Friday, December 22, 2006

Chocolate: It's A Food Of Love

Today is the day. A day that we have been longing and hoping for....

The new water heater is here.

We came so close to getting a 50 gallon tank but it just won't fit in our little furnace room without tearing out a wall. So for now, I will just look at it while it is sitting in my front yard waiting to go back into the truck when the guy leaves and wonder what it would have been like. I am thankful for the one we least it's not leaking!

The real point of my story is this:

Why is it when we are out in public or if a repair person should come into my home, the children misbehave and act like undisciplined little devils? Can someone help me out here? I'm just at a loss. I often wonder what other people are thinking as they watch.

As I was sitting at the table writing out my list for what I needed to purchase for this weekends feasts, all I hear is whine, whine, whine, crab, crab, crab...Mom, he did this or she did that. And then there was the children jumping on the couch which they know isn't allowed. I finally sent them to their rooms but somehow they interpreted that with go upstairs if you like and keep coming down to inform me of who was doing what wrong.

Finally, after one of their trips down to inform me of just one more thing, I decided to lock myself in the office. Although, they know where I am....the door is closed and I can't see them and I, at this moment today, like it that way.

Sometimes a brief interlude of quiet, is like that commercial with the New York peppermint patties (do you remember those?). Maybe that is what I need here in this office....a stash of chocolate! Now I KNOW what I've been doing wrong all along. I just need a stashing of chocolate in my purse, in the diaper bag and in the office....Oh! and maybe I should keep some in the bathroom......

Thank you for helping me figure out a solution! Since I apparently, with no matter how many consequences, can't seem to tame the pack, I now know what will help me endure the agony. So when you see me out and about or if you could see me at home when repair work is being done....there will be me with my smile and chocolate on my breath :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Miss Popularity

What does the word integrity mean to you? states that it is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I recently had to purchase a gift certificate at the local Speedway. I thought that I would just run in there one day on the way home from one of my adventures. While I was in there, I thought what a great opportunity to get a Mountain Dew for myself because there was no one in the car with me that would give me 'Mr. Sad Face'. I would not have to share.

With an extra bounce in my step, I took my items up to the counter to check out. In the process of chatting with the clerk and gathering my newly purchased items, I did not notice that he forgot to charge me for my Mountain Dew. As I was leaving the parking lot, I glanced over at my receipt. All of the sudden it dawned on me that two plus two didn't equal four.

Now let me ask honest here....what would you do? What if you got all the way back home before you realized that you were not charged for something. Would you think, was their fault. Today is my lucky day. Or would your conscience be unsettled till you rectified the matter? To what end would you go to fix the situation or would you instantly push it out of your mind..never to be thought of again?

This is me: Mrs. Conscience Unsettled. I drove back to the store and paid for my Mountain Dew. I don't tell you this to pat myself on my back. I honestly would not be able to sleep tonight if I didn't do that. I believe that God calls us to be people of integrity even when nobody is looking or cares. Now if the clerk said, it's on the that point, I would think it was my lucky day!

The fun part of this story is the fact that when I did go back in to pay for my Mountain Dew (no, it wasn't on the house), I did surprise the clerk so much so he didn't know what to say. After the shock wore off, he called a couple other clerks over to meet the person who came back to pay for her purchase. They kept thanking me over and over again. Now I realize that the price of a pop is not going to make or break Speedway but I think the moral implications of this situation has a deep affect on the people involved. As I was walking out of the store, waving my hand like I was Queen for the day, at the regular people of the village, I was feeling like what I did was important seen or not seen.

....and as I glugged down that cool citrus flavored liquid, I enjoyed every little molecule of flavor as it lingered on my tongue without an ounce of regret.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Big Pink Bunny That Loves To Beat A Drum...


Me laying on a couch with a big fluffy pillow but no blanket because that would just make me go to sleep.

You all sitting in the opposite chair with your pencil in hand and a pad of paper.

We Begin:

Hello, my name is major over-commitment, I have a problem.

So maybe I have some issues I need to come to terms with. I admit it! I've done it again! What, you may ask, is it that I have done again? The answer: I've over-committed myself once again.

Let me just give you a glimpse of this past weekend:

Shop for gifts that need to be delivered to church on Friday
Make food items which includes one quick bread item, one candy item and cookies for Christmas bags that my mother needs for Friday
Go to store to get items to make for said bags
Bowling teen night for our oldest

Leadership meeting for a Bible study I co-lead
Shop for items that I forgot to get at the store due to previous 'missing child' trauma
Drop off gifts at church
Parent Night Out at Greenfield Village

Make 15 pounds of southern green beans for outreach at a church in Detroit
Make kid-friendly dessert for Christmas party this evening
Take oldest child to a sleep over
Wrap gifts for Christmas party this evening
Go to Party

Drop off green beans that I made on Saturday
Possibly help serve meal at a church in Detroit depending on my husband's work schedule
Go back to the grocery store

The problem is this: I love to do all these things. When I agree to do something, it really is in my heart to do. So perhaps the real problem is that I need a super cape to accomplish all that my heart wants to do and an energizer super charged battery to keep my body moving forward. I had a friend recently tell me this. Ok, dear friend of mine, you do realize that you did just have a baby. I had to think that one over. I guess I did (even though she is 7 months old now). I haven't really stopped to consider that doh, maybe I should take a few moments to breathe.

And maybe just maybe, I should practice the word, No! But what do you say no to when everything sounds like something workable and fun. How do you determine what is highest on the list of importance? And of course, everything seems to always fall on the same day. And let's not forget I do have five children that 'neeeeed' me as my three year says.

Deep sigh.

I've come to this conclusion. Every one of those items on my calendar are of importance for one reason or another. Some of the stuff on my calendar is simply things that I want to do and then there are other things on there that the rest of my family deem important. And somewhere in there is the balance. As you are taking notes, I ask that you write this down and remind me next year when you see my calendar, that back in December I vowed to not over commit myself all in one weekend. That it needs to be spread out a bit more over time....and of course, as the baby allows!

Ok, Breathe.....

My five year old is so full of life and all boy. He loves to growl, yell, and let everyone know he's around. He also has the cutest cheeks in the whole wide world. When he smiles, the mystery of who he is shines through his eyes and you can only wonder what kind of mischief he is thinking up next. He also is a character. The things he says (most of the time) have me laughing hysterically. It just comes naturally to him and when he has you laughing, it inspires him all the more to continue on.

Ryan also loves our special date time. His turn has come around but had to be postponed because he was sick. Every day he asks me if he's all better so we can go. Yesterday I had some errands to do and I thought that perhaps I would take him with me and while we were out I would stop and get him his favorite lunch, Burger King cheeseburger kids meal with a coke. He always tells me to not forget the toy and to not forget the coke :-)

He was so excited to be on a date with his Mom and he was also so excited to be at Target. He, like his Mom, enjoys shopping at that store. His excitement was played out as he ran back and forth in the aisle making all those boys noises he holds dear. As I was about to scold him for acting so crazy and that he needed to stick closer to the cart and to me, a mother's nightmare happened. Instantaneously he disappeared.

As I grabbed the cart and headed in the direction of where he was, the silence was deafening. I couldn't hear those boy noises which would lead me to him. All I could hear is the silence that rang out in my ear, that he was missing. After what seemed like an eternity, I started to panic. I looked and looked and called out his name. I thought surely he would have found the toy aisle and got distracted by all those fun items but as I went up and down those aisles, he was no where in sight.

I went back to where I was. Down on my hands and knees I went to see if he was hiding under the clothing racks, a place where he loves to play on previous trips. Much to my dismay, he wasn't there either. A sick feeling overcame me. What am I going to do? Even though we talked about it in the past, will he remember what to do if he gets lost? If the target employees were to call him over the intercom, would he even be aware that they were calling his name? Would he even know how to get to the service counter or where that was? That is a pretty big store to a five year old.

As I tried to compose myself enough to make my legs work and not buckle underneath me, I began heading in that direction for someone to help me. Then around the corner, two red-shirted Target employees had a little boy whose cheeks I recognized. When he saw me and I saw him, we ran to each other and both started crying. I was never so relieved to see the sight of him. In a moment like that, your mind goes in so many directions. Of course, at that moment, I was trying to decide whether to choke him or hang on to him for dear life. I chose to hang on to him. He was alright. And I kept thanking God for helping me in that situation.

