Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Gerlachs! We are spending the holiday in Lynden with Bill's family. We thankfully made it through the snow and ice and it's a White Christmas here. It's still snowing!! The kids are having a blast playing with their cousins, and Bill is having some quality snuggle time with Matt.
Thank you Jesus for car chains, 4-wheel drive, and loving family. Today and always we remember the humble way you came to the world, even though you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Happy Birthday too to David and Papa Bales! We love you and miss you today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good job Amelia!

I was in Fred Meyer last week with only Amelia because Caley was in Playland. (But I did not feel like I was cheating on Cost Cutter!) Amelia was pushing the cart around, and several people stopped and commented how cute she was. An older lady asked what her name was and I said "Amelia" and she said, "That's a good, real name. It's not stupid like those new made-up names you hear nowadays." 

I didn't tell her that Big Sister has a "made up" name that's only gained popularity in the last 3o years. See Kaylee's popularity here (we changed the spelling to make our Caley unique and to distinguish her from her namesake TV character.) Just for fun, here is Amelia's popularity.

Getting my butt kicked--part 2

Does my home promote peace?

This was another principle I took away from meeting with Jan a few weeks ago. As a mother and a wife I am the manager of my home. This job includes such things as wisely stewarding the money Bill earns, keeping a clean and healthy home, food in my children's bellies, clean clothes for everyone to wear, and keeping the kids busy and learning, etc. But it's not enough to simply do those things if I am constantly yelling at my kids to eat their dinner, neglecting my children in order to get the house clean, or becoming bitter at my husband while I'm making dinner. Our home needs to be peaceful. Peaceful for me, the kids and Bill, and for any guests we may have. This means that when Bill comes home for work it should be peaceful, I shouldn't bombard him with problems or cranky children all the time.  Trisha over at Work and Worship wrote a great blog entry about this very thing, read it here. (While you're there, I highly recommend her entire series on homeWork, it's fantastic.)

I recently wrote "Does my home promote peace?" on an index card and put it by the sink. I look at it all the time. And honestly I sometimes have to answer that question with "no" in the moment. I yell at the kids, complain about all the work I have to do at home, and just feel overwhelmed. Then I need to remember that if my heart isn't at peace, then my home cannot be at peace. My heart can continue to be at peace by reading the Bible, talking to Jesus and just letting certain things go. Saying no to things that might stress me out unnecessarily. 

Does my home promote peace? Only with Jesus' help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Getting my butt kicked- part 1

The week of Thanksgiving my women's group met at Jan's house (the mom of a girl in our group) and were treated to an amazing brunch/snack and babysitting while we were able to ask Jan questions about almost anything. She has four grown children and they're a very close family. Since everyone in the group has young children and primarily stay home with them, the questions were mostly about our children, our marriages, and how to do those things well without going crazy. She had a lot of wonderfully wise things to say, and connected it all to Jesus. We are to teach our kids to obey us in order for them to learn to obey God. We are to direct Caley and Amelia to Jesus, above all. 

One point that resonated most with me was that little kids shouldn't watch much (if any) TV. Her reason was that the shows and movies offered today are just too stimulating for young children, that the frames are moving so fast it's just too much information for a little person to take. She said she's noticed that after watching a Disney (or similar) movie, little girls get really whiney and little boys get really active. (At least I think that's what she said, I kind of forgot since I don't have boys.) Jan suggested that if kids are going to watch TV, it should be something at their pace such as Mister Rogers. In real time they watch Mister Rogers walk into his house, take off his shoes, walk across the room, change his coat, etc. 

I was so convicted by this! We (meaning mostly I, Addie) were letting Caley watch TV nearly every morning and sometimes a movie at night. It became fairly routine for her to ask, "Can I watching something on TV" when she woke up, and we'd flip on the TV so she could watch PBS or the Christian cartoons. They were okay shows, but I was starting to feel convicted that I was using the TV as a babysitter. I was able to get a lot done during that time, but it was getting be too much. Jan's talk was so timely for me. Since that week, we have been making a conscious effort to limit Caley's TV time and being selective in what she gets to watch and how much. And it's going so great! She still asks to watch a movie or TV most days, but I just tell her "no, there are plenty of other fun things to do at home." Instead of TV, she has really taken to playing with playdough, drawing, and just sitting and reading books. These are all things that she liked to do before "the change" but now she's getting much more imaginative with her play. I've also noticed that the girls are playing together so much better. Caley can still be rough sometimes with Amelia, but she is getting more gentle and involving her more in her play. (Maybe this is because Caley is older and more "mature" and Amelia can actually play now instead of laying on the floor spitting up!)

