Monday, December 13, 2010

My (not so) secret addiction

Last week, a crisis occurred in our house. A near tragedy. A situation which caused me to practically hyperventilate.

Our internet was out for 3 days.

Dear reader, I felt like my right arm had been cut off. There was so much to do, so many people to communicate with, documents to print, bills to pay. . .and NO INTERNET on which to do it all.

I resorted to old fashioned ways of getting it all done. I picked up the phone and actually called people and I begged my husband to pleaseplease print out my forms.

It was a decidedly difficult time. I wish I could say that all this technology-less time made me reminiscent of the good old days when we weren't able to have whatever we wanted rightthisveryminute.

I can't, though. I truly, truly missed it. It is amazing how quickly I have become dependent on the internet for most everything: recipes, yellow pages, communication, shopping. It's a little hard to remember how we ever lived without it.

Our problem was finally resolved with a new router and cable. I was embarrassingly ecstatic!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent One

Says my four year old:

"Mommy, after I wash my hands, can I play with an electronic device?"

Okay, I'm really tempted to click "publish post" and count this as a post, though it is a mere 18 words. I have been quite negligent in my bloggy pursuits of late, not for lack of desire, but lack of oomph, and also time. Things are running at a fevered pitch around here, and finding a few minutes to organize my brain seems to be too lofty a goal.

Now that Thanksgiving is past, we are full speed ahead toward Christmas, and with it comes so many more things on my to-do list. Decorate, write (and print, stuff and stamp!) our Christmas letter. Bake cookies, shop for, hide oh-so-carefully, and then wrap 1,298 presents. Though I truly love the season, a girl can get overwhelmed.

Tonight, though, was our first Advent midweek worship. My husband was able to sit with us (something we enjoy about 4 times a year), so I was able to semi-worship. Actually, I had to take our youngest out in the narthex, and while she walked around, I followed along and sang to my heart's content. It was quite nice! I didn't have to worry about leaving all the other kids behind alone in the pew (quite a dangerous prospect), so I was able to focus on what I was singing (mostly, since my dear little one was interested in the staircase several times). Anyway, it was very good to be able to turn my heart and mind toward the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Not to give and get presents, not to have extended family get togethers, not to bake till our tummies are full, not to decorate our houses to the nines, but to worship the Christ Child.

E'en so Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I'm reading

I love to read. When I was a child, I read every waking second, and this has carried over into adulthood.

But lately, I'm finding I have difficulty finding time to read. Making meals, cleaning the floors (17 times a day!), breaking up fights, playing games, wiping bottoms and providing taxi service has seriously cut into my reading time.

In fact, I haven't read a book since my husband and I went away for Labor Day Weekend. I have checked out several books, all oh-so-interesting, only to be returned (mostly on time) without ever having been opened.

But yesterday, I started a book, and by golly, I am going to finish it before its due date.

What is this book that has finally captured my interest enough to warrant letting household duties slide a bit?

I'm sorry to report that it is "Brady, Brady, Brady", the real story behind the iconic sitcom as told by the creator and producer.

Don't be disappointed in me! Maybe the next one will be The Pillars of the Earth or some other lofty tome. . .maybe.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things that make you go hhmm. . .

Says my four year today, out of the blue:

"Mommy, Sonic can run faster than Jesus."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Say what you mean and mean what you say

Living with five children is never quite what it seems. . .

What I say: Please stop playing with that noisy toy.

What I mean: If I hear that toy sing one more song, I am going run screaming from the house.

What my child hears: Blah, blah, blah. . .play with that noisy toy.

What I say: You cannot have a cell phone until you are in high school.

What I mean: No matter how many times you ask me, we will not allow you to have a cell phone until high school, and even then, we don't really want to pay for one.

What my tween hears: If you ask me often enough, I will eventually give in and buy you one before your eleventh birthday.

What I say: Please put your laundry away.

What I mean: Please put your laundry away.

What my child hears: Please put your laundry away whenever you get a free minute, even if that means hours from now.

What I say: Stay in your bed after I tuck you in.

What I mean: For the love of heaven, if you get out of your bed 5 times like last night, you will never see the itouch again.

What my 4 year old hears: If it's an emergency (such as a need to talk about Sonic, or to tell me that his brother is looking at him) it is absolutely fine to get out of bed as many times as necessary.

What I say: No scream!

What I mean: Please stop screaming in the middle of Toys R Us! People are looking at us and my ears hurt!

What my baby girl hears: I love hearing you make that noise! That's why I keep giving you all this attention every time you do it! Please don't stop!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ghostly drawings

Tonight the kids and I were making posterboard ghosts to leave on our neighbors' doorsteps with goodies (a ritual the kids call "booing"). I gave the first one eyelashes, giving her a decidedly feminine look.

In an attempt to keep things gender equal, my son said, "Let's make the next one a boy. Let's give him armpit hair!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is that all I'm good for?

The other day, my mom, my husband and I went out to dinner with all the kids. Since the boys were getting restless, my husband took them and the baby out to the car while my mom and I finished up with the bill.

While they were in the car waiting for us, my husband joked, "Should we just leave Mommy and Grandma?"

"No!" yelled one of the boys. "We can't leave mommy! Who would make us our food?"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Money, Money, Money

I have been attempting to coupon in earnest lately. I have watched a few blogs and given it another attempt. I have always been a sort of iffy couponer - I always read the coupon inserts in the paper and clip the ones I think I will use. Then, if no child is climbing on me at the checkout, and I had a good night's rest and I have my wits about me, I might remember to use the coupon. More often than not, I will notice I had a coupon for an item about 2 days after I bought said item.

So - I decided to try a little bit harder. Today I scored two tubes of Colgate Total for -$1.75. As in, I made $1.75 by buying these two tubes. Well, I earned CVS Extra bucks, but they are the same as cash. I will use them on my next purchase at CVS.

