Thursday, January 24, 2008


I just blogged out on Heather's blog. I'm sure she's sick of me. I kind of am.

I've had Gertie in underwear today. We went to the library for story time and out to lunch with John and then to Target. I tried not to hound her, and she did tell me when she needed to go, but I was a little stressed out just waiting for the accident. It's been a long time since those days. As the librarian is reading the stories about hats and mittens, I'm wondering if Gertie is going to announce that she's just wet her pants or if there will just be a puddle on the floor. Of course, like every well-prepared mother, I have no extra set of clothes with me. But, like I said, she made it. Until nap time, at least. We'll see how the evening goes.

It was -6 degrees when I took the kids to school this morning. Brrr just doesn't cover it.

I need to help John with the grocery shopping and the cooking. I really don't like either, but John is getting busier. I offered to cook and he said I should just get groceries. So I'll do that. I can do that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On the Other Side of the World

Well, I am soaking up lots of baby. Mine, as well as theirs. Gertie has had so much of my undivided time this last week that I'm sure she's getting spoiled. I guess I don't mind, though. Reality is going to hit hard in a couple days, and I have truly treasured this time.

And to watch my little sister become a mother has been one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I've had a permanent smile on my face these last couple days. I know Beth and Mike think I'm mocking them as Verena cries and I just smile. I'm not mocking them; I just love watching them be parents. It makes me happy. It makes me remember that point in my own life. Just a very special time.

I've had some great conversations with my Uncle Dale during my stay as well. Some good, deep discussions on religious philosophy, if you'd call it that. I don't often have opportunity and a willing partner for such a long stretch. I love thinking on the topics and getting to know how my Uncle thinks as well.

God just plunks us into the family of His choosing. Plunks maybe sounds careless, which I'm sure it is not, but we have nothing to say about it. You can love it or hate it. I just love it. I mean, I have my moments of frustration, but I love this family I'm a part of. I love my husband's family as well. I do genuinely like people, and getting to know them, so maybe that helps. I'm not sure. But I know that I treasure moments that I get to spend with them.

And speaking of family, I am missing the rest of mine. They seem to be surviving without me. I just can't understand that. Isn't mass chaos supposed to ensue? The house burn down? Major meetings and appointments forgotten or missed? How important am I? Even so, I can't wait to squeeze myself back into their busy lives and make myself known again. It'll be the best.

I forgot my camera. I can't believe I did, but it is what it is. I've had some great times that will only be captured by text this time. Sorry.

My Cousin Katy came for a visit today with her family. Gertie had some good manners, followed by some bad ones, while playing with her kids. It was funny to hear Katy and I try to out- referee each other as we tried to break up little disagreements about sharing and the like. We are both trying to raise caring, compassionate kids that really just want things their own way. But it was fun to see her with her family again.

Well, I'm sure my new niece needs me. I think she's calling my name...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here She Is!

Verena Anne Furnish Oehrtman
8 pounds, 5 ounces
20 1/2 inches long
Born January 16, 2008
at 12:38 p.m.

Well, she finally arrived. And we waited a long time. She's beautiful. I love her. And pictures speak a thousand words...

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'll Fly Away

Well, today is the day! Gertie is napping and I am finishing rounding things up for our trip. My sister may have that baby by the time I take my first step on Arizona soil. I'm thinking that little girl will have dark hair, like her dad, but we shall see.

I'm going to miss the rest of my bunch. It is a busy week here, as my husband has finally re-entered the world of working-for-a-living. He's already told me that his internet course has a few kinks. I'm sure they'll iron out quickly.

Ethan had his first wrestling tournament this year. He wrestled three times and won each match. I'm glad he likes it, but I can almost not even stand to watch these matches happen. It's like watching your son in a physical fight, it seems. Even if he wins, there are usually moments when he's being twisted and pushed and thrown around. I keep wanting to run in there and pull those boys apart. But I guess he thinks it's great.

Grace is in the spelling bee tomorrow. I am very sad to miss it. John will be able to be there to mouth the spellings to her if she doesn't know how a word is spelled. That's not cheating, is it? I'm sure she'll do well. My prayer for her is that she'll not make any silly mistakes. She'll only misspell a word if she truly doesn't know how to spell it.

