Friday, December 22, 2006

The Mission Field of Motherhood

Jules at Everyday Mommy subtitles her blog "the mission field of motherhood", and everytime I read that I am struck by the utter appropriateness of that title. I truly believe that each of us has a mission field we are called to serve in for the Lord. As a child I thought the mission field was Japan, where so many of our church missionaries were, or Africa, where my parents' friends were or some other foreign place. I definitely DID not want to do that. I don't like bugs, I am a picky eater, and was worried about eating strange food in a different country, I would miss my family, and I like my own country, Thank You! In part I still feel that way, I don't want to go oversees as a missionary to a foreign country. I saw the children of family friends who were raised oversees and saw the struggles to feel as if they belong. They were American's but this was a strange place, they'd never lived here, so they were a little foreign, yet they weren't Japanese, or Asian, or African, either, they were caught between homes. Now it probably seemed worse to me as a child than it actually was. They seem to be adapted as adults. I just never wanted to do that to my children. As I grew up I realized that a mission field is where ever God puts you and has work for you. We are missionaries in our jobs, our schools, community activities, sports teams, at the grocery store, the courthouse, in our neighborhoods. If God asks us to do it, he gives us the ability to do it. I believe, He also gives us the interest to do it, the desire and the talents. If it feels wrong, that maybe a good indication it is wrong. If the doors don't open, the path isn't made availible, maybe it isn't the right path. Right now, I feel that the missionfield of motherhood is my calling. Perhaps, in the future, I will return to full time work, outside our home, but for right now, I don't feeled called to that mission field. Someday, God may even send me out of my comfort zone and ask me to take on vocationally missions, or other work in that line. I have to say, that I hope not, but again, by the time He sends me, I probably will want to do what He asks.

The Mission Field of Motherhood what a perfect way to describe how I view my role in life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hospital for Sick Preschoolers

My head is spinning from the machinations necessary to get my daughter to school and all the other kids where they need to be. Our carpool partner wanted to switch because of school parties at her older children's school, and that was no problem. I called my friend, whose child I was watching so she could go to her daughter's room party. T let me know that K had a fever and she was concerned. I told her I wouldn't mind watching a sick kid. She had done it for me a couple months ago, and I was glad to return the favor. Today, our carpool partner, M, called her daughter has diarrhea, she can't go to school and she doesn't want to expose my kids by driving them. I completely understand. I offered to watch KT so she can still go to the party. I said, "I'm running a hospital for sick preschoolers" so one more won't hurt. Her husband was rearranging his schedule so she can still go to the party. KT is unhappy about missing the last day of preschool before Christmas. We had also planned for KT to come here to play after school until M got done at school. I think that was the big disappointment. So now, Je is ready for jammie day at school, wearing her new Christmas pjs, slippers, pillow, bear, and sleep sack tucked into her backpack. T will drop her off after she drops off K for the afternoon. K's fever lasted one hour yesterday. So we are guessing it was a quick bug or an anomaly. Hopefully no one else will get sick. I told both of my friends that nothing can top the Christmas/Anniversary season two years ago, when both girls spent the day throwing up on me, cancelling our night out, then shared the virus with every member of our extended family and a few friends from church. We were not popular people that Christmas. Although by Christmas day everyone was healthy, before round two started for the rest of the family the next week.

Monday, December 18, 2006

He Did it!

We've lived in this house six years, and finally he did it. We've been married 10 years (on Thursday) and for only the second time he did it. I am talking, of course of Christmas lights. They are up outside my house, and not just in the bushes or the garland I wind around the railing. On the top of the house. He told me to take a picture for proof since he hates to do it and said this may be my only chance for them for a while. He put them up once in our old house and worried over them for a long time to get them straight. He is anal about getting them straight. So that year, after Christmas, I bought him some plastic track to use the next year. That was seven years ago. Finally this year he made use of them. They have been shoved in the basement storage room so long they have lost some of the key pieces. He improvised with hot glue. So they are pretty straight. The girls acutually begged repeatedly. Whenever they asked me for lights, I directed them to Daddy since I don't do roofs. I do garland and bushes and big blow up snowmen. This was the best of the pictures, it is a little blurry but I think you can see the lights on the house pretty well. Shan had an unexpected day off on Saturday. He went to the JV meet on Friday night and the head coach excused him from Saturday's varsity meet. What a great day! We took the kids to swimming lessons, then out to lunch. Daddy finished putting the lights on the track and attaching them to the house in the afternoon. After supper we took the kids for ice cream so they could see the live Nativity in front of the ice cream store. We drove home and saw the pretty lights on our house. The girls were so excited. Shan has grumbled a bit about them but maybe it'll be okay. Next year, I am going for the whole front of the house, more than just the peak. Of course, beggars can't be choosers.

Santa Claus is Coming

I read a very interesting post over Everyday Mommy. Jules and the many comments posted got me to thinking about the debate over Santa. A lot of what Jules said resonated with me. I have fond memories of believing in Santa. My parents created those memories but never ever let us forget the true meaning of Christmas. So I have stuggled as a parent and as a Christian to know how to honor God with my celebration and keep some kind of sanity over the "santa issue" I don't think it is a hard and fast rule for everyone. My children are still too young to really understand Santa and the implausiblity of his trip. They enjoy the Christmas movies on TV: Rudolph, Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc. We have lots of Christmas traditions that reflect the true meaning of the season so they, I think, understand about the birth of Jesus. They put the pieces of the advent nativity on each day, participate in the program at Church, with the message about true reason for the season. I don't want my kids to equate Santa with God, he isn't, nor was he ever. I do want them to have lots of great memories of fun family holidays and all the trimmings. Right now, that includes Santa. I can't remember when I stopped believing in Santa. I used to say that Santa was the spirit of giving that we feel at the holiday. I don't know that I agree with that anymore. I also remember how very careful my parents were to not lie to us, about Santa and the presents. I remember noticing that gifts from Santa appeared under the stockings and were labeled in my mom's handwriting. I remember having to go to the car and wait for my parents who were inside filling the stockings before we left for Christmas eve. One memorable year, we asked for a specific thing for Christmas. Mom very firmly told us she did not buy it for us. Everytime we asked about it she repeated that phrase. Boy were we surprised to open it. Mom said she did not buy it, she didn't say that Daddy didn't buy it. They explained how they pulled it off. If I give my kids gifts and write Santa's name on them, aren't I just pretending to be Santa? I don't really see that as a lie but maybe it is a gray area. What an area for us all to wrestle with in our own homes. It was easier when I was little and my parents had these issues to deal with and I was blissfully ignorant!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I got out a toy for my 10 month old nephew that I had put away when my girls "out grew it". It is a Leap Pad Activity table that plays music if the book is flipped to music or tells colors or shapes if the other side of the book is open. B loved it. He would push a button and the music would start and he would dance. At least after I put new batteries in, and then put them in again the right way. He soon had to fight for a chance to play with the thing though. The other four kids thought it was a great toy for them, too. I might have to leave it out for a few days. This toy rotating is great stuff.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Survived

After last week's shopping day, it was payment time. I hosted the co-op children at my home, along with another mom, while last week's watchers shopped. They ran circles through the dining room, into the kitchen, down the hall into the living room, into the dining room again. They got the wagons, doll strollers, and bikes out and brought them up to the wood floor. We let them play undirected until lunch time. They did really well. When the natives got restless we fed them. After lunch we gave each child a piece of colored cardstock, red or green. We gave them Christmas stickers and crayons and markers and let them decorate as they desired. When they finished we covered each side of the paper with contact paper and Voila! A Christmas placemat. They turned out pretty well and the kids are pleased. It turned out to be a great day for us moms as well. The families in our co-op are all Christian families so we were able to have some great spiritual conversations and it is always fun to be able to talk to another adult. She and I have a lot in common, so a lot of areas for great talk. I loved last year, when I got to know this mom better and this year, as our friendship has deepened, I had an even better time. It was just coincidence that we were together both years, shedules lined up. I would love to do it again with her. God has been so good to us to give us this great group of families to share our time with. All of the kids are great kids and fun for my kids to play with. Whe the idea was introduced, I almost let my reluctance to do something new keep me from it. It has been such a blessing to me. Not just the fabulous babysitting for my kids, but also the fellowship, friendship and love of these women. Most of whom, I probably wouldn't have met or had an opportunity to know very well. What a blessing. So I am exhausted by the long day, but exhilarated at the experience of a whole day with a friend and no guilt for not cleaning and no place to be.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What a Great Answer

