Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent is upon us!

Yep, we got a tree. It is our first real tree in our first house as a married couple. Since we were married in Dec of '04, AFTER Christmas, we didn't get our first tree together until 2005, but we were still in an apartment. Last year we had the house, and we did get a tree, but it was a very small, artificial one because we were in New England for most of the holiday season. This year, we are staying home for Christmas, so we went to the local Christmas Tree Lot and paid an outrageous sum of money for the privilege, but we have our tree! We set it up yesterday and decorated it today.

When Grace woke up from her nap,

She was utterly bedazzled by the lights on the tree, and even clapped! Always nice to get an ovation for decorating...

In the midst of tree trimming, I of course still have schoolwork to do, but thankfully the semester is almost over! I have one more presentation, on Tuesday, a research paper to edit, then finals on the 13th and 14th, then we are off until mid-January!

I get so excited this time of year, not just because of the break from the mundane, but because of the true meaning of Christmas. I marvel that God chose to humble Himself, and become a baby. I think I realize it more since becoming a parent, just what that entailed. The Christ-child, being fully human, had to have his diapers changed. He had to be nursed, and burped, and spoon-fed, and swaddled. He had to be sung and rocked to sleep, and learn to roll over, crawl, and walk. How old was He when He spoke His first word? When He took His first teetering, uncertain step? When He used whatever passed for a potty in Biblical times? And how odd was it for Mary to know that He was God incarnate, yet He was so dependent upon her for all of His needs? I understand a bit better now, the scripture that says that Mary "pondered all of these things in her heart."

Christmas is God's provision to a needy world. It is the incarnation of hope, and peace, and salvation. Some folks back then thought that Messiah had come to bring political freedom from the Romans. Many did not believe He was Messiah. I am so thankful that He did what He came to do, which is to show the way to His Kingdom ("No one comes to the Father except through Me), and to provide us with the means to get there (If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you shall be saved). That baby boy who was born some 2000-odd years ago is still alive today, at the right hand of the Father. That is the miracle of Christmas. My goal is to honor Him with all that I do, and this Christmas, that means seeking to bring Him glory with every decoration I put up, with every gift I make or purchase, with every greeting of "Merry Christmas," with every step I take in the snow.

Lord, may it be to me as You have said.

Blessings in Christ,

~ Kate :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

The pies are done, the sweet potato casserole and the stuffing are ready to go into the oven, and the turkey is anxiously awaiting my attention. I still have to make the mashed potatoes, the pesto palmettos, the green bean casserole, and the cranberry sauce. What a bounty of food we have!

Now apparently there is a grass roots movement to rename "Thanksgiving," and call it "Turkey Day" instead. This is because the Politically Correct Police are somehow offended by the idea of a whole day being set aside to give thanks. Apparently they feel that there is a belief system being thrust upon them by forcing them to remember that, once upon a time, native Americans helped out the Pilgrims by showing them what crops would grow in the harsh New England climate, and by helping them hunt for meat (which the vegetarians want us to do away with), and sharing a meal with them.

I recently watched a show on the Food Network called "The Secret Life of Thanksgiving." The host pointed out that it is highly unlikely that turkey was consumed during that first Thanksgiving meal. How ironic would it be if the holiday were renamed for a food that wasn't even present at the meal that the day commemorates? The Pilgrims and Native Americans most likely ate lobster and cod as part of that first meal. Maybe we should rename it "Seafood Day?"

I am thankful that the 4th Thursday in November is still called Thanksgiving. I am thankful for the abundance of food in my kitchen, and for family and friends with whom to share it. We now have TWO guests coming, and I am thankful for both of them! I am thankful for our little house, our wonderful neighbors, the Native Americans who helped those Pilgrims, and most of all, I am thankful to God, without whom none of these blessings would be ours.

What are you thankful for? Whatever it is, I pray that you and yours have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

~ Kate :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving preparations

Here is my Thanksgiving menu:

Stuffing/dressing (depending on your heritage)
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Blue Hubbard Squash
Pesto Palmettos
Homemade cranberry sauce
Green bean casserole (from scratch - no canned stuff)
Pumpkin pie
Apple pie

I am making enough food to feed an army! We invited 6 people, other than Rob, Grace, and I, for a total of 9, if everyone came. Of those 6 people, only one has accepted. So, I am cooking a Thanksgiving feast for 3 adults and a near-toddler. Crazy, right? Why go to all that trouble? Why cook for 3 days (I'm starting today) for one guest? I'll tell you why - because I LOVE it. I absolutely adore cooking for people. I am so thankful that our 1 friend is coming, and I intend to treat him to a Thanksgiving dinner to rival his mom's.

