Friday, December 31

This Christmas

        I will try to sum up my thoughts on this the best I can. I hope I don't lose you. My mind went, (Does your mind ever do this?) Any way my mind went down an interesting path, and I got to thinking about what it would be like to be in Joseph and Mary's shoes when Jesus was born. Things come into perspective when you have a child of your own. What would it be like to come into town and not have a place to stay? What would it be like to have a baby in a barn? What would it be like to have your quiet invaded by a bunch of shepherds and then some weeks later by some very prominent individuals from a far away land? What would it be like to have a child like this? I wonder if Joseph and Mary understood what a precious gift to the world that they had in their keeping? Did they know that this little baby would change the entire world? Did they know that 2,000 years later He would still be the most influential figure that ever was and ever will be? I'll think I let your imagination take it from there.
       Kind of aside but along the same line. If you read those passages where men of God encountered God and all His majesty and holiness, it is really hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this same God was, by His own choosing, born in the lowliest conditions and was crucified like a criminal and three days later rose as conqueror. I am so glad He was willing to do this and that His blood is still more than enough to cleanse every sinner and make him new.
        Anyway these are few of the scattered thoughts I have had in the past couple of weeks.
        Here are a few Misc pictures from over Christmas time. They are by no mean an exhaustive and complete documentary of the past week, but just a few favorites. Well maybe not even related to Christmas in the exact sense........ Anyway here they are.

Gwen sleeping in Marmee's arms.
Observing the surroundings.
A new book for Christmas.
How does this work mom?
The family got a train for Christmas.
We did some snowmobiling.
The ladies scrap booked.
We had pizza for supper one evening. It was yummy!!
Much more I could say and more pictures I could post but I will stop for now. 
 Till later!!     

Saturday, December 25

From Our House To Yours

Merry Christmas!
God Bless Us Every One!! -- Charles Dickens 
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Thursday, December 23

How My Good Intentions Died

     When I became a Mom, I had all kinds of good intentions. I still have quite a few, but sad to say, I think they are going to leave, one by one.
     One of my Very Good Intentions, was that I was never going to feed my baby that powdered cereal stuff out of a box. I didn't see how it could be healthy, and I wanted his first experience of real food to be good, solid nutrition. I had visions of introducing him to mashed banana, or pureed oatmeal or rice when he was six months old or so.
   Well, I was moaning to my mother-in-law about his awful sleeping habits, and how I struggled to get him to settle for the night. "It sounds like a meat and potatoes issue to me," she said. "He wants more than what you are giving him. Get a box of baby cereal, and mix up a tablespoon or so before bedtime. It'll settle in his stomach and give him something to digest. I know it's cardboard, but it works, and a little bit like that won't hurt him. My mom gave it to her babies at six weeks."  I was desperate enough for advice, but at the same time I resisted the Idea slightly. After all, he's not THAT old yet, I told myself. Surely I can still satisfy him. I don't want to lose my baby that fast. But the more I thought about it, it seemed like a solution. After all, if it didn't work, I didn't have anything to lose, besides my sleep, and maybe my sanity. And I didn't think that mashed banana or real rice or oatmeal was going to work in a three month old tummy.
     So I swallowed my good intentions, and my pride,  and bought a box of cereal the next time we were in town. It sat in my cupboard for a few days while I tried to convince my self that feeding him cereal was a good thing, after all we do want our children to grow up and be independant of us. Just maybe not at three months old.
Shoveling it in.
      I fed it to him for the first time Saturday evening. The first spoonful was tentatively tasted. The next spoonful was eagerly swallowed. You've heard the expression "...Dove into his food."  That's the most accurate expression for the spoonfuls after that. He grabbed the spoon and tried to help me shovel it in. Both little hands got thoroughly involved in the process. It didn't make much difference in his sleep and eating habits through the night the first time. The next night I did it again, except fed a little more. He scarfed that down as well. He went to sleep better, but still woke up about three times to eat. By now I was feeling sort of like a guilty mom, because obviously he hadn't been totally satisfied, and was likely a little hungry.
More, Mom More.!!
      The nights since have ranged from mediocre, to fairly satisfactory. One night he refused to eat it, so I didn't force him. He had a tummy-ache later, which explained the non-interest that night. It hasn't really made a difference in how often he is awake at night to nurse. Which I suppose some people would say because the cereal doesn't contain anything anyway, and doesn't make a difference. It makes a difference in his level of contentment. I think he just needs a little extra boost every now and then.
Good stuff.  Real good stuff!! Yummy!!
     I dreamed the first night after the cereal that my baby had suddenly grew into a much bigger baby from the cereal. I was relieved the next morning when I woke up and he was still that same small size. I still had my little boy, even if he does have to eat food independently of me.
     So that was the death of My Good Intention. We are both happier for it. Sometimes you have to do what's best and what works, even if the "experts" tell you otherwise.  I wonder which Very Good Intention will die next?
I'm happy now!

