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Monday, September 29, 2008

Memory Lane

I'm not always a meme follower, but I liked this one at Crispy's blog, so I'm joining in :-).

15 years ago: We had been married for a year, and closed in April on our first house. We actually chose our lot in a new subdivision and picked our house and got to pick everything about it-carpet, flooring, etc. We even made changes to the layout. It was very exciting. I graduated that May with a degree in Social Science Education and a minor in History. I had surgery on my right wrist for a Ganglion cyst caused by a work related injury. My husband was commuting about 40 minutes to work at a computer store, and I was working at Disney. I did not want to teach in the public schools (after getting threatened by a student with a knife) so I spent the summer applying for private school jobs, and having no luck, spent the fall subbing at the public schools around my Disney schedule. I sang with Sweet Adelines in a choir of about 80 women. I was on the front row, and we sang and danced, LOL.

10 years ago: I was the mother of an incredibly easy 15 month old, and it was probably right about this time that we began pursuing using Clomid to have another child. My husband was working for himself, and I was a mostly stay at home mom, but still worked part time at Disney facilitating adult seminars. My sister worked for my husband, and as part of her "job" she would watch Scott on the days that I worked. We were still living in our first house and I was still singing and dancing with Sweet Adelines.

5 years ago: Wow! Five years ago, I was the mother of 3. I had finally left Disney 2 years earlier, and was beginning my homeschooling adventure (although we really consider ourselves as having homeschooled since birth). Scott was 6, Mimi 4, and TJ 2. We were probably still doing speech for Mimi for her stuttering, and TJ had a therapist coming to the house for his speech problems. We had moved into the house we live in now. My husband was transitioning from owning his own company to working for one of his first clients...running an accessory jewelry company-a job which he began in earnest in Jan 2004. He was also pursuing going to seminary and so we found our plans to have another child delayed as we waited on the Lord. He was youth pastor at the Episcopal church we went to and on the vestry, and I sang in the choir and rang handbells. I was also singing with United in Praise.

3 years ago: Three years ago, we added Sari to our family. My husband was working for the pool table company the first time around, LOL. Scott was 8, and he was receiving in home therapy for Sensory Integration Disorder. Finally we had a name to go with all the weird behaviors! Mimi was 6, TJ was 4. All the kids were there when Sari was born (at home) and they were all great with her. TJ was going to speech-he tended to leave the endings off words. I was still singing with UIP, and stepped on to the board right around then.

One year ago: One year ago, I watched our friends walk through the hardest trial they had ever gone through, and they've been through a lot of weird stuff. Marie's husband almost died, and I think we were all reminded how precious and fragile life is, and how totally in control God is.
As for my family, we were now w family of 6, with Scott being 10, Mimi 8, Ty 6, and Sari 2 1/2. My husband was back to working for himself, and I was homeschooling 3 kids and entertaining a toddler at the same time. We were using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures, and we still are, since we didn't finish. We had changed churches to CCOTL, which is exactly where God has called us to be. I still sang with UIP, but had stepped off the board. I had been doing Precept for about 2 years.

Today: Mondays are the days we put the nose to the grindstone and be sure the kids have their Precept work done. Also, Scott's piano lessons are on Monday, so we tend to spend a lot of time practicing that. Tj worked on some worksheets. Riley was awful today, and I called my husband to tell him I was about 5 seconds from taking him to the pound (he purposefully dumped his water all over the floor and once I got it cleaned up he peed on the floor, and then once I got that cleaned up he peed again). Mittens continues to hang around and is the best cat you could even dream of owning. Kiwi's daughter came over for a while today, and she tagged along to piano. Most excitedly, TJ is spending his first night in his new room tonight. It's not done, but it's done enough for him to sleep in, and he's thrilled. So are the other kids, and it looks like one big sleepover in there.
Oh, and economically the country is going downhill fast, and our bank folded today. But hey, it's only money, and I hear living in caves is the next big thing. Honestly, none of this is's not like the USA is mentioned in end time Biblical prophecy.

Tomorrow: We have Precept. Because I did the leader training this past week-end, I am a little behind on my homework, and I'll have to finish the last day's work in the morning. The kids are done with theirs though. We will also go to the park after class, and it will be nice to see our friends. I have UIP tomorrow night, and I'm going early to meet with someone who wants to sign a song with me. I'm not worried about the bank thing...God has always provided for us, and the Bible is clear that we are not to be anxious.

Hope you had fun reading this...I had fun trying to remember.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's official

I'm now a trained Precept Leader! This conference was really great. The class on Greek Word Studies appealed to my inner-nerd, LOL. And the Leadership training was none of the things I feared it might be, and gave us a lot of helpful ideas for leading a class. I am totally convicted that leading takes WAY more time than I currently give to Precept, but I really have been feeling the tug from God to step it up. I have no immediate plans to lead a class, but we'll see what happens.

Speaking of Precept, preparing for the training left me behind on my lesson, so I should really get off the computer and do that :-).
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So I had 3 moles removed about a month ago. I think almost everyone I know has had some removed. My mom has had many, many removed, some cancerous, some not. Marie has had at least one removed every time she sees the dermatologist. Jennie just had one done around the same time I did.


So they all recover and look normal after about a week or so.


I seriously look like someone burned me with a cigarette in each spot that a mole was removed. And two of them are on my face. I had someone ask me about them the other day. And this is a month later.

Worse, two were voluntary. They just were those types of moles that stick up off your skin and grow bigger (and hairier) every year. Only one of those was on my face...the other facial one really was a potentially problematic mole (although the Dr.'s office hasn't called, so I assume I'm okay). I had the two projectile ones removed because we have insurance, and our deductible is met, and they DO get bigger all the time, and I have no desire to resemble a witch on Halloween (or at any other time), even without the benefit of stage make-up. They were an experiment because I do heal weird. My scars tend to go into overdrive and I can end up with a scar WAY bigger than the original injury. Or, it goes internally overboard, and the scar tissue adheres to the muscle and tendon around it.

