Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day!

This is Dan. Not a real good blogger, so I will make it short. Nashville got a few inches of snow and so life here has stopped completely...So I thought I would fill some time with blogging. Then I realized all I wanted to do was look through videos of my daughter and watch her laugh, giggle and grow up right before my eyes. So instead of giving you much to read I decided to give you some videos to watch. I thought it would be more, but then I realized it takes like 30mins for a short video to upload on YouTube! Like Im going to sit here and do that all day when there are snow balls to throw, tennis matches to watch and cookies to eat! So there you have it, two videos and some pics. Enjoy!

Old Thanksgiving Video

My Little Chatty Patty

Friday, January 29, 2010


For as long as I can remember, justice has been something that has driven me. My parents will attest to my sense of fairness, even as a child - something that probably drove them both bonkers from time to time as I was quick to point out even the smallest injustices, usually occurring between my sister and me. Don't get me wrong, my mother told me time and again that "life isn't always fair, Kali!" But it was (and still is) just a part of my make-up, a trait I acquired largely from my father.

Knowing this, you will understand a bit better how my world was completely rocked back in July of 2007 when my Dad was fired from his 27-year job as an agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation for reasons that were utterly and completely unjust. It just didn't make any sense! My Dad is a man of integrity, a rule-follower to the core (another trait I inherited), and excellent at what he does. Isn't that what one would want in a law enforcement officer? But more than that, HOW could someone get away with firing my Dad when he hadn't done anything worthy of such drastic measures? It simply was the most UNfair, UNjust thing I could imagine. But that's exactly what had happened.

These past 2 1/2 years have certainly shaken my belief in our justice system as I have watched my Dad take it on head first. I have felt the crushing weight of disappointment as the original hearing within the Department did not turn out in our favor. I have watched my parents experience the agony of waiting...and waiting....and waiting on the next hearing, the next decision, the next step in this never-ending process. It's true, the wheels of justice turn very slowly.

But in the midst of it all, I have seen the faith of our family growing stronger. Rather than throwing this back in the face of God and seeking their own means of retribution, I have watched as my parents have trusted in spite of the obstacles and have continued to believe that ultimately justice would prevail. I watched my Dad do the impossible as he made it through the rigours of the Patrol Academy last year and saw strength in my Mom like never before as she supported him while he was away for 6 months (and then some!). I have seen prayers answered time after time as friends & family have come around my parents throughout this, never doubting their word and always encouraging us to keep going.

While God's timing is usually not what we'd like it to be, He is never late. This week we got the decision from the last hearing, and the judge ruled in our favor! On all 4 counts! God is SO very, very faithful. My sense of justice has certainly been tested, but on this end I can see once again that TRUTH always prevails. Lies eventually show themselves to be just that.

I could write so much more on this, but I'll leave you with this for now - a verse my Mom shared with me when she called to tell me the wonderful news. She read it in the middle of the night just a few nights before we received the verdict:

"The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
seeking their very lives;
but the LORD will not leave them in their power
or let them be condemned when brought to trial."

~Psalm 37: 32-33

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catching Up

I'm a bit behind on my video downloads. A couple of weeks ago (or so...), we were able to celebrate yet another Christmas. Being from seperate parts of the country proves difficult on a lot of levels, but it is especially tough when it comes to holidays. We have yet to figure out a way to hit both California & Missouri in the same trip. Let me know if you have any good ideas, k?

Anyway, all that to say each year we take turns celebrating with one family, and then when we arrive home we get a sort of "Christmas in a box" from the other family we didn't get to see. Thought it's not the same as seeing one another, it's always exciting when that box arrives. And this year, the box from Dan's family was bigger than ever thanks to our little addition :-)

As I mentioned awhile back, I received my awesome gift from the Johnstons a bit early and have been putting it to good use ever since. Here are a few pics of Dan & Caroline's favorite gifts from Grandma & Grandpa J!

