Saturday, October 30, 2010


Pea in a pod and stinky skunk.

I remember going trick or treating one time when I was little. My family tried to stay away from the ghoulish side of Halloween, and by doing that, we skipped dressing-up altogether. So this year, since Oliver is old enough to notice other kids celebrating big, we had a decision to make.

The origin of Halloween is unclear. Some say it's an evil celebration dating back to the Druids and Celts in the fifth century, B. C. Other studies link it to a Christian/Catholic fete. The research that I did (not deep, by any means), usually began with, "Legend says..." Conclusion? There is no evidence to back anything up. We've concluded on our own that it isn't condoning the evil of that surrounds the holiday by dressing our kids up and taking them out and about. There's fun to be had in dress-up. Some of my fondest childhood memories were made wearing Mom's old bridesmaid dresses playing make-believe with my sister and cousins. Imagination is lost on most children in this age of videos and video games. God has designed us to learn and grow as we imagine who we could be or how we could accomplish the seemingly impossible. Does that correlation make sense?

That being said, happy Halloween from the Toftnesses!
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Friday, October 29, 2010


Georgi and cousin Lori, my 2 PA assistants.
Jess wearing a t-shirt of Scott at the dance. Hilarious.
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Mr. ring bearer
Have you ever seen a more radiant bride?! The groom is looking rather dapper, as well.
Uncle Jimmy and Auntie Susie with Oliver after mass.
Anna's bridesmaid hair. I think it's my favorite ever.
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Mom, Cocoa and Scott, Life

I'll start this post with a side note: when you tell your mom your password, she takes liberties in adding pictures to your posts. This advice is given with the voice of experience. I'll add that not all mothers are as slick as mine, so you may get something offensive on your blog. I've been fortunate to be only pleasantly surprised to find my blog has been blogging without me.

Next subject: Cocoa and Scott's wedding. The photo Mom put up was from Friday, October 22 - a day of joyful celebration for my dear cousin, Nicole, and my new cousin, Scott. God gave glorious weather for a most glowing bride and beaming groom. I am so happy for these two lovely people - and they are so happy, too! Oliver and I had the opportunity to have a front row seat at the festivities by way of personal attendant/stylist and ring bearer. What an honor! The morning went swimmingly, with only a few minor glitches in the hair-doing. Pictures went well (even though Olives insisted on carrying a puppy around for most of the morning IN HIS WEDDING ATTIRE...he was never even peed on. Whew.). The more gory excitement started after pictures, before the ceremony. Forty minutes before 'Here Comes the Bride,' I was in the church doing my personal attendant duties, while the wedding party was chilling outside. A groomsman calmly came in to report that Oliver fell down and his head was bleeding. I had just told him to calm down and not scratch his face. An uncle of the bride rushed in, holding my bloody boy at arms length, swiftly hauling him to the bathroom. My dear Anna, nurse on-site, said, "Elizabeth, remember, head wounds bleed profusely even when they're not profuse. The cut isn't very big, but it's deep. He probably will need stitches, but he'll be fine." My first thought was so selfish it's embarrassing. *Nuts, no one is going to see my beautiful son walk down the aisle, and I'm going to spend the rest of the day at home with a crying kid.* Isn't that awful?! However, the next few minutes were an amazing display of think-on-your-feet action. Someone called for the clinic number (the clinic being a block from the church!), while another person punched the numbers. A call was also made to my cousin for another shirt (as Oliver's was dripping red), but the mother-of-the-bride said nah, she could wash that out in the sink (what?!). Mom came to drive us (me holding my three year old in the front seat...shhhh), while my cousin held Georgi in the back. On the way Oliver was crying, not because of the injury, but because he didn't get to carry up the rings yet. Ha! Upon arriving at the clinic, Mom did paperwork with the receptionist and I followed the nurse with my whimpering victim. He had two shots to numb, two pieces of hair cut to clear, and one staple to mend. Done and done. We flew back to the church to find Oliver's CLEAN, dry, ironed shirt waiting for him to slip into and he walked down the aisle. There was of course some funny fidgeting that went on during mass, but for the most part the rest of the afternoon was non-eventful (other than, "I now present Mr. and Mrs. Scott Wacker." YAY!). We celebrated long into the night and even the wee hours of the morning. What a day. Beautiful, fun, crazy, unpredictable, blessed. Tired.

