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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Job Interview

For those of you that knew Jeromy had a job interview for a different position within his company, he won't find out this week as previously thought. They have one more interview to conduct later this week and won't have an answer until next week sometime. I'll keep you posted if we have any good news to post!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Good Customer Service?


I have recently needed to contact two different companies with complaints. Each offered to make the situation right.

First, our printer (Epson CX5400) stopped printing following a replacement of ink. This did not make us too happy needless to say given the high price of ink cartridges. So I took the printer apart (it was out of warranty) and cleaned the heads and put it back together (with a few 'modifications'). I broke a small retaining clip which was (if I don't say so myself) rather ingeniously repaired with a staple. I also tore the print head guide which I fixed with, you guessed it, super glue and a staple. After taking it apart several times going deeper each time I came to the conclusion that I was not going to be able to fix it so I went to the last resort. I called Epson. After about 3 calls they agreed to send us a shipping label and either fix or replace it. We were told it would take around 3 weeks. I was just getting impatient as the 3rd week came and went and the next day there was a new printer at our gate. They replaced it with a new one. Not bad.

The second company was Lighthouse Foods. Patty (my mother-in-law) brought over some blue cheese dressing one night and I have been on a kick ever sense. But a week or so ago the store was out so Samantha bought their ranch instead. I was hopeful as I like ranch, but it was one of, if not, the worst I have ever tasted. Not good. So I emailed the company and with in hours they had emailed me a coupon for a free product and 3 $1.00 off coupons. Good responsiveness. I was also pleased with their response.

All this to say that companies (at least good companies) are responsive to their customer's comments. Try it!

Take care and God Bless

Jeromy
for the Markworts

Sympathy



We don't have a dishwasher. Well, actually we do have one. She goes by the name, Samantha. I don't like feeling like am doing dishes all day long, so I usually rinse them and put them in the right side of the sink until after dinner when I do them all at once. The problem is that sometimes we aren't home in the evening like we weren't this past Saturday and Sunday night. This means I have a ridiculous mess to clean up on Monday. Mondays are my busy out-of-the-house days as well. I had to make my shopping list (which I generally do Sunday night, when I am home) when food in general doesn't sound appetizing, get myself and the kids dressed and ready to go, pack snacks (for myself), load everyone up in the car and head out. Thankfully I was feeling pretty okay this morning which was a blessing because yesterday I woke up feeling awfully sick and it never went away. We got home late for lunch and I bought all sorts of weird things that I never usually buy because they sounded good. (fruit cocktail, chicken and rice canned soup, frozen french fries, taquitos, baked beans and potato chips- those of you that know me and how I eat are laughing right now, I know!)

I got all the groceries put away and everyone fed, put the kids down for their nap and now feel tired and nauseous. (sniffle, sniffle, cue the violin) What do I do about that kitchen?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Update

Sorry I haven't been posting much this week. I have not been feeling well and this has meant I am hardly on the computer anymore. I don't have morning sickness. I have noon until bedtime sickness, so mornings are the time I try to get things done because I feel pretty good. This pregnancy must be really strong, which I keep telling myself is a blessing, because I have never started in on the sickies so early. Keep me in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Our Mechanical Engineer

Bennett is really amazing on so many levels but his manual dexterity and ability to build interesting things from a young age has always astounded me. He received a wooden work bench for Christmas that came with wood pieces, nuts and bolts, and he creates the coolest things with them. He came in the room a while back yelling, " Mom, mom, look what I built. It's a helicopter." Sure enough it looked just like a helicopter. I wish I would have gotten a picture of it because it was so great, and he was so proud. Mostly he builds things that look like drills or saws or guns or weapons. He made one that he called a router yesterday. (He loves tools and knows the names of them all.)



Bennett showing off his newest creation


Showing me how it works

Have a stove you want to get rid of or need somewhere to live?


