Friday, January 29, 2010


Gunnar has said something along these lines to me several times:

  Mom, I love to go hiking and enjoy God's beautiful creation. It makes me feel puny.

And he said that knowing it was a good thing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Quilt for Mac

I finished this a while ago, but didn't want to post pics until I gave the gift in person. 

These (four) plaids have been sitting in my cupboard for ages, waiting for me to figure out how to use them.  Kind of tricky, because it's hard to find a blue to match them.  Took me forever to think of the obvious... white :0)

It would look better if I could do fancy quilting patterns in the white spaces, but that's beyond my skill set, so I'll settle for the wrinkly, crinkly goodness that happens after the first couple of washings.

Why Science?

I remember reading somewhere, when we first started homeschooling, that some "expert" advised noobs (you know, newbies) to just skip science for the first year or two, and add it in later.

We didn't take that advice.

For one thing, with three boys, science   is   the   most   fun   of   all.

But besides that... we look around and we're just plain curious.  Why, oh why, is there so much variety? 

We were watching an episode of Blue Planet last weekend with my parents and we were all absolutely astounded at the bizarre variety of life found at the depths of the ocean.  And why?

He created it, Colossians 1:16, by Him and for Him...  for His pleasure. 

We sang it in Messiah, at Christmas.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.
Isaiah 40:5

And that's why we study science.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh Good Grief

I write down everything I want to remember.  That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.    Beryl Pfizer
It's been an interesting weekend.  The boys have been outside a lot last week, because the weather was so warm.  They've revived Dino-opolis, the alternate universe they created in the back yard.  It grew so huge last summer, what with the expansion into "Some-area" and all the crazy, bright orange "tram lines" from the tree by the driveway (ack!) that Kerry made them take it all down and pack it away for awhile.

He told the kids they needed to protect everything from the bad weather.  But we all know he was just tired of looking at it.

I kind of wondered if they'd start it back up or move on to other things, but it's making a comeback.

Then I realized something:  I'm an idiot.

None of us can remember how to log on to their Dino-opolis blog.

They even got correspondence from their "brother city" - Dinoville.  And we can't load it onto the blog.  I'm sure I wrote down the userID and the password.  Somewhere.  But where?

And, because I'm such a genius (/sarcasm), I've spent more time looking for it than it would take just to start them a new blog, and copy out the handful of posts and pictures and repost them.


But I keep hanging on, thinking I'll find the magic words.


Simple Woman explained

I should probably make the link more obvious.

On the Simple Woman posts, if you click on the words Simple Woman you'll be taken to the "mother site", operated by Peggy Hostetler.  She created the Simple Woman's Daybook as a way of reflecting on the simple things of life.  She periodically changes the questions and I tend to pick and choose, and use the ones that interest me.

I don't use her logo/"button" because it looks really Victorian (not my style) and the script writing that says "Simple Woman" seems to look more like "Ample Woman"... which probably is more my style, but who needs to advertise that?!

Anyway, it's something I've enjoyed for the most part, because I don't tend to be a very reflective person.  Of course, it's only as 'deep' as you make it, but it has been a good discipline for me to think about some of these things.

Other folks, like my friend Denise, have adapted the format and/or post on a different day.  I don't think any Simple Woman Enforcers are going to come knocking on the door :0)  It's just for fun.

Monday, January 25, 2010

American Sushi

What's for lunch?

Because we're all about gourmet.

Simple Woman #46

For Today,  January 25, 2010

Outside My Window...  it has been cold this weekend.  The snow level has dropped on the hills around the lake.  We've  had such a warm January that some trees are trying to begin to bloom... too early.

I am thinking...  I know, I know... wiser minds say that there's always enough time in the day for what God has planned for me to do.  But it doesn't seem like it. 

I am thankful for...  Hot chocolate, smiling boys, and the fresh start that Monday always is.

I am praying for...  work, Haiti, wisdom, self-discipline, and friendships.

I am wearing...  oh have mercy.  Jeans.  Sweater.  Warm socks.  Boring.

