Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It is Finished!!!!

I have finally finished taping myself to complete my RPM cert with Les Mills. Although I have taught aerobics for a while I must say this has been the most intense and extremely hard certification I have ever done. About 3 months ago the foot doctor told me NO MORE STEP AEROBICS!!! It seems I have developed heel spurs in both feet and plantar fasciitis which is very painful! The doctor hooked me up with some sweet night splints to wear, and let me say, thank goodness I have been married for awhile because there is nothing sexy about climbing into bed with moon boots on!!! None the less I needed to find something else to teach so I thought I would try RPM (cycling). The initial training was Sat and Sun 8am to 5 pm both days. I went totally unprepared to ride a bike 16 hours. I always thought people wore those padded bike shorts to look cool and the bike shoes just added to the coolness, but that is not the case! After riding 14 hours my bootie was so sore I wanted to die. Well, that weekend we biked 80 miles and overloaded on information. To complete the cert we were given 3 months to memorize 9 songs and tape record ourselves be graded!! Well, in true Chenoa fashion I waited until the last min. to accomplish this huge task. Mon 5:30 am I taped and low and behold when I viewed the tape I was horrible!! It is very humbling to watch yourself on video, especially for 1 hour straight! After 2 more tapping's I think I am finally done and ready to be raked over the coals! I only hope when they view the tape they will be blinded by the diamond in my nose and miss all of my mistakes!!
Now I can get to the good stuff! Hookin' up with my home girls for Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for these friendships and cherish every moment our families get to spend together(only wish the William's family could join us!) This is an event we look forward to every year. Although the last 3 years we have gone to the Cairney's home in Ohio, this year we are going to Kansas to see Stefanie's new home! One might call us crazy having 13 kids and 6 adults in one house for 3 days, we just consider it pure FUN!!! Lots of laughs and tons of good food and usually some shopping, proves to be a great time! I hope everyone has a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Over The River and Through The Woods......

We hit the road literally over the river and kept driving through the woods to visit Grandma and Grandpa and my brothers this weekend. We have enjoyed the last 4 years being so close to my home town, a 2 hour drive sure beats 12 hours from Oklahoma or 26 hours from California. Zoe tells everyone her "best fwend" is her Grandma. She adores her! She follows Grandma everywhere talking non stop and Grandma is way more patient than me. She listens to all of her stories and puts up with Zoe being all over her. I must say when Tom is gone and I am single parenting--it is a much needed break for me because when Grandma's in the house you might hear Zoe say "what Momma?"

We got to my brothers house and met his new addition to the family--a little rat dog. As soon as Bay saw the dog she said "Mom she looks just like our dog Bear. Remember the one that you stepped on and almost killed?" Yes she is right and so that dog didn't last in our family very long. The girls were thrilled and rolled around on the floor with her until she sank her sharp little puppy teeth into Zoe first and then she brought Bay to tears also. It is so funny watching my big grumpy brother pamper this crazy little dog. Friday is always pizza night at our house so we had some pizza hut and I mean had some Pizza Hut! While Zoe was distracted we snuck out the front door and made a quick Wal-mart run for fabric, cause we were going to sew some purses. Well, 3 hours later we got home and did not feel like sewing at all so we surfed the web instead. About 2am I fell into bed thinking I had only 5 hours to sleep before Zoe woke up and then I remembered Grandma was the lucky one to be chosen to sleep with Zoe!! Yeah!!