We have decided to rent our mobile home, but there is one small problem. We need a stove for it. If you have one you have been wanting to get rid of, great! It needs to be electric and the standard size and of course, work!That being said we are also looking for tenants and would prefer to rent to someone we know or someone with a good referral. Our house is just to the left in the pictures so it is important that we rent to someone we can trust. If you know of someone please don't hesitate to send them our way!

Take care and God Bless, Jeromy
for the Markworts

Monday, January 22, 2007

LibriVox.org

I thought I would post a quick note about one of my favorite resources. I drive close to an hour a day back and forth to work and what better way to make use of that time (other than praying of course) than to listen to a good audio book. LibriVox.org is a site where people volunteer to record themselves reading books. All of these books are in the public domain so, you guessed it, no copyright issues. You may be saying what good books are in the public domain? Well here is just a sample of their offerings:

    Aesop. "Aesop's Fables"
    Austen, Jane. "Emma"
    Baum, L. Frank. "Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz"
    B├ędier, Joseph. "Tristan and Iseult"
    Bunyan, John. "Pilgrim's Progress, The"
    Carroll, Lewis. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
    Chesterton, G. K. "Innocence of Father Brown, The" (Good book, you're right Matt, it's not Doyle, but good none the less)
    Conrad, Joseph. "Heart of Darkness" (the book Apocalypse Now was patterned after)
    Dickens, Charles. "Christmas Carol, A"
    Stevenson, Robert Louis. "Treasure Island" (a good ol' Pirate story)
    Wyss, Johann David. "Swiss Family Robinson, The" (My favorite so far. Such a great tale and great content)
    Wells, H. G. "War of the Worlds"
    Chaucer, Geoffrey. "Canterbury Tales, The"


Of the longer works they currently have 198 completed books with 181 in progress. There are a couple of things to note. Not all recordings are created equal or equally. They can vary quite a bit so if you download one you don't like try something else. Also there are some that are read by several people. At first I thought this might be acted out be people playing out the characters, but alas it is not. The chapters are read by different people which can be rather distracting. Especially if the main character's name is something hard to pronounce and now you have 5 people with differing opinions.

All and all a good resource for those of us who like audio books, and did I mention the downloads are free! That's right free! Gotta love that.

God Bless and take care, Jeromy

COSTUMES

Popgrandma (Jeromy's mom) sent the kids some costumes a while back and they have so much fun wearing them. Rachel has been pretty afraid of the Tigger costume until recently. Jeromy told her that Tigger ate Bennett, and she wouldn't get anywhere near it after that. This last week was the first time she has asked to put it on herself. She didn't like her own costume at first either, but since seeing other little girls wear it while they were over visiting she is happy to wear it now.


Bennett as Tigger standing still for a brief moment. When he wears the costume he jumps up and down saying, "Boing, Boing, Boing," because that is what we told him Tigger does.


Rachel as our little "Angel," "Fairy," "Princess." We haven't decided what to call the costume yet.


Rachel trying out Tigger for the first time. She was pretty happy with herself. She jumped around just like Bennett does when he wears the costume. BTW, Rachel is a really good jumper for only being 19 months. We kind of marvel at it! Disregard our "Angel," "Fairy," "Princess," son in the background. He couldn't resist and my mom indulged him!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dance Party

Every night is a dance party at our house. Most nights it is to the music of the Beatles, Bennett's favorite. Get back Jo Jo and I am the Walrus are his favorite songs off of a complilation CD that my mom let him borrow. I am sure glad it isn't ours because I get to give it back! Lately he has been dancing to the Supertones, Jeromy's least favorite. It helps the kids get out all the last of their energy before bed and gives them adequate time to just be silly. They usually get me to join in too, although none of you will ever see that! Bennett's dancing includes spinning, jumping and kicking in crazy ways that always make him fall. Rachel does an interesting jump/spinning thing as well. They are hilarious to watch, and Bennett always sings into his microphone, holds a tambourine and a maracca.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unrelated Subjects

