Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Happy!

Happy Halloween to all! We've had a wonderful day so far and are looking forward to the festivities this evening!

Last night's Dubose dance (seminary prom) was super-fun and we took full advantage of a free babysitter (thanks Mom!) and a late night of dancing and free food and drinks. It was also a blast to shake our groove thing with fellow seminarians, professors and staff, and alums.

One last thing, Happy Blog-anniversary to me! I looked back the other day and it's been one year today since I started this blog. Wow, a lot can happen in a year. It's truly amazing how far we've come, and even more amazing to look ahead and see where we'll be this time next year, and the next year, and then the next year when this seminary experience is over! Phew, it's kinda overwhelming to think about so I'm gonna go join the rest of my family for a nap and recoup from last night's party to prepare for tonight's.
Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkins, Leaves, and a new friend

Well, today did not go as planned with my Quiet Day. (H) got sick last night and was still yucky this morning plus had a fever, so I stayed home with him. He did take a 4hour nap in the morning though, and *A* went to play at a friend's house until ^J^ got home, so I sort of did have a semi-quiet day.

This afternoon ^J^ raked leaves and the kids had their first jump-in-the-pile event of the season. Luckily (H) was much better after his nap, so he had fun too.

Then we carved pumpkins, *A* drew on her own face this year and I carved it out exactly the way she drew it. Hers is the one on the left.

I made pumpkin spice cookies to take as a snack for the hospitality table at the Alum house for the festivities this weekend. I made enough for us to keep some too and I added cream cheese icing as suggested on this great blog. Very yummy.

Finally, meet Sophie!

We've recently adopted her from a fellow seminarian family who was unable to keep her due to the wife's severe allergies. She is about 6 or 7 and is so laid back and sweet. She's still getting used to all of us, and we're getting used to her loud ferocious sounding bark when she sees things outside, especially deer. Gracie is so excited and ready to play, but Sophie's not too sure about her yet. I think by this weekend they'll be best buds, after they figure out who's the alpha. The problem is that they're both too laid back to care. Oh and she's good at making us clean up too since she has not such a discerning pallet (her favorite snack according to her old owners is tissues) and she likes to lay on piles of dirty laundry. Luckily we have lots of those...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Week...

is busy.
Here's a quick summary and pics, I'm tired, sorry for the lack of complete sentences.

Sunday: We went to the Atlanta Symphony for their Halloween concert, *A* and her cousins got to dress up and Gram let me go instead of Papa, so I got to see their delighted faces during the performances and when they saw costumes they recognized.

Monday: We prepared for this busy week. I made (H)'s caterpillar costume, was a baking machine for the PMO Bake Sale,
did lots of laundry, enjoyed the cold weather, and had my last Spirituality in Art class.

Today: Was Trick-or-Treating at PMO, up and down the halls of the seminary. The kids had lots of fun and (H)'s costume actually looked decent. One of the legs fell off though and I had to staple it.

Then choir rehersal, and then home for a family night of homemade pizza, a fire, and It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!, I love sharing this Halloween tradition with my kids, but I do not love that they say "stupid" so much in this is it that you don't notice these things until you have a precocious 3 year old and a toddler who repeats everything?

Coming up: The rest of this week will be celebrated through an annual event known as the DuBose Lectures. Wednesday is a Quiet Day at the local convent, and then Thursday and Friday are lectures by a renown speaker of some sort. This year it's Fred Craddock. On Thursday night there is a formal-ish dance. It's kind of the seminary homecoming, seminary alums come in just for these events. I'm looking forward to quiet tomorrow for part of the day...I'll have to get the kids after lunch so my quiet will end there, but a morning of quiet sounds nice. I think I'll bring my knitting and take full advantage of having my hands free! We heard Fred Craddock speak last year (thanks Minvielle's!) and he's really great. Also the dance will be fun, it's like seminary prom! Whoo hoo!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Walk

The campus is just hoppin' with visitors and traffic and ^J^ is busy as a bee bartending, but we managed to get out this morning for a nice long walk in the cool Fall air.
Here are some images from our walk and a collection of finds, we think we may have walnuts in our yard so we're drying them out to taste and see what's inside. Hope your Saturday is beautiful as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rainy Day Blues

It's cold, rainy and foggy. We needed to get a few groceries and I wanted to rent a movie from the library, so we headed out early. Well, the store hadn't gotten it's milk shipment yet and the library was closed for the day. Urg. Then I tried going to the university library to get a movie, but there was nowhere to park (as we are being invaded by alums for homecoming weekend). So we went home with an extra grey cloud traveling over our car. I decided to make things a little better by making homemade hot chocolate.

