my sister rachel teaches pre-school to little little children. she was in town this weekend and told me a story about two kids in one of her classes. they are three years old and they're alphabatizing words, and not just the first letter but to the second and third letter. is that wonderful or what? it makes me so excited for wyatt to start talking and reading and all that stuff. my other sister sarah got him a membership to a children's book club for his birthday and i love reading him those books. with titles like "how to dinosaurs clean their rooms?" and "i love my mama" who wouldn't want to read. if only i could get him to sit still...


just because

so like everyone else in kansas we became farmers of a sort this fall and grew grass. just two months ago our lawn was dirt and now look! once the leaves got picked up, guess what i found! i'm so pleased! i prayed so much, mostly while standing outside making sure the sprinkler got all the grass and god answered by dinky little prayer for grass. i can't believe those seeds sprouted into this. ahhh...
and this little booger is cutting more teeth and is so unhappy right now, cryin and trying to sleep and just all out pouty. it makes me thankful that he has been as easy as pie for 12 months. i can take a few days of utter sadness, as long as they result in teeth (although the dr. informed me they aren't the front ones, but the side ones, so he'll be sporting the ever-popular 'i got in a fight and lost my front two teeth' look. otherwise known as vampirish.)


a gambling man

we just watched the world series of poker's final show this week and i personally was disappointed that jamie gold won. i mean, c'mon, he was the chip leader from day 4 on and then when he amassed enough chips to put anyone "all in" and he'd still be able to kick their butts, he'd get the most amazing cards. sometimes he got pocket queens when the other guy had pocket jacks. or he'd play a 5-2 (what??!!) and then get a straight! so i'm not really thrilled with this victory, plus the fact that he talked so much about what he had, he never lied, he'd show his cards and the other players still didnt' figure him out. disappointing.

and seeing that i'll never be in the world series of poker (well, slight chance anyway) it's a good thing. i told tom i was 95% sure we're having another boy. turns out i was only 5% right. yup. not so good at reading the tells of my pregnancy, i guess i just get sick whenever i'm pregnant, boy or girl. to be honest, i'm not sure i believe it 100% yet. so i'm praying the lord will help my unbelief so i can start buying skirts. pink skirts.

a gambling man

we just watched the world series of poker's final show this week and i personally was disappointed that jamie gold won. i mean, c'mon, he was the chip leader from day 4 on and then when he amassed enough chips to put anyone "all in" and he'd still be able to kick their butts, he'd get the most amazing cards. sometimes he got pocket queens when the other guy had pocket jacks. or he'd play a 5-2 (what??!!) and then get a straight! so i'm not really thrilled with this victory, plus the fact that he talked so much about what he had, he never lied, he'd show his cards and the other players still didnt' figure him out. disappointing.
and seeing that i'll never be in the world series of poker (well, slight chance anyway) it's a good thing. i told tom i was 95% sure we're having another boy. turns out i was only 5% right. yup. not so good at reading the tells of my pregnancy, i guess i just get sick whenever i'm pregnant, boy or girl. to be honest, i'm not sure i believe it 100% yet. so i'm praying the lord will help my unbelief so i can start buying skirts. pink skirts.

the switch of summer

there are a couple articles of clothing i'm mourning in this wardrobe switch. it has more to do with the growth of my belly than the change in the temperature, but nevertheless (is that one word?) i have moved my normal clothing to the basement, keeping only a few flexible pieces (thank you low- rise jeans) in the closet.
there's a patagonia skirt that would be perfect for this fall that will be folded for at least 7 months. i have a great plaid levi's shirt that is getting a little clingy for my comfort, not to mention the baby is having trouble moving. and as i went through my closet i realized there are clothes in there i never wear. how do you let go of these things? things you've had since high school. t-shirts you screenprinted yourself. tanks that fit just perfectly, if a little faded. i think, do i need this? wil i ever replace this for something better? how many black tank tops does a girl need? fortunately the vietnam vets came around with their pink bags and now i have an excuse to clean out the closet even more.


