Monday, January 31, 2011

Just a few things

I know many of you reading this (yes, the many of you who read this, chuckle) are currently bracing for a major Midwestern winter storm. By the time some of you get to this, you may be buried under much snow and ice. But, if you are reading this, the good thing have power.

While Addie is still recovering from her runny nose and all the stuff that goes along with it, she's continued to keep busy.

Cleaning out my closet (she chose my wedding shoes to wear):

Some hide and seek:

 Some, well, I'm not quite sure:

Last Friday I spent the afternoon with my friend Libby. It was another much needed break spent eating good food, having great conversation and wandering around some shops. We stopped by a library and perused the books for sale and I found these:

A whopping 50 cents later and these two gems were mine. I'd never heard of the Moon Jumpers but it is a sweet story with cool illustrations. And, how can you pass up a book that smells like a library and has each page stamped with the library's ownership? 

It is funny that I found The Boxcar Children book, which happens to be book one in the series. The Boxcar Children have come up in conversation a couple of times between Sabian and I in the last month or so and we both reminisced about reading them as kids. I knew I'd be able to find the other books in the series because a while ago I'd hunted down the last book in a series of books I'd saved from when I was younger. "Hunted" as in, did a quick search and found it on

Last but not least, tonight we put Addie down for the night and then fired up the ol' Wii:

I'm thankful that we got through a very busy Sunday, that Addie seems to be feeling better and that most of you (in Illinois and Missouri) get to stay home and off the roads. Stay warm!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pajamas, puffy noses, PBS and...patience?

It's been a bit of a rough week here at the Chaney household. Addie has another runny nose combined with multiple outbursts accompanied by many tears. We've spent lots of time in pajamas watching PBS. I can't say I've been too great at practicing a lot of patience.

It's not Addie's fault she's sick. If I could be sick in her place, I would be. Really, I would. There's more I can do for myself when I am sick than I feel I can do when she is sick. Nothing makes me feel quite as helpless as not being able to just make her better.

Sabian, that husband of mine, gave me the morning "off." He and Addie should be back any minute now, but I have had a couple of hours completely to myself at home. I've put laundry away, done more laundry, vacuumed, made breakfast (eggs, toast and coffee!) and actually sat down to eat it. Oh, and I showered! I even entered a little in my journal and got to do a short devotion.

Those devotions - they can hit you right where it hurts. Better yet, right where you need it. Today was where I needed it.

I think I've read My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers) since somewhere around 1997, when my mom bought me my first copy. It was a hard cover with a paper slipcover that was sealed in plastic. I still have that copy and used it until she bought me a new one just last year, a leather bound edition. My old copy sports a melted cover, as mom, in her Mary Bell fashion, saw that it was wrinkled and one day took the iron to it to straighten it out. She didn't realize it was covered in plastic...but, that endears it even more to me, along with the inscription in the front cover.

Oswald always says it well. Today was no exception. It's not just his interpretation, but at the heart of it, it is what the Bible teaches us about today's subject. I'll share it in a moment, but first...

...I know I've been impatient this week. I know I've had a general feeling of helplessness and being unsettled. I know, in some ways, I've just been going through the motions. I know I've had trouble being content. The reasons for these things can vary depending on the season, circumstance, my mood and more. But, reading what I read today brought it into perspective for me and gave me what I guess I needed, but hadn't really been looking for - the underlying reason for it all.

I'm including today's reading in its entirety.

The scripture reference is Matthew 6:25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?"

A warning which needs to be repeated is that "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches," and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or the lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

"I say to you, do not worry about your life...." Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing - our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, "That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink." Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not  understanding your particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure that you always put your relationship to God first.

"Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying - what are your plans for next month - or next summer? "Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the "much more" of your heavenly Father (6:30).

A familiar passage of scripture, but I think even verses we are familiar with can ring louder at certain times. If I truly obeyed this, would life automatically be easier? Well, no. I wouldn't suddenly have piles of money to pay off my debt or have a clear window into our future. But, I would have a greater hope. I would have a greater comfort knowing that I am loved, I am taken care of, and my smallest needs and concerns, let alone the big ones, are acknowledged by the One who created me. 

