Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

And hat tip to Cathy at Call Her Blessed. This score will likely not surprise her, as she did not surprise me.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

A question from a six year old . . .

"How did God make time?"


Well, this is the time of year when we officially come together to be thankful for our blessings. I find it kind of sad that we as Americans, in the most blessed country in the world as far as freedoms and material blessings, must schedule a day for fear we might forget to be thankful. I believe that sometimes, in our overabundance, we can become blase about our blessings. Almost as though we deserve them. We are Americans, are we not? Everyone knows that God blesses America. Well, not to be the voice of doom, but the farther America walks from God's intended path, the less frequently those blessings will be observed. But I digress . . .

As a Christian, I should be innately thankful, every single day, for every single blessing; including the less than obvious ones, like hardships, trials and difficulties. But, in the spirit of the holiday (holy day), I believe I shall enumerate some of them.

Thank you, Father, for my husband. He works so hard to support us, and is an honest, forthright, and Godly man. I thank you for him and all he is to my life.

Thank you, Father, for my children. Thought I occasionally whine and frequently joke about them, I recognize that they are my greatest earthly ministry. I thank you for my intelligent, quiet Joshua who frequently shocks us into speechlessness by his insights and questions. I thank you for Blaine, our wide open little man. He keeps me on my toes and shows me Your love with his open hearted love for the world. I thank you for Justin, our dependent little three year old. Through working with his speech difficulties, you have taught me that not everything will come easily for us and our children. As I see him work so hard, and succeed, I understand the value of perseverance and patience.

Thank you, Father, for my friends. Thank you specifically for Melanie, who has known me for so long. She sees me as me, and not just a wife and mother. You know that I need friends who are not focused on wife and mother roles, to keep me centered on You. Thank you for her, and all she is in my life. Thank you also for Cathy. You know that I need to know I am not alone, to know that other moms have the same doubts and insecurities I do. I can see that she is a fantastic wife and mother, and I thank you for her Godly example and the friendship of someone who is where I am.

Father, I thank you for my physical blessings, including Nate's job, our warm home and the fact that our concern is how we will pay for Christmas presents, not groceries or the power bill.

Most of all, Lord, thank you for your son. Thank you for your love, and my salvation. Without that, none of these other blessings would be at all.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

With all due respect . . .

My friend Cathy posted a great poster she made at the site I used to make the one of Nate and the boys one post ago. And, one hundred percent, I agree with her thought that Jesus is the reason for the season.

But we celebrate His birth with such hoopla . . . with a party like no other holiday. And yet, His birth is nothing without His death. His death is nothing without His resurrection. And His resurrection means nothing, absolutely nothing, if we do not accept His sacrifice on our behalf and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior.

So, as we head into the Christmas season, think about the baby whose birth we celebrate -- the Holy Babe who was born to die.

Jesus Poster

I've been playing

So, I can't find time to blog, but I can find time to play. Let's see if this result works . . .

My creation

(Hat Tip to Cathy at Call Her Blessed for the cool tool.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well, I did it again

I did it again. I let another eon elapse between one post and the next. Anyone who is still reading is probably getting tired of the, "I'm too busy, I don't have time, but I'm going to make time," spiel. But I'm too busy, I don't have time, but I'm going to make time.

Believe it or not, I actually love to write. I really love the outlet this blog provides me. And I have tons and tons of entries written since the last one -- in my head. Why can't they just invent that telepathic computer connection? Man, I could get a lot done that way.

But as an update since our last post, the boys are doing great. We have decided not to pursue any potential testing or anything for Blaine. He is doing very well on a modified diet, and any diagnosis would just be an excuse to slack on the parenting for us.

Homeschooling is going well, I think. The boys are settled in. Josh has adapted pretty well, and continues to do so. Blaine absolutely loves it. He begs to have school, and gets upset when we don't have it on the weekends!! If you had been a fly on the wall the day he stood, sobbing, in our kitchen asking why he couldn't make better choices, and crying that he must be "the stupidest little boy God ever made . . ." Only then could you appreciate, truly, the way his excitement lightens my heart.

As for me, I think my walk with the Lord is getting stronger. I had sort of slipped into holding pattern for a while, but I've really began to delve and read more and more. I have a really great post written about the priorities the Lord has placed on my heart, and what He's doing with me right now.

I just have to get it from my mind to my computer . . . where did I put that headset?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our doctor visit (LONG - sorry)

The younger two children had their annual checkups today. They are both growing well and developing well. We had, generally, a good report from their doctor. Blaine had to have three shots, which made me cry, but all in all I got a good report.

The only catch is, Blaine was awful. I mean, awful. I mean, tearing the cover of the exam table into little pieces; refusing to look the doctor in the eye, on his hands and knees, rocking, while the doctor tried to ask him questions. He would make statements that had nothing to do with the question just asked.

