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Friday, August 31, 2007

A sweet prayer

We did half our school work today and then went to the park. TJ was so proud of himself and his reading accomplishments that he kept coming up and whispering in my ear, "Did you tell them I can read 16 words?" or "Did you tell them I read 'a cat sat'?" It was funny and soooo touching to see how proud he is.
I forgot another first this week. Sari prayed before our meal. She for a few months has been adding her own "amen" and lately has been asking, "I pay?" (pray) and them when we say "yes" she would say "Gah is gay"(God is's good He knows her heart and isn't reliant on her language skills :-) over and over until we forced her into the "amen". Well yesterday she said, "I pay?" and we said yes and she said, "Gah is gay...Gah is goo..weh ah thank hih for foo...AMEN." It just melts my heart that my 2 year old wants to pray. I know right now it's just a desire to copy her siblings, but I know the day is coming where she will really mean those words and that is exciting too.
I'm thankful for children who love the Lord and prayerful that they will love each other, LOL. I yearn for the day they fully understand how good and great their God is.
until tomorrow,
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The important things I HAVEN'T blogged about!

I'm feeling a bit bad-mommy-ish, but I totally forgot to blog some important firsts this week.

On Tuesday, I took the boys to get new sneakers. TJ is going to be playing soccer and had outgrown his, and Scott's ripped the other day, so clearly they needed replacing. So off to Target. We were specifically looking for NOT black or and dark color sole, since the gym at Precept forbids dark soles. That requirement left 2 of the 20 types available for each boy to choose from. TJ found some he liked, and was off and literally running (funny how kids think new shoes make them run faster). Scott had to choose between some white athletic looking ones and some brown skateboarder looking ones. He opted for the white, but I wanted to be sure he could actually get them on by himself, so he proved that he could before we left the store with them. He was sooooo excited, he wore them home, but removed them once he got home since we tend to run around shoeless. Well, then an hour later it was time to go again and he put them on AND tied them by himself. Now if your child has been doing that since they were 3, I don't think you'll be able to appreciate that at all, but we live in a velcro/elastic age, and my 10 years old had literally NEVER tied his own shoes. LOVE IT!!!!!!

Then yesterday, TJ read his first sentence, "a cat sat." I know it's not award winning literature, but hey, we're proud anyway. He's totally doing great with reading. I LOVE schooling him at home. Every mom deserves one easy child :-). And yes, I know that the "easy" part comes from the year he spent in pre-k last year, but I'll take what I can get.
until later,
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are you SURE that's how it works???

Overheard yesterday while we were at Sea World:

The "expert" at the dolphin nursery was being asked a bunch of questions, so he put on his microphone and answered them so everyone could hear. One of the questions was about how many babies were in the tank, since there were 7 dolphins in there. It turns out, there are 3 expectant moms, the new mom and her baby, and 2 "aunties", He then explains, "The aunties function as wet nurses and nannies BEFORE the baby is born, and then they help the mom with the baby after the baby is born."
Is that how it works?
And here I thought a baby had to be born before a) you need a nanny and b) someone else can nurse it for you. I laughed silently, but was NOT going to correct this young man in front of all those people. Just my own private TEE-HEE.
I'm sure he'll figure it out someday...I'd love to see his face when someone explains to him what a "wet nurse" is.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So cute I had to share

These pictures all have a pinkish cast to them because of the canopy at the carousel at SW, but I like them anyway.

A look only Sari can give :-)


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How a squirrel cost me $9

We are a mere week into school, and we already played hooky and went to Sea World. Besides getting out of the house later than I wanted, the morning went well. I made PB&J to take with us, rounded up drinks, had the kids put on bathing suits under their clothes, grabbed sunscreen and sun glasses, checked my wallet for our passes...oh, there was the first glitch, Scott's pass was missing. I'm not sure how that happened. Usually they go through the gate, and I collect the tickets and put them right back in the holder. So after grilling him about what happened to a pass we haven't used since April (not the smartest parenting moment, I know...I can't even remember yesterday), I gave up and we headed out prepared to pay whatever it cost to replace it.
Got to SW in an hour, got primo parking, and went to pass precessing, where they scanned one of the other kid's cards, and printed out Scott's new one FREE of charge! Oh, and did I mention all the people in the parking lot smiled? SW is not known locally for their friendly guest service, but today was a shining moment!
We went in the park and spent a ridiculous amount of time watching flamingos. Mimi is fascinated by birds of all types, but the boys...well that's another story. About 2 minutes of flamingos is plenty for them. 10 is pushing it-even for me! Below is one of her many, not-quite centered pictures of them, LOL. We have some picture taking lessons still to go over obviously!

We made a leisurely stroll in a very not crowded park back to my favorite hidden treasure, the aquarium under Journey to Atlantis. This is a MUST GO place that is very easy to miss.
They have moon jellies...

and comb jellies...

both of which are way-cool under the special lights in the tank that you can turn on by pressing a button on the wall.
Oh, and did I mention the small sharks swimming overhead, and the fish and rays underfoot? For Sari, it was just this side of paradise to be face to face with "fee-fees" (fish)

Anyway, after that, we caught our favorite show, Odyssea, and when we came out at 12:15 we were hungry, so we decided to eat our PB&J. As we walked up to the stroller, I could see the basket and could tell something was amiss. But it wasn't until we got much closer that we realized clearly the critters thought it was time for lunch too, and they had had a go at our PB&J before we could. Oy!!! The people next to us told us the same thing happened to them at SW a few months ago. So that was my homeschooling lesson for the day...pack everything in a squirrel proof cooler. It was not a total loss though, as they only got one sandwich. I tossed the next one, but the last three were totally removed from the squirrel invasion, so we shared those, but later I had to spend $9 on snacks to make up for the missing 2 sandwiches. (My kids actually gleefully picked out those "Little Chugs" full of milk as their snack. Chocolate for the boys, Strawberry for Mimi, and plain for Sari who didn't know any different since the containers are not see through. LOVE that!)
Finishing off the day was fun at Shamu's Happy Harbor where they have added three new kid rides since April, including a carousel. Too cool. The kids had a blast. They loved playing in the water area, and we even got so see Shamu (the walking one, not the aquatic mammal). I love that in this picture, Sari looks happy to see Shamu when in real life she was terrified that they were trying to get her to go closer. She's Shamu's biggest fan...from 4 yards away, LOL.

Tonight, I asked Scott what his favorite thing was, and he said it was the last thing we did as we were leaving the park. We stopped by the baby dolphin nursery and got to see a 2 1/2 week old baby dolphin. There are 3 more expecting dolphins, so there should be lots more babies coming!
That's the baby on the left and mom on the right in the photo.

I'm blessed that we had such a nice day at the park. And despite the fact that I'm not fond of Florida, I am thankful for the many opportunities we have to go to the theme parks and make learning fun. I love that I can take my kids by myself and we can have a nice time at a theme park without any of us getting overwhelmed or "losing it" as I have seen happen to soooo many families while working at WDW.
until tomorrow,
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Having never been a "delicate" home, in our house we call it like it is. Which means your bottom is your butt, my kids have boogers and not mucous, we use a "snot sucker" instead of a bulb syringe, and a baby is stinky, not having a bowel movement. And into this environment comes our sweet funny Sari who just takes all our idiosyncrasies throws them our the window in favor of her own. Her are some of her more memorable ones:
She has a "bum-bum" instead of a butt (or bottom for you more sensitive types)
When you flush, your byproduct, whatever it may be, goes "home" (I have NO idea where that comes from). And she enjoys watching that. And she wants to be the one to "fush".
She will always tell you, after the fact, "Mommy, I pee" and will deny to her last breath being stinky even as the paint peels in her wake.
After running around denying being stinky, she will inevitably need "keem" (cream) for her bum-bum.

After a voyeuristic episode in the "loo" tonight, I figured I'd blog all this so I can remember it years from now :-).

She's too funny. She also takes great delight in a parent returning home and will run up to you and hug your leg with all her heart. She will NOT though tell you "I love you"...I've heard it from her once ever. She will hug and snuggle all you want, but she only kisses you when she feels like it, and usually not if you ask. She enjoys hiding when we are trying to leave the house, especially in my closet, and she can totally avoid all the usual ploys to make a child give up their position. No give away giggles from this one. She can fall asleep anywhere if she is tired, but will almost never opt for her "kib" (crib, now converted to a toddler bed) although she will sleep there all night when you move her there after she is asleep. She will however fall asleep in a toy box. Go figure! She calls Mimi by her name and TJ by his, but will only call Scott her "brah-ee" (brother). She LOVES having her picture taken, especially if it is digital and she can see the picture right away. She has to do "wawk" at the table everyday with us while we homeschool.

