Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Blog

Click here to check out my new blog!
I'm going to put notes and recipes about my adventures in the kitchen. Most of the recipes will be gluten-free because that is how we eat a lot of the time!

Final Four and Easter

Some of my recent posts are somewhat out of chronological order. So are some of the books in the Bible! Ryan went to Detroit to go to the first Final Four game with his dad. He saw a great game of Michigan State beating UConn. Of course, it was typical April weather in Michigan, and there were several inches of snow. Ryan said he'd never live there again!

For Easter, Molly helped me color eggs. She was dressed just in a diaper and bib. I wore a navy running shirt and a pair of Ryan's navy boxers. I was nervous about staining our clothes! She loved to plunk the eggs into the dye.

She also had a fun Easter egg hunt at my parents'. Everytime she found an egg, she'd open it right away. She'd want to play with the contents, or eat the candy within. We needed to persuade her to keep hunting.

We are so thankful for Jesus' resurrection. We always hope that our celebration of Easter brings Him glory!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Molly at Park

Molly loved being swung on this tire swing. She seemed like such a big girl climbing onto this. She is getting really good at climbing stairs like those on the play equipment. Unfortunately she likes to try to climb at home, too. We need to push our dining room chairs in or she'll climb on top of the table. Once, I stepped around the corner for a couple seconds, and when I looked she was standing in the middle of the table. Naughty! Ryan doesn't want me to spank her, and so we give her timeouts. She complies with these and often says "Sorry!" with a smile when the timeout has ended. However, I don't think she knows that the timeout is a punishment, even though we use a stern tone of voice. She thinks "Timeout" is a game.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Working in America

I had a nice visit with my Iraqi friends on Friday. The husband recently found a job. He's doing maintainance at a retirement living community. It is a great job for someone who is just learning English. He gets along great with his boss because he works harder than the others. That's no surprise. He had fled to Syria for two years before finally being able to come to America after his life was threatened in Iraq. He was unaware that he was getting paid, and he showed me his direct deposit slip. We were a little confused about where it was deposited because they do not yet have a bank account. We realized that he had been paid on a debit card that he had not yet received. His supervisor had asked if he had a card yet. I'm so excited that he has found full-time job. The pay is not much, but it is a great start.

I knew that Muslims normally visit the mosque on Fridays. He told me that he was not able to go because of this job. However, in Iraq, people typically are off of work on Friday and Saturday. Previously, before the invasion by the US military, Iraqis only had one day off of work, just Friday.

Molly and I visited with the family for a couple hours. The wife served us dates and shanina which is a salty yogurt drink. I drank this when I lived in Turkey. I guess this combination is very popular in Iraq.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ready for Easter Ham?

I'm not sure if Dad will be up to eating ham for Easter. He has progressed to saltine crackers. Mom went home last night and wasn't around to remind him to press his button for morphine. So, this morning he felt more pain. Otherwise, he has been doing well and taking several walks.

Molly and I didn't make it to the hospital today. She's had a fever since last evening. So, we're going to stay away and not pass around germs. Hopefully it is just a teething fever.

Uncle Tim

My brother came to visit a couple weeks ago. Molly enjoyed him, and he didn't try to teach her as many bad things as he did at New Years. He thought Molly needed to have a two liter of bubble solution and finger paints. She loves playing with the bubble wands; thanks be to God that bubble solution is non-toxic! She isn't quite sure what to do with the finger paints.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This is the Day that the Lord has Made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it! I just talked to my dad. He is feeling much better today. He was sitting up in a chair. The tech was going to come and take him for a walk. He is eagerly awaiting the doctor's visit because then he'll be cleared to start on a liquid diet! Molly and I are going to visit this afternoon. Hopefully he'll be ready to see crazy Molly!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Update on My Dad

Thanks to everyone that has been praying! I just returned a little while ago from visiting my dad. He seems to be doing well. He looked good- nice color in his face and no hair out of place. He asked me to get his button-down shirt out of the bag of his belongings and hang it up so it wouldn't get wrinkled! He was voted best-dressed in high school for a reason. He is dozing in and out and saying some odd things, probably due to the morphine. We were having mostly coherent conversation, talking about MSU basketball and what Molly was up to today.

The doctor actually removed 12 inches. He noticed another spot that needed to come out also. There was a pathologist in the OR that consulted with the doctor about what the spots were. They believe that they are not cancer. In any case, they are gone.

Dad's pain is mainly in his stomach muscles. Perhaps this is because they were really stretched out when they filled his abdomen with air during the surgery? He groaned when he moved because this is when it hurt most.

He is not allowed to eat anything. The nurses reluctantly let him have ice chips. He is permitted to have hard candy, and he ate one that I brought. Dad is used to his three squares and is eager to eat.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My dad is having four inches of his colon removed tomorrow. This is mostly to PREVENT a major problem. During a recent colonoscopy, his doctor discovered a very small spot that concerned him. It is not cancer, but it needs to be removed. We are thankful that it was noticed. The surgery is at 7:15 am. I'm going to get to the hospital a little later in the morning.

