7 Quick Takes

Linking with the fabulous Jen for the first time in a looooooonnnggg time….

  1. Have you seen this article about making the bed?  As we all know, I’m not so good about it but it really does make me feel so much better when I do. Malachi likes to hand me the pillows to help so I really don’t have an excuse anymore. Malachi’s bed is a mess of huge blankets and too small blankets and too many loveys and stuffed animals and most of the time we just sort of throw him in and do our best to toss a blanket on top, but yesterday I was getting the kids’ room cleaned up and I decided to make his bed. I tucked the blankets in the bottom and stacked the pillows up nice. When he came in the room, he looked at the bed, gasped, and said “Oh! Comfy!” and immediately laid down on it. Iit was amusing and I felt a little guilty but mostly I feel like I just won in the “making the bed does/doesn’t matter debate” that Jeremy and I engage in occasionally.
  2. During the Christmas season Jeremy and I watched the live Carrie Underwood Sound of Awful and then to cleanse our minds we later watched the real deal. I am constantly astonished at the things Jeremy wasn’t ever exposed to as a kid (like Peter Pan) and the Sound of Music is one of them. It made a real cultural impression on him:
    J: Isn’t she a nun, though?
    A: Yeah, she’s a postulate.
    J: Then why isn’t she wearing a sari?
    A: …J: Is that girl’s name Fajita?
    A: (dying laughing)
    J: Well, what is it?
    A: Brigitta!
    J: Is she wearing drapes again?
    When Captain Von Trapp realizes he is in love with Maria…
    J: He only wants her for her sari.
  3. This article was really good. It made me reconsider how many things I put on Facebook and instagram every day and why.
  4. Yesterday I sat down to eat a blessedly uninterrupted lunch at the appropriate hour of 2 in the afternoon while the kids were asleep.  I started flipping channels and landed on Twilight: New Moon and immediately stayed there to watch it, even though it’s horrible.  Like…horrible.  But I love it and I loved the books.  As I was watching I realized that this channel was specifically airing it at the time that stay-at-home-moms watch TV.  So basically I was watching today’s version of a soap opera. While eating a mature lunch of Oreos with peanut butter and goldfish crackers.  Yes, I’m 12.  And pathetic.

  5. I’m pretty proud of myself because I made this. It was my first time ever making a hat and it somehow grew its own inexplicable brim but hey – it’s cute. I might start trying to make and sell them. Do you think there’d be a market for them?
    nani hat.
  6. Conversations with Malachi:
    Every day until recently…
    Me: What do you want for breakfast?
    Him: Kiwi appo ceweal lunch

    Every day now….
    Me: What do you want for breakfast?
    Him: Appo and owange and kiwi and bapes and backbewwies and boobewwies and cheerios and Daddy ceweal and cheese aaaand meat. And vi-a-mins and po-botics.
    Me: Ok. Do you want banana or orange or apple today?
    Him: Anna owange appo both!

    Every time he sees a bug anywhere…
    Him: Uh-oh Mommy!  Ant!  Buzzzzz!  I don’t wike it ant.  Ant go swimmin potty.
    Me: Ok, let’s put the ant in the potty so he can go swimming.
    Him: Bye bye ant! Ha fun swimmin!  Mal-chi go swimmin tooooo?
    Me: Not in the potty.

  7. I’m so tired today I fell asleep once while Malachi was going potty and again during the kids’ naps and I’m about to fall asleep again now so to save you from any further boring as anything incoherence, I present, for your viewing pleasure, this.

New Year’s Resowhatevers

I lied. I very solemnly committed to post more often – I believe my exact words were, “Imma blog it up now!” – and here we are, two weeks later. I know you didn’t miss me but I’ll pretend you did and we can just move on, ‘kay?

I really wanted to do a 7QT post because it’s been forever and they are GREAT for slackers like me but apparently I don’t even have the brain power for that kind of cop out tonight, so you are in for a TREAT.

Let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions. Your favorite.

A couple years ago I was reading a Parents magazine and there was a suggestion that in order to make resolutions easier for your kids, you should encourage them to choose one goal for each month of the year. Just replace “kids” with “every human on the face of the earth” and it applies to you.  I started doing that and I really enjoyed it. I took it more as a “change habits gradually” type-thing and often would build from one month to the next in stead of just abandoning one thing and moving on.  Usually around July things start to fall apart, so I need to rethink it this year. Last year my resolutions became too much of a to-do list and then I felt the need to catch up when I got behind and the whole thing just sort of became a mess.

