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Sunday, December 30, 2007

If you...

If you find a puddle on the floor in front of the refrigerator during the middle of the day, you may assume it was just a melted ice cube and clean it up while making a mental note to reprimand the children for the thousandth time to throw the ice outside if it drops on the floor. While making that mental note to self, you will also remember that you owe a response from days ago to someone's blog topic and make a vow to get it done in the quiet of the evening. To ensure a quiet evening, you will decide to watch a movie with your husband even though he's a wee bit grumpy that the "to-do list" is still largely undone despite the fact that you both worked hard all day (except for a quick power nap that ended up being not-so-quick because no one woke you up out of a kind desire to let you rest, which sadly thereby guaranteed the to-do list remained unfinished.) If you've had a rather long nap, you will feel awake enough after said movie that you take on the pending blog project despite the late hour. If you take on the pending blog project you will realize how very much you have to say about the topic and in the end wonder if a) you should just have made it your own blog post or b) you made any sort of sense at all or c) you even remotely answered the question she asked. While you are pondering all this, you will decide you really should wrap it up since it's 12:40 AM. If you wrap it up at 12:40 AM, you will need to go get a glass of water to take your medicine and head to bed (and you will now be feeling very sleepy). If you are feeling very sleepy, and in need of a glass of water to take medicine and go to bed, you will walk to the fridge to get your water and find a small lake on the floor in front of the fridge. If you find a lake in front of your fridge, you will feel the need to confirm what you sickeningly know in your gut is true and will open the freezer door to find nothing frozen inside anymore. If you find nothing frozen inside your freezer anymore at 12:40 in the morning, you will need to wake up your husband. If you wake up your husband, he will first jump out of his skin, then groan, then come fully awake in mere milliseconds as you explain the situation. If he becomes fully awake in mere milliseconds, you will head to the kitchen to assess the situation. If you assess the situation, you will realize there is really NOTHING you can do at 1 AM to solve the problem, because my friends love me, but not THAT much. You will however waste precious sleep time trying desperately to reconfigure you kitchen in a way that places the fridge ANYWHERE but directly in front of the back door. If you waste precious sleep time doing that, you will head to bed exhausted but adrenaline filled at 2:30 AM knowing you must be at church at 8:30. If you have to be at church at 8:30, and your refrigerator is dead, you will skip breakfast and give your children permission to eat their body weight in dunkin donuts doughnut holes from the snack table. And then, you will hopefully find loving friends and/or family who are willing to take them home highly sugared up so you can go blow ridiculous amounts of money on a new fridge without having 4 kids underfoot. If you do manage to find "homes" for your kids, you will KNOW your friends and family LOVE you (at least the ones who don't have to go shoe shopping) and you will luckily find what you are looking for ON SALE and for right at what you had mentally budgeted to spend based on how much cash the money tree in your yard can produce overnight, LOL. If you find what you are looking for, within your price range, you will have a few dollars left from that pretend money tree to replace the FLOOR that is ruined from the puddle-turned-lake that led you to discover the dead fridge in the first place. And if you buy new flooring, well, let's just say now there's a whole NEW to-do list, and a very concrete time line to get it done in!

Okay, I could go on forever in the If/then style, but let me just say that the fridge can't be delivered until WEDNESDAY, but God is soooo good. Our neighbors across the street have an extra fridge in their garage and they are letting us use it to store what was not ruined in the dead fridge fiasco. We'll be eating a LOT of soup this week. I have NEVER had the freezer so full, of course, so now we have a lot to consume in a short amount of time. But the lack of ice...Oh, that is hard! You never realize how much you use ice until you can't just go to the fridge to get some! The fact that the fridge won't get here until Wednesday gives us time to deal with the floor. Our kitchen is highly dysfunctional-an old porch that was converted into a kitchen. It is 7 feet across and 20 some feet long (33 feet total if you include the laundry area). And it has two different sub floors-wood and concrete-depending on where you are. The people we bought the house from spared no expense and laid "3 for a dollar" peel and stick tiles, and they have really been looking YUCKY for about 6 years now (yes, we moved in 6 1/2 years ago). I have to clean them with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on my hands and knees to get them clean, and then one whirlwind trip through by the kids and all evidence of the cleaning is erased. The tiles were light colored and all of them were horribly cracked-some even missing chunks (like 2X3 pieces), so really I am thrilled to have a reason to replace them. AND some friends of ours had given us 2 boxes ($60 worth) of nicer peel and stick tiles that we were just waiting to use, so we bought another box today to be able to cover more of the area, and we will get to work so the laundry area and back door/fridge spot will be done before Wednesday. Exciting stuff, but HARD WORK. Luckily, cheap peel and stick tiles come up easy when they are soaking wet :-). Sadly, the floor beneath is grosser than gross looking.
Pray for us as we take on this project we weren't planning on having to deal with yet. I am totally willing to give over MY plans and acknowledge that this is GOD's plan for us, but it does take a mind shift and leaves us with some unfinished projects in other rooms that don't help the overall look of the house any (think gaping holes in the bathroom ceilings from where my husband has been diligently working on replacing the ventilation fans-but of course in an old home NOTHING is as easy as it should be.)
I'll be doing the happy dance though when I welcome in the 2nd day of the New Year with a partially new floor and a totally new fridge!
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Monday, December 17, 2007

So what exactly do you do...

when you look out your window and see people walking away with your stuff???
Okay, while that's a true statement, it needs explaining. Yesterday, I was walking in my house from the kitchen to the living room, and as you do that, you are facing the window, so I happened to be looking outside. And as I did, I saw a man walking with his 3 small children. Well, actually he and two of the children were walking...the other one was riding one of our ride on toys. And they weren't stopping. In fact, they had ridden it from our back driveway all the way around the corner to our our front driveway.
Isn't it amazing how many thoughts can pass through your head in a split second? Never was my thought, "These awful people are stealing from us" because I knew that that toy had been down by the road and as we had left the house earlier that day, I had made the kids get out of the car and move it up higher on the drive telling them that someone would take it if they left it there. I am not sure where exactly it was when the man and his children found it, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. My thought did include, in no particular order, see I told them this would happen, should I just let him go with it?, but Sari still rides it, but she has another ride-on, oh, yeah, the wheel is broken on the other one, did someone tell them they could have it, well if I am going to stop him, I better do it now. So I turn to my family, ask them if they knew someone was riding off on the toy, and when they all had no idea, I went outside to head him off

found his arms full of a super soaker and a LARGE, heavy duty bubble wand-both also from my yard...