As you know if you know us, we have been concerned about Blaine's behavior for some time. One of our main reasons for homeschooling this year was to just see if it would make a difference in Blaine's attention span, in his ability to focus on a school day. He has always been what I would describe as a "wide open" little boy. His pre-K teacher loved him, I think (he's hard not to love!), but it got to the point that he was in time out multiple times in a day at school. The final straw was the afternoon he stood next to me at the sink and said, "Mommy, why can't I make better choices? I must be the stupidest little boy God ever made." I have tears in my eyes as I type this, just remembering the rock-solid feeling in my gut from that moment.

I thought he was getting better. It seemed to me that he was growing in his ability to do "school work," to behave appropriately in these kinds of circumstances. I mean, he is young -- he just turned five. But how long can this be an excuse?

I have always been against medication for ADD and ADHD, except for in the most extreme of circumstances. Nate and I both have family members who drug their perfectly normal little boys, because they want them to act like miniature grown ups.

Today, in this doctor's appointment, I addressed his behavior with our doctor. I told him that I did not think Blaine had a problem, beyond being a very active little boy of a mommy who had tried to fit too much into one day (Up early; to Bible Study where he had to sit; home to do schoolwork where he had to sit; no nap; to the Laundromat to wash the comforters, where he couldn't run; to the doctor). I told him about Blaine's academic abilities, and the behavioral things we do to control him when he reaches the point we call "meltdown."

I wanted him to say I was right. I wanted him to say Blaine was not acting in any way different than a little boy should. I wanted to hear that there was no need for anything further, that there was obviously nothing wrong with my little boy.

Instead, I heard that attention disorders don't affect just children who can't do school work -- that some children, who enjoy schoolwork like Blaine does, can focus on workbooks and such for hours but still have a "problem." I heard him say that he didn't know what would happen if we tested him. To me, as the mom, that means there is some possibility -- probably a good one, knowing this doctor the way I do and knowing how cautiously he phrases things -- that my child would end up "diagnosed" with something, labeled. Forever. I was told that as long as we felt we had a good handle on him through our behavioral techniques, it was fine to continue exactly the way we are.

I sit here now, a little shocked -- a little stunned. I know this seems worse to me than it is.

But it is not what I wanted to hear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not so very long ago . . .

On this date in 1983, not so very long ago, my mother and father brought home a belated present for me for my third birthday. I thought it was annoying, wet and loud, but they refused to take it back to the hospital.

That annoying present has grown up, and today my "baby" sister turns 23. Sherri is very different from me -- we have almost nothing in common, on the surface, but an insane amount of similarities once you know us better. I was, I confess, a terribly mean older sister -- think, "torture with fake rubber spiders," and "refusal to admit she was related to me in public." She, on the other hand, retaliated -- think, "white-out applied to my face in all the family portraits," and "refusal to admit she was related to me in public."

Man, it was fun!!

I loved you then, and I love you now. Happy Birthday, Sher!!

Love, Sissy

What was I thinking?

Apparently, I've used this title before, b/c it opted in automatically when I was posting today.

Well, as you can see, my dedication to blog every day was shortlived. In addition to homeschooling, right now Nate and I are participating in a small group training session led by one of our pastors, with the thought of praying about potentially leading a small group in our own home at some point in the not-too-distant future. This takes place every Sunday evening, and has a small section of reading and questions each day. I'm also participating in a woman's study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled "Lies Women Believe (and the Truth that sets them free)". It just started, but it appears to be very interesting, timely and helpful. I'm going to be one of the small group leaders. At the onset, this was supposed to entail mainly discussion facilitation. I'm concerned it may be a bit more. We'll see where that goes!! We also go to the library at least once a week to get books for school. So, it appears I'm not actually "homeschooling" so much as I am "car schooling." Nate and I also alternate months as Sunday School teachers, and that starts in October.

I say that jokingly, but I am a little concerned I may have taken on too much here at the start of our school year. We will need to wait and see how it goes. I have a tendency to dive right in, become overburdened, and say yes to everyone who asks. I need to become more discerning, more prayerfully-led as opposed to need-led. It took me a long time to recognize that just because I recognize a need doesn't mean I'm called to fill it.

So, if my posts stop making sense, become incoherent, and my phone conversations drift off into nothingness, promise me you'll ask me whether or not I've managed to fit in sleep somewhere!!!!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's my birthday!!

In looking over this blog, I have realized that I have posted a lot about my family, but not a whole lot about me. Which is good, right now, I suppose, since I am so family-centered at this point in my life. Christ's ministry through me right now is primarily to my children and husband. At some point in the future, I may enter a phase of ministry that puts me outside with others. But, as I have said so many times, the only "thing" I can have with me in Heaven are the souls of those I love. :)

- Interesting note: Jesus works through children. At about 9:40 this morning, the children and I were praying together as part of our school day. For no reason, and without any prompting in this direction, B-Boo said, "I would like to play for Mrs. ___ and her family." So, we did. In talking with this person this afternoon, at exactly this time of day today, she was in a difficult situation unexpectedly. Praise the Lord that B-Boo was responsive to the voice of the Lord!!