I could go on for ages, but I'll stop and head to bed. I'm blessed to have 4 wonderful children. They are so different, but so special, and I can't imagine life without any of them.
until tomorrow,
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Monday, August 27, 2007

It's HOW old????

So just before we went to my mom's for dinner, my husband had been looking at Southern Living, which we get for some unknown reason since I will NEVER be living the way they do in that magazine, LOL. Anyway, in it was a thing by McCormicks about spices and how long they are good for/how to tell how old they are (most are good for maybe 6 months after they are opened). So we get to my mom's and she's still throwing together the pasta salad so her spices were out. My husband picks one up, turns it over, and says, "Mom, do you realize this spice is...over 15 YEARS old?!" She says something like, "No, it can't be that old" when he tells her he just read mere minutes before about how if the label lists a certain manufacturing plant, the spice is over 15 years old since they haven't made spices there since then. Of course, we find this out AFTER the spices have been added. Oh well, we all lived to tell about it. Guess I know what we are getting mom for Christmas...all new spices. We did that before with Christmas-y ones like cinnamon and nutmeg, etc. but I guess we need to do the rest now. Mom will buy the hugest container of anything and hold onto it forever, as evidenced by the spice in question (it was onion salt, BTW). I think the next function at her house will be BYOOS (bring you own onion salt).

I'm blessed that my family lives so close, and that we all get along relatively well. And I love that we can give each other a hard time and do it in love and all have a good laugh.

The picture is from the revelation of the spice age.

until tomorrow,


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Fall in FL

So I was reading the comics today and one of them made reference to fall starting because the leaves were changing. HA! Florida totally missed the "there are 4 seasons" memo. Today, just like every day for the past month, the high will be 93+ degrees and the "heat index" that factors in humidity to figure out what it really feels like to a person outside will register above 105 degrees. It doesn't matter what the calendar says, fall in Florida only comes for 2 reasons...when a rainstorm/hurricane makes the leaves/branches/trees "fall" down in the wind OR when it's sooo dry that the leaves just shrivel up and "fall" to the ground. The pictures above are from a rainstorm last night that actually left more debris than some tropical storms do. If you look at the bottom of our driveway, you will see it covered in dead palm fronds. The catch is there is not a palm tree nearby. Must have been some wind, but we were at mom's for dinner with the family since Michael was in town, so we missed experiencing it at our house. Lightening struck our neighbor's tree, and took the power out for a block of homes including RM's, but miraculously sparing ours. The one picture shows the burned interior of the tree.

We are all very blessed no one got hurt, and that the neighbor whose land the tree is on is going to have that tree and another removed. That's great because they are both huge oaks that are dying, and they overhang that neighbor's house AND our entire street and part of our yard where our camphor tree is. It will sure be sunnier on that side of the street, but safer too.
until later,
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More Brotherly Love

I love this pic from yesterday of my boys. Scott is the oldest, and Tj is on top. Scott looks about like I would if I had been asked to volunteer to be squished for the sake of a picture, LOL.

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What a cutie!!!!

My brother Michael, who I've always thought was cute, and who is the spitting image of our grandfather and amazingly similar in appearance to our dad, and TJ who loves to have his picture taken.
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Brotherly love

My brother travels for work and we see him only once every few months. He will be going out west on a vacation in a few days. Then he will go from there to Argentina. It's my intention to get a "flat stanley" thing going on that I can send with him for the kids' benefit since we are doing Exploring Countries and Cultures this year for our curriculum. My kids LOVE to play with Uncle Michael. He gets very physical with them in a good way-running, playing hide and seek, throwing a ball, piggy back rides, etc. They also love that his love for video games is as great as if not greater than their own, so he'll happily plop down and play those with them too. Above, Sari is literally passed out asleep in the middle of a boisterous game of Mario Party. Below, she dangles upside down with glee.
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Can it be?

I can't believe I haven't posted in two days! This cold I have is really making me tired, and by the time I get done with the "required" activitied, I am just too beat to sit down at the computer.

I have a bunch of pictures to post, and since blogger doesn't seem to allow you to post pictures with captions, I'll do them individually (besides, it will get me to my 100th blog faster...JUST KIDDING ANN!!!)

I'll blog more of substance later.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

School policy update

So today was our next day to pick up RM from school. Talk about irony...I know without a doubt I am now on her "pick-up" list as her mom made a point of telling me. So today, when I wen tot pick her up, I wasn't sure how it would go down. The same lady was there who had walked away from me, and I thought things might go poorly. But today, I had also decided to skip the line for pick up and just walk up to the pick up area. I wasn't sure what the protocol was, but there were a bunch of other parents just standing around talking, and no one seemed very concerned about a line or anything. You know why? Because if you walk up to get you child, the child just looks for you ,and then walks out a side door in the fence and off you go-no adult supervision or checking who is picking up whom AT ALL. AMAZING!!!! Good for me, but such a farce in terms of any illusion of child safety. What an eye opener.
I'm getting a cold, and I feel of those days you just want to curl up with a blanket and a good book and sleep/read to your heart's content. So of course I had all sorts of activities I had to do. We had our "NOT Back to School Party" for our HS group, and that went really well despite a total lack of planning on my part. God is teaching me not to procrastinate. Who knows if you might feel bad on the day you intend to get everything done?
I had a HORRIBLE mom moment that I won't share, by I did have to apologize to the offending child for sinning in my anger.
School went fairly well, although I am still struggling to find the balance in what to try to accomplish in one day.
I'm off to bed because I feel yuck. But I'm blessed to have a wonderful group of ladies in the HS group that I really admire and respect; many of whom are good friends of mine. I'd be totally lost without them. Especially the one keeping my oldest tonight. She makes my life easier by just being in it :-).
until tomorrow,
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Two down...

Day two of school is done! Only the rest of their lives to go, LOL. I felt fairly accomplished at 10 AM when I had already done reading with TJ, reading with Mimi, math with TJ, cajoled, heckled, and threatened Scott into piano practice, and done a load of laundry and had it hanging out to dry. And we started at 9. Wow! I would be really impressed if I didn't know it was me.

I can't even say it went downhill from there because it didn't. We did science, colored our Bible sheet, I impressed my kids with being able to say and write the Greek alphabet (I KNEW being a sorority girl would pay off someday, LOL), and we discovered the source of our word "alphabet" (the Greek letters alpha/beta). Mimi figured that out on her own. We did math, although this was one of those "concept" lessons where the concept seems obvious to me and clear as mud to them, but I don't think it matters as it is meant to be a way to make things easier, not a foundational truth they have to use. They did enjoy patterning on the geo-boards though, so that made up for it.

On the funny/sad side, they did pre-tests for their Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum by filling in all the countries they can identify on 4 of the 7 continents (we'll do the rest tomorrow). I think they got one right TOTAL, and that was AUSTRALIA, which happens to be both continent and country, so that saved them, oh, and the title on the map that said, "Boundary map of AUSTRALIA and Oceania". Being very literal, they then tried to figure out what island was Oceania-tee hee.
I laugh with them, not at them, because I realized when we left Europe, my ability to name ANY country was greatly reduced too. And did I mention my degree is in Social Science Education. I'll spell it out for you by saying I used to TEACH GEOGRAPHY. Yep. Boy is that sad. You really do lose what you don't use. I can name the countries...I just can't necessarily get them in the right spots. And if I confessed fully, I'd have to say there would probably be more than a few countries lacking names at all. YIKES! That's sad, sad, sad. But hey, by the end of the year, I'll know the whole least until the next civil strife leaves the borders changed and new countries added while old ones are removed. Anyone remember Bosnia-Herzegovina? That's what I thought.
I'm thankful nothing in life relies solely on my powers of remembrance, or really on my power at all. God is much bigger that I am, and He never forgets anything...except my sins which are as far from me as the east is from the west. Praise God for that.
until tomorrow,
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Mr. Scott's biggest little fan

I'm all for anonymity in my blog, but that wouldn't serve our friend well in this case, so it's full name exposure for our favorite magician, Scott Humston. We've been fortunate enough to know Scott (via his wife and kids) for many years now, and we have always LOVED his shows. This summer, at his library show, he did this thing with a bowling ball- AMAZING is all I can say. Anyway, he was making a new video and called Mimi up on stage for a trick, so she may be in the new video, which has her and my other kids beside themselves with excitement.
All of that to say of course we had to buy the existing video which somehow we had never purchased before. We did that right before our summer family reunion, and the kids watched it for the first time up there. Mimi, not understanding how making videos takes time, thought THIS was the video she was in and made my cousins and b-i-l watch the whole thing looking for her segment, LOL. She was just sure it would be coming up next. So while we other adults were upstairs chatting, the boys who don't at all think magic is cool at their age (and that includes my fav b-i-l) were subjected to the whole's like karma, except that I don't believe in that.
So my kids LOVE this video, as do we, and of course some bits are our favorites. My mom came by last night to give us our allergy shots, and they kept wanting her to watch "just one more" as she was trying to get out the door. We had to show her Guitarzan, which makes the kids peal with laughter and Puff, who is always hilarious, especially since my step-dad does hypnotherapy. But the funniest hands down is the candy cane. And it's even funnier when Sari does it. All we have to do is say, "I'm just uhhhh...I'm just uhhhh" and she squeals with delight. And she has the punch line DOWN. In 2 year-old-speak, it goes something like this, "Do na ta da ca-ey cay, you dough no where it bean" but the effect is the same. She is truly Mr. Scott's youngest fan (besides his own son maybe :-).
Oh, and I always assume that everyone who reads this knows me, but that's obviously not the case since almost 60 people have looked at my profile, and I don't have enough money to keep that many friends on the payroll, so here's how to find out more about the amazing Scott Humston:
until later,
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Yesterday, cont.