I am creating...  trying to create a better plan for the boys and chores.  There are times I wish we lived on a farm, where there was more meaningful work for the boys.  (Those of you who actually live on farms, feel free to laugh at me.  Because I'm handily neglecting the fact that it would be more work for ME TOO.)

I am going...  Moms In Touch, the grocery store, AWANA, the usual.

I am reading...  between books for me.  Reading about the Revolutionary War with the boys.

I am hoping...  to see the boys develop more self-motivation in their school work.

I am hearing...  too quiet.  Oh dear.  When they're quiet I wonder what they're up to.

I am remembering...  I actually have a chore plan for the boys.  I just need to find it.  And implement it.

From the learning rooms...  Fractions, ratios, word roots, Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, spruce tree seeds, properties of a sphere, water-resistant and wetting agents, diagramming sentences (ugh!), and effervescence.

From the kitchen...   Leftovers.  I cooked a turkey on Friday :0)

Around the house...  books, books, books.  I love it that the boys love to read, but can't they put their books away?

On my mind...  whoever invented those flashlights with a crank, so they don't require batteries... thank you. 

Noticing that...  the boys surprise me.  They are willing to let go of things I wondered if they might cling to, but then continue to play with things I would have thought they'd be tired of.  Oh well.

One of my favorite things...  a clean desk.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... 

I am ready for the long, dark nights of winter to end.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Friend Issues

I started to write this months ago, but didn't want to publish it when it was fresh.  I certainly don't want any of my friends wondering if I'm talking about them.  I'm not.  In fact, I'm not thinking of any one person in particular... though there was definitely an impetus for writing this.  And I can guarantee you it's no one who reads the blog.  (And it has nothing to do with some fun boys who are over here today!)

What do you all think?

How do you balance Parent One's (good) desire to be 'reaching out to the outcast' with Parent 2's (good) concern to train the kids to choose their friends wisely?

P1 has a lot more compassion than P2.  P1 encourages the boys to befriend and spend time with the kids that other kids avoid.  P1 does not buy into cozying up to "the beautiful people" and wants the boys to reach out to the... awkward, the outcasts.  P1 says things like, "It sure looks like *** could use a friend.  Let's invite him over to play."

P2 takes a different view.  P2 also does not want to show favoritism (cozying up to "the beautiful people").  P2 also encourages the boys to be kind to newcomers and outsiders, but wants the boys to be discerning in their friendships.  Frankly, sometimes there are good reasons that certain people don't have many friends, and "lie down with dogs, get up with fleas" comes to mind.

So that probably blew my cover.  I was trying to be fair and unbiased in presenting our different viewpoints.

What do you think?

I've been skimming through Proverbs and need to spend more time there, working this out.  What first comes to mind are verses like these.  (I'm writing out the references because if you hover over them, the verse should appear in a little box.)

Proverbs 12:26
Proverbs 13:20
Proverbs 16:29
Proverbs 18:24
Proverbs 22:24-25
Proverbs 28:7

I know there are many more that illuminate different facets of friendship.  How do you all live this out? 

UPDATE:  I have some great and wise friends and commentors!  Feel free to add to the discussion.  I'm going to be busy this week and have some other posts scheduled, but I hope to be coming back to this later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DeAr tootth farie

 Someone is waiting for a visitor tonight.

There was an incident at breakfast.
Followed by a moment of fear,
soothed by motherly reassurances about the workings of the digestive tract.
Let's just say this is one tooth we will not be recovering and putting under the pillow,
and leave it at that.
A note will suffice.
He left this one on my bathroom counter.

Gunnar does not like pulling out loose teeth.
He doesn't even like wiggling them.
We've had issues with this.
His teeth just dangle there until they eventually fall out of their own accord.

Moving Furniture, or The Format Changes

To those of you that actually check back frequently, to see what variety of mayhem is currently taking place at our house, you'll have noticed the frequent changes to the look of the blog.  To those of you that have left compliments, I thank you.  (Of course, you realize you're feeding my neurosis.)  The photo, btw, is from National Geographic.  To the rest of you, who may be surprised or confused when a whole different look pops up every few weeks, I offer this explanation, and a dim view into the dark recesses of my brain:

I like change.  I get tired of looking at the same thing, day after day.  So I move furniture, paint walls, and rotate blankets and pillows and decorations.

