Saturday, February 28, 2009

are you so relieved??

(that I finally turned OFF the autostart on my playlist?)

and in other news...

my favorite outfit. wish it came in my size. thank you, makoto!!!

let your light shine...

Have you ever done some random act of kindness and, when thanked, wanted to give God the glory verbally, but refrained because it would sound too contrived? Or held your tongue, because it might give the impression that God needs people to work to gain him glory?

Is it a cop out to just do the deeds and pray that God would receive the glory that is rightfully his?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

ebony and ivory

That's what I sang to Jillian as I made these cookies this morning. Except, I changed the lyrics to...

E-bon-y and I-vor-y
That's the way that a coo-kie ought to be....

Here's the recipe for Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

mix these together in a large bowl.

2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

blend these together in a medium bowl and gradually mix into butter mixture.

Lastly, and super importantly, stir in a bag of white chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely (if you can wait that long before you completely devour them, washing them down with ice cold milk).

And for you listening and viewing pleasure, the original...

Am I the only one who sung songs like this in my elementary music class??

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

a friend's review of Granny Donuts

Lee left this comment this morning. (I'm linking you to his profile, since he writes on a few blogs.) He totally cracks me up. And he knows a good fritter when he tastes one.

So, now you don't have to just take my word on it...

"I patronized Granny Donuts this morning. When I walked in, I was greeted with a hearty "Good morning!" The guy behind the counter then asked, "Are you usually in this early?"

Wow! I thought. Does he read my blogs? Is he on Facebook? How does he know who I am? Then, of course, it dawned on me that I must remind him of someone else. "This is my first time here," I replied. (I almost blurted out, "Jenna sent me!" but I'm not a name-dropper, so I refrained.) "I was just on my way to work and thought I'd stop by."

A quizzical look crossed his face. He smirked and pointed to the "22 continuous years" sign on the wall. I chuckled nervously, and he reassured me, saying, "That's OK."

I ordered an apple fritter and a cup of coffee. The downside is that the coffee isn't anything to write home about. It certainly wasn't the worst -- I mean, it wasn't church potluck bad, just not great.

The fritter, on the other hand, was probably the best I've ever tasted. Crispy and sweet on the outside, soft and rich on the inside. Just the way apple fritters are supposed to be.

So, in summation, I give Granny Donuts two sticky thumbs up. Sure, the coffee isn't the best, but it isn't bad with a sweet lump of fried dough.

If, however, you insist on complementing your doughnuts with really good coffee, I'd suggest swinging by the Starbucks drive-through at the corner of Robert and Thompson, about a half-block north. But I refuse to be held responsible for what happens if you walk in with that Starbucks cup."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the pursuit of doughnuts

It was one of my first questions to my realtor: "Where can you find the best doughnuts in town?" I've been asking around for three years. We left The Donut Palace in St. Louis, MO with the confidence that amazing "Mom and Pop" doughnut places are everywhere, especially in a big city! But, no. After a few years, I asked Molly who gave me the sad news that she had already been on this quest and that "you can't find a decent donut in the Twin Cities".

The seemingly futile search came to an unexpected and delightful end a few weeks ago, when the boys and I stumbled upon Granny Donuts in West Saint Paul. (yes, Granny, as in not possessive). Once we walked in, we knew it was the place. Bear claws, Bowties, Bavarian Cremes, Raised, Cake, Apple Fritters and more beckoned us with their sugary deep-fried promises of earthly satisfaction. (And, yes, I shared this good news with Molly already!)

So, if you find yourself in the Twin Cities and hankering for doughnuts, get your bad self to Granny.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

miles adds to the bible and sums up his bro in one convo

Miles: Mommy! Listen to my new "Bible" verse I just made up.
Me: Ha! You want me to put that on your blog?**
Miles: Yeah.
Avery (under his breath): I wouldn't do that, Miles...
Miles: That's because you are are a "keep it in" not a "let it out".