It has been so wonderful to watch Caley's little imagination take flight. She's always loved taking care of her stuffed animals and I frequently find her bears and babies tucked into our or her bed. She's getting more creative though. The other day the girls were playing in Caley's room and they shut the door--I wasn't allowed inside. I heard Caley knock on the door, open it and say, "Hi bunny, I'm glad you could join us." It was so cute! Amelia was just playing with the dollhouse next to her, so peacefully. 

We still let her watch movies, but now it's more of a treat. She watched Shrek when her friend Olivia came over, and a bear movie one night before bed. She still loves Wall-E and other movie characters. 

I learned so much else from Jan, but this has been the biggest thing so far. Thank you Jan for your insight and biblical counsel!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Help Yourself!!

After nearly 18 months of living with us, Amelia feels comfortable enough to get a snack whenever she wants:
 Yes, she got the bowl and cereal out by herself. 

From now on...

I'll remember to skip running on Tuesday, the night before garbage day in our neighborhood. 

Why, you ask?

Because Tuesday night this week I was running and ran into someone's GARBAGE!!! And not just garbage, but a huge pane of glass that was completely blocking the sidewalk. I was completely blindsided by it, and subsequently knocked it over, breaking it, and knocking over the garbage cans and recycle bins, and fell on the ground. Sure, it's probably not the smartest idea to run at night, but when it gets dark at stinkin' 4:30 it's hard to avoid running after the sun goes down. Thankfully I wasn't really hurt, I was wearing long pants and a sweatshirt so the glass didn't hurt me. But the last few days my upper body has really hurt because I caught myself after the fall and it was a shock to my muscles. 

This was an interesting way to meet our neighbors, to say the least. Wednesday I stopped by the "glass house" just to tell the guy what happened. He was very apologetic and nice, thankfully.

Learn from another of my mistakes: don't run at night before garbage day. (Doing stupid things for others to learn from is just a free service I offer.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Just add this to the "stupid" file

Tuesday mornings I get up early and make breakfast sandwiches, and enjoy a quiet morning before the kids get up. This week on Tuesday Caley woke up at 630 (which is too early!) so I told her to stay in bed a little longer until the sun comes up. Around 715 I went outside to get something, keys in my hand, knowing the kids would be safe in their rooms/crib for less than 5 minutes. The instant I stepped out the door and heard the doorknob lock it dawned on me that my house key was not on my keychain, but in my purse. Crap. There weren't any open doors or windows (which is a good thing, but didn't help me out at the moment). My only hope was Caley.

I got a ladder and put it outside near her bedroom window and talked to her through the window. "Caley, this is Mommy. Climb over your gate and go downstairs." I told her this a few times, but wasn't sure if she'd do it. We have a gate on her door because her bedroom is at the top of the stairs and we don't want her to wake during the night and fall down the stairs on accident. Although she can climb it, she is usually very obedient and doesn't climb anymore. We are actually training her to stay in her bed until someone comes and gets her after sleeping. 

I got down from the ladder and ran to the front door and rang the doorbell. She yelled from inside, "I don't know where you are!" and I said, "I'm outside. Go to the slider door and open it." I could hear her little footsteps come down the stairs and run to the slider. I ran around to the back and she let me in! Thank you Caley! You saved me a call to Daddy and a disruption to his day to fix my stupid mistake. 

*Of course afterward we talked to her about opening the door for strangers. We told her to only open the door for people she knows--Mommy, Daddy, Papa, Grama. Stranger Danger!!*

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Did you know...

that the letters in the word "THANKSGIVING" can spell 

Hate your sin, the way God hates sin and loves righteousness. That's a good place to start. If we hate sin like God does, we will begin to understand the magnitude and necessity of Jesus' sacrifice.

