Sunday, August 31, 2008

Real Life

Now that I have some "me" time each day since the kids are now basically on the same schedule, I've begun to regroup and reorganize. Since we moved into this house when Jack was only 3 months old, I really haven't had much of a chance in these past two years to have time to breathe much less get things around here organized. So for the past few weekends, bit by bit, I've tackled a few tasks.

In doing so, today I found message notes from a message series back in October that Pastor Chris did called "Real Life". I remember enjoying it (obviously since, I kept a few of the note handouts) but after reading them again I realize there are probably many others out there that might also benefit from my sharing them. It seems for Cory and I each year around this time we get into a little "funk" in our marriage. Nothing major, but as summer and the freedom it brings ends, and work gets into crunch time gearing toward putting up good numbers come year-end and all the craziness the last few months before the holidays (and nearly every birthday for our families!) bring, I find us both needing sometime to refocus on our relationship - not just as husband and wife, but as Mommy and Daddy, best friends and even our own identities as Cory and Sarah.

So, with that in mind, here's just an outline of the message notes I took, I hope they give someone I love a lesson for constructive study and help to heal and strengthen some relationships. I've also included some scripture references for those I particularly liked, if you are so inclined to look them up and see exactly what the bible reads on each. The theme that Chris used for the whole series was the Song of Soloman. Of course, you can also listen to the actual messages online at the church website, the link is on the right of this page.

Til Death Do Us Part
The Power of Commitment - (Proverbs 20:25) "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows."
  • My commitments show my values.
  • My commitments shape my life.
  • My commitments determine my destiny.

Anything worth having costs - EXPECT IT TO BE HARD!

  • Pay the price. Decide to pay for it up front.
  • Give your best. Think about what you can do today to add value to your relationships!
  • Live by principle, not by pressure.
  • Guard your eyes.
  • Keep Christ first - it all begins with God.

Commitment matters when things are tough not when all is well and good.

Trouble in Paradise - When trouble does hit!

Work it Out

  • Resolve it as soon as possible. (Ephesians 4:26)
  • Seek first to understand. Force yourself to state the other person's issue. It forces you to understand what's upsetting to them. (Proverbs 18:13, this is one I have to work on!)
  • Guard your tongue.
  • Fight the real enemy.

There are four things that infect a relationship: Withdrawl, Escalation, Belittling, False Beliefs.

The following is the best and most simple process I have ever come across to heal a realtionship - but it is easier said than done unless both parties will believe and put it in their heart to follow it.

First, Forgive. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Second, Accept - unconditionally, reach out and bring the other in. (Romans 15:5-7)

Third, Serve - do small things for the other that does nothing for yourself (Philippians 2:3-5)

Fourth, Encourage - intentionally look for something to build someone else up (and make it genuine!) (Ephesians 4:29)

Finally, Submit - to one another. (Ephesians 5:21)

If I have learned anything in the past 5 years it's that I do not need to have control. If I trust and believe in God and what he wants for me, I will be rewarded in everything I do. I am on his timeline, not my own and the more I try and control whatever I am facing on my own, the longer he will wait to step in and resolve my struggle. I know, I'm not the same old Sarah and we are all happier for it!

Love you all!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Ok, I know that I am NOT the best disciplined Mom on the planet. I cringe every time I "ask" Jack what he wants for breakfast, rather than just giving him two choices or putting it in front of him. We are not "No TV under 2" parents. Jack laughs at me each and every time I attempt giving him a time out. But I have to draw the line...what kind of people do they pick to be on SuperNanny? Does the application read,

"Do your kids walk all over you?"

If the answer is YES, you are our next spotlight family!!

Tonite, flipping through the channels as I filed away the month's paid bills (always a treat), I settled on seeing what the British Chick was facing with the latest family crisis in discipline. To my suprise (not really since the show seems to be "same thing, different day" for the most part), here is a 4/5 YEAR OLD they are trying to convince to get rid of her pacifier!

