Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Open House

When I was a kid our door was always open to our friends. I just always remember my mom being very welcoming to who ever wanted to come over. I remember her giving us money to roller skate down to Hansen's Dairy to get pizzas on a summer night.

I remember kids coming in and out. I don't ever remember my mom saying no about having kids over. I know my mom questions my memories from childhood (I question my memories from childhood), but that I remember as clear as it was yesterday. And it is a great memory. One of the things I want to imitate myself, as a mom.

Of course, we lived in a great neighborhood, with lots of kids of all ages. Back in the day when you would play outside until the streetlights came on. Sometimes even later in the summer.

In our neighborhood now, kids are few and far between. At least my kids' age. There are the few who go to after school care behind the house. And, of course, our family friends who live about a block away. But that is pretty much it.

I would like to think, for the most part, I am very open to having kids over. The majority of the time the parents are like "Are you sure it is OK?" First and foremost, it is a distraction for my kids. But, secondly, I would like for my kids to have the same memory as me, of us having an open house for their friends.

Something that I would like to encourage well into their teen years . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Story Continues

Which I know is no better or worse than anyone else's story. And really, in the big scheme of things, it could be a lot worse ;) But, it is our story and right now it vacillates between amusing and just a tad bit frustrating. Life is definitely messy. Literally and physically ;)

Little Mama and I have been up since 3:30AM. She finally succumbed to the nasty virus. Now, I will admit, I was/am very nervous about the younger ones getting it. It is brutal. Hubby can't ever remember feeling as poorly as he did. I would tend to agree.

But, at 3:30AM LM was a champ. She woke me and said she had to throw up. We went together and she did great. I rubbed her back and talked with her, helping her to relax. She and I laid on the couch together and about an hour later did it again. And that has been it. So far.

I have squirreled her away in our bedroom with a DVD player and all her blankets and stuffed animals. I am a yell away. My goal today is to keep Boop and EG as far away from her as possible. But I fear the damage has been done. We did not take it seriously enough when NG first had it. (In all honesty, we thought it was just exhaustion, which she is prone to.)

Because of our latest phase of sickness, NG is not able to go to horse camp. I could have gotten her there this AM but had no way of picking her up this afternoon. (And I wouldn't have been able to get her there tomorrow or Thurs.) Plus, I was concerned that if she needed to be picked up during the day, I would not be able to go get her. Puking kids and cars just don't go well together in my book.

She seemed disappointed, like she had made up her mind to go. I told her we would look into a different week or talk about getting some lessons over the rest of the summer. Like I said, she seemed visually disappointed but we talked it out and all seems good for the moment.

I know we are not the only family on the planet who is suffering through days of horrible illness. And I am truly thankful that NG, daddy, EG, Boop and I are healthy. But, after 5 full days of this, it has become a huge part of "our story". And I am definitely ready for a newer, healthier chapter . . .

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Development

So, this morning Nature Girl had horse camp. She hasn't been feeling well so we made a big deal about her feeling up to going. What she should do if started to feel puny. We asked numerous times if she felt OK. Of course, her answer was always "yes, I feel fine".

She got a little bit of a late start and didn't eat much breakfast. I was hesitant about her going but didn't want to disappoint her. She and her daddy left the house a little bit behind schedule. When she got to the stable, she went running off and daddy chatted with the one of the owners who he knows through work. The stable is owned by our former babysitter so that helped me in my decision to let her go.

About 20 after 8, my cell phone rang and it was daddy bringing Nature Girl home. Apparently she wasn't feeling well and didn't want to stay. So not like Nature Girl at all. She is all about going and doing. Especially by herself.

I truly feel part of her wanting to come home was that she didn't feel well. But, after further conversation with her, I found out that she was just a little bit uncomfortable because the few girls she remembered from last year didn't remember her. And one girl was a little "unkind". I use quotes because she really wasn't unkind but I guess just wasn't overly friendly and NG was a little confused, I guess, about that. It made her feel uncomfortable. I think it is a feeling she just isn't use to. NG makes friends where ever she goes. And, to her, everyone is her best friend. Having friends just comes naturally, and until now, easy for her.