So far, that hasn't really happened, although I think the one on my shoulder went a little internally haywire. But the bright RED 1/2 inch round scars in each location are, well, not very attractive. It's good I'm not vain. But the fact that others are noticing them and asking about them makes me question whether I should resume wearing make-up as a cover-up. But then I remember I'm fundamentally lazy, and I resolve myself to just looking hideous.

So why am I writing all this? I don't know. I'm a little bummed about voluntarily disfiguring myself, but I am sure eventually it will heal. And now I know I will just live with the other raised moles on my face because thy are way less noticeable than the bright red circles are.

I guess I am just jealous of all you out there who heal nicely and made it look like no big deal :-).

But these little spots are nothing compared to what many people have to live with, and I know that, so I'm letting it go now, because really I am...
one blessed mamma.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008


Fireproof was the number 3 movie in the COUNTRY Friday! Go GOD!

I'm really hoping to go see it tomorrow ;-).

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday!

My friend Ann turned 40 today. She always makes a big deal about everyone else's birthday...videoed well wishes on her blog, etc. I am totally technologically illiterate that way, but here's a heart felt happy birthday :-).
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Have you ever sat down to blog and forgotten what you were going to say?

I had something that I wanted to post. And now that I sat down I can't remember it. It's pretty sad when you forget in the time it takes your computer to boot.

I spent today at a Precept training. My class today was on Greek Word Studies. Go on, ask me about the aorist, subjunctive, passive, used as an imperative.

It was really enlightening, and exposed me to research tools I might not have ever even tried to figure out before.

Tomorrow is my Leader's Training day. We're going over 2 Thessalonians. Today we were in 2 Timothy. In church we are studying John. My Tuesday Precept class is on 1 Peter. And the kids' Precept class is on Revelation. My brain is just about two seconds away from being totally fried. I've lost my ability to keep it all straight, and am probably reduced to "somewhere in the Bible it says..." But it's great, and amazing how the lessons all tie in together even though they are not at all intended by man to do that. The more I study the Bible, the more I see the same themes run constant and true from Genesis to Revelation. It's really neat to see it all come together, like a puzzle that finally starts looking like the picture on the box. Of course, we'll never see it clearly on Earth...somewhere in the Bible it tells us that, LOL. But it's like at the eye doctor when they fit you for glasses and they put a whole bunch of lenses in front of you two at a time and ask "is it better here, or here?" Each thing I learn, each book I study, brings the picture a little more into focus.
I'm nervous about the training tomorrow. I've lead topical Bible classes before, but the reality of leading a Precept class is sobering. This is serious study. I'm in my 12th Precept upon Precept study now, so it's not like I haven't been doing this for a while, but I do feel the weight of the responsibility. Anyway, I don't even know that there will be a need for me to teach anytime soon, but just knowing that I could...that if our instructor is out I could be called, it's a big step.
On that note, I should go to bed to be ready for the morning.
Oh, and Scott and his Scout Troop are camping this week-end, so say a little prayer for their safety. I know they are fine, but it's always a bit nerve wracking to have your child spending the night in a forest without you. I'm sure Sonlight Garden would covet your prayers for her son too.
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Fireproof comes out today!


See it.

Really, why are you still here reading?


Seriously, if it's anything like Facing the Giants, it will be phenomenal. I can't wait to see it, but unless I want to go by myself, I'll have to wait until at least tomorrow. I have Precept training this morning, and then when I get home, Eric and the kids will be off to Scouts. Scott is camping and has to be out near Sonlight Garden's house at 5:45, and TJ's meeting starts at 7 in the same place. No point in going back and forth.

Anyway, go see Fireproof! And then come watch my kids so I can see it too, LOL.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Facebook revisited

So I've revised my appraisal of Facebook. While I have reconnected with a few high school friends, and that has been fun, it wasn't earth shattering.


I had forgotten about the Mouse. Well, I hadn't actually forgotten about it, but I had figured with WDW being the largest single site employer in the USA that reconnecting with anyone would be of the epic needle-in-a-haystack proportions.

But I tried one name. A local musician whose name is in the paper from time to time and was a friend through thick and thin. And apparently, lots of other folks we worked with thought the same thing, because through him, I found a ton of others. There's even a group of people on a page specifically devoted to the attraction I worked at. I know it sounds corny, but these people are like family. We worked together daily for years. We've been through everything. 3 people we worked with have died, and everyone knows the value of life. What's funny is that most have moved on to something beyond the Mouse, but across the board, we all reflect on that as the best job we ever had. You'd have to have been there, I suppose.
It has been a blast to reconnect with them and to reminisce with them. Most of them were much closer with each other than I ever was, since I was married and lived an hour away, so I didn't engage in after work hanging out, but we still spent so many hours a day together that it doesn't really matter.
Speaking of my old job...did you know I used to work with one of the Backstreet Boys? Yep. Kevin Richardson was one of us before he became one of THEM. And if you have little kids and have ever seen Gina D's Kids Club, well, Gina worked with us too. It was a unique group, LOL.
Anyway, just thought I'd explain for the benefit of all you on Facebook who were wondering who all those folks are. And those of you wondering why I hadn't blogged in a few days :-).
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How does she even come up with this stuff?

So Sari was eating an apple the other day, and she took a few bites out of it and then held it up to me and said, "Look mommy, a sea horse."

The scary thing?

It does look like a sea horse!
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It's good we don't own goats

So the second part of the TJ's room make-over story is this...

We decided to stain the concrete instead of putting down a different flooring. And TJ wanted RED. Well, really more like a vintage Americana red, not a fire engine red. It matches his loft bed. And since it's his room, we said okay.