All this couponing has me reevaluating all my methods of saving money. I am a pretty frugal person - I shop around for the best price, never buy retail etc. So I decided to start a comparison notebook. I have a page for every household/personal item we buy (i.e. toilet paper, dishwasher detergent etc.). I am jotting down the price per unit at each store to find the best deal around. That way, when I see a sale on paper towels, I can pull out my handy dandy notebook (memories of early Blue's Clues, anyone?) and determine if it really is a good sale. So far, it has served me well.

Another way I save money is by using postcards for all thank you notes. I get the postcards and have them personalized at If you watch, you can almost always get them free plus shipping. So I get 100 postcards for about $4, usually with my family's name or picture on the front. Then, I use postcard stamps, which are several cents cheaper than first class stamps.

What are ways you save money? Please post a comment!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A parenting plea

Dear parents at Kroger,

Please do not leave your children alone in your van while you grocery shop. I certainly know how difficult it is to shop with your children, especially at 8:30 p.m. I know they are tired and might whine and fuss. But leaving them in the van in the dark parking lot is so dangerous! Next time, won't you send one parent in and leave the other parent in the car with the children to protect them?

As I got into my car this evening, my headlights shone into the watchful eyes of your 6 year old son. He was looking toward the entrance of the store, waiting for you to return. He was talking to his little sibling next to him. I sat in my car until you came out, because I couldn't leave them all alone. It was at least five minutes before you both returned.

I'm sure you love your children very much. Next time, please keep them close to you! They are too precious to expose them to such possible dangers.

With sincere care for your children,


Friday, October 1, 2010

A moment of peace?

The other day, I entered the bathroom, hoping to have a moment to myself. Almost immediately, a child was behind me. Child #1 followed me in, despite my pleas for privacy. After I answered the child's pressing question, I had about 15 seconds to myself.

Enter child #2. Knock, knock. "Who is it?" I asked.

Without missing a beat, child #2 barged in the door. "Could you grade my math paper?" the child said.

"Is this some kind of joke?" I replied. "When I left the room a moment ago, your father was sitting inches from you at the kitchen island. Is there a reason why you couldn't ask him to grade your paper?"

Child #2 mumbled something about daddy not hearing him when he asked. I silently wondered why it seemed easier to walk all the way upstairs than to ask daddy again, or perhaps touch his arm. I decided asking this question would be futile.

I enjoyed another 7 seconds of peace.

Enter child #1 again. "Can you please help me get ready?"

Sigh. Privacy and peace are elusive around here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some interesting news (or not)

I realized I haven't blogged in awhile, so I sat down to fill you all in with some incredibly interesting tidbit from our family.

I got nothin'.

Life's crazy over here, but nothing seems too blog-worthy. I'll settle with a mini-update on our lives. Hope you don't fall asleep.

My oldest daughter is involved in a production of The Jungle Book in our community theater. She is a bear, and gets to sing and dance several songs. The practices are taking over our lives, but it's been worth it. She loves it and can't wait for the performances this weekend. After Jungle Book is over, lest we have a moment to catch our breath, the next weekend is Annie tryouts. She is super pumped about trying out for that one, and I must admit I am excited as well. When Annie came out in the 80s, I (not so) secretly thought that I should have been cast as Annie (red hair. . .). Perhaps I will live vicariously through my daughter in the coming months. . .

My older two boys are playing soccer at the Y. They are having a lot of fun, and we are enjoying watching them learn the game. My 9 year old is pretty aggressive, and my 6 year old is pretty silly. Either way, they're both having a ball.

I just finished the switch of kids' clothes from summer to winter.

Dear reader, are you still awake? This post is actually boring me! I think I will end now, lest you drool on your keyboard. Hopefully some sort of bloggy inspiration will hit me in the near future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The silliness is at full tilt over here.

A panda.
A glow-in-the-dark cat.
A racecar.
A bat.

No, these are not things I've found under the couch, although that is not too far-fetched a possibility. No, these are silly bands.

And they have taken over.

My children's wrists used to be lovely, soft, and bare. Now when I go to stroke their sweet arms (as I am wont to do, much to their dismay), my unsuspecting hand gets tangled up in silly bands. At various times, it is possible to find more than an inch or two of their arms covered by this new, child-friendly bling.

The other day, my 4 year old and I were at a friend's house. He had worn over one silly band (a feat in and of itself) and somewhere through the day, couldn't find it. We searched for several minutes, listening to his tearful comments about how we were "never going to find it". My friend finally offered one her son's (many) bands as a replacement, which he reluctantly accepted. We left, with my son somewhat pacified.

Later that night, my son was preparing to get into the tub. As he took off his shirt, he discovered his silly band, high upon his arm, under his shirtsleeve. It had been there the whole time.

Silly bands. Oh, the angst they cause.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ten surprising things

Over at Testosterhome, Rachel is blogging about 10 surprising things about herself. I thought I would try, because I know you are all dying to know more about me. Let's see how far I can get.

1. I cannot stand to be in a kitchen where the cabinet doors are open. I close them constantly, even if I am unloading the dishwasher and will be back to open them momentarily.

2. I have a favorite freckle. Weird, I know.

3. I always wanted five kids and to marry a pastor. God has blessed me.

4. I love fountain cokes. I will settle for diet or coke zero, but I really prefer the full calorie business.

5. I had a dog named Rusty when I was growing up. He had red hair just like me.

6. My high school class only had 25 students.

7. I hate gardening. Love the results, but hate doing it. Thankfully my husband enjoys it and does it well.

8. I was a cashier at Target for six years during high school and college.

9. The first car I drove in high school was a brown '78 station wagon. I was the envy of all my friends.

10. I have a large collection of Precious Moments.

Okay, that was seriously hard. About 5 or 6 I really started slowing down. Am I truly that unsurprising? Probably.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sleep aid

I recently discovered this wonderful CD of Bible passages set to music. I bought it for our house and for a friend's new baby.

It is amazing.

I have been playing it for my all-boys-room at bedtime. Bedtime used to consist of me tucking them in, telling them to stay in their beds, me walking out. Several minutes later, I would hear banging, jumping, fighting, laughing. They were just having trouble winding down.

