Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Discovery....

Brad was rummaging around in the garage and decided to climb a latter to see what's up in the garage attic. He found a couple of boxes that looked interesting and got them down. Upon opening up the boxes, the kids eyes became wide as saucers. But before I tell you what they discovered, let's take a step back in time....

Long, long ago....(when I was a youngun')

My Dad was heavily involved as a leader for years and years in the Wednesday night program for boys at the Baptist church we attended. One of his favorite things was when they helped the boys in the program build and race their Pinewood Derby cars.

My Dad loved to work with wood. That's what he would do when he came home from working at the plant every day or on weekends. It was that or working in his garden. So when Pinewood Derby time came around, there was a lot of activity going on in our basement which we called the 'Dungeon'. This was his work room where he kept his woodworking machines like several different kinds of saws and such. You should have saw the sawdust pile! He was very creative and every year when it came time to make a new car, he came up with a new idea to see how it would race. It also made for many good times and memories with the boys.

He passed away in 1993 but I kept his collection of cars. Some he made with his kids and some were his own creation. It seemed like a shame to just throw them out. I know that they don't mean anything to anybody but it was a part of who he was. This, my friends, is what my son discovered in the box up in the attic (plus a couple of empty mud wasp nests as a bonus find).

As my boys, took each one out of the box, it became history time for them. They listened intently as I explained about some of them and all about their Grandpa David. It was a wonderful time to fill them with some of the stories of my childhood and to pass on some of their heritage. I knew as they were carefully playing with the cars that, that would soon come to an end. Boys just are not GENTLE with such things as cars and trucks! I was just fine with that. This moment was worth me saving them all these years.They've been having an immense amount of fun playing with those cars. Somehow watching them play with them brings a smile to my face. I think my Dad would have been very happy to see my boys playing with those cars and he probably would have been down on the floor playing right there with them.....

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Trip To Selfridge Air Museum

We had the opportunity to visit the Selfridge Air Museum with some of the families from our homeschool group.We caught the train in Mt. Clemens which gave us a ride onto the Selfridge Air Base. The two younger boys thought it was pretty cool riding in the train. However, Ryan wanted to make sure we were still going to go to Greenfield Village to ride that train. We haven't rode that train in a couple years but apparently it's made an impression????!

They had a little museum that sold touristy things that draw the attention of all the little people in our family. Bob had forgotten his usual attire that is required to protect his poor little naked spot on the top of his head (once again! He's starting a collection by the 'forgot it again' default) so off with the checkbook he went. After purchasing a matchbox train for several of our children and a hat, we explored the displays of old time uniforms and infantry items. The jeep was a hit. I don't know if you were suppose to go in it as they had signs all over the place not to touch or climb the displays but the kids threw caution to the wind and filed into it.

They also had a couple planes open for the kids to go into and look around outside. There were planes of different types. Some were from the Coast Guard, some from the Navy and some with missiles. We found out also how very much the bees/wasps like to cling to the hot metal of the planes which if you know anything about my aversion to such creatures you can only imagine what route my path was directed at....way, way...waaaay far away from them. However, Brad got stung.

We finished checking out all the planes and reboarded the train back to our vehicles. There happens to be a park in Mt. Clemens before you get to the train which had our kids attention even before we started our fun day so we let them play for a little bit before heading home. I wonder what will stand out in their minds....the train, planes or will they only remember playing at the park...hmmmm.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's A Heavenly Party....

Ryan is my little chatter box. He will talk to who ever will give him their undivided attention. He also is a inquisitive little bugger. He is curious about just about anything that you are doing whether it be construction, mechanical or cooking.

Today while I was making lunch and he was explaining his many observations about the world around him, he asked me just how exactly he was to go about asking Jesus into his heart. I was so totally unaware that, that question has been plaguing him. He's not indicated in anyway that he was remotely curious about that. Our family talks about it all the time but he has just been taking it in stride.

He asked me if I would help him pray because he didn't know what to say. I, in my exuberance, told him I would love the opportunity to do that with him. His response...."I need to eat lunch first, then we'll pray."