Grandma went to extra work to find the perfect baby doll for Caroline, this being her first one and all. Dan & I wanted to capture the moment of their first meeting, so here it is:

Thanks again, Grandma & Grandpa J! We love you & miss you so much.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surviving Frequent Explosions: A Tutorial

I love my blogging friends. Many of you have offered your sympathy and advice on the little "explosion problem" I mentioned awhile back, and I am seriously indebted to you. How is it going, you ask?'s still going. Let's just say the child certainly doesn't have any issues with constipation!

Many of you offer exceptional tutorials on your blogs, displaying your amazing talents in things like crafting, knitting, cooking, etc. So today, I wanted to repay you for your kindness by offering a little of my own expertise. Without further adou (or however you spell that word), I present to you a tutorial on surviving the inevitable explosions:

Step 1: Survey the damages. Where is the point of escape? Up the back? Down the leg? Also, exactly what type of volume are we dealing with? In this case, we have an up-the-back escape with moderate volume. And we're at home, so this is good.

Step 2: Remove the "soiled" clothing BEFORE dealing with the diaper itself. Otherwise, the mess just spreads. Trust me on this one.

Step 3: Naked baby! I guess that's not really a step...but basically this is where you strip her down to nothing and take care of the very full (most of the time) diaper, while preparing the bath.

Let me pause here to ask a quick question (I know, I'm supposed to be the expert here...sorry. I need help.) - why in the world does it completely escape the diaper sometimes when the diaper isn't even remotely full?!? It baffles me. Every time.

She likes to be naked.

Step 4: Add the poopy clothes to the other ones that are already soaking from an early explosion that day (I think we were on explosion #2 here). Pause to give thanks for the magical powers of Oxy Clean.

Step 5: Throw that baby in the tub! Okay, place gently. Enjoy the kicking and smiles that ensue.

Step 6: Enjoy the sites & smells of a fresh, clean baby. Apply baby lotion liberally to compensate for the previous smells experienced.

Step 7: Once she's dressed again (and has promptly spit up all over her fresh clean self), wrap her up and put her down for a nap. You both deserve it.

Step 8: This one is crucial. Grab some oreos, pour some milk for dunking, and celebrate a small victory for motherhood.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recent Happenings

I just thought I'd share a random smattering of pictures with you to recap a bit of what's been going on here in Nashville. Caroline is becoming more of a joy each day - if that's even possible. She's truly one of the happiest babies I know (and yes, I'm biased), and we are so very thankful for that! Here she is sitting up like a big girl at the table - apparently ready to dig in to the salsa & sour cream (no, she's not eating solids quite yet).

We've been working on tummy-time and really seem to be making some good progress now. She used to hate this and would fuss as soon as I put her down, but little by little she's getting stronger and learning to enjoy it.

Just a quick post-church photo:
This is what peacefulness looks like:
She's beginning to laugh out loud now, and it absolutely MELTS me! My neighbor took this photo of her peaking out of daddy's coat. Caroline gives her (my neighbor) more giggles it seems than anyone else - so cute!
On Friday I was able to spend a little time with Noonie, who was like a second mother to Dan when he was growing up (she's mom to 2 of his closest friends, Tommy & Travis). It's always a blessing to see friends who have invested in Dan's life, and I'm so glad she was able to meet Caroline.

Dan has recently joined a flag-football league with some friends of ours from church. He's very excited to do something competitive again on a regular basis (apparently me beating him at board games is getting old), and it's even better that it just so happens to be football. I snapped a quick picture the other day while the old QB was practicing.
Caroline & I went for a walk with a friend who's husband is also playing in the league while they were practicing...she was quite excited about it all.

Also, incase you didn't hear...the Colts are Superbowl bound! Caroline (and her daddy) are rather excited about it. I'm pretty sure this is the cutest little Colts fan EVER.

