Pet peeve…

February 28, 2005 Categories: This and That | Comments Off  

I love this from Bluegrass Mama‘s blog:

There are also some special worship events that we’d both like to attend, but we’ve decided to do some “tag team parenting” with Emily for those. Last night I went to a service with some friends. They’re a married couple with two kids of their own. The wife asked me where Steve was. “Home,” I replied (not even mentioning that he just may have made his decision based partly on the fact that Louisville was playing Memphis on TV).

“Oh, he’s babysitting?” she asked.

I sure hope she was kidding. After a moment of stunned silence, I said, “Well, I prefer to think of it as parenting.”

I’ve always hated it when I want to go out with a friend, and she tells me she has to ask her husband to “babysit”. Aren’t they his kids, too? I’m so glad my hubby doesn’t see it that way. He was wonderful last night and let me go to my parents’ house to watch the Oscars — uninterrupted by kiddos. Love you, honey!

Believing the right thing…

Categories: Faith , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Natalie, my 8-year-old was very concerned about the beliefs of her Children’s Church teacher yesterday. The teacher had mentioned to me after service that Natalie had asked some good questions. When I asked Nan about this on our drive home, she said, “Mom, I knew the answer to one of the questions already, but I wanted to make sure Miss Tina believed the right thing.” I asked what the question was. She said, “I asked her if I am a Christian and I do one bad thing, will I go to hell.” So I said, “Well, would you?” She replied, “No, Mommy, Jesus is my Savior and died for all my sins and I just need to ask forgiveness and try not to do it again. I just wanted to make sure Miss Tina believed that, too.”

To assurance,

Another weekend flies by…

February 27, 2005 Categories: This and That | Comments Off  

Our weekend is almost over and I don’t feel like I accomplished much. Sure, I kept up with the dishes, folded five loads of laundry, led worship at church, and took care of my kids — but my rug which I vacuumed on Friday is filthy again, the kitchen floor is disgusting, and the bathroom is showing the affects of a household with four members of the masculine gender. And tomorrow the routine starts again — school in the morning, housework in the afternoon, and find time to plan music for our Women’s Bible Study on Wednesday. I’m feeling in need of a break. I love my kids, and I love being with them, but every once in a while I need some time without them to recharge.

Every fall our denomination has a weekend-long women’s retreat. It’s always been a huge time of refreshing and rejuvenation for me. I leave the kids home with Kevin, leave on a Friday, stop in Spokane for shopping with the gals, and spend the weekend at the retreat center being fed from the Word, engaging in worship, and laughing and talking until my jaw aches and my cheeks hurt. This past fall, I was not able to attend Women’s Retreat. The price went up, and it was not financially feasible for me to go. I missed it.

Each January, my husband and I use a little of our tax refund and go away for the weekend. It’s our one time a year when it’s just the two of us — like it was before the rugrats came along. We catch up on sleep, and — ahem — you know , and conversation. We talk about our dreams for the future, the joys and fears of parenting — things that seem to get missed in the daily conversations about how the kitchen sink is plugged again, and Jonathan and Josiah have been fighting all day long , and this bill is due, and on and on and on… This year we decided to postpone our weekend getaway until the end of March. Two reasons — we wanted to go for three nights and needed to save up since our tax refund went toward the loan on my van; and our 10th anniversary is March 31st. I wanted to make it special — not just dinner at a restaurant chosen from our little town’s extremely limited repertoire.

Now it’s the end of February, and I am feeling wrung out and tired and in need of time with my husband. It’s been over a year since we went away together and over a year since I’ve had more than a few hours away from the kids. I am counting down the days until March 31st. Of course, the kids are, too, since Noah will be spending the weekend with his best bud Daniel, and Jonathan will be spending the weekend with his best bud Dylan, and Natalie and Josiah get three whole nights and days of undivided Grandmama and Papa attention. They think it’s for them!