Now we had moved from understandable confusion to blatantly taking anything he saw in my yard as I KNOW both of those things were no where near the curb.
And of course he did not speak english.
I HATED to make the young child get off the toy, but it was on the driveway because it DOES get played with, and I don't want to replace it when Sari is so close to outgrowing it. The dad kept asking "garbage, yes?" and I kept saying "NO, and neither is the water gun or the bubble wand" but it took a few times before he turned it all over.
So today, the wife, holding another baby in arms, and the three small kids (they must have had a kid a year) went walking by, and I wish there was not a language barrier. I probably DO have things I'd happily part with if they needed them, it just so happens that THOSE things were not them. But then, if they really NEEDED those things I probably would give them up too, but them being in my yard does not constitute them being garbage. It's like the time I found a neighbor in our yard picking our orange tree. If they had but ASKED, I would have gotten a ladder for them to pick with, but to walk up to the tree and just take...well, let me just confess that God still has a lot of work to do in me about my ideas about what is JUST.
I will say though, that if I can find the broken wheel to Sari's other ride on, and I can fix it, I will give them the one they wanted to take, the very next time we see them.
For now, I have no higher thought or greater insight to share...just that clearly I still have "possession" related issues :-). I will have a far greater problem if I don't sign off now and make dinner though!
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A Book I Can't Recommend Highly Enough

I recently finished reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. I picked it up from a friend at her book sell-off for .25, but the story is priceless. It is the "real" story behind The Sound of Music, actually written by Maria herself.
I won't disclose too much of the story here and ruin it for all of you reading this who should either a) beg to borrow my copy or b) borrow it from your local library post haste. But I will say, you must be prepared to feel a bit like a child who finds out their favorite pet has died or that Santa does not exist beyond the realm of imagination. I don't know what I expected, but it was NOT the great differences in the story that appear within the first half of the book. WOW! But it is the truth of the story, minus the hollywood packaging, that makes it so beautiful.
The Trapp family was amazing. If, 20 years from now, my family looks like theirs did (at least at the point the book ends in the 1940's) I shall be blessed indeed.
Theirs is a story of hard, honest work, real agape love, infinite trust in God and full assurance of His provision for them-just beautiful. Their faith is inspiring and its impact on their life and how they lived it is moving beyond words.
You really MUST read it!
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

You know you are a writer when...

you compose written thoughts in response to what you read in the newspaper, or while making cookies, or in the shower...It's just what I do in my head. Sadly, most of the time, inspiration strikes when I am otherwise occupied, and since I cannot remember 5 minutes ago, let alone some brilliant, scintillating musing, you guys get this dribble instead :-).
While making Christmas cookies tonight I had a whole thing composed about Christmas. Or actually, the debates that seem to go hand in hand with Christmas. Specifically brought about by the realization that my entire upbringing, we went to candlelight service Christmas Eve, but come Christmas morning, there was no CHRIST to be seen. It was all about Santa, and presents, and what we got. There was no reading of the gospel, no singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, no cake, just me, me, me.
That is clearly not what I desire for my children, but figuring out what to do to keep the focus where I desire it to be is harder than figuring out what I DON'T want to do. Years ago we went to just 3 gifts for the kids, just like the three Jesus was given. But Santa does their stockings (although I think the older 3 all suspect the truth, and I'll frankly be quite happy when they embrace it). Is that Santa thing bad? Well, in some of my friend's houses it is. And I get the whole, "why lie to my kids and create an atmosphere of distrust?" and "why tell them strangers are bad, but then ask them to be comfortable with one breaking into your house once a year?" and "Why focus on one day that 'Santa" is watching for, when God watches everyday, and demands our best behavior everyday." I "get" all that and more, but that is just not a stumbling block God has exposed to us and asked us to get rid of.
And then there is a whole group of people who think you should not celebrate Christmas at all. After all, and some of these truths may be hard if you have never been exposed to them, celebrating Christmas is not Biblical. In fact, the Bible does not even give us the date Christ was born, which surely God would have provided if such a celebration was commanded. The date of December 25th most likely has far more foundation in pagan customs than in the historical truth of Christ's birth. From what people far wiser than I know of sheep and shepherds, it's unlikely they were out in the hills in the middle of winter, which supports the idea that December 25th is way off. And Jesus was not likely to have been placed in the type of "manger" we all grew up picturing at all. So, extremists feel, why teach these untruths? What makes them any less harmful than "Santa", and why celebrate a holiday that God did not command us to and let fall by the wayside those that He did give His people? And I "get" all that too. And it is the "getting" it that causes much thought when one then tries to decide what to teach the children God has entrusted to you to train up in the knowledge and love of Him.
So as I debated all this while brushing glaze on my cookies, God brought to mind 2 passages of scripture. The first was "May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." What are the meditations of my heart this time of year? Am I meditating on to-do lists? A cluttered house? All the places to go? People to see? Gifts to buy? Or, am I meditating on CHRISTmas? The celebration of the birth of my Savior and my Lord. Am I urgently seeking to share with my children WHY this day is so important. Not the actual, physical day of December 25th, but the fact that Easter may represent the fullness of God's plan for our salvation coming to a close, but on that special, Holy night in Bethlehem, the plan of the ages was begun in the form of God in the flesh as a helpless baby whose birth was likely in an animal stall, and whose bed was an elevated shelf used for storing feed. Do I share with them how thought-down-upon shepherds were in that time, but how God chose the lowest of the low as the messengers to the world of the best news mankind had ever received? And that throughout history He has chosen ordinary people, frequently those others would not give a second glance to, to carry out some of the most extraordinary parts of His plan? People like David, Ruth, Paul, Mary. People like you and me. People like my children. Do I meditate on the hope that Christmas gave over 2000 years ago, and the promise it still offers today? If I do those things, if I teach them to think on the things that are true, good, right, lovely, just, honest...things that have virtue, things worthy of praise, then I will have achieved my goals. Then we will truly be celebrating Christmas.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The closest we are getting...

to potty training these days is Sari sitting on the rolls of toilet paper while she watches Mimi make omelets :-).
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My Quilt

Can I just say I LOVE my quilt. No really. I could not love it more. My husband said, "Isn't it amazing that before you started (the Americana one over the summer) you couldn't even work your sewing machine, and now you've made an entire quilt." I think that sums it up. It's a "pinch me, I must be dreaming" sort of feeling that I actually made a quilt. You can't tell from the photo, but it is about 72" square-just right for 2 big people (or lots of little ones) to snuggle under, and backed with a yummy soft fleece blanket.

