September 29, 2010


I've been thinking about my blessings lately.

An unexpected gift.
A big hug from Lara.
An "I love you" from Brookelynn before heading to school.
Breakfast with two special friends.
Leftovers for lunch.
Supper with my hubby and a great couple.
Starbucks after.
All those on one day!

A husband who works hard.
All so I can be home with the kids.
Wonderful family.
On both sides.

Enough money to live on.
Not tons.
But enough.

A shopping day.
Just me and my momma.
My daddy who took the day off.
To watch two energetic boys.

A Savior who loved me first.
And still loves me.
In spite of me not loving Him enough.
Amazing love!

September 23, 2010

It's Time for a Change

Welcome back, fall.
We've been waiting for you.It's a beautiful day.

Now, if I can just convince Ryan
to get my fall decorations down from the attic.

In the meantime, some baking is in order.
I'm thinking something pumpkin-y.

September 22, 2010

A Little Rant

If you like wally-world, just stop reading now.
I would hate to make you mad.
If you aren't a fan, none of this is new to you.
In that case, I really don't need to continue.

Some of you have already quit reading.
And the rest of you are already informed.
But that's not gonna stop me.

Do I spend money at wally-world?
Do I go there more than I would like?
Do I complain everytime I go there?
Pretty much.

There is no doubt that some things are cheaper there.
Personal hygiene, over the counter meds, other stuff.
But there are also plenty of things that are NOT cheaper.
In an effort to save a little money,
I have been doing some comparisons.
Between my not-so-favorite store and Dillons/Kroger stores.

Most of these have to do with baking.
Baking happens a lot at my house.
(I'm not going to argue over the canned goods, chips, cereal.
Dillons is not always cheaper with these,
but if you watch their sales
you can usually get them for the same price,
if not cheaper.)

Here's what I've found:

Sugar is almost 19 cents/lb. less.
At Dillons.

Brown sugar and powdered sugar are 23 cents a bag less.
At Dillons.

A bag of chocolate chips are at least 70 cents less.
At Dillons.
(Dillons has a store brand, wally-world does not.)

Vanilla is 88 cents/oz. less.
At Dillons.

These are all based upon regular prices.
And often all of these are on sale at Dillons.

I could list others...
But that would get old.
As if it already hasn't.

Also, produce may sometimes be less at w-w.
But Dillons' is sooooo much better.

Milk is the same price both places.
(Braums actually has the best price on milk.
If you don't have a Braums you are missing out.)

Oh, two other things I like about Dillons:
1) I rarely have to wait in line at the check-out.
That's enough said there.
2) They take your groceries out to your car.
Help you load your car.
Visit with you.

I've said my piece.
Shop where you want.
I promise I'll like you regardless.
I just may like you a little more if you shop at Dillons.

September 21, 2010

If You're Prone to Jealousy-Don't Read

You know those firefighter calendars?
Where they go around and find the 12 "hottest" firefighters.
(I'm so funny with my puns.
Bet that one has never been done before.)

And put them in a calendar.
Well, I don't need one of those.
Cuz I got this in the mail the other day.September 2010-August 2012.
Two years of Ryan.
In the same photo.
I am one lucky girl.

Sorry gals.
This is a one-of-a-kind.

And, just so you know.
If Ryan was a firefighter.
He would be one of those 12 hottest guys.
Now I've really embarrassed him.
But I call 'em like I see 'em.

September 20, 2010

What We Saw

At the:1) Lara as a sunflower.2) Lots of ESU bags.
We love Corky.
Go Hornets!3) Pig races.4) Something for Lara's dad to buy for her.
It's on sale.
And I'm sure it won't cost much to ship to Germany.5) The fam.
Minus Lara.
She was taking most of the pictures.6) Cute photo ops.
Shortly after we arrived,
we lost Jobe for about 1 minute.
It felt like a lifetime.
After that, Jobie kept asking:
Daddy, will you hold my hand?7) Some dog competion.
The boys were much cuter than the dogs.8) Grand Champion pig.Sponsored by Dillons.
Someone's going to have a nice Christmas ham.9) Gina making a fool of herself.10) A really large toilet.11) A sign with Lara's last name!
Too funny!Ryan and I had our first date at the fair.
In 1989.
Oh, wow.
That was a long time ago.

