Monday, March 31, 2008

Relaxing weekend

It is a gloomy, rainy Monday morning here today. It does feel like spring though! Evie is outside playing, despite the rain. It is about 60 degrees outside. We didn't get to go to church yesterday because I wasn't feeling very well. I think I got really run down, and I wasn't sleeping very well, so I started to fight something. I am feeling better today.

Jeff gave me a much needed break this weekend. It was wonderful. He watched Evie the whole weekend and just let me rest. He took her on Saturday afternoon to his friend Steve's house. Steve and his wife have 5 girls (3 of the girls are triplets who are 6 years old), and Evie had an absolute blast. They stayed for several hours. While they were gone, I watched a whole bunch of episodes of the Dog Whisperer that we had gotten from the library. They were great! I had never really seen any episodes before. I had just watched some stuff on Youtube. I found it to be really helpful, and I started using the techniques on Sie-Sie. It is working! I am going to try and be really consistent with it. Evie watched an episode later with me, and I was teasing her that I was going to use the techniques on her :). On Sunday morning, Jeff brought me breakfast in bed, and let me rest all day. He is so sweet.

I have a lot of baking to do today. Evie must be going through a growth spurt. She is eating about every hour! I am running out of things to feed her, so I need to make some stuff. I made some popovers (which she and I both love, and they are gluten free/casein free), and I am going to make her some gluten free/casein free bread. I am also going to try and make some muffins if I get a chance. I also need to finish the homeschooling. It is going to be a busy day. I am praying that God will give me energy today!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back and Forth

I thought I was 100% on my decision about the dog, but I am still yo-yo'ing about it. Every time I look at her I just can't bear the thought of getting rid of her. Even though she has had some serious behavior issues, she really is a very sweet dog. She has a very unique personality, and many of the qualities are wonderful. If I could get her to stop the barking and clawing at the windows, she would be a perfect dog. We are going to the library today, and I am going to get the first 2 seasons of the Dog Whisperer on dvd to watch. Maybe I will gain new insight and be able to retrain these bad habits. I don't know. I will have to see what happens. I just love her, and don't want to get rid of her! Look at that beautiful face!

On a positive note, Evie lost her second tooth this morning. She looks so cute :). The other tooth was already coming through...way behind the loose tooth! I hope it doesn't come in that far back. I had really crooked teeth as a kid, and had to have braces for several years. I guess it is a little early yet to decide if she will need braces! She looks so adorable with her gappy front teeth. She is growing up so fast!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hard decision

I had to make a really hard decision today. One I have been thinking about and mulling over for quite some time now. We moved from the country almost 2 years ago now, and have lived in a subdivision for almost a year and a half. Since that time, our dog Sierra has really had some major behavior issues. We have floor to ceiling windows all around our house, so every time someone walks by our house, Sierra goes nuts and wildly barks and tears at the window. Last summer she tore gaping holes big enough for her to go through in our screens, and bent the frames of each screen. By the end of the summer, we didn't have one single screen left. All of the woodwork around our windows is ruined too, so we have to replace all our screens, and all of the woodwork. Not cheap. I have talked to obedience trainers, and have tried every technique I can think of, including the Dog Whisperer's techniques. Nothing has worked. We have exercised her until she is so tired she can hardly pick up her frisbee, but she still finds the energy to bark and tear at the windows when someone walks by the house. When the weather is warmer, we have a lot of walkers in our subdivision because our area has lots of trees, and it is a beautiful place to walk. We would have to gate Sierra almost all day to keep her away from our windows. That wouldn't be fair to her. When she is outside it is even worse. Last summer she tore up my garden and flower beds trying to get at the neighbor dog on the other side of the privacy fence. Neighbors complained so bad about her barking that we had to have her surgically debarked last May. The crazy thing is that the neighbors weren't complaining about her barking outside as much as inside! When we had the windows open, they could hear her clear across the channel! We didn't let her stay outside because she would bark so much, but we couldn't control her barking inside. We tried EVERYTHING before we resorted to the surgery to keep her from barking. We tried every bark collar on the market, and we tried all of the techniques we could find like spraying her with water, shaking a can full of coins, making her come to us and sit every time she barks, etc. You name it, we tried it. We finally had to resort to the surgery. She still barks at anything that moves outside, but it is quieter, so the neighbors don't complain anymore. I don't leave her in the yard for more than a few minutes because she tears everything up. She didn't do this when we lived in the country. When we were at Jeff's parents house while Jeff was gone, Sierra was such a good dog. She was great, and didn't bark at all, and didn't tear at the windows. I emailed a lady that I have been in contact with before that helps adopt out Collies. I told her that we needed to find Sierra a home in the country. I am sad, but I feel like we have no other option. Jeff is in total agreement. Evie wasn't as upset as I thought she would be. We told her that we would go to the local animal shelter and get her a kitten. She LOVED that idea. I'm debating with getting one kitten vs. two. I think two are good because they can keep each other company. Dolly is getting old, and would not be very good company for a kitten. I'll have to talk to Jeff and see what we decide. I'm not looking forward to getting rid of Sierra, but I know I don't have any more options. I'm bummed because I spent 5 years of my life with her. It feels like I am getting rid of family :(.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