I have an extensive list of things I want to learn to do before I die, and making a quilt is one of them. I just feel like our grandmothers and great grandmothers could really DO so much that we have lost the ability to do. It's like we are, as a society, losing a beautiful culture of valuing handiwork. And more than that. We've lost our value in having a mother raise her own children. We've come to believe that having more, owning stuff, is more important than raising our own children, these beautiful gifts from God given to us to raise. Not given to us to give to others to raise. NO ONE will ever love and care for your children like you will. NO ONE.

It's so vitally important that we understand that, and more important that we value it enough to "sacrifice" the stuff money can buy and use that time to win the heart of the child. Mimi and I went to a Mother Daughter conference a while ago, and it was SO RICH with wisdom, I have not known where to start, but let me share this thought:

Let your kids know you think they are THE BEST kids in the world. If they don't get that encouragement from you, they WILL seek it somewhere else.

How scary is that? Do you want your child seeking to know they are valued? Do you want them turning to others to define their worth? Do you want them to grow up feeling that a life of owning stuff like a plasma screen TV was more important than a life that may involve the absence of cable TV, but DOES involve their mother's physical presence in their life ALL the time. Knowing she is there for them, encouraging them, loving them, as no one else can?

And that is why making my own quilt was important to me. It is like a thread running backward and forward through time sewing us all together. It is appreciating the work of the past generations of wonderful amazing women who gave selflessly for their families, learning to value and recreate that work and those ethics yourself, and then having acquired the skills, passing them on to your children so THEY can appreciate it for themselves. In fact, my next project is actually making a quilt WITH Mimi for her bed. We've picked out the fabric and the style, and I can't wait to get started. I want her to see the joy of producing beautiful things with her own hands. And I look forward to the time we will spend together doing it.

And, as I type, Scott is at the office with his daddy working along side him. Does it get any better than that? THIS is how we are called to live, THESE are the seeds we MUST sew if we want to reap children who love people and not stuff, love their God in a real and personal way, honor their parents as a wellspring of their hearts, not a grudging obligation.

Now I'm going to go, turn the AC down to freezing, and snuggle with my kids under our quilt-right after I finish the world's best omelet :-).

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Omelets for breakfast :-)

I LOVE that she can do it herself :-).
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Monday, December 10, 2007

The best thing about being the MAMMA???

You get to eat left over chocolate bread pudding for breakfast while everyone else has omelets :-). Actually, it was a sacrifice as there were only 4 eggs left, so I HAD to eat something else, LOL. At least I ate in private in the kitchen as I was cleaning instead of at the table in front of them.

I have to say I am TOTALLY blessed that both of my older children have taught themselves how to make pretty gosh darn good omelets and they delight in making them for us for breakfast. But, we are now out of eggs...and vegetable oil...and butter...and milk...and lunch meat... and, well, the list is endless, so I see a trip to Publix in our future.

Today though, we have piano, so it is full speed ahead to be ready for Scott's lesson (the last until January), so Publix will have to wait a while. Oh, and we have pictures tonight, so all the kids are getting their monthly whether-they-need-it-or-not bath ;-).

Looks like we may be inviting ourselves to Ann's house for lunch to have some of Presley's yummy Buffalo Chicken Dip-it's easier and more fun than going to the store! I'll bring dessert!
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

(Almost) Finished!

We've been passing an illness around our house...first my husband, then Sari, then me, now Mimi. Just one of those cold/allergy type things, but affecting each one just a little differently. Since Mimi was not feeling well today, I stayed home from church with her and I worked on my quilt while she watched TV. I'm happy to report that it's DONE! Ok, truthfully, it's done to the point of usable, and actually fully quilted on 1/4 of it, and I feel so accomplished. I LOVE it. It's soooo warm and snuggle-y, but best of all many of the people I love most in this world contributed to it. As I was quilting over Aunt Fanny's square, I thought, "here I am sewing over the same things she sewed." In some corny way, it is to me a physical representation of the knitting of two people together in friendship.
I will forever treasure this quilt, as it represents a real accomplishment in my handiwork that I would have never dreamed possible. And, it represents many of the friends God has so graciously brought into my life. I will think of them every time I look at their squares.

I'll post a picture after Sunday when we do our "reveal" for each other.
until tomorrow,
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Children succeed in spite of me!

Tonight, the kids had AWANA, and at the beginning of the year I was quite clear that, given all our other activities (cub scouts, girl scouts, 4-H, precept, church, etc.), if they were going to do AWANA, it was entirely their thing-I would not be responsible for helping them remember their books, bags, Bibles, verses, etc. (Okay, that sounds harsh, but I wanted them to OWN this if they wanted to do it.) I even said to my closest friends that AWANA for me represented a chance for my husband and I to have a "free" date night with only the youngest child in tow. Nope, our kids would definitely not be going out for Clubber of the month, this was just a safe Christian environment for them to have fun and us to have 2 hours a week to remember what it means to be a couple.
Mimi in particular has really embraced AWANA and learned at least a verse a week-sometimes two or three. TJ also has worked on his own to learn verses, as has Scott to a lesser degree (he has scouts and piano to keep him busy). I have been proud of them all and how they have really risen to the occasion and taken ownership of their success. Well tonight, Mimi and TJ got their reward. Yes, in spite of me, they were both voted Clubber of the Month. I'm so happy for them as they have really worked at it.
(AWANA must have shopped the "after Halloween" sales for gifts! Yep, now we have 132 little containers of playdoh!)
It is more than a little reassuring to me that they can succeed without me if they really want to. It makes me feel like they will turn out okay even with our laid back homeschool style :-). I've "suspended" them from school for the week, and we have continued our work on restoring the house to some semblance of order. The boys' room was today's project. Tomorrow we will finish up more of the detail work.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Small successes

So we blew off school entirely today (except Scott practicing piano) and cleaned the girls' room. Yes, it took the ENTIRE day. I should have taken a "before" photo. Mimi gets so overwhelmed, she just decides she wants to get rid of all her toys. Today, she even made a "yard sale" sign to get rid of her toys because she asked me Friday after my marathon shopping day if I had bought her any toys and I said "no" because she couldn't keep the ones she had picked up. She told me this morning that she might as well get rid of all her toys if she wasn't getting any more for Christmas. So we gutted her room. I did box up all her barbies-she never plays with them anyway-and put them aside for Sari to grow into. Sari LOVES babies, so she may actually play with barbies someday, but if not, we can give them away then. We also gutted most of the Polly Pockets and some poorly flocked horses, etc. and found a home for all the things we are keeping. We do this about every three months though, so we will see if this sticks. I gave in and realized that Sari needed a place to keep all her baby dolls accessible but easy to put away, and so I gave up a nice new laundry basket for the job. I hope it will work well. Kiwi-this FINALLY means we can reciprocate, if M is up to it!