Enter this CD.

I can't say they are perfect (well, I could, but you would know I'm lying), but the bedtime routine has greatly improved. They may talk a bit, but for the most part they just lay right down and listen to the soothing music.

Click on the link- they have samples to listen to. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Non-Labor Day

This past weekend, my husband and I went north for four and a half days. Our weekend had very little "labor" in it. . .this is the extent of our hard work:

- sleeping in late
- tasting oh-so-many-wines
- eating gourmet dinners
- viewing a magnificent sand dune in the gusting wind (this actually was a bit laborious!)
- napping
- lounging on the beach
- shopping (oh the horrors!)

We did have to set up the camper and deal with some rain and cold temperatures. But camping without children is amazingly simple and relaxing! Our parents watched the children over the weekend, and we are very grateful. It was fabulous to relax together, to finish our sentences, to talk about things other than schedules and poop.

We got in late Monday afternoon, and hit the ground running. It was wonderful to see the kids again, but all the work and chores. . .our campsite is calling my name. . .

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A fair trade?

The other day, my child must have been contemplating what life would be like if we bartered and traded for goods.

"Mommy", said my child, "If there was no money, would Daddy just go to Walmart and give the cashier a sermon?"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The end of an era

Last night my daughter slept through this night. This is BIG NEWS around here, since such activity is rare for her.

But the real news of the day (or my day, anyway), is that I am done nursing. My husband and I are going to be gone overnight soon, and I had told myself I would quit the night feeding when she slept through.

So, while I am happy that our getaway will go off without a hitch, I am sorry to see my breastfeeding days over. Nursing my wee babes has brought me so much joy over the last 10.5 years. Though we will never close the door on more children, our family feels complete now.

There is a catch in my throat as I type this. Because we have had so many children, I haven't had too many "lasts". I saved all the clothes, kept all the gear, and above all, always prayed there would be another baby coming done the line.

My darling daughter is 13 months old. She, along with her brothers and sister, are the joy of our lives. Though this is the end of an era, many new experiences are just around the corner.

I have to keep reminding myself that today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy babies, happy world

I posted this on my Facebook wall, and it made my day. Soon after, I had a phone call. While I was on the phone, my four year old watched it no less than 10 times. Take a peek - you'll see why he was so smitten!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

MOPS musings

We had a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) retreat yesterday for our steering committee. My dear friend and I are co-coordinating it this year, and we led the 5 hour retreat. Though I was a bit nervous beforehand, the retreat was AMAZING. Not because of what Sarah and I did, but because these women are excited about reaching out to moms in our area. Because these moms opened up and shared their lives with all of us. Because God is working through this ministry!

Marvelous, wonderful leadership team!
Outrageously fun and crazy gals!
Perfect and amazing God!
Super friends!

Thank you, MOPS team, for all you have done and will do for these moms this year.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A letter. . .

Dear mother at Walmart,

My heart was aching today as I watched you yell at your son. The entire dairy section stood still, trying not to stare as you verbally abused your son. I watched, with my children by my side, as you yelled in a voice loud enough to be heard several aisles over. Your son, whom I'm guessing is about 14, stood quietly and took the abuse. I don't doubt that something in his behavior caused your anger. But the way you expressed your anger almost brought me to tears. I watched your younger daughters stand by, embarrassed as onlookers witnessed your outrage. I had to explain to my children what was going on, and answer questions about the horrible, vulgar word you hurled at him.

I can't imagine your life. Maybe you have no one to turn to when things are tough. Maybe you have endured things beyond my comprehension.

But what I do know, and have to remind myself daily, hourly, is that we get one chance to mother our children. In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. They make us crazy, exhausted and angrier than we could have ever imagined. But they also make us smile, laugh, and cry with joy. And before we know it, they will be grown.

So, dear mother at Walmart, please, please have patience with your son. Treat him with love and control your anger, as difficult as it can be at times. Your son will grow up better for it.


A concerned mother

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know

Parenting mystery #2,745:

Why does food on the floor look so appealing to babies and toddlers? My dear daughter will tell me she is done eating (with wonderful sounds, screams and flailing arm motions), only to get down on the floor and eat the very foods she flung from her highchair just moments before.

Why is this?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mommy's Night

Tonight was wonderful. Amazing.

I went out with a certain 6 year old boy and loved every minute of it. It was just him and me, having dinner, school supply shopping, and just plain being together.

In a house such as ours, one on one time is hard to come by. My husband and I try very hard to carve out time alone with each of our kids, but it never seems to happen often enough. But back-to-school Mommy's nights are set in stone. Each year in August, I have a special night with each school-age child. We go to dinner, we shop, we get ice cream. Mommy soaks it all in.

My sweet kindergartner loved our night as well. He thanked me/loved me/hugged me/adored me no fewer than twenty times tonight, I'll bet. It was a love fest of Mommy and son. At age 6, being alone with Mommy is still really, really great. And at age 37, being with my son, just the two of us, is still really, really great as well.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quotable quotes

We just got back from vacation in the deep south last night. I will blog about our trip soon, but for now, a quotable quote from one of my offspring.

"Dad", says the boy, "my armpits smell like dumpsters!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy, happy birthday!

Today marks the 1st birthday of my baby daughter. As I type this, she is next to me babbling and smiling, while emptying the contents of a trash can (don't worry - it only has paper in it!). Last year at this time, I was driving everyone crazy with my constant comments consisting of shock and amazement that this dear sweet baby was a girl.

Now, as is always the case, it is impossible to imagine life without her. Our house has had a frenzied renewal of pink clothes, blankets and toys. We have relearned to say "sweet girl" in place of "buddy" when using our baby voices. I have had lots of practice doing baby girl hair (and learning how to do her signature hairstyle, the whale spout).

And most of all, we have had many wonderful lessons in baby love. There is nothing quite like holding a tiny bundle of sweetness, and then over the months, watching that little bundle grow and show her personality (and baby, you've got lots of it!!).