Saturday we went with my dad to visit my Grandma. I love this lady so very much and recently she moved into assisted living. Although it is a very nice facility it is hard for me to go visit her there. It just doesn't seem right, not Grandma's house that I have so many many good memories of. As we walked into her apartment her sweet face lit up!! She was and always is excited to see us! After everyone was greeted with a soft kiss we sat and chatted. I had to fight back the tears several times. When she saw Bay she kissed her then just looked at her and she could not remember her name. This is hard for her too I am sure--here is a woman that raised 7 kids and has 24 grand kids and I don't remember how many great grand kids and used to be able to tell you every one's birthday off the top of her head. She told me about her two girl friends and showed me the exercises they are making her do and was very concerned about Tom getting a job and where we would move. I love to hear her advice so I asked her where she thought we should move. "Well, Chenoa I would think about the kids first. Where do they have good schools? And I would always look for a good church! Why do you want to move away?" We took lots of pictures and she wanted to make sure they were only from her waist up. (You see she is the one I got my bottom half from and us Van Cleave girls don't really like the JayLo look.) At one point I asked her "Could you please tell your son to start wearing his teeth?" She said "I think he would listen to you more than me!" And she turned to look at my dad and she said "Don't hold your mouth like that!" Instantly Dad moved his mouth. I said "See Grandma He still obeys you!" It makes me laugh, I guess you are never too old for your mom to correct you!! About this time the kids were climbing her walls so we had to say our goodbyes but she insisted on walking us down to the front door. Since her hips are not so good my sweet Bay offered to put her shoes and socks on for her and as I watched I cried. Tears of joy and sadness mixed. All the times that she has served us and put our shoes on and now we have a chance to serve her back!

We headed to the mall with a little pit stop at my cousin's dorm room. Dominique gave us the grand tour of his pad. Zach loves to hang out with Dominique and loved checking out his room. Chick fillet was calling my name to we didn't stay long. My heart started beating faster as we approached my favorite mall eve-- Jordan Creek. I love this mall it just seems to have all my favorite stores, but for some reason I never have enough time to check them all out. While we were sitting and eating my little brother said "Chenoa your nose is swollen! You better go get some sea salt and a different earring for that!" Well, I tend to be a little, hmm lets say dramatic when things like this happen so from this point on all I could think of is sucking my earring up my nose and it getting stuck. Crazy I know but you see that is why I am not a nurse because every patient I worked on I would think I would have the same illness! So my mission was to find a piercing shop and get this nose to stop swelling up!! I dropped the kids with Grandma and Grandpa for bowling and gym time and headed out to find me a piercing shop. When the tattoo man saw my nose he said "I have seen much worse--here is some sea salt to clean it with!" Mission finally accomplished!! With sea salt and Qtips in hand I rushed back to doctor my nose at Rowdy's house. Much to my surprise the earring had sunk all the way in my nose and as I pushed it out to clean it I thought I was going to throw up~~another reason I am not a nurse-I an pretty wimpy!

Sunday we were finally able to meet my littlest nephew Landon. He is so darn cute and chubby. Hudson is his 3 year old brother that just loved to fight with Zoe. We had a great day shopping and bowling again with Grandma and Grandpa and my brothers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meet My New Friend!!

I met a new friend today over a hot cup of Joe--what do you think?? Would you like to get coffee with us next time? Can you imagine trying to kiss this guy? Ever thought what he does when he has a cold? Is he trying to give himself an eye lift? Not quite sure why someone would do this?? Ok, truth is I didn't really meet this guy but I did meet his friend at the Tattoo shop today!!

I finally got up enough courage to pierce my nose today. Although everyone has there own opinion of what is pretty I decided that my friends look was not really for me but I would prefer a tiny little crystal. I was so stinkin' scared I even drove away from my house with all of Tom's resumes on the roof of my car (but that is a whole different story). I was determined not to leave the tattoo shop with out getting it done this time. It took me 4 trips to the shop and I am thinking they were about to ban me from there for loitering. I got to the shop with my knees knockin' walked up to the door and it was locked. So I started to walk away and the tattoo guy came and opened the door. Meet my other friend-- although I don't remember his name because I was so nervous! I sat in his chair and almost chickened out as I watched him pull out all these surgical tools and watched him put on his rubber gloves. Next he put a clamp on my nose and said "Ok, I will tell you when to take a deep breath." So I am waiting and He said "Ok, you are done and it looks good!" I couldn't believe it was done. For 4 years I feared the pain and blood and I have to say getting all my shots hurt worse than this!