I meant to blog again yesterday so I didn't just end with "later" as my good-bye.
Let me finish yesterday's thought with this. We were reading in science yesterday about different environments. One thing we read was about nocturnal animals. I asked the kids what animal we knew like that and they collectively yelled, "Jack". I rather like my friend Red's idea of blaming everything on the hamster, but in this case, that much is absolutely true. He's so nocturnal, we aren't sure where to put him so that we can get any sleep. He spent about a month in the shower every night, but Mimi could still hear him through her wall, so now he's in the living room, which is as far from the bedrooms as you can get. We've had to literally padlock his cage closed since he can open it himself, and now he spends ALL NIGHT trying to chew through the metal of the padlock (good luck with THAT). Like my husband said...he'd have more success trying to chew through the bars, but something about that padlock just draws him.
He is so loud, we have to turn up the TV to hear it. (We watched Wild Hogs last night, which was good, not great, but a welcome more-comedic-than-not, sort of break.)
But today is a new day, already mentally full of things to accomplish. Not the least of which is Scott passing one piano piece he's had for about a month. The 3/8 time with steady, fast 3 eighth-note runs up and down the piano in the left hand trip him up no matter how he practices, but we will succeed today or die trying.
I'm blessed to have a son who is skilled in piano. It's such a wonderful thing to have real, live music in the house, and have it coming from my oldest. It bring joy to my heart. I'm one of those people who would opt for silence over just about anything since with 4 kids there's always a cacophony, but he can play for me anytime :-).
until later,
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The "S" word

We finally got around to "starting" school today. It's weird to say it that way, because I genuinely do think they learn things everyday, and since we are not particularly structured, "school" isn't such a big deal for us....or wasn't until now. Last year we tried our hand at doing a specific math curriculum, and this year we are adding to that with a general multi-subject curriculum as well. It's a big step for mom and kids, LOL.
We couldn't start before now because we had a very busy Monday and Tuesday, so today was the day. As I was explaining to my kids that we would be doing something new, Mimi started crying and said, "I don't want a new math, I LOVE our math." Her tears dried just as quickly when I explained our math would stay the same. (Today for math, the older two drew pentagons and hexagons and then drew the diagonals using a ruler. They loved seeing the resulting patterns that emerged and they got to color the finished products however they wanted. Filling in the diagonals on the hexagon also led to a discussion on the star of David, since that is one possible shape to emerge. No wonder they love math.)
TJ joined us at the table for the first time, and he breezed through his math, but struggled a bit with the work for MFW. It is geared toward grades 2 and up, so he's actually a bit young. I just helped him with the writing stuff. And speaking of writing, we actually DID the handwriting without tears that I've been meaning to get to for ages. We are finished for today, although we did not even finish all we were meant to do. We did also though make homemade ice cream, so that ought to count for something, LOL. Oh, and dinner is cooked, so there you go. At least we won't starve.
I took a cue from my friends' Jennie and Ann and actually bypassed an event this afternoon. I really don't HAVE to go to everything, even as the homeschool group leader. I won't be enrolling my kids in the program, so I had no need to go to the open house, and so I just didn't. It feels rather empowering :-).
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another reason to homeschool/Winning and Losing

I just read on another group's site about a FL bus driver who got a group of elementary school kids lost more than 60 miles from their school and their homes. When the kids spoke up, she apparently cussed at them. NICE!

Anyway, here is a brief run down of my latest PS experience. I am picking up my neighbor RM from school on Mondays and Fridays for the foreseeable future. Monday was of course the first day of school and our first time doing this. I took Scott to piano at 2:30, and left him there with instructions that I would be late getting him since I had to pick up RM at 2:55, piano ended at 3, and I can't be in two places at once. I went immediately to the school and was in line by 2:45ish. I was about the 7th car. By 3:02, we had moved up one car length. By 3:08, we were finally at the pick-up area, but as they paged RM, she was no where to be found. Then they ask me to move up and said they will bring HIM to me when HE arrives (RM is a girl), so I correct them and inform them that I need them to find her oh, 15 minutes ago, since my son is now sitting on his teacher's front porch 15 minutes away, baking in the hot sun. They come about 5 minutes later with her, and say to me, "She was with the walkers" to which I reply to RM, "Your mom to me to pick you up here." BIG MISTAKE!!! The teacher lady says, "You're not her mom??? Then you can't have her. She can't get in your car. Are you on the list to pick her up?" I reply that I should be and she says, "Well I have to check".

Now, God still has a LOT of work to do in my life, and this area is a big one for me. I'm all in "mamma bear" mode for my son who is miles away and whom I can't contact because he doesn't have a phone and my cell is dead. We are now REALLY late, and she wants to make me even later by checking a LIST? Are you kidding? So she radios the office. Then someone has a nice "are you there, what are you doing?" sort of chat on the radio with someone else and then the office radios back to find out who they were supposed to be checking on, and then they finally come back with..."You are not on the list so you can't have her". At this point, I am not shining with God's light and I wittily reply, "Well then you can keep her" which of course I don't mean at all because we'd take in RM in a heart beat if we needed to. She's like a third daughter. I try agruing (very civilly) that they were about to let her in the car BEFORE I said that. To which teacher lady replies, "No I would not have because you aren't her mother." And I reply that she didn't know that before I said it, and 5 minutes ago she would have been fine to get in the car, and she replies, "I would not have let her get in." And I of course tell her she certainly would have since they weren't checking ID's at all and they never would have known. She gets huffy, tells me she will not stand there and argue with me, and she walks away...with RM.
So now what? Now I've wasted 40 minutes in a pick up line at a school my kids don't even attend to pick up a student that isn't even mine while my son bakes in the sun 15 minutes, and an eternity of miles, away. So I drive around the corner, leave Mimi and Sari in the car, and run into the office to plead my case with the secretary. See, my kids spent 3 years going to speech at this school, and I spent 3 years of sitting in that office 2xs a week waiting for them. After pleading my case, they release RM to me, (boy was teacher lady angry) and we go get Scott. God is soooo good in that my friend SG's son had the lesson after Scott, so she was there the whole time. She spoke to him, and he rode scooters with her kids, so it was totally fine, and that's how I got to see SG, and I'm soooo thankful beyond words that she was there.
But I called this post winning and losing because in the end, I won the battle, but I lost my cool and more importantly I lost my Christ-likeness. I'm not sure what Jesus would have done, but he probably would have been much calmer than I was. I do want to be clear though that I really was mostly calm and still quite polite with teacher lady despite how I might make it sound in this post. I was frustrated though, and did not do well in that trial as I learned in James. God still has a lot of dross to burn away in situations like that for me. I have a deeply ingrained sense of "justice" (thank God HE does not extend grace in the same way I expect justice to function or I'd get what I eternity in hell) and was frustrated that people were parking, skipping the car line, walking up to retrieve their children, and then getting back in the car and driving away, all while I sat there waiting. No wonder we moved 1 car length in the first 7 minutes after school was out. I was following "the rules" and clearing being penalized for it. My schedule needed to be a well oiled machine, but it got rusty fast. I was also frustrated that the rules changed mid-event. While I was waiting in the car pick up line, I clearly saw that they never asked for ID or questioned anyone at pick-up. Indeed, if RM had been there originally, she would have hopped in my car, and this all never would have happened. I was frustrated that my statement was the cause of their change in policy. If they have a problem with me getting her, then then should be checking ID's for everyone. I think it's more unlikely that a child pervert would announce that they were picking up a child that wasn't theirs. No, they would sit quietly and just let the kids get in the car, and the school would be none the wiser. It's a false sense of security to only check people who admit they aren't the parent. And what if I was her mom, but was forbidden by the courts to get her? They would not have known that and she would have hoped in, again with the school none the wiser. It's selective enforcement. Either do it for all or none, not just the honest ones, or we are less likely to be honest next time (I'd NEVER lie, but I might just offer info on a need-to-know basis there from now on). Can you tell I'm on a soap box now. Oyy, what a piece of work I am.
I'm thankful that God knew this would happen and He provided for Scott to have a safe situation while he was waiting. I'm thankful He doesn't give up in my and He loves me enough to give me trials to perfect my faith, and hugely thankful that I've grown in my spiritual walk enough to recognize my failings when they happen.
until tomorrow,
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Brownie Points