To apply said stain, you clean the floor, and then you spray on the stain with a pump sprayer (the same type of sprayer you would use to spray round-up in the yard). What I didn't realize is that, well, the sprayer is not nearly as discriminate as I would have thought. And I wasn't home when my husband did it. So I left home with a gray floor, and returned the site of an animal sacrifice. Or that's what it looked like. Seriously, CSI uses less fake blood than it looked like was sprayed in that room. And when he did a second coat, some of it ran, so it looked like we had literal rivers of blood.

Not pretty.

Scary actually.

It's good we don't own goats or the neighbors would be talking.

To add insult to injury, he ran out of stain at the end, and the dredges that came up were PINK, and DULL in sheen, as opposed to the rest of the room that was red and shiny.

So how do you fix that?

Well, for the floor, we picked up another color stain (a gray that matches the walls perfectly) and sponged that on top-that way the irregular pattern of the sponging helps hid the less intentional irregular look of the red.

For the arterial spray on the wall? Two coats of Kilz has taken care of that.

So as with any project we take on, it's one step forward, two steps back.

But the floor is fixed now, the walls are primed and mostly painted, and I just have to finish some cut in, and then the walls and floor should be done.

This patch shows what it should have looked like :-).

I'll post a more update floor and wall picture tomorrow.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Okay, I'm stupid

So I've totally resisted this "Simple Woman's Daybook" thing because, well, I'm not simple, or a conformist, and I guess I just want to NOT participate in something everyone else is doing. It's the rebel in me. So then I decided that I do appreciate the glimpse it gives into daily life, and if I am writing this largely so that my kids will get an idea of who I am as a person and what their lives were like growing up, the Daybook might be nice to help with that. So today I caved and decided to do it.

Except I'm clearly not mentally savvy enough to figure it out.

And knowing that my friends have all figured it out and I am just pathetic somehow doesn't help.

I followed the link to the site.

I found the link to the page where she gives instruction.

I copied the text questions and pasted to my blog.


I can't get the picture to copy to save my life.

I've tried cutting and pasting.

I've tried uploading it as an image for the url (and I don't even know what a url is, but I think I did it right nonetheless).


No image.


I give up.

I knew I wasn't simple.

And I'm perplexed. Even if I got it all to you mean to tell me I'd have to do that every week? That doesn't sound simple. I KNEW it.

Maybe I'll just mock the daybook instead...
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Saturday, September 20, 2008


A week ago the boys and I and my brother went to Aquatica. It's hard to believe it's been a week, and even harder to believe I haven't blogged about it. Aquatica was fun. Both boys enjoyed it, and both surprised me with the things they enjoyed and were willing to try. Each one rode all but one ride in the park, and that was impressive. It was great to go with my brother. First, his generosity this year is what made the trip possible. Second, he's just fun to be around. He has the same sarcastic sense of humor I have. And my kids adore him. And he's really laid back, so he didn't mind 20 trips to the locker for sunscreen, etc. Or three trips to the restaurant for bad food. Really. The park is great, but they need to do something about the horrible quality of the food.
Anyway, here are some pics:
TJ and my brother on the Racer. There are meant to be 8 people "racing" down together, but TJ had trouble starting, so Michael helped him and they both got a late start. But it made for good pictures.

Scott in the wave pool.

We love our uncle!
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High School Reflections

Maybe part of the reason I am not enamored with Facebook is that I don't have terribly fond memories of High School. Not only was I not popular, but I was probably terribly UNpopular. See, we lived in a wealthy suburb of Memphis. Really wealthy. Kids drive Porsches to school wealthy. And my parents divorced while we lived there. My Dad's good-paying job in the computer industry suddenly didn't pay nearly well enough to cover two different homes (his and ours) with two different sets of bills. Oh, and he was an alcoholic, so that ate up money. And a smoker. My mother had had jobs before we were born, but not as a "professional" in an occupation, and she had been a stay at home mom for 12 years, so she did not have any sort of money making fall-back. Anyway, she went to nursing school, we nearly went broke and almost lost our house, and I was a poor kid in a rich school. Add in my social ineptness, and you could just paint a target on my back.

My saving grace came from two fronts. First, I became involved in the theatre, and everyone there is a bit odd, and most are not at all popular either, so I fit right in. That the theatre teacher was a tyrant who could speak to us in and with any words he wanted and could force us into indentured servitude with our grade held as hostage went totally unnoticed by the administration since our theatre program was one of the top 3 in the country, and our budget (thanks to the requirement of selling thousands of dollar of ads EACH) was tens of thousands per show. The quality of those productions is probably why local theatre leaves me underwhelmed. Our program was amazing, but if you wanted to reap the benefits, you also had to be subject to the abuse.
My second saving grace was that I was smart.
Being smart comes in handy when the popular kids tend to be, well, less than smart. But for my friends that think I am smart, let me say, my school was FULL of crazy-smart people. I mean, I (and I say this not to brag but to explain) qualified for Mensa based on my IQ and my ACT scores. And I graduated 69th in my class with a 3.9 (out of 4.0) GPA. (We had 609 graduating seniors.) I went to school with a guy who spoke 7 languages and got a PERFECT score on the SAT. In fact, more than one person in my class did. Our school did not "weight" grades, so we all competed on the 4.0 scale, which explains the 68 people above me with a 3.9 something. Our Valedictorian and Salutatorian BOTH had a perfect 4.0. I forget what broke the tie. These people were all crazy smart, and most of them equally as quirky and unpopular as I, so at least there were lots of people in my same situation. And because we all were in the same classes, we were all "friends" on one level or another.
So what brings all this up? Facebook. My class valedictorian is one of my "friends" and it's funny that the very thing that bound us together in high school, our intelligence, matter SO LITTLE now. I mean, it may matter to her in her life in corporate America, but my kids have never asked to see my credentials, and I have long since lost the ability to WOW them with my stunning intellect. I discovered at my husband's class reunion a few months ago that who your friends were in high school and who you would be friends with NOW are frequently drastically different. I don't understand someone who brags that they are going to a booze-a-thon, and they don't understand me not going bored out of my mind at home with my kids all day. And there seems to be no way to find the people with whom I WOULD actually have anything in common. We were amazed at his 20th reunion to find some people who chose to never have kids, some whose kids have already graduated from high school, some in the middle like us, and one just expecting her FIRST child. Really everything you've done since high school defines who you are now, and who you have anything in common with, but given the person people may remember me being, I am hesitant to reach out beyond those I really knew well, even though those fringe friends may well be the people I would have the most in common with now.
Anyway, Facebook is fun, and it is fun to reconnect, to see pictures of people now, and to see whose life surprises you and who is doing exactly what you thought they might be. And my reunion is next year, so it's nice to reconnect before that. But like I said before, I know who my friends are...and none of them even knew me in high school!
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More on Facebook

