Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Giant Leap for the Hodgepodge

Leapin' into the Hodgepodge today, thankful to Joyce for hosting the Leap Day party. It is fun to wake up to an extra day to enjoy. Leap over to Joyce's blog, and then visit all the others who have joined the leapin' fun.

1. The Hodgepodge falls on the last day of February this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?
I'll be leaping up to spend the morning with these two cuties. This picture was taken by their mommy when they were out for a walk on Monday, enjoying the sunshine on a mild winter day.
Their daddy and mommy are going on vacation next week, so we will get to have the little ones here at our house while they are enjoying the beach! I should be resting up for a week with a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old! Ha! I will welcome your prayers and advice as I count my sweet blessings.

2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?
Our church has learned recently that our pastor has been given a new appointment, and will be leaving us at the end of June. This is the way of our denomination, but it is really, really hard to give up a pastor we have grown to love. 
As we wrestled with our emotions and struggled to accept the upcoming change, I read this post by Ann Voskamp, telling us why it's time to get out of our comfort zone. Her beautiful words tell us that "faith gets out of the boat." 
It is in doing the hard things, that we lean in to Him, who strengthens us for the next thing.

3. We're one week into the season of Lent...are you marking these 40 days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How's it going so far?
I have given up wine and spirits, as well as dessert. I am trying to be more intentional about my daily devotions, and looking for ways to show kindness to others.

4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?
Labor Day weekend, at the lake.

Kids, grandkids, friends.... priceless.

5. Surf and Turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak), or a menu so you can select another option?
I would probably order as is, but my preference is for the steak. My brother, on the other hand, would most likely opt for the lobster. As a young teen, he was notorious for ordering whatever was offered at 'market price.'

6. If you could have any television program back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?
I miss The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson. I remember watching it with my mom when I was in high school over a bowl of ice cream. Just. So. Funny. Johnny was always up with me when I was rocking a baby to sleep or working on a late-night project. Our children have enjoyed watching old episodes on our boxed set of VHS tapes. And yes, we still have a player that can play them. They can even quote many an episode instantly.
I loved it when he had animals on the show, or children, big stars, and ordinary folks with something special to share (do you remember the potato chip lady?). I miss you Johnny!

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?
Oh, most definitely a gnat! I recently missed a church meeting, and emailed our pastor to apologize. I signed my name Susan, the forgetful. He graciously signed his response, Jimmy, the merciful. I so appreciate that. :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Recently, I experienced some internet problems when our antenna went out and I had to wait two whole weeks for a cable to be run to our house. I had to blog from my tiny little laptop using the MiFi connection. I was angry, frustrated, sad, irritated, grumpy, impatient, mad, and not very nice about my inconvenience. I may have done a little whining. It was, thankfully, fixed on Monday, and all is right with the world. Or is it?
I was watching Kathie Lee and Hoda today, and they showed a video clip of the top100 First World Problems. Made me remember that going without internet on my desktop is oh so so small in the world of problems. And I, who have been to Haiti, should be able to recognize that the problems of my life are teeny tiny compared to so much of the world.
The video is a lighthearted look at many of the things that we, as Americans, find frustrating in our first world, industrialized, sense of entitlement, lap of luxury lives. It does make you think. And be a little bit more appreciative. And a little less grumpy when my cell phone battery dies. Or my internet is compromised. Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Road to the Hodgepodge

Coming late to the Wednesday Hodgepodge party today. I am still a bit handicapped due to lack of internet. I know, I need to quit whining about it. :) Be sure to hop over and visit Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. For some reason, I couldn't get the Wednesday Hodgepodge button to work today. Probably because of the internet trouble I'm experiencing. Sheesh!

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?
My children make me proud. I am proud to be an American (where at least I know I'm free. Thank you Lee Greenwood). I am proud of my team (Who Dat! Boiler Up!).
I am kept humble when I think of how far I fall, the mistakes I make, and the most wonderful gift of God's amazing grace.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?
Our dining room table.

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?
We have visited several state parks here in Indiana. Back in my Hanover College days, we were practically next door to Clifty Falls State Park, so we visited there every now and then for a study break. Versailles State Park is also nearby, and I believe Andrew has a scar on his leg from a hike in a rocky creek bed there. McCormack's Creek State Park was the site of my high school band camp. Spring Mill State Park was included in one of our 'Indiana History' vacations. They have a working grist mill, and we purchased corn meal while we were there. We have visited several of the great state parks and historic sites here in our home state of Indiana, but not as many National Parks.

4. How would you define honor?
Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong. ~Thomas Jefferson.

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?
Devil's food for sure! My favorite recipe would be for our traditional chocolate chip upside down cake.