And I change the look of the blog.  You may remember these....



4th of July...

When I started blogging, nearly two years ago, (seems like forever), I was really clueless.  Well, frankly, I still am.  I am NOT a tech person.  I don't even have a cel phone.  Really.  But I started a blog.

In all my brilliance, (sarcasm, okay?), I did not realize, that choosing a different template would change the formatting of previous posts.  I already had a hard time getting pictures to go where I wanted them.  Centered, right-justified, left-justified...  it took a ridiculous amount of fiddling to get the (pathetic) end product to look like it did in the little white box before I hit "publish."  And then everything would get screwed up.  Aaaack.

(I know, it's pathetic, really, because who looks at the old posts but me?!  And if I just left it alone, it wouldn't get boogered up, now would it?)

And - adding to my frustration - I was getting kind of bored with Blogger's template choices.

Then I made an amazing discovery.  Free Blog Templates

But most of them will only work with Minima.

I like formats with a wider post area.

But they're expandable, which means variable, and mess with my hard-won formatting.

So back I went to Minima.  Yes, it's narrow, but I consoled myself with the thought that my posts will keep their formatting and I can choose from all the fun, free templates at Aqua Poppy, and Delightful Dots, and That Blog Place.  Right?  But wait, Minima just isn't wide enough to even show the full width of some of the photos I'd already loaded.

And - of course - not only was I frustrated with my limited options, but with the ridiculous amount of time I was spending fussing about the look of the blog, vs. the content.  Hmmm.  But that's a thought for another day.

At that point something finally occurred to me:  Some of you geniuses are using a layout that looks suspiciously like Minima, but is wider, and... (aha!) not variable.  So, with all five brain cells firing wildly at the same time I threw a bunch of words at the Google search engine and - VOILA! - managed to come up with some very simple instructions for making the post area wider.

And, like the idiot I am, I began messing with the HTML without saving anything.  And by the grace of God I ended up with what you see.

And I'm hoping to be content with it for quite some time.

Oh, I'm sure I'll be changing the photo in the header, and the colors.  But I'm trying to discipline myself to leave the actual layout alone.

We'll see how long that lasts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Three Cheers

1.  Gunnar still isn't eating, but he's drinking fluids and hasn't thrown up all day.

2.  Though it's January the boys have been playing out in the yard for the last couple of hours.  I think Dino-opolis is coming back from its dormancy.

3.  The back of my van is full of stuff going to Goodwill.  Hallelujah.

Big Boy Fun

Kerry took the big boys and a few other fathers and sons on a snow adventure over the long weekend.  Wyatt and Tate tried out some borrowed snow-shoes for the first time.

Wyatt - Might not be quite as easy as it looks... at first.

Tate - King of the mountain... or the hill, anyway.

I wouldn't turn my back on that boy!

The clouds part for a glimpse of the mountain.

Wyatt couldn't resist sledding... on his bottom.
And, inquiring minds want an explanation for that colored streak to the right of him...

Looks like fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti, Wells, and Passports

My cousin Arron, (yes, that's how his name is spelled), is married to Lisa, whose parents were missionaries in Haiti. 

If I remember right, Arron met her when he was down there doing some kind of mission work.  Fixing things, probably.  He's a handy kind of guy.  And he's a pastor.  Lives in Oregon with his wife and three kids.

Arron goes down to Haiti periodically and does this:

That's him, on the left, drilling a well.  Clean water.

Arron and a couple of other guys headed down to Haiti a week before the earthquake to spend a month drilling wells.  Fortunately they were out in the open, about an hour out of PAP, when the quake hit.  Said the ground was rolling like the ocean, in four-foot swells.  People would go clear out of sight as the ground rolled.  They drove back in to the mission guest-house, (on the outskirts of PAP), formerly a three-story building with a basement, which had collapsed into one floor and was burning from the basement.  They helped (led the effort) to extract two survivors and got them to the US Embassy and evacuated to Florida for medical care, but three others are unaccounted for and a fourth they found and buried.