I think these situations are things that parents hate to have to deal with. At least I do. I remember only to clearly, as a young girl, being odd man out. I hated gym class and lunch hour. I explained to NG that I changed schools a lot growing up and I remember, sometimes, how difficult it was making friends. (It was one of the reason, during VBS, that I made my girls introduce themselves to girls who they didn't recognize.)

I explained that I think fear and being uncomfortable is normal. It is part of being human. What I hoped to get across to her was that fear that keeps you from doing something you really want to do isn't a good way to live life. I wanted her to understand that with prayer and faith and encouragement she could go tomorrow and give it another try.

I don't think I want to push hard for my kids to do things that make them uncomfortable. I think I want them to make that choice on their own. To develop skills and thought processes and faith that she can use, on her own, in all kinds of situations. I won't always be there for every uncomfortable, unkind, scary situation. But, I think, if I take the time now, to talk about them with all my kids, share with them some of my experiences, apply God's word and encourage prayer, there can be some lasting, helpful tools to deal with many of life's experiences.

At least that is my thought process today . . .

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Am

sick. What Nature Girl had/has. Not fun. Was suppose to drive my nephew somewhere so he could travel on. Hubby had to pick up the slack. Feel bad for hubby. I have been useless. Praying no one else gets it. Grandma comes next week . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Missing Link

has been with us for about a week now. It is my nephew, whom the kids absolutely adore! He came to visit us for a little and will be on his way tomorrow morning.

We call him the missing link because we have a dining room table that seats six and when we would pray around the table, holding hands at dinnertime, there was always an open spot. When my nephew came to stay with us last summer Boop proudly proclaimed "No more missing link!"

We have enjoyed him being around. He is such a big help to me. I can go to the grocery store with just one kid. He even gave a bath to the little ones the other night when I was on an important phone call. He plays catch and basketball with Boop and Apples to Apples with all the kids. He is always wrestling, tickling, entertaining them. At times I tell the kids to just give him a break. His response, with a smile, is always "it's OK" or "they're fine".

He has cleaned the porch, helped with organizing storage and a few other odd jobs. He has gone to tumbling and the VBS Parent's Night. It has given hubby someone to talk to about fishing, cars, sports and all sorts of other guy stuff. I know the kids will miss him. I think we will too . . .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Post Today

Up LATE last night watching CWS. VBS this AM, dentist appointments, screaming baby not wanting to take much needed nap, puking oldest child, cleaning storage, need to make dinner and back at church for VBS Family Night. Maybe tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


God is working in my heart and it is making me restless, in a good way. I have become, trying to become more aware of where God is working around me. And join Him. More aware of the fact that when some one looks at me, I really want them to see the love of Christ.

I am really, really interested and excited to see what the next few days and weeks and years are going to bring. I can feel subtle "changes" in my life already . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vaction Bible School

It is that time of year again! VBS! So much work goes into the week long event but, is so worth while. This year we had a new director so things are a little bit different. Not quite so time intensive and no quite so hectic. Which I am totally thankful for.

I am a line leader and all I really had to do was just show up. I can do that! This year I am the line leader for Little Mama's class. And we have 16 little guys. My helper is a family friend's son and neighborhood boy so that is a bonus. In fact, when I knew he was going to be there, I "requested" him.

Our theme is High Seas Adventure and the director and her husband did a fabulous job with decorations and props. I think, so far, my favorite part has been the Bible story time. The lady teaching our age group is an elementary school teacher and she has really made the stories of Peter and Paul come alive for the kids (and for me.)

The kids are busy collecting money for missions in Haiti AND if the girls win they get to throw a pie in the face of our Music Ministry Director and any other male volunteers. If the boys win they get to throw a pie in the face of the VBS Director and any other female volunteers. I am afraid I will have to be one of the "volunteers." Ha, ha!! So, my girls are working extra hard so I don't get a pie in the face!

