Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mama Bear's (That's Me!) Reading List for Little Guys (and Girls, of Course!)

Yay!  It's Top Ten Tuesday again!

A friend of mine has asked me what my top picks of books for his little girl were, so after putting some thought into it, I have made a list of my top ten favorites...not necessarily in any order.

So...here they are!

(And you thought I forgot!)

1.  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

2.  Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (I personally love this one in Spanish)

3.   Philadelphia Chickens and Rhinoceros Tap by Sandra Boynton (these aren't really reading books, but hey, this is my list, so I put them on...'cuz I want to.  Apparently, according to my late grandmother,, I am somehow related to her.  Maybe that's why I just love her stuff!)

4. Basically anything by Sandra Boynton.

5.  When Cows Come Home at the End of the Day by David L Harrison.  I just love the rhythm in this book:
When cows come home at the end of the day,
They swish their tails and they gently sway...

6.  A Bad Case of Spots by David Shannon, and you can get it in Spanish, too.  Actually I really like quite a few of his books.  No, David is especially good.

7.Can't You Sleep, Little Bear and Good Job, Little Bear along with all the other Little Bear books by Martin Waddell almost always make me tear up with the sentiments that go from Big Bear, who is the dad, by the way, which is pretty awesome, to Little Bear.  (To my book list waiting friend, that's where the name Little Bear came from, you know...)

8.  A Story For Bear is just a really awesome book by Dennis Haseley.  It's probably better for a more advanced story listener, but it's a really cool story about a lady who reads books to a bear all summer and then leaves a note for him as well as other stuff (I won't tell and ruin the tale!) when she has to leave in the fall.  I like it that the bear is really a bear, not a talking bear.  It gives an interesting perspective, and the illustrations are absolutely breath-taking.

9.  Sometimes I'm Bombaloo by Rachel Vail is a great one for preschoolers who need some help identifying their feelings.  It really helped with a girl that I was working with.  When she started to break down, we could talk about how at that moment, she was Bombaloo, but that it was ok to be happy again after she was so angry.  I think that sometimes it is hard for kids to come down after they get all worked up.  I feel like sometimes they don't know how to save face and regain control after they've lost it.  This book helps.

10.  This is another one that is for the more advanced listeners, but Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen and Mark Buehner is a pretty interesting book, too.  It's about a man who grows balloons and a little girl who is determined to find out how he does it.  It has great local color in the dialect and illustrations.

So, there you have it.  These are some of my picks for a reading library for babies on up to preschoolers and probably even more.  Or course, this is by no means an extensive list, as I could add titles like Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin and all her other titles that consistently evoke a giggle or two around here, or Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, which is on our shelves to help teach us about differences, acceptance, and being ourselves, but I am linking up to Oh, Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday, so I had to keep my list at ten.  So, I couldn't add Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney or Wee Willie Winkey and it's companions 1, 2, and 3 which are compilations of Mother Goose rhymes by Iona Opie (which is a pretty cool name in and of itself) and were Jo's very favorite books for a while and we read them nightly until she could recite all the rhymes in all the books, in order.

What are your (or your kids') favorite reads?

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, June 27, 2011

A whole week full of it...Blessings, that is!

I know that I have been pretty quite over the last week, but there has been some pretty cool stuff going on.  Here's the way it went:

On Friday evening and all day Saturday, Jimmy took the GED and passed!  On the first try!  And for those of you who don't know, English is not Jimmy's first language, nor is US history and culture his native history and culture.  For anyone to pass the GED on the first try to pretty good, but for him, it was absolutely outstanding!

So, since I had gotten a coupon for Pizzeria Unos in my e-mail since my birthday was coming up, we decided to go there and celebrate Jimmy's achievement, my birthday and Fathers' Day.  (We saw the tire cover pictured here on the back of a Jeep that was in front of us at a traffic light, and it just looked pretty cool.)

Anyway, we got to the restaurant, and the manager recognized us, so not only did he honor the coupon for a free entree (Jimmy got steak and shrimp!)  he also gave us a free family sized desert and a gift bag with a $5 coupon and a bunch of little fun toys for the kids.  It was great and our waitress was awesome, too.  (She actually dumped the kids mac n cheese into new plates after it was cooked and served so that the plates would not be hot when the came to the table.  That was pretty thoughtful and awesome of her!)

