Friday, June 27, 2008

Rain, Rain...brings memories of a bad day

I was five and a half months pregnant with Josh.  We were coming back from a family get together through Northern Indiana and it was pouring rain.  The kind of pouring rain that covers your windshield with a sheet of water and the window wipers can barely keep up.  Traveling on the highway at a slower speed, I thought that we were doing pretty well for the circumstances.  I had volunteered to drive the Hubs' truck so he could rest a bit.  Our dog at the time, Abby, was curled up on the back seat.  The Hubs was saying something about taking it a bit slower because the rain wasn't letting up, as I noticed the car moving in a way it shouldn't.

"Honey, HonEY, HONey..."  

The truck began spinning.  We were in the far left lane of a three lane highway.  

It was like the tea cup ride at the carnival.  You could feel forces beyond your control pulling and pushing you.  All I could do was hold onto the wheel.  I'm not even sure I screamed or had my eyes open.  

And we spun.  And spun.  And spun.  Until.  

We stopped.  

The guard rail on the opposite side of the highway stopped us.  Facing the right way.  Fully intact.  All of us.

I'm pretty sure I was panting and saying something about Abby being ok. Being in the center of the vehicle some force kept her right where she was.  She looked at me with sleepy eyes.  Then I remembered the little life growing inside of me.  I felt the baby move and almost broke down into tears.

The Hubs calmed me down and his instincts set in.  He said we needed to move.  We couldn't stay on the side of the road in this weather with all those car and semi-trucks on the road. (Later, as we marveled at how we spun across those three lanes without hitting anyone, he would tell me that he could see several headlights coming our way.)  He said I would need to drive, because there was no room for him to switch with me.  

And we moved.  I put on my hazards and slowly rode the narrow shoulder until I could pull out into traffic.  We got off at the next exit and pulled into a gas station.  There were numerous hugs, a few nervous laughs and a quick check of the vehicle before we were calm enough to think rationally.  The extent of the damage:  one lost license plate and the tailgate was a bit shoved over.  

We called my family who happened to be nearby and someone came to help make sure we got home ok.  I had called my doctor and they needed me to come to the hospital, just in case.  I was fine, a little dehydrated, but the baby was great.  I asked the nurse to let the sound of the heartbeat stay on for a while.  I reveled in it's amazing strength after such an ordeal.  It didn't know what had happened.  It didn't know how the Lord's hand had guided our truck across those lanes, missing all the possibilities for more danger and land us safely on the other side, facing forward, still running, as if I had parked it there, ready for the next move.  

I'm thinking of this memory today because we are driving out of town tonight.  Most likely in some strong rain and storms.  Although my panic has gradually settled over time, I still feel great fear when the rains come down hard as we drive.  Ask any of my family members and they each have a story about my fear of driving in the rain.  

So, tonight as you say your prayers with your family, please include us.  Traveling mercies for three family vans, going the distance overnight, intending to find our way to the ocean by tomorrow afternoon.  I usually don't like to advertise our absence from home, but we will be gone (with no computer access), so pray for us tonight and come back to visit in a week or so.  I'm sure to have great stories to tell, pictures to show and laughs to share.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

I come from a long line of refrigerator door decorators. Pictures, magnets and assorted homemade items have long adorned the front of our family's frig.

Soon we had little ones who have toys like these:

so we needed additional help.

An idea to keep those small magnets from playing hide and seek under your refrigerator or from completely taking over your largest "photo album," try this.

Put all the pieces on a cookie sheet like this:

When not is use, put the cookie sheet in a nearby cabinet. It's slim shape will store nicely on top of whatever nicely organized chaos you keep in your cabinets (ours goes in the "tupperware" cabinet...oh boy, there's a reason for a WFMW post, help anyone?)

The only trick might be convincing your children to put them back on the sheet each time, but practice makes perfect, or at least something relatively close.

Hope this helps someone out there. For more great ideas, visit Shannon!

Lost and FOUND!

After a rigorous search of the premises, one "Blankie" was found in a secret hiding spot. Said Blankie's discovery was met with rejoicing, dancing and screaming. Most happy of all was the Blankie's owner, a sweet little girl who now vows never to hide her Blankie again. Another joyous party was the little girl's mother whose sigh of relief at knowing the comfort her daughter finds in this holey lovey is safely back, was heard from here to Texas.