After the panic died down to a tremble, I asked him why he did that. His only response was that he was trying to find the bathroom. gets so complicated when our children are so desperately trying to be independent but aren't quite there yet. That was enough for me for the day. We quickly finished up the shopping and left....(I forgot quite a few things and must go back today) but at least my Ryan is none worse for the wear ( I can't say that about my nerves though!). The only comment he made to his father later that evening was he hoped his mother let me go outside again sometime. Perhaps he overheard my comment about never letting him go outside the house ever again for any reason ever!

Monday, December 11, 2006

What in the World?

I hate to even blog on this topic especially this time of year but I am so riled up about must come out somewhere. I suppose better here then there!

Two people who are dear to our family recently had incidences out there in the world recently that shocked the heck out of me. I hear about this kind of thing happening but it just hasn't happened to me personally. I think sometimes that we hear stories like this and we are surprised to hear such things occur but the reality doesn't really hit until it becomes personal.

The first incident happened at a Meijer's on a Saturday morning. Now keep in mind that a Saturday morning at Meijer's is like trying to get through the crowds in New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Our friend went to said store with his wife and began not feeling well. He told his wife that he was going to run to the restroom and he would be back in a few minutes. While in the restroom, he felt as if he was going to pass out amongst some other symptoms that indicated he was in trouble. He managed to get to the customer service department to have them call his wife over the intercom but instead of understanding the urgency of the situation, somehow that call just didn't get completed.

At this point what does a person do when they can't make it through the store to get to a familiar face nor can you get a Meijer employee to help you? You lay on the floor because you are in trouble health wise. The thought suddenly hit him that he had his cell phone, he then dialed 911 who stayed with him on the line till the ambulance was able to get to him. During that time, not one person came to see if this person laying on the Meijer floor was ok or needed some help.

The second incident that happened recently was in front of a CompUSA. As this individual was going into the store, her foot got caught on some sidewalk and down she went face first. She hit so hard it almost knocked the wind right out of her. As she laid there for awhile, trying to get her bearings, no one stopped to see if she was ok. She managed to get herself up and enter the store to get some ice to put on her wounds. However, not one of the employees there bothered to write up an accident report or be too bothered by her fall.

I do need to enter a positive note here. Upon one of our camping trips this past fall, Aaron tripped on a piece of loose sidewalk at Big Boy and fell with his face sliding across the cement. When we took him into the restaurant, they were pretty quick about getting him some ice (which no way was he letting that cold touch his owie) along with something to clean it up and kept coming and checking on him to make sure he was ok. They also wanted us to fill out an incident report just in case he would need further looking at by a doctor. The icing on the cake for him? A free ice cream. When we left, he looked awful, but his smile was back :-)

I cannot believe that the world has come to this. Are we too scared to stop and help someone in trouble? Or do we just not have the time to be bothered? I began wondering myself, what would I do if I was faced with a situation like this? Would I stop and offer a hand to help? Would I take the time to address the situation or would I just step over someone and leave it to someone else to take care of?

It does remind me of the parable that Jesus told of the man that was beaten up and left for dead on the road...'The Good Samaritan". How many people passed by before someone felt something in his heart and acted on that? I pray that I do not become so desensitized to opportunities that come across my path, that I do nothing. Instead I want God to choose me to minister to that person in the moment and then go over and beyond what I could do.

I pray today that God will make my heart sensitive to those around me and that I am willing and able to be used by Him in the moment of need.

What would you do?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmastime. The day after Thanksgiving sales have come and gone. We are well into the season and as it appears we only have approximately 16 shopping days left. I recently heard a bunch of people grumbling about how a certain radio station had the nerve to start playing 'Christmas' music in the beginning of November and that just really stressed them out. I heard another group of people grumbling about how they rush from one event to another between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then it's all over and they realize that they didn't even have a chance to enjoy the season.

As I was thinking about that conversation, I began to wonder why do we let Christmas music stress us out. And why do we agree to all these wonderful Christmas plays, parties and family gatherings but deny ourselves a few moments to stop and look around us, taking a few deep breaths to smell the Christmas in the air.

Why don't you stop for a moment, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Do you smell the newly baked sugar cookies, or the pine scented aroma from a wreath or a real live tree? Do you smell the cold crisp air as it hits your lungs as you go outside? Do you smell the deliciously hot cocoa that has the marshmallows which have slightly melted and are waiting there on the top of your mug for just one sip?

What do you see?

Do you see the sun reflecting off the newly fallen white snow? Do you see the red bows and the lights that are displayed from house to house? Do you see the light of the season coming through the eyes of your children? Do you see the excitement building as they anticipate the 'big' day?

I encourage you to take another deep breath and remember that Christmas is really about love. The love in our hearts, the love we give to others and the love God has for us. Despite trying to get all the gifts we have on our lists this year, I want to remember that God gave me and you a very, very precious gift. Our Saviour.

That is the most important gift I want to share with all of you. This year, I pray that your holiday season is filled with lots and lots of love. That in the midst of all the activities, that the love that God has for you and the love that He has placed in your hearts will shine forth in all that you do and say. May this Christmas be full of His peace, His love and His Light!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The First Anniversary of the 'Second' Crisis: The Fall

Our plans were made. It was in 'ink' on the calendar. The excitement was building as the week progressed. We were going to Greenfield Village. The place we were headed last year when my dear husband took a fall which lead to months and months of pure agony due to the main ligament in his ankle being severed.

When I called my mother-in-law to see if she and some of our other relatives wanted to join us, I didn't realize at the time that the actual date was exactly one year from 'the fall'. I thought, when my brain caught up and it actually sunk in, what an appropriate way to spend the day.

As it turned out, the Friday before we were suppose to go, the township building inspector was to come out and give his final approval of the furnace room work that was done earlier this year. Well, needless, to say he was here for approximately 30 seconds to look in there, see what he saw and give me an 'F' or perhaps it should just be a big ol' red 'D' for deny.

What do you suppose he saw in our newly drywalled, painted and spit-shined furnace room? A flood, I tell you. What he saw was a flood. Apparently, my water heater decided to leak from all the seals around the top of the water heater and had been for quite some time. The drywall and the floor were soaked.

After I sat on the couch letting that bit of information sink in, it occurred to me that perhaps my 'growing season' was not quite over or in remission yet. Oh, how I dreaded calling my husband to give him the wonderful news. After calling him, he decided to call the company that was organizing all the repairs on our home over the past year to see if perhaps it could have been damaged during the removing and the putting back because we have had absolutely no problems with it until now. I was holding on to that hope.

After two estimates from two different plumbers, the conclusion was that there is no way to prove how it broke and that it probably was just wear. You know, Madame, this is an old water heater. Who would have thought that a seven year old water heater was old? Well, now I know. I also know that it's going to take a whopping $600 to fix it. Oh, that doesn't include the permit they are going to need to do so. (and of course, it doesn't cover the damage to the floor and wall either).

You may be wondering about Greenfield Village. The outing was canceled due to mental and emotional breakdown. A future date may be set if and when I crawl out from under my covers. In the meantime, as I was driving past a church the other day, praying that God would help my mental state, I looked up to see a sign on a church which reminded me that I can, indeed, crawl up on my Daddy's lap and He will take care of it. This is what it said:

There is no darkness in the light of the SON

I must admit that I've been throwing a bit of a temper tantrum since all this happened. I am mentally and emotionally tired from all that has been thrown at us this past year. Sometimes I wonder if one of my family members is going to have to run for that dustpan and broom to sweep up the ash, after I've been zapped for my poor thoughts and for my utter misbehaving. But that hasn't happened yet and it got me to thinking. Why, as a long time Christian, can't I sometimes grab hold of or remember simple truths and promises that God gives me. I love to encourage other people who are struggling and remind them how much hope God offers us in his word but when it comes to myself...well that is a different story. Does this make me a hypocrite???

I suppose this is where God's precious loving GRACE is applied. Believe it or not, inspite of my poor behavior, He does and continually loves me through it. And despite my background, He is not always there 'at the ready' to zap me a good one. As my dear husband says, it is just another wonderful opportunity to see a blessing from God played out in our lives.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Birthday Meme

I was recently tagged by a dear friend of mine's blog (thank you, Shelly!). She had this 'birthday meme' posted and I thought it pretty cool seeing what was happening on the date of her birthday. Incidentally, you might be wondering what the heck a 'meme' is. Since I didn't really understand it myself, I went to a very informative web site that I use so very It states that a meme is....A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. So I, now, am passing on the meme.


1) Go to Wikipedia.

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday.

4) List two important birthdays and one death.

5) One holiday or observance (if any).

