Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Suzuki, or not to Suzuki...

I am a pianist. I'm not sure I ever had a choice. My grandmother is a pianist. My mother is a pianist. There, I am a pianist. :) I don't think I really had lessons until my late high school years. I have vivid memories of sitting upstairs in our home listening to my mother teach lessons in our living room. The students would leave, one by one, and I would rush to the closet desperately looking for the book that they just used. I would then spend the rest of my afternoon teaching myself how to play that particular song, all the while listening to my mother yell out instructions from the kitchen sink. It really was that simple. "No no no!!! That's a B flat!" Play... play... play... play... play. "No no no!!! You missed the B flat again!" I have never had a desire to play anything other than the piano, except for a very short period of junior high when I went nuts about the flute. :) This was only temporary because I quickly realized that: #1, you have to clean it after every use (where's the fun in that!?), and #2, the flute could never sound as loud and impressive as the piano. I am a guilty "pounder". The louder, the better. :) I love full, strong chords and lots and lots of volume. I will never be able to repay my mother for allowing me to love the piano, and my grandmother for forcing my mom to practice. :) When I am ecstatic, or lonely, or angry, or tired, I still head to that worn keyboard for solace. And words cannot express how overjoyed I am that my children love music as well. I rarely get to practice alone anymore. That's okay, because we are nurturing their interests. We are so okay with it that we are getting ready to break the bank to give them private, professional instruction. I was raised, taught, and am now teaching with this philosophy: become familiar with the keyboard, learn to read music, and you will in turn learn to play. This is my CONVICTION! :) But I am preparing to go completely against the flow and I'm not so sure how I feel about it. We are registering our oldest, who will turn 4 in two weeks, for Suzuki violin lessons. This is a huge commitment. It will mean one private lesson a week, one group lesson a week, paying the music school a whole lot of $$$, renting a teeny tiny violin, AND enduring the sound of a beginner violinist for a very long time. :) I have to be present for every single lesson, and help him practice every single day. Lest I remind you that I am also responsible for this household, making my husband happy, nursing my 16 month old daughter, laundry, cleaning, cooking, potty training my 2 1/2 year old, homeschooling preschool, and maintaining my sanity! Ha! :) But in all honesty, this is the path we have chosen. This is what's best for our family, for right now. So no complaining from me! :) It may all change next year. Actually I am hoping it will. By next year I should only have one child in diapers, and that child should not be breastfeeding anymore! :) But for now, for this moment in our lives, this is the path we are choosing. Suzuki is very hard for me to swallow. This method teaches playing before reading. It produces beautiful musicians. But it goes against what I've been taught: reading/understanding before playing. I think a lot of good things come out of Suzuki, and this is why we are choosing to enroll him in it. So, it's a little scary and intimidating, but also very exciting. Will I be uploading videos of my little virtuoso on Youtube? Probably not. Do I expect him to play violin for the rest of his life? Not at all. But the good that can come out of this immersion into the classical music world, along with heeding instruction from a teacher other than myself, is just too good to pass up. It might mean that I can no longer afford highlights in my hair, but I think seeing that little boy standing proud with his miniature stringed instrument is well worth it. Here's to a few months of ear plugs!!! :) :) :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Spent a few minutes this morning reading over an older post from A La Mode. "....we either give life, or we drain it". That was her paraphrase from a portion of scripture. I have been draining life out of my children and they are miserable because of it. Their daddy is away on a business trip this week and I am busy and exhausted because of it. All I really want to do is sit here like a bum and read up on inspiring decorating ideas! But my pipsqueaks are suffering from my lack of motivation. God had really convicted me about this, so today I've made more of an effort for quality time with them. We wrestled, we tickled, we read books, we sang songs, and we worked on our memory book*. Guess what!? It worked! They are in good moods and they are being LOVELY to each other and to me! :) Who woulda thunk it. :)

Silas' dream way of transportation. :) He's totally got the Harley look down. I'm sure he'll fit right in. Just praying his future wife shaves her arm pits and is not named "Honey". Don't you just love the socks and crocs? He got that trait from me. I am proud. :)
Do you have any idea how many times we have been asked if these two are twins!? Irish twins, maybe. "This little piggy went to the market. This little piggy stayed home." She's such a good little girl to tolerate it from her "big" brother.

