Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ta-da: Finally walking!

Just hit sixteen months, and just walking for about a week and a half now! Yahooooo! Great job, Corinne! She also just got her first teeth at 14 months, and now she has a big THREE. Hey, hey. That's my big girl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Neighborhood Fall and Safety Fest

This was pretty cool--all for free and right around the corner. They had three inflatables (anyone else marvel that kids will wait eagerly in line to be "eaten" by an inflatable caterpillar and then climb through to be caterpillar poo?), an ambulance, a fire truck with safety demos, some cool games for prizes and candy, and free food.

In case you wonder at the number of children in the pictures...John had to work Saturday, so I was going to take the kids, all in their Halloween-that-we-don't-actually-celebrate-costumes. Then on our way out, our neighbor kids and their friends (they hang out at our house nearly daily) asked if they could come. So all eight of us walked up (yes, that's a 1:7 adult to child ratio. I think my prego brain must have failed on the math or something). But we did have a good time, and only about 20-30 minutes could have been considered utter chaos. Baden dressed as a fireman, so he was T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D to get in the fire truck.

The crew. As if the cloth diapers didn't seal it, yes, I may be nuts.

Contrary to the picture, Corinne loves to hang out with Jada, 8.

Gift idea for the person who has everything

I did this one year for my boss at work and it was a big hit!

The idea: A fresh evergreen wreath for their door at home or work for the holidays.

Here's one I found for $14.95, and if you order from Nov. 1-21 (they ship just after Thanksgiving), she only charges actual shipping costs (that's $10.64 for one of the zip codes I'm sending to, and $8.25 to the other). More than one wreath shipped to one place and you only pay shipping for the first one! How cool. Go to, click the "winter" tab, then the link at the top for fresh evergreen wreaths.

Here's the picture. Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The easiest muffins you'll ever make

1 box cake mix
1 can pumpkin (or 2 c. fresh)

Bake according to your box directions' time and temperature for cupcakes.


You won't taste the pumpkin, but they are super-moist and really yummy. I even let my kids eat 'em for breakfast.

Let me know if you want to know how to cook a pumpkin--makes great fresh pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup...(yeah, I saw Forrest Gump, too).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Will has been asking daily whether the baby is still in my tummy. Now that I have a few days till my second trimester, the answer isn't really a secret. Then the other day:

Will: Mom, is your foot going to hurt?

Mommy, obviously confused: What?

Will: Is your foot going to break?

Mommy: Why would my foot break?

Will: When the baby comes out!

Hmm. Well, he knows it needs to come out! I think I'm thankful that it isn't through my foot.

Life insights from my four-year-old

Scene: Mommy has been crying because she just got an e-mail that, as we had been anticipating, David just passed away. Her back is to Baden.

Mommy: Baden, I want to let you know that I just found out that David went to be with Jesus today.

Baden (like hearing a juicy bit of gossip): I hearrr-rd!


Scene: Mommy is praying after kids' bedtime, a little nervous about the prospect of sharing Jesus with next-door-neighbor.

Baden enters stage left with yet another creative bedtime request. Upon leaving, turns around and quotes from the Psalty CD he's been listening to...

Baden: Remember, Mom, it's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.

(Big hugs from Mom.)

Scene: Mommy calls Baden on her cell phone to make a better apology for yelling at Baden this morning.

Baden: Mommy, I forgive you. And I want to let you know that even when you do bad things, I still love you. And I want to let you know that even when you do bad things, God still loves you.

Mommy nearly cries, then laughs, and certainly feels even worse about yelling at Baden: I love you so much, Buddy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pics from the State Fair

It was great: $1 for parking, free admission, free rides, short lines, and just families with their kids. We actually got to see a zebu and a water buffalo at the petting zoo (as opposed to just hearing about them from Silly Songs with Larry). The expressions say it all, folks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Update on David

From my sister Jennifer on Friday:
My dear friends and family, thank you for the overwhelming support and prayers you have offered on behalf of David and Chris's family since Wednesday. David passed away today. The swelling in his brain was so significant that it occluded his brain stem this morning around 3am. Although he was brain dead, he remained on the respirator all day and will continue to until they retrieve his organs for donation this evening. The family have all arrived back at Paul and Sue's now. Please pray for us all, especially Paul and Sue, and Chris and Beth. There's been such support from everyone that we have been overwhelmed and at times have felt such peace and joy that comes only because there is so much love between us and surrounding us.