Now mind you, Jack was a paci baby, he cried, paci was there, at least up until he was a year old. Then it went to naps/night only. With Duke I've managed to be a "paci negligent" parent, meaning, no paci there when he cries, it's always been naps and night only. I do dread the paci breaking we will have to someday face, and would like to do it with Jack soon and probably should, but we've had the broken leg and since I do not have the dual bedtime routine together yet and I sometimes resort to stuffing that bedtime paci in Duke's mouth just a bit before he hits the crib I cannot imagine the anxiety it would create for Jack and just can't do that to him yet.

HOWEVER, this child was walking around all day at 4/5 years old with a pacifier. I am sorry that is just WRONG. And what did it take to get rid of it....they did a paci search of the house and everyone found all the pacis (like 10 of them) and put them in a bucket and the little girl threw them all out herself and that was it.

The real clincher to the show was the parents allowed their children to stay up until 10/11 at night (I think the three girls were around 10/7/4) and then when the middle child woke in the middle of the night she crawled into bed with her! Another sticking point with me. First, 10/11:00 is the parents bedtime, kids should be a minimum of 2-3 hours earlier for sanity sake and secondly, unless you are a breastfeeding mother of an infant, a child who is quite sick or on vacation in a hotel that your are trying to save money from renting two rooms - a bed is for sleeping...alone or with your married spouse!

So anyway, the show was again dedicated to fixing problems of parents that have no spine to begin with. How about us that have the backbone but 1/2 the time to enforce it!! Ok, so maybe I missed that episode...

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I haven't put many pics up lately so I thought I'd share a few off the camera from this past week. And as an update the next month holds for us several exciting things -

Tropical Storm Fay came on through this weekend and has dumped quite a bit of all day rain on us so far, expecting more, which is not a good thing since we are still trying to finish up the lake. Today it's been sunny and windy so hopefully the path has altered and things will dry out by the weekend since we only have a few days of work left and we can be done! Then we'll just need another one to come on through and fill it up!

Jack's cast comes off on Thursday, and pending any abnormalities on the xrays, he will be able to have a real bath for the first time in almost a month!

Work has been 100 miles a minute, but I am bound and determined to make this week a record for getting things cleared off so I'm able to unload some of that stress. I have done virtually no travel since Jack's been born, but on the 18th I head up to Pittsburgh for the day for a meeting at Dick's Sporting Goods and Daddy will brave his first full day alone with both boys. Actually, they will be at daycare, but he will have all morning, dinner and bedtime on his own. I have no doubt he can do it, but it will be good for me to get out of the way and let him :)

At the end of the month, a close work friend (Congrats Minoru & Shiori!!) is getting married in Huntington Beach, CA, so Grandma Ruth has arranged to take a few days and come down so Cory and I can fly out to attend. It's a Monday wedding, special circumstances based on the fact that 50% of the wedding party are professional fisherman that have tournaments every weekend, so we are only going Sunday-Tuesday, but either way, will be a nice break for us to be together!

Finally, the boys have managed for the past few weekends to coordinate napping at the same time so I have actually had a little "me" time in the afternoons which has been amazing! Praying that continues!

We just wrapped up one of the best message series at Church of the Highlands as well today, so if you listened to last weeks message online, you will definitely want to listen to the final! It was POWERFUL again! It's too early for me to post the link here, but just go to the website on my Favorites on this page and click on Multimedia - Current Series. It should be uploaded by sometime tomorrow.

Duke transitioned a few weeks ago to a new room at daycare, but we had to highlight this pic of him with his "Aunt Kay". She took care of Jack as well in his first 6 months at Odyssey Early School and we LOVE HER!

While trying to find some "other" things to occupy us while Jack recouperates from his break, one of Cory's prostaff and his wife are nursing a fawn who lost it's mother. Since Jack's very first word was "deer" (shocking I know), we thought it would be fun for him to get up close to one. We've been able to watch them from the house on occaision as they wander along the fenceline behind the house, but this was WAAAAY more exciting.