Her first juice box, strapped in her car seat in SC.

*this past Christmas "he" started reading a short story book to the kids every night. Without us realizing it, they were memorizing it. We continue to read it, and they recite it back to us, so that by next Christmas they can "perform" it for part of our preschool program.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trouble letting go....

I'm a sentimental girl. Not sure when that all started to take place, but as far back as I remember, I don't let things go very quickly. You might say something that hurts or offends, and I keep replaying it in my mind for ages and ages. God is really working in my heart in the area of letting go. I love hoarding. No, I am in love with hoarding. I hoard old cards, hurtful words, worn jammies, pictures, my baby's clothing. I hoard experiences, regrets, and dreams unfulfilled. I don't get over things easily. We've run out of room in our home. Seriously. It got to the point where we literally could not take one step into the garage. We've been dreaming of moving. Trying to move. But we can't. We don't really have to move, but we would if we didn't get rid of a few things. This weekend I bit the bullet and helped Seth load the minivan top to bottom, front to back, with our precious belongings. Bit by bit, piece by piece, I felt like I was throwing away my childhood. I had kept posters from 1995 with Olympic equestrians on them that used to hang in my bedroom. Riding helmets that were cracked from one too many falls. The cozy little vibrator seat that all 3 of my babies have slept in. Throw pillows, blankets, place mats, candle holders. I had no intention of ever using this stuff again. But I wanted it there in case I felt the need to smell it, touch it, or look at it again. I didn't want the memory to die. I have 2 entire drawers full of cassette tapes. They used to be my parents. They were played every single day of my entire childhood. I can pop one in and instantly be brought back to Kool-Aid, homeschooling, mom baking cookies, dad cleaning out the basement. I don't know why, but I feel like if I get rid of them, I'm also getting rid of the memory. It's like my safe haven. I want it all there....just in case. But we've hit a road block. I'm not living in the present. These boxes of treasured memorabilia are taking over our home. It's preventing extra room for my kids, for my hubby's projects, for my own sanity. So we packed up the van, and he drove it all away. Forever. It's gone. (well, not all of it. I secretly kept the cassette tapes!) I am constantly searching for a way to go back. Is this God's plan? I don't think so. Don't I realize that our family would be so much less stressed and have so much more room for fun new things that fit what our family needs for RIGHT NOW if I just start living for today and the future of our kids!?!? Absolutely! But it's still hard. I guess it will always be a learning process for me. But I'm learning.....

Friday, March 19, 2010

What are you???

We are big fans of Mark Driscoll. We (okay, that really means "he") has downloaded TONS of sermons to listen to on the ipod. We were listening to one on the way to SC when I heard this illustration:
"Some wives are like crowns. Some are like cancer." It really got me thinking. How are you affecting your husband?

both pictures from Ballard Designs

We counted our blessings!

