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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Right Temperature

In late December, a friend of mine shared a Facebook post about making a crocheted 'Temperature Blanket'.  I like crocheting and am always on the lookout for a new project so I dove into the Pinterest world and this is what I found.
The afghan is made by crocheting one line a day using a specific color that corresponds to the high temperature of the day. 
For example:
0-10 degrees = Dark Orchid
11-20 degrees = Royal Blue
21-30 degrees = Delft Blue
31-40 degrees = Light Blue
41-50 degrees = Minty
51-60 degrees = Spring Green
61-70 degrees = Bright Yellow
71-80 degrees = Pumpkin
81-90 degrees = Cherry Red
91-100 degrees = Burgundy
Every morning I hop onto the Weather Channel to check what the high temperature was for the day before and crochet my line.  With the wacky winter weather we've been having is making for an interesting start to my afghan. 
(The 'Light Blue' and 'Minty' don't photograph very well but in person the difference is there.)
I look forward to adding a line every day and can't wait to see what kind of off the wall pattern emerges. My only concern is...  Please, Dear Lord, do not let it get above 100 degrees this summer because 1. I can't handle it.
2. I don't have another color option for that kind of temperature!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Jacob has been very curious lately.  Asking how things are made - food in specific.  So when I overheard Jim explaining that you do, in fact, squeeze lemons to make lemonade, I knew exactly what to do!

We had an impromptu cooking lesson after wrestling practice!

Now, I actually have no idea what the conversation of lemons was really about.  But seeing how lemonade is my favorite drink, I could probably spin any conversation into getting me a pitcher of the fresh squeezed stuff.  However.  Jacob has also been curious as to how snakes poop since they don't have a butt.  And that one I'm leaving to the professionals. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Another January

A New Year means new goals....
only they are the same as last year's goals....
Second verse same as the first! 
My goal for 2018 is to run 2,018 miles.  Or at least 18% of 2,018 to beat last years.

I know there was one day I worked out, but didn't immediately write down the mileage.  "I'll remember to write to down later." I foolishly told myself.  Famous last words.  I didn't write it down so therefore it doesn't count.

January = 32 miles

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

More Hardware

While big brother is off dominating the wrestling mat and big sister is gearing up for college prep classes,  li'l sis is back home learning the fundamentals of home life hardware. 

Monday, January 29, 2018


Children are a funny thing, aren't they?
Same parents.  Same DNA, genetic makeup.  Same upbringing. 
And yet...
Every family has
The Athlete:
Sunday, January 21st -
4th place finish at Archbold Wrestling Tournament
Sunday, January 28th -
3rd place finish at Wauseon Wrestling Tournament

The Scholar:
 Bree is in the gifted math program, is in the top 8 in her grade for AR points, finds science fun, and earned the Citizenship Award for being an awesome human being.  It might actually be more technical then that but it is an award granted to only 12 students out of the whole grade and she made the cut.  That is pretty awesome.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

To Remember

This past weekend, the hubs and I made a quick jaunt down to Florida to visit his grandparents.  The weather wasn't great, but the conversation and stories that covered a lifetime made up for it.   

In the short amount of time we were there, I managed to read three books!  Although that sounds impressive, one of the books was a fifth grade reading level and didn't take much brain power to plow through.  However, the message from the second book is one that will stick with me for quite some time.  So many passages forced me to dog-ear the page so I could come back and reread over and over again. But there is one specific chapter that I never want to forget.  The message is one that I live myself with the prayers, signs, listening, and following of God's will in my career choice.  A choice that I do no regret.  And a true testament of how good God is when we faithfully follow.

An excerpt from 'The Lucky Few' by Heather Avis:

What I did not know then is that ease and normalcy and niceness are not as important to Jesus as obedience, perseverance, and sacrifice.  I didn't know then that easy and normal and nice would do little to build my character or make me a better and more complete person.

Somewhere off the rose-petal path where easy, normal, and nice bloom, true beauty lives in the muck.  But only the lucky few of us who step off the path will find it.  My luck began when God picked me up off the comfortable path I had paved for myself and drop-kicked me into the mud.

In the beginning, all I wanted to see was the grime on my clothes and the dirt on my hands.  But because of God's grace, I finally stopped looking for a way back to my own plans.  And the farther I stepped from that pretty path of easy, normal, and nice, the more clearly I could see the beauty he was creating all around me.  Far from my simple expectations, I discovered a richness and depth of life available to everyone.

I began to trust.  In fact, I no longer needed to see the beauty ahead of me in order to take a step toward it.  I began to walk in the wilderness of God's love, and with each step, I watched his perfect will for my life to unfold around me. 