Many of you probably remember when we first moved here, my comments about the size of the "bugs" as compared to what I'd experienced in Wisconsin. Well, over the past several weeks, we have had a visitor on our patio...a Black & Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope auranta. At first, well as per usual I FREAKED OUT as this is not just a normal sized spider, as you might be able to tell based on the comparison to the TV remote sitting near the top of the picture. This "little" fella measures about 4" long. But after getting online and reading that it eats a LOT of BUGS, and since we couldn't really make use of the patio while Jack was recouping, since his favorite thing to do is run through the sprinkler, and his cast cannot get wet, I figured I'd let the guest clean out the yard of all the pesky flying critters he could. Friday however, Cory and I decided to grill some steaks after the kids were in bed, so Mr. Argiope auranta now resides somewhere in the back woods where Cory re-located him. (Call us "green" we figured having him and some of his friends around is better than spraying pesticides all over long as they aren't right outside my backdoor!)

Thought I'd save the best for last! We broke out the ball pit on Saturday, since the rain kept us all inside. Duke is obsessed with balls these days, and Jack enjoyed throwing them all out of the pit (still working on putting them back!) Was also a good opportunity to teach some additional lessons on sharing with Duke, which has not been a strong point now that Duke is mobile and can get to just about any of Jack's toys that he wants too!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I have a sneaking suspicion those terrible two's are sneaking ever so faintly into my little Jack's personality. Now, it's really nothing THAT terrible. He's just realized that he can start using his words enough to let me know what he wants and that's a powerful thing in his world. This week, it seems that "french toast" is the favorite. And after a long 30 minutes Tuesday morning of trying to convince me that he really should be able to eat his breakfast on the couch vs. at the table, I am discovering my little bugger is a little smarter than I had previously given him credit for. (I won that battle of wills by the way, however he did eat french toast for 4 out of 5 breakfasts this week and as a snack before bath/bed one night. You have to know which battles to fight and which to concede :))

So on that note, the September issue of Parents magazine had a "Memo to Mommy" that I thought very appropriate based on our world these days:
  • Love me, even when I'm naughty. I'll only be this age once.
  • Be pateint, I do everything for a reason, but I don't know enough words yet to give you an explanation.
  • Stop freaking out about the mess! There's always time to clean-but how often do we get to make mud pies? (I'm actually pretty laid back with respect to this one already!)
  • Let me do it. I know you can do it faster and better but sometimes experience is the best teacher. (Want to guess how long it can take for a 2 year old to buckle his own car seat when you are already running late for work/church/grocery shopping?)
  • Don't expect too much of me. I want to do what you ask and make you happy, but I'm still little.
  • Keep your promises. It's all about trust. When I'm a teenager, you'll understand why it's so important. (Note to self, think hard about what you OFFER to let him do before you offer it!!!)
  • Don't try to reason with me when I'm having a tantrum. Trust me-I can't hear you over my own screaming.
  • Don't keep asking me if I've been good. I'm not even sure what that means, but if I was bad I'd never admit it!
  • Don't let me think that you're perfect. I feel a lot better knowing I'm not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes.
  • Set limits. I can't actually eat a whole box of cookies - I just want to see if I'd get away with it.

I've got this taped to the bulletin board on the way out the door - serves as a great reminder everyday!

And, not to forget little Duke...he's had a big two weeks! Last week he started crawling - everywhere - at 100 miles an hour. Jack's getting a big kick out of this, except now Duke can actually grab any of Jack's toys no matter where he thinks they are out of reach! And this week, it's all table foods and no bottle - just taking his formula out of a straw cup. So HOORAY for us! Very few separate meals/feedings now and as soon as Jack is out of the cast this Thursday it's back to dual bathtime too! (And boy, does he need one! Phew!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

thoughts of mine...

I know pictures are the best, but I'm worn out on editing lately (and I know I need to get some sent to some of you afar via Walgreen's) and so I thought I'd blog tonite on a few things these past couple of weeks that have been on my mind. I'd also share some of Cory's thoughts, but right now I think the majority of them surround the continued digging of a ginormous hole and piles of dirt on our property (time for completion and costs are already somewhat past the estimates, though we do have hopes to finish this week), so I'll just leave it up to him to ask me for the password to blog himself here sometime.