Anyways, I’m still thinking through what I want to put on my list, but I’m wondering – what changes are you looking to make this year?

I expect all three of you to answer.

How We Met

Linking with Grace at Camp Patton.

Every time I try to remember exactly when Jeremy and I met I get really confused, which is kind of ridiculous – you’d think I could remember something like that.  But apparently I can’t, so I just spent the last 10 minutes exploring this ancient artifact blast-from-the-past and looking at old blogs like this one and old pictures like these and….wow.  That was all sooooooooo long ago and I don’t even know how to process it.  I might need to spend an hour or seven in the near future reacquainting myself with that Memory Lane.

Anyway, apparently we met sometime in 2003, which means that we have known each other for 10 years now. 10! Whole! Years!  And amazingly it feels like waaaay more than that because I was such a child then and since that time I’ve had 2 years of highschool and 3 and a half years of college and 1 graduation and 3 jobs and two houses and 1 husband and 2 kids and a whole lot of maturing.  Moving on.

When Jeremy and I first “met” I was at some kind of youth group shindig and he decided to join (why…? He was in college so….not sure) and my sister and I were watching him walk across the grassy lawn from a distance and our conversation went something like this:

B:  Who’s that?
A:  I don’t know.
B:  He’s kind of cute.
A:  Yeah. He has a really strong jaw line.



This is exactly how he looked when we met but I’ve remedied the haircut, don’t worry.

The only thing I really remember about that night was that I was sitting on a picnic table eating Cheetos and I kept sharing them with Jeremy because it was an excuse to talk/flirt with him and he was taking them from me because it was an excuse to eat free food.

I think we crossed paths in church a couple more times and then I went camping with a family from our church.  On the last day a bunch of people from the church rode up to the lake to have a cook-out with all the campers and Jeremy drove in his van with my sister and someone else insignificant.  Jeremy and I refer to that as The Honeysuckle Day because he and I spent a lot of time walking around picking honeysuckle.  Since he’s from Seattle he had never seen, smelled, or tasted honeysuckle so I schooled him.  We were on the way to his car to get some Tylenol because I had a headache (seriously?  I remember that detail but not what year we met?).  Later that evening Jeremy and I sat and came up with ridiculous excuses to keep sitting together and talking (me scrolling through all the music on his blackberry, him promising to e-mail it to me, me getting excited because that meant I would have his E-MAIL address) and I remember looking up and seeing my pastor who was also a close friend just smiling at us with this very knowing smile.  I would be remiss if I did not say that he had a profound influence on Jeremy and I’s actual getting together.

Thusly the e-mail relationship ensued, but right before that I had the PROFOUND revelation that Jeremy – THIS Jeremy who (luckily for him) I already had a “quiet crush” on as I so-journaled – was the same guy who completely grossed me out by cuddling during church movie night a little too much with his then-girlfriend who went on to hate me and then went on to lose because HAHA!  He’s MINEallmine! and no I will not apologize (though I did not steal him – let’s be clear – but I did keep him).  Once I got past the fact that this was the same guy, I pretty much fell in love and we proceeded to our own grossing-people-out.

Jeremy and I e-mailed and IM-ed a LOT.  My parents also have always taken in “strays” as they call them and Jeremy ended up spending a whole lot of time at our house eating and sleeping and doing homework and eating and doing laundry and sleeping and eating.  And also falling in love with me.

This post could get real long real fast so let me skip on ahead about three years.

Before Jeremy and I ever started dating we broke up.  Yes, you read that right.  I prayed about our relationship a lot and really felt that God was saying “no.”  It was very sad and quite a defining moment for us but it was also probably the best thing that ever happened to us because we took the next four months of hardly talking and always crying and fasting and praying to really  individually figure out who we were and where we stood with God.

