Wednesday, April 29, 2009

thank you for the DI

sam confirmed to me tonight that we have been spending too much time at the DI lately. i don't think he thought it was a negative thing. the key phrase in his prayer tonight was "thank you that we could always go to the DI." ok, i'm going to lay off; my visits there lately have definitely been paying off. brace yourself to see the new and improved vanderlinden house very soon. and thanks, sam, for being grateful to be taken along on these adventures. :)

pacifier posse

hey pacifier posse,
is it too late for will to join? i know he has never sucked on a pacifier in his life, but once he caught wind of this club he thought he would give it a try. i think he might have liked it more than he thought he would. this is how i found him today as he woke up from his nap; he has only ever used this pacifier for his baby dolls, and i think he was a little ashamed to be found sucking on it.

he tried it again this evening, and when he realized i had seen him he quickly took it out of his mouth declaring it was just for "baby". hopefully though, you could make room for him in this posse???

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

dog needs a new home

my name is calvin.
calvin the big brown dog.
i am 5 years old.
i've been pretty spoiled for those 5 years,
and i'm looking forward to spoiling a new family.
i'm really good with kids,
especially if they have diapers i can shred.
i'm a really good sleeper,
especially if i can do it on your bed or couch.
i don't need much dog food
as long as you leave plenty of leftovers on the counter
or keep food in the kids' hands.
i am an outside dog
for about 2 minutes until i decide i need back in.
then i will whine relentlessly at your door to let you know i'm still out there.
i love going on walks
especially if you weigh under 120 lbs. and don't mind being dragged the whole way.
i'm a great watch dog,
and i bark at everything just in case you need to be warned.
i'm pretty brave
unless the wind is blowing or you go out of town and leave me behind.
i don't tear anything up,
unless you consider shredding the carpet under the bed.
i am house trained
unless i get a tummy ache so bad in the night and can't get you awake
only then do i leave a mound in the floor.
i have great potty habits,
but i would never consider cleaning up after myself,
so i will leave that up to you if you want to use your backyard.
i really am a sweet dog, and i don't really want to leave my great family.
unless you live on a farm in oklahoma.
any takers?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

i don't want to miss a thing

ok, brace yourself for the new series of the longest posts ever. you can skip these if you want; they are mostly for me. i LOVE everyday with these boys, even on the hard days. i can't stand knowing that in 15 years i may not remember the little things, how if felt to have them everyday, the things they said and did, and how their voice sounded. i've become obsessed with not forgetting. i've written things on a calendar page for the boys for quite sometime, but it seems like it gets misplaced, etc. i prefer the permanency of having it on the blog, so i will begin transferring it here with weekly pictures and then print it off every year in a digital scrapbook. i just don't EVER want to forget a thing.