I also dug out the Muppets Take Manhattan and the kids loved it. Muppets, chocolate, and snuggle-time on the couch, what better way to chase the blues (and rain clouds) away? .

Since it seems most people are having the same weather today, here's the Hot Chocolate recipe. Just doing my part to brighten your day:

Homemade Hot Chocolate:
(serves 1 Mommy and 2 kids)
3-4 cups milk
3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

On the stove top, place all above ingredients in a pot, keep heat on medium and don't leave it. Whisk until all powder dissovles. Do not scald. Add a handful of chocolate chips and stir until melted. Take off heat and stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and a few chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Sweetest Thing...

This is what I found after starting a load of laundry...It was naptime and he was waiting for me on our bed to come back to lay him down, but apparently he just couldn't wait any longer.
He's been really attached to this bear from Gram (It's a super-soft Steiff all the way from the real FAO Schwarz in NYC) lately. It's so cute. *A* never has had an attachment with a particular toy, she has really liked her "pink pony" since we got it and takes it pretty much everywhere, but that's only been since this summer. I always tried to get my kids to have a cuddle toy/blanket, but they used me instead...which is fine now that they're done with all that, especially since I'm bad about forgetting things and I'm happy to avoid the responsibility of lugging something around everywhere. But I've been sad about my little (H) not being so little anymore (temper tantrums and talking in full sentences is the norm lately) and so seeing him lug around his "bee-yur" is just adorable.

Today we were walking to the car across a grassy area and he and I were holding hands not talking, but trying not to slip on acorns, and he said, "Acorns, kick, more acorns, lots." It's just amazing to me when they start thinking of things in their own mind and then are able to share that thought.

And just to prove that I have 2 perfect children, *A* woke up this morning and came in our room and ^J^ was still in bed so he said "*A*, go start the coffee", totally kidding and just being lazy and tired. She sweetly replied: "How do I make it Daddy?". She was ready and willing to help out.

They are too much.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Homecoming, Coming home

We went back "home" this weekend. ^J^ was asked to preach on Sunday and it was really nice to see everyone from Nativity. We spent a lot of time with my parents too and that was really nice.
Side note to Nativity readers: It was so good to see you all! When we drove in the parking lot, (H) yelled "church!" so even if he acted shy yesterday, he was happy to be there. I'm sure you know *A* was happy to be back although she mostly wanted to play with the Bergs boys! Thank you all for welcoming us back so nicely and we can't wait to come visit again soon!

^J^ did a wonderful job in my opinion and he got many compliments. His sermon is on his blog if you want to read it, although it was much better in person. He had everyone laughing (and even singing) at times! I came late but luckily got there just in time to hear the whole thing. Afterwards we hung out and talked to everyone. People wanted to know how it was going and I felt strange always saying, "It's great, we love it!", but it's true! We're really lucky to be here and are so grateful for all the support people have given to help us get here, and while we're here. Nativity has set up a seminarian fund and that has been amazingly helpful to have a little extra each month, especially now that our house is still on the market and we're approaching our 4th month paying 2 house payments. urrrgg.

O.k., I'm not going to stress about that now. On to more fun topics. This weekend felt like a mini-vacation. We had a babysitter Friday so we could go contra-dancing at the local american legion, we had meals cooked or bought for us, my mom and I actually got to shop, and I was so excited to go to Target! Whoo hoo! My mom found butterfly wings for *A*'s Halloween costume and part of (H)'s caterpillar costume. Then she found wings for me so I think we're going to dress up as a bug family this Halloween. ^J^ says he'll get some small colanders to put over his eyes and he'll be a fly. I think he should be the cocoon and we'll just wrap him in toilet paper.

