Saturday, April 29, 2006

I Am From

This seems to be the latest blog craze. And at first, I rebelled. I didn't want to do what everybody else was doing. But I read some that were so beautiful. I looked at the template and thought, "This should be easy. It's just filling in blanks." But it proved to be somewhat difficult for me.

Anyhow, here it is. Go here if you want to hop on the bandwagon, too.

I am from the powder blue bicycle, bought at a garage sale. From lemony fresh Joy soap suds and homemade ice cream. I am from the rental house...broken down, mouse-ridden, musty smelling.

I am from the mulberry tree that stained my feet, the velvety Princess Feather and the duck pond, the lilac bush, the roses on the trellis, Grandpa's "mountain". I am from fish frys and practical jokes, from Monroe and Valaria and Aud.

I am from drinking too much and forgiving too little. From "put on some socks" and "suck in that lip".

I am from holy rollers. From fire and brimstone and Holy Ghost revivals.

I am from St. John's and the back woods of the rolling Ozark hills, Wonder Bread and Orange Crush. From Uncle Henry's car careening through a fence, but no one asking why, the swollowed lollipop, and Daddy being stationed in Alaska.

I am from old, tattered steamer trunks and beautiful scrapbooks, from shoeboxes and footlockers filled with the happy and the heartbreak, directing me, grounding me and reminding me of where I am from.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Bug In My Britches

Being the super mom that I am, I make sure my kids keep their rooms picked up. I have them do it every night before they go to bed, and sometimes mid-day if things are looking especially catastrophic. Sister loves nothing better than to drag out every single dress-up item she owns so her room looks as if it vomited crowns and tutus. Then along comes Baby, toddling through the disaster area and wipes out on a lovely gown of satin and sequins. Besides, I don't want them to grow up to be slobs.

But don't you dare look in my room.

Mine and Hubby's bedroom is the dumping ground for things that have no home and the hiding place for all my crap when company comes. There have been times when there was a perfect "Y" shaped path on the floor, beginning at the door and then forking off to either side of the bed.

However, Flylady has converted me. In accordance with her doctrine I have been chipping away at the mess a little at a time and have rediscovered the floor. Yesterday I set my timer for 15 minutes, just like she says, and worked on the closet. When those 15 minutes were up I had a neat little pile to take to the garage.

Oh, Lord. The garage. Don't even get me started on that. Let's just say Flylady's helping hand can only reach so far. I hear some people put cars in their garages. This might have been handy a few nights ago (see previous post).

So I grab an armload and head out to store my trash. I have to do some digging to find the plastic tote holding winter clothes. I trip over my old doll cradle I hope to restore someday for my girls. I have to move the broken table my husband says he'll fix. I almost kill myself on the doll buggy my dad bought for Sister, but takes up half her room. Finally, I find the tote, shove in the sweaters and head back to the house for my second and final load. As I'm walking into the house I feel a weird little prick on the inside of my thigh. Hubby starts talking to me about something, but I don't know what he's saying because something is sticking me. In fact, it feels like it's biting me. Maybe an ant? He looks at me strange while I scratch at my pants. "Sorry," I say, with a little laugh. "I think I have a bug in my britches." I feel something in there and grab it, pinching it in my pant leg.


Okay. Ants don't crunch like that...unless it's an extra large ant. I look down to see a spot of goo where I have smashed something in my pant leg. I immediately start yanking my pants off, right there in front of my open living room window. The good news - it wasn't an extra large ant. Only a spider...or what is left of one. It's brown. Brown recluse? Now I really start to freak out, running around in my underwear, swearing to my husband that I'm going to die or lose my leg or go blind or something. I sit down at the computer and immediately start doing searches for brown recluse photos and what to do when a spider bites you. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a brown recluse, but I couldn't find a picture of what it looks, er, looked, like.

So, today, I'm still alive. But I have four red spots on my leg. They don't hurt or itch. I don't have a fever or nausea. But they do look worse than they did yesterday. Bad sign?

Anybody out there know anything about spider bites?

You Might Be A Redneck If... replace an automobile window with a Hefty bag and duct tape:

Now all we need is a broken down car parked in our yard.

Wait...we have that, too. But at least it isn't up on cement blocks. Yet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One Hail of a Night!

This is what fell from the sky last night:

And this is what it did to a window in my minivan:
(No the window isn't rolled down. It is in, shattered.)

And this is what it did to the sideview mirror:

Soccer practice was cancelled last night, so I invited a friend over with her two children for dinner. Long story short, we ate dessert in the bathtub with sirens going off in the background. That would be two grown women and five children huddled in the tub. Sorry, I don't have a picture of that one. I was too busy freaking out to grab the camera.

