i have been tagged by my bloggy friend angela at sunflower hill to do this meme.

so here goes...

6 random things about me (maybe some of you may know them already):

1. before i get into bed, i have to brush off the bedspread and then sit and rub my bare feet together to make sure there aren't any "crumblies" that get into the bed. i also make my husband do this quirky obsessive-compulsive habit for his side of the bed. the only time i don't do it is if i'm in a carpeted bedroom.

2. i don't care to take bathroom breaks because it seems like wasted time to me (that's why i usually end up taking only 2 a day). there are so many other things you can be doing! even if it takes 5 minutes, that's 5 minutes of wasted, valuable time :).

3. i have to fold my bath, and kitchen towels a certain way and it has to go in the linen closet a specific way too. needless to say, i am the one who ends up folding all towels. oh, the same goes for folding pillow cases.

4. i do not like doing any part of the laundry process. this has been a major struggle for me since i was in high school. when i do laundry it takes a long time for it to be folded or put away (if it even makes it that far before it gets used again). i think my family has begun to work with this issue by immediately going down to the laundry room to check for all their clean clothes.

5. i want to live where the weather is warm 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, or earthquakes (does a place like that even exist on earth????).

6. i prefer e-mail for communication rather than telephone. thus, i respond to e-mails faster than i do telephone calls.

now that i've shared what may be too much information for some of you (LOL), here are the rules for the meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag more or less 6 people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

here are the folks i'm tagging:

1. our suburban homestead
2. standby...go
3. the vinje family
4. bill and meg
5. thoughts of creativity bubbling over
6. sophia and stella productions
7. benjamonkey


thursday play group recap

here are highlights from cross point's october play group at the play n' bay!


when we're not looking...

blue gets comfy in our outdoor seat.

it's probably not a behavior we should encourage, but he looks so cute and comfy on there!


cycle riding

per tyler's request, here's some footage of emma riding her little radio flyer bike (hand me down from one of aaron's employees).

no video editing this time...just "raw" footage. i've been really dragging all week and i just don't have the energy to cut, add, etc. this time around.


working dog

here are a couple of photos of blue with his backpack (he looks sad, but he really isn't), and emma in her stroller ready to go on our walk.

today i put about 7 lbs of weight and did a 30 minute fast-paced walk. by the end of the walk blue was starting to trail behind so i slowed up the pace a bit. i think he got a pretty good work out. no whining (not even a whimper) today when we left him at home for play group right after his walk (hooray!). he still whines when aaron leaves for work in the AM, but it's slowly getting better.

lastly, here is a video of blue relaxing and listening to emma narrate him a story. maybe if she reads to him often enough, he'll be able to speak english!


doggy updates

we've had blue for a little over a week and he has really come out of his shell since the first couple of days we had him.

as we suspected, he was younger than what the pound originally estimated after the vet told us he was probably around 1 year old.  his temperament hasn't changed much, still easy-going and mellow, except that he does have a bit more energy to burn being that he's still a young dog.  he does test his limits every once in a while to see what he can get away with, but we run a tight ship with him so that he doesn't think he owns the house.

he began developing some separation anxiety a few days after we got him, and would howl every time we would leave.  however, we've noticed that if we exercise him enough during the day, there's now no howling (maybe a little whine or two here or there) when we leave him behind.

so good ol' blue, emma and i take a nice, long 1 hour walk in the morning, and then a short 20-30 minute walk most evenings with the whole family.  he walks very well on a leash, so after he gets his potty break i wrap the leash around the stroller and he walks right beside me.  now that he's gained some weight and some of his strength back, we did find that 1 hour is the minimum length we should walk him a day.  the times where i only walk him 30 minutes in the morning, ends up in a howling session if we decide to go anywhere without him.  fortunately, we have began using a doggy backpack (currently filled w/ about 8 lbs. of spaghetti squash and diaper wipes), and for the days i'm short on time a 30 minute power walk ends up exerting the same amount of energy as an hour walk.  it also provides him with a sense of purpose...a task to do. he does 10 times better focusing on his walk with a backpack (not that he doesn't do well already without it) on.  and he even does a few "working" howls when he gets in his working zone (you know, those howls hound dogs do when they track a scent and are in their working mode).  it makes me laugh, because it's such an instinctual thing.  

needless to say, we LOVE the doggy backpack.

after a good work-out and a good meal, he pretty much just lies around and sleeps.  what a life. 

end of the season

last sunday we went to the indian's last home game with some other cross point friends and family.  the indians were victorious against the detroit tigers in what seemed like an easy win of 10-3.

