All posts by Jeannie

It’s Autumntime, It’s Autumntime…

Except the leaves aren’t really falling down here. But that’s not stopping me from getting in the mood for fall festivities. Especially when it comes to food!

One dish, in particular, takes me back to our first autumn in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The crisp air and long shadows while walking down E. 53rd Street, golds and deep reds of the leaves outside our high rise apartment window, wood smoke just beginning to make a regular appearance out of old brownstone chimneys… you could feel the impending harshness of winter start to creep its way in and, by the time Halloween came around, the cold air called out for stews, soups, and ciders.

Continue reading It’s Autumntime, It’s Autumntime…

Oh, The Anticipation!

Warren was really looking forward to our trip to Disneyland. The night before we went we slept at my parents’ house so we could be a little closer the next morning. It’s always tricky getting your kid to sleep somewhere other than his own bed. Couple that with the excitement of going to a major theme park for the first time and you’ve got a 3-year-old bouncing off the walls.

“Dad, I can’t stop laughing. Should I stop laughing?”

“Yeah, you should probably stop laughing so you can go to sleep.”

Thankfully, he did! I bet he went to sleep with a smile on his face. I know I did.

The Magic Kingdom

Toontown
Toontown

We took Warren to Disneyland for the first time yesterday. He didn’t know what hit him. From the parking lot tram ride to the drenching drop of Splash Mountain, Renny walked around in a sort of dazed euphoria. A three-year-old’s dream come true: Mickey, Goofy, and all the gang, talking, dancing, and cavorting just steps away. It was definitely a different experience taking my own child and watching through his eyes.

Which is probably why I started seeing those “kiddie rides” in a new light. Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I thought they were over-stimulating and more than a little frightening! Crazy lights, things jumping out, and noise, noise, noise. I know that Renny felt the same way because he covered his ears and eyes during most of them. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin was the wildest one by far. A bunch of bad news weasels pouring toxic waste “DIP” around your car and Roger Rabbit running around in a frenzy?

“That one was scary, Mama.”

Autopia
Autopia

Indeed it was. But I guess that’s part of the fun, right?

However, Colin is the master of getting Warren to do things that he would normally shy away from. So, we were able to convince him to go on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Star Tours, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before he caught on to us.

The hit of the day: Autopia. We went on at least 3 times! He loved being able to steer the car, even if Colin and I had to push down on the gas pedal for him. Not an easy task, I tell you!

Dumbo, the Teacups, the Rocketships, and the train around the park were also favorites. Believe it or not he loved Gadget’s Roller Coaster in Toontown so much that he asked to go on it again… and again… and again.

Luckily for us the park was pretty empty and it was an absolutely beautiful day– blue skies, and a very warm sun. Hooboy! Was it hot!

Teacups
Teacups

We ended the day with the “Parade of a Million Dreams,” which we watched from the sidelines of Main Street. Such a fun way to cap off the whole Disneyland experience.

He was a trooper. The whole day, from 10 to 8, walking around, sans stroller. As you’d expect he crashed in the car as soon as we got on the freeway. He’ll be talking about this day for awhile!

I Heart Gotham City

Well, the city behind the Hollywood version, that is. Colin and I finally got to see “Dark Knight” this week. Three months later, yes, but at least we still caught it in the theater! Thanks Mom and Dad for making it possible!

As our Windy City friends know, all of the outdoor city scenes were filmed in Chicago. The grand vistas of Gotham’s downtown: Chicago’s amazing architecture. The multi-leveled streets and tunnels: S. Columbus and W. Wacker Drives. Batman speeding through a glass-walled shopping area on his motorcycle: the underground walkway system that’s part of Metra’s Randolph Street station. Some of the final scenes take place pretty close to the movie theater where we would have seen this if we still lived there.

We enjoyed the movie for the story, of course. But the real thrill came from seeing parts of a city where we spent three wonderful years of our life. A city that we absolutely love. A city we still think of as home.

I’m so glad we finally got to see this amazing movie. But it’s made me miss Chicago and our friends there a little bit more.

Waiting to Adopt

Many of you have asked how our adoption process is going this second time around. The answer: slowly. What a different experience this one has been. With Warren, there was no waiting. Before we had even finished the paper work, we were chosen and life with our little son began.

Not so this time. We’ve been on “the waiting list” for almost a year now and, really, we’ve had relatively no prospects over the last 12 months. Of course we are still faithful that it will work out, but lately I’ve been more than a little discouraged.

It’s funny how trials in your life work, isn’t it? Before we welcomed Warren into our family we went forward with the adoption process knowing it was time but thinking it wouldn’t bother us if we had to wait a long time for it to happen. Boom. We get Renny (for which, of course, we are beyond grateful). Now, we are anxious to add to our family, hoping it will happen any minute, and all we can do is wait, wait, and wait some more. I know that there are lessons to be learned here, just as there were the first time. The biggest lesson being that things do not happen according to our time line but as the Lord sees is best for us. Oh, I hope that I can do more than just acknowledge this truth but that I can let it soak into my thoughts and attitude, as well.