"Supermom's Guide to Hosting An Evening Your Friends Will Never Forget"

  1. Plan a simple, yet elegant menu.
  2. Pick a night during tornado season when inclimate weather is almost certain.
  3. Set the table with fine linens and china. You want your guests to feel special. And if a tornado tosses your house around like Dorothy's in the Wizard of Oz, at least you will have used them one last time.
  4. Candlelight always sets the mood...especially if the power goes out.
  5. Be creative. Anyone can have dessert at the table. Pick a safe place away from windows in the middle of your house. The bathtub is always a crowd pleaser.

All The World's A Stage

This morning Brother and Sister wrote, produced and rehearsed a play while I was in the shower. After I got out, they had a front row seat waiting for me. This is how it went:

Sister (dressed in her Belle costume): This is the story of a prince (Brother sheepishly grins) who sees a beautiful girl and wants to marry her in three days, but he has to marry her in four days. So he gives her a wedding and some jewelry and a talking device. And a power ring. And then they walked about. The End.

Funny. My husband gave me a power ring on our wedding day, too. But now, he wears it in his nose.

Editorial comment: Anything you read in this blog is for entertainment purposes only. The author happens to have a very manly, strong, adorable, macho, sweet, kind, perfect husband who most definitely wears the pants...and also reads her blog.
The next play was narrated by Brother:

Brother (as the narrator): Once upon a time there was a girl (enter Sister in her ballet costume) who wanted to be a ballerina, but her father wouldn't let her.

(Sister stands gracefully, looking sad and forlorn, yet always beautiful and righteous)

Brother (as the father): No! It is May, and you cannot dance until...(pauses to think)...June! And that's a very long time!

(Sister bows her head in sorrow)

Brother (as the narrator): So the father went to sleep one night (he lays down to sleep), but the girl didn't go to sleep. She ran off to find a stage to dance.

(Sister runs into the next room and begins her dance of joy.)

Brother (as the father): (waking up) Where is that girl? I'm calling the police! (calling) Police! Police! (then to me) Do you want to be the police?

Me (as the police): (making siren noises, then spotting her doing her forbidden dancing) There she is!

Father (stamping in angrily): You disobeyed me! Now go home!

Police (feeling sorry for the girl): Sir, I am only a lowly policeman, but I do think you should reconsider. Your daughter loves to dance, and she is so good at it.

Father: No! She should listen to her father!

Well, I can't argue with that one.

Police (to girl): I'm sorry. He's right. You do need to listen to your father.

(Girl trods slowly back home, never to dance again...until June.)

The End

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nap Strike

I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but Naptime is my favorite part of the day. See, I'm not really one of those moms who wants to spend every living, breathing moment with her kids. I just try to act like it in public.

" 'Why do I homeschool', you ask? Well, because I love my children so much, I just can't bear to be away from their smiling, angelic, little faces."


But there seems to be a standoff developing when it comes to my eagerly anticipated Naptime around here. And though my gun is bigger, I'm not sure I'm quick enough on the draw to win this one. I understand that Brother and Sister (7 and 4, respectively) are really probably too old for naps, although there are definitely days when I KNOW they need it. But I do so love it when all three of my perfect little darlings sleep quietly and peacefully for an hour or two...or three...or...well, let's not get greedy.

Here is how Naptime goes at our house most days:

Me: Okay, kids. We've read 20 books, had a gazillion drinks of water, gone potty three times, washed our hands, had a philosophical discussion about things you suddenly have a keen desire to know, such as, why the sun shines, why rain is wet and why the sky is blue, and we have exhausted pretty much every stalling tactic known to man. Hug, hug. Kiss, kiss. Love to all. Now GO TO BED!!!!!

Brother: I'm not really tired. Can I play quietly in my room?

Me: No. Go to bed.

Sister: Can I play quietly?

Me: No. Go to bed.

Brother and Sister (in unison): WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Me (to self) : @@#***$##@

End of Act 1

Act 2 begins with me, surrounded by quiet, enjoying a cup of Chai Tea, just sitting down to blog my brains out. Suddenly, I hear a noise. I know it is someone moving around when they are supposed to be sleeping. I peek in to find Sister, with twenty Barbies in her bed, feet on the wall, treating it like a dancefloor, doing a happy little jig.

Me: What do you think you're doing?


Me: Be still. Be quiet. Go to sleep.

Sister's bottom lip juts out, trembles a bit, then...