So here it is!! It is a little bigger than I wanted but in 10 days I can change it out and put in my little tiny fake diamond!!

So next time you see me please don't think of me as the lady in this picture. I'm still the same girl with just a little sparkle in my nose!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My sweet friend from did this to me. I feel totally intimidated by her blogging because I don't know anyone else that can me laugh so much that my stomach hurts. But here I go:

1. I am a coffee snob. I always try to beat my husband to the coffee pot in the morning so I can make the coffee to my standard. Super strong-so strong that my old neighbor would come over and get a cup of my coffee if she needed to use the bathroom. I do not like to order coffee while we are out and about unless it is from Starbucks and at home I prefer to brew Folgers Colombian. I drink it black or with only a little cream. Lately I have been in a little bit of a deli ma--International Delight quit making "Vanilla Toffee Carmel" my favorite creamer that I have used for the last 6 years. Lately, I have been seen standing in front of the creamer cooler starring at the assortment of creamers trying to figure out what to buy. I think I have bought every flavor and none of them compare to my "Vanilla Toffee Carmel!"

2.I married my husband 30 days after I met him. I would not recommend this to anyone! By God's grace we stayed married. I remember Tom came home from work and said if we want to get housing allowance we need to get married, so next thing I knew we were on our way to Reno to get married. After we got our marriage license we walked across the street to the Starlite Wedding Chapel and waited for a preacher. To my amazement I watched the man that married us walk out of the bar and walk into the chapel. Fifteen min. later we were married. After we were hitched we tried to go to the casino for the buffet but the bouncer kicked me out for being too young. We were babies--I still had braces on my teeth for Pete's sake! Although the first 3 years were not so great I can say now I love my husband to pieces and am thankful for the 18 years we have spent together!

3. I love to talk to myself all day long. Yes it is true I love to talk and during the day when my kids are gone and Tom is gone I just talk to myself. While I am writing this I am thinking I am weird! Even Zoe has picked up on this. I will hear her talking and ask her who are you talking to? "Myself, momma like you do." Please don't seek help for me until I start hearing voices.

4. I never wear underwear when I work out. Oh yeah, no panties so I don't have to worry about weggies and pantie lines.

5.I had my car repoed when I was in college. This was a very shameful moment for me!! I remember 2 guys knocking on my dorm room and saying we are taking your car now. So I had to walk to the parking lot and hand over the keys. I was totally at fault and had not made a payment in 4 months. I was a starving college student trying to pay for books, tuition, food only working 15 hrs a week at HyVee.

6. I think I am a little OCD! Although I have never been officially diagnosed I think I could fall in this category. I like my things a certain way and get a little irritated if not done just right. Towels folded my way, my closet color coded, shoes lined a certain way. Well, maybe this is just considered a control freak!

7. I love to dumpster dive! One might find me poking my head out of a dumpster or walking out of an abandoned house. I am not picky I enjoy digging through peoples trash out on the curb. In California I knew the trash mans schedule and I would drive by the houses to pick up my goodies before the trash man got there. In Oklahoma I made friends with the trash man and he would actually deliver things to my house that I had told him I was looking for. Oklahoma was also good because we had allies with dumpsters which made it easy to find treasures!!

Ok now I am going to pass on this little gift and like Lisa I am new to blogging and don't know a lot of people in the blog world so I am taggin Jen at, Larissa at, and Lydia at

Cooking with Zoe

This girl LOVES to cook!!! If I am baking anything Zoe will quickly go to the closet and grab the footstool and set it up next to me. She has actually gotten pretty good at measuring the sugar and flour and cracking the eggs. When we first started cooking together, most of the flour and sugar ended up on the floor or counter top. After each ingredient she adds to the bowl she always sticks her little nose in the bowl and smells. Maybe she learned this from our dogs who like to stick their little noses by your mouth and smell your breath. Who knows? After everything is mixed and we pour the batter into the pans Zoe puffs up her chest and is so very proud of herself for a job well done and anyone that eats something Zoe has made, she makes sure they know that Zoe made it! Today our treat was pumpkin bars and oh were they good! I can remember growing up eating these at our church! Once a month after night service we would have a cookie/bar social and I would always scout out the pumpkin bars! So I got this recipe from my Sunday school teacher and wanted to share it with you. Make sure you top them with Cream Cheese frosting. I love the recipe because it makes 2 pans so keep one and give one to a friend!

