Thursday, December 28, 2006


We're in Pennsylvania right now. We got here about 1am Wednesday morning. It was a good trip. We left our house about 3pm Tuesday afternoon. We had two little flights on small airplanes, each about an hour and a half...also, about an hour and a half layover in Atlanta. Our kids didn't sleep at all the whole way, but they did really well. Even Asa only slept a little bit on the last flight. She did great was her first flying experience.

We are now just enjoying family time. Joel's grandparents live here in Ephrata, in Lancaster County. Joel's mom is one of eight children...they all live here around Ephrata. Joel's mom and family drove down yesterday from Boston where they live.

Right now I am in a parking lot. :) We don't have internet access at Joel's grandparents' house, so we had to drive around to get a wireless signal. :) Just wanted to let you all know where we are and what we are doing. We're having a great time and hopefully soon I will post more and on our website:

Grady was in his first Christmas program the Wednesday before Christmas. He was really into it. His little class sang Silent Night. He was so cute...and really knew the song. That's Kiley, our cousin, on the far left. They have AWANA on Wednesday nights at the church we go to's a great program...they are in the Cubbie class.

Like I said, he was really into it and did great. SO CUTE!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've Decided...

I'm going to just have to stay fat...until after the holidays that is. :)

Seriously, this is my last holiday season at "home" for who knows how long. I'm not even going to restrain myself from Granny's pecan pralines, chocolate pies, little fried fruit pies, etc. etc. etc. That would be pure foolishness. And, 5 years from now when I'm in some Amazon area wishing I had some of those things, I'm going to be kicking myself and thinking that those extra pounds just weren't worth it. Do you know what I mean? No, we are going to eat and we are going to enjoy. So there.

If you see me and I'm still a fatty...well, now you will understand. Besides, I did just have a baby 2 months ago. I guess after the holidays in that small period before Jan. 13th (the day I have to wear that gorgeous strapless gown), I will be starving myself. Then on the day of the 13th, guess I'll have to get one of those lace-up corset things and hire me a "Mammy" to tie me up...REALLY tight. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006


Me: "Grady, you are my favorite little boy."

Grady (age 2 years 11 months): "You're my favorite little Mama."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Crazy Kids

Hadley was in the middle of saying "No" here. Since they had just gotten up from a nap, she was not in the mood for a picture. Her hair is SO crazy after naps.

I just kept snapping away on the camera.

She just continued to look at me like I was nuts.

Grady was having a good time though.

He was really laughing about the hard time he was having taking his shirt off.

And finally, he was able to do it...with a little pulling of his scalp.

These aren't crazy pictures, but just wanted to include this beautiful little girl. She's so fun and sweet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


When I use the term "redneck" here, I am not in any way trying to offend. True rednecks are proud to be rednecks and wouldn't be offended anyway. But, if ever there was a Redneckville, this is truly describes some of the things that are seen here. Again, not being offensive...and all you Saline rednecks...I'm sure you take it as a compliment.

A couple of days ago, I went running on the dam since it was a beautiful 68 degrees at 10am. This is what I saw: (cracks me up I tell you)

Yes, folks...these are 2 deer heads hanging on the stop sign. Now, during the summer there are usually humongous fish heads hanging from this sign...the results of noodlers in the area (if you don't know what noodling is, you can google it...or you can go to this website...this is a very entertaining article about noodling that I found... But, during hunting season...2 nice deer heads.

Notice the power lines. On the left there are some shoes that have been hanging there forever. On the right, yep...more deer parts...2 deer legs. Interesting, huh? I know all you sightseers out there are wishing you could take a nice Sunday drive around here. :) So funny.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You Might Be From Louisiana If...

My brother sent me this a few days ago. It is SO true. Since I seem to be on a roll with describing the "culture" of where we are now, thought this would fit right in and that you might enjoy.

You are from Louisiana if:

1. You can properly pronounce Lafayette, Bossier, Natchitoches, Opelousas, Shongaloo, Pontchartrain, Ouachita, and you know that New Orleans doesn't have a long "e" sound anywhere in it.

2. You think people who complain about the heat in their states are sissies.

3. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel.

4. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade.

5. Stores don't have bags, they have sacks.

6. You've seen people wear bib overalls at funerals. (Just Recently)

7. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.

8. You measure distance in minutes.

9. Little Smokies are something you serve only for special occasions.

10. You go to the lake because you think it is like going to the ocean.

11. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit.

12. You know cowpies are not made of beef.

13. Someone you know has used a football schedule or hunting season guide to plan their wedding date.

14. You have known someone who has a belt buckle bigger than your fist.

15. You aren't surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, beer, and bait all in the same store.

16. A Mercedes Benz isn't a status symbol. A Chevy Silverado Extended Bed Crew Cab Truck is.

17. You know everything goes better with 'Ranch'.

18. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply.

19. You actually get these jokes and are "fixin" to send them to your friends.

20. Finally, you are 100% Louisianian if you have ever had this conversation:

"You want a coke?"


"What kind?"

"Dr. Pepper."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Remember This?

This was last February. This little onesie was how we told everyone that we were pregnant with little Asa Rose.

Well, it's crazy what about 10 months can do. Asa was 2 months old on Sunday.

Well, What Do You Know?

I guess a little bit of complaining isn't always bad. Since my last post it has gotten nice and warm here. I even ran today in shorts and a was in the 60s. Ni-i-ice. I know it is short-lived, but still nice while it's here.

That's another thing about this part of the country though. The weather is so crazy. You just never know what to expect this time of year. The summer is hot...simple. The fall and winter is very unpredictable. It will be cold sweater and coat weather one day and warm shorts and short sleeve shirt weather the next. Also, within the same day the temperature can jump or fall 30 degrees. We'll start the day out with ice on the windshield and then it will be sunny and 70 in the afternoon. When you are going to be out and about all day long, it's hard to know how to dress because it's cold in the mornings and at night, but you need your shorts on in the afternoon. Anyhow, just another little bit of information about the south. Our coldest weather is usually in January and February...from what I remember, it's pretty consistently cold then. I personally enjoy wearing shorts on Christmas day though.

It's now raining as I type this.

SCORE!! I just looked at the 10-day forecast and it is supposed to be in the 60s and 70s that whole time...the whole 10 days. Of course, at night and in the mornings it will be about 30 degrees lower than that as I said, but woohoo...I guess the warmer weather won't be as short-lived as I was preparing myself for.

We go to Pennsylvania on the 26th for about a week or so. Guess we'll get plenty of colder weather there. :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Hate Cold

I despise cold. Last night it was 20 degrees as we drove around in our loaned van which is choosing to only have intermittent heating. Last night was one of the times it chose not to work. I hate cold weather and being cold. If God wanted to really test me, or if anyone wanted to ever torture me or anything...just send me somewhere cold. I hate cold weather. Thank God for the tropical climate of Brazil. I hate cold weather. Sunny, coat-free days are for me.

Did I mention that I hate cold weather? Seriously, I hate it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just An Update

We are doing well. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I feel like my life is just a neverending packing/unpacking session these days...since February that is. I know it is short-term. But, in actuality, I haven't been able to totally unpack and settle into a place the whole time we've been married since we have moved every year...and since, even before that year was up, we always knew that place was a temporary place. When will it be permanent (not permanent as in forever, but permanent enough to unpack all of our stuff)?

Crazy thing is that I wonder if I'll totally be bored out of my gourd if I do stay in one place for longer than a year. :) I doubt it really...esp. with 3 kids now...really, how could I ever be bored? There will be plenty to do.

Another crazy thing is that according to the plan, when we do get to Brazil we will only be living in our first destination guessed it...a year. :) Maybe after that we will live somewhere longer.

In other news, the kids are doing great. We have really been in the training mode a lot and punishing. Thankfully after really being diligent in expecting first-time obedience, the punishing part is decreasing. It's really been hard with all of that while we were on the move. Now that we will be here for the next 3-5 months or so (that's our estimate), hopefully we can be a little more consistent. Even then, depending on where we are (after all, we aren't at our house 24/7), it is still hard to be completely consistent and hold to the same standard and practices when we are out and about.

