Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On Puppies

Let me tell you, puppies are NO FUN. I never really wanted a puppy, I just want a good dog and, well, they start out as puppies. I know, I know...the shelters are full of them but we want a big dog (kind of-at least we thought we did) that is (or at least will be) more settled down as time goes on. We tried a big dog...sniff sniff...that was a rescue dog. Her name was Katie Belle...she was sweet but had some neuroses (from her previous life?) and she was a boxer which apparently equals high strung. We couldn't keep her off the furniture, she was chewing up blinds--in her defense it was because we went outside without her and she freaked out to be left inside. Poor girl.She was good as gold with the kids though, I will say that. But, if she wouldn't stop with the furniture and blinds...and she had a total attack when kenneled... it was not a good fit for our family. (We don't want to kennel a grown dog all of the time but they also have to behave on some level when left alone.)

Enter Callie. Callie is a puppy. Callie is a maniac. She's a yellow lab and there have been  many days already (we got her Thanksgiving weekend) that I thought about, well, it's not nice. But we wouldn't have a Callie any more if I did those things. The puddles are becoming fewer and further in between which is a plus. Now she has a new trick. She can open the pantry door and get into her food. And eat. And eat. And eat. Her food is not cheap...and it makes her sick when she eats too much! Duh! (Sssh, don't tell Nathan I said that because I told him we're not allowed to, to which he replied "It was just a little duh mom, not a big one.")

Callie. Yes. She is driving me berserk. Nothing feels clean anymore. Ever. When she's mad at us she pees on the patio. Yuck. She is not very organized with any of her eliminating...which minimizes my kids' ability to run in the backyard (who knew that Daphne was just special that way?? We NEVER had that issue with her!)

I just keep thinking of how Daphne was as a puppy (she wasn't ours then and I was thankful for that often during those first 3 years when my friend would tell me what she'd been up to!) and that means that we have hope for Callie, right? In the meantime...she's growing FAST!!!!

Her first vet visit (Beginning of December) she was about 12 lbs....we weighed her the other night (until I can get her into the vet) and she's now 27 lbs! Yikes!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So Blessed!

I'm blessed beyond measure. Really I am. You might not think it if you look at my "cozy" (ie small) house that is not the newest or in the country club neighborhood. My van is not the newest model. I don't have the top fashions. BUT

I got to take a run with my son this morning. That means:
  •  I get to homeschool him-which makes this possible time-wise.
  • We're both healthy enough to run 3 1/4 miles!
  • We live in a place that allows us to run outdoors in January
  • He WANTS to run with me!!!
My shower. This is actually where I started feeling the most grateful and that led me to start thinking of all the other things! A hot shower on a cool morning after a run....gotta be one of the best things in life. And I'm thankful for healthy water pressure. That may seem silly until you've tried to take a pathetic shower in a "dribble".

I have a tween daughter that is willing and able to keep my little ones safe while we run!

I have a husband that is willing to work hard so I can stay home with our kids. Not missing a moment! A husband that is willing to not have the latest model car. A husband that loves me and comes home every night right after work.

My cup runneth over!!!!! And just look at this face:

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Summer Vacation 2013! Family Style!

I have always been a planner. I make lists of my lists (not that I fulfill all of them or do all the things on the list) but I would get made fun of (MOM!) when I was still a kid because if I was going to camp in say, June, I'd start making lists and packing around March. Yeah. And my new iPhone helps me with my maniacal planning! With my app...I'm unstoppable!

So, you can imagine how much planning it takes for a family of 6 to prepare for going to Yellowstone National Park! But I'm so excited! I already have reservations made for most of our trip and our itinerary mostly made out...a folder full of maps and confirmations I have printed....for our SUMMER vacation....and the heater is still running around here! So does that tell you that I've not changed much?

It's a lonnnnng trip! Really long. We probably could've flown considering how far the drive is and how many hotels and how much gas we'll be spending...the cost would've most likely been very similar in the end...but we'd have missed out on so much along the way! I'll tell you a little bit of what we have planned:
Roadtrip : Scenic road on Lofoten islands to village of Nusfjord in Norway Stock Photo

 Carlsbad Caverns! I've never been and my kids have certainly never been (I'd never let them go by themselves ;) )...That's our first stop. We'll have the better part of one day there before we leave for...

Durango Colorado!!! There is a train that goes up to an old mining town (Silverton). It's definitely not cheap (think, Disney World expensive! Yikes!)...but what an experience for my kids (ok, I'm not exactly bummed about it either).