A few weeks ago as I was fumbling through my Favorites I have saved from the web, I came across the website of a company I had bought a few framed "quips"from at the Starving Artists Fair in Racine when we lived there. I have three pieces in very cute frames, first, Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much", "Living without Laughing isn't Living", and my favorite and one I try to keep in mind a lot these days, "Simplify". I love these little sayings, but I also remembered that at the time, the booth I bought them from offered the ability to buy other vellum inserts to change out the quips and thought I'd just check out if the company still existed, and to my suprise, they did - and boy have they grown!

Kindred Hearts,, is a family company with a great story - they started from a hobby in their basement in Plainfield, IL, just outside of Chicago. Eventually they sold and turned to other interests, including I believe some missions work overseas. However, they missed their passion and returned to take things over again and have grown into quite an operation with two warehouses and products placed in Hallmark stores all over the country! On a whim, after a long day with Jack's broken leg episode, I just wrote a quick note to the company after reading their "About Us" statement and told them how much I enjoyed the three little frames I had bought at that fair so many years ago - and certainly based on their timeline, from the first beginnings of their company along with a couple of "prospects" for them in Birmingham that I thought might be interested in carrying their products. A day later I received a very sweet e-mail thanking me for my comments which was a nice personal touch. I guess working in the industry I do, with such customers such as Bass Pro, Cabela's and Dick's that seem to mystify so many people at our interations with companies on such a large scale, that I like to "connect" with some of the places I choose to buy products from.

Anyway, to my absolute suprise, later that week a package came to the office for me from them...and I was just shocked! It's a beautiful 14"x 28" framed print with a shadow script in the backround of the word kindness...with the following quote:

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered...Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives...Be kind anyway.
If you are honest people my cheat you...Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous...Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow...Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough...Give yor best anyway.
For in the end it is between you & God. It never was between you and them anyway.
- Mother Teresa

This wonderful and unexpected gift is proudly displayed in my bedroom above the dresser where I can see it each morning. Thanks to the Kindred Hearts family!

I admit it - I was OBSESSED with the swimming events this past week of the Olympics! I don't think I managed to get to bed a single night before 11pm (not the smartest move for a mom of 2 under 2). And although I do admit to be fascinated by Michael Phleps and his accomplishments, the real draw was that I have such fond memories of watching the Olympics over the years. I remember being glued to the TV during the Kerri Scruggs vault and Nancy Kerrigan's leg bashing and really, going all the way back to 1984, just before the start of 8th grade when my family took a well deserved and long time coming family vacation to Door County, Wisconsin.

One of my favorite memories of these summer games however will be the Opening Ceremonies. We were relaxing after dinner and before bathtime when they started. I didn't really hear any hype leading up to the event itself, but from the very start I was in awe - and so was JACK! He stopped playing and just sat quiet and open mouthed at the TV watching the amazing lights and drums, synchronized movements. We try not to do a lot of TV around here, especially before bedtime, but I could see he was completely focused at what he was seeing and soaking it all in. If you've seen any part of it, you'll know what I'm speaking to, it was probably the most amazing performance at an Olympic event I have ever witnessed. And although watching the spectacular show was awesome for me, but the most awesome part was seeing the amazement in his eyes! I can't barely wait for the closing ceremonies!

Finally, for those that have seen my previous posts on our church - Church of the Highlands - this week was another message in the Encounter series and it was POWERFUL! If you have a chance, please listen online to the favorite point taken "Faith is your Attitude". Take a minute and listen to what it means to have an attitude of faith in whatever you do and how it can free you from whatever it is that is holding you back from giving your life amazing freedom from your burdens. I know so many of you would benefit from living this attitude (me included!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TRUE Friendship

A wonderful friend of mine sent this to me this week, and I just had to share it... Thanks Crystal, I promise we will do Starbucks again SOON!

True Friendship
When you are sad --I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!
When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
When you smile -- I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
When you're scared -- we will high tail it out of there.
When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!
When you are confused -- I will use little words.
When you are sick --Stay away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
When you fall -- I'll pick you up and dust you off----------After I laugh my butt off!!
This is my oath...I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask -- because you are my FRIEND!
Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Little Lame Duck

Here he is...