For whatever I have said in the past, or may say in the future, I need to give the in-laws MAJOR brownie points for taking each of my older three kids separately for a special day out with Nana and PopPop to see Ratatouille. That's three times watching it in the theatre for them. Anyone would deserve brownie points for doing that, and most people just flat out wouldn't do it. So there you go...
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Monday, August 20, 2007


My friend the good fairy (who better pony up with the middle name soon or I'll have to give her a different nickname, LOL) was just lamenting on the way food prices have gone up. I have noticed that too, especially as we are trying to eat more and more fruits and veggies (okay, not so much the veggies for me) these days. I now regularly spend $200 on each major trip to the grocery store, and I'm sure it will only get worse.
Anyway, tonight after a minor trip to Winn-Dixie for a few things ( I NEVER go to WD, but I was at JoAnn Fabrics (imagine that!) and they are across the street) I turned their receipt over since they frequently have coupons, etc. there. At least they did last time I was in. Now? Now, they have an ad for, I kid you not, a free Bankruptcy consultation. It might as well read, "Just spent every last dime on groceries? Stop on by to find out how we can help..."

Oh, and another grocery related irony...Stop reading here if you have a weak stomach. The other day, Marie was stopping by to drop off her son and I thought Ann might be coming by, and so I was trying to keep the house just this side of it's usual abysmal state. Just as Marie gets to the door, I discover two globs of stuff on the carpet. They look like a cat hair ball, for those of you who have ever had the pleasure of seeing one of those. The catch is, we don't have a cat. 4 kids who sometimes get along like tom cats around a female in heat, but no real cats to be found indoors. The major difference between this and a hair ball, besides the lack of the requisite hair, is that I can clearly make out a grape tomato and a few mushy teddy grahams amongst the rest of the rather semi-digested looking mess. So I do what every mother does...I scrape up a bit a give it a sniff. Strangely, no real odor. Again, I have the impression it's semi digested, but not smelling at all of bile or...well, you know the other option.
So I pull together the great inquisition of children (there are 6 here at that point) but no one will fess up to either yaking or knowing how else this mess came into being. They proffer up the hamster as a likely culprit, but he'd have to be dead to have vomited up his body weight anyway, and while he was out he was in his ball, so he was not a real suspect.
It was a mystery without a solution. Until...
Well, later that morning, Sari ran by, and I could tell her diaper was a bit on the wet side, so I had to change her. And what did I find, but that her diaper had worked its way into a half wedgie, and one cheek was exposed. And there was stuff of the exact same make-up in the diaper. And there was dried evidence of gravity at work on the leg below her exposed cheek. YYYUUUCCCKKK!!!!!!!!! Guess I know what those glops were, and they did come from that other option after all. I suppose the good side, if there is one, is that apparently if you eat enough fruits and veggies, you get to the point where your poo really doesn't stink, LOL.
I'm blessed that in my crazy, crazy day, I ended up running into SG at piano, and I sooo love catshing up with her. And I'm blessed that Precept starts tomorrow after a summer hiatus. Apparently, Scott is glad of that too, as he told SG that piano is great, but Precept starting tomorrow is the best. You have to love that!
until tomorrow,
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Sunday, August 19, 2007


My friend Ann had a miscarriage today :-(.

I was fortunate to get pregnant 4 times and have 4 children to show for it. But that doesn't mean I don't understand what she is going through is some ways. See, we struggled with infertility for 5 years. And while we were "praying" for a baby, our spiritual walks were no where near where they are now, and I can't say it went much deeper than that. We relied mostly on our own strength, and every month was hard. My cycles have became irregular when I went off "the pill" in my early 20's and we started trying to have a family. And cycles that were sometimes 28 days, sometimes 2-3 months between periods were not uncommon for me (and still aren't). Imagine that being your "normal" and then add trying to get pregnant into the mix. Every time a regular person's 28 cycle would pass, I would begin to wonder, am I pregnant. Days would stretch to weeks. At first, of course, I took pregnancy tests regularly, but when they would be negative and still no period, you think to yourself, It could be wrong, so you take another. And another. And another. Then you just stop taking them. And you stop believing this act that seems so simple for undesiring teens around the country is ever going to happen for you. Each period is like a baby lost. You can't help but think when you haven't had a cycle in 3 months that maybe the tests are just wrong. Your hopes get up a little. You start to think, What if? And then BAM! All your hopes are dashed again and again and again. Chart after chart, test after test. For 5 years. My prayer life now leaves a lot to be desired and I talk to God frequently each day...then my prayer life was virtually non-existent. I was one of "those" Christians. I knew what I knew (and looking back much of it was scripturally questionable, and heavily worldly influenced) and that was good with me. I knew I could do better, but I didn't have time for all that "doing better" seemed to require. Or really, I didn't make the time for it. Thank God that His voice is strong, and He is patient. He calls us to restore our relationship with Him even when we don't think the relationship needs restoring. I've grown a lot in those 10 years. And God was faithful to us even when we weren't actively seeking Him. In fact, He used my eventual pregnancy (I actually wouldn't believe the test until the doctor confirmed it) to begin His life changing work in us.

Thankfully, Ann is much further down the spiritual path than I was then, and this was to be her 5th child. I know she is sad, her husband is sad, and her girls are sad. How can you not be? And yet, there is a solace that belongs only to Christians in knowing that our God breathed all creation into being. He knew us before we were in our mother's womb, and He loves us more than any one on earth ever will. And that same God holds her and her family in His hand right now. And they know that. They know their baby, this would be child and sibling, is with it's Creator right now and there's no place better we Christians can desire to be. They are sad, I imagine, at the "could-have-beens" that that child's conception brought into existence, but I'm sure that they rejoice in knowing heaven is a sure final resting place for believers, and eternity is much longer than our brief life on earth.

I still have really irregular cycles, and earlier this summer, I had another 3 month stretch that caused me to take yet another pregnancy test. But now I pray before I take them. I pray that God's will be done in either outcome. I really feel with every fiber of my soul that we are done with having biological children. Recent health issues make me certain another pregnancy would be physically beyond what I can imagine coping with. But I know that if God has another baby for us, He will make it happen and He will give me the strength to endure. If He doesn't, I'm good with that too.

I'm blessed to have a friendship that is growing with Ann, and blessed even more to see the joy this pregnancy brought their family, and the peace God's will has given them in hardship. I'm thankful beyond words for my children. Each and every one of them. They make me the mother I know God desired for me to be.
until tomorrow,
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Small tasks

Today I would love to say we accomplished a lot, but sadly it was a day of small tasks. I continued in the "office" trying to sort through years of paperwork that needs to be pitched, shredded, or tossed. I know, more fun than any one person should have ;-).
My wonderful husband took time this morning to mount the kids' artwork above my sink. They went to an art camp at our "old church" and did mosaics. Their bring-home project was a 13" charger plate that they did a mosaic in the middle of. They turned out amazing, but they are large, and I had no idea what to do with them. So I went on line, ordered special plate hangers for plates that size, and tried to mount them over my sink in the place of a nick-knack holder that was covered with my penguin collection from my youth and early adulthood. Funny how I pitched many of those little birds without a second thought and kept only a few special ones. I was sooo excited about making a place for the kids' art that I didn't mind losing the dust collectors at all.
Today also featured "water fun". It will probably sound really odd to confess that we live in FL and my kids never play in the water. But we don't have a pool and really can't put one in with our odd yard. And we have such awful water pressure that they can't run water outside without taking anything inside to a trickle. SO they never get to play in the water even though it's 96 with a heat index of 110. Today Bam-Bam came over (with my sister) and he LOVES to play in the water whenever he is here, so we turned them loose and they had a blast. Who needs a pool when an empty plastic tote can function as a "hot tub for one"?
Tonight my husband and I watched a movie together. It was good, although I don't know the name. It stars Russell Crowe and is called "A Good (something)" Year, Month, Week, Life...I don't know, but it was good, and it was nice to have that time together.
I'm blessed to have a husband who is handy where I am not (when I tried to hang the plates I bent two nails beyond use because the 60+ year old plaster is HARD...but he used "mollies" and screws and poof! they were up). He is committed to trading our bedroom to give the girls a larger one, and that's really great. Not many men would do that. He spent his morning measuring it out and drawing it on the computer. It will work, but it will be tight!
I'm also blessed to have a sister who volunteers to take a child for us. It's beneficial to her as it gives Bam-Bam a playmate, but it totally blesses us by changing our household dynamic for even a few hours. TJ went with her this afternoon, and it was great for all of us.
until tomorrow,
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Friday, August 17, 2007

Names are funny!