Then on to Yellowstone!!! We'll stay just outside of the park for 3 days...during those 3 days we will see as much as possible of the geysers and natural sights in the park and hopefully see but not "encounter" a bear or wolf or SOMEthing to write home about! There are also some wonderful things to do in the town we're staying in (West Yellowstone) like the IMAX theater and the Discovery Center (I think it's called the Grizzly Discovery Center). Plus I have some guys who are itching to fish and a girl that wants to ride a horse (boo-Haley can't ride as the minimum age is 8)

On the way home we'll check out Mesa Verde National Park and look at some Ancient Indian Ruins! Cliff Dwelling Indians apparently built some awe-inspiring homes that are available to tour! We'll camp at this part of the trip and I fully plan to wheedle the telescope that we never use into the van (my husband likes to weigh everything that goes in...if I want to take the telescope I'd better start taking my diet a little more seriously!) to get a great view of the Heavens in the high desert!

As a bonus...I found this list a while back of places that you should take your kids (top 100)...and our trip contains 3 of them!!!!!!! I'm so excited! Another list I can start checking off. Kidding! *Or not*

From there it'll be a pretty hard-driving trip home (as in not much stopping)...but I can't wait!

P.S. I'll be requiring my children to participate in the Junior Ranger Program at both National Parks. *evil laugh*

P.P.S. I attributed my photos by linking the photo to the website from which I got it...please click on them to see where I got them! :) Obviously I can't share my OWN photos yet....I've never seen the places! 

Friday, January 18, 2013


 Nathan watching A-Team with his daddy and siblings....

Does anyone remember that lovely song from the 80s...Janet Jackson singing all about control and getting what you want? How she's a grown up now and she does what she likes? For some reason when I went to write this post that's what just popped into my head.

Then I got to thinking...does being a control freak get you what you want?

I'm blessed to have a husband who helps. He doesn't complain about "babysitting" the kids (yeah, that's a whole 'nother post-and for the record he has NEVER referred to taking care of his own children as babysitting)...

Does he do things "my way"? No. Not even a little bit. I came home after 9pm tonight (It's Ladies' Conference Weekend at my church) and all the kids were sitting in the living room watching A-Team. Ummm, yeah, that's a nice calm show for kids to watch at bedtime. Or not.

And they probably don't have their teeth brushed.

But guess what? I got out. I was able to enjoy an evening outside of my house with friends. Worshiping God.

If I were to try to control every aspect of my household (like I'm often tempted to do...) I would not get to go out. I would live the life of a martyr. Do I even want to know everything that went on here tonight? Probably not. They're all alive! And happy! And I assume they ate. And yes, we'll call ketchup a "vegetable" for tonight.

And I will remember that control does not always get you what you want. Unless you want an ulcer.

I do think it might be funny now that it's 10pm (actually after 10) to just go ahead and go to bed though...while he deals with kids who've been watching A-Team!!!!!! Pity the fool! (Mr T...remember?) **snicker**

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Keeping It Alive

Keeping a marriage alive in the middle of parenting 4 very active, wordy and exuberant children is very challenging! There are times when I don't even have the mental energy to talk to my husband at the end of a long day. I just can't form a sentence that isn't necessary. As in "go to bed". That's all I have left sometimes....

To keep it alive takes effort! Sometimes Herculean effort! I'd say overall we're doing pretty well...after 18 1/2 years we still like each other-most of the time anyways....

We get away! Sure, we could just do an in town date and that would be great (and I"m aware that some people are not able to do that, let alone I realize I'm blessed! If you can't do this...find what will work for you!) but I know that I would be tempted to do dishes or laundry or grade school work...I would see every little thing around my house that needs to be done...Plus, what's more fun than a road trip? Well, a road trip that doesn't involve refereeing a million fights that start with things like "she breathed on me" or "he looked at me weird"....

We went to San Antonio and had a great time! Lots of walking! In downtown San Antonio there are not a lot of parking places (ok, unless you're willing to pay to park, which I'm usually not! I'm way too cheap for that!) So we walk!

We also had so much fun playing with our new smart phones to get us places! Amazing to not have to drive in circles a million times and get lost! :)

We ate at Pappasitos when we got into town...oh. my. goodness. Yes. It's THAT good! Fajitas that were made of the tenderest steak I've ever eaten!!!!! and we had a dessert that was a chocolate bread pudding thing with chocolate on top! Wow! Then we rode a little train that is by the San Antonio Zoo. I think we were the only ones on it that didn't have little kids! LOL But we had fun and you have to be willing to think outside the box. Be silly!
Then we went and checked in at our hotel. It was "just" a Holiday Inn Express (although in the "around $100" price range I've found them to be very nice!) but I chose it because of it's history! It was originally the Bexar County Jailhouse!!! How cool is that? We spent the night in Jail!!! LOL There is so much history in San Antonio-some hotels and areas are even reported to be haunted! We didn't see any ghosts...but they did take care of their own executions in those days (the county did-not the state) so our hotel was likely the site of executions!