All their belongings (clothes, cameras, Bibles, etc.) were in the guest-house, except that Arron apparently insists that anyone in his group keep their passport on their person at all times.  Providential, yah?

Arron got his teammates to the embassy and evacuated out to the Dominican Republic on Thursday, while he stayed behind to stow the drilling rig somewhere safe and help the doctor from the mission... digging through rubble, recovering the injured, and - undoubtedly - the dead.

Friday he, the doctor, and another friend drove to the Dominican Republic.  I understand that getting through the border was a bit.... unconventional, but they made it, and managed to meet up with Arron's teammates and fly home together.

Ironically, they got hassled a bit at customs because they had nothing to declare... no baggage, no carry-ons, nothing.  I suppose that's a terrorist red-flag.  But the point-of-origin on their tickets cleared that right up.

So they are home safe, hallelujah, though grieving for others who didn't make it.

In No Particular Order...

1.  The "big boys" are all back, safe and sound, from a weekend of snow-shoeing.

2.  Mt. Laundry is growing to fearful proportions.

3.  I am feeling a little better.  Not loving the loopy side-effects of anti-histamines, but enjoying the ability to breathe again.

4.  Have not been able to smell anything for three days. This came in handy last night, at about 12:10AM when...

5.  Gunnar threw up.  All over himself and his pillow.  "Mom!  Mom!  Help!  I erupted!"

6.  And then, in his bleary-eyed, middle-of-the-night sick-and-tiredness didn't understand why I wrapped him in a towel and directed him to the bathroom, so he unwrapped the towel... leaving a trail for me to follow to the shower.

7.  I did two loads of laundry between 12:10AM and 6:50AM. 

8.  My sense of smell returned this morning.  And that laundry is getting washed again.

9.  If you've emailed or called and I haven't gotten back to you, now you know why.

10.  Just found out that my cousin was in Haiti during the earthquake.  Must find out more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Simple Woman #45

FOR TODAY    January 18, 2010

Outside my window...  cloudy, really windy, fir cones and little branches on the ground around the house

I am thinking...   we have an awesome church family.  We can't be the only people who are having a tough time finding work - I'm sure there are others.  And they are keeping watch over us.  Just yesterday one of the elders checked in with me (Kerry being away for the weekend), another mom gave me some homeschool materials that she'd ordered online and weren't what she thought... brand new, and another asked me if the boys needed winter coats.  I'm telling you, God has Good People.

I am thankful for...  see above :0)  And - Gunnar and I have been having a fun weekend, just the two of us.  Kerry and the older boys are off snow-shoeing and Gunnar and I are having a "staycation".  We've found fun things to do each day - visiting friends, choosing a special movie each night, and playing lots and lots of games.  He's easily pleased :0)

I am praying for...  friends who are adopting, health (getting over this cold), and - again - work.

I am creating...  ummmmm.... trying to create some extra space.  I'm cleaning out - AGAIN.  How does all this stuff accumulate?  I think it breeds when I'm not watching.

I am going...  ugh.  I don't want to go much of anywhere.  (Shall I whine a little more?)

I am reading...   just finished The Sign of the Beaver and starting Johnny Tremaine with the boys.

I am hoping...   Kerry and the boys are having a good time, not getting rained on, and that they remember to bring home everything they went with.

I am hearing...  so quiet around here with just Gunnar and me at home.  Lots of wind, though.

I am remembering...  what was it like with just one kid?  What did I do with all my time?

From the learning rooms...   quiet today, getting ready for the bigger boys to come home later.

From the kitchen...  a roast in the crockpot, with potatoes, carrots and onions.

Around the house...   the calm before the storm.  When they get home they'll be bubbling over to tell me everything and I will have piles of soggy snow gear and dirty laundry to deal with.

On my mind...  so glad we live near family :0)

Noticing that...  the clutter is gaining on me.  AAACCCCKKKKK!