What a beautiful Easter we had here. I love Easter. As a believer in Jesus, I am so thankful for what He did on the cross. He died on a cross for our sins, and 3 days later rose from the dead. Because of what He did, we can be assured of eternal life if we put our trust in Him. What an incredible gift He gave us! Easter weekend is such a wonderful time to reflect on that gift.

We had my family and Jeff's family over for dinner after church. We had a wonderful dinner of turkey roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole and layered pea salad. We also celebrated Evie's adoption birthday. She actually gets 2 birthdays :). One is December 6th, when she was actually born, and the second one is March 14th. Jeff was gone on the 14th, so we thought we would celebrate it on Easter. March 14th is the date when her adoption was finalized 6 years ago. We were able to take her home when she was only 2 days old, and then 3 months later we went to court and had a judge finalize it. We celebrate that date like another birthday, which helps us to talk about the adoption experience with her. Plus it is super fun! She gets presents and cake :). I made her a spice cake this time, as she LOVES spice cakes (and I was able to make it gluten free/casein free). When Jeff was gone on business, he bought her the new Barbie Mariposa doll, and the movie. She screamed at the top of her lungs when she opened it :).

I love this picture of Evie. It was right before she opened her presents, and the picture is just completely her. Her personality is really fun. She is always smiling, laughing and singing. I wish I were more like that (although people may think I was a little nutty if I went around singing all the time at my age! LOL!).

We finished the day off with making pictures outside with sidewalk chalk and playing frisbee with Sierra. Evie got a huge box of sidewalk chalk from my in-laws, so she will have fun with that.
Last of all, here is my wonderful Hubby just sitting in the sun checking his email. He was relaxing after running all over the yard with Evie and chalking with her. It was a really fun day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My new project

Our fireplace has been white since we moved into this house, and I have not liked it very well. When we first moved here, everything was white. The walls, trim, fireplace and everything! I like white, but not that much! I decided to try a new project to see if I can paint the fireplace to make it look more rustic. I got the idea from watching HGTV's ColorSplash. I am an HGTV addict :). I started painting the fireplace yesterday, and so far it is going well. I think I really like it. Jeff is going to make a fireplace mantle to replace the ugly gray one. Here is the before....

And here it is after it has dried. Jeff ripped out the mantle. We were surprised to find out that it was one solid block of concrete covered in some kind of marble finish. The thing weighed a ton! We don't have a new mantle yet. Jeff is planning to make one, so it still isn't finished. I think it looks much better than before, even without the mantle! The area where the mantle was looks a little funky because they had glued the mantle in place, so I had a hard time covering up the marks that left. It won't matter anyways because the new mantle will cover that up. So far I like how it looks. It completely changes the look of the whole living room.