After finishing up his lunch, he told me he was ready and we prayed right there at the kitchen table with Spongebob playing in the background and the remains of the left over pizza before us. He gave his heart to Jesus.

The angels are rejoicing and his mother's heart is so proud. I thank God that I've had the opportunity once again to bring one more heart of my children's to his feet.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Church Attendance

I just have to ask this question and maybe I don't want to hear the answer but I'll ask anyway.

Does anyone ever wonder why they go to church?

Let me explain my question. I have five children. Three of them don't go into their classes. And now I have an almost seventh grader who sits with us. So that makes four. He's really not a problem. He doesn't try to run between the chairs and roll around under the chairs. Nor does he find it amusing to hear his voice echo when he uses his outside voice on the inside of the church. He doesn't constantly wiggle and squirm and drive his Hot Wheels over my head.

I've had people at church tell me to force them to go and then walk away. Well, I tried that. It wasn't pretty for the teacher or for the other kids in the class. Have you ever heard of the domino effect?

Yesterday, Kara got us up very early. Since we were having Father's Day company later that day, we had this brilliant idea that would send shock waves across the church......we went to the early service. I never thought that I would be able to pull it off but yet, found ourselves there, sitting in our seats BEFORE the singing was over. We were even sitting in the s-a-n-t-u-a-r-y. We don't do this anymore since many children equals distraction to all around us. We usually sit in the atrium where they have the service up on the 'big screen' and kid noises are not frowned upon as much.

However, on this particular Sunday since we made it to the early service and no one was in the atrium, we decided to give the sanctuary a try. All was going pretty well minus the fidgeting, squirming and loud whispers. Then the pastor starts speaking and he's explaining about a song he heard that doesn't resolve itself. He then proceeds to say that it drives him crazy and he wants to finish it for them and in a sing songy type voice he says "da-daaaa". Right at the perfect moment, between sentences when all the world and congregation was quiet, Aaron, in his not so soft voice, yells out "da-daaaa" sending his parents running for the door to quickly exit out of there hoping that nobody realized it was coming from our family.

My only thought....we are not sanctuary people. Maybe we'll try again when our children are grown. And my other thought.....I'm not sure exactly what the sermon was all about as I think I might have heard maybe five minutes of it or so. But this is an every Sunday occurrence.

Every Sunday, we scramble to get to church, sit there with busy children, spend much of the service fussing at them to shush and then in less then 90 minutes, it's all over and we are headed home. Sometimes I wonder why I bother going. Now don't get me wrong. I love going to church. The praise and worship time is very filling to my soul. And I do realize that all the fussing we do with our kids is only temporary and will be a distant memory as they grow. I need to just muster up some perseverance to keep at it until that time comes.

My remembrance of my childhood does not include what I'm going through. I only remember other people's families quietly sitting in church paying attention and I certainly don't remember them bothering the congregation around them. We did not have a special room to go into with fussing children. What did poor, whipped parents do back in the day? How did my mother-in-law handle six kids sitting there pretty as little peacocks. Perhaps I've got bad parenting skills or perhaps, my kids are just out of control. Maybe I'm not scary enough.....

Friday, June 15, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged from a fellow homeschool Mom and MNO crony.

I'm suppose to come up with 30 things that don't bother me or that I don't worry about. Of course, as I began to ponder this question, all sorts of things began to pop in my head as to the opposite. So needless to say, it's taken me a bit to come up with some things. I'm not sure if I'll make it to 30 but we'll give it a whirl.....

1. Cluttered state of my home. I homeschool...that is most important on my list and it takes quite a bit of my time. I also live in a somewhat small house with lots of people who live inside. This does not add up to a Better Homes and Garden Show Place (not to mention that I have budding artists in the house who think that every wall in the house is their canvas). Should we get to the cleaning, that is wonderful, if we don't we can shoot for tomorrow. However, should someone whose never been to my home be coming over....then we like to clean...first impressions say alot!

2. Gas Prices. I fully expect to pay an increasing price. I pay it for toilet paper and I pay it for disposable diapers. I'd rather pay for some of the conveniences than having to go find a leaf to use or clean out gross stuff in cloth. I also like my's a package deal. Can you imagine trying to load up the stroller with groceries for seven people???? I'll take my gasoline, thank you very much.