On January 13th:


1. The accordion is patented by Anthony Faas

2. The Mickey Mouse comic strip makes its first appearance

3. Wham-O company produces the first frisbee


1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (actress from Seinfeld)

2. Trace Adkins (country singer)


Wyatt Earp


In Sweden, Christmas is celebrated for 20 days which ends on my birthday. That day is called St. Knut's Day which is celebrated by taking the Christmas tree down and eating all the candies and cookies which decorate the tree. (I like this holiday...maybe we'll make this a new tradition in our home!)

This also explains perhaps why I am so nutty about Christmas and I hate, hate, hate to take down my tree. Now that I'm thinking of it....maybe my birthday is not the day to take down the tree. Who wants to have a sad face on their birthday? I do know that eating all the candies and cookies (which I will have to start putting on the tree so I can have something to munch on on my special day) on my birthday is a great tradition to start and continue on with throughout this holiday which now includes my birthday! Things are looking up :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Delightful Opportunity

A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, my darling husband got a grand idea. He wanted 'us' to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for someone and share our family love with them. My first response was very upbeat and positive. We love to bless people and this is just another way to do that.

As I started thinking about it, my insecurities began to overcome this wonderful opportunity. I thought that nobody was going to want to come to my home and spend an evening with people they didn't even know. Where would we even find such a family? Everyone I knew already had plans. What will we ever talk about? Will Kara even allow me the time to make a feast for our guests? Just how will this all work out? I began to pray that God would bring the right family to our doorstep.

My husband informed me that he wanted to send an email to our pastor to see if he knew anyone. I was thinking that we probably wouldn't hear from him because he probably didn't know anyone that was needing that as we as a church already gave out Thanksgiving baskets or perhaps he might just think this was a silly idea. But low and behold, we got an email from a lady in our church who knew of someone that would be perfect for just that very blessing.

I was excited and nervous. We had a name....I only needed to call her to make all the arrangements. The time and date were set and my menu was planned. Upon arrival of her and her little ones, my children ran out the door to greet them. (Never say that homeschoolers are shy and unsociable) What a warm welcome she received! The evening went well, the kids got along well and we had a lovely time getting to know each other.

As the night came to a close, a comment was made about how lonely it can be to be a single Mom and that she prayed that very thing a couple weeks before. After she had left and I was cleaning up, it hit me then. What if I would have given in to my insecurities and not allowed God to use us to minister to this family. I am sure He would have found someone else to use but we would have missed out on the blessing it was to share what we have with them.

I am so glad that we acted on what God was laying on my husband's heart. In the process of trying to bless someone else, I do believe we were the ones receiving the blessing. I challenge you to act on what God is laying on your heart.....a delightful opportunity awaits you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Mortification

I have three boys. They are a lively bunch. Sometimes, even though I am their Mother, I just don't know what to think about all that boy stuff. I remember trying to play army men with our oldest when he was five. He was very kind to me but I knew I just wasn't playing to his expectation. I am sure when you are in rapid fire, you don't worry about getting messy in the mud. And perhaps Barbie has no place amongst the army camps. She is rather like Goliath stomping on all the little green fellows.

I also wonder for entertainment purposes if the neighbors watch our house sway to and fro during the winter time as our boys run from one room to the next roaring at each other. As I sit there watching this take place, the only thing I can say is either to yell, (because they can't hear me over the loud din) "Would you settle down and be quiet" or to quietly sit there, shaking my head while waiting for it to come to a halt. In either case, it's only temporary till they once again get their momentum.

But way beyond my comprehension. I've had these moments before but not necessarily with this particular neighbor (the one on the right of us). I do believe they think us to be a strange breed. First, we are 'those strange homeschoolers'. Second, we have all these children. Third, some of those children run outside before their Mother even realizes what is happening in their diaper and bare legs during the cold months. Fourth, we are Christians. Fifth, we have so many children. And lastly, we have so many children.

I was busy getting dinner cooked, taking care of our Kara and just all around not paying attention due to this and that. In comes our five year old announcing that he was done playing outside because his friend next door did something very, very bad and he couldn't play any more today. I innocently asked, Oh? What did he do. Ryan promptly answered that they were playing the potty game and the neighbor kid pooped in the bucket. I brushed it off as some child game but scolded Ryan that we don't play potty games. It just isn't appropriate. But then he responded with the fact that he had peed in the bucket.

At that moment, I realized that the dear child was not pretending as I had previously thought. They actually were playing a reality game and thought how funny it would be to actually poop and pee in a bucket. And my (and I stress the word 'my') child came into our home and got enough toilet paper to wipe up after themselves. Uggghhh....I thought to myself. What was the neighbor thinking of us now???

After I pulled myself out from under the table and started thinking that maybe just maybe I would show my face to the world again, I was wondering just what to think of all this. I could be excited that Ryan wanted to make sure everything was cleaned up properly which could mean that my future daughter in law will be a happy woman. Or should I be concerned at the situation and promptly call a therapist. But then there is a notion that this is all natural to the world of boys. A world I will never understand.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The First Anniversary Of The 'First' Crisis: The Flood

It was a warm and balmy Friday. The sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing. As it peeked through the blinds and hit me in the eye, I snuggled down deeper into the covers with a warm feeling that all was well with the world. A sigh and a peace fell over my soul.

It is now a year later since we had our 'day after' holiday flood. There is still evidence here that there was a crisis. It is seen in the Belfor boxes that I haven't found time to empty yet and the fresh coat of paint (which now has been initiated by a three year old) that covers our walls and in the 'new' but badly needing repair wood floor. But that is superficial.

The remnants of the crisis really lies within our hearts. We like to call it our growing season. For whatever reason that still is beyond our comprehension, the repairs are all done but the paperwork has yet to be completed with our insurance company. I don't understand why it has taken them so long through this whole process. Except for this one lesson that God is still teaching us: to remain faithful and have constant trust that He will see us through.

It is easy to give up hope and to quit after an extended period of time thinking that God isn't hearing your pleas or perhaps the answer could just be a 'no' but a challenge has been given to our family to remain hopeful, keep trusting in our Father even when it doesn't seem like He's hearing us and to trust that He knows best.

This is what builds the character in us that He desires. Just as we as parents, try to 'mold' our children into having godly traits...He also must mold us as Christians. I keep telling my kids we are like pieces of coal. It is kind of ugly on the outside but with just the right amount of pressure that only God knows, something very beautiful and valuable is created. The pressure is somewhat painful as He gets rid of all the gunk but what remains is a reminder of His grace, His beauty and His love.

During this 'first' anniversary, I truly am thankful that God does care enough about us to want us to 'grow' and to use situations in our lives to create the beauty He desires. I am also thankful for periods of rest between the growing and the beautifying and for the people He chose to use to minister to us to help keep our eyes on Him.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Woman Of Many Occupations....

As a Mother, the things I do with and for my children ebb and flow throughout life. This past week, I've been dealing with sick children. Our three year old has been hit with a 'double header' as the doctor called it. Yes...a double ear infection. For some odd reason which I will never understand, it seems that everytime he gets a cold, it is followed by an ear infection. The poor kid has become so accustomed to it, sometimes he doesn't tell me until I notice he has sicky eyes and has been up more than down during the night. The doctor is always amazed at his smiling face when he completes his exam and almost always says that he doesn't understand why Mr. Aaron is not laying around crying about his ear hurting. And almost always leaves the room shaking his head in amazement.

The doctor has prescribed the antibiotic of choice which apparently doesn't taste too bad since I'm not getting any flak. I sometimes wonder about medicine the side effects better or worse than the sickness?? The antibiotic has seemed to helped the ear situation but has left a most undesirable after effect. It has to do with most unpleasantness on my part and a very raw bum for my child.

Our six month old is also sick. The doctor said she didn't need an antibiotic of choice but an antihistamine of choice. After a week and a half, I'm not noticing a difference but am hopeful that it will indeed work itself out. However, because she is a baby and babies always seem to have 'unpleasant' issues that shoot up the back and get all over the place, I must be there to help make that right. Just so she remains clean and cute as a button.

And then there is the five year old, who seems to have 'very unpleasant' issues from time to time, that need attending to quickly and swiftly as we don't want someone dropping by unannounced to be met with an aroma that is making their visit uncomfortable.

The thing I find most disconcerting is the fact that Murphy's law always seems to be lingering in the midst. In my mind, these unpleasantries should come at different times throughout life...never should they be at the same time. But as many of you have experienced, it's all or nothing.

