Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Tooth Fairy

Oops! I didn't mean for a week to go by with no new news. Well, there really is no news. We're sick. I don't think Sam has left the house in seven days...I'm not sure about everyone's all a blur. Just yesterday I was considering myself such a stud-mom germ-resistor, because with all these sicknesses I hadn't felt one symptom. I'm sure you know what's coming.....I woke up achy and feeling like my face was being squeezed in. Pride cometh before a fall. So I haven't had the camera out much this week. I'm not even sure where it is. Anyway, I like to go through old pictures on the computer, and some of them just bring back the greatest memories. This picture isn't too old...from last fall. Joe lost three or four teeth last fall, and this one he really wanted Dad to pull out with the pliers. I have no idea why, but that's what he wanted. He was so excited! Isn't this a great picture? That brings us to the issue of the tooth fairy. Our house has a tooth fairy, but we really need a replacement. Our tooth fairy is completely incompetent. I don't know if any of our kids have ever been visited by the tooth fairy on the actual night when they put the tooth under the pillow. They used to come downstairs the next morning in tears, and I would have to explain that sometimes the tooth fairy has a really busy night, and they should just leave the tooth under the pillow and check later. For a while, it seemed like she would show up within a few hours, but lately it seems like it's taking days..sometimes longer! Every now and then she will leave a note of apology and even an extra quarter or two for the mental suffering. Now I don't even hear about it if she doesn't show up. They might say, "Mom, the tooth fairy never came when I left my tooth under my pillow last month." But it's sort of matter-of-fact, not really an issue of personal strife. Janie has asked me for years if I'm the tooth fairy, and I always say, "Don't you think I would KNOW if I was the tooth fairy??" So I don't know. Maybe we should get a MAN tooth fairy. Maybe he'd get the job done a little more efficiently...none of this procrastination nonsense. I don't know if he'd be a cheapskate or if he'd be more generous than our current fairy. Peter hasn't started losing teeth yet, and maybe he's accustomed to hearing about the tooth fairy being late all the time. Either way, I suppose it's just one more thing they'll discuss in therapy twenty years from now. By then, our tooth fairy will be long retired. :( And I'm sure she'll miss those precious days!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This picture has nothing to do with today, but I love it. It was taken over three years ago during the "cowboy" phase. The birthday that year was "cowboy" (complete with an outline of the state of Texas on the cake), most outfit choices were "cowboy", all drawings were of cowboys, horses, cacti, and tumbleweed. I think this is one of the most precious pictures ever taken! We are so over the cowboy phase now. Since then, we've had pirate, samurai, Indiana Jones, football player, and soldier. We're currently on soldier, but not too long past football player (football season being over now and all). Today we are all about camouflage and questions about enlisting in which branch of the military. Or which NFL team will draft him. (There is always a little overlap of interests.) I love how boys go all out, over-drive on their interests....completely one-track-minded about it. Then one day it's all done and we're on full-throttle to the next thing and "Mom, I'm not into pirates anymore". Moms have to be on their toes. Seriously.

Sigh...this picture brings a huge smile to my face and makes me wonder what my passionate first son will be captivated by next!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This week, in honor of Presidents Day, I had Janie and Sam do a little research on the U.S. president of their choice. I didn't think we'd spend a lot of time on it.....just a few facts.....just enough to make me feel better that on the actual Presidents Day, I slept in, helped my husband with kitchen plumbing, and let my kids watch cartoons. If I was a really good homeschooler, I would have taken a day trip to Springfield, IL. Nope. Phineas and Ferb. Spongebob. A Bug's Life. Anyway, a major trap homeschooling mothers fall into is feeling the need to make the child learn more than they actually need to.......go overboard. So I found myself trying to explain the League of Nations (Wilson, Janie's pick) and trustbusters (T. Roosevelt, Sam's pick) and getting really frustrated that they couldn't put these concepts into their own words and write about it!!!! For the record, I totally had to ask Tim to explain these things first to me so I could sound like I had a clue. My lack of history knowledge makes my husband shudder. So this picture of Janie, although taken last fall, is a great visual of their faces as I tried to make "isoloationism" and "industrial monopolies" mean something to them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