**Don't worry, I'm not letting my kid think he's divinely inspired, or anything.

Friday, February 13, 2009

my latin name: jennus interruptus

Lately, my regret over my super bad habit of interrupting is two fold.

1. How was he or she going to finish that thought??? I really want to know.
2. Retrospectively, the words I blurted out weren't that memorable or necessary.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

happy birthday, nee bird.

Neely was born two years before me.

People, often times, confuse me for the older sister. I always thought it was because I had kids first. But now that I think about it, maybe I'm just aging faster. dang it.

Anyway, today is her birthday. Figures she'd share her b-day with a famous president. She's a very determined, focused and driven person. I'm not ruling out the chance of her being a president some day. She's young yet.

Here's some things you probably don't know about her:

1. In 2003, she flew in town for my birthday as a surprise. It was awesome.
2. She skipped 7th grade. woo-woo!
3. One time, I came to her house with extremely dirty Crocs. And my feet weren't so pretty either. (I had been gardening.) She got our her hose and scrubbed my shoes and washed my feet.
4. She and her husband let us (Brent, me and the boys) live with them for 2 1/2 months before we found a house in the Twin Cities.
5. She received an award for successful business peeps called 40 under Forty....when she was 32.
6. She totally a tiger-lady business woman.
7. She's a softy, too. She'll cry with and for you...and during certain hymns and praise songs.
8. She's been creating recipes since she was 10 years old. Here's her latest.
9. While I was afraid to try-out for anything in high school, Neely was on the soccer team, tennis team, cheer leading, drama team, and probably fifty other things. In college, this continued, but I can't remember the titles. Something like GM of the radio station and, like, student senate or something. (In college, I just rolled Drum and hung out at the theater.)
10. She loves Jesus and will probably tell you that's really all that matters about her.

Happy Birthday, Neely! We love you!

to my "buddies" who blog, but have private profiles

Okay. Sometimes, you leave really sweet comments, and I'm all, "dude. i want to check out that blog." So I click on your name and it says something like, "Stranger Danger!!! Get away! We don't know you!"

No. Not really. But, if you like my blog and you don't mind me stopping by your blog, then just email me at with your blog address so this is not such a one-sided relationship. Or, obviously, you could put your blog address in the comments section if you don't mind making it public.

A special word to the Slate family: This post applies to you!!! You of all people must have a blog, right??? A funny one. With cool pictures. That's what I'd bet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

miles' tooth mystery: "best leave it...unsolved..."

The Lost Tooth never was found. But, the Tooth Fairy caught wind of the news and decided to leave a little cash for Miles anyway.

I mentioned he's aloof, right? He's the kid who can walk through a room while Brent and I are feasting on candy bars and he wouldn't even notice. Meanwhile, Avery can hear a candy wrapper four rooms away--and will come running.

Anyway, back to the story. The Tooth Fairy tucked an envelope under his pillow (I'm guessing...). And, the next morning, Miles completely missed it. I saw a "mysterious" envelope on his floor with the tell-tale tiny handwriting (too small for me to even read). Later, I asked him to go make his bed, but when I came to inspect, that envelope was just laying there in the same place. I tried to slyly kick it towards him, but no. Totally missed it. It stayed there for 6 1/2 hours while they were at school. Upon arriving home, they were instructed to clean their room. Now, mind you, the beds were made and the ONLY thing on the floor was that stinkin' envelope. Surely, he couldn't miss it AGAIN.

And, he didn't. He brought it to me with a look of confusion as if to say, "I've never seen this piece of garbage before."

Avery whipped it out of his hand, eyes wide, and said, "THIS is from the Tooth Fairy."
very. small. hand-writing. tell-tale.

Miffed, I asked, "Really? How can you tell? I can't even read this..."

Avery retorted, "It's SO obvious, Mommy. It says, "Heard you lost a tooth. Congratulations."


Miles was thrilled.

End of story.