Me (to self): #$**#**@

Now, imagine this scene playing out every 5-10 minutes for about two hours, alternating with Brother, Sister and sometimes, Baby. What does a girl have to do to get some peace and quiet around here???!!

I have allowed for "quiet time" on their beds before, where they read, or play with something quietly for awhile. But tonight we have soccer practice and I know they need the extra sleep. If they don't get it, coming home tonight will be like a scene from a Stephen King movie. Shudder. Not to mention that "quiet time" is only good for about half an hour. And because I am truly a selfish mortal disguised as Supermom, I relish a good hour of solitude to break up my day.

Hmmmm, I think I have some Benedryl in the medicine cabinet.

Sigh. Blogtime over. I hear Baby waking up now.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Warning: This is yet another post marveling at my son. Another mom who thinks hers is the best ever on the face of the planet, blah, blah, blah. If you're sick of hearing about it, click out now.

Isn't it funny how you have these little, tiny, helpless babies and you can't imagine them ever uttering a word or doing anything but cling to you for the rest of their lives? Then suddenly you turn around and they are seven, doing and saying things that grab your heart and blow it up like a balloon, until you swear it will burst with pride and adoration.

I am blown away by the maturity Brother has found in the past year. He is still probably a bit immature by today's standards, but I'm okay with that. I'll keep him little as long as I can, thank you. Lately he has really settled into the role of the oldest. I never really saw him as being able to take that on. Maybe because he is my firstborn and I've never had a seven year old before. I didn't really know what to expect. But his kindness and tenderness with his sisters these past couple of days has been so sweet and surprising. He has been dying to help the girls in whatever way he can. Baby is very receptive to this and thinks he is the greatest thing since Cheerios in a cup. However, Sister is very independent and doesn't like being helped often. Sometimes Brother comes to me crying because she refused his help. Once this week he sobbed, "But I want to be kind to her!"

Yes, I know. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

My rough and rowdy boy has a beautiful, tender heart. But before you start thinking I am some kind of parenting genius, allow me to set the record straight. He's not perfect. He whines and complains with the best of 'em. He talks back. He can be very selfish and mean. And I don't know what the heck I'm doing...especially when it comes to boys. I know I've wounded him. I've failed miserably in many areas. I'm terrified that somehow I'm going to screw this whole thing up and one day he'll wind up a trembling, confused heap in the corner of a rubber room. But seeing his actions of late gives me hope.

And it ain't because of me.

I am in awe. God gave me this child. He allows me to take part in and be witness to the unfolding of one so fascinating.

Parenting...what a trip.

Good-Bye, Old Friend

Okay, I only paid $1.00 for it at a garage sale, but it is one of my favorite shirts. It's soft and a little stretchy. Not too tight. Not too loose. Not too short. The sleeves are the perfect length. And it's the only yellow shirt I have.

But alas, it is ruined.

Sister wanted to paint the other day, and me, being the supermom that I am, got out all the paints. For some unknown reason the blue paint exploded when I opened the top. It's tempra paint. It will wash out, right?

Not when you let it dry overnight.

So, there you have it. Another favorite piece of clothing lost on the front lines of motherhood.


And now, a moment of silence.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ranting and Raving

I took Baby to the doctor two weeks ago with her second ear infection/sinus infection in about a month's time. With the first one, I scheduled an appointment for a re-check for two weeks later, as the doctor instructed me. But me being me, I forgot the re-check appointment and missed it. We got in a week later and VOILA! Baby had another ear infection...or hadn't recovered from the first one. The doctor slightly scolded me for missing the appointment a week earlier and told me as I left to make a re-check appointment for two weeks. I made that appointment for today and guarded the little reminder card with my life. Miraculously, it made it from the doctor's office to our house without disappearing into the Deep Abyss of Darkness, otherwise known as my purse. I carefully placed it on my fridge with two - not one, but two - magnets to secure it in clear view for me to see. I read it every day. I memorized it. I engrained it into my brain. Thursday, April 20, 10:30 a.m.

I wasn't going to forget.

The office even called me yesterday to remind me, to which I haughtily replied, "Yes, yes. I know."

Today I got up, got everyone dressed in cute, going-out-in-public attire. The girls wore matching outfits, complete with sweet, little, puffy hairbows. I fixed my hair. I put on makeup. And we got out the door at 10:00. Plenty of time. We arrive at 10:15. Those little girls in the office are going to be so impressed with me. I'm early!

But the look on the receptionist's face wasn't exactly impressed. More like confused. "We're here for a 10:30 with Dr. McConnell," I say. She looks at her little sheet. "What's the name?" she asks. I tell her. She looks at me with a wry little smile and says, "Well, we have her down for 9:45."