Okay, I officially either need to start taking fewer pictures or do a better job of posting more often. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Moving on

We're still pretty bummed about the Haiti trip falling through - Dan especially. But we realize we need to move on and put it behind us. We certainly learned valuable lessons these past few days, although I think we're still sorting out exactly what those are. I said...moving on. I have a couple recent videos I wanted to share with you. The first will give you a glimpse into the slightly warped mind of my dear Dad (love you Dad!) - and it will probably help you understand a bit more of where exactly I come from :) This is from Christmas:

This one needs a bit of a disclaimer as well...I had no idea what exactly was going to take place when I turned the camera on. And that was certainly no "health" pie.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Change of Plans

Dan got some very disappointing news this evening. One of his doctors called and apparently has changed his mind. He won't be going to Haiti after all.

Some of you are just getting here and didn't catch my last post and are very confused. Dan got home before I did and, not knowing what else to do, simply deleted the whole post. I've tried to recover it but it seems to be more work than it's worth. (Update: I found the deleted post! You can read it below if you're still interested) Here's a quick summary: Yesterday at church we found out about an opportunity for Dan to go to Haiti with a medical relief team that is leaving on Thursday. We prayed, he called his doctors/bosses and was given their blessing contingent upon him first taking care of/rescheduling his patients that he has on his schedule. He worked furiously today to make that happen and had about 75% of it taken care of by the end of the day. All systems were go as of yesterday.

We're both frustrated and very confused. God seemed to be opening all of the doors before we even knew about them, but suddenly the final one slammed in our face this evening. We want to be angry with the doctor, but at the same time we realize that we prayed specifically that God would allow them to make the decision for us. It's just especially hard to take because the decision was reversed.

Somethings just don't make sense.

The victims, however, need your prayers and sympathy infinately more than we do. So please, pray for them. And do pray for the medical teams that will be going and are already in place. I can't imagine the horrific scenes they find themselves in.


Like many people across the world, I have been glued to the television this past week as we have all watched the horror in Haiti unfolding before us. I have wanted to write about it but simply have not been able to find words. It's overwhelming. And quite simply, the contrast between that unimaginable hell and my peaceful, blessed life is mind-boggeling. I have sat for hours watching the death & destruction & hopelessness, only to be snapped back to my own reality by the sweet smile of my healthy and whole baby girl. It's simply too much for the mind and soul to take in.

And in watching and crying and praying, I have thought what so many of us have thought this past week...if only I could DO something!

Yesterday our church took up an offering for Haiti. But before they past the baskets, they briefly mentioned that a medical team was quickly forming in the hopes to deploy this week. If there was anyone with medical training that might be interested, the missions pastor would meet them after the service. Dan looked over at me. "I know I'm not a doctor, but do you think I would be of any help??"

"Are you kidding me? You're a PA! You'd be far more than just a help right now!" Also running through my mind was the fact that THIS is exactly what he has been working towards since college.

So long story short - Dan leaves for Haiti on Thursday! Actually, it's not a very long story at all as we still don't have a lot of information to go on. From what we understand, this team will be going to a smaller city called Jacmel just about 20 miles south of Port Au Prince. There is a local orphanage that has been converted into a makeshift medical clinic where they will hopefully be able to relieve some of the medical personel who were the first to arrive, if not simply to join them in the massive relief efforts. The Doctor that is putting this altogether here in Nashville is an Orthopedic Surgeon, which seems to be one of the most urgent needs at the present. Dan doesn't really know exactly what he will be doing, but my guess is no one really knows at this point in time.

Yesterday we prayed that God would just let the doors fly open if this was to happen, and He has certainly answered that prayer. Dan's Doctors/bosses were gracious and supportive when he called yesterday, requesting only that he take care of his schedule before he leaves, which he has been furiously working on today. When he called me around 1:00, it was already almost completely taken care of.

Dan is very excited and anxious, as am I. Please pray for us over these next few days that everyhing would continue to fall into place and that God would prepare Dan and the rest of this team for what they are about to face. But more importantly, continue to pray for the people of Haiti. God knows how desperately they need our prayers right now.