Okay, so I am not sure what the purpose is. I mean, yes, there are probably thousands of people out there I know. But, no, I do not have anything in common with most of them anymore, so I am not sure why I would want to "be friends". It keeps showing me people I "might know" and yes, I do know some of them, but I have no need to reconnect. So I guess I will just look like a loser with just a few friends instead of a poser whose friend list includes everyone they've ever met :-). Besides, I know who my friends are, and while a few of them DO have a facebook page, I don't need that to connect with them...a telephone, blog, or e-mail do just fine.
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Peddling Popcorn

Peddling sounds so much better than "pimping" but that's really more what it feels like. 'Tis the time of year when every school and every preschool and every organization attempts to add to their coffers by selling...something. The local middle school is selling cookie dough. The elementary school is selling magazines. And my sons? Well, they are selling popcorn. Popcorn is the Boy Scout equivalent of Girl Scout Cookies. It's their mainstay. And I have not one, but two boys selling it.

So here's my appeal...if you would normally have any inclination to buy popcorn from a cute little boy in uniform that might show up on your doorstep, would you sadly decline buying from that cutie and buy from my cuties instead? I'm sure we'll have our order forms with us, well, everywhere we go. They are selling microwave popcorn (transfat free) and popcorn tins of all varieties.

Just planting a seed since some cute little guy will probably be showing up on your doorstep soon to beg you to buy, and my cute little guys live in a neighborhood that has been TOTALLY picked over already by the local schools (living walking distance from the school will do that). And we'd even be willing to show up on your doorstep in uniform if that's what it takes :-)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

I've always wanted a magnetic personality...

I debated several titles for this post, and the meaning of the above one will become clear later in this story :-).
Remember this summer's impromptu make-over of our office into Scott's room? He went away to Boy Scout camp and we decided to give him his own room while he was gone.
Well, he loves it, but moving him into his own room meant leaving his brother alone in the biggest child's bedroom we have, while the two girls share the smallest room. And girls have stuff. Lots of it. Like the dollhouse my grandfather built for my mom and my daughters now have. Or the baby dolls and crib that keep Sari entertained. Or the polly dolls. Or Littlest Pet Shop. You get the idea. BUT, the summer was rapidly drawing to a close, we still haven't found a home for everything that came out of the "office" and now clutters our family room, and homeschool was needing desperately to start up again. So the bedroom rearranging would just have to wait.
Until Tropical Storm Fay.
See, the room the girls shared was an old porch that was enclosed, and when that happened, they filled the "scuppers" that had allowed water to drain off the porch, but were unnecessary for a bedroom, especially since they are really just holes in the wall. Well, Apparently the patch job wasn't meant to last for decades, and water came in and flooded the carpet. The problem is that Mimi and I were gone and Sari doesn't really sleep in there, so no one knew the carpet had gotten wet until the smell gave it away. By then, it was too late, and there was mold growing ON the carpet under the doll house. Of course, the extent of the damage did not exceed our insurance deductible, so we were left to deal with it ourselves.
Having several members of the family being highly allergic to mold, we decided to rip out the carpet. And since that required removing all the know where this is going, don't you...yep, we decided to switch the bedrooms.
But, of course, that means a total makeover for the girls' old room to make it less girly (TJ's not big on lilac paint). He's chosen a shade of grayish blue seen here (at the top) in just a small test patch, although the color doesn't really come through well.

Here's what the room basically looks like.

And then there was the flooring dilemma. We aren't sure ultimately what we want to do with the flooring in the house, but since we DO have horrible allergies, we knew carpet was not an option. So we decided to stain the concrete for now. Which seemed easy. Until. Well, until you really take a look at the floor:

This is what it looked like. Paint splotches everywhere, and glue from the carpet padding adhesive stuck to the floor. 2 different seriously strong solvents and a few thousand less braincells later, this is what it looks like:

That was literally the entirety of what I spent last Sunday and the week-end before that doing.

Allow me to skip for a minute to the post title. Since this room was a former porch, there is a window that was closed in in the middle of the longest wall. There's no way to hide it, so we decided to paint it red...figuratively. Really, we are painting it with magnetic paint with chalkboard paint over that. It should be cool when it's done. But anyone who knows me knows I paint pretty well, but I'm...well...messy. And I was doing SO WELL with this paint because a tee-niney pint of it cost $20. Until the very last section to be painted with the last of 3 coats. Apparently while rolling the section right before that, I had stepped in a small splotch of paint that had spilled when I poured paint from the can to the tray. And hey, did you know it was fast drying? And magnetic? So when I stepped in it, and then stood there while I was painting, it dried and stuck to my shoe...and when I moved to load the roller for the last pass, the drop cloth came with me, and it tipped the paint over, and ARG!!! crazy, expensive, BLACK paint all over. In my shoe. On my foot. And all over the drop cloth. Luckily, the drop cloth was an old vinyl table cloth, so I was able to salvage quite a bit of what spilled (come on, you guys know how frugal I am, LOL). But As I bellowed for my husband's help, he sat oblivious watching some horrible movie called V for Vendetta. I've got a vendetta for you...JUST KIDDING! I managed to clean it up and hop out of the room painted foot and all without getting black magnetic paint anywhere else it should not have been. But while I've always wanted to be one of those people with a magnetic personality, painting myself magnetic wasn't the solution I had in mind.
I'll finish more about the room makeover tomorrow, but the next installment, entitled, "It's good we don't have goats" ought to pique your interest :-).
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why the silence?