Also, between last night and this morning, I got the entire parameter of my quilt "quilted". Okay, it's just 4 straight lines, but as the quilt is 72" square, it a quite a feat. I also quilted around one square. I am excited that I finally made real progress, and hope to do more tonight.

I have kept reasonably on top of the dishes lately, and only have two pots staring at me right now, but they have to wait until the washing machine is done because of our water pressure issues. I did though do the FLYLady challenge today and 27 fling boogie my desk and tossed/shredded 27 pieces of paper...that felt good!

Finally, Sari was praying tonight when I tucked her in (rest assured she will not actually go to bed now, but it's a nice thought), and she said, "God is great, God is great...Wait, mommy, I have to pray for baby Reggie, okay?" Then again with, "God is great, God is great, AMEN."

He is great, isn't He? So great that I was about to "diss" a friend (in a loving way) about her decision not to blog until after the holidays when my eyes fell on a note card I had just uncovered during my paper flinging. It read, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need at the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29" I need to tattoo that verse across my subconscious! That's why it was on a note was meant to be hanging in front of my computer screen, but had fallen. It's back there now! And so, in the spirit of the Truth of scripture, good for you Aunt Fanny. I will miss your running commentary, but I know your family will cherish the time.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A thought for your Sunday

"The human measure of a human life is its income;the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow, its contribution to the welfare of all...If every word spoken in behalf of truth has its influence, and every deed done for the right weighs in the final account, it is immaterial to the Christian whether his eyes behold victory or whether he dies in the midst of conflict."
-William Jennings Bryan, Prince of Peace
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Funnies from today

Our fortune cookie from dinner said, "You have a very lively family." You think?

You know you watch too much TV, especially of one particular show, when your 2 1/2 year old sings her ABC's as A-B-C-S-I, LOL.

In our house, if mommy has to help you open something, she charges a one bite (or one sip) "mommy tax". TJ and Sari both get confused and think we are calling it a "mommy attack". So just now, I was loading the dishwasher, and I hear Sari playing with her snack in the other room so I stop and peek in and listen. She has a teddy graham in each hand, and is making one of them "say" to the other, "Oh no, mommy attack...aahhhhhhh."


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

SO much to little desire to expend the energy to do it.

Today had all the makings for a wonderful day...until I woke up. To my neighbors. Making a ridiculous amount of noise in the street at 7:15. That's a whole different blog...
Anyway, I decided it would be nice on this Thanksgiving to call each of my children in to the bed room and tell them WHY I was thankful for them.

I called Scott in first. I told him how much we had wanted a child, and how we had tried for 5 years, and God had graciously, finally, given us a baby, and that was him. And I LOVE him so much for being the one who made me a "mom". I also told him the Bible says to give thanks in ALL things, so I was even thankful for his Sensory Processing issues. I told him those issues have pushed his dad and I to be better parents, to seek Godly ways of discipline, and that his disorder keeps us on our knees. I told him how thankful I was for the blessing of his piano talent. And finally, how wonderful it was to see him as a big brother. Having had 3 kids in 4 years, he never got the "big brother" opportunities, but he is so wonderful with Sari.
He was sooo positively responsive, it was great....

Mimi came in and I did the same thing. I told her that I am thankful she has such a beautiful heart for the Lord. That she makes up her own praise songs that bring tears to my eyes. I'm thankful she;s talented with the pastels, and that she is also a good big sister. But most of all, I am thankful for her persistence. If she wants to learn something new, she just keeps at it over and over until she masters it. It is amazing to see.
She too responded warmly, and I thought it was a great foundation to the day.

(Then TJ and Sari slept until almost 9, and had to hit the ground running. Their face to face chat about the blessing they are to me will have to be done tomorrow.)

BUT, here's the thing...
In the movie Evan Almighty, they make the point that if you pray to God for patience, he gives you the opportunity to practice patience. If you pray for closer family time, He gives you opportunities to spend time together, etc. Well, I'm here to tell you if you pray thankfully for your son's sensory issues, they will FLARE UP full force, on this, the one day when his "normal" demeanor matters most.
Today was a nightmare. It was the kind of day that literally brings tears to your eyes and drops you to your knees. His anger and tongue were completely out of control and I just did NOT know what to do or what to say to make him "right". Add to that the fact that I was fighting a migraine all day, top it off with subtle digs by the in-laws about...well, you name it (MIL: "Well, we are ready to take the family picture, but Mimi needs clips in her hair. I wanted to brush it, but she said you had clips." SIL:"Well, you told them red shirts and jeans, and you got that, you didn't tell them to brush their hair." Me: (biting my tongue HARD at this moment) "Mimi's hair only looks brushed for about 20 minutes after you brush it, and you only do that when it is wet unless you want to rip her hair out...(as I walk away to get the barrette)") and you get one awful day. I can't even explain to you the depth of pain Scott's words cause, or the absolute feeling of helplessness in those situations, or the mortification at having to attend a family event with a "loose cannon". Thankfully, he did okay while we were there, but started up again on the way home so much so that I had to take a page from Jennie's parent-child contract and tell him he would lose the use of his bed and get a blanket to sleep on the floor with and would loose the right to sit at the table and have to eat on the floor if he could not stop being a destructive influence in the house.

When we got home, I had a small quantity of caffeine, took massive amounts of headache medicine, and Mimi and I went back out the door to a friend's bonfire gathering. Mimi and her friend had a great time, my headache eased, and I appreciated the chance to let all the events of the day go. I returned home better off than I was when I left it, which is good since all the kids were still up to greet me.

Please, please pray for us. Specifically that my son would not sin in his anger, that he would reign in his reckless words, and that he would hear the still soft voice of God in his trails. Pray for Godly wisdom for his father and I as we strive to help him while not losing it ourselves. Pray for my other kids, that they would not be tainted by the things they hear and actions they see.