Zodiac Sign: Who cares? I don't trust the stars. I trust the One who made them and set them in their courses

This is the last answer in a meme over at Everyday Mommy. I recently found her blog and enjoy her take on her role in life. She is working in her mission field, her family. Isn't that the best way to look at a life spent doing God's will. Our mission field is where God puts us.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

One Down--Only 14 More to Go

We made it through the first daddy-less Saturday. Swimming lessons, errands, lunch with Nana, a sewing tutorial (for me) and no nap. They went to bed very early after Mama had a thermonuclear meltdown. Next week, Nana will be out of town so the girls and I will be without her company and buffer. If my head explodes, we will know why. Today I was making a Christmas stocking for my nephew. It was a more difficult project than I expected when I volunteered. Two years ago, I bought four stockings at Lowes after Christmas clearance. My sister had mentioned that she wanted to have coordinating stockings for their house. I congratulated myself on finding some I thought she would like and at such a good price. I put them away for her birthday. About two months after her birthday, she unexpectedly was expecting. She used the stockings last Christmas, and seemed to like them, they are made of burlap, decorated with yarn fir trees and bells, with red cord trim and rickrack. All things easily found at a craft store. When we knew new baby was to be here in Feb. I planned to have a stocking made to match the others well before now. I've had all year to do it, but...I procrastinated. Since my sewing instructor, (MOM) is leaving tomorrow for a week doing Katrina rebuilding in Mississippi, I had to get my help now, and do it today so if I had questions she was near the phone.

While stitching the tree trunks the girls got into at least the third tussle of the evening and knocked over the table with my diet coke. I blew a gasket and sent them to bed at 7:30. The were nap free so they were ready, but I felt guilty for losing my cool. The girls harbored no such feelings though. They seemed to know that they'd gone too far, and gladly went to bed. They were cheerful even. I got the usual hug and kiss requests, and Je played her favorite game, hold onto Mama when she tucks me in and don't let her get up. I have to tickle her to get free.

Four hours later, I folded the finished stocking and put it with the model one in a sack with other odds and ends to go to my sister.

Only 14 more wrestling events until the end of the season. That is 10 Saturdays, and four mid week duals.

Is it March yet?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ahead of Schedule

Today was our babysitting co-op's annual shopping day. I dropped the girls off at 9 and met Mom for a day of shopping. I had most of the big shopping done. I think I finished the girls presents a few weeks ago. It's all the little filler stuff and a few cousins, teachers, etc. that I had left. I bought one big thing for Shan but that is all the big things I had to do today. I got a lot of odds and ends wrapped up today, and even some other errands. Last year we planned a big trip to KC, shopping mecca, but this year we decided to stay in town since we didn't have things we needed to get in the big city. We shopped together, then Mom left to do Meals on Wheels, I continued alone for a couple hours. We met up for a nice lunch at a restaurant the children don't really like to go. Then right back at the shopping. We went to all those places we don't typically take time to go to, especially with two small shadows. Got some good deals at Grocery supply, juice 10 for $1, bananas 5 cents a piece, and diet dr pepper, 6 for 99 cents. Shan was thrilled. I made it back to pick up the girls just about 3:30 and was pleased with my days accomplishments. Now I need to wrap presents and decorate the house. I'd like to get that done before it is my turn to host the children so the mothers who watched today can shop next week, kid-free. What a great idea!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just About Right

I read this excerpt from Catherine Newman's column over at Wondertime:

"How much would it take?" Ben wants to know now. "If you were pouring lemonade into a pond? How much until the pond looked yellow?" "I don't know," I say. "I kind of think it would never look yellow." "Yes," Ben says agreeably. "But how much lemonade until it did?" I can't think of an answer to this, but Birdy walks right over to Ben and puts her face very close to his face, even though her chewing mouth is full of yogurt and oats. "I know Ben!" she says, spattering him a little bit with her enthusiasm and breakfast. "I know what you mean! A lot of lemonade, right? A lot, Ben." I hope that they feel about each other the way I felt about Michael last week in the supermarket when he said, "I just don't get tilapia. I mean everyone's so crazy about it, but to me it just tastes like fish and dirt." Michael and I — we're getting the same memo. "I know!" I said. "I know exactly what you mean.

And I was touched by this great picture of a great relationship. Michael is her husband, (at least I believe they are married, while she is careful not to call him such she did one time, and so I chose to think of them as married rather than just living together raising these two kids).

There are days when I want to have my husband just be quiet and do what I say, or just not be there because he is driving me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I love him, but the only person who can make me more angry is my mom, and I am stuck with her. I am stuck with him too, and usually I like that. Moments like the one descibed up there, for instance. We get the same memo.

Monday, November 27, 2006

She's Growing Up

These pictures were taken just a couple days after Jo came home from the hospital, she was born 6 weeks early, 3lbs 8 oz and 13 days in the NICU. She was so perfectly proportioned and very tiny. She has always stayed tiny. The NICU tracks their development for the first year and she stayed well under the growth chart, growing steadily, following the curve appropriately, just way smaller than her peers, even adjusted for prematurity. No one has worried over this, (except maybe me), she has always been healthy, thriving, growing, eating and developing. She hit every major developmental milestone well within the normal age range, even if you didn't adjust for prematurity. Except for teeth. Usually kids get their first teeth by age one, and have them all by age two. She was at least 15 months before she got teeth but she did have them all by two, I think.

I have always noted her small size, when buying clothes, or just passing on Je's, she is way behind her sister. At one she was still wearing six month, at 2 she was getting into 12 months to 18 month. At three she could still wear 18 month to 24 month/2T. Some of those were even big. She is getting so big now, at least for Jo. She is NEEDING, 3T to fit. If I want it to fit for a while, I am buying or getting out the 4T. Anyone who has every dressed a child, (or even yourself) knows their is a big range in clothing sizes. Some of her 2T still fits, but her big sister still fits into her 4T stuff too.

I have been cleaning out the closets, drawers, and every other nook and crany that is full of stuff we don't need, and in doing this I have been hit with the realization: my baby isn't a baby anymore. I will write more about the massive clean out another day but the growth spurt Jo is on is amazing. I told my mom, Jo went from an 18 month to a 3T in about two weeks. It might have been more gradual, but I suddenly looked up and the teeny girl is now only tiny.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the Best Idea for a Blog

I just followed a link from Minnesota Mom and found Margaret's other blog, Come for Coffee. It is a collection of recipes as entries. Wouldn't that be a great way to share your favorites with your friends and family around the country? It would also be a neat way to have my favorite recipes accessable when I am away from home. Like when visiting my mother-in-law. I used to go online out there a try searching for recipes that were close but usually had bad luck since they have dial up and it takes forever. This way, I would know the exact address to go to and it would have the exact recipe I wanted. I may have to try this idea and add a new blog to my life. As if I didn't already have enough blogs in my day. Thanks for the great idea, Margaret.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Old Made New

Last year, Shan rescued an old toy box from a garage sale for $1. It was one the woman's father had made for her and her brother twenty plus years ago. Now, I don't think I would sell something like that. I would get rid of a lot of clutter before I got rid of something my father made me. That is me though. My dad died almost 10 years ago, so I might be a little attached.

We we brought it home, I wondered why. It was ugly. They had a plywood box that had been decorated with spray painted effects and very dated artwork. It was also filthy, and part of the wood had been split off.