DO you ever get tired of seeing your own non-updated blog posts? Enough already. I've slept some, and now it's time to post something new!
I've been very busy, and I totally brought it on myself! Last night, I went to dinner with some friends for Kiwi's birthday. (Have I mentioned that I have the BEST friends in the world? Really!) anyway, at dinner they were all talking about Facebook, so of course, being a follower, I had to go sign I needed something else in my life. So now my sleep deprivation is of my own doing since I was up until 12:30 checking who "might be my friend". Crazy, and a total waste of time, since I know who my friends are, but still I was sucked in...and I have reconnected with some people, but how deep that will go I do not know. the reality is our lives have nothing in common anymore, I don't live in the same state as my High School, and so beyond the novelty of saying hello across the miles and years, I'm not sure why I am doing it. And yes, I'd probably jump off a bridge if all my friends were doing it :-).
The second thing is actually equally crazy, but very exciting. About 2 months ago, I was contacted by a homeschooling magazine with the opportunity to be part of a product review focus group. They had 300 applicants, and narrowed it to 100 to be in the group. And....I made the cut! I'm totally excited, but now I have a whole new group of 100 really cool ladies to get to know, and between those e-mails and facebook, I'm feeling very popular and overwhelmed today :-). Plus, I have about...oh...99 new blogs to look at (which is always totally fun but somehow I think it will be another "bed at 0'dark hundred" night :-).
SO much more to blog, but so little time to do it if I want my kids to go to bed. It's church night, so they are off to bed late, and Mimi has trouble winding down, so I need to encourage her to GO TO BED...still working on that "let your gentle spirit be known to all men" thing...I particularly stumble around 10 PM Thursdays when my husband is at the leadership meeting and my daughter is talking my ear off. Not so gentle then...
But I still know I am truly One Blessed Mamma.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

A loss of precious sleep

Okay, I admit it. I am one of those "10 hour a night" sleep people. Or at least I used to be. I can't remember the last time I actually got that much. But my body still needs way more than some people seem to need (my husband could sleep 4 hours a night and function pretty well). I NEVER get a night of uninterrupted sleep anymore. Even with a sleep number bed, I toss and turn, and something always wakes me up...usually a child.
But two nights ago...well that was a different story. At about 5:15 Saturday morning (the day I was taking the two boys to Aquatica with my brother, so being well rested was a requirement for a happy mamma), my husband and I woke up to a strange noise outside. It sounded like...well, crying. And we listened for a moment because I thought maybe it was Mittens and another stray getting in a territory dispute (cats seem to fight over the "possession" of our porch about once a month). Then as we woke up more, it became clear that it was a human cry. A child's cry. Then the adrenaline flows because it definitely was OUTSIDE the house. At 5:15 AM. But also, a look out the window showed me that it was the grandson of our across the street neighbor (the one who cuts hair in his garage and has an affinity for yelling out to his friends "Hey M_____F____-er, what's up?"...nice, I know). So my husband and I both go out there to this maybe 5 year old child, who is standing in the street, the door to the house WIDE open, and we wonder, "What do we do NOW?" SO I walked up to the door and knocked and yelled inside for the neighbors, but no one appeared to be home. I had just heard a car leave as the crying started, so I wasn't sure if whoever left had done harm to my neighbors and not realized there was a small boy inside also, so I DID NOT want to go in. But just then, the neighbor came pulling up, and backed into his driveway like noting happened. (He could not see us at the door from where he was.) SO we walk over to the car with his grandson, and the neighbor does the whole, "Oh, did he wake up, I'm sorry...". Yep. Definitely from another generation. He had to take his wife to dialysis, and rather than wake the sleeping child to drive 4 minutes away, he figured he could sneak there and back with his grandson never knowing the difference. Know what? My parents would have done the same thing when I was little. I seems like a reasonable gamble...unless the 5 year old child wakes up, goes running out in the street crying, and your neighbors as seconds away from calling the COPS because they fear foul play. I wonder what he will do next time? Either way, I get woken up every morning when she goes to dialysis, because our bedroom faces their driveway, and either he takes her (and since he backs in his headlights shine in our room ) or the county bus picks her up...that's even more special since that's a diesel engine idling outside my window...and sometimes it even BACKS UP, BEEPING NOISE AND ALL. At 5:15 AM. I know I should have compassion for her and her need for dialysis, but have I mentioned I find sleep, well, essential?
So fast forward to THIS morning. This morning, I get woken up by every helicopter in a 100 mile radius flying 6:30 AM. Seems there was a meth lab bust mere minutes from my house. NICE. And every news agency thought, let's wake 100 small town city blocks by flying overhead to get shots of the sheriff's officers bagging up stuff in the dark. Nope, couldn't wait until LIGHT...then they are not on the air with the 30 minute news. Must wake people with the helicopters so all of O-town can view the bagging of stuff outside a house.
All this, and I live in the GOOD part of town.

A stay in a secluded, luxury hotel is sounding really good right now.

Or even an uncomfortable hospital bed and a medically induced coma.

So today, I'll be (day)dreaming of sleep :-).
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

You know you are a homeschool family when...

You own your own DNA and Human Eye models. But even beyond that, Mimi got all our science stuff out, and created her own "Science Lab". She even took a mason jar, filled it with water, and then took some plastic animals we had, and put them in baggies weighted with metal marbles (from the magnetixs), and then dropped them in the water to make her own "specimen jars".

