Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Memories

Favorite kid quote: "Yibish" -- What Leah says when something's not going right, or she's surprised by something, or the weather is extreme, or...

Favorite movie: Avatar 3D

Favorite homeschool moment: I should probably write a whole post -- we've had some great times this year. Selfishly, I would say learning with the kids how the Strait/Rock of Gibraltar got its name was an unusually "wow" moment for me on many levels. I think it captured an essence of what we're doing we get the freedom to learn the big picture and connect so many things together: faith, historic events, choice we make, living in this world. I know that probably sounds strange, but it was one of those "aha" things for me. On a more kid-focused level, I would say it has been pure delight watching Jesse impress me daily with his reading and writing improvement. And Leah got the hang of basic reading in 2009, so all five can read now! I'm just along for the ride...

Favorite trip: Didn't go very much this year....Kentucky reunion trip wins!

Favorite field trip: Lots of good choices, but the warm fall day that the kids and I took off to the local arboretum to collect leaves and watch birds was simple and special.

Favorite (new to me) book read: A Thread of Grace, Mary Doria Russell

Favorite Bible verse/passage: Isaiah 40 ("Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? The LORD is the everlasting God...")

Favorite family time: meeting new friends and hanging out together at the soccer/football fields every night during fall sports

Favorite new song: Sara Groves, "Different Kinds of Happy"

I might think of more...what are your favorites?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Survey

I'm resorting to memes for content. : )

Christmas Survey
1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping?

Yes. We're about mid-stream in a very small stream around here.

2.) Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Stockings filled with small, useful-or-not things that bring great joy and delight. Nothing big allowed! Chapsticks and socks and once-a-year candies and matchbox cars and toothbrushes. They love all that more than anything, just like I did.

3.) When do you put up your Tree?
Ummm, usually, the first weekend or so of December, but this year and last (Florida) we have had no tree. We've got a hand-made tree cut out on the wall that serves as our Thanksgiving tree and our Jesse tree. Eric has plans to make a wooden one that the Jesse tree ornaments can hang on.

4.) Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Cyber Monday

5.) Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Travel. We're trying to be home on Christmas morning/day now, but will see how that goes. This is what we get for moving away from family. : )

6.) What is your funniest Christmas memory?
We had several years in a row where our perfectly healthy children would get to their grandma's house for Christmas and one or two or five would proceed to throw up throughout the visit. (One year we got her a steam cleaner as a gift.) I came to expect it, but was also thoroughly embarrassed. One year the family was gathered in the large room opening gifts and I saw one of the twins come to the door with this look on his face, searching for me or Eric. Everyone was facing away from him, so I hurried quietly to him and whisked him to the bedroom, where he showed me that he had woken from a nap and thrown up all over the floor. Nice. I had it and him cleaned up before the gifts were done! I really don't know why it strikes me as funny when I remember it, but it does. I think it's one of those "laugh about it or else" memories.

7.) What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
White Christmas. I'm a sap.
Also pretty fond of Charlie Brown Christmas.

8.) Do you do your own Christmas Baking? What’s your favorite treat?
Not a big baker. We make something for neighbors each year (not always food), and sometimes that turns into holiday baking. My favorite treat is my sister-in-law's chex mix/m&m stuff covered with white chocolate.

9.) Fake or Real Tree?

10.) What day (as a Mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
When one of the kids starts counting and says, "Hey, there's only 10 days until Christmas!"

11.) Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Is there any other time?

12.) What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
Playing board games with family.

13.) What Christmas craft do you like the best?

14.) Christmas music? Yes or No. And if yes, What is your favorite song?


Love all the Christmas carols. Joy to the World, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye merry are favs, but love so many. Non-traditional favorite is Barlow Girl's "Light Has Come"

15.) When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
It would be nice to be done by the 20th, but my planning has been so off this year, I've lowered all expectations.

