Wednesday, November 24, 2010
1. My Sweet Anna
2. My Amazing Husband Mark
3. Disney World
4. Wonderful Family-especially my Mom and Sister
5. Great Friends
6. An Abundance of Food (as evidenced by my waistline) :-)
7. The Generosity of Others
8. A Fantastic Job
9. Zac Efron (what can I say...he is a hottie) :-)
10. Radio Stations that play Christmas Music 24 hours a day
11. Cable TV (a recent addition in our house) :-)
12. Pop Style Popcorn (Green Apple is my favorite flavor.)
14. An AWESOME Church
15. Good Books
16. A Nice Home in which to live
17. Two Cars that run and get us from place to place (Although I still would like a Lexus with a big red bow in driveway in Christmas Morning.) :-)
18. Digital Photography and Scrapbooking
20. My Smartphone
21. Broadway Shows
22. Online Shopping
23. Cheesy Romantic Comedies
24. Good Health
25. God's Amazing and Abundant Grace!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It started earlier this week as I was reflecting on how I am not good at all at keeping up with friends who I do not see as a part of my regular routine. There are people who I love dearly who have moved to another city or are no longer in my regular circle. I lament the fact that these friendships are not what they once were and yet I have done very little to maintain them. I think it is because I become so focused on "My Own Little World...Population: Me." I am so focused on MY family, MY job, MY child, MY issues and problems that I don't take time to move out of Amy World.
Another experience happened last night as I was at our youth group. We have two different groups that meet on Wednesday night...one for High School and Older Junior High Kids and one for Younger Kids (5th and 6th graders mostly.) Last night we were blessed with enough volunteers so I was able to float back and forth between the two groups. As I was floating, I was struck by what I saw in some of the kids that were there. There is a lyric in the song that goes
that goes "Father, Break my heart for what breaks yours." Man, did that happen last night! I as I looked around the kids in the room my heart was broken by some of the life situations of the kids and things that they are dealing with. I can only imagine if I felt that way about the family and personal issues that some of the kids are dealing with...how much more God's heart breaks for those kids and how he so wants to transform their lives . It also went back what can I do step out of my little world and "look for open hearts and open doors" in the lives of these kids and the younger kids that I serve in our Children's Ministry.
So...I think I am getting the message to step out of "My Own Little World" and connect with people. I am going to do my best so that when I hear that song it can be a historical song of what my life WAS like but is now nothing like that.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
*I LOVE that I have a job that is very flexible...If Anna is sick, I don't have to worry about calling a sub, writing lesson plans, etc. If I need to run an errand or pick something up that is needed for the job, I can just run and get it without waiting until the end of the school day. I can also do some of my work from home which allows me more time with Anna.
*I LOVE that I get to work with 3 other great people every day who were already friends long before we ever started working together.
*I LOVE that I have a super cool office where I can keep my stuff and am in the process of making it "look like me."
*I LOVE that I get to work with 90+ of the best volunteers and 200 of the best kids in the world.
*I LOVE that I get to work with a volunteer team of 7 people who help me plan and figure out how we are going to reach the 11, 814 children that live on the South Side of South Bend. LSC Conservation Officers Rock!!
*I LOVE that I am actually getting paid to do ministry. Given the church background that I grew up in, I never thought that it was an option for me because of the view that particular tradition has on the role of women in the church. (As a disclaimer, I am not interested in bashing the church tradition I grew up in, nor am I interested in getting into any kind of debate on the role of women.)
*I LOVE that I have a break from the stresses of teaching in the public schools...high stakes testing, lack of funding, union issues, etc. (Not that there aren't unique stresses that come with working in Children's Ministry.)
*I LOVE that Anna gets to come to work with me on Sundays and that I have a direct role in what is happening with her spiritual development at church.
*I LOVE that I get to use my skills and educational background in a new and creative way!!
