Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas before Christmas

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Brandt and Aunt Kate and Uncle Lee! We had so much fun opening your presents and we love them! (Renee, Lincoln got his own sunday book and Adam got some new inserts for his and they are totally awesome! I told Kate that you might like a copy again of the new stuff she put together for the books if you are interested)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So, it's been a busy month with Christmas preparations which has put blogging on the back burner for awhile. Now I have a little over a week to get my house spotless for our trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. My mom and Dad are serving a mission at the Employment Resource center in Slidell near the Bishop's Storehouse that helped tremendously with Hurricane Katrina. They teach workshops on Self reliance, employment, and Interview prep so that people in the community can find work. We are looking forward to seeing them so much! We're also excited to go to the aligator farm among other things. I'm done shopping for Christmas! Yeah! I still have to do some wrapping. But as some of you may know, it has to be somewhat of a camo job with little inquiring minds lurking about. So I get it done little by little. This was our first year where we could really invest some time and energy into Christmas for the boys. It's been a total blast! I love it when I've gotten something already then they'll say how great it would be to have it! Adam's got several of those so it should be fun. We were in the car a few days ago talking about Christmas and what we should get for each other. I asked Adam what he would want for Christmas and he was quiet and didn't answer. I asked him why he didn't say anything. He said, "I don't really care what you get mom, Christmas isn't about getting presents anyway. It's about Jesus being born." So sweet! I sure love that little guy. But then about a day later, we were sitting at the table eating lunch and we were discussing the various characters in Whinnie the Pooh. I said, "If you were to pick one character, who would I be most like from Whinnie the Pooh." Without hesitation, he shrugged and said, "Well, probably Rabbit because he likes to tell people what to do alot and sometimes he yells." I guess I'll have to try to be a bit more like Kanga from now on!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tired Mommy with Sweet Little Rascals

So, haven't blogged in awhile. I've been pretty tired lately actually. I've upped my workouts at the gym and instead of feeling energized, I'm pretty much pooped for the rest of the day. I always wonder why I can't get things done...probably because I feel like I'm in a thick fog of tiredness all the time. So, I'm on a quest this week to figure this out. I've completely revamped my eating to make sure that i'm getting the nutrients I need. Now, I'm experimenting to see if I'm just dehydrated. I drastically increased my cardio workouts where I'm sweating buckets, so I'm sure water is the logical solution. We'll See. Hmmm... am I rambling? I feel sort of bad because I'm on the cranky side when I don't feel good. And, when Adam says with a concerned look on his face, "Mommy, you're not being very soft with me", then I know I'm not quite myself. Just Great! My kids are learning to be monsters from ME! Yeah, speaking of monsters, today was one of those monster days. After my workout at the gym this morning I return to child care to learn that Adam was put in timeout 4 times!Twice for throwing toys at his brother, once for attacking another kid, and once for hitting. Evidently, he begged the mom that was watching him not to tell his mommy. Am I that scary? So when we got to the car I asked him how it had gone playing with his friends. He said, "Great!". So then the prying began. "Are you sure?" Adam, "Yes, it was good." He's sort of in a lying phase right now anyway, but I felt sad that he couldn't tell me because he was afraid he'd get in trouble. Tell, me, is this normal? The lying and hiding for fear of being found out? Anyway, later in the day I hear Lincoln crying, 'Me out! Me out!" I ran to find that Adam had locked themselves in the bathroom and he was exfixiating(spell?) them with my bottle of hair spray. I walked in there and could hardly breath! Wet hair spray was all over the walls, toilet and floor, ....and Lincoln's body! I panicked because of Lincoln's asthma, sticking Adam in timeout while I cleaned off Lincoln and fanned out the bathroom. Evidently, Adam had tried to open the door but couldn't due to wet hairspray hands. So, he decided the only logical thing to do was to keep spraying! Oh! I think I've got a grey hair....can you see it? really it's right there.... look! (Sigh!) I suppose this doesn't hold a candle to the time he painted my dining room and kitchen with black acrylic paint does it? Rob and I have been talking about having another baby soon. But,... I think I just might have to put that off a little longer because I don't think my nerves can handle it. Mom, how did you ever do 13?! Forever in awe at that amazing feat! How is it possible that these darling little faces can wreak so much havoc in such a short period of time? But, you know....I wouldn't trade them for anything! I'm so thrilled to be the mommy to these little rascals!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random things I learned today

1. My 22 month old can count to 15 by himself. And, likes to do so as he wanders around the house playing.

2. My 4 year old prefers no chores over candy.

3. My 22 month old knows all the words to The King's Singers singing "Girl talk". He even includes the "Yeah" part.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We can't do without our Dad!

One reason why Dad's are irreplaceable;

Adam: "Mom, have I been good to get Harry Potter tonight?"
M: "Yes, but I don't know if Daddy will be home in time to read it to you. I would be happy to read it to you instead."
Adam: "No. You don't know how to do all the voices."
M: "How do you know? I bet I could do them okay."
Adam: "But Mom, it's in a different language."
M: (giggle)
Adam: "You know the language they speak on Kipper? That's the one."

