Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

I live for the days I get to have....

Granny's brown beans (simmered all day)
her cornbread muffins (great with butter)
pan fried potatoes
and time with this lady (wearing Ellie's Limited TOO hat). At 97, she still serves us. There really are no words. It's astounding.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monkey Business

Last night, we went to the state fair. Yes, it can be a bit on the diverse side. But going to the fair always provides for interesting moments.

This particular moment was provided by Luke, Ellie, and a man with a monkey.

As we were standing in line to buy our annual pork chop sandwiches, a man walked by who had a pet monkey. A small pet monkey who was riding on his shoulders. I don't know who the man was or if he worked there, but he just kind of loitered around the area for awhile, not necessarily trying to gain attention.

Well, attention he did get from my kiddos. They stood from afar, just staring at this spectacle. It was such a cute monkey, and I think he had some clothes and a hat on.

Then, Luke leaned over to me and whispered out of the side of his mouth (as not to let the man with the monkey hear him): "Mom.... does that man know that he has a monkey on his back?"

Before I could answer, Ellie rolled her eyes and responded with incredulity, "Luke, don't you know what he does? He is a MONKEY-TAMER." As though being a monkey tamer was just as common at a fair as a ride operator.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This morning, Luke had no more stood up and wiped the sleep from his eyes when he reported urgently, "I have to throw up." Ugh, I thought. The truth was, it felt like I needed to throw up too. A vague feeling of nausea had turned into feeling like a brick was in my stomach and my day of errands was to be no more.

Instead, I spent the morning helping Luke with throw up target practice. He's still at that stage where he may or not make it to the toilet... and when there is (fairly) new carpet at stake, that doesn't go over well with Mama. I tried to talk to him about recognizing the feeling before it came, and how to make a beeline to the bathroom as NOT to throw up on the carpet. Even the wood floors were better than the carpet! I did have the emergency trash can available just in case. However, Luke didn't seem too impressed with my dissertation on why I didn't want to have to clean up chunks out of the frieze.

What did seem to grab his attention was when I opened up a Lego set that I had saved for a rainy day (or sick day !) I pulled all the shiny, new pieces out and he lovingly sorted them by color one by one. He then reported with determination, "mama... I will DEFINITELY NOT, I mean NO WAY will I even throw up on these legos. I will recognize that feeling and run to the bathroom, but I WILL not throw up on these Legos."

Priorities: for me, it's the carpet.... and him... well, the legos. Maybe I'll just sprinkle some legos on the carpet next time! For the record, no carpet or legos were harmed today.

One more funny (and a bit upsetting) thing... as he was throwing up this morning (the first time), he managed to ask between heaves: "Do I get to miss school today?" And tonight he said he would rather be sick than go to kindergarten. Yeah.... especially when you get to play with Legos.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ellie is Eight

Our Wonderful, Beautiful, Outgoing, Hilarious, Thoughtful, Sensitive, Original, Adventurous, Independent, Loving, Curious, Spiritual, Precious, Grown-up Eight Year Old. My My, The Time Just Goes a-flyin' by.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Simple Words that Say A Lot

"I praise God that my hope is in Him and not in the stock market. " - from Margo

"I'm just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary God." - from

-from a friend's private blog

I can't help myself: I keep getting
inspired! Thank you for all for writing such uplifting things that remind us of our place in the universe, and how our God is one magnificent, powerful, loving God. You are all such examples of excellence!

I Love All Things Fall

I do, I really really do.

Warm sweaters,
hot chocolate,
orange pumpkins,
Multicolored leaves,
Darkness coming early,
chill in the air,
The smell of burning wood,
Homey get-togethers,

I just love it all. It's so darn cozy! And I like to be cozy.

There's just nothin' I don't like about this season.

But in my family, I am alone in my devotion to the fall season.
I'm sorry, fall, to tell you... that no one in this homestead likes you much.

Kami and Tom are summer lovers - more hours of light = more hours of sports. It's that simple.

Luke says that he loves summer too. Swimming, running, jumping, playing... all done better in summer.

And I had to laugh today while I looked through Ellie's papers. As it grows cooler and the days shrink, all I can think about is F-A-L-L! But Ellie's composition for the day? It is called "Spring."