Then, on Sunday, we had a great time a church remembering how it was a year ago on Fathers' Day that Jimmy, Elizabeth and I got baptized.  Elizabeth, Maggie, Dale, Katie and Jordan sang a great song, East to West by Casting Crowns this Sunday, too.  I video taped it, but I can't get it to download, and it was really dark anyway.  But they did a great job.

After we got home, we all took a nap and then had a cookout.

And then we took some time to pick some raspberries...
And eat them...

Monday was uneventful, and then Tuesday was my birthday, which everyone around here forgot about.  Wednesday slipped by quietly as well except that Gabriel got sick and had to be brought home early from church so I didn't get to stay for the evening Bible study, which I heard was really good.

Then, Thursday, Elizabeth redeemed herself by baking cupcakes with Peter, who came by because he was dying to show us his uniform and his food that you only have to add water to and then it cooks itself in the packet.  They made the icing for the cupcakes from scratch, so even though Elizabeth knows that Peter is not supposed to be at the house when only my in-laws are home, it was hard to be upset with them when they worked so hard to make something special for me.

So, we sang happy birthday, and Jo helped me blow out the candles, and it was fun.

'Til Peter, in his huge military boots and his big boy self got too big for the inside of the house, and he and Elizabeth got shooed out to the front yard, where they did what all kids need to do at least for some time during the summer:  


Then, on Friday evening, I took a van load of kids to the church to watch a movie and eat pizza.  Elizabeth volunteered to go so that Jo, who is too young to be in the group yet, could stay.  And then somehow we ended up with 2 little girls spending the night with us...I'm still not too sure how that happened, but here they were, draped across floors and bunk beds.

We got up early on Saturday to set up the yard sale, and my 2 little sleepover girls were so excited!  They were running around shouting and helping to spread things out and organize and collect money.  

But for some reason, I don't have pictures of them...or of Jo going through everything saying that she wanted to keep it...

But I do have Gabe, who helped move things around after the girls set them up.

(No, Jimmy, it does NOT fit you, nor is it your style!)

Then, Saturday evening, Elizabeth packed up for reCharge, the camp she will be at all this week with the Youth Group...
and Gabriel unpacked.  

I honestly think he thought he was going to go.  He closed the lid on himself and Jo tried to zip him up.  Hmmm...maybe she thought it might be a good way for her to be the baby again...

After that, we went to Cici's Pizza for dinner.    I know that it sounds like we go out a lot, but really, we don't.  It's just that at Cici's, all 5 of us can have unlimited salad, pizza, dessert and water (yes, water.  We usually don't order drinks when we go out.  In fact, it was funny because I told my brother that we went out once and even got drinks and he said that he didn't know that they served alcohol at IHOP.  Ummm...no, Aaron, I mean drinks...milk, soda, tea.) anyway, we can all eat for $15.72.  That's just over $3 per person.  I can't even make a meal like that at home for $3 per person!  And, we don't have to do the dishes!  Or heat up the house with cooking!

Oh!  That reminds me!  On Tuesday, we actually broke down and got our AC replaced.  We now have central AC in the house again after almost 7 years.  We haven't really used it yet, but it's there, ready and waiting for when it's 105 in the shade and we're all melting.
Anyway, back to Saturday...
After we ate, we went to the pet store and I found some aquarium  plants that were on clearance and a cave that was on sale!  So, Jimmy got them for my birthday since the little placo that we got last year at Jo's birthday has grown so big that it gets stuck in the little house we used to have in there. 

You can see the morimo in the left corner of the tank.  It's grown, too.  The tank looks really cool now, but I don't know how to take a picture of it to do it justice.  The plants really liven it up, though.

Anyway, that was my awesome week in a nutshell.  (Albeit a large nutshell)

But, I guess what I mean to say in all of this is that I am blessed with the love and activity that constantly flows through our house.  

I mean really....

Does it get any better than this?