Hebrews 1:9 "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Chronicles 16:34- Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!

We are celebrating today with the Bales/Runyan side of our family. Yummy food, great family, it's been a wonderful day. We hope everyone is having a yummy, restful, and thankful day!

Thanks be to Jesus for life, family, food, and all our other blessings! We are so thankful for our friends and family that Jesus has placed in our lives. We deeply enjoy where God has placed us at this time in our lives.

Thank you Jesus.

Aside from Jesus, here's what I'm (Addie) thankful for:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This year at the kids table...

Last Thursday our playgroup had a Thanksgiving "dinner"  and it was a blast! It ended up being just the tea party girls and they helped make the pumpkin pie, mash the potatoes and set the table. They also made turkey sandwiches with cream cheese and cranberries. At times it was a little crazy but crazy fun as well. The big girls played hide and seek and then played upstairs in Caley's room. They loved her doll house. 

This was so much fun, and so good for the kids to see what goes into making Thanksgiving dinner and why we celebrate it. I hope it becomes a yearly tradition. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

How Caley Helps

We've started having Caley do chores and earn allowance. Her chores are usually to clean her room and set the table. She also helps me put the dishes away, which isn't a chore, just part of living here--do your part. ;) Every morning we go over the day's schedule, including her chores. When the day is over we put the "Day" card back on the whiteboard and the cards with the chores she's done. When the week is over and she's done her chores, she get $1. Last week we gave her the money in coins so she can portion it out easier for tithing the next day at preschool church.  
So she's been super helpful around the house lately. It's been really refreshing. Here's another way she's been helping, enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Down Syndrome Babies are Loved and Wanted

Contrary to what the statistics tell us about the abortion rates of down syndrome babies, there are over 200 families on the waiting list for adopting a child born with Down Syndrome. A recent Washington Post article featuring Barbara Curtis and her family, whom I've referenced before and whose blog widget is to the right, profiles their journey to adopting three children with Down Syndrome. Read it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Not a big surprise, but today is Election Day. And in the last few days the feeling in the Gerlach house hold has been hopeful, prayerful, and sometimes despairing when thinking about what may happen depending on the outcome of the election. One thing remains though. JESUS will still be our Lord and Savior regardless of whom is elected to president, governor, or commissioner of public lands. 

This video by John Piper says it beautifully. As Christians we shouldn't be so consumed in politics because this world isn't our home. We have a foot on earth and a foot in heaven. None of this human nonsense is a big surprise to God because He's seen it before and He'll see it again. It's not whether our country is in good economic times, as Piper says in this video, more people may turn to Jesus when we are in bad economic times.


[This does not excuse supporting a candidate who supports the killing of innocent children in utero (or newly born), but to be fair, both McCain and Obama support abortion (to varying degrees) and I voted for McCain. Choose the lesser of the two evils I guess. (Governor Palin does not support any form of abortion for any reason and I think that's the way it should be.)]


Our identity is not in whom we vote for, but in the God we worship. And the Gerlach house worships Jesus.

To God be the Glory, Forever and Ever, AMEN!


And if Obama gets elected, I'll be praying hard that the true Jesus grabs hold of him so our country can see TRUE CHANGE.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween 2008

Thursday we had to cancel the playgroup Halloween/Harvest party because Caley and I, and the other planning mom (Rachael) were sick. We were really bummed out because we had fun activities planned like the spider web mud room, donut-on-a-string, prize in pasta, and pumpkin popcorn balls. We were really looking forward to all the kids in costumes too. Thursday turned out to be a great, relaxing day though, because Bill stayed home and took care of the kids and me while I slept until 1pm! It was a wonderful birthday present actually (he did give me some wonderful presents too, which Caley helped wrap).