I have bought things from ebay several times, but have now entered the realm of ebay seller as of yesterday. I just don't see how people make it a business. I am selling some DVD's that Jeromy found in my parent's yard. We think someone threw them over the fence or something. I know, weird. I am also selling some various clothing items. The margain on most items is so small that you would have to sell hundreds or thousands of items per month to make any decent money. You would first have to go out and find hundreds of items to sell and then spend hour upon hour taking pictures and setting up the selling pages. Then you have to package everything and make sure it is going to the right person. I just don't get it. Pocket money, yes, a living, no. Is there some secret thing these ebay sellers are doing that I don't know about. I look forward to any advice from you ebay savvy blog lurkers out there!

On another note, do I actually know anyone from China or the Dominican Republic? We do know a family living in China right now due to a rule that they can't adopt their daughter unless they have lived there for five years. I don't know all the details, but think it is a pretty amazing story. I doubt they know about our humble little blog though. To those two individuals who have signed our Frapper Map, please unveil yourself and let us know who you are. We think it is pretty interesting!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thankful For My Husband

It is truly wonderful to have a husband that is a fix-it kind of guy. I have a great dad with alot of talents, but this was not one of his strong points (love you dad :D), so I never even knew how great it would be to live with someone who can fix things. Cars, plumbing, electric..... You name it, Jeromy can fix it. Even if he has never done it before, he will take it apart and figure out how it works and then can find out what's wrong (He recently had our printer taken apart 3 times!) He would rather do it himself and have to buy the tool for the job instead of paying someone else to do it because he gets to keep the tool out of the deal. It is a good skill to have when you live on a farm where things break all the time! Jeromy works all week and then spends all weekend fixing things. Luckily I have a hard-working husband who enjoys staying busy because there is a never ending lists of things out here to be done. Most will have to wait until spring when it warms up, but Jeromy will even brave the arctic temperatures to do things that can't wait. I am amazed as I huddle in the warm house how he can motivate himself to work outside. Burrrrrr! I am very lucky to be married to a fix-it man!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Saga Continues

Check engine light was blinking (Jeromy says that's BAD) after I got everyone bundled up and into the car to go on our adventure. I guess God gave us our answer. He told us to STAY HOME! Could have used some groceries. :o)

The Start of an Interesting Day

The thermometer says that it is 9 degrees outside. Jeromy says that the roads are a sheet of ice. Both of my kids have a cold and I need to go grocery shopping. Hmmm..... We'll let you know how it all turns out!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Christmas

We have always spent Christmas at my parent's house even when we still lived in California. It was always the time of year Jeromy had a break from school or work, so we came to Washington for a vacation. That being said, this year Christmas was different from years past. The kids are older and much more excited about the festivities than before. Rachel didn't really know what was going on but saw the excitement in her brother and knew it was something great. Having little ones around brings back the specialness of the celebration to those of us that are Scrooges out there! We decided to make a turkey dinner this year because we had been gone for Thanksgiving which gave us more to do all day than just sitting around. It was nice to be a little productive. We also played many hands of Pinochle which was a treat for us. Playing with 3 or 4 people is much more fun than playing with 2 people, like we have to do when we are alone at home. All in all, it was one of the best Christmas' that I can remember.

FIRST THERE WERE STOCKINGS


Rachel opening hers.



Bennett excited about his flashlight.



Rachel trying to open Grandpa's candy.



Rachel and Grandpa.



Family picture.



Bennett received his first two "guns" for Christmas complete with bandana and holster for the pistol. They are both capguns and he goes outside to shoot "coyotes" almost every day. It was all I could do to get him to take off that holster for a good two weeks!



Rachel's first "baby." She got a purse to go with it, so now she puts her purse over her arm, grabs her baby and says, "Bye, bye." It is funny.