...and he's doing just fine. I'm actually amazed at how quickly he learned how to walk and balance on the cast and walking boot. We ended up at the pediatric orthopedic doctor yesterday late afternoon where they took more x-rays (not fun) and Dr. Mayberry concluded that the film just wasn't very conclusive. But because he was still limping when he tried to walk without the splint and acting as if there was pain or tenderness, she wanted to err on the side of caution and put on a walking cast for 3 weeks. (Note: when asked what color he'd like, I told the Doctor nothing but camo would make Daddy happy, and guess what, they make camo!) So on August 28th we go back, take it off, take more film and if she sees healing bone, we'll know there was a break, and if not, we haven't lost anything in the process. If it is confirmed there was a fracture, I don't know if he'll be in it for another few weeks or if that's it...but I'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
For now, we get sponge baths, no playing in the sandbox or mulch play area (can't get any in his open toe), swimming lessons are over with and it's going to be a few very inventive Saturdays for Mommy (thinking good time for haircuts, shopping, maybe we'll spend a day at the zoo...)
Today he was back at school, playing and happy and glad to be back in his element. The teacher's have been briefed and have actually had a child at 1 year old with a cast too, so they've experienced this before. My main fear today was of him getting around too many kids at once and having someone fall on him. But Kasey and Beckee assured me they will be extra watchful. And after going to school today for his "graduation" party, and watching him with the kids myself, I feel even better about everything. He moving to a new room on Thursday with two new teachers, and I am confident they will be great too.
So...Burgess Sisters...we got to be the first, but I have a feeling this will not be the last ;-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Double Post Tonite

Ok, after a long day, this made it for me! Here is the link to view Duke's online gallery proofs from our photography session this week.
I don't even want to think about choosing!
The online gallery is only active for 14 days so be sure to check it out!

The First of Many

Well, some of you have been updated by phone, but for those wondering how Jack's doing, here we go...

This morning Daddy got him out of bed and after a diaper change put him on the floor of his room, where he promptly took two limps toward me and stopped. So, after breakfast Jack and I loaded back up in the car and headed into Children's Hospital After Hours Clinic. I didn't realize the clinic didn't open until 10am (we arrived at 8:30 - it's not an emergency clinic) so we took a detour to Target where Mommy thought ahead to buy a few new books and the Little People Garage (for an afternoon distraction). Most of you know me not to have a bunch of toys since the boys are in daycare all week and the weekends are reserved for outside play - but I had a sneaking suspicion we might need something new to keep someone's attention on this very afternoon.
Unfortunately, I was right. After a short wait, and time for me to observe him and convince myself it wasn't just my imagination that he was limping and grabbing hold of furniture to keep himself steady, we got in to see the doctor and had x-rays and she found a slight fracture of the tibula. Now, what does that mean? I have no idea. She explained that it's quite common, called "toddler fractures" (although I don't see many 2 year olds around with their legs splinted or in a cast) and that we needed to follow up with a pediatric orthopedist this week.
So, they splinted his leg in a temporary splint...basically some kind of felt material which surrounds a gel which hardened after she wetted it, then she molded it to his lower leg and foot and wrapped it with an ace bandage. Here's the little lame boy so you can picture the splint...

For now, he's doing pretty well. No pain meds, not just because he doesn't seem to need them, but I also don't want him to get overly confident and start trying to walk on the thing and break his arm. He's crawling and scooting and played wonderfully all afternoon with his Little People Garage, and even with his little brother. Tomorrow first thing I will be on the phone with our pediatrician to get a referral for an ortho, and Bill Douglas also recommended one to me so we'll see if he's on the list. In the meantime, say a little prayer that whatever this is turns out to be very minor (which I'd imagine it is in the scheme of things or the doc would have sent me down to Children's Main Campus for casting) and that the little bugger heals quickly.

My sister Ali said she was just wondering to herself last week about which of our four boys (Jack, Quinn, Nolan or Duke) would be the first to have some childhood catastrophe happen. Needless to say, I guess we won this round...and I am sure it is just one of many we will face with our two!