Throwing spiders at a web
They made goo! (Glue, water, laundry detergent)
Bubble potion! (soap, water and dry ice in a tube)
On Halloween we went to the Everett Children's Museum and it was costume day with special Halloween activities. The girls were a wizard and a clown, because their real costumes were dirty. Later we went to the Mukilteo Boo Bash where they trick-or-treated at some Old Town businesses. For that we switched to their real costumes, bumblebees! It made for a fun day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

By the Numbers

Today I am 27. I have (a few strands of) grey hair, "extra" around the middle, crow's feet around my eyes. I'm now the age Bill was when we met (I was 19). How scandalous was that? I'm still surprised my parent's didn't object at the thought of me dating someone so much older than me. In all this, I pray that God gives me many more years, even though in 50 years I probably won't look the same as I do now, but I hope I'll still be able to run and be active! Hopefully Caley, Amelia and any other children we may have will give us lots of grandchildren!! I get giddy when Caley says, "When I a mommy, I can (blank)" because I think "Yay! Grandchildren!!" I to the actual reason I started writing this post.

In 27 years, I've...

1. been sister to one person, my brother David.
2. had two beautiful little girls who light up my life.
3. been stung by a bee three times, but I can only remember the time I got stung below my left eye at kickball as a kindergartner.
4. driven four cars (primary vehicle) since I was 16-Peugeot, white Volvo from Roger, Jeep Cherokee, blue Volvo (airport car!). Thanks MOM and DAD!
5. lived in five states- Illinois, Washington D.C., Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington.
6. been married six years, and we were married on July sixth.
7. taken nearly seven months thinking of all the things for this list (actually it was four months, but it felt like seven)!
8. been in People Magazine for "Kindergarten Cop" at age eight.
9. become sister-in-law to 9 others (so far!)- Erin, Todd, Rachel, Jason, Matt, Becky, Heather, Darwin, and Adam.
10. taken my friend Jon to the Sadie Hawkins dance in tenth grade. He had a mohawk. It was purple. But it was still really fun!
11. become auntie to eleven little kids, all under 5, with another on the way in December!
12. known my high school best friend, Jennie, for twelve years-a lot has changed since Mr. Landwehr's math class in 9th grade!
13. believed in Santa Claus until I was thirteen. NO JOKE.
14. accepted Jesus at age fourteen.
15. lived in my hometown of Astoria for fifteen years, 1986-2001.
16. hit a parked car a month after I turned sixteen, in the Peugeot.
17. scored my first soccer goal at age seventeen, after having played soccer for at least twelve years.
18. worked as an ODOT litter patrol team member at age eighteen, a job usually reserved for convicts.
19. voted for the first time at age nineteen in the 2000 presidential election (it was a week after my birthday).
20. married Bill at age twenty.
21. had my first drink, a Black Opal, at twenty-one with my friend Ann at Finn MacCool's on the Ave. It's still my favorite drink.
22. become great friends with a Japanese woman Kyoko, when I was twenty-two. She and I did bible study and always saw the same guy at Tully's. Hi Tully's guy!
23. said "see you later" at twenty-three to my Grandpa Bob when he died and went to be with Jesus.
24. graduated from the UW M.Ed. program at age twenty-four, something that was a buttload of work!
25. celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday in the Mukilteo house. It feels good to know we'll probably be here for a while.
26. celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday with friends at Oliver's Twist in Seattle. It was so fun! I had a "Vesper." (Okay, a few Vespers!)
27. had twenty-seven birthdays. Bet you didn't see that one coming! It's sad that it took me 3 months to think of.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I knew this day would come...

Anyone who knows Caley knows that she comes with a yellow blankie. She takes it most everywhere and up until a few months ago I had to pry it away from her to even wash it. Today Amelia wanted to bring her purple blanket Uncle Adam gave her for Christmas with her after her nap and carried it around all afternoon.  

Look mom, my blankie just like Caley!

P.S. Isn't her hair cute?! I think she looks like Boo from Monsters Inc.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic

I was thumbing through boxes of old stuff and found my posters from the Natural Helpers retreats in high school. Natural Helpers was a club which equipped "natural leaders and helpers" in the school to better respond to problems students faced. At Astoria High School it started when I was a sophomore and at one point I was the president. So nonetheless it was a big part of my high school experience. But remember that my high school was only like 600 students, so I had pretty good odds. The best part of the club was going on the retreats to learn "skills" for helping our peers. They were good things to learn,  but the best part was having a whole weekend to goof off with my friends (at one point my best friend Jennie and my boyfriend Andy were at the retreats too). 