Gradually we started re-connecting and four months later I was starting college and he was my lifeline.  He helped me register for classes, find a good dorm, figure out the dining hall, learn how and where to park, and in general he was my sanity and my best friend those first crazy-long, crazy-hard (and in retrospect crazy-short) few months of school.  We both realized that we didn’t know how to be friends without being in love and we were both praying on our own about the future of our relationship.  I read the same verse twice in one day and truly felt the Spirit confirming that now was the time for us to get together.  Literally, the next day, he asked me out.  And boy was he romantic – there was a poem and flowers and candy and a whole lot of awkwardness and it was perfect.


Jeremy proceeded to celebrate every Valentine’s day in a way that made every single girl on campus jealous (not exaggerating).  Summer after junior year he proposed in an airplane flying over a field where he had written out “Allie, Will you marry me?”  Summer after graduation we got married.  He is the only man I’ve ever kissed.  He’s the father of my children.  He’s my provider, encourager, prayer-warrior, grass-cutter, dog-walker, massage-giver, laugh partner, shoulder to cry on, hand to hold, and my best friend.


And THAT little novella is how we met, but if you want to hear the 79832759832977659832 details I left out, come ask me in person.

7 Quick Takes

Linkedy-dinka-dinking with Jen and look out! ’cause I’m on time today.  Ta-da!

  1. This week I decided to be both trendy and healthy and try my hand at making some salt and vinegar kale chips.  I love me some salt and vinegar chips and I love me some kale so I figured – what could go wrong?  And aside from the fact that my kitchen smelled like butt, half of them burnt, the other half was chewy, and I used too much salt, it went great.  I even took a photo:



    If you really want an after picture I can go outside and take a picture of the inside of my trashcan.  I plan to make these again in the near never.

  2. Speaking of food malfunctions, please tell me I’m not the only one in the world who thaws meat on the counter?  Let me rephrase…tell me my mom and I are not the only ones in the world who thaw meat on the counter?  Also…sometimes I accidentally let it get room temperature and still cook it.  Also…sometimes I thaw meat, cook half, then refreeze the rest.  YES, I have read alllll the FDA warnings about this but never once in my life have I ever gotten food poisoning.  My style is more, “Meh.  It’ll be fine.”  My husband’s style, however, is more like, “How long has that been on the counter?” – five minutes later – “Is that thawed yet?” – ten minutes later – “Do you want me to put that in the fridge?” – five minutes later – “Did you check that meat?” – five minutes later – “I went ahead and put that meat in the fridge for you.”  This from the man who once ate cooked chicken he had accidentally left in his car.  Overnight.  In July. 
  3. While we’re on the subject of food, here’s a fun fact about Allie:  I like foods in combination that I dislike separately.  Example:  I hate milk chocolate, hate marshmallows, hate graham crackers.  LOVE s’mores.  Like, I once ate 10 in a row THAT’SHOWMUCHILOVETHEM.  Another example:  I really don’t care much for peanut butter or bananas.  Really love peanut-butter-banana sandwiches.  I also don’t like pretzels.  My husband rolls his eyes at me on a regular basis when he goes to eat some chex mix and all that is left in the bag is pretzels because I have eaten around them all (Malachi does it, too).  But I love milk chocolate-dipped pretzels, and I get really excited when they also have sprinkles.  Also, I don’t really like sprinkles that much.  I have like five more examples but I think you’re probably bored so I’ll stop. 
  4. This video completely cracks me up.  Not because I love to listen to my son whine, but because somehow I managed to focus only on his jazz hand that always goes crazy like that when he is begging for something (in this case, my iPod.  And FYI: I thought he wanted me to sing him the birthday song again, but clearly that’s not what he was asking for).
  5. Here’s an out-of-context sentence to make your week:  “Jeremy, if the dog doesn’t want to lick his groin she doesn’t have to.”  Oh you want the context?  Ok.  Malachi spilled tons of food on himself and Jeremy didn’t want to wipe him off, so he tried to show the dog how to lick food off my son’s pants.  Yes, he did.  Thankfully, no she didn’t.  Lest you think Jeremy is the only gross one in the house, though, I call the dog when Naomi spits up on the floor because that is easier and quicker than cleaning it with a rag from the kitchen.  And TMI, Allie, move on….
  6. I’m wondering if maybe I need to lower my standards of productivity so that I could actually meet them and make myself feel better.  I make a list on the white board of the things I want to get accomplished in a day.  Usually I don’t even think about being productive until nap time, and then sometimes that’s also when I think about taking a break and I just don’t know how to squeeze it all in there.  Earlier this week I found myself caught up in such a slurry of productivity, distraction, and mental Olympics that I went jogging into the kitchen to see what I could cross off my list and….