Life continues to take us by surprise at every turn. I guess that's what happens when you have children...well, more so, anyway. But in my humanity I want everything to be expected. I want to control my environment and the influence it has on my family. This was a convicting realization when a friend asked me if I had said a prayer of grace for the day Friday. I hadn't, but God - in His mercy - gave grace when it was needed. I think I spend too much time wishing and hoping things will go well, instead of going to the One who is in control of circumstances. I have a cross-your-fingers, hold-your-breath kind of mentality, thinking I'll jinx the situation if I pre-pray it. Why wouldn't I just give things to God? I can't change His mind or plans anyway, why not just align my thoughts with His will through prayer? I'm learning this more and more as I consider the world I live in. Things will happen to my family that I don't see coming. MOST things are out of my realm of control. Don't fear the future, trust God with it.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rolling Stones audition

So, who else thinks I look like Keith Richards in my 'Blessings for Beth' bandanna? Mom kindly put this photo as my thumbnail for blogging. Woof. At least Josie and Georgi look good!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

O oliver

Now, let me tell you first-- Georgi is doing plenty of fine things, too, such as giggling, cooing, playing. Those stories usually merit only yawns from all others who aren't the babe's mother. Though, if you could see her today you would want to squish her even tighter than usual. Olive, George and I participated in a 5k benefit for one of my brother Jess' friends (little Beth who has cancer) this morning. The wind left Sissy's cheeks so rosy she looks like one of Santa's elves. Squish. Oliver had me running most of the 2 miles, which I was planning on strolling casually through. Squish him, too.

Here's the reason for this post: After Bible study Thursday Oliver said to me, "Mom, wanna know what we learned in class?" I was excited about some insight my boy was going to reveal. "What?" "We learned not to touch our neighbor. But there aren't any of our neighbors in my class." Trying to suppress a giant hoot, I explained to him that I thought the teacher probably meant the person sitting next to you in class, not our neighbors at home.

Back to the subject of Beth. I just ask that all who read this would say a prayer for this precious 15 year old fighting to beat cancer down. I got emotional today thinking of all those people (over 900) who showed up to support this sweet little girl. Pray for God's peace, comfort and strength.

The photo above is of Jess and Oliver with Beth at the benefit run for her on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One more

This story involves a green rubber golf ball, a pair of bib overalls, and an Olive who is a boy.
The Olive brought the ball to his nana's for a morning of play. When it was time to go, this silly boy thought a good location for the ball was his back pocket. His mom told him that was not a great idea and that he would feel that lump under his bum the whole way home. As the car backed out of Nana's driveway, Boy Olive says, "We have to pull over, I'm sitting on a lump."
His mom's reply, "I told you that would happen, but you made the choice to put it there anyway. We're going to drive home."
"Drive fast."

Friday, October 1, 2010


*This is a redeeming photo hoping to set your heart aflutter before you read this post*

As we strive to raise the smartest, God-fearing, respectful children (not to mention most attractive), we are finding ourselves suppressing chuckles and hiding grins and pure shock at the things our son comes up with.

1. "Grandma, where are all the frickin' airplanes?" This was during a trip Oliver and Mom took to the airport this spring when Isaac came home for a visit. The rest of the conversation...
Grandma: *shock* We don't say 'frickin',' Bud.
Olives: Mommy says it. [I do not. I say freaken. There's a difference...isn't there?]
Grandma: Maybe we could say 'funny' instead.
Later on...Oliver: Look at those funny airplanes. *Pause* Hey, Grandma! I didn't say 'frickin'!'

2. Andrew had cut the top off a milk jug to scoop the dog food. Oliver found it and a toad, and put the toad in the jug. He brought it in the house, but promptly went back outside as I shooed the two of them out- boy and his toad. I told him he probably shouldn't pick it up because they pee on you. I know that's a dumb thing to tell a little guy - to not touch something gross - but I couldn't help it. My mommy instinct came out and I said something that couldn't be obeyed. Sorry. Anyway, a little while later Oliver shows his daddy the toad...on the end of a stick. He had shishkabobbed it. "I like it so much, and I didn't want it to get out, so I killed it."

3. While staying at Mom and Dad's, Oliver took a bathroom break, during which my brothers, Jess and Jonny, had a little scuffle. Jonny was just complaining to Mom about how Jess (who weighs upwards of 75 pounds more than little Jon), was pounding on him, when Oliver walks out of the bathroom and says, "You're a pansy, Jonny."