This week we're back to our regularly scheduled lives. I'm looking forward to the weekend. It's Homecoming for the University and we're finally going to get to go to a football game. There are parties galore around and ^J^ signed up to be a bartender so hopefully he can make some money this weekend doing that. The School of Theology supplies the University with bartenders as a work-study job (hilarious right?), and we've heard the older alums tip pretty well so hopefully he'll get assigned to a good party. I signed up too, but we would need to do separate nights obviously so I'm not sure if I'll have an assignment this weekend or not.

I've borrowed my mother's digital camera so hopefully I'll be able to provide some more visual aids this week. I couldn't live without one for Halloween so she generously gave hers up for a bit. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Foggy Friday

We woke up to our 2nd foggy morning. Apparently we're lucky we haven't had very many foggy days this year, usually Fall is filled with them. Maybe that's why I still like them, they're still a novelty for me. We drove Josh to the seminary this morning so he could study for a few hours and driving the few miles back to our house was quite taxing. At times I had maybe 5 feet visibility. So I guess I should clarify, I really like the fog when I can admire it from the warmth of my living room windows but maybe not so much to drive in.

We're gearing up for a full weekend. Traveling back "home" to visit with family and friends and ^J^ was asked to preach at our home church Sunday. We're looking forward to seeing everyone there and catching up.

Next week we're back in the full swing of things. This week "off" has been nice but I didn't get nearly enough accomplished. Oh well, it'll all be there next week to tackle and I sure enjoyed having the afternoons with everyone together even if it was spent napping.

Happy weekend to all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

10 Things I'm Loving Right Now...

Many of my favorite bloggers do this periodically so here goes:

1.) This week. ^J^ is home more and the kids have been really good all week. *A* woke up from her nap yesterday and said "I got manners now Mommy!". Like the manners fairy came to visit her in her sleep. We had so much freetime today and usually Wednesdays are so busy. We filled our extra morning time with Wal-Mart, but at least we had time to roam around and look at the "scary stuff" as *A* calls it for Halloween, pick out pants for ^J^, and grocery shop.

2.) Yoga. I'm really trying to start doing it everyday again. I'm too young to feel this old.

3.) This book. I've had it since last Christmas, but never picked it up. It's really good so far.

4.) This recipe for banana bread, I'm trying it out today.

5.) Knitting socks. It's harder than anything I've ever knit but I'm staying motivated because I'm so excited to put my feet inside them and show them off. The yarn I have is so fun and colorful, sorry I'm not able to share a picture.

6.) The smell of Fall. Eventhough it's still in the low 80's, Fall smells are all around. Decaying leaves, burning wood, pumpkin bread baking. Leaving Wal-Mart today I could smell wood burning, it caused such a shift in my mood. I can't wait to have a fire. I think it's going to get in the low 40's here one night this week. Whoo hoo!

7.) Unpacking the rest of our boxes.

8.) Feeling like I am settled, and the hope of future crafty plans like things from this blog.

9.) The excitement about the election. We're having a debate party tonight. We had to cancel with some other friends who we invited to a Project Runway finale party, but we found out they were on the same night at the same time. Not smart Bravo. Anywho, I hope tonight is a good one. I just recently watched the SNL clips with Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin and laughed SO hard. Hilarious! I especially like this one...

10.) When all 4 of us take naps in the right now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Yum, Yum

Here's our dinner tonight...I know most of you probably don't care about recipes but I need a place to put things I've created so they don't get lost and maybe someone out there might actually use something I made. It's nothing fancy, just dump it in and let it cook but I tend to forget simple things like this. Enjoy!

Chicken Taco Soup
2 T Olive Oil
1 Med. Onion
1/2 cup pepper (we only had red but green would probably be better)
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 medium chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 package taco seasoning
lime juice
sharp cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour Cream

In a stockpot/dutchoven, simmer onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil until translucent, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add taco seasoning, tomatoes, beans, corn and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add diced chicken, simmer 20 minutes. Add lime juice, stir. Dish out tortilla chips into bowls, top with soup. Top soup with what you like: shredded cheese, sour cream, more chips, cilantro, etc...