Names are a funny thing. Some of them just make you laugh to even say them. Like Eugene. Probably a sign of my immature humor, but it makes me giggle. Coincidentally, I can now use that name in my blog. I hate to blow his cover by using his title, but after his wife Christine told me, I just had to blog about it because it's so stinkin' funny...just sayin, LOL.

Aunt Fanny was asking if I'd added anything new. As if three blogs in one day weren't enough. So this one's for you :-).

Oh, and I got the most delish bread dropped off today (by someone whose middle name has yet to be divulged, so we will be kind and call her prego chick for now), but it wasn't free. It cost me a tour of my house, and I'm still recovering from my mortification that I revealed it's messiness to someone who never seems to have more than a few markers left out on a table or a few toys in the yard. Still, friendship is about more than that, and at this point, I'm crying out for help to anyone who can get me on the organization track and keep me there.

I'm blessed to have such wonderful friends. All of them. They each have different strengths and quirks, but God chose them specially for me so that their strengths make up for my weaknesses, and their quirks make me laugh (with them, not at them...mostly, LOL) and keep them real.
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Overheard from another room

Mimi, TJ and RM are playing in the other room. I hear someone say, "Let's play school" and Mimi chimes in with, "I'll teach math. Math is sooooo fun." Then she breaks into a spontaneous song complete with her own melody and rhyming lyrics:
What have we been learning about today?
Plus-es and take-aways....

Maybe they won't be ruined for life by my less structured homeschool approach after all :-).
Of course, she would be going into second grade, and her friend into third, so while "pluses and take aways" express the full gamut of my daughter's abilities, they are probably a bit remedial for RM. But who wants to tax themselves on their last day of summer vacation anyway!
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One More Thought

I shared with Marie the other day that the next time one of the online questionnaires asks me to describe myself in one word, the most honest answer would be "verbose". Sorry I can't every seem to blog in a reasonable amount of words, but I hope it is at least mildly entertaining, and I really am hoping it is a wonderful record someday for my kids about who their mom was at this age when I am just their mom, and my age is ancient compared to theirs. You know what I mean. Try to think of your mom at your age now and what her life was like. It''s hard to imagine because that's not the nature of the relationship you had with her at that age. So I am hoping this will help me to be more of a real "person" to them, with real hope, real dreams, and real frustrations, but an even more real love for and trust in my Savior without whom I would really be a hopeless mess.
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SO I have a few addictions. Currently, they are Soduku (Oh, my goodness! Who would have thought putting 9 little numbers in squares would have me so captivated? Of course, I still prefer the "quick and easy" ones, which, much like the quilt squares, must be rated by someone with a sense of humor or WAY more free time on their hands than I have, LOL), UIP's version of the Hallelujah Chorus (which gets me verclempt EVERY time I hear it, so I have to keep listening until I can sing through without getting choked up. Man, it is soooo amazing!), and...blogging. This is totally addicting :-). I LOVE that you get to really know people and the goings on in their homes and in their minds when you are allowed to eavesdrop into their lives with a blog. And I LOVE to write. Always have. So this is a wonderful outlet for me because I never could be disciplined enough to write in a journal everyday, but I'll plop my big ol' butt in front of the computer without a second thought, LOL. You know it's getting bad when you check it several times a day to see if anyone has commented yet. So here's my one does. And so now I say, in my best Brady Bunch impression: "Comment, Comment, Comment". And, I will endeavor to comment on yours. I am just as guilty. I love to catch up on others' lives, and wish my computer dinged or something everything someone updates their blog (yes, I need serious help) but I forget to comment too, so that's your challenge and mine.
Oh, and one last addiction. 4-C's White Tea with Blueberry. It's a powdered iced tea mix in the tea area at publix, and it comes in a huge container, so if you want to taste it first, just stop on by someday. After paying $1.80 for a small glass of Blueberry White Iced Tea at Starbucks, I found this. It tastes just as good, and it's less than $5 for a container that makes 20 gallons of tea. YUM! Usually I just drink water, but now...well, let's just say I have to restrict myself to just one glass a day.
later, 'cause my tea is calling,
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The latest Amish hit???

I'm working out the lyrics now...something like, "Don't you wish your quilt blocks were hot like mine?" TOTALLY LOL. First, the real song that one mimics is appalling, and I ONLY know of it because it's the ringer on someone I know's cell phone. Second, I'm quite sure the Amish wouldn't appreciate that genre music or the boasting nature of the lyrics. Third, the more I quilt, the more I see the mistakes in my blocks. Despite careful measuring, they just keep being a hair off here and a "titch" (to use my daughter Mimi's word) off there. BUT, again, I love the one block called "starflower". Confessions of a frenetic wouldn't take nearly as long if I would just pick one pattern and stick with it. But then I wouldn't get the experience of trying different types and finding the ones I really like. The draw back is you never hit that efficient place where you can cut all the blocks out, sew them all at once, iron all at once, etc. Today's big lesson though was that the Starflower, while not difficult, did require more time at the ironing board than I have probably spent in the past decade...I hadn't figured that into the equation.

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A pain in the...

Ear, of all things! I hate to whine, but either I have the world's largest ZIT in my ear (which is totally disgusting) or I have an ear infection. I guess I'd prefer the ear infection just for the lack-of-cleanliness association the zit thing conjures up, even if you can't see it way down in my ear. But just google for a moment the words "ear infection" and you will see that 99% of the results have the word "children" either directly before or after. This is clearly not meant to happen to an adult. Of course, it would be more correct to call it an "outer ear infection" which is known to commonly strike adults under the name "swimmer's ear", but that seems to imply a level of physical activity absent from my life, so it feels wrong to call it that. It's like having "tennis elbow" when the closest you've come to a tennis racket in years is buying one at a yard sale for your kids. It's actually better today than last night, which either supports the zit theory or the effectiveness of the garlic and goldenseal oil drops I used last night when I went to bed. Either way, improvement is welcome, and my since the heat from holding a phone to my ear seems to make it feel better, it's safe to assume there will be a busy signal at my house all day tomorrow, LOL.
I'm thankful to have friends (at least a friend) who e-mailed with her middle name, but told me that I could call her bootylicious too, soooo decisions, decisions...I'm thankful to go to an amazing church with an equally amazing group of servants who support the church. I can't imagine not being there any time the doors are open. And I'm blessed that our pastor's wife shared her blog with me. I LOVE her dearly, and sooo wish I knew her even better, but OH, the light of Christ that just SHINES through her every word. Yet she's still goofy, giddy, and so very real. She's everything I want to be when I grow-up...(although she's probably my age, so please don't take that wrong, L...I mean grow up spiritually to a place where who I am and who He desires me to be are in such harmony, like they are in you.) Oh, Oh, Oh...I almost forgot. I am moved beyond tears to thankfulness at the reaction of my 2 YEAR OLD while we were driving to church tonight and listening to the music in the car. It was my United in Praise CD for our "Best of" concerts this fall, and the song "Thou, O LORD" comes on and she starts waving her hands in the air and saying over and over, "Dis my song, mamma...Dis my song." I wanted to cry. There she was just "singing" and raising her hands in worship at the ripe old age of two. I tell you, this music will blow you away and bless your socks off.
until tomorrow,
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Secret Identities

I have this deep aversion to using people's real identities in my blog. I'm not sure why, but I imagine all the internet stalker horror stories have a lot to do with it. Then there is the "maybe if I don't use their name they won't know I'm blogging about them" aspect, and then there is the "it's just plain fun to have a secret identity" thing. SO with that being said...I have decided to refer to everyone by their middle names (except my kids who already have their nicknames and my husband whose middle name would cause confusion with another's that sees regular use). I'm absolutely giddy with anticipation, LOL. I really don't know all my friend's middle names, no matter how many of those inane but fun internet questionnaires I've read with that information. So now I'm soliciting middle names. And if you don't cough them up, well then I get to name me you'll want to give me your middle name, LOL. Of course, for my odd friend who goes my her middle name, I'll have to use her first name, but that will just add to the fun, right Jennie?
So let's start with me...Hello, I'm Lynn! I was named after my mother's middle name which is also Lynn, so there you have it. If you are my friend, and you want to offer up your middle name, do it privately so we can keep the others guessing :-).
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Murphy's Law