September 17, 2010

Fingerprint Friday

I am loving my time with just Jobie.Today is one of those days.One of those days where I am just bursting with love.For this sweet little boy.Psalm 126:3
The LORD has done great things for me,
and I am filled with joy.

Each week Beki at therustedchain hosts Fingerprint Friday and uses a song by Steven Curtis Chapman as a springboard. Join in. It's a great way to be reminded of God's presence.

September 16, 2010

Fall is for Soup

It's beginning to feel like fall.
Still hot some days.
But there is a coolness to the breeze
that wasn't here a few weeks ago.
And the evening and mornings are lovely.

Yesterday, was a little stormy.
A little cooler.
Time for a new soup recipe.
I found one among all my recipes.
Not sure where I got it.
But it's now a new favorite of mine.

Cheeseburger Soup
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 T butter or margarine divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
8 oz. Velveeta cheese
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

Brown ground beef, drain and set aside. In same pan saute onions, carrots, celery parsley and basil in 1 T butter until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes and beef to vegetables, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In microwave melt remaining butter, add flour. Add to soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese and milk. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and add sour cream.

As always, I altered the recipe a little.
Here's the changes I made:
5 cups of potatoes (instead of 4).
I always add more potatoes than recipes call for.
I love potatoes!
4 cups of water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes
(instead of 3 cups chicken broth).
Bouillon cubes are so much cheaper.
4-6 oz. Velveeta (instead of 8)

Things I left out:
Parsley flakes (just because I was out)
(I simply forgot those two.
Definitely didn't miss the salt.
But I will add the pepper next time.
Pepper makes things yummy.)

Sour cream (believe me, it's rich enough)
Those rolls were yummy too.
Another new recipe.
Herbed dinner rolls.

There's nearly always extra kids at our house after school.
And I'm typically in the kitchen cooking while they are here.
I was working away on this soup.
One of Jake's friends told me:
Gina, I wish you weren't such a good cook.
It always makes me hungry when I'm here.

He's my new favorite boy.

And, I have to say, those veggies and herbs sauteing
did smell wonderful!

Don't worry.
I will not let his words go to my head.
I have had many flops lately.
Nothing has been awful.
Just blah.
It was nice to finally make something that turned out good.

September 15, 2010


I love...
That's no lie.
Always have.
Probably always will.

Just wanted to thank you all for the encouragement with Lara.
She has talked with her family several times.
We skyped with them Saturday.
That was fun.
She emails her dad nearly every day.
And she continues to say she is not homesick.
And I really believe she isn't.
We think her biggest hurdle is she's friend-sick.
She did much with friends back in Germany.
Suddenly she has no close high school friends.
She is working hard to change that.
She's a super fun girl.
I have no doubt that before too long she will have many friends here.

About yesterday's post.
Even if we would let Brookelynn go on that trip
(there is nothing to consider here,
she is not going for oh, so many reasons),
she would refuse to go.
She can barely leave us for one night.
At a friend's house.
There is no way she would be able to leave us for 14 nights.

Have a super Wednesday evening!

September 14, 2010


Send my 6th grader on a trip to England and France.

I looked it up.
Only about $5,000.
And only for 14 days.

I'll let my daughter go.
On a trip that costs 5 times more than we've ever paid
for a vacation for our entire family.
On the other side of the world.
With chaperons that I don't know.
For two weeks.
To countries that I've been dying to go to.

They are funny people.

Is this just ridiculous to me?
Would you let your 11 year old daughter go?
Has anybody else gotten one of these?

September 13, 2010

I Hope She Still Likes Me

This may come as a surprise to you.
Or maybe not.
I am not the most compassionate mom.
Lara found that out this morning.