This dear child has changed our lives. Sometimes she has been a challenge, as babies often are, but more than anything else, she has enriched our family. She is a truly amazing gift from God.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Extra, extra, read all about it!

This just in: family of seven returns from vacation in beautiful North Carolina. Mother overwhelmed with laundry, gear and food which is currently littering every available flat surface in her home. Five children are wild with delight to be near the beloved Wii again, and are testing the screen time limits. Father is back to work, leaving Mother with aforementioned mess and rowdy children. Father also busy ordering Mac and iphones, to the family's great delight.

Yes, I'm singing the post-vacation clean up blues. It is amazing how one family can so quickly trash a house! Seriously, though, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the house is back to normal now. (Don't ask what my standards are for "normal").

We had a wonderful vacation in North Carolina. For the first week, my husband's parents and brother and sister-in-law and four children joined us. The kids (and adults!) had a fabulous time hanging out together. We saw many waterfalls, toured the Biltmore, celebrated 9 birthdays. . .good times, good times.

It's too bad we couldn't stay on vacation forever. But I guess even then we would eventually want a vacation from our vacation, making it not an actual vacation.

Monday, June 14, 2010

looking back. . .

14 years ago today, my brother- and sister-in-law were married. . .
12 years ago today, my husband was ordained into the holy ministry. . .
10 years ago today, my first daughter was a sweet 3 month old baby. . .

Oh how the years go by - in just a few short years, so much has happened. If I had known 14 years ago when we got married what life would hold for us, I don't think I could have comprehended it all. It would have sounded scary and wonderful all at the same time. Thank goodness God knows to give us life incrementally, bit by bit, until our lives are so full of wonder, happiness and joy. Even through the tough times, God is constantly with us, guiding us, and turning all things into good.

Thank you, God, for giving me this life - so full of joy, chaos and love.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tis the season

Tis the season for open houses, weddings and end-of-the-year parties. Some years are heavier than others, and this year is quite full. We are attending 5 weddings, 7-8 graduation open houses, and 1-2 general parties. This makes for very little time for doing much else, especially blogging. The kids are also attending camps, having sleepovers, grumbling about chores. . .the summer seems overbooked before it has really started!

I will attempt to remain in my regular blogging rhythm of about 2-3 times a week, but please forgive me if I slip! My dear sweet baby girl is still as demanding as ever, also making it difficult to do anything that requires two hands (and a well-rested body and brain). I'm trying to remember that this too shall pass, and I know I will miss these crazy, busy days!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Heartfelt prayers

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking with a parishioner in his backyard. As the kids were playing on his playground equipment, this man called each one by name.

Each one.

Now, this is a man that I have known our entire 12 years here, but the children don't know him at all, and I don't often get a chance to speak to him or his wife, since we often attend different services.

I was so surprised that he knew their names, and I told him so. His answer moved me to tears.

"I pray for each of your children", he said.

It's hard to explain how that made me feel. My husband is this man's pastor, and he loves my husband and our family in such a way that he lifts all of us up in prayer. It was a wonderful gift and blessing given to me that day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ho, ho, ho

My daughter was playing BrainQuest with my three year old and asked him this question:

"What comes out of a chimney?"

Without missing a beat, he answered, "Santa!"

An herb by any other name

My son's teacher: Class, who knows what an herb is?

The class: quietly thinking

My son: loudly, excitedly I know what herbs are! My mom has some growing on the kitchen counter!!

Teacher: Do you know what kinds they are?

My son: I don't know what kinds they are, but she gave them names!

Teacher: What did she name them?

My son: She named them Basil and Cilantro!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

The other day, a dear friend was babysitting all our children while my husband and I were at a wedding reception. My darling baby was getting fussy, so my 3 year old suggested the babysitter give her some nummies (our term of endearment for breastmilk). When she replied that she couldn't do that, he was perplexed.

"Where is your chest?" he asked her. "Is it broken?"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One blessed mamma

Mother's Day comes but once a year. . .a day for mommies everywhere to be celebrated. It was no different in our house.

My celebration began Saturday morning. My husband and kids let me sleep in till 9:40 (I don't think I've slept that late since B.C. - before children). When I finally awoke, it wasn't to the sound of pounding feet downstairs, or fighting and screaming, it was to the sound of. . . silence. Nothingness. Because no one was home but me. Did you read that correctly, dear reader? I was alone in the house. That may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but others will understand. I may be alone sometimes at the grocery (if being surrounded be strangers is being alone), but I am very rarely alone in the house. So, as you can imagine, it was blissfully quiet.

After I had reveled in the solitude, my family came home, brimming with excitement. It was more than my 3 year old could bear and a tiny bit of information about my present leaked out.
Soon after, my husband suggested I go shopping for a few hours before he had to be at church. By myself again. I almost didn't know what to do with myself!

The next day after church, I was showered with gifts, lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant, and a day together at a park with my children and husband. I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate Mother's Day. Thank you, God, for this family!

Friday, May 7, 2010

You gotta have friends. . .

Wednesday, I hit the wall. Hard.

I had spent the night before giving my 3 year old son nebulizer treatments every three hours, in an attempt to keep him out of the hospital. I "slept" with him (in quotes, because there wasn't much sleeping going on while I was kicked and whacked all night), and was awakened by him in the morning telling me to get out of his bed or he would kick me in the head.

The day proceeded in much the same fashion. Nebulizer treatments, doctor visit, hysterical tantrums at every turn, a baby whose two naps totaled 55 minutes, and one tired mommy. By one o'clock I had had it.

By the time my husband got home, I was exhausted, grouchy and not much fun to be around.

As I relayed Wednesday's events (and my inability to take it all in stride) to a couple of friends, my sister and my husband, I was reminded why each of these people is so important to me. As I grumbled about my failure to have it all together when life was tough, each one listened to me and let me vent. No one looked at me in shock and said "I never lose my temper with my kids!", or "What is the matter with you?" They hugged me, said they loved me, and told me they would pray for me.