*I LOVE that I have more time to devote to not only the Children's Ministry, but also the Junior High Youth Ministry. It is pretty cool to work with kids from birth through 8th grade. :-)
That is a lot of LOVE going on! However, there are a couple of unique challenges as well. Probably the biggest thing for me so far has been getting used to not working in a school environment where there were 60-70 employees and 400 kids milling around. With the exception of Sundays, that is not the case with this new job. There are 4 people (including me) who work at the office during the week...soon to be 5. As I said before, I love these people and working with them but it is a big change. We all have our own offices and things to do so it can get a little lonely at times. In fact, the other day I was at the office by myself for a while in the afternoon because the others were at various meetings, etc. After a while, I was hoping that the UPS man or someone would stop by just so I could have another human to talk to. :-) However, I am certain that anyone who goes from a school setting to an office setting has similar experiences. I am sure that, in time, I will probably grow to LOVE this part of the job as well!! :-)
I have been asked if I miss teaching. My answer is that I definitely miss all my friends, co-workers and students, but that I do not miss the actual teaching part. That alone tells me that I made the right decision. It just confirms for me that I needed a break from all the stresses of teaching and needed to jump into something that I LOVE!!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I have a ton of excuses, with the biggest one being Anna. I sometimes feel like I already spend enough time away from her that I do not want to leave her more time to go to the gym or take time away from her at home to exercise. I have recently realized that this is just ridiculous. First of all, at the YMCA, they have childcare where she can play while I work out. Secondly, I realized that I need to leave her to exercise so that I won't leave her permanently because I have not taken care of myself.
So anyway...I am committing to MAKING myself exercise at least 3 days a week from this point on. There I said it...and am putting it out there in the blogosphere for the world to see. Maybe by publishing this I will actually get off my butt and get to the gym. :-)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
In June, I attempted to make Liquid Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher Soap. (I know it is now September and I did it in June...but just now getting around to blogging about it.) :-)
Let me start with Liquid Laundry Detergent. I made a 2 gallon tub of this and have about 1/4 of the tub left. We probably do 8-10 loads of laundry per week so it is definitely cost effective. Our clothes seem to be as clean and fresh as when we were using store bought laundry detergent. A couple of notes on this the Fels Naptha Soap and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda can be hard to find. I found the Fels Naptha Soap at Kroger and the Washing Soda at Martins. I am guessing that you could probably buy it online. Grating the Fels Naptha Soap was probably the hardest part, but the whole thing took about 30 minutes to make even with the soap grating. I have also heard that you can use Lava soap, but haven't tried it. Anyway here is the recipe:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda
1/2 bar of Fels Naptha Bar Soap
1 gallon of purified water (or rain water)
Fill a pot with 1/2 gallon purified water (or rain water) and bring to a simmer. While the water is heating, grate the soap with a cheese grater into the pot. When the soap is fully dissolved, add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir until fully dissolved. Fill a 2 gallon container with remaining 1/2 gallon warm water. Pour in soapy solution. Fill the rest of the container with 1 gallon cold water. Stir and let sit for 2 days until it congeals. Use 1/2 cup per load or 1 cup for hard water. Can be used in high efficiency machines. If clothes are extra soiled add some OxyClean.
Dishwasher Soap-This was super easy to make, but I have not had as great of results as I would wish. We often have a little residue on our dishes after running them through the dishwasher. This could be an issue with our dishwasher or the hard water that we have in the house.
Anyway, this is the recipe:
1 1/2 Cup Borax
1 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1 Cup Table Salt
Mix Together in a plastic container and use 1/4 cup per load. Use white distilled vinegar as a rinse aid
Thursday, August 19, 2010
So for someone who does not like change, our family has experienced several major changes in the past 18 months. Some have been great and some have been tragic.
- The Birth of Anna (the best change) :-)
- The Death of Mark's Mother
- The Death of Mark's Brother
- The Death of My Dad
- The Re-marriage of Mark's dad (to a really wonderful lady)
I think just about anyone would agree that is a lot in a really short amount of time. However, when you have that many major changes, in the grand scheme of things what is one more? :-) That being said, I have requested a leave of absence from teaching in the South Bend Schools for a year (I am waiting to hear from the administration whether it has been approved.) My reasons for taking this leave are two-fold. First of all, it will allow me time to take a break from the stresses of teaching and give me the flexibility to be able to focus on my family and their needs given all that has occurred in the past 18 months. Secondly, I get the opportunity to serve as the Children's Minister at Living Stones Church for the next year. I am excited to be able to use my skills and talents and educational knowledge base to serve the kids on the South Side of South Bend.
So, the Osterhouts have had 6 major changes in 18 months. I think that is enough...unless we come were to come into a large sum of money or something like that!! If that is the case, I would happily accept another major change! :-)
Sunday, August 15, 2010
- Do you ever want to date?