    I had done nothing of actual significance.  I guess cleaning out the linen closet, signing up for online surveys, and googling “health-condition-I’m-not-gonna-put-on-the-internet” weren’t really as pressing as I thought.  Shoot.

  7. Wow, you made it through all that.  Congratulations.  Here’s another out-of-context statement that I thought was hilarious and Jeremy thought was mildly amusing (pretty much summarizes our relationship right there):  “Yep, still got it.”  Was I ___
    A.  patting myself on the back after being noticed by an attractive young man?
    B.  patting myself on the back after completing 10 sit-ups with ease?
    C.  patting myself on the back after successfully pumping 7 ounces in one sitting even though it was my first time pumping this time around and last time by this age I had donated 224 ounces of milk and I wasn’t sure if I could even produce that much anymore?

You decide.

Let’s talk about how sympathetic I’m not.

It’s pretty shameful, actually.  If my son is sick or hurt I stop everything, hold him, read him stories, drug him up so he can sleep, let him watch T.V. and  I am all about it baby boy!  My husband is sick – seriously, dude, can you PLEASE hack quieter so I can sleep?  Also, BLOW YOUR NOSE!  I hate sniffing, it’s so annoying.  

Although let’s get real – I DO bring him tea and soup and try to talk him into staying home from work so he can sleep.  But still.

Today the pollen count in Virginia is an 11.5 on a scale of 1-12 and Jeremy has recently begun to suffer from ridiculously horrible allergies.  When he came home from work his eyes were so red it looked like a chemical burn, and he literally never stopped rubbing them except when he was driving – no exaggeration.  But no, he would not use eye-drops because “it feels weird and I don’t like it” but apparently burning, itching, dry eyes feels way awesomer.  So while we were walking around Wal-mart and I was booking it at mom-with-two-kids-get-it-done-before-the-meltdown-speed Jeremy was stopping every .387 inches to rub his eyes and I was getting really, really annoyed.

So annoyed, in fact, that as soon as we got home my first stop after calming down screaming baby and showing Malachi how to climb into the new storage bins because he wouldn’t stop crying and saying “bub” which clearly was code for “Take the lids out of that awesome toy and help me in!” was to grab the eye drops and forcibly spray them into Jeremy’s eyes all while telling him how he was such a baby and PLEASE BE STILL AND STOP CLOSING YOUR EYES!  

And now he is outside digging up grass and dandelions and pollen and allergens for my garden and it’s 9:00 at night and I’m sitting here holding my baby and reading blogs and watching T.V.  So I’ll try to do better in the future, babe, because I love you.

Even when you are a wimp.

Maybe the doors aren’t opening because God knows we’re not ready to walk through them.

I’m supposed to be couponing but I don’t really care.  Who said I was “supposed” to be anyway?  Me.  So I have the right to change the rules.  And now I have successfully justified myself to myself.  Congratulations.

Six years ago our church sent out a couple to go plant a church in Massachusetts. I didn’t really know them that well though we had gone to their house once for dinner.  I remember discussing with my sister how adorable Sarah was as a pregnant woman and how I wanted to look like that one day.  When they left I wasn’t even married yet so we related in a completely different way then than we do now.  In a lot of ways I feel like I was still a kid back then, but I guess that’s a different subject.  

Anyways, ministry in Massachusetts didn’t go as expected and they went back to “normal life” for a while.  Then they read a book called Radical which turned their lives upside-down and loooooooong story way way way short they are now preparing to move overseas, and once again we are their commissioning church.  

Jeremy and I are on a totally different side this time – we are the missions leaders at our church, we are in charge of their accountability once they are on-field, we have two children and so do they, and we are pretty much bona-fied adults *snort*.  But seriously, we are both closer to 30 than 20 and wow – that puts things in perspective a bit.

This couple is taking their school-age kids, moving away from family, and making a five-year or more commitment to ministry in the area of human-trafficking.  They asked God what life would look like if they really surrendered their all to them, and when He told them they chose to obey.