Shan filled in the low spots and sanded it down. He gave it two coats of bright white paint. It is clean and pretty. I bought stencils and three sets of paint. This week I painted butterflies and flowers on the lid, in pastel colors. I painted bright butterflies on the front and jewel toned flowers and butterflies on the ends. Yesterday, I trimmed the edges in a deep purple color that I had left from the chair rail in the family room. Today, I finished my project by making name stencils using my ellison die press machine, and painted the girls names on the front back. So now, something dirty and looking ready for the trash, is pretty, functional. Shan wanted to make something the girls could use for a long time. Maybe it will become one of those things they want to keep even after their toys have long since passed from usefulness.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I am always really excited when I learn how to do something new. I get equally excited when I just learn. I am a learner. My father always said if you aren't learning something you aren't living. I didn't always realize I was learning something but as I look back it is a thing to note. My grandfather would ask me what I learned at school that day every time I saw him. Ususally I was unaware that I had learned something. Now I am more aware. This leads me to my new skill, adding buttons to the sidebar. You can scroll down and take note of the Moms for Modesty button. It links back to a movement dedicated to getting helping our children dress appropriately. This is especially relevant for moms of little girls, since clothing makers design clothes to push the envelope. I do think it is important for moms of boys to support this movement as well, since how girls dress affects the boys surrounding them as well. Women are not responsible for the behavior or thoughts of men around them but we can show a respect for them by dressing appropriately and acknowledge that our choices can add to a problem. The button will stay in my sidebar, take a minute, click through and read the post. Then scroll down and sign the comments portion to show your support, and hopefully influence the clothing designers.

Okay, I admit it. I am a pop culture watcher. I have E online entertainment news on my yahoo page, I read Whitney's Pop Candy, and I like celebrity gossip. I have two websites bookmarked to look up facts about my favorite celebrities and tv shows and movies. I am sick. I have read most of the articles about Tom Cruise and the melodrama surrounding his life for the last couple years. Now, I didn't go buy any of the magazines with articles about him or his girlfriend Katie Holmes or the baby. I didn't waste any money on TomKat. Isn't is sad that I know that is their handle. I also keep up on Bragelina. Sick Sick Sick. I have had a thing for Cruise since , and I am dating myself here, Top Gun. Isn't he gorgeous! I wasn't allowed to see it in the theater, it was rated R. I did see it when NBC cleaned it up and put it on TV. We taped it on the brand new VCR purchased so that when we had to be gone we could tape cool stuff, like movies on Sunday nights when we at church. I remember in college this guy I dated a couple times taking me to see A Few Good Men. He'd already seen it, but since that was the only movie I really wanted to see he went along. It was a first date. Other than the movie, the night wasn't a rousing success. For our first valentine's day, Shan bought me the tape of A Few Good Men. He really over did it that year on the present scale. I was thinking of breaking up with him, and he was overcompensating. He even called my mom. Somehow we made it through that, I don't really remember what happened, its been so long ago. He convinced me to stay, I guess. We'd only been dating about 6 months so not really invested yet, of course, after that rocky month, we were committed. We've now been married almost 10 years.
On our honeymoon, we went to see yet another Tom Cruise movie, Jerry Maguire. Now I am dismayed at my interest. Tom has criticized so much important things, his religion is screwy and he seems nuts. Today, reading about his wedding to come was the last straw. Now I know this isn't his fault, they reported that he spent $315 on fancy boxer shorts, and Katie spent 3000 on lingerie presumably for the wedding night according to the article. How low can the media go. This was a mid line outlet, not one of the biggies but not a fringe outlet. Do they think I, a very typical not obsessed but close, fan, want to know about his underwear!? To be clear, I do not!!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Drum Roll Please!

A momentous occasion for the girls in our house...NEW BEDS! Finally Jo is out of the toddler bed and into a bed befitting her three-year old sense of dignity. She told me that her bed was too little and she couldn't sleep in it. We had always planned to get a full size bed for Je when Jo was ready for the twin since Je bedroom set has a full size headboard and footboard. I had hoped to do it around birthday time but procrastinated. My big plan was to go over to Sam's and buy one of their bargain deluxe mattress sets. They had them for a long time nice quality thick mattresses for great prices. We bought a queen set for the spare room for 300 dollars. Alas, they have raised prices. It would have been nearly double. I delayed, debated, dithered. I began researching other stores. Then I looked in the paper and lo and behold an almost new set was available. We snapped it up, brought it home and voila! NEW BEDS. Both girls are thrilled with their better accommodations. Je is looking forward to having a slumber party with her cousin Jo in her new big bed and our Jo is way excited that she can climb up on the very tall big bed. Coincidental maybe, but she hasn't mentioned sleep problems since. That was a very handy excuse for not napping or at bed time, she just didn't know how to sleep or her bed was too small. Now she will have to come up with something else! As for me, I now have a redecorating project to get going on, notice Jo has already begun to help strip the Noah's Ark border. I repaired in when Je started doing it. (This is the nursery and Je moved to a new room when we brought Jo home from the hospital)I don't have enough leftover border to replace the several places she destroyed. Oh well, it lasted six years, we put it up as soon as we moved in this house, almost a year before Je was born.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Making Bread

Most Mondays growing up I would come home from school to a clean house, clean bed, a stack of clean clothes to put away and fresh hot rolls. Mom would make rolls to have with dinner for the week. My dad would always sneak a hot one and put butter on it. Mom always said what an easy recipe it is and it is about the only one I ever use.

Quick Butter Fluff Rolls

1/4 cup water
1tbls yeast
1 cup warm buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter/margerine
4-5 cups flour

soak yeast in water
combine buttermilk, sugar, soda, eggs and shortening
add water yeast
add 2 cups flour and beat for 2 minutes
stir in remaining flour and knead till smooth and not sticky

Let rise in warm place till double (best spots: diswasher just after its done running and still steamy warm, oven with light on or microwave, on top of stove if you have a micowave or hood vent with a light)

Roll dough out and spread with melted margerine or butter
Cut into 2" x 4" rectangles then cut diagonally to make two triangles from each rectangle. roll up crescents and place on baking sheet to let rise.
Let them rise again until they look puffy, sharp edges softened
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or golden brown.

I use the same recipe for cinamon rolls too, After I butter the dough I sprinkle it with cinamon and roll it up then slice it into 1 " rolls and place them in the to raise then bake. I put 1/2 cup brown sugar mixed with 2tbsp butter and 2 tbsp corn syrup in the bottom of the pan with the rolls on top of the carmel mixture. When I flip the pan over onto foil after baking then the rolls have a nice carmely topping and it is easy.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I was catching up on blog reading and on one I read occasionally I found this great map. It is the history of the middle east in 90 sec. An unbelievable number of kingdoms have risen and fallen and held power over God's chosen people and the promised land. Right now I am studying Daniel in my Bible Study and we have come to the prophecy portion of the book. That will take a while for me to share so for now know that this map is very interesting in light of what Daniel reveals. One thing I found so interesting this week is the statement that Beth made, "For Daniel it was prophecy, for us it is mostly history." Much of the prophecy in the book of Daniel has come to pass, and it came just as God promised. Oh What a God we serve!

Maps of War site

Friday, October 20, 2006


A month ago, my niece got her hair cut. She had really long dark blond hair and it is straight as a stick. It was a tangle nightmare every morning, and really anytime it needed brushed. We had all been talking about Locks of Love for a while and so my sister took J to go get it done one day and presented it as a fait accompli. J colored a picture to include with her ponytail when they sent it off. Je and I have been talking about this for a few months. Sometimes she thinks she wants her hair cut and then she doesn't. Her daddy likes it long. Of course he said the same thing about my hair for YEARS until last May when I chopped it off and he says he likes it better shorter. BTW his opinion was one of the reason's I kept the same hair for the last oh 13 years.