Sam: you love doing EVERYTHING with me, and for the most part i love that, too. you especially love helping me paint our kitchen table and chairs. it's amusing to see you in your underwear covered in black paint. you are my sidekick for sure; i hope that lasts forever.
Will: you are much more of an independent player. while we are paining or whatever, you happily roam around the backyard, digging in the sandbox, getting in your swing, playing basketball, or just walking around. it's such a relief that you are so easily entertained. i just hope you are getting all the attention you need.
we've spent the last few days outside playing in the sandbox, jumping on the tramp, digging in the front flowerbed, and going on wagon rides around the block. it's funny, sam looks like a lobster from all the sun and will is turning totally brown. just another example of how different those 2 look!
Sam: said to Will under the sandbox after will threw a handful of sand at him "do you want to fight or be nice? let's be nice." i love the way he is starting to talk to will; he has become a lot more gentle with him when no one is watching. now if he could just convince will that every time he picks him up it really is a loving action and not torture! i loved his prayer tonight, too. he said "thank you for emi. thank you she can be my cousin. and thank you that she can be my friend." he LOVES emi, and i LOVE his prayers. he's thankful for everything!
Will: whenever he's doing something he shouldn't be doing, i shake my finger at him and say "no, no". now when he's doing something he shouldn't, he looks at me with a huge cheesy grin and shakes his finger until he starts laughing. what a little rascal.
Sam: his favorite stalling technique lately goes a little something like this... we ask him to do something or put him in bed or whatever. within a few minutes he says "mom, i need to tell you something." ok, what? "i really like this house. i really like my room. how did we get this house?" tonight his stall was kind of cute. i was at a meeting after he had been put to bed. he came downstairs and did the drill with pete. what he needed to tell pete was this... "i really like that pillow that mommy made. she did a really good job." that's sweet.
Will: he is trying so hard to start talking and getting a little frustrated. i think part of the problem is he shakes his no to everything you ask him even if he means yes. he has a way of getting what he wants. his favorite thing is to take me by the hand when he wants something and lead me to it. he has been having a bit of a cold today. i hate that he's sick, but i love that he wants me to hold him nonstop. :)
We love riding the bike to the library for storytime. the boys just ride in the bike trailer. i love that feeling of flying down the hill; the wind seems to be blowing a bit, and sam always says "it's such beautiful day for a bike ride." i know he has heard that a time or two. today will loved, too. he was giggling almost the whole way. i loved listening to sam "read" to will on the ride home; i'm just glad they ride together better this year than last!
Sam: i love this conversation sam had with emily today:
sam: we are going to make a spiderman mask today.
emi: i already have a spiderman costume.
sam: did your mom sew it on her sewing machine?
emi: no, sam, we bought it at the store.
sam: (totally confused and trying to process that you can buy that stuff at the store.) oh. we are going to make mine.
i love that he already knows how much we love making things!
Will: this is not a fun thing to remember, but it's definitely who you are right now. you are a hitter; no matter what we do you still keep hitting. you do it like you think it's a total normal response to behavior you don't like it. i can't stand it and hope you grow out of it really soon before you turn into the bully kid. :(
Sam: he's already starting to protest church every sunday. he pitches a fit for a bit about not wanting to go and finally fesses up that he doesn't want to go because there's always too much singing. he definitely got that from his dad!
Will: we have been dressing will like a little man the last few weeks, and he is SO stinking cute! today he wore sam's old khaki linen suit with his white dress shoes. he looked like a total ham, and i think he loves being dressed up like that. he almost struts around, and he should because he's so adorable!

Friday, April 24, 2009

free dance saturdays

for all of you who have kids (boys or girls) ages 5-18 that are interested a great free activity on saturdays, then you have to check this out. my very good friend Roxey owns a dance studio, The Groove. Due to tough economic times, she wanted the opportunity to share the art of dance with all kids, so she is offering a variety of free classes every saturday starting may 2 and ending july 25. what a great thing for all of you who are interested. she's a fabulous person and a great dancer. i don't think anyone could wrong doing this. if you are interested, the details are listed below.

location: Groove the Dance Studio
address:1407 S. 600 W. Suite E Woods Cross
schedule: May 2- July 25 class times 9-12
contact: please email if interested

if saturdays aren't good days for you or your kids are too young like mine :( but you might know someone else who is interested, then please send out an email to those people or post it on your blog. she would love to have tons of people participate. hope you will enjoy!

crockpot thursday

i had intended to post this recipe yesterday since it was another crockpot thursday but never got around to it. however, after i tasted the leftovers today i knew it needed to be a post. i love this time of year when we start eating strawberries, hamburgers, and pulled pork sandwiches like crazy. i don't know what it is about the spring weather, but those are things that starting enticing my taste buds. when i found this recipe that combined strawberries and pulled pork, i knew i had to try it.

Pulled Pork with Strawberry BBQ Sauce

1 2 1/2-3 lb pork sirloin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cooking oil
4 cups strawberries, halved, and divided (ok, that's 4 CUPS, not 4 STRAWBERRIES like i read it; i guess 4 strawberries was better since sam ate 2lbs of strawberries that i was planning to use the day before. i think 4 cups would've made a difference)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary
bottled pepper sauce to your liking (optional)
8 rolls or buns

sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and place in crockpot. mix remaining ingredients including half of the strawberries and pour over roast. cook on high 6 hours. for strawberry BBQ sauce, skim fat from cooking liquid and boil the remaining liquid. reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. shred pork. stir 1 cup of BBQ sauce into pork. stir remaining strawberries into BBQ sauce. Serve pork on buns. Top with additional sauce.