Our main tourist-y thing was a trip to the Buckhorn Saloon! Also very historic...from before prohibition! They stayed alive during prohibition in other ways. :) These days it's a museum also. I really thought my hubby would like that place. It is the site of the Texas Rangers' Museum-not the baseball team, but the Elite Law Enforcement. So many guns and knives with the stories to go behind it! And taxidermy from all over the world!

 The above car was (a replica of??) the car that Bonnie and Clyde were in when they were caught and killed.
The next Bonnie and Clyde? Probably not but we sure did have fun on our "getaway"!!!

Thanks to my mom and dad for the help! They not only took care of the kids but came over to let the dog out several times!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Feeling Growl-y?

I had never heard of this word before. But I love it!

"This, you must know, is the growlery. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here." Dickens knew the word (like there were any words that Dickens didn't know-Ha!) (This quote is taken from Bleak House-chapter 8)

A growlery is a place you can go when you just need a grown-up time out. When you feel angry or growl-y! I love it! I need one! Everyone needs one! This is the view from this "growlery". I can imagine it might make you feel better! It's just a room but would probably have resembled an old time "man-cave".

On our field trip today we toured a mansion that was built and inhabited by some of the pioneering people in that area!

I found the whole trip very interesting and worth the drive (we had to travel a bit to get there)....but there is so much history to be learned and it is not dry facts but real stories. You can almost picture these people living in this home and see them using the stuff you are looking at!

Did you know that the baby bedding would have had red on it (rather than pink or blue or yellow) because red symbolized LIFE in a time when babies died so often from disease or unexplained (SIDS) death? It's much more real when you've seen the baby bed with the white and RED bedding in it.

Entertainment? They had a little table set up with a miniature croquet set!

And a kind of a stereoscope to view pictures or slides in "3D"-a far cry from what we expect in 3D entertainment!

And how about a "lazyboy"???

Toilet Paper? It actually said "Onion Skin" on it! This was real-not a replica. They had indoor plumbing and a flushing toilet!

Laundry! See the washtubwith the washboard? And the drying racks you see....those went into part of the central heating system (these people were really up and coming for their time!)...and the heat dried the clothing! (Remember all of the bustle and slips, etc the girls had to put on the mannequin? Can you imagine washing all of that like this!?)

Lots of fun things to touch and see! A Coffee grinder, pitchers, garlic press!

The girls practiced dressing a mannequin in the clothing (and underclothing) of the time period! We talked about how hot that must have been to wear all of those things at once! (and if you'll see how my kids are dressed in January you can tell that it's not a very cold place!)

The boys got to dress Nathan up like a cowhand! Mr Fulton was a cattle baron-that's how he made his wealth!

Nathan was very interested in all the things you can do with a dead cow (besides make a hamburger).

 Mr Fulton (the owner of the mansion) loved all kinds of things: science, etc and he designed a bridge. The kids get to practice building part of the bridge!

 Sadly, much of the mansion is in need of repair...time and use has taken it's toll. They are actually closing the house down for tours very soon-so we got in just in time!

 Somebody needed to visit the growlery! He was told he couldn't touch something...I don't even remember what it was. He didn't really care about not touching the thing, he just has this thing lately that if you tell him "No" You're MEAN! (and he says it. Loudly!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Good Fortune

I definitely do not intend (haha!) to make every post this year about intentional living but here goes one more!
One thing I really wanted to be mindful of was getting out and doing more homeschool community activities...field trips, park days, educational opportunities offered by museums, etc and so far I'm off to a great start!
This week we have gone to an Asian Cultures Museum, an Historic Mansion that has been turned into a museum (they have monthly homeschool days!) and  park day! I'm both ashamed and proud to say that that's more than we've done in months recently as far as during the day homeschool based activities! It was just about not being lazy. Signing up for the things and getting us ready and GO-ing! It's so much easier to stay at home and crack the whip so the kids "get it done" and we can lounge. But that's not the kind of homeschool I want to run so, we're trying! :)

Wednesday we went to the Asian Cultures Museum nearby (Jared did not want to go and since I had to pay for each child that went I chose to leave him with my dad). The girls (and Nathan helped) did Origami and learned some about chopstick use and calligraphy. Very interesting! The lady that runs the program is very quiet which is interesting. We had 20-30 children (from infant to high school) who had to be extra quiet to hear her.

 Teaching the kids some quick Chinese! :) Bathroom, hi, thank you, etc....
 This is a Singapore Taxicab-of old I'm quite sure but I took this for my friend Wendy! :)
 Haley and a friend checking out some statues
 Nathan is not too sure about that sumo wrestler...he thought maybe it was a girl because of the hairdo. Did you know that they choose boys at a very young age and start "fattening" them up!? The museum lady (what do you call them?) told us she went to a sumo event (match?) and she said it's kind of hard to know where to look. LOL
 My 3 babies sitting at one table...and they worked together with their chopsticks! <3 br="br">
 Nathan went to sit with Lindsay during the Origami lesson. See the pink and white swans sitting in front of them? Lindsay is now turning every piece of paper into an origami swan!