I like Spring because flowers start to grow and all the pretty butuerflys come out and its a perfect time to spend time with my mom and dad. Me and my dad can go fishing. Me and my mom can go minow catching with my frind Savanna. Spring is a wonderful season.

Yes, it is, but until it gets here, I am going to jump headfirst into the big pile of leaves called FALL.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Complexities of Life

Lately, I have been a bit bogged down by the complex issues of life that just can't be avoided.

Job Stressors
Financial Decisions
Raising Children


School Pictures

What happened to the good old days when you sat down and they snapped your picture and you got a bazillion pictures to share with your friends for 5.95? The big 8X10 pic was always saved by mom, the 5X7 and 3X5's given to relatives, especially grandparents, and the wallets... oooh, I loved that day when I could cut them all apart and write a message on the back in an ink pen. Then, I would covet each and every picture that was given to me, read and reread the message on back (especially if it was from a boy) and save them for years!

Ahhh, simplicity.

Now, getting that order form in the backpack just gives me a headache.
The decisions, The pressure, the financial commitment!!

I must decide....

What Package - Several to choose from ranging from $62.00 down to $11.00, but I'm telling you, they make that $11.00 one really hard to find, and when you do finally locate it on the order sheet, you have to decipher that it comes only 2 3X5's and 4 wallets.

What Background - Gray, Blue, Purple, Green, Amber

and new this year
What Pose!

Pose 1 - arms crossed, cropped at waist
Pose 2- arms crossed, leaning forward, cropped at elbows
Pose 3 - same as above, cropped at chest
Pose 4 - same as above, cropped like a close up

Then, I can opt for Retouching (I guess it's handy in the acne years)

and I can pay extra to add my Child's Name on the pictures.

or if I'd like, I can add purchase separately different Add Ons, such as a CD of the image (only $25.00 gasp) and that good old 8X10.

You can see clearly the difficulty I'm facing. It's mind boggling.

One perk? They give you a free SmileSafe Kids Safety Card and 24/7 Rapid Response Card.

Hmmm..... that sounds a bit complex too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Daddy's Gap Shorts = $40, Two Little Girls Going on Twenty - $40,000, Same Girls in Daddy's Shorts = Priceless

We have a Winner!

I had the hardest time picking one.

I thought Amanda's "Joined at the Hip" was so simple and appropriate!

and Dawn's "Dad's shorts - Loads of Fun" .... very cute too!

Chere's "Belle-Bottom Friends" was something I never would have thought of ....
and Amber's "There's no shorts too small (or big) for a pair of friends" was very sweet!

I was in a terrible quandry. How do I pick a winner from all my blogofriends?

So, I didn't.
I couldn't!

I called the mom of the other girl who was in the shorts, a dear friend. She is unbiased and fair as they come. She is a kindergarten teacher... that helps explain it. And I told her to pick HER favorite post title.
So..... Ashley, you are the proud winner of a personalized clipboard. I have a feeling YOUR creativity NEVER dries up!!! Thanks for participating everyone. I had a lot of fun reading all the titles.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Stuff of Life

In the Freshman Comp I class I am teaching right now, I gave the students this assignment:

"Write an essay that captures a moment in your childhood that symbolizes for you, the essence of childhood. Tell the story of this chosen moment, selecting events and details that will clearly communicate to your reader the specific details of this sliver of time."

The results are astounding. Intriguing. Familiar. Heartbreaking. Touching. Nostalgic. I wish I could bind them all into a big book: Childhood Crystalized.

The narrations fall into one of these categories:

*Practical jokes gone wrong (locking little brother in the shed in 95 degree weather)
*Moments of fright or danger (falling from a tree, remembering the moment JFK was shot)
*A loss (dog hit by car, accidentally shooting a bluebird)
*A moment of victory (hitting the game winning shot)

But by far, most of the assignments focus on one thing:
the ordinary, seemingly insignificant moments of life.

*planting watermelons in the garden with Grandpa
*fishing at the pond with a friend
*cooking pie with Mom
*kicking an old bottle around on the street with neigbors
*walking to school in the snow
*going with Grandpa to the nursing home to visit Grandma
*riding bikes in the park with Dad
*riding in the backseat of the car with mom at the wheel

This is the stuff of life. And it's the stuff that my kids are going to remember. The everyday, ordinary moments. I want to appreciate the moments more, and hurry them less. I want to breathe them in and get less frustrated by them. I want to remember that I am writing memories into my kiddos everyday, every hour.