Any blogger is welcome to participate in this meme, even if you haven’t been tagged yet. Just simply copy and paste the questions into your blog, and then answer them. Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

When you post your blog, please spread some Christmas cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's Top Ten Christmas Blog, and the blog that you were tagged by (I wasn't tagged, but I found this at The Common Room)

Friday, October 30, 2009

On a warm fall day... might head to the arboretum to view the beautiful colors and try to improve your tree identification.

 might take your walking sticks but use them as anything but, especially when posing in front of mom's favorite tree.

 might need a close-up to see the name of the tree.

 might be inspired by big brother to see if you can make no noise while walking through the trees.

 might get a little silly in all the fresh air.

...and you just might end up being thankful you took the time and went.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In which Levi demolishes a tried and true idiom

Me, eyeing the small-stomach-gets-full-fast-child get her second helping of spaghetti and meatballs: "Are you sure about that? I think your eyes are bigger than your stomach."

D: "What does that mean?"

Levi: "Oh, that means you see something and you think you should get a lot of it, but it's probably too much to eat. My eyes do that all the time...


But, they're usually right."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random Wednesday thoughts

*The non-intentional dropping of half of the large container of granola in the pantry this morning turned positive: 2 industrious 6-year-olds spent an hour completely cleaning out and re-organizing the pantry floor. They're good, too. They love having complete control over the vacuum wand.

*I joined a community choir (yes, just me!). I think I'm the only 30-something (or anywhere near). I love the breathing practice, and the vowel formation, and the being instructed in something again, and being around other people who sigh with pure delight at beautiful harmonies.

*Having children narrate back to you what you just read them never fails to entertain and enlighten.

*Even if the dishwasher is not being used because it just has a leak, and you're fine with hand-washing dishes all summer, you should still open it from time to time just to see if everything is the same inside. It might not be. It might have black, smelly water pooling up.

*Husbands get big bonus points when they spend their only sports-free evening working on the dishwasher.

*There's really not time to waste in this world with fake "I'm fine" 's. Speak up.

*Leah: "I can't kiss you because you're sick. And I don't want to get your sick. But I can hug you! And I do love hugs!" Hard to beat an enthusiastic-for-life 5-year-old. : )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the mood for a picture...

...of what else? Elles ninos and ninas. (And marido.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am an ant

Can I self-analyze for 5 quick minutes? Because 5 minutes is about all I've got.

I am an ant. Not a grasshopper, not a snail, definitely not a spider, not a worm. Given the nature of the life circumstances in which I find myself, I have quite a bit to "do" each day. Every day. And while my list varies some with seasons and life, most of what I do each day is very similar to what I did yesterday and what I will do tomorrow.

Right now I'm in one of those seasons where I have my "every day" stuff, plus. (The word "plus" holds a lot, doesn't it?) I am doing much better at keeping up with my list in this season, as opposed to the previous season (summer) when I didn't have as much to do and I tried to be a snail. I tried to slow down and relax and make everything else slow down and relax. That didn't work.

I think I can revel in my "ant"-ness and still relax. Relax, as in, "live life resting in the peace of God and not stressing about my list". I do better when I stay on everyday tasks and short-term plan tasks and long-term planning tasks and pour myself out each day. He gives me the strength I need to "be the ant".

Monday, August 17, 2009

Breaking News: Life filled with laughter and blessings after 13 years of marraige

After soccer/football practices tonight, the kids were eating their snack while Eric had left to run an errand. I saw that he had left me a card for our anniversary, and opened it. It was perfect, and of course I started tearing up a little. After Levi noticed (he always is the one who notices) and got everyone to give me a group hug, I was just overwhelmed with the blessing of this life I have.

So I started to tell the kids how blessed they were to have a dad like Eric. I told them how smart their dad was, and how hard he works to take care of his family. And I told them that the best thing was how their dad loves God, and teaches them what he had learned from God. I paused so they could take it all in. Their faces were glowing with smiles as they finished their watermelon.

Then Leah, with bright eyes and an earnest face, paused with her fork mid-air and asked: "So, what's the bad news?"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quote of the week...month...

"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a foreigner or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."