Come and celebrate your blessing with me this and every Monday over at He Sows, She Sows.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Wonder

So, we made it to another Friday!  Yay!

That means it's Five Minute Friday over at Gypsy Mama!

The rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping to edit or revise.

The topic?  Wonder!




Ok, so when I first saw the topic, this started running through my head.

But then I got seriuos and really got to wondering.

I was thinking about this earlier this week, actually.

I was wondering what would have happened in and with my life if I had made different choices.

For example, what would have happened had I just kept it Elizabeth and me after my first failed marriage?  I mean, she's 13 now, and I would have my 'freedom' if you will.  We could travel, which I love to do, and we would have more $ because I wouldn't have to be paying for preschool and childcare for the others.  It would be great!


Then I got to thinking about how much I would miss being here, right where I am.

And I realized that no matter how fun, easy, or free that life might be had I made that choice, I am much happier right here, where I am.

Of course, you could say that you can't miss something that you never had; that I couldn't miss the little dudes if they were never there, but I'm not so sure that's true.  I mean, I wouldn't be able to miss them, exactly,


what about the laughs and the fun and the family and the working together and the give and take it takes to make a large blended family work?

And what about all the wonder

the wonder that is on the little dudes faces as they watch their big sister do big sister things.

the adoration one their little faces when she comes home from school to scoop them up and love on them.

That would all not be here...

so, I don't really wonder what it would be like.

I'm just glad it's the way it is!


Ok....that felt random...let's see what happened here...I wonder....

Come join us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Blessed and I Know It!

I wanted to link up to He Sows, She Sows yesterday to join her in her first linky party of being blessed, but I didn't get on the computer last night, and I just missed the link today, so I am writing the post anyway, but linking it with Top Ten Tuesday.

I have just recently posted about how very blessed I am, but today I want to get a little more specific about what it's all about.


Here it is!

I feel blessed because of these things:

1.  Gabriel's stitches have healed well.

2.  A great, fun cookout on Sunday for Father's Day.

3.  A few games of Uno together on our new couch...even Jo could play with us!  She pretty much understood the concept behind the game, so it was really fun!  (except she wanted to get MORE cards, not get rid of hers!)

4.  Fresh raspberries right off the bush in the back yard!

5.  Jo is getting along with her brother and minding her grandmother who is watching her.  These 2 things were big concerns for me and Jimmy when we moved the business out of the house and she got out of school.

6.  Elizabeth's last day of school is today and she has a fun filled summer coming up!

7.  Elizabeth had a great year this year in school despite all the misgivings Jimmy and I both had about her going to public middle school.

8.  The weather has been relatively cool these last 2 weeks!  Yay!

9.  Jimmy and I are getting off early today!

10.  We have decided to go ahead and fix the AC in our house after 5 years of nothing, and it's coming tomorrow! (And will only be used in extreme heat conditions, but will increase the value of our house and the quality of our lives here in hot humid Northern Virginia!) 

Yay!  What fun!  I feel better just writing and reading this list of fun blessings that have come to our family recently!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Home

So, TODAY is Friday, not yesterday, even though I kept thinking that yesterday was and was very disappointed to not find FMF on Gypsy Mama yesterday.

But, I came back again and am going to link up with her.

So, here we go!

Five Minute Friday!

The rules?  Write for 5 mins without stopping to edit or correct.

The topic?  Home!



Home is a very interesting concept to me.  I mean, what does home really mean?  I remember being a teenager in my own house wishing that I could go home.  Where was that illusive home that I wanted to escape to?  I had no idea (and still don't) but I knew that it wasn't where I was at the time!

Our home, the house where we live, is very different from any body else's in my family, so they have a hard time seeing our house...our living arrangements as home.

But I do.

Within these four walls lives 7 people plus a room mate, who is here 3 nights out of the week.  No one sleeps alone.  Everyone ('cept the roomer) shares a bed or at least a room with someone else.  That is a foreign thought to the rest of my family.  My mom and dad knock around alone in a huge house, my brother lives alone in his house, and my sister and her husband live apart in their house.  We are the only ones that live this close.

Close enough to touch.