Pondering these words...   our friends, Jesse and Danyale, welcomed a new baby yesterday.  A boy, as yet unnamed.  Gunnar quickly announced, "They should name him David, because he's the son of Jesse."  Quick thinking, but they may have other ideas ;0)

One of my favorite things...  Gunnar is a born encourager.  I can be kneeling in the laundry room in my old ratty sweats, scraping lint out of the dryer and he'll come up and hug me and say, "You're the best mom in the whole world!"

A few plans for the rest of the week...  re-acclimating Wyatt and Tate to Real Life, which includes school work and chores, (I expect they'll be bouncing off the walls when they get back), starting our study of the War of Independence, and getting the boys to work harder on their handwriting.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

 The boys with a bit of Christmas "booty"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some People

Some people let their kids win at games to give the kids confidence.

Other people don't go easy on their kids because life isn't going to.

But still other people get a bad cold and take antihistamines and then play games and the eight year old just cleans up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Readers Advisory: Bragging Mom Post

*Just thought I'd say that, right up front, so you can move on if you want to :0) *

Gunnar goes to AWANA.  Gunnar loves AWANA.  Gunnar memorizes well.  

See Gunnar go to AWANA.  
Go, Gunnar!  Go!
Go! Go! Go!
Ooops, sorry.  Back to the point...

He has already finished his book for this year and is starting on review, so - to be fair - he has already worked on these verses.  But this is what he recited last night, from memory, with references:

Acts 16:31
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...

1 John 5:12
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you..."

John 6:38
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.

John 1:29
...John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Matthew 28:6
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said...

Mark 16:19
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Revelation 19:16
On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:   KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 21:1
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...

Romans 3:23
For all have sined and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.


Revelation 4:11
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things...

Eight.  Years.  Old.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fish Brains

Gunnar has a fish.  A goldfish named Jack.  Of course, Gunnar thinks his goldfish is smart.  In fact, all three boys insist that Jack begs for food.

Now, think for a moment...  how big could a goldfish's brain be?  As big as the head of a pin?  Maybe?

I suppose he must have enough brain power to think about something, because he avoids the Green Net of Doom when I clean his bowl every month week.

But guys, really.  He's not a puppy, he's a fish.  A tiny, 10 cent feeder-fish.  He can't possibly have the mental capacity to predict that you will feed him and beg.

But I've been watching him.  And I think they're right.

He's watching.

He follows me around his bowl.  Begging.

Feed me, Seymour.

Heard Around the House

Gunnar and Kerry were having a friendly argument this morning (joking around), when Gunnar tried for an idiom and almost made it...
You've... you've... you've got a gadget missin' in your head!
Or a screw loose.  Whatever.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I should've known better...

We haven't done any journal writing for awhile.  Got kind of side-tracked over the holidays and we're working back up into our full schedule.

So I told the boys to imagine that they were Noah's three sons, they were building an ark, and everyone around them thought they were stark, raving, NUTS.  Write about it.  Tell me what that would be like.

But, of course, I failed to prohibit the inclusion of everything that fascinates boys.

Consequently their accounts were full of spit, burps, farts, poop, and little gems like this -

You have the biggest piehole in all the history of your fat household.

Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.

Boys and Girls, Remix

Well, so much for stereotypes!  Glad to know my boys are not the only ones :0)  Oh, and Ruby, (from comment on post below), in the car... there are times I do have to MAKE them stop talking so I can drive safely.  Especially when they seem to think I can turn around and look at something!

There are moments I just have to say, "You may not be done talking, but I'm done listening for awhile."  And they seem to understand.  But my word... it's like having your whole life narrated, sometimes!

I think our next memory verse needs to be James 1:19,
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
 You know... there's a good reason God gave us TWO ears and just ONE mouth.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boys and Girls

We had friends to dinner.  It was lovely.  They have four kids - two girls and two boys - all younger than ours.  Everybody got along and played nicely and behaved themselves and ate their dinners and picked up the toys.  It was all good.

But here's the thing...

My boys  Never. Stop. Talking.

Oh my goodness.  I know, I know, I can look at the bright side.  They're not shy.  They're articulate.  "We have a language-rich environment."