- My children are on the front porch, painting. They are being quiet. This should concern me, but somehow, I cannot get up the energy to care. That's why I sent them outside, right? So it wouldn't matter what they painted?

- My house is having a major tissue shortage, which has the effect of causing random rolls of toilet paper to be sitting around on tables and ledges. Good thing I buy the soft kind, huh?

- My favorite color is purple. (Not sure what relevance that has -- just thought I should share.)

If you are wondering what this post is about, I would ask you to check the description at the top. I promised to let you inside my own little world. I realized that the recent posts have been coherent, occasionally well-thought out (or at least thought out), and timely. This does not accurately reflect my thought patterns or life, lol. So, I decided to be more accurate, and let this post reflect the little of this or that, unconnected bits of trivia and nonsense that are usually floating through my brain. If you come away confused, don't worry. I do, too, usually.


Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006

Five years ago today, I sat in my mother's Dodge Caravan in town. It was my first trip "out" with my nine day old son. We had both boys in the car, and I was at the University of Virginia parking and transportation building returning the parking pass I had used to park closer to the building during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. It was taking a very, very long time to get up to the front, and one of the ladies was talking on the phone. "How rude," I thought, "talking on the phone like this when the line is so long." Then I heard her say, "Well, I'm glad you're okay." She hung up the phone and turned to me. "Sorry," she said, "My sister is in New York." She said it like it explained everything. I must have looked puzzled, becase she said, "Didn't you hear? A plane has flown into the World Trade Center."

I didn't know it, yet, but America was changed forever. At that point, the news was still reporting that it was an accident. I ran back out to the car and turned on the radio. My mom was on the phone, having just received a call telling her what was happening.

We finished up in town and came home. I sat, glued to the television, and watched the video of the towers fall over and over. I heard the announcement that it was even worse than we believed -- someone had done it on purpose.

We were at war.

That war continues today, and in my own little way, I would like to say thank you to our service men and women who serve our country, protecting us from those who think we are worthy of death simply by existing.

So, today, in particular, I thank:

Wayne Ellyson, National Guard, returned from Iraq
Adam Graves, Marines, currently stationed somewhere near Baghdad
Brandon Graves, Marines, finishing boot camp in November, orders not yet received but expected to be deployed to Iraq by Christmas

And all of the civilian fighters, who died on the day our world changed forever.

For a tribute to the 2,996 victims of September 11, 2001, please see here.

God Bless.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Somebody loves me!! I've been tagged for my first meme, ever!! :)

So, I guess I better do it, huh? :)

3 Things That Scare Me

~Something hurting my boys that I can't fix
~Being left

3 People That Make Me Laugh


3 Things I Love (only 3?)

~My Family
~That quiet time of night when the boys are asleep, and Nate and I have the TV off and are just talking, or reading, or doing a devotional.
~When my children obey (a girl can dream, right?)

3 Things I Hate

~Not being able to make everything better
~Being wrong
~Arrogant people

3 Things I Don't Understand

~ Democrats
~ Feminism (I have to echo this. I mean, seriously, I just don't get it. What is any better as a woman than fulfilling your God-given call of wife and mother?)
~ People who hurt children, on purpose

3 Things On My Floor

~ Dirt (I'm not the world's best housekeeper)
~ Puzzle pieces (And I have three kids)
~ Lady (the dog)

3 Things I'm Doing Right Now

~ Listening for the next fight on the porch
~ Answering this meme
~ Listening to Praise and Worship Weekend on Sirius 66

3 Things I Want To Do Someday

~ Travel
~ Hire a housekeeper and cook
~ Wake up when I want to, instead of when I hear a suspicious crash in the living room or the boys' bedroom.

3 Things I can do

~ Type quickly
~ Simultaneously make dinner, type in my blog, supervise three smallish children, listen to the radio and talk on the phone. It's a gift, I know.
~ Ignore the mess my house is, b/c of the millions of people who were here this weekend with muddy feet after ten inches of rain.

3 Ways To Describe My Personality


3 Things I Cannot Do

~ Cook well
~ Drive well (just ask Nate)
~ Care that my house is not clean (sorry, this is a sore spot today.)

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

~ the sounds of a baby nursing
~ the words to your favorite hymn. Really hear them
~ your mother (See Cathy -- I don't necessarily mean obey, or heed. But listen.)

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To

~ That little voice inside that says you are not good enough
~ Mean, petty people
~ Whining

3 Absolute Favorite Foods

~ Lasagna
~ Cheesecake
~ Ice Cream

3 Things I'd like to Learn

~ To shut up, when necessary
~ To just go with the flow, a little more
~ How to make children obey. The first time. Every time.

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly

~ Iced Tea
~ Mt. Dew
~ Root Beer

3 Shows I Watch
~ The Fairly OddParents
~ The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron
~ Clean Sweep

3 Bloggers I Tag...
I only know bloggers who have already done this, lol. Sorry. :)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, B-Boo

On this day, five years ago, you entered the world. At the time, I was a young mother, scared to death that I wouldn't know what to do with two little boys. As we left the hospital, your daddy and I both wondered how much like your big brother you would be.