One reason why Dad's are, well... somewhat bendable?;

Lights are out, Mommy says goodnight and Daddy lays with the boys for a bit.( Adam is crying because he lost his Harry Potter time due to an incident right before bed that involved hurting his brother and laughing.) This is the conversation after I left the room and how it transpired.

Adam: crying and extremely disappointed, "I really wanted to read Harry Potter tonight! Please can I earn it back?"
Dad: "Didn't mom say you lost your priviledge?"
Adam: "I'm pretty sure she said I could earn it back!"
Dad: "Are you sure she said that?"
Adam: "Yes! She said I could earn it back tonight." (still crying)
Dad: "Well, if that's what she said maybe it's Adam, I'd better check with mom first." (good boy! Normally he would have given in but has since learned better!)
Adam: "No! She really did say I could earn it back."
Dad: Sticking his head into our room asked, "Adam says you said he could earn back Harry Potter."
M: "No, I said he could be good tomorrow and have Harry Potter time then." (loud enough for Adam to hear)
Adam: "Oh man! I didn't want you to find that out!"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Brandt Show

I'm enjoying some down time after church today as it was a busier day than usual. Basically it was the Brandt show in sacrament. Rob is the new choir director replacing a man who was the director for 10 years, extremely loved by all in the ward, who died suddenly a few months before we got here. He left quite the legacy with an amazing dedication to the ward choir. No pulling teeth to get people to come to this one. It was extremely emotional for all the members for the first few weeks because they missed Charlie, but they really enjoy Rob. Anyway, the choir sang for the first time since Charlie died. And we were asked to be the speakers as well. So it was a fun juggling act with our kids who got up too early and didn't eat a very good breakfast. I was very impressed that we even made it there on time! I guess there really is something to having everything ready the night before (It's kind of a new thing for me). I still wonder how people do it with more than two! Phew! I've been called to teach Sunbeams which is so funny to me because Rob and I have switched places. In Indiana, I was the ward choir director and he taught Sunbeams. I'm pretty sure I have a huge lesson in patience to learn because I can already tell I'm not cut out for it. Adam is a bit of a handful on his own, but we have a pretty large group of energetic boys. I'm glad it's primary program time though, because I haven't had to prepare a lesson yet. My sweet husband just helped me make lunch, picked up the kitchen, put Lincoln to bed, and is now reading to Adam. Sigh! If any of you have read "Raising Your Spirited Child", I'm pretty sure that I'm a spirited adult. All this stimulation has got me pooped! I know this is sort of a boring entry. So I'll end by showing some cute pics of the boys. These were taken in mid-September at Walmart.
Pretty cute boys eh? They're my favorite!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dedicated to my dear kindred spirit friend Katie Kempton

Six interesting things about me that many people don't know.

1) Hmm...I'm a Mary Kay Beauty consultant and I don't always wash my face at night and take off my mascara.( Hello eyelash mites! Munchy, munchy!)

2) I just bought a bright royal blue PT Cruiser and I LOVE IT! (But, if I drove it into the river it wouldn't be the end of the world for me)

3)I'm extremely ambitious and often start projects that I can't always finish.

4) I can't pick up things with my toes. And I have an awful memory which comes in handy when people say mean things to me. Easily forgotten!

5)I miss singing Country music at a Karaoke joint. (How about some Shania?)

6)I'm a great wife and mother even though I don't iron my husband's shirts or make him lunch all the time. However, I did polish his shoes today of which I was very proud of myself. I think he felt loved!

"Mothers Who Know"- Thank You Sister Beck!

I have been pondering alot lately since I heard the talk "Mothers Who Know" by Sister Julie Beck in General Conference a few weeks ago. I was so grateful for her straight forward nature in delivering information that was bound to be touchy for some women. In the past few years I have watched as women of the church have begun to take "modern" council a bit too far in justifying the increasing amount of time they seem to be spending outside the home. It was a breath of fresh air for Sister Beck to bring us back to the basics. Helping us remember the core priorities that we, as Latter-Day Saint women, are encouraged to keep in focus. I have been extremely disappointed and disturbed with the tremendous backlash that has occurred in response to her inspired words. In an article publish in the Salt Lake Tribune, it discusses this furious debate spawned by her talk. It created quite a stir among Latter-day Saint Women, who I feel, have missed the point entirely. One woman was quoted from a blog entitled She said, ""I want to sustain Beck," wrote Lisa Butterworth on "I don't want to bash her, but (Whooaa! Stop right there!" I want to sustain her...but"...You either DO or you DON'T- Inserted by me :)there is no way that I can believe that 'keeping our homes as tidy as the temple' or 'being the best homemakers in the world' are the vital lessons that will bring myself and my family closer to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Was she not listening?! Sister Beck was simple expressing that creating a house of order sets the stage for the spirit to be present when the gospel is being taught in the home. We don't have to be fanatical about keeping our houses clean, and we don't need to feel guilty if it's not always clean. That's not what she was saying. She asking us to realize that doing menial tasks around the home is not merely "work", but a simple way we can express our love and nurture our family. It's a way of showing sacrafice and love. What is happening to our good ol'e fashioned values? Single women were offended because they were not "included". As written in the article, 'The speech made her feel "like an outsider in my own church and inadequate," Reynolds said. "Whatever offering I can give is not enough because I don't have my own kids." ' I wonder what Sister Dew would have to say about that. I don't get offended when there is a talk that doesn't apply perfectly to my situation! Give me a break!