Thursday was much better, due to more sleep and fewer tantrums. But most importantly, it was better due to friends who listen without judging and who love me through the tough times.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's all in the eye of the beholder

Tonight I had a special night with my 5 year old preschooler. His class put on a lovely program for all the mommies. After the program, I took him out to Culver's to maximize our time together.

We discovered that two of his best buddies also had the same idea, and he was very excited to see them there. We ate our ice cream while he made faces across the restaurant to his peeps.

As we were leaving, we discovered a beautiful rainbow in the sky. We drove out in the parking lot to check it out more thoroughly.

"I can't believe it!" he said.

As I gazed at God's glorious show in the sky, I started to say I couldn't believe we got to see such a sight either. . .when he continued his thought.

"I can't believe TWO of my friends were here tonight!!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thought for the day

If I cleaned our bathrooms every half hour, it wouldn't be often enough.

Why can my boys aim perfectly well if they are shooting their brothers with Nerf guns, but cannot hit the toilet when they go potty? I will never understand this phenomenon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another day, another spill

"There's a milk problem!!" my son yells, as he watches his little brother's milk spill onto the floor at McDonald's.

Watches is the key word here. Not - reaches for, or grabs, or rights the cup. No, all the brothers watch in disbelief as it spills all over the floor. Thankfully, my son's shirt was spared, but the seat and floor got a good dousing of chocolate milk. Sigh.

We had a busy night last night. The two older kids are in a dance recital, so we had a dress rehearsal at 4:30, then off to the golden arches for a nutritious meal, then back at 6:00 for another dress rehearsal.

I know this sounds like a normal night for lots of families, but we have limited how many extracurricular activities our kids can be involved in. Too many evenings like last night would wear us all out! Besides, we figure there's plenty of time to run from sport to sport (and with five kids, I may end up living in my van as a full time mom-taxi driver) when they are older.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

All Joseph, All the time

Several weeks ago, I downloaded the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to my ipod. Since then, the singing hasn't stopped.

All the way to New York and back, we were begged to listen to it "just one more time!". While I would have happily sung along to it for days, there was the small issue of the children's father. Musicals aren't his bag. To be sure, this one gains points because it is a story he is quite familiar with and finds fascinating to analyze. Still, in his book, there is only so much storytelling-by-singing one can tolerate.

Regardless, we have still listened to it many, many times, with special requests by one of my sons for the Pharaoh song. They love envisioning him as an Elvis impersonator. My elder daughter has perfected her French accent after listening to Those Canaan Days repeatedly.

I have promised to take them to a performance the next time it is in town. I wonder if I can get my husband to accompany us?

Edited 2 hours later: We just got back from the library, with the biggest find of our lifetimes! Yes - you guessed it - Joseph on DVD! Everyone is frantically doing chores and homework so they can watch a little of it before dinner.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On the cutting edge

This morning was our monthly MOPS meeting (Mothers of Preschoolers). We had a great speaker - a gal who told us all about kindergarten readiness. After her presentation, we had our small group time and then made our craft.

Why is it I have no talent for MOPS crafts? Upon typing that, I realize it is because I have no talent for making any kind of craft. Today we were simply cutting out felt shapes to put on a felt background. Many moms were making elaborate designs and others were just cutting out many different shapes for their children to use. I was making something in between. I was attempting to make certain shapes (flower petals, a star. . .) and the results were rather pathetic. Someone said it looked like her child had cut one of her shapes out. Another mom said she thought her scissors were dull.

That last one really resonated with me. That's my problem! My scissors are just dull! I can't help that I am no good at crafts! My whole life, I have been given dull scissors. When I tried to scrapbook as a new mom, my scissors were to blame for my uninspired pages. It is because of my scissors that I never finished a cross-stitch project in high school, though many were started. Matter of fact, perhaps dull scissors are the culprit of lots of my shortcomings. I can't dance, I'm not really good at sports, I talk too much. . .maybe it's all the scissors' fault.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More commonly known as watering. . .

This afternoon one of my boys burst through the door into the kitchen.

"What are you and daddy doing out there?" I asked him.

Excitedly, he answered, "We're washing the yard!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Musings on the Big Apple. . .

We got home late last night (after enduring a 15 hour drive home with all the kiddos) from our fabulous trip to New York City. I am too tired to write much, so here are a few reflections.

  • NYC is HUGE and yet felt oddly quaint and small-town-ish.
  • No one attempted to mug us, yell at us, attack us or trample us. In fact, everyone was remarkably friendly. Of course, we were quite a spectacle.
  • Listening to my 3 year old say, "Stand clear of the closing doors, please", almost every time the subway departed never grew old.
  • Spending time with our dear friend and tour guide was wonderful rewarding.
  • Walking and riding mass transit everywhere should have made me lose weight. However, all the lovely eating we did made that quite impossible.
  • American Girl with your 10 year old daughter is a memorable experience. Though we had been to AG in Chicago, AG in NYC off of 5th Avenue took it to a whole 'notha level.
  • Seeing Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty again, this time with the kids was really meaningful.
  • Standing at Ground Zero with our friend who was there on 9/11 was very humbling. Seeing all the places we had watched on TV that day really brought to the life the horrific events of that day. It was a very solemn experience.
  • Attending our friend's 50th birthday party in a pub on Times Square was something we'll never forget!
It is hard to believe we were gallivanting around New York City just two days ago. Now it is back to the grind. . . laundry, laundry and more laundry.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Smells like tween spirit. . .

Around here, we now have two tweeners growing up. . .

Me, to child in shower: Be sure to wash carefully.

Child: Why? I wear deodorant now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New math

While getting something out of the cabinet this afternoon, I glanced down at my son's homework, which was lying on the counter.

A couple of words jumped out at me, causing me to look it over more carefully. What I thought I read couldn't possibly be on a child's math paper.

But no, I had not misread. The question was: "Find something nearby that has parallel lines".

His answer: "The two sides of a wine bottle".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A true lock-in

As I mentioned, my oldest daughter's birthday was on Wednesday. She turned 10, and it was a momentous occasion. Double digits, a decade, the big 1-0! We are very proud of her and what a wonderful young lady she is becoming.