2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Pumpkin
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Oil
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Baking soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
4 Eggs

Mix all ingredients together and pour in a greased pan. Bake at 350 for 25 min.
you can either pour in 2 pans for bars or 1 9x13 pan for more like a cake. If you use
the one pan it will take a little longer to cook.

Our next creation---TACO SOUP!!! I love this for dinner it is so easy and yummy!! As you can see, Zoe is not so crazy about the Garbanzo Beans! She always picks them out and lays them on her napkin! I like to make the soup a little on the spicy side and in the picture of Zoe's mouth open wide she is expressing to us her mouth is on fire and she "needs a dwink!"

Remember to Pray

As I was driving home the other day I noticed this house and thought I would share the picture with you. I was reminded to pray for our country and the new leadership. In Bible study this week we got down on our knees and prayed. Lots of heavy hearts in the room that morning and disappointments with the outcome of the election. One of the ladies reminded us that God can raise up a king and bring them down too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who are you and where is my husband?

For the last 18+ years this is how I watched Tom leave for work! I must say I like a man in a uniform-oh so sexy! But this morning this is how I watched Tom leave the house.
That is right a suit and tie! He cleans up pretty nice, and I have to admit I like this look to! Or maybe it is just that I like him?!? As we are getting closer and closer to that retirement date Tom has been searching for a job. Although for years he told everyone he wanted to be a garbage man he decided maybe he should use his degree he has worked hard to get and some of that airplane experience! After watching the movie Fireproof I tried to convince him he needed to be a fireman because I like that uniform too! Non the less He had his first interview this morning and I can't believe how crazy nervous I was for him. I felt like a momma sending her kid off to school for the first time. I wanted so bad to go with him and walk him to the door, but he told me he didn't think that would look so good. As I watched him drive away I couldn't help but wonder what's next? What does God have in store for us? Where will He use us next?
When Tom first started searching for jobs I became obsessed! I was constantly looking on line for a job and I had no clue really what they were saying in the job descriptions, I just thought you've done one airplane you could do them all--well I was wrong. I was driving Tom nuts!!! It was one Wed. morning after Bible study (Calm My Anxious Heart) that I totally gave it to God, even though I really never had control of the situation in the first place, I just thought I did. I prayed that I would totally trust God in this situation and quit wasting my time. It was then that I truly felt ok, I prayed "God I know you already have a plan for us, I know you love us and wherever you lead us I will go, I do have to admit I had one simple request--No Snow!!!" Why does it amaze me every time that when we do submit to God's authority in our life it brings peace? I have been told a time or two that I am stubborn but you think I would have gotten this by now. It is then that Tom finally started getting calls and my family got their mom back. One of the statements in my Bible study I like is:

It's our "helping God out" that leads to an anxious heart. When we take over and try to control what happens, we take our focus off the One who is in control and put our eyes on our circumstances. I Timothy 6:15 says the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters.

I pray that over the next months while our life is totally in limbo I would daily remember this and keep my focus on Jesus my blessed controller.