Homebody Loves Me

I'm looking forward to being more of a homebody this week. It's "reading week", i.e. catch up week for the seminarians so ^J^ doesn't have classes but he's trying to get a lot of work done ahead of time. Things are still open at the seminary, it's just a lot less. We don't have choir or community worship or lunch, but we do have PMO. So he and I will both be around home a little more and I have lofty goals. (H)'s room and the "study" are at the top of the list to get organized. Organizing clothes and donating things we don't need is also a must. The list goes on, but I won't bore you with those details. We made communion bread today and actually made more than they needed, so we were able to have a slice for lunch, yum.
I need to get back to folding laundry but I want to comment on this wedding I went to this weekend. Our friends blended their beliefs (Jewish and Quaker) beautifully. And, although I am all for non-traditional wedding stuff (we even incorporated some of that into ours) this was the most unique wedding I'd ever been to. They held it at a state park in a group camp complete with communal meals in the dining hall and games of kickball on the field. From the Mardi Gras-esque parade with streamers and noise-makers, to the 'Jewqua' ceremony (a little glass breaking here, a little quiet reflection there), to the Moon Bounce, it was fun and relaxation for all ages. The cabins on site were "rustic" with 4 beds on a concrete floor but they were so CUTE, they looked like little hobbit houses and our kids thought they were the greatest. *A* especially loved that she could sleep in her sleeping bag and insisted on opening up all the windows by herself. We could hear the wind blowing in the trees all night and I actually slept really well despite the scorpion encounter on my last trek to the bathroom.
The food was incredible! It was from this place in Atlanta called Sun in my Belly and the cake was cupcakes from somewhere in VaHighlands. Then we had brunch the next morning: French toast from Challah bread, mimosas, fruit salad, bagels and lox with capers, purple onion and tomato. Oh my gosh, we pigged out.

Unfortunately I have no pictures to share...I think my camera has finally bit the dust. There were so many things I wanted to capture but sadly I'll just have to rely on my memory. If anyone has a digital camera lying around you never use, I'll take it! :) Or if you've seen a good deal on one, let me know.
Wishing you, and me, a good and productive week!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Under the Weather

What a strange phrase, under the weather, I'd like to know the word origin of that one. I'm sure I could google it but I am in fact under the weather so I can't do to much without my head feeling like it's going to pound right out of my head. ^J^ and *A* have had this strange virus this week: fever, headache (or as *A* told me when it started, "Mommy, I have a bad feeling in my head"), and achy but nothing else. No runny nose, no sore throat, etc. *A*'s was gone in a day and a half and ^J^'s lingered a day or so longer so at least I know it won't be here long. It really is the strangest cold. When I move my head my brain feels like it is moving around in there and it hurts so bad I have to hold my head and stand still to get it to stop. So I'm camped out on the couch. I grabbed a box of graham crackers and peanut butter in case the kids and I get hungry and we're watching Sesame Street. Such a good show. Why can't all kids shows be this respectful of children? I could really go off on my soapbox here, but since I'm wiped out I'll spare you my issues with Dora and Caillou among others. We have a full weekend but I'm not sure how much we'll be doing, it all depends on how quickly this cold decides to leave. Today there is a "meeting" with the Dean that is mandatory for juniors and their families. It's a little cryptic and strange because we haven't been given much info but luckily I know the reason for that. ^J^ does not however, so I'll have to leave it at that until we've gone and more has been revealed. Intriguing no?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Safety First!

In honor of fire safety week, the kids' PMO had the campus firetruck and firefighters come for a visit.
You can imagine the excitement when that big red truck pulled up and the kids were lined up with their very own firehats. The firefighters are undergrads who have agreed to be volunteer firefighters and have EMT training as well. They work in shifts just like regular firefighters and cover the 13,000 acres owned by the university. They were great with the kids and told them all about their uniforms and the truck.
One of them suited up in full gear to show the kids what it would look like, and explained that if they ever saw this in their home to run toward them and not be scared. I have to say that the full suit and mask are a little intimidating. I'm glad they tell kids this though and have these outreach visits so kids can get used to seeing them all suited up. (H) was very scared by the "guy" as he says, and he ducked behind my legs until he de-suited. He wouldn't sit in the truck but wasn't scared by the siren or horn.
*A* loved it all of course and did everything except honk the horn, that was a little too loud for her. She was fascinated by the truck driving away and wouldn't come inside until they were gone and she had waved goodbye.