Close enough to hug.

Close enough to love.

Living this close together means that you really get to know everyone else.  There is no hiding, and no running away.  We are always together and always feeling-hearing-seeing what the other is going through.

My goal is that our children never have that sense of wanting to go 'home' when they are inside these four walls.

My hope is that if you ever get to come and visit our home, you will feel right at home, right away.

My desire is that you would feel the love that we share in our home for one another seep out and cover you, too.


Wow!  I think I was burning up the keyboard there!  Wonder what came out today...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Praying for Rain

I got confused today and thought that it was Friday, so I went over to The Gypsy Mama to participate in Five Minute Friday, but I didn't see any links, so I got concerned thinking that something had happened and then the little candle flickered in my head and I realized that as much as I may want it to be Friday, it is only Thursday.

But since I had stopped by Gypsy Mama's, I read what she had to say anyway and I was really struck by it. 

Just today I was thinking about how blessed I am to be who I am where I am.  I have 3 wonderful healthy children and a loving husband who loves the Lord and loves all of our children equally and helps me to guide them with a firm hand tempered with love and compassion.

How long did I pray for that?  How many tears did I cry after a shattered marriage and a broken heart...a heart laid bear and raw, left to dry in the searing sun?  How many times did I cry for my daughter and desire for her a man to be by my side and to help me lead her in the right way?  How many times did I look into other people's lives and see their 'perfect' union of husband and wife and child and feel my heart rip in two? 

How many times did I cry out to God for what I have right here, right now, sleeping in their beds, sitting on the couch with me and studying for an exam? 

I distinctly remember the anger that I felt.  I remember it welling up inside of me and choking me with its bitterness.  I remember the icy cold fingers that I could feel wrapping their way around my heart as fear told me, 'You are no one. You will not make it.  You are worthless.'

And I hit the wall and I hit my knees and I cried out in pain and in shame and in fear and loneliness.

But God heard me.  He blessed me with a husband who will be here.  A husband who is committed to his family just as he is committed to his God.  A husband who looks into the faces of all three of our children and sees himself in all of them, whether they share his genes or not, because he knows that really, we all share the same Father.

But I remember and think on these things now because Gypsy Mama brought to my mind the prayers that I have prayed and that have been answered and then 'forgotten'. 

I, of course, have not forgotten about Jimmy, but I have distanced myself from who I was when I was on my knees.  And I need to remember to be present and prayerful in my everyday so that I can remember the prayers that God has said 'Yes' to.

As Gypsy Mama said, I don't want to lose sight of these blessings and answered prayers that are all around me because I am in hot pursuit of the next prayer request. 

God's grace and His blessings have fallen on me and my family like thirst quenching, refreshing rain.  

I need to remember to slow down a while and take the time to kick off my shoes, grab a tiny hand and splash in the puddles!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top Ten Pics

I realized that I really have not put very many pictures on here recently, so today I am going to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, but with pictures.

I apologize in advance if you have seen some of these pictures before either here or on FaceBook, but they are my top ten of the pictures that I have taken recently.

So, without further ado, and to give all of you avid followers a break from my usual wordy tomes, here they are!

I love this pic because it looks like the glasses are cropped in, but their not.  Also, these are Jo's favorite PJ's.

Elizabeth enjoying her favorite past-time...reading!

Jo with her sweet new haircut and her second fav PJ's...if the others happen to be in the wash!

I love this picture!

Gabriel is learning the fine art of undressing himself.

Gabe's stitches...they came out today and are looking good!

This is a good blackmail pic for when Gabriel's in high school.  And there's Liz again...reading!

Jo getting the last peas before we pull up the plants.  They can't take the heat.  I must say that none of the peas ever made it to the table...they all got eaten right off the vine!

The beginning of our tomatoes.  We have actually already harvested some, but they didn't make it to the kitchen, either.

Elizabeth being rewarded for her hard work and being inducted into the Junior National Honor Society.  Way to go, Liz!
So, there you go!  Few words, 10 pictures!

I hope you enjoyed looking at it as much as I enjoy sharing it!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, June 13, 2011

To AC or not...That is the question

A man came to our house today to do an estimate on getting AC in our house.