3. Price of a Starbucks Coffee. Everyone has a place where they splurge. This happens to be mine. It's beneficial to my mental health.

4. Standing in line at the grocery store. Do you ever see the relief from a cashier when someone is actually patient and smiling rather than cranky and rushed?

5. A Child without a helmet on a bike. I turned out ok after many a mishap.

6. Lights left on in the other room.

7. Unmade beds. Kids are in an out of them for play and for nap...why bother?

8. Open curtains at nighttime. I've got nothing to hide and I don't make it a habit to walk around in the nude.

9. Dust. It's a fact of life.

10. Running out of Milk. I'll get some eventually....

11. Those strange people in Hollywood.

12. Recyling pop cans. Don't gasp! But I throw them away. I don't have time or the space to deal with this.

13. Bare Feet. It beats having hot feet!

14. Messy garages. Aren't they suppose to be?

15. Size of my TV. How big does it need to be to watch Noggin or Nick Jr.??

16. Postage. I'd rather pay 42 cents a letter than having to load all the children up in the van, running to the gas station to fill up cause I'm on empty, sitting in traffic, leaving the kids in the car while I run in real 'quick' to give you a check that is now overdue because it took me a bit to get up my mental ambition to do what I just mentioned.....stamps, it's the cheaper way to go.

17. Husbands who have to work on Sunday. They are just trying to provide for the family and this happens on Sunday sometimes.

18. People who chose not to vaccinate.

19. Breast vs. bottle fed. There are so many varying things that could affect this decision. How can one even judge someone for this.

20. Cell phones. Driving or not, here or there, cell phones are a benefit. I like it that people can get a hold of me and vice versa. I recently saw a man in the grocery store on the phone (I assume with his wife) and she was instructing him on what to get. I'm sure it saved him time from having to take back the wrong thing and when he came home, his wife was happy because he got the right thing. It's a beautiful thing.

21. Internet. Another beautiful thing. It's not of the devil when used properly.

22. Fruit snacks for breakfast. Doesn't it have fruit in it anyway??

23. Not going to the library. Buying books instead. People were shocked for a long time that I didn't use the library. So I finally gave in and let my kids get their 'library card'. I almost went over the edge trying to keep track of all those books and then trying to keep the little ones from ripping pages and marking them up......What I won't pay to keep my sanity.

24. Skipping a day of school. We all need a break now and then. Sometimes I notice that if we take a break, the kids have advanced farther along than if we hadn't.

25. Unmatched clothing. I use to care...then I had Grace who broke me of that. Maybe someday we'll get back to caring but for now, let them say what they will at least she's dressed.

26. Messy cars. With all the running around I do with the kids, it's bound to get messy. We do what we have to, to keep happy, smiling faces when we are sitting there in the parking lot waiting for Grandma to come out of her appointment. And if we've left something there from a previous appointment, WONDERFUL! It's a new treasure and it's bound to keep someone's attention for a few minutes. Now if we are talking about a left over banana peel...(ewwww!) but it could potentially be a science lesson on the go.

27. Mud. My kids are a mud magnet. If there isn't any, they will make some. I've long ago given up trying to keep them out and away from it.

28. Being served peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a friends house. I recently had a friend apologize for offering me that for lunch. I have children and this is a staple in our home. Don't apologize...I thought nothing of it. I'm just glad to spend time with you.

29. Big Families. I think they are wonderful and not just because I have one.

And finally....

30. Loud, chaotic, squealing children. It's the sound of LIFE!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I've got a pet peeve, myself, that I need to vent.

I absolutely hate it (maybe detest is a better word) when people judge you from what they 'think' you are. I've had this happen to me on quite a few different occasions and I must admit, I have a hard time forgiving it after that. But I'm working on it.

One particular on-going relationship (if that's what you call it) happens to be with a certain neighbor. I've overheard her comments periodically on people who homeschool and has made it obvious that she doesn't agree. She also is very opinionated about having many children...again, she's not for it.