Coloring Easter eggs

Evie had a fun time coloring Easter eggs last night with Jeff and I. She wanted to hide them right away, but we had to wait until they dried. This morning we hid them a bunch of times, and she keeps asking if we can hide them again this afternoon. She loves to find the Easter eggs!

It is so wonderful having Jeff home again! He was gone for over a week on business, and we really missed him.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dell Sweet Dell

I didn't end up having to send my laptop in. My hubby got on the phone with the Dell company, and they remotely accessed my computer and fixed it! Ah, technology. Unfortunately, I have been gone so much that I haven't been online very often!

Thursday and Friday were teasers here when it came to the weather. I went over to Jeff's parents house because Jeff was in Las Vegas on business, and I took Evie and Sierra. We were outside almost the entire day. It was in the 60's, and beautiful. Jeff's parents live on almost 10 acres of land, and I let Sie-Sie just roam without a leash. She would go super far away, and I would call her back to me just to watch her run! She would run full speed and look just like Lassie :). I started calling her that by the end of the day on Thursday, and Evie says we should switch her name to Lassie. Jeff's parents live next to a horse pasture. There are 3 horses in the pasture, and one is super friendly and always comes up to us when we walk to the fence. Sie-Sie was with us, and the horse actually stuck his head way over the fence until he was nose to nose with Sie-Sie. Sie-Sie quickly sat down, and didn't move. I wish I had my camera with me! They were nose to nose for about 10 seconds. It was so cute. It was wonderful being outside in the sunshine. The past few days are cold and gloomy again. I am really getting ready for spring.

Jeff has been gone off and on for over a month now on business. He doesn't normally travel like this, and I have to say that I really hate it. I miss him so much when he is gone. I know Evie really misses him too.

Well, I had better finish up here on the computer. I have been online for a LONG time. Evie has been playing, but she is getting bored, so I should go play with her. For those of you who have made comments on my blog, thank you for your kind words! One of these days I will get around to replying to you if I get a chance!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Laptop blues

We bought a new laptop a few weeks ago, and I have been having a blast using it. It has helped me to be online more, since I can take it anywhere in the house. It isn't working now, so we have to send it back to Dell :(. Major bummer. Oh well. I am thankful I have another computer as a backup until I get the laptop back.

My honey fixed my closet for me on Saturday. He painted it, and put up new shelves. It looks amazing! He did such a great job. I am so thankful to have a handy husband!

I'm still sticking closely to the gluten free/casein free diet. I was detoxing quite a bit, so that is a good sign that I am doing the right thing! One thing I have noticed is that the whites of my eyes, which have been bloodshot for a long time now, are super super white! That is new :). Evie is still on the diet too. She must have a hollow leg. I honestly think I feed her every hour and a half! You would never know it by looking at her. She is such a tiny thing!

We had fun over the weekend. We took Evie to the mall to the Build-A-Bear workshop. She had a gift certificate from her cousins that she got for Christmas, and we hadn't used it yet. We had never been there before. It was a cool place! She picked out a kitty, and they stuffed it for her, but she got to help by pressing the button for the stuffer. She dressed the kitty in a purple dress and silver shoes :). Her Aunt Julie would be proud because the kitty she picked looks like her cat Peaches. You can click on the picture to see it larger. The shoes are hilarious!

While at the mall, I got to use up my Claires gift certificate from Christmas. I got some cool hair stuff. I got about 4 headbands. I am going to try them out because if they give me a headache I will have to take them back. I also got a beautiful hair slide, and a beak clip, and a pretty clip for pulling part of my hair back. It was a fun day!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rumbling tummies

It is such a gorgeous morning here. Very cold though. I talked with a woman last night who works for a Collie rescue place, and she helps adopt out Collies. I called her because I needed some advice. We used to live in the country, where Sierra had 1/2 acre fenced to run around. We lived on 4 acres, and she loved it. We have since moved to a wooded subdivision, and she doesn't have the space she had before. She has been very bored and sullen, so the woman I talked to said I needed to exercise her more. We are going to try and walk her at least once a day, if not twice. That will be good for her, and for us! Sierra is also having some tummy troubles, and about gassed us out a few nights ago. The woman recommended switching her food to something better, and to give her digestive enzymes and yogurt. I started the enzymes, along with a tablespoon of yogurt mixed in her food. We are going to buy her some different food today, and gradually transition her to that.