This year our VBS has really reached out to the community surrounding our church. My class has 4 kids from our church, 5 kids from our church partnership with a summer academic and enrichment program and the rest are neighborhood kids. They are from all walks of life and it is fabulous.

The past two days have been fast, but great. It brings tears to my eyes to hear the kids ask and answer questions about the people they are learning about in the Bible. And how in awe they are to learn about Paul and Peter's great faith in God.

Day three tomorrow. Parents night Thursday and then the final day and clean up on Friday. By Friday the kids and I are totally wore out. But, none of us would miss this summer time tradition of growing, learning and sharing our faith for anything . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Maiden Voyage

I have been trying all day to write a synopsis of our great camping trip. But, there is so much to write and just not enough time. (OK so we had VBS this morning and laundry to the ceiling and our nephew is visiting and hubby took the day off AND FSU's CWS game.) So, I am going to post pictures and highlights. Hopefully, in years to come, that will be enough to jog our memory of the maiden voyage of "Angel." (What we decided to name the camper.)

Highlight 1: It took us AT LEAST 45 minutes to get out of the backyard. It was like threading a needle. Hubby was very, very patient but came very, very close to taking a chainsaw to the fence!

Highlight 2: Hubby and I make a pretty good team.

Highlight 3: The campsite we were assigned was not meant for a 29 foot travel trailer, at least not one on it's maiden voyage. But everyone there promised us it would never again be that difficult getting into a campsite.

Highlight 4: My kids and my hubby meet friends everywhere. No one is a stranger. And our camping trip was no exception.

Highlight 6: Our "neighbors" were from the town where my hubby goes hunting every year.

Highlight 7: Our site was RIGHT ON the beach.

Highlight 8: We love our new camper and all of its little extras. (Even though I said we wouldn't use any of them and ended up using most of them. ;)

Highlight 9: Celebrated our "neighbor's" daughter's 5th birthday with them by grilling out together and having brownie birthday cake.

Highlight 10: Took our "baths" in the pool.

Highlight 11: Caught jellyfish, 3 types of crabs and baby shrimp.

Highlight 12: The kids got to go jet skiing. And so did daddy. Camping people are really, very, hospitable.

Highlight 13: Getting out of the campsite was just as hard, if not harder, than getting in. Camping people are really, very, helpful.

Highlight 14: Next time hubby will take off the Monday so we can stay longer.

Highlight 15: We can't wait to do it again!

I am positive there is more. My brain is in overload just thinking about it all. I really, really am blessed just by the mere fact they were are able to do this together as a family. AND, that we had a great time doing it . . .

Friday, June 18, 2010

Maiden Voyage

Yes, today is the day. We are leaving after lunch to drive a couple hours to the beach for our very first camping experience in our Titanic of a camper. Last night I was laying awake trying to figure out how the heck we are going to get it out of our backyard. It was the first question I asked hubby this morning! He assured me it will be no problem.

We started packing it yesterday. We got all the dishes and linens and sleeping bags ready. It is kind of cool because, instead of packing suitcases, we just get our clothes and stuff ready, and put it in storage areas and closets and cabinets in the camper. The kids made their beds with their pillows and stuffed animals. We are bringing the minimal amount of "stuff" this trip, just to see how it goes. And, to see what we really need.

For Father's Day, though, I did buy hubby and I matching coffee cups that are made out of a blue speckled porcelain. (At least I think that is what they are made out of.) Someday he would like a whole set of dishes just like that.

Well, I could go on and on because I (we) are so excited. BUT, we have food and swimsuits and fishing poles and a camera to pack. Be back on Monday. Gone campin' . . .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Kids

Today I am bragging on my kids, just a little bit! Little Mama hurt her knee at tumbling last night. And could not walk on it. She had to take a pain reliever and have it iced down. She was as brave as she could be! And was a real trooper!