Yah.  A barrage of language.

Everybody says that girls talk more than boys.

If that's true, I pity their mothers.

I'm going to bed now, more to rest my ears than my body.

Simple Woman #44

For Today     January 11, 2009

Outside my window...  still dark, branches tossing in the wind, gray clouds, and rain hitting my window.

I am thinking...   one day at a time.

I am thankful for...   Kerry got a call from a guy who wants to remodel a rental... which could possibly be work for Kerry if the *%^$# city planning department won't ax the project.

I am praying for...  WORK.

I am creating...  plans, plans, and more plans.

I am reading...  The Sign of the Beaver - with the boys.

I am hearing...  wind moaning in the trees, boys waking up, and somewhere outside... a frog.

I am remembering...  must call my friend later this morning.  We invited them to dinner last week, but the dad had to work late and we r/s for tonight... and one of theirs was feverish yesterday.

Really, really want to have them over.

Really, really don't want to get sick.

From the learning room...  wars, wars, and more wars, fractions with Tate, polishing Wyatt's report on The Boston Tea Party, and Gunnar learning the "times threes".

From the kitchen...  depends on if we're having company...

Around the house...  too darn much stuff.

On my mind... so glad we went to evening church last night.

Noticing that...  the boys really need their hair cut.  Well, trimmed at least.

Pondering these words...
I started this year confused about a lot of things.  First, I don't even know what decade we're in.  Did we just start a new one?  Or are we in the last year of the old one?  Inquiring minds want to know.

But assuming the decade is now over, I'm trying to figure out how I started it with toddlers and ended it with teens, while I haven't aged at all.
From Sheila.

One of my favorite things...  chocolate.  *sigh*

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Moms In Touch, piano lesson, AWANA, PTO Day... woo hoo for PTO days :0)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Tate, on the roof, watching a storm moving in.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Guilty Laugh...

Well... if I've ever mentioned something to YOU, it's because I think you're SMART and don't want you to appear FOOLISH!

And because I go back through my own posts once in awhile and find all manner of ridiculous mistakes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Great Turkey Walk

We read a lot around here.  Not as much as I'd like, but a lot.

I was probably looking for Thanksgiving books at the library, when I came across The Great Turkey Walk, and - though it has nothing to do with the holidays - I brought it home.

We've read it twice now, and liked it as much the second time.

Back in 1860 simple-minded Simon Green, a not-exactly-academically-gifted 15-year-old, has just completed the 3rd grade, for the 4th time, and is gently encouraged to spread his wings elsewhere.  Hearing the turkeys are selling for $5 apiece in boomtown Denver, and noticing a glut of them in his native Missouri, Simon decides to walk/herd a thousand turkeys to Denver and sell them.  Throw in a kind recovering drunk of a drover, a runaway slave, an orphan in the wilderness, encounters with Indians, and Simon's no-good, thieving father for extra flavor.

Simon knows that everybody has a talent, it's just a matter of figuring out where you belong.

Just thought I'd mention it, since we liked it so much.

Ask, And You Shall Receive

I know it's a little thing, but this is so cool I just had to share it.

When I washed the boys' sheets and remade their beds last week I was reminded of how gross their pillows are getting.  Oh, I have washed them, but still...  Gunnar sometimes gets a bloody nose, and you just can't always get that out.  And even when you know whose blood it is... yuck.  (Okay, maybe TMI.)

And besides gross, they're getting pretty flat.

But the boys aren't complaining and we don't need to be spending extra money just now, and it occurred to me to pray about it.  (Why don't I think of that more often?!) 

I didn't mention it to anyone.

Got an email from Gramma Grasshopper this afternoon.  She's cleaning out.  And on her list:

Yep.  WOO-HOO!

Public Service Announcement

Boy #1 is in his bedroom, writing 1 Peter 3:8, a bazillion times.
 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

And Boy #3 is in the schoolroom, writing Colossians 4:6.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt...

So now you know how our day started.


Oh, and lest you think Boy #2 is a perfect angel, he wrote sentences yesterday.  He was supposed to write, I will not wrestle my brothers.  But his spelling is wobbly, and what he handed me actually said, I will not resell my brothers.

