Thursday, July 26, 2007

God's Incredible Faithfulness - Leah is 3!

We've had lots of fun with various posts about the character that is Leah. But, today, I celebrate God's incredible love and faithfulness to me and my family. Three years ago today I almost lost Trisha and Leah. If you haven't read the story, I heartily recommend you read up on it. Praise God for modern medicine and trained professionals!!!

With nothing short of God's incredible miraculous providence, today I celebrate that I am not a widower with three children. Instead, I have a very happy marriage to a wonderful woman and five children (and one on the way)! God is SOOO good!

Leah is so excited to be a big girl! Tonight, as part of her birthday gift, we've decided to move her to a toddler bed. Bethany asked today if we could go to the dollar store so she could use some of her chore money to buy Leah a birthday gift. It just melted my heart :)

Keep an eye out for a post tomorrow or this weekend about Leah's new bed...

Coffee Follow-up

Just as a follow-up to Trisha's last was a joke! I played it straight, but it was a joke, referring back to her previous posts about coffee.

I guess the joke was lost on her...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You just have to laugh...

Christopher and I were in Starbucks recently when, I KID YOU NOT, he leaned over to me and asked:

Have you ever had their Raspberry Mocha?

Coffee, hon. Coffee.

22 Weeks

Although it is still bordering on surreal that I am even pregnant, the fact is... I am. You would think that after doing this the number of times that I have I would get used to it... I don't. It still puzzles, and fascinates me that a little person is growing inside my body. A real human being, with tiny features, expressions, and even moods. I am not going to take on the whole Nature v. Nurture debate here, but I do believe that even in-utero babies can make their personalities felt (Leah is the striking exception to this rule). So what am I feeling now?

Lots of movement! Christopher was able to feel some really good kicks about a week ago. It is always exciting for me when others are finally able to experience the reality that I live with day in, and day out - there is an alien inside of me.

Fatigue! I am not sure what to blame it on - the other kids, my age, this pregnancy, my thyroid disease? Whatever the reason, the final result is the same, I am plum tuckered out most days. I don't ever remember being this tired before.

Unsettled! There are a number of things that still need to be decided, like a name both Christopher and I agree upon for both a boy or a girl. Where will the new baby sleep, and how will the rest of the sleeping arrangements ultimately work? I have a million little projects I would LOVE to accomplish before baby arrives, but I also need to be realistic about what I can actually execute, and what a professional team from TLC could do. Surprise by Design I am not (shocking, I know).

Excited! As baby begins to move more frequently the desire to meet this little person grows stronger, and stronger. Do we have a boy or a girl? What will this tiny person look like? I love the smell of newborns (I think my home in heaven will have a bottle of newborn air freshener waiting for me in my linen closet), and can't wait to have that little head snuggled next to my neck. One of the greatest treasures I believe God gives families with several children is the joy of participating in multiple sibling relationships. Each time I bring a new baby home it is precious to watch the older children fall in love with their youngest sibling, all exactly in line with their personalities. I can't wait.

We went last Monday for a regular obstetric appointment, and had an ultrasound done to confirm the edd, healthy development, and so forth. While the pictures I do have are sweet to us, they would probably look like slightly less gray dots in front of darker gray dots (they're feet actually). So I thought you would enjoy this picture, not of my baby, but nevertheless taken of a 22wk tiny person in-utero.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yo Cuz!

I had the pleasure of traveling to Daytona Beach, FL on business last month to attend a training conference for work. I had a free evening on the night before I left to come home, so decided to drive up to Gainesville to visit my cousin Michael, his wife Anne Marie, and their two children, Zander and Ava. Mike's mother Lynn and my mother Karen are sisters, the "famous" Schermerhorn clan from Syracuse, for those keeping score at home. On the few isolated opportunities I've had to get together with the family in the northeast, we've had TONS of fun. One thing Schermerhorns know how to do is have a good time, and this evening was no exception.

Not the least bit of the evening's amusement was me trying to navigate the riduculously logical layout of downtown Gainesville (although, the logic was lost on me!). Apparently all the city streets are numbered, and directions are on a grid north/south/east/west from the intersection of University and Main, not far from the main University of Florida campus. Mike told me to make my way to 1st and Main. Great comedy ensued as I drove around watching the street numbers increase when they should be decreasing, and vice versa. Finally, I arrived at The Top, a swanky downtown Gainesville eatery.

We had a great visit, and had dinner with some of Mike and Anne Marie's friends in Gainesville. This group of friends are all in a band together, known as the "papercranes". I haven't heard their music, but if Mike is involved, I'm sure the music is beautiful. Mike's friend Rain offered to pay for everybody's dinner, what a kind and gracious gesture!