Well we're at home and we survived our trip! Being down there is a piece of cake. I told Seth I wasn't ready to come home because I have soooo many more freedoms in South Carolina. Mutiple sets of extra hands....lots of outside space to run and ride bikes....never had to cook dinner.....someone is always at the house during naptime so I can go run errands. Ahhh, it was glorious. There were a few bumps in the road driving back home, but the kids eventually went to sleep, praise the Lord! We got in at 2:00 am and the entire family was in bed by 2:17 am. :) Also thankful we got a few hours of sleep in before the kidlets were up and ready to play a few minutes after 7. My mom knew I was stressed coming home. There was an accident on the highway that left us sitting still for over an hour. Then we turned to the right and noticed a forest fire. The smoke stretched for miles and miles. Lovely. You know it's bad when other travelers start getting out of their cars to sit on the side of the road. I was trying my dead level best to keep 3 squirmy kids happy and content in the minivan, but an hour is a long time! I was losing patience fast, and that's when I got this text from my mom: "Ok.....so......you are not lost....the car is still running.....you are with people you love....no snow or ice in the forecast.....you WILL be home and by tomorrow night you will have forgotten about this trip." I love her! She's so good at looking at the bright side and being positive. Well, unless someone is driving too slowly in front of her or she has to work with incompetent secretaries at lawyer's offices. :) Love you mom! And so glad she didn't come out with a "well honey, that happened to us when you girls were little and we had no air conditioning or toys to play with and we sat still for 4 hours, and......" I hate it when people do that. Ugh. Anyway! We packed 5 suitcases, 2 sleeping bags, an entire box of food, one dvd player, 3 computers, and 21 pairs of shoes. My husband totally rocks in the "van packing" department. And I only had to crawl to the back of the van 57 times to retrieve a dropped blanket, or distribute juice or give a stern "warning" to whomever cried one more time. And get this! My loving hubby had secretly packed an empty apple juice jug. Any guesses why??? He knew that the one and only potty trained child would need numerous potty breaks and he didn't want to have to take the time to stop! Sheesh! Guess who got to hold the jug and the little boy still so he could do his business!?!?!?! You guessed it! :( In other news, we brought home a little more than what we came with. I got some cute new workout clothes for all of this working out that I'll supposedly be doing, as well as some really great new wall-hangings for our home. Hobby Lobby is just about the best thing the south has to offer, and I took total advantage of their 50% off sale. Not sure where I'll put the stuff yet, but I can figure that out later. We had a great trip, and it was so nice to be with his family again. I could just cry even thinking about how much lovin' my kids got while we were down there. They soaked up every minute and literally cried on and off the entire way home to go back to "papa's house". All of you moms out there know the feeling when someone loves your child unconditionally. Mine were sleep deprived, dirt covered, booger dripping, sticky handed and they still were met with open arms. Wishing they lived north of the mason dixon line. :)
Phil. 4:8 "Whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely... think on these things"
"Faith makes things possible... not easy."

Found these adorable fabrics in a clearance bin! I've been learning to sew dresses for my little girl, so I can't wait to put these to good use!
This thing was only $15!!! Love it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do you zumba?

I had no idea I was capable of being a saucy Latin dancer. This week has changed all of that. My new favorite South Carolinian friend, Erin, was kind enough to invite me on a special girl's night out at her gym. Husband was busy helping the family wrap up last minute details on his father's surprise 60th birthday gift, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and my children were dirty and grumpy, but I left them in the loving arms of "gama" and "aunt mel" to drive to a strange gym in a strange city to meet a girl I had only met once before to do something I was a nervous wreck to try. :) Well let me tell you, I always thought I had some "moves", but I had never felt as white as I did that night. The trainer was exceptionally, um, "talented" in the butt-moving department. It was the only night of my whole life that I've wished I had more junk in the trunk. :) I really doubted my ability to survive an entire hour, and was even more surprised that I could actually walk out to the car afterwards. But, ladies, I am hooked! I found a gym in our area that offers the class and I'm signing up tomorrow. If you have a gym membership somewhere, I strongly urge you to see if they have zumba available. Wear something stretchy and comfortable, but leave your daisy dukes at home. The girl behind you probably won't appreciate the peep show you'd offer with some of these moves. Check it out...I dare you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And we're off!