Wednesday, December 15

A Few Questions

     5:30 am is way too early to be starting a blog post. It's also way too early to be out of bed as well. A certain son of mine needed to have his diaper changed, and he doesn't sleep through diaper changes as well as he used to be able to. So he is currently lying on the floor beside me halfheartedly playing toys. In a few minutes he will be sleepy, and we will head back to bed for a few hours of sleep.
     We had our snowstorm. It wasn't as dramatic here as they had predicted at one point; the main thrust of the storm went south of us. Sometime I want a storm to hit us with a foot of snow. But we did get about 8 inches out of this storm, which was a nice amount. It's terribly cold now. We ended up going to Mom and Dad's for the storm because Mom needed Clark's help to reformat her computer.
      Well, that was as far as I got yesterday. So let's see... what else. Oh, how does one get a three month old to go to bed at a reasonable hour of the night? We're really struggling with that, and even when I keep him awake through the evening, I still struggle to get him to settle before 11. Last night I was SURE that when he went to sleep at 9:30 or so, we were looking at an early bedtime, because he hadn't napped for more then half hour stretches through out the day. But nope, at 10 he woke up, and so I fed him, then it was up, down, up, down, up, down for the next hour, literally at least that many times. So.....sigh. Last week I decided that he's old enough to reschedule to an earlierbedtime, and it worked beautifully one night. Not so since. Arrrgh! And two hours is all he can handle being awake at one stretch, after that we have emotional meltdown time. So, any ideas from any experienced moms out there? Please? Or isn't he big enough to do this yet?
     Let's see, what else? I found a few recipes that I want to try for holiday baking yet. I found a recipe for making peppermint patties, only I need to see if in the end it's going to be "cheaper" to make my own rather then just buying them. I found a recipe for thumbprint jam cookies that I want to try. I got that inspiration from Kay's blog.
     We have ladies Bible study tonight, and we are going to start the book "Having a Mary Heart In a Martha World". I read through the first chapter (barely had time for that, HA!), and I'm looking forward to discussing it tonight. I have a few questions though.  I'd like to know why everyone thinks I have "so much time on your hands, why you only have one child". Ha! I realize that life would be busier with more children but still...  And why do we place expectations on ourselves that certain things are good and Godly and Biblical to do, when the Bible doesn't say anything about it?  Like homeschooling, and raising your own food, and nursing your baby instead of bottle feeding, and having lots of children, and stuff like that? (So I thought I'd pick close-to-home subjects.) I mean, that's all stuff that I do/would like to do (not sure right now about the lots of children part), but in the end does it really matter?
Benny has been sleeping for the last few hours (it's afternoon now). He needed to. I hope he cooperates tonight though. I think I shall publish this post now.

Friday, December 10

Anticipating a Snow Day!