4. Again, at Mom and Dad's...
*Oliver drawing at the kitchen table*
Jonny: You pickin' up the Legos, Oliver?
Olives: Does it LOOK like I'm picking up the Legos?

So how do you think we're doing with our parenting? Oh brother.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I am crazy about these people in this picture (minus, I'm just plain crazy). Oliver Boliver, Georgi Porgy, and Anj. Here we are at a delightful little pizzaria in Dayton, Ohio - one of the destinations on our roadtrip this summer. Oh the joy of family.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Christmas spirit?

As most of us are celebrating our country's freedom, Georgi is looking like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas - I think it's the way she wears her hair...
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Fourth of July week - happy Independence Day!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Baby Story

Here's what happened:
Thursday, May 13 my dear doctor left for CA for the weekend. I tried to hold real still until Monday so I wouldn't go into labor without her (esp. Thursday, when my old employer, Dr. Westin was on call! Awkward.). On Monday, May 17 I went in for an appointment, at which Dr. Maucieri 'stripped my membranes.' TMI? I don't even know what that means really, except that there was a slight chance it would induce labor. After my visit to the clinic, I found Oliver and Andrew at the wood shop and we went walking around town...FOREVER, as I was determined to do anything to get this babe out. Oliver rode his bike, actually, and I can't believe he has legs left on his little body after that day. While walking I had consistent contractions 3-4 min. apart. Exciting, right? Well, when I stopped, so did the contractions. Aw rats. After covering upwards of 20 city blocks, I brought Olives home, he took a nap, I mowed lawn, we went back to town and walked/biked some more. Although I felt like I could possibly deliver this baby while walking, as soon as I stopped I felt fine as frog's hair. At 9:30pm I got the wild hair to go to Wal-Mart for some Castor oil. Anna's sister-in-law drank some at the end of her pregnancy and it sent her into labor. We packed up a tired little Olive, drove across town, got the gunk, and I choked down 2 tsp. You can imagine my acute disappointment going to bed Mon. night without the faintest cramp...only to pop awake at 1:45 with an intense CONTRACTION! I timed them for 45 min. or so, woke Andrew up, he called his mom to come be with our sleeping boy, and by 3:10 we were on our way to the hospital! I was excited and yet somewhat fearful, thinking this could possibly be a false alarm. Not so. When we got to our room, I told the charge nurse I wanted an epidural ASAP, which in anesthesiologist world must mean there's no rush, patient is comfortable...after the nurse finally found my vein (ouch!), and got the I.V. of plain fluid going, I was ready to wring a neck while waiting for pain relief. I had heard a little about 'hypno baby,' which is basically telling yourself, "My body was made for this. I don't feel pain. Etc.," so I tried it. Bologna. The gal doing the epidural had a STUDENT WITH HER! Are you kidding me?! Most painful forever of my life, plus by this time I felt like I should be PUSHING, not holding as still as possible while having an 8 inch needle sent through my spine. As soon as they got that medicine pumping I said, "Okay, I think I should push now." Dr. Maucieri just happened to come into the delivery room, not expecting to be needed for a while longer (considering I had been there just under two hours and my history of delivery was more like 14 hours of labor before pushing). The nurses scurried around prepping the room while I panicked, knowing what I had to do next. I was really hoping I would be able to lay there comfortably basking in the glory of this God-given medicine for a few minutes at least, but no. I gave a few good pushes, may have even screamed and cried, and she was out! With my sweet little Oliver I pushed for a solid 3 hrs. before he finally came. The duration of this push was 5 min. MAX. The doctor said, "She's not very big!" I said, "It's a girl?!" I was completely shocked! I had myself so convinced it was going to be a girl, I thought there was no way it could be. So there you go, labor and delivery - 1:45 to 5:30. Result: Georgianna Lynn, a sweet blessing from Jesus, now wearing so many of our kisses and so much pink...except when she's wearing Oliver's caterpillar jammies. She's already showing signs of silliness in her character by way of her crossed eyes and her hair -it's hysterical. After we gave her her first bath she looked like a spring chick, all fuzzed out. Speaking of yellow, she was quite jaundice by Sat., so had to be on a bili blanket for a few days. She's looking rosy now, though. And just as pretty as a picture. God is so GRACIOUS.
"He has made all things beautiful..." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, May 31, 2010