While we could have just celebrated in the same old way, the youngest two children and I decided to shake things up a bit. By locking the kids in the car.

I was leaving a friend's house to pick up the older children from school. My 3.5 year old son was playing in the front seat (pushing lots of fun buttons, I later realized) while I gabbed with my friend and put the baby in her carseat. I then corralled my son and put him in his five-point harness, slid the door shut and walked around to my door. About the time I got to the driver's door, I heard a definitive click. I immediately knew what happened and felt a mild sort of panic. I looked down at the seat, and there lay my keys and phone. I quickly called my husband on my friend's phone, and he (after having me double check all the doors and windows) rushed the 15 minutes to unlock the doors.

It was a harrowing time. The kids were mostly unaffected, although by the end they were both crying. It was a really warm day and I was worried about the temperature in the van. Luckily, my husband was able to come quickly, and all was fine in the end.

I told my daughter, though, that I would rather commemorate her next birthday in a less stressful manner.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gardening, schmardening

Today in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), we had a great presentation on gardening and growing an herb garden. The gal who presented was very knowledgeable and told us all sorts of things about planting, watering and pruning our herbs. We then decorated our little pots with ribbons and bling (!), and made a decorative label for each pot. I joked that I needed ribbons and stickers in manly colors, because if these herbs had a chance at life, it was with my husband, not me.

To say I don't have a green thumb is like saying that Hitler was a little naughty. I am horrible at gardening, primarily because I don't enjoy it. I don't like getting my hands all dirty (the dirt stays under your nails for days!!), I'm not a fan of the bugs, and pulling weeds doesn't sound therapeutic to me - just exhausting. I love the great outdoors - we camp frequently - but gardening is not my cup of tea. Even houseplants don't make it a week under my care!

So - these little unsuspecting herbs sit on my counter, having no idea the home they've been given. For their sake, may my husband sweep in and have pity on them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pronouns are for wimps!

Having had small children for 10 years now, I seem to have lost the ability to use pronouns. Young children understand dialogue much better in the third person (as in "Mommy said to brush your teeth!" or "Did Mommy give you a kiss?"). Pronouns just mix things up and confuse little ones just embarking on the English language.

Apparently, though, certain children in my household would prefer it if I switched back to first person. Take my eldest child, for example. Just the other day I said something along the lines of, "Mommy will help you with your homework in a minute". She looked at me imploringly and said, "I will help you!" I was momentarily confused. Will she help herself?!? Then I realized she was correcting my 2 year old grammar. Yes, I suppose my older children do deserve a mother who has full command of the English language, which decidedly includes pronouns.

I must say, though, in my defense, that I can't help myself. This has been a problem since my oldest was a mere baby (far before she ever could truly understand what I was saying, anyway!). I recall taking a shower when she was about 3 months old. My daughter was not even in the room with me, but in my mind, the pronoun-ectomy had already taken place. I dropped the soap on the shower floor and thought (thought - not spoke) "Mommy dropped the soap!". So you see, it's a lost cause. If, at three months of motherhood, I was thinking in third person, there's no hope.

So, if you are conversing with me and I lapse into third person, have pity. I really can't help myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday blahs

I'm not very motivated in the housework department today. Monday I hit the ground running, doing all my scheduled chores plus many more as the ideas struck me. Yesterday, I ran lots of errands (with just the baby home from school), which is a day I enjoy - who doesn't love to shop?!? But today, I have just basic chores to accomplish, and I am tired. I'm not getting very far, and I 'm really wishing for a nap. I don't think that is going to happen, though. . .my 3 year old is giving his nap up, I'm afraid. Every day he is not in school, he likes to ask, "Can we skip my nap today?". My knee-jerk response is, "No, no, a thousand times no! A nap is a wonderful thing!! Why ever would you want to skip it??" But then I realize how I feel about sleeping is decidedly differently than how a 3 year old feels about it. To me, sleep is a much-sought after, elusive, joyful activity. To a 3 year old, it is a punishment.

Anyway, as you can see by this post, I am procrastinating all my work. I'm going to wager that it will all be here tomorrow, still waiting to be done. For today, I'm going to rest as much as the children will allow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Deep thoughts by Jack Handey. . .er, mammamilk

1. Why do doctors always start their explanations out with "so"? You ask a question, such as, "Why does my son need this surgery?". The doctor begins his sentence, "So, surgery is necessary because. . ." Why add the "so"? It is completely superfluous.

2. We have a Jesus Mii on our Wii. We also have an Obama, an Elmo, and an old, wrinkly, fat Mii the children have named Prunes. When the kids are playing games, they will shout out "I just passed Obama!" or "There's Jesus!". It's vaguely disconcerting. I suggested (repeatedly) that having a Jesus Mii might be sacrilegious, but was apparently not heard.

3. The sun is shining today, for the THIRD day in a row. Yes, you read that right. If you are from around here, you know that is a stinkin' big deal. The sun NEVER shines here during the winter. Everyone can feel their moods being lifted.

4. My dear first born is turning 10 in 2 weeks. She is beyond excited to be "a decade, double digits, the big 1-0!". I am so proud of her, but am having trouble believing it is here already. When I am missing her sweet baby days, however, I need only look to her little sister to be reminded of them. The two look amazingly similar.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to shave $10 off your grocery bill

  • Choose $112 worth of groceries.
  • Approach checkout. Notice there is only one register open at 9:15 on a Monday morning. Frown.
  • Watch cashier scan groceries and coupons. Hear total. Suppress desire to say "How did I spend that much?!"
  • Swipe debit card.
  • Hear cashier say, "Oh no. That rang through as cash. I'll have to rering it all."
  • Try to remember everyone makes mistakes. Do not complain.
  • Attempt to entertain antsy toddler and juggle fussy baby while entire receipt is rerung by hand. Remember days as a Target cashier (if applicable). Try not to sigh.
  • Hear cashier announce new total (which should be the same as before, but surprisingly is not). Hear him proclaim, "I'll take $10 off for all your trouble!"
  • Rejoice inwardly and offer thanks out loud.