Before that, I just wasn't ready to change it, and he wasn't around before that so I didn't care if he had an opinion, I didn't know him. Je decided last week that she would like to cut her hair for a little girl who needs it. I needed a trim so after our field trip to the pumpkin patch, with Jo still safely at a friend's house, Je and I went to the salon.Behold, NEW HAIR!!!!!
We printed off the donation form, emailed the pictures to the group and packed up the beautiful red 10 inch ponytail. It is as we speak on its way to Locks of Love. I keep telling myself it will grow back. Not that I begrudge her having short hair, its just she had such gorgeous hair and lots of styling options. I know how to do long hair, short hair is new. I HAD LONG HAIR. MY HAIR IS STILL LONGER THAN HERS! I am still learning how to style my new hair 5 months later, I can put in barretts, I can braid, I can even do that pretty halo thing pictured above, I don't know if I can do short hair. I am going to have to practice and five year olds are not known for their patience when it comes to letting their moms do their hair. AT least mine isn't. ARGHHHH!!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ode to Lovies

Yesterday, Jo got some of her donut on Hippo, and she asked me to wash it. It got me thinking about lovies. Each of my children have their comfort items, Je has a bear and Jo has a hippo. They are the head and arms of the stuffed animal with a blanket body. Each child has her name embroidered on the tail of the blanket. The love the satin feel of the ribbon at the neck and along the edge of the blanket. Je uses bear as a pillow, she wipes her tears on him and I think I saw her use it to wipe her nose. You probably can't even make out bear in the picture. I can but I know where to look and what he looks like. He is the barely visible pale cream thing abouve the red hair. Needless to say, Bear is a little bedraggled. Hippo isn't quite as rough but he isn't as old either. My nephew has a dog in the same style and Dog is much much much worse. He almost never lets my sister wash him. My mother usually steals Dog when Si visits and washes him. I try to give the lovies a bath every week or two and the girls look at it as if their Lovies are getting a bath. They are pretty okay with the concept, so their lovies smell good most of the time and while I have had to resew the ribbon on Bear's neck about five times; he looks pretty good for 5. Lovies are crucial, I give them as baby shower gifts. My mother saw how expensive it was to buy the lovies that all of her grandchildren prefer and started making some. I firmly believe that every little one should have some kind of comfort thing. The other day we had several errands to run in the morning before meeting my mom for a shopping trip to KC and I picked up Bear and Hippo for the trip since if the girls are in the car for an hour in the afternoon a nap is a possibility. Jo knew what Hippo meant, and said that we didn't need to bring him because she didn't want to take a nap. Hippo and Bear are big signals for the girls that they need to settle down and rest. I never had any trouble getting them to sleep away from their beds if I had Bear and Hippo. Give them a binkie and their lovey and they settled in for a nap anywhere. Now that they have given away their binkies (remind me to share the very successful method we used), they rely on their lovies even more. Now it does require me to be vigilant in keeping track of these things but we also have a back up item or two that would do in a pinch. Every little needs a lovey, it makes for easier toddlerhood. We love our lovies!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Easiest Supper Ever This Side of Take out

For Je's birthday she requested her favorite dinner, white noodles. That is Chicken Alfredo. It is so easy that I cannot believe to credit I get for this meal. I normally keep the stuff on hand but we were out of sauce so I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from bible study. I got the three crucial ingredients, chicken, sauce, and noodles. I like to buy the grilled chicken breast off the salad bar at my grocery store because it is easy and fairly economical. You pay the salad bar by the pound price (3.99 at Dillon/Krogers) but you don't have any waste. The chicken is trimmed, the waste is cooked out and it is already cut up so it is the easiest thing in the world. I keep some in those vacuum packs in the freezer for alfredo or quesadillas or fajiatas. I got a new vacuum sealer for my birthday so I am excited about that but before I borrowed my moms. Before that I just used a zip lock and labeled it carefully with the date. The surplus grocery in North Topeka used to carry huge packages of frozen alfredo sauce. We think they were Olive Garden surplus but recently they raised the price and stopped having it as often. I found that the Ragu alfredo is pretty good so I bought some jars of that. It was on sale this week. Now I am not a jar sauce kinda girl. I make my own tomato sauce every summer for spaghetti and chili but alfredo sauce is complicated and a jar is pretty good for this thing. I let Je pick out some fun noodles to put with the meal and we were on the road. I got some garlic bread for good measure. At 5:25 I put the water on to boil. I warmed up the sauce, added the chicken and got the bread ready to heat up. I fixed some peas from the freezer for a vegetable. At 5:50 I poured the sauce over the noodles and set them on the table. So in twenty-five minutes and probably less if I watched the water more carefully or didn't try to boil the whole bag, I had a good dinner on the table and my kids had their favorite meal. They always ask for at least seconds and often thirds. If I were really organized, I would grill extra chicken breasts when we grill and then chop them for freezing, and I do sometimes but recently, I've found it too easy to get it already done at the store and have them on hand. That and usually any extra grilled chickens get eaten for leftovers before I get them into the freezer. My husband loves leftovers for lunch at school.

Voila'! The easiest supper ever and I didn't have to call for pizza. Plus, everyone thinks you've worked hard. (Except for my mother who knows how easy this is since it was her idea)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Lull

Today is the lull in the storm. The first week of October brings birthday extravaganza to my home. Three of the four of us have a birthday in the first four days of this month. It was almost 4 of 4 but Jo was born 6 weeks early. Oct. first is Shan's birthday, my birthday was yesterday the second, and Je's birthday is tomorrow, the fourth. She was due on the third but labor went long. I like to think of myself as 28. That is the year I had my first child, two days after my birthday (which I spent on bed rest for pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), and stopped really having a birthday. Maybe when my girls get old enough to know about other people's birthdays they will remember mine. We had company for the weekend, my mother-in-law came to celebrate the birthday. The inlaws never visited on birthdays before we had children. We went to dinner with the whole family just for fun. On a whim we went to see Cars at the cheap movie theater. Definitely worth seeing, we've gone twice now, but at $1.50 it is pretty cheap to see a movie. Yesterday we had a family birthday supper at a local restaurant. Je chose "the big 'Old MacDonald's" with the playground". Such a treat for us grownups. It has an indoor playland and the echoing gave us all a headache. There was a boy in there for a while, unsupervised, who kept shrieking and screaming. My brother-in-law told him to quiet down and he ignored him. Seth is a quiet laid-back kinda guy. A few minutes later I hauled out my teacher/lifeguard voice and got his attention. He immediately stopped and not to long later left. Tomorrow we are planning a quiet family dinner night at home to celebrate on her actual birthday. Now I need to go make butterfly cookies for treats at pre-school. Like I said, a lull.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Could we Handle It?

I've learned that when we go through rough stuff, we CAN handle whatever we have to. As I read Kari's post about the contest and the comments posted in the voting I realized we commonly say things like, "I don't think I could handle that" or "I can't imagine going through that" or "I don't know how she does it, I never could". When we view the challenges of others it is difficult to see how they cope and to believe that we could cope. If we haven't been confronted with that challenge, be it death of a spouse, longterm illness, children with disabilities, military deployments, death of a child etc...we probably couldn't handle it. I believe that God gives us the ability to handle whatever difficulty He allows us to experience. If we don't have that problem then maybe we COUlDN'T handle it. But rest assured, others are not sure they could handle the issues we routinely deal with. I read Kari's blog
The other finalists are such amazing women who have gone through such difficult situations: things that I cannot imagine enduring. So, I am shocked to be listed amongst them

and had to chuckle because she expresses the same idea that many others express. We each are given a road to travel. I think each of us is on a road that has only the challenges that we can handle at that time. If my kids are happy, healthy, if my husband is here everyday and I am healthy both bodily and mentally then that is the sum total of the challenge that I am equipped to handle today. Now, if something we to change, should something difficult happen, then I believe I could handle it. Lest that sound smug or superior, let me confess that I handle nothing alone. I know it is God who gives me the strength and wisdom to get through the routine issues of parenting pre-schoolers and living on a single income, a teacher's salary. So if God allows tragedy or difficulty, He will give me the strength, grace and wisdom to manage or He will bring me Home. God doesn't cause my difficulties, but He allows me to go through them, be it death of a parent, a friend, illness, job loss, marital issues, or what have you. I am thankful for the uneventfulness of my life, believe me, I thank God each day, I also pray for wisdom and grace to deal with what life brings me. He always answers my prayers. Just not always the way I expect. My sister-in-law said she stopped praying for patience. God just gave her opportunities to practice patience and stretch that muscle. I laughed when she told me that. I ususally want the wisdom to come as some lightbulb kind of thing. When I need that knowledge it will just be there. And sometimes it is. More often I get wisdom through the experiences and challenges I have to deal with. So maybe instead of being afraid of our challenges, we should embrace them. As many of the voters in the contest seemed to say, there is always someone out there who has a harder road than we do. At least it seems harder from the outside. Maybe they can't imagine how we face our day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Blame Hillary

I am a sucker for the online quiz. It's Hillary's fault. She does them occasionally and I always do those that are linked from her blog. Then I do others that link from those. I only include this because I don't know what this means. You will have to decide.