We have a friend down the street who ministers to international students, and we asked him to let us know if any of them need somewhere to eat Thanksgiving dinner. My grandmother suggested a sign on the lawn, advertising a good hot meal for anyone who is hungry. Regardless of whether we have just the one guest, or 20 unexpected people show up and I have to scramble around to prepare more food, I am so very thankful to serve whoever chooses to grace my table.

God does no less for us. I marvel that God would have sacrificed His son for only me, if I were the only one that needed saving. God invites everyone to His table. If you can't join me this Thanksgiving (and you're more than welcome to, if you're anywhere near Eastern Washington), won't you join God? He has set a place for you...

Monday, November 19, 2007


Woke up this morning to a dusting of snow covering everything like a bridal veil... it's white, but we can still see the "faces" of the rooftops, trees, fences, cars, stop signs, etc.

I am reminded of the scripture that says "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as rI have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Though we can see God only as though through a veil, or a dim mirror, one day we shall see him clearly, or as the passage says, "face to face." What will it be like when the veil is lifted? One of my favorite contemporary Christian songs is Mercy Me's "I can only imagine." It is a song of speculation of what it will be like on the day when we believers finally meet Christ in person. The words of the chorus are:

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

Oh how I long for that day! I marvel at the thought of seeing my Savior clearly, of finally understanding the totality of the sacrifice He made for me, of experiencing Heavenly worship with the angels and with all the saints who have gone before me, of having a new, sin-free, perfect body, of spending eternity with my Lord! Doesn't the very thought of these things quicken your heart and cause you to worship, right at your computer screen?

Sometimes I am utterly undone and overcome by these thoughts, and I know that, in those moments, the Holy Spirit is singing within my soul. He is reminding me that, though my sins are as filthy rags, yet the Father sees me as whiter than the freshly fallen snow, because I am covered in the pure forgiveness of Christ. How wondrous, how glorious, how mysterious is the mercy of God! I am so thankful that He has revealed Himself to me. To see even dimly, even as through a veil, is to experience as much glory as I can handle. I know that if I were to see God in all of His glory, it would be too much for me in my sinful, earthly flesh. Yet, He allows me these glimpses, and they are what keep my faith alive and real. Oh yes, one day I will see clearly, face-to-face, and I look forward to that terrifying and glorious day.

Blessings in Christ,
~ Kate :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cat & Mouse (and dog & baby)

Well, we've done it now. After Rob's glue trap that we set in the basement caught not one but TWO mice in the same night, we decided to take the plunge and get a cat. We saw in the one-page local bulletin that someone was giving away a 6-month old spayed female. I called the number, and yes, she was still available. So, I arranged to meet her at a house that is, providentially, just around the corner from mine. I arrived a little before the other lady did, and "Mary," the cat, was so happy to see me that she was rubbing up against the window, just begging me to come in! Of course I couldn't, since the door was locked, but I was pretty certain that she'd be coming home with me.

She is a beautiful tri-colored cat with dark reddish-brown being the dominant color. She's also got some black and some tan, and beautiful big brown eyes. We decided to re-name her "Silla." Our dog is Remy, after Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy. Don Orsillo is his partner in the booth, so Silla is short for "Orsillo."

The house in which Silla used to reside is on the main highway through town, so she panicked a bit when the cars went by as I was trying to get her into my car, and gave me a good gash on my upper chest with her razor-sharp talons; but she's not vicious, she was just scared. As for our other 4-legged pet, I'm not sure which one is more scared of the other, the dog or the cat. We are hoping that in a week or two they will be the best of friends, but they have a long way to go.

Grace is very excited; when she saw Silla, she said happily, over & over, "Doggie, oggie, DA, Ah, oggie, oggie, oggie!!!" SOOO cute! We kept telling her "No Honey, that's a kitty, not a doggie!" I think she actually did say "Kitty" once or twice, but in her heart she wants Silla to be another "oggie." Grace managed to get a light scratch as well... she got a little too close for comfort to the new "oggie." When I saw the cat reaching out with her claw, I picked the baby up right away, but I wasn't quite quick enough - my fault, not the scared cat's.

Our plan is to keep Silla in the basement at night, so she can catch/scare away any mice that might be tempted to find their way into our home (It's a finished basement). It seemed to work well last night, and when I got up this morning and opened the basement door (after letting Remy outside), Silla eagerly came running up the stairs. I refilled her food bowl after I realized that Remy had somehow emptied it when we weren't looking last night, and after she ate her breakfast, she cuddled with me on the loveseat while I checked email, etc. Currently she is sitting on the windowsill, growling at the dog on the stoop. *sigh.*

And now, dear reader, Grace is awake. She needs breakfast too. Have a great Lord's Day, and I'll keep you all posted!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Daycare & Mouse update

Last night, after a hard day of studying, I went downstairs to our finished family room in the basement to play a round of Tiger Woods Golf, as I often do to relax at the end of the day. I pulled the keyboard close, jiggled the computerized mouse, then let out a startled shriek that Rob heard from upstairs. A little charcoal-gray mouse with beady black eyes ran RIGHT ACROSS THE DESK!!! Whether it was the same mouse I saw upstairs last week or not, I have no way of knowing. They looked the same, but c'mon, they're mice! In my experience, where there is one mouse, there are usually many. Rob is going to the hardware store shortly, to pick up some have-a-heart traps. Needless to say, I did not play my game last night.

