Thursday, July 31, 2008


To all who have already responded, many thanks for the prayers on Serena's behalf.

I will be "OOC" (out of CONTACT, not out of CONTROL... I hope!) until Sunday or Monday. I hope to have better news by then.

Keep praying.

Flesh and heart often fail; let them fail! He faileth not.
Pray, very much, pray constantly, for Satan rages against us. Hudson Taylor

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Tate copes so well with his hearing loss that sometimes I (sort of) forget about it. Well, maybe it's not a forgetting, but just that it's the status quo and we are used to it.

Still, situations do pop up...

At night, without amplification (when his HA is out) he has no idea how loud he is talking. And he is savvy enough to know that he doesn't know how loud he is talking, so he overcompensates (undercompensates?) and talks REALLY QUIETLY. So quietly that I can't always hear him.

Early this morning, when I was still half-asleep, I heard a buzzing little whisper in my ear. It was Tate, informing me (because how else would I have known?) that the Tooth Fairy brought him a new Civil War chapter book. Yes, she has an uncanny ability to keep up with Tate's interests, you know.

But, on the other hand, we were at the mall one day and wandered in to the Old Navy store. When the... hmmmm... fashionably? no... inappropriately? close... scantily clad sales girl bent over the pile of shirts she was sorting, Tate's eyes widened and all thought of volume control went right out the window.


That's my boy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blame the elephant

My brother sent me these creative solutions to math problems. I'm guessing this first one was from a guy:

On the other hand, this has to be a gal:

Quirky Things About Us… #1

We are a family of “namers”.

I’m not just referring to nicknames, or pets. Oh no. We’re past that. I’m talking, we name inanimate objects. It goes right along with having a ‘family vocabulary’. What makes it notable, (to me, anyway,) is the logic - or lack of - the boys apply in choosing the names.

Of course, there are the obvious ones… like naming the goldfish “Gill”, or calling the frogs “Hoppy” and “Jumpy”. (And later changing Hoppy’s name to “Lucky”, due to an unusual chain of events involving crickets, a space heater, and soap scum.)

But then, just try to explain Tate’s hamster, “Chicken”. No, not as in “tastes like”.

For some reason the boys like to name cars, too. Grandma’s previous sporty-looking car was known as “Spiffy Whitey”, while her newer Ford Expedition goes by “The Green Bean”. But they really like to ride in Grandpa’s huge diesel Dodge Ram Quad-Cab… “Big Red”.

Our minivan? The boys call it “Pahoehoe”. Well, just look at it!

You see, there are two kinds of lava. 'A’a is the slow-moving, rough, crumbly lava. Ugly.

Pahoehoe is the hot, red, smooth, fast-moving lava you see in Hawaii. I think they did pretty well!

I am guilty of naming things myself, so I suppose they come by it naturally.

For years I zipped around in a little VW Rabbit, naturally, named “Roger”.

But, the real icing on the cake was my first car - the embodiment of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – “Entropy”. You can google it up, if you’re not familiar, and you’ll find definitions like this:

"Entropy is a measure of the unavailability of a system’s energy to do work" (yeah, that described the car pretty well!)


"A measure of disorder in the universe" (mm-hmmm, that too).

Entropy means, simply, that left to their own devices (without adding a great deal of WORK), things will go from order to chaos.

Or, even more simply, things break down. A perfect name for that old Corolla.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Indiana Jones... #5???

Yes, it's finally here. The previously promised and anxiously awaited (you've been on pins and needles, right?)...

Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of the Golden Banana !!!

And, believe it or not (and you will, when you see the close-ups), the pictures were all taken by the boys!

Above, you see Indy's base on the right, and part of the Lost Temple on the left. I'm sure it's hard to see in the little picture (though you can enlarge it by clicking on it), there are MANY booby traps in the Lost Temple of the Golden Banana, all of which have been demonstrated to me with great enthusiasm, relentless narration, and gruesome sound effects. If Indy somehow manages to get past the snakes, alligator, and fire ants, and then successfully navigates some kind of balance beam apparatus, he still must avoid the suspended grand piano (in the pic, on the left) which is ready to fall and crush an unwary treasure hunter.

