Thursday, December 31, 2009

my 2 new policies

Let me start by saying these policies are bound to fail, yet I've forged ahead with implementation.
First, the "reap what you sow" policy. I'm tired of hearing "He hit me! She hit me! Maegan called me poopie pants; Spencer said I'm stinky butt." I looked at them today and said, "Go ahead, beat each other up. Go ahead, let each other have it. Hit away!" They looked at me shocked and then declined; fearful of what the other might do when given license to unleash their fury. I hadn't really thought this policy out, but it seemed to work. I'm just not sure how this will play out later when they decide to start punishing each other again. (Oh, it just happened, Maegan hit Spencer. So, she sowed and I reaped...or she sowed and reaped...or she just paid the piper.)
Second new policy: the "keep it real" program. As most of you know Doug knows most everything (except his colors). This unending knowledge and skill set benefits most everybody. But, there are occasions when I want to be the final authority on a subject (which has been limited so far to music). So, I thought a "keep it real" program would be good to keep Doug humble (a quality we all really want). I'm just not sure how this policy is going to work because I need some ammunition, which means he needs to be wrong about something...I'll wait patiently and then pounce.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vote Love 146

Vote to give money to Love 146. While you are there vote for the 6 other causes at the bottom.
(click on the words Love 146 to get to site)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Destroyer and the Knuckle Head

Ok, the destroyer in our house is a precious little 3 year old boy. I'm seriously looking for advice on how to preserve our belongings before we loose it all. Many of you know he broke the LCD a year ago. In the last week here is the list of damage (which usually happens when we have little friends over): several broken ceiling tiles in the basement, coloring on the basement wall in two places, ceiling tile grids taken down to serve as swords, busted fluorescent light, broken picture glass in picture frame, destroyed basket, many toys, and physical damage to his own body from stunts. Seriously, besides our many lectures about how daddy has to spend endless hours working to make money, then hours working on the house to just have him destroy everything....what are we supposed to do. I'm sure we could start taking away his stuff (and breaking it as Doug threatened yesterday), but I'm not sure that would really help him understand.
Just think, we have another boy coming up in the ranks of destruction and mayhem. I think we'll wait until they are all out of the house before we buy anything nice.
Oh, the knuckle head part. I'm the knuckle head. I bought Spencer a light saber and Nerf gun for Christmas. The light saber is going to be opened at the grandparents in Terre Haute. The grandparents who have thousands of dollars in antiques in the house. Oh dear!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If you knew...

We all have heard, and some even make jokes, about the products we purchase being made by enslaved children, women and men. I believe as we are given information about this issue we will make changes in how we shop. You don't have to spend hours in research to get this knowledge. Here is some information to get you started and a few links to check out.

As we learn more about the connections between slavery and the products we buy, it becomes difficult (even frustrating) to go shopping for items we need. What is slavery-free and what isn't? And how can you tell?

In the book "Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It" David Batstone writes, "Today's slaves are not free to pursue their own destinies. They are coerced to perform work for the personal gain of those who subjugate them. If they try to escape the clutches of their masters, modern slaves risk personal violence or reprisals to their families."

None of us wants to be a part of such a violent, unjust system - even indirectly (i.e. purchasing an item made by a slave). But are there alternatives? Yes!

Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, here's some help: lists some fantastic companies that are doing their part to make sure slavery and exploitative labor conditions aren't a part of the products they produce. lists some not-so-fantastic companies that carry one or more products in their stores that are tied to slave labor or poor working conditions. I'd recommend avoiding the problem products and finding alternatives at other stores. Depending on the extent of the problem, you may even want to consider avoiding some of these stores altogether (please read the full report - it's not very long - before deciding). is a broader report. Part II contains an extensive list of products that are tied to slave labor or child labor in specific countries. For example, artificial flowers that come from China have been tied to slave labor. However, artificial flowers from other countries are not connected to slave labor. Bananas from Belize, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Philippines are likely harvested by children under the age of 15. However, there are no indications at this time that bananas from other countries are harvested under exploitative working conditions. I'd recommend printing off pages 29 - 44 and taking them with you when you go shopping. It's a fantastic way to use your purchasing power to avoid items that come from countries where these products are tied to slave labor.