It was pretty darn tasty. Just a little side note, the next day when you are warming up the leftovers, don't leave the full tupperware on the counter because your dog might eat it just like mine did. :(

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


we've got great news, and no, i am not pregnant. pete got the official word yesterday that he will be transferred to mpjh (sorry, you'll have to figure it out; i don't want to post the name of his employer on this blog. but for those of you who know where we live, then know that he will be working only .7 miles east of our house) to be the learning center instructor. we are so excited about this change; he will be PERFECT for those kids. i am so proud of him for how he has excelled so quickly as a teacher; his natural ability hasn't gone unnoticed in the district either. i also love that he will be so close to home, home for lunch, and home after school without a 40 minute commute. my sister jokingly said that after this change i might have more of pete than i could possibly want. is that really possible!? i just can't wait for every second!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the glass castle

ok, i just finished reading the book The Glass Castle. i read it so quickly i didn't even have time to post it as a current read. i LOVED it! i can't seem to get much of a response from anyone that i try to discuss it with because no one seems to have read it. it touched me so deeply that i feel like i could ramble on for hours, but i won't. i will just say that it was a very powerful reminder to me that we really can become something despite our circumstances. also a reminder that important values like family support and relationships, making the best of what we have been dealt and finding the good in it, having dreams and actually working toward them are all lessons that have to be taught regardless of our status in life. perhaps there is a little something we could all relate to or have compassion on in this book. i know i could relate to the sibling relationships and the drive, discipline, and the plan to mold your life into your dream. did i mention how much i LOVED this book. as much as i want to discuss it i'm still a little speechless about the emotion it left me with. READ it; i hope it evokes powerful feelings in you, too.

click here to read a summary of the memoir

Monday, April 20, 2009

card making and internet searching not my thing

i always love having cute cards for birthdays, thank you, etc.; something that has a little bit of personality. however, i never seem to have any on hand, and paper crafting is not where i excel. did i mention that internet searching is not where i excel either? i can never seem to find the type of card i'm looking for when i need it, so i'm going to start using my blog to help me keep track of the cute downloadable cards that i do find. in case any of you are interested, i will make a post when i find one and then keep the link posted on my sidebar. hopefully this will help with my card situation. here's what i found today...

aren't these cute!? they come from the blog doe-c-doe. if you want to download any of these images, the link is on my sidebar. this is fun already, and i can't wait the next time i have a friend who likes to sew or who likes buttons has a birthday. i will definitely use the button birthday card and sew buttons to this card!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

i don't want to grow up

another touching bedtime conversation with sam tonight...

sam: mom, when will i grow up?

me: you're growing bigger and bigger everyday, but you won't be all grown up until you are 20. then you won't live at home anymore because you will be a big daddy.

sam: (with a look & voice of sheer panic) but, mommy, i don't want to grow up! i don't want to have a 20 birthday! tell everyone i don't want to have a birthday! i want to stay at home! i want to be your boy!

me: (with tears burning the eyes) you will always be my boy even when you are grown up.

sam: so you were just kidding?

i wish i was just kidding. i don't want these boys to have a 20 birthday either.