So today, my in-laws (I feel bad they are the topic of so many entries, but they happen to be here for a month, and that's highly unusual, so we've seen them a TON) came to pick up Mimi so she could have her special afternoon with them. They try to rotate and take one child each time they are here to go do something special. I TOTALLY love that. It's the ideal way for them to get to know the kids, and I couldn't ask for anything better. BUT, we never have them to our house because our housekeeping standards (or lack thereof) fall WAY below theirs, and we hear about it indirectly soooooo frequently that ever since they got a house up here, we just stopped hosting things here. Well since they were taking Mimi to the movies and had to drive by our house to get there, they decided to come here and pick her up.
Being a total SHE who lives in CHAOS (see the FLYlady if you have no idea what I mean), I figured we had 2 hours from the time they called to confirm the plans to the time they would be on our doorstep. In 2 hours, I can surely whip the 2 most visible rooms into shape RIGHT?
Actually, it was right. And while they at that state of clean probably equated to Martha Stewarts's rooms at their dirtiest, they certainly were much better than they had been. The kids and I even broke a sweat. (See, those of you who thought I exaggerate about my house are now mortified to find out I don't.) All the "stuff" that had accumulated in those rooms though got put where it belongs, so it was a beautiful things. AND we finished just before they got there.
Here's where Murphy's Law comes in...if you've ever been to my house, you know I have 2 on the front and one on the back. That's not uncommon, I know, but in this case, both are used equally by people stopping by as there is parking in both places. And wouldn't you know I picked the wrong rooms to concentrate on because they came to the other door. I SHOULD have been cleaning the kitchen/laundry area and the dining room entrance, not the living room and the dining room. Of course, this is the one time where Mimi (who was sick yesterday with a low temp.) disappeared for 5 minutes before they arrived and actually FELL ASLEEP on her bed, so when I bellowed that they were here and went outside to head them off at the pass, she didn't come running. And of course then my m-i-l walks into my house to say hi to the other kids (and I'm sure to survey the disarray) while I went to locate my missing child.
ARGHHHHH!!!! I'm sure it will come out over the phone a week or so from now in some back-handed comment like, "Clearly, you must be saving up for a new vacuum cleaner, since judging by the crumbs on the floor under your table, the one you have is obviously broken." To which I will have to bite my tongue not to reply, "No, it's just that we found a way to use twist ties to keep the hamster from escaping, so he hasn't been cleaning the floor of crumbs like he did when he was free to roam the house all night."
Anyway, I am convicted that I probably should stop sharing these tidbits, as someday my kids might read this, and I want them to have an opinion of their grandparents formed by relationship, not by eavesdropping into my experiences with them. I am really, truly touched beyond words that they take the time to take each child out individually. It's so wonderful for my kids, my in-laws, and I won't lie, it's great for me too. First, they are forming a relationship that hopefully will last a lifetime, and I think family is soooo important. But also, with one gone even for a few hours, it changes the dynamic in the house, and we all get a break from what life is like the rest of the time, good or bad.
I'm thankful for Mimi's day with her grandparents, and I'm thankful that their stopping by gave us the impetus to clean 2 rooms up more than we usually do. I'm blessed that Mimi is feeling better, and we are all thankful for my step-father's birthday today.
until tomorrow,
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In the Blink of an eye

Today I went to the grocery store with all 4 kids. Typically, I avoid taking them all for many reasons (it's quieter, I get it done faster, I need their car seats to put the groceries in, etc.) but today they all went with me.

It was clearly "older person shopping hour". Everyone was really nice though, and several commented on my family. One woman, who looked maybe 60, said, "they grow up in the blink of an eye. One day you are shopping like you are with 4 little ones around, and the next, you are 80 (amazing!!!) and your kids are grown." You hear that a lot from people, but she just was particularly touching.

This week-end we had a "blink of an eye" moment. My m-i-l invited my sister and her family and my mom and her husband to the birthday soiree also. It's always great for my kids because they get to see both of their cousins, and it brings me inexplicable joy that my kids' cousins will know each other even though they are only related by marriage. Both of them are, and probably will remain, only children, and it's great that they will know and play with each other so my kids never have that sometimes weird thing with the "other cousin" syndrome where their cousins are both important my kids' their lives, but those cousins don't know each other. I feel like happens with my cousins and their other cousins even now as's like they have this other life I am not a part of. But I digress.

So these pictures are taken at the in-laws. Pay special attention to the couch Sari is lying on.

After we were done eating, Bam-Bam and Sari were playing with a "nerf" soccer ball. We were encouraging them to roll it only, as we were int eh house (the heat index was over 100, and besides there was rain rolling in). Well, Bam-Bam picks it up, climbs on the couch Sari is lying on in the picture (which you can see has a VERY low back), and throws the ball over it. Then, and this is where my heart literally stopped, he follows it head first...onto the vinyl floor that covers the concrete slab with no padding between. I truly screamed as I was at just the right angle to see the whole thing happen, and I was paying attention since my daughter was involved in the ball play and I wanted to be sure the ball stayed on the floor. My b-i-l (not Bam-Bam's dad, BJ's dad) turned in time to see his feet disappear. Of course, as I scream, the whole house rivets their attention that direction. Worse, my sister is sitting in a straight line from the couch, so she sees him go over front AND back. I really thought, in that split second where time stands still, that I had just witnessed my nephew become a quadriplegic. He went over with such gusto, I was sure we would go from admonishing him from always running/jumping/climbing, etc. on anything in site to picking out his wheelchair.

Miraculously, he was UNHARMED. Not even a goose egg! How? Well, just before he went over, he had been standing so he looked like a starfish with his legs splayed apart, and his arms in a "v" over his head. Apparently, when he fell, he kept that position, and his arms braced the fall so that he ended up basically somersaulting out of it. UNBELIEVABLE! He's not even 3, and he took the fall like a stunt pro. But just as easily, his life could have been drastically changed, or even over, in the blink of an eye. Bj's dad is still traumatized just from watching it. (BTW, the other picture is Sari "dancing" with BJ.)

I'm thankful Bam-Bam was safe. He's dear to God even if he isn't being actively raised to know Him, and I trust God that the story of His faithfulness we will relate to Bam-Bam for years to come will ultimately change his life. I'm thankful my kids have cousins, and that they get to see them regularly. And I'm thankful for my m-i-l's birthday. She is the reason I have my husband, and I am glad she is alive and my kids have a wonderful Nana.

until tomorrow,


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Monday, August 13, 2007


DOES IT GET CUTER THAN THIS??? Bam-Bam before and after the infamous haircut. Actually his dad likes it and says he left for work with a boy and came home to a son. Awwww. The before pics are from our reunion in NY. He has toasted marshmallow on his nose. The after ones are from my m-i-l's birthday. Pay no attention to the strange v shaped part in Bam-Bam's bangs...

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Morning stress

So today we taught our kids a lesson that the happiness of others is more important than your own happiness. How? By going to church with my husband's parents. See, we live here year round, and have a church we love and are active in, and attend every Sunday and Thursday . They are up here for 1 week out of a month and attend our old church. They won't even entertain the notion of coming to ours. BUT, since today was my m-i-l's birthday, she felt perfectly comfortable asking us to go with them to church instead of going to ours (the service times don't allow for going to both). And in the grand scheme of things, what does it matter?

But the level of stress it causes is just beyond expression. First is the fact that we need to be sure our tasks at our church are covered. Second, there is the whole clothes thing...they must wear much nicer clothes to old church than current church. Third, those nicer clothes mean pants for the boys, and Scott has almost outgrown the pants I bought him in MAY, so they were just this side of high-waters. Too bad capri's aren't in for boys, LOL. Fourth, nicer clothes mean nicer shoes, and since we don't need those but 2-3 times a year when we go to fancy things or to church with the in-laws down where they are from, finding shoes that fit and meet with my m-i-l's standards is just about impossible. It does not make for an easy going morning, it makes for a morning where everyone is in a bad mood because their toes are crammed in too tight dress shoes, or they are hot in too warm clothes (it was a heat index of 106 today..what child wears pants then?), etc.
Finally, everyone was dressed and ready to go. We arrived with 7 minutes to spare, which stressed my husband out more (he prefers 30 minutes), and luckily were able to share the pew behind my in-laws with some friends, because those pews hold 6, and we total 8 with hubby's parents. Oh, and my mom sat with us.
But I am thankful that my mom went to church as she has been straying away from that being a habit of her life. And I am also thankful that my children have finally reached an age where they can sit quietly in church. It was a beautiful thing. I won't say they all participated fully in the service, even Scott who could have read along. But they were quiet, and they did say the Lord's Prayer when it was time.
More to come on the birthday activities, but it's almost midnight again, so it will wait until tomorrow.
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Proud quilter moment

Okay, so I'm finally finished with the one block from last night. I LOVE much so that I may not give it up. It's certainly not worth giving it away after having invested 7 hours into it! I have to say I think even our good fairy will like it. But I never considered how many seams it had since it was paper piecing. It has 31 seams...was I crazy? Here's some pictures of that square and the 3 I've done so far.