Shelly --



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Aaarrgh!!!! Part 2

Who said it could get hot again? I love fall weather, especially the last couple weeks when it has been warm enough for shorts and tee shirts during the day but cool enough at night to snuggle under the down comforter and let the attic fan suck in the almost chilly air. I did not approve a heat increase! Not that anyone asked me. I really thought summer was over until Shan came home from picking up Papa John's Customer Appreciation $5.99 pizza and said the bank temp read 95 degrees. AT SIX O'CLOCK!!! I need a cool front.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friendships fleeting

I've learned that sometimes we get defensive about our lives and choices to the point that we either want to convert everyone to our way of thinking and doing or we criticize anyone whose point of view doesn't meet with ours. In Junior High this meant making fun of those kids who were slightly different or even majorly different. This may go on through, later we add ostracism and gossipy criticism. I pray that I can impart a sense of tolerance to my girls. May they accept those around them for who they are, and respect the choices they make. I want them to understand that what is right for them may not be right for others and what is right for others may not be right for them. Different can just be different, not better or worse.

Please don't misuderstand. There are biblical imperatives that are salvation issues. But so much of life isn't that cut and dried, black and white.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Thomas Jefferson

Another Contest

Have you checked out Bluebird Blogs? She does amazing work. I would love to have a new design for the blog. Right now she is running a contest, it's my day for contests apparently, since I entered Karianna in the Mom Trap contest. Keep her in your prayers, not neccessarily that she'll win, though that would be great, but that she will be upheld through their family's trials right now.

I Nominate Karianna

Over at The Mom Trap she is running a contest to reward a mom who deserves it with a spafinder or merry maids gift card. The nominating blogger also gets one. I've been reading The Karianna Spectrum for a few weeks now and if anyone deserves a spa day or maid service it is her. She is in the throes of parenting a special needs son and is trying determinedly and admirably to stay cool while getting the bureacratic run around from local school and proffessionals in the evaluation process. My heart aches for the pain these trials are putting on her and her family. When she writes that Cat just wants to go to a new school and make new friends, I want to cry because she is caught trying to meet his needs and wants and at the same time do what is best for her son's education. My prayers go out to her and her family. I don't know Karianna, they live half a country away from me, but I want to go there and do something. Clean her house for her, take care of Sliggle so she can take Cat to an appointment, spend a day teaching Cat so he is educationally engaged while waiting to get back into school. Stay with both boys so Kari and Husband can go out. I know I can't do those things, it is an impractical pipe dream. I'm in Kansas, not California. I get angry for her when I read about the run-around the schools are giving her when I was a teacher and wouldn't have dreamed of doing that to a parent, and my sister is a special ed teacher and talks of such a different mentality in her district. We have relatives who moved to Lawrence for is very successful autism program. Like I said, after reading about the trials in her home this month, I think if anyone deserves a treat, it's Kari.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

To Do or Not to Do

I've been debating this a lot in my mind recently. I can see both sides of the issue and my husband and I have for now chosen a path. This article pushed me to respond here where I get to say what I think. Homeschooling is a very personal choice. Each family, Christian or not, has to come to their own decision about this very important issue. I resent articles like this that threaten horrible consequences to anyone who doesn't do as the writers feel is best. At this point we have decided not to homeschool. Je is in a Christian preschool, but next year will probably attend a public kindergarten. The only reason that might change is that in our district kindergarten is all day and few opt out of that. Je still naps most days. She has been really tired from just the half day of preschool three afternoons a week and missing her nap those days. We will have to see how things go as the school year progresses.

Back to the topic. I truly, heartily, and vocally support the idea that parents are the first and best teachers our children will ever have. I also believe that parents are the best able to make choices and decisions regarding their children. I rail against entities that seek to replace parents as influences for our kids. In that way, I sometimes get frustrated with public schools. This comes from my experience attending public schools and from teaching in them as well as being married to a teacher in public schools.

Every family has to decide what works for them, every year. I know myself well enough to know that I lack some crucial things to homeschool successfully, discipline, organization, and desire to do it. Maybe that last one is the most important. I just don't want to do it. It doesn't appeal to me to be solely responsible for my kids education. I am not patient enough, I worry that I wouldn't be broad enough, I wouldn't be innovative enough. In public schools I subscribe to the beg borrow and steal method of teaching. I have my eyes out scooping up ideas from everywhere for lessons. I have resources established. At home I would have to cultivate those resources, I know myself well enough to admit that procrastination, disorganization, and inertia would probably win out in my teaching, and the girls would suffer for my lack. When I taught at school, I had official oversight, regular checkups with other teachers, and parents asking for info. At home, I could avoid, fast talk and finesse my way through and the girls would suffer.

I respect everyone's right to choose what God has for their family. We feel called to the public school at this point. Christians cannot abandon society without leaving a vacuum of influence to be filled by those we would rather kept quiet. Some Christians have tried that. Our own church tried to abstain from politics in the mid-twentieth century urging us not to vote unless the candidate was a Christian and backed the Christian amendment to the constitution. That stand didn't lead to a better outcome. Now we are urged to take part in the process, not hold ourselves apart. If we take all the Christians out of schools we are left with no one to object to the objectionable. We may not be able to halt the liberal agenda but maybe we can temper it, show those not convinced that there are alternatives. I also feel strongly about my role to prepare my kids for life after school. They will have to at some point live in the world. I don't want them to confront things unprepared, and if I allow them contact with the world while I am there to provide perspective and education about them, then I feel that is MY job. So I guess I will be homeschooling in a way. We all do. I just think for our family the reading and writing is best covered by the teachers at the school not the ones at home. I invite anyone who has an opinion to post it. We all get to find God's will for our lives and must live as we are called.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

That is the title to an Alan Jackson song that memoralizes the tragedy of September 11. It asks where we were and give several possiblilities.

Where Were You
(Alan Jackson)

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children

That is where I was. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Je, our first, I was still teaching then. I had to use the bathroom between every class and I think it was after second hour that I waddled to the teacher's restroom in the office, and they had the TV on. The news was reporting that planes had struck the two towers. I stopped and watched for a couple minutes, until the bell rang, and I rushed back to class. I was stunned but I had to deal with 7th graders. I didn't know how to talk to them about it, I didn't know enough myself. I went on with the lesson for the next couple classes. During my plan/lunch I had the TV on in my room tuned to the news just trying to absorb everything. I became a news junkie that month. My sixth hour came in and by then, they knew some of what happened. They wanted to talk about it and so we ditched the lesson plan to talk about it. As I look back that is the most significant thing I did during that week. I let my students ask questions and work through their feelings a little. Nouns and verbs come in second after that.