Today I'm aware of all the time I have said no to opportunities God has placed before me because I think I'm not rich enough, equipped enough, talented enough, strong enough, or crazy enough to say yes.  All the times I have mistaken good things for bad.  All the times I have allowed the opinions of an ignorant majority to guide my thinking instead of looking to Jesus and his heart in the matter.  I wonder how many times we, his children, choose a comfortable no over a terrifying yes - the kind of yes that will lead us to the only place we should ever long to be: in the arms of Jesus. 

Today I can see I was created for profound experiences far beyond the reach of simple expectations.

So were you.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Additional Traditions

During the 2016 Christmas season, the kids and I worked daily on making beaded icicle ornaments.  These beaded beauties were then delivered to our local hospital where the cafeteria workers would distribute them to the residents via their meals trays on Christmas Day.   

This isn't the first time we've done something like this. 

Back in 2011, Bree and I (and a very tiny Jacob) made 2x4 turkeys for the patients at Rainbow Oncology.

And in 2012, we made and delivered Valentine oven towels:
and floral Easter Eggs to Rainbow Oncology as well.  
Thanks to Pinterest and its plethora of ideas, finding generous ways to give back is very easy.  And thanks to the crafty talent that flows through my veins, I am always eager and willing to do so.  And even greater thanks to the Lord above for the ability to stay at home and have the time and finances to make these donations come to life has truly been a blessing.  Especially when teary-eyed nurses pay compliments like:
"Thank you.  The patients really appreciate things you've dropped off.  It means a lot to them that you take the time to do this."
It fills your cup, it fuels your fire, it drives you to want to do more.  However, little did I know we were missing a big piece of the puzzle. 
At the beginning of this Christmas season, as everyone was busy thinking up and searching for items to put on their lists, I was presented with a Christmas request per my father-in-law.  Instead of a physical gift for himself, he wanted us to use that money to go out and brighten and bless someone else's day, someone who needed that ray of hope more than himself.  
Well, that part was easy.  The kids and I had worked together to make over 120 beaded candy canes that we were going to drop off and donate as we had in the past. 
But this was a Christmas request... a Christmas gift per say.  Simply dropping off a donation would not suffice.  Just as we can't wait to see the pure joy, excitement, and thankfulness on a loved ones face when presented with a handmade gift so should this be an opportunity to truly give of ourselves, to sacrifice our time, to bring joy not just with a present, but with our presences.  
Our presences. 
That's what we have been missing in all our years of donating.  With simple, small changes in traditions, the holidays can be filled with the glory of God in unimaginable, soul filling ways. 
So on Christmas morning, we loaded into the van and headed to Brookview Healthcare Center to hand deliver 78 beaded candy canes to the residents as well as 15 candy canes and lottery tickets to the dedicated nurses and staff.

Jacob (in true boy fashion) delivering a candy cane:
Gabrielle delivering a candy cane:
A few days later, after it was all said and done and sunken into our brains and hearts, I sat down with the kids to talk to them about their experience:
Merry Christmas, Dad Dominique. We hope you enjoyed your present and may it inspire you carry on the Spirit with your presence throughout 2018.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ode to 2017

Wrestling Tournaments. Once a Month Gifts.  Monster Jam.  Windsor. 166 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies sold.  JBO's. Disney on Ice.  Beauty and the Beast.  Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.  #GiraffeeWatch.  The Henry Ford.  Ideal Hot Dog Birthday.  Nickelworld.  Outback Game Night.  Detroit Experience Factory.  D & S Deconstruction and Rebuild.  Virtual 5K - 40:32.  6 mile Bike-a-thon.  Grandpa/Father/Son Tigers Game. Shrektacular Day Camp.  Garage Sales.  Conquering Childhood Cancer Color Run.  Mothers Day Flowers.  Sauder's Camping.  Mongo Family Canoeing.  Free Summer Movies.  Relay for Life.  Harrison Lake.  Drive-In.  More Garage Sales.  Cheboygan, Michigan.  4th of July at Marble Lake.  July Community Dinner.  Holly ER Visit with Stitches.  Zip Line Towers.  Dayton Day Trip.  Hocking Hills.   New Preschool.  Official Soccer Mom/Dad.  First Demo Derby.  Apple Cider Slushies.  Detroit Tigers - Homerun Bunt - Game.  Soccer Star.  Volleyball Player.  Harrison Lake Halloween Weekend.  October Community Meal.  Jake Swims Under Water.  Grinch Musical.  Thanksgiving 5K.  Back to Wrestling. Ornament Exchange Flue Fire.  Community Christmas Lunch Prep - 4th year.  Nursing Home Candy Cane Distribution. Delta Wrestling Tournament.  New Years Eve Game Night.