Here are my proud Science Lab techs ;-).
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Want to know what a room shared by 3 kids looks like?

Any wonder TJ is feeling a little over-run? His small boy domain has been rapidly "girlified", and to make matters worse, the floor gets covered with stuff every time I turn my back. Hopefully we'll be done with our next bedroom makeover soon.
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One Goofy Gril

Her favorite silly face...

Let me 'splain something to you

Everyone loves a blue-eyed girl...even with the Cinderella band-aid on her cheek.

Dancin' and singin' while standing on the top bunk...
expressly forbidden, of course.

If your Uncle bring you a wallet from Argentina, and loads it with a very American "Jackson", what do you do? If you are a 3 year old, you buy a larger than life carnival prize cast off at Goodwill that makes you happy, even if it does shed the occasional foam bead on the carpet (yes, I know it therefore has a small hole, so it's already in quarantine, but it makes her really happy). Thanks Uncle Michael!!!
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Critter count

First, there was Daisy the hamster...

Then Thumper the bunny...

Then Riley the dog

A couple dozen tadpoles

Mittens the cat who's adopted us

Oh, and don't forget...

The entire flock of birds that now calls our chimney home. Seriously. Although I am wondering if they moved out after all the rain because I haven't noticed them over the past few days, and the mosquito population is out of control.

Add in four critters of the more hairless variety...

And I'm about 30 seconds from certifiable at any given moment ;-).
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3 year olds notice the darndest things

So my husband was lying on the bed with his shirt off...not a common occurrence in our house. And Sari comes in and, in total seriousness, says, "Mommy has big ones, and daddy has nittle ones." And then, just in case we didn't know what she was talking about, she proceeded to point out daddy's. To add insult to injury, she then decided that a prone father would be fun to walk on and stepped on her daddy, well, right where it counts.
Just more affirmation that God only intended us to have 4 kids, LOL.
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Mittens update

If your nocturnal visitor shows up diurnally (yep, that's the word for daytime activities...we learned that somewhere, and while I can't even remember where-Trout Lake maybe?-I remember the word now) as well, that probably makes it official, right? In fact, as I type this, Sari just walked in and said, "Mommy, I am happy Mi-Mi-Mittens is back". (Total diversion-Sari has started stuttering. It happened right around the time my friend at Unofficially Nameless got her news and somehow "My child is stuttering" seemed awfully petty next to "Your child has a terminal disorder".) Anyway, Mittens is back by day today. Now all the kids have gotten to see him. Here are some more (less scary) pictures.

Can you guess who I could not get away from the cat, LOL?
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We've been adopted by...

A stray cat. This is the second night he's come around...probably because I fed him last night, LOL. Last night when I was taking Riley out, suddenly this cat was on the carport. We have a ton of strays in the area, but this one is not from around here. He seemed desperate as Riley's presence startled him and he ran off, but NOT away. He just went to a safe distance and watched. So after I took Riley back in, the cat ran up again and meowed over and over. I went in to get some food (Did I mention there are a lot of strays around here? We keep food around for just this reason.) and he was still there when I came out. He kept a healthy distance from me, but when I put the food down, I as able to sit near him as he ate, and after about 15 minutes (He was starving.) I was able to pet him as he ate. Poor thing is all skin and bones. He was gone in the morning, but came back tonight so we fed him again. This time 3 of the kids got to see him. They are calling him Mittens :-).

Here's Sari with him...hummmm, probably should have her dressed more before I post her pics on the World Wide Web, LOL. As you can see, he is a sweet heart. Very friendly, but a tad skittish still.

My red-eye correction apparently only works on humans, so I am sorry for the kind of freaky picture. He doesn't have red eyes at all, but light blue ones that are extremely camera flash reactive :-). Obviously Mittens has been in an altercation with something, but he seems no worse for wear. I think he's part Siamese based on his facial shape, his coloring, his blue eyes, and his vocal nature (he "talks" a lot). My kids would love to keep him, but he'd be an outdoor pet if we did. I wouldn't mind, but I'm not married to the idea either. Is anyone interested in giving him a good home should he come back tomorrow? Ann? I know you were looking for a Siamese-ish cat before :-). I also know you have two kittens now too. This one is past the kitten stage, but is either a small cat or still not quite full grown. Let me know!
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We've taken in...

a gaggle of tadpoles. I don't have pictures, but they are tiny and enjoying our Frog habitat that has largely gone unused for quite some time. Anyone who knows me knows that the tadpoles from my step-dad's pool take about 9 months to morph, so taking them in is no flippant commitment. Sari hasn't been old enough before to watch and enjoy the process so this should be fun...I hope.
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Pet lovin'

Here's Scott with Riley. If Riley is not hyper, he is really sweet and Scott just sat on the floor and Riley came and climbed in his lap.

Riley giving Scott a bath and Riley mid-yawn...his face is funny!
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Sari-isms to make you smile

Sari calls "orange" "Or-jay". It makes me smile everytime.

Also, we had Greek salad the other day, and she took an onion slice that had been cut in half and placed the half circle slice over her eyebrows from one eye to the other and then said, "Nook in to my eye." (Wonder where she got that expression? I'd put money on a connection to a rabbit named Puff.) It was hilarious.
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

TJ's Story

So at the point where we chose not to go to the picnic, I felt like God really closed the door on adoption for us. Why He opened it just to close it without it ever coming to fruition, I don't know. Sometimes I think we all get Abraham and Isaac moments. Moments where God tests us to see how far we will follow. How obedient we will be. How much we are willing to sacrifice. And sometimes He asks us to do all those things, but sometimes He provides the sacrifice Himself just to remind us of the fact that not only is He a covenant keeping God, but He is THE covenant initiating God. He is capable of causing the desires of our heart and then fulfilling them in His ways, not ours. And His ways are always so much more wonderful than we could ever have dreamed.