like the last game, we ditched the car and took the train downtown instead.

the kids got some freebies while they were there (sunday games are kids day), and we couldn't pass up peanuts and cracker jacks to snack on during the game.


fedex family day...down on the farm!

fedex hosted another family day, this time located at boyert's farm. emma and i drove down to meet up with aaron and ty, who were already there early setting up. straw cowboy hats were donned by all the station managers (aaron's brainchild) for all to admire and to complete the farm ambience.

it was the perfect location to kick-off the start of fall. there were plenty of games for the kids, a hay maze for the little ones, various farm animals to check-out, and lots of open space for the kids to roam around.

after a delicious meal, we waited for our turn to go on a hayride (an impressive group of young men did an excellent job maneuvering the tractors). emma was so excited to go that she couldn't stop talking about it. "go on the hayride, mommy" was pretty much all i heard. even as we took the ride. i think it's safe to say that she enjoyed every minute of the experience. tyler, on the other hand, played "mr. cool guy" and didn't show much excitement during the ride (must be an adolescent thing). i'm sure he was smiling and having a grand old time on the inside.

the hayride took us by a little pumpkin patch where each of us could pick our own pumpkins. tyler found a pretty good sized one for himself (see...he was having fun), and he picked a cute little one for emma (though it was still too heavy for her to carry).

emma and i headed back home as it approached 8 p.m., but tyler will be staying all the way through...until tear-down (probably 11 or so!). it sounded like there was still more to come: bon-fires, roasting marshmallows, and making smores. he had won a handful of glowsticks from bobbing apples and is planning to bust them out once the darkness ensues. with all of the running and jumping mixed with an abnormal amount of sugar, tyler will be so worn out when he gets home he won't know what to do with himself.


let's talk about soup

one of the simplest, healthy, in a pinch meals i like to make is miso soup. it's excellent if you're craving something light, need a little snack without filling up your tummy, or need something to warm you up. granted, you probably should like seaweed and tofu as well, if you want to eat miso soup.

this soup was so easy to make that i enlisted emma as my assitant. after filling the pot with water, i had emma add the wakame seaweed (dried), cubed tofu and sliced onions.

after adding a couple tablespoons of miso paste i let her stir the soup (with assistance and close supervision, of course) as it heated up on the burner.

as you can see, she thoroughly enjoyed every bite!


ike makes a brief stop

we got a small taste of ike sunday night with 60 mph winds starting around dusk and ending at 10 p.m.

the end result was certainly not as drastic as parts of texas. but we got our fair share of tree limbs, branches and power outages in our area (aaron's parents have been out of power since sunday night).

it's times like these where i think about giving up the whole home ownership idea. i remember how easy it was as a renter. broken pipe, a crack in the window, flooding, what have you. all you have to do is call the landlord and it gets fixed. or maybe we can just buy a townhome or a condo where maintenance of your home doesn't take a lot of work and money.

now don't get me wrong. i love our house. i'm thankful for our wonderful home. i'm thankful that there is enough space for all of us to live comfortably. but i think the term "the joys of homeownership" is meant to trick you. it's definitely a combination of delight, joyfulness, frustration and exasperation when it comes to owning a home.



after what happened with zeus, we have been biding our time in adopting another dog.  we are in love with the american bulldog breed, but didn't know if we would be able to find another one that was suitable for our family.  we even threw around the idea of adopting a little bulldog pup, but the cost for one from a breeder is as much as paying a month's rent.  but after considering how many adoptable dogs there are just in our area alone, it didn't seem right to pay $800 for a "brand new" dog.

so it was back to petfinder.  we looked here, we looked there.  waiting for the right ti

today we headed down to the lorain county dog kennel to take a look a dog.  this was our first time venturing into a dog pound and the experience was a bit overwhelming.  i know that some of these dogs are probably lost dogs, but there are plenty in there with no owners to call their own.  it was very sad.  

there were also specific dogs there that have been marked because of their breed.  pit-bulls picked up at this pound (and i'm not sure if it's the case with all ohio state pound) were held for the county and not allowed to be adopted out.  i can only assume that this pound was death row for these type of dogs.  

it breaks my heart that some of these animals have no chance at finding a new home-a second chance.  when the kennels are full, the dogs that have been there the longest are euthanized to make room for other strays picked up by the pound.  i wish we could take all those dogs home. now i understand how peggy feels in the year of the dog.