As I was cleaning up after the many cases of unpleasantness throughout my day, it occurred to me that I have added a new occupation to my already long list. I've become my children's own personal bidet. Sometimes it is what it is. Pleasant or unpleasant.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Glimpse of A Dying Childhood....

Two of my bouncy boys desperately needed haircuts. I had been procrastinating for quite some time till the point you began to wonder if they were relatives of 'Cousin It'. I don't know if this has happened to anyone else but it seems like once they get their hair cut, they age. They just look and even act a little bit older. I must admit this makes my heart cringe.

I feel that with every little piece of hair that hits the floor, a piece of their beautiful childhood is cut off with it. Now I am not advocating that you never get your haircut. I am a strong believer in our son's being clean cut but I am also a believer in preserving their childhood, thus, the procrastinating is the result.

My husband got sick and tired of watching our three year old rub his eyes because the hair was poking him and of course, the shaggy look was not all that appealing either. On Saturday, he announced to me that he was taking him to get his haircut. Of course, our five year old didn't want to be left out and announced that he wanted one too.

After picking our oldest son up from his sleepover, we drove to the hair cutting place for this to occur. I sat in the car with our other children while Bob took them in. He said when it was their turn, the hair stylist asked our five year old how he wanted his hair cut. As Bob was telling me this, I thought to myself...he's not going to care. But his answer shocked the heck out of me. I don't know where it came from, when he even thought about it but he had it all figured was just hidden behind those curiously sparkling eyes of his. His reply was an emphatic "I want spiky hair!"

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I looked back at him. And there before my very eyes was a spiky haired, smiling from ear to ear little five year old who indeed had aged since he went into the store. As I silently began crying inside, I looked over at my three year old who was yelling, "look at me...look at me!" Yep, I silently sobbed as I once again was faced with another aging child who was also smiling ear to ear....there goes their childhood!

Next thing you know....they will be looking down at me from their 6 foot tall height patting me on the head. (Shiver me timbers!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Creepy Crawly Insects

Grace and I are reading the science chapter on insects. (Psst...this is not my favorite thing to read about!) As we were reading all about the exoskeleton, (let's mention the itching that comes with reading about lice), the molting, the mating and the laying of eggs and lets not forget about one that eats her mate, I remembered reading this with Brad. I started getting panicky after realizing that I still have three kids to go after Grace and I finish. It's like a bad version of the movie 'Birds' by Alfred never ends!

Some of you may know of my aversion to bugs. I don't think you realize just how much. Some of you have seen me doing the 'bee dance'. I appreciate you not laughing at me to my face :-) I honestly just can't stand them. As I was reading the chapter today to Grace, I literally began feeling sick to my stomach and the hairs on my arms were standing on end. Grace looked at me and pointed that fact out. As she finished with the hysterics, she suggested maybe we just stop doing this chapter and go on to the next. I was muttering under my breath, that maybe she should just read this stinking chapter on her own.

Since when did our or should I say mine get so sassy? Perhaps the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree. I always thought that referred to their Father but now that what they are responding with sounds like me...I might have to reconsider my take on that.

It's pretty bad when the kids see a spider crawling across the floor and your three year old runs for a shoe to squish it instead of running to his mother. Then consoling her and assuring her that it is indeed dead.

After pulling myself together, I counted the pages....we only have ten more to go. Pray for me!

Just A Bit Of Funny

I have changed my home page on my computer to the customized version of Google with all kinds of fun things. We have the weather...that could be good or bad depending on what it's telling me. There is the news highlights which could be also good or bad. Sometimes it's interesting to find out things like...Kevin Costner winning a court battle over his ownership of a casino or about the British man that suffered internal injuries because he decided to blow a firecracker up in a place it didn't belong.

And then we also have three new recipes to try from Betty Crocker. Also could be good or bad depending on your tastes. I do enjoy a quick game of bejeweled and of course, I need my laugh for the day. Oh, and then there is the quotes of the of them struck me as quite applicable to me today and I will share it with you......

Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk.
- Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

Oh, and lets not forget that I have selected both a calendar and a digital clock which also states the date...just in case I forget.

I have also selected to have three new words for the my attempt to expand my vocabulary. Although, sometimes I can't pronounce it...I do know what it means since it is right before my very eyes.

I can even leave myself a post-it note. (Although, I quit looking at it after the first day....apparently that isn't going to be of help to my overloaded memory.)

But my very favorite thing is 'the eyes'. They follow my cursor around and around the page. I can make them look up and I can make them look down and to the right and to the left. I can even make them go cross-eyed.

So much fun for just a simple homepage.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hope For The Future...

My oldest son and I were reading a bit about the holocaust recently. I've read about this all before...back in the day but for some reason as I am now teaching my own children, I have all these thoughts and questions. I keep finding myself saying...I don't remember learning about this before or why didn't it make sense to me back then?

The thing that struck me as we were reading is this. What would have happened if those people who were being taken from their families to concentration camps and others who were killed, banned together and revolted. Why didn't they fight? If only they would have realized that there were more of them then the soldiers who had orders to take them. I believe that they could have changed the outcome of this horrific time in history. But the reality was that they were so beat down and that the fear was so outrageous in their minds, they couldn't. They probably felt outnumbered and that if they did fight, the only outcome would be death.

Which brings me to my real reason for this blog. For a long time I have felt that even though actively participating in my right as an American citizen to vote, I kind of feel beat down. Time after time after time, I go to the voting polls or I send a letter to my senator only to find out at the end of the night, once again the people chose to place someone in office or to pass some legislature that I do not feel has our 'best interest' at heart.

Then I was recently reading an article from Focus on the Family. It states that first that "The faithful act of a lowly shepherd boy made all the difference in Israel that day." That got me to thinking. God takes ordinary people (maybe like me or you) and does extraordinary things. Maybe, just maybe if I pray that God will give me the courage and the wisdom to speak His truths, something could be done to change the ways that some of our politicians think. Because God's ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He can change these people's hearts and He can make our voices heard!

So today, I challenge myself and you to start praying that God would give you the wisdom to know how He can use you in the shaping of our government and it's legislature/policies and also the courage and discernment to speak the truth...His truth. Unlike the Jews who were so beat down, discouraged and fearful of the future, we, as Christians in America can ban together and FIGHT for our families....for the unborn, to preserve the right as a parent to educate our children and to protect the right to serve our Lord.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Family Of Contest Winners!

After a trip to the fruit and vegetable market in early October, my darling husband brought home pumpkin coloring pages for the kids to enter a pumpkin coloring contest. My response was less than positive. I just don't see the sense in entering a contest when surely it is obvious that you won't win. The odds are just not in our favor. Besides that, my kids are just so naive that they think every contest they enter, they will surely win. I can't handle the disappointment.

My husband's philosophy on this subject matter is....why not try. What does it hurt? Be positive, he says. And he is just as bad as the kids. He constantly asked me if I heard from so and so when the deadline comes round. Or did I check my email for that long awaited news that he actually won the laptop of his dreams. I am, of course, the voice of reason. No, dear....not yet I say sarcastically (under my breath, I'm saying...yeah, right!).

My other thought on the matter is that they are all rigged. It's all for advertisement. They get all these people's hopes up, get them running to the mailboxes or running to the phone hoping beyond hope that they were the pick of the draw. I, on the other hand, know that nobody will be calling or emailing or sending me an 'official' letter nor will they be dropping by my residence to inform me that we were 'the' ones (nor will I answer the door wrapped in a towel..should that ever happen).

I was out and about with the kids in tow. I come home, got the zoo in the house and my mother informs me that Grace had won third prize! She was to come to the store to pick up her ribbon and her pumpkin. Wow! I thought to myself. This is something to ponder. I then went to the phone to get my messages and there was yet another call on there saying that Brad had won third prize. That he needed to come to the store to pick up his ribbon and pumpkin. Again, wow! I couldn't believe it. I am beginning to wonder if I need to rethink my position on this contest thing.

A couple days later after we were out and about, I come home to find out we got yet another call to let us know that Aaron had won third prize. That he needed to come in for his ribbon and pumpkin. I could not believe what was going on. I must admit that I am truly amazed at how many of our kids won. On the other hand, I felt so bad that Ryan didn't win. His sad eyes tore at my heart. I almost took him with me so I could buy him yet another pumpkin. But the voice of reason said...what are you going to do with all these pumpkins???

