Tuesday, August 26, 2008


recipe handed down from my mother-in-law, Nancy Swanson

(This makes 2 9x13 pans, so you can half the recipe for less people.)

6 eggs, beaten
5 cups milk
3 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 sticks butter

Melt butter and add half to batter.  Put remaining batter in 2 9x13 pans.  Mix all batter ingredients together.  Pour into pans and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or till light brown (it will bubble up).

We usually eat this with brown sugar, strawberries, and sometimes sour cream.  You can also slice apples and lay them on top of the batter before baking, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

cradle cap

First a little background.. Judah's hair grows in a natural mohawk... long in the middle on top, short everywhere else.  Quite the little rock star without even trying.  

A little more background... Mercy's always pointing out to us his "eye burgers" and picking at them.  She also likes to pull apart his toes and pick at the fuzz.

So this morning, I was picking at his cradle cap and Mercy came over and said, "Mom, Judah have burgers on him mohawk!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

birthday boy

Here's our nine year old!  Zeke had a hard week missing family and friends from the Bay Area, but we did our best to make his birthday special and I think he had a good one.  This picture was taken a few days before his birthday at a local park.   We're still scoping out parks in the area, but so far this one's our favorite.  Notice the fun water play stuff in the background.  

On his birthday, he woke up to a huge birthday greeting across our otherwise barren walls, and had panakkuken for breakfast.  A little later we went to the mall so he could pick out a new skateboard deck.  When Joe went to work, I took the kids bowling.  We headed back to our house after bowling so Mercy could get a nap.  Zeke and Brooklyn had fun playing outside and he got some practice in on his new board.  He also got a special birthday Skype session with cousins.  Later, we went to Space Aliens, a restaurant with a video arcade.  Joe and his co-workers met us there after the shop closed.  Yesterday some family from Northern Minnesota came to celebrate with us.  We enjoyed a barbeque in the nice weather and had fun spending time with them.  All in all, I think we celebrated this nine year old pretty well and he knew he was (is) loved.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

woe is me

That's how this blog must sound some days.  Really I don't mean to be negative.  I don't really feel negative.. but this whole move has its ups and downs, and this morning was going down hill.

Yesterday our curriculum was supposed to arrive, but when it didn't and I checked the tracking, I realized that the address was printed wrong somewhere.  So I called UPS this morning and found out where I could go pick it up.  I got the directions and headed out.  The address was on a highway that I'm familiar with, so I thought it would be easy enough to find.  Wrong!  I drove and drove, thinking a UPS distribution center would be pretty easy to spot.  I ended up in a town about 15 minutes past where I was supposed to be, so I turned around.  I headed back, this time being super careful to notice every building on either side of the road.  Peering through some trees as I passed them, I spotted a UPS truck.  I continued on until I could make a u-turn, and then went back.  Sure enough, this UPS place was hidden in the trees, with no sign or anything.  I didn't think that was very nice of them to hide from weary travelers like me.

On the way home, I planned to stop at the grocery store.  I haven't yet picked a grocery store that I like best (there is no Safeway here).  So I saw a Cub Foods along the way and thought I'd go there.  I took the exit from the highway, but then made a wrong turn and ended up back on the highway, going the other way.  Ugg!  So I took an exit and tried again.  This time I made it to the store and proceeded in with my list.  It really takes forever to find things in a new store.  If only it were laid out exactly like my beloved Safeway.  I was back and forth throughout the store several times and had to ask employees at least twice to help me locate certain items.   I honestly don't know how long I was in there.  By the time I was ready to drive home, I felt I really deserved the enormous chocolate cupcake that called out to me as I walked through the bakery.  I wish I had a picture for you.  It really was a lovely cupcake.  But my camera wasn't in the car, and there was no way that thing was going to make it all the way back to the house in one piece.  I thought there might be half of it left, because it really was huge.  But by the time I pulled into the driveway, there was nothing but a few crumbs.  Oh, it was so good.  It was a creme filled chocolate cupcake, like the kind from Hostess that you used to get in your lunch box only on very special days, only homemade looking and much bigger.  It was very moist, and surprisingly light and fluffy.  I kind of wish I hadn't tried it.  Because now I know where they are and I may just go back for another sometime.