As for the daycare situation, we went over to the local one at about noon yesteday, and things were much calmer. In the infant room, there can be no more than 4 children at any one time, and I spoke, at length, to the lady who works in there. We've decided to try it out for the rest of the semester, and see how things go. Today, she is going to her usual daycare, but tomorrow she'll go to the new one so that I can meet some classmates at school, and Rob can go to his office on campus to get some grading done. Then next week is the fall break. Unlike my undergraduate institution, the University of Massachusetts, both the university that Rob attends and the one that I attend take the whole week of Thanksgiving off. It is a MUCH needed break for us!

That's all for today, thanks for checking in!

~ Kate :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Daycare Dilemma

We are trying to figure out what to do with Grace during those times when we both have to be in class, or we both have schoolwork to do. At 14 months, she is quite active, and needs attention every waking moment. The question is, whose attention? If Rob and I had our "druthers," I would be a full-time mom until Grace is old enough to go to school. Unfortunately, this is not financially feasible for us right now. My choices are to find a job, or to continue in my graduate education so I can keep getting loans. Rob quitting school before his PhD is complete is NOT an option - we've invested too much time and money for him not to finish.

This semester, Rob and I both have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, we found a daycare. A very good daycare, that is run by an evangelical church in Pullman - the city where Rob's school is, and on the way to my school. The problem is that we live 15 miles from Pullman, so on those days when we are not going to campus, it isn't cost-effective to bring her in.

Enter the childcare center right here in our little town. We found out about it from the local 1-page daily bulletin. The cost is approximately half of what we are paying, and it is literally within walking distance from our house. We decided to check it out last night. We arrived at about 5pm. When we walked in the door, we were greeted with a cacophony of crying, pushing, hitting, hair-pulling toddlers. The one attendant on duty, the director, said "It's not usually this bad." I wanted to say "Well, how bad is it usually?"

Granted, it was after 5pm - the traditional meltdown time for toddlers. The director was the only attendant still on duty - the rest of the staff had gone home once the government-mandated 7 to 1 (children to workers) ratio was reached. Because Grace is not walking yet, she would be considered an infant, and so would be in the infant room, where the ratio is 4 to 1. Still, I am hesitant to bring her there. Rob, Grace and I are going back after Grace's nap today, to see what it's like during the day when the kids aren't so exhausted and there are more workers on duty.

You see, we have to have somewhere that we can bring her, locally, when we both need to get schoolwork done at home. Just because this place was every nightmare I had ever envisioned about daycare at 5pm on a Tuesday night does not mean that it's like that all the time. On the other hand, is a little convenience worth the risk? Hopefully we'll figure that out when we go back this afternoon. Like Rob said, I wish we didn't have to put her in daycare at all. I wish we had family nearby, who could help us out. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, and we have to do the best we can with the options available to us. I just pray we don't make the wrong decision. Our little girl is depending on us.

~ Kate :)

Monday, November 12, 2007


Well, another year has come and gone. Yesterday was my birthday. To celebrate, we hired a babysitter and went to the movies on Friday night. We saw "Bee Movie," the animated movie about bees starring Jerry Seinfeld. It was surprisingly hysterical! Sure, we had to suspend disbelief - a LOT - but it was very entertaining nonetheless.

Rob and Grace picked out a few gifts for me - a new pair of pink pajamas with tiny little bells on them (Grace LOVES the bells!), a couple of things from Bath & Body Works (always a good choice), and Ratatouille on DVD, with an accompanying special addition DVD of Food Network cooks creating some of their favorite recipes! Grace also signed her card herself, with Papa's help. All of this after I had picked out my own gift last weekend - a brand-new Bible cover and colored pen set! Since that was on the spendy side, I wasn't expecting much else, but was pleasantly surprised.

Rob also bought me a cake, and surprised me by having the neighbors come over and sing "Happy Birthday!" It was very sweet.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am in the midst of studying for a big exam on Thursday. So, after church yesterday, I spent most of the rest of my birthday reviewing accounting articles. That's what I'll be doing today, as well. Kind of overshadowed my birthday, but such is life. It's not a round number this year, not like the number I'll be hitting in 2010.

Although, there is a pretty big number coming up next summer - 20 years since my high school graduation! Now that hardly seems possible. Where has the time gone? What are the rest of my classmates doing? I'm in touch with a couple of them - my best friend since the 1st day of Jr High just got her Master's in web design about a year ago, and is working for Boston University. She called me yesteday to wish me a happy birthday, and to tell me about her recent trip to Australia.