The answer, it has turned out so far, is not at all. Wide open, where he is introspective. Outgoing and overly friendly, where he is quiet and shy.

We have often joked that if you were born first, we would have strongly considered having only one child. You are always a challenge.

But in return, you are openly loving, exuberant. So much like me, as you live with your emotions displayed on your sleeve for the whole world to read. You are the one who gets tears in his eyes when told that everyone grows up and moves away from their Mommy and Daddy, and sobs that you never want to be big. Then you ask when you will be old enough to drive, and say you can't wait. Flexible - when your birthday plans had to change this year, due to a lack of electricity at the park, you said, "It will be more fun at home!"

I love every moment, every challenge. You keep me on my toes, little boy. You are adorable -- and you know it.

I can't say in this brief moment how very much you mean to me, but know that it has been a fabulous five years. I adore you, as only your Mommy can.

Happy Birthday, my prince. Mommy loves you.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

And my newly flexible life has its first test . . .

Well, I've been bragging to everyone about how much I love homeschooling, and how it's just going to make my little angels even more perfect and well behaved -- okay, only those of you who have not personally met my little . . . angels . . . would believe that. But I have been seriously plugging the flexibility.

And now I can say, seriously, this flexibility is WAY COOL!!

J-Bo is sick -- not just a little sick, but vomiting, fever, alternating crying with sleeping, sick. Now, I know it's just the same bug that has been going around. But he's still miserable.

And we were able to structure the whole day around it!! Do the school stuff when he was sleeping, hold him when he was crying. It was all good. We got done what we needed to, and J-Bo still got cuddled. :)

I'm still not the world's best time manager. For example, he's asleep, and I need to clean the kitchen, but I'm blogging instead.

Oh, well. I'm still learning.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why do I bake?

Why do I bake? Why do I make hot fudge cake (from a box, but I still claim credit for it. It takes a lot of skill to pour that cup of water in and stir it fifty times). I LOVE hot fudge cake, so I suppose that is the answer. And I fool myself that it will be mainly for the children, that I will only eat a piece. Or, at the most, two. And then I end up thinking, "Well, B-Boo has some hyperactivity issues. He really can't eat more than one piece per day. It's not fair to let J-Rooni and J-Bo eat it in front of him." So, I end up eating more than a piece or two. Like, seven.

I have already been fitted for the dress for Melanie's wedding. I cannot gain any weight between now and December 2. It cannot happen.

So, why do I bake?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Seven Fantastic Years . . . . .

To my husband:

Seven years ago, you and I became man and wife. We stood up in front of our friends and family and vowed to love, honor and cherish one another, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.

We had absolutely no idea what we were in for.

It has been an incredibly crazy seven years. We have seen some ups, and some downs, and some middle-of-the-road times. But through it all, you have stood by me, stood with me, and supported me when I could not stand on my own. You have prayed for me, prayed with me, and become the true, Biblical head of our household.

You are a wonderful husband, and an even better father. Watching you love our boys brings a smile to my face every single day.

You will never know how much I love you.

Love, Me


My children have had a great time this weekend, riding their riding toys down the hill. It's not a steep hill, but steep enough to send the riding toys flying through the yard. We have more than enough riding toys to go around (if you're ever in the area, my house is the one with so many toys outside that it looks like a preschool). However, they stopped being content with just racing down the hill. Instead, they made an "invention." They are all big Jimmy Neutron fans, and so they are always inventing something or other. This invention involved a plastic riding tractor, a plastic wagon, the Radio Flyer red wagon, a tricycle and my entire meager collection of belts. And the dog leash. And the binocular straps. These were finagled by J-Rooni, to all be hooked together. And then ridden, while tied together, down the hill.

I will have you know, it has not been necessary to make a single trip to the emergency room.

I wished all of their "inventions" worked so well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Odd . . .

I just spell-checked that last post, and do you realize that blogger.com's built-in spell checker doesn't recognize the word "blog."

Ironic, ain't it?

Our first day!

Okay, I really, really promise - this is NOT going to turn into a homeschool blog. But I couldn't tell everyone so much about the concept, and then not talk about our first day, could I?

Yesterday, as I wrote earlier, we went to the library, and each boy chose books for their book bags, which are the bags full of books (hence the oh-so-creative name) which I use to occupy one child while working one on one with the other when doing the reading and math, which are the only two things they have separately.

This morning, we got up and started our school routine (get up, get dressed independently, brush teeth, pick up your room, come in, eat breakfast), and we sat down at the table at about 9:30 to begin work. It will usually be 9:00, but my mom had a meeting in town, so we had to feed the calf. So, we sat down and I distracted J-Bo with Mr. Potato Head while we did Bible. Then, I had J-Rooni start on reviewing his letters and printing all of them in his best handwriting while B-Boo did his reading. Then, while B-Boo was doing his activity, J-Rooni did his language arts part. By this time, J-Bo was bored with Mr. Potato Head, and so I let him draw on the dry erase board. B-Boo finished up and played with J-Bo for a minute, while J-Rooni finished up his language arts part. Then, we got back together and did a little more review. We sang some songs, did an art project (page one of our Creation Book), which J-Bo got to help with, and then we were done! During J-Bo's nap, I read aloud for thirty minutes and they each read for at least fifteen (B-Boo) or thirty (J-Rooni). Not counting the reading time, we had a little over an hour and a half in school!