Yesterday morning, he did it.  He's been looking like he's been close to rolling over for quite a while now.  I have to admit, with moving and everything, I wasn't in a big hurry.  I liked that if I laid him down somewhere and walked away, he'd still be there when I got back.  This boy has such a sweet, mellow personality.. he just isn't in a hurry to do much.  And that's just fine with me.  While I was getting breakfast going for the older kids yesterday, I put Judah on the floor (carpet) nearby.  He was just laying there quietly, and after about five minutes I looked over and noticed he was on his tummy!  No one had gone over to him and rolled him over (they like to do this).  He was just chillin' on his tummy, propped up by his elbows, chewing on his hands.  He's so quiet about everything.  We couldn't make a big deal about it when it happened because we didn't know!  Of course the kids all rushed over to him and congratulated him once we noticed.  Maybe I can't call him a roller yet, because he's only done it once (that I know of... maybe he's secretly rolling all over the place and is so good, he gets back to where he started by the time I'm looking... or maybe not).  He'll be six months old tomorrow (Zeke's birthday.. his half birthday).  Some have been rolling for months by this age, some crawling... not Judah.  He just likes to hang out and watch everybody.  And that's just fine with me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

looking forward

I'm looking forward to school starting in a couple of weeks.  I thought about starting a new blog at specifically for school related posts, but I'm still kind of a rookie at this whole blog world so I thought I should keep it simple and just do it all in one place.  Besides, our homeschool life is really intertwined with our regular daily life since school and home occur together for us.

After posting the other day about needing to get our school room unpacked and organized, I got to work.  I finally ordered the curriculum we'll be using this year from My Father's World.  A friend told me about it a few years ago, but I was already using Heart of Wisdom at the time.  I loved Heart of Wisdom for me.. it was great for Bible study and I learned a lot, but since it is designed to be used with older grades, I found I was having to adapt a lot of the lessons and come up with my own hands-on projects to keep my kids' interest.  So for now, I've decided to switch gears and go with something that already has a lot of fun activities planned out, as well as good, sound teaching.  We'll be doing the unit on Exploring Countries and Cultures, which I'm super excited about, because I have a heart for missions and love geography.  I think we'll have a lot of fun with it and when you're passionate about something, it makes it that much easier to teach.

Speaking of passion and teaching, we've set up an art room in the house too, and Joe is sharing his love of art with the kids.  Judah and I have been sick for the past couple of days, so we stayed home while Joe took the other three kids to church and then to an art store in Minneapolis to get some supplies.  They've all three started painting canvases.  I'll post pictures soon.  We've decided not to get cable here because we all tended to watch too much tv before and we'd rather spend our time more purposefully.  I really wish we had at least a few basic channels right now so we could watch the olympics, but overall I'm thankful we opted not to get it.  So far we're all reading more and the kids are drawing and playing outside a lot.  Once we finish getting everything set up, we'll be doing more art projects and crafts, and I'm really wanting to sew some things.  Stay tuned for updates and pictures of our creations!  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

settling in

I don't think it's a coincidence that one of the boxes I opened our second day here contained the book After the Boxes are Unpacked.  This is a book I read about 10 years ago after our first move here (and hadn't really seen much since).  I attended a Hearts at Home conference and went to a breakout session called "Surviving Relocation".  The title caught my attention, and as someone who moved every couple of years throughout childhood (my dad was in the Navy) and also moved several times since getting married (my husband says he was on a college tour), I thought I'd see what this session was all about.  I cried through the whole thing.  It validated feelings I wasn't even acknowledging that I had.  The speaker referenced the book I unpacked last week and talked about how when you move you go through a grieving process.  There are different steps of grieving that movers experience, and it's perfectly normal and ok for me to feel things like denial, anger, depression and sadness.  Eventually I'm supposed to get to acceptance, but I think I'll allow myself to go through the steps in order and not deny the fact that this is a grieving process. 