Thank you!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Say the name of the wine outloud

See no evil...hear no evil...speak no evil...pee-no evil...sorry, that's my 3rd grade potty humor coming through, but it just struck me as funny, so I had to share.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So behind, I'm still on October

So I never posted our Halloween pics. I know the "H" holiday is sort-of taboo in some Christian circles, and trust me I can debate the issue from both sides, but it comes down to the fact that God has not placed in me or more importantly, my husband, a strong conviction that our family should not trick-or-treat. His plan for everyone is different, and maybe He has given you that conviction, but for us, the going-door-to-door thing is a favorite event, especially since it is always shared with friends.

This year was especially nice as we got to go out with Marie and her family, who are finally recovering from her husband's life threatening illness, and with P and her family who now live in NC. It was also special since all of my kids wore homemade costumes...just not made in MY home, LOL. Scott's was made by a friend for her son in a school play, but is wonderful, if a little long torso'd for Scott. TJ's was made by a friend for Scott a few years ago, but he was happy to become a second-hand musketeer. Mimi and Sari both wore costumes made many years ago by my mom, and worn by my sister and I. My bother also wore the clown...but thankfully not the pilgrim dress. Mimi chose to call herself, "Little Red's grandmother" as we had recently seen Into the Woods, Jr. Her friend little Marie was Little Red Riding Hood, as was Mimi's Webkinz dog that she carried in a basket with her. It was an elaborate story, at least in her head, and she shared it with anyone who would listen :-).

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Fear and cold make for strange bedfellows

A while ago, the kids found a tree frog outside on our carport support pillar. Their interest in the frog made the frog desire a more secure hide-out, so he hopped up the pillar and under a piece of the wood that supports the carport roof.

Unbeknownst to the FROG, a corn snake had also decided that that exact plank made a great hid out to curl up in during the cool morning.

Here is the scene we were privy to...the frog on one side, the snake on the other, and no discernible way to rescue the frog without alarming the snake. I'm still not sure what became of either one, but we've never seen them again!
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Changing some stuff

So I edited my Blog Title, since I seem to not write so much about "mothering matters" like I thought I would. I also moved the Neo counter, and now have lost the display totally...that's pretty par for the course for me!

I'm behind on blogging sooooo much, but it takes time that I don't have to get caught up, so I hope you will be patient ;-)
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Productive Boys

My boys were "bach-ing it" this week-end as Mimi and I were at a mother-daughter conference. Actually, they still had a female influence in the form of Sari, but for the most part, it was boy central. They had their cub scout Thanksgiving feast Saturday morning in addition to a father-son cake bake competition. The boys had a great time, and while it was different than Mommy's end result would have been, that was the point of the exercise, and the men of my life got to spend some quality time working together in the kitchen.

Here's the end result:
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Sewing success

Yea! The top of my Christmas quilt is DONE. I'm doing the happy dance! I still need to assemble and quilt it, but allow me my small celebration before reality hits :-). AND, I really like it, which is even better. (And my HUSBAND really likes it too.) I LOVE looking at the blocks and smiling as I think, "L made that" or "Ann made that". If God is love, and Christ died for us to reconcile us to God, but told us the greatest thing we could do was to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, then I cannot think of anything more fitting than a Christmas friendship quilt...BUT, you will have to wait to see it until the big reveal...or until enough people plead to see it, LOL.

I also made a beautiful skirt for Mimi, with two more started for Sari and myself out of the same fabrics. This, I will show you a picture of :-).

And Mimi has been inspired by her friend M to do some sewing of her own. Here's her version of M's birthday gift to Mimi.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Made with real fruit juice...

So my kids went to two birthday parties yesterday. One for my Godson and his brother, and one for my nephew. So much for a day of rest :-). We also presented our veteran's quilt to our chosen recipient, and he was very happy to get it. It was very nice. But back to the parties...

My s-i-l went all out. They have one child, they will only ever have one child, and they are determined to do it all. No...hmmmm, maybe we can throw together a birthday party TONIGHT for them. Nope, they are the whole, "hand make the card to look like cookie monster's face" type. The beauty of an only child! Well, this only child turned 2 yesterday. BJ's party was over in Tampa, and so my husband took the kids as UIP had a concert. The same thing happened last year, and I feel bad, but we will see them for Thanksgiving anyway. They had a Sesame Street themed party, and when my family turned up, they doubled the size of the children attending, LOL. The little kids watched an episode of Elmo's world, and they played outside. "K squared" (my brother and sister in law both have K names) had ordered Pizza for food. WAY TOO MUCH pizza judging by the jumbo pizza and a half that came home with us. It makes me wonder if they invited a bunch of people who didn't come, or if they thought BJ and his 3 little friends would eat a lot? I guess the kids' parents and my family added into the equation, but there was still plenty left. An entire spinach and tomato pizza. Yucky...I mean LUCKY me, LOL. Even my kids want nothing to do with it, and they eat veggies. For the record I eat some though as you can pick anything off a pizza if it is warm enough for the cheese to be soft.

K squared had also bought those snack sized baggies of chips/goldfish, etc. They again must have overbought, because they sent home an ENTIRE stuffed-to-the-top paper grocery bag full of them. We have snacks for MONTHS now. AND, the party favors were little metal schoolbus- shaped, Sesame Street character covered lunch boxes. Filled with candy. Which leads me to the title of this blog.

You know ring pops? (Okay, Sparkling Suzanne might not know about them, but I trust the rest of you do, LOL.) Ring pops generally are 5 times the size of an allowable-in-this-house lollipop, but they were in the bus along with push-pops (for 2 year olds!!!!) and my kids opted to have either a push pop or ring pop after lunch for the rest of their RDA of sugar :-). As I opened Mimi's Cotton Candy flavored ring pop for her, I noticed the words, "Made with real fruit juice." Are you joking? Is that meant to make me feel better? How much "real fruit juice" (as opposed to fake fruit juice?) do you suppose there could possible be in there, and does it even remotely make up for the rest of the ingredients? Let's see: sugar, corn syrup, invert sugar, buffered lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors (just how would you "naturally" flavor a cotton candy flavored lollipop? with more sugar?), PEAR JUICE CONCENTRATE, artificial color, red #3, blue #1 Lake, blue #1. Yep, that pear juice practically makes it health food...if you forget the sugar, sugar, more sugar, and artificial colors enough that the poo I find un-flushed in the toilets over the next day or two should be really interesting. Why bother with the real fruit juice? Because Concentrated fruit juice is SWEET, that's why. It's just one more way of sweetening it up without you realizing it.