After dinner, we went back to their home and I had a fun evening talking about family and good times. He filled me in on other family happenings around the country. Aunt Lynn and Uncle Pete just bought some property in Florida and New York and are in the process of moving their lives (currently in Minnesota) into the "snowbird" lifestyle, splitting time between Florida and New York.

Unfortunately, I needed to be back in Daytona Beach for my flight the next day, and Mike had to get ready for a trip to Athens, GA the next day. The band was going up there together to record some new music. So, we shared some ice cream together, we said our goodbyes and I drove back to Daytona.

And we got a picture...

Thanks, Mike and Anne Marie, for a neat evening together. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time together! Perhaps next time!

Friday, July 20, 2007

TrAmPoLiNe (fact or fiction)

There is a rumor going around that Odd acquired a trampoline. Small children have been severely tortured for spreading this malignant piece of gossip. After all, how on earth could the backyard of such a small kingdom fit a trampoline?

I am here to set the record straight.

We have some elements in our neighborhood which are not wholly desirable. There is a strong component of unsupervised adolescents, mostly boys, which play on our cul-de-sac quite often. Over the past year the decision to allow less time out in front has meant more frustration with what to do in the back. And since it has been God's pleasure to see to it that I am sufficiently housebound from 12-4 for naps every afternoon, it limits the extra curricular participation for my older children substantially.

TrAmPoLiNe to the rescue! Yet another childhood dream lived out through our poor unsuspecting children. My aunt had a trampoline for years, and I can not even count how many hours I jumped on that thing. Christopher is a born jumper as well, using the excuse that it is a great work-out for his upcoming Whitney hike to explain his daily treks onto the mat. But I digress... back to the story.

We knew we needed something more substantial in the backyard, and a trampoline seemed the perfect fit, err choice. So I began looking into them one day, assuming it would take an hour or so to make a final decision. I even had thoughts of grandeur that I could find one for a deal, run and get it while Christopher was out of town on business, and surprise him with it in the backyard upon his return. Ever heard of Fat Chance? It appears that trampolines are second only to swimming pools in the amount of advice for which brands to buy, which to avoid, which have safety features that work, which are cheap copies of the real deal, which are shipped for reasonable fees, which hold more than a 30lbs child, blah, blah, blah. And the real crusher was the cost - rather more than I had bargained for if you were interested in one that gave more than a weekend's worth of good bounce.

But I was determined. And for any of you who know me personally, once I become convinced about something I am on a mission. So it was with the trampoline.

Safety was obviously a huge concern (more for my hubby... I rather held the idea that if they fell they would learn. After all, I didn't have a safety net on the trampoline I grew up using. I am reformed in my thinking however, and after seeing all of my children going hog wild on the thing I praise God for safety nets.) Almost all trampoline brands sell safety enclosures, but when you start to read the fine print they are not suitable for more than one, maybe two, high impact rescues before the frame begins to give way, or the netting fails. Hmmm, and why am I purchasing this piece of equipment if not to handle the random crisis of a high impact jump gone wrong? I also learned that the mat itself can be a cause for concern (Cliff Claven moment - Almost 50% of trampoline injuries are not from falling off, but from landing on the mat during a jump). Sheesh! I am quite the expert now on how different mats, along with their spring configuration, can help or hinder better jumping with softer landings, and less stress to the back and legs.

After safety came performance - for obvious reasons I think. Here again the glut of information on competing designs was practically overwhelming. Do you get bungee cords, steel springs, how many springs per foot of mat, how tightly coiled, how are they attached to the mat, does the mat use grommets, v-rings, blah, blah, blah.

Now let me just stop here and say something. I am not overly ridiculous in all my buying decision. But after making some rather hefty mistakes from lack of research (read Pontiac TranSport), and seeing the value of investing in quality for durability (read Wal-Mart v. Hannah Andersson), I am a believer in taking some time before jumping into the most convenient option available. Service announcement over, you may now continue with your regularly scheduled blog.

Well, I knew I wanted something that would last, and give a great bounce for both my small children, and the larger children (read King and Queen). And I didn't want to get myself into something that would require significant amounts of upkeep in order to keep it bouncing. The last decision was size, and since the original rumor was flatly denied by many because of the impossibility of our kingdom supporting such a contraption, we will confirm for you now that we own the 12ft diameter mat. In Christopher's words, "it takes up the whole backyard." But I still see grass. I picked a brand called JumpSport - and if you are looking for a trampoline/safety enclosure I would highly recommend the company. We didn't tell the children, and somehow inbetween camping, 4th of July, and VBS managed to get the thing put together and working (rather easily actually).