no ikea

we went to dallas this weekend and i have one word -- ikea. here's the deal: if you've never been there then you have no idea what this place is like. it is a wonderment to behold. our friends, the gales, went to minnesota a while back and asked us if we wanted them to bring anything back for us. we politely declined, not really thinking it was a necessity. we had no idea.
we went to dallas (frisco, actually) to visit jason and shannon and their quickly growing clan. tom also caught a coffee conference that proved to be helpful. really, though, the ikea rocked our world. the organization of the place is beautiful. the concept of not loading your cart till you're ready to check out is brilliant. the price, too hard to turn down. so really, what i'm saying is, i'm thankful we don't have an ikea anywhere close to us, otherwise my house would be more organized than a library and we would be starving. and i would have tom to blame.


honey this is very good

while washing the dishes the other day i was overwhelmed by God's idea of babies. how did he come up with babies? he created adam, fully grown and eve, out of a rib, but babies are a totally different story. they grow. they crawl. they stand. they laugh. they eat. they smile. that's the most amazing thing in the world.

when wyatt wakes up he's usually standing at the corner of the crib, holding on and trying to chew on the railing. when he sees me he moves away a little bit and smiles. oh. he's so glad i'm coming in to get him up for the new day. i pick him up, his diaper soggy and his precious skin so soft. and he keeps smiling until i lay him down to change that diaper...and then he thinks it's time to go back to bed. i reassure him and change his diaper and we begin the adventure of life that changed everything i ever knew to be true about life. nothing is the same.


the inevitable

this is why you don't work when you have children: inevitably when you leave them with their grandparents for a couple of hours they do something they've never done before, like smash their face against the mesh of the pack-n-play until they've pushed their way to the top and are standing up. wow. i'm so proud of the little bug, i just wish he'd learn to sit down on his own now.


happy birthday

it's been a year since we started this blog and we've come a long way, and yet not very far at all. we started off with a blog about soccer and it seems we've come full circle. more soccer. we've had a baby in the meantime and changed jobs and hairstyles and churches. thanks for checking in, thanks for your comments. we hope you have a great year of living and blogging.

i'll admit, blogging has lost some of its lustre, the newness is gone and i won't say it's a chore, but as people drop off (luke) i get a little down about the point of blogging. but every now and again i get a kick out of hearing about people's lives, once they update, so thanks guys. hope you're all healthy and happy and looking forward to more americanas.



this about sums up the united state's 2006 fifa world cup experience: laughable and frustrating.

i know this may sound like the easy way out, but "Deutschland! Deutschland!" i like jurgen and his metrosexual coaching. maybe in 2010 he'll be the u.s. coach. a girl can dream.

but i will give a shout out to clint dempsey. he did something no one else on the team did, he scored.


2006 FIFA World Cup

i wanted to clear up any misconceptions about our trip to colorado for the world cup (yes, i know it's in germany right now) and let you all know that we did leave the house during those ten days. a brief photo-journal of what we did in winter park...

harrison passed his astronaut classes by hanging upside down in the gyro-something
landon won "the most daring 4-year old" as he jumped on the bungey trampoline and sped down the alpine slide with his dad and on solo trips
susan and eric proved their bungey love while doing flips at the same time
i climbed the wall...
lauren climbed the wall...
and eric climbed the wall
tom and i celebrated 3 years of wedded bliss
landon rode the horse
landon and harrison battled the swedish warrior lauren...and we watched soccer.


north of eden

i love public radio. so much that the water i was boiling for mac-n-cheese just boiled to nothingness. i guess that's better than overflowing all over the stove, then i'd have to clean it. today they're talking about community gardening and it makes me want to go get a plot out at the park. but i know that i won't; it's so much work! i'm trying to get herbs to grow in the sunporch and even that is a chore. i tried last year to grow herbs in the good ol' soil and the dog trampled them. between the dog and the trees, there's no way we're growing anything except dirt in our yard.