Now, this is just the introductory unit, which lasts about ten days. Since the curriculum we're using is My Father's World, which focuses on the world around us and God's part in it, the intro is an overview of creation. Usually, we'll have about two and a half hours each day with book work, not counting activities or the reading time.

I'm really fortunate, b/c the curriculum is easily made to be a multi-year approach. This means that both boys are in the same unit, in the same place, doing the same activities. I only do separate reading and math. After all, only being 17 months apart, there isn't a lot of cognitive difference in them as far as science and art go. And I just go as deep in depth as they want to go, or as I think they need to go. They each absorb to their own level. I expect more memory and more detail out of J-Rooni, since he is older. And he has a first grade (actually, it's really a second grade) language arts and math curriculum. Once the real work starts, ten days into it, we will do calendar and number of the day and 100 Chart together, with me expecting B-Bo to know the numbers and the day before and the day after, and J-Rooni to do simple equations (i.e., ___ + ___= number of the day). So, it limits my preparation and the amount of downtime each child has, but still allows me to go to the limits of their individual ability.

Well, that's enough droning on for tonight, I think. I'm just so fired up that it was such a great, great day!!!!

Now I have to go make homemade clay so we can make pottery jars tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Off to the library . . .

The boys and I went to the library this morning with my mom and my sister. My mom took us to lunch, for our last day of summer. She is a bus driver for the local public schools, so she went back to work on Monday. But, of course, she is off during the day.

On the way back, the boys were hot and whiny. They started whining that they wanted to ride Mannaw's bus, and that they wanted to go back to their real school. My mom is not really "pro-homeschool," so this was about the worst timing imaginable. She made a couple of comments about how she just wasn't sure about this whole idea, and then we moved on.

This led to a common (for me) dilemma. How much do I take into account what my boys want when I'm considering what is best for them? Obviously, not too much, but it plays some role. It's all about balancing what they want with what they need. Nate and I, as their parents, have determined that we want for them an educational system that allows us to put the Lord first, and credits Him as appropriate with His creation of the universe, and ongoing role as Lord and Savior. We, as their mom and dad, have determined that the boys need more one-on-one time, that our family needs to slow down and enjoy life more, and that we need to be more flexible. Homeschooling allows all of this. It doesn't, unfortunately, allow for the same peer group that they became used to last year. However, given some of the words B-Boo came home with last year, that may not be a bad thing . . .

*sigh* - being a mom is NOT easy. Don't let anyone ever tell you it is!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things I wish my children instinctively knew

- Toilet flushing is not hazardous to one's health

- Toys do not magically put themselves back in the toybox. It does not matter how long you leave it lying on the floor; it will never grow legs and walk in by itself.

- Dirty dishes operate in much the same way toys do.

- "Helping" doesn't mean doing the part you think is fun. I love you, but sometimes, really helping means staying out of the way.

- It is possible to play without hitting, wrestling or destroying something.

- All the whining does is irritate me. Really. It's not helping.

- The best way to get what you want is to obey.


I guess this is the reason they need me, right? :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This is not a homeschool blog . . .

But it is a blog about my life and what I'm thinking about. And, right now, all I'm thinking about is homeschooling. I tend to do that about things. When something is big in my life, it's sort of all I tend to think about. I have a bit of an obsessive personality, you might say. I've been reorganizing and cleaning my house to make room for a school area and an organizational system; I've been researching homeschooling on the internet and finding sample schedules; I've been embroidering "proud homeschool mom" on all of my clothes -- okay, maybe not that one.

So, I was sitting on the bed trying to set out lesson plans. Now, the curricula come with lesson plans, but I'm trying to adapt them by combining some activities between the two kids, and allowing J-Bo to participate as much as possible. I've never actually homeschooled before, obviously, so this may well be an exercise in futility. I like the idea of a nifty schedule and a more structure day, as it keeps me accountable. However, realistically, I know that we won't always (ever?) stick exactly to it. After all, the flexibility of homeschooling was one of its biggest selling points to us.

I suppose I better just wing it for a week or two, and then reevaluate. Or, most likely, just keep winging it -- after all, I haven't ruined my kids so far, right? :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

School shopping

I had the privilege of going school shopping the other night, with my husband and without my children. As this is our first year of homeschool, I believe we may have gone a little overboard with purchasing our supplies. I was afraid I would be right in the middle of a lesson and not have what I needed. Plus, lots of old homeschool veterans have told me, over and over, "Make sure you have what you need. Don't try to scrimp on supplies. You will only create frustration." So, off to K-Mart I went, with my wallet-carrying husband in tow.