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The Continuing Quilt saga

So today, we had a meeting for the quilters (too funny that I typo'd "quiters" first) to learn how to make the requisite stars for our Christmas blocks. You remember the stars...those things I was up until almost midnight unsuccessfully trying to create last night? Well today, the good fairy came to teach us how to make them without it taking all night. I was so inspired while I was there, and I did actually sew together 2 complete squares, which was an added bonus beyond just hanging out with the girls.
Fast forward to tonight, when I decide to put this "paper piecing" thing to the test. I picked an "easy" star pattern that I really admired on the quilting website, and dove right in. This pattern even made use of the triangles I had cut wrong last night, so no wasted pieces :-). Okay, so that smiley face was for the first hour or two. 5 hours later, and I still don't have the block assembled. Oh, it's all pieced on the paper finally, and I am up to the point of assembly, but as you can see, it's midnight, and on top of that, my sewing machine has gone into sabotage mode and I can no longer get it to actually sew anything. Two stitches into the seam, it all self destructs, so I took that as a sign from God, and I am quiting for the night. (I must say, this square is going to be really nice, but it's safe to say there won't be more of them coming to the's like handing someone 5 hours of my life.)
I'm thankful that the quilt square took this long though, because about 5 minutes ago, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a rodent running across our carpet. I know, you're thinking EEKKK, but it was our hamster Jack, who, it seems, is every bit as resourceful as Captain Jack Sparrow, his namesake, as he has escaped from his closed up cage. He had managed to find (stop reading here, anyone who still may think I have any housekeeping ability at all) any and every piece of cereal Sari has dropped since we last vacuumed and stuffed his cheeks fuller than I have ever seen. Thankfully, I got him and returned him to his cage, or I can't even imagine all the scenarios that could have played out. I'm thankful also for friends who make me laugh, put up with my whining, and challenge me to stretch beyond my comfort zone. AND,I'm thankful for news that another friend is pregnant. I'm thrilled for her and her family :-).
until later today (since we've crossed into tomorrow already),
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Friday, August 10, 2007

How do you spell frustration? Q-U-I-L-T

It's 11:40 PM, and the FLYlady just sent me a reminder to go to bed because my body needs sleep. If only she could send them to my 2 year old who is still awake. Daddy passed out on the couch an hour ago, but since I am on the never-ending quilt square (I'd like to seriously encourage the people who designate quilt square difficulty ratings to reconsider what is "easy") I am the one to stay up with her. Honestly, I'm exhausted, my back hurts, nothing is going right on the quilting, and that frustrates me to no end, AND I can't even finish the one block I kind of have done because I need to press it before I can finish the sewing, and with Sari up and about and no one else to occupy her, ironing does not seem to be the smartest idea.
Sari is feeling better today though, so I am thankful that it was only a "something didn't sit right with her" sort of thing. I'm thankful that tomorrow we are getting instruction on how to make these obnoxious quilt squares, and frustrated that I couldn't just wait until then. I just always have to try on my own, but being a visual learner, it's hard to get it from a website with limited explanations.
until tomorrow,
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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tossing cookies

Sari isn't really a cry-er. Very seldom does she ever just cry for more than a minute, and usually that's if she gets woken up when she's not ready to be awake. So I knew something was really wrong when our neighbor RM brought her out to me from where they were playing in the girls' room. It sounded like she said, "she's hurt" but Sari just wouldn't stop crying and when I asked her where she hurt, she said her tummy. So I cuddled with her, and she eventually sobbed herself to sleep on my shoulder (awwww, she never cuddles off to sleep with me anymore, and it was so nice :-). It was toasty though to have her against me, and I needed to get Scott ready for piano, so I laid her down, only to have her wake up and start sobbing again. I called Mimi and RM out and grilled them as to whether she had consumed some of the fake "play" food we had or eaten a Polly shoe, but that's not her style at all, so I really didn't think that was the case, and they confirmed it for me. I got her to stop sobbing and told her I had to put her in the car to go to piano. She seemed fine with that, so I buckled her in and turned to yell to Scott when I heard THE SOUND. If you've ever had kids, you know what I mean...the "EVERYTHING I just ate for the past 24 hours is about to be displayed for the whole world to see" sound. I rush back to her side, but can't get her unbuckled fast enough, so I offer (YUCK!) my hands for her to barf into. Then I run, empty them in the bushes and have Scott (who has appeared by this time) turn the water on for me so I can wash my hands. As I get back to the car, up comes another round, and this time my hands don't suffice. DOUBLE YUCK! Now her car seat and clothes are covered, and only by God's grace, and my untidiness, has my car been saved, as the floor under her seat was covered with other stuff, all of which could be pitched or washed. In the midst of all this, Scott is still trying to load up for piano, LOL.
So it's out of the car for Sari, Scott, Sari's car seat, and a whole host of other stuff, and into the tub for barfy girl while I call our piano teacher to tell her we obviously aren't making it.
Happily, Sari only threw up one more time, following the Popsicle she had from the first bath, which then prompted a second bath.
Even that is a blessing from God, since my in-laws called this evening to admonish my husband to be sure Sari got a good bath tonight since she had...DUN, DUN, DUN...sand in her hair and in between her toes today while she was at their house. Never mind that we live in FL and there is sand everywhere, or that she lives in crocs which don't exactly keep the sand out. So see, even the barfing thing was a blessing because hopefully two baths later, she will meet their standards for cleanliness.
Seriously, I'm blessed that it looks like this was just a "something didn't sit right with her" thing and not a puking plague for the whole house. I'm thrilled that Scott has a few extra days to practice his piano before his make-up lesson (or that his teacher had a make-up time available at all). OH, and best of all, my husband walked in tonight with a gift certificate for a SPA DAY that he got for me without even knowing about our afternoon (okay, my friend owns the spa and I had hinted heavily that they should barter services, but he did it, and I'm so thrilled!).
until tomorrow,
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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Discipline from above

SO in the middle of the fiasco that was yesterday, I was driving the kids to VBS. My mind was wandering, and I wasn't concentrating on my speed as much as I should have been (I was going about 50 in a 40 MPH area). I look up and YIKES, there's a police car in the median just ahead, and no other traffic near me to possibly divert his attention. So I do what every law-abiding citizen would do...I quickly turn on my directional and turn into the Doctor's office parking lot between where I was and where the police car was. I pulled around behind, seeing as how if I parked in front and did not go in, it would be painfully obvious to the cop that I had done that to try to avoid a ticket. I wasn't even sure what was "behind" or if it connected through, but it was away from the potential ticket, so I figured it was worth a shot.
The catch is, I had my kids in the car. They knew we were borderline late, and now we were stopping? Why? Mommy, what are we doing?
Quick, tell the truth or invent a story? Well, I might have compromised my morals already, but I opted for the truth now, and I told them exactly what I did and why. We waited there a few minutes, then pulled out on the side street and continued on our way, with me feeling awful about the example I just set, but good about not having an expensive speeding ticket.
So on went the rest of my "off" day, when I find out later that my son Scott related the story to my friend Julie. He said, "Miss Julie, do you know what my mom was thinking earlier today? Julie, "No, what was she thinking?" Scott, "I don't know but she wasn't paying attention, and we almost got pulled over, etc." Out came the whole story to her, which she laughingly related to me later.
What have I done? And it's entirely my fault. Mea Culpa. I just taught my kids to duck responsibility whenever possible and to avoid blame for transgressions if you can get out of it.
As if that voice in my head isn't clear enough, and I promise I'm not making this up, on the radio as I'm driving with all the kids in the car coming back from the mall, we hear Dennis Rainey start one of his "Real Family Life" minutes. And what is he talking about? Doing wrong while our kids are watching and our responsibility to fess up and make it right. Really. I was like, "Okay God, I hear you!" So I turned off the radio, and asked if they had just heard what Dennis had said. Scott related it back to me, and I said that it was just like me this morning with the police officer. It was wrong of me to try to avoid a ticket if I justly deserved one, and I apologized to them for my example.
WOW, being a parent is hard, but being a parent that displays the morals you want your kids to have is even harder. Many times we can get away with things that we should not get away with, and our kids are watching and filing it all away for future reference. I really have to strive to keep my example pure, even if it means taking some lumps from time to time.
I'm so thankful God loves me enough to want to perfect me, and thankful that He calls me, pleads with me, to know Him more. Even a few year ago, I would not have felt my actions were nearly as wrong as I immediately knew they were yesterday.
until tomorrow,
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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Not quite the day I had thought it would be...