Welcome back, Blankie, welcome back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MIA~ The Blankie

Ellie's dear Blankie is lost.  Seriously lost.  I have looked everywhere.  The holey bundle of love and comfort has apparently sprouted legs and run off with a pillow.  We leave for a trip soon.  Here's hoping we either find her (oh, yes, she has a gender), or we can easily substitute her for another warm and fuzzy object.  

Blankie....come out, come out, wherever you are!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Baby one day, Big boy the next

First haircut




Super Sunday

We sure know how to pack it in.

The Hubs and Josh went with to my brother's work where they were having a large picnic to celebrate 50 years. It was big boy's toys to the max. They climbed on the big tractors, saw where they were built, and even marveled in the massive power of one powerful crane that smashed a few cars to bits. The boys enjoyed a great grilled lunch and polished it off with cotton candy.

I took Ellie and Owen to a local path with some friends for a lazy Sunday afternoon bike ride. Lazy?... My left toe. It was a stellar example of how I am so out of shape. Pitifully. My dear friends were quite understanding and even stayed back and rode the slow lane with me. Of course, I was using every excuse in the book (...I'm pulling about 50 pounds of children behind me...), but in the end, the truth stands and I barely made the 6 mile path. On a bike. In the low gears. "Granny gears." I am very appreciative of my friends who were encouraging despite my complaining (I tried not to, but those hills! Ant hills? No, but close). I found myself floundering at one point when a little voice behind me said, "You can do it, Mom." Ah, a second wind. Inflated by the eternal hope of that my daughter had in me to get her home, I pedaled. I focused. And I did make it. Barely. But I did. We did. (I wish I had pictures to show. There were cuties in bike trailers and it was a gorgeous time.)

All in all, it was a very busy day, and super family fun ensued. Josh (and the Hubs) was quite impressed with the strength of machines, and I was just as affected by the power of my daughter's hope.

Left Field Laugh

My dear Ellie is having an issue with constip.ation.  Eventually all will work itself out, but for now, we are having a bit of trouble.  After another failed attempt that left some skid marks on another pair of und.ies, I gave a big sigh, and said something about trying again later.

Not missing a beat, my Ellie says, "But I'm lucky, mommy, I found a penny!"

Yes, dear, you are.  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer promises

I promise to spend less time on the computer.  

Seriously, when school got out one of the first things I thought was..."Now I can blog more."  I know, I need therapy, or maybe not. 

I'm almost two weeks in here, and I have definitely had more time to blog, but I'm finding I'd rather do other things.  Like one of my other summer promises...

Spend "quality" and "quantity" time with the kids.

This thought was inspired from the most amazing book.  So far, one way we've started this is enjoying a game outside on the patio, under our table's umbrella.  It's cool, it's fun and the kids love the time spent together.  As far as the book, it's taken me awhile to get through it, only because my little UPS man (Owen) delivered it to a very special hiding place under the couch for the last few months.  Not only am I learning more about being a better parent, but also a better person.  I love that I have the time to read it, and that I'm taking the time to read it, too. (not to be caught only doing one thing at once, this multi-tasker was also sunning herself while reading.)  This book as also reminded me about another important promise...

Remember, it's not all about me.

A couple of years ago I realized that I am one selfish person.  So, my hope is to find ways to serve my Hubs, my kids, my family and friends.  Along the way, I hope that I will do a lot of this next promise...

Laugh.  A lot.

I love to laugh.  Silly jokes, corny faces, arm far.ts (a Josh speciality), hilarious blog posts, and animal antics are some of the top faves that get this girl giggling.  Somewhere along the way of responsibilities and life's crazies, I forgot that things are so much better when you find the happy side of the frown.  I hope my kids learn this, too.  

So, there it is.  Another list. A good place to start.  

Now, I've got to go, Ellie is asking to read a book with me.  Got to keep those promises!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tis' the Season

Strawberry Jelly.

Just the thought makes me drool. Every year my mom makes her own strawberry jelly. It's usually the hottest day of early summer and we would spend the day pulling stems, washing sinkfuls of berries, slicing, stirring over a very hot stove and pouring the chunky red liquid
into jars. Each year we would munch quite a few strawberries as we worked. Sampling was our only payment for the day's work. (except that we had the best strawberry jelly ever each and every day for the rest of the year!)