Pray for my family, please. Pray that Gertie and I travel well together, that arriving at the airport at almost midnight works okay, as I'm by myself with a (hopefully) sleeping little one. Pray that the kids are helpful to John and that he is patient with them. Pray that my sister delivers a healthy baby without complications.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Counting the Days

Well, this is my last week at home before I head off to see my little sister and her baby. I am feeling anxious about how much junk I need to take on this trip and how much junk I'm going to be allowed to take. I like to travel light. I'd rather do without than pack things for just-in-case. It it warm there (yahoo) so I need to dig through summer things. I need to find summery things that will fit Gertie. Do I take her bed or just have her sleep with me. She hasn't been very agreeable toward her portacrib the last couple times we've been out of town with her. At my mom's place she preferred to sleep on the floor. However, if I need to insist on naps, I may need those mesh walls. Then the carseat. I guess I need it. How about a stroller? I am starting to feel overwhelmed. But only about that part. The rest is just exciting.

They changed the date of Grace's spelling bee to a time when I'll be gone. That is very disappointing to me, but John says he'll go. I just like to be there for Grace, and I believe it means something to have us there. Last night I came home very grumpy from my visit with my mom and step dad. Gertie went two days without naps (that has never happened before, and it isn't a good thing). She cried for basically the whole way home, except sleeping for 25 minutes. And these were blood-curdling screams much of the time, not just whimpering. John was nice and happy to see me, Grace was happy to see me and wanting to tell me different things, but it was sort of like everything and every noise was driving me crazy. I just wanted to crawl into bed. You just don't realize how badly that can fry your nerves. I feel bad about it.

But today is a new day. Gertie is going to get a good nap today. I will make sure of it. I need to clean and maybe pack up the Christmas tree (at least this week). We didn't put it up for so long, that we haven't been too anxious to take it down. But I don't think I want to come back to it still in its place.

My Bible study starts up again this week after a three-week break. I was excited about that until I realized I need to miss the next two weeks in a row. I think I've mentioned we're studying Revelation, which has been so interesting. I love talking about it and thinking about it and wondering what it all means. I'll be excited to get back to it as soon as I can.

Well, it's time for lunch around here. We're eating tuna and soup. What are you having? I love knowing what people eat. I don't know why. I'm just interested. John gave me a People magazine and John Mayer said he's got a blog (I think) telling what he eats every day. I don't even really know who he is, but I'm interested in what he's eating. It was probably a big joke. I'll have to check it out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Back to the Grindstone

Well, vacation is over. The kids are preparing their school things for tomorrow. I always like the new beginnings, but I miss the days when we're all at home. I was looking at the calendar for this week, and it isn't too busy. That will help ease us into regular life again.

We had a good time in South Dakota with John's mom. I think we truly wear her out. I try to be helpful and pick up after myself and my brood, but the truth is, I can't even keep all that up when we're at home. She was constantly feeding us and cleaning up after us and entertaining us. I didn't know we were such hard work, but I think we are. It is a blessing to be with her, and we love every minute. We have her a new light fixture for Christmas and John installed it. It looks very nice. Mark gave her a--are you ready for this?--cordless phone with multiple handsets. It works great. She's got one in the basement and one by her favorite chair, and one by her bed. The house is small, so now she shouldn't have to take more than six steps in any direction to reach a telephone. Now she just needs to remember they're there. Seriously.

Some favorite Christmas presents:

John: The poor guy. I don't think he got anything to be too excited about. I'm glad he loves us anyway.

Jessica: A super-soft mint green bathrobe. I love it.

Grace: Apples to Apples. A very fun game when you want some good laughs. There is no real point, but lighthearted fun all around. A razor and shaving cream. Yes, I caved. She gets to shave the legs.

Ethan: Hockey skates, stop watch (Yes. We have timed everything possible, including the ride to Grandma's house.) We knew this would be a huge hit for Ethan. I remember another Mom advising me when he was about 2 to turn everything into a competition for him. That was the best advice I ever got. It still works.

Gertie: A waterbaby. I searched high and low, almost gave up hope, but then I finally found them at Wal*Mart. She loves it. (I knew she would. How could you not?) And a stroller for her babies.

We had a great time out at the Engen Farm on Christmas day. It was crowded with family and food. We have all come to truly look forward to that tradition. It is great to have so much family so close together. It makes for great fellowship. We love it.

After we returned home--and I mean right after--I headed up to the Cities to help my Mom look after my step dad in the hospital. He is recovering fairly well. I don't think there are any complications, but it is slow coming. I am surprised how exhausting hovering can be.

I came home on New Year's Eve at around 10:30 p.m. John was stuffing the kids (big ones only) full of soda and junk food. This is our tradition. All they can eat. I made it until almost midnight, and they outlasted me. This is hardly unusual. Sometimes I just can't stay awake to save my life. I am definitely a morning person.