- Do you want a car when you are 16?
- Are you going to give your mommy and daddy any problems when you are a teenager?
I am going to make a video of her answering NO to these questions so that I can play them back to her when the time comes and she tries to break the deal. :-)
Anna loves to sing. She is constantly singing her own made up little songs, but you can begin to tell what some of the songs she is singing and it is so cute to hear that. My favorite song to sing with her is "Jesus Loves Me." The minute that Mark or I begin to sing the song her face lights up and she starts smiling. When we get to the chorus where it says, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" she always points to herself on the ME part. SO ADORABLE!!! It is my prayer and hope for her that she will always know how much Jesus Loves Her!!
Now there are a million more cute things about her, but these are my favorites right now.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
18 kids from our Living Stones Church Middle School Youth Group went. They were amazing!!! We had 6 of our kids nominated for camper of the week and one that was actually awarded that honor!! It was so great to see our kids worshipping, enjoying their time together and deepening their relationship with God. I think I can honestly say that Living Stones has some of the best kids!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Here is the recipe:
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
Pour in and let soak for a few minutes. Scrub away
This is also supposed to be a tub scrub as well. I did not do the tub yet but anticipate that it will work well on a tub. My only thought is that a double or triple batch may be necessary to cover the entire area with cleaner.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Recently, I read 2 books by an author named Kelly Corrigan. The first one I read was entitled "LIFT" and was a quick read. It only has about 80 pages and I think I read it in less than an hour. The author wrote this book as a letter for her two elementary school-aged daughters. I was struck by a section in the book where the reason for the title was revealed. She was sharing a discussion she had with someone who was an expert hang-glider. The person revealed what was required to be successful at hang-gliding, "Basically you go from thermal to thermal looking for lift." When the author asked the question about what exactly was a thermal, he explained that a thermal was a column of hot air surrounded by turbulence. Instead of avoiding turbulence as one might think, it is actually the only way to get altitude or get lift. When the author questioned why would he even want to take the risk because the thermal is surrounded by so much turbulence, he responded that he LOVED hang-gliding and it was worth the risk. This part of the book really made me stop and think that sometimes going through turbulence is worth the risk to do something that you love or passionate about. I am not always a risk taker so this has encouraged me to step out of my "safe place" and begin to look for thermals. :-)
The other book I read by Kelly Corrigan is called The Middle Place. This was her account of a time in her life when she and her father were both diagnosed with cancer and going through treatments. She discussed feeling like she is in this "middle place" where she is trying to care for herself, her family and her parents and the struggle of how to balance all of that. MAN, did that ever resonate with me with things going on in my life right now. While I have not been diagnosed with any life-threating illnesses (and pray that nothing like that happens...I have enough on my plate), I still totally connected with this author's story. Given the issues my dad is having with his health, I feel as if I need to be there doing what I can do to help my parents...but at the same time I struggle with not spending enough time with Anna and Mark. Then when you add other responsibilities of life, it just feels as if I am in this "middle place" trying to balance everything. The Middle Place is definitely a strange place to be. One thing that was so striking in this book to me was the comparison the author made between her reactions and her father's reactions to the turmoil in their lives. Her father had a strong faith and had an upbeat and positive attitude throughout the whole ordeal. Conversely, the author is pretty open about her lack of faith. I know that as I am in this middle place I want to be a person who completely relies on her faith to balance everything that is going on.