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend’s daughter at church a few weeks ago. My friend and her husband are almost empty-nesters — they were for a while and one of the baby birds has come back to roost for a while. Their oldest son is in Kuwait — on his way back from a year long tour in Iraq. They celebrated their 25th anniversary last summer, and have been saving for years to take a trip — a real trip, not just a weekend away. They left two weeks ago for Cabo in Mexico for 12 days. I was so excited for her to have this time with her husband, especially after a year of worrying over their son in the Army. I saw their daughter at church one of the weekends they were gone — she was up visiting from college — and asked her if she’d heard from her mom yet. She said, “Yeah, they got there ok, it’s 80 degrees there! I don’t know why they didn’t do this two years ago when I could’ve gone!” I laughed and said, “I think that’s kind of the point.” She looked puzzled and then knowledge dawned and she said, “You’re probably right!” The idea of her parents wanting and having time of their own without the kids around was astonishing to her. It probably won’t be very many years from now that she’ll have little ones at home and understand how important that is.

Only 32 days to go!


February 25, 2005 Categories: Books , Commonplace Book , Reviews | Comments Off  

I’m very close to finishing Sandpebbles by Patricia Hickman. I have to admit, this book took a while to draw me in. I even considered giving up around page 60, and I am SO glad I didn’t. I’ve been quite distracted lately by stuff going on around me — a sister having financial and marital difficulties, a dear friend dying of cancer, etc. — and I’m sure that’s why I had trouble entering the world Ms. Hickman draws with her words. Here is a sample of her wonderful prose:

“No one wants to hear it. I know it for a fact. Not the ones you like to run around with, anyway. It is the odd person, the woman you scarcely know who gets right in your face and says things like, “How are you doing? No, I mean, how are you really, doing? Come, dear, now you can really tell me. I’m worried that you’re holding it all in,” although I was never certain what the “it” of the matter might actually be that I was nutting away. She wants to make you believe you’ve grown up knowing her your whole life, Great-aunt Henny Penny suddenly back in your life and brilliant. She treats you as if you’ve suddenly been put out for adoption and here she stands, this merciful angel with her twenty-two liter urn of woman balm ready to scoop you up in a basket with pink blankets and rescue you off the curb. “Tell me; I want to know,” is code for, “I see a person in pain and want to experiment with her hot buttons,” as though she were the latest video game.

Truth be told, I don’t hold in anything. I just organize pain, visiting with her in increments. “Oh, hello pain, so it’s you! Well, come in and have a seat and we’ll have a cup of tea.” It is true I don’t invite the neighbors in to watch. It is a private conversation, not one most civil people want to observe. I liken the moment to inviting your friends over to watch while you have your spleen removed. Now really! Who would want to come?

But as I meandered down past the least populated lanes of East Coast highway, I could not get the painful matter of the cross off my chest. Not the jewelry, the crucifixes that people wear for luck or tradition. But the splintered wood nailed together by men who did not consider the human suffering that would be laid upon its cross-dinner-table conversation. Pain as heavy as the world sinking into a man’s chest until he became it — the cries of hungry, sick, angry, and hurting people needing an emergency bridge to God. Christ became the cries. The pain. The death. While He hung in vertical humiliation, He lifted His face to say my name as He swallowed my bitter pill, and said He was done so that I could cross over His lifeless body, clean.

Pain. I finally got it. The necessity for suffering, so that from the pyre of misery, eyes would be lifted up to see God’s Son and emulate in a smaller worm-sized way His price.”

More tomorrow, if I have time.

Read this book,

Great article on homeschooling…

February 24, 2005 Categories: Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Guilt-Free Homeschooling has a great article on myths about homeschooling. Check it out!


I’m pooped…

February 23, 2005 Categories: This and That | Comments Off  

Whew! My friend Heidi just picked up her two kids who spent the day while she had a thing at church. So it was one adult vs. six rugrats — definitely not fair odds! One 32-year-old, PMS-y, tired woman against one 8-year-old, two 6-year olds, a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old. I’m pooped and in need of chocolate. BUT, I still need to clean up the kitchen from breakfast and lunch, cook dinner, and vacuum the pretzel, popcorn, and cookie crumbs in the living room. If only I could go to bed early, but, alas, American Idol is on tonight and I have to make sure none of my faves get booted off. Then I’ll go to bed and try not to think of tomorrow, when I’ll go grocery shopping, homeschool for at least 4 hours so we can make up for taking today off, and go to worship practice in the evening since it’s my week to lead. I need a vacation!

This sounds whiny, I know. I won’t let it happen very often — only once every 26 days or so.