As I type we are all packed in the mini van for a few days vacation in South Carolina. We've been in the car for 31 minutes and Silas has already asked if we're there yet. The two younger ones are sleeping, thank You Lord! GPS is estimating our arrival at 10:48pm, but my "mommy radar" is telling me it will be closer to 1am. We will have numerous potty, meal, and gas breaks along the way, but we're just praying that the kiddos SLEEP and don't throw up. :) We've had our share of horror stories. Let me just tell you how much I adore being at home. :) And let me also tell you how hard it is for me to break away from routine, our beds, and our food. But these boys are obsessed with their "papa", and since he is celebrating 60 years of life on Wednesday, I am MORE than willing to pack up our little life and make the trek. I am blogging while Seth is driving. Isn't technology wonderful!? I've also got enough cords around me that I'm pretty sure I'll strangle to death before I get injured in a car crash. You know how a lot of people have a "life verse". I've got one of those too, but I'm not going to talk about that today. Today I have a "vacation hymn". I will be reciting this over and over to myself for the next 12 hours of being on the road. And yet again when we arrive at our destination at 1 in the morning when all 3 kids are wide awake and excited about being at grandma and papa's house. And the next day when Paisley can't get used to sleeping in a strange pack 'n play and screams during her entire nap. Pretty sure I'll have these lyrics down pat by the time we're on our way home. Big grins from the mommy in the front seat! :) :) :)

Count Your Blessings
  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
      [*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making up for lost time....

The Husband is waiting on me. We're supposed to be cuddled in bed watching a movie. You can imagine his sheer delight when I said that I needed to blog real quick. :) So I'll make this short and sweet and filled with fun things to look at, because my last post was seriously lacking in the picture department. So, for your viewing pleasure....

How would you decorate if you were fearless? What about if money wasn't an object? Are you hiding behind a "style"? Recently my sister (who is a style guru) asked me what my "look" was for spring. Huh? Um, t-shirts and sweatpants! I really don't care to be in anything else if my entire day consists of wiping up poop, counters, toilets, and crumbs. But it got me thinking. If I were to move to a new town....state....country, and money wasn't an issue, what impression would I want to give people about myself? Who do I really want to be? And why in the world am I so afraid to be that person now? Now switch gears to houses. Do you have to decorate in a cookie-cutter Pottery Barn meets Target sale rack design? Are you doing it just because you think that's what a real house should look like, or because that's the safe route? These pictures are things that I love, but not quite brave enough for. :)

Okay, these planters are not risky. But I'd liked them anyway. :)
Ballard Designs
canary yellow couch from Anthropologie
Flowery chair, also by Anthropologie

Shouldn't every woman have the pleasure of powdering her nose at one of these? This pedestal sink is from Horchow

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Today is the day!

We hosted our first give-away on Monday! All you had to do was leave me a comment about what your dream headboard would be and you would be entered to win a FREE 5 x 7 canvas, hand-painted with the monogram of your choice! This morning at 8:00am we had a drawing, and the winner is.............
Jennifer @ A Fine Romance!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Jen! I'll be in touch with you to let you know the details.

I am busy doing research today on thriftiness! I am one of the scheduled speakers for our church's Women's Conference in April, and we are speaking on the topic of doing MORE with less $$$$$. I am so excited! And I've found so many interesting ideas....I even found entire videos on YouTube yesterday about how to have a 3 month supply of food stored in your basement in case of "emergency". That kind of freaked me out, to be honest. But I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned there somewhere. :) I have difficulty knowing where to draw the line in this area. My natural tendency is to "stock pile" so that I can rely on my own strength when something runs out, or the snow comes, or the entire economy of this country COLLAPSES. It's hard for me to fully rely on God when it comes to things like this. With that said, I am a firm believer that God gives us a brain and He expects us to use it! We shouldn't be stupid, people! More to come on this later. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this Food Storage Room. It's hump day, ladies! Let us rejoice!!! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010


