Friday, December 19, 2014

Life Lately {November}

As usual, it's several weeks overdue, but here's a little glimpse of our life in November!

FALL. Fall colors and my sweet boys. Each of them gets to add and a half to his age in November. #kindofabigdeal

LIFE. 1. Jared moved out. 2. Look out, world! Jared's reading! 3. Jonathan read a whole book today! 4. Cooler temps mean I can wear my jean jacket which has exploded my wardrobe options! 5. My engineers built this shuttle complete with launch pad. 6. "I just farted in my mouth."

LEARNING. Some days you just need to get out of the house and do something different! Part of the joys of homeschool.

THANKSGIVING. 1. I'm proud of my son's willingness to serve. This is a fellowship meal on Thanksgiving that my in-laws host for the rehab center in town. 2. Officially a big boy now! 3. Getting into the Christmas spirit with Aunt Gloria, kind of. 4. Life is better with this little guy around! 4. Helping Grandma. 5. Jared wants to tell you all about his delivery truck.

We weren't planning to go to Grandma & Grandpa's house at Thanksgiving, but thought we should make the trip to see Gary's dad before Christmas. I'm so glad we did! The boys and I ended up staying after Thanksgiving while Gary went back to Lincoln for work and school. My father-in-law passed away just two weeks later. That's why the "sort of" with the Christmas spirit, and that's why were still in Missouri as of this publishing date. 

Thanks everyone for your kind comments regarding our loss. It's an especially difficult time of year to lose a member of our family. Grandpa will always be missed. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jon's Story

My Father-in-law lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

Grandpa with Jonathan in 2008

There is a giant hole in each of our hearts. We will always miss Grandpa and are so thankful for the memories we have of him.

Jon believed in God and his one regret, if you can call it that, is that he didn't tell more people that Jesus is coming soon. In the three weeks I was with my in-laws before Jon died, he was able to share this story with many of his friends and family, either on the phone or during visits to the house.


Jon was in quite a bit of pain which bothered him a lot, especially at night. One night he was struggling to get out of bed and make the few steps to the bathroom. He was tired of being in pain and worried about his wife, Helen. Jon felt a hand on his shoulder and knew immediately that it was Jesus by the long, flowing sleeve he felt on his back. 

"I've got you covered," Jesus said. 

"What about Helen? What will she do when I'm gone?" Jon asked.

"Don't worry, I'm taking care of her," Jesus told him.

Jon felt comforted and returned to bed. Later he woke up and again felt Jesus' hand on him. This time he heard, "The days ahead will be difficult, but I've got you covered. I am coming soon!"


Soon Jesus will come! Soon we'll be together with Jon again, and this time he won't have cancer! We're looking forward to that!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ellie's Closet {Winter 1}

I really have fun putting outfits together on Polyvore. It's like virtual shopping without spending any money! Of course that means I'm sometimes disappointed with my real closet, but it also gives me inspiration for a few items I feel I would really use and like when I get a chance to look for them.

This week's crush? A beautiful plaid skirt.

I really avoided skirts for a long time. First I felt that they were just too feminine and girly and not very practical. Then I felt that they were hard to wear with little boys/babies, so I stuck to pants even for church. I also felt that long skirts make us shorties seem even shorter!

Lately I've swung clear around on most of those points. My boys are a little older and I don't hang out with them on the floor so much. A beautiful skirt like this one I would probably reserve for church or kind of dress-up times anyway. I learned first from The Modest Mom that layering leggings under a skirt makes you warm and cozy all winter! Recently I've been wearing my summer skirts that way, and I feel warmer than when I wear jeans. Try it!

Ellie's winter wardrobe will be very similar to her fall one. Because duh! I don't get a new wardrobe every season, do you? The one above has been tweaked a little and I can't seem to find how to switch out one or two things without having to build a whole new collection on Polyvore. Oh well!

What items in your closet do you find yourself reaching for over and over? What is something new that you wished you had?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

About Dying

I mentioned yesterday that I had stayed with my in-laws after Thanksgiving. It's true! The boys stayed with me but Gary had to go home to finish up the semester and go to work.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned it a few months ago, but my father-in-law has cancer. At this point he is on hospice and is only expected to live another day or two.

Jon is 75, but still young--or was 6 months ago. As late as last spring there was very little he couldn't do. We all expected another 10-15 good years out of him and are so disappointed to lose him so soon and so quickly.

Our real heartache though, is for Helen. She is losing her husband, her rock, her best friend, her partner. She is the one who has to keep on living. I know she will be ok eventually, but my heart hurts for her in the next few weeks and months.

I also have to admit, the timing is awful! The holidays can be hard after a loss, but to have the loss occur right between Thanksgiving and Christmas... I'm sure the next few years will be difficult.

We have hope though, in the resurrection and second coming. We know we will see Grandpa again. Jon has seen Jesus a time or two in the last couple of weeks. He has been comforted, has been told that Jesus will take care of Helen and is looking forward to the pain and disease being over.