We made this year's supply of jelly yesterday. The workers have changed over the years, but the recipe hasn't and the time well spent stays the same. Our own kids have become pickers and samplers. Sisters-in-law have replaced brothers, and I get the opportunity to enjoy the company of some great women that have married into our family. It was noted that yesterday was probably the coolest day ever in the history of making jelly. The cool breezes kept the kitchen comfortable and the kids outside. Every year we miscount on sugar and someone needs to make a grocery run, and this year was no exception. (you don't even want to know how much sugar goes into this wonder it's a family favorite!)

I recently heard a friend talk about her mother who is now passed away. She talks about these kind of days spent together, but also how she wishes she had something written in her mother's handwriting. This was the thought that was running through my head yesterday. So I'm on the lookout for something like this:
so we can have her write down the recipe, record our adventures for the day, and pull it out year after year to do all over again. As the berries get more expensive, it's hard to say that we are really saving money in the process, but sometimes, that's not the only reason to pick the strawberries in season, bring them home and make them a part of our family history.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The kiddos are still adjusting to being together all the time and we've had some good ol' sibling spats. (ok, knock down, drag out, screaming and get the idea).

I've tried several approaches to get them to get along, but it's like trying to talk to my dad or brothers when they are watching TV.

This morning: (after another textbook sib spat)
Josh: Ellie, should we try to be nice to each other today?
Ellie: Ok.

20 minutes later....

(insert screaming, yelling over some essential item they both needed immediately from one another)

Me: I thought you were going to be nice to each other today?
Josh: We were, but it takes a while to get used to it!

Apparently, some habits are hard to break.

Check out some more cute talk at Mary's.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Hubs

I love this man. Not just because he loves me (thank heavens), but for the way he loves our kids. Each. One. He loves them in a way I could never duplicate. He teaches Josh how to grow up into a thoughtful, athletic, fun-loving boy. He shows Ellie what a girl should be by loving her girlishness, complimenting her pretty dresses and giving cuddles on the blue chair. He gathers Owen into tickling tackles that only end when the hiccups come or the other two join in the fray. This kids know their daddy loves them. They see it, hear it, feel it and know it. They miss him when we've had one too many nights in a row of meetings, tee ball games or just plain busyness. But they know he will be there for them in morning, making breakfast for them like he always does. They won't know how blessed they are to have a father like him until they are older, much older, but the memories will stay.

I'm so proud to say that that this man is my husband, my best friend and the father of my children.

I love you, Dear, and they do, too. Happy Father's Day.

How does your garden grow?

With peppers....

And Beans...

And More...

We planted a garden plot this year. We did it last year, but the location was not too conducive to anything but squash apparently. Tons of squash. So we moved the plot to the side of our garage and hope that it will spring eternal with tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and even a little squash again. So far all seem to be doing well, except the peppers. We're hoping they're late bloomers. Ellie and Josh helped with our little "flags" so we would remember what we planted as they began to grow. (My favorite is Ellie's "beanz".)

It was so fun to plant the garden with the kids. We first had to dig out the sod (whoa, tons of work!) and then get the soil ready. As we picked out rocks and added good topsoil, Josh and I talked about the Parable of the Sower. It was such an amazing time for us to talk and work and learn more about what it means to be ready for God's work in our own lives. As a teacher, those "teachable moments" are my bread and butter. I look for those times in my classroom where I can throw in another great lesson on using interesting words in our writing, or how we really do use math everyday.

And there, in the garden, I knew the Holy Spirit was working in this situation, because I'm pretty sure the words I said were not my own. Later, as I thought about our time digging and sowing, I felt so good about how the Lord gives us these daily situations to build that foundation for a life-long walk with God. Lord, I pray that my eyes may see these moments throughout their lives...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Left to their own devices...

We have a sprinkler. The one that goes back and forth. Back and forth. The neighbors have this great big inflatable water slide that puts our little sprinkler to shame. But, oddly, our kids don't seem like they're missing out. (We'll bring the pool out soon, when the Hubs decides which part of his beautiful lawn he's willing to sacrifice for the sake of fun in the sun.)

We've put the sprinkler on a few times now. I thought, ok, they'll be bored of it in about 2.2 minutes and then I'll have to come up with something. But they didn't. In fact, they invented their own ways to make the sprinkler more fun than back and forth. Back and forth.