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?
Funny you should ask. I just returned from a road trip yesterday. I headed out on Sunday, with a good friend, to visit one of our Haitian friends who is here in the states due to a very serious illness. We headed west after church, and made the 8 hour, 533 mile drive to Kansas City, Kansas. I-70 is one flat road, all the way from Indiana to Kansas.

I think this cross was somewhere in Illinois.

We crossed a few rivers.

And we headed west right into the setting sun.
We arrived in Kansas City on Sunday night, and spent all day Monday at the hospital. More about that in number 8 below.
After we left the hospital, we headed out to find a place to have dinner. We were craving a good burger, and, well, the margaritas were on special.

It was pouring rain, but we did find some interesting places in the huge shopping complex. This was called Backfire BBQ, complete with the choppers outside.

The parking garage made sure we knew we were in Kansas.

Tuesday morning, we made the long drive home. We went right through downtown St. Louis, and passed by the Gateway Arch.

It is huge, and quite stately standing there by the river. If we had been on a more leisurely trip, we would have stopped to go up in the arch. We have done that with our family.

Crossing the river on the way home.

And just in case you happen to notice you've got a bra problem as you're travelling I-70, Ann's is just around the corner. I am sure you are glad to know that! Nothing worse than a bra problem with 200 miles to go. :)

 The large cross from the return side means we are closer to home.
Since this was not a 'just for pleasure' trip, we didn't make any stops along the way. If I am planning a vacation road trip, I usually research the route and plan our stops. I love visiting historic sites, famous restaurants, and well-known attractions as we travel, but I usually have the stops planned. So we strictly adhere to our leisurely winding route. Ha!
Snacks of choice for this trip? Dark chocolate pretzels and milk chocolate M&Ms. Chocolate is always good.

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes. The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?
I think it's just silly. The child's lunch sounds perfectly fine to me. I was never a lunch-packer myself... my kids were very mostly happy to eat the school lunches. To me, the thought of packing 5 lunches made be break out in a cold sweat. If I had packed a nice lunch like the one in the story, then been told by the lunch police that it was not acceptable, it might have sent me right over the edge. If a child comes to school without lunch, then he or she should be given one, of course, but I think 'inspecting' the packed lunches is going a bit too far.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Our road trip was to visit our Haitian friend, Sister Carmelle, who is in the US due to a very serious illness. Last week we learned she had been moved into hospice at the hospital in Kansas City.
This picture shows her holding Baby Jude, in November 2009. Jude was killed in the earthquake in January 2010.

This picture shows Sister Carmelle, along with Sister Simone, trying to get Jude to eat his dinner. The photos remind us of happier, healthier times, before the earthquake, and before Sister Carmelle got sick. She and Sister Simone are the spiritual leaders of the community, the mothers to the children in the orphanage, and the mentors to the young Sisters living with them in Fondwa, Haiti.
Won't you please pray for Sister Carmelle, for her family in Haiti, and for all those who love her during this difficult time?
There is a Haitian proverb that says, "Beyond mountains, there are mountains." God bless our friends in Haiti as they climb yet another mountain. May they feel peace. Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Phone Photo Friday

I am finishing the week with a phone photo collage. I'm still having internet issues, but I wanted to give it a try working from my small laptop. The photos are from the last few weeks. Hopefully, I will be back on my desktop soon!
InstagramCollage14 by StewMama
Champs! ~ Future Boilermaker ~ Home from school
Shadow shot ~ Silly little sister ~ It's the turtleneck
Good old dog ~ Foggy morning ~ Village Vet visit
Happy Haleigh ~ Dance practice ~ Spotted an old friend

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hail to the Hodgepodge

Hodgepodge Wednesday, so here we go! Join in to answer the questions, then link up with Joyce and check out what the others have to say.

1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?
This is a tough one for me, because I would like to meet them all.  I loved visiting Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Lincoln's Boyhood Home, which is right here in Indiana. Because he spent time in the Hoosier State, I will have to choose Lincoln. I admire his humble beginnings, his quiet dignity, his passion for equality, and the fact that he traipsed the beautiful hills of southern Indiana.

2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?
I have lots of favorites, and my choice would depend on the time and the occasion.
Because I have visited recently, I will choose The Cheesecake Factory. You definitely don't go away hungry.

3. I spied this question on the Bears at Home blog last week and she gave me permission to steal borrow it-

When you look back on your life, do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?
I am hoping I will say it was good. Having lunch with the group in #6 below would make it a certainty. :)

4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?
I like grapefruit, but given the choice, I would choose an orange, served in sections.