I'm challenging you to do whatever you can to bring a little more justice into your Christmas celebration this year. Maybe it means making sure that a percentage of your purchases are slavery-free. Or you might accept the challenge of having a completely slavery-free Christmas. In either case, please know that your buying decisions carry a lot of weight. The gifts you buy this Christmas cannot only bring joy to the receivers, but also to the men and women who produced them!

Below is information about companies that are actively making life better for the poor and the oppressed by hiring girls who've been rescued from sex slavery, paying their laborers Fair Trade wages, hiring adults who've escaped labor slavery, or who are donating portions of their proceeds to abolitionist organizations.

Buy Responsibly:
Chain Store Reaction:
ASSET Campaign:

Clothing and Accessories
Freedom Store:
Cross Cultural Connections:
Paper to Pearls:
Better Way Imports:
Freeset Bags:
Nightlight Jewelry:
Toms Shoes:
Abba House:
Invisible Children:
The Love Alliance:
We are Overlooked:
DCZ Beads and Designs:
Global Girlfriend:
Pendant Star:
Butterfly Mama:
Heaven’s Attic:
The Hunger Site:
Global Goods Partners:
Autonomie Project:
Pants to Poverty:
Green Heart:
World of Good:

Bath and Body
Peace Keeper Cause-Metics:
Thistle Farms:

Home and Play
Ten Thousand Villages:
Made by Survivors:
Global Exchange:
Fair Deal Trading:
Pillow Dreams Project:
Trade As One:
Fair Trade Sports:
Good Weave:
Ethical Superstore:

Mai Thai Coffee:
Divine Chocolate:
Equal Exchange:
Alter Eco Fair Trade:
TransFair USA:
Fairtrade Labeling:
Pristine Planet:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

fall pictures and story telling

Well, in a previous post I told you that Spencer has figured out lying is an easy way out of a lecture. He has gotten more creative. Now, we really can't tell when he's lying except for some of the story plots are a little hard to believe :)
Spencer had a big scratch on his face. I asked him what happened and he said the big, wild cat out back got him. (There is a big, wild cat that lives behind us in the vacant house). As the story progressed, the big 'purple' cat scratched Spencer because he wanted our candy.
The second story involves Zayd Vestal's tooth. Zayd came to our house after school and had lost his first tooth. Zayd left his precious first tooth on our table and then it disappeared. Zayd looked high and low because he had planned to save all his teeth and then turn them in for a large sum of money. After Zayd left Spencer said he swallowed Zayd's tooth. I wasn't sure if I believed him. But Spencer was sure, because the tooth opened his mouth and jumped right in. Well, this folk legend of the tooth has made it's way around Zayd and Maegan's first grade class. Perhaps I need to write a children's book about all these stories!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(CNN) -- Law enforcement authorities have recovered 52 children and arrested 60 pimps allegedly involved in child prostitution, the FBI announced Monday.

More than 690 people in all were arrested on state and local charges, the FBI stated.

The arrests were made over the past three days as part of a nationwide law enforcement initiative conducted on the federal, state and local levels, the bureau said.

"Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces," Kevin Perkins, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, said in a written statement.

Don’t think there’s a global problem in your backyard? Think again. It is estimated that 2 children are sold every minute into the sex trade, and it happens right here in the Midwest.

Find out more about this problem and how you can help on November 7. Common Ground Christian Church will once again be hosting “Purchased,” a unique awareness and educational event concerning sex trafficking.

The evening will feature Ten Shekel Shirt with Stasia Demos opening. The event is largely to support Love146, a non-profit committed to abolishing child sex slavery and exploitation ( Local non-profits and organizations supporting the cause will be also represented, including the Julian Center and more. Childcare is available if you register for it here by October 24.