Some were even so petty as to complain about her saying that their daughter's hair should be brushed to perfection for church on sunday. A comment of a female BYU professor stated, "I never had the knack of styling my daughters' hair; their hair on Sunday is usually au naturel, which looks beautiful to my eyes," said Valerie Hudson, a BYU political science professor and mother of eight. "My husband does the cooking in our family, and takes great satisfaction in making what he calls 'food for the soul.' He even bakes the treats for our children's class parties. . .This year I'm teaching my 13-year-old son to sew his own special Halloween costume." Can she not see that in her very comment that she is already doing what Sister Beck is asking of women? That she is nourturing her children in her own way? Why must we all take things so much in the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law? I guess I'm not any better as I am bashing this ridiculous onslaught. But I feel like shouting from the rooftops that the world is going to pot so we need to do everything we can to be on the Lord's side. Complaining about petty things is a waste of time. Sister Beck has been called of God just has President Hinckley and the Quorum of the twelve have. If you choose to sustain them, you accept that their words come directly from the Lord. The last days are here! Will we also reject the warnings of the prophets? I would like to challenge all of you to put aside your own desire to be "validated". Be humble and become "Mothers who know." We owe it to our children and we owe it to the Lord.

Sermon over.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dramatic boy

Had a great work out at the gym today. But when I went to pick up the boys from childcare, Lincoln had a messy diaper that needed changing quickly. He's on Augmentin for another ear infection which means really runny poops and a very sore bottom. Anyway, he was crying of course because his bum hurt. And as we were getting in the car, he started screaming something. I wasn't paying too much attention as I was getting Adam buckled so we could get on the road. Then Adam said, "Lincoln, you're not going to die". Then I realized that lincoln was crying out, "I to die! I to die!" (I'm going to die). Evidently it was still hurting his bottom to sit in his car seat. I guess Adam's fixation of death has rubbed off on Lincoln.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Rules the World"

After listening in on another General Conference, I 've been pondering what it is that I need to learn or do better. I admit that I always have to go back and read many of the talks again because I was taking care of children or dosed off. But I felt the spirit especially strong this time as I have been pondering my role and priviledge of a being a mother. At times I am extremely overwhelmed by the responsibility and am on the verge of throwing up my hands to give up. I get frustrated that my family can't function the same when I'm having an "off" day. The old saying of "when Mom's not happy, nobody is happy" really is true. I underestimate the influence I have on my children (and husband) when I choose to react poorly to a situation, or carry a cloud over my head throughout the day. There are many nights that I go to bed with tears, fearful that I am failing miserably. It was impressed upon me, as in the past, that these short years of raising children will pass quickly. That I must treat each moment as if it would be my last with them. If I was gone tomorrow, what would I have wanted to leave with my family? The spirit of contention? Or kindness, long-suffering, and an unwavering testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel. It was also impressed upon me that I need to work harder at holding to the Iron Rod by reading my scriptures and praying always. Doing everything I can to be closer to the Savior, thus, becoming more like Him in word and deed. Some tragic events have transpired in my family that have manifested the incredibly real power of satan. He is intent on breaking apart the family. It never ceases to amaze me how he can weasel his way into people's lives in such a sneaky and deceptive manner that even righteous God-fearing people cannot see through his wiles. And, before they know it, their minds and hearts are twisted and confused, poisened by satan's brilliant maneuvers. He'll get us when we are most vulnerable emotionally, physically, and spiritually. My job is to forgive and focus on my own spiritual development and that of my children so as to guard against the evil surrounding us everyday. I shouldn't waste any of my time worrying about what others are doing wrong. I've got plenty to worry about within myself. I feel so blessed to be a member of the only true church on the earth today. I'm so grateful to have the restored gospel in my life! I'm grateful that I have a message of hope and joy to share with my children, friends and family. Tonight as we were reading scriptures as a family, Adam was much more attentive than usual as we were discussing how the church was restored to the earth. His eyes got big when we talked about missionary work and helping others find the gospel. He expressed his excitement to be a missionary someday. Then he got a quisitive look on his face and paused. Then he said, "I think is a great idea to play Conference, then we can talk more about the gospel and Jesus Christ." My greatest desire is to see my children grow up in righteousness. I shudder to think of the things they may face, but I rejoice in the anticipation that they will do their part in building the kingdom. I'm kind of rambling at this point, but these are the thoughts of my heart today.