Oh well, you only live once, and they only eat ring pops once a year, so I imagine they will be okay if we can avoid a sugar induced coma...

Off to sew!


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Insides and outsides

There is a very wise saying that you should not compare someone else's'outsides to your insides. Not your literal insides, but the deep dark insides of your mind and your life that make you look at things in others (their appearance, their clean house, their incredibly mindful children, their good job, their perfect boobs (threw that one in after a conversation I had yesterday with some friends), their fancy car...whatever it is) and think I could never do that, have that be good enough for that, etc. Whatever it is that allows self doubt to creep in when you compare someone's outsides to your insides.

Here's some wisdom I have learned about that:

1) There is someone in the world to whom you are the "outside". I PROMISE. There is someone who looks at you, and thinks all those wonderful things that you think about others and are convinced are not true of you, but to them, they are. You are that person they think they don't measure up to because they only see your outsides.

2) The path it took for some people to get those "outsides" is not one you would probably envy if you only knew. That person with an immaculately clean house may have been abused as a child if everything was not spotless, and they don't know how to live any other way. That person with the amazing huge house and fancy car may be up to her eyeballs in debt and worrying where the money for the next house payment will come from. The person with with those amazingly disciplined children may bribe them into it, or intimidate them into it, so that the compliance is real and physical, but not from the heart. The list of possibilities is endless, but I can tell you it is very real.

3) It may all be a matter of perspective.  Consider this.  Today, I could blog that...
A) I made my children a delightful breakfast of homemade oatmeal. And since we are cheerfully watching my neighbor all day too, I had five lovely young people happily enjoying their breakfast treat. After breakfast, I lit our 3-wick candle so we could all enjoy the scent, and went into Mimi's room to try on a bag full of clothes that my friend dropped of on our doorstep this morning. Then, I proceeded to work on the laundry while the kids enjoyed some play time. I've done 3 loads already today. Once I got the laundry going, I gathered all the children around, and I read aloud to the the next chapter in Betsy and Tacy go over the Big Hill. We discussed many differences between then and now, like the fact that the children dressed for "supper" including the girls neatly doing their hair. And they came home from school for "dinner" which is our lunch. They found it all very intriguing. After that, I got a butternut squash roasting in the oven, and got the kids situated at the sink taking turns peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes. They all happily helped out, even little Sari. While they did that, I got a pot roast going in the crock pot, and fed our composting worms all the scraps from our preparations. With the food work finished, they are now all outside playing until I call them for lunch.

b) We had oatmeal for breakfast. Not the organic, rough hewn, really healthy for you stuff, but the publix quick cooking stuff (although it was REAL and not the packets full of sugar with some oats added in...BUT...).Then I sprinkled a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar in the bottom of the bowls and about 2 tablespoons of mini-chocolate chips on top. Yep, I'd prefer to sugar them up myself then let the oatmeal packets do it for me. We have my neighbor R today, and she wouldn't touch it...apparently chocolate chip oatmeal is just a little beyond normal for her, but here, it's a staple :-). Then I went into Mimi's room to try on the clothes K dropped off. At least, I assume it was K as they smell like her clothes smell, but I never actually saw her do it. I had to be careful where I walked in Mimi's room because the mess if so pervasive. In fact, her precious pearl is missing, and she thinks her brother may have it, but I will not even entertain the notion of asking him until she can prove it's not in her room under some pile of stuff. We tried on the clothes, and I was walking out to put the stuff I needed to get rid of or box up to grow into in boxes, when I found a RIVER of wax all over my dinning room table. Really, there is less water flowing in the Mississippi River than the wax flowing on my table. And since the wax pool was gone, the flames on the candle (a 3-wick) shot so high that the smoke detector went off. I dropped the clothes, blew out the candle, and attempted to stymie the flow of wax before it hit the floor. Whew! Just in time. After averting the catastrophe, and rebuilding the wall of the candle with soft wax, I re-lit it and we shall see if history repeats itself. They kids DID happily help out with the potatoes, and Sari rubbed down the cabinets with the magic eraser...yes, I KNOW about the e-mail and the skin burns, but she was rubbing the CABINET, not her face, so she did fine. I also let Mimi handle a chef's knife with a 9" blade to cut up the potatoes. She still has all her fingers, and she said, "I never knew this could be so fun" so I think it was a good experience. While we were in the kitchen finishing up though, Sari was outside with no shoes on, so I am sure her feet are awful. Oh, and it's way past lunch time, and here I am blogging instead of feeding the kids. AND, the ONLY school we've done today is reading one chapter of that book, and Scott doing his piano theory work...unless you count our homemaking endeavors.

My point? That both of the above are true. And neither is complete without the other. I have had an amazingly productive morning, but none of those loads of laundry is FOLDED yet...just lying flat in a HUGE pile for me to deal with. I am watching 5 kids, and it is no big deal to me, but I love R like she's my own, so it's not anything extra to have her here. I don't usually have mornings that make me look like little Suzy homemaker, so I love sharing that I had one today, but if this little snap shot was all you saw, I'd look pretty good. On the flip side, I don't usually have days where I almost burn the house down, and while that's an exception, the second story is much closer to our usual truth.

Don't compare your insides to ANYONE's insides, good, bad or otherwise. God has a plan specific to YOU, and He created you fearfully and wonderfully to carry out that plan. Since His plan for each of us is different, it is natural that the insides and the outsides of each of us will be different. Live for Him. Worry about what He thinks. Let the rest go. And next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, stop and compliment THEM. Tell them what impresses you. We are meant to be encouragers. And I bet they will encourage you right back...either with something you do that they admire, or with the reason they can do that thing, or have that thing, that appeals to you, and you will find it has a high cost that came from a trial God had for THEM to perfect THEIR faith. Rest in the knowledge that He loves you just as much, and He has given you exactly what YOU need for YOUR tasks.

Just a thought.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sea World

Sea World Family photo op

Again, I am all behind in what I wanted to blog about. There's a variety of reasons, like my office being FREEZING in cool weather, but it leaves me with so much to say...
Last Wednesday the kids and I went to Sea World. I actually kept them out of P.E. for this entire month so that we would be free to do things like Sea World. (tonight while she was praying, Mimi said, "Dear God, help my mom know how much we want to do P.E." Sad huh?) We had a very relaxing stress to see any particular thing (except our favorite Blue Horizons show, which was PACKED, so we sat in the nose-bleed section).