I remember having the news on all the time then. I saved the Newspapers from that week. They delivered special extra editions to school each day that week. They are in the cedar chest for Je when she is old enough to understand what happened in the weeks before she was born.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Friday, September 08, 2006


At Bible Study this week they gave us Smarties because we are all getting smarter. Now I am sitting here eating them and thinking about my baby getting smarter. Yes, this week my first baby went off to preschool for the first time. Last week we went to a practice day to get ready, but I stayed with her most of the time. Tuesday I dropped her off and left her there, rushing home to throw the other one in bed to get a nap before we went back to pick up Je. Je loved it. Each day she bounces into class with hardly a goodbye. When I get back to pick her up she rushes up to give me a hug and bounce to the car. She related about her day a little bit but most of it is still a mystery. She has learned about recess and snack and likes them well enough to rave about them and the curly haired girl, the birthday girls, and the little girl who cries when her mama drops her off. Next week we begin carpool so I hope our carpool buddy doesn't do that. Shan comes home each afternoon and asks her about school and gets a pat answer of "fine" or "good". Paybacks!!!! I get those kind of answers from him sometimes. I told him that you have to pick your moments, and when she is watching Bugs Life is probably not a good moment. Paybacks.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Things of Great Joy

The computer is back up and running. With a new CD/DVD/CD-R drive, new hard drive, and a new memory it is almost as good as new. And with the warning recieved before the crash I was able to back up everything so within an hour of the repairman's departure, you wouldn't know that things were different...files saved, settings restored, bookmarks and webpage preferences remembered....I love technology when it works.

Yesterday was the first day of Bible Study. This semester I am studying a new Beth Moore video study on the book of Daniel. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. It is going to be fabulous, and I thought that about the other ones too. I was so stimulated by the intro material, I am looking forward to the homework. For example, she showed us in scripture how Daniel, something that took place 2 1/2 millenia ago is relevant to us today. The tower of Babel was built in Shinar. Abram was called out of Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the Promised Land. Both of these were covered in the Patriarch's study I did last fall. The plain of Shinar was were the nations decided to build a tower to the sky so that their name would never be lost from the earth, and they would not be scattered. That was in direct contridiction to what God wanted and wants. His name is to be glorified and He wants us to be fruitful and fill the earth. Chaldea is another name for Babylon. Shinar is in Babylon. This is not a coincidence. The Babylonians captured the Israelites and brought them back to the place where they had started. This represents the spiritual battle we all face in that the enemy wants to bring us back to our beginnings, our sinful selves, and invalidate any spiritual growth and progress we have made with the LORD. Daniel and his friends were some of many who were confronted with this challenge and the four of them fought against the enemy. May God use the ancient story to teach me a fresh word today. It has begun already.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Potty Training at Three

I have learned that no matter how successfully your toddler masters potty training accidents still happen for YEARS. I have written of this jouney to dry pants in earlier entries pitfalls and success and relapse. Let's hope we are nearing the end of potty humor. Jo sometimes gets too busy to go to the bathroom. Usually this happens when watching a movie. My new policy if that happens, is to then deny TV access for the rest of the day. If sister gets to watch a video then she does it by herself and Jo has to stay downstairs. This happened yesterday, and Jo took it pretty well. She seems to get the link between behavior and consequences. This evening, she was outside playing with Je and when they came inside she her shorts looked funny. I asked her if she was dry. Her answer was slow in coming, Je answered yes for her. Daddy thought she was damp but she came to me for a second opinion. I thought it was normal sweaty girl from the heat and HUMIDITY that we are enduring prior to a big round of storms expected tonight and tomorrow. She confided that she was dry, "I jus went in the grass!" she said with the offended air that only a new three year old can have. Ah wounded dignity! At least she was dry. Her father tried to blame this on me, but I told him we both taught her this when we stop on the side of the road. I do use a portable potty seat at least

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I am in my right mind. I'll prove it!!!!

I am proudly left handed. I know that makes me quirky. I love it except the world is designed for right handed people. I am really sad that neither of my children seems to be lefties. When I was 15 my dad gave me a button for my jean jacket (that was very cool then) and it said
"If the right side of the brain controls the left side of the
body, then only left handed people are in their right minds"

I still have this button in my treasure box on my dresser.

I miss my dad.

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Okay! I give up!!!!

I have been trying for nearly a week to get my computer to play nice. It won't. It is on its way into a wall or something. I think it has a virus that none of the expensive virus protection can find. So now I am stuck with this thing that doesn't work right. Right now the screen display resembles something that might have been on the computer of my elementary classroom when I was in 4th grade playing Oregon Trail!!!!! The graphics and stuff are way way weird. A friend had her baby (Congrats Lisa) and I looked at the pictures she sent via a weblink and it looks like a grainy bad newspaper photo or a digital camera print with 1 megapixel. I am sure the little guy is adorable but I won't be able to tell until I see him at church. Shan better do computer repair soon or I will pull my hair out.

To top it all off I have been having a week. I cry at the drop of a hat, I am completely unmotivated to do anything productive, my house is a wreck and my in-laws come this afternoon. Laundry is done but the clothes are in piles in the laundry room needing folded, iron, hung up, put away, etc. I am just blue. I guess my summer has caught up with me and like I said the other day BEFORE I just want it to end. Summer that is. Not life or anything. I can't wait to return to bible study, and routine. I hate limbo land and that is what August is for us teacher wives. School has started for the kids but not preschool or other school year activities that wait till after Labor Day.

I just want to get through these blahs and get on to the good stuff.

Although, I just got a link to show up and work in my blog so maybe things are looking up!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer is Over. Finally!!!!!!!

Now for a teacher that may seem like a strange sentiment especially barely halfway through August when the calendar indicates about 5 weeks till the autumnal equinox and it summer-like weather is likely to last at least till Labor Day, the unofficial official end of summer, but School has started. I think it is ridiculous that school starts in the middle of August but no one listens to me. The students returned to the classroom today so that is for me, the official end of summer. I am not even in the classroom currently, and that is what it means to me. Today wasn't noticably different for me and the girls but Daddy is a teacher so it is different for him. Fortunately, the heat wave has broken and I can stand to go outside and breath at the same time. I even opened up the house and turned on the attic fan. Love the attic fan. The house gets really cold, and Shan wears his flannel jammie pants. I love it. Snuggling under the covers and being cool.

I am relieved to have summer ending. This has been not so much my favorite year. Bible School and Church camp have been bright spots in the otherwise painful stretches. With deaths in the family and other difficulties with that and other things, I am ready for a fresh start. No I love winter so to me that is the fresh time. Fall is also acceptable, summer, my least favorite season weather wise.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I know everyone has heard that the nation is suffering through an extreme heat wave. That means it is HOT!!!!!!! Most people talk about the winter blahs, its cold, its yucky, and when is it going to be over. I on the other hand love winter. I love snow and mush, cold weather, fires in the fireplace, hot cocoa, winter coats (although unless it is really cold, like 3degrees, my coat usually just rides around in the car with me), sweaters, turtlenecks and jeans, et al. So this heat wave is especially blah hy for me. I wish I could report some good from the heat, you know sweating five pounds off or something. I am so unmotivated to do anything productive, I haven't blogged in a week, I have cleaned my house, the public rooms only and I did browbeat my children into cleaning their rooms so they could watch TV. I have done only enough laundry to keep us in clean clothes, rather a neccessity when you sweat so much that you have to change clothes and shower two or three times a day. I don't cook because my husbands only request when it comes to dinner is, "Nothing that involves heat," meaning no grilling, baking, frying, or microwaving. My air conditioner has been hard pressed to keep up with the heat. The air conditioner is over 20 years old. I just want it to hold out for a few more years, Pleeeeeeeaaaase. I realized yesterday that Jo 3rd birthday is two weeks away and I have done very little to plan for it. I have presents that I have bought all year long so that isn't the problem, its a gathering kind of issue. Party or no party what to serve at dinner.

I think I haven't been this hot since I was pregnant. It is just tooooooo HOT. Have I mentioned that it was hot?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Back to the Grindstone

We have returned from the mountaintop and are beginning to melt. At the base of Long's Peak and Twin Sisters sits a church camp. We spent 6 wonderful days in the cool comfort of Colorado, escaping 100 degree temperatures in Kansas. We attended seminars each day on worship and discussion about them. Each afternoon we had free to play. Outside our lodge, the children gathered on the playground. Our girls loved it. Especially Je with her new-found skill in leg pumping.