Have you ever had one of those days that TOTALLY doesn't go the way you thought? I mean one that makes you want to crawl back in bed and get up again just to see if it changes anything? Today was one of those days for me.
TJ woke up with a low grade temp and couldn't go to VBS. I took him instead along with Sari and I to an outdoor birthday party for a little girl from church. TJ seemed fine on the outside, and felt fine on the inside other than a headache, so I just took him along, and he was fine the whole time. We went from there to JoAnn Fabrics. Before I left home, I had tried to print a coupon a dear friend had sent me for 50% off one item, but alas, my printer didn't print. So I went by my husband's office on the way to the party to pick up the coupon (which I e-mailed to him and he printed out). He forgot he had card stock in the printer, so he printed the coupon on card stock...not his day either, LOL. Anyway, driving to JoAnn's I look at the coupon and's for Internet purchases only! ARG!!!! NO point in that. By the time I pay shipping it negates the savings, so I might as well just go on and get my quilt fabric at the store. Then, I can't find what I want (or really, what I need, based on the parameters of the quilt exchange) but I finally settle on something, but by the time I get to my car, I now have 10 minutes to make a 20-25 minute drive to get my older kids from VBS. Luckily, my girlfriend had called to see if I was picking up or if she was, but unluckily, she wasn't answering either of her phones, so I head that way. She finally calls me back to say she can pick them up, which is an answer to prayer since I would never have made it on time. I get home, carry in a sleeping Sari, make lunch, feed the kids, and let them watch TV for the 25 minutes we have before we have to leave for an allergist appt. I go to rest on the other couch (Sari was in my bed) and they still interrupt me 2 times in 25 minutes. We get up, load up into the car, and I carry a groggy Sari to her seat and buckle her in to realize 10 minutes down the road that I've forgotten her sandwich and we will be at least 1 1/2 hours before I can get her something to eat (I didn't have time to stop then, nor do we pass any restaurants on the back roads).
Fast forward to the allergist's office where I find out he has had flat tire on the way to this office from his other one, and he will be indefinitely delayed. Do I want to wait or reschedule? Hhhmmm, let's think about this...I left and will call to reschedule in month when I feel up to this again, LOL. BUT, since we are already out there, we went to the mall to pickup Scott's and Mimi's pictures from Sears. Except that the only person working was helping someone else spend their money, and refused to even acknowledge my existence for at least 10 minutes. REALLY. And it's not like with 4 kids, I'm standing there making no noise. Not even a, "I'll be with you soon". ARGGGHHH! When she finally does help me, she tries to up-sell me $40 more in pictures, which I politely refuse and chose to instead go in search of food for Sari. We settle on cinnamon pretzels...was I not thinking about the mess a 2 year old can make with things coated in cinnamon sugar? Yikes!
After a make-shift bath with baby wipes, I caved in and spent my last dollar to let them ride one of those ubiquitous kiddie rides they have at malls. This one is a 3 seater carousel. I have 4 kids. Do the math. But, I have a 10 year old, so I let him stand holding the metal poll while the other 3 mostly sit as the ride twirls and twirls. Sari waves, "Hi Mamma" every time she passes. I'm smiling, they are smiling...And the security guard walks up. What am I thinking? Did I fail MOM 101? I have a child STANDING on a ride. That's not SAFE. He could fall 1 1/2 feet to the floor and die a terrible death. In the future I should surely have him sit on the floor of the spinning device...Okay, so she was actually nice, and understood the 3 seats-4 kids dilemma, but she really said the gist of most of that, just in a nicer way. ARGHHHHH!!!
So then, because I am a glutton for punishment, we go back to Sears (we were actually parked there, so we had to go back) where I had promised that after eating, I would look at some PJs TJ couldn't live without. Actually, all of Sears is on sale, with almost all the kids clothes on 50% clearance, and take another 40% off that price. Pinch me, I must be dreaming! Oh, I was dreaming, but it was a nightmare. What made me think shopping with 2 boys and 2 girls ages 10 and under would go well???And of course, I was driven to find the one thing we actually had need of...jeans for Sari. And since I had her with me, I could have her try them on. So now I have 4 kids in a dressing room. And did I mention the AC in Sears is NOT WORKING??? Imagine the noisiest thing you've ever heard, now put it in a 4 x 8 dressing room, and make it sweltering hot so that sweat droplets are rolling between your cleavage, and you've got a glimmer of what it was like. Sari was "all done" after about the 4th outfit (the jeans/capris were all outfits with matching tops). TJ wanted to look for bathing suits. Scott wanted to play with Sari in front of the mirror, and Mimi has $10 burning a hole in her pocket. What was I thinking?
In the end, we bought WAY more than I had planned, but got an incredible deal on all of it. True to form, I go to checkout, still sweating up a storm, and the person in front of the children's clothes returning a Kitchen Aid mixer...with no receipt...and no box. Really. I can't make this stuff up. They have to go check to see if they even SELL that there, to know if they can accept it for return (they don't and they couldn't). I finally check out, and we go home. I now have 1 hour before I have to be out the door again for my sign language class. I have nothing planned for dinner (thank goodness for frozen meals), but I pull it together quickly, and eat some leftover salad myself. My husband gets home, I leave, and when I get there, there is only one other car, and I don't recognize the driver, but they are in their car waiting. I was not early, so this did not bode well. Wouldn't you know it, class was cancelled.
Just a perfect end to a perfect day :-).
I'm thankful I got my quilt material bought, and I plan to work on it tonight. I'm thankful we had the money to take advantage of the sale today, and love the fact that Sari put on her new bathing suit as soon as we got home and hasn't taken it off. I'm thankful for our little friend C's birthday. She's too cute for words :-). And I'm blessed to even have mundane problems like nothing going as planned when others have problems that are far worse.
until tomorrow,
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Monday, August 6, 2007

Go figure-obedience pays off even for adults :-)

It will come as no major shock to anyone who knows me that I typically plunge headlong into something and then pray about it/seek the council of my husband. I know, that's a big surprise, LOL. I tend to spend more time begging God to be my life preserver than asking Him for the strength to walk on water before I ever get out of the boat.
Anyway, tonight I was really struggling with whether my kids should start swim team for the fall (it was starting again tonight after we've had a week off from the summer session, and of course I decide to put off deciding about participating until 4:55 for something that starts at 5:15). Typical me! The next few weeks are certainly calm enough in the evening, with just our usual Tuesday night sign class/UIP for me and Thursday night church for all of us (as if that's not enough). But September, well that's another story all together!
In September, I will have my Tuesday night stuff, and we will have Thursday night church, but the kids will also have AWANA on Wednesday (beginning at 6:15, with swim team ending at 6). AND, I was really thinking that TJ should/would play Upwards Soccer, which will take place in the evenings, although we won't know the schedule for a while yet. Oh, and homeschool PE should be starting and we don't know the days or the activities (it wouldn't be good for them to have PE at the pool and then have to go back 3 hours later for swim team). And lastly, TJ had not been allowed to participate in swim team for the summer (a week ago) because of his age, but he turns 6, the required age in the middle of the fall session, so I really hoped they'd let him participate, but I didn't know for sure.
So I did something totally uncommon for me...I called my husband to ask him. My husband...the man who called the swim team staff a word that means "less than smart" after the swim meet went 45 minutes late. And what did he say? "Well of course they should do swim team. They enjoy it, and are good at it, so they should do it." To which I replied, stammering and stuttering, with all the reasons they shouldn't do it. And then he said, "Well we seem to have more questions than answers, so why don't you take them for today, explain your concerns, and see what they say." DUH! Why didn't I think of that?
So off we go in 3 minutes flat to the pool. Goggles missing, shoes flying, but there we were. As I gave Rachel, the girl in charge of the program, my dissertation, she said, "Why don't we do the kids for $X (which is slightly less than half price) for August, until we know what the plan is for PE, and you know more about September?" And, she agreed to let TJ swim. What an answer to a prayer I didn't even think I had the time to say, all because I sought my husband's wisdom on this. Wow! Now let's hope I remember this for more than the next 24 hours.
I'm blessed to have a man who can think clearly when I can't, and who genuinely cares about supporting our children's interests and physical activity. And I'm thankful that God is so patient with me that me willingly teaches me the same lessons over and over hoping one day they will become the habit of my life and I will be more mature in my faith.
until tomorrow,
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