I will do my best to keep you all updated as we continue to have information!

Friday, January 15, 2010

waking up

This was how Caroline woke up from her morning nap yesterday - just smiling and talking away. I wish I woke up this happy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Little Traveler

Several of you have asked about how our trip went after I had written of my concerns about taking a 3-month-old on such a long car trip. In one word: AWESOME. She was the perfect little traveler both going and coming, and Mommy & Daddy were exceedingly grateful. She slept a good portion of it, and we stopped for eating and stretching about every 3 hours, making it a 12 hour trip altogether. Not too shabby! And if you don't believe me, I'll just let this picture speak for itself (taken when we arrived back in Nashville last week):

What a wonderful baby :-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Belated Birthday Dinner

Dan's birthday comes every year on January 3rd, and in the 4 years we've been married on that date I don't believe we've been home even once to celebrate. It always seems to fall on a travel day, although this year we were able to celebrate with my family in Missouri with a fabulous ham dinner followed by some football over at the Blythes. He certainly enjoyed his day, but I felt like he deserved a real birthday at home for once, so I made good on that promise this past Saturday.

Let me back up a quick second...Dan's family totally spoiled me rotten this Christmas by giving me a KitchenAid stand mixer!!! I've never used one of these, but I admit to living in sin as I have covetted those of my friends. So I thank my dear in-laws for helping me pull out of this sinful cycle and for enabling me to bake to my heart's content with this shiny new toy. I love you guys :)

Okay, so Dan's belated "birthday day" gave me a great reason to try out my new mixer. I started the night before and made these yummy French Breakfast Puffs (from my Pioneer Woman cookbook) so they'd be waiting for us in the morning. They're light and fluffy and dipped in butter then cinnamon & sugar...and they're pretty awesome with a big cup of coffee on the side. Not a bad way to kick off the day! (please note my pretty mixer hiding behind the coffee pot in the background)

We just heated up some leftovers for lunch as we were in the middle of some projects around the house (hey, it's what he wanted to do...and who am I to tell the birthday boy what to do on his birthday day?). Then for dinner we sat down to a lovely feast as chosen by Dan. Here was the menu:

pan-seared steak (PW recipe)
oven-roasted veggies
baked potatoes
Caesar salad

When I went to set the table, Dan had pulled it around in front of the fireplace and lit some candles -- so romantic, that boy. Caroline even cooperated and went down for a nap just as we were ready to eat. What a sweet baby!

Then, for dessert I made Dan's favorite chocolate pie. This is also a PW recipe, which I've made before but not for some time as it involves continuous and extended use of a mixer. 20 minutes with a hand-held mixer just isn't all that fun. But now, NOW this pie is very fun :) And equally delicious!

After inhaling his piece, Dan informed me that this is now officially to be known as his birthday pie. And it is to be made every year on his birthday from now on. I'd say this was a successful birthday dinner, even if it was a bit belated.
And now we are both swearing off PW recipes in hopes of cutting our caloric intake by about 90%. I'll let you know how long that lasts.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

my new centerpiece

I think my decorating taste is improving, don't you?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas in Pictures

Welcome back!! Oh, you mean you've been back for awhile? Sorry...I must have missed the memo. Oh well - Happy New Year anyway :)

Believe it or not, Dan & I just returned home on Wednesday evening after a very full time at home over the holidays. I can't remember the last time I had 2 entire weeks with my parents! It was truly a blessing and a time we will not soon forget as we celebrated Caroline's very first Christmas. I could write a book about all we were able to do and more importantly, all of those we were able to see and spend time with...but you'd probably be bored out of your mind and skip to the end looking for pictures anyway. So I thought I'd save you the trouble, skip the extra words and just let the pictures speak for themselves.

P.S. These pictures are completely out of order, but I can't seem to move them around for some reason. And rather than scrap this and start over, I'm leaving it as is. You'll get the point nonetheless, I'm sure.