The PIECE DE RESISTANCE. A wooden workbench complete with tools and bolts and wood. Bennett has built the neatest creations with the wood peices. He is so mechanical and the things he makes look exactly like the objects he is trying to replicate. It is pretty amazing! He is our little engineer.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Prayer

Jeromy came home last night with a dry erase board and announced, "We don't pray enough in this house." He is right, of course. The dry erase board was first used by Jeromy when he worked for Alpha Academy (www.alphaacademy.com). They wrote down prayer requests for each day of the week and then prayed for them during lunch. The only meal of the day we are together is dinner, so I think we will be praying before dinner each night. On the board I have listed a theme for each night and then specific people and things under that heading.

Monday- Our family
Tuesday-Samantha's family
Wednesday-Jeromy's family
Thursday-Our nation- leaders, lawmakers and judges; the Tri-Cities; local pregnancy help centers
Friday-Global issues; missionaries
Saturday-Our church- the members, pastors and their families

I am hoping to incorporate these prayer requests into my devotion time with the kids as well as to help Bennett think of new things to pray for. He is getting into the habit of praying the same thing each day and could use some new inspiration. It will be a good example to both of them.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Silly picture montage

My kids make the funniest faces when you say, "Smile!" I almost never say it because I know it will not give me the smiling face I desire. I have to tell Bennett to say, "Sweetie," to get the desired sweet smile and haven't figured out what to do about Rachel yet.




I decided to take the kids pictures myself this year because going to Sears is always such an awful experience for everyone involved. One of the kids always gets scared by the lady trying to make them smile and then they only take crying pictures. Here are some of the funnier ones.




Monday, January 8, 2007

10 Things About Me

Someone told me that when your blog reaches 100 hits that you have to list 10 interesting things about yourself and when it hits 1000 you have to write 100 things about yourself. Well here it goes and I reserve the right to list these 10 things again in the list of 100 things if that day should ever come!

1. I eat a huge taco salad for lunch every day. (It is so big, I am usually never hungry for dinner.)
2. I was a vegetarian for over 10 years.
3. My husband married me knowing I was a vegetarian and was okay with it!
4. I hate potty training!
5. I sleep to the sound of rain every night, thanks to a sound machine, because I am a bad sleeper. (Well, not bad just light)
6. The rain I sleep to every night actually sounds like bacon frying.
7. I want to adopt babies from all over the world. (I said this was about me, not necessarily Jeromy :o)
8. I would like to adopt a baby or sibling group from Liberia first. (Check out Acresofhope.org)
9. I am allergic to gluten, dairy and eggs and try to stay away from sugar, especially refined. I know, bummer!
10. When we first moved to WA and stayed with my parents, I got addicted to HGTV.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

GREAT NEWS!!

Yes, I know you have all been wating for this post at some point, so I am glad to announce that I am pregnant and due the middle of September. I am very early in the pregnancy and would ask for your prayers for a healthy baby and strength for me through the usually rough first trimester. We are excited about the new addition to our family and pray for his or her safe arrival.


Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward. Psalm 127:3

Pinochle, don't start playing if you can't be committed

Ok. So we started playing Pinochle a few months ago and we are hooked. I had heard about this game before and was intimidated to learn how to play, but am I glad my in-laws shared this great game with us. We try to get together once a week with them to play, and that is not enough! Samantha and I have made up our own rules to facilitate 2 person play (Pinochle is usually played with 4 people in 2 man teams). Why is this game so much fun? Well I am glad you asked.

Firstly the game is a game of strategy (a must for me being a melancholic (a personality trait geared towards problem solving and artistic expression).

You can learn more about the personality types here: Personality Plus or here: Wikipedia Personality Plus Page (another thing my in-laws have exposed me to).

Secondly the game is broken into two halves. First there is the bid/meld portion. During this part the teams bid to see who has, or thinks they have, the best hand. The Pinochle deck is made up of two sets of cards from ace to 9. That means there are 2 of each. Another notable Pinochle distinction is the fact that the 10 is the second highest card in a run. So that means that the hierarchy looks like this: Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9. Yeah I know, a little weird, but you'll get used to it.