They are so sweet though. The other day Joel took Grady and Hadley for a walk. They sat on the dock for a while, practicing being really quiet and listening to the birds. Grady decided he wanted to go running, so he took off. Hadley took off after him. Grady saw that she was following him, so he stopped running, went back to her, and held her hand while they walked together along the lake. So sweet.

Asa is doing very well too. She is a super cute chunk. She is now 12 pounds, still has lots of dark hair, and smiles all the time. She talks alot too. She's always smiled and has been cooing since she was 3 weeks old. But, she is beginning to be more and more responsive. I think it's not too much longer 'til she starts laughing out loud. Really fun.

As I type this, Hadley is already taking her nap. She fell asleep early today. Asa is sleeping too. So, it's just me and Grady...he is eating his lunch and talking to me. Can't imagine just having him...but, it sure is quiet and peaceful right now. :) It's crazy what a difference it is with just 2 of them...the other day I just had Hadley and Asa. What a difference. Two toddlers will keep you busy, that's for sure.

Welp, speaking of busy, I'd better get that way in the kitchen. Until another day...

Grady and Hadley with their cousins, Kiley (next to Grady, age 3 1/2) and Skylar (2). They live here in Saline and also go to the same church we do, so they see each other a lot. Hadley and Skylar are in the nursery together and Grady and Kiley are in the same class on Sundays and Wednesday nights. Fun stuff.

The sisters.

Happily playing.

What is that Hadley doing?

Smiling Asa Rose.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

15 Years

At this time fifteen years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room at Lincoln General Hospital. I was a senior in high school.

The spring of my junior year Mama and Daddy called me and Jared (my brother, 3 1/2 years younger than me) out into the living room. They had something to tell us. We listened intently as they told us that we were going to have a little brother or sister.

My first reaction was laughter. Me and Jared literally fell out on the floor laughing.

My second reaction was of irritation. I had been trying to talk those people into giving me more little brothers and sisters for years. Geez...this was not the time. I would be out of the house in the next couple of years. That reaction lasted all of 2 seconds though...and it's not like they had really planned it or anything either.

I then went into cautious mode. I was super excited, but I knew that pregnancies sometime ended in miscarriage. And let's face it, Mama wasn't a spring chicken after all (she was 2 months shy of 40 when she delivered). But, as the months went by, even that cautious mode faded.

On the night of Dec. 4th (a Wednesday night), we came home from church and Daddy was driving out our driveway. He said that he was taking Mama to the hospital. The only problem with that story was that Mama wasn't in the vehicle with him. We asked him if he was serious and he just laughed, saying that he was joking.

At 3am that morning though, he came to my door and said the same thing. I woke out of a dead sleep and said, "Whatever, you are not." He laughed and told me to look at the clock. He wasn't joking at that time in the morning and I realized it was for real.

They went to the hospital. A little while later, my aunt came and got me and Jared and we went too. We waited and waited and waited. Around 1:30 or so that afternoon me and Jared had to go. We had a basketball game that night and needed to go so we could make it to that. At this point in my life, it seems really crazy that I left the hospital that day for a basketball game, but that's just the way it was. Anyhow, I think he was born at something like 2:09. We just missed it.

We went straight home from the hospital to get our stuff for the game. We got the call from Mama and Daddy there telling us that it was a boy weighing 6 lbs. 9 oz. (he was the smallest of us 3 babies, but he was also a couple of weeks early). They asked us if we still thought Tucker was a good name. We said yes and Tucker Lendon Madden it was.

He quickly became our favorite thing on Earth. He was a fun little guy and we always wanted him to go everywhere with us. It was so great at that age (I was 17 1/2 when he was born), basically having all of the advantages of a grandparent...I could play with him all I wanted, but when he got fussy, back to Mama he went.

He's all grown up now, but he's still a ton of fun...SO MUCH fun.

Oh, how we love that Tucker Lendon Madden.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Another All-Time Favorite

I saw this a year or two ago and love it. I think it is really funny...I love crazy stuff like this.

Friday, December 01, 2006

You Have GOT To See This

Even baby pandas have to sneeze.