Cute Video...

...of Ruby "digging." Plus something funny from Rae.



JP and I threw together a spur-of-the-moment painting weekend on Saturday morning. Up until now the ENTIRE house has been what is supposed to be a "tan" color. Unfortunately, in the daylight, it looks more peach than anything else.

We went with a neutral brown color for the upper living area and a nice, earthy green in the kitchen and dining rooms. I can't tell you how happy I am with how it looks!

This is the best view of how the colors look together

I love this green. It's a definite improvement from the neon-heart-attack-green we had in our Brooklyn Park house. I have a decorating plan in the works for this wall that I'm very excited about. It's almost ready, so stay tuned.
The kitchen before...

...and now. What a difference a little color makes!

Ruby -- 18 months

Ruby Ann passed the 18-month mark this week, making her our official one-and-a-half year old.This is such a fun stage. She can pretty much do everything Rae can do, just with a little help, and her fearless attitude takes her even further than that sometimes! She is talking a lot more lately, but still gets frustrated when she can't fully communicate her desires.She sings, helps with chores, laughs a lot, and cannot be trusted alone in a room for more than 20 seconds.She is down to taking only one nap a day most days, unless she wakes too early in the morning. She has a favorite blanket (pictured below during a meltdown) that she cannot live without. I tried to put her to bed without it last night because it was in the dryer, and she wept and cried, "Moooommy! Mooooommy!" until it was dry and I brought it in to her.Ruby is extremely affectionate and loves to hand out hugs and slobbery, boogery kisses. She can say small word combos like "love you, Dada," or "thank you, Mama." She adores the dogs and they put up with her "love" very well. She loves to swing, is very social, very independent and her hair shows absolutely NO sign of ever curling.Ruby Ann, what would our life be without you? You make every day sweeter than the day before. The way you hug me so tight melts my heart. I love you right up to the moon...and back again.


How do you get a three-year-old to stop playing princess and eat her dinner? Tell her it's a "banquet" and give her a "real" plate, metal fork, and a "goblet," of course!



Not much new to report here, except that we are loving the early spring weather. If March ends up going out like a lion, I will be very sad. I don't think I could bear another snow.

On Saturday morning we broke out the shovels & wheelbarrow and dug out the overgrown fire pit that we discovered once the snow melted. I use the term "we" loosely, since JP did most of the digging and hauling, with only limited "help" from me and the girls!

That night we had some of JP's high school friends over for burgers, brats, and a bonfire. It was glorious, and I'm looking forward to more bonfire fun all summer long, for those willing to make the trip out to visit us! The next morning, the first thing out of Rae's mouth was, "Mommy, can we go outside and have a camping fire with all of our friends?" All day long she talked about how much fun she had.

After all the fun, I found one tick on Sadie and one in the back of little Ruby's head! They were just wood ticks, so I wasn't too concerned. But later I found a tiny little tick in Ruby's hair (thankfully it had not latched on yet). I don't know if that was a deer tick or not, but it definitely gave me the shivers.

My van (the Safari) is in the shop today. It started making a funny grinding noise before we left for Tennessee. Since we didn't have the funds to fix it, I drove it only on a "need to" basis until finally the other day it started sounding really bad and the Anti-lock brakes started kicking in for no reason.

I took it in to a local, family-owned place up the road from us. They said the passenger side wheel bearing was completely gone, and the tire could have fallen off at any minute. The alignment was also off and it was leaking anti-freeze. All I can say is Thank You Lord for keeping me & the girls safe in that car, Thank You Uncle Kev for getting us an amazing deal on parts to fix it, and Thank You IRS for tax returns in the nick of time!

I guess that's all for now. How have you been?


David & Goliath

Rae has taken a liking to pretending to be David defeating the giant, Goliath. I finally got a video of her funny little "sling" throw that she does. Notice the full wind-up, as David would have spun the sling round and round.

On a Roll

Rae has been on a roll today, cracking me up with little things she's said and done. Here are just a couple.

"Mom, there's good news and bad news. The good news is we're going outside. The bad news is, I fell down."

"Mom, are you wearing glasses so I'll stop poking your eyes?"

"Uncle Pete told me boys pee standing up and girls pee sitting down. Is that true?"

And here's a favorite, after she got out of her bed during nap time:

"But Mom, I thought it was what God wanted me to do."


More TN Pictures

These photos are courtesy of my sister, Amber. (Thanks!)