God-given gifts

About once or twice a week, I'm asked the question, "Mom, how old do I have to be to babysit?" or "Mom, how old do I have to be to take a babysitting class?" or "Mom, how old do I have to be to babysit just during the day?". It's funny that the boys have never uttered such questions. :) This girl loves to take care of little ones. She is my right hand when it comes to having extra little ones at our house. She thrives on being given these types of responsibilities. Wasn't it just yesterday when SHE was the one being held? That makes my heart ache just a little bit....but my heart swells watching a young woman in the making....God's plan unfolding day by day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's 11:11pm. The kids are asleep. Over the Rhine is playing on the ipod. I just finished cooking roasted garlic mashed potatoes, Tim is finishing up with the pan-fried ribeye steak (recipes from the - amazing.). This is exactly how I would choose to spend Valentine's Day. This morning we slept in, then took the kids out for doughnuts. On a whim, we decided to make heart-shaped cookies and deliver them to all the grandparents. Then we came home and made a heart-shaped pizza for the kids and watched "the Bee Movie" with the kids. No obligations today....just doing things for the fun of it. I do love Valentine's Day...because you get to say "I love you" just for the sake of saying it. Tim and Janie brought home these flowers from the store today, and they are so lovely and cheerful. See that beautiful fuscia Gerbera daisy on the left? When we got home from our cookie-delivering trip, we found every single one of its petals scattered on the table. It was either Henry or Charlotte (our best guess is Charlotte...she's sneaky like that). Sigh. Oh, well...the rest of the flowers are still lovely and cheerful! You won't find many things at our house that stay new and perfect for very long......and this condition I would also choose any day of the week! It's now 11:25pm, and our Valentine's Day dinner is ready...........candles lit, great songs on, and my best friend sitting by me at the table. Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

more February...

Okay, I really do love Valentine's Day. I love that it's a special occasion just for the sole purpose of saying "I love you". Just because. I love doing something special as a family and then having an "at home" date night after the kids are in bed. I love making heart shaped cookies and letting the kids frost them and pile the sprinkles on. When I was little, my mom always made a heart-shaped meatloaf on Valentine's Day. Some might find that a little odd.....a big lump of red meat and ketchup molded into a heart shape. Okay, it IS odd. But that's what we did. It's a great memory. I loved it. Life was so simple.

My children will be attending a Valentine's Day party with many other homeschoolers on Friday. For the past two years, Janie and Sam attended a school where the class sizes were less than 20. The whole valentine exchange thing was pretty do-able. However, this year all four of the kids will be attending this party.....with 50 other children. Yes, that's right....FIFTY. Now, before your head starts to spin - as mine did- at the thought of coming up with TWO HUNDRED valentines...I am happy and ever so grateful to report that the other moms in charge of the party also thought this was a little crazy. So we've pared it down to each child bringing 30 valentines. A relief, yes, but this still means 120 valentines. I was trying to think of an easy and creative and not-too-lame-looking way to make homemade ones, but finally went for easy and just bought them at the store. Each child signs their name on 30 of them, and off we go. I even thought I'd be really cool and get the ones that come with tattoos! Sweet! What I didn't realize is that each little 1/2" by 1/2" tattoo must be INSERTED into the little slits on each valentine. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? (breathe...breathe......) Tomorrow's homeschooling lesson will be about the value and efficiency of assembly-line production. You betcha! (let it be known that I DID try to convince the kids to just have one collective mailbox and just bring the 30 valentines for all of deal on that one. They love the mailboxes - which we also will be making tomorrow, and they each want their own!)

Now if that makes you think I'm absolutely NO FUN at all, this next anecdote will pretty much seal the deal. Admittedly, today was not stellar.....I heard the words "DON'T" and "STOP" - both with multiple syllables somehow - SO many times I developed a severe twitch in one eye (not really, but it would have been a nice effect). I was at the store tonight picking up a few things for the party on Friday, and for our family night on Saturday (the plan is to make a heart shaped pizza..or maybe meatloaf). I spotted some cute valentine cards and thought about getting one for each of the kids. This is a significant expense, you realize....times four. That's like twelve bucks! I was still a little hot under the collar from all the bickering today, so I opted not to get the cards....I thought the fun family night is plenty enough. (Actually, what I was really thinking wasn't quite so nice, still being hot under the collar and all. Just bein' honest...) Anyway, Tim came home tonight with a bag from the Christian bookstore and showed me four of the sweetest cards he picked out especially for each of our kids...he even had misty eyes as he showed me each one!!! I know God must have put that on his heart, and I was so thankful He did. I really did want to bless each of the kids by giving them their own individual card, but I let my resentment over the day win. I'm so glad that God wanted to bless my kids, too, and that HE wouldn't be stopped by my indignant spirit. Oh, to love the way our Savior does.....unconditionally. Thank you, Jesus, for a new perspective for Valentine's Day. And thank you, Tim, for listening to the Holy Spirit and for loving our kids so much it makes you cry sometimes...even though you said it was because your allergies were flaring up. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"marriage" night

Tim and I are swapping babysitting favors with another family from our church this week. Tonight was our turn to go on a date, and when we were dropping the kids off at our friends' house, Sam said: "Have fun on your marriage!" :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

One FULL day...

Yesterday, the kids got to go bowling for the first time ever. We had a blast! We went with a whole mess of other kids and moms. The only mishaps were when one of the kids' balls ended up in another lane, therefore confusing that lane's computer (last time I bowled, you still had to keep score with a PENCIL and PAPER); the other more serious mishap being when one boy dropped a ball right square on his big toe. OUCH!! The older kids really got the hang of how to bowl, while the younger kids did the old "granny push" most of the time. The computers displayed the speed of each ball, and for most of the younger kids it didn't get past 1.5 mph...a good lesson in patience. Phew! It took about two hours to get through one game (six kids per lane). We had a great time and can't wait to go back. The day wasn't over yet, though....we zipped over to piano lessons and then still had UNO night at church to look forward to! Talk about a fun-filled day! Prizes won at UNO night: one bar of Irish Spring soap, one U.S. Navy travel mug, and one foam airplane. Janie was bummed she didn't win the chicken ramen noodles. Good times......