"Uh, my reminder card says 10:30," I start to dig in the Abyss, but remember the card is at home on the fridge. I don't like the way she is looking at me. I can tell she thinks I forgot again. Another girl in the office says something to her and she turns to listen. She turns back to me. "She (referring to the other office girl) says she told you 9:45 yesterday when she called to remind you." Her tone. Her manner. She's starting to chap me. Don't treat me like I'm a moron. Did she say 9:45? I don't know. Am I really supposed to remember that? Is that really my responsibility to actually pay attention to what she says to me in a 6-second phone conversation? Maybe I read the card wrong. Maybe I put the wrong card on the fridge. I did find about five of them in my purse the other day. I'm full of self-doubt. It's obviously my fault. They wouldn't make such a mistake. That's my job.
"I...I'm sorry," I stammer. "I didn't pay attention...I, uh, I guess I'll have to reschedule." And I slink away, red-faced, to do just that. They can't get me in until Tuesday. That's five days. Almost a week. Dr. McConnell will raise her eyebrows at me. I'm so ashamed.

I stew about it all the way home. I can't believe I did this. What's wrong with me? I give myself a good beating for being such a flibbertyjibbit. Yes, that's right. A flibbertyjibbit.

I get home and we finish up our reading lesson. I let the kids play outside while I put fish sticks in the oven and get water boiling for mac n cheese. They are so adorable and the weather is so gorgeous, I go out, too. Brother and I play soccer. I take a picture of Baby who has put on her sunglasses upside down and looks way cuter than any baby should be allowed to look. Sister wants to plant more seeds, so I get out two seed packets, soil and egg cartons and let her get to work. Well, Sister opens up the tomato seeds, which are virtually microscopic, and spills them. I come to the rescue and try to get them all into an egg carton before the wind blows them away. I'm poking seeds, scooping dirt and trying to get Sister to finish up the job, but she is four, and female, and is suddenly bored with the whole thing. Brother is clamoring for me to play soccer some more, Baby is climbing onto the porch and reaching for the saw Hubby left out, and here I am trying to simultaneously do three things at once. Then I suddenly remember I have lunch cooking inside and I am outside. I rush inside, taking Baby kicking and screaming, and rescue lunch...barely. I send the kids out with the spray bottle to water the newly planted seeds, which, of course, starts an argument about who will go first. Once we get that settled, they decide they don't want to water the seeds.

Oh, no. Those seeds will be watered.

I give them a lecture on finishing what you start, blah, blah, blah, to which they gleefully respond and go straight away to obediently do what their mother has said.

While I am giving said lecture, I hear a noise coming from the kitchen. I walk in to find this:

Baby had found the bag of cat food and dumped the entire thing into the floor.


Then she starts crying. Wait a minute. If anyone gets to cry here, it should be me.

Lunch was loud. Lots of shouting and screaming. The kids were pretty noisy, too.

After lunch, we read books and I get everyone down for naps. I take Baby to my room to lay her down on my bed. My entire bedroom is very light. Mostly white, but some lavender and light blue. My comforter is white and periwinkle, with tiny pink flowers on it. Very pretty. Very fluffy. And it won't fit in my washer. So when one of my children vomited on it and Baby's diarrhea diaper leaked on it, I had to take it to the laundromat and wash it in one of the super-sized washers. Just did that two days ago. So what do I find right smack dab in the middle of my lovely, light-colored bed? A big, steaming pile of brown cat puke.

I am not smiling.

After cleaning that up and getting all my children down, I remember something. I rush to the kitchen to check out the card on my fridge. Do you know what it says?


This morning Brother and Sister asked for Kix for breakfast, which was fine by me. I did not get to sleep until 2 a.m. That's not the norm for me, but I got caught up in blog world and lost track of time. Even FlyLady's "GO TO BED!" reminder couldn't tear me away.

Bad mommy. Bad mommy.

So, I get out Sister's usual Dora the Explorer bowl and Brother's usual Toucan Sam bowl. Then Sister decides to pull a switcharoo and says, "I want that bowl!" pointing to Brother's bowl. I panic. An argument is on the horizon and I haven't had my coffee yet. Oh, please God, no. "I thought you wanted Dora," I say, wondering how I'm going to diffuse the situation. And then she whines.

"NO! I want that one!"