Did you know that a sprinkler can be picked up? Oh yes, friends, this is was the key revelation that opened up numerous opportunities for running and screaming. When picked up, the sprinkler became the key player in a game of water tag. Get tagged by the water, and you're it. They made their own water slide using the one on our playset.

Ingenious little buggers, eh?

My favorite part that had me laughing out loud, was when we had changed the sprinkler to an even more "exciting" version...the super stationary sprinkler. This kind is meant to water a small area using a variety of shapes to spray the water in a certain direction. Ellie picked up the sprinkler which was on the half-moon option. She's holding it behind her, half-moon facing her, running away from the water. Screaming. Laughing. Running. I'm pretty sure the idea of this is lost without a picture. (I was up to my elbows in dirt potting flowers) But the one in my head will have me laughing all day. So, until the sequel plays out again in our backyard, here's some fun action photos from the inaugural sprinkle of the summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's all the Rage

Ladies, the newest facial miracle landed right on my face this morning. Yes, it is an amazing combination of baby cereal and sneeze.

The trick is in the timing.

You need to bring the spoon to the kiddo's mouth at the exact moment they are winding up a big sneeze. It may not sound tricky, but the look they get before a sneeze and the look they get before they "open wide" to eat are oddly similar. If all is timed correctly, you will get a full spoonful of cereal evenly sprayed over your face. If you're lucky, you might even get a little on your arms, too. The amount that goes on your clothes seems wasteful, but the results are still fantastic. A bonus feature is that you often find small amounts of the cereal still working it's magic long after breakfast is over, usually when you are talking to someone else.

Oh, and it works on men's skin, too. Just ask the Hubs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Buzzin'

In an uncharacteristic impulse Josh wanted a buzz haircut. I think the idea came from a friend or two who had the cut for summer. He really needed a cut anyway, but I wasn't planning on cutting his beautiful hair down to nothing. On Saturday, his grandparents were over and the peer pressure set in. For whatever reason, probably something related to this, I got really panicky about it. Josh can get pretty emotional (wonder where that comes from?), and I was afraid if he didn't like it, the aftermath could be Titanic-ish. My mother-in-law had a great insight though... just the fact that he was willing to make a drastic change to his appearance was a huge showing of his self-confidence, of how far he had come. So, I changed my own emotional attitude (yep, it don't fall far from the tree, my friends), plastered a big smile on my face, and got the clippers. Oddly, our clippers starting petering out half way through, and the job had to be finished by a professional. Thank goodness...who knows what the child would have looked like. (see second photo below.) He looks great! The smile on his face when he got back showed me how much he liked it, and the attention he's received since then has been eagerly welcomed, too.

I'm so proud of my Buzz Boy. Who knew?

Monday, June 09, 2008

I Knew it!

So glad to read this over at one of my favorite blogs.

Fire your therapist ladies, bring on the blogs.


Teacher's Heart: Loving it

Momma's Heart: Overjoyed

(At first Owen was sitting next to Josh. Soon he got up,
and moved his little buns in his favorite reading spot...up close and cuddled.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

School's Out

Another school year has come to a close. It's time to put away the backpacks and lunch boxes, the bags we used for the sitter and the all-powerful school calendar. Packing these things away brings a great sigh to my heart. I am relieved that another year of taxi driving my kids from school, to sitter, to home is over. I am happy to just think about my own three children, instead of twenty-four others as well. I am looking forward to saying, "It's another 'Mommy Day,' " the days we affectionately have named for days when I don't have to work. Ellie is anxiously awaiting more "Josh Days," too.

On the other foot, we have a whole summer ahead of us. Days of fun, excitement, playing, laughing and boredom. We've already made our lists...(these poor children have no chance whatsoever to become a person who does NOT make lists.)

One for big ideas (special outings) that Josh wrote.
(note dear SIL Sarah, that the second page first item is "play with rode (Rudy)"
...MI here we come!) The last item on the second page is not a Spa park (although what a genius idea, eh?) but a spray park nearby.

One for everyday ideas (when we're bored) that I wrote.
Not an exhaustive list, but one to get us started!

And of course, Ellie's list, which was just a couple of things she can't wait to do.
Play "House"
and go to the "Beach"
(who knew 'g' sounds like 'ch'??)
Note the spider going for a ride on the surfboard.
The more legs with which to hold onto, my dear.