My mom arrives tomorrow, another act of love from my family that leaves me speechless. Services will be end of next week. I will let you know more in a few days as things unfold.
Love, Jenn
Jenn's husband Chris (the groom here), and David, to the left between him and John
Chris and Jenn

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Please pray for David

My sister, Jenn, is married to Chris, a young doctor in England. Chris' brother David is a tree surgeon there. Wednesday David fell from a tree and was caught by his harness--but his chainsaw sliced major arteries in his neck. The retired doctor who lived there performed CPR for 50 minutes before David began breathing again.

Surgery was able to repair the arteries and muscle, but the level of brain damage looks severe to the point of being life-threatening. David professed faith in Jesus Christ about a year and a half ago, for which we are thrilled. They will begin to take David off sedation about nine tomorrow (three in the morning our time), when we will begin to see if he can survive without life support.

My mom is headed there tomorrow to be with Jenn and Chris. Please pray for Jenn; Chris; Chris' parents, Paul and Sue; and all the others touched by such a horrific accident. Most of all, please pray for God's glory and abiding presence. This has been a very hard couple of days for all of arms feel so short, but I know God's aren't.


Welcome, Fall!: The Pumpkin Patch

A hay bale jungle gym! The boys loved it, and it reminded me of the ones Dad used to build for us in the barn!

A petting zoo--pygmy goats and sheep

The boys adored the hayrack ride; Will asked to do that during every other activity!

Tya, the girl whose preschool we went with!

A pig race. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Week in Paradise (a.k.a. Grandpa and Grandma's)

John and I took a week for intensive Peacemaker training and their annual conference in Orlando--an incredible time for me to enter into his passion and truly remarkable gifting. Wish I could tell you what an honor it was to be there with him, in an environment where he's so respected, but much more so, where John's heartbeat is.
The kiddos got to go to Grandpa Gary and Grandma Cindy's, and they had a BLAST. What a week! We were so blessed to not have to worry a bit about them and to have parents who truly enjoyed them, and somehow without spoiling them made every day nearly magical! Check it out.

Thanks to the VeggieTales Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, my boys are going through a (virtuous?) pirates phase. These were their latest swords from World Fest.

Corinne and boys watching the AR Game and Fish Commission's massive portable aquarium

Uncle Steven, Aunt Keri, and Corinne enjoy a smoothie outside of the tepee

face painting at Little Rock's World Fest

Aunt Keri and Will on the World Fest inflatables!

Playing in a tree felled by Gustav

New digs: A box from La-Z-Boy. Talk about the penthouse suite! I think Handyman Grandpa even made a shelf in there. They were eating hot dogs in their "house" when I called to check on them from our training in Orlando.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Anatomy according to Dr. Baden

"The food goes into your mouth, all the way down to your intestaments and then out your bottom."

So is that Old Intestament, then New Intestament, or small intestament, large intestament...?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Am I crazy?!: Onward with cloth diapers!

Okay, our family is taking a significantly greener (crazier?) step. I just bought a truckload, okay boxful, of cloth diapers and even reusable wipes that you just toss in with your diaper laundry load. It was an investment, but I think it should save us major moola, particularly with one on the way; right now it should pay for itself in about five/six months of diapering. Not too bad, and baby, these things have IMPROVED since the swishing-it-in-the-toilet and gross-wet-pail-that a-kid-can/does-fall-in (ask my sister Keri about this one--Sunday dress and all!) days.

It's also nice not throwing plastic and poop in a landfill, the latter of which, I found out, is illegal! No way. John wants to know, who has that job? "Excuse me, ma'am, poo police."

Here are the ones we got, after much research and a lot of help from friends (thanks, ladies!). Someone actually gifted us the money for the initial investment! These diapers fit Will (for nighttime; thank you, Lord, that he's potty trained) AND Corinne, a 20-lb.+ difference, so they really are one size fits all! They feel super-soft (even snuggly!); they're cute; and you take 'em off, dump any stuff out and put 'em in a dry pail until you wash at night, and that's about it. They're not too different from disposables! They come with a smaller extra insert for nighttime or for use with newborns, and so far they've held through the night with both kids. I will let you know if this little venture is successful. Trust me. I do not mess around with diapers. Well, any more than I need to.