When Jeremy and I were engaged we really thought we would move overseas as missionaries within five years.  I was going to get my master’s, then we would join Wycliffe and start support-raising, and then we’d move.  We even started the process and met with representatives and planned our jobs and choices around that plan.  Then God changed it.  

To take loooooong to way way way short once again, we do believe that we are where God wants us.  What we have been struggling with is WHY God wants us here, instead of “there.”  Why, when there are so few people willing to move overseas and do missions, does he put us “willing” people here in the States?  

But lately I feel like He’s been starting to show me the answer to that question, and I don’t like it.  I’m hearing something like, “Why would I send you overseas to do ‘there’ what you aren’t doing here?”  And…ouch.  


That’s a good question.

I could make you a list of all the ministry we are doing here, and to be honest I almost did.  But really, do we go out of our way to build relationships with our neighbors?  And when we build relationships, do we turn them towards Christ?  Do I avoid conversations about faith with family members who believe differently, or do I look for them, start them, even embrace them?  Am I making sacrifices in my lifestyle to help the poor and lost in my own neighborhood?  Not comfortable sacrifices, but real, genuine sacrifices?

I know the answer to those questions.  

And now’s the time to change it.

7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Grace at Camp Patton for today’s quick takes. =)

  1. Jeremy and I had a conversation yesterday that resulted in my most-liked-status-other-than-when-my-children-were-born so it must have been good.  Observe.
    Allie: If you don’t have plans for tonight while I’m watching my show, she’s needed a bath for about a month.
    Jeremy: Yeah.
    Allie: And after that I was thinking I would shave her.
    Jeremy: Shave her where?
    Allie: Everywhere!
    Jeremy: What does she have that needs shaving?
    Allie: We already said we were going to shave her.
    Jeremy: Why would you shave a baby?!
    Allie: THE DOG, Jeremy! I was talking about the dog!
  2. Yesterday I was being my usual productive self holding the baby in my lap, catching up on blogs on the arm of the couch to my left, drinking water from the cup sitting on the couch to my right, and simultaneously watching Malachi tear up the house from the corner of my eye when I got up to put Naomi down in her crib.  When I came back in the room Malachi was in my seat, typing ahlodfhljhgaouyweoahvljfahgl on my computer, and drinking my water.
  3. I strongly dislike when people use Facebook to promote their business all. the. flipping. time. because “That’s not what it’s for!” but seem to have no problem personally using it to promote the causes/petitions/news stories I think all the world should get behind/sign/read.  Is that hypocritical?
  4. Soooo… we just found out the “little mold problem” in my children’s closet now involves tearing down drywall to figure out what’s actually going on, and then potential re-siding, sealing, and/or plumbing.  In honor of this occasion I can be found at any number of local thrift stores buying all manner of things we don’t need necessities to re-fill the closet later and to ease my pain.  Join me if you like.  No seriously – it would be really nice to have another cart-pusher.
  5. In other fantastic news, the pediatrician told me I need to cut dairy out of my diet AGAIN because I have ANOTHER diary-intolerant child (What is with these kids?).  After finding out this was the likely cause of her eczema, painful gas, and mucus poops (TMI?) I did the responsible, loving thing and had a big ol’ honkin’ glass of milk as a last hurrah. Feel free to nominate me for Mom of the Year anytime.
  6. Currently there are 4 loads of laundry in the “to-fold” pile not including the load that was just a big blanket, and one more in the washer.  I like to let it get all wrinkly and tangled so I can iron it later.  JUSTKIDDING I don’t usually iron it.  Jeremy wears it wrinkled and I spend as long trying to figure out what else to wear as it would’ve taken me to iron it in the first place.  Real classy family, us.
  7. Annnnndddd seven.  Time to eat some chips.


That time I Facebook-stalked a hippie

There’s this whole subculture of people where I live, and within that subculture there is another subculture.  The broader one you might call hipsters or hippies, depending on how far they actually take things.  Within that subculture there is the even smaller one made up of believers.  A not-really-friend of mine (blame that one on Facebook) is one of these.  Her husband has a huge beard and wears suspenders.  They own a cow.  She likes music I have never heard of.  They are libertarians.  They hang out with the “type” of people who do things like build their own mud oven and eat all organic and attend house churches and don’t do things like shave their legs or watch TV.