Well, that's a relief.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Champion

Does he look just a wee bit smug?

That's probably because he just beat his older brothers at Clue.

Three times in a row.

Once could've been sheer luck.  Twice, maybe.  But by the third game I was trying not to let on how closely I was observing, while I made lunch.

Oh yah.  He's always clever at the logic puzzles I throw at them, and he was using the same deductive skills here.  Tate started a rumor.  "Peacock, in the Spa, with the candlestick."  Wyatt, to his left, disproved the rumor, discretely showing Tate a card, and then noticed Gunnar marking something off, on his scoresheet.

"You're cheating!  Mooooooom, he's cheating!  He looked at my card!"

Which would be impossible, from across the table.  Good grief.

No, he simply figured out that since he himself was holding Peacock, and the candlestick, Wyatt must be showing Tate the Spa card.  A possibility, and a modus operandi that had not yet occurred to either of the older boys.

The triumph of the littlest brother.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Simple Woman #43

FOR TODAY  January 4, 2010

Outside my window...   gray, dark, rain.  Raining when I went to bed, raining when I got up this morning, and raining still.  Which makes it a great day to start back to school!

I am thinking...   about all that I want to implement with this fresh start of a new year.

I am thankful for...   healthy kids.  Really, really thankful.

I am praying for...   work.  I know, I know, I keep playing the same old song.  But that's heavy on my mind just now.

I am creating...  I finished my project last night and put everything away.  I think the boys were beginning to feel like "sewing orphans" the last few days.

I am reading...   The Greatest Generation.  Borrowed it from my neighbor long, long ago and it's been waiting patiently on my nightstand.  Thank goodness it's perfect for being read in little bits.  And with the boys, The Great Turkey Walk.  More on that later.

I am hoping...   the boys' brains haven't turned to complete mush in the last three weeks.

I am hearing...   a Lego battle.

I am remembering...   well, trying to remember, where we were in our schoolwork when we left off.  *sigh*  It seems so long ago...

From the learning rooms...   a very lonely goldfish, a light fixture waiting to be installed as soon as we remember to ask Grampa Grasshopper, the oh-so-familiar smell of pencil shavings and crayons, and books, books, books, books.

From the kitchen...   no wonderful smells yet, but I'm cooking a ham for dinner.  Yum!

Update -  oh, I am in heaven.  Why don't I cook ham every week?  (Okay, there are good reasons, to be sure, but still...)  Sweet and salty just does me in.  The warm juicy ham smell, with the orange/maple/cinnamon glaze.  *sigh*  Trouble is, I'll be hungry all day long.

Around the house...   trying to keep it tidy - having company tonight.  My folks (Grampa and Gramma Grasshopper) and Aunty Tami are coming over to celebrate with us that we completed our read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year project.  I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm really proud of the boys.  (Uncle Dave, you're welcome too, we just didn't expect you to drive up here again.)

On my mind...   You'll be happy to know that I sat myself down last night and wrote our Christmas New Year's letter.  After I send the snail mail out to family and IRL friends I'll probably post it here.

Noticing that...   I love how much bigger my office feels without the ironing board and piles of projects scattered around.  Amazing.  (Duh.)

Pondering these words...   It's not your business what other people think of you.

One of my favorite things...   reading Hither and Thither each Friday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Captions anyone?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Grasshoppers Old Groove

It is time... oh yes, it is time.

Time to get back to routine, back to our normal schedule, back to regular chores... back to school.  (Cue the moaning and groaning.)

Thanks to rainy days after Christmas the boys have spent most of their vacation indoors.  Stacks of books need to be reshelved, cartoons the boys have drawn are piling up, I'm finding nerf darts in surprising places (like a drawer in the kitchen, between dishtowels... huh?), and the Legos have - once again - taken over the family room.  While all that may not be unusual (*ahem*), the level of bickering is rising, telling me in no uncertain terms that the boys need more structure.  Funny how we all look forward to wide-open vacation days, and how we all look forward to getting back to "normal"... though some of us might not admit it.