Here are a few pics of my most prized possessions. I admit that I do miss Lincoln's curls!

Friday, October 05, 2007

I think I'm in love!

So what a sweet morning it was a few days ago when I woke up to the sound of the vacuum.... The night before I had hit my pillow with the house in shambles. All of you moms know what it's like to spend the previous day getting the house just how you want it and it only takes a few hours of sitting doing bills or menus to lose complete control again. Sometimes I wish I had my own three-handled-moss-covered-family-gradunza, or whatever it's called. So, my sweet hubby, who knows I go a little batty when my house is dirty, had stayed up late that night after I went to bed and did my dishes. Then woke up early to tidy up the rest of the house. Then he was off for a long busy day at work. Sigh! Now that's my kind of man!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fun at Milbourn Orchard

Groovin' in Maryland

I feel like I'm getting a bit more adapted to my new environment here in Maryland. I think I actually feel more normal! Which feels kind of weird because I've been living in the crazy world for about 8 months. I'm starting to establish a routine. The church community here is amazing and very welcoming here. I'm making some great friends too.
I've started this cool quilting project with the ladies in the Relief Society, which has allowed me some fun social relaxation time I haven't had in a really long time. There are some pretty fun characters in the group. (To illustrate a little better for my friend Renee, I'm not the exotic one anymore! That's okay cuz I'll always be exotic to you, right?) I have been impressed with how so many women from extremely different walks of life and age groups can meld so well like real sisters do. I feel very much at home and very blessed to be a part of it.
I went to the Ward Food storage trip to the cannery yesterday and had a blast. I've never done that before. When I went to BYU, my mom sent me away with some boxes of food storage from the cannery, so I knew what to look for. But I've never had the opportunity to go and do it myself. I'm excited to get more serious about food storage and emergency preparedness. I think I might start making bread again. I've always enjoyed doing that but it does take a little bit of effort.
I also got a job as a barter mom at a gym working in the childcare room. I only work two days a week from 9-11:30 and I get to work out for a whole hour of that period. So basically, I work for three hours a week and I get a full membership to the gym with all the perks! Maybe I'll be able to get this tired body healthy again. What a concept! I'm not sure I remember what that feels like but I'm anxious to find out! This also gets the boys out of the house with some fun play time with other kids their age. All in all, a win-win situation!
I'm getting more serious about starting my voice studio again. There seems to be an excellent market for that here. I've already got three potential students! This will keep me singing which will be good therapy I think. Maybe I should knit some cute house slippers like my old piano teacher had when she taught in her home. Then it would be official!
It's nice to be in a groove again vs. survival-life-plummeting-out of control mode. That's the rhythm of life right? Ebb and flow. You've got to have the storm to appreciate the calm and vice versa.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Promise Kept

When we first knew that we would be moving to Delaware, we promised Adam that we would take him to one of the Atlantic Ocean beaches. This "sort of" softened the blow that he would be leaving all of his friends. However, it has taken us several weeks to fulfill that promise so I think he was beginning to wonder if it would actually happen. Being the "greenies" in the area we chose the most touristy beach around, Rahobeth Beach. If it hadn't been for all the hoards of people trying to get their last beach kick in for the year, it would have been a little less crazy. But, I think the boys were happy and they could have cared less if there were people there. For weeks we had been researching how to make the best sand castles, so you'll see that our research paid off with a well packed "mound". We spent most of our time preparing the sand that when we got around to carving the castle Adam had lost interest. Oh well. It's okay because Lincoln used it for body surfing then the tide came in and washed it away anyway. That's when Adam remembered that he had started a castle and wanted to finish it! Go figure!

The weather was perfect where it was warm enough to play in the water, but it was cloudy so the sun wasn't blaring either. Adam had fun body surfing the waves. As you will see, after he was surprised a few times by the incoming tide, he was very daring in the deep waters.

As for Lincoln, well after he got plowed over a few times by the waves he enjoyed body surfing on the sand much better.

We had a blast playing in the waves, digging in the sand, sun bathing, and making sand Angels. We would have spent some time touring the boardwalk and visiting the Salt Water Taffy factory. But, we got caught in a huge downpour as we were packing up our things. We were drenched in seconds. As we're running to the car, Adam is screaming, "I really don't like the rain! I really don't like the rain!". And Lincoln is just looking around as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Probably because he was too groggy to do otherwise as this next picture will show what he did within a minute of being in the car. So we rode an hour and 40 min. home sopping wet! We had a blast! We'll have to explore some of the other beaches in Maryland and Delaware.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What makes a kindred spirit?