Brad has big plans for his. He thinks that his mother is going to cook up the pumpkin and make tons of pumpkin pies for him. I hate to think what Aaron thinks and Grace''s a bit squishy today. I don't think it's going to make it. I don't want to tell her that because she has named it, Punky the Pumpkin and has carefully taken care of it. I'm just not sure how to break the news to her. And, oh, how do you tell them they don't last forever....they are nice to have for a 'short' time but we need not make a home for them in the garage. I hate to think what they will be like by Spring!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fright In The Night

It all began in the wee hours of the morning.....

The frost was covering the grass and the crickets were shivering. The darkness was still all around. It's that time of day when quiet covers the earth.....the time before the sun comes up and the children come bouncing out of their bed....well at least for most children.

As we lay all snug in our beds resting our tired little heads, Bob and I are suddenly jolted out of bed by the hysterical cries of our two year old and the rest of the children yelling, "Mom, Dad, something is wrong with Aaron." First of all, let me interject here that I hate (empathize the word..underline, bold print and make it blink off and on) being woke up out of a dead sleep with the feeling of terror. In my mind, that does not set well in the pit of my stomach nor do I wish to start the day off on that foot.

In the process of jumping out of bed, Bob tripping on the blankets that were wound around him and me fumbling for my glasses so I could actually see, then the sliding down the stairs because your feet haven't quite hit the floor yet to find out where the screams were coming from, kept hearing this sizzle. My mind was in this place of you know when you first get up but your mind hasn't grasped hold of where you are yet...let alone, trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong. I kept thinking, "should I grab Kara in case we need to exit the house on a run due to a fire?" Or is it water running and we are going to find a flood in the downstairs livingroom. I just kept praying that Aaron would be ok.

The time between getting up and getting to him seemed forever. As we hit the bottom stairs, the realization of what was wrong hit and seeing the most upset little boy you ever did see and the fact that he was indeed ok sent a relief flooding through my soul. He apparently got up and wanted to watch tv. In trying to get it turned on, the fuzz of the tv came on in stereo on major loud and that freaked him out. So instead of coming and getting one of us, he just stood their paralyzed from the fear of not knowing what was going on and perhaps the great disappointment that the DVD he had placed in the Xbox instead of the DVD player wasn't coming on.

Bob and I were so relieved that the house wasn't burning down, that there was no flood and our sweet little boy was so ok. Bob's only response besides cuddling our very upset child was that he was sleeping on the couch tonight.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Proud To Be Me....

We visited a new library's a new library to us. One we haven't visited before. The kids were ecstatic. The children's section was decorated in Ryan and Aaron's favorite theme...trains! It had trains to climb on, trains to watch run around the ceiling with a big ol' button that made it go. Who would of thought, that a library would encourage children to not only read books but climb on the reading railroad.

The excitement was shown in the sparkle of their eyes to the skid marks made by their new tennis shoes running from display to display much to the displeasure of the librarian. She was not a happy conductor. She kept scolding them for running or squealing which led to Aaron sitting on the couch with his big ol' pouty face and crossed arms and a rather loud sigh.

I haven't made the library a place that we frequent often for the very reason that it all seemed like stress to me. How do you keep your toddlers and preschoolers quiet in a library. How do you keep them from running. It's a huge open space with tons of books to explore and now add the trains and you have uncontainable excitement.

Now I ask you, Is it unreasonable of me to be irritated at a librarian who keeps scolding them for running or squealing out of the excitement that they are feeling? I could see if they were throwing a temper tantrum, screaming their heads off, acting way out of control to have a stern word with them but this....didn't the library want to encourage this. Why else would you put a huge button at the level of a two year old to push so the train goes round and round. Why was the librarian worried that he would break it if it was meant to be pushed? In my thinking...if one was worried about that, perhaps the button should have been in the control of the library itself...hidden from tiny fingers.

The other stressful thing in my mind is the fact that we are bringing home books that we must return. The library is expecting them to be returned in the condition that it is being sent home. I do not find constantly wondering where the book went, is Aaron really standing on it or oops, Ryan ripped the page and even, oh, Aaron are those really chicken eyes that you drew on the front cover, very encouraging to take home more books only to be purchased by me by the end of the three week period.

But I caved in due to the very look coming from my oldest...the puppy-eyed, I just want to try this...please, oh please..can I? Brad and Grace are now proud owners of their very first library card. They are so proud and about as excited as Ryan and Aaron were to run around exploring this new adventure in life. And me....well...if I end up having to pay for torn, lost, colored on, spilled on books...I guess I won't be the first Mother to be in that position.

The KM Ranch...

Our homeschool group recently planned a trip to a horse ranch. My daughter has a love for horses at the moment and I thought that this field trip would be a fabulous idea for her. Of course, along with her, we all went as a family. I was so impressed by the people at this ranch. They really were patient and took the time to answer any and all questions of the kids and adults.

They separated us into different groups to teach us all kinds of things about the horses. Some went inside to the stalls and were taught about 'Paint' horses and quarter horses. They got to feed them carrots. They also got to go inside the stalls to see the horse's bedroom. One horse in particular kept taking the halter thingy off of the other horses.

Some got to practice lassoing a wooden horse.

Some got a chance to ride a horse around the arena.

Other's got to make homemade donuts for us and treats made of hay and oats for the horses. They also got to make some homemade cider with an old fashioned apple press. It took quite a bit of muscle to make a little bit of cider!

And then the final group, got to learn about grooming the horses.

Then when everyone got a chance to do what that particular group was focusing on, they switched until everyone got a chance to do it all.

Of course, before we even arrived, our Grace had to get the whole outfit together. She loves to throw herself into whatever she is doing wholeheartedly!

The kids also had a fabulous time just being with our friends and making some new ones.

We give this horse ranch seven thumbs up (four for the tour and hand's on activities, 2 for the hot dogs, chips and candy...let's not forget that wonderful chili either, they served us, and one because she loves to be with her family wherever that may be and she can be easily persuaded to vote my way).

Now to figure out how we are going to fit three in the budget for horse riding lessons :-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The atmospheric Pressures Must Have Collided!

I was sitting at the dinner table this evening eating one of my ten most unfavorable meals when I suddenly realized that there must have been an atmospheric pressure collision this past week. As I am taking a bite of my food, I look over and notice right before my very eyes that Ryan is eating baked beans. He announces that Dad is right, they do taste a bit like candy. I suddenly had to check myself to see if I was actually awake and to check also to see if I had brought the right kid home from Bible study today. Then I thought, do I really know this child that claims he likes me alot? Hmmmmm....I wonder.

Then, as we are still sitting around the table trying to eat this lovely meal, I hear Aaron's exuberant voice yelling out his alphabet letters. The same letters I have been so desperately trying to get our five year old to learn and grab hold of with as much enthusiasm. I decided this week that perhaps I was trying to teach the wrong child. Perhaps I should begin Kindergarten with my two year old and let my five year old play. Will Ryan's blood ever 'feel' like learning? Hmmmm.....I wonder.

Then, as I was talking with my husband, our conversation was the final indication that there had indeed been an explosion in the atmosphere. He informed me that Sweetest Day was tomorrow. I about fell over from the overwhelming disturbance in the air. I, the one who doesn't usually forget birthdays (except for this year - please forgive me if you have been one of them currently) or holidays and most definitely does not forget Sweetest Day did not realize that tomorrow was the day.

I now am eating a sandwich which contains all the soapbox preaching I've been doing about how it's a day to remind your spouse how much you appreciate him/her. How it shouldn't really matter that it was just another day for Hallmark to make some more money by picking a day out of it's hat. I usually have a card handy and a dinner date planned with my true love. But not this didn't even occur to me that this was even the right month for that. What will this do to my reputation of remembering special days? Will people including my dear husband still think, "ask Heather, she'll know" Hmmmmm.....I wonder.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oh, God Bless You...

On a very special day, our Kara was born. She, being the fifth child, has sent us over to a new world. A world where we are no longer parents to just 'four'. I say this because over the past few months in various conversations, the topic has come up. Some say, "Is this your first?" As I snicker to myself, I reply no, she's number five. Or, they ask, "How many children do you have?" And again, I snicker to myself, I have five.

The response is almost always one of shock, surprise and then as the reality of my answer sinks in, it is followed by the need to touch my arm or give me a hug and say 'God Bless You' like I'm some kind of phenomenon or famous person that they need an autograph from. I find it almost comical at times. Then, I began to I look like I'm a frazzled mom who needs to be blessed? Do I have the wearied, tired look that makes people shake their head in amazement that I can still have the strength and courage to smile :-)

This past Sunday was no different. I met a new face at church and as to the instruction of our pastor to mingle, I began talking with this woman. At the end of our brief conversation, she asked the usual question of how many kids I had. And then I responded with my usual response of five. I got the usual touching of the arm and the usual 'God Bless You'. During the service, she kept looking over at me and giving me a smile. Perhaps she was thinking I was a little off in the head or perhaps she was trying to figure out what made me tick.