So join us November 7 at 7 p.m. at Common Ground Christian Church, located at 4550 N. Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN and find out how you can participate in the effort to protect, defend, restore, and empower lives.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

basement vacation

So, Doug told me I need to get the flu shot. He said that if I get the flu, Graham would definitely get it. I asked why he didn't need one. Well, he said, if he gets the flu he can retreat to the basement for a week to recover and make sure the kids don't get sick. I replied, desperately, "No! I want to go to the basement for a week!" Then I realized how ridiculous it was that I was basically jealous that he was going to get the flu and get to rest and recover in a separate part of the house.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

pet blessings

I find myself thinking in blog entries. As something happens I'm writing the blog in my head, but then I don't get around to posting it. Now, I have several random blog thoughts but don't know which one to write. A couple of thoughts are a little dark, and some are funny kid stories.
Here is one that might offend. Pet blessings?! Seriously!? I've seen four churches advertising pet blessing ceremonies. What! There must be some kind of holiday for it because everyone is doing now. No really someone tell me what this is all about.
I don't like to confess that I'm not a pet lover. I don't want animals in my house...too much cleaning, plus I'm allergic. I do like cats (except for the couple that have bitten me). Dogs scare me because I don't know what they are thinking. I don't like to be licked or smelled.
I do like giving dogs exercise. I like taking my sister's dog Tessa on walks and watching her frollick in the creek. And Cleanne, if you are reading this, I like watching Zeus to make sure he is not lonely. But, it's always mixed with fear because, again, I'm not sure what he is thinking and he gets all crazy when I try to leave your house (probably a sign of affection?) So, in that case I have Doug do the handling and I make sure he is feed and walked :)
Well, I guess I needed to confess this...whew...I feel better!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the new shake down

Spencer used to be a truth teller. It served him well because he would confess and it would result in a small lecture and a gentle shake of the finger. He is pretty easy to correct on the whole. However, I think he got tired of our little lectures and decided lying saves time. He has also become handy at using scissors. Now that he has started preschool he practices his scissors skills in advanced ways. Read, he is cutting things he shouldn't. Spencer cut the strap to Doug's new hiking poles. We asked Spencer if he did it and he said, "Oh, that must have been Maegan." Doug had to leave the room because he started to laugh at the serious look on Spencer's face. We continued to ask if he was guilty and he continued to evade the truth. Finally Doug remembered a trick he saw on the "Mentalist." Doug said to Spencer, "Raise your hand if you cut my hiking pole." Spencer threw up his hand without thought and didn't even realize he confessed. Doug and I were thrilled at this new shake down trick. We used it on the kids last night to see who threw their dinner in the trash. Once again, Spencer's hand confessed. Awesome!

(Here are a few pictures of our trip to Cinncy with the Kueblers, Spencer's first day of preschool, and a recent pic of Graham who is cuter each day!)

Kari-2 months pregnant, Carol-2 months post pregnant :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First day of School

Maegan started the 1st grade at Crooked Creek this past Wednesday. I actually put my precious, innocent, little girl onto a bus! I really almost had a nervous breakdown.
She had a great time her first week. She is definitely trying to sort out people and how things work. She has noted that her class isn't really like a classroom. She said it's not organized and there is too much stuff. When asked by her teacher what she wanted to learn this year..."how to clean her room". I think I've been harping on about cleaning and organizing lately. She did learn this week that everyone has a "bucket". You can fill people's bucket by being kind. If you aren't kind you will empty there bucket. Today Maegan accused Spencer of "emptying Daddy's bucket."
Here are a few pictures of heading off to school. Maegan cut her hair last week. Hopefully her bangs will grow out before picture day!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Everyone keeps asking how life is going with three and I'm not sure how to answer. Some moments I think, "hey, I'm doing it, I'm really doing it!" Then other days I think I'm going to lose my mind, or have already lost it (just like my phone, planner, etc.)
Today we went to run some errands that weren't too successful. Then we had to get some lunch. Spencer got Chick Fil A and then I needed to find a Fazolis because I know they have dairy free food. So, we went all the way from Castleton to west
86th, just for food. Then we found a park and laid out our blanket and chairs for a picnic. At this point Graham started wailing because he was hungry. I stopped eating to feed him, then Maegan had to use the bathroom...right away. This park didn't have a potty so we had to pack it all up (including a half feed baby) and head to the Broadripple Art Center where Maegan would be attending art class at 1:15. Thankfully I am now getting a little peace (except for Spencer standing here talking to me NON STOP!)
Thanks to Tia Phillips for the cd titled "Peace and Quiet". I play it in the car, loud enough to drown everyone out :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Photos by Loree Alayne Photography (
You can see more photos of Graham on Loree's photo blot (