Monday, October 6, 2008

There was an Old Woman who lived in a shoe...

I don't really live in a shoe but I do have so many children I don't know what to do. Last night a friend who has a 3 month old called to see if I was free to watch her daughter for a few hours this morning. I have extra hands this week since a friend from our old school is visiting, so I said "Sure, bring her on!". I have her in the PMO nursery and she's a really sweet, easy baby. Then no more than 15 minutes later, another friend called and she needed time this morning to finish her paper so she asked if her 3 yo daughter could come play for a few hours. I figured, why not? Her daughter and *A* get along well so they can pretty much entertain themselves. So we are a house of 6 this morning and I'm learing what it would be like to have 5 kids aged 14, 3.5, 3.5, 20 months, and 3 months. The amazing thing is that some people actually have this situation (if they had twins). It's manageable, but I only have them one day for 4 hours. I'm not sure if I'd be so sane if they were really my kids. All this to say, that it is pretty amazing to live in a community where you can call up someone you've only known for a couple of months and ask them to watch your child and know that they will do it happily, well, and with open-arms.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yay October!

If I had to choose, I'd say October is my favorite month. I LOVE the weather and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have always loved dressing up and the idea of trick-or-treating is so old-fashioned and fun to me. As a kid, it was the only time we were allowed outside after dark to roam around the neighborhood by ourselves. I loved coming home and counting and sorting (and eating) my candy while watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Last year we went to this really amazing Halloween party. The entire house was insanely decorated and they had a haunted trail in their backyard. I do not enjoy being scared, although I did work in a few haunted houses in high school (I guess I can dish it out but can't take it), but I like all of what Halloween is about. I hope to one day have an annual Halloween party as grand as the one we went to last year, but I think I need a few more years to accumulate stuff, more money, and older children.
I'm excited about what Halloween will be like up here. There is a neighborhood where most of the seminarians live called the Woodlands with lots of houses and duplexes and apparently everyone goes there to trick-or-treat. *A* can't make up her mind about what she wants to be. We had this same problem last year. She loves to look at the costumes in various catalogs and I think that's choice overload for her so she gives up. I'm trying to convince her we need to be something as a family. She has a Cinderella costume so we could all be characters from that story, but my favorite idea is for all of us to be Wizard of Oz people. She could be a blond Dorothy, I could be a witch, daddy could be the scarecrow and (H) could be a munchkin! Can't you just see him as one of the lollipop guild with his hair parted and his suspenders?! HA! *A*'s not convinced yet, and I've only got a few more weeks to work on her.
We got our few Halloween decorations down from the attic and decorated the house yesterday and the kids immediately started "playing" Trick-or-Treat. I was instructed to stand at the door and hand out rocks as candy while they rang the doorbell and shouted "tick-or-teat". Once they got tired of this game (or rather Mommy did), they had a marathon sliding event...

Too fun! What do you like about October?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Election Fever!

I've been hit with election fever lately. We had a debate party last week, I just ordered candidate paraphernalia, I've researched absentee voting, and with the election now just over one month away, I'm starting to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It's hard to believe this historical election will soon be here and we will have someone new running our country. I am just so excited about the possibilities of this election. No matter what happens, it will be exciting and historic, and I am so glad to be able to be a part of it all.

If you are not already registered to vote, please go out and do it now, for no other reason than just to be a part of history. Also, I urge you to listen with an open-mind and open-heart to the candidates, watch the debates, and vote with our country's best interest at heart and remember all the kinds of people who live in this country who will be affected by this election. I've never understood this notion of sticking with one party or another just because that's what your father and his father, yadda, yadda have always done. Vote for who YOU like and who YOU think will do the best job. I think the past administration has shown us that being a democrat or a republican means very little considering their roles seem to have switched, and that the republicans are ready for a change from their own party (can someone explain to me what that's all about?! Nevermind, I think I know).

I'm stepping off my soapbox now, but I feel the need to share my hope and excitement about this election. I've been very good and P.C. here, but I could easily swayed to voice my opinion more, any comments are welcome and appreciated.