Wilbur Rees

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Our very lovely afternoon. Just lovely.

Ever since her sister Sara and I took a quick jaunt through our local town's newest Antique Mall, Delaney has been asking to go, too. I asked her to wait until after her birthday, and told her she could plan to take some of her birthday money, if she wanted. She did. Today turned out to be a perfect day for the girls and I to go, and everything about our trip, our find(s), and then our resulting evening was just perfectly perfect. Can you guess what we found?

Best quote of the day: "Ladies don't ever yell, right Mom?" -- Delaney, as she stood at the bottom of the stairs with instructions on where to find the place mats and tablecloths to get ready for the tea party. Her sisters were upstairs playing and she knew they would want to be included on every step of the preparations. Instead of our -- ahem -- normal way of getting someones attention, she walked up and told them it was time to start getting everything ready. Like a lady.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More motherhood musings...

By the time we had two children and were pregnant with the twins, we started to get more advice and offers of help. "Do whatever you have to do to get sleep yourself," one would say.

"Really, let us know when we can watch them for a few hours so you can get a break," some other brave soul would offer.

By the time our fifth came along and all were under age 5, we were blessed with help, gifts, and words of wisdom from many friends and family. And of course, we greatly appreciated all of this, as it was a very physically demanding time in our lives. Days were filled with diaper change after diaper change, nursing, holding, chasing, bathing, etc., and we had sore backs and scattered-brains to prove it.

So here we are, ages 5-9, and I'm thinking lately that we need to start a new trend in society: "child-showers", instead of baby showers. And I'm really not talking material items here (although they do go through shoes like diapers around here!). While we needed help physically in the baby years, it's the mental/emotional/intellectual torrent that leaves me ragged these days. They talk, they question, they lecture one another, they talk, they question again, they need interaction!

I can picture it now, instead of people offering burping advice or to rock the baby, they would say things to parents like me like, "You know, handling that emotional withdrawing in your daughter like this...", or "Would it be OK if I spent some time crafting with your 6-year-old?"

A girl can dream, right? ; )

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In which you see I am a slavedriver

Me (dumping a new pile onto the bed): "Come and fold, Delaney."

Delaney (coming in to fold): "I knew you were going to say that."

Me: "Wow. How do you know such things?"

Delaney: "Because, whenever you see a pile of laundry and then you see me, you say, 'Come and fold'."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

She totally gets it

We acquired some speakers and a CD player to go with them this weekend that know they have found a true home. We couldn't help but testing them repeatedly after Eric got them set up and made sure they worked (they were from an auction). First, some classic rock guitar. Then, bluegrass. Then, classical. Then, Newsboys. Finally, it hit us -- and, even though it was June, we pulled out the Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas arrangement with everything from violins to guitar to piano and so on in it; this is the one where I always "assign" an instrument for everyone to pretend they're playing, because the instruments play at different places and they really have to listen for it.

So we are blasting it in the living room, (and really only my brother and sister know what I mean here by blasting) and Delaney and Sara are the string section, Levi's got the drums, Jesse is the bass guitar, Leah and Eric are the electric guitars, I'm the keyboard. We love the sounds, the speakers, our family, music, Right in the middle of one of the full orchestration points, at the top of her lungs, with a huge grin on her face, Delaney says:

"I broke a string!"

Monday, June 15, 2009


Last evening, while Eric and the kids were playing in the back yard, two dogs came across the road running toward the kids and barking. I knew what was next, and it didn't take long: two screaming girls (Sara and Leah) and three other very nervous kids. Sara practically choked Eric while trying to climb up the back of his shirt as he tried to calm down the dogs, who were fairly small and friendly. The neighbor came quickly to retrieve her dogs. Fast forward to this morning, as we were making our way through a list of small jobs that needed to be done. Sara and Leah were tasked with sweeping the garage.

Sara, coming through the garage door into the kitchen with Leah: " don't want to be outside alone."

Me (knowing why): "That's going to make for a pretty long summer and boring life, don't you think?

No smiles. Stone faces.