At the end of the service, she came up to me one more time not to talk but to give me a kiss on the cheek. Imagine that, I thought to myself. I got a kiss. Now this is not what I was expecting, especially not from a stranger. Perhaps she felt the need and followed through with it. I don't know. I guess maybe in some sense, it helped her. I do hope, though, that when I am in the grocery store, the gas station or Starbucks, that the people I meet do not necessarily need to give me a kiss.

Perhaps, the touching of the arm and the God Bless You isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Projects, Pom Poms and Puppets

On one of my recent trips to the craft store, I made a few purchases with my little darlings in mind. I thought to myself that if I can keep those cute little fingers preoccupied with their favorite thing in the whole wide world which is white, sticky and begins with the letter 'g', that I might once again gain an ounce of sanity to my world.

On a particular evening when the little lambs were acting a bit less than soft and furry, I pulled out the project kits to change their focus from bringing each other down to the ground in a tackle like maneuver to honing in that energy to make spectacular foamy animal stick puppets. My planned worked for a brief moment, I was flabbergasted. Here were two brothers working together with the single bottle of glue and believe or not...two different stick animals. The words, "I want that one" didn't even come to pass. Oh, I thought to myself, I have to add this one to my thankful notebook.

You may ask, "what is a thankful notebook"? I recently got this idea to help myself and my children think of things daily that we are thankful for instead of all this grumbling. My plan was to share our notebooks with each other at the end of the week. Well, to be honest, that only lasted for about a week. I still think it was a good idea and every now and then I think to myself...Oh, I need to add that to my thankful notebook...if only I could find it.

Grace also received a project kit called the 'think box'. It's all about solar power. You can make fun things with prisms and pom poms....(what do pom pom's have to do with solar power?) That is a question I haven't figured out yet except perhaps to appeal to the 'girl power'. She wanted to work on that along with the boys and their projects. So it ended up that all of us were around the table working on projects. As we progressed deeper in the projects, I found myself trying to keep the stinkin' foam puppets together because those little angels were so impatient they couldn't wait a bit to let the glue dry. And then they would cry because it fell apart.

Then Grace needed my attention for the stinkin' pom pom puppy who wouldn't stay together. I glued once again the head back on and then the leg fell off. While I was fixing the leg, the nose fell off. While I was fixing the nose the ear fell off....and so on and so on. As she reached for the adorable little puppy that I so lovingly put temporarily together. I realized that my tone had turned from we are a happy project loving family to back away from the puppy, don't touch the stick puppets, it's time for bed kind of mama. My ounce of sanity was lost. I was wondering why do things I plan for the good always seem to take a turn down regret highway? I began to ask myself, who is the person that comes up with these bright ideas. I need to write him a letter of reality. Maybe send him a video tape so he can actually see it in action. Some of us need visuals. My thankfulness had left the building.

As I tucked each one in bed, I realized that perhaps I need to not care so much if the puppy loses a leg, ear, or head or who really cares if the nose is lopsided on the elephant stick puppet. What really matters is the time that I spend with them. I suppose they don't care so much about the puppets or the puppies but what they will remember is me yelling at them to step away from the table when all they want is my attention and to have fun. So now I must add that I am thankful for the love my kids give me inspite of my stinkin' attitude, the endless forgiveness they always have for me, and most of all......that God can use those stinkin' projects to develop the character traits in me inspite of myself.

That in my opinion, is my reality.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Must Painfully Admit....

Recently my oldest son has been exhibiting some evidence that he is not feeling well. When asked, his only response is that he wishes his cough would just let him sleep. That, in my opinion, doesn't tell me a whole lot since I believe he has some allergies that have not been confirmed. My inclination is to just let it go as it's probably one of two things. The first being that it is probably just a cold virus which the medical professionals can do nothing about except prescribe you some horrid tasting cough syrup that is obvious nobody in that field has administered to their own families or themselves because it would be recalled off the market in search of something more humanly tolerable to the tongue. The second being perhaps something related to allergies as it is prime allergy season which the medical professional can't do much about except prescribe an allergy test which includes lots of pricking with a pointy object, or prescribe you some medication that treats a clogged nose but gives you a foggy brain.

Now let me just note here so some of you don't take offense, I do know for a fact that there are some life threatening allergies out there that need immediate attention and I am thankful for the medications and shots that are available for them. In our particular case, it's just a bit of drainage, phlegm and in our son's case, spitting. I hope that wasn't too graphic.

Whenever, my kids and husband are not feeling well and this is hard to admit because I'm feeling a bit unworthy to be called 'Mother' or 'good wife' at this point today, I must admit that I outwardly try to be supportive but inside I'm screaming...Oh, for crying out loud, just get over it already. I know, I know this is just appalling. My 'mother of the year' and 'wife of the year' badge is on the verge of being revoked. In some strange way, subconsciously perhaps I think that if I don't admit that they really are not well, that it is not really happening and therefore, things can continue in a normal fashion...on the fast, we can't stop for nothing, got to keep going track. Or maybe I am just overwhelmingly tired and subconsciously my body cannot possibly handle anything more that is going to take too much of me. In either case, I realize that is not the proper response and am ashamed to admit such.

My husband and son came home from seeing the doctor today and guess what? Yep, you guessed it. It wasn't a little bitty cold and it isn't some allergy. It's strep throat. Ooops, I say to myself, perhaps I should have been a little bit more tuned into my families well-being instead of thinking that they just need to snap out of it and get back to work! And ooops, perhaps I shouldn't try to diagnose illnesses since I have not been to medical training.

Now that you know this little secret of mine, I want you to know that I am striving to be better. I am desperately trying to think of something to make up for my inadequacy. Any suggestions would be helpful. For now this is all I got.....

Maybe I'll go make some chicken soup. Doesn't that heal everything??

Friday, September 29, 2006

Just a thought...

I've been reading quite a bit on the controversial issue of homeschooling. It was interesting to read all the different opinions of that very issue. Some are all for it, some are on the fence and some are completely against it.

My thought is this.....

When did we put the well-being of our children aside and take up the act of arguing the issue? What would happen if each individual stuck to the real up our children as God directs us to. What it comes down to politically is money; not the kids themselves.

The other issue is that even though God gave us a free will and mind to think, if we sway from what some call 'normal' and do it differently even though we get to the same end, we are looked upon as weird, wacky, and strange. If we stuck to the real issue which is our children, then it wouldn't matter so much how they got their education...just that they were educated. And perhaps we would not be trying to get the other to see how very wrong they are.

In my opinion, we as parents, are the very best people to train our kids. We know them best...we know their likes and dislikes. We know their strengths and their weaknesses. Why not pour our wasted energy that we use to argue the point into our kids and train them up in the way they should go according to God's principles...not according to the world's principles or the 'John's, Mary's and Sue's principles of the world.

Again, this is just a thought....take it or leave it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Home, Home on the Range....

It all began with a little boy named Aaron...

We were out with some very important people...I like to call them friends. I had left the children home in the care of their loving Grandmother with strict instructions that they were to in no shape or form cause Grandma grief. An hour into our lovely evening, I hear my cell phone ringing insistently. I thought to myself...oh no. I don't want to answer that because I just have a feeling that there is one of two things that I am going to hear. Door number one being an eleven year old boy nagging me about something he wants to do or eat or door number two which leads to information on a two year old that he could potentially be AWOL or has finally succeeded at 'bringing down the house!'

After answering the phone most cautiously, I found that I was to take door number two. In the process of getting his cuteness to bed, he decided to, once again, try to pack the toilet full of anything he could get his paws on. I was told there was toilet paper, cardboard, Grace's toys and hair pieces and who knows what else. I was also told that the 'wee ones' decided to flush it which led to it overflowing. Of course, my initial response was spoken with a knot in my stomach and a desperate feeling to run screaming into the night....please, I said, please just tell me it wasn't the 'new' bathroom. The bathroom we agonized over with State Farm to repair after the damage done to it in November. Please just let it not be that bathroom. To my utter dismay, the answer came with a quiet voice that it was indeed the 'new' bathroom.

They assured me that they had gotten it all cleaned up with minimal damage, however, it was not usable...a clog of all clogs. We ended the conversation with locking the bathroom door and that Daddy would check it out when he got home. Upon arrival to our home, Bob went upstairs to plunge and snake out the toilet, all the while muttering that he loves his kids. After awhile it seemed to be in working order.