Now remember, this game is played in teams so each is biding hoping their partner will be able to help them and not knowing if they will be able to. The team who bids the highest wins the bid. The bids usually start at 25 points and always begin with the player sitting to the dealers left (or clockwise).The amount the team is able to bid is based on the points they have in their hand, and the speculation of two factors, what their teammate will be able to contribute and the amount of Tricks (more on this later) they think they will be able to win. If no one bids the dealer is stuck with it and is declared the winner of the bid. The winner then declares which suit is 'Trump' (the suit that is highest or able to overrule other suits when played. Ex. The 9 of trump is higher than an ace of the non-trump suits).

After the trup suit is called the teammate of the person winning the bid will choose 4 cards to pass to their teammate. Who will in turn choose to keep all or some of these cards and pass 4 cards back. At this point each player lays down cards adding to their team’s Meld score. For instance, a family (Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack) is worth 15 points. A family with an extra marriage (Ace, 10, King, King, Queen, Jack) is worth 19 points and so on. I won't get into all of the different scoring, except the game's namesake. A Pinochle is the queen of spades and the jack of diamonds. This is worth 4 points. And a double Pinochle (both queens of spades and jacks of diamonds) is worth 30! These points are then added up and the team must decide if they will be able to win enough tricks to get or surpass to their bid score. There are only 25 possible tricks (more on this later). If their meld + 25 is less than their bid they will not be able to take enough tricks to win the hand and they go 'set' (and again, more on this later). This ends the bid portion of the game.

Now enter the trick portion. All players pick up the cards they ‘Melded.” During this portion of the game each of the teams lays down cards strategically trying to have make sure their or their teammate's card is the highest thus winning the trick. This part is much like the card game "War" where players turn over cards and the player with the highest card wins. What makes this game so much fun is the team play. If you think your teammate is going to take the trick (Pinochle slang for playing the highest card) you will most likely want to play what is called a 'counter.' Counters are the top 3 cards of the hierarchy (Ace, 10, and King). For those of you who are into math that means there are 24 counters in the deck (4 suits, 2 of each card in the suit and 3 counters per suit. 4x2x3=24). There are 25 possible tricks (or points) available per hand. The team who takes the last trick gets an extra point.

Once all of the cards have been played the points are added up. If the score for the team that won the bid is not greater than the amount they bid they go 'set.' Meaning they subtract the amount of the bid from their total score. This game is cumulative and usually played to 250. The first team to 250 wins. The amount of time this takes can vary greatly. If one team is having a great day the game can be over quickly.

I love this game so much that I created a score sheet in Excel. For those of you who want to learn to play or stop keeping score on a pad of paper here you go. You can view my Pinochle score sheet here: Pinochle Score Worksheet If you would like a copy, you can email me and I will send it to you.

We hope to play lots of Pinochle this year and teach our friends how to play. The moral of this story is, don't start if you can't handle another commitment. OK, well maybe that was a bit strong. Maybe this is more accurate; Pinochle is so much fun that you won't want to stop playing.

God Bless. Keep safe, Jeromy

It's cold out here (this was a a couple of weeks before Christmas)

Bennett's Saturday ritual is to come cuddle in bed with us for a while (Rachel comes too!) Well, he sat up and looked out our window and screamed, "SNOW!!!" We all shot up to look and there it was indeed, a few inches of snow. The kids put on there snow gear (along with dad) and headed out to play. Jeromy made his first snowman (as an adult, he added), CA style. Rachel only lasted a few minutes and Bennett stayed out until his feet got too cold. He came in to eat breakfast and thaw out and went right back out. His favorite pastime is eating snow wherever we are, although I have made a rule about snow in parking lots. Yuck!