but...this entry is not all depressing.  we actually went to this 
dog pound to check out this little cutie.  he was a beautiful dog, full of energy.  and i mean FULL.  they didn't have an exact age on him, but from his behavior he might have been a year old (or a little less than that).  we took him out for a little walk to see how obedient he was and get to know him a little better.  unfortunately, because of his lack of knowledge behaving around little kids combined with his strength, and energy, we decided not to take him home with us.

we took a look at a couple more cages.  there was even a female american bulldog that looked sweet but was not available until wednesday.  so we couldn't even take her out.  then,  we came across a quiet, adult-aged, coonhound.  we took him out on a walk to gauge his demeanor and he was very well-behaved.  he seemed pretty mellow, and even let emma pet him (the other dog immediately tried to lunge-not in a bad way- at emma when she tried to pet him).  so after signing a few sheets of paper, we took him home!

we have decided to name his blue.  based on our research, we believe he's a redbone coonhound (possible mix).  since he was picked up as a stray, there is no previous history on him. as you can see from the photos, he's quite malnourished.  so one of the most important things we need to do, aside from getting him checked out by a vet, is to help him gain weight.  

i think it's funny that we left with a type of dog we've never even considered adopting.  but his energy level seemed to best fit our lifestyle, and if we can save one dog from a possible death sentence then i have no problem taking this one home.  friends and family near us, please feel free to stop by for a visit to meet the newest addition to our family.


thursday play group

highlights from yesterday's play group...

this has to be one of my favorite park discoveries since we've moved here. it's not in our neighborhood, but i think it's worth the 15-20 minute drive to get there.


the big D

detention that is.

i remember getting detention for skipping school (i know...not so good) and having to come to school on a saturday for 6 hours. it wasn't that great. i was grounded to the point where my social life was non-existent (or at least that what it seeemed like at the time). bad. and i would be upset if my children did the same.

so tyler has served 2 detentions already for being late for class. but i wasn't upset. in fact, i think i'm more happy than upset. sounds strange, doesn't it?

i guess i could have been angry at him. but, really. he wasn't being late on purpose. simply a series of unfortunate events that led him to be tardy for class. granted, i wasn't jumping for joy when i found out. BUT [here's the part that makes me happy] it's the fact that i found out the news through him. after school detention is for only about 20 minutes. and sometimes he doesn't come home until after 20-30 minutes until school lets out. so, if he wanted to he could have lied. yes, he could have lied. but the first thing that comes out of his mouth was "i have detention." as if the words were just waiting to explode if he kept it in for too much longer.

as parents, we have always been up-front with him (tailoring the information we provide to his age, of course). likewise, we expect him to be honest with us. and he has always been. even when he turned cards (i.e. getting in trouble) in grade school. he would just come home and straight up tell us. knowing that he would be disciplined for his actions. sure it stresses me out that he's already had a couple of detentions this early in the school year. but the reason behind the detentions are not major issues we need to be concerned about (like assaulting the teacher or skipping class). of course, we made it clear to him that this shouldn't be a reoccuring event. and i had him sit down and write out a "game plan" for what he needs to do to resolve this problem.

but i think at this point, i'm just glad that he can still be comfortable enough to be honest with us, no matter how big or small the issue.


indonesian meal of the month

this month i bring you (drum roll, please): daging rendang.

what does that mean, you ask? i really don't know. all i know is that "daging" means beef (or i think sometimes it can just refer to "meat" in general). the cooking process is pretty similar to the opor ayam in that you throw everything in (for the most part) and slow cook. it's very yummy, and when i cook it right, it's one of aaron's favorite dishes.

i think the closest recipe i could find that matched mine was here. this meal is not best prepared when you're short on time, which is what i did. the result: beef that's hard to chew!

some ingredient differences to note from the recipe:
  • i added chopped potatoes, because i needed to use them up.
  • i didn't use ginger because my mom told me not to.
  • mine was not spicy, so i omitted the chilly peppers
  • i added some green onions because i needed to use them up.
  • i didn't add sugar, but will try it next time.
  • i added about 1 tsp. of coriander because i love cooking with coriander.
unlike no. 1 in the cooking directions, i didn't use a food processor. i just chopped the onions and garlic and put them in a pot with some hot oil, sauteeing for about 1 minute. you can also bust out your mortar and pestle (if you have one) and ground up your garlic and onion the indonesian way. i have a stone one that i lugged back from jakarta, but like i said, i was pressed for time so ther was no grinding involved.