<---------- Indy cautiously proceeds through the temple.

He uses his whip to swing over the "Tusks of Terror" ------------->

Finally, we see Indy with the coveted Golden Banana. Success! He leaves the Temple victoriously.

(Gunnar insisted I use the word "victoriously".)


(Cue the theme music and the applause.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You're kidding, right?

Gunnar lost a shoe today. One of his favorite purple "holeys".

That's what my kids call them. "Holey", not "holy" - as in, lots of holes, not sanctified.

Besides, they're not real "Crocs". Good heavens, like I'm going to spring for name-brand shoes when my kids might just up and LOSE them!

But here's the part that boggles my mind:

He had no idea where it might be.

And he was wearing them. On. His. Feet.

Is that just a boy-thing, or what? I mean, we've all misplaced things. But, how do you lose something you're wearing and not notice it?

I sent his brothers back out to help him look. No luck. Gunnar said it might've fallen off while he was in a tree, and be lost in the tall grass around it. No luck. He said he had watched for it in the alley, coming home from our friends' house, in case it had fallen off on the way TO their house. No luck.

Gunnar is a smart child, an insightful child, a clever and quick-witted child. And he had absolutely no idea if he had walked to or from the neighbors' house with ONE shoe on his feet or TWO. Really.

Now, me... I feel kinda funny if I'm walking around in only one shoe.

So I called my friend and asked if her kids had seen a little purple holey around their yard. They had noticed him leaving with just one shoe, and found the other shoe...
in a pot.

Well, the last time I checked, shoes don't climb into pots by themselves, but it's all mysterious to my little boy. The same little boy that had an incident with a purple marker...

Oregon... 2008 #7

One thing I LOVE about being on the coast is the way the boys' energy seems to expand to fill the space... which is HUGE. They can run, yell, climb, dig, and explore until... until what?! Until they decide to do something else! Which, given that the water temperature is usually in the mid 50's, sometimes ends up being this:

Oregon... 2008 #6

I know, I know, you thought we were just on vacation.


Actually, we were on a highly education field trip. Besides the lessons in Social Studies, with lab-work in Rites of Passage, (10 people sharing a house for a week and a birthday party), as well as frequent meteorological observations, there was the obvious daily field work in Marine Biology.

We had the somewhat creepy fun of (gently) poking the anemones and watching them fold their tentacles in.

And, hey, boys are nearly always interested in watching the food chain at work.

Do you know what these Sea Stars are busy doing?

That's right - they're EATING.

Witness the effects, below.

They have cleaned the rock (over to the left) of mussels, and are happily eating their way to the right.

I don't know if they mess with the anemones... let me know if you do.

Oregon... 2008 #5

Thanks to my parents' pics, we have this appearance of the "Old Man of the Sea", doing what he spent most of his vacation doing...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


After seeing the photos of our visit to the military museum, Gunnar made a comment about something or other at the museum that he didn't like, but finished with,

"Actually, Mama, I quite admire the tanks."

Where does he get that?!

Oregon... 2008 #4

On the way home from Oregon we stopped at the Ft. Lewis Military Museum. Every time we have driven by in the past, the boys were fascinated by all the tanks sitting around, so we figured it would be time well spent to stop. And it was... and FREE, too!

Here's Wyatt, as a WW1 Soldier. ------------>

And Gunnar, as a Union (Civil War) Soldier.

I think Gunnar was pointing out his favorite rifle (?)... at least his favorite rifle in this display...

This looks unfortunately like Wyatt is about to shoot Tate... ahhh, brotherly love!

Tate was NOT unhappy here... I think just looking serious, as he was processing the volume of stuff to look at and touch. Of all the boys, Tate is the most intrigued by all things military, but especially ARTILLERY. And - due to his Hearing Loss - he's the only one that has NO chance of actually getting IN the military... but, also won't have to ever worry about being drafted!

