chad walks up and says, "Nice buns."

Benen, who was watching me spoon the batter into the tins, looks at his dad and in his oh-so-grown-up voice replies, "Da-ad, they're not buns. They're muffins." Then he turns to me. "Sometimes Dad just gets it wrong."

Uh, yeah. Some things go right over his head. Good thing, too.

Seriously, that kid is a HOOT! He did so great this weekend being the ring bearer. He was completely in his element and he swept everyone off their feet. The women all adored him and the guys treated him like a little buddy. He was positively glowing under all the special attention. I'll have some pictures up soon and will give you the highlighted moments of the weekend.

Here Comes the Ring Bearer


A friend and co-worker of Chad's is getting married this Saturday and they asked Benen to be the ring bearer. This will be his first - and probably only - time being involved in a wedding. When they asked us a year ago, we gave them fair warning. If you follow my little blog at all, you know what I'm talking about. Benen and his exploits are the frequent subjects of my posts. I was a bit surprised when they told us HE was exactly what they wanted - someone to keep things light and funny. It will be that.

Chad is also standing up as a groomsman and I am doing the music for the wedding. I'm playing some background music while guests are being seated and then I'm playing the processional. I'm using the song, "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk, and while the attendants walk up, I'm playing an instrumental of the song. Then, when Benen and the flower girl make their way down the aisle, I'm going to continue the instrumental, but move it to a higher octave and make it light and "little" sounding. When the bride makes her entrance, I'm going to start singing the song and do just one verse and chorus, which should get her down the aisle. Also, during the lighting of the unity candle, I'll be playing and singing "Burning Embers" by Kendall Payne.

Tonight is the rehearsal and I'm a little nervous. I like having all my i's dotted and t's crossed and I won't know exactly what I'm doing until I meet the guy whose performing the ceremony and find out the order in which he's doing things. Also, for anyone who knows me, I get EXTREMELY nervous when I have to do solos. Ask me to lead worship and chances are I'll have no problem. Ask me to sing a special and I shake like a leaf. Still, there's a part of me that's excited - I get to play a grand piano and that's not an opportunity I have very often. My fingers feel itchy with anticipation and I just hope the sound person is good. They can really make or break you. I'd be much more comfortable if my husband could set my sound levels, but it's not at our church and you know how it is.

Anyway, here are the two songs if you want to check them out.

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For the Kendall Payne song, click here and then select the song "Burning Embers."

I'll try to post some pictures of the wedding and my handsome little man some time next week.

If I Could...


If I could, I'd stop the season where it's at and enjoy warm days mixed with crisp, cool winds. I'd revel in the beauty of autumn, its sky made grey-blue by the misting of clouds. I'd sit and watch the sun's valiant effort to break through and the calmness of its muted light. I'd open all my windows and let the breeze blow through, bringing the refreshing scents of green grass, trees and changing leaves. I'd take deep breaths and let the coolness seep into the deepest parts of me, and I'd bask in the feelings of renewed hope and new beginnings.

If I could, I'd freeze the hands of time where the sounds of my children playing fill my days. I'd listen to their make-believe world and watch as they transformed into superheroes, determined to rid the backyard and their small world of its evil villians. Where everyday is an adventure to be met and its challenges to be conquered.

If I could, I'd pause this moment in time where the beginning of school holds all the blossoming dreams of their some-days, all the promises of who they could be. Where all the possibilites are open to them and their imaginations know no limits. Where innocence and confidence blend and everything seems reachable. Where the stars are not too high and they are fearless to reach for them.

If I could, I would bottle up the smell of fresh air, sunshine and little boy, to be taken out when time has passed. When I'm watching them learn to drive, standing at their graduation or crying at their wedding, I would pull it out and remember sweet days gone by. I would breathe deep its fragrance and be overcome by memories of cuddles on the living room floor, wrestling matches that ended in kisses and a million "I love you"s. I would remember warming cold little hands, kissing cool little cheeks and hugging warm little bodies. I would remember breathing deep, soaking in their special smell and wishing I could bottle it up.