Monday morning happened. The downstairs toilet had been used and up it came into the bathtub. After taking a deep breathe and counting to ten...(million), I yelled to Bob that we had an urgent problem. We immediately called some friends that were willing to swing by and fix it. I am so very thankful that these kinds of problems seem to happen before Bob leaves for work. I am sure that he thinks differently.

After super snaking out the toilet, you will never guess what they found. Previously, I had blogged about a certain spiderman outfit that was well-loved and worn day after day. Yep, you guessed it. They pulled up a piece of the least, I think it was the mask. I haven't found the outfit yet which leads me to wonder what else got flushed. Oh my goodness, I thought to myself....the possibilities are endless in this house.

After reassembling the toilet and returning the rented machinery, we found that the upstairs toilet was still not working properly. Off Bob went for the fifth time that day to Home Depot, to now purchase a new toilet. Our choice, you may ask, was the 'champion' of all toilets. I believe it sucks down golf balls, toys and small children in 10 seconds flat. And that is what we purchased. If you are ever in the area, swing by for a look-see. It is something of a phenomenon.

$550 later for parts, labor and rentals, I only have one question.....

How am I going to tell our five year old, that his beloved spiderman mask has left this world never to be seen again? least, I think it was the mask.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Custard, Whipped or Fruit-filled?

As I was 'schooling' my children today, my thoughts wondered back to yesterday....

We had taken yet another trip to the grocery store. This is not a task that I fully enjoy especially if I have help so I have taken it upon myself to make a 'one kid rule'. As we zoomed up and down the isles trying to fill our cart full of wonderful things to eat, I thought to myself....I am so glad that I live in a country with so many wonderful choices. However, I also thought to myself, that it becomes a difficult task when having to decide between so many choices when one is...hungry!

As we entered the dairy isle, I stopped at the yogurt section. My husband and children love yogurt so that is a must on my list. If I come home without it....I might as well just get back in the car and revisit the grocery store. Upon making my selection, I realized that I had to cover all our areas of desire. I must get the custard kind for the kids because if we can taste the fruit on our tongue then it must be healthy and they won't eat it, custard is acceptable perhaps because it is like pudding. Then we have the whipped kind for me. I like the fruit and am not adverse to healthy treats but it kind of reminds me of dessert...not too yogurt-like but still is yogurt. However, I must put a disclaimer in here.....yogurt and chocolate or caramel are definitely a no-go! {whisper}'s still yogurt. Then we must buy the fruit-filled kind for my husband. He loves fruit and that is what he likes.

A woman, also trying to fill her shopping cart up with all kinds of yummies, stopped me at the yogurt isle to explain the differences of each kind. She, also, wanted to make sure she got the ones her family would eat and didn't want to come home having made a horrible mistake. After explaining to her the many differences, she selected her choices and off she went with a smile on her face that told everyone that today her purchases would be well received at home.

So my question to you all is this....

How do you prefer your yogurt? Custard, Whipped or Fruit-filled?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On The Second Day Of School...My Five Children Gave To Me....

It all began at 6:40 a.m., the cute little cooing that comes from a four month old. As I lay there listening to her sing-song like chatter, I looked over at the clock and slammed the pillow over my head. Not yet...please don't be all cute and cuddly before 7:00 I thought to myself. At that time of morning that cute chatter sounds like yapping to me. Please just 20 more minutes I beg her. After laying there a bit longer realizing I couldn't breathe underneath the pillow, I lowered it just enough to get more oxygen and then it happened...those cute little sparkling eyes looking at me with the biggest smile you ever can imagine. Oh shoot, I thought to myself. I am hooked, I've got to respond to her longing look of I know are my Mama! So begins my morning...a bit earlier than I wanted but adventure awaits.....

I can only explain what happens next in the toon of...'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Won't you sing along with me?

On the second day of school, my five kids gave to me....

one yapping baby

two papers glued to the wall and floor

three million flying legos

four stolen glue sticks by a little boy named Aaron

five screaming kids.......

six sounds of tools clinking while two kids are trying to take apart Grace's new bike

seven alphabet letters reprinted

eight no, mama do it's!

nine, I'm losing it's

ten hours of science with Grace

eleven poopy diapers

12...pencil boxes emptied all over the livingroom floor

If the song had a second verse with the numbers
thirteen, fourteen and fifteen, they might sound something like this...

13 ice skating lessons that resemble a mother slipping across the floor falling into the playpen straining her wrist and ankle

14 fingerprints made of toothpaste on the ceiling, wall and floor

15 puddles of red kool-aid all over kitchen table and floor

My song has finally come to an end but only because my five children have fallen into a deep slumber in their beds (no, I didn't give them benadryl.) My synopsis for a day like this.....

It's a VENTI kind of day!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day Of School - 2006

Every year this day comes. Every year, at the end of that day, I'm glad it's gone! In a world of butterflies and soft gentle breezes where the kids are playing happily but quietly. In a world where life glides gently through the day and I am not counting the minutes till naptime or bedtime, there lies my thoughts...a happy place. As my thoughts run through warm sandy beaches and White Chocolate Mocha's, I am snapped back to reality by the familiar screaming that is coming from my two year old....NO! Aaron do it!

I had planned a fun day of school today because that's what I wanted my kids to grab hold of. School is fun and can be fun. Every year, our first day has bottomed out with screams, crying and not a whole lot of fun...but this year was going to be different! I woke to sunshine which I thought was a good sign that at least I was going to be in a good mood. I got up, got my shower and felt good about the day ahead. I was right on schedule.

We started off the day creating a 'first day of school' poster which was to exhibit the beautiful hands and feet of all five of my children. They were working so well together than bam....the two minute brief interlude of happy sounds quickly turned to sobbing. Aaron who is two wanted to check out what Brad and Grace were working on and in the process smudged Grace's hand print.

Noticing that her creation was now not perfect sent her into a crying fit sending her running into the other room slumped over on the couch. As I sat there watching this happen before my very eyes, I thought to myself.....this is not happening. Please not in the first five minutes of our day. But there it was.....reality.

Today is also Ryan's first day of kindergarten. He loves to draw and color but not today. He told me...maybe later. Again, I thought to myself...this is not happening. I have the letter 'A' printed out and ready to color. We are going to glue it on our alphabet poster. Doesn't that sound like fun?? Not today, blood has a headache. My response was less than about we do our school work so we don't have to talk to the principal. Then the crying began. Aaron decided he wanted to do Ryan's school work. The fun letter 'A' that was there to color, paste and cut out was now marred but yet the two year old! Let me do it, Aaron says. Ryan was not in agreement which sent both to the floor in WWF style wrestling.

Our first day of school has come to a close because I am done for today. I need to save some fun for tomorrow. Besides, Kara is finally sleeping, Ryan is upstairs taking a nap, Aaron and Grace are preoccupied outside by the neighbor kids and I can almost hear the sound of the clock ticking. I am taking this moment to take my thoughts back to the warm sandy beach and my white chocolate mocha.....a happy place.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Follow That Red Suburban to Traverse City!

Our first trip with our camper and suburban was planned. We were going to spend five days and four nights in Traverse City, Michigan. We loaded up the camper and the suburban and off we went only one hour and 35 minutes past our estimated time of departure. A record for us! As we were traveling north, gas fumes were permeating the vehicle. We thought perhaps we should stop and check it out at a gas station in Sanford. As Bob was pulling in, a lady was also pulling in on the other side of us. In the process of avoiding hitting her, we hit the pretty red guard rail with our camper. It was just sickening. Nice red paint was now a decorative addition to the side of the camper. A good friend of mine told me that the first dent is always the hardest. Ughhh! Bob checked over the vehicle but couldn't find anything leaking or anything unusual so after the shock of the newly acquired dent had passed somewhat, we decided to continue north. We arrived at the KOA in Traverse City, registered for our stay and found out what site we were to enjoy the rest of the week. As we were going around the corner, our beautiful camper became lodged next to a bunch of trees. As I looked out the window and saw many fellow campers sitting around talking, I thought to myself as I sunk deeper in my seat with hands over my face, they are probably laughing their heads off at these newbie camper-want-to-be's. But despite my complete embarrassment, two gentlemen came to our rescue and saved us yet another dent to our new camper. We had reserved a full hook up, pull through site which was just a blessing for us as our initial set up was quite easy. The hosts here were so helpful and very nice. The campground itself was very clean and kid friendly. We give the Traverse City KOA seven thumbs up!