Daddy loved the outdoor adventure sports at camp. He flew down the zip line a couple times and just raved about the rock climbing wall.
I was prodded into trying the zip line.

The zip line runs 1000 feet long and at some points is 100 feet above the ground. This picture was taken as I passed the lowest point so Shan and the girls could get a good look at me. I was terrified, but I knew he was taking a picture so I smiled. We had a great time and the fellowship and worship times were refreshing. We went to church camp a lot growing up and so it was fun to take our kids. Many of the kids they played with at camp were children of kids I knew at camp as a kid and teenager. Some were even grandchildren of people my mother went to camp with as a child and teenager. I love the continuity of it. Sometimes the smallness and interrelatedness of our denomination can be a problem but usually I love it. The week at camp was one of those times.

Can you tell we got a new camera to take on vacation?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Phone Calls

It was another dreaded phone call. Mom called to cancel plans; she was going to sit with her aunt, whose grandson had been killed that morning in a motorcycle accident. He had just graduated college and was preparing for a year-long mission trip to Brazil. I've been sifting through my memories of family gatherings and other times when I saw him. His parents once stayed with my sisters and I while our parents were out of town for the weekend. I remember I was in grade school and it was the school carnival we didn't want to miss. They took us and then we went to have supper at Wendy's. We got some strange looks because it was just two parents and 5 children and one on the way. It looked like we were a huge family. I am not sure how to feel about this. Our family is a close one but second cousins, and especially ones that are 10 years younger are not particularly intimate relationships. But I am saddened for his parents and brothers. His grandparents and other loved ones.

On the completely opposite end of the emotional spectrum, while eating supper with my sister and family, my brother-in-law received a call from his brother. He is engaged, and the wedding is in December. This is another young man, almost done with college planning a career in the Navy. In the five years my sister has been married I have really come to love her in-laws. So I celebrate with them at this news.

Such a wide range of things. My mind raced as I tried to sleep. That couple with a bad backache kept me awake. I'm going to have a rough go today. I really dread these kind of things. I am horrible at knowing what to do and then I feel like my inaction is worse, but I don't want to offend. Lord, give me wisdom.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I've learned a lot about waiting on God and contentment since this picture was taken. This week the thermometer has pegged at 101 degrees for the first time since Aug. 26, 2003. For almost three years this picture has been on my fridge so I have not had any trouble remembering what I was doing that week. This was a picture of the first time I got to hold my new daughter; she was 4 days old and just 3 lbs and 8 oz. She was delivered by emergency c-section at 12:22 am and I saw her briefly before they whisked her to the NICU. After a couple hours in recovery they wheeled me back to my room by way of the NICU and I saw her again for a few moments, but I was very groggy. I developed a fever and wasn't able to go in the NICU. I didn't even get out of bed for three days, the nurses came in several times each night to wake me up and roll me over so I could get moving enough to get out of bed more quickly. I remember lying in the hospital bed feeling the waves of heat come through the window. The air conditioning wasn't up to the job of keeping the building cool when the temp outside had been over 100 for four straight days. That whole time has been on my mind a lot as the news has reported on the heat and as people have been so generous in support since my grandmother. I remember the volunteers who drove me to the hospital after I was released so I could visit Jo and meals brought in since I was supposed to be resting. Shan had started a new job the same week I had Jo and couldn't get time off. The first few days of school are hard to be gone. He took one day off, the day she was born but mostly I was on my own. My mother had Je and then she had a trip planned that she needed to do. No one expected the baby six weeks early. God truly is good.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Hard Week's Play

I 've learned that if you keep a child so busy playing they will sleep well.

We've had a busy week of playing. First we had a playday at the park for our babysitting co-op. Je is trying so hard to make it across the monkey bars.

Je finally mastered the art of swinging on her own. I have tried for about a year to teach her how to pump her legs to keep herself going but she didn't get. Then this week a lightbulb moment and off she goes. We've had a hard time keeping her off the swings since.

Then Grandma and Pacca came to visit and we went to the zoo and rode the mini train. Jo was so anxious about the tunnel that she hid her eyes and plugged her ears for the first half of the ride. She hates loud noises. After we emerged, she smiled tearfully but wouldn't unplug her ears. She was afraid someone on the train would scream.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Principle Vs Preference

I had to link to Jill's blog because I could soooo identify with her thought. We all have a dream church, or congregation or pastor. Heck, it probably extends to most of life, houses, cars, jobs, families, towns in-laws, the grass is always greener. I am firmly convicted that God puts us in the situations HE has for us and we should concentrate on glorifying Him rather than worrying about our comfort and convience. As to the church thing, I came to the conclusion a long time ago that there are salvation issues and things that are not. In matters of principle, stand like a rock, (salvation by grace) and in matters of taste, be willing to accept others ideas as their preferance and agree to disagree, (exclusive psalmody, a cappella singing). The church I have belonged to all my life has these as important parts of worship. I choose to stay in the church because I agree with the theology of the church and its Reformed premise. I also love singing the Psalms and doing so without musical instruments. Those are a matter of preference for me. I can attend other churches and sing the hymns to the accompaniment of an organ, a piano, or a rock band and it is still honoring to God as long as He is the focus of my worship not the minutia.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I know I have blogged about our favorite restaurant in a previous post.

But the episode today was too good not to pass on. We were seated and the waiter arrived with two diet cokes. He just brought them. Since we had extras in our party today, my sister and her husband are still visiting after the funeral, they go back Sunday, he had to take their drink order but he brought mine and my mother's before taking our order.I think they know us there. Huh. Viva!!!!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sad News

This morning at 5:20 am my grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was 83 years old and had suffered a recurrance of the cancer she had been fighting for almost 13 years. Please remember my mother especially at this time and our family in your prayers.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Hardest Thing

I've learned that the hardest thing to do is to accept help. Most of us are so willing to give help but recently it was brought home to me that we don't like to allow others to help us. My grandmother has been living with my mom and is facing her last days on earth. She is a godly woman and after a long battle with cancer is ready to go home to God. As her illness has progressed my mother has needed to do more for her. This week Grandma has hardly been out of bed and my mom doesn't want to leave her alone in the house if she can help it. I have gone down several times so my mom can keep the rest of her life going and run errands etc. Several of our church family have offered to help sit with Grandma or do things for Mom and I know Mom appreciates that. She has had a really hard time accepting help. I told her that she has done so much for people over the years that they are just waiting for the opportunity to return the favor. My mom often takes meals, or helps with projects etc for people in the church. For her love is service. I know part of her reluctance is she doesn't want Grandma to worry about or be upset with the need for someone to be there and the reminder that a sitter would be. The whole situation has made me sure that we as Christians not only need to help our brothers but we need to allow our brothers to help us when we have a need. How often do we say "Thanks, I'm okay," when we could use a hand? In doing so do we deprive our brother of a ministry opportunity. I have wanted to do more for my mom this week and I have been treading lightly so as not to push. She doesn't want to impose but what is family for. I continue to volunteer and when she does ask I gladly agree to do. I am taking a lesson away from this, Help and be willing to be helped. It goes with our Romans 12 lesson. Give your brother an opportunity to use his or her gift in service to the body, even you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:3-9 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.what is good.

This was part of the Sabbath School lesson last week and even before that I have been giving a lot of thought to gifts and roles in the body. I have heard people say that life doesn't come with an instruction book and that babies don't come with owners manuals but I would bet the people who believe that don't read the Bible. I have yet to come across a problem that I couldn't find a solution in the Bible, even if the solution means calling my mother and asking her. Honor your mother...