We have a rule at our house.
About missing school
You either need to have a fever.
Be throwing up.
Or both (that goes without saying).
To get out of school.

Mom cannot be convinced otherwise.
Don't try.

To her credit,
Lara never asked to not go to school this morning.
But I'm pretty sure she was hoping I would say she didn't have to go.

On a school day, she is always up before me.
When I come in the kitchen in the morning,
she's there eating breakfast.
This morning I walked in.
She was sitting in her usual spot.
Hugging her little leopard.
Still in her pj's.

I gave her a hug.
Asked her what was wrong.
She had a headache and her neck hurt.
I gave her a couple ibuprofen.
And then went to wake the other kids.
Came back.
She was still crying
I told her I would take her temperature.
But if she didn't have a fever,
she would have to go to school.
She didn't have one.
I told her she should go get ready.
She did.
Then sat down on the couch.
Hugging a pillow.
Oh, boy.

Her ride called.
Was having car trouble.
So we dropped Ezra off at school.
Then I took her to the high school.
A few minutes late.
I asked her if anything else was wrong.
Asked her if she was a little homesick.
More crying.

Just to show that I'm not totally heartless,
I took her into the office.
Helped her get an admit slip.
Then talked in the hall with her a moment.
Gave her a hug.
Said: I'm sorry hon,
but this is what I would do with my kids.
And you are one of my kids.
She said:
I look terrible.
I said:
Your eyes are a little red.
But you look cute.

She walks down the hall to her 1st hour class.
Opens the door.
And I hear the teacher boom:
Well, good morning!
Way to draw attention to the poor girl.
From another country.
Walking in late.
With red eyes.
I hope she survives the day...

My thought is she was testing me.
She has a test today.
She studied some Saturday.
I thought she was going to study more last night.
But she didn't.
I'm not sure she's ready for it.
This may not be the problem.
I'm just guessing.

I felt bad leaving her there.
I really did.
She will be okay, right?Tell me I'm not a big, bad meany.

September 09, 2010

On Movies, Books and Jeans

We watched the Blind Side recently.
We are so current.
Up with the times.
It was really good.
(Not news to most of you, I realize.)
Loved Sandra Bullock.

The boys watched Up the other day.
And Sandlot (another day).
They quoted from both movies.
For 30 minutes.
The whole drive home from Brookie's soccer practice.
It is pretty hilarious to hear a 3 year old say:
You play ball like a girl!
Hello. My name is Russell.
All three boys were laughing the whole way home.
No fighting.
It was wonderful.

Since school has started again,
I've had a little more time to read.
I just finished
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
Funny, interesting and sad.
Before that I read Princess Bride.
I cannot believe I am saying this but...
the movie was better.
Pretty sure those words have never left my mouth.
It wasn't awful.
Just different.
Some dialogue was identical to the movie.
Those were the best parts of the book.
Goldman definitely did a better job on the screenplay.

Two weeks ago I found a pair of jeans.
On sale for $10.
I tried them on.
And they fit.
A miracle.
Then in KC, I found another pair of jeans.
From a different store.
On sale for $10.
I tried them on.
And they fit.
Another miracle.

I haven't bought jeans for 3 years, I think.
I wasn't even looking for jeans.
Just stumbled upon them.
And then I try two pair on.
And they both fit?
And they are each only $10?
How is this possible?

In the past, if I found jeans that fit my thighs.
Or hips.
Or rear.
But then there was always a gap at the back of my waist.
Everyone doesn't need to know
that I wear hot granny undies.
And it wasn't because they were those super low rise jeans.
Don't do those either.
That pouch of fat around my belly button
(that I blame on the kids,
the last two in particular)
has to be squished in somehow.
Maybe jean manufacturers are finally figuring out
that some women have curves.
And not all women have toothpicks for legs.

I've been going through fall clothes for Jobe.
There is not one single pair of jeans for him
that don't have holes.
Guess I'll have to go jean shopping for him now.

I hope it's as easy to find jeans for him
as it was for me.
Not that I'm trying to rub it in or anything.
Not me.
With my cute, cheap jeans.
That took no effort to find.
Definitely, not me.