The one classmate I have who went to Harvard is working as a developer for a health care company. One guy is a lawyer, but I only know that because I remember it from our 10 year reunion. I've lost track of just about everyone else from good ol' Northampton High, class of '88. I'm sure they are all having birthdays, and wondering where the time has gone, as well. Here's hoping it's been kind to them...

~ Kate :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Studying on Saturday

I am a graduate student, getting my Master's in Accountancy. This means that I have an insane amount of reading to do, mostly journal articles about Accounting. How many of you get excited at the thought of reading even ONE academic paper about Accounting? I have to review 20, and have a fairly in-depth understanding of each one, before my closed-book, two-hour essay exam on Thursday (I am terrified of said exam). You would think that since Accounting is my chosen field of study, that it is also my passion, and therefore the thought of reading 20 articles about my field would thrill me beyond description. You wouldn't be more wrong in this thought. There are so many more things I would rather do with my Saturday than review as many of these articles as I can.

My loving husband has graciously taken our daughter to the nearest Target, 60 miles away in Spokane, so that I can have time to work on my reading without the distraction of a near-toddler pulling on my leg and begging with her eyes for me to pick her up. He is running a multitude of other errands in the "big city" today, as well. Spokane is not my favorite place to go, yet I would rather spend the day with my family in Spokane than sitting at home, ah, STUDYING.

One BIG consolation is that it is a gray, cold, rainy day here in Eastern Washington. It's the kind of day that makes you want to stay inside, because if you step out even for a few minutes, you are chilled to the bone. I know this from personal experience, because our neighbor generously offered to take the 7 bags of leaves that we had the neighbor kids bag into plastic bags for us to the dump, since the city in its wisdom will only pick up leaves bagged in PAPER this year. I loaded the bags onto the borrowed pickup truck, and I was FREEZING by the time I finished!

It is the kind of day that is perfect for sipping hot cocoa with a good book - by the way I have two novels calling my name, one from the local library, and one that I bought just last week. I have put them aside until after the dreaded exam, though. No time for leisure reading when those articles are beckoning with their talons... I can just hear their dreaded call... "If you don't read us, your exam will devour you! You will flunk out of graduate school and be stuck in dead-end jobs for the rest of your life! Bwah-hah-hah-ha!!!"

So, now that I've checked email, printed out the list of articles I need to review, and blogged, I don't suppose I can procrastinate any more. I am off to do my Saturday studying. Thanks for reading... take my poll at the bottom of the page so I know you visited!

Hoping that you enjoy your Saturday more than I will,

~ Kate :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today's Musings - Mouse

This morning when I opened my bedroom door, I saw a mouse scurrying across the carpet in our hallway, into the built-in drawer with no front. I let out a little shriek, and Rob, my ever-patient husband said "What?!" "I just saw a mouse!" I said, and described the little critter's path. "Greeeaaat..."

The interesting thing is, there is absolutely no foodstuff in the area of the house where I saw our uninvited guest. When I was a kid, my parents' house had an infestation, but the mice almost always appeared in the kitchen, where the food is stored, or the living room, where we ate. Why would this creature appear in the hallway between the bedrooms and the bathroom in my house? Nature puzzles me sometimes.

We also have spiders in our house, but they mostly live in the basement. We had a representative from the local pest control company come by to give us an estimate for spraying. It seemed a bit pricey, so we have yet to make the investment, although after my encounter with little Jerry this morning, we may have them take care of the mice as well as the spiders. While arachnids are not my favorite species with which to share my dwelling, they are somewhat less invasive than rodents. (I also suggested to Rob that we could get a cat, but he shot that idea right down. Since I'm not a huge fan of felines myself, it was only a half-hearted suggestion anyway).

Speaking of rodents, when I let Remy out into the backyard one night last week to "do her business," she suddenly let out one of her danger barks. I looked over to where she had fixed her gaze, and saw a very large, black animal on the fence between our yard and our neighbors'. I couldn't tell what it was, but I got Remy back into the house (very much against her will), and said to Rob "There's some kind of very large, black animal out there." He opened the back door to look, and immediately recognized the black and white mask of a raccoon. I, of course, had only seen the back end. We concluded that this visitor had been availing itself of Remy's food at night. Needless to say, since then, we've been bringing in the dog food when it gets dark. From the looks of this raccoon, it won't be starving any time soon. I'm certain that Remy's food dish is not its only source of nutrition.

In addition to all of God's creatures displaying themselves in various areas of my home, I am contending with midterms - one is over, the other is upcoming - just a week from today. We also have child care, laundry, dishes, and all of the things that go along with home ownership. There has been quite a lot of activity in our house these last couple of weeks! We are looking forward to Thanksgiving break, when perhaps we will have time to call the pest control guy again.