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spencer sees God

We've had a few occasions over the past month where Spencer will see an image and declare, "Look, it's God!" The first few times it was of people on TV who looked like a picture we'd see of Jesus (you know the white dude with perfect hair and teeth).
One day it was Paul Newman on our salad dressing bottle. Have you seen it? Why is Paul Newman wearing a clown collar??
We were given free passes to the Indiana State Museum because we attended story time at the Pike Library (I love the summer reading program!) There is an exhibit about Indiana's history that includes a video of Indiana's diverse population put to moving music. There were 7 pictures of different people that came across the giant screen and Spencer pointed excitedly and said "Look, it's God!" And I said, "Yes, you're right." I'd like to believe my son saw the image of God staring back at him through all the different faces. We are made in His image...all of us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Maegan is 6!

Well, Maegan turned six on June 23...but I'm a little behind on updating the blog :)
She had been planning her bday for the past year. I was getting a little annoyed at her telling me exactly how she wanted her party. I kept trying to explain that the parents are supposed to plan the party and she couldn't keep changing her mind. I did convince her to invite the same girls that came to her 5th bday, to keep things simple. Graham wasn't even 2 weeks old, so I wasn't up for anything to big.
Here are a few pictures of Maegan to enjoy :)
(Ok the crying one is a little disturbing, but she had colic for 4 months!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

milk free milk

Tuesday Graham had blood in his diaper, so after an xray to confirm his intestines are all right I was asked to remove all dairy from my diet. This is a challenge for someone who loves to guzzle milk...along with cake, cookies, ice cream, etc. Finding something to eat at home isn't a big deal, but going out to eat will be tough. Dairy is in a lot of things and isn't always obvious. I know there are many of you who have had to eliminate dairy from your kids' diets, so I'd appreciate any suggestions you have for tastey substitutes for butter, milk, and ice cream. And, following A. Ashley's example, I went out a bought 2 packages of double stuff Oreos last night. Pop Tarts and Cool Whip don't have dairy either...which is scary. I'm forced to read labels now, and you really don't want to know what is in this stuff!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

surviving week one!

We promise to post some more pictures as we gradually feel life return to our sleepless bodies :)
I've had lots of things I've wanted to blog about over the last week, but mostly I want to thank God. This last week has been full of high and lows, anxiety and elation, fear and hopefulness. Through it all I really tuned into God and grasped on to His presence. Sometimes I say things like "God was really present with me" but He is always present. It's just, many times I don't tune into Him being with me and ask for His help.
I was terrified of the c-section because the one I had with Maegan was a really bad experience. So, Friday morning I was very quiet...and this tends to freak Doug out because I'm not usually quiet. He kept nervously asking if I was all right. I just replied, 'I'm focusing.' I was doing a lot of talking to God, mostly saying, 'Please help me.' During the actual surgery, in my little draped arena, I remember God bringing a hymn to mind, and I just repeated it over and over in my head (wish I could remember which one.)
The main hope that got me through the week was that God's mercy is new every morning. I don't need to worry if he'll get me through whatever is to come, but just know that He has given me this day and He will provide.
You might be thinking, gee, she just had a beautiful baby, what was so traumatic about this past week. Well, a mix of pain, sleeplessness, fear, hormones, and narcotics can do a number on you. I would go from joy one hour to depression and fear the next hour. But each day has gotten better, thank you again God!
God has also given Doug many gifts that has blessed me. He has been a huge help and really been strong through my breakdowns and our lack of sleep. God is also using many of you who have brought me food and prayed for me.
Sorry this is long, but I just wanted to share a little of this past week. I will have some posts coming on the funny things Maegan and Spencer are saying about Graham. It's been fun to watch them get excited about their brother!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hospital Pics

For those who have been waiting...sorry for the delay! We'll post some updates and other pics in a few days! dc

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

do you see a theme?