September 08, 2010

Growing Up Is Hard...

On Mom.
You might have heard/felt my inward gasp last night.
Around 9:00 or so.

Brookie plays soccer.
Wears a lot of long socks.
Legs not visible a lot.
Except at school.
Forgot about that.
Any idea where this is going?By the way.
Her team won the soccer tourney in KC.Back on topic.
Long socks.
Growing up.
I've probably said enough.Last night after her shower.
Passing each other in the basement.
Outside of her room.

I used your razor in the shower.
Me (stopping in my tracks):
On your legs? (duh)

I just couldn't help it.
It completely took me by surprise.
We haven't even discussed shaving.

She's had more hair on her legs than me.
Since she was 5.
I just don't have much.
I go for days.
Sometimes weeks (in the winter).
Without shaving.
Some All of you didn't want to know that.

Ok. I guess I need to buy you some razors, huh?
No, no, no. You don't have to.
Yes, yes, yes. I will.

Somewhere in the middle of all that,
I felt her legs.
They were really smooth.

I went upstairs.
Told Ryan.
His response:

I really was much calmer than him.
(At the time)
Told him it was ok.
She's right.
It probably was time.

I've had time to think about it.
Just another step.
That scares me.
I'd rather she stay little.
But I also love the young lady she is becoming.
And the talks we have.

My girl.She's a beauty.
With smooth legs.

September 07, 2010

At the K

One of the things we wanted to do
while Lara is living with us
was go to a Royals game.

Brookie had a tournament in KC this past weekend.
The Royals happened to be in town.
And the tournament schedule was perfect.
Yippee!The entire soccer team went too.
Along with lots of dads, moms, siblings, grandmas and grandpas.
54 of us in all.I think Lara liked the game.
She said she did anyway.But in every picture she looks like
she is witnessing one of the strangest things she has ever seen.And apparently...I did some very heavy pondering.While the boys enjoyed a little pink lemonade.
In a George Brett collectible cup.Sadly,
although not surprisingly,
the Royals lost.Someday they will be good again.

September 03, 2010

Fingerprint Friday

I wasn't just impressed by the falls at Niagara.
This park was gorgeous too.
And I especially loved this tree.
It had grown so straight, tall and strong.
Everything was so serene, peaceful.
Psalm 29:11
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Each week Beki at therustedchain hosts Fingerprint Friday and uses a song by Steven Curtis Chapman as a springboard. Join in. It's a great way to be reminded of God's presence.

September 02, 2010

Birds and Bees

According to two kindergarteners.Lawson:
I'm gonna have a new cousin.
'Cuz my aunt is a mom
and she's gonna have a baby.Ezra:
I think I'm not going to have any more cousins.
Then it happens.
Isn't that wierd?These boys crack. me. up.

September 01, 2010


The last few weeks have been full of adjustments.Brookelynn is trying to come to terms with not being the oldest.
Sharing a room.
With a girl.
She's used to dealing with boys.
Different smells.
Lara uses hairspray and perfume.
Both things are completely foreign to Brookie.
And, for the most part, to me as well.Ezra loves kindergarten.
He had one rough morning last week.
Walking to school with Clifford was a must.
But as soon as we got to the school doors,
Clifford was mine.
So, yes.
My neighbors have seen me carrying Clifford.
And wearing a superhero cape.
They are likely beginning to wonder...He brought this home from school today.
Love it.Jakie is still not sure about the new school.
But it's getting better everyday.
And he still has a lot of smiles for me.
So I know he's really doing just fine.Jobe and I are having fun.
We read books.
We play preschool computer games.
We cook.
We run errands.
Taking just one kid places is amazingly easy.
Why did I think it was hard when it was just Brookelynn?
I think his real adjustment will begin when Ezra starts going all day.
Ryan has seen more female tears than he was planning on.
From me on the first day of school.
To Lara having her first breakdown Sunday night.
Then Brookelynn on Monday.

Extra estrogen in the house.
Good times.