Geez, I sure am thankful for that

Friday, January 21, 2011

Madsen follow up

In my last post I forgot to answer a very important question - how did we get the Madsen home?

Thanks to my biking brother, he has the equipment and the know-how to tackle the mission of preparing a bike to make a 12 hour road trip on the back of a car. The night before Sabian hit the road, as I was trying to get Addie to sleep for the night (it took her forever that night), my brother and Sabian got the supplies needed and set out to pack up the bike.

Wrapped in insulation and plastic and then shrink wrapped, she was ready for the long drive.

You can't tell from the photos but the car was tightly packed. It was a good thing Addie and I decided to stay a few extra days because I'm not sure how we would have made it home otherwise!

As Sabian was making the long trek back to Wewa on his own I called periodically to check on him. I was always glad to hear that he was making it, but, of course, I had to check on the Madsen, too!

I am thankful for my brother and the care he took to prepare the bike, as well as Sabian, who drove it home.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drumroll, please...

There are three times in my life when I've been completely, never-saw-it-coming, rug-out-from-under-my-feet surprised.

The first was my 13th surprise birthday party thrown by my friend Colleen.

The second was my work wedding shower. I thought it was a going away party for my friend, Dorothy. Instead, it was a shower for me. I was floored.

The third was this Christmas.

Somehow, some way, I always have an inkling of what is to come. Even mine and Sabe's engagement wasn't a complete surprise. There were elements of it that were surprising but we had already talked timing so I knew it was coming.

Not so with this Christmas.

I didn't intend to build the anticipation like I have, I just wanted to make sure I could sit down and give it a post it deserves.

I said in a previous post that we had a good Christmas, and we really did. It felt more relaxing than some of our past visits around the holidays and we had a good time with both sides of our family. A lot of that was due to not having to split one day between our two families. 

We spend Christmas day at my sister's, hanging out, opening presents, eating, all the good Christmas stuff. This year was no different, but added to it was Addie being older and more interactive, which was a lot of fun. In our family we take turns opening presents. I really like this tradition and as our family has grown it has morphed more into age groups taking turns, rather than individuals, in an effort to speed along the process.

When all the presents were opened and we were wading through the wrapping paper and ribbons, my brother suddenly said that there was a gift waiting for me in my niece's room. My first thought was, "What? Why is there a present for me?" The siblings and our spouses hadn't exchanged presents this year so I thought it odd that there would be a gift for me.  Next I was thinking, "What could it be?" All of this was transpiring in my head as I stood up and made the short walk to Bryn's room.

So, I opened the door

And saw this

And I cried.

There it was, not just any Madsen, but MY Madsen! I was completely taken by surprise. I really didn't know what to say - I couldn't believe it. There are still moments when I think about it and I get a little choked up all over again.

It's not the bike itself - as awesome as it is (and it REALLY is!) what overwhelmed me the most was what the bike was a result of - my family and their love for me. My brother orchestrated it all and everyone pitched in. That they wanted to do that for me and did it is still pretty overwhelming. I feel totally undeserving and so glad to be a part of my family.

I love and appreciate them, I always have, and I recognize how special they are even more now that we live far from them, but not only do I love and appreciate them, I just think they are pretty great.

Still can't believe it.

I am thankful for my family, for the amazing gift they are to me and for the gift they thought to give me.

Wanna go for a ride?

What we've been up to...

 A little TV watching from the baby stroller Addie got for Christmas...

 Some birthday party goin'...

 Some candy collecting...

Ponytail wearing, chocolate pudding eating...

Finally outside and chalk drawing...

Hanging with friends...


...with a little car trouble along the way.

I know I owe you a post about my Christmas SURPRISE - I was waiting to take another photo and now that I have it, it is late and I am off to bed. Soon, soon - trust me, it is worth the wait!

I am thankful we've been able to get outside for a bit this week. I'm not ready for heat and humidity, but these cool, spring-like temps are welcome (even though I'm a little jealous of the snow that is falling right now in Illinois!).

Monday, January 17, 2011

When you're at Mimi's... can have ice cream for breakfast.

(I tried for an ice-cream-stained-face photo without the pacifier, but she wasn't having it.) can touch all of the "no-nos" and rearrange them without getting in trouble. can watch as much Curious George as you want. get lots of hugs and kisses, even more than usual.