What impressed me incredibly, though, was how Boop and Nature Girl rallied around her. For the rest of the night, she wanted for nothing. If it was a bag of frozen broccoli she needed to put on her knee, Boop pulled the stool to the freezer and got it. When her dinner plate needed to be put in the kitchen someone was there to take care of it. If she needed help getting on the couch, she didn't need to ask, someone just helped.

Nature Girl slept in her bed with her. I guess just to be there for her.

One thing I seem to "harp" on all day, is the willingness to see someone's need and be willing to help. So, it was kind of cool to see it in action. With no prompting from me!

Of course, this morning they are fighting over the remote. But, to quote Linda Faye from Higher Up and Further In (one of my favorite blogs), "One step at a time." . . .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slug A Bug

Did you ever play that as a child? My brother and I did. And, thanks to VW's new commercial, my kids are playing it too. And, I have to admit, I get in on the action as well. We have changed the rules a little bit. We actually "slug a bug" for any VW. It doesn't necessarily have to be a "bug."

It seems like we have been spending a lot of time in the car. Short trips. Traveling to swimming and tumbling, etc., etc. And it has been a great distraction. I will admit, arguments have broken out because two kids say it at the same time, or they say the wrong color, or hit too hard. But, I try to use those little disagreements to teach good sportsmanship, remembering it is just a game and thinking of others first. (It is amazing to me how all of life is so full of teaching moments!)

Anyway, EG has even got in on the game. She will sit in her carseat and yell "Boo on." (Blue one.) And then right afterwards will say "weeer?" (Where?) It is so darn cute. I will say "blue one" just to hear her say "weeer?"

The other day they were talking about the game on the radio station and how some of the announcers (or whatever you call them) had never heard of the game. That blows my mind. I figured they were probably mid to late 20s.

I love when the kids take an interest in something I did as a kid. Even something as silly as "slug a bug" . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lunch Date

Today daddy took Nature Girl out to lunch. They went and had wings and watched the Super Regionals. They both ate way too much. Afterwards they went to Barnes and Noble. I think the perfect date for NG . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All Things Fluttery

Yesterday we took a great trip to a Butterfly Rainforest. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive and a friend and I took the seven kids for a field trip. And, as I mentioned yesterday, it was well worth it!

The kids learned some new things and got to talk a little bit about things they already knew. And I was so amazed at how much there was to do with butterflies. We went in a huge screened area with hundreds of different butterflies. Not all native to our state. The kids stood still, waiting patiently for one to land on them. And, I think, everyone was able to experience that.

There were all types of butterfly flowers, birds, fish and even a family of turtles. I was most surprised by the birds, black and orange weaver finch, a zebra finch and a family of quail (which I never did see.)

We also got to see the butterfly "nursery" and many of the butterflies were coming out of their chrysalis's. They also had a wall of flight in which hung many, many different types of butterflies, both pictures and real exhibits, from all over the world. They even had a "laboratory" were we could watch "butterfly scientist" doing butterfly "stuff."

As an added bonus, there was a really great history museum. We were able to learn a little bit about our state's prehistoric history and a little bit of our topography.

We stopped for lunch on the way home. The kids did great. We did great. So glad we made the effort. . .

Friday, June 11, 2010

Butterflies, Butterflies, Butterflies

A friend and I took our 7 kids on a 2 1/2 hour car ride/field trip to the Butterfly Rainforest. It was well worth the trip. More about butterflies (and pictures) tomorrow . . .

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alone Time

The girls spent the night with their cousin last night. Boop says "I am going to miss you, girlies." And he did, and does. But, the great part about Boop is, he plays by himself really well!

During rest time he gets out his cars or his trucks and plays for at least an hour just sitting on the couch or on the floor or in my bed. He talks to himself and occasionally will ask me to look at what he is doing or ask a question.

He has been getting up real early lately, right in the middle of my quiet time. I chat with him for a minute or two and then explain it is my quiet time and he needs to find something quiet to do while he sits or lays on the couch with me.