     We're supposed to get a big snow storm tonight and tomorrow! First one of the season! I can't wait!! You should have heard Clark and me when we saw the forecast this morning; we sounded like a couple of kids with a new toy. We had projects and stuff planned for tomorrow, but I'm afraid that we'll just decide to play all day instead. I'm dreaming of hot chocolate and games and books and stupid movies and yummy food. We'll see I guess. I have no way to get to the library for the books and stupid movies, so maybe that part of the dream will be slightly crippled (though there is always Youtube!). I told Clark we need a majorly competitive game like Monopoly or Catan or something to play against each other. We also need to do family protrait for the Christmas letter. Ha! Like we'll even get out of our PJ's tomorrow! Maybe we can put a new spin on Christmas pictures.....
      I decided to do my Saturday cleaning today, and it's finished except for vacuuming and mopping the bathroom floors. I need to make something for church on Sunday sometime as well. And wash dishes of course.
      Benny is getting more alert and active. He rolls over all the time, if he feels like it. He's also at the stage where he is bored, and he thinks Mom should have all day to play with him. Which she doesn't. I'm trying to decide if I should think, "I can't wait until he's crawling," or not. I do think he's growing up WAY. TOO. FAST! I guess I'll always say that.
     We're enjoying the seasons activities, Christmas carols on the radio, cookie baking, and caroling planned for Sunday. I need to do my Christmas shopping as well. What do men like? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Clark says that ladies are just as hard to shop for, which I can't imagine!
     Anyway, this is a summery of my life on a wintery Friday afternoon. I'll let you know what we actually did on our snow day after it happens!

Saturday, December 4

I have writers block. So I'm going to be cheap and do a copy and paste. Here is my Christmas carol of the year so far.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
And I really like 'Little Drummer Boy ' too. So what if it's imaginative? It's a really neat song I think.
So those are my thoughts on a Saturday morning. I could do a nice long rant on how tired I am of people demonizing Christmas, but I guess I'll be good and not be controversial. Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 24

Thanks to God

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
-- August L. Storm

Maybe it's rather cheap to copy and paste, but this song expresses it all so well. Tonight I am especially thankful for my husband and son, and a nice warm house when it's cold and snowy outside. I love living in a place where the changes in the seasons are so obvious. Happy Thanksgiving to you all as well.

Saturday, November 20


Thought I would add these. We took these this morning. He's pretty precious. I think we'll keep him.

 Right now the poor child is sleeping on my lap. He's sick with a cold and gets grumpy in the evenings.

A Benny Bear Post

Cause a never ending subject for blogs is about the kids, right?
 Most of these are from the same series because he was being particularly photogenic at that moment. And they capture a lot of different expressions.

He's a happy little boy most of the time.
These were taken the day he was two months old.  This one is my favorite.
Looking like his Dad again.
I like this one too.
 The family at the Creation Museum.

And good-bye to you too.

Thursday, November 18

Home Again

     We are home from a two week trip. We took several young people to a Youth Bible School in PA. Which was fun and enlightening. Were we ever that silly when we were that age?  And energy drinks CAN'T be good for you. And how on earth can you stay up that late every night and not pay for it? I guess we aren't as young as we used to be. I remember when I went how the older students would go to bed early and I couldn't figure out why. I know now.
     We had a nice time in PA with various friends and relations. Another interesting thing was that the people I recognized or know from my years of going to the YBS there, were mostly married and had children of their own. Hmmm.
     Benny got to meet two of his great-grandmas. Which was very good. He did very well on the trip, except for getting exceedingly tired of his car seat. He's terribly grumpy this morning. He's also starting to throw fits. Why can't he wait to do that for a few months/years yet?
     There was snow on the ground when we got home. I think winter is pretty much here to stay. I love winter, especially here in the woods. I absolutly HAVE to listen to Christmas music when I see snow. So I've spent the last several days doing that. The only problem being that I am afraid I am going to run out of time on my Pandora Radio.
     I collected home making ideas on this trip. I feel like I've been AWOL to my house for the last year while I was doing baby. So, I'm going to clean corners. I'm going to finish painting the second bathroom. I'm going to buy potpourri and make my rooms smell good. I'm going to find a cabinet or shelves for the empty cubby hole in the main bathroom. I'm going to decorate for Christmas after Thanksgiving. I'm going to make cheery table runners, or find them in thrift stores. I'm going to recover the nasty living room pillows. I'm going to burn candles more often.  I'm going to spend more time at menu planning and purposeful grocery shopping.Maybe I'll get a start on painting my bedroom. My grandma gave me a quilt top that I am being severely tempted to put in a frame and quilt on winter evenings.  I am sounding WAY too ambitious.
     Well, seeing Benny Bear is sleeping, I had best get to work. Laundry, dishes and finishing unpacking. There is a nasty smell wafting around this morning, and I can't figure out what it is or where it's coming from. I remember it from last winter when I was pregnant. Yuck. So I want to find the source and eradicate it. See you all later.