So I started reading the book again.  And I started crying again.  But I'm doing ok.  I've actually made a couple of friends, thanks to my scouring the internet before we moved, looking for resources for when we'd get here.  Tomorrow we're going to a friend's house who I met through a local homeschool group.  She's going to walk me through the steps of what I'll need to do for the legalities of homeschooling in Minnesota.  Yesterday we walked to another friend's house.  It turns out she moved to this neighborhood (from 15 minutes away) just 10 days before we did.  And she goes to the church we're trying, and was in the nursery on Sunday.  She even offered to watch Mercy last night while I took the other kids to a Fall Rally for the homeschool group.  I did leave Mercy with her, but we never made it to the Fall Rally.  I found the address to the place online and printed directions from mapquest, but I didn't follow them correctly.  I can blame it on the torrential downpour that occurred at the exact moment I was supposed to switch highways, or the fact that I'm the new girl.  It would have been nice to go, but since we've never been, we don't really know what we missed.  There will be other opportunities to meet people.  

We are getting settled.  At least upstairs is mostly kind of done.  I don't have anything on the walls yet, which I should.  Because pictures make it seem more like home.  I kind of lost motivation to get everything unpacked.  I was doing so well... the kitchen was done early on, and I made sure everyone had bedding the first night.  Brooklyn and Zeke were required to unpack their own rooms.  Judah's is done.  Mercy's is waiting for beds that were in Joe's grandma's house, so she's sleeping with Brooklyn for now.  And the school room.  I thought I'd be finished with that by now.  I guess because it's out of sight it's out of mind too.  I really need to get it done so I can assess what's needed to begin in a few weeks.  I really like to be organized.  I did a little today.  Maybe tomorrow I can call that room done too.  And I should really get some things on the walls.  I need to see faces of family and friends (besides just on facebook!).

 God is good.  He knows me and He knows my grieving and my honest attempt to settle in here.  And He's holding me through it all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

we made it

Well I'm sitting in my new living room in a little town in Minnesota.  Yesterday my mood matched the drizzly, gray skies.  It was Joe's first day at work here and I was left at home waiting for the guy to come connect our internet... with four kids, lots of boxes, and the reality that this is our life now.  It all started yesterday morning when I went to join Curves.  I had to fill out paperwork and when I got to the part where I had to fill in my nearest relative I almost started crying.  I just skipped it and moved on.

Things have actually been going pretty well.  Really well even.  We have been so blessed by God's goodness and the body of Christ coming through when we really have needed it.  The move didn't go as planned.  Over three months ago Joe hired movers to move our household stuff and car haulers to haul his classic cars.  Both fell through four days after we left California.  I don't need to go into the details of the long story, but basically Joe ended up flying back after we'd driven half way, gathered some friends to help load a Uhaul, and moved our stuff himself.  His sister Sarah also helped by driving his truck out for us.  She spent her birthday driving across highway 80, through Utah, Wyoming and into Nebraska.  We love her.  While on the road, Joe called the church I'd scoped out online to see if they might have anyone available to help us unload when we got here.  Our sister in law in Colorado also made some phone calls, because she grew up not far from here and has connections still.  Shortly after we pulled in, we were met by some Masters Commission students from the church, Joe's cousin and her fiance, and some friend's of Melita's.. who even brought dinner for everyone.  We were really blown away.  God takes care of us even out here in the boonies in Minnesota!  

Two days later, we got to spend the day with the Peterson clan.  They are our very dear friends (family) from our church  in Vallejo.  Pastor Scott and Betsy both grew up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and their parents are still there, so the whole family (19 of them) came to visit and set aside a day to spend with us.  It was great to see them and get away from the boxes for a day.  On Saturday there was a kids carnival at the church, so we went and the kids had a good time.  We met the pastors and Joe was invited to the senior pastor's house that night for a pay per view UFC fight.  He loved that.  We also had some visitors come by to meet us at the house... I had joined a homeschool group online and had been corresponding with a mom a little since joining.  She and another mom brought their kids over to meet us and she's offered to help fill out the paperwork I need to file for homeschooling here.  On Saturday at the kids carnival, her daughter brought us some yummy homemade banana/chocolate chip bread.  We were warmly welcomed at church on Sunday too, and the kids enjoyed kids church.  After church, we headed down to Minneapolis to hang out and swim with the Petersons at their hotel.  We enjoyed our time together again and came to our final goodbye.  Then we headed home and went to bed.  

I guess after all that busy-ness, it's understandable why yesterday was a hard day.  Joe went to work and I was in my new reality.   I'm confident though, that God will be by my side through this huge adjustment and He'll be my strength.  I'll probably blog more as I go through this process.  For now, I must tend to my sweet Judah, who just woke up from his nap.