Catching Up

So much has been going on the last couple of months, and this new blogging hobby of mine is the first thing to go when things get busy. That really stinks. I really like it when I have those 12 hits a day on my blog and when I’m not writing anything, people stop checking. I do not plan on making lofty promises of diligence in blogging because I think life is still going a little too crazy. But keep checking back and you might find little nuggets of amazingness. You’d think that between the time spent playing spider solitaire and watching Bachelor Pad, I’d find time to do important things like blog and order homeschool curriculum.

I like lists, so here’s a list of what we’ve been up to. You could call it a review of our life in July and August.

  • Resigned from our current job
  • Saw Wicked with friends
  • Celebrated the boy’s adoption day
  • Enjoyed visits from family and friends
  • Packed our apartment
  • Went to Memphis on a mission trip
  • Stayed at my parents almost every weekend because our air kept breaking at our packed up apartment
  • Found a new job and occupation
  • Traveled to see Matt’s family in Michigan…had a blast!
  • Finished packing up our hot apartment
  • Moved in with my parents
  • Put most of our stuff in storage for the next couple of months
  • A beam fell on my head at our storage unit
  • I kept telling my family I had a concussion. They didn’t believe me. My dad got hit by the same beam, but he’s bald so everyone could see his bruise. I couldn’t show proof, so no one cared.
  • Sent Matt to Texas to work on our house there….Please sell it soon, God. Please.
  • Began playing spider solitaire again after a 3 year hiatus
  • Watched Bachelor Pad and lost 2 hours of my life

So there you have it. Plenty of excuses why this has not been first and foremost lately. Not to mention those three crazy kids I have that keep me hopping all day long. My plan for the next couple of months is to lay around and blog while my mom does all the work taking care of those little devils.

I plan on hog-tying my love while we are on vacation next week until he helps me get a better design on this little blog. I need all kinds of help with it.

Here are a few pics of things we’ve done the last 2 months.

We went to see Wicked with friends!

Hannah came to visit and we went to the Botanical Gardens

Grandma kept everyone company when they needed a break from the water at Lake Michigan.

Swings in Michigan

Matt forgot his own hat and sunglasses, so he made do.

I’m planning a heavy post in the next few days. God’s been teaching me some hard lessons, and I want to share.

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Recipe Central

I like to pretend that I’m a planner and make a menu for dinner for our family each week. This helps me make a comprehensive grocery list and keeps me from having to run to the store with 3 kids. Since I absolutely refuse to do that in order to keep all 4 of us from all of the sins that would surely occur, menus work for me. I’ve found some of my most favorite recipes on Tasty Kitchen lately. If you become a member (which is free), you can create a recipe box and save recipes that you like. Our printer isn’t hooked up right now so I appreciate that feature.
As I won’t be cooking much in the coming weeks due to 3 trips and a move, I hope some other people can visit this site to keep it going, cause you know the Pioneer Woman needs more readers. Ha!
Do any of you have a favorite place you go to for recipes or menu planning? Or maybe a favorite recipe from Tasty Kitchen if you’ve already discovered it?
Have a great weekend!

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Games

My husband is the fun one in our relationship. He’s spent the last 7 years planning for, preaching to, hanging out with, and loving teenagers. Before that he was a teenager. If it were up to me, we’d stay home eating ice cream and watching reality tv all the time. However, he has brought out the social butterfly in me, so that now I’m always begging to have people over or go somewhere. Part of that’s because if I don’t get out of this dag-blamed house, I might go a little crazy. Part of it’s because he’s taught me how to let loose and have a little fun. I love that man! Let me tell you a little bit about one way Matt is lots of fun.

In the last several years, we’ve gone on a journey at his insistence. A very costly journey. A journey that has brought hours of fun into our lives. A journey of games. These aren’t just any games. We were introduced to some games that you can’t run to Target and buy. Oh no. You have to go to specialty stores in the farthest away malls or order them online. Come along on this journey with me for just a moment.

The first game we bought that fits into this category was Settlers of Catan. The rules, the cost, the tiny wooden pieces, and the hours of fun commenced.