I'm finally posting some pictures of some summer outings we've enjoyed. I've tried to pack a lot of fun into these last weeks before Graham comes. Here are a few pictures of our visit to Trader's Point Creamery for free ice cream day, and pictures from my mom's 75th birthday...where we also enjoyed ice cream. To be honest, I've been taking in a lot of ice cream!
Today is my due day. If labor doesn't happen by Friday morning I'm scheduled for a c-section at 7:30am Friday. I had a c-section with Maegan and "regular" with Spencer. They didn't want to let me go too far past my due date for safety reasons.
I'm still hoping to go into regular labor so I don't have the post-surgery pain.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

lesson on presidents

Today I heard Maegan giving Spencer a lesson on our presidents. She instructed him that our last president, George Bush, and our current president, of the whole world, Obama both don't believe in cartoons. She said they don't want us watching cartoons because they aren't real.
This platform is really going to rock the vote next election!
Sorry I haven't been posting pictures. That would involve me going downstairs and downloading and I've gotten a little lazy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

sweet prayers

I have to share tonight's bedtime prayers. Here is Maegan's:
"Dear God, please help Graham to come out safely and help mommy not to be too sore when he comes out. Please help mom get better fast so she can do the things she needs to do. Help Spencer and I to be more helpful and learn to clean our rooms. Amen."
Spencer's prayer:
"Dear God, thank you for my football, help me not to crack my head, help me not to get a stick in my eye, and help Luke (Smith) not to poke his eye with a stick. Amen."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back Porch

I'm sitting on our screened in back porch and life couldn't be better! I'm enjoying the nice breeze while swinging in the hammock chair. The kids are playing in the backyard with the 'rolly pollies" (sp?) they found on the bottom of a brick. They've been busy digging up dirt (from my landscaping :) to make a good habitat for the little critters. Spencer has been beating up the cheetahs that threaten Maegan's safety. Bunny rabbits are chasing each other and the birds are wrestling around in the brush finding stuff for their nests.
I love our backyard. It's quiet, wild (we had a fox run through one night), and a great place to explore. And again, the best part in that I can watch all the fun from this great hammock chair.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Artist's Impressions

It's been awhile since I've posted Maegan's art. She spends several hours a day drawing, coloring, cutting and taping. She makes purses, jewelry boxes, notebooks, and paper dolls complete with interchangeable outfits. I just have to put up with the paper that she leaves all over the house. Yesterday she made a holder for her Pokemon cards that had 11 compartments so she could sort them by their "power". No, Pokemon isn't something we've encouraged, but it is a way for her to play with the boys at school. I think it's helped her math because she has to figure out what numbers are greater than others.
I'm posting the "pink" picture because it gives insight into Maegan's current attitude that Doug and I are trying to rule her life and that she never gets to have her way. Yes, that is me and Doug with our kids in cages, complete with locks. Can you imagine if a child psychologist analyzed this picture!
I included a happy picture of us too and some horses.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Watch out for big momma!

The count down is on...I have about 5 weeks to go. In the meantime pray for my family. One moment I'm content and pleased as a pickle....moments later I can snap. The snap usually happens because I get overwhelmed in a moments notice. I don't even recognized when it's coming. I will be vulnerable and share one episode. Today Spencer and I were happily planting flowers. He really was being a great help, despite getting us both dirty. Then I needed to go in a make my really messy kitchen. The kitchen is a combination of last night dinner, Doug's painting supplies, and random other things. Next thing you know I'm screaming I can't take this mess and I sweep a pile of mess forcefully to the floor. It's still there too. Doug walked in w/o comment and starting putting painting supplies away. Thankfully in these moments he doesn't say anything to point out my irrational behavior. One very smart cookie!