The next day, we decided to eat at the Omelette Shoppe on Front Street in Traverse City for breakfast. What a great place to eat! The kids enjoyed their smiley faced pancakes and Bob and I enjoyed their wonderful omelettes and scrumptious pecan rolls. We give them seven thumbs up.

We then decided to take on the Sleeping Bear Dunes to burn off our over-full stomachs. Gas fumes were still permeating the vehicle so we called Onstar. They did a diagnostic check on the car but couldn't find anything. We needed to take it in to get it looked at. Since it was Sunday and nobody was open, we decided to go ahead with our plans and take it in the next day. The Dunes were beautiful and we all enjoyed our time there. I thought for sure Aaron was going to become a rolling ball of sand all the way down but much to my amazement, none of us had to go fetch him at the bottom. Yeah!

That evening we stopped at the Freshwater Lodge for some yummy fried fish and chicken strips. My kids loved the duck tenderloins....hmmmmm, not sure how that happened! The following day was spent at the camper playing on the swings and enjoying Uno. The dealership called and told us they couldn't find a thing wrong with our car. I guess it will remain a mystery. Later that night, Bob opened a cupboard door and forgot to shut it. On his way to standing up, he whacked his head silly. All I could see was blood gushing all over. I thought to myself, I don't know where the heck there is a hospital and I got a car that could ignite into a fire ball. But what the hey, life's an adventure. After cleaning up the wound, I found that it was only a small gash and that he was going to be alright. Although, I made him stay up till two o'clock in the morning to make sure he didn't have a concussion.

We decided to go up to Charlevoix the next day and visit a place called Castle Farms. It is a beautiful castle that was once owned by the gentlemen who owned Sears and Roebuck. The owners that now own it, have updated it as it was originally. Many weddings and special events are held there. We give it seven thumbs up.

On our drive to Castle Farms, we came across the world's largest cherry pie and how it was made.

The next day we decided to try a place called Flap Jack Shack for breakfast. The service was good but the food stunk. We gave this place one thumb up.....and that was from our oldest son who loved the buffet. He gives anyone that has a buffet a thumbs up.

We let the kids swim in the Grand Traverse Bay. They enjoyed the water and the sandy beach. A certain duck decided to come up to us asking for food. We kindly sent him away!

We tried a place called The Big Eazy Rhythm and Blues Grill for dinner. We got a sampler plate for an appetizer which was quite pricey. However, much to my astonishment, my kids gobbled and I mean gobbled up the calamari and the alligator. Who are these children and where did they come from? They won't try a new casserole that I make at home but they now have tried, buffalo burgers, alligator, calamari and duck tenderloin....and liked it! We enjoyed ribs and chicken strips. Brad loved his half bleeping burger and Aaron loved his super sized kids pizza! We gave this place seven thumbs up!

It was time to pack up and go home. Our fun had been had. We all had a great time and many new memories to bring home with us. We love camping...why didn't we do this sooner?

On our way home, we stopped in Birch Run for dinner at Tony's Restaurant. It has a reputation of generous portions for the right price. What a surprise we got when we ordered the banana split for us to share! Aaron was standing on his chair when the waitress brought it out. His eyes got so big and he yelled out for the whole restaurant to hear..."holy cow"! The food was wonderful and the price was right. You can share with someone. Whether you order Italian, Mexican or chicken strips, it's always good. We give this restaurant seven thumbs up!

Even though we have a dent in our camper, an overfill of gas fumes, and a head injury, we had a blast on our trip. Look for the next episode of "Follow that Red Suburban"! See you soon!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Past Year...The Fall, The Flood and A New Baby.

We've had an adventure of a lifetime this past year. We've had a flood, a fall and in the midst of all that, our beautiful little Kara was born. They say that character is born out of trials and that God uses times like these to grow and beautify your relationship with Him. For that I am thankful....thankful that something good can and does come out of ugliness....thankful that God does care about my relationship with Him enough to give me times like these...and thankful that He gave us what we needed through people, prayer and His grace to get through it.

First came the flood......

Thanksgiving day 2005, was a cold and windy day. After all our festivities were done for the day, we sent the kids up to bed. A little bit later, Grace came down the stairs stating the fact that the toilet was broken upstairs. I went up to check on what all the fuss was about finding out that their was no water in the toilet and the shower was not working. I promptly yelled down to Bob for help. Between the two of us, the only answer to our quandary was that the pipes had frozen.

Usually I feel for those people who have to work on a holiday at the Meijer's down the street, but for once, I was very thankful they were there and open for business on this particular holiday. We purchased a space heater which Bob stayed up all night checking on so a fire didn't start. He finally pulled the plug early the following morning since it was getting too hot and didn't seem to be doing any good. He decided to lay down since he was very, very tired. Not soon after that, our early riser, Grace came frantically running in our room to inform us that there was water everywhere! And there was!

We had turned the shower on a trickle just in case the pipes thawed not thinking that the floor drain was frozen also. The inlet pipe had thawed out but the drain had not. Where does water go when the drain is frozen.....everywhere but there! As I went down stairs to get supplies to start cleaning it up...Ha!....I found that it was seeping through the ceiling in the hallway and kitchen. I realized at that moment....there would be no cleaning had reached bigger proportions than any mop could fix. Our next step was to call the catastrophe team in!

The Fall.......

A little over a week later, we had planned on going with our church to Holiday nights at Greenfield Village. We were all packed up and ready to go...we just needed to get the tickets from the table located inside our church. It was a beautiful night...crystal clear with a light dusting of snow starting to fall. As Bob was coming back to the car, I saw him fall. Usually, one can get right back up but he seemed to be having a hard time getting in the upright position. My oldest son, Brad, wanted to go help him but I told him Dad had it under control and just to wait....he'd be fine.

When he finally made it back to the car, his face was as white as the snow that was falling. I thought to myself...that must of hurt! Bob said that his ankle hurt but he would just try to wait a few minutes and then we could go. He tried to stand up on it and almost lost his balance again. I realized then, even though he said we could just go and he would wait in the car while we had fun, that our fun would have to be had in the emergency waiting room. Being pregnancy and very emotional from the ordeal we had previously and were still experiencing, informed the kids with tears running down my cheeks, that we would not be going to Greenfield Village.

Over the next month and a half, a horrible doctor and so much pain, we decided that we needed to see a specialist. Upon his observation, he thought that Bob needed surgery. He had torn the main ligament in his ankle and needed surgery to anchor those back in place. His surgery date was set for April 5th. As I was sitting in the waiting room while Bob was having surgery, having contractions and praying this baby would not come early, I prayed that Bob would heal quickly.

I've never experienced a spouse being in so much pain before. I physically felt ill. The after effects of the surgery were awful. I could hear him in the other room, just praying...please, God, help me....I believe that the pain was so awful that is all that he could pray...over and over again. At that moment, I thought I wasn't going to make it through. I was so overwhelmed with watching him, my pregnancy, trying to maintain life for the kids. The only place to go was on my knees and pray for strength that only God can give. As I was praying one day, I felt a flutter of peace enter into my soul. I cannot explain was ever so soft but yet so strong. I knew then, at that moment, God was reassuring me of His love, His hope....we were going to make it through!

The Baby.....

I was having contractions off and on from January. Not your usual prelabor contractions, but strong, reminding me how awful labor can be, labor pains. By April, the doctor was watching closely....he said the baby could come anytime. I wasn't due till mid May. Every night, I'd wake from contractions. It became my usual routine. Early on the morning of May 2nd, I began those contractions, I thought to myself...I'll just go lay on the couch and wait till they stop. Bob wanted to know if he should call the doctor. I said to him...No, I'm not having this baby tonight. You are still on pain medication and in pain. It's just not time yet. I laid down on the couch and my water broke. I promptly got up and said...perhaps, I am having this baby!

Four and a half hours later, I told the nurse the baby was coming. She checked me and made notes in her chart....obviously not in a hurry. She indicated to me that we had a little bit yet to go. But she would go get the doctor. By the time the doctor and the nurse came back, the baby was laying in the bed using her very healthy lungs to tell everyone she had arrived. The doctor walked in, scratched his head and replied oh, ok....the nurse was in shock. She said that has never happened to her in the 25 years she had worked there. Maybe someone should listen to the patient.....A Mom knows!

It is now August, Kara has arrived, the surgery has come and gone, and my home is finally finished being repaired. God is good! We did make it and now can see God's fingerprints all over our lives...where he held us up and where he carried us. He truly is our sustainer.