Take home lesson: $10 for 15 minutes of "work". If I could do this on a regular basis, we'd be rich!

The rising costs of education

In about 8 years, the first of our children will enter college. With four siblings behind her, the cost of higher education is staggering. I can't imagine how we will manage to pay for it all.

My children, though, are not too worried about the rising cost of education. They live their lives, blissfully unaware of the heavy financial cloud awaiting all of us. In fact, they are so unconcerned, they have decided they would like to provide a college education for others as well as themselves. How are they doing that, you might wonder?

By leaving on all the lights in our house.

Yes, you read that right. My children would like to educate all the children of the fine people who work for our electric company.

My kids find it virtually impossible to turn off a light. Our dining room, downstairs bathroom and basement are especially high on the kids' priority list. They must feel that leaving these lights on perpetually will really give all those electricians' kids' a leg up, because these three rooms could guide a ship into harbor any time of day. In fact, my poor husband is known to grumble, as we go up to bed, "Does anyone know how to turn this basement light off except me?!"

I guess I should be proud of them. They are changing the world (for those who work at the electric company, anyway), one room at a time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Four years is too often

I'm sick. Not that I'm-gonna-die-sick, but with a bad cold: achy body, stuffy nose, headache and sore throat. I have been limping along since I was stricken last Friday. Thankfully my husband's weekend work schedule afforded him some free time, giving me a few chances to rest.

The last time I was down with any kind of illness was four years ago, when I was pregnant with our fourth child. God must have given me a first-rate immune system, since my children have been sick, oh about 20,000 times since then. Diarrhea, vomit, and runny noses? No problem - they're no match for me! I am able, however, to come down with a cold when no one has been sick in our house in weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The man your man could smell like. . .

Check out this hilarious commercial.

Old Spice

Thankfully, my man smells like a man, man.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boppy-head guy

My children and I are stalkers. We are stalking boppy-head guy.

Here are the facts:

Boppy-head guy stands on a corner that we pass in our daily route to and from school.
He is apparently employed by a company that buys gold.
Presumably he is paid to stand on this corner and hold a sign advertising for this company.
He listens to his ipod and bops his head along to the music.
We often see 7-11 cups in the nearby snow.

We ponder many things about this situation:

1. HOW can this gold-buying company justify the expense of having a man stand on a corner, miles away from their location?

2. WHAT kind of music is he listening to that causes such emphatic head bobbing?

3. WHAT is in the 7-11 cups we see parked in the snow? My daughter has surmised that they hold slushies.

4. Doesn't his neck get sore from all the motion? (I tried to mimic his vigorous head motion and was in pain within seconds.)

We feel a certain kinship to this man, though we don't know him at all. The children look for him as we approach this corner and have attempted to determine his hours. My daughter has even written a song about him in her head. I feel like we should wave to him and bid him good day. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's next?!?

While strolling through JCPenney this afternoon with my daughters (how lovely that sounds!), I came across a clothing display that made me stop short.

"Look at this!!" I said in horror to my 9 year old. "They're stonewashed jeans!!"

Yes, yes it's true. I found an entire rack of jeans, looking as if they had stepped right out of the pages of my high school yearbook. Who would have thought stonewashed jeans would make a comeback. Shaker sweaters, yes. Skinny jeans, perhaps. But stonewashed jeans?!? They were truly better left in the pictures we all have from 1987, with our big permed hair, huge belts (which are also back, I've noticed), and (take a deep breath) stirrup pants.

I'm almost afraid to ask. Is the mullet next to return?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We've been fairly busy around here. . .

I haven't been writing much lately, as you can see. That is, in part, due to all the fair-ing we've been experiencing around here.

Two weeks ago was the Science Fair. This week it was the Learning Fair. Being a former teacher, I know the value of independent projects such as these. But, in my current role of parent, I think fairs stink. What they boil down to is a lot of research, experiments, board-assembly, report-writing, and bibliographies (can I get a collective groan for those?). I suppose I wouldn't mind my child doing any of these things, if he/she was able to do them alone. But of course, being grade-schoolers, they cannot. SO - enter Mommy.

I have done some rudimentary math (because that is all I am able to do anymore, since I no longer use my brain in a productive manner). I have determined that I am 4 years into a 14 year fair-stint. We started in 2006 and will finish in 2020. 2020!!!!! I am exhausted just thinking about it. I will be 47 (!) in 2020. Will I really have the energy poor K needs from me? The jury is out on that one.

Before it is all over, we (by "we", I mean the children, of course!) will have completed 30 projects for these two fairs. I think, in this case, recycling is perfectly conscionable. Will anyone really remember my first daughter's projects by the time my last daughter's turn rolls around? I think not.

I'm sure I won't even remember them (don't forget I have had severe brain cell loss since having children)!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Exactly how many kids constitutes "very much"?!

The children woke up this morning to see Valentine's Day cards from my mother- and father-in-law on the dining room table. There were four on one side, for my nieces and nephew, and five on the other, for our five kids.

My five year old looked at our cards, then looked at the cousins' pile.

After a moment, he said, "They don't have very much kids, do they?"

Monday, February 8, 2010






supertired. . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is there an echo in here?

This morning, my 3 year old son was crying over some injustice in his life (I think I said he couldn't have another cup of juice). In an effort to distract him, I poked him in the tummy to get him to laugh.

He laughed for a moment, then pulled away from me and said, "Would you like it if I poked you in the tummy?!"

My do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-done-unto-you-logic is coming back to haunt me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How many syllables. . .

. . .does the word "mom" have? One, right?

Not if you're my tweeny-almost ten-but-going-on-14-year-old daughter. If you heard her say my name, you would be quite sure there are 5, maybe 6 syllables (or at least one syllable drawn out over much time, and with excessive inflection).