He'll need to be in the hospital until probably Saturday. Hopefully his time in the hospital will be comfortable. My dad doesn't like to not be active!

Please pray for the surgery to go smoothly and for him to set his mind on things above prior to the operation and while recovering. Thanks!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Three miles with a toddler in a baby jogger

Challenged by the fact that my mother-in-law works out on the treadmill for at least an hour and a half several times a week, I decided that I should get back into shape. I just completed my second week of five days of running. I don't care how much I run each time, but I have to get my running clothes on and get out the door. Once I'm moving, I end up going at least a couple miles and having mild enjoyment of the activity. I decided that if I have too many days off during the week it is easy to get out of the habit.

Today, like usual, Molly and I headed out around 3 pm. She was strapped in to the jogger and had several pretzels on the tray in front of her. After turning onto the road my feet found a comfortable rhythm. I pointed out a squirrel as we approached and saw Molly's head turn, but I'm not sure if she saw it. Things were pleasant and steady for a minute or two until we took a turn that aimed us straight into the Texas wind. Straining and bearing down to push through it, I looked down and noticed that canopy that I pull down in front of Molly's face to block the wind is acting just like a sail. We are being pushed backward with a strong force. Thankfully, the wind dies down quickly, and I trot along. After a few paces, I hear Molly's version of "Pretzel!" I pull over and retrieve a couple pieces that have fallen into her cup holder. I'm hoping that these remnants will satisfy her. Nope. A couple minutes later I hear, "Pretzel!" Hmmm... I glance in the basket of gear in the bottom of the jogger. I see a not-so-fresh half-eaten box of raisins. I'm sad to admit that I know that Molly isn't too bothered by the taste of stale food (because I occasionally give her some!) The raisins amuse her for awhile.

Nearing our turn around area, I hear her babbling, "Baa, baa, baa." Seeking to educate at every turn, I decide to sing "Baa Baa Black Sheep". With my ragged breathing, it is neither educational nor entertaining. Halfway throught "Three Blind Mice" my voice trails off.

At the turn-around I'm feeling very good. I pick up the pace slightly as we head back. After a couple minutes we are running past the park where we sometimes stop. I notice that Molly is lifting up on the tray, and I know this means that she wants to get out. I'm a little discouraged because the run was feeling so good, but I want this to be fun for her, too. I walk a safe distance across the grass to a sidewalk parallel to the road. I set Molly down. I take her hand to walk with her. She hangs from my hand, wanting me to lift her up. When my in-laws were here she learned that when mommy and pa pere held her hands we would occasionally swing her up into the air. She thinks that I am able to do this all by myself. I finally convince her just to walk along the sidewalk.

She loves sidewalks. They are like running tracks to her. Whenever she is on one, she really wants to run! I start jogging a step ahead of her. For some reason, this is hilarious, and she laughs and runs. We have a great time, jogging together. After a couple minutes, Molly is satisfied and returns to the jogger.

After I load her up, I offer her a choice of toys from the stash: a toy phone receiver, a tiny book, a toy cell phone and a My Little Pony. She wants them all. I comply and warn her not to drop any of them on the ground.

Shortly after we resume our run, I see a little hand dangling the receiever over the concrete. I warn her not to drop it, and reach over to take it from her hand. She then proceeds to do the same the book, cell phone, and pony. And we continue our forward motion.

She then amuses herself with the raisins and sippy cup. I occasionally adjust the canopy to protect her from wind and sun. A short while later, she hands me the raisin box. I jog with it in my hand. After a car passes, I muse that it might look like I'm holding a pack of smokes. Pondering this, I smile and run. The sippy cup soon follows. I smoothly bend slightly as I continue to jog and toss the raisins beneath the jogger. The curved handle on the cup affixes nicely to the handle I'm pushing.

As we are just less than a mile from home we pass beneath a pair of overpasses. The design of these make them just like a wind tunnel in the right conditions. Of course, as I'm barely moving forward fighting the wind, several cars pass and see me straining.

I press on and am relieved at the calm breeze for the next portion of the run. Molly then decides that she wants out NOW! She twists her body and shrieks as she wrestles the restraints. Desperate, I notice a dog being walked quite a distance ahead of us. "Look, Molly! A doggy!" I double my speed as I realize that catching up to the dog is my only hope of pacifying her. Panting I get closer and closer.

Yes, I no longer try to catch others on the running trail for sake of competition or challenging myself to go faster. I strain and strive to catch a doggy so Molly will sit still. It works and the rest of the run is smooth. Ironically, we walk in the door as we arrive home and Molly is content to stay seated and is in no hurry to get out!