My recent experience with directing Bible School with Betsy and meshing our individual talents to put on a (in my humble opinion) successful week makes me even more sure that my role as a Christian is to use what gifts God has given me to glorify Him. I also believe that means helping those around me use their gifts, to form a body that compliments each other with service not competes with each other. We shouldn't bemoan the gifts some one has that we don't but find ways to take advantage of their strengths, and use our strengths to add another dimension. I felt truly blessed in our team at Bible School. Each person chose areas of interest and areas that filled our needs. We could truly hand off the assignment and not worry about their implementation because it was done and done well. Praise God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Married a Science Teacher

The other night my husband sat in front of the computer for what seemed like hours taking some of those online quizzes that people can post in blogs from blogthings. Some of them were stupid, for instance the redneck I am married to only registered 35 percent redneck. The questions were pretty bad. To get redneck status you would have to have inbreeding and a car in your front yard. I know a lot of rednecks who have neither. I registered only 13 percent and while I am not really redneck, by virtue of being married to one I thought I would rate higher than that. As I took the below quiz I was hoping not to embarrass myself. I was never very interested in science but as a college graduate it would be humiliating to fail 8th grade science. My science teacher husband not withstanding.

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

So this Fits

After I did this I had Shan go through the questions. It was so right on it was scary. He actually thinks the cookies are making fun of him and that he has to eat them to teach them a lesson. I posted his Seasame Street identity, mine will have to wait.

table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2" width="350" align="center" border="0">You Are Cookie Monster
Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.
You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.
You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking
How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fiesta Finale Finito

It's done, It's done, It's done. The kids are all gone, the crafts made the stories told, the tacos eaten and the decorations put away. The church is clean and back in orginal condition. The thank you notes are written and distributed, the extra workbooks are returned to the bookstore and my feet hurt. Give me a month and I can maybe start thinking about next year. It was such a successful week, we had 7 more kids than last year and we averaged 3 more per night. I am sure we blew the budget but no one seems to care that we did and the kids had a great time. Several parents came up to thank me for the week and I am basking in the glow of personal satisfaction. God is great and He blessed our week. So many things fell together and I have to believe that He directed it. Thank You Father.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Flip Flop Favorites

My girls wanted flip flops ever since last year when they noticed their friends had them. So this year I looked at my local cheap store, NBC, and found Je a pair of flip flops. I didn't think Jo could handle them yet since she is only two. It took me about 10 minutes of them fighting over the flip flops to change my mind and schedule a return trip to the store to find Jo some. Jo has a real serious shoe thing. If you take off your shoes, beware. Jo will remove her shoes so she can try yours. I can't tell you how many times I have had to spend big chunks of time searching for my niece's shoes when she visits because Jo borrowed them and left them somewhere randomly in our house.

So we got the flip flops and the girls love them. They wear them everyday. They wear them to bed. I put my foot down though and they have to wear real shoes to church. Je quickly learned how to wear shoes without ties or straps. She does great. Jo on the other hand took a little longer. For starters, she has the littlest feet. I have yet to see a flip flop in a size 5 or 6 so she has some labeled extra small. I think they are from Children's place. Flip flops small enough to fit Jo are not really flip flops because they seem to all have elastic around the heel. The girls don't want that. So Jo's are a little big, but she has finally figured out how to keep them on and which toe they go between. Now if she can just get them on the right feet we'll be set. She cracks me up. I usually make Jo wear regular sandals when we go places because the flip flops are still big, so as soon as we get home she takes off her regular shoes and puts on her flip flops. They both put them on first thing in the morning. It's hysterical. I have passed the shoe thing on to my kids. I think Shan is ready to collapse from the thought of two teenagers and their mother with closets full of shoes. At least he has a few years before that happens. Maybe.

Sleep--Who Needs it.

Okay, I have given up on trying to sleep tonight, at least for a while. It is 2:40 am as I start this post. The last several nights I have had trouble going to sleep because I can't seem to turn my mind off. With Bible School looming I keep thinking of things to do or worry about. Sometime Saturday morning before reaching full consciousness, I had a brainstorm about the decorating. I got up before 7 and typed up room by room lists of the things we needed to do in each room. I used Hot Tamale font for the lists, and then posted them on the doors of each area so that when my helpers arrived I could point them at a list. Several people commented that my lists were helpful. I was really impressed with my snack coordinator. She and her daughter took the list for their area and went to town. I had a few decorations that were up for grabs and they took some and left a lovely environment for our snack time. We are doing it a bit different this year--we are making the suggested snacks that match the lessons and we are having the kids do it. It will be great. I keep telling myself that anyway. We did tape down three large drop cloths on the floor of the family life center, or as I call it, the gym. The whole church looked very festive today and fiesta like. Tomorrow, or rather today, I have people coming to finish the sanctuary. I am using a whopping third of my babysitting tickets today to give myself a kid free chance to finish all those little details. I have this nagging feeling that I am forgetting something huge.

So after Saturday's decorating marathon I was beat. My legs ached which is a sure sign that I am exhausted. I could be off my feet most of the day but really busy and get tired and my legs would still ache. I took a couple tylenol pm's to help me get to sleep Sat. Night and was sleeping great when my mother called at 7:26 to borrow sugar for banana bread she was making for my grandma's breakfast. Speaking of grandma, she is not so great, she doesn't leave the house much and has used the oxygen the home health people brought almost all day this last week. The cancer is affecting her lungs even more now. Pray for my mom as she takes care of her.

So now it is almost three am Monday morning and I am not sleepy, tired yes. I couldn't even get to sleep this afternoon when I tried to take a nap. I can't even blame it on the snoring husband because he wasn't.

Eventually, I will crash, probably sometime around five thirty p.m. when I am supposed to be getting our crew leaders ready to greet the kids.

Oh well sleep is overrated.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Pit Stop in the Summer

So I've neglected to blog. Let me describe to you an average day in the last month. We get up before seven and try to clean a little house, do a little laundry make a few phone calls all while the monkeys, as their father calls them, interrupt. "Mama is sesame Street on now?" Yes please go watch. The phone rings, Can you watch my kids today? Sure drop 'em off. Mama are we going somewhere today? I think we'll stay home. But Mama!!!!! Kids come, They See, They Destroy, They move on. I go back to cleaning and phoning, and laundry. You should see the ironing stash. Now a usual day in our house is pretty busy. I run after the kids, and the errands, and house chores all day usually stopping for a break around two to eat lunch, before hitting the ground running again. With Bible School and all the other activities this YEAR has been busy and I don't see an end in sight. For example:

We spent Memorial day with Shannon's family at a reunion. Now Kansas in May is supposed to warm up but it is extremely rare to have temperatures in the 100 degree range. Not this year. On the bright side the Yucca plants were beautiful.

Bible School is coming up and after one of our meetings when I kept sharing ideas I'd garnished along life my co-director said, "You're all Bible School all the time." I see ideas everywhere. Since it is a Fiesta themed event, we have great shots of the Western Kansas Desert...
Stuckey's on I-70 past Oakley sells Mexican blankets cheap, I am on the lookout for big boxes to use as adobe buildings, and on and on...Today I was driving out of Wally World parking lot and towards the mall for Bath and Body sale and had to turn around because there were some great clean huge boxes to use in the trash dumpster. I could only get two in the car and my kids weren't even happy with that.

For my middle sister's birthday today my youngest sister flew in to surprise us all. She was supposed to be there on Sat for our birthday breakfast but she got delayed on the plane and didn't make it till Sat. Afternoon. It has been great catching up with here and her husband. He hadn't been back to visit since Christmas. Which sounds like a recent event except in our family where we get together often.

Four weekends in a row we had big family get togethers with aunts and uncles etc. My local brother in law thought that was an item of note but my sister and I told him that that is pretty normal for our family we just got out of the habit the last several years. My husband remembers those days pretty well since we did it a lot through our courtship. My sister has only been married five years and in those years we've had a combined total of five kids so we had a lot going on.

My older child has had a ear infection and now she has a bad cough all in a months time so we are a little stressed and I had to lead Sabbath School last week and and and

So to summarize, I've been a little busy and I didn't get to the blog. It will only get busier this summer. That was just my schedule...Shan has his own list and so do the kids. AAAAAAAA Calgon take me away.