Speaking of switching diets, I am changing my diet and Evie's quite a bit. I guess that means Jeff's is changing too, since we all eat dinner together :). Evie's doctor suggested that we try a gluten free/casein free diet, which means no wheat, oats, barley, rye, and other gluten grains. It also means absolutely no dairy whatsoever. I took her off of dairy for a few weeks, then gave her goat's milk a few days ago. She ended up with a rash, so I'm thinking we really do need to keep her off of the dairy and gluten. I am also gluten free and dairy free right now. I was having some stomach problems, and really prayed for direction. I decided to try eliminating the gluten and dairy. So far I have only been doing it a few days, and my stomach feels better already! I am making my own nut milks and rice milk. Evie can't have soy (she is allergic to it), so I can't use soy milk. I am having to be pretty creative with the grains, but it is working out. I made Evie some gluten free bread yesterday, and it turned out pretty well. I also made muffins with garbanzo bean flour! I ground dried garbanzo beans into flour, and then made pumpkin muffins with them. They are so good! I was shocked :). I didn't use any sugar, just stevia. I was amazed at how sweet they were. I need to come up with some other things to make. I made a dairy free pudding that was really good, and I think I will try that again. It has been interesting so far, but it is going well. I'm so glad for the internet! There are so many recipes on the web, and that has helped me tremendously.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Proverbs 31 woman

I have been reading about the woman in Proverbs 31. She is like superwoman. Great wife, great mom, strong yet loving, helper of the poor, clothes maker and food preparer, the list goes on. I so want to be this woman. I keep praying that God will help me to be this woman. Yes, I fall waaaayyyyyyy short most days, but I am still praying that God will help me to be this woman! I don't think that God would put her in the Bible and then make it an impossible task for us to be like her!

I know that God has so much to teach me, and I am trying to learn every day. I am so thankful that He is patient with us. I honestly don't know how in the world people survive a single day without Him. He gives me hope every day. We live in a crazy world with a whole lot of uncertainty. If I didn't know Christ, I think life would be so scary. With Him, He gives us hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for your, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. " His Word has so many promises for those who believe in Him. I have hope here on earth that He will take care of me. I have seen firsthand that He is my Protector, my Deliverer, and my Healer. We always pray protection over our family every day, and we have seen amazing things happen. Psalm 91 is a Psalm all about protection. Every day we quote Psalm 91. Besides the fact that it promises protection, it also promises long life! Some people may say that because it is in the Old Testament, that it isn't for today. I don't believe that. The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn't go back on His promises. He is a covenant God. In Psalm 91:11 it says that He will give His angels charge over us, to protect us. We have seen that happen in miraculous ways! I will give 2 examples, but I have so many others. Jeff was hunting in a deer stand by himself, and no one was around. He stood up to make a shot, and lost his balance. He was high up in a tree, with a barbed wire fence below him, and he wasn't tied to the tree. When he lost his balance, he fell backwards. He was completely laying flat falling towards the barbed wire fence, when he felt someone shove him back up into the tree. Next thing he knew, he was hugging the trunk of the tree. He would probably have been killed if he had fallen, but God miraculously protected him. The other example I will give happened to Evie. She was only 2, and she was playing outside in her sandbox. I was inside at the time, and I heard her crying. She came up to the house and said she had been bit by something. It was only one bite, and I figured it must have been a spider in her sandbox. She was too young to really explain what happened. About an hour later, Jeff and I went outside. Evie pointed to her sandbox, and we saw all these hornets swarming everywhere. Evie hadn't been bit by a spider, she had been stung by a hornet. The miraculous part was that she had kicked the hornets nest with her foot, and only got stung by one hornet. She should have been stung multiple times, and if she had, she could have been killed because she was so young. So I know firsthand how God protects! These are just a few of the many stories we have to tell in our family! I am so thankful for His promises, and for the hope that we have in Him.