So, keep tuned in for the latest and greatest after we see the next doctor!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Wonderful Week

It's Saturday, the kids are in bed and I've got a few minutes to reflect back on a really fantastic week. It started last Sunday with the arrival of Cory's sister Natalie and her husband Patrick. All the rest of the grandkids were left at Grandma Rath's for the annual week long "Grandma Camp". Having driven all the way from Brunswick, Georgia, Natalie and Patrick were looking for an inexpensive get-a-way for themselves for a few days until they needed to head back to Tennessee to pick up Alyssa, Kevin, Hannah & Victoria. So we opened up the house - and the office/spare room/Cory's trophy room - to them. I would be working all week, the kids would be in daycare and hopefully they could get some peace and quiet and get a chance to meet Duke who hasn't had a Rath family get together yet. We really enjoyed their company (especially watching the Cardinals/Braves MLB games each night, and laughing at YouTube videos of comedian Tim Hawkins ("Cletus Take the Reel") FUNNY STUFF! I cannot wait for Thanksgiving this year in Tennessee and hope that the annual Nutcracker production the Eades participate in doesn't conflict with the trip this year! And I really cannot wait for the days that Jack & Duke can attend Grandma Camp and hope that the six parents of the grandkids can all take a joint trip somewhere during that week someday!

My work week was a little on edge, with Bill Douglas - my partner in crime - on vacation. Bill is 50% boss and 50% my Alabama Dad, and he's at the age at which taking care of aging parents is coming into play. We compliment each other very well and I've been blessed to be able to work with him for nearly 11 years. He's had a busy month at home and at work in July and I had hoped to keep the wheels turning while he was away for his annual beach trip. It got a little dicey on Thursday, I had about had my limit with a few incidents, but I made it through and will be glad to see Bill sitting in his office when I get there on Monday morning.

Today my neighbor Crystal stepped in and helped me out in watching Duke for the morning while I stole away for a few hours with Jack for his 4th of 6 swimming lessons with his friend Payton and her mom Leslie. We had a blast as usual and the rest of the day went smoothly up until about 5:30 after Daddy and Peter had called it quits for the day from working on the lake, when Jack was running aimlessly in the dirt and he got off balance and fell. Now, first of all, this is not a major event... at nearly 2 years old, he falls plenty and usually it's just a brush him off and on his way type situation. Apparently, tonite was not the case, though we initially treated it that way. I didn't notice anything peculiar at the start when he got up crying, other than he was covered from head to toe in dust and dirt, so Daddy hosed him off and I carried him inside to change him and make him dinner. It wasn't until I tried to set him down that he started crying again and favored one of his legs, holding onto the sofa for balance. So, here we go...the endless back and forth I take him to after care at Children's Hospital and have it checked out, (surely to sit for hours on end in a waiting room) or do I give him Tylenol and some time to see what it really is about? Well, there was no bruising, no swelling, he let me touch his foot, leg, toes, and move them all around without any cries; but still if I asked him to walk, no go. So, I loaded him in the car and away we went. I made it 2 miles before calling Clare and asking her sage advice, and then turned around and went home. So, after an after dinner snack, bath and Tylenol, he went to bed just fine and we'll see what tomorrow morning brings. If we still have a problem, it's away to Children's we go, but for now I'm thinking the best reaction was calling Clare...her advice is always the best (for kid and mom!)

So that was our week, hope you've enjoyed reading about it and a BIG THANKS to all of those in it that made it wonderful! And if you didn't see the post from last night, be sure and check out Duke's pics!

We have about 4 more days left on the lake, but it's really coming along. I know it's hard to get a feel for it, but take a look at the follwing pics, the first shows the base of what will become the dam and the other includes Peter & Cory in it, might help you get a feel for the scale - coming around to about 4 acres right now.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Wednesday, I finally had a professional photography session with Duke. I don't have the proofs yet, but Heather Swanner has posted on our session on her blog today. Click here for the blog (or you can connect anytime from her listing on my blogroll on the lower right).

I cannot wait for the full proofs! Heather really does an incredible job and I so enjoy our sessions together. If you are a fellow resident in Birmingham, I would recommend her with no hesitations whatsoever!

Stay tuned for full proofs!