If you've ever seen Anne of Green Gables you'll know what I'm talking about when I refer to "Kindred spirits". Kindred spirits are people that you connect with on a deeper level than just basic intellectual and emotional interaction. They are one who you have a unique spiritual connection with. That feeling that somehow you must have known them in a previous life and you've finally reunited. There have always been those kindred spirits I have found throughout my life that have had a unique affect on me and my development as a person. People that I will never forget even though the ability to communicate becomes difficult as we go our separate ways through life. Some of these people that I speak of, to remain nameless, I did not seek after their friendship. It was almost as God placed them there on purpose because he knew I needed them. I've always wondered why we don't connect with everyone like that. What is it that makes the "kindred spirit" connection happen? Could it really be that we knew in the pre-existence that somehow our paths would cross in this earthly life? Or, is that special connection a way that God let's us know he's gifted us to each other for a specific reason. This is getting a little deeper than I intended. But it's a little glimpse into my mind as I've "scanned" the crowd at church and playgroup for the past couple of weeks in our new home wondering who that special person may be that was meant for me, or I for them. And I can't help but mourn the loss of those "Kindred Spirits" that I left most recently in Indiana. So, here's to you all! All you wonderful people that have made a difference in my life! I'll never forget what you have done for me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A few things for your veiwing pleasure

Since our camera is broken, I've made a video of our new home in Maryland. Please disregard the ugly blue sheet in the window. The Landlord has yet to put the blinds in.

Here's a look into one possible scenerio for Adam's future, as a Maestro. Special thanks to Little Einstein's and Adam's dad who frequently is seen by Adam around the house conducting to an imaginary orchestra, or music he's listing to on his Ipod.

Could we have some professional golfers in our future? The first part of this clip is Adam at the driving range in Colorado with his Dad and Grandma Brandt this summer. The rest was today in our backyard.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hmm... I love Autumn!

Don't you just love the smell of Autumn in the air? I can't really describe the feeling I get when I take it all in. It's a feeling of peace and comfort that just makes me happy! I got to thinking about the seasons that the world experiences and how they relate to our lives in an eternal perspective. In some ways Autumn represents life closing to an end before the death or sleep of winter. Spring represents new life and renewal. I love spring. It's exciting to see all thenewness "springing" up everywhere. And there is a special smell to that air too. But, for me, the Autumn air has an extra special sweetness to it. I found that interesting because I would have thought that brand new life, not impending death would bring me that unique sense of peace and comfort. Someone once quizzed me on the life cycle of a leaf. I assumed that the time when the leaf was fully matured was when it was it's greenest in hue. But I learned that the leaf doesn't actually full mature until it is ready to fall off the tree. That the beautiful hues of reds, oranges, and yellows were a sign of it's "prime" or full "adulthood". And as it reaches it's prime, it gently falls to the earth preparing for it's next purpose, to nourish the earth in preparation for new life. The circle of life is eternal. As we are born, live, grow old, and die, we have a divine purpose beyond this life. As our "colors" turn and mature, we are only preparing for our ultimate destination and realizing our divine purpose for coming to this earth. In order for our "colors" to change and mature, we must endure hardship, the difficult battle between good and evil. It is through these defining moments/experiences that we grow and mature. How sweet it must be to be approaching death with the knowledge that it is only another beginning to the eternal circle of life. That experiences beyond our wildest dreams are to be had in the next life if we "earn our stripes" in this one. So, as I think of the Autumn leaves falling to the ground, I don't think of impending death. I think of the joy, peace,and comfort that comes from a job well done, a fight well fought. The glorious feeling of becoming better, being more, and realizing our God-given potential. Hmmm... I Love Autumn!
(The leaves are not this yellow in Maryland! These are pictures I took of Brown County Indiana when I was pregnant with Lincoln)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Part III of the Soon to End Saga