One hope for a believer is in knowing that this life is just a blip in time compared to eternity. God gave me this analogy once. Before I give the analogy, I should clarify that some people can really hear God speak. I can, and I hear Him loudly sometimes! I don't know if He does that with a lot of people, but He does it with me! Anyways, I was laying in bed in my room after I had just packed up something to sell on eBay. I had used these little bitty pearl sized packing peanuts, so He used them in the analogy. Jeff's great aunt had passed away the week before, and it was weighing heavily on my mind that she did not know Jesus as her Savior before she died. As I was laying in the dark, God gave me this analogy. He said to imagine my room filled full from floor to ceiling with those little packing peanuts. Then He said to mentally pick one out, and picture that as my life here on earth, as in years. Then He said to picture the rest as years in eternity. Another analogy that Jeff always uses is sand. He pictures a beach, and takes one grain of sand, and that grain is our life here on earth. The rest of the sand on the beach is eternity. Eternity is so hard to fathom for anyone. Many people think that this world is it. That once we die, that is it. Unfortunately it isn't the end, but just the beginning! Imagine ETERNITY. Forever. Never ending. For those who know Christ, what an awesome thing! For those who don't know Christ, I can't imagine. I don't want to imagine. I feel so burdened for people who don't think they need God, or simply don't believe He exists. I want so much for them to see that what Christ has to offer is more amazing than anything. Yes, this life has trials, and being a Christian isn't a free ticket out of trials. But with Christ, He helps us through and gives us hope. He saves us from an eternity apart from Him. That is the biggest thing of all. I feel so blessed beyond belief to know Christ as my Savior. He not only died on the cross for me, but He will never leave me. I am His child. He adopted me into His family after I accepted Him as my Savior. But most of all, He spared me from eternal life in hell. I think about the fact that I will never have to be away from those I love, because almost all of my loved ones have accepted Christ. We will get to spend eternity in heaven with Christ and with each other. I will get to spend all of eternity with Jeff and with Evie. I have 6 babies in heaven that I will get to spend all eternity with. I used to be really sad that I wasn't able to have a lot of kids, but God helped me to see that I do! I may not have a big family here on earth, but I will have one huge family reunion with my kids in heaven! Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with gratitude to God for His goodness. He is my Savior, my Protector, my Healer, my Deliverer. I am so thankful, and feel so blessed. God is so good. So very good. Because of Him, I strive to become that Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be all that God wants me to be!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm ready for spring

We got a teasing of warmer weather last night and today. It was in the 50's. The snow all melted overnight, and now there is some area flooding. It is nice to see the grass again! It is supposed to get cold again tonight and snow again. I do love the beauty of the snow, but this winter has been quite long it seems.

Evie is getting close to losing her second tooth. It keeps getting wiggly, and then it will tighten up again, then will get wiggly again. One of these days she will lose it, but it is taking a long time!

My bedroom is a total disaster because of something that happened last night. Jeff was playing in the other room with Evie, and we both heard this huge crashing sound coming from our bedroom. The entire closet fell down! Basically the rod, holding all of our clothes came out from the wall and crashed to the floor. We found out that the rod was not in any studs at all..they just had it sticking into the drywall! No wonder it fell! The drywall is all ripped apart, so Jeff is going to have to fix it as soon as he gets a chance. Right now our clothes are still in the closet...on the floor of the closet, still attached to the rack! I took a picture of my side. Doesn't it look lovely? Well, one good thing out of this is that our closet will get painted and redone, and will be better than before. Gotta look on the positive side :). God has blessed, and I have much to be thankful for!!

I started knitting again. It has been awhile. I am making a purse, and I am using a brown chenille yarn. It is so soft! I hope it turns out. I am really wanting to learn how to make a sweater. I love wearing sweaters, especially the high necked ones because I am always cold. Maybe I will try and see if I can tackle making a sweater after the purse. Of course, by the time I get done with the purse it will be warmer weather, so I won't really be thinking too much about sweaters!