My opinion is this....

You are not required to homeschool. This is what's right for me. I won't judge you and you don't need to judge me. It is also not a requirement to have a gazillion children. I chose to have five and it's right for me. Again, I won't judge you if you only have one or two and you don't have to judge me. Now, I wouldn't mind it at all, if you enjoyed hearing me vent on one of my crazy days but I'll leave that up to you. I'd also love it, if you actually took the time to get to know me before throwing out your words or making an opinion about me that is hard and fast before you even find out for certain what I'm really like.

Yesterday was a park day for us. Our homeschool group has this regularly scheduled event every Wednesday throughout the nice weather period. Sometimes we attend and sometimes we don't depending on our schedule. We were able to go yesterday. It was a balmy 92 degrees. When we arrived, there was so many children there bussed in from a school having a school's almost out party. You can only imagine how difficult it would be to keep watch of all your children in the midst of all this chaos. Since earlier in the Spring, our three year old Aaron had wondered off and freaked his dear mother out, I told the rest of the kids to help keep their eye on him so we didn't loose him again.

Shortly into our fun, Aaron decided he was done with the park and he was going to go see his Dad. I caught an Aaron sighting as he was headed to the road. Fortunately, we caught him before he got too far. He says to me, "I'm going to see my Dad" and I responded that it was a long way home and he might get lost so he had better just stay with us until we were ready to go. He says to me "All you have to do is go here and turn here (as he's showing me a diagram in the air with his fingers) and I know my way home. I won't get lost." This thought scares me to death. To have no fear that you as a three year old could possibly get yourself home without telling anyone is a mother's worst nightmare. What if I didn't see far could he have gotten?

He came back and sat with me for a bit. He told me he wanted to go home and about that time, Bob called me from home telling me that Kara was up from her nap. As I was trying to gather up my things and wait for the buses to leave since they were blocking me in, Aaron disappeared again! I thought to myself, Oh, for crying out loud! After sending out a search and rescue party that included several adults and many children, we found him...sitting behind a tree. The thing that makes this kind of sticky is that when he 'disappears' he usually is irritated so he refuses to answer when you are calling his name. Thank goodness we found him! I'm very grateful for my own personalized search party.

I finally made it home with ALL of the children. Aaron and Ryan announced most emphatically that they needed food. Cheetos were their snack of choice. I filled two little cups with the last of the cheetos and sent them out to play in the backyard. Ryan's dumped out all over the ground sending him into a crying fit. Since their was no more and I had about had it for the day, I made Aaron share the rest of his cheetos with Ryan promising to buy some more later. This did NOT go over well with him. He refused to eat what he had and threw himself on the ground burying his head in his arms screaming with a volume that could have potentially put a bull horn to shame.

After muttering a question to myself that sounded something like....whose idea was it to have all these children anyway, I left him to cry it out because no amount of threatening or disipline would help this situation especially in my mental state of mind. After a little bit, I get a knock on our door. It happens to be the neighbor kid. He asks me why Aaron is crying in the garage? So I told him. Then he responds with...well, my Mom doesn't like it! Of course, many things were running through my head at that moment but you would have been so proud of me....I didn't verbalize them outloud! I did, however, tell him to let his mother know that he was misbehaving and when he was done having his fit, the crying would end. I'm sure that some of my irritation is just overflow from previous incidents that build up over time but after all that I had to deal with yesterday, my patience for working through an aggravating comment from a I'm better than you neighbor, was beyond my abilities.

When is it not acceptable for a crying child to have his fit outside in his very own backyard? Why do I need to fuss about my crying child annoying the neighbors when he's perfectly fine just irritable? Why should I fuss about whether he's run out there to play and he only has a pull up on? He's happy, healthy and loves to have fun. Shouldn't this be enough for the neighbor to see that she doesn't need to be concerned about our families well being? If you happen to run into any of our children, you will know without a shadow of a doubt that they are not beaten down, but very exuberant, friendly kids who just want to have fun! We are NOT one of those wacky homeschool families that seems to always make it in the news that has some sort of dark secret life of beatings and unsocialized slave children running amok.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Follow That Red Suburban...To Somewhere Up North

The time has finally arrived.....