Anyway...I really enjoyed both of these books. I think they were well written books and I would have enjoyed them even if I hadn't connected so much with the author's story. As far as the recommendations of good books, they do not have to be books that make me think or allow me to connect on a deep level. I love a good novel that allows me to escape and enjoy characters. I am OK with total fluff and enjoy reading lots of different genres. So feel free to recommend anything...from books about Sparkly vampires and werewolves TO sappy chick lit TO stories about a boy wizard! :-)
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Let me explain...my dad has been struggling with health issues for about 20 years. Most recently, he has had 2 heart attacks over the course of 6 weeks and they have found several lesions on his liver. Right now, he is in the hospital for his most recent heart attack. He was supposed to have a biopsy of his liver this week but because of his heart issues and the blood thinners he takes that had to be put on hold. However, in the meantime, he was connected with an oncologist who began working with him while at the hospital. She examined the CAT scan that showed the lesions on the liver and then ordered numerous tests and blood work. Once she received the results, she discovered that he had an elevated CEA level which is an indicator of tumor activity in the body. A normal reading is typically 4 and his is at 34. That coupled with the results of some other tests, the CAT scan showing signs on the liver and the fact he was given a medication in the past that can lead to cancer (particularly in the colon) later on all pointed to the fact that he had COLON CANCER than had SPREAD to his LIVER. The oncologist thought this, my cousin who is a nurse in oncology thought this and all of my diagnostic research on the internet confirmed this. (By the way...it is really never a good idea to look up symptoms on the internet.) :-)
Based upon this information, he was scheduled for a colonoscopy this morning at 8:30 AM and then we were to meet with the oncologist at 11:00 to discuss the results and options. So, I headed to Valparaiso this morning fully prepared to hear that my dad had colon cancer that had spread to his liver. I got out the door a little bit late so I knew I would not make it there before the start of the test, but figured I would arrive before the test had concluded...especially since I was expecting them to find cancer. However, I was only about halfway to the hospital when I got a call from my mom that said they found ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in his colon. Well, I was shocked (so was everyone else I think...particularly the oncologist)!
However, I should not have been shocked. As Mark and I prayed for my dad, I specifically asked God that they would not find any cancer in his colon and that everyone (including his doctors) would be shocked by that. Guess what...that is EXACTLY what happened! They didn't find any cancer in his colon...even though all the tests indicated that there should be cancer there. I knew God could do that...I mean he is the God of the Universe. However, I was still surprised when it actually happened.
I wish I could say this is the first time that I have been shocked when God actually did something that I had asked for that seemed pretty impossible. However, this seems to be a constant theme in my life. I can think of countless times when I have asked God for something really big and when it actually happened I was shocked that he actually did it. Instead, I should have been thanking God for what he did. It is frustrating that I seem to have such a lack of faith when it comes to this.
I have no idea what is going to happen with my dad. The next step is to have a PET scan to determine if the lesions in the liver are cancer and if there is any cancer anywhere else. Who knows what that will show and he may very well have cancer.
However, I am going to ask God that the PET Scan shows no cancer and if that truly happens I won't be shocked. I will just remember that I serve a Great Big God who is bigger than anything that life throws our way!
And if my dad does have cancer, I will still remember that I serve a Great Big God who is bigger than anything that life throws our way! :-)
Monday, May 31, 2010
- I want to experiment with making my own cleaning products. I have a list of "recipes" for cleaning products that non-toxic, great for the environment and cheap. Since being pregnant and having Anna, I have tried to stay away from chemical cleaners in the house and have been using products made by Shaklee (when I actually clean...maybe making these products will make me more motivated to do so.) Shaklee makes great products, but they are fairly expensive. So...If I can be successful at making these products, we will save a ton of money. I intend to blog about my adventures in doing this.
- Have a weekly "family day" with Mark and Anna. These past few months have been crazy busy and we have not spent much time together so I want to remedy that by going places like the zoo, the beach, the park, etc.
- Experiment with recipes in Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious Cookbook. Anna has gone on strike from eating veggies so I am going to try to sneak them into foods that she likes. She is a pretty smart cookie and has definitely opinions on what pleases her palate so we will see what happens in this arena.
- Connect with friends face to face. I have found that I have relied greatly on tools like email, texting and Facebook to stay connected with friends. These are well and good, but I feel that I have ignored the actual human connection lately so I hope to remedy that this summer (although I don't see myself stopping texting or Facebook anytime soon.) :-)
- Make a major life decision...That is all I am saying about that for now. Stay tuned for more details on that one! :-)
So those are my main focuses for this summer...I also want to read, catch up on some sleep, play with Anna, hang out with middle schoolers, and tons of other stuff.
