Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remember When...

we had so much fun Wednesday? All the playing and splashing around and stuff? Well, we needed it to shore up for the past 3 days and nights. Because they were less than fun. It started Wednesday night actually. Lindsay came home from church not feeling well and promptly got sick. All.Night.Long. About every 20 minutes to be exact. Poor girl. I felt so bad for her. I ended up sleeping in the girls' room (sleeping off and on that is) while Haley slept in my room.
Then, I had my mom come over Thursday morning to sit with her and Nathan whilst (can I use that word? I know I'm not British...but I like it) I went to Wally World to {hopefully} get stuff to make a solar system for Jared's science....whilst (see? I'm using it!)I was getting ready to leave Nathan threw up all over me. Uh oh. I ended up going anyway with my mom pleading that I hurry please. (Apparently she doesn't like being thrown up on!?)
We got the Solar System stuff (they actually had it!!!!!) and some jello.
Fast forward to Friday night. Jared comes down with it in the evening. (And why do kids insist on drinking water right after they throw up? They know it'll just instigate the whole process over again!) Thankfully, he got through the worst of it pretty quickly because in the middle of the night Haley and Harold got it. Fun! And Nathan was still throwing up and blowing out diapers. This is at about 2:50 am on Saturday morning-right before we both had to take a bath.
Today, I was the lone fully well person (with the older kids still puny) dealing with a crying baby, a pre-schooler who did not understand why she could not and should not eat and drink whenever she wanted to. She told Lindsay, "There was a little girl who wanted a drink of water and her mama said 'no'". But she insists this little girl is not named Haley.
I used this: a lot. We just bought it (for less than half of what it was supposed to cost just because it has a scratch on the top of it. Ummm, in my house it would've had a scratch within 2-4 days anyway! Score!) and it's been getting broken in for sure.
Look what I caught my kids doing tonight:

It was such a nice moment. And there was only one "sore loser" moment. Balm for my weary soul.

I'm so glad we had Wednesday's memories to hold us through Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And I hope tomorrow is better. Even if it's not as good as Wednesday.
And I have to say...working on the Solar System (very sporadically-as you can imagine, school has been a bit spotty) I just keep having the old jokes about "Uranus" going through my head. Sorry. I'm that immature. But I managed to not tell the kids about it. Yay me!

P.S. I'm very thankful for good friends! Leah brought over Pedialyte, soup and crackers! and a friend from church brought me a plate from the barbecue we had to miss today. (And my dad...he brought gatorade, diapers and wipes!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reason Number 463 I {Heart} Homeschooling

Normally, it's very hot where I live. Hot and arm-pittish. Really. Because the humidity is usually about 110%! And hot. Did I say that already? Because it's true. Well, Monday morning we had our first cool front of the year. It has been GLORIOUS! My only complaint (and I really shouldn't-complain that is) is that the mosquitoes can literally carry you away. We had a ton of rain last week-enough that some people are not able to live in their homes, so who am I to complain about a few mosquitoes? I'm blessed that my home stayed dry (and free of sewer water) and my family is all safe. But I don't like mosquitoes so there.

Today, I decided to take advantage of our nicer, cooler, dryer weather and meet my hard working hubby for lunch (he has been working til about 9 or 9:30 for a while now-blessing and curse in one) and then take the kids to walk along Ocean Drive. We live in such a beautiful place. We miss a lot of that beauty because of the intense heat and burning sun, so when it's nice I really think we should enjoy it as much as possible. At the end of Ocean Drive there is a free little water park thingy. Really, it's a place where the sidewalk slopes down toward a short wall to create a place for water to collect. And fountains to fill it and keep it moving. And it's fun for the kids. Especially on a day like today. And super-especially since it's a school day and so there was only ONE other person there! How cool is that? I didn't plan for the water park and so we had no bathing I told the kids not to get their clothes wet. Ha ha!!!! (Did you know I was a comedian? What's that you say? I'm not funny, I'm insane? Okay...whichever.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Decisions Decisions

You know what? Nathan is going to be 1! I have some decisions to make.
First, I need to choose between


and I wish this was still in the running but unfortunately, daddy didn't care for that one. Can I make my case though? We're planning to go to Disney World this February. That means Mickey Mouse makes perfect sense, right? But, I won't fight falls under one of those things that is not worth a fight. :) I guess that we can realize that, is part of how we're still pretty darn happy most of the time after 16 years of marriage.