Friday, April 17, 2009

what a depressing night

pete, the boys, and i went swimming tonight. it seemed like a good idea until i got to the pool and saw all the bathing beauties flaunting their perfect bodies in their scantly clad bikini. after looking and thinking a little the thought occurred to me "with a few more walks around the block, a little ab work, and a tan, i could hang with these girls". then i quickly remembered the permanent things that wouldn't be so easily changed like the stretch marks, the spider veins, the saddlebags, the flat flabby boobs, the flabby tummy, the cellulite, you know, those sort of things. i quickly reassured myself that it was really ok because no one was really looking at me, and then i remembered that i was being looked at. i was being looked at by all those girls that were thinking "i sure will not let myself look like that when i'm a mom!". sigh.

so far this friday...

we've unclogged the garbage disposal and cleaned up all the black grime in the sink associated with such a disaster, cleaned up the water-covered kitchen floor from sam's valiant effort to help me clean the kitchen mess, retrieved all the bath toys from the toilet filled with sam's pee, laced up shoes so we could wear them again, dress, shower, make-up, and hair, and all out the door by 10:00 for story time. i'd say we are doing pretty good. how's your friday?

if it's not quite as adventurous as ours, then check out this website with your kids that we love. it provides lots of great entertainment on "bored" moments, and it has been a great resource to help sam learn to use the mouse during his "school time".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

crockpot thursday

oh, how i love my crockpot on thursdays! thank you for cooking my family dinner while i'm busy working! especially thank you when we get to have cheesy chicken & rice! it's so tasty i could eat the sauce plain! i'll be dreaming of & smelling that sauce all day!

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken

3 chicken breast
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
salt & pepper

place chicken in crockpot and season with salt and pepper. mix the cans of soup together and pour over chicken. cook on low 5-6 hours. serve with steamed rice and broccoli.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

my favorite easter things

i love that i actually allow my kids this one day to eat all the candy they want without micromanaging it. it's actually kind of fun, and they think they have gone to heaven. but that's not my favorite thing.

i love that we still carry on the easter outfit tradition. and i have to admit that my boys looked so cute this year that i wanted to eat them up every time i laid eyes on them. but surprisingly that's not my favorite thing.

i love this family gathering, all the excitement of being together to have the egg hunt. i love actually dying real eggs, just like i used to do with the clear crayons and multi-colored eggs. i love the memories of all the many egg hunts at ganny's house and aunt linda's easter baskets. i love my children and their cousins having the same the opportunity to have that tradition. but that's not my favorite thing either.

my very favorite thing is knowing that through Jesus Christ this life is not the end. we will take all of our wonderful experiences and loving families with us forever. His resurrection is a miracle to me, one that gives me one of the greatest reasons to celebrate every day. i love life and all that is in it, and my favorite thing is knowing that i will have life forever.

Friday, April 10, 2009

friday project

our friday project last week was making this egg tree. super cute, super fun, and super easy (well, kind of). sam loved working on it with me, and will loved napping while we worked on it. if you are looking for a fun friday project for easter, then try this.

supplies needed...
raw eggs
egg dye (1/4 tsp food coloring, 1/4 cup hot water, 2 tbsp. vinegar)
string or ribbon for hanging eggs
tree branch
vase with rocks
embellishments for eggs if desired

what to do...
1. poke a hole in the top and bottom of egg with a straight pen. put your mouth on one end of the egg and blow the yolk out. be sure you make the hole big enough or it will extremely difficult. i saved all the yolks and made french toast the next day. :)
2. dye the eggs the desired color.
3. hot glue the ribbon or string to the stop of the egg
4. stabilize the branch in the vase of rocks and hang eggs from the branches as desired.

have fun and happy easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

another great thing...

another great thing about having a teacher husband home on spring break is that i was able to settle into bed this afternoon and read, uninterrupted, for 1 1/2 hours to finish this book that has totally engrossed my last 2 weeks.
i loved it, the book and the quiet time. if you are looking for a non-fiction book about political power taken too far and the common people banding together and making a stand for purpose that is right for all americans, then you need to read Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage by Jeff Benedict. i couldn't put it down nor have i been able to stop thinking about it and appreciating my life in my little brick rambler.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