Sadly, though, they would not let the boys climb on or get into any of the tanks. Still, this was really the highlight for Tate, especially. They had all kinds of tanks and other vehicles, as well as missiles and launchers on display - even a Huey helicopter inside a courtyard of the museum.

But this is Kerry's favorite picture. Apparently one of the units from Ft. Lewis got a chance to destroy a statue of Sadaam Hussein, while deployed in Iraq. They brought back the head and put it on display. So Kerry says,

"I know lots of you are proud of YOUR kids, but how many of you have a picture of YOUR kid picking Saddam Hussein's nose?"

Follow the rules

Which right?

Oregon... 2008 #3

This huge rock was on the beach, right in front of our house. The boys spent HOURS playing on and around it.

Behind the rock, off in the green 'slime', was Tate's personal tide pool. He was quite content to go over there by himself, and catch little fish with a net. That little green thing, that looks like a piece of seaweed? A fish.

And, of course, we took MANY walks up and down the beach - the boys love climbing up these little sand walls and sort of 'skiing' down on the mini-avalanches they caused. They also became expert agate-finders... especially Tate. Most days we had great weather, but almost every day had some misty/cloudy moments.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oregon... 2008 #2, Wyatt's Birthday

This trip happened to fall on Wyatt's birthday. He was quite excited to have his party on vacation!

Here he is, with his celebratory Dr. Pepper, standing in front of all his booty...

"Is it time for my party yet?"

He is 12 years old, and quick to remind me that in one more year I will have a TEENAGER!

Lord, have mercy!

Aunt Tami brought some fun 'party lights' to add to my party decorations. You can see we're a real high class and hoity toity outfit.

Note to self : Never buy duct tape at the Dollar Store.

I've probably mentioned that Wyatt is really interested in birds. He was happy to receive four (I think? or five?) very different bird books, including one with over 100 recorded bird calls.

And, because he is indeed nearly a teenager, I couldn't resist...

Lastly, note the serious look on Wyatt's face here - a look of controlled ecstasy. None of my kids are very excited about cake. For Wyatt's party, he requested Raspberry Pie. We brought raspberries down (and a good thing we did, because the grocery store in Lincoln City didn't have any!) and I made three pies the night we arrived.

Believe it or not, Wyatt ate nearly an entire pie himself!

Happy Birthday!

Oregon... 2008 #1

Yes... vacation! Grandpa and Grandma invited us all (our family, plus Aunt Tami, Uncle Dave and Annie) out to the Oregon Coast for a week of relaxing and family fun.

Here's our beach house ------------------------>

Doesn't it look like a beach house?! Kerry and the boys and I had the downstairs (a separate apartment) but we all gathered upstairs, which made enough togetherness and enough 'space' for everyone :0)

The day we arrived and the following day were QUITE cool - misty and windy, but the rest of the week was glorious. Not hot... not at the Oregon Coast... but quite a relief after driving through 100F on our way there.

Our rental was on a fairly high bluff. It's the second one back in the picture, and had 112 steps down to the beach! There were a few landings, with benches, so if you needed a rest... And lots of decks on the house, PLUS an enclosed (ie out of the wind) hot-tub and an extra enclosed area, just for whatever. Reading and napping, mostly!

Those were some pretty serious stairs!

I have to say that I would not want to OWN that house. Seemed like one good storm could take it all away (!) but it was great for a vacation.

You could sit in the living room and feel like you were on a ship!

<--------------- Dave and Annie on the deck :0)


You've seen Foxglove... right? Every foxglove I've ever seen had one flower spike. One.

Check it out... this is ONE plant. Apparently Wyatt thought it was a weed (well, an easy mistake to make, given its surroundings... I just haven't got that far around the house yet!) and chopped its top off.

So it put out, hmmmmm, I can see 13 flower spikes, and maybe more in the back.

Pretty cool!

A little motivation...

This is last Saturday - the day before we left on vacation. Tate had his eye on another LEGO kit and wanted to earn some money, and Kerry had a stump he wanted removed.