...your laundry comes out looking like it has been professionally laundered (how DOES she do it?!) can carry around Dixie cups full of Goldfish crackers or whatever snack you choose, forget where you left it around the house and another, new, full Dixie cup appears without question.

...did I mention you can eat ice cream for breakfast?

I am thankful for my mom. At her house, it really is home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Looking back at Christmas & forward to a new year

I've been hibernating for the last couple of days and it's been great. The weather has been cold (relatively speaking) and dreary so Addie and I have stayed in, caught up and are cleaning out.

It's hard to believe that Christmas was over three weeks ago. A few days before the big day we headed back home to spend some time with our families. Addie did very well on the drive up - I was really proud of her. Instead of doing our usual overnight drive we got up eaaarly and drove during the day.

Breakfast on the road
Catching some zzzzs
Waking up...


We're STILL in the car?

Back to sleep!

I was able to post from Missouri where we spent some time with Sabian's family. We visited Sabian's grandma, met some new family members, took care of some last minute shopping and waited for the snow!

We did get that white Christmas but the snow did not keep us from getting to Illinois safely Christmas Eve night. We woke up Christmas morning at my mom's, packed the car full with gifts and food, squeezed the three of us and my mom into the car and made our way to join everyone at my sister's.

More food, more presents and SNOW (did I mention that already?!). We had a really nice, relaxing day. Addie was not as much in to opening presents as I thought she would be. More so, she was interested in what everyone else, namely, people her size, were getting. I think there was so much activity and there were cousins in both families to play with so she was distracted from the actual present opening. Once she had the chance, she enjoyed all of her gifts, especially her baby from her Mimi.

There was one huge surprise waiting for me on Christmas day, something I never saw coming. deserves a post all its own, so you'll have to wait for that one.

A couple of days after Christmas Sabian made the trek back to Illinois on his own. Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, Addie and I stayed behind to hang out for a little while longer, enjoying some more time with family and friends. It's always hard when Sabian isn't with us but it is always good to have more time at home.

We never see everyone we want to and never get to do all we want to but I have determined that I'd have to stay at least a month for that to happen. We really enjoyed our visit although I have to say, one great thing about living in Florida is NOT having to wrangle my child into a puffy winter coat every time we go out and then squeeze her into her car seat wearing said coat.

I was a little anxious about the flights home. There is no direct flight from St. Louis to any of the airports near here, but we did have the advantage this time around of flying into the new PCB airport, which is closer than any other airport we've used before. In the back of my mind I knew there was no reason for me to worry but I was anticipating every move I would have to make and how I was going to make it with Addie in tow. The last time I flew with her she was less than a year old and in some ways a little easier to manage. But, her being older now also had its advantages.

She was great. We flew first to Houston and then to PCB after a two hour layover. Our layover gave us enough time to eat lunch, change diapers, meet some new friends and run around the airport, burning up some energy. On both flights we had at least one extra seat next to us, allowing Addie to have her own space and also on both flights were a lot of kids, so if Addie felt like she had something to tell the whole plane, it really wasn't a big deal since there was someone else trying to do the same thing.

Par for the course, Addie fell asleep just as we were landing our second flight. She missed seeing Sabian as we found him at the baggage claim waiting for us but she soon woke up and was very happy to see who held her when she opened her eyes.

Our car seat suffered a casualty (losing an arm rest) during the ever-so-gentle handling throughout the trip but we did receive all of our baggage and the broken arm rest was soon forgotten as I opened the trunk to the car and found another surprise - an iPod Touch! This was just one of a few surprises Sabian had waiting for me, including some of my favorite candy, a clean house and some other treats.

My first couple of days back were super relaxing. I felt no push to get unpacked and thanks to my mom, my laundry was done. Sabian had also put away our Christmas gifts and other miscellaneous items we'd sent him back with the week earlier. What wasn't put away was at least in the right room or near where he thought it would go but wasn't sure. Did I mention it was a good thing we didn't plan on making the trip back with Sabian? With all of our stuff the car was packed - too full for Addie and I to fit!

The trip back to Wewa is always bittersweet, but I am thankful for a wonderful Christmas with our families, visits with friends and a safe trip back to the panhandle. Now, on to 2011!