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


February is always an odd month. It's still winter, but winter seems to lose its luster by February. Right now the remaining snow is kind of dingy and crusty - we could really use another good snowfall to make things pretty again. And it's cold. I'm not sure if it's really too cold to play outside or if by February I start to become a pansy about it. Either way, I'm really hoping we get some more snow. We've still got lots of sledding left in us, and we haven't even been night-sledding yet! other news, we got a call from DCFS today asking if we could do respite care for a few days for a 1yr. old little girl. It's only for the weekend, but we're excited - especially Janie. All of the little ones we've taken care of so far have been boys. Believe me, she has loved each one of them. But she's been waiting and waiting for a girl. Doing foster care has been a really special thing for us so far. It has blessed me more than anything to see our kids welcome these little ones into our home with open arms. So we're looking forward to getting out the high chair and bibs and baby toys!

About the picture: This is what we wished we could have been doing today, so I thought I'd share this picture from about a month ago. This was taken at our church, where 7-foot-high snowdrifts line the parking lot thanks to the snowplows. There was much diving and jumping and climbing that day. It was great.

p.s. the delicious-looking grapefruit from the Fareway was WELL worth it. Seriously the sweetest and reddest grapefruit I've eaten. (It's the little things in life, you know.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

tomorrow is new day!

Well, I have to say that today was a tough day on the homefront. We were hoping to get outside for a walk or something..anything.....but it was just too stinkin' cold. It became apparent throughout the course of the day that the "family meeting" Tim and I had with the kids yesterday regarding respectful attitudes was NOT sinking in. By afternoon I was intolerant, impatient, and micro-controlling (now there's a fun mom!) Tim had planned to work late today, but ended up home early with the third or fourth bout with a cold virus this season. (His coming home early actually was a bonus for me.....did I just say that?) It was the kind of day where if I'm on the phone with my mom, she will intuitively quote Scripture knowing that my wits may have been left on the curb or something. Because of Tim's cold and coming home early, my highlight was to zip out to the Fareway to find Romaine lettuce for $.99, TWO pound bags (count 'em - TWO) of baby carrots for $1.69, and delicious-looking grapefruit whose cost did not concern me because of its delicious-lookingness. I always get excited at the Fareway. They have the best produce section. And the nicest employees. I'm going to make my kids work there when they're in high school. Anyway, I sat at the computer thinking I didn't want to post because I was feeling down about the day. But I figured that if my blog is going to be a real chronicle of our days, then I'd better be honest about it! And actually, finding some humor in it has renewed my perspective a little. Tomorrow we'll try kindness, at patience, at respectfulness (you realize I'm not talking about the kids). Our memory verse this week is Proverbs 15:1 --A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. I chose this because I thought THEY needed it. (sigh). Thank you, Jesus, for new mercies each morning!

Monday, February 2, 2009

When life gives you lemons....trace circles!!

Last week, our history book had us knee deep in medieval China studying the invention of block printing. We had a grand craft planned where we would make our own prints out of blocks of hard foam carved with our own designs. We were all set - paint squirted and art shirts on. Everyone carved their design and was ready to print. IT WASN'T WORKING. (This may be due to the fact that I modified the instructions to fit the materials I had on hand instead of actually doing what the book said....maybe.) None of our prints turned out at all. Everyone was frustrated (as was I because this was supposed to take up the better part of our morning). We had to salvage things while we were all feeling artsy, so we grabbed some circle stencils and started tracing and overlapping. We got out the colored pencils and, with the one rule that each separate section had to be colored differently, began shading away. The kids LOVED it, and it occupied them for about an hour. It was great to see something so simple turn into really beautiful pieces of art. I guess we didn't learn much about the medieval Chinese that day, but we sure had fun and wound up with creations the kids were proud of!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A budding musician

Henry, our seventeen pound cat, has never been too interested in our piano. Last week, the piano tuner was here. While he had the piano open, Henry was quite intrigued with the hammers, etc. For the rest of the day, we found Henry numerous times at the bench - trying his hand (paw) at different sounds. This particular time he was especially interested in the lower octaves. For the record, Henry is the greatest cat ever.

Hello to the blogworld

Since anyone who might be reading this is most likely a friend or family member, I won't feel the need to use fancy hello!! I have decided to join the blog-world after having been inspired by good friends who sweetly chronicle the days of their families' lives through a blog. I am ever-behind on scrapbooks, sporadic in journaling (I always think if my children find my journals after I'm gone, they'll think I was seriously unstable...if they don't already!), yet I really want to record the daily "stuff" that happens around our house. So we'll see how this works! Thanks for visiting us!