Wow, things have been really hopping here. Last week, I was in Ohio for a few days for training on becoming Greenstar Cooperative's newest sales rep here in Minnesota. Came back with a really bad sinus infection and chest cold -- those pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the week.
On Friday night and a good part of Saturday, Tony and I took part in a conference at church on Emerson Eggerichs' book "Love and Respect." Wow! I would recommend both this book and the conference (it was a video conference) to ANYONE, whether you are married or not. I was impressed at the number of single folks who attended....as our pastor noted, it is an excellent study, even if you never do get married, as it will show you how to better communicate and work with the opposite sex in God's family. Tony and I came away from the weekend with so much great information that we've both been putting in to practice already.
Sunday was church, rest, then rushing around to finish last minute things before we left for the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and Trade Show in St. Cloud. Tony has taken over teaching Sunday School for the 3-year-olds at church and is really enjoying it. The kids also are loving having him for a teacher. It's funny...there are times at home that Luke will refer to him as "Mr. Carter"! We also had a great sermon Sunday about the sanctity of life as Pastor Marty is continuing a mini-series on that topic. Sunday he focused on the importance of life and the continuing threat of "mercy killings" and other such things. Just because a life may not be deemed as "valuable" does not mean it isn't in God's eyes. Marty is a very good one to talk about this topic as he had a sister who lived nine years before going home to Jesus. She was born severely retarded with about every health issue that you could imagine. Never progressed mentally beyond 3-months of age, waking up every night several times for feedings, etc. And yet Nancy profoundly touched the lives of not only her four brothers (one of whom passed away also during the "growing up" years), parents, and extended family, but also the many workers who were employed at their family farm, the church members (most of who were extended family!), and everyone in contact with their family. I did miss the last ten minutes or so of his message as Susanna needed to go out for a potty break.
And yes! Susanna is almost potty trained, yippee! We've got the messy part down and just have to remember to also do the wet stuff in the potty.... I'd tried all kinds of incentives in the past few months and nothing worked (unlike for Luke who LOVES incentives!). Nothing worked, that is, until the "princess dresses." Susanna LOVES being a princess, and once she realized she would be allowed to wear one of her fancy princess dresses (her three favorites are her Belle dress, Sleeping Beauty dress, and Barbie ballarina dress) each time she did her messy business in the potty, she pretty much lives in her princess dresses. I'm not sure who was more excited at this new stage in her life...for her, it's just no big deal. For Tony and me, it's the end of dirty diapers, yippee! And yet for her brother, well, he just loves to brag on her. "Mama, that girl just did poopy in the potty! Isn't that WONDERFUL? Good job, Susanna! You're so big!"
Monday about 1:30 p.m., we headed down to St. Cloud. Bekah and Laura Schrader, two young ladies from church, came with us to keep watch over the kids and keep them occupied as Tony would be attending the conference and I would be participating in the trade show the whole time. Well, it was like we no longer existed. Even when they came to visit me in the trade show (once!), Luke and Susanna were much more interested in getting back to the hotel room to play with Bekah and Laura than in even seeing me and/or Tony! Well, that is, until Luke noticed the John Deere booth right next to me. I'd warned Jim, the JD rep, that once my kids saw his gator, it'd be hard to get them off. Jim assured me that he had grandkids, understood, and didn't care if they were on the gator the entire time. Little did he know.... Luke came down, saw me, "hi mama!" then got huge eyes as he gasped, "Oh, Mama!" Heaven. We also had a little incident Monday night when we headed down to the swimming pool and Susanna had her first accident off the potty in the kiddie pool. I headed down later than everyone else...I'd been setting up my booth at the trade show and got back to the room in time to go to supper, then they all wanted to go swimming. Tony took all four kids down while I unpacked and got us all settled in the suite. By the time I came down, I noticed some floatie stuff in the kiddie pool, told Tony to keep them out of it as "some kid" had an accident. He looked at me and asked, "are you sure it wasn't one of our kids?" while nodding towards Susanna. I pulled her suit aside and discovered, to my horror, it WAS one of our kids....and while he suspected, he did nothing about it!!!!!! I took her back up to the room to get her cleaned up, and all the while reminding her we do NOT do poopy in swimming pools! I was pretty cool and collected, although there were a couple times I did sigh, "Oh, Susanna!" to which she'd reply, "Oh, Mama!" before starting in with "Mama, it was just a terrible accident. How could this have happened? Oh, my! Why do you think I did that? How can we make everything all clean again? Oh, dear, what did I do?" I was fighting back the laughter by then...and we both agreed it was a good lesson learned. I did call the front desk but couldn't bring myself to be completely honest....just told them we took our kids down to the swimming pool and it looked as if someone's child used the toddler pool for a bathroom....