Alright, I've never been a yard-sale person. Hoping to change that this year (please take me with you, Jen!) I just had too much pride to pull up to someone else's house, sort through someone else's junk, and hand over $.75 for something I didn't really need. But I do believe I threw all caution to the wind this morning when I scored an actual piece of furniture, for free, sitting out for the trash in someone's driveway!!! Just wait until you see these pictures, ladies! Thankfully my husband was able to load it into his vehicle on his lunch break. Here's a visual for you: my small-ish mini van packed with a tote bag, 2 strollers, and 3 car seats...... me shoving this "treasure" in the side door, all the while wearing heals. Let's just say I was debating about driving home with half of it hanging out the door. Thanks, babe, for rescuing it (and me)!!!! Lots of pictures to come! Also, check back later for "need-a-new-chandelier-but-have-no-money" project that resulted in "get-2-chandeliers-for-$10-and-just-use-spray-paint" tutorial. :) A picture to leave you with....
I am thoroughly obsessed with tufted headboards right now. This one is from Ballard Designs (would you expect anything else from me!?) and ranges from $359 - $659. Not exactly my price range. But she's gorgeous anyhow. And if you are still reading, here's your chance to win a special something on our very first giveaway. Leave a comment about what your dream headboard would be, and you will be entered to win a FREE 5 x 7 monogrammed canvas with the letter of your choice. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning at 8am! Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Have I mentioned....

that my husband is an artist? Who would've guessed, huh? Certainly not me. He was soooooo "not my type". :) We joke that it was a good thing we didn't know each other in high school because we never would have been friends. God knows what He's doing! We never met until right before his junior year in college. We dated for 8 months, then were engaged for 8 months, then were married for 8 months, then were "expecting" for 8 months, then got used to baby #1 for 8 months, then were expecting baby #2 for 8 months, then learned to handle 2 for 6 months before we found out #3 was on her way! Whew! (this would be a great time to mention that #3 is now 15 months old!) :) Anyway, I married an artist. This means I have put up with oil paint on dress shirts, pants, linoleum, and carpet. This also means that I have the luxury of saying "hey babe, I really like this painting, but I'm not a huge fan of the $400 price tag. you think you can get something done tonight???" He has done things for gifts, commission work, and me. I know that I have only scratched the surface of my unappreciative attitude. I used to think that an "art major" was a waste of time. I mean, come on, haven't you ever heard the phrase "starving artist"????? And wouldn't that be the same as majoring in, say, scrap-booking??? My most sincere apologies to all those devoted scrap-bookers out there. :) But I'm coming around, and am now completely okay when he says he just needs to go to the garage to paint. He always comes back in calm, relaxed, and in a really good mood. That's where he's been tonight. Who knows, maybe he'll be in the mood for a foot rub after all this "art time". Me being the recipient, of course. :)

He did this 3-dimensional painting for me a few years ago. This is exactly what our first piano looked like.
my oldest son's art work. when asked why he did it, he said he wanted to be "just like mommy". hm, think this boy needs a day in the woods with his father.
He did this entire painting, start to finish, tonight in our garage. It took him 1 hour.
And this one was done a few days ago, which he made.....
out of this. this is also a 3-dimensional painting.
I am pretty proud. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I pick this one!!!

So "the man" and I have been car shopping. So fun! And so not. :( We find all of these "wonderful. amazing. just the right size. this is the one!" vehicles on the internet, then take a nice (hour away) drive to the dealership only to be disappointed. This is the "not fun" part. Add 3 kids ages 1, 2, and 3 and it becomes almost torturous. We have not made a decision yet. We thought we had, and were even willing to drive to Maryland (3 hours away!) for "my dream car" (actually no, it was just my dream color. I care more about the color than anything else!) when we test drove one that was local and HATED it. It was all loud, and bumpy, and truck-ish. Not to mention the fact that it only got 9 miles a gallon. I don't really care about that, because I would be just as content sitting at home peering through the window at my super cute suv than driving it all over God's creation, but he thought otherwise (my man, that is. not God ) So here starts the search again. I want it big, but jeez louise, we test drove one that I literally could not see over the dash board. HELLO!? Where is the road!?! I'd seriously need one of those kid booster seats or something. Sooooo not the look that I'm going for. :) One thing is certain, though, I care ALOT about the interior. That's probably a sign for how I care more about what's on the inside of people, than how they look on the outside. Okay, probably not. If you walked past me in Target with a baggy t-shirt and greasy hair I would totally hold my breath and walk the other way. Just keepin' it real, folks. :) ANYWAY, I am now in love.....with.....wood grain! Oh my lands, it is just the most beautiful thing in a vehicle. Seth is all worried about what kind of wheels it has. I'm thinking, "wheels???? um, don't they all have those???" Meanwhile I am quietly hyperventilating at the freakin' wood grain. Here's a drool worthy picture.....
There is just so much depth and personality with an interior like this. No? And no, we are not looking at a Buick (at least not today. it changes by the hour!). But this just sets my heart a flutterin'. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The big reveal!