You see, we have no AC.  No window units, no central, no nothing.  Just fans.  Ceiling fans, floor fans, window fans, exhaust fans...you name it, we've got it.

I never had AC when I was growing up and ever since we have been in this house, for 13 years, we have not had AC, either, except for a very short while when we had a wall unit that didn't really work and that came out when we got siding put on the house.

I do not like AC.  I am very much against it.  I feel that as much as it makes it cooler INSIDE, it is making it that much hotter OUTSIDE.  How can we possibly think that all that hot air that is blowing out of all the units that are attached to everyone's house is not somehow damaging our planet?

But these last few years have really gotten to be a bit unbearable.  Not all season, but there are a few days, usually in August, that really make me want to have a AC unit to crank up. 

But then I feel guilty. 

People survived for years and years and generations and generations without AC, so who am I to suddenly wimp out and 'need' it?  Also, for as much as I am against it, how can I then crank up my unit to add to the whole problem and misuse of our planet? 

I am having a really hard time with this. 

But now we have a lot more people living in our house.  Granted, it is OUR house, so whoever lives in it needs to deal with our house rules, but still, I want my in-laws to be comfortable especially now that Jimmy and I 'get' to leave everyday to work in an air conditioned place.

Where, by the way, we are absolutely FREEZING everyday.  I mean like freezing freezing.  I wear jeans and a sweatshirt with the hood up and I STILL have goosebumps!

But I have come to the conclusion, whether it is correct or not, that I am like a cat.  Cats shed in the summer and grow thick fur in the winter.  Their bodies know how to handle the cold and the heat and respond accordingly.  So, I figure that my blood must thin in the summer and thicken in the winter.  In the winter, I am the one outside with no coat and with the heater topping out at 64 degrees on the coldest days and 54 at night. 

Perhaps that's the way we all used to be.  Perhaps, before we started controlling our environments to such degrees and extents, our bodies were like other mammals that knew how to cool and warm themselves in response to the seasons. 

Now, I won't go so far as to tell you that the heat never bothers me, because it does.  And that is why the guy came today to give an estimate. 

Sometimes, when it's 105 outside and 97 inside and you feel like you are trying to breathe jello, and you don't want to eat anything and you don't want to touch anything because you know that you'll stick to it, and you can't sleep but you don't want to do anything else either and the tempers are as hot as the pavement outside, I can say that the heat bothers me.

And even sometimes when it's even just 90 or so, but it's so humid and sticky and the fans are whirring but nothing helps I find that I don't want to do anything.  The heat saps my energy and I find myself counting the days til fall and then I feel bad that all I want is for it to end because these are supposed to be the lazy-enjoy-your-children-while-they're-out-of-school days.  And I don't enjoy.  I want it to be over.

And nothing gets done. 

I realized how much the heat saps my energy today.  It was absolutely beautiful outside today and when I got home from work, I had so much energy!  I wanted to conquer the world!  Elizabeth made a delicious dinner of mac 'n cheese, and then I took the little dudes outside to play for a while while I weeded a bit, then we went to Lowe's to get some stuff we need for he garden and for work and we trotted around the store for a while looking at all the plants and then we went to get gas and then came home and I bathed everyone and cut 40 finger and toe nails and still felt energetic.  And I like to feel energetic.  I am a better me when I am not boiling myself from the inside out.

But I also realize how much the AC saps my energy.  Many times just being in a climate controlled room really just drains me.  I am not sure if it is because of the silence (it is NEVER silent if the windows are open!) or the pressure or lack of humidity or the lack of fresh air, but very often, I can feel so blah and dead til I get outside for a while and then I feel so much better.

So now we are at a cross roads.  We have taken the first step to getting AC in our house...we have gotten an estimate (which is a little laughable cuz there's no way we can pay that much!) and I don't really know how I feel about this.

Am I being a cop-out by giving in to the desire to have this costly thing that is not a necessity?  Can I be a better steward of my money by not investing all that money into something that will only benefit me and my family?  Is it OK to spend that much money on something so frivolous when there are so many people who have so much less? 