We spent quite a bit of time petting sting rays.

Mimi, still with money burning a whole in her pocket, got to fulfill a dream...they have this pearl diving place there where they have "divers" bring a handful of oysters up to the surface and for the paltry sum of $15, you can chose one (each one GUARANTEED to have a pearl) and get yourself your very own pearl. All my kids have wanted to do this since Sea World built this area a few years ago. Well this time, Mimi spent her own money and did it. Now she has her very own pearl, and she couldn't be happier. Except we didn't have the money to buy any setting for it, so it's just in a little baggie, but if we can get it drilled through, we can string it on something.
Mimi and the diver who brought up her oyster

Sari had another 1st...she actually touched "Shamu" and had her picture taken with him.

Oh, and she got lost...yep, I lost my daughter. We went to Shamu's happy harbor, the kid's play area, and I was giving the other 3 instructions on where to meet and when (we go there often enough that they are very comfortable there and it's easier to give them a meeting place than to try to keep up with all of them-I still visually keep an eye on them every few minutes). I got done with the instructions, they took off, and suddenly, no Sari left behind!
Somehow in the 2 minutes I was telling them what to do, she had slinked away.
On to a ride.
That the attendant put her on without an adult present.
To his credit, he was standing by her side looking for me, and with her on the carousel she was actually at eye level and I spotted her quickly, but wow! what a moment of panic. Luckily I knew that was where she wanted to go, so it was my first place to look anyway. She of course was nonplussed.
Lost? Who? ME? Never!
Cutie Patootie!

Oh, and after 5 years of having passes, I finally caved and let the boys play with those "insert token for the pleasure of driving an RC boat for 3 minutes". They had a blast, and since they were bummed about Mimi getting a pearl, it seemed like the least I could do.

The boys rode Wild Arctic by themselves, which is good because it will be rehab-ed this week so will be closed for a while. After much confusion on the part of the Sea World workers (me: I want my boys to ride, but not me or the girls. Them: She's to little to ride. Me: Yes, I know...just the boys want to ride. Them: Okay, so you want to do a child swap? Me: No one to "swap" with...I just want to put them on the ride and wait at the exit. Etc. Etc.) They finally got it...we go through this every time so it is nothing new...and the boys had a blast. For the record, Mimi could have rode, but isn't brave enough to do it without mommy, who even if I didn't have Sari to worry about, would not ride Wild Arctic for all the pearls in the sea.

All in all, it was a great day, and I got home with 2 hours to spare before my concert for UIP, so it all worked out. I hope to take the kids again this month as the passes expire in December and I have no idea if we will make it back there with all the holiday stuff to do.
Until tomorrow,

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Thursday, November 8, 2007


So I've been summoned to jury duty. Again. I get summoned at least once a year. They must like me. This is Petit jury, and it will be a week long trial term...Ummmmm...NO!

First, let me say I totally believe it is the duty of every able person who enjoys the freedom living int he country affords to serve on a jury when called. That's how our justice system works. You can't have a jury of your peers without peers who are willing to serve. BUT, it just is not realistic for a homeschooling mother of 4 (ages 10 and under) to serve on a jury for a week. And I do meet the qualifications for exemption due to my stay-at-home mom of a 2 1/2 year old status, but it's funny how persistent they are in summoning me when I know some people who have never been summoned.

The last one I actually went to was for GRAND jury. Now there's one you don't want to get picked for, as the grand jury can be called anytime for a certain number of months. Sometimes it pays to have a high juror number, as they filled the jury box before they got to me.

I really look forward to serving sometime though, just not right now for this particular commitment. I am grateful though to live in a county where there is a system of trial by jury and not just randomly enforced laws with punishments carried out at the whim of one person. And I love that as citizens we get to be part of the process. We are really blessed that our system, even with its flaws, works as well as it does. All you have to do is keep up with international events to appreciate that truth.
I am even more blessed though that the ultimate judge is God and the price for my trangressions is already paid in the precious blood of Jesus.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2007


So much meaty stuff to blog...but time for only the fluff.

I managed to make it through yesterday doing all our normal activities PLUS take baby R with us. We left the house at 8:45 and got back home at 3:45. She's a great trooper.
We had a few significant "firsts" yesterday...
TJ took his first art class with Miss Heather. He's still young, but he does his art work at home so purposefully that I wanted him to have the chance to get a little instruction. We are committed for this month, and we will see from there...He did really enjoy it though. Here's his turtle that he drew at class. The bottom is a little lopped off in the photo to cover his signature.
The other big first happened, and I had NOTHING to do with it. Sari has been telling me, and anyone would would listen for the past year every time she has had to go pee (and now she tells even sometimes gives us a head's up about the other option). Well, I am, since it seems this is true confessions week in our circle of blog friends, way to LAZY to deal with a potty "trained" 1 1/2 year old (which is when she started telling us about needing to go pee) and not so thrilled at the prospect even still. I have no rush to get her out of diapers. I think, until they are really old enough to recognize when they need to go and are able to go on command even when they don't "need" to for those times when you are out and the bathrooms will be scarce or scary, that all you really do is train yourself to have to ask them every 30 minutes if they have to "go potty" and train yourself to carry extra clothing/things to clean messes with etc. until they are really old enough to do it on their own. I'd rather just wait until they can do it on their own and be done. It's worked for my older 3, and I was planning on it working for Precept she told her teacher she needed to go "pee" and so the teacher took her in, put her on the potty, and voila! pee! Great! I say with mixed emotions. I'm totally happy for Sari and thankful for the teacher for being so kind. And I won't DIScourage it at all, but I just haven't ENcouraged it so far. So this morning I let her sit on the potty which produced nothing but a cute photo session, but that's good enough for me.
Funny Huh? She's wearing her favorite Sein-Sein PJ's. The second face is her..."my poopy not come" face.
More to blog, but life to live also, so I have to run. The kids and I are off to Seaworld today, and given the UIP has a concert tonight, I should be just about dead by 9 PM, LOL.
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Monday, November 5, 2007

Brotherly love

Here's a picture of my brother Michael and his girlfriend S. She lives in Ohio, and as he is quite serious about making a future with her, I am sure that even after he leaves his job that has him traveling all over the US and the world, we still won't see much of him. It's a shame because the kids LOVE him so. But hey, looks like we will have a reason to visit Ohio now.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rant and rave

Let's start with the raving first :-). Here's my husband loving on our youngest. Is there anything better than the love of a father for his children?