My mom said something that has helped my perspective a lot. She said, "There are worse ways to die than at home surrounded by family, made as comfortable as possible, and regularly affirmed by those around you that you are loved and will be missed." 

Jon and Helen have been a wonderful witness of leaning on Jesus even when terrible things happen. This is not God's plan. He does not cause pain or suffering or early death due to disease. An enemy has done this.

Thank you for your prayers as our family goes through this difficult time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ellie's Closet {Fall 3-6}

Hi. It's been awhile. Again.

Oh well, such is life.

I missed a week before Thanksgiving because life is busy, then we went to see my in-laws for Thanksgiving and are still with them. I'll tell you more about it in my next post.

So. What has Ellie been wearing the last few weeks?

I created Week 3 when we were having a warm week. I left out sweaters and coats for several outfits. I also changed a couple items in Ellie's wardrobe at some point. I can't remember exactly what, so maybe you can spot it!

By Week 5, fall was really getting nippy! I added more jackets and coats and picked out warmer scarves for Ellie's outfits. I think the gray coat here was traded for a black one. They're both really versatile with her wardrobe, but the gray one is more flattering. I think the gray dress is new, traded for the black one that just wasn't working.

So there you go, 6 weeks of mix-and-match modest outfits that are still current, fun, and flattering. These outfits are appropriate for a stay-at-home mom, a teacher, or several other jobs, and I wish it was mine!

Next week, I'll be adding a few winter pieces, but I'm trying to limit Ellie's purchases as that's reality in my life right now.

Hope all is well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five Whole Foods Suppers

This whole foods thing is pretty cool. Since I last mentioned it, I've been pretty good about avoiding gluten and dairy, I've mostly not eaten eggs, and I completely haven't eaten corn, soy or peanuts. Sugar, on the other hand, is much harder to avoid, but I've done a lot better than I thought I would.

I actually did eat some gluten over the weekend, and you know what? By Sunday I felt terrible! I was so groggy and sleepy with a constant little headache. Weird, but I've read that can be what it's like for your body when you do eat gluten after avoiding it for awhile. It's back out of my diet and next time I'll remember the brain fog before choosing to eat a regular sandwich again!

I've been keeping tabs on which meals we really like and feel good after enjoying. Also which ones are easy, our kids like, and there might be leftovers for lunch the next day.

These Sesame Noodles with Wilted Garden Greens by Bev Cooks were surprisingly good! I didn't even have all of the ingredients, but I did have fresh Swiss chard from a neighbor and we enjoyed this recipe a lot! We used gluten-free noodles and will be making this again.

I found this recipe for Cauliflower Coconut Masala on the Roasted Root but it was actually created by Coffee & Quinoa, just so you know. It was easy and delicious! Our whole family loves Indian food, so it's nice to get it at home when you know exactly what goes into it and it costs a lot less.

I knew we liked cauliflower alfredo, but I wanted a vegan version as I'm avoiding dairy right now. Again, I didn't have all of the ingredients, but this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo from Evolve Vegan was so very good! I left out the roasted onion and garlic as well as the rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and just used some onion and garlic powder. This recipe is a keeper! I have to admit, I liked it better than the cauliflower alfredo with dairy milk and parmesan! Weird! We used half zucchini noodles and half gluten-free spaghetti.

This Burrito Bowl from A House in the Hills looks absolutely amazing. Ours were much more humble but even then, this is one of my all-time favorite foods. We used jasmine rice, black beans, salsa, non-dairy ranch dressing and a handful of corn chips on top for the boys. Yum!

We love lentils and tomato bruschetta, but until recently we'd never put them together. Again, the link to the Lentil Bruschetta Salad is what I based the recipe on, but mine was different. I made regular tomato bruschetta--roma tomatoes, minced garlic, basil and parsley (fresh is better but dried works), a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar and a shake of salt. Then I added a couple scoops of fresh cooked lentils and served it over--of all things--a baked potato. So good! In fact, we're having this for supper tonight.

Martha Stewart's team of elves usually gets things right, but sometimes they forget the humble home-maker doesn't have a team of elves to keep up with the kids and laundry and everything while she cooks all day. But this Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe is seriously easy! It has only 7 ingredients including the pumpkin, salt and broth! And it's vegan! The hardest part is cutting up and roasting the pumpkin. Not that I've tried it, but we have a pumpkin who's days are numbered! I'll let you know how it goes.

So, now you know more of what we're eating. Have you found any great recipes lately?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baby Malcolm Update

It's been a week or two since I updated you on my nephew, Malcolm. Since the last update, Malcolm has been eating and growing well. He is on some oxygen and is still in the NICCU. Part of that is to finish up a long round of antibiotics that he has to take, and partly because he sometimes has apnea episodes.

Today is one of those days, as was Thursday about 10 days ago. The episodes are unbelievably scary, and as of yet have not been connected to anything.

Our prayer for Malcolm is that the doctors find the cause of the apnea so they can treat it. Thank you for continuing to pray for Malcolm, his doctors, and his mommy and daddy.


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