Me: "All right, here's the thing. I know that you feel scared that more dogs might surprise you outside. But, if you remember, you have been doing great petting new dogs you meet lately, and getting more comfortable. And, we know you don't want to miss swinging, and bike riding and soccer and everything outside, right?"

Them: "Right."

Me: "I think one thing we could do is to pray and ask God to help you not feel so afraid to be outside, to give you peace that He is always with you."

Sara: "So God would stop the dogs from coming and barking and just make them stand still?"

Me: "No, that might not happen. But He will definitely help you be brave and not be so scared. OK? You could pray right now in the garage."

A few minutes later. I'm in the bathroom and Leah yells through the door.

Leah: "Mom!? We prayed!"

Me: "That's great, honey!"

Leah: "What's Jesus going to do now?"

Me: "Well, He's going to help you on your you feel better about being outside."

Leah: "Like, move our hearts around?"

Me: "Um, no, not exactly. Like, help you feel brave about dogs and get your work done without being scared."

Leah: "Oh, so we'll be like Levi?"

(And yes, they did a great job sweeping.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Growing independence

When our summer break hits, my mind always turns to "big" ideas that have been waiting (im)patiently in the back of my brain. These are often things I notice about our children that need some, shall we say, course correction. I like to use our extra free time to gain some ground in an area in which they are lacking, or let us all explore something new, or a new way of doing something routine.

Anyway, a recurring "idea" that keeps bugging me is what I see as the kids' lack of independence. I was driving back home from a trip to the post office in our nearby small town right about the time the school buses were making their rounds. I noticed a small girl with a big backpack making her way to didn't look like she was headed home. The thought hit me hard again: when do my kids ever walk alone in town? Oh, yes, NEVER. You put five kids born close together + homeschooling + living on a seriously-busy road + the potential-child-harm-gestapo-government, you get...well, my children. : )

Of course I'm not saying they never do things on their own. They do plenty of activities around here that require responsibility and have consequences. It's the little things that you would never think of: how do you replicate choosing and paying for your own food in a lunch line? Send them alone into McDonald's? Someone would call the police on you. How do you replicate walking to a friend's house to ask if they could play? Adopt-a-neighborhood? Kind of freaky. And how about those hours I would spend biking around the country roads by myself trying to get lost? Do that now on this road, and you might as well start making up missing-child posters.

It's very hard to discern what part of me is just over-protecting and what part is not. I see a real need to get them used to making bigger decisions without us around, but I don't want to be irresponsible about it. Ideas, please?!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cost v. Benefits

I'm going to launch right in here with a really obvious statement: it matters where you live.

We wrapped up our annual barn sale tonight. I'm in that exhausted-happy state right now: glad to be done but sad that it's over. But I'm sitting here contemplating how we got to this point. An "annual barn sale" implies at least three key things: 1) we have something worth selling; 2) we have a barn; and 3) we think it's worth doing this every year.

Those of you who really know me will know that I have very little worth selling. : ) We specialize in hand-me-downs around here. When I had my very first garage sale after moving here 5 years ago, I agonized over the items I wanted to sell: was that given to me? should I give it away? After spending way too much mental guilt time on that issue, plus finding myself getting far too concerned about each nickel and dime, the Lord led me to His solution: have the sale, give away the money. This works well and we have way more fun. Now, most of what we sell is donated by friends and family who are lightening their closets and garages, and their stuff is much nicer than ours!

The thing that has left us most amazed is the fact that having this barn sale is actually worth the time and effort. Of all the "cons" we listed when choosing this house, the most obvious and looming was the location. We, the ones who are trying to keep alive five active children, moved into a home with an address with a nickname: National Road. Hello? And despite a perfectly acceptable and quite speedy interstate being close and parallel, the apparently-nostalgic truckers prefer this road for their daily deliveries.