Each year I mourn. I mourn the year past and the one ahead. I already had my good cry last night. I watched a sad movie on purpose, just to get the tears going, because, so far, I've been trying to keep them back. This year was especially poignant. Kindergarten. Done. Next year, first grade. Preschool. *sigh* I've watched my kids go off and begin their own lives just a bit. Their own friends (at least, ones I haven't picked out for them), their own likes and dislikes based on their own new experiences. *big sigh* Josh is reading. Ellie is writing. Owen is... well, at least I have him for a while yet. Although, from the looks of it, not as long as I would like. I mourn the fact that I could have done more, I could have stopped to smell the roses. In fact, the Hubs brought home some beautiful peonies from work yesterday, so in a physical gesture of doing so, I stopped and smelled the peonies. Unfortunately, that was after my good cry and I couldn't smell a thing because of my now running nose. (*sigh* with a giggle) I've always known the cycle of school years and continue to cherish the break that summer affords. (especially when I see how hard the Hubs works day after day, only to get a couple of weeks off each you for that, dear!) So I know this feeling will come around again. Hopefully, it will get less painful as I get used to end and the beginning of school years for my own children. Saying goodbye to my own classes was never this hard. Saying goodbye to Josh's teacher today was a bit difficult. She is an amazing educator and I want to go to kindergarten now. She never wavered in her affection for Josh and her reassurances to me were exactly what my mother's heart needed. (odd, being on the other end of things now).

Today is a new day and next week will bring trips to the library, days outside and many trips to the lists. I pray today for a safe summer, one filled with good family time, rest, rejuvenation, and rejoicing when those inevitable August days come again.

Welcome, Summer. It's good to have you back.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cutest soccer player ever

Isn't this just the cutest soccer player you ever did see? Our cousin Trevor, future all-star! Of course, I guess I should mention at the time of this photo the game was actually still going on. He had come over to where we were to ask if we were coming to his house after the game. Oh well, it was fun to catch him in action and cheer him on! He is turning the big f-o-u-r this month and we are so glad we live close enough to get to see him in play. Way to go, Trev!

Music for the Party

One of my favorite blogs to read is Rocks in my Dryer. She inspires and makes me laugh. Today she is giving away some great music. WOW CD's! 17 Cds to 20 lucky folks...hope one of them is me!!

Check out the new CD here.

Summer Road Rash

(cute shirt courtesy of birthday $$ from Great-Grandma MJ)

(not-so-cute road rash courtesy of brick patio,
super-cute sweaty curls courtesy of the Hubs genes.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Aha moment....

Oh my goodness....


Guilty as charged

Today the dear Hubs was installed as Deacon at our church. When he first mentioned that his name was in the running, I wasn't exactly thrilled.  And if true confessions were to be made, I secretly hoped he wouldn't get voted in.  I liked having the Hubs available to me and the kids, besides our own chosen busyness.  He has been a deacon before, and I knew that it was pretty possible that he would be voted onto this current council.  I was not happy about it. 

Today the Lord put me in my place.

As they read the "charge" to the deacons; their job description, I was amazed.  It was as if they were listing off all the wonderful reasons why I love my darling man.  (do they read my blog, too?) I looked at him in front of our church, dapper and well-dressed, and thought...this is why he is here.  The Lord knows his talents, his abilities, and this is the way he can share them with others.  

I had another secret thought...I already the way you know your best friend...that this list of qualities and instructions is true about my dear Hubs.  Others may know him as kind, generous or thoughtful, but I know.  How selfish I had been to not fully support the essence of the man that I love.  Although, it will still be difficult to "share" my man with others, his service will be a testament to all of us, especially our kids, to the ways the Lord calls us to his kingdom work.  

A friend asked me today if it was emotional to see the Hubs up there, kneeling down, getting the hands of other council members kindly placed on his shoulders, praying for his work to come.  I had said no, because my first reaction to the word emotional brings to mind pictures of tears.  In that way, I wasn't.  But in another way, it was.  I felt strong emotions of love and caring for my dear Hubs.  In fact, the sadness and dread I had previously felt about his inevitable busyness and absence because of his deacon work left me.  I was proud.  Not a bragging, boastful pride, but a gentle glowing pride that my husband was chosen, chosen by God to participate in the life of our church in this way.  

So, Congratulations, dear Hubs.  Go get 'em.  

And we will be here...praying you all the way.