The last few mornings, he asks for a piece of paper and asks me to draw a garbage truck or a pool or something like that. Then he finishes the picture and colors it. Just hanging with me.

One would think, with two older siblings and one younger sibling, playing by himself would be a problem. But, thankfully it just isn't so . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Look

Yesterday, at tumbling, I finally got "the look." You know the look, the one that says "Lady, can't you control your child." I know, I have given it before! In all honesty I have probably gotten it before too, just never noticed. ;)

She was sitting, by herself, in the stands at tumbling, reading her book while all of her children tumbled. EG was running down the ramp to the tumbling floor. As I tried to reach for her, to pick her up and move her to where she should be "She went boneless." or "Se convirtio en un trapo." to quote Knuffle Bunny or El Conejito Knuffle, which ever language you prefer (one of my favorite books by the way).

Anyway, as I was responding to the tumbling coach who was yelling "run away baby." I looked up and saw, the lady, just staring, her eyes speaking volumes to my parenting skills. (I am probably over sensitive.)

We had been to swimming in the morning, Target after that. Home to make lunch, make muffins, clean up, a 45 minutes nap for EG and back to tumbling for our 2 1/2 hour stint. Not that I making excuses for my little angel, but that was a lot for me to deal with, much less my very vocal, animated, willful 18 mos old, who truly believes, in her very being, that the whole world is her very own playground and everyone in it her very own playmate.

I know the look, as I said, I have given it before. I am going to work very hard at not giving it again . . . ;)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Swimming Lessons

It is that time of year again. Swimming lessons. This will be the last year for Nature Girl and Little Mama. Boop could use another year. But, all in all, every one swims really, really well.

Boop got up yesterday and said "Girlies, are you excited to go to swimming lessons?" Aahhh, the enthusiasm of youth . . .

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pawn Stars

It is Monday night and that means Pawn Stars. It is on the History Channel, I think, and I love it! At first, it was just one of those shows that Hubby would put on and I would verbally groan. Now, he turns it on, Monday's at 10, and I can't wait to see what the people are going to bring in.

I love the owner (well, part owner, it is family owned) of the pawn shop, Rick. He is so knowledgeable about so many things. I guess he would have to be, considering all the junk and treasure that are brought to him. My favorite shows are ones where someone brings in a piece of history and he has to determine whether or not it is a fake.

I always wonder why the people are so willing to part with their antique, been in the family for generations, treasures . . .

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garage Sale

Back in April our subdivision had its annual garage sale. In the past we have participated a time or two. Now, we just walk around looking for tools for daddy.

This year, the girls got wind of it and wanted to sell some stuff. I told them that whatever they wanted to do they could do, but they were on their own. I was not going to help, at all. Not that I wanted to discourage them, but I just didn't want to add anything to my ever growing to-do list.

So, the night before, the girls got out a bunch of stuff they wanted to sell. Then, they priced it. And put it in neat little stacks in their room. The next morning, at the crack of dawn, they got out a table and merchandised their wares. They talked Grandma into minding the store while we took a look around the neighborhood. By the time we got back, the girls (Grandma) had already sold a couple coins worth of stuff!

The girls spent the rest of the morning chatting with buyers and enjoying the spring day. I would go out and check on them occasionally. I encouraged them to chat with the people that stopped by. At one point, I think Boop even brought one or two things out to sell.

I don't remember exactly how much they made. But, I do remember being shocked at how much they sold! And, I did not do a thing. I was pretty proud of my little entrepreneurs . . .

Friday, June 4, 2010

School Daze

We are "done" for the "summer." I put the two words in quotes because "done" means we will not have a set school time but I do plan on doing Bible and quiet time and math and some read alouds and encourage free reading on most days. But, nothing is set in stone and it can be altered at anytime. No pressure to perform.

Summer is in quotes because we are only taking about 6 weeks off. The kids wrinkle their noses when I mention this. But, as I tell them, our summer vacation is spread out through the entire school year. We miss many days during the school year to go to Grandma's or family trips or to do fun things. In the past, we have taken 2 months off around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, we gotta make up those days somewhere.