Next decision:
big stinkin' party or family party (and that would include close family friends of course). He's the 4th child so I hope I've learned a few will prob'ly be a smaller "family" party.

Next up:
Do I make the cake? Knowing it will cause me great frustration and I will threaten to anyone in the vicinity that I'm throwing away my cake decorating supplies as soon as this stupid cake is done and why did I ever think I could make the cake anyways? But then feel great when I get lots of compliments on it?
Or do I get a friend of mine to make it-who makes awesomely delicious and professional cakes? There will still be tons of compliments on the cake...only I'll believe them and I won't get to take credit for them.

Really, these are not hard decisions. I think I'll do the dino stuff. That cake will be aDORable and in the future he might want sports stuff...then I'll be stuck with it. This is the only year I TOTALLY get to choose everything (except Mickey Mouse ;) ). And we'll have a medium party with family and a few close friends. (Want to come?? ;) ) And (despite knowing how it will upset me) I think I might make his cake. If I chicken's okay. Here are some examples of the cakes Robyn has made for my kiddos:

So, no pressure. As long as I decide in time to get her to make it (she is kept very busy!)

I'm so excited, but so sad that Nathan is turning 1. I can't believe it. The year has flown by.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Talk Tooooo Much

(and yes, I know my phone looks hits the ground 10 times a day)

So, I've recently become aware of this issue I have. I talk too much. Not always. And usually not gossipy stuff. But anytime something happens (big, little, special or mundane) I have to call 3 people and tell them. Then I have to text 2 others. Wanna know how I realized I have this problem? Because I catch my kids doing it too. There is nothing like seeing your own faults in your children to make you realize them for what they are. My kids won't even know who is on the phone and will say "tell whoever it is that I jumped out of the tree" or whatever their latest exciting news is.

:: The baby hits his head (he really did...and it was BAD)-I called my mom. Okay, not that big of a deal, right? Then I had to tell like 3 other people on the way to the doctor's office! (via text and phone-texting at stoplights of course.)

:: The kids are fighting school work. I call my mom. Then, I text 1 homeschooling friend and say it on facebook.

:: Haley says something funny. I call my mom (because if I wait til I talk to her next time...I will forget.) Then I text 2 people and call 1 other.

:: The dog's face swells. I called 3 people! (Benadryl took care of it in case you were worried.)

:: Any decision to make (rug to buy, picture frames to buy or hang, outfit to put on a child for his or her pictures), getting my hair cut...and I have to call my mom. (Funny thing is, she has a hard time making decisions! So, the two of us talking about making a decision must be funny!)

Are you getting the picture here? The picture that I am dependent? On other people and on my phone? And if all else fails, my computer will let bunches of people know. Why do I do this? I don't know!!! I really don't. The only time I ever really got scolded at school was guessed it! Talking! If I had something to say I literally could NOT wait. I thought I might explode.

I remember on an episode of Growing Pains, Carol Seaver was accused of being "replete with verbiosity"...Ummmm, is that a problem? Because if it is....I have it too.

I think I'm going to work on this verbiosity thing. I'm going to spend less driving time talking to people on the phone and spend more of it listening to my children and talking WITH them. Prob'ly much safer anyway. I think parents used to do this. Talk to their kids in the car. That's going to be my first priority. My first step to change.

And can I say it's a good thing I never got into twitter??

Friday, September 24, 2010

Big Kids are the Bomb!

Wanna know why?

This is the breakfast that Lindsay made this morning. I wish I had thought to take the pictures of the finished product (I'm kinda pulled in 4 different directions these days, so intentions have to count for something). She made blueberry muffins. Everyone loved them! Even Nathan. Little kids are cute...but big kids can do the coolest things!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What is Wrong With Parents?

So, I was watching Teen Mom (yeah, really uplifting, television. Good use of my time. Really, it's a horrible show. Most of it is like watching a train wreck. You know it's going to make you feel sick but you can't look away?) and one of the moms uses the most awful language. And her baby (about 18 months old I guess) is always RIGHT THERE! I don't mean "stupid" or "fart"...I mean really, truly BAD words. It makes me so sad. The parents fight. And I don't mean they talk to each other through gritted teeth for a few minutes. I mean, the mom attacks the dad. Really? That child doesn't have a chance.

Another of the moms on the show gave her baby up for adoption because she realized (somehow) that her life was so dysfunctional. That the family she was raised by and lives with still are not a good place for a little girl to grow up. I wonder when child realizes that what they grew up with is not the norm. That there is something better for their child.