So we were back to square one with finding a place to live. I was borderline panicked because our cash flow was extremely limited and we could not afford a hotel for more than two more nights. I spent the next day combing through the newspaper(keep in mind that I had spent at least 3 weeks looking for a place prior to our move). I was on a first name basis with several real estate company's secretaries in the area, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was out there. Many places I was interested in were rented by the time I made the call. And I had to be picky since we moved to a damper area and I have a baby with severe asthma who needed a healthy environment in which to live. We found a cute townhome that was almost a 30 minute drive to campus that we almost settled for because it was increasingly apparant that homes were filling up fast. At least the ones remotely in our price range. We decided against the long commute because we only have one car.Price range, now that's an interesting topic all on it's own. I had spent hours devising an imaginary budget in our preparations for the move. I researched cost of living on line and in my house search was disappointed to learn that it is much more expensive out east than in little old Bloomington. The amount I had budgeted for housing was quickly starting to seem unrealistically low. Most homes that were the same as we came from were at least 1,100-1300 per month w/o utilities! After a long day of calling and searching, I went back to the paper to see if I had overlooked any ads. I felt impressed to call the number for an ad that was only two sentences long and I obviously had missed before. When I called she met me 10 minutes later only to take me to another home like the first one. Well, at least it was clean, but it was in a horrible neighborhood and I could still smell the odor of mold and mildew. I was disheartened as I explained my situation with my son's allergies in reference to the mold. She said that she may have something that would suit his health needs but thought it was much smaller than we were looking for. At this point my priority list had gotten pretty small. Just get me into a healthy clean home for my kids! When we pulled up to the house I fell in love immediately! It was a tiny little white ranch home with a red door and red shutters and a large fenced in front and back yard. The Backyard had a brandnew storage shed, a large porch/deck and a huge maple tree that completely shades the back yard and has the perfect branch for a tire swing. Yes, the house is very small. Probably too small if we intend on making our family any bigger soon. But it will do. And guess what! It's $50 cheaper than the amount I had budgeted. I really felt the Lord's hand that day and was so grateful. The only glitch was that the house wasn't really ready to even be shown yet. It had been completely renovated that week and did not have the carpet or central air installed yet. She promised us it would be in when we moved in so we figured as long as we had carpet we could sweat for a couple of days. I was just thrilled to get in! When we arrived to sign the lease and move in our things that had made a nice home for themselves in the Penske, she let us know that the carpet guy had let her down. The carpet was not in yet so she had marched to his house and waken him to inform him of the urgency of the situation. We had arranged help from the ward to help us unload and we had a truck to return so we didn't have to pay an extra $100. So we went ahead and literally unloaded the truck into the shed, the backyard, and onto the back porch. The carpet was in by the afternoon so we were able to get some things inside the house. It's taken us over two weeks to make sense of where everything is. It also took over a week to get the central air in. So we were dripping sweat everyday and finding things to do at the hottest part of the day so we could get out of the house. A lovely man from the ward brought some fans over to help relieve us from the heat. Oh, I forgot to mention that while we were unloading, I foolishly let my boys run amuck in the backyard for hours not realizing the consequences. We have speculated that Lincoln might also be allergic to certain bug bites. Well we absolutely confirmed that he is definitely allergic to mosquitos and gnats. His body was completely covered in bug bites. After a day or so, they kept getting bigger and then started blistering. So basically, his whole body was covered in itchy blistering sores. So we drugged him with Benadryl to ease some of his discomfort. I felt like a terrible mother that day! In all the craziness, I felt so blessed to have my Mother-in-law there to help out. I'm pretty sure I would have had a nervous breakdown if she hadn't have been there helping out. I love you mom and appreciate you so much!
So, we got moved in, the carpet was laid, and the central air was installed. Except for a few holes in the walls that the Central air guys left and some shifting around to do, I think we feel pretty settled. And now I have my internet and so I'm a happy camper!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Adventures in Moving Part II

....So, they hired him on the spot with no moving or housing allowance, and he was expected to move in two weeks. Right....Well, the lord does work in mysterious ways and came through with many little miracles throughout those two weeks. Thanks to all of you (you know who you are) that were God's angels. As Rob got busy taking care of loose ends at the university, I got busy packing and getting really creative raising the money for the move. I'm a little embarrassed of some of the things I was willing to do to make it happen. Don't worry, nothing illegal, immoral, or otherwise. No need to bore you with all the details of that. So, in a huge whirlwind, we (the Lord), were able to get on the road and out of our apartment. We were driving to Delaware with the understanding that we had a great 3 bedroom Townhome that was move-in ready. When we arrived, we went to do a walk through and were completely mortified with what we saw. I'm pretty sure that the pictures they "recently" took were either 15 years ago or a different property. On the outside, this place looked like the Adam's family mansion. Okay, not really, but it was scary. I'm pretty sure that the building was leaning to the left slightly....or, was it to the right...hmm. But I thought, "give it a chance Kara! It's probably beautiful and shiny inside"! Not so shiny....The smell of mold and mildew hit like a wall of bricks when we walked in. The walls literally had dirt and mold on them in places. The window shades were black they were so dirty. The pantry cupboards were literally covered in mold and mildew. My mother-in-law's eye's caught my gaze and displayed a look of horror to bring my attention to the pantry. In the nicest voice I could possibly muster, I told the leasing agent that this simple wouldn't work because of my Baby's severe allergy to mold and mildew. I was saying that I didn't think it was ready to move in at all and I could smell the mold and mildew. She looked at me wide-eyed and said, "Oh really?" as if she couldn't see what I was seeing at all. She must have lefter her seeing eye dog at home. Okay, that wasn't very nice. I honestly could not understand how this house was even ready to be on the market at all! So, back to the drawing board and a couple more nights in a hotel paying way too much so that our son wouldn't have an asthma attack in the hotel as a reaction to the mold and dust mites....To be continued...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Adventures in Moving/Life