The Half Way Finished Project

Here is the half way finished steps! Since we were unable to find red brick we have to paint the entire stoop to match the house. So when we are totally done I will display the end project with pride for the hard work done by my handyman. I have to admit I was a little nervous when he started pounding out the brick and even more nervous when I noticed the entire concrete slab being held up by 2 jacks. I thought for sure it was going to just fall off the house~but Tom did a great job and I should not doubt him. "Dood job Daddy" as Zoe would say!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Strategic Planning

We were woke up Saturday morning with tons of laughing coming from our basement. No it wasn't Bay or Zoe--it was 4 boys body slamming each other and planning their army mission for the day. I rolled out of bed and hit the coffee button and Tom whipped up a breakfast for our soldiers. After they downed 18 scrambled eggs Zach and his friends got dressed up in camo and I dropped them off in the woods to play a mean game of Air soft. As I drove away I was sure they would be dropped back off at our house by the Bellevue police department. About and hour later the team drug themselves back to our house covered in mud and tiny little stickers. They had found a creek and waded through it-- all except one solider who was afraid his mom would kill him if he trashed his new school shoes! They had a ball and their mission was complete. I can not understand how it is fun to get shot with and air soft gun??

This is Tom's strategic planning for the day!! The bricks on our front porch all started to crumble and over the summer we have developed a big hole!! Not good when you are wanting to put your house on the market and need some curb appeal to draw in the buyers! We tried and tried to get someone out to repair our porch and after a quote of $1300 Tom decided he would learn how to lay brick. Obstacle #1 our house was built in 1986 and no one makes large red brick anymore. Obstacle #2 Tom has never layed brick before. After hours of busting out the old brick and 10 bloody fingers Tom confessed he understood why they would charge $1300 to do the job!
I had some strategic planning myself--painting trim and closet doors! I first had to figure out how to get the closet doors out and haul them outside to paint! Thank goodness these are the last doors to paint!!! Why is it that our bedroom always seems to be the last room in the house to get finished. I have lived here almost 4 years and I am just now painting the doors to match the rest of the doors in the house! Well, at least the next owners can enjoy them.
I finished my project quite a bit faster than Tom but by the end of the day he had done a great job at laying brick and I am so thankful he ventured out to try something new. I think we can finally put a FOR SALE sign in our front yard! Bring on the buyers!!!

Trick or Treat or Treat

Zoe was so exctied for Halloween to finally get here! As soon as Zach and Bay left for school she wanted me to put her costume on. I had a ton of places to go before I took her to school and she proudly walked around with her cow costume on collecting candy at every stop. I am Bay's room mom at school so I was in charge of planning the class room party and in true Chenoa fashion I waited until the last min. to get all the supplies. I guess I waited too long because even Wal-mart was sold out of our favorite yummy sugar cookies. After many stops, supplies in hand and one sugar high little 4 yr old I dropped her off at school for her first Halloween party. Then off to pick up Pizza and I made it to Bay's room just in the nick of time to catch some of the parade around the school. Bay decided she would be a soccer player (how original). The party was a hit and I am so glad it is over. Somehow I get talked into doing these parties every year and yet I don't ever remember signing up for that. The Pressure to keep the kids interested in the games is intense but they seemed to like the games so all is well.

Bay's Kindergartner she reads to.

This year Zach and his friends decided to venture out trick or treating on their own. They were more interested in scaring people than they were in getting candy. Tom, Bay, Zoe and I started out together but after just 3 houses Tom and Bay ditched Zoe and I because we were too slow. I loved watching Zoe run to the houses and inspect every piece of candy she got! She would say "Trick or Treat or Treat" and people would laugh. At one of the houses Zoe got an empty M&M wrapper and when she walked away she handed it to me saying "Momma they gave me garbage!" The man at the house heard her and just started laughing-he had just eaten the M&M's and accidently gave Zoe the wrapper. Since he felt bad he loaded her little pumpkin up with good stuff! In the end Tom and Bay decided they should have stayed with us becuse Zoe got the most candy-- much to her delight!! All of the kids dumped their candy on the garage floor and sorted it into piles, as I watched them it reminded me of when I went trick or treating and my brothers and I would sort our candy in piles and trade what we didn't like for our favorites. Thankfully my kids blessed their momma with all of their Twix bars!! We finished the night sitting around the fire with friends and neighbors enjoying the unusually warm weather.