It should be a great summer!!! :-)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
2. Teenage girls love to talk about how cute they are.
3. Hitting the bottle is just how they roll.
4. Naked photos? Inevitable.
5. They've got chauffers, chefs and personal stylists (of course, in your baby's case, that is just you.)
Saw this in my Parenting magazine (author Charlotte Latvala) and it gave me a chuckle. Life has been crazy so haven't blogged much. Once school gets out in a week, I intend to share more of my 40 year old adventures.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
In spite of the busy schedule, I did have a nice birthday. Mark threw me a birthday party with a GLEE theme. My sister made slushies to fit with the GLEE theme and my Uncle Paul made a DELICIOUS cake. I was blessed by many friends and some wonderful gifts. Thanks to the generosity of several friends and family members I was able to compile some birthday money and gift cards treat myself to a brand new IPOD Touch. I bought it on Friday, but as of right now it is still in the box. Maybe things will slow down and I can actually use it. :-) I also received my very own Snuggie and a Hummingbird Feeder! Since I am getting older, it will be good to use the Snuggie to stay warm while I wait for the hummingbirds to come. :-)
Thanks to everyone who made it a great birthday!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I am ready to go back to Disney already. I actually think I could live there. However, instead of Disney, we stayed in the great state of Indiana. Potowatomi Zoo was fun. Anna seemed to enjoy it, especially the tigers. I think they reminded her of our cat Lily (who she likes to chase, but Lily doesn't share Anna's affinity for that game.)
On Friday, we loaded the car up for an overnight trip to West Lafayette (Home of the Purdue Boilermakers) to visit my sister. My sister's birthday was April 3rd and she was having a party to celebrate. Her party was at a flower shop where all of the guests got to make a flower arrangement. It was very cool. I figured that Mark would prefer to stay with Anna at my sister's house during the party since all of the guests were women. However, Mark was very excited about doing an arrangement and was willing to overlook the estrogen fest. Here are photos of the arrangements we made:
Mark's arrangement is on the left and mine is on the right. Anna did not do an arrangement, but had a great time playing with the stems that were discarded. Mark and are still arguing about who is the better floral designer. :-) Should we consider opening our own floral shop?
All in all, it was a good spring break and definitely not ready to go back to school in the morning. Maybe we will have freak snowstorm that will cancel school and then melt all the snow by 10 AM and warm up to 70 degrees. A girl can dream right!!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
However, I am not sure that everyone feels like I do. It seems like from the moment I announced that I was pregnant it people were constantly sharing advice (mostly unsolicited) on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Advice like:
"Be sure to put your newborn on the potty right away so that you can potty train them by six months."
"You should breastfeed your child until they are 12 so they never are sick a day in their life."
Well, when you have a Type A personality like mine, all this advice can become a little overwhelming because I always want to do the "right" thing. So in the midst of this onslaught of advice, I have found 3 pearls of wisdom that have been really helpful to me.
- Enjoy every stage that your child goes through. The person I heard this from actually wasn't even giving advice. It stemmed from a conversation with someone who was getting ready to send her youngest child to college. When I asked her about how she felt about having an empty nest, she talked about how excited she was for the opportunity her son was about to have and for the person that she would see him become because of it. She then talked about she has thoroughly enjoyed every stage that her children have gone through from the up all night newborn stage, to the rebellious teenage stage, to the adult child entering the working world.
- It is not my job to shape my child into what I want her to be. Rather, my main job is to point her to the God who created her so he can shape her into who she was created to be. When I heard this at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting, it was so freeing to me. Knowing my job is to introduce Anna to God and let Him be the one who shapes her sure takes a lot of pressure off me to make sure that I do everything "right."
- Don't listen to people's advice. Most people don't have a clue about raising kids anyway. This just makes me smile and helps me know that lots of other people are hanging on for dear life just like me.
So when someone throws a piece of advice out there like: "You should start teaching your child algebraic equations at age 1 or she will never get into college." I remember these three pearls of wisdom (especially number 3.) :-)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
So...as I say farewell to my 30's, here are some of the highlights of the past decade:
- Going to Disney World for the first time (and 2 other times since then)...It really is The Happiest Place on Earth
- Marrying Mark...the most kind and wonderful husband a girl could ask for
- Buying my first house (and second house with Mark)
- Trips to NYC, Vermont, DC, Tennessee, Colorado, Pennsylvania and other exciting places
- HDTV (this may be the best invention ever...although my excitement over this may be the fact that we just purchased one and it is AWESOME!)
- Losing 90 pounds (we ignore the fact that about 50 lbs of that is back thanks to wedded bliss and pregnancy...hoping the 40's see the loss of those 50 lbs)
- LIVING STONES CHURCH
- Getting completely out of debt
- The arrival of my beautiful baby girl, Anna Mikaela Osterhout