So the story goes like this: "Once upon a time there was a really nice girl named Megan. Megan had custom made, red striped curtains for a few years. They hid most of the windows nicely, but resulted in a dark house. The red curtains were adored, but had to go when Megan purchased blue dishes. Megan swore up one side and down the other that she would never have anything blue in her house but eventually caved when HomeGoods had a sale and she fell in love. So the blue dishes moved in. The red curtains were evicted. Megan then inherited her mother's blue toile valences. Megan loved the blue. She also adores toile. But valences are not what Megan had in mind. She was over-joyed to find 100% wool on a sale rack. After all was said and done, she spent $4.70 a yard for 100% wool drapery fabric. She thought her turmoil was over, but alas, there was still a need for curtain rods. She searched and searched, but to no avail. They were just too expensive. And then The Nester came to the rescue! Megan read and read about Mis-treatments, followed all of the advice, and jumped on board. Someday, when the moment is right, these will be hung on beautiful curtain rods from Ballard Designs (okay, maybe just from Lowes). But for now, all is well in this home again.

Step #1: jump in your cute little suv (don't worry. old minivans work too), drive to Lowes, head to the nail accessory department (don't you love how I think Lowes has nail accessories???), and pick some of these "furniture nails" up!
Step #2: Grab a hammer. I used this kind with the rubbery ends. I was nailing my curtains up at midnight (literally) and was trying to keep the hammer-ing as quiet as possible. :) :) :)
Step #3: You've gotta follow The Nester for the how-to's, but here is the finished result!!!!!!!!!!
No, I did not hem them. I probably will hem the bottom, but only because they "puddle" and I don't want them fraying on the carpet. I just folded, tucked, and nailed. It really was that easy! Sorry for making you bend your neck at an uncomfortable angle to view this. Couldn't figure out how to flip it. :)
Now people, please take a moment to closely observe the above picture. Did I nail my fabric at the window? NO! This was on purpose. The higher you hang your fabric, the bigger your windows will look. Did you know this? How could you NOT know this!?!?!? The hubby has a nice, neat (who am I kidding!?) pile of scrap wood in our garage. He claims to have a piece of wood that measures 8' long and is 12" high. I am begging and pleading (and throwing in a few "favors") for him to cut that wood into two separate pieces. I want to either paint or stain it, and hang one above the double window and one above the single. I just hate how you can see the top of those ugly, hideous, white plastic mini-blinds. More pictures will be posted when that job is completed. Sorry to keep you anxiously waiting. Write yourself a cute little sticky note for 2012. :) I just can't even tell you how much I am in love with my curtains. It doesn't hide any sunlight, and yet has the same look of heavy, puddled drapes. Ahhhhh, life is good. Well, except for the fact that I mistakenly left the chocolate stash run out during naptime! :( How could I!?!?!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Would you eat a white erase board?