But some good news, we hope. Just recently we were contacted by our caseworker about a birth mom in New Mexico who is four months along. We don’t know if this will go anywhere, but it has been such a boost to our testimonies to know that we have not been forgotten. Our Father in Heaven truly is mindful of our desires.

Thank you, all of you, for your love and concern, your support, your prayers. What strength it gives us.

Renny’s A-List

At 3.5 years old, Warren has some favorites he holds near and dear to his heart. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Blue blanket
  • Horton the Elephant
  • The color yellow
  • Spaghetti with meatballs
  • Body Rock” by Moby
  • The Muppets
  • Onions
  • Swimming/water/the beach
  • Animals
  • Applesauce, yogurt, flax seed, and wheat germ (breakfast every morning)
  • Trucks and other construction/work vehicles
  • Cottage cheese and tomatoes
  • Nursery at church
  • His friend Justin
  • Rhyming
Horton and Warren
Horton and Warren

There is no doubt that Renny’s tastes will change. But for now, we’re really loving his devotion to each one of these things.

Distractions

I love our modern-day technology. Information is readily available. People stay connected almost effortlessly. But I was struck today by a comment made in a NYTimes article about discipline and parenting:

…busy parents juggling work and family demands often are distracted by cellphones, e-mail and other media.

‘We have these new forms of technology which urge us to be working all the time,’ Dr. Barkin said. ‘We are a distracted society. It’s harder to turn off the media and turn on that personal engagement.’

Guilty as charged! I admit I have been caught up in those distractions. In all my efforts to stay on top of what’s cookin’ with my friends and family, or even to be educated about the events of the world, I seem to have been overlooking the need to live in my present moment… with Renny. I don’t ignore him, exactly. But I haven’t been setting aside enough time for us to play, to goof around, to forget my “To Do” list. Between church responsibilities, various errands, and household tasks galore, he hardly ever gets moments of my undivided attention. He often shares me with Facebook, The Joy of Cooking, and Mr. Clean. This multi-tasking is getting me nowhere. I want to spend more time at his eye level, getting down on the ground to really drive that Lego dump truck, answering more than just “uh huh” to his clever comments.

So, today I changed my routine. I let the dishes sit until the end of the day. I didn’t check my email until well past 9PM. It felt good. Here’s to playing rocket ships in space and “cooking” a dinner of play-dough spaghetti fit for a stuffed elephant!

Playing "The Game of Life"
Playing LIFE

One for the Food Storage

We’ve been counseled by church leaders for as long as I can remember to prepare in all ways and to be provident in our living. Food storage is just one area. It’s taken us this long but we’ve finally established a supply that I feel really good about. This summer we were challenged by our Stake Presidency to live as if “Someday” were “Today.” Try to eat only from your food storage supply… don’t buy any gas for the week… use a limited amount of electricity… spend only the cash you have on hand, if any at all. For the first time ever, I felt prepared. After this exercise and the experience with the Gap Fire during July, I can definitely say that I have developed a testimony of following the commandment to “prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).

Despite the popular belief that meals made mostly or entirely from food storage items can be less than appealing, I have found a recipe that begs to differ. I stumbled upon this little winner purely by accident. And I certainly wasn’t searching for food storage recipes, per se. But there it was– on Epicurious, no less!– calling out for me to try it.

Continue reading One for the Food Storage

Warrenism #301

Warren always accompanies us to choir practice every Sunday. He usually hangs around the bass section because that’s where Colin is typically. And wherever Colin is Warren loves to be also.

He eats, plays on the chairs, and otherwise pays absolutely no attention to the music, so it seems. But he’s pretty well-behaved despite being asked to attend, essentially, 4 hours of church. Maybe, we think, by coming with us each week he’ll develop an appreciation for faithfully supporting the Ward choir.

Today–completely unprovoked– he declared, “Three-year-olds don’t need to practice because they’re already good singers.”

Seems the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this lesson…

I Could Resist No Longer

Well, it seemed inevitable. Literally, everyone I know has a blog with fun updates and thoughtful insights. I enjoy reading the changes and happenings in the lives of my dear family and friends. And it’s not that I didn’t want to start one. It’s just that I didn’t want to start one. Chalk it up to laziness, I suppose. I didn’t want to commit to another project I would procrastinate doing.

But then two things happened: 1) I was incredibly inspired by our recent Stake Conference where we were admonished to work harder at strengthening our families and 2) I read a powerful article by Sheri Dew called, “Awake, Arise, and Come Unto Christ,” wherein she challenges us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ more fervently. I think the two concepts go hand in hand.

And so I thought I’d start keeping a better record of the wonderful things about our family and sharing my testimony of The Savior more often. What better way to accomplish these goals than by using this handy, dandy modern technology?

Sealed to Warren
Sealed to Warren 08.04.2005

(Just one of the many experiences we have yet to record…)

The goal is to write down things as they happen and thoughts as they come to mind. I imagine that we’ll be super diligent, at first, but will ultimately teeter off as time goes on. At the very least we’ll plan to post once a week. Baby steps, of course.

I hope you enjoy the outcome…