Looks like fun, huh? That’s me concentrating on how to dominate all of those boys at the table. The best way to describe it is that it’s kind of a cross between Monopoly and Risk. It takes about 45 minutes to explain the rules and over an hour to play one game. It’s awesome! Here’s the unfortunate thing. The regular set only allows 4 people to play. But there is an expansion set that you can buy that allows 2 more people to play. I bet we’ve taught 100 people to play this game. Seriously. Then, after you’ve spent all of that money, you learn that there’s a game that can be played using all of the same pieces and rules with some additional pieces and rules. It’s called Cities and Knights. This is the one that I love. Regular Settler’s (that’s what we experts call it) is just boring after playing the expanded version. I’m pretty good at both if I must say so myself. My husband and one true love wins more often because he is more ruthless (read: evil) than me. Oh, there’s also another version called Seafarer’s. I hate this version and won’t ever let us play it.

Quick thought: We played all of these games I am sharing with you all of the time before kids. Now, not so much.

Another quick thought: The whole purpose of this post is to tell you about our most recent favorite game. I’m trying to get to that part. I just want you to have all of the background information. Because I’m just that nice. You’re welcome.

So the next game we found is called Carcassonne. It’s also tile-based, but much simpler to explain and play. It can take as little as 30 minutes to complete a game. This was kind of a bump in the road on our journey to bigger and better games. It’s fun, just not as fun as some others. Between Settler’s and this game, we enjoyed many fun game nights. No more Taboo, Spades, Scattergories, or Guesstures. But then we became parents. All fun came to a screeching halt. Two little boys began to fill our nights and weekends. Fast-forward through one year, one surprise pregnancy, and one little girl being born, and we come to our next game.

Puerto Rico. My sweet baby girl was 2 weeks old. It was Christmas. All of my in-law’s were in town to celebrate and meet Lucy. They brought us this new game. It too provided hours of entertainment after kids were in bed. More tiny cardboard and wooden pieces, more rules, and more strategy. Oh, and more temper tantrums when I won more games sitting at the table nursing a baby than anyone else. I always tell the competitive people that I play with that I win because I don’t care. It’s true.

I don’t have a picture of us playing Puerto Rico, but here’s a picture of Uncle Nate sleeping after playing until 3 in the morning. No joke. I went to bed on those nights. I did have a newborn after all. Sleep was important.

So, we’ve finally arrived at the main point of this saga. Our latest game love. It’s a little game called Ticket to Ride. In this game I am able to dominate the world. Literally. There are several different versions. Between our families, we have the USA, Europe, and Germany versions. And no one can beat me. This game is perfect for how my brain works. You build trains all over the country or continent that is mapped on the board. The person with the most points at the end wins. I always have the most points. My husband is trying to talk me into a league where the winners win money. I think he wants me to start earning my keep. One night a few weeks ago, I was going about my bedtime routine. As I was sitting in bed drinking my last drink of water and applying my last coat of chapstick, I turned out my lamp and rolled over. Unnoticed by me, Matt had been setting up the board the entire time IN OUR BED. How did I not notice this? This was back when he thought he could beat me. But that’s how much we love this game! It takes about 10-15 minutes to explain and 40-60 minutes to play. Only 5 people can play at a time. I highly recommend either going out and buying it right this instant or calling us and asking if you can come over and play. We won’t make you play in our bed. I’ll try to go easy on you.

Maybe.

Off to dominate the mounds of laundry,

Rebecca

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Baseball…A Review

Ask me if any of our children will be playing little league baseball again. Go ahead. Ask me. Wanna know the answer?? It’s a big, fat, resounding, “NO!” I’ll probably eat my words one day, but I will use all of my powers of persuasion as a parent and woman to convince my kids that baseball is not the sport for them.