That is not me.  I do not own livestock, I shave (though let’s be honest, it’s not very often), my 2-year-old says “Uh-oh” whenever the TV is off, and I love my gas oven.  But I kind of wish I was more like that.  I admire the simplicity, naturalness, slower pace…  I also find that the particular subset of non-mainstream believers in my area, at least the ones I know, tend to be really, really authentic. They look at the Bible without our cultural lens because they have let go of the vice-like hold on our culture so many of us grew up with.  As a result, they take God at his word and often obey Him in ways that astound me.  

I do think there is balance to be found, and I don’t claim to have a handle on that.  But I guess I just really want to strip down my life.  I want to get rid of preservatives in my food,  trash in my entertainment, and culture in my gospel.  Do I need to be a hippie to be a better Christ-follower?  Hardly.  But at least they’ve taught me something and challenged me to healthy change.  And I think that is something worth aspiring to.

I wish those orange juice commercials were real.

You know the ones where all the people who are going to interfere in your day sit down with you for a morning meeting and prepare you?  And someone always says, “Good thing I had my orange juice!” and then they just go out and handle it?  As if orange juice can honestly prepare anyone for getting towed, tripped, spat on, whatever.  Anyway, I wish those commercials were real.  If so, mine for today would have looked something like this.

At 9:00 a.m. you will find your son on top of his sister.  She will scream in a way that terrifies you but she is fine.  Remove your son and explain the no-sitting-on-other-small-humans rule.  Don’t freak out.

At 10:00 a.m. you will find your son on top of the dining room table.  Remove him, tell him no, push the chair back in, and move on.  Don’t freak out.

At 12:00 p.m. your son will start saying “uh-oh” with every. single. bite. of his lunch.  It will be excruciatingly annoying.  Your daughter will also be crying.  Take a deep breath, hold your daughter, sing songs to your son to distract him, and get through it.

At 1:30 p.m. when you sit down to do some work, your daughter will begin crying.  Nothing will stop her.  You will need to cancel your afternoon.  Cancel it, take care of your daughter, and move on.

At 4:00 p.m. your daughter will begin screaming bloody murder five minutes after you finally get her to sleep.  Your son will run into the room screaming “uh-oh!”  He is trying to help.  Do NOT get annoyed with him.  Do NOT jump up and down saying “Stop saying uh-oh please!”  If you do, you will shock him, he will not understand why he is in trouble for trying to help, and you will feel like a jerk.

At 9:00 p.m. when you get home, the baby will fall asleep in your husband’s arms and you will go look at your sleeping son.  You will be exhausted.  You’ll still be a little nauseous.  You’ll be aching for alone time and baby cuddles and sleep all at once.  You will wish you could go back and re-do your day.  And you will realize that even though orange juice commercials aren’t real and you can’t prepare yourself for the day ahead and you can’t undo the crap you did, you CAN take a deep breath, say a prayer, go to sleep, and start over tomorrow with a clean slate, ever-forgiving children, and His strength in your weakness.

Firsts posts are as awkward as first dates

I’m pretty sure the first time you do anything, ever, no matter what it is, it’s pretty awkward.  First time wearing heels?  Awkward.  First date?  Yep.  First time you try to leave the house with both children?  First text message?  First meal you ever cook?  1) I had to go back in the house twice, pull over to unflop my newborn’s head, and my toddler was crying before we even got in the door, 2) took me twenty minutes, and 3) I forgot to drain the grease and the whole thing kind of just slid down your throat in a very ungodly manner.  First day at your new job?  Let’s see – my first job’s first day involved conversations with the elderly about leg-shaving, my second job’s first day I locked my keys in my car, and my third job’s first day I showed up in a polo shirt and khakis to quickly discover that everyone else was in suits and pencil skirts and I looked like an intern.  Also, first blog posts?  I hate them.  I hate everyone’s first blog posts, usually.  It’s all “This is what this blog is going to be” and “Join me on this journey” and “I’m not really even sure what I’m talking about and only my mom and husband are reading this but let me address this to the world as if the whole world cares and then obsessively check for comments and blog traffic every half-hour” or maybe that’s just me.  Anyways, this is my first awkward post, and this blog is just me.