Kerry did help, though Tate did most of the digging and chopping, and they got the stump out!

Of course, there's no tax in Oregon, and Tate wanted to buy his kit there (while we were on vacation), but - at least where we looked - they were out. So, on the way home we stopped at WalMart and Tate got his "Indiana Jones - River Chase" kit.

He's a 'happy camper'!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gunnar-isms #2

It's a good thing Gunnar is so cute.

No, let me rephrase that. It's a good thing that Gunnar has such a tender spirit. (AND he's cute.) Tate usually weighs his words and actions carefully. Wyatt and Gunnar tend to pop off without thinking so much, first. But Gunnar, of all the boys, has the gentlest heart.

Lest anyone make the claim that girls are more verbal than boys, check out the expression, the 'voice', the array of adjectives that Gunnar can fire off at the drop of the hat:

"Mom, it isn’t fair! I didn’t even get to finish my game! You’re just being mean, unfair, unlovable, and unlike-able! You just don’t understand. In fact, I would rather have a different mom. I wish there was no such thing as parents either. I don’t even like you!”

I had to admit, I was momentarily dazzled by the variety in his barrage of insult. It was difficult to contemplate an appropriate consequence for the disrespect while I was stifling laughter.

And it was just as well, because his tender heart did him in. Just a moment after stomping out of the room, he had composed himself. And, fortunately, so had I. He came to me crying, and asking forgiveness, which I was happy to offer.

Kids are nothing, if not changeable.

On another day we were out for a walk and he said to me, "Mom, you’re like Jesus to me.”

What do you mean? “Because you love me so much, you’re like Jesus to me.”

Now that's more than I can live up to.


I had my birthday last month, in the middle of a very hectic and stressful time.

Several friends and relatives sent me warm, thoughtful, and encouraging cards. But apparently not all the synapses were firing when I read them.

So, I had to laugh when I got a lovely card from a friend who always sends well-chosen greetings, and what I thought I read was, "If birthdays were daisies, you'd have a whole field."

Somehow I missed the word "wishes"... "If birthday WISHES were daisies..."

Gee, 42 isn't THAT old, is it?

Hank the Cowdog

Since starting this little adventure in the blogosphere, I have discovered a handful of other moms I enjoy checking in on from time to time. Some are encouraging writers, some have lots of information about parenting and homeschooling, and others tell lots of funny kid stories.

Well, apparently I've missed a whole genre of children's literature that is widely enjoyed in the South. Also, I'm being exposed to some new vocabulary. Check out this Hank the Cowdog fan!

What boys do

Okay, I'll admit that this is one of the cooler summers I can remember. "June-uary" has passed, but July is no heat wave. We don't even have the pool up. Yet.

So, while I'm kind of a "GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY" N@zi, not that the kids need much encouragement, I have let them hang out in the house more than usual.

So this is what they do: LEGOS LEGOS LEGOS.

My tidy, orderly, neatfreak side is kind of shuddering because, "You're mixing up all your sets!" But I suck it up, because they're having fun. It's their sets they're mixing up. And they are having fun AND being creative.

The first pic is some sort of Star Wars training station, which they could monologue about for... a very long time.

The second pic is all kinds of space-ships they have collaborated to build. They are sitting on the futon in the family room. Mind you, LEGOS are the ONLY thing that has sat on that futon in probably 9 months, since the TV broke.

Works for me!

I believe they have dismantled the Jedi Training Camp and done something with Wyatt and Gunnar's new birthday LEGOS.

Coming Soon: Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of the Golden Banana

Creature Feature

If there is an animal around.... insect, reptile, amphibian... you name it, Tate will catch it. Wyatt is really into birds lately. Gunnar likes "cute" animals. Tate likes animals. ANY animals. Anything he can catch, which is most of them.

Caterpillars, snakes, lizards... even little crabs at the beach. (Hey, give him a break, the sun was in his eyes... :0) )

And - if you haven't seen him for awhile - check out the new-ish neon green earmold. Now there's a boy that's not self-conscious about his HA :0)