As it turns out, traffic is good for something: barn sales (and break-downs, and lost elderly drivers, and bike races, and Model T caravans, but we'll leave those stories for another time). Our short, two-day, middle-of-the-week sale this week yielded 306 vehicles into our driveway. And trust me, yes, we counted. (Levi also monitored the make of each car and what state they were from -- there's really no chart that boy doesn't love). This may be nothing to some people, but is quite fascinating to a couple who has either lived in farmhouses located where you could advertise everything for free and still have no one show up, or in city apartments.

So after days of cleaning and sorting together, delighting in watching the kids interact with our "customers", Levi and company make change with their toy cash register, making chocolate chip cookies together to sell, meeting new people and explaining how their money will help, giving neighbors a reason to come over and chat, not doing dishes for two days : ), and figuring out how many Liberians will have shelter, or a Bible, or seed money for their business with our earnings, all I can say is Thank You Lord, for this house on a busy, busy road. Will we live here forever? Maybe, maybe not. Will I complain less about the "cons" and look for more "pro" opportunities? Yes, I will.

It matters where you live. It matters how you live.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two things I never imagined in the same sentence...

...our children, and miniature donkeys. : )

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How not to write a big, long, venting blog post

1. Go to Walmart at the end of a very long errand afternoon with all five children.

2. Go when Walmart is packed (i.e., anytime)

3. Fill your cart with everything you'll need for the rest of May. Seriously.

4. Go through the most frustrating checkout experience of your existence.

5. Determine to go home and rant about it on your blog.

6. Instead, get home and live your responsibilities.

7. Sit down three days later at the computer and realize Walmart isn't worth it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A truth on many levels

"How dangerous it is for our salvation, how unworthy of God and of ourselves, how pernicious even for the peace of our hearts, to want always to stay where we are!"
-- Francois Fenelon

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ya' gotta be quick

Me: washing dishes. Levi: just in from a basketball game with Eric.

Levi: ...really wasn't much of a game. He led the whole way and was ahead by about 20 at one point and we couldn't catch up. He kept making these shots and...

Me: (now sweeping the kitchen floor) Mmmm....uh-huh. Really...

Levi: Mom, did you ever like anyone before Dad?

Me: Uhhh....ummm...there was someone I thought was interesting, but I never liked anyone like I do Daddy.

Levi: Mom?

Me: (anticipating another momentous question) yes?

Levi: Did you know that in the final, like, 2 minutes I made 4 three-point shots? No, seriously, I did. So we got to within about 12, but then it was over.

Me: That's great.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy (birth)Days

The kids said, "Sleep in, mom! Sleep in!" So I took a few extra minutes to lay in bed this morning while they bustled about. Delaney came in a few minutes later, and whispered: "Mom. Mom. If you close your eyes and don't peek, can you help me wrap your present?"

I love 'em.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I have posts in my head, really I do. I am ambivalent about writing them down, I think. So again tonight, I will post a random family picture. : )

Being silly with their Arkansas cousins:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New joy

I'm a great-aunt -- again! Our oldest niece and her husband had their second child, Jaylyn Rose, on March 18. We were thrilled to meet her this weekend. Eric and I have finally hit that we-miss-babies mode, so these grand-nieces are quite the perk.

Sara, holding Jaylyn:

Jaylyn's older sister, Kyleigh, with Leah and Sara:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Their point of view

This idea is going around...thought it would be enlightening. Their ages are next to their answers. Enjoy!

1. What is something mom always says to you?
9: Levi, come here!
7: Good morning!
6boy: I love you
6girl: Go upstairs
5: I love you

2. What makes mom happy?
9: When we fold all the clothes on the bed without fighting
7: Hugs

6boy: When she sees her family
6girl: When we do something right
5: Hugs

3. What makes mom sad?
9: When we do something bad that upsets you
7: When we have to leave

6boy: We really need to go, but we can't
6girl: When we do something wrong
5: When I do something bad

4. What makes your mom laugh?
9: When I don't know what I'm saying but I say something funny
7: When I tickle her
6boy: funny things
6girl: Dad
5: Daddy!