conference weekend

i know it's not conference weekend anymore, but i'm still enjoying the memory of our conference weekend. what a great privilege that we have to watch from our home, but this is not how we enjoy it the best. with 2 little ones there's not much opportunity to sit and watch. we have it on the tv all weekend and love it filling our home, but how we enjoy it best is on the radio in the car (another great privilege). our favorite tradition is the sunday afternoon session where we load up in the car and go on a long drive to a fun destination that we don't normally go. this session we found ourselves at stansbury island, and we loved it. the island was secluded, beautiful, and peaceful. several priceless moments... seeing our boys (including calvin) running so free and uninhibited, having the boys climb to the top of a peak almost completely on their own, throwing rocks off the cliff, but the most priceless was having sam spontaneously pee off the cliff. that kid...!
i hate that i always forget we live smack in the middle of all these lovely places and don't take advantage enough. i've wondered a lot if we will be here forever or if life will take us on another adventure in a different location. i often find myself wishing for that and dreaming of how perfect and beautiful that place will be. then it hit me today that no matter where we are it's the same sky, the same beautiful sun, the same air, and the same dirt. these things are everywhere and no more perfect in another place.

Monday, April 6, 2009

spring break, we were ready

we were ready to have pete home for a week, no commitments, just home.
we were ready to have a beautiful spring day with sun shining.
we were ready for blue skies and clean air.
we were ready for long morning walks and bike rides around the block.
we were ready to tackle projects in the yard, cutting the grass, tilling soil, and feeling the earth in our hands.
we were ready to see our boys running barefoot in the grass, rolling down our grassy hill, gently making worm homes in a bucket of mud, watching them laugh wildly while twisting each other in the swing.
but come on, were we really ready for this...???

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Friday

remember the post about needing some new parenting/entertaining ideas? well, i'm stumbling upon some great material and am VERY anxious to start sharing it, but first i wanted to share some of the things that we are already doing. hopefully some of you can utilize the ideas, but if not then this will just serve as a reminder to me of some of the fun things we did during this time.

fridays are our best days; it is devoted to doing exactly what we all want and it can only be fun stuff. everyone gets to choose something. the friday staples are character pancakes, library storytime, and lunch at spanky's. it's a weekly tradition that we all look forward to. the character pancakes are a fun thing that can be done anytime. my boys LOVE them! what are character pancakes? nothing more than pancakes that are shaped into the boys' requested characters. sam's theme changes regularly. one week he does star wars characters and the next is super heros. will only wants dogs and balls; maybe he'll want more when he talks more. :) boring old mom always ends up with a stack of new fabric or sewing machines. don't think for a second that any of the characters actually look like the request (except for maybe the ball), but sam and will believe they do. it's fun being creative and having sam inform me of where to put the capes, light sabers, arms, legs, etc. they are real to him. and they are a fun tradition. you should try it.

will's dog and ball

i think we've got superman, batman, green lantern, luke skywalker, & the hulk. can you tell?

my stack of beautiful moda fabric!

here's my easy pancake recipe:
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla

mix dry ingredients. add wet ingredients. stir until smooth. pour desired characters over hot, greased griddle.

hope your friday is as happy as ours is planned to be!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

sam's tractor blanket is finally....

FINISHED! it was actually finished months ago, and here i am actually getting pictures. this was a labor of love, one that he already cherishes. i loved his very reaction of the almost finished product. he wanted to sleep with it before i sewed the binding on. as soon as i spread it on his bed he started jumping up and down saying "i love it! i love it!" and i LOVED that reaction.

around his birthday all he talked about was a big boy bed and having tractors in his room because "he only likes tractors." this is the design i came up with to start his tractor room. i chose the green because that's his favorite color, the blue because he already had so much in his room, the orange because that's the color he looks the best in (and i wanted to remember that), the black & yellow because it looks like a tractor. I LOVE IT!

the part i love the most was not the finished project or all the hours spent working on something i love, instead i loved all the time sam spent on my lap while i was pushing it through the sewing machine. he watched with quiet fascination on so many occasions during the process. i also loved the time together when will was sleeping. sam would sit on the countertop next to me with his batman and superman figures for hours pushing them in and out of my button and thread jars. i'm hoping that part of that fascination will stick; i hope he will always be inspired to create. I LOVED IT!

my favorite part...

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