Saturday, October 30

This 'n That

     I'm still alive. We are all doing very well. I've tried to update several times but somehow the posts never made it out of the drafting stage.
     It's Saturday morning. Benny is lying on the table playing with his toys. He rolled over for the first time this week, so I suppose that his days of playing on the table are swiftly coming to a close. He's growing and healthy, and happy and smiling; we are thankful for that. He's a very good baby.
     I've been spending my spare time the last few weeks assembling a new wardrobe. Only new moms, or the really rich I suppose, get to have a totally new wardrobe twice the same year. That's the positive way to look at it I guess. We are leaving on a two week trip next week, so I'm on a time crunch. I gave the last dress to be sewed to Amy, so I hope she has fun with it. I think I blew the pattern when I cut that one out. :(    Clark and I are going to Rice Lake as well, and I'm hoping I find stuff that fits, and I like, in the stores there. HA! I'm not counting on it. I am having fun shopping for regular clothes again though.
     We had a lot of fun last weekend when Gabes were here. I discovered later the we didn't get any pictures of Benny and Gwen together, unless someone else did and I didn't see them.  Except for this one.
Marmee with two of the grand kiddos.
     The weather is cold and winterish after that mega-storm earlier this week. I woke up Tuesday morning and my ears were popping. I thought it was kind of weird, but didn't figure out why until I read the news reports that the pressure was as low as a Category 3 hurricane. Hmmmm....  We didn't have much damage around here, which surprised me; I thought maybe my whole yard of aspen trees would depart and I 'd get to start over. Which actually wouldn't have been very funny, cause I'm sure that the house would have suffered in that case as well.
     Well, the small person on my table is beginning to voice his dis-content to the world (they start young don't they?), so I suppose I shall soon have to move on to other things. I'm going to try to upload a picture or two if I can find any nice ones. I hope you all have a good weekend.

Monday, October 4

The Real Family Picture

Taken by Abbey Sunday at the Father-Son Campout.

Saturday, October 2

To Change a Thermostat.