It's Camper Time!

We have some friends that needed some help doing some improvements around their family campground up North. My husband volunteered himself and our oldest son for the event which included the whole family attending making it a 'work weekend' for some and a 'have fun and play weekend' for others. We were scheduled to leave late Thursday afternoon.

It all began this way:

Disclaimer: This is our first year having to dewinterize and pull the camper out of storage after the winter. So we are still learning about much!

The camper has been stuck in mud for much of the Spring and Fall and I guess that would make it frozen mud during the winter. My husband has been waiting for the mud to dry up enough to go get it but everytime we make the arrangements, it's either raining again or something comes up to interfere with that. He finally made it up to my Mother-in-law's property where it's being stored on Wednesday evening.

At 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, my husband and a friend are trying to dewinterize it in our driveway in the dark of night so that it's already to go for Thursday. It was not even a consideration that we needed to check to make sure everything was working properly. Upon opening the front compartment of the camper up and run
ning bleach water through the system to sanitize it, they noticed a leak. It appeared like it was coming from the hot water tank. After inspecting it more, it was apparent that, that was definitely the issue. I say this to say, we NEED hot water! It's very important to have that! I don't do cold showers!

Note to self: Don't wait until the evening before you are going to leave to get the camper, dewinterize a
nd inspect all the parts for working condition. It's not good for marital bliss nor is it good for a great camping experience.

Thank goodness our destination had a community shower and toilets and a kitchen to prepare food! However, we were scheduled to come back on Sunday and leave again on Wednesday which is now postponed. But before I get ahead of myself....

We loaded up the camper and were ready to go. We only needed to hitch up the camper to the Suburban. My husband gets in the car to back it up to the hitch and low and won't start! Who ever heard of a less than a year old vehicle with battery problems....

If you've read my previous blogs, you are familiar with a certain three year old that likes to get into mischief. Well, he's struck again! In the process of loading up the camper, our little mischief maker got into the car and was pushing buttons, turning knobs and somehow got the lights to come on for nobody know's how long.....obviously enough to drain the battery. Thank goodness our friends were there so that we could all go together and therefore, were able to give us a jump. We won't mention that in the process of pushing all the buttons and such that all the readings were off like tire pressure and etc which I'm sure were all related to a dead battery too! Did you know that in some vehicles, it has to relearn some things? Thank goodness for the manual and a smart car who doesn't take to long too get it's head straightened out!

After the jump, the hitching up and a scolding to anybody who would listen to keep their eyes on the roaming three year old, we were off for our adventurous weekend. After we had been on the road for a bit, the nagging to watch a movie was off on a run. I put the DVD in the player and pulled down the screen only to find yet another 'oh, no'! Apparently, in the process of playing with the car knobs and such, Mr. Mischief Maker got into the gum we keep in the car for minty fresh breath. Guess where he decided to put his gum after chewing it??? Yep, on the screen! What better place to hide it then in there. Uggghhh! Is there a broken baby store along the way, I asked myself. This one is just too squirrelly. Perhaps a minor adjustment here and there might be needed??? Or maybe it's just this....God's got a very special plan in mind for him and he needed a special home to grow up in so that he could make it to that place where God wants him. God must know that I'm the one for the job. Somehow that thought gives me a bit of comfort.

We arrived around 10:30 Thursday evening, managed to set up camp in the dark and got settled for the day to follow.

Friday brought a new adventure for our five year old. He
discovered the world of bugs that he'd never seen before. You may be thinking to yourself that that is right up a boy's alley. But I am here to inform you...that's a BIG negatory! He wanted us to pack up camp and leave for a different camping place. One that doesn't have bugs. His mother was thinking the same thing. When you are trying to use the restroom and there are these flying bugs which I heard were male mosquitoes and they happen to be about as big as your five year old's fist, I strongly object! I was also thinking that there was no way I was revealing anymore skin then was necessary for them to have access to. Not to mention.....spiders! Which I don't want to talk about! See where he get's it from???