Brother, quick on his feet, says, "Mom, is the other one clean?" He is referring to the Tony the Tiger bowl, which is the same size, color, etc. as the Toucan Sam bowl, but of course features Tony. I remember that one is sitting in the fridge with boiled eggs in it. So much for that idea. Sister starts to cry. Brother, at seven, is already very sensitive to his sisters' crying. All Sister and Baby have to do is sniffle and Brother gives them whatever they want. Most times I intervene, trying to teach him to withstand female manipulation. The boy needs to know these things. It is a lesson to teach Sister as well: Crying doesn't always get you what you want. Might get you out of a speeding ticket, but Mom knows that trick. Heck, I'm the master. I practically invented it.

Brother caves. "Okay, you can have this bowl," he says, scooting it her way and taking the dreaded Dora bowl. Sister is happy and ready to eat now. Situation avoided...sort of. I thank Brother, telling him how sweet his gesture was.

"But I really wanted that bowl, Mom."


"That's why it was so sweet. Because you gave her what you really wanted," I say. "It's called 'sacrifice'."

Sigh. My baby is growing up.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learning To Fly

I wonder sometimes how people see me.

I know what I used to think about people who homeschool. They were one step away from Amish. What? You homeschool and have running water inside your house? Amazing!! Sometimes when I meet someone new and they find out I homeschool I can tell they have the same reaction to me. I'm sure they think we only listen to Amy Grant and churn our own butter.

But the truth is, I think I am a pretty cool mom...for a homeschooler.

It's funny. When I quit my very glamorous job of Administrative Assistant to stay home with my firstborn, I was in heaven. I was completely fulfilled and threw myself into the role of Mommy with every fiber of my being. I gave it my all...and then some. I thought being a good mom meant wanting nothing for myself and everything for my child. The problem was that eventually I did find myself wanting some things for myself and then feeling guilty. Then supressing those desires and sometimes feeling very resentful (usually toward my husband, because he was the nearest target out of diapers) because I somehow wasn't completely happy just being mom. Yikes. Imagine that. The mommy monster wants out of her cage. Go figure.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't give up being a stay-at-home-mom for all the tea in China. And I couldn't bear to think of sending my children off to school each morning and not getting to be involved in their learning processes. This is the career I love. But, yeah, I'm getting a little antsy. I can say it now. I want to be more than mommy. And I don't even feel guilty.

See, I thought any woman who wasn't completely fulfilled being a wife and mother was wrong. A life outside the home? Never! But I am one of those women. I'm not going to go to the other extreme and say every mother should go out and get herself a life, or a job, or something to make her a better person. I believe there are some women out there who are truly domestic goddesses and couldn't be happier doing anything else. They excel at it. It's their niche. I love it, too. But I know there is more to me. And if I don't unearth that missing person, I will shrivel up and die.

So now I have a student ID number. I'm declaring English as my major. And I'm going back to school. I have to say, the fear is gone and I'm so excited I can't even put it into words. I am so happy I could cry...really.

Perhaps I should wear a sign that says, "Yes, I have three kids, homeschool and go to school myself. I have a phone in my house and drive an automobile...not a horse and buggy. I love God and I also love Aerosmith (obviously, not in the same way). My kids watch Disney movies. Please, don't be afraid."

Or better yet, I could don my cape and tights with a large S on my chest so the whole world will know I AM SUPERMOM! Up, up and away!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Wanna Go Home

So, I am playing single mom this weekend. Hubby worked doubles Saturday and today. My parents invited us over for Easter dinner, and since sitting at home eating grilled cheese sandwiches again didn't sound all that great, the kiddos and I went. However, the compressor on the air conditioner in the van is out and it was 92 freakin' degrees today. We drove an hour one way with the windows down. It was hot. It was loud. Needless to say, I drove fast. Both to cool us off and to get there quickly so I could peel my sticky butt off the seat.

Usually when we arrive, my dad is either waiting on the porch or by the front door so he can run out and start the spoiling of the grandchildren right away. Today, no welcome wagon. I honk the horn as I pull up and shut off the engine. I get out and start unloading Easter baskets, food, kids and all the unnecessary necessaties you haul when you go anywhere with little ones. Still, no one is running out to greet us. Weird. Good grief, I've got buttloads of stuff to carry in. Where is everyone?

When I get in the house, my dad, my uncle, my sister's boyfriend and three of my nephews are all sitting at the table eating. "Hi!" they all say. "We're eating in shifts," Dad says with a grin. Yeah. Men first. "Where's Mom?" I ask. Then her, my sister and my aunt come in from the back of the house. "Hey, what's going on?" "Oh, I just tried to cut my thumb off," Mom replies, with a little laugh. "Are you all right?" I ask. I turn to my sister, who is an RN, "Is she all right?" I don't know why, but I have always felt so protective of my mother. If she is in any kind of pain, I immediately worry. Mom blows it off and she and my sister head outside to help me unload the van.