After we left the museum the timing was just right to meet up with daddy for some Chinese food to carry on the theme! I didn't make the kids eat with "toothpicks" (Nathan-ese for Chopsticks)-although I should have! But daddy has limited time for lunch ;)

Wanna know what Nathan's fortune was? He "read" it to us! It said: "When you go to eat Chiney-cheese you take your car and you park your car." That fortune probably makes more sense than a lot of them do.

Although I really like Lindsay's because it is something I say all the time! (Only mine doesn't rhyme):
BE THE LABOR GREAT OR SMALL DO IT WELL OR NOT AT                                                 ALL!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brotherly & Sisterly Love

My older 2 kids are were super close. I don't know if it's because we homeschool? I'm sure that helps. In talking to other homeschool friends and seeing from my own experience, it seems that all the togetherness makes for siblings that are the best of friends and the worst of enemies.

As they have gotten older, Jared is 10 now and Lindsay is 12, I have seen the phenomenon become more pronounced. As they pull away from each other more and more (to seek outside friendships) I see hurt and resentment for the one left behind (ie the younger one). And it breaks my heart. I know it's healthy and normal but I don't like it. (Just like all the growing pains with Nathan this past year! You know, the pain of childbirth is natural and normal but it still really hurts!)

Then, I find something like this:
(it's so old it's faded! But Lindsay took the time to craft an apology to Jared for some wrong. I don't know what the wrong was and it doesn't even matter! I never told her to write/make an apology note so this was of her own doing. And to top it off....JARED SAVED IT. It meant enough to him that he kept it. Oh my heart has a little mend in it!!! They do love each other!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Intentional Living Update #1

This is not some boring update of a list of what I did and didn't do last week. Wanna know the main reason it's not that? Because I did almost nothing. How pathetic! BUT, I was sick! So, I have a plausible excuse reason. I had some kind of virus that makes your neck and head ache and major fatigue! Add that to the fact that it was (relatively) cold here and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch or in my bed curled up with a blanket! Too bad that made everything ache worse! (NO fever so it was not the flu, just kind of half-miserable!)

But here is what I discovered! In my lack of "driven-ness" last week I discovered a little bit of positive laziness. Pretty sure that's an oxymoron but follow me here. I am a fairly driven person most of the time. I have never been a late sleeper and don't usually like to lay around in bed in the mornings too much...but this past week I found that when I would still be in bed (I won't even say the time, it's too embarrassing...ok, I will since now you might think it's worse than it actually is!--9:30!) That provided so much snuggle time with my little ones! They long for that and I"m just not very good at it. But when I didn't feel good it was nice to have some little cuddle bugs curled up with me. So, that was intentional that I paid attention to that, right?

Sometimes I think God slows us down when we don't slow down on our own. I'm not saying I was struck from Heaven with a virus but a negative turned into a not so negative! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Little Guy!

This little guy, my surprise blessing when I thought I was totally done and didn't want any more proving to me that I was not done! I did need another baby! But now, I have a question: why is it going so quickly? (sob)  I don't remember feeling it quite this way with Haley (almost 6)...maybe because she was very high maintenance and I was just trying to get through each day (and even more importantly the nights!)
I think from 2 to 3 is a huge year. There are so many changes....we started out the year in diapers and a crib...and now he wears big boy undies (has for a long time now!) and we just finally caved and took the crib down. (SOB)
Poor little guy was so befuddled last night. We were redoing the boys' room (painting, etc-pics to come) and decided that was a good time to lose the crib (sob) as the room has been way over-crowded for over 3 years now. The room was crowded before we had Nathan! It's tiny! I measured it yesterday (just with my feet by walking it) and it's about 10x9 if that tells you. We could barely walk between Jared's bed and the dresser! (In fact, when I was pregnant I really couldn't LOL) Anyways, I digress-that will be another post!

Last night we were on the way home from dinner with family and he asked if daddy was going to put his crib back together (yes, I know...if he can ask that in a complete sentence then he's probably old enough to be out of the crib). We explained to him that he wasn't going to sleep in a crib anymore because he's a big boy! (sob)

He's pretty matter of fact about stuff (like this morning when he told me, "When you pick something out of your nose that's unhealthy." And he's allergic to milk and corn products and he's very accepting of it and will even question people multiple times "Are you sure this doesn't have milk? Will it make me sick?") and so after we talked about it a little bit he was fine with it.

I can't wait to finish the room and show you pictures!  But for now, he's another picture of my little guy-and just for the record, the crib mattress on the floor is temporary until we fashion a trundle/bottom bunk to fit under Jared's loft bed! :)

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