We got everything on the list in the curriculum, in duplicates, along with some extras for J-Bo to play with while the older two are having school. We spent about $115. At first, I could not believe how much it cost. Then, I happened to take a look at the lists of required from the public schools that were on all the shelves. There was more stuff on there than we bought. They now require hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, crayons and such to share, specific types of notebooks (and woe to you if you buy the wrong one!); the list went on and on. After glancing at the lists, I believe that we would have had more in supplying the kids for public school!

I thought it was supposed to be free . . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


A side effect of my recent attempts at prioritizing better, including setting aside time to blog more regularly, is that I have thought about the things in my life that are important, and are worthy of my time. Obviously, my faith and my family are first, and are worthy of my time and attention. But something that I think we as women often forget is friendship with other women.

I have three particularly close friends, outside of my family. I have many acquaintances, and some others I would call friends. But these three are the ones that come to mind when I think, "Friend."

First is my friend Melanie. She has been my friend since 9th grade, and has known me the longest. She knew me in high school, when Nate and I were dating, and through our wedding and the addition of three boys. She is now preparing to get married, and so we are and have been at very different places in our lives. But friendship is more than just superficial things - I have the facts of marriage and children in common with tons of women. And we could always find something to talk about! But Melanie and I have honesty, at an unusual level, and deep, core values in common.

Second is my friend Cathy. We met first about eight years ago, but really became friends first about four years ago. She is a woman with whom I have children and marriage, and the type of work we do, but so, so much more in common. We view so many things the same way, that it is scary sometimes! I can say things like, "I wish my children would just go away today," or, "You know, if I don't sweep up the goldfish they just spilled, the dog will eat them eventually," and know that she feels just where I'm coming from!

Third is my friend Val. We haven't been friends very long, but we very quickly went past the preliminary getting-to-know-you stages, and have progressed to the, "Now, I'm leaving all three of my kids with you for more than one night, and you're good with that, right?" stage. I have kept five of her eight kiddos, and she's keeping all three of mine at one time. Because of the age spread in her kids, she's actually taking on a lot more work than I did! But, we don't work that way. It's about helping, and talking, and having a sounding board and someone to be where we are, right there with us. We have a lot more than just our kids in common - we were both young moms, we're active in the same church, for starters.

Well, ladies, I thought that you deserved your own post, for all of your influence on me. Thanks so much for being my friends!! I need you and love you all more than you know!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The joys of sick children

Two out of my three kiddos are sick or afflicted in some way this weekend, and I am going to be perfectly honest - there are some good things about sick kids. Now, I am not talking about serious sickness, where you are terrified for them and would give anything, anything at all, to see them healthy again. I am so blessed to have experienced that sort of sickness only peripherally, when B-Boo was a six week old infant and struggling to breathe with RSV and pneumonia. It was a crazy time in our life, and I think back and am so, so grateful it passed quickly and I can look back on those days with the knowledge that Lord brought him the next breath every single time.

I'm thinking today about the kind of sickness every child has. The kind of sickness that causes the following sentence to come from the mouth of a four-year-old, "It's okay, Mama. This time, it was just big, mushy poopy-doodles." J-Bo had an accident yesterday, and as a result has a busted lip and is feeling a little sore. So, he's just kind of laying around. B-Boo has an upset stomach (obviously) and lots of congestion and runny eyes. So, he is just kind of laying around. I don't want any of my children to be sick - I want them happy and healthy, of course. But, they are all getting so big that they don't really cuddle with Mama much anymore. And, it's kind of nice to have them wanting to be in my lap. And, to be honest, when they're sick I don't feel guilty cutting on the TV and letting them watch while I do some of the eight million things I don't usually have time to do. They are a lot easier to watch that way.

So, while I certainly will be glad when they are all well again, there is some part of me that loves that Mama is the only one that can hold them, the only one that makes it better.

Except when it's 2:00 a.m.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What was I thinking?

What on earth was I thinking? Seriously. Somehow, I had this magical thought that once I was at home with my children full time, I would have oodles to say and be blessed with hours worth of time to type it. Okay, maybe I wasn't quite that naive, but I certainly thought I would have more time than when I was working full time.

I think maybe what I didn't realize was that I would still be working full time. Only, even more so than before. Working full time outside of the home was easier than this, at least for me.

And I haven't even started my homeschool year yet . . .

But the other thing that I've learned is that I need this place to just say something, to just put my thoughts out there. Even if no one ever reads it -- and I don't know if anyone ever does. But that's not what it's about for me. It's all about feeling heard. If any man were to ever read this, they would likely not get that last statement. But for the women who may read, I think you will. If I put it out there, I feel heard.

So, I am making a commitment to be more disciplined about this!! After all, how will I be able to keep a maintained school schedule, if I can't even commit to fifteen minutes to write a day?

Keep me accountable!! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New places

Well, as most of you know, today is my "official" first day as a Stay At Home Mom. As an aside, what idiot coined that phrase? Most of the ones I know stay at home all day about once a month! But I digress . . .