Ok, consider the source, right? (Not that all teen moms are like that, just sayin'....those parents are not phenomenal-or they wouldn't be on MTV, right? (I watch it on the computer-we don't have cable. Partly because of money and partly because it has so much trash on it <---see??)

Then I thought of something else. What about the movies that are designed to terrify. And the main character (or at least a key character) is a child. Parents put their children in those movies! They (for whatever reason) think it's okay to put their child in a movie that most parents wouldn't allow their children to watch previews for. For what? Money. Fame. How sad is that?

What about the tv shows and movies where kids say bad words for their parts!? And again, the parents sign them up for this! I would imagine that most of us "regular" parents are trying to keep our kids from saying those words (I know my kids have tasted some soap before! And that wasn't even for four-letter words! Just nasty words-you know, lies, poopies/peepies... and the like).

And then they wonder why those child stars end up a mess. Drugs. Arrests. Alcohol to excess.

And these parents TOOK THEM THERE. Handed them over.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Financial Peace Update

I would love to say I was calling into the Dave Ramsey program tomorrow to yell "I'm debt free!" But that would be a big lie (and Haley and I have been talking about lies, so I know a big lie when I hear one). But, I am getting some wonderful information.
One of his favorite things to say is that you have to "live like no one else" (ie drive a cash car, eat out less, forgo vacations, etc) so that later you can "live like no one else" (ie not be "broke" like normal people). It sure sounds good, huh? When he and his wife found out that "normal" was BROKE. They decided they didn't want to be "normal". And now....they're not!

This week's lesson was on debt collectors. I *proudly* thought, well, this lesson is just pie for me. I won't have debt collectors calling me. I don't need to know how to deal with them. Hmph. Oh, *pride still in full gear* maybe it's so I can give tips to some other poor schmuck! Yeah, that's it! Sometimes we have information to use and sometimes it's to share and help others, right? That must be it!

Dun dun dun....

This morning and humid (just like yesterday morning and all the ones before that for, oh, about 7 months now)...and I was determined today was going to be a good day (different from the preceeding two days of this week). Then, I promptly spent the first two hours of the day dealing with our new electric provider. Apparently, when you pay them through online bill pay (through a major bank I might add) it takes a really long time for the payment to go through and be credited. Like long enough to start worrying that you will have no electricity (ie air conditioning). Seriously. I got a disconnect notice. (I paid it, really I did!) Thankfully, once I got the bank on the line they got the electric service on the's all good. (Except I had to make the payment a second time while waiting for the bank to credit me for the payment that is floating around out there somewhere...over the rainbow I guess). Ok, still no collectors in my future.

Til, I got the call. A collection agency. Seriously? From our OLD provider. I had called and made payment arrangements with them to pay our final bill (which included a fee for ending our contract before it was up). I was to pay them $65 per month for 5 months. I paid them 3 times in less than a month and a half. And they sent me to collections. Thankfully I knew (from Mr Dave himself) not to give them my bank information. Seriously, they wanted my routing number and my account number. Nope! I might have done that a week ago-being the rule follower that I am. People pleaser. First born daughter. I told her that I'd just have to continue to deal with the calls if giving them that information was the only way to stop the collections process. (And I'd send in my own payment, thanks.) Thing is, I have my agreement with the provider in WRITING that they sent me. Fools. They were getting the money. Dumb. Oh, and if they don't clear it off of my credit, ahem, they'll be hearing from my lawyer. (Well, they would if I had one, but don't blow my cover on that one, ok?)

The timing on that class was nothing more than PERFECT!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Rest of the Story...

The boy's mother...not exactly a soft place to fall, huh?

The boy on his front porch with his dog. Makes my house look like a mansion.

Siblings (he's the one in the middle-between his sisters)

On the island of Bougainville-1944

And so the boy fought for his life. For the life of his country. I don't know that you will ever find patriotism like you will find from this disappearing generation. The generation that lived through the Great Depression. The generation that fought for our freedoms. In a far away land. In jungles.

On the trip overseas the mood was jovial. It was "go get 'em". It was naive and innocent. On the way back however, everyone seemed to be in a stupor. A daze. The quiet was eerie. These men, many of whom should have still been children, had faced death. They had looked it in the face and survived. Most (like the boy in our story) didn't know why they were the ones who made it out alive. Most saw friends die. Right in front of their eyes. Definitely, they saw the enemy die. And they were supposed to be happy, right? It was war, if the bad guy was dead then that was a victory on some level, right?