If only I could.

Random, of course


**Sweet Words**

Connor - "Mom, I figured out how to change the toilet paper roll. Now you'll never have to change it again."


I went to pick up Benen after his second day at kindergarten. "Mom, I need to talk to you."

"Alright. What's up?"

"No, uh, not right here. Let' a long way away from people."

"Oh. Okay."

He grabbed my hand and led me half-way down the hall of the school. "Uh, here's good." I knelt down so I was eye level with him and repeated my question.

"So, what's up?"

"Um, I got sent to the Table today."

The "Table" is where the kids who aren't listening and behaving are sent for time out away from the class. "Oh, really. What were you sent to the Table for?"

"Um...for goofing around."

"Huh. You weren't listening to the teacher?"


"Oh." Honestly, at this moment I had no idea how to respond. It was then I noticed the little smirk he was desperately fighting to hide. Huh. Imagine.

"How about you try better the next day to listen? Okay?"


Honestly! Two days in and already he's causing mischief. Though, if I'm being honest, I'm not entirely surprised. I'm giving the teacher two weeks. If I don't hear from her by then, I'm making an appointment to see how she's holding up. (Truly, Benen is a good kid - just a little clownish and fidgety - and I don't want him to be misunderstood.)

**One Sad Boy**

"What's wrong, Benen?"

"Dad won't give me a bigger spoon."

"Why do you need the bigger spoon?"

"I did the littler spoon and I need the bigger spoon to hang on my nose to prove I'm talented."


"Come on, Kolten, you need a nap."

"Uh, no."

"Um, yes."




"Because you're two, you're little and you're tired."


A New Day


I haven't been around much the past few months and I'm sorry about that. I've missed hangin' out in Blog Land. There's been a lot going on and I took a little, much-needed break. I'm trying to get back to blogging and will hopefully be more faithful in the months to come. To all my blog pals - I'VE MISSED YOU! I can't believe you still check my little old spot on the blog map.

Anyways, tomorrow - well, today, seeing as it's 1:00 a.m. - marks a new chapter for me. TWO of my little men will be heading off to school in the morning. Connor is entering grade one and I can't believe he'll be gone five days of the week. It's a little sad, yet strangely exciting, too. I'm thrilled that he will be in the same class as his little friend from last year. God is good. I prayed for that and shouted a "hallelujah" when I read the class list. Connor doesn't adjust well to change (wonder where he gets that from... :-P) and having his friend with him will help ease his way into grade one. Now we're hoping they get desks next to each other.

Benen, on the other hand, can't wait to go to school. He's so excited he can hardly contain it. It's funny that I find myself worrying more for Connor - who's done this already - than I am for Benen. Or maybe it's that my concerns are different. With Benen I'm concerned about how well he'll listen, how many phone calls I'll get and if he'll remember to walk home after school and not get distracted on the playground. I worry that he'll forget to look before crossing the street and won't see the car coming until it's too late. Or that he'll decide to walk to a friend's house - just to make sure his friend got home safely - and I'll be frantically driving through the neighborhood screaming his name while calling the police. Which reminds me I need to put their number on my speed dial. *Sigh* He's such a good kid, but so easily distracted. And WAAAAY to independent and confident. I'm gonna start counting how many grey hairs I acquire over this next year.

Well, I really should get some sleep as the morning is sure to be full of chaos and noise. Thankfully Chad is home on holidays and will be going with me to get them settled in school. Then he's off to the golf course and I'm gonna hit Starbucks before going to my BFF's for coffee and a *quieter* visit. 'Night!

*I am way out of practice with my writing skills (what little I had) as you can tell by this post. Please forgive me. I hope to be better in the future.*

A Quick Funny


I was walking Benen to bed late tonight and he says, "Know why I like you?"


"'Cause you're tough!"

"Am I?"

"Uh-huh. Show me your toughness."

I dramatically lifted my arm and put some umph behind it as I flexed my bicep for him.

IT DIDN'T MOVE! Not. One. Bit.

"Woooooah. You're super tough."

Gotta love that kid.