Technically, Friday was my last day of work -- well, the work I got paid for. However, since yesterday was Memorial Day and I would have been off anyway, I took yesterday "off." Meaning, I watched the kiddos play on the slip and slide (and beat up my sister) instead of folding laundry. Today I start my new life.

And for our family, it really is going to be a new life -- and a new place for our family. We are so used to the rat race, to running everywhere. And I'm not saying that our life is going to be totally relaxed now that I'm home -- but we should have clean clothes and clean dishes, and maybe I can make it to the grocery store more than once a month so that we're not down to "Hmm . . .what can we make with a can of Spaghetti Sauce and black beans?" (Answer: pull the tortillas you forgot about out of the fridge, grab some shredded cheese from the local convenience store and offer the children either Pizza tortillas or black bean and cheese enchiladas. A tomato sauce is a tomato sauce, right?)

So, while thinking about this, my brain turned to putting my words to paper - as it often does. The best I could come up with is below.

To My Children
As I sit here, I watch you play. I watch you laugh, and I am happy because you are happy. I am sad when you are sad, even if you are sad because I said no, or because I'm doing something "for your own good." I pray for you constantly, and I pray for those who become a part of your life. As I watch you grow, I realize this is what it is truly about. Our Lord tells us not to store up our treasures here on earth, but to store up treasures in Heaven. I cannot take one single physical item with me when I go Home. But I can take you. Each of you. So, it does not seem like a difficult decision at all to spend my time and energy and effort on the only treasures I truly have. I love you, boys. Love, Mommy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A snapshot

An experiment in stream of consciousness and poemic prose - apologies to both of you who read this.

A snapshot of us, from all angles.

From a close-up angle - I sit here, writing, surrounded by lights and sounds and smells. The sounds that mean my home, my world. The sounds of my children, sleeping, breathing through the thin walls of my old home. The slightly dim lights of the same older home, which seems to never have all fully functional lightbulbs. The smell, tonight, of disenfectant and sickness. My home is full of the remnants of a nasty stomach bug. Fast moving, praise God, but hard hitting. Home.

From a step farther back - the lights glow through the windows, seeming bright in the night. The TV flickers. The house is shut up tightly, closed against the chilly spring dark. The sounds here are of night bugs and birds. Faintly, the cars from the highway a half mile away provide a backdrop. The smell is fresh, spring-like, and cool. Home.

From a step farther back - Faintly, the lights can be seen through the trees. The yard is dark. It smells of the country, rural America. Still, quiet, Home.

From the farthest point - the Father sees not the house, smells not the spring night. He is the Light. His home is our hearts, if we open them. Our prayers are His sweet incense.

View it all from farther away, and the details become more clear, not less so. The important details shine, the extraneous disappears.

A snapshot of us, from all angles.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Profound Thoughts

My friend Cathy wrote a recent post about how she can never think what to write when she is in front of her computer; how her profound thoughts always strike her when she's doing something else. For me, my most profound thoughts strike while I'm driving down the road, by myself. I work in town, and J-Bo is in daycare out near my house. So, I usually have a twenty-five minute drive, each way, to think and listen to the radio. My thoughts range from the profound (I was recently struck by the truth that time isn't linear) to the the mundane (generally a grocery list or dinner menu). So, on the way home this evening, I was thinking about the way the Bible calls us to behave. Now, I do NOT believe that you have to behave in a certain way, or "earn" your way to Heaven. I believe that if you love the Lord, you will want to behave in ways that please Him. The Bible just tells us what those ways are.

So, today, as I'm driving down the road, I was thinking the following: 1) No one in this town can drive except me (present company excepted, of course); 2) I do not like sharing the road with people who cannot drive; 3) Life would be a lot easier if the Bible called us to "share our feelings." For example, it would be a lot nicer if the Bible called us to really let the lady who cut us off have it - just let her know how we feel. Or that guy on his cell phone who almost ran us out of the road at the interstate interchange. I'd really like to get up close and personal with him. But I have the Christian fish symbol on my car, and a bumper sticker advertising the Christian radio station in this area on my back glass. So, I am attempting to live up to that witnesss, and behave as Christ would.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll take the bus . . .

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Can you know?

My husband and I went to see Third Day in concert a while back with some friends. They put on an AWESOME show. I truly enjoyed the experience, and the music was just fantastic. The opening act, The David Crowder Band, was also very entertaining. I would definitely go see either of them in concert again!

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Third Day's lead singer, Mac Powell, spoke about his daughter Scout, who is six years old, coming to know the Lord. He was happy, of course, but he said he wondered deep inside if his daughter really knew what she was doing, what she was saying. He wondered if she knew what salvation was all about, what God was all about, or if she was just moving forward on limited understanding.

I've been thinking about this recently, with all of my job changes coming up in the next couple of months, and J-Bo's biological parents beginning to approach their release dates.

He said that God spoke to him - not literally, but in the stillness of his heart - and told him, "You don't know. Do you think you have any better understanding of my nature than she does?"