it's not like i don't want to walk out to my back yard and pluck some lettuce and carrots and onions and mix them in a nice salad, or to have fresh salsa without going to the store. but who has time for that? i guess some women do, like miss galadriel. this is a formal request for galadriel to post some pictures of her garden so we can all "ooh" and "ahh" over them and be jealous.

i have to go repent for coveting her vegetables.


older now

it's true, i'm older now, may 28th has come and gone and i don't feel different. the date means nothing, right? it's nice when friends and family get together and eat in your honor, but really, i felt like i should celebrate my mom because she went to the hospital and got turned away before she was legitimately in labor. and i'm thankful she had me.
yesterday wasn't important because it was my birthday, nor was it important because it was wyatt's first time in the pool (although that is fun) but it's memorable (get it) because my sister found a gray hair on my head! that's right, my first gray hair, and it was long! i'm a little overwhelmed, because i feel so young, and yet thrilled because i am indeed getting older. so hats off to all natural girls who are willing to let their hair go gray. or silver. or white. in a month people won't be thinking about the color, they'll be distracted by the dreadlocks...


go outside...right now...can you hear the crickets?


Ferdinando & Justin

one of my very best friends came into town last weekend, a musican from nashville with a tweed jacket and a shirt that read "detroit was built for lovers." we tried to remember the last time we saw eachother and decided it had been almost two years, right after his wedding. realizing it had been that long hurt a bit. realizing in that time we talked maybe three times, one of those being when wyatt was born, hurts more. but he came bearing gifts and i was elated- ferdinand the bull.

an oversized copy of the 1936 classic, it's a special story for so many reasons. we first were introduced to ferdinand in college when we realized the cow on elliott smith's arm was really a bull. finding out that this bull is a peace-loving animal rather than a dust-snorting beast makes the experience even sweeter. and then when justin (the giver) got into hemingway his favorite aspect was, of course, the bullfights. but justin isn't a roll-over, belly-up kind of musician; he's the opinionated, out-spoken rocker. i was reminded of that as we sat drinking coffee and talking about jesus and music and friends. one day he'll have a messy matador and a fiery bull on his bicep, and hopefully i'll see it soon. it was a reassuring night, listening to him and laughing with him and knowing that some people never change, and some change just enough.


g.e.i. or just rain?

it's been so long i almost forgot how to log in. what's new, you might ask. or maybe not. well, we've got wyatt sleeping through the night without his pacifier or swaddle. he now rolls all over the bed because of this new freedom; i find him on the opposite side of the crib from where i laid him down. the solid 7+ hours are nice. and he tried his first solid food today, a pretty milky version of the healthiest rice cereal. the box says "no gei." what's gei you might ask, or maybe not... it's genetically engineered ingredients, duh. (no doi) so our baby is all organic, if you don't count the wendy's i ate last week. yes, he is strapped into his carseat; that's what happens when you're too little to sit up on your own. he liked the cereal well enough and so i feel a sense of peace. we're leaving him with my parents next weekend while we travel to florida for paul's wedding and knowing that the little guy can mix it up with milk AND cereal makes me feel better. but i am going to miss the dickens out of that boy.
today tom went into wyatt's room while he was napping, and was so taken with how great his son is, he said he wanted to shake his fists with joy, in true soccer player fashion. i love my husband even if he is 52 weeks and three days away from being 30.
we're waiting to hear from a friend about a possible commitment in helping with the coffee shop. tom's getting his ducks in a row and ryan closed on the building (we hope). mark moved in down the street (there goes the neighborhood, right sheryl crow?) so he's been around more than when he lived in iowa, or california. megan cut her hair but not really since she's scared of the boys and their vicious ways. galadriel's son (and luke's) andrew is an overachiever, getting well over a 95% on height and weight. tom has a new soccer buddy in andy michael and he's stoked to really talk futball with the welshman. sarah and james went to houston to visit md anderson, only to find out that the dr's recommendation here at ku was right on. a second opinion never hurts, especially when you're staying a week for free and you've got a private pool. dad got cleared to golf, "pom" and i watched abbie (she calls me "ee") and rachel's coming home in a couple weeks. susan and eric highly recommend new zealand (lucky) and shannon is potty training kelly. anything else you want to know? oh, steph and jack are selling their house; super cute, nice neighborhood, interested? bri's going to school and brooks is working like a dog. not really interesting, but it seems like everyone is on the busy bus. did you get your ticket?