So at this point we aren't adopting, but we aren't getting pregnant by our own devises either. Mimi is about a year old and if we want our kids to be spaced close together, we need to think about doing the clomid soon. (We also struggled at this time with the idea of NOT using the clomid for a while and having 2 kids close in age and then another 2 kids close in age, but with a few years between the first 2 and the next 2.) And then in November God reminded us that He is really sovereign, and all of "our plans" for our family are really of little consequence to His master plan. (Looking back and typing this, gives me the chance to see how silly all our struggles were.) One day in the middle of November, I developed a pain in my lower abdomen. I have a history of ovarian cysts, and that's what it felt like. I also suffered from not-ovulating, but every once in a while my body would work and I would, and it would be really painful. So I figured that's what was going on. I actually slept that night on the couch because I could not straighten out my leg without severe pain (but even this was stuff I had gone through before, although not since I was a teen). By morning, I figured something wasn't right and I should go see my doctor. Thankfully, his practice opened at 5:30 AM, and I was there to meet him. He brought me back took one look at me, and sent me to the hospital. The diagnosis? Acute appendicitis.
So I drove myself to the hospital in the only car that had car seats in it for my children who were still at home sleeping (their daddy was home with them). I called him to tell him, and honestly, I am not even sure how all the details got worked out. ( Somehow my mom helped him get the car with the car seats and helped watch the kids so he could visit me in the hospital afterward.) I was whisked away to surgery, and my appendix was removed post haste. They figure it would have ruptured within the hour.
SO why am I telling you all this in the midst of TJ's story? Because somehow having my appendix removed restored my body's ability to ovulate, and much to our total shock, we found ourselves pregnant immediately afterward. God is SO good!
My pregnancy was great, which was good because I was a busy mamma with 2 kids 3 and under. I had more aversion than ever. We ate out a LOT because NOTHING sounded good, and what did squeak by as possibly palatable changed on a daily basis. But I can't complain. It was great.
Much to no one's surprise, I was "late" with TJ. 11 days late. Late enough that they ordered a non-stress test to check to see how he was doing. And it didn't look good. Previous to that point, I had had 3 non-consecutive days where I had had regular contractions every 5 minutes or closer for a few hours at a time, but each time they petered out without progressing to full blown labor. But they were hard to cope with because he was posterior, and those contractions really hurt my back badly. And after the 3rd day they occurred, I have to admit I was OVER them. Really over them. So when they said at the Midwife's office that I needed to go to the hospital to have a few more tests done, I was FINE with that. SO fine that I said, "why don't we just do this thing if I have to go to the hospital anyway"...or something like that. I was already 6 cm dilated thanks to those days to "false labor", and it seemed prudent to just deliver in stead of sending me home 11 days past due, 5 cm dilated, and 45 minutes from my hospital.
So to the hospital I went. This is where Marie can fill in the details I should know. She joined me there, and I think maybe she was watching my other kids that morning, so I am not sure where her kids or mine ended up (sad, isn't it, how quick memories fade?). I don't think my husband was with me either, so I think he had to drop everything and come join me. Anyway, TJ was born maybe 2 hours after I was admitted, and 1 hour after labor officially "started". I believe Melissa Etheridge's Brave and Crazy was the CD playing in the CD player during labor and while when he was born. (Yeah, there's a side of my musical taste not many of you know about-but I don't listen to her anymore because her lifestyle is openly wrong...but her music? I love it.)

TJ's gender was a surprise, we had chosen not to find out. I don't remember anyone announcing he was a boy...and I think I remember asking and the midwife telling me that was for me to see and announce. (Am I delusional Marie?) And isn't it funny that I can't even remember what name we had chosen for a girl? For a boy we had two choices. Ean Spencer (if we were to keep with our existing first initial trend) or TJ. We really went back and forth for a good 20 minutes. And it was almost Ean, but then my husband chimed in that he preferred TJ, and he's been TJ ever since.
He was my largest baby at 7 lb 15 oz. And he was wonderful. We left the hospital 22 hours after he was born, and it was good to come home. TJ was a insatiable nurser, and I spent most of the first few days at home sitting on my butt on the couch nursing him and watching TV. And that's where I was on the Tuesday after he was born. Sitting on my butt watching the Today show and nursing my son as the first reports rolled in that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. At first, they were certain it was a mistake...then certain it was not a big jet like the witnesses said but a small commuter plane...but then, oh, the first live feed from the area told a different story. a big gaping maw in the side of the building. And as they stood there filming the destruction, a second plane hit the second tower. On live TV. While I watched and nursed my son. And represented in my living room were two extremes. On one hand an action that had gone on since the creation of man, since Eve nursed her baby at her fundamental to life itself that scripture mentions nursing numerous times, and the Shad of God's name El Shaddai refers to the sufficiency found at a mother's breast...and on the other hand, in the blink of an eye, evil had a new face, Satan a new modus operandi. An attack on our own soil. A clash of faiths and of the intentions of our God/god. And yet, in those days soon after 911, the many in our nation found their solace in the same place my baby son found his, at the bosom that was all sufficient to met their needs.
Seven years have passed. My son no longer harkens to my breast, and his dependency on me wanes a little bit with each passing day. And I fear the same is true of our nation's dependency on our God. While it's natural for a child to eventually leave their home and cleave to another, man is NOT meant to leave his God. We were created to praise the good times and in the storms. We were created to love one another, not spew partial truths or misguided retorts at one another. We were created to be utterly dependant on God for provision for our lives in this world, and for the gift of salvation that ensures our future for eternity.
Is He your El Shaddai? I pray that TJ, and all my children, will always know Him as such. That they will always depend on Him for their needs to be supplied. That they would walk humbly with their God in ways I am still learning every day. That they would grow up, not with an allegiance to a country or a party, but to the God who has chosen them as His own. That's my prayer for TJ...Happy Birthday son!
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The preface to TJ's story