5. What was your mom like as a child?
9: She read, read, read, read, read and read

7: Nice
6boy: I never seen you like a girl!
6girl: I don't know!
5: I don't know

6. How old is your mom?
9: Hmmmm...33?

7: 34
6boy: 33
6girl: 30?
5: I don't know

7. How tall is your mom?
9: 5'3"?

7: I don't know!
6boy: I don't know
6girl: tall!
5: I can't know

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
9: Clean the house.

7: Cuddle
6boy: go to the store
6girl: Go on the computer
5: Me!

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
9: I don't know

7: Well, if I'm not around, I don't know.
6boy: play with others
6girl: I don't know, cook?
5: Talk

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
9: Playing the piano

7: Because you want to?
6boy: I don't know
6girl: cooking
5: Her

11. What is your mom really good at?
9: Playing the piano

7: The piano
6boy: playing the flute
6girl: cooking
5: Talking

12. What is your mom not very good at?
9: Catching a football

7: I can't think of anything
6boy: when you're playing the recorder
6girl: watching tv
5: Spelling

13. What does your mom do for her job?
9: Take care of us

7: I don't know
6boy: I don't know
6girl: helping
5: Do my pile

14. What’s your mom’s favorite food?
9: Corn on the cob

7: Corn on the cob
6boy: Macaroni and cheese?
6girl: Pizza, maybe?
5: Great-grandma's rice

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
9: I don't know!

7: There's a lot of things
6boy: Graduating
6girl: Because she's nice
5: Like you love me and I love you

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
9: Blossom the Cat

7: Sara Groves?
6boy: No one
6girl: Word Girl
5: Dora

17. What do you and your mom do together?
9: School

7: Cook
6boy: play together
6girl: Clean
5: Play

18. How are you and your mom the same?
9: We have alike hair

7: We both have blue eyes
6boy: I don't know
6girl: We love each other
5: Because we have the same skin

19. How are you and your mom different?
9: She's taller than me

7: Our hair
6boy: Because you're a girl and I'm a boy and you brush your teeth downstairs and I brush my teeth upstairs
6girl: We look different
5: We have different clothes

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
9: Because she's always wanting to kiss me.

7: Because she hugs me a lot
6boy: Because....I don't know
6girl: Because she always loves me
5: Cause you love me when you hug me and kiss

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go to?
9: A restaurant called Shoney's

7: I don't know
6boy: to the store!
6girl: Wal-mart
5: Wal-mart

(What I learned: they don't really even know what "famous" means, and they're so logically-minded they rarely take guesses!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

...and that's what little girls are made of

"Is it time to make my cake now? Right now!? I'll wash my hands...can I get my thing on, you know, my Leah thing? Oh yeah, my apron! Do I pour like this? How many eggs?!! Four? But I'm going to be five, mommy! We should do five eggs! The mixer is loud...yes, I'll hold it very carefully."

"That's a LOT of chocolate, isn't it, and chocolate chips. It's hard to stir!"

"I scraped all I could, mom. Is it ready now? Oh, right, we have to cook it!"

"Guys, come on, come on! It's finally time to ice my cake!"

"I'll be verrry careful licking the knife, mom."

"Happy Birthday to Leah, happy birthday to you."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

So pitiful, so sweet

Illness has hit the household this week, starting on Tuesday. It starts with a pretty rotten fever, and after 24-36 hours (depending on the kid), the fevers subside and are replaced with a hacking cough that looks and sounds painful. Fun!

Leah was the fourth to get it (I was kind of thankful, because at least we know she'll be better on her birthday this week!). She complained of a headache late one evening, so we knew she would probably wake up with a fever the next morning if the pattern held true. She came down around 5 a.m. or so, crying, and saying she "can't sleep in that bed."

"Why not?" we asked.

"Every time I get back in it, it hurts me."

Oh, sweetie. So we set her up on one of the couches, which are already sick-room ready. That whole day, when we would ask her if she needed anything, she'd say, "I want to move. This couch hurts me."