2,017 in 2017

Last December 31st, I set a goal for myself to run 2,017 miles in 2017.  I knew in all reality that I was not going to obtain that goal, but I was curious to see how many exercise miles I would complete.  The year is over, the tracking is done, the results are in.
In 2017, I completed:
358.72 miles* 
That is 17% of 2,017.

I cannot say whether that is good or bad because I've never tracked how much I exercise for an entire year.  But that's the awesome part about starting a challenge like this.  The longer you do it, the more growth you see in yourself.  Here's to a New Year starting tomorrow and accepting the 2,018 miles in 2018 challenge! 
Are you in?
My year in miles:

January - 52.25
February - 46
March - 53
April - 52.75
May - 33.5
June - 27.5
July - 10.25
August - 41
September - 15.5
October - 7.5
November 16.5
December - 3
*Random strolls, biking through the neighborhood, even the walking around campground miles did not count towards my goal.  Only set aside, taking care of me exercise miles were logged. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Book List

When I worked at the public library, one of my favorite things to see was elderly people bringing in notebooks filled line after line with every title of book they've read.  And while I idolize these elderly people, I will not keep a notebook full of titles of books... Simply because my children will write in it and ruin it all.  So instead I will keep a running list in my email draft section and post it at the end of the year.  And as long as the internet never crashes, I will have my list as the years go by.

In 2017 I read:
 1. Present Over Perfect
2. Total Money Makeover
3. Detroit Disassembled
4. Forgotten Landmarks of Detroit
5. Abandoned Planet
6. The Hardest Peace
7. Looking for Lovely
8. Antelope in the Living Room
9. Sparkly Green Earrings
10. I want my Epidural Back
11. This Life I Live
12. Everything, Everything
13. And It Was Beautiful
14. Home by Harlan Coben
15. Rise: How a house built a family
16. And Still She Laughs
17. Sasquatch Escape (Read Aloud with Jacob)
18. The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
19. Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2017
20.  Lonely Lake Monster (Read Aloud with Jacob)
21. What were the Salem Witch Trials? (Read Aloud with Bree)
22.  Rain Dragon Rescue (Read Aloud with Jacob)
23. Love Unending 
24. Captain Underpants #1 (Read Aloud with Jacob)
25. A Child Called It
26. The Lost Boy
27. Captain Underpants #2 (Read Aloud with Jacob)
28. The More of Less 
29. The Christmas Box
30. The Magnolia Story
31. Pioneer Woman Come and Get It
32. Mr. Dickens and His Carol - currently reading
33. Life in a Jar - currently reading

Friday, December 29, 2017

Whats in a word?

A few years ago, I read the book "My One Word" and quickly jumped on the 'one word' resolution bandwagon.  And just as the book describes, God worked and wove His way through my life and morphed my word into something more than I could have imagined.  For example:

In 2015, my word for the year was:

The intentions behind my word was to finish off the multitude of projects in my plate that was half done and to get the other multitude of projects off the back-burner and brought to life.  While some of that did happen, 'Accomplished' became so much more.  That year I had the highest program attendance in the history of the library.  Ever.  I spoke at a district wide conference to help bring awareness of awesome resources available in our community.  I, along with help from various people, completed 10 sessions with a personal trainer, got involved with the Wauseon Community Dinner, converted our bedroom closet to a craft space, and went on our first ever vacation alone with Jim since kids were born.  It was a very accomplished year - beyond what I ever could have imagined.
In 2016, my word for the year was:
My intentions may have been a bit morbid.  I have a firm grasp in the Biblical truth that my days on this Earth are numbered.  While I can hope that I will live a long life with plenty of time to impart my wise to my children, the fact remains that even tomorrow is not guaranteed.  So my goal with 'legacy' was to focus on what I want to leave behind.  A recipe book full of my favorite recipes, handwritten, complete with tips and changes I made.  Photo albums all up to date.  But once again, God had other intentions for my word.  By December 31st, 2016, against all prior notions of what I thought was in store for my life, of what I thought my children would remember of their childhood, I became a full time, stay at home mom. 
I did not choose a word for 2017 but I'm back on my game for 2018 with:
I have some pretty hardy goals set for 2018 not to mention a 2019 Disney trip that we have not started saving for.  It is going to take a whole lotta Grit to get to the finish line.  But with God I can get there and exponentially further!