And then here's my youngest loving on her sister. How the two of them reclined comfortably in this cheap-o folding chair is beyond me, but they were there for several minutes.

And the rant? My husband told me he spoke to his mother. She wants me to make the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner at her house. And, since she has the whole meal planned out according to some menu she got from somewhere (probably Bon Appetite or Gourmet), she will be providing me with the RECIPE to follow when making said mashed potatoes.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? is my gut reaction. You have the audacity to tell me what I am bringing, and then you are going to tell me how to make it too?

Not very nice, huh (my reaction, not her request)? Why is it so hard for me to just be good with her request? Why do I "kick against the goads" so much when it come to all things related to my m-i-l? But actually it is just a mental "kicking". In the end, I will do exactly what she wants because it will make her happy and preserve the peace, and it is not harmful for me to do it. And it's probably what Jesus would do...or at least what He would encourage any lady of the Bible to do, since I doubt He ever made mashed potatoes. He did turn water into wine for ill-prepared wedding throwers though. And He also fed the masses with loaves and fishes after spending all day teaching them. So the least I can do is make some mashed potatoes (even using some yet-to-be-produced recipe) because in the end it is about loving my husband (and by default his family), with whom I have a covenant vow of one-ness. with an agape, self-sacrificing love. I'm blessed I have a husband, many women don't. While we don't always bring out the best in each other, he does, just by his existence, drive me to be better...a better housekeeper, mother, and help-meet just to name a few things. God uses him, and our covenant of marriage to work on ME and that is priceless even if it is sometimes hard to swallow.
until tomorrow,
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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ren Faire highlights cont.

Here is a picture from the pirate show. They choose people from the audience to help with the story, and in this show, they chose a lady who goes to our church. So here is B's big moment on stage...
The library had a "decorate a cookie with a renaissance symbol" craft going on. I'd show you a picture, but the cookies were consumed fairly quickly after being crafted, LOL. Another educational group sponsors brass rubbings though, and here is Mimi doing hers.

And from the "I've got to get myself one of these" category comes...the stockade. My kids LOVED it, and I got to thinking...I could LOVE it too...especially if I had my own personal stockade for at home use, LOL.

It got me to thinking how much we have changed as a society and a nation though, that once public humiliation was an acceptable form of discipline, and now nothing is. I'm not sure stockades were Biblically inspired, but I am confident that today's laissez-faire, "I want to be my kid's best friend" attitudes are not Biblically inspired either. Humiliation is not the key to winning someone's heart, but neither is turning a blind eye to sin.
Sadly, a man selling pendants at the faire was recounting to me how someone from a private Christian school stole one of his pendants (they are unique and custom done, and he had made very few sales that morning, so he KNEW no one had bought it ). Anyway, the kid who stole it actually came back to the booth WEARING it!!! The man confronted him, and the kid lied, but then got caught in the lie and gave it back, but so sad that it happened at all. Where were the adults who were meant to be chaperoning these kids? Where are the parents who obviously never taught them stealing is wrong? I think it is especially sad as the man and his family struck me as non-believers (due to the nature of most of what he was selling) and here is this "Christian" stealing from him. So frustrating...
I'm off to bed to enjoy my "extra" hour, but I wanted to say I am blessed with the fact that UIP's concerts start tomorrow night. I can't wait to see how God will work through them. And I'm blessed that TJ had his last soccer game this morning and I got to see most of it. He has really enjoyed it.

And finally, I'm blessed that Sari has fallen asleep at my feet and it isn't even 11 PM...that's amazing!

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Ren Faire Highlights

This week-end is the annual Renaissance faire for our area. It is a pretty good one, and on Friday they have education day where the tickets are significantly cheaper. We have gone for several years running.

I tried send Sari off to work with her daddy, but no such luck. Turns out, having her anywhere but at the Ren Faire would have been great. She is such a wonderful child. Quiet, obedient, funny, easy going, etc., but when she is having an off day she is a BEAR, and today was the mother of all off days. She whined anytime I wasn't holding her, and holding a almost 30 pound child while walking a fair is not my idea of fun, so either I suffered physically by carrying her or mentally from the whining. ARGH! I think because it is so vastly off from her normal disposition, it is really hard to deal with her when she is like that.

In the end, the other kids all had a great time, but we did not actually "do" much of anything. We missed the jousting and the falconry. And for the first time, we did not complete the "quest" (which is an elimination-type mystery you solve by seeking clues from Ren Faire folks wearing little white roses). We did though see the funny pirates, a perennial favorite, whose show is rapidly becoming too PG-13 for my 10 year old son. Actually, the show never seems to change much, but the jokes that used to go way over his head I now fear he understands.

Mimi was on a quest of her own-to blow through some money she has earned for watering our neighbor's plants. She was seeking Renaissance garb, preferably some of those beautiful dresses they wear. Unfortunately, the simple sheath with puffy elastic sleeves was $59 (for her size!) so she settled for a hair stick (a metal rod with a glass ball at the twist your hair up and then use the stick to secure it). It was $5 and really holds her hair well without it "hurting" like some things do.

I caved for the first time in history and let the boys get wooden "swords". We'll see how long they last, or if daddy even lets them have them (or let's me live for buying them), but the boys are excited. There will definitely be some ground rules!
Here are Scott and Mimi with my sister's friend's husband, who does re-enactments. We got the chance to watch him battle later on.
Sari and Mimi's favorites...pretty ladies on pretty horses.
The falconry show we tried to see got cancelled because the audio didn't work. Why do you need audio for a bird show? To explain what they are doing. We got to see it last year, and trust me, the audio is important :-). I don't think you can tell, but the falcon actually has a special little helmet on over his eyes to keep him from seeing until they are ready for the show (hence his bug-eyed appearance).
There's a bizarre-type job...what do you do for a living? I make blinders for falcons. Do you think that's what that person wanted to be "when they grew up?". I'm thinking that's definitely one of those "run in the family" sort of vocations.
So much more to blog, but I'm exhausted, so it's off to bed for now.
I'm thankful it was a beautiful day, thankful for the friends we got to see, if only for a few moments, and thankful that homeschooling means we get to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves all around us.
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