Plus, for me, about 6 weeks of freedom is enough. We do our swimming lessons, horse camp and VBS. After all those things are done, we have a week or two to hang out. Then everyone starts to get restless. It works best if we have some type of routine every day. Less bickering, less impatience, less "I'm bored." And we start back when it really is oppressively hot here. So, when the nicer, cooler days come along, we can enjoy them.

Nature Girl will deny it, but yesterday she said "I am going to miss school, a little bit." Of course she went on to clarify that she will not miss math and copywork but, all the really great books we read together . . .

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Faith of a Child

My kids have made friends with the kids who go to after school care right behind our house. They exchange notes and play games or have water fights over the fences. We have had them over a time or two to jump on the trampoline and they all enjoy playing together and get along pretty well.

Yesterday, the kids made the effort to invite one of the girls and her mom to Wednesday night service. They came in all excited, needing me to write the directions to the church etc. When we arrived at church, there was their friend and her mom sitting in the second row! I have to admit, I was kind of surprised but very happy for the kids.

A couple of weeks ago, a special family from our church was commissioned to be missionaries in China. Over the course of the last couple years, the family has become very special to us. Four of their adult children will stay in the states and they will take the younger 5. They leave at the end of July and will be totally dependant on God for their every need.

The following Monday, after the commissioning ceremony, as we were praying for this family, Boop took it upon himself to gather money to send to the family. Of course, the girls were then motivated to gather some of their pennies as well.

Aahh, the faith of a child to follow God's so subtle promptings . . .

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Sign of Things to Come

The kids and I were at the park the other day. As we were walking around the lake, we passed a young mother with a boy just about EG's age. She and I slowed down so the babies could look at each other.

I smiled at the mom and said to EG "Can you say hi to the little boy?" The young mom kind of paused, looked at me and said in a very low voice "I think she just rolled her eyes at you."

That did not surprise me at all . . .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's All About Choice

And personal responsibility. Daddy came to me last night and said "Did you hear, they want to change the shape of a hot dog?" Yes, I had heard that. And, it makes my blood boil. I am one of those who believes that we were given the right to choose the direction and path of our lives. Some decisions we make are bad and we have to live with the consequences and some choices are good and we get to live with those consequences as well.

Are we not smart enough to make decisions for ourselves?? I guess the answer could be "No, there are some out there who can't/won't make those decisions for themselves." And, I guess, that is a reality. But, should the rest of us have to live our lives a certain way because the minority can't/won't use common sense? Ultimately taking away our personal freedom of choice??

I wear my seat belt. If I rode a motorcycle, I would wear a helmet. When I give my child a hot dog, I cut it up into small pieces so she won't choke. I don't need someone to make those decisions or choices for me. And, if I choose not to do those things, then I need to prepare myself for the consequences.

When we strip individuals of choices and responsibilities we make people lazy and weak and irresponsible. And that cannot be good for society as a whole. We are raising the next generation. I want the next generation to understand choice, responsibility and consequences. The next generation are our soldiers, doctors, lawyers, presidents.

I do my best to allow natural consequences in our home. Some times it is painful for me to watch. Sometimes I want to help my kids get out of a jam. And, honestly, sometimes I do. But, for the most part, I try to let things just happen. They have to pay restitution for items broken. They have to ask for forgiveness for personal offenses. They have to own up to their deceit. I don't want my kids growing up thinking someone else is going to take the heat, pick up the slack. That they can blame others for their choices. I don't believe my kids will wake up when their 18 and suddenly become responsible adults. It is something I need to teach along the way.

I have no doubt as they get older the consequences of their choices are going to be very painful. For them and for me. And I hope and pray that I can continue to let them grow and mature, learning and growing in responsibility.

But, for now, we will wear our seat belts and helmets and cut up our hot dogs. Not because some one tells us to. But because we do not want to suffer the consequences of the alternative . . .