We were so excited to sign our oldest up to play a sport. Any sport. It really didn’t matter to us. Both of our boys are naturally athletic. You should see Kenny’s calves.  They get that from me. In the future I don’t need to be in charge of sporting decisions for our kids. It’s simply not wise. This was my idea. I take full responsibility. Way back in January I started asking my love what sport Kenny should play. He didn’t have much of an opinion at the time. We wanted the playing fee to be his birthday gift. In February, they do baseball sign-ups. We I wanted immediate gratification. I didn’t want to wait for soccer sign-ups. So I blindly went to the registration night. Three checks totaling $260 later, he was signed up. The hidden fees get you every time. To play cost $80. Raffle tickets cost $30. And we had to write a check for $150 that they saved until we showed up to work a 4 hour shift in the concession stand one time during the season. I, of course, forgot to sell the raffle tickets, so I didn’t get any of that money back. I did work in the concession stand just last week. Let me tell you that it was the most exciting thing I’ve done in months! I love food service. It was my bread and butter for so many years. I almost asked the lady in charge if I could work every night. I think I need to get out more…without my kids.

Fast forward 3 months. It’s our first game. He looks so handsome in his baseball get-up!

About 30 minutes into it a shift begins to happen in the players on the field. They start kicking a lot of dirt around. Some kids are even climbing on the back fence. They spend more time asking their parents for money for the concession stand than playing the game. So I lean over to a parent and say, “Do you know how many innings they play?” She said, “Oh, they don’t play innings. They play for AN HOUR AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES.” Oh my goodness. I honestly didn’t think we would survive that first game. But we did. I realize that kids need to start somewhere. But do they really need to play longer than major leaguers play?

Here are some examples of why we feel like Kenny won’t be headed to the big leagues anytime soon.

This is the most excited he got at any game.

This is him running home! Yeah! Except that he didn’t actually start running from third base until his teammate was on the bag pushing him off and telling him to run home. He couldn’t hear the tens of people hollering at him to run home. This happened almost every time. This is him batting. If that was all baseball was, we would totally be playing again. He’s really good at it! And he definitely got better as the season went on.

I wish I had a picture of the final two reasons that we have stricken the word baseball from our vocabulary, but I don’t. You’ll just have to use your imagination. We’ve had several horrible coach experiences this season. These dads are trying to fulfill their dreams of playing for the Cardinals through their 5 year old sons or something like that. We had a fantastic coach and I didn’t even know to be thankful for him until I observed the other team coach at our last game. This guy made his own kid cry from screaming at him out on the field, threw his hat on the ground, cussed, kicked the fence, and berated multiple kids on the team when they let the ball go past them. It was awful.  Seeing daddies rail into their little boys like that breaks my heart. I just know that doesn’t happen in soccer. Right?? Ignorance is bliss, so don’t ruin it for me, ok?

At our last game Friday night, Kenny had his most embarrassing moment in his short life. It might be one of our most embarrassing moments as parents. His team was batting. They’re doing great. He’s on 2nd base. He did run before the other person got there this time. Way to go, Ken! His little buddy hits the ball. It flies right past 2nd base into the outfield. Kenneth starts running. But not towards 3rd base. Oh, no. He runs after the ball. He just wanted to help the other team get the ball. He was so intent he didn’t hear all the yelling to run to 3rd. He gets the ball and throws it right to the pitcher. He’s such a team player! What’s that you say? That’s not the definition of team player? Well, he’s a good sport then. His heart just wasn’t in learning how to play. And our heart wasn’t in teaching him to love it. We’ll try something new in the fall. Like soccer. Where they can run the whole time. And coaches don’t yell and scream and kick fences. There are no fences in soccer. Where they eat orange slices and wear shin-guards and it’s always okay to chase the ball.

Soccer, here we come!!

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Who am I?

This is me. Me with my love. This picture was taken as we were leaving one chapter and beginning a new chapter in our life. Those times are always so bittersweet. Let me tell you a little about myself. A brief REVIEW of my life you could say.

I grew up with my awesome parents,

my pesky brother who believes in hitting sisters,

Jonathan with the elusive Michael (aka:Wilson)

and my adorable sister that I finally decided to like about 10 years ago. I’m not sure what took me so long. She’s so cool!