Once the men are finished, us girls sit down to eat. Mom has worked hard. Rotisserie Chicken, Ham, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli Rice Casserole, Hot looks wonderful and I am starved. But of course, life with three kids means you get in your aerobic workout during meals. Unfortunately that doesn't mean you are skinny. I am up and down the entire time. Baby is cranky and I am beginning to feel the same way. My head hurts from the heat and noise of the drive over and I'm a little irked that nobody's offering to help me with the kids. I know. That sounds bad. But one of the things I like about hanging out with my family is that they usually jump in and take care of a kid or two, which is a relief now and then. Today is different for some reason. It just doesn't feel right.

We hide eggs for the kids and give them their Easter baskets. They gorge on candy and sweets. I try to visit but I am so tired and keeping up with my children is draining me. Baby is into everything and I again feel irked that Mom didn't at least babyproof a little before we came. I mean, do we have to leave the blood pressure monitoring equipment out? The entire day seems to just continue to suck the life from me. Finally, around 5:30, Baby is a complete mess and I don't have the energy to deal. I decide it is time to pack it up and make the long, hot journey home.

Baby and Sister both konk out. I put in books on tape for brother, who can barely hear them over the roar of the wind racing through van as I drive 80 down the turnpike. All I can think about is how much I want to be home. And I contemplate this feeling.

My sister is almost finished building her beautiful, brand new house. It is gorgeous. I am thrilled for her...really. She deserves it. My house is nowhere near that nice. It's old. It needs a lot of work. It's tiny and cramped. The kitchen gets really hot when you cook. And right now, it is a complete mess. But today, when I walked through the door, I felt peace. I love my little home. I love the way my bedroom looks when the morning sun comes through the windows. I love having the windows open and letting the breeze dance down the hall. I love the grass green walls of Brother's room. I love that I can look at the marks on the doorway to the kitchen and see how my children have grown. I love the old wooden floors that bear the marks of our life and lives before us. I love that my children are free to roam and explore, run and jump, laugh and shout within these walls. And I love the life we have built here. I can breathe and be me here. I know we won't be here forever. And that's just fine with me. When the time comes to let this house go, I will be a little sad. But for now, this is my little corner of the world. This is home...where my heart is.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"We've already been through this before. We both know you don't have it in you."

It's what Maugrim says to Peter in the movie "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Maugrim is a wolf and sheriff of the witch's secret police. He is threatening Peter's sisters when Peter comes to their rescue, sword drawn. He is visibly nervous and Maugrim paces back and forth, taunting him, feeding on his fear.

"We both know you don't have it in you..."

Those words resonate with me. I hear them every day.

I heard them when I enrolled at the local community college earlier this week.

I hear them when I don't complete our homeschool lessons every day.

I hear them when I lose my patience with my children.

I hear them when I eat six cookies instead of two.

I hear them each time I fall short. And each time I take a step toward becoming more.

Aslan, the true king of Narnia, comes to Peter's aid. However, he holds back anyone from helping him. Even though he could easily tear the wolf in two with one fell swoop, he stands by. "This is Peter's battle," he says. Peter is shaken, but steadfast. Maugrim leaps at him and lands on Peter's sword. He is defeated...maybe even by accident. Peter can't believe he did it. But my favorite part happens next. Aslan makes him a knight of Narnia. Peter's entire countenance changes from one of a scared little boy to a confident young warrior. And he is...different. The change is palpable. You can see it. He sheaths his sword and you know there's about to be a serious butt-whoopin', with Peter leading the charge.

Sometimes I want to give back my sword and lay down on the ground...let the wolf tear out my heart. I don't want to do it anymore. But a little belief goes a long way. Tomorrow I will try again. I am tired and scared, but there is an untamed lion who is there beside me...who gives me his belief when my own is wavering.

"Peter, clean your sword."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Garlic Bread, Anyone?

I found this lurking in my pantry. Yikes!!

Hey, kids! Time for our science lesson!

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

Some of our VHS tapes buzz really bad when we play them. Anyone know what's causing this?

Monday, April 10, 2006

The People In Your Neighborhood

Yesterday afternoon Baby took a very short nap. The older two were still laying down, so I took her outside. It's not often I get one-on-one playtime with her. We were swinging when a neighbor's daughter comes walking down the road with her three boys. She's had some trouble, though I don't know the details. She's always seemed pretty sweet, but very quiet and kind of shy. Insecure, is probably a better word. You know that vibe you get from some people that just seems to say, "Please, don't be nice to me. I don't deserve it." ? That's what I get from her. Her parents live about three houses down and I see her there once in a while. On this day she is taking her boys for a walk and enjoying the peaceful sunshine of a Sunday afternoon, just as Baby and I are. I wave and smile as she passes my gate. She waves and smiles back, then steers the stroller carrying the youngest boy into the driveway. She's coming over to talk.