The trade show was great! John told me anything above zero would be good results, and I did have fifteen people who had great interest in Greenstar and our products. Several others also took my business card to get more information (or not?) in the future. We'll see how many actually do become customers, but I'm confident I will be getting some commission checks from Greenstar this summer!
We got home last night (Wednesday) and had just enough time for Tony to transfer Luke's car seat to the car before he, the girls, and I headed in to church for AWANA. By that time, we were getting a good snowfall, which we need, but the snow was coming down almost sideways, due to a light wind. It made the driving terrible and me very nervous. Things were even worse on the way home as the snow didn't let up, the roads (even the highway) weren't plowed, and the snow was higher than the bottom of my car all the way home. I thanked God continually that sometime before someone else had driven the same route as we took, at least giving me tire treads to follow....I literally could not see the road or the ditches on either side. I was apprehensive about turning on our street...a very short drive as we're the first driveway, as I wasn't sure if I'd be able to actually get the road without miscalculating and driving into the very deep ditch...it really was that bad. But! As I turned on our road, I again thanked God that someone else had driven that way not too long before we did! And I thought about how relaxed Luke was in the back, chattering and singing away about AWANA, not having one clue about how dangerous the conditions were around us, complete trust in me. And it reminded me yet again about how I really need to have complete trust in the One who is taking care of me...to put aside those worries and cast all my cares on Him.
Today is Valentine's day, the first time my kids are understanding a bit about today. We never focused on it before, and probably wouldn't have this year had the Cubbies not had a Valentine's Day theme last night. We did end up making heart-shaped sugar cookies, heart-shaped jiggler jellos, and we'll have heart-shaped noodles for supper tonight. Luke and Susanna continuously look at each other telling each other "I love you!" And Luke got his first Valentine.
We have a little girl a few months younger than Luke at church. Her name is Nicky, and for those of you who know LaMae, she is sorta kinda LaMae's granddaughter. I say "sorta kinda" because she is not the biological child of LaMae's son, but he and his wife are raising her. Well, she adores Luke and tells everyone she knows that she is going to marry Luke one day. Luke loves Nicky, but doesn't get the whole romantic thing...she's just really fun to be with, loves to play with him, and isn't mean....all homeruns in his book! A couple weeks back, Nicky came to church with her hair all fancied up in curls and proudly showed her new look to Luke who responded in typical little boy fashion. It crushed her feelings to the point where she went home and told Ron (LaMae's son) that she was afraid Luke had someone else now since he didn't like her any more. Ron told me Nicky is already thinking of ways to get him interested in her again so that she can get him to marry her when they get older. Arg! Already, at age 4!!!! Oh my.... Well, that did get me curious, so I asked Luke if Nicky was still his friend. He informed me that of course she was! I asked him, again out of curiosity, if he was going to marry her when he got big. "Oh, no, Mama. I'm going to marry Bekah!" And just giggled and blushed. I told Bekah she may be the very first bride would could honestly say she changed her husband's diapers when he was a baby!
And in closing...for now, that is! My husband did good for Valentine's day. He informed me early on that I needed to let him know what are important days for me, days that I want even more attention than what he usually gives me (and he is already wonderful in that area). Christmas. Anniversary. Birthday. Valentine's day. I kept the list short and sweet. And it isn't as if I'm asking for "stuff." But I do love cards from him, especially when he adds his own artwork (he is a wonderful artist!). Boy, was I embarrassed after sitting down to check email this afternoon when he finally had to ask, "did you notice anything different about the keyboard?" He'd tucked a Valentine's card (modified) between the upper keys for me! Ah, my Valentine! I love you, honey!!!
P.S. If you've not read Jane's blog lately, click on it and catch up -- the link is to the side of this blog. She's been reminicing about days of yore, early on in her almost 54 years of marriage. Wonderful memories! And while on her blog, click on the link for Brownie -- while this person wishes to remain annonymous, it is someone close to Jane and her blog recounts a miraculous story of what she and her husband went through, and miracles God provided, during a double organ transplant not too long ago. Also catch up on the funny antic's of Martha's boys, Laurel's Spirit Week (under Liz's blog) along with some great recipe's Liz has posted, and the even busier life of Karen. What awesome women God has placed in my life! Oh, and while she doesn't have a blog and doesn't always read my blog on a regular basis, happy 50th birthday to my wonderful sister-in-law! I LOVE YOU!!!!!