So, I've decided to give myself a therapy session and recount a portion of the details of our recent move back east as my father has reminded me that it would be good for my posterity if I wrote it down. I'm not really sure what it will be good for but a bit of entertainment for you readers out there.
Shall I begin with the phone call that started this whole thing. Do understand that this phone call was an answer to prayer before I begin, lest you think I'm complaining. I've just learned a valuable lesson that answers to prayers do not mean that things just magically fall into place and are all better like a mother's kiss on a wounded knee. We had sent probably 15-18 job applications throughout the school year hoping that someone might hire Rob even though he's not quite done with his degree. You see, his Assistantship had run out and, despite many pleas from his voice teacher and himself to the powers that be, there was no chance of renewal. So, we were faced with a whole year of no financial aid, and Rob trying to finish his degree and possibly searching for a job at McDonalds. Well, I'm not sure it would have ever resorted to that. But it probably meant that I was going to really have to commit myself to my Mary Kay business to completely carry the financial load of this family. That would have been fine if I hadn't just completely burned myself out with a massive Mary Kay tour out west to get us through the summer. I had made myself physically ill over the summer (there were other things that transpired that added tremendous stress that I cannot divulge) and did not feel equipped to be the breadwinner until I could recover somewhat.
You can imagine my shout for joy when we received the call from the University of Delaware requesting him to fly out and interview. So it all sounded great until they informed him that they didn't even have the funding to fly him out for an interview. Not such a good sign... Now, a business major would have run the other way or tried to "negotiate" other alternatives. Unfortunately, in the world of music such things are not always negotiable if the school just simply does not have the funding. You must sometimes just take what opportunities come your way. So, since we were not expecting to hear from anyone this late in the game, we did not have the funds to just whip out and buy a plane ticket. Some family members heard of his opportunity, and graciously bought the plane ticket. For which we will be forever grateful! At this time in the summer, I was really struggling with my health which affected our pocket book in a bad way. I don't remember another time in our marriage when things have been so tight. It's amazing what you can live without when you are forced to! We were certainly trained to understand what "needs" and "wants" really mean for our family!
So, his audition went well. He says he really felt the Lord's hand in his performance especially when he taught the voice masterclass. Those of you who know Rob, will understand how talking for large groups of people can be terrifying for him. They were so impressed with his interviews and teaching abilities that they hired him on the spot. He was the last of 5 people they had out to interview. So, although the offer was less than appealing to all those MBA majors out there with a whopping $()*&)#(#*& for 10 months (Rob didn't want me to post the actual amount :)), we knew that the Lord wanted us in Delaware(well, at least in the vicinity). We figured that we had managed to live on half the salary offered so we could make it work. We also knew that this was only an interim position. So anyway, just as we thought our troubles were all over, they had only begun. And, since this is getting really long, that's where I'll leave you hanging until next time...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Quick update

The Brandt family has moved to Elkton, Maryland. I apologize to any of you who had no idea this happened yet. It was a last minute move and very stressful at that. There really wasn't alot of time to inform everyone until the deed was done. So, here's the official update.

Rob got a call at the end of July from the University of Delaware inviting him out to audition for a voice faculty position. We were surprised to get this call after a long spring and summer of sending numerous applications only to find out that he was not considered for each one. He flew out for an audition in August and they hired him on the spot. We had a really good feeling about Delaware all along. We know that this was meant to be. Rob is very excited about this opportunity because he has come in at a time when they are starting fresh rebuilding the voice program. The other faculty members are extremely pleased with what he has to offer and have been dropping hints left and right that they would love to keep him long term once the University officially makes his position eligible for tenure track. So, we found this cute little 2 bedroom ranch home with a large fenced-in yard for the boys across the border in Elkton, MD.
Moving here was, for lack of a better expression, a complete nightmare. But we're here and getting more settled every day. I'm excited about my performance and teaching opportunities in the area. I didn't get many of those in Indiana. For those of you who would like to update your address book, send me an email with your request and I'll get that to you. I'll be posting details of our moving adventure later, so stay tuned....

Little Wiseman

Discussion with my 4 year old as follows:

After listening to a Brite tape about making good choices....

A: "Mom, do you get mad at yourself sometimes when you make a bad choice?"

M: "Yeah, I get mad alot. I would love to make right choices all the time, but I just can't seem to do it."

A: "Well (speaking with this hands up), you can't make right choices all the time because that would be perfect. And we can't be perfect!"

M: Silence....