My kids' stories will be out of order age wise because I am bound by their order in how their birthdays fall during the year, so you'll have to wait 6 weeks for Mimi's. In a nut shell though, the infertility continued, and Mimi is also a clomid baby.
After Scott was born, we seriously evaluated how many children we would have, and 4 was really resonating with both of us (resonating not in a new-age-y way, but in a God inspired sort of way). When Mimi was born 27 1/2 months later, we still thought we'd have more children....but
But more and more it seemed like God was putting in front of us the idea of adoption. I mean, we had to use fertility drugs, and there were no guarantees that they would work, or that they would not work TOO WELL, and we already had 2 small children. And then there just were all these people who we knew who were adopting or articles in magazines about international adoption, or learning about adoption from the state system. It just seemed like everywhere we looked, the road was leading toward adoption. We even went so far as to begin the process of adopting from the state, and we'd look at pictures of these kids who were so young, so full of hope, but so worked-over by life already. And we thought if we were going to adopt one child who would clearly NOT be our child (most state kids are black or biracial, and our kids are all blond haired/blue eyed and white as white can get) we should probably adopt two so that it was more balanced and not like, please forgive what may seem like racial insensitivity, having one black sheep in the family. NOT that we would have been embarrassed by that, but thinking of the life of a child SO CLEARLY not our birth child amid these others who so clearly were...we just didn't want the child to always feel different.
So adoption became the plan. Kind of. I mean, we thought that was what we were meant to do, but we weren't SURE. We were even set to go to the annual picnic where potential adoptive families can meet available children. For reasons only God knows, as the date of the picnic approached, we encountered more and more hurdles, and that morning we decided NOT to go.
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Happy Birthday TJ

It's after midnight, and I should be in bed, but I just have to say Happy Birthday to TJ. He's 7 whole years old today...and it's his "golden birthday" (some invented occasion that occurs when you turn the age of the date of your birth, i.e. 7 on the 7th). I'll blog his story later today hopefully, but let me just say that he is a wonderful child...all boy, but also sensitive, loving, gentle, and obedient. I LOVE him to pieces :-).
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just call me SPAM

My husband says, "Funny, you don't look like canned lunch meat."

Very Funny.


No, my big problem is that Comcast has decided I am SPAM. We host our own domain and my e-mail address is part of that domain, and now, for some reason, Comcast has decided I am SPAM and won't let me send e-mails to anyone on Comcast. They never even get the chance to approve me, Comcast's server rejects me. It's frustrating. I tried calling to remedy it, but they all speak computer geek speak, and unless I can provide them with all sorts of wacky things that I don't even have the vaguest idea about,they can't help me.

So the moral of this story is that if you have a Comcast e-mail, you won't be hearing from me anytime soon...unless something changes. (Every once in a while it does randomly work, but there seems to be no method to the madness of predictability to it either.)
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Monday, September 1, 2008

The OTHER labor day

Here's a meme I copied from just about everyone else I know. Feel free to play along.

How long were your labors?
#1: 8 hours
#2: 17 minutes after they broke my water
#3: 1 hour
#4: 1.25 hours

How did you know you were in labor?
#1: induced (see Scott's story)
#2: I didn't, but I'd been having easy contractions all morning and called just because I was past my due date. The staff at the midwife's office didn't think I was in labor either (I was smiling and joking)...until she checked me and I was 6 cm.
#3: Induced due to bad results on a non-stress test given because I was more than a week overdue. Oh, and again, I was already 6 cm because I had had several days of "false labor" that made progress (obviously) but never turned into full blown labor.
#4: Induced...well, similar to above, I was already 8 cm that morning, due to inconsistant labor over the days preceeding, but not "in labor" that morning.

Where did you deliver?
#1-3: All at the same hospital, and it was really a good experience. For 1 and 2 I even had the same nurse.
#4: At home

#1: Half a dose of Stadol, again see Scott's story.
#2-4: No, and I'd do it again in a heart beat.


Who Delivered?
#1-3: My wonderful midwife. She retired from deliveries after baby #3 :-(. At TJ's birth, Marie was also there as my doula
#4: My homebirth midwives. They were very good, and I felt very safe. Marie and Jennie were also there as doulas (Thanks girls!).

How about you?
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More Extreme Makeover

My brainy tree climbing friend updated her blog and, intrigued, I followed the link to the designer. She has all these amazing blog designs FOR FREE! So I had to pick one of course. What do you think?
It was NOT easy to of those "good to be married to the computer guy" moments, but now it's done, and I really like it. I want to change it ultimately, but this works for now. Thanks Brainy friend for the inspiration!

Also under makeover is Mimi's room...or maybe I should say TJ's room. See with the water that came in from TS Fay, the carpet was stinky and moldy, and mold is a high allergy trigger in this family, so we decided to rip out the carpet. Since we don't know what we are doing with the flooring throughout the house, we have decided just to stain the concrete. Oh, and we also decided to switch the kids who occupy that room.
See, since Scott got his own room, TJ has had the biggest room all to himself, so now, he will move into the girls' smaller room, and they will move into his room. But for that to happen, and for the carpet to come out, all the room had to be emptied...and the stuff from the old office/Scott's new room still has not found a home, so we are literally living in a complete mess, with the contents of 2 rooms lining every other wall in the house. It's crazy! But we should be done with the room switch this coming week-end I hope, and then we will start decorating the girls' new room. It's all more than I can get my head around, but since we decided to re-fi and stay here, we need to make everything as livable as possible. Obviously, doing the basement would help with that, but I can't even go there until the upstairs is better off.

Sorry the blog has been quiet lately, but we've just been busy moving stuff around.

Maybe that's why the new blog lay-out thrills me heavy lifting, LOL.

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