I fully understand that I don't fully understand the nature of God. I love Him, and He loves me, and He's watching out for my family. But I think that my children, with their wide-eyed belief and firm, unshakeable faith in the Lord and His love for them, and His creation, probably have a better idea of God's nature than I do, with my questions and doubts.

My children continuously test me, frustrate me, and drive me nuts. But, at times like this, they inspire me, too.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


You know, tonight for some reason, I keep thinking about how much my life has changed since my oldest son was born. J-Rooni is six, and he just seems so big to me right now. I don't know why, but for some reason, the changes in my life have just struck me very much. For example, I took the two older boys to Bible Study tonight. My husband gets migraines, and he had a bad one tonight. So, the baby, J-Bo, stayed at home with him, and I took the older two with me. Why, might you ask, did this trigger soul searching and introspection? Perhaps, you might say, it was a message from my gifted pastor, or something one of my brothers or sisters in Christ may have said while we were fellowshiping (Christianese for talking) after the study. Or perhaps even the lesson my children learned while they were there that struck me just so.

Nope. Not even close. Tonight, it was the water that the four year old, B-Boo, dumped on me that made me think. He did not want to leave when we were done, because he wanted a turn to play the drums on the stage. It's a church with a contemporary service, and we have a wonderful praise band. The guy who runs the soundboard lets the children come up on the stage after church and, with his direct supervision, play the drums and learn about the musical instruments. I have not yet let B-Boo experience this - or rather, I have not yet forced the church to endure him on a set of drums. He's loud enough with the instruments God gave him; I've not seen any reason to gift him with "musical" instruments. He got very upset at me, not only for not letting him play, but for causing him to spill his water when I held his arm and made him walk back down the steps with me. He actually threw the cup at me, with the little water that was in it. Now, I will grant him some leeway because it was an hour past his bedtime, he was very hungry, and he had already had a rough day. But even given that, there is no excuse for what he did. So, I held his arm, made him walk to the row of chairs, sat him down, and got J-Rooni ready to roll. I gathered all of their stuff, my Bible, notebook and cell phone, and we climbed up in the car.

What do you mean, you're still not seeing it? You don't see the reason for my introspection yet?
As I got in the car and prepared to go through the Burger King drive thru, it struck me that I had just handled a scene. I had been by myself with both bigger boys, and there was a lot going on, and I took control and did what I needed to do and handled it. If you had been inside my head during those awful days after J-Rooni was born, when it didn't seem like I would ever be in control of even myself; or part of my family during those first months when J-Bo came to live with us and things were so crazy, I wondered if I was destroying my family by trying to save him, you would see it. You would see how far I have come.

I'm not saying that I am completely all together, or the best mom ever, or any other ridiculous blather. But I'm saying I'm okay. I'm making it, I've got it as together as it's ever going to get around here, and I'm raising great kids.

And that, especially that, makes it all worth it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Well, just to fill in the three of you who actually read this, lol, I am now typing this on my new laptop computer! Yep, I'm moving on up in the world, to a laptop. And I now have DSL at home. So, I'll actually be able to update this.

I hope you all are ready -- my brain has been very busy while my computer has been down. And of course, I'm sure you're absolutely dying to know what my three little "angels" have been up to!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Change is in the air

I am terrified. I am scared stiff. I have finally told my work that I can no longer afford to keep my children in daycare full time, particularly this summer when the older two are out of school. Nate has a good job now, and things are going pretty well. We're broke all of the time, but somehow I think that we won't be any more broke without my full income, because the cut in daycare will break even. But the money is not even really why I'm so scared. I really want to know, am I doing the right thing?

There is a joke that I'm sure you know, about a man whose home town is flooding. He is in his house, and the water is up on the porch, when his neighbors leave in their john boat. They ask him to come along, and he says, "No, God will save me." The water continues to rise, and the man is up on his second story, when the National Guard come through in their boat. He refuses to leave with them, saying, "No, God will save me." The water gets even higher, and he's up on his roof when an Army helicopter comes by and tries to get him. He refuses, saying, "No, God will save me." The man drowns, and stands before God. He says, "God, where were You? I thought You would save me." God looks at the man and says, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter."

I want to do what the Lord wants me to do. I want to do His will. But what is His will? We have prayed, and read, and studied, and I feel we are doing the best thing we can. But I still wonder, are we stepping out on faith, cutting my income this way? Are we doing God's will, trusting in Him to provide financially for our family, and putting our focus on the other, much more important aspects of life? Or is God saying, "I sent you a good job. I have provided for you."

Has he sent me two boats and a helicopter?

I don't think I can know at this point. I am reminded of my very favorite poem, credited Anonymous, which I feel must have been written by someone facing a life-changing decision, and I think it describes where we stand right now:


When you have come to the edge
of all the light you know
and are about to step off
into the darkness of the unknown,

Faith is knowing
one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on,
or you will be taught how to fly.

So, please pray for us, as we step off . . .