Georgi Girl

Here is our little bambino! Georgianna Lynn, 5.18.10, 6# 9oz. She's so precious. As I have more time/sleep I will elaborate. For now - we're praising Jesus that she's here (I'm particularly thrilled to not be great with child anymore), and finding a rhythm with our new foursome.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Whoa Baby

Should I be concerned that it seems this baby in my belly becomes more active at bedtime? Is that a foreshadowing of life outside the womb for this one? Oh dear. A bit of good news concerning the baby - we did break it to Oliver that 'Blackie' would probably be just a nickname and not something we call the poor dear all the time. He took the news rather well.
Speaking of bedtime, Oliver has graduated to a big boy bed! I know it's about time - he's 3. But the crib was still working so we thought what the heck? Was working. A few weeks ago, shortly after putting the Olive to bed, we heard a crash, like Santa just landed his team... inside. I thought surely our boy Ollie jumped ship. No. He was jumping alright...IN his bed. The platform for the mattress let go in one corner and there you go. Big boy bed. I'll post pictures soon -- his room is really coming together with his little train car beds and books and animals. Fun!
Okay, on the note of Santa Claus: Oliver informed me the other day he wants a chimney for 'Sanda'. That's what happens when you watch Winnie the Pooh's Christmas in the off-season.
News from the wood shop: Andrew, due to a swiftly approaching deadline, worked 82 hours IN ONE WEEK a couple weeks ago, which I didn't know was humanly possible. Oliver and I spent some late nights working with him which is kind of fun. We all have our little niche there at the shop. Things we're good at. For me it's monotony (sanding, planing, sanding), Oliver - movies (like Pooh's Christmas while he's perched atop a mountain of moving-blankets), Andrew making it all come together. And boy does he.
Oh, one more hilarity. My parents are gluttons for punishment, particularly in the grandparenting department. They invite Oliver to spend the night and SLEEP WITH THEM every time we're together. On the rare occasion that this comes to pass, there's actually not much sleeping taking place, especially for Grandma and Grandpa. They subjected themselves to the torture of Oliver's elbows and knees one night last week. After the three stooges were all snug for the night - at eleven bells! - Grandma says, "Goodnight sweetheart." Grandpa replies, "Goodnight." Oliver says, "She was talkin to me."
Whoa baby.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Disaster [entirely] averted

Boring. Mrs. Hack called Anna this afternoon to cancel their lunch date for tomorrow at 1:00 because it was snowing today at 4:00. Welcome to Ohio.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Disaster [nearly] averted

"Hi, Anna. This is MRS. Hack."
Ruby - ahem - Mrs. Hack, stated her status straight away. Remember Mrs. Hack? She was the crescendo in Anna's Christmas luncheon saga. True to her word, she called my sister up last week to 'do lunch.' After asking Anna where she'd like to go (to Anna's mortification and abundant hesitation), Mrs. Hack was persistent enough to pull an answer out of Ann. Ruby could pull a tooth out of a tiger. She's very persuasive and persevering. Though Anna's initial response was panic, she knew she had to say something -Mrs. Hack wasn't giving her anything. "Panera's always good." Mrs. Hack's reply: Oo, that's true. The only problem with Panera is that their bread is quite hard.
Nice try, Ann.
They eventually did decide on Panera as their rendezvous point despite their hard bread. They set the date and time and...Anna discovered she had class all day that day. What a bummer. No matter, they just rescheduled. This Tuesday is when our story will get colorful - Ruby red, I'm sure. I can't wait to hear the full report!
So after she thought she had an excuse -class is even legitimate- Anna came to realize there is no excuse for Mrs. Hack, she'll find a way. She makes things happen.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Sometimes I feel trapped in my mind. What I mean is, I get so caught up in my thoughts (frets, really), that I become overwhelmed with all there is to worry about. This seems wrong, considering the God of the universe has promised peace and safety, provision and strength.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -
think about such things." Philippians 4:6-8
Interesting how Paul makes the transition from anxiety to rectifying our thoughts, detecting the origin. Our enemy, the Devil, wants to devour us. He's tricky in using a very personal, God-given tool, our own minds, to manipulate and confuse. Sometimes I feel like he's eating me from the inside out. Though this sounds morbid, there's hope! In Ephesians God gives us a list of tools and armor to combat this most destructive pattern Satan has wound us in. The belt of TRUTH, breastplate of righteousness, sandals of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit--the word of God. The trouble comes when we don't use these defenses, when our guard is down, when our thoughts aren't fixed on Him. Now, I'm a very practical person, so I know it's not possible to be actually praying all the time. However, I know I can be in constant communion with God, having a prayerful heart.
Here's where it gets tricky again... my sin blocks my communication with Christ. Yesterday at Bible study a new thought came from an old reminder - unconfessed sin is a barrier in our relationship with the Lord. I usually pile this up (sin), until it's looming over me like an impossible mountain to climb... a mountain of sin is a dreadful thing, to be sure. But I don't have to climb it. With the resurrection power of Jesus, I can shatter it! Until I call on the power of Jesus, I am joyless, faithless. Doom and gloom. This is a very real problem I've been experiencing. I've lost my moxy... only to take it up again upon this grand discovery! It can feel like a bleak uphill battle, but when I carry my burdens and blunders to the cross and lay them at the feet of Jesus Christ, I find that the ground is level there. No one is better than me, no one is worse. We all go before Him equally, stained by our choices and washed by His blood. The key is in the confession.
{You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3}