I hate to say it, but I cringed. I mean, this was the first time I ever felt like she actually might be interested in forming a friendship. But why today? My sweet one-on-one playtime with Baby had just started. Everything was quiet. I wanted to rest. I didn't want to engage. But I heard the Spirit nudging, telling me to suck it up and tune in.

"Hey, how are you?" I say, not remembering her name. Amy? Angela? Something with an A... "Your boys are getting so big!" And the chit chat begins. Her boys are 6, 5 and 18 months. The two older ones immediately head for the toys and take great joy in being somewhere new. I find out they are both in school. She has lost her job and had to move in with her parents. Before I know it, this girl is pouring out her heart. We start to relate and connect. And to say I was surprised is an understatement. Brother wakes up from his nap and comes outside with us, delighted to see boys in our yard. When Hubby comes home, I want to go in and talk with him before we head back to church. I haven't seen him since Friday night, and that was only briefly. But she obviously has no interest in leaving, so he goes inside with Baby and Sister and she and I continue to chat outside with the boys, sometimes not saying anything, but just sitting and observing. Her boys were so sweet, and she seemed to be such a great mom. I guess I was expecting something else.

Now I'm going to interrupt this touching heartfelt story to tell you about the crazy neighbors on the other side of me. The one directly west of me is an elderly widow. She is senile. We have tried to be friendly with her, but she is so mean and so out of touch, we choose to pretty much ignore her. Sad, but true. Directly west of her is a younger couple, about our age, with a 10 year old son. This mom often fights with Crazy Widow and the two of them take turns calling the police on each other. The last incident involved the mom mooning Crazy Widow. Suffice it to say, they've got issues. The younger couple have workmen in their yard replacing their lateral lines. This is driving Crazy Widow even more insane. While my new friend and I are outside with our boys, Brother sees Crazy Widow coming out in her yard to yell at Mooney Mom. I hear them going at each other and turn just in time to see Mooney Mom raise her shirt and shake her very large, pink brassier-ed (thank God she was wearing one!) ta-ta's at Crazy Widow. My seven-year-old saw the whole thing. Lovely.

Back to my story...

They were there about 2 hours. Her parents had come home and she said they needed to go back. "We'll be back in a little while," she said as she gathered her things. "Actually," I looked at the time, "we need to get ready to go to church. We'll be leaving in about fifteen minutes." "I really need to get them in church," she says about her boys. At this point I get a little of that unworthy vibe again. I am silent, knowing my church would be perfect for her, but not wanting to seem like a vulture. Perhaps she will want to plug in later. Right now she needs a friend. I turn to her boys. "Thanks for playing with us." And then I turn to her, "Please, come see us again." And you know what? I meant it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


That pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Yes, I am a child of the 80's. That's why I love 13 Going On 30. The soundtrack makes me want to dig out my legwarmers and dance. I love the Go-Gos and I am not ashamed to say it. As if the soundtrack weren't enough, the entire movie leaves me just completely...well, for lack of a better word, happy. Jennifer Garner is adorable and makes me want to be her best friend so we can hang out at the mall and talk about boys. It is funny and sweet and ends perfectly, with everything tied up in a neat little sugary package, just the way I like it.

If you like explosions, drama or unpredictability, then don't bother. This movie doesn't have any of that. It is a chick flick in all it's wide-eyed glory. Love it. Love it. LOVE IT.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Nest

I discovered her a few days ago. Sister and I were loading into the "money van" (Sister's skewed, but adorable, interpretation of our mini-van that I don't have the heart to correct) for the latest of our many recent trips to the doctor. It was a little bird - I'm not sure what kind - carrying some straw in her beak into our barbecue grill. The lid was closed, but there are two openings on each side of the lid just big enough for Mrs. Bird. I pointed her out to sister. "Look! That bird is making a nest in our grill! See? She's carrying that straw inside to make a nest for her babies." I made a mental note to check it later and see if the kids and I could sneak a peek at her newly constructed home.