If you want more info, I'll let you know, but I'll spare the details for the rest of you. :)

Fun new ways to join me in making a fool of yourself!

Anyone else utterly amazed at the court jester-like activities we're willing to engage in to educate/entertain our children?

Anyone else half expect a hidden camera crew to jump out when you're singing a completely original number about potty, or how cool it is to obey? Someone reflected to me this weekend how motherhood makes poop no longer a topic of taboo. Huh. So true... Funny how the whole pregnancy process itself gets us ready to bare all, suffer all, and do it in the name of love, baby.

So I will invite you into Janel's little world of creative craziness. Actually, only preschoolers and possibly their mothers feel comfortable there. You read all these articles about the wonder of music for kids' brains, you see how it works to help them remember things and laugh and actually do what you ask them to, and you start morphing your personality with, say, The Backyardigans. Suddenly song or rhyme bursts forth (some of you are like, is she for real? If you are asking, the answer is no. If you do it, too, the answer is you bet). You make up songs (okay, I make up songs) about your kids with their very own name and how much God/you love them, about where you're going grocery shopping, and manners. True story: My newest song could justifiably be titled, Don't You Ever Pick Your Nose (period, not question mark! That was the manners talk after the grocery shopping). My kids laugh at this song every time...sometimes the laughter is a little rhymes, and thankfully no artist can condemn me on this one for a horrifying cover; the tune is original, too. (If you want the lyrics, you have to post a comment.) Choreography is optional--no, not on the Nose one--but personally I can look like I'm having a seizure or being attacked by a bee, so I tend to do that behind closed doors.

So. Back to the point of this. I have developed new games that my kids (ta-da!) love to play and actually learn character. I love it. Even beats the "Nose" song.

1) The Thankfulness Game. Rules: Take turns finishing the sentence, "I'm thankful for..." That's it. Everybody wants a turn, and we play as long as they're interested. My two-year-old always has the same first answer ("GRANDMA!"), so at least we have someone to get the ball rolling. My kids actually ask to play this a lot--!

2) The Encouragement Game. Rules: Every person picks someone in the room and says something you really like about them, or something great they do/have done. The two-year-old, who drops everything for food: "Mommy, you're a good cooker!"

3) The Things We Like About God Game. Rules: Well, yeah. We take turns saying things we like about God.

4) Say It in Rhythm. Agreeably not really a game, but if I think of a verse that has to do with a current conflict, I try to teach it with a little ditty or setting it to natural rhythm. Yes, I am a musical person (the Nose thing probably gave it away), but there are a lot of verses put to song out there: Steve Green's Hide 'Em in Your Heart CD's, Max Lucado's Hermie Scripture memory CD's, the old G.T. and the Halo Express or even (has anybody heard of this?) Critter County (yeah...those last two you'll have to find on Ebay if you want 'em), songs your children learn if they go to Community Bible Study with you--and that last one sets their verses to plain old children's songs like "The Farmer in the Dell." C'mon. We can do that!

4) As for less spiritual games but great imagination games/time killers, try "Wouldn't it be silly if...?" or "If I were a (fruit/animal/cartoon character/different person/piece of furniture/whatever) for a day, I'd be..."

5) "I wonder if Heaven will have..." Great conversation starter.

6) Let's call them! I am really trying to teach the kiddos phone skills and how to ask people questions about themselves (as opposed to my children only being aware of themselves!) so if they mention a relative, if it's a good time, we try to call them and tell them we were thinking of them, etc. (Did I just let the cat out of the bag, o Loved Ones?)

Okay, I broke the ice--silliness/creative character ideas welcome.

Guess what?!


Meet our latest miracle! We're anticipating a face-to-face meeting sometime before April 28th (another C-section). That makes me about 10 1/2 weeks along! We are super-thrilled, and the boys are, too! God keeps blessing our socks off. :)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. From Psalm 139, The Message