So anyway, at the fall retreat there would always be a poster for everyone to sign for everyone else. Kids would write "yearbook" stuff like, "You're rad, see you at school!" and "You're awesome and such a sweetie!" But there were a few that resonated with me reading it now, 10 years later. One of the comments was from Courtney Guenther. 

Courtney and I sort of grew up together and weren't great friends through high school, but part of me thinks that we could have been. She was an awesome Christian. She was very open about her faith and unafraid to stand for Jesus. She was part of our morning prayer group that met every morning at 745ish in the hall by the cafeteria. I remember meeting for prayer every day and being scared because it was around the time Kip Kinkel went crazy and shot his parents and kids at his high school, and the Columbine shooting in Colorado. It scared me to stand in the hall and pray because I was afraid that someone would shoot me because I was a Christian. I remember praying for God to give me strength. Anyway, Courtney was in that group. We were also in Port City Singers, the choir that students had to audition for. That was another class that was so fun. I learned a lot about music, but mostly it was another place to goof off with my friends. (Jennie was in that class too, which just shows we goofed off a lot together in high school under the guise of being "good students"!) 

Courtney went to Hope International University after high school. I was home for Christmas that year (2001) and spent the night at Gina's house, another good friend at the time. Her dad was the vice principal of Astoria High. He got a call about Courtney being in a car accident. We found out that she had been in an accident on Hwy 101 and hit some black ice, hit a guard rail and died. 

I was crushed. 

For such a young, beautiful, faithful woman to have died so suddenly...I couldn't comprehend it. It made for a bittersweet Christmas. Occasionally I have these days where I think about her and feel sad. I feel sad for what might have been, she was such a wonderful person with such a strong spirit and passion for Jesus. Then I remember, she's with Jesus. No doubt about it in my mind. She's so much better off that me who's still here on Earth. I try to remember that all the wonderful things in my life that God has given me (Bill, the girls, my family) are tiny compared to the infinite power and glory of Jesus. 

Courtney's the lucky one. Not that I sit at home all day wishing my life were over...I deeply enjoy where God has placed me right now and I pray that he gives me a long life. But I know that there's something so much better waiting for me. I'm not sad for Courtney, just sad that she's not here right now, and that's a little selfish of me. 

That's me and Courtney on the left in the top picture (apologies to Kami in the bottom picture, this was the best one I camera's a little confusing to me, maybe I'm just "technologically challenged).

Pumpkins take three

Today we visited Carleton Farm in Snohomish with our playgroup (and other) friends. This is the third year we've gone and it was so much fun. Caley had a blast running through the pumpkin patch and sliding down the tube slide. Amelia walked a bit and tried to sit on a pumpkin. I hope this becomes a yearly tradition for us as the kids get older. 
I remember going to the local pumpkin patch as a kindergartner with Mrs. Boyd's class. We all visited Mr. Wilmer's farm in the country and got to bring a pumpkin home. It was fun growing up in a small town because many of the kids I went to kindergarten stayed my friends through high school. We've all dispersed now but it's fun to keep in touch through Myspace, Facebook, and trips to Astoria. It feels good to be able to say, I've known these people since I was 5. Andrew, Valerie, Steven, Kirk, Katie, Meghan, and others. I hope Caley and Amelia have similar memories when she's my age and by God's grace her friends from today will still be her friends 20 years from now.

Caley and her gal pals Lenora and Fiona. Caley's the oldest, but shortest. Not a surprise when your parents are Addie and Bill. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't waste your life

Listen to what John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, has to say:
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A break from real life

This weekend my women's group took a little trip to a friend's cabin in Baring, Wa. It was only an hour's drive east and we were only there for about 20 hours but it was a wonderful break to relax, hang out, and laugh (a lot!) with great friends! Bill was very nice to take half of Friday off and watch the girls, including getting up with Amelia during the night. Thank you lovely! Here's a little picture of the weekend.

We also made a Jack-O-Lantern! Caley designed it herself and named it "Noelle's girl (Lenora)."

Craft time!

Today Nana and Grampa Gerlach visited briefly and Caley made a leaf wreath! Craft time is fun! This is one activity we'll be doing again soon. Thanks Nana!