Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Sweet Jonalyn

This is a little glimpse of how sweet our Jonalyn is and how nothing will stop her love for people.

Friday night I put two pretty sick little girls to bed. Alyssa made it to bed first, while I finished brushing Jonalyn's teeth. Jonalyn started on her way to bed, but stopped when she got to her sister's bed. With her cheeks flaming red from fever and her voice hoarse from coughing, she leaned over, hugged Alyssa, and said, "Night-night Issa. I lub you."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bugs All Over

Germ bugs, that is. Brian has the flu. Yesterday, Alyssa didn't look good, but insisted she felt fine, so she went to school. By the time I picked her up, she was sick. I didn't feel so well starting yesterday afternoon. Jonalyn was pretty good when I picked her up and put her down for a nap, but when she woke up, she started to cry. I held her and could feel the heat from her little body. Doug came home from work saying he didn't feel well. Yup, if you're keeping track, that's all five of us, sick with the flu.

I will post pictures of my kitchen soon - I promise. We are so busy and now sick. The tile backsplash is on and looks beautiful! I have a sink & toilet, but no dishwasher :( The floors are done and look great. Hopefully by the end of next week, we'll be done with the entire project.

And I sent in my manuscript for "Under His Wings" in A Log Cabin Christmas. It's available on Amazon for pre-order. Here's the cover:

Isn't it pretty? I'm so excited about it!! I didn't think my name would be on the front cover, but it is. Now that's cool!!!! So pre-order your copy and tell all your friends about it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One of Those Days

And yes, it's bad when I say that at 9:45 in the morning LOL! Thanks, Felicity, for your comment. I saw they had the sink with them as I hurried out the door to pick up the kids from school. Only glanced at it. I saw they had put it in as I drop off Brian & Jonalyn and flew out the door to take Alyssa to piano. Doug came home just before me and noticed the wrong sink. So, I could have/should have noticed it, but I'm just a woman. Poor Doug - I've been calling him several times a day to ask him questions. Each night he leaves me a lengthy note. He really should have taken this week off of work :) Cause I'm just a woman - what do I know. (BTW, yes, he was shocked to find out our plumber is a woman!!)

Sabrina - I can live with the sink. Maybe I'll even end up liking it. It's just so frustrating because we took a lot of time to find the sink we wanted and because we're paying our contractor the big bucks to make sure these things don't happen. It shouldn't be my job to police them. Sigh. It always is, though.

Well, today Brian is home with a 102.4 fever, so we're off to the doc in a few minutes. When he didn't fight me about taking medicine or going to the doctor, I KNEW he was sick. I have the contractor here (no - I still have to police him, too!), the plumber and the floor guys. My floor will be finished today, and I'll have a sink, a dishwasher, and a toilet. Yippee! Life should start slowly returning to normal. But I feel a St*r bucks in my future :)

I'll post pictures when I get a chance. Gotta run.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kitchen Construction

Construction is under way for our new kitchen. The hardwood floors are about 1/3 of the way complete. They are GORGEOUS, if I do say so myself. The counter tops are all on, except for the island. That goes on Thursday. LOVE them.

But all is not peachy. They put in the wrong sink. No, I should say the company we ordered the sink from sent the wrong sink. It's listed incorrectly on their website. They'll give us a $28 refund. That's it, because the sink is now used. I'm stuck with it, because to correct this mistake would costs thousands of dollars because the counter tops would need to be redone to fit the size of the correct sink. It's not that I can't live with it, but it's so frustrating. You have to watch these guys every second. I caught them almost making another mistake this morning.

I need a massage.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Research

One of my new year's resolutions was to be more faithful about blogging. You can see how that one is going LOL! Being knee deep in book deadlines (one contracted, one requested full that I have a self-imposed deadline on, another proposal that has to get out the door so we can strike with the iron is hot), a kitchen remodel (right now, we're in a holding pattern - if everything works out, almost all of the contractors will be here on the same day), having sick children and a sick computer, and just trying to keep the house running in general, I've been swamped.

This week I've been concentrating on research for my WWII book. I'm being meticulous because I don't want readers to come back to me and tell me I got some fact or another wrong. But it's hard. I've struck out finding the weather in the Netherlands in February of 1945. I'm assuming it's because they were occupied at that time and records simply don't exist. Hence, I have to be careful when referring to the weather. I've also had a solve a dilemma - why was my cousin not in hiding in April of 1945 when most men his age were? Didn't he run the risk of being shipped to work in Germany or along the front in Holland? It took me all day, but I found the answer. You'll have to read the book to find out :)

So, I'll try to be more faithful, even if it's just short snippets. But if I'm gone for a while, please send someone to dig me out from under the pile of laundry!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kitchen Lights

So, today we went and picked up the pendant lights for over our island and bought a light for over our kitchen table. We unpacked the pendant light and went in search of something that would look good with it. I had one I liked & Doug had one he liked. Never the twain shall meet LOL! So, we found someone to help us. We didn't tell him what we had in mind, just asked for suggestions. If he didn't go over to the light Doug liked. Guess which one we got?

These are the pendant lights over the island. It's a small island, so we just got two.

This is the light for over the kitchen table. This picture shows three lights but ours has five. I hope the designer knew what he was talking about!