So, it's been like six months since I've made an entry into my blog. And I'm sure that everyone who ever checked it has completely given up and won't even read this entry. But, for my own benefit, I feel a need to point out my hypocracy. Since we have moved recently (updates and all of that forthcoming), I've decided to read my profile and update anything that may need it. As I was reading about myself, I was just shaking my head in disgust. I realized that I haven't written a darn thing that "warrants" being written down for six months! My life is full of unforgettable moments. But I'm too busy living my life to stop and write them down! As I was visiting with my Dad about some recent events, he being an excessively diligent journal keeper, reminded me that my posterity might enjoy reading about these events. I've always neglected journal keeping. I'm not sure why because I had excellent examples all around growing up. I'm not kidding! My dad literally has written volumes and volumes of his every day life, spiritual impressions, ect... I find that when I start writing, I realize how out of touch I am with myself and it's a little scary. I enjoy helping others and being aware of my external environment. But when it comes to looking inward, I'm afraid that I don't do it often. I also think I'm somewhat lazy and impatient. I get antsy sitting and writing. Especially in a blog situation when I know others, who happen to be amazing writers, are reading this! I sometimes feel pressure to write things with proper grammar that has content of interest. I'd really like to make more of an effort. So, for any of you that still love me and haven't given up on my slacker blog, you will get first dibs on my renewed efforts to improve.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mother of Boys

I think when women become mothers there's an instinct that comes out in us that I'm pretty sure we're born with. That is the "I'm worried my kid is going to grow up to be an ax murderer" syndrome. You know, the tendency to worry about how their current actions is going to shape the rest of their life.
I have boys. Enough said.
Well, maybe not everyone can relate to this. But my boys, especially the oldest one, seems to have an overwhelming amount of testosterone (spell?). The immense need to protect his territory and be the King of the Hill, or something like that. Why can't he just walk past his 15 month old brother like a normal person?! Why is there that irrepressible urge to knock him over when he comes within 10 feet of him?! Why can't boys play nice! This morning I got desperate and gave my oldest son the "Laman and Lemual" speech with the plea of "I need Nephi's in my house!". (most of you will know what I'm talking about w/o going into further detail) My brother-in-law keeps reassureing me that brothers beating on each other is totally normal behavior and that I shouldn't worry. But I can't help wonder if my son will be the next one you see on the news with all the mothers sitting in front of the television saying, "where was that boys mother!".Then there will be moments when he's just totally tender and sweet and I realize that he does have a heart and he does care about his brother. I'm starting to see my youngest exhibit some of the same behaviors and I start worrying again. Great! Now I've got two ax murderers in the house! Okay, so i'm a little dramatic. I just need to give this little worrying mother head of mine a rest!

P.S. evidently the pictures I took of my new bedroom are the problem. So, if you want to see the finished product, come to my house!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Back in the Game!

I know many of you have probably given up on even looking at my blog anymore because It has been several months since my last entry. Let's just say that journaling has never been a strong point of mine. I was not your typical teenager with a diary filled front to back. Come to think of it, I probably would have been a healthier teenager had I taken the time to write things down. Anyway, as always, much has happened since my last blog. So rather than try to make up for lost time, I'll just give a few highlights.
Adam is getting bigger and more grown-up every day. I forget that he's only 3 1/2! I love watching him play with other children and see how he interacts with them. He is a natural leader and is very concerned with his relationships with other people. Just yesterday he was playing with a new friend who was telling him he wasn't nice. It really upset him so he said, "she said I'm not nice! But I am nice!" So to show her his displeasure at her comment, he hit her with his spoon. Go figure! Way to show 'er Adam! If Rob and I get into any type of serious discussion, Adam will furrow his brow and come up to us and say, "stop stay stupid sings(things)!" Everything he doesn't like seems to be stupid these days. The credit for that goes to my husband who brought Charlie Brown home from the library. (Lucy probably calls Charlie Brown stupid at least 15 times per episode!)
Adam is trying really hard to be a better big brother too. Just today I was noticing how Lincoln is starting to hit. I said something like, "See Adam. Lincoln watches you and is learning things he shouldn't." Adam Said, "Yeah, I know Mom but now I'm teaching him to say please." We are enjoying his prayers more as he is trying to mix them up a bit more. Sometimes we are blown away with the sweet things he'll say. It's always great because it seems that prompltly after the prayer he'll whallop is brother in the face! Boys!
Lincoln is almost 15 months old. He no longer is a baby and is so stinking smart! He's saying lots of words and is quite a determined little daredevil. He's figuring out how to place things just right so he can climb up on things. He's also got quite the head of curly hair! My mother-in-law gently hinted that he's starting to look like a girl. Hint well taken. however, I can't bring myself to cut his hair just yet.

I also need to include something that I promised I would post and haven't yet. For Valentine's Day I surprised my husband by toing a TLC treatment to our bedroom. It had become the dumping ground of the house and completely uninspiring and unromantic! I forgot to take before pics but I'm sure there are some of you out there that can imagine how bad it was! We didn't even have a bedframe so we were on the floor and there were piles and piles of laundry that had sort of become nondescript as to whether they were clean or dirty piles. Anyway, it was quite an adventure but here are the after photos. Between Adam stepping in the paint pail and dumping a huge pile of brown paint on the carpet, and the power going out while all the new linens were in the washer, and Rob coming home from rehearsal 4 hours early due to bad weather, this is the miraculous end result. Enjoy!

(UGGH! I can't get this program to download the pictures! I'll have to add them later. Sorry!)