Friday, January 22, 2010

SariAnn Elizabeth

Andrew is one of two boys in his family, so after his brother Micah and sister-in-law Heather had three boys and we had Olives, we were beginning to lose hope of ever seeing a wee one in pink. Until Monday, January 18th when Micah and Heather welcomed little miss SariAnn. Oliver and I got to visit with them in the hospital - he was delighted to hold the baby. It gets us even more excited to have ours - maybe a playmate for this princess?
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hail the conquering toilet trainee!

Oliver decided it's time to grow up. Since he's going to be the big brother, diapers are no longer acceptable. I tried to get this point across for many months, but to no avail. Then he comes along and makes his mind up. Just marching to the beat of his own drum, as usual.
That's the greatest of the latest from our house. Andrew is busy at work crafting customers' cabinets, ensuring that we will have a new baby before a new kitchen in our own home. I'm thankful for his work and annoyed.
We had our twenty-week ultrasound last week (at 21 weeks), and resisted the acute temptation to find out the sex of the babe. We brought Olives along, so that was quite something. All is well, we're expecting our little bundle around May 27th. Come quickly, May Twenty-seventh!

Christmas album

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Comic relief

Over Christmas I had the joy of spending time with my entire family. It was so very merry indeed. We all laughed and had good talks. The most I've laughed, possibly ever, was at Anna. I would say with Anna, but she wasn't laughing. Here's the story...
It begins with Anna having the -ahem- privilege of going out for a Christmas luncheon with Luke and all of his coworkers (superiors - scientists, PHDs, colonels, etc.), and their wives. Oh joy, thought Anna.
Now, you know when you have something dreadful to do and you're just getting yourself so worked into a tizzy? You hang onto a thread of hope that things won't be as bad as your imagination has led you to fear. If only that were the case with Anna.
See, she just started digging into her food with gusto, hoping no one one would notice her, and certainly to avoid -the death wish - eye contact. Wouldn't you know it, the general didn't get the body language, and struck up conversation with my sorry sister.
General: So Anna, Luke tells me you're getting your Masters in nursing.
Anna: *GUFFAW*
The poor dear. She just found it so ironic that someone with such a stack of education under his feet, would assume she's already onto her Masters.
After recovering slightly from the shock of her own response, but still looking red in the face, Anna wanted to say she was going to get her Bachelors then Masters, but she put the two together. What do you get when you combine Bachelors and Masters? Well, Anna told the general she was getting her bastards in nursing. Wow, that's something new.
Luke momentarily takes over the story here. He said he stared at his plate for a second, then swooped in and saved his mortified bride. "What Anna means is that she'll get her Bachelors degree, then her Masters..."
Okay, two moments of embarrassment behind her, Anna forges on, hoping to be a most forgettable person amongst this crowd of dignitaries. But did I mention there are three irksome degrees to this saga? The third being the piece de resistance.
I now introduce Luke's boss' wife, Ruby Hack. She had gotten Anna's number from Luke at a prior meeting, wanting to take Anna out for coffee and a chat. So as Ruby's leaving this luncheon she reaches out her hand to give Anna a little wave and say, "I'll call you," when my overeager sister reaches out and attempts to shake it. Ruby's left hand, out there limp just for a friendly gesture, has just turned my poor Annabelle into the most distressed creature. Confounded. Disconcerting. Vexing. Perplexing. Needless to say, Anna's not exactly waiting by the phone for Ruby's call to go out to lunch. Not that again.