Saturday, January 6, 2007

Veggie Tales

Veggie Tales are not a new invention, but they are to our family. Bennett grew up watching Bubba Movies (home videos of his first 2 years), Ask This Old House (We tape it off of PBS) and a couple of random videos we've purchased from the Goodwill (There Goes an Airplane and There Goes a Boat). I know, a very deprived life. Since we have lived in our new town, we have started going to the library regularly and I let Bennett pick out a movie ( I actually pick out a few and let him decide which one he wants.) We have rented several of the Veggie Tale movies and Bennett is hooked. He sees the movie a couple of times and has most of it memorized and then proceeds to recite it to us for days on end. "Did you know that Larry the Cucumber and Junior Asparagus said......" He has seen King David and the Ducky, Esther, Something about being scared and one about robots or something. He also has seen one about silly songs that I will never let him get again. I had a weird song about loving cheeseburgers stuck in my head and Jeromy sang a song about Barbara Manatee for two weeks straight. What is the deal with Veggie Tales?!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Visiting old friends and favorite places

On our vacation to CA in November, we spent 8 days visiting friends and places that we miss.



Rachel looking happy as we just arrived at the beach.


Rachel realizing that wet sand makes her hands "dirty" which she doesn't like AT ALL! Every time she put her hands down and they would get dirty she would cry making it a less than enjoyable trip to the beach.


Guess how this ends.


She thought she was dirty before. A big meltdown ensued and we had to go home to end our public spectacle. Bennett loves to get dirty, so he couldn't figure out what sissy's problem was.


On this trip to the beach we met some dear friends and had a wonderful and cold day of fellowship. (We left Rachel home with Pop and Popgrandma to take a nap.)


Bennett wet from head to toe. He is a magnet to water.


Bennett, Hannah, and Elizabeth are all the same age and have April birthdays.


Rachel's first trip to the Morro Bay Aquarium. This is one of our only pictures of her not crying because of the Seals and Sea Lions. The are pretty loud, and Bennett was scared of them too when he was her age. He is an old pro now and even threw the little fish heads to them to eat. Yuck!


Morro Rock in the background.


Our little Alpha male at the park.

I'd better start with pictures from Thanksgiving before I get to Christmas!

My in-laws were generous enough to fly us to CA for Thanksgiving. It is a big holiday with about 25 people that we only get to see once a year. It is an event that we always look forward to and this year did not disappoint. As we all begin to spread out all over the country, it is nice to be brought together once a year to give thanks.


This was our view and weather Thanksgiving day. It was beautiful and warm, around 65-70 degrees all day. Gotta love the CA coast.


The turkey that Mark is carving is so dark in color because the Markworts BBQ turkeys for Thanksgiving. Yum. They made three this year. My favorite is the brined, BBQ'd turkey.



Gatherings are never complete without an injury. Jeromy decided to video tape the ordeal instead of help her out of it. Posterity I guess.


Jeromy's cousin, Genesis, Monica and Little G who will be Hawaiian residents soon.


Great Grandma Lee wasn't there on Thanksgiving, but we saw her when she got home.

You know you have blogging fever when.....

You lie awake at night composing new blogs to post.


I think I am addicted to blogging over other types of journaling because it is immediate gratification. No one will read my journals until I am dead, if at all, but people read a blog almost instantly, thus rewarding my efforts to write more often.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Not New Year's Resolutions



It is the beginning of a new year when resolutions abound. I have never been into making or keeping them. There are definitely things in my life that need improvement, so instead of making a New Year's resolution that I will forget about by March, I am committing to prayerfully focus on areas that I need the Lord's help to change. I am posting these things here to hopefully be held accountable and maybe even prayed for :o)

Focus #1 Read through the Bible at least once (hopefully more) aside from the time I already read the Bible with the kids.

Focus #2 Have more patience with the kids and not let my temper take over.

Focus #3 Be less quick to give my opinion in general but specifically with my husband. (Listen more!)