Greetings and Salutations,

             I fixed the car. It was getting insufficient coolant to the radiator which made the heat gauge register excessive amounts of what ever it is supposed to register. It had a little to do with the thermostat as well. A thermostat is a little whichamacallit doogizmo thingy that is supposed to regulate the temperature. It resides in the middle of the engine compartment, surrounded and guarded by other complex thingamajigs. Modern day engineers have an amazing sense of humor.
          I commenced my repairs with the usual pomp and ceremony. Any mechanical project should be preceded by excessive amounts of procrastination and dread. Which I commenced to do about a year ago when I bought the new thermostat. A good mechanical project should be allowed to ripen and season with the passage of time. A few days ago I realized that the dreaded project had ripened and seasoned a little too much when the heat gauge began to register excessive of amounts of what ever it is supposed to register and the heater began to misbehave in a fashion unbecoming to a heater. First blasting cold air and then hot air and then cold again.
         I decided to change the thermostat on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, after procrastinating all morning, I finally gathered all my resources and popped the hood. "Popping the hood" is the apex of any good mechanical project because every thing has went so well up to this point and now is destined to deteriorate into a dismal wilderness of scratched hands, dropped wrenches, and cramping of various seldom used muscles that you find when in tight places.  After "Popping the Hood", the next question is, where is the thermostat? The thermostat resides under the air intake and throttle mechanism. The air intake and throttle mechanism look like a patient in the intensive care unit with all the life support hooked up. I decide that the big black hose thingy has to come out. I undo several hose clamps and get it to move several inches. Good enough. I now begin to go for the thermostat. To even feel the bolts for the pipe containing the thermostat  involves putting your fingers through contortions that would make an octopus cringe. Somewhere along the line I drop the wrench. I begin to reach for the wrench. I touch the wrench and the wrench moves farther away. I crawl onto the engine and reach for the wrench; it falls the rest of the way to the ground. The wrench will stay there for the rest of the repair. I have another of that size. I don't lose this one.
     I finally manage to get the bolts to turn, but I am frustrated with the tight conditions and decide to take some more "stuff" out. I disconnect some more "life support" from the air intake hose thingy. Hopefully I can stir my memory enough to hook them back up correctly. I finally remove the offending air intake hose and part of the air cleaner and put it somewhere out the way. Not much better but it helps. My fingers still have to do strange things but at least my arms can move with out being scratched, gouged, and bruised. We need not mention what happens to my hands. I did not lose any blood by the way. I am sure the engineers would have been disappointed by my lack of blood loss.
       I finally get the pipe off, remove the old thermostat, and place the new one in.  Now to put it all back together. After several trial and error attempts I manage to put the pipe over the thermostat with out the thermostat falling out. Now to put a bolt in the pipe. Yes!! It threaded!! And the thermostat fell out...... Try again. Lets try the bottom bolt this time. Oh No!! Its slipping out of my fingers. Ah...... Ah..... I can't keep it. Five minutes later after bruising my hand, I have the lost bolt dug out of the crevice and I am ready put the thermostat and pipe back in for another try. I lost track of attempts but that is just a sample. Finally I am hooking the "life support" back up to the hose thingy and adding water
    All in all the project went well considering. I only dropped one wrench that I couldn't retrieve till I moved the car. Although I did drop several other things which involved....... well let me say it this way, just imagine a guy on the heavier side on his knees with his head and arm jammed under the front bumper muttering to himself. My hand does hurt a little but I am not aware of any scratches at this point, and I don't think it took me more than two hours. The temperature gauge now reads much the same way as when I got the car (I hope it stays that way), and the heater works.
     This reminds of the time when a hot water line in our house developed a leak.............

Till later!!

Monday, September 27

And All I Really Wanted Was a Nap...

1:31 pm: (All times approximate) Benny is soundly sleeping and I decide it's nap time for mom. I gather my pillow and fuzzie and settle on the love seat because B is sleeping on the couch.
1:52  I hear squeaks and occasional howls from the couch. Benny is starving, he thinks. I have maybe drifted off to sleep, possibly for 5-10 min.
1:54  I gather the starving child and prepare to feed him.
1:57  Only he drifts off to sleep in my arms. I wait for a few mins. but he is not waking. He didn't eat anything either...
2:03  I lay him down and prepare once again to try for my nap.
2:19  I have relaxed and am 3/4 of the way asleep. I hear howls from the couch. I stare at the source and suddenly remember, "Oh yeah, that's my kid and I am the one that has to do something about it."
2:33  Benny has eaten and is sleeping. I should change his diaper but he will wake up, so I am going to be a naughty mom and just put him down.
2:41  I lay down again.
2:43  I hear a car in my driveway. Francis is here to borrow my luggage piece with wheels, because she is flying to NE for a month. (Hey, I wasn't sleeping. It was good timing on your part.)
2:46  I lay down again. My mind compsoses this blog post and thinks of a million other things.
3:02  Benny stirs because he didn't burp. I consider giving up the napping attempt. I drifted off too many times to be able to relax now.
3:15  I give up. I get up and do laundry and work on this post. I eat a piece of dark chocolate candy. I chat with my husband. I hang a bouquet of roses to dry, and discover one of them is sprouting. I decide to be brave and see if I can root it. I consider that I had 7 1/2 hours of sleep last night. I can go to bed early tonight. Or I can try to nap later. Life is good. My baby is growing. I am happy.