quiet wyatt

why is my baby crying

a. he's hungry
b. he's tired
c. he's poopy
d. he's not poopy
e. he's sick
f. he misses his dad
g. he's uncomfortable
h. he's teething
i. he's not allowed to watch tv (the tournament's on)
j. all of the above

good thing he's cute...


march 9th & god is still eternal

today was one of those kick in the pants days. get it together. evaluate. do something. i mentioned how powerful leah's words were wednesday, about not getting lost in the daily frustrations that we face. tom and i talked a bit about it and were so thankful that through leah's open heart we got redirected onto the path of what matters. i needed it wednesday night because bookkeeping can be a drag, especially when i'm behind and i want to do a good job because i know i'm blessed to be doing work from home (and for a godly woman, no less). so i was stressed wednesday when i left our house for home group, then leah shared her eternal perspective and i went home and finished work. i wasn't freaked out about it and even though the next day was equally busy, i survived.

this evening as i walked away from washing a huge pile of dishes, i noticed the kay arthur daily verse calendar. i thought, ah, who cares. but then turned around realizing i needed to hear from god. i hadn't read it since the 8th, wednesday, and when i turned to the 9th i read this: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. of course kay goes on to talk about not getting so busy with earthly things that we forget the eternal and i nodded in agreement. is god putting everyone on the same page? is life so basic that he knows what we'll struggle with or is he so great that he can incorporate the tiniest details into a massive plan involving so many people.

just a little "thanks leah" again because god is using you. and everyone else, for that matter. so my get up and do something, well, it was leaving the tv off and reading a little bit of what god has to say. and that feels good.


windows open

susan got married! after a year of planning, the thing went off without a hitch, or they got hitched, or something like that. us girls got our hair done, which was a fiasco for some ladies. shannon ended up with a bad 80's version of a bee-hive and kelly took hers down before we could get a look at it. but with some bobby pines and curling irons, everyone looked beautiful, especially susan. eric was dashing in his tux, but really wowed everyone with his song for susan, a coldplay-u2-david crowderish song written, recorded and produced by none other than mr. simon. it was, well, flooring. so, without going into all the details, and there are a lot, i'll just say it was perfect. and soon they're off to new zealand.
jason and shannon stayed with us for the wedding and landon played big cousin to wyatt, very cute as you can see. soon landon will have another little sibling, and will have more little ones to protect.

dad had surgery on his knee, a whole replacement of the thing, in fact. and he's doing well. moving and shaking almost to speed. i'm thankful everything went according to the doctor's wishes; his golf game will be back to normal, or better, soon.and this guy is rolling over, belly to back and wants so badly to get from his back to his belly. it's amazing what these little guys accomplish in so little time. i wish i was as productive.
i'm planning on making a trip to the peanut soon with bri since i'm having a beepers void. and maybe i'll start jogging. or walking. one more wedding, paul and lauren on the beach, and then world cup madness. in the meantime i plan on writing a little bit on my own, and maybe following the rules of the english language. or not. or maybe i'll just open up some windows.