This is really really hard for me.  It will be costly for us to get this unit put in because we have to start from nothing.  We do not even have duct work in the upstairs, so this will be a big investment but it will also be an improvement on the house should we ever get around to selling it and moving.  But am I justifying doing something just because I think that I want it?

I very rarely spend money on something that I want.  Everything that we spend is carefully calculated so that we know that we are getting the most bang for our buck and before we make a larger purchase, we always ask the question:

Will this be a blessing to our family?

If the answer is 'no' or not a resounding 'yes', then whatever it is stays behind and does not find its way home with us.

So, will this be a blessing to our family?


But...it is such a high price tag that the next question that keeps weaseling its way into my mind is:

Is there a way that this sum of money could be better used to bless someone else and therefore ourselves?

And that is what is really holding me back.  Beside the fact that since we do not believe in debt, we will have to pay cash for this, and that's a chunk of change to sweep out of the bank all at once!

Any thoughts?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I have a confession to make.

I am ashamed of myself and the way that I am in this area, but by admitting it, I think that I can continue to work on this area and slowly improve.

My confession is this:

I am not a good friend.

It is not intentional and I sincerely do not set out to be a bad friend, but inevitably, it happens that way.  I have the best intentions, but then, time passes and I will lose contact with a friend or go a long time without showing my friendship with them. 

And I am ashamed of this. 

I think that part of it is that I never really learned how to be a friend.  I honestly believe that it is something that you must learn and you must cultivate.  Maybe to some it comes naturally, but I think that even those who come by it naturally, it's really an ingrained culture if you will.

I mean, I think that Elizabeth is a good friend, but that is because since she was little, she has been around other kids of all ages and I encourage good friendmanship (that's actually a pretty good word!) in her; be honest, tell the truth gently, stick up for your friends, pay attention to them and their wants/needs/personalities and things like that. 

I, however, seemed to either have missed out on the friendship gene and/or never really learned the lesson on how to be a good friend.  Well, I guess I have figured out how to be a good friend, but it is just implementing it that seems to be a problem for me.

This is the 'round about way to say that for the last like million years, I have misplaced a certain very good friend of mine's birthday.

Yes, million years.

And yes, misplaced.

I don't forget it all together, you see, but I remember it and think about it for months in advance and then the day comes and goes and then when it hits my birthday, the little candle goes off in my head and there is some forehead slapping and some sheepish explanation and pleas for forgiveness and promises to not forget the next time and all that stuff and then BAM!  it happens again!

But not this year.

This year will not go unnoticed.

Because, you see, today, June 12, (well, that's the date this person will see this post) is the birthday of a very special someone. 

This someone has been a very important part of my life for years....ever since my Elizabeth was 4 years old! 

And even though I have only seen this person a couple of times, and even though this person and I never talk on the phone or even chat online, I know that this person and I are very best of friends. 

And my wish for this person's birthday, today, June 12, is that they would know just how very much they (and their Little Bear!) mean to me and my family.

And I send my hugs and my kisses to this person and their Little Bear every day, but this day in particular.

You know who you are!

Vous n'êtes jamais oubliée, mais toujours souvenu et aimé.

Joyeux anniversaire, mon ami!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Backwards

Today, as we cheer another week survived, I am happy to join in on

Five Minute Friday.

The Rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping to correct or edit.

The topic?  BACKWARDS!

There is a lot on my mind when I think of the word backwards as I sit here today.

First of all, this evening, after Gabriel fell and cracked his head on the piano and blood is dripping down his face and onto my shirt and when that finally subsided enough to even get a LOOK at the damage, and when I saw the huge gash on his forehead that looked fleshy and meaty and wide open and bloody, and he wasn't wearing any clothes, just undies and we shoved him in the car anyway to take him to the ER and the car in front of me seemed to be going


And as I think back over this week that has been so hot and the kids and my in-laws have been here in our house that doesn't have AC and I feel like we are going


And the time ticks and the clock moves ahead and I already miss my little babies everyday when I drive off to work and I want the clock to go


or at least stand still for a minute.