5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?
You may remember the last time I cleaned out a closet. I blogged about it because it was such a momentous occasion. And I still can't believe I actually posted this picture on the Internets.

And after. Not perfect, but better.

Is there a closet in my home that needs cleaning, you ask? It would be simpler to ask if there is a closet in my home that doesn't need cleaning. I belong to the school of thought that a closet should be shut and not seen.
What am I waiting for, you ask? The closet fairy, of course. I know she'll be coming along any day now.

6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?
For the purpose of my selection, I am choosing from among those still living, and I'm assuming Jesus would already be with us (you know, wherever two or more are gathered...).  I would like to have lunch with George Strait, Sandi Patty, and Drew Brees. Oh, and could I have Ree Drummond cook for us? And maybe it could be around her table. Sounds lovely.

7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?
Since I was very a little intimidated by my driver's ed teacher, Mr. G, my mom and I practiced parallel parking until I had it mastered. So I would say I'm a 10. I always wanted to say that.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I was able to spend some time yesterday with my three little Valentines.
Matthew was hard at work on his lunar module model.

Haleigh just enjoys life as a two year old.

And Ella was celebrating her nine month check up.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner with them, complete with a special Valentine dessert. <3

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hunting for a House

I have been on a little blogging break due to internet problems on my desktop computer. Yes, I still have a desktop. I also have a tiny little laptop, which I love for portability, but not so much for regular use. Anyway, I'm sorry for the silence, and here's a little update from the weekend.

I headed to Dayton on Friday morning to pick up David and Shylah from the airport to start their search for a new house. We met up with Shylah's dad, Don, had a quick lunch, and met our realtor for the first round of houses. We saw seven houses on Friday afternoon, and learned a little about the city of Dayton, and what is currently on the market for perspective home buyers.

On Saturday morning, we were joined by Jim and Jonathan to start round 2. Jonathan and David greeted each other in the chilly morning air as we started our marathon day. I think there were 15 houses to see.

This was the most interesting item we saw in the houses we toured. This was a typical 70's two story on the outside, but had been updated with a sleek, modern, hotel lobby/office feel on the inside. This guy was in the corner of the kitchen. Very interesting.

With so many houses to see, we had to stop for a lunch break. David and Shylah were trying to keep all those houses straight while enjoying their burger at Steak n Shake.

When we had toured all the houses, and our heads were swimming with updated bathrooms, loft beds, self-closing drawers, big backyards, small backyards, basements, dining rooms, and even a fleur de lis bathroom, we said goodbye to the realtor and headed out to clear our heads. Of course, the boys chose this place. There was golf on. :)

Jon was heading home after the B-dub break. He also made a stop at Golf Galaxy.

The rest of us decided to spend the evening at a movie. I'm not sure when I was last in a movie theater, but I do know that the price of a movie is a lot higher than I remember. Not to mention the popcorn! I know, I sound really old.

We saw One for the Money with Katherine Heigl. Here are Shylah and David waiting for the movie to start, with her dad in the background. I wanted to get a video or at least audio of Jim during the movie. I was afraid his little snoring interlude might disturb the other movie-goers. Yes, the movie was riveting. Haha.

I did see this poster in the lobby for an upcoming movie. I just might have to see this one. But shouldn't it be called Jon, Who Lives at Home?

I'm thinking I could really relate to this film.

And after the movie, I suggested the perfect place for dessert. Graeter's might end up being one of my favorite things about Dayton!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Love and Basketball

On Saturday, the high school held the annual Alumni Basketball Game. It is always nice for the former players to come back to the old gym for a fun day playing basketball together.

Andrew and Jonathan both participated, and they had their own little cheering section.

Haleigh watched her daddy play.

Matthew paid close attention to the game.

There's Daddy!

Matthew might be thinking about playing basketball here someday.

Or he might have been thinking about his birthday.... which is today!

Big Jon participated in the three point contest. He didn't win. Surprising, I know.

Ella took a little crawl on the gym floor.

When it was Andrew's turn for the three point contest, Haleigh was sure he needed her out there with him.
Matthew went to try to get her off the court and out of harm's way. She wasn't too happy about it.

Big Jon to the rescue, holding her so she could watch.

She had lots of fun playing at the end of the court.

And even played a little ball with her daddy.

Josh and Jon. Back on the court together. Just a bit slower with their pick n roll. :)

Jon checking back in to the game.

Matthew and some buddies enjoyed watching the game.

And smiling for the camera.

Haleigh spent some time watching Dora on the iPhone.

It was a nice afternoon taking a trip down memory lane, back to the days of being basketball parents,
and looking forward to the days and years ahead. Go Pirates!