Reading books at Aunt Jean's house after the funeral
Swimming at the hotel
Feeding the ducks, geese & fish at Memaw's
Memaw & Mama
I love this picture


His Eye is on the Terrier

This morning the farmer who found Caleb stopped by our house to see how he was doing. He said before we got there he was praying, "Lord, what should I do?" He was worried about rabies. He said he knew it was divine intervention when we arrived just when we did. He also warned us of just how bad the coyotes are around here. He said his nephew has shot 23 of them! Thank you Lord for intervening on Caleb's behalf!

Today, I let the dogs out like I always do and later, when I went to bring them back in, they were nowhere to be found. This wasn't the first time they've ever gotten out of the invisible fence, but it scares me whenever they do, especially since we live so close to the highway.

Right away, I walked down to the highway and started calling for them, and I was very relieved to see Sadie off in the distance, albeit on the far side of the highway. I watched, horrified, as she crossed back over, getting honked at by two cars and dodged by others, but breathed a sigh of thankfulness when she made it back over to me safely.

But Caleb was nowhere to be found.

I got Sadie home, grabbed my phone, started calling local vets, shelters, and sheriff's offices, and hopped in the car to drive up and down the highway. I didn't see him anywhere, so I went home and kept calling places, leaving his description around town, and even posting missing ads online.

The Isanti County Sheriff's office said one guy had called in saying there were two dogs on Hwy 95 right by our house and he was going to try to catch them and bring them into Princeton. BUT, the call had gotten disconnected! And I had called everywhere in Princeton and nobody was calling back with good news.

Hours were passing. I was feeling miserable, guilty (I was supposed to have gotten him new tags and I hadn't), and very stressed.

JP came home from work early, and after dinner we got back in the car and decided to go door-to-door with some pictures to see if anyone had seen him. One lady had, and pointed us in the direction she saw him run. We followed that direction for a while, stopping at more houses to no avail. It was getting dark quickly, and a heavy fog was descending on the whole area, making it almost impossible to see.

We decided to head back toward the main highway and check a couple houses on the other side of the road. We finally got to the point where we decided we'd just try one more house and then head home. I pointed to one on the left side of the road, but JP decided on the one on the right side.

As we pulled into the driveway, I saw an old farmer walking toward the house from him barn. He had a flashlight in one hand and a rifle in the other. I approached him, showed him the pictures and started to explain when he interrupted me with, "He's right here!" I turned around and saw a cold, wet, shivering Caleb creeping toward me very timidly, tail just barely wagging.

Here is the kicker: the farmer was actually on his way to put Caleb down!!!!! A closer look showed that Caleb's whole rear end was covered in blood. He had obviously been in some sort of scuffle. The farmer said they had lost a dog to coyotes about a year ago, and when he saw Caleb so banged up and even growling at him (anybody who knows Caleb knows he LOVES people and would never growl unless he was really hurt), he figured (like old farmers do) that he'd put him out of his misery.

We hurried back into the car and started calling animal hospitals, trying to find one that was still open. I reached one right in Princeton that was literally just closing it's doors as my call came in, and they said they'd stay open for us.

After inspecting him closer, the vets said it looked like he had been at it with something smaller than a coyote, probably a large raccoon based on the size and shape of the bites. All of the wounds were only puncture wounds, not rips or tears, so he needed no stitches. They gave us some pain meds, antibiotics, and a medicated shampoo to take home. He is now cleaned up, doped up, and snuggling with JP on the couch.

I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was looking out for Caleb today. There were so many people praying for him. It is no coincidence that so many things fell perfectly into place just as they did.

If JP had come home from work any later...

If we had given up our search any sooner...

If we had gone to the house on the left instead of the house on the right...

If the phone call to the vet had come in any later...

...things may have turned out drastically different.

I know it's "just a dog." But it blesses me beyond belief that God cares enough about me and my family to look out for our dog. He is still part of the family, and we would have been devastated to lose him.

And if God cares that much about a dog...how much more for you?

Thank you Jesus for bringing Caleb home to us safely! You are so good!


This is my new favorite photo. Ruby Screws and her great-granddaughter, Ruby Charlebois.

Home Again

We made it home from Memphis at around 10 pm on Monday night, and it is SO good to be back. We had a great time and got to see so many people I haven't seen in years. I'm so thankful for having the chance to get down there again with the girls. But it was a really long time to be away from JP and live out of suitcases in a hotel room with two young children being transferred all over the place multiple times a day.