And when I see my little guy with his 5 stictches in his head and it is bloody and he doesn't even really seem to care but I do because he will have a scar and he is so little and he cried because the area wasn't totally numb where the last stitch went in and I want to make it not have happened by going


and preventing it.

But when I think of my children growing in the Godly man and women that they are meant to be and I see Elizabeth who earned her $500 all by herself and she's so proud because she is paying for her whole mission trip herself and I am so proud and little Jo is getting better and braver each day and I know that we have no choice but to hold on tightly to God's hand and ever so slightly just little by little let go of our children's hands and go


Because we as parents have been entrusted with the with the gift and responsibility of not only raising our children in how they should go, but also letting them go and fly the way that God wants them to go.


Wow!  That's it!  Time flies...let's see what fell out of my super tired happy to be home from the ER self!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ten Ways You Know It's Summer

So, it's not Tuesday, and I'm not sure that I'm going to link to Top Ten, but I wanted to put down my

Ten Ways You Know It's Summer 'Round Here:

1.  The wind chimes hanging from the ceiling fan cords start a'chiming when the fans start a'whirring

2.  There's a whir of window fans in every room.

3.  My neighbor mows his lawn every 5 (yes, count them...5) days, and prolly wishes we would mow ours more than every 5 weeks...

4.  The lightning bugs come out.  Yay!  Fun!

5.  The mosquitoes come out.  Boo!  NOT Fun!

6.  The kids need 2 baths a day just to keep them cool.

7.  The kids are going to bed before it's dark and getting up and the crack of dawn with the sun.

8.  When you're 7th in line for the shower, you don't worry about if there will be any hot water left.  You're more excited about how cold the water can get.

9.  The cats stay out all day and sometimes all night.

Oh, wait...I thought of another one...can I do 9.5?

9.5.   There are oval patched of smashed and slightly browning grass all over the front yard from the kiddie pool's various resting places.

and #10....Drum roll, please....

The Number 10 Way You Can Know It's Summer 'Round These Here Parts


10.  All the red-shorted European guys riding their bikes up and down Rt. 1 on their way to their summer life guard jobs.  Blonde haired...Tanned...Red shorts...White shirt...Backpack...Bicycle...You can't miss them.  Well, you kinds have to swerve to miss them sometimes...

And finally, just to add some Jo fun, I will share with you her quote of the day:

"Mommy, my foot is hungry.  Not the back of my foot, but right here, behind my toes."

Eh....why not. I'll like up with Oh Amanda's Top Ten. 

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Anatomy of a Shopping Cart

I have done some extensive research.  I have spent hours and hours observing and gathering data from all over the world and I have come to 2 very important conclusions:

1.  Larger families usually spend more money on groceries than couples and singles do,


2.  In order to qualify as a larger family, that generally means that the family has children, sometimes multiple children.

Yes, yes, I know...these are astounding facts that certainly amaze you!  But really, now, it just makes sense, doesn't it? 

Oh!  And one more conclusion that I came to in my studies was this:

Most shopping done by larger families is often done by the wife/mother, often accompanied by some, if not all, of her small, medium or large children.

So, my question is this:

If I, as a layperson making observations during my everyday wanderings have realized this, then


I mean, really!  This is ridiculous! 

I went to a grocery store on Sunday evening.  Now, I know that Sunday evening is not really the best time to go to the grocery store to get the best pickings of things, but I had to take Elizabeth and her friends to Bible study and it was pretty far from the house, so I didn't want to go back home just to turn around to go back to pick them up, especially since I had to take the Big Blue Beast, and we all know the gas mileage on that sucker is not so good.  So, I took the little dudes with me and decided to go to the grocery store while I was waiting for the big kids to get done.  (I know what you are thinking:  Why would I volunteer to take the little dudes with me to the store again! But really, they usually aren't that difficult.)  

Anyway, we pulled up to the store (which shall remain un-named) and found a spot to park.  Then came the task of unloading what we need from the car into the shopping cart.  

This SHOULD be easy.  But it's not.  This un-named store had no shopping carts that meet the requirements, and this was not an odd occurrence!