The place we went for the lights is fun. It's crowded with people and cluttered with lights. They have free popcorn, a treasure box that kids who behave can pick a prize from, each kid gets a million dollar bill, and there are antiques and collectibles strewn all over the place. All in all, a pretty good trip.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jonalyn's IEP

Yesterday we had Jonalyn's annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting. Her special ed teacher, classroom teacher, favorite aide, and all her therapists were there. All raved about the progress she's made this year. One thing that has helped is that her attention span has increased and she is so eager to learn. This helps so much and is why she has made such nice gains this year. I think part of it is because she is maturing (remember, she is almost 8 1/2) and because she is really, really settled and attached now.

They have been doing a couple of new multi-sensory programs with her this year with nice success, so this will continue and they will look for others. It's important to keep the learning fresh and fun for Jonalyn. She does learn well through music and play. She loves to play Uno and Go Fish. Hmmm, if we could just teach her how to play poker...

So, the bottom line is that they are increasing all of her services, which is something we've wanted for a while. They (and we) will continue on working to make her independent. For instance, we are going to try to wean her off of having an aide meet her at the door in the morning when I drop her off. And she will be given little errands to do within the school. We'll see how this goes.

All in all, this is the best I've felt about an IEP meeting so far. We're happy with the direction her education is taking and the obvious love they have for Jonalyn is encouraging. As always, I'll keep you updated on how she does. Thank you all for your prayers for Jonalyn over the years.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An INCREDIBLE Day

Yesterday I went to interview three men for my WWII book with the working title "Snow on the Tulips". It's the one set in the Netherlands. My dad went with me because I am so stinking shy I could have never done it on my own. He was a great support and terrific help.

First I interviewed two men who were in their late teens and early twenties during the war. They had to hide for the last three years of the war because the Germans rounded up all men over 18 to go to work in Germany. The Allies were bombing German factories and too many Germans were being killed. Dutch men were expendable. Germans came to each of their homes looking for men that age. One had a hiding place in the hay mow in the barn, the other had a small hidden closet in one house he hid at and a hole in the ground under the front room in another house. The rats kept him company down there. They subsisted on potatoes, turnips and carrots. One man lived on a farm (or far-um, as they say with their accent, just like my grandmother :) so they had some milk and some meat, but the Germans took much of what they produced.

The men, though both in their upper 80's, were so willing to share their stories. I appreciate that because I know it couldn't have been easy. At one point, one of them shared about someone he lost during the war. He told a little, then said he couldn't say any more about it. What they had to endure was awful. And this same man had just put his wife in a nursing home that morning. Amazing that he came, but he said she needed her rest and he wanted me to know his story. And I feel it's so important that I do. And that I share it with the world.

I then went to visit another man who lived in the same area during the war. He was 10 when it started and 15 when it ended, but he had vivid memories and was also able to give me some important information. He remembers Allied planes dropping guns for the Resistance. He remembers the Germans coming to his home looking for any boys who were of age. And he remembers little details like the fact that yes, they did wear klompen (wooden shoes) during the war. He speaks so fondly of his native country.

Conditions in the last year of the war were horrible. People were rounded up all over the place. The Nazis confiscated everything, cleaning out businesses, shops and factories, leaving the country desolate and poverty stricken. And yet these men could praise God for his mercy and provision for them. I stand in awe of them.

Two of the men I visited with were from Friesland, a province in the northern part of the Netherlands. They have their own language, Fries. It's similar to German and to English. My grandparents were from Friesland, having immigrated in 1927 and their native language was Fries. My father doesn't speak it, but he understands it. When the first man spoke Fries to him, he started to cry. He hasn't heard the language in almost 23 years, since my grandmother died. I'm so glad I was able to give him that gift. I have to admit, I cried when I heard the men's accents. It was like listening to my grandparents all over. Such a sentimental journey.

Even if this book never gets published (and please pray that it does), I have learned so much about my culture, my heritage, and the indomitable spirit of people of faith that writing the book has been worth it. Now, off to edit and incorporate some of what I learned yesterday.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Has It Been That Long??

Wow, I have fallen behind. Between my kitchen being torn up and my looming book deadline, time has been short. So I'll try to catch up quickly here. Our holidays in pictures, starting with Doug's birthday. It's on December 25, but we celebrated it at my parents' house on the 24th.



Yes, I'm sure it was Doug's birthday! He just had a very excited little helper :) She is slowly getting what Christmas entails. She was so excited for the tree, and the cookies, but cake and presents are the best. It was so fun to watch her this year as she truly enjoyed the holiday and got into the spirit. Her fourth Christmas home was the best by far.

Christmas morning.
Jonalyn fell in love with buffaloes in Wyoming, so she got a stuffed buffalo.

Look at all the American Girl stuff Alyssa got. It's so cool!


What a great picture! He's very photogenic.


That's a ricer I'm holding up. Works pretty good.
My parents. I don't remember what they're opening here. Don't they look excited!!


Even the cat got in on the action.

With Great-grandma.
We had a Rose Bowl party on New Year's Day. I had fun making this cake.

Alyssa made the goal posts.

One of the friends we had over brought this. Her 13 year old daughter made this.


The whole gang watching the game. Too bad the Badgers lost :(


I got a tapas cookbook for Christmas and tried out the crab tartletts from it. Yummy! I have to make more from that book. All in all, it was a wonderful, fun day.

I think that catches me up. I'll post pictures from our kitchen redo as we go along here. Our floors will be installed starting on the 17th. We're doing the demo work ourselves, so that's fun. My kitchen is slowly moving to the basement and I'll be without appliances by the end of next week. Let the fun begin!