Yesterday was spent doing laundry, unpacking, and getting caught up on rest. Today is gray and rainy, so we are staying inside and getting back on a regular schedule.

Here are some pictures from the trip. The crummy ones are from my phone, and the nice ones are from my mom's camera.

Dad's van had a DVD player in it (hallelujah!).
Ruby sleeping on the ride down
Various pictures of JP with the surprises he found around the house
The girls ready to go swimming at the hotel
Ruby dressed for the visitation
Clockwise from back: My Aunt Ann, me, my sister Amber, my mom, and Memaw
Me and Memaw
Learning how to blow bubbles
Ruby to Ruby love!
More pictures to come: I am at the mercy of my mom and sister since I didn't have a camera to take down with me on this trip!


Another Memphis Update

Today we played outside in the very bright and very warm sun in just our short sleeves. It was beautiful, and I think I even got a slight tan on my arms! Many thanks to the Regenolds for having us all over to their beautiful home for a fun day of play.

We have decided to stay one day longer than we had originally planned. Tomorrow is Sunday, and it will be one week since Anita's passing. We will spend the day with the family, and Mom will also help finish up the thank you cards they will be sending out. We will leave for home on Monday morning.

The funeral itself was beautiful. There were so many flowers overflowing the room with color and life, the same way Anita did just by being present. Everybody who knew her, loved her, and everybody who knew her feels her absence keenly.

Uncle James courageously spoke to all about the first time he saw Anita in the halls of their high school, their courtship, marriage, life adventures, and 50 years of togetherness and love. He called her his soul mate and best friend, and said that unlike Clarence (from It's a Wonderful Life), his angel had already earned her wings.

The girls are still holding up pretty well. They like all of the attention and the outside play time. Ruby has been having trouble with waking up crying at night, I think because she is cutting some more teeth. Usually Rae can sleep through her crying, but I certainly cannot. I'm averaging much less sleep than normal, and as much as I love spending time with my family who I love and don't get to see often enough, I am missing home and JP.

It's not often that I get to come down here and see MeMaw and everybody else. These times are precious. And although I don't like to think about it, I can't help but wonder every time I leave if this might be the last time I will get to see MeMaw. She is a strong woman, and it wouldn't surprise me if she lives to be 105; but as we've learned with Anita...life (and death) can be so surprising.

The fact that I am still up on my computer is keeping Rae's interest from the other hotel bed, and she is therefore still awake too. I'm going to close so we can both get some rest. Please keep praying for all of our family, and especially today for my Mom. Leaving is going to be so very hard on her this time, more than ever.

Love to all....


Memphis Update

The girls and I are still in Memphis, and will be until Sunday. Aunt Anita's visitation is tonight, and the funeral is tomorrow morning (Thursday). The burial will actually be in Paducah, KY at Uncle James' family plot, which is three hours away. The girls and I probably will not go to that, since it will be 6 hours in the car for about 20 minutes of graveside time.

We've been able to spend some nice time with my grandma (MeMaw) and aunts, uncles, & cousins. MeMaw's apartment has a pond outside full of ducks and geese, so we've been feeding them bread which Rae LOVES.

My sister, Amber, and her family arrived late last night. It will be so nice for the cousins to have each other to play with. Missy & the kids were going to come as well, but had to change their plans. They were originally coming on Thursday (when Anita was still alive), but now don't have enough time to pull everything together and be here in time for all of the services. We will miss them!

I'm trying to get some pictures from my phone to my computer to share with you all, but it's not working. The girls and I left JP small gifts all around the house, yard & workshop, and each day we've been sending him a clue where to look for one. Whenever he finds one, he takes a picture and sends it to the girls. If/when I get it to work, I'll share them with you all.

I've been so blessed with how flexible the girls have been on this trip. They are not used to being dragged all over, sleeping in different places all the time, sharing close sleeping quarters, and eating southern cooking, but they've done so, so well. Right now Ruby is taking a nap in the hotel room while Rae sits quietly on her bed, coloring. She whispers if she needs anything so she doesn't wake Ruby. Everywhere we go, people comment on how sweet and cute they are. I couldn't agree more. Don't get me wrong, they're not perfect angels and we've had our rough moments, but overall I'm very proud of them.

I guess that's all for now. Please keep the family in your prayers as these next couple of days are bound to be difficult. Even knowing that Anita is pain-free and whole now, it's still hard to say goodbye. It's very different to even sit around and visit with the family without her boisterous personality enlivening everything. Like I said before, she was always the life of the party.

Much love to all...