C'mon, people!  This is all I ask for:

1.  A seat in the front for Gabriel.

2.  The plastic flippy thing for the bottom of the seat for Gabriel.

3.  Both sides of a seat belt for the seat for Gabriel.

4.  Working clasps for both sides of the seat belt for the seat for Gabriel.

5.  A non dented cargo area for Jo to sit in


6.  A shelf on the bottom of the cart to put the bigger stuff under the cargo space where Jo sits.

Is that really too much to ask!?!?!?

You would think that the grocery chains would realize: 

1.  If I am a mom feeding a family of 5, I am going to buy a lot of groceries.  

2.  I am probably going to bring my children with me when I buy those groceries

3.  If I can't find a shopping cart to use that will keep my kids safe and with a seat belt that at least buys me enough time to grab a box of noodles before Gabriel has figured out how to twist and contort himself so that he has one leg and one arm through the seat belt, and the rest of himself hanging out the leg hole, I will not decide to frequent that store!


4.  If I can't fit all my groceries and my kids in the cart, guess which one I'm going to leave behind????  (Although it is sometimes tempting...I do love my Oreos...MMMMmmmmm....)

Anyway, I digress.  My point is, why don't grocery stores cater to the people who spend the most money there!  


Who is the grocery cart gnome who is stealing all the little plastic seat flaps and cutting all the seat belts?  


How do you lose an entire bottom shelf on a grocery cart?  Who would want it?  Where would they take it?  and What would they do with it????

And in the end, I bought less than exactly what was on my shopping list, and I spent much less money than I usually do, and I will not be going back to that store.

All for the sake of a shopping cart.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Everyday

Yay!  It's Five Minute Friday again!   AND I'M HERE ON FRIDAY!!!!  Double yay!

The rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping to edit or correct.

The topic?  The EveryDay



The EveryDay

The everyday is a splash of milk in the bowl of cereal, plopped down in front of the hungry child.  It's the packing of lunches the kissing of cheeks, the closing of doors on tiny faces already awaiting your return.

The everyday is a drive through traffic and a sit at a desk...a labor of love for the ones I love to give them the milk in their cereal and the peanut butter for their jelly.

The everyday is a drive back home through traffic, a negotiation through dinner and a trip up and down and up the road again to go from here to there and back again taking the cleats and their feet to soccer and buying more milk and peanut butter to go in the bowls and with the jelly.

The everyday is a pile of dishes in the sink and a pile of laundry in the basket...ok, on the floor.

But the everyday is what I live for and what I love.  The sticky jelly faces, the spilt milk, the cleats tracking mud, the stinky socks...it's what it's all about.

I would not change even one little thing about my


Thursday, June 2, 2011


So, I did it today!  I cut off my hair.  It was more than 12 inches that got donated by the time it was all done.  She kept saying, 'If I cut off 10, you are still going to have a lot of hair left' and I kept saying, 'Take it off!   I just want to be able to tie it back off my face!'
I went to The Kindest Cut in Springfield, and Casandra was the one who cut my hair.  She was new there and has only been doing hair for about 4 years, but she was so good!  I honestly felt like she cared about what she was doing.  I basically just told her that I was tired of the same old same old and that I didn't want bangs and didn't want it in my face but other than that, she could do what she wanted.  I was trusting my hair to a girl with 2 very large tattoos of women on her arm, each tattoo being way to large to even fit on my arm.  But she was awesome and I highly recommend her, if you ever go there. 

So, here it is!

Please, tell me what you think!!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's Time Again

Yes, it's that time again...time to cut off my hair and donate it to Locks of Love. My hair is altogether too long.  

So, I am going to cut off 10 inches of it and donate to LOL to make wigs for financially disadvantaged children in the US and Canada who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.  

Yes, I will brush it first!  But then I am off to The Kindest Cut for a free haircut and I will leave a much lighter (and cooler) person. 

I am so excited!  It works out perfectly because I have to go out to Springfield tomorrow anyway to get some stones for a project that we are working on, so I just made the appointment around that pick up time, so I will kill 2 birds with one stone! (Speaking of stones...)

Pictures forthcoming!