february 24th

our dishwasher backed up a little while ago, sending water out underneath our "floating" laminate floor. water bubbled up around the corners and warped the edges. soon an odor filled the kitchen, specifically right next to the sink and dishwasher.
i don't particularly like the look of laminate, the fake wood stands out against the nice honey color of the rest of the wood. i've wanted to replace the kitchen floor since we moved in but the money was never available.
it turns out we're re-doing the floor. when we first realized we'd have to do something about the problem, we panicked. what money were we going to use to replace the floor? how could we afford ceramic, which was really the only way to be sure our floors wouldn't be ruined again? would we need a new dishwasher too? we talked with justin, our flooring specialist (thanks!) and he suggested checking into our home owners insurance. he sent someone out to look at the floor in the meantime, and we started to rip up the laminate, in order to save the rest of the floor from rotting.
the adjuster from allstate came out today and looked at what remains of our floor. we were nervous, but had prayed for God's favor. she checked everything out, measured off the floor, asked us some questions and then told us the news. she can't insure the rot under the floor, we'd have to take care of it ourselves since it looks like it's been happening over a long period of time. she suggested we get a new dishwasher. but she could stretch out the terms a bit and give us enough to cover the cost of the laminate plus installation and whatever else went along with that type of floor. tom asked her to approximate how much that would be. probably a couple thousand dollars, she replied. a couple thousand dollars. praise Jesus, that's more than we expected and probably more than we need to cover new floor and a new dishwasher.
as i prepared big breakfast today, standing on the remnants of the old floor, i read the verse for today: and my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. philippians 4:19. thank you God. you have great timing.


the vortex of chaos (otherwise known as too busy for leah to survive)

here's what we've been doing these last weeks...
we rescued two stray dogs, johnny and steven. here's johnny biting tom's ear. he did nibble just a little while he whispered sweet nothings. tom and mark took the dogs down the street to animal haven. we hope they made it back to their home.

we visited brenden dean wickerscheim, just two weeks old and styling the greatest boots. here's wyatt showing brenden how to do the west merriam sign. it's a little feminine, but hey, we are from Merriam.
then we rescued another stray, this one was following the mailman around the neighborhood when i got home the other day. turns out not all mailmen are afraid of dogs. (and not all mailmen are men, either). also, this dog belongs to the people down the street. he and their other dog, a rottweiler-lab mix escaped and when their owner came to get the boxer (guppy i think his name is) he didn't use a leash to get him home. just picked him up and carried him. he was a bigger man, but it was awkward just the same. wonder if they ever take the pup on walks.
we also forced some paper whites which grew to about two feet tall. not bad for february. they smelled fantastic, which was good since we had them on our dresser, right next to the bathroom.

but that's not all we did...

timing is everything

this last week has been an interesting one.

i know that i'm gifted in the area of service; i was created to help and serve others. i love having people over to our house. i love cooking dinner for people. i love helping people get things done. but i also love having an afternoon to myself, sitting at home, drinking coffee, reading a book or watching tv. i actually need those times to myself. it gets hard serving.
tom and i actually discussed this last week, me venting because "i have so much to do!" i look at my calendar and freak out. of course, then God figures things out and cancels this thing, or moves that thing, brings someone around to help out or gives me enough energy to do it. i was feeling alright throughout this last week.
then paul came over and out of nowhere announced, "i thought a lot about you yesterday, leah." oh really? i got nervous, thinking i've missed the mark on something. he sits down and tells me and tom about his sunday and things he's been learning. then he elaborates for me. "you should dig deep into what being a servant is. look up some verses where Jesus illustrates his servant's heart." he reminds me that i can only do these things when i look for God's hand in it and serve the way Jesus did. and of course, i'm so encouraged by this; it's awesome when God speaks, which he seems to be doing a lot this year. i guess that's what you get for actually listening.


give me your hungry

these women are amazing providers. whenever i go to galadriel's or leah's there is food. and that's what i'm talking 'bout. last sunday the boys made a special trip to see the monster trucks. big and little boy alike enjoyed the demolition, however, if i hear "ARE YOU READY?!" one more time my ears will explode. it's usually yelled at the top of your lungs (you being ryan) and then everyone else chiming in "ARE YOU READY?!!!" or adding some other detail from the escapade.