Getting ready to jump off the bridge at Victoria Falls

We lived in semi-small town Missouri where my dad worked at lots of different restaurants. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean?” My dad said that to me every time that I went to work at this little barbeque joint all through high school. Don’t worry, I’ll review that place some day! You’ll want to move to Missouri, or at least drop in for a visit!

Where was I? Oh yes. I grew up in MO. I went to college at a small baptist school on the other side of the state. I graduated woohoo cum laude, meaning, “I’m just so glad I finished!” My degree was education. But I was really looking for that other degree. You know the one. It’s the one that most girls go to small bible schools for. That’s right. I just wanted to get married and have babies and let my husband do all the hard work! Ha! The good ol’ MRS degree. God saw fit to match his plans with mine and I was engaged to my one true love one month before graduation! This is a broad strokes life story. I’ll catch some of the details, like our little love story another time. Maybe I’ll be cool like the Pioneer Woman and do it one chapter at a time. I will say that if it weren’t for my pesky brother Jonathan, I would never have met Matt. He is good for something after all!

After we got married, we moved to the hot country of Texas for seminary. If you ever move there, know which colleges are in which towns or they’ll wring your neck. That’s for your own safety. Who knew? He went to school one year full-time and then scaled down to part-time with a full-time youth pastor job. Four years, three kids, two houses, and one degree later, we moved back to the great state of Missouri. We’ve been back for exactly one year.

I stay home with our kids. We embarked on homeschooling last year. You can read about that decision on my old, seldom updated, blog here.  I’d cuddle my sweet baby girl all day long if she’d let me. Wouldn’t you want to cuddle that face??

Any night I have free I either go shopping, get a pedicure, or sit and read a book. Any time we go on dates (isn’t it about time for one of those, sweetie?), we go out to eat, to a movie, or to a bookstore to sit and read books. Or a combination of all three. We’re all about variety around here!

I’m so excited to start reviewing some things next week. I’ve gotta start getting some of these opinions off my chest!

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What am I getting myself into?

I’ve been wanting to be a regular blogger for a while now. I’m not sure what’s been holding me up. Well, there are a lot of things, like time and such. Anyway, I stalk enough blogs now that I figure if I’m interested in these strangers lives, someone might be interested in mine. The fact is, I need an outlet. I spend my days keeping 3 kids out of trouble and have a severe lack of adult conversation. I go to bed sometimes and realize I haven’t had a single worthwhile thought in my head all day. It’s just been about surviving. However, I’m starting to see that I need worthwhile thoughts to survive the life I lead of a stay-at-home mom, in a tiny apartment, married to a pastor, with a tendency to lose myself in books pointless fiction novels with the same plots in my free time rather than sitting around having deep conversations that get my brain juices flowing. But, I know my weaknesses. I know what I am capable or incapable of.

I sat last night and poured out my feelings to my sympathetic husband. He said, “You need to write. Start a blog.” Now, I’m not known for my fancy writing skills and have never had aspirations to be a writer. I quickly whined replied, “I don’t have anything to write about.” Too which he said, “Yeah, you do. Write about books you read, our kids, the Bible, our life, anything.” That inspired me. He always knows how to do that. I’m not an expert at anything. I don’t have a creative bone in my body (hence the uninspired blog design for now). However, I tend to have opinions. A lot of them. It must be the first-born in me. So, on this here blog, I will review things. I have a plan for each week day which will help me be consistent. Even if no one but my mom (Hi!) ever reads this, it will be a chance for me to keep my sanity by thinking about something besides what our next meal is going to be. Through the course of reviewing different things, bits and pieces of our life will show up. I don’t like looking at blogs that don’t have pictures, so I will do my best with my point and shoot digital to include photos of what we are up to. What do you think? Huh, huh, huh? I’m kind of getting excited. In the future I plan to review books, toys, recipes, websites, products, clothes, church stuff, our life, and anything else that I darn well please!

I really hope that this is helpful and fun to read and ultimately that it helps me keep my sanity!

Here’s a picture of 2/3 of my kids for your enjoyment! The other third hates having his picture taken. He’s kind of like Wilson on Home Improvement. Even we don’t know what he really looks like!

Our favorite toy!

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