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??