 Quote Of The Week:
Clark at 6:30 am when Benny wakes up for yet another feeding: "Wow, he slept all night didn't he?!
Me: "Umm, you evidently were sleeping soundly from 2:30 am to 4:00. There was a thunderstorm around then too..."  
Clark: "Yeah, I did hear it rumble once maybe." ( He didn't hear the baby though.... Ah, well, not that I care.)

Monday, September 13

Mom's Side of Things

     Clark tells me I should blog. We shall see how many days/hours it takes until this is finished and posted.
     We got home from the hospital yesterday, and are getting settled into being a family. It's good to be home, but we did enjoy our hospital stay for the most part. We have an awesome small town hospital. They had four babies over the time we were there, which meant the Birth Center was full.
     I'm not really going to post a gory birth story on the world wide web. (If any of you want the details let me know and I'll send an e-mail.)  I did end up having to have a C-section because I was at 9 cms. for over three hours. It totally wasn't in our minds at all that we could end up doing that. For those of you who wondered how I'm handling that part, I'm doing ok. There will probably always be one or two "what ifs", but I think for the most part we made the right decision at the time. I talked it out with one or two people and they agreed that we likely did the right thing, and we can be better prepared to take steps to possibly prevent a C-s in the future. The Dr. said if he would have had a smaller head it would have been fine.
     Bendick was named after his great-great grandpa Skrivseth. Sometime Clark or another relation should blog about him and his story. Jerome is Clark's middle name, and I insisted that we use it. He's going to end up being called Ben I think. I call him Benny-Boy right now.
    Clark has taken to fatherhood like an old pro. He wasn't very comfortable with tiny babies. "I'm scared I'm going to drop them." Well, last eve. he was holding the baby and was helping me with something, and I was like, "Honey, don't drop that baby!" He said, "Oh I have him. Don't worry." I also told him maybe he missed his calling and should be a nurse or labor coach or something.
    I am doing very well. I had two goals today, take a shower and a nap. Neither has happened. Every time I got in bed and relaxed, the baby wanted to eat. :)  Clark says baby can smell naps. I think we'll try to go to bed early tonight. Ben is doing very well at night, only he wants to eat every two to three hours. It took a little bit to get the nursing part figured out, but that's  going fine now.
  And for those of you begging, here are more pictures. We'll likely be adding more pictures over the next few weeks/months.  :)

PS. Leanna, how cool that you found my blog! Makes me wonder who else is lurking around here.

Saturday, September 11

More Photos of Bendick

For those of you who are begging for more, here they are. I tried not to do repeats.
You will have to admit it, this is one lovable bundle.
 Marmee Graber
Grandma and Grandpa Hess

Thursday, September 9

It's A Boy!!

Greetings and Salutations,

         Occasion: Inferred in above title.
         Gender: Mentioned in above title
         Name: Bendick Jerome Graber
         Weight: 7lbs 11oz.
         Length: 19 inches 
         Born to Charlotte Graber (Founder of Blog) & Clark Graber (Assistant Blogger)


Saturday, September 4



        Summer will soon be over and fall will be here. So I thought I would post some flower pictures. Enjoy!!

Some wild flowers near our drive.
Mallow in my mom's garden.
Zinnias in my wife's garden.
Another zinnia.
Geraniums on my mom's trellis
A mixture of cut flowers in my mom's garden.
God Bless!!