the girls stayed at the gale's, talking and eating and feeding little ones too small to feed themselves. except for isobel. she has no trouble eating on her own. i'm so proud of her. however (and this is important) she's got this deal with tom where she is almost afraid of him. i guess the story goes something like that: he loves her too much, and she feels smothered. it's really too bad, because lovin' from tom is a nice thing. maybe one day she'll learn that hugs and kisses from cute boys are good things...i'm sure luke can wait for that day, though. but for now, she knows how to reject men really well.


i'm ready for my close up

i just watched the last hour of 'sunset boulevard' and i'm not sure how it relates to tom. but it was actually quite scary and i don't recommend it to anyone. i will say 'walk the line' was wonderful, the best movie wyatt's ever seen. i cried, as any normal person would. also, 'king kong' was worth the price of admission. a bit lengthy, but much more entertaining than i could have imagined. i have a very limited imagination, though.


luke's a movie

since it kind of seemed like luke was talking to himself about the whole movie link, i'll let you know that i was schindler's list. and while i may identify with nazi germany and hitler, oh it's because i'm SO compassionate and put others first. which makes sense since apparently i like to throw the martyr card at tom.
tom was sunset boulevard, which he wasn't too happy about because neither one of us knew anything about the movie. and then it was on tv, so we recorded what little we could and i think he was mad that it's such an old movie.
then we tried the leader test from the same website and i came up saddam hussein first, then really truly hitler. now's probably not a good time to mention that i studied german for three years in college. maybe that's why i like the thompsons and the gales so much, little blond-haired, blue-eyed babies everywhere. all joking aside, where did adolph get off thinking that was the perfect combo anyway, little dark-haired, dark-eyed moustache man? and when did this post get so crazy? i'll stick to stories about the baby and the dog. sorry guys.
(all of this started because i was responding to luke, remember?)(do you think i'm going crazy with rhetorical questions?)

i wasn't kidding

thank goodness for other dogs. since monday, zero has been hanging out at our house while his parents, jason and colleen, have their baby. brenden dean was born on monday evening and is terribly cute. unfortunately, i forgot to bring my camera when we visited last night, so you don't get to see his cuteness. here with yuma is zero. he's an american bulldog and he is THICK. they have played outside almost the whole week, biting and wrestling and chewing and barking. poor zero tried to get a little hump-action in, but yuma made sure he knew who was boss. and i wasn't joking about yuma being confused on who is a dog and who is a baby. as wyatt gets more alert i introduce him to new things: last week it was two little finger puppets, a frog and a turtle. as i sat on the ground and danced them in front of wyatt, yuma seemed a bit overly-interested in these guys. not long after our little play time we left the house, and i made sure the puppets were on the table, not quite out of reach for yuma, but not in her domain. when we came home the little turtle was no where to be found. hmmm... i had my suspicions. when i got up for a late night feeding (i wish it was cookies and coffee instead of breastmilk) i noticed the evidence, plain as day (or night with a lamp on). the proof is before you folks. what's a mother to do? one day wyatt will be big enough to tell yuma what's what, but for now is it right that the baby and the dog are sharing toys? is this yuma's way of telling us that she hates it when abbie takes her toys? will this confusion ever end?


are you who you think you are?

my brother sent this link to my whole family to see what movie we all are. the whole idea is based on the myers-briggs test. lately i've been interested in personality tests, trying to look at myself from a broad view. i'm not an introspective girl, usually just living every day as it comes, hopefully relying on god and his plan but not really thinking deeply about life. a group of us have been learning more specifically about the seven redemptive gifts from the new testament. it seems like we're all finding what "mold" we're made out of, with all of our drawbacks and quirks. it's been more reassuring than most personality tests, revealing a bigger picture of how we work together, like the arms and legs and eyes of this great endeavor. maybe you already know where you fit in, but i'm still curious, what movie are you?


sibling rivalry

we have a jealous dog. i thought we had drawn the line between pet-love and child-love, but apparently yuma is convinced otherwise. i hope wyatt doesn't get confused.