That's what I answer to these days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleep - that far-fetched idea

My sweet little baby is not a good sleeper. THAT is an understatement, actually. She has had good bouts of sleep, to be fair, but the norm is bad, bad, bad. Add to the fact that I am no longer a spring-chicken-mommy, and the result is one exhausted mammamilk.

Take, for example, last night. Little K was up at 12:20 to nurse ( a mere hour and a half after I went to sleep). I dragged myself to her room, fed her and put her back down. I slept blissfully until 5:00, when she woke again. At 6:00 I was soothing her again, giving up all hope of any more rest. She finally seemed quiet, so I curled up in bed at 6:15, hoping for 15 more minutes. Almost immediately, I heard wailing from the boys' room. I mumbled under my breath as I schlepped into their room. My 3 year old was crying, saying, "I don't want Spiderman to get his hair cut!".

This is a recurring problem - I have blogged about it before (you can read it here). Maybe if I had a little more rest, I wouldn't repeat myself.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another of my many shortcomings

I am a horrible storyteller. I am one of those people who starts a story, then stops, then starts again, only to finally say that I don't really remember exactly what happened.

My other storytelling problem is that I give way too much extraneous information. If the story is about how the cashier at the grocery was really rude to me (which happens all the time at a mega-store that shall remain unnamed), I somehow feel it is important to include all sorts of details about:
- what I was shopping for
- how naughty or well-behaved the children were
- what day of the week it was
- what I was wearing

These details have nothing to do with the point of the story (the rudeness of the cashier), yet they come flying unbidden from my mouth. I hear them as they exit my mouth, and I know they are superfluous, yet I cannot keep them from being said. I am actually annoyed that I am giving needless information that has nothing to do with the point of the story, but still the words come.

You might be sitting at your computer thinking . . ."yes - this whole post is extraneous!" I'm sorry. You're probably right, but I had to get it off of my chest. Just remember this post the next time I am talking to you. I really want to be short and to the point, but it seems like a lofty goal. Be patient with me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The vacuum in my arms

The other day in church, I discovered a strange, fascinating phenomenon. I was holding the 3 year old in my lap (simultaneously rocking the infant carrier in hopes of getting the baby to sleep), when he suddenly got down to sit somewhere else in our row. Relieved for the breather, and hoping for a chance to look at the baby to see the sleep-to-wake-ratio, I leaned over.

But only for a moment.

For in that split second when I had empty arms, my 5 year old took note and rapidly claimed my lap as his own. It was as if I was a human vacuum. As soon as one child moved, another rapidly took his place. I continued to observe this pattern the entire service. I was later holding the 5 year old again when my 8 year old noticed a thigh with available real estate. "Aha!" he must have thought. "I can place my head right there!". And he did.

Only when I was standing did I not have an older child on my body (of course I was holding the baby and holding hands with one or more children while standing). I think the children have a radar. When Mommy's lap/arm/thigh is open, they hear a loud high pitched sound, directing them immediately to the open body part.

It goes without saying that I do very little actual worshiping during church. I know that someday I will worship again. Though it will be lovely to hear more than a snippet of a reading or a phrase from the homily, perhaps I will miss my arms being full of children. Perhaps.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A self portrait

The other day, my husband was asking me for pictures of the kids for his desk at church. I jokingly asked him if he had a picture of me(an 11 x 14 would be appropriate, I think) up in his office. Of course he does not, because there are very few pictures of me out there.

So - perhaps I should have my picture taken. Professionally. A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law asked my husband to have his portrait done. Since he is a pastor, this meant in his full vestments, in our beautiful church. The portrait is lovely and is now hanging on our living room wall.

Now, if I get my picture taken of me in my "professional surroundings", what would that mean? Hhmm. . .

Setting: the kitchen, piled high with dishes, sippy cups, dinner-in-progress. In the background, you can see the laundry on the table waiting to be folded. There are also toys scattered and many crumbs on the floor.

My clothing: Sweats, t-shirt from 1993 (complete with spit-up on the shoulder and a splash of spaghetti sauce on the front), tennies.

My hair: In a ponytail, possibly washed that day, perhaps the day before. A few wisps frame my face, not necessarily flatteringly.

In my arms: At least one child, with more clambering to be held. The babe-in-arms is grabbing handfuls of my face with one hand, and pulling my hair with the other.

My face: Trying to smile for the camera, but in severe pain due to the pulling being done by the baby. Every other second, I stop smiling to reprimand or compliment a child, break up a fight, or say "Calgon, take me away".

Okay, okay, this is not exactly how I look or my house looks. These are all plausible scenarios, they just do not (thankfully!!) converge on me at one time (usually!). Still, I think it best if I do not try for a professional picture. There's not point in tempting fate.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Merry, merry Christmas!

Last Christmas, as I lay (moaning and groaning) on the couch with all-day-sickness due to my new pregnancy, I dreamed of this Christmas. We will have a new baby, I thought! I will be able to stand for more than three minutes without keeling over! Next Christmas, I dreamed, will be amazing.

Well, that did not turn out to be exactly true.

Thankfully, we were all able to worship on Christmas Eve, but from then on, things got messy. I came home from singing at the late service to find our dear friend who was babysitting holding the baby, who had been coughing horribly. Our three year old was in our bed with a fever. By 3 a.m., we were ready to go the ER, but thankfully received a prescription for an antibiotic from the doctor on call. Eventually all three younger kids had some version of fever/coughing/congestion.

Still, we made it to our family celebrations three hours south. Everyone seemed to be mostly better, until we headed five hours north to be with friends for New Year's. Less than 24 hours later, we were beating an unexpected path home, fleeing the vomiting ickies. We did not make it home alone. The ickies followed, and three of the kids and my husband succumbed over the last two days. Blessedly, everyone seems to be out of the woods now.

It was definitely not the Christmas I dreamed of last year, but it was still filled with many blessings. We were able to worship our newborn King together as a family, get together with all of our immediate family and lots of extended family and friends as well.

Perhaps I will just wait and see what next year brings. No point in jinxing it by wishing for perfection!