To sleep,

The Doll People

February 21, 2005 Categories: Books , Reviews | Comments Off  

I have to send a thank-you out to Mental Multivitamin for listing The Doll People by Ann M. Martin on one of her recent “On the Nighstand” entries. I started reading this to my eight-year-old daughter over the weekend (between moving beds, changing bedding, sorting and tossing out old toys, numerous trips to the bathroom in the endless quest to potty-train Josiah) and we don’t want to put it down! It is delightful and makes me eternally grateful that there are children’s authors who write good stories that appeal to all ages. And genders — I noticed my six-year-old son, Noah, listening in more often than not!

Happy reading,

Time goes by…

February 19, 2005 Categories: Kid Stuff | 1 Comment  

We’ve had one of those weeks. The kind where your kids seem to leap ahead in age all at once. Our youngest has left diapers behind. We’ve had a few accidents, but many more successes. Fortunately, I think this is going to be a much easier process for him than it was for his two older brothers! We’ve also moved his bed into the downstairs bedroom with his brothers — officially making him “one of the boys”. We then moved our 8-year-old daughter Natalie into the upstairs bedroom. Her bed has been in the downstairs family room due to lack of space and her baby brother needing his own room until he was out of a crib and accustomed to his “big boy bed”. She now has her own room with a closing door, and in no time at all her door was adorned with “Boys, Knock First” and “Girls Rock” signs.

My kids are growing up. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I will be shedding a few tears as I mourn the stages we’re leaving.

To maturity,

Friday’s Feast

February 18, 2005 Categories: All About Me | Comments Off  

I thought I would participate in this week’s Friday’s Feast.

Appetizer – Name 2 things you do that you consider beneficial to your health. I swim at the local pool with my family on a semi-irregular basis. I also try to remember to take my vitamins!

Soup – If you made a New Year’s resolution, how’s it going so far? Not well. My husband and I resolved to go a month without sugar — I lasted three days and he didn’t even try!

Salad – Name something that has happened lately that bothers you. A close friend is being released from the hospital to go home under hospice care with end-stage cancer.

Main Course – What is your favorite quote, and who said it? “When I get a little money, I buy books. If there’s any left, I buy food and clothes.” by Erasmus — this may not be exactly word for word, I couldn’t find the exact text on my computer — but I know it’s there somewhere!

Dessert – What do you collect? This goes with the previous question. I collect books.

Happy Friday!

Another good book…

February 17, 2005 Categories: Books , Commonplace Book | Comments Off  

I had just finished checking the jacket bio and photo on the back flyleaf of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the fifth or sixth time when I came upon this:

Jacket Bio

There is a direct corrolation between how much a book moves me and how often I flip to the author’s photo. Midsentence I will feel a pull to return to that photo/bio on the back flap. Take me at once to the man who wrote such a splendid thought! The photo serves as a sort of home base. And at progressive intervals, the photo will seem more and more revealing, more and more interesting. Invariably, I will find myself idealizing and envying this person and his three-sentence life as captured in the bio. He is the author of several novels, a memoir, and most recently, a collection of short stories. He is a professor of English at Berkeley. He lives on the beach with his wife and dog Hemingway. Oh, how complete. Impressive. Idyllic. And complication-free. Only his close friends know that his recent novel ended up in the five-bucks-and-under bin; that he is in the midst of a major lawsuit with the beach house contractor; that his wife, two years before, was his kid’s nanny. But for the rest of us, the casual admirers, the main thing, the important thing, is that the author’s jacket photo credits Nick Hornby as the photographer, and one can only imagine the exclusive literary soiree that produced this sweet little digital memento.

I’m not kidding! This is the most unique book I’ve read in quite a while. It’s non-fiction, a kind of biography/memoir that is arranged like an encyclopedia. I’m almost through it and feel like I know the author as well as a close friend. Definitely recommended reading.

For sake of a small warning, there are a couple of instances of brief profanity. It’s not pervasive and I have to admit that the situations she spoke of would probably make me want to swear, too!

On a more personal note, Josiah, our youngest, has been without diapers all day long and peed in his potty chair several times and pooped once! Our last one. I can hardly wait — no more diapers, packing a diaper bag whenever we go out, wipes, etc. There’s nothing cuter than a three-year-old running through the house, his little skinny buns shaking, yelling “I peed! I peed!”

To urinary continence,