What is a moment in your childhood that you still remember? A moment that kind of sums up childhood for you?

Me? It's riding go-karts with my sister in the pasture, the sweet smell of dirt and hay in my nostirls. Chasing each other dangerously around the lake, the sound of cows and birds constantly in the background. Billowing clouds. Bugs crunching. The occasional sight of a snake. Feeling free, being loved. That is the stuff of my life.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Motherhood 101

When I look at brand new moms these days, they look like babies themselves. Am I the only one who has noticed this??? It makes me wonder ...was I really that young when I had my first child? Just thinkin' I was ever so grown up, but in truth, still such a baby....??? Well, at 29, I wasn't exactly a spring chicken, but looking at pictures.... yeah... I was young.

It reminds me exactly how much I have grown. Yes, older, but more than that, as a person....as a mother.

I was tagged by Dawn from Dawn's Diversions to blog about some lessons from motherhood.... so first, I thank her for choosing me!!!...because I have spent the last few days really wrestling with this topic.... when I wouldn't have otherwise. I have gone round and round with myself in my mind thinking of lessons I've learned:

*The simple: Love your children but don't smother them
*The medical: The miracle of Mylicon
*The embarrassing: Your children will repeat anything you say!
*The practical: Establish a great bedtime routine
*The emotional: Sometimes, Moms need timeouts too.
*The boy lessons: Boys will be boys, so let 'em!
*The girl lessons: Girls will be girls, so watch out!
*The lesson my mom taught me: Love, and when you get tired, love some more.
*The lesson my Granny taught me: This world is not our home. Let your kids know it

But the most significant lesson I've learned may be this one:

God has given me these child to raise. They are just on loan! They belong to Him... they are his precious creation that He trusted me with.

It is a hard one to learn.

At some point while the kids were young, I became fearful... I mean really, deeply fearful about their well being and future. I have worried painfully about everything from making the soccer team to being in class with the right people. I obsessed over molluscums and when in the heck they would go away. I worried if I was giving him the right medicine? Too much, not enough? Is she growing properly? Am I stunting her growth? What about those wild eye brows? Will she be made fun of because of that? How many words is she supposed to say at one year? Omigoodness, she's not even close! And this list could drone on and on forever and go into much darker areas.

Now, as a mom, I am on detail patrol, and that's how God made us moms. It's when we get too focused on these issues and/or we try to control them that I learned it becomes a problem.

Two things that have made a difference for me....

1) God has given me these children to raise. And at the end of the day, they are all His. And there is great freedom in that understanding. I could put my children on house arrest to protect them from the outside world, but is that really what is right for them? I have to trust God to watch over them physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I will always pray that prayer for them, and will try to step back and turn their little lives over to a great big God who loves them far more than I can even imagine.

2) I can read book after book and consult expert after expert, but God is the giver of true wisdom. I simply cannot do this job without him. I may think I can, but I soon learn, that NO, I need Him to give me energy, strength, wisdom, and help in general.

The funny thing is that when I am really living in these truths is when one of my kiddos will start going through a hard time and I'm like... why God? One time, after seeing Kami at lunch with her "friends" (they weren't very nice to her), I came home and sobbed my eyes out for 2 hours. I am not kidding. But I realize that God is molding and shaping her too. My impulse is to protect her from the pain, but I see that I shouldn't deprive her of the lesson, and I thank God that He is teaching her.

There is nothing in the world like being a mom. It is my favorite thing I have ever done. Even on days like this when I get MORE emails about my son, I have to give it to Him. In fact, this is a perfect day to do it. God, this is YOUR boy! You made him headstrong and full of life. You take this child and mold him. You change the parts of his heart that need changing. Now, I'm going to close my eyes and get a good night's sleep.

Oh yeah, I am tagging a few fellow bloggers now....

Amanda @ Herrold Collection because she is such a faithful blogger...

Michelle @ The Froggy Bottom Blog because I have enjoyed reading her blog...

and Traci @ Something Singapore because I miss her!