What I learned


This past weekend, I learned it is NOT a good idea to accept the challenge of a foot race from my four-year-old son. I came to this conclusion after a series of mistakes on my part. The first mistake, I'm sad to say, was the result of my foolish pride.

We were at the church Saturday night and I was pulling song sheets for Sunday morning when, on the way to the photocopier, my son, Benen, asked, "You wanna race?" A strange feeling overtook me and I was struck with the desire to show my child just how fast his mother REALLY was. None of that let-them-win-you're-so-fast crap. I wanted to FLY; I wanted to see the unbridled awe and adoration in his little face. I was gonna win his admiration with my lightning fast speed and agility.

Mistake number two. I conveniently forgot that the last time I had sprinted was in junior high, when they force you to participate in Track and Field. I found out my four (and a half) year-old son is *almost* faster than me. I was REALLY having to work. What I thought would be simple, quickly turned into a fierce competition. I hate to lose.

Mistake number three. In our final race for the front doors I yelled out, "Quick Benen! Run down the stairs!" And then it hit me - that's not the kind of thing a *good* mother would say. So I quickly amended it with a follow up, "Be careful!" By this time he was half-way down and winning.

Mistake number four. Finding myself behind, I decided to show off a little and leaped down the remaining four steps, with a little side twist thrown in for flair. I landed with a solid thump.

Mistake number five. I planted my feet, completely forgetting that the upper half of my body was still being carried by my forward momentum. I was left in a mad scramble, trying to get my feet to catch up with the rest of me, which by then was headed for impact. I did a nice little slide-and-dive on the carpet in our church foyer. I have the rug burns on both knees to prove it.

Benen won the race.

Book Review & Giveaway and Guest Blogger - Amber Miller


It is my privilege today to be a stop on author Amber Miller's blog tour to help celebrate the publication of her first novel, Promises, Promises. If you haven't already "met" Amber/Tiff, let me introduce you.Amber Miller is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband in beautiful Colorado Springs. Amber has sold four books to the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing with the promise of two more before the end of the year. She is currently pursuing an expansion into trade-length historical fiction as well. Other writing credits include several writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing.Read more about her at her web site: amazing lady has agreed to share her own personal love story with us. It's quite the tale, but I'll let her tell you. Also, stick around (or scroll down) for my review of this book and leave a comment for the chance to win a FREE copy of Amber's book. Hi, my name is Tiffany Stockton, but I publish under Amber Miller. The name is derived from my middle and maiden names. I was published before I married last year, and my wonderful husband doesn’t mind me having this “alter ego.” I’m thrilled to be here with Shauna on her blog. She’s been an avid supporter of my writing and my web site for over two years now. Of course, it’s been some time since I’ve seen a comment left by her, but hopefully with my appearance on *her* blog, she’ll again return. (hint, hint)Anyway, this blog is one of the over 25 blogs and web sites I’m visiting during my 3-week blog tour. I’m promoting the arrival of my first book on,, Parable sites, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, where available. As of right now, the links haven’t been activated, but stick with me on this tour, and you’ll be notified the moment they are live.My first book actually released in February to the Heartsong Presents book club, but they wait a few months before releasing the titles to the general public. In fact, book 2 is now available. It released on July 1st. So, if you love what you see on this tour, you can actually order *both* books, not just one. There are also a variety of blogs and sites that are including a book giveaway. Visit all of the stops on this tour and you can enter more than once. Increase your chances.Oh, and yes, these books are romances. It’s what I write. I don’t apologize for it, as our relationship with God is just like a true romance. The romances we experience on earth are supposed to be mirror reflections of the love God has for each one of us. It’s a pleasure to craft stories which demonstrate that truth. And today, I’m here to share a bit about my own personal love story.As I mentioned above, I married the love of my life last year and moved to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Shauna was hanging around my blog when the engagement announcement and wedding planning period was taking place. So, she asked me to drop by her blog and talk a little more about it. One of these days, I’ll write a book featuring it, but for now, here is a sneak preview.Once upon a time, a red-haired p[...]