So... bye bye this...

And hello this...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just Wrong

Maybe it's just me, but I saw something last month that was wrong... just wrong.

While driving Gunnar home from the last AWANA before Christmas, we took a detour through a different neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.  We always want to go by one house in particular.  There must be at least 20 tall Douglas fir trees on the lot and the owner wraps all the trunks in multi-colored Christmas lights, up as high as his extension ladder will reach.  It's beautiful.  Very magical looking.

Then we drove by the wrong house.

I didn't have a camera with me, so you'll have to use your imagination.

The house itself is just your typical cookie-cutter spec house, the most prominent design feature being the garage door, which was lit up by several neon colored flashing spotlights, shining purple, orange, red and teal up the front of the house and into the sky.

To the left of the driveway several elves were cavorting on a ferris-wheel and a "yo-yo" type carnival ride (swings, going in a circle around a pole).  There was an inflatable merry-go-round, lit from within,  in a perpetual snow-storm.  But the elves couldn't ride it, because they were too big... way too big.  An  enormous inflatable snowman, also lit from within, towered over the merry-go-round, threatening to fall on it.  The three white reindeer had retreated to the front porch.

The garage door was framed with purple and orange lights, and led the viewer's eye to the other side of the yard, which displayed a cartoonish, glowing, inflatable manger scene with - I kid you not -  a gigantic, leering Santa looming above it in a hot-air balloon.

Suddenly our house, with its "belt" of icicle lights, (which I thought lent it all the grace and loveliness of a hippo in a tutu) didn't look so bad after all.

Doing Stuff

And I have been doing stuff...

The boys and I put away all their Christmas presents  - and the new snow boots fit just fine, with room to grow :0)  We sorted through their drawers in the mudroom, trying on hats, gloves, sunglasses, snow goggles, etc.  And we've culled out at least one laundry basket full of stuff to go to consignment or Goodwill.  (Working on that Equal Mass Law!)

And I washed all their sheets and remade the beds - not a simple task with flannel sheets, comforters and extra blankets on the bunks.  But January 1 is "rotation day".  Wyatt rotated off the top bunk, and 2010 is Tate's turn.  Yes, they still think the top bunk is a Big Deal.

And, yes, we have two sets of bunk beds, but only one is "bunked".  I've measured the space.  I could stack both sets, but I'd have to slide them toward the center and I think that would block a lot of light from the window.  And you know how I feel about that.

And I've been working on this.  That's just the top - it's not quilted yet.  Better pictures to come when it's finished.  I've been trying to find the right project for those plaids for at least two years.  I like it, but the plaids are a challenge.  They really show off every place my lines aren't straight, so I had to fuss a lot more with this than I like.  And it's still not straight.

Do Stuff

No New Year's resolutions, but how about a motto?

If you do stuff... you get stuff done.

Because I'm a deep thinker, I am.

Because we like to make out like things are complicated when they're not.  They're just hard.  But if you do stuff, you get stuff done.

Or, to use the Bible...

1 Chronicles 28:20
Be strong and courageous, and do the work.

There.  That was free.  From me to you. 

Happy New Year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Turn Off The Light

We live at 48 degrees (and 45 minutes) north - I just looked it up.  Which means gloriously long days in the summer (light from 4:30am to 10pm) but not so much in the winter.  Lots of darkness.

And I like light.  As much of it as I can get.  I like the light to wake me up in the morning.  So much nicer than a blaring alarm clock.  Yuck.  Hence the sheers in the bedroom.

 Tate, on the other hand, likes total darkness when he sleeps.  And with his HA out at night, he can't hear a thing.  I kind of wonder what that's like... the sensory deprivation.  But I digress...

For reasons I don't remember now, he was sleeping in my bed one night.  Already asleep, he rolled over, bleary eyed, when I came to bed, and demanded,

Turn off the light!

Tate, the light IS off.

He glared over my shoulder, at the full moon shining through the curtains, and insisted again,

No, that light, right outside the window!  Turn it off!

Yeah.  I'll get right on that.