Well, except that I want to let you know how Avery loses teeth. First of all, he doesn't actually lose them. They just fall out, like other kids.

And when he wakes up the next morning, MUCH EARLIER THAN USUAL, he must search immediately for the booty. Because, on those mornings, my morning starts like the scene from a movie when someone wakes from surgery. It's blurry. Avery's voice is fading in as I see his face come into focus, hovering over mine. And I somehow gather that the Tooth Fairy has shorted him again. Poor half-glass-empty guy. He'll learn eventually.

Lastly, this video isn't about lost teeth. It's about lost drummers. I kinda feel guilty that the title of my blog is an homage to this movie. And the title of this post is an homage to this scene.

Monday, February 9, 2009

mothers and sons. let's discuss.

A friend pointed this out recently. Our culture doesn't value the relationship between the Mother and Son. Maybe, that sounds too general, but you'll see what I'm getting at...

There's Father-Daughter banquets. And being a "Daddy's girl" is a good thing.

There's the Father-Son bonding that's so important. Roughing it. Wrestling. Adventure. There are even retreats for Fathers and Sons.

There's the Mother-Daughter relationship that is just as beloved as the Father/Son. Bonding over shopping (supposedly), and cooking (perhaps) and staying attached for life ("because the Bible says, 'therefore a man shall leave his mother and father,' but not the woman"'ve heard that, perhaps?)

But, what about Mothers and Sons? Here's my personal experience:

"Mama's Boy" doesn't generally have a positive connotation, I don't think.

And I remember when I was pregnant with my first son. I recall shedding a few tears over that book Love You Forever the first time I read it. But, it was quickly spoiled by someone (who didn't have a son) saying something like, "I think it's creepy" or "That Mom needs to cut the cord."

I think sometimes as a Mother to sons, I have felt defensive about our connection, but didn't know why.

I've been afraid that I'd come off as creepy if I cherished their affections for me, too much.

I have mourned that it's not as special as the other parent-child relationships, without really wrapping my head around why I'd even feel that way. Just kinda felt marginalized or something.

And, I've already hoped and prayed for daughters-in-law who love me and accept me (and that I'll be a good mother-in-law, of course!!), because I know that if not, I have a limited time with my sons. And, that's depressing.

I don't have a resolution here about how I will or should think about my relationship with my sons. Just bringing it up for discussion. I think you all will help round out my understanding.

latest mystery

Miles lost his first tooth. No. Really. LOST it. Can't find it.

Yesterday afternoon, he suddenly announced, "My tooth is gone!!!"

Of course, I asked him several times if he thought he'd swallowed it, but he didn't think so.

It had been loose for a few weeks; its replacement impatiently growing behind it.

Strange, but this is another example to me of how aloof he can be.

Anyway, if you live in the metro and you find a baby tooth, let me know. Wait. Never mind. Don't.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

jillian with a crazy straw

it's his birthday

My husband is wonderful.

He's funnier than me
I love that he lets me play the comedian in public, but the truth is he makes me laugh 24/7.

He's a super hero kinda Dad
My mother has said countless times, "I wish I had a father like you."

He makes my job(s) so much easier
He not only washed the easy dishes, but he tackled the chili pot last night. And he told me that it was perfectly fine if he came home to the bed full of laundered clothes, that he'd help me fold them. (I really despise folding clothes.)

He is successful in the marketplace.
They are making him the CEO of Wells Fargo this Friday. (I'm kidding, but he's great. Really! I'm just ridiculously thankful that he has a job!!!)

He must be the most patient man on Earth, because...
He's married to me.

He loves me and football. Together.
He gives me a back massage as long as I watch football (or anything, really) with him.

He has the quickest reflexes in the West.
I throw everything his way. That's why I like the above picture so much. (It's moments before he caught a football.) He rarely misses a pass. Dirty diapers, laundry, frozen meat, keys, everything. He loves to catch. And I love to watch.