In this daze, they came back home. Sick. Gaunt. Not knowing what to expect. How were they to meld back into civilian life when they'd been to war and back? Life went on. Girlfriends married other men. Family lived and died. Without them. What do you say when you show up back at home? The music was different. The clothing was different. Everything was just...different.

The boy-although we shouldn't call him that now-came home not knowing what to expect. It was evening and his mother had gone to bed. His father was talking to one of his brothers, not even acknowledging his presence. He was back. Maybe things hadn't changed. Still no affirmation, no 'atta boy. Thanks for all the money home, thanks for risking everything for our country, our freedoms. No great big hug to envelop him. Welcome home signs. None of it. But I don't think he was surprised. And that to me is the saddest thing. The saddest moment. Maybe I feel it so deeply because of who this man is to me. Maybe I feel it so strongly because of all he has given to me. OR maybe, I am looking at it purely from an outsider's point of view and it is just plain the saddest thing I've ever heard.

That boy turned man? He is my grandpa. He's the best man I know. I will be forever grateful to the part he played in my life growing up. He loved me (and his kids) unconditionally. He hugged us. He told us we were smart, beautiful, admirable. He gave all he had never been given. He taught me to love God, to love my country and respect the flag and the foundations. The blood, sweat and tears that made our nation. He woke me up (when we lived with him at times) singing. He played the SILLIEST games with me. Games that meanT the world to me. Memories that make my childhood seem idyllic. Is he perfect? No. He'd be the first to tell you that. But I'll tell you, his hugs are like coming home. And those parents that never hugged or held him? They missed out on something grand!

ETA: I have been saving this, again hoping to get ahold of a scanner to do better pictures. The ones I took (at the top) do not give justice to what I have in my hands...but it's the best I can do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Saddest Thing

**ETA: I'm giving up on the photograph for right now...I have it, but no scanner....
I hope you enjoy this. Tribute to my grandpa, the best man I know. Happy Birthday Grandpa!!

I am going to paint a picture for you. A picture that brings tears to my eyes. A picture that is one of the saddest things I have heard in a long time.

Imagine it. There is a house. Rundown is an understatement. A hovel better describes it. Flies. Rats. Dirt. The floor is made of boards but when it rains the mud seeps in. The father is honest. He works hard with very little rest. But he's honest. And has morals and integrity. The mother is a Cherokee-complete with black braids. She is negative. Extremely negative. Her morals and character match the father's. But so does her scowling face. Nothing positive to say. Ever.
It is an incredibly hard life. These parents give birth to 12 children. Under the most brutal of circumstances. 12 children who started out in this world under the harshest of circumstances. Certainly no toys. No fancy nursery. No nursery at all.
Only 8 lived beyond childhood.

The children never experienced the kind of love that most of us take for granted. Never received an 'atta boy. Never a positive word. The parents weren't evil people, just ignorant of the needs of a child. Ignorant of how to show the love their children longed for. Life was just too hard to expend energy on frivolities. And displays of affection were frivolous. Apparently.

That's not the saddest picture. It comes years later.

One of those boys left home at 18. He had to "story" about his age to get into the army. There was a war happening. WWII. A war where many boys became men. In far away, horror-filled places. Places where the stench of death was thick. Jungles where the enemy was around every corner. This boy who had never experienced love lived in those jungles. Swarmed with disease-filled mosquitoes. Dengue fever. Malaria. Miserable illnesses. Unbearable pain and delirium treated with aspirin.

And still the boy struggled with self-worth. He was fighting for his country. He was fighting for his life. Many times over he should've died in the midst of battle. He watched others die. Comrades as well as enemies. This was not Sunday school. This was war. And yet, his first words of encouragement were heard in this place of horror. A Captain with a look of approval, a slight smile at his volunteering for a mission. The boy would have died for Captain Blackwell. Would have died for someone who nodded in approval.

He was given a medal. A bronze star to honor bravery in the line of duty. And he struggled with this because surely he didn't deserve any kind of reward. Not the bronze star. Not the Philippine Liberation medal. Not the Good Conduct Medal.

Every month he sent home an allotment to the family. The parents who couldn't tell the boy he was important and loved. Maybe this would convince them. The sisters and brothers told him later how much those allotments helped. That money sent home allowed for school shoes. A rare shopping trip for a sister.

And still, the boy, now a young man struggled. Struggled to find any kind of worth in his own eyes. Searched to find it in others' eyes. And when he did find it, struggled to accept and believe it.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story. (Because we still haven't visited the saddest moment ever yet).

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