So what can I say now that we are a jumping family?


We are having a blast as a family. All the kids, Mary included, love to get on and jump. I think it is one of the best investments for our kids we have made in a long time. Come on over and check it out yourself...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Dictionary of Odd has this entry:


Main Entry: dag·ar·at·e

Pronunciation: dag-are-OUGHT-ee

Function: noun

Etymology: Oddish, from dagger meaning small piercing weapon + karate meaning random kicks in stylized fashion for maximum effect

:a form of combat adopted by Princess Bethany for use in war when no one on earth will have a weapon, and all fighting will be hand to hand karate combat. She alone will hold the secret powers of dagarate when she strikes her opponent, and suddenly, "uses my dagger to poke their chin."

Example: Please have mercy! Your dagarate is too good, and even though I am a ninja your skills would overpower me in a second.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's In A Name?

Shakespeare asked the famous question through Juliet when he penned the phrase, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I am going on record as stating - he was wrong. Let the following be a lesson to every parent seeking a name for their child... check the meaning BEFORE you fall in love with it.

Leah has two cultural origins, Hebrew and Assyrian. Neither bodes well for us.

Hebrew - weary

Assyrian - ruler

Take your pick. Either way she is a strong, independent soul that will wear you out.

July 4th!

If you ask my kids what their favorite holiday is they will tell you it is a tie between Christmas, and 4th of July. I must admit I share their enthusiasm for our Independence Day celebration. I love large gatherings full of tradition, and so, it would seem, do my children!

Our 4th looked rather dull for many years. I grew up helping my family in their business on Fisherman's Wharf, where the firework display insured a high volume of traffic. We stayed open late, and often watched the fireworks from the back office windows. These were neat times of camaraderie between coworkers, but nothing you can really implement with an entire family (and certainly not with Leah). Later, the 4th just happened to be whatever was going on, with no fixed destination or design.

Then in 2001 we went to the Monterey beach called Windows on the Bay with our church FBC, and spend the entire day having a blast. Hannah was 2, Bethany was only 6+ mos old but both loved the event. We had a big cooler with everything (and it's brother) inside, along with 11 thousand incidentals. Bethany mostly sat on laps, Hannah dug in the sand, and pretended to like the idea of getting her feet wet in the water. We were hooked. And somewhere in our hearts we knew we would make this day happen each year.

Some of the highlights since then have included: 2003, when Caleb was a mere 3 weeks old; and then in 2004 I was only 3 weeks from delivering Leah; 2006 gave Hannah a sharp pain, when she stepped on a piece of glass and sliced her foot right when the fireworks were about to start! But over the years we have never regretted the decision to trek down to the water for the entire day. In fact, we look forward to it with great anticipation!

Of course, being who I am, we can't just go without preparations. I have a detailed packing list that gets slightly altered each year (nursing newborn? potty training?) but overall it has held its worth in our home. This year the highlight was the portable potty that we borrowed from my mom. In the past we brought our little child's potty for inside the tent, keeping the trips to the nasty public porta-potties to a minimum for our small children. But this year I knew we needed something more. For reasons only God's sense of humor could fully explain my bladder has been as flat as a pancake since the pregnancy test came back positive. I knew I was in trouble. Two options unfolded before me: dehydrate myself to death OR pack the portable toilet. Since I am now writing this I think you can guess which option I chose. The funny thing however, is that everyone else in our group came to love me for the porta-potty too! It sits high enough to allow an adult comfortable use, and has sealed chambers to make management of it very sanitary. So, without naming names, we had several partakers of our tented bathroom... not to mention Leah some 25 times (and myself at 24).

Anyway! Christopher always gets to the beach at about 6ish to stake out our spot. Our pastor, and sometimes another die-hard man meet him there, and help him lug our stuff to the sand. This year his buddy Mark stayed with him during the early morning for company. I arrived at about 10:00ish with all the kids. The day was absolutely beautiful, and all the children enjoyed time in the water. We also got smart after too many issues with random burns, and forgotten reapplications of sunscreen, and bought all 5 their own swim trunks with matching rash guards. Had we really been cool we would have ordered them online, and gotten cute "girlie" colors for the girls. Nevertheless, they were a great decision for both modesty, and sun coverage. No burns this year!

We hope that you had a wonderful 4th of July. If you are looking for a little variety feel free to join us next year. We would love to have your company. Just beware - after a full day at the beach... EVERYONE is exhausted!