She was most comfortable in our laps, all curled up, and would fall asleep there and truly rest. It reminded us of how she was the one of our babies who loved most to sleep on us. It's like all their baby patterns show up again when they get sick. Delaney, for example, was just A.Ok on that couch and didn't want to be touched or have any loud sounds and has barely eaten for about 4 days. Memories.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My first tagging thing

Ok, sister. Here goes:

The Rules:
1. Go to the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.

2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.

3. Explain the photo.

4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun!

Explain? Thankfully, I just cleaned up and organized my Pictures folder last week, so I landed on a recent pic of -- what else? -- one of my children. This is my oldest, Levi, 9, who is good at messing up posed shots, but will gleefully jump in front of a shot he is not supposed to be in. I'm taking all of his playful inner self in while he's still young enough to be willing to show it to me.
And now, I will break the tagging rules in my first-ever blog tag, by not tagging anyone else. Sorry!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Kierkegaard, Provocations:

"The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh priceless scholarship, what would we do without you?"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fingerpainting Fun

Aren't I just the fun mom? Seriously, you can tell we don't do this often (enough). Best moment of the day: we had extra pillowcases that I had been meaning to make some into paint smocks. So I showed Levi and Delaney how to cut the holes in one, and told them they were going to cut the rest to fit each other and their siblings. Levi didn't miss a beat -- "certain Doom!" (OK, you had to be there. I'm still laughing.)

Anyway, enjoy the pics. Delaney's finished product is the last pic...she named it "Mind Control". I'm not kidding. Not hard to tell who their science-fiction-reading-story-telling-father is, is it?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Me, in kitchen cutting lettuce for salad. Seven-year-old daughter watching intently.

D: Mom, you're really good at cutting that lettuce.
Me: Thanks.
D: (Long sigh). I can't wait until I'm a mom.
Me (chuckling, expecting a comment about cooking) : Oh, yeah? Why's that?
D: You get to buy your own clothes.
And another interesting perspective from my day (can you spot the budding engineer?)...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Confessions and musings

I was terrible today.

I was helping my son read a book to me, something he gets quite excited about these days. It was near the end of a long day (notice how I slide that excuse in right away?). He started struggling more about halfway through the book, and my promptings to "sound it out", as I pointed with him at the unfamiliar words, were being completely unheeded. He has the habit of looking over the pictures incessantly while completely ignoring the word itself when he doesn't get the word right away. Yes, I know he's trying to pick up clues, but then he just starts guessing. Tonight, I was clearly unprepared mentally for this battle and let it get to me. Instead of patiently and kindly directing him back to the word and going through each letter sound, on one particularly frustrating (to me!) page, I let my voice rise and snapped at him for his bad habit. When I do that with some of my other children, no big deal. With him, his already-shaky confidence takes a nosedive and we have to pick up the pieces.

I hate it when I do this. It's seriously the last thing he needs from his mother.

I was thinking about this tonight as all my children -- including this sweet, sweet boy -- showered me with goodnight kisses and "I love you"s" and all the things that make bedtimes perfect. How quickly they forget how terrible I am! How they love me anyway?! Is puberty defined as the moment children wake up and realize their parents have been messing up every day of their lives so far?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mommy-brain memory system

That's a technical title for "I'm putting this on my blog because I'm forgetting everything I try to remember".

As some of you may know, I'm always reading something(s). I have things I want to remember, or use again, or share. So I'm going to put some of these book/reading quotes on here from time to time in hopes that pulling up this category can be akin to opening my file cabinet. I use my real-life file cabinet. I will not, however, get a bigger file cabinet and physically store these quotes on some paper because I am a purger. Being a purger is a good thing -- in my opinion only, I'm sure -- but it doesn't mesh well with mommy-brain.


I think my m.o. will be: quote, author, source. I may or may not add commentary -- usually not.