Due to the bug factor, Ryan refused to use the restroom and therefore, we went through just about his whole wardrobe on the first day. I finally got him to understand that he could use the camper toilet where I spent quite a bit a time on bug duty making sure if one was to enter the camper, his bug relatives were attending a funeral.

All in all, the ones who were there to play, played hard and the ones who were there to work, worked till they felt the burn and I'm not talking about sunburn. We did take a break and headed off to the beach for some fun in the sun and then for ice cream which is always a welcome for us.

Kara got her sea legs and is walking all over the place and fell in love with a beach chair that was just her size. She was quite adamant that nobody touch it but her.
Ryan was such a hard worker even after he got his fingers smashed between a couple of two by fours, learned how to use a saw (not a power one but a hand saw), and put us all to shame with his work ethics. Aaron explored and conquered the dirt pile. His most favorite thing was the 'Mule'. He didn't want to leave that behind! Grace learned how to play poker and hunt for frogs.

We came home Sunday evening with an extra ton of dirt that coated my kids. Perhaps, they should have left some in the dirt pile that was there for the playing pleasure. I'm sure they will probably have to go purchase some more to replace the ton I found in a certain
pull-up that was attached to a three year could have been because he was laying in it!

After successfully backing up the camper, I happened to look down at our neighbors grass and realized that there was a pretty big spot of burnt grass. Then I heard my husband say...."oh, no!!"

Another note to self: When sanitizing the camper system, don't do it in the driveway....bleach can kill grass and does!

I'm so thankful that the neighbors on that side of the house are kind and forgiving....

Stay tuned for more adventures in "Follow that Red Suburban"!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Mystery Is Solved

Have you ever gotten a graduation open house invitation in the mail from someone that you just have no clue as to who it is? We did today! So away I went to super sleuthing the mystery.

First, I asked the kids if the picture of the graduate looked familiar. The answer was a definite no. Then, I called my Mom to see if it was a relative that I didn't know. The answer was a no there also. Then, I decided to go through our church directory but found nothing there either. So I decided to call my good friend April who knows everyone but much to my amazement, she didn't have an answer for me either. We even went to the internet to do some research there but it turned up nothing but an address which we already had. I thought that it was just going to remain a mystery.

But then it happened, my Father-in-law won the prize for unraveling this mystery. It does happen to be a relative....a second cousin to be exact!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's Moving Day!

I previously mentioned in one of my previous blogs how we had to move in with my Mother after losing everything just after Brad was born. It was July fourth weekend of 1995. We eventually got back on our feet and bought a house. However, my Mom at that time, didn't have the financing to stay on her own. So she moved with us and we've been together ever since...12 years later.

Recently, a senior living complex came to our attention. I called to make an appointment for a tour and my Mom immediately decided she like the place. She filled out all the paperwork and had to wait for them to check all the information out. In the meantime, the plan is to give Grace and Kara Grandma's old room. Grace was thrilled. She hasn't wasted any time measuring and planning on how she wants to decorate. She just let's Grandma sit in her recliner while she get's the tape measure and makes all her mental notes. Then she hits the internet to see what Target has available that fits her fashion plan (but not her parent's

God, once again, is revealing himself to our daughter and to us. She needed a new bed really bad and a dresser since we are in dresser shortage here. The room needs new paint and carpet. I figured that it was something that was just going to have to wait. But to our amazement, we were given a bedroom set which includes not only one dresser but two along with a queen size bed. Then we got a call that someone wanted to give us their carpet that was being pulled up and guess what color it is???? PINK! Grace's most favorite color! The carpet is in great shape. All we need to purchase is the padding to go underneath it. And we've had several offers from friends of ours, to come and paint the room just how Grace would like it and put the carpet in for us. (It's a good thing Kara likes pink too!) My only concern for the room, is that it won't remind me of pepto-bismol when it's all finished. However, it IS a huge reminder that God does care about the little things and He loves to bless his children.

Which brings me to today....It's Moving Day! I didn't realize how much stuff my Mother had squirreled away in her little room. We've taken several loads over to her new place and it still looks like there is much, much more to go. I hope it all fits!