I got my coffee late this morning and I seemed to be moving in slow motion. The kids, however, seemed to be moving in hyper speed. They are each wanting something from me, all at the same time. I barely have my eyes open when I am blindsided by rapid sniper fire. "Mommy, can we have french toast?" "Mommy, can I have some juice?" "Mommy, what are we going to do today?" "Do I have to do chores?" "Can I watch a movie?" "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" Baby is glued to my leg, crying for me to pick her up. I hit the ground running instead of having my coffee first, which was a big mistake. By 10:00 a.m. I feel like my feet are cement blocks and my head a lead balloon. My energy level is zero. I'm trying to keep up with the messes that seem to appear out of nowhere, but for every one I clean up, three more rear their ugly heads.

I send the kids outside to play, where they end up playing in the water hose. I turn it off and give them specific instructions not to play in the water. I have them look me in the eye and repeat what I just said, "Do not turn the water back on." Ten minutes later I happen to peek out to see them making a huge mud puddle in the drive way (with the water hose) and splashing gleefully in said puddle. Man. Now I have to dole out discipline. I get them in, get them clean and administer corporal punishment. I don't spank often, but I felt that such outright disobedience required it. I hate it.

It's not even noon and my day is kicking my butt.

I feed them lunch and get Baby down for a much needed nap. Brother and Sister are having some quiet time on their beds. I really want to lay down, too, but I have so much to do. I'm trying to take FlyLady's advice and do baby steps, but even the baby steps feel impossible today. I glance out the window and notice that the water hose didn't get turned off good, so I go out and tighten up the knob. I happen to remember Mrs. Bird and the nest I saw her building. I decide to check it out. I expect to find a little nest, maybe even a partial nest, not yet finished. I make my way over to the grill, startling Mrs. Bird, who comes flying out one of the holes. I hesitate, worrying that there might be eggs in there. I had heard that if you disturb the eggs, the mother will abandon them. I see little pieced of dried grass poking out from under the lid. Curiosity gets the best of me. Gently, I lift the lid. To my surprise, the entire inside of the grill has been transformed into a bird mansion. I am dumbfounded by the size. When I saw her, this bird had just a little tuft of straw in her beak. To make a nest this large would have taken hundreds of these tufts.

Standing there looking at her nest, I feel strangely happy for her. It's not just straw, but leaves and a few feathers here and there. I think of what a perfect little bird home this is. How meticulously she toiled to build such a home for her soon to be babies. I think of how snug and dry and safe they will be from rain, wind and stray cats. And I feel rejuvinated. I want her resolve. I want the same for my nest. I want to make it a haven for my little family. When they enter I want them to see the labor of my hands reflected by the love in my heart. I begin to remember why I do what I do each day. I close the lid with a smile, wishing Mrs. Bird and her family all the best.

Guess we won't be grilling for a while.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Whoever invented this contraption was on to a good idea, but obviously never tried it on a hot-blooded, hot-tempered little 16-month-old who doesn't feel well. It is cruel and unusual torture. The screaming...the crying...

And Baby doesn't like it either.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tidbits From My Day

  • Sister, singing: "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, like a butter dream."
  • Excerpts from Soultalk: "When you try to explain the unexplainable in an effort to control the uncontrollable, every thought is silly. And every emotion is confused and unstable." "Most people go through their entire life never speaking words to another human being that come out of what is deepest within them, and most people never hear words that reach all the way into the deep place we call the soul."
  • Sister, again singing, while making her bed: "We're not gonna take it. No! We ain't gonna take it! We're not gonna take it anymore!" Yes, that is a song by Twisted Sister. Let me just say that her father has taken her music appreciation lessons to a new level.
  • Sister, not singing this time: "Mommy, do you know I love you?" Oh, man. Does it get any better than that?
  • Singing Since U Been Gone with my kids and showing them the fine art of Hairbrush Mike Karioke.
  • Sugar and water make a sticky paste. I discovered this after giving Sister water for her little tea pot and sugar for the little sugar bowl.
  • I figured out that if I don't feed Baby and Sister before we go to Brother's soccer practice, I can feed them while we are there and it keeps them occupied for at least half an hour.
  • We saw a dog playing soccer at the soccer fields tonight. No lie.
  • Kids don't want to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. when it's barely dark. #@*# that Daylight Savings Time!!!
Something I read today from Matthew:

"Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black."

Just thought that was funny in light of my previous post.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Vanity...It's All Vanity

I hate my hair.

And it really bothers me.

There. I've said it. I don't want to admit it, but I am vain. Or perhaps I really am having an identity crisis. It all started with a haircut. I wanted to go shorter. I thought it would be easier to fix. I thought if I couldn't pull it up then I would be forced to fix it and then I would look more put together. But the cut wasn't easier to fix and because now I have to use the blow dryer it looks frizzy and crunchy. I thought adding more layers would help tame it, but I don't really know what to do with them. And I thought I'd go a little