What to do: share with us and your readers a lesson that you learned from your own mom, a special mom in your life, or while raising your own children. There’s no right or wrong answer ….just lessons that each of us can learn and implement with our own children. It can be very simple!!! Link your post back to this blog, leave a comment below so we can visit and learn from you, and then tag 2-3 other moms to participate. (if you are not up to this right now, just let me know and I will pass it on to someone else!)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cute Post Title Goes Here

I don't know what it is...... if it's just the busyness of life right now... but my creativity has evaporated. It's just gone. It seems like all I can do to make sure lunches are packed, pick up my children at the right time, keep straight all the scheduled practices, prepare for teaching my English classes and just deal with all the details. Sweeping off the front porch or straightening up my closet seems to be a major accomplishment. So, finding the brain power to think of a post title for this picture series is just overwhelming me. It should be easy! Here I have two precious friends who spontaneously jumped into a pair of daddy's shorts and walked around and ate dinner in them. Too cute! But I am sitting here staring at the computer thinking of things like this...

*Long Friendship in Daddy's Shorts (hmmmmm.....terrible)
*4 Buns in an Oven (what oven?)
*A Friend in Shorts is a Friend Indeed (this makes no sense)

My friends, this is bad. I need some serious help. Is this as hard as I'm making it? I cannot think of anything! Therefore, I kindly ask you to leave a comment with a post title.And since I've never openly asked for comments, I'm a little nervous and am going to offer one of my creative clipboards as a thank-you for the person with the cutest title. Maybe, just maybe, making the clipboard and a little title inspiration from you will help me get my creative groove back!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I have a new person in blogosphere who keeps me entertained. Her latest post on Labor Day cracked me up. A few days before that, she posted about Yearbook Yourself, a site that lets you picture how you would have looked in decades gone by. You just upload a pic, fiddle with it a bit and you are instantly transformed into June Cleaver or Madonna. The results were just so stinking true that it made my skin crawl while simultaneously feeling like I may pee my pants. So, in the spirit of self humiliation (I seem to do that a lot!) here are the pics.... 1952 - This one kind of freaks me out. It looks sorta real.

1958 - Sweet - I really think I could've dug living in this era

1960 - Lookin' a little like Judy?

1962 - What were they thinking?

1966 - I only know one person in real life who has this much hair! Chere! I'm so jealous of her awesome hair.

1972 - Hmmm... Hairstyles Gone Wrong?

1974 - Smooth and Silky

1976 - I think my hair looked like this in 1980... I was just a few years behind the styles..

1984 - Get into the Groove

1986 - Huh?

1990 - my sister's hair style in 1990 - I can see her in her Homecoming Queen dress looking like a beauty

1994 - I have a picture of myself that looks EXCATLY like this. Actually several dozen pictures. I wore my hair like this for years. Still do, sometimes. I just can't get over the big hair look

2000 - I don't remember this style, do you? Blech!

I haven't told Tom that they have a guy's version. Hee hee!! He may find out the hard way.

Boy Advice - (WFMW Backwards Edition)

If you've read this blog for long, you may know about our boy. Our gritty, grumpy and garrulous five year old boy.

He has a lot of gusto.

I know they all do, those testosterone-filled-little-works-of-God.

but I have had moms of boys say to me,
whew... that one... he's got more testosterone than usual!

And I think he does.

Poor guy, he's got two big sisters and 3 precious princess cousins and his way of saying hello is to push them over and then tackle them. With 5 little females, that gets him into trouble.

I'll tell you what he really needs is a brother. But that would require somewhat of a reversal if you know what I mean.

His teacher sent me an email today. It wasn't great news. He is loud. (I know.) He can't keep his hands to himself (Yep. That's true too.) And he likes to stick his tongue out a lot. (We keep working on that!)

I love him madly. With every fiber of my being, I want him to grow into a strong man who loves the Lord. I get down and pray over him (when he's asleep mind you; otherwise, I might get head-butted.) We do firmly believe that God will guide him and bless him and help him to see that other people have something called feelings.

But between now and then, what I need from you Works For Me Wednesday readers (and anyone else!) is some Boy Advice. Just some little nuggets of practical encouragement for us and our Rough and Tough Boy. How do we make it through the Rough and Tough days? Books you've read? Scriptures you've prayed? Mantras you've followed? Humor you've relied on? Reward systems you've utilized? Approaches you've tried? Ways to get through to his thick noggin???

Thanks for your input. In about 15 years, Luke should thank you too.