"The disciple is one who, intent upon becoming Christlike and so dwelling in his 'faith and practice,' systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end." -- Dallas Willard
Devotional Classics (R. Foster and J. Smith)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A footnote, because this never, ever happens

(Read the post from 1/12 for background)

So I gave in and paid the ticket. (I would look for more background on fighting traffic tickets or normal fine ranges, and Eric would say, "pay the ticket." I'd wonder aloud about the chances of the police officer showing up in court and Eric would say, "pay the ticket.")

Yesterday, when I checked the messages on voice mail, a very nice lady from the city court office had called to tell me I had overpaid the cost of the fine and that she had sent back our check. I am to send a new check totaling about $200 less than what I had paid. (No. We still have no idea why the ticket said the fine was more than $300)

I will take this as a fine lesson in submission.

A Heat Wave

This is part of the perks of being a Buckeye: you know that one day, some day, during the winter there will be snow on the ground but it will be warm enough to enjoy being outside. Time for some Vitamin D!

...and some great exercise...

...they even got a little sweaty...'s a rough sport, though!

(She went down the hill without waiting for clearance and rammed into Jesse, apparently face first. She's fine!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well then...

Here's how today has started:
-- Eric was rear-ended this morning and got stuck in a traffic jam. (He's fine, no damage to van)
-- We checked the propane tank and it's already almost empty. Maybe we should just make a fire with the cash for heat instead. And I'm cold!
-- The truck battery was dead, dead, dead when the kids and I went to leave for homeschool choir today.

My temptation here is to give in to complete and utter sarcasm (Happy Inauguration Day!).

But you know what? By only the grace of the One True God and the example of my awesome husband, this is how today ends up:
-- Lacking the luxury now of going in the house and getting my husband to come start the truck, I called our dear neighbor for help and, while we were waiting for his boost to work, reconnected with some good conversation. And we made it to choir.
-- I am truly thankful for a house to heat, propane and corn to burn, many socks and sweatshirts to layer, and kids to snuggle with. My feet will thaw eventually.
-- At supper, Eric asked Jesse to get seven of his matchbox cars and recreated the car accident on the kitchen table while they ate, explaining to 5 engrossed children exactly how it happened. There were too many things in that moment to be thankful for to even list here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The End of an Era

Does that sound overly dramatic? That's because today feels kind of dramatic around here. Today, instead of heading through the kitchen door to his office, Eric headed to Cincinnati to his new job (if you want details on the job, email him!). While we are sad to let go of Eric's business -- what a treasure of memories we have from these past 4 years! -- it's been great to see how God has brought this new opportunity about, and we're thankful for it.

Telling the kids has been interesting. We introduced the idea slowly, over Christmas, then again this weekend, asking if they had questions. They were really getting the idea last night when they knew Daddy would already be gone in the morning when they got up. I guess I have been really trying to explain what was going to happen to them; I think I wanted them to grasp how good they have had it the past few years -- the freedom that comes with self-employment. So, I may have overdone it a little. Jesse, throughout the day, would say something like, "How many days until Dad comes home?" Or, "We won't see Dad soon!"

Eric did get home later than we expected*, and as he joined us at the supper table, the kids were in full-blown drama. "Dad! Dad! It's so good to see you!" Sara had the winner: "I didn't even remember what you looked like, dad."

*On the way home, he missed a turn in one of the towns he is cutting through in an attempt to shave some minutes off his commute. On an unfamiliar side street, in the dark, the street suddenly turned into a one-way, and he was going the wrong way. He said he went about 50 yards, realized it, then turned around in a parking lot and went back. A city cop pulled him over immediately, and had only this to say to Eric's apology and explanation: "It's very dangerous what you did!" OK, fine -- something to remember his first day of commuting by. But do you know what the ticket fine is in this apparently-starving-for-cash-municipality? $331!! For going the wrong way on a one-way. Are you kidding me??

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I've got connections now

Doesn't my sister take great photos? This is one of my new favorites because it really captures Leah's look -- the look I get each day that a mom will remember forever.

Karyn's got this great camera and even has moved into the realm of professional photography; I think it fits her perfectly. My children love to be test subjects (except Levi) and my photo albums and frames on the walls reap the benefits. Check her out here.