He helps me with everything.
He is the guy I go to with my problems. You know how they say that women just want to be heard? You know, just air their frustrations? I don't think that's me. I want him to fix my problems and give me advice. He's good at that.

I love him and know that I don't really deserve such goodness. Praise be to God for my husband, Brent.

Happy Birthday, "Big Time"**!

**that's what they call him at work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

january's brain dump

It's early February, and I'm feeling reflective.

The darkest month...

January. It felt like two months. There were days that felt like a week, to be honest. Partly because it was bitterly cold. And partly, because I've had more than my usual share of stuff to process.

We all have trials of various kinds everyday. Some last a moment and another may last years. One trial has really made me examine brokeness, and the lack thereof in my heart. Here are four quotes I'll keep chewing on:

"The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God's will, admits its wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory - that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words it is dying to and
--Roy Hession, The Calvary Road

“Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves”
--Tim Keller via the DG blog

…let me suggest that you talk to your spouse and to others close to you and ask them questions like these: Do I confess my sin consistently? Do I confess specific instances of sin and not just general categories or general references to sin? Do others find it easy to correct me? Do others know the areas of temptation in my life at present? Do they know the most pronounced patterns of sin in my life at present?
--CJ Mahaney, Humility (actually heard this in a sermon he gave at BBC)

and, most recently...
"The difference between Christian and non-Christian: When a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides w/ his sin. A Christian sides w/ God, against himself"
--Mark Dever, via AP's DG PasCon tweets/twitter/whatever

moving on for now...

It's January. The time of year that I reevaluate how things are going. I hate thinking about this, really. The boys' school has been a blessing in many ways. But there have also been some disappointments. Time to pray...God has it all worked out.

Bitterly cold weather has benefits, namely, rosy cheeks

I've been tagged for that "25 Random things about me" post like a zillion times. I'll do it eventually. I am so random in general that it's hard for me to come up with 25 random things about me. Maybe, I'm taking this too literally.

I got caught up late in January and almost ran out of things to wash and Brent said that I needed to stop because there was no place to put anything else clean. Gotta love the small houses.

The Last Day of January
Our beloved Japanese "daughter" returned for a visit and dinner this past weekend. And she brought along her roommates (from Japan, China and Vietnam! cool, huh?!). They were wonderful! They helped make dinner and cleaned up everything while I put Jillian to bed. But, best of all, they were such great conversationalists. We talked about culture and religion and love and that which transcends language and nationality. These are high school girls!!! Oh, how I wish I would have branched out more in high school and gotten to know some internationals. I'm making up for lost time, as seen here!

clockwise from the left are Thao, Youki, Mali, Cita, Avery and Miles
(in the middle are two awesome soups!)

Next post up...
Jillian's latest pictures. I'll give the chica her own post.

the reason you haven't seen a new post

YOU'VE been Left Behind.

just saying....


The blog has been competing with...

1. The Kindergarten projects. I was only supposed "guide" Miles in his construction of two 3-D letters (one wearable) and a poster board, plastered with pictures beginning with the letter "B". The poster board he did by himself (mostly). But, this:

Was more like 85/15.

And the milk jug sculpture which looked like an "M". Well, he gathered milk jugs from around the neighborhood, but he couldn't be trusted with a hot glue gun.

2. Peace Like a River. Great book. I love the prose. The author loves to tell a story...and a story within a story...and even a story within that story. His digressions give a bit of relief in such a heavy plot. I'm not even halfway done, so don't give it away.

3. Processing. I really want graduate from a few thoughts before I write about them. Kinda like how I brought up God's discipline, but never really got going with that (still thinking). And some other themes I really want to talk about are humility and forgiveness.

4. My job. As a wife and mother. I will be ever-amazed at the SAHMs who write regularly on their blogs and get their chores "done" (as if they are ever done).

There's more, but I gotta go run errands before it gets to be naptime for the little Jillian. I decided to check out 4,897 books, forgetting that I have a tendency to return them super late. argh. and i thought i was self-aware....