Hate to tell you this, but you already have. Do you drink milk? Did you butter your bread today? Okay okay, all of those "I'll butter your bread, baby" comments are not necessary. Have you ever had a Ring Pop? (surprise surprise, ring pops have milk in them!) Here is a quote from Brittany, again. She is a wealth of knowledge, that girl! :) At little bit about Casein {I didn't know this before}... "casein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate -- that's the milk powder protein that you don't want in your body. When you take milk and you get rid of the fat and you get rid of the water and you're just left with protein, and basically they're blood proteins, serumalbumin, milk protein, 90% of it is casein. Now, casein, when it's extracted from milk, it's actually a glue used to put a label on a bottle of beer. It's the glue used to hold together the wood in your furniture. When you eat this casein - this glue from milk - your body is seeing this foreign protein and attacks it by producing histamines which end up as mucus. And that's why it is mucus-forming. Interesting information, eh? And then I found this from Plastiquarian.com:


Casein, the protein in milk was used by the Ancient Egyptians as a fixative for pigments in wall paintings. It has also been used as a constituent in various glues but it appears not to have been used as the basis of a solid plastics material until the end of the 19th century. Krisch, head of a large firm of printers in Hanover experimented with casein to make a washable white board for replacing the slates used in school - paper was too expensive at that time for use by children to practise writing. He collaborated with Adolf Spitteler, a chemist in Bavaria and on July 15th 1899, a patent for "plastic compositions" was taken out in Germany.

We ALL need to be cutting out dairy. I'm just as addicted to it as all of you are (okay, just the 4 people who actually read this) :)

Decisions, decisions....

We are facing a lot of decisions right now. Some are fun, like whether or not we should purchase a new vehicle! Some have already been decided upon, like the fact that we are not moving for at least another two years (but of course don't hold me to that. we change our minds. alot) Others are stressful, like when we should leave for vacation, how long we should be away, how many days off to take from work, how much work can be done while we're away, weather, packing, which vehicle to take for the trip, etc. etc. etc. Ugh. Really not into that decision right now. And yet others are very weighty. We have been praying about some serious stuff lately. Things that could change our lives, and our family, forever. (no, we are not putting the children on Craigslist) The internet is great for this stuff. We can do TONS of secret, anonymous research! I have been really struggling to give up my desires in this area. And yet the minute I was able to learn more, and start to grasp certain concepts, it seems as though the Lord has completely shut that door. After staying up late, yet again, we both looked at each other and said "well. okay then. I guess the door is shut". I almost cried. It took me SO long to be ready and willing for God to lead us down this path, only to get a very obvious "no". I had even started romanticizing and getting my hopes up. Now those hopes are gone. At least for a long time. Maybe God accomplished His goal, though. I mean, if you think about it, He got me right where I needed to be. I was finally surrendered to Him in this area. It's funny, because sometimes the things you are most afraid that God might require of you to do, or be, or say, He may just need to get you to the point of surrender. Whether or not you are familiar with Clay Crosse, I'm hoping these lyrics will either challenge or encourage you.

I Surrender All
I have wrestled in the darkness of this lonely pilgrim land
Raising strong and mighty fortresses that I alone command
But these castles I've constructed by the strength of my own hand
Are just temporary kingdoms on foundations made of sand
In the middle of the battle I believe I've finally found
I'll never know the thrill of victory 'til I'm willing to lay down
All my weapons of defense and earthly strategies of war
So I'm laying down my arms and running helplessly to Yours
I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams
Though the price to follow costs me everything
I surrender all my human soul desires
If sacrifice requires
That all my kingdoms fall
I surrender all
If the source of my ambition is the treasure I obtain
If I measure my successes on a scale of earthly gain
If the focus of my vision is the status I attain
My accomplishments are worthless and my efforts are in vain
So I lay aside these trophies to pursue a higher crown
And should You choose somehow to use the life I willingly lay
I surrender all the triumph for it's only by Your grace
I relinquish all the glory, I surrender all the praise
Everything I am, all I've done, and all I've known
Now belongs to You, the life I live is not my own
Just as Abraham laid Isaac on the sacrificial fire
If all I have is all that You desire
I surrender all