then i added the turmeric, lemongrass, and coriander to the mix and stir for about 1 minute. just a warning about turmeric: it stains! your fingers, clothes, and anything else it comes into contact with turns yellow.

throw in the beef and sautee for about 5 minutes.

then add the coconut milk and maybe about 1/4 c. of water. turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1.5-3 hrs. or until meat is nice and tender. my outcome was of course different because i sauteed the beef way too long and simmered it for way too short. you shouldn't have a soupy mixture at the end, like mine. most of the sauce/water should evaporate so that it's thick and just enough to coat the meat. follow the recipe link i gave you and you can't go wrong.

enjoy with some steamed white rice.

prep and cook time: 2-3 hours
servings: 5-6


while driving home, something hit me

sometimes it's easy to get too focused on what's going wrong or what you don't have in life and forget everything god has provided you with. i admit i'm guilty of it. why is it so much easier to complain than it is to rejoice?

so for all the negative things i tend to obsess on, here are all the things of the top of my head (in no particular order) that god has blessed me with:

1. my life
2. a supportive, loving, selfless, hard-working husband (who also is great at being a dad!)
3. a beautiful, sweet, helpful, chatterbox of a daughter :)
4.a helpful, giving, soon to be teenager of a son
5. his grace
6. transportation
7. food
8. warm, sunny days
9. cold, rainy days
10. coffee
11. his word
12. communication devices (e.g. mobiles, skype, e-mail, facebook, the world wide web, and even snail mail)
13. water (in more ways than one)
14. clothing
15. cross point
16. living in lakewood
17. friday night dinners
18. having a home where we can share our hospitality with others
19. being able to cook for others
20. our neighbors (on both sides)
21. aaron's job
22. my employer
23. my flexible work hours and their openness to bringing my kids to work.
24. blogging
25. the computer
26. electricity
27. family near and far
28. a warm bed to go to at night
29. heat and a/c
30. being able to provide for all of our children's basic needs
31. cold, snowy days
32. unending and everlasting love


more play-doh fun

sister and brother get creative with play-doh.



picnic at the park

we had the very last picninc at the park for 2008 today. sad. no more outdoor bbq, chilling on the grass, volleyball, or watching the kids run around outside. summer is coming to a close. the end is near for my flip flops. i'm never ready for fall. or winter for that matter.

anyway, we had a great time today. there was even a TV so that we wouldn't miss any of the cleveland browns game...even though they lost (and i didn't pay attention to the game at all). i was slacking on the photos, so i only managed to grab a few snapshots.

hanging out with my aunt corrie

a saturday afternoon with aunt corrie involved LOTS of book reading (mostly for emma), showing off the catchy mercenaries 2 jingle on youtube, playing hang on sloopy on the cornet for her, and sharing some delicious einstein bagels.

thanks aunt corrie!


rainy zoo day

this wet and dreary morning was spent at the zoon with gram, pap, and benjamin.

as we waited for them to arrive, emma happily stood in the rain stomping puddles, catching raindrops with her hands, and letting the little droplets drizzle down her raincoat.

we stayed inside the rainforest area to keep ourselves dry, and emma enjoyed a special seat at the top of ben's stroller. the double-decker as we call it.

the mammals seemed fairly active, especially the orangutans (indonesian for forest person: orang=person, utan=forest). there was a sweet little baby rolling around and playing with what seemed like an older sibling. then the mama came up very close to the window to say hello to the gentleman who manages the animals at the zoo. it was a bit surreal watching them communicate without any sound at all. there's always something new to experience at the zoo.



a case of mistaken identity

yesterday, tyler and emma came with me to the Y since i had a class to teach. the two of them hung out in the hall outside of the dance studio (a.k.a. the dungeon), for the most part, as they waited for me to finish up.

being the sweet big brother he is, tyler did an excellent job making sure emma didn't wander off too far.

a lot of the times, when emma plays she often neglects her blankie and the rest of us are responsible for taking care of it. according to tyler, as they were playing he had ended up being blankie's caretaker. apparently a young boy (around 6 years old) mistook him for a bully who had taken a little girl's most cherished possession. he came right up to ty (who is obviously taller and older than him), grabbed the blankie and returned it to emma. all the while saying, "you just don't take people's stuff like that!"

there is hope for the young men in this world. chivalry, courage and honor is not lost among them after all!

thursday play group

location for september: cahoon park's play n' bay.

it was very hot today, but i think the kids had a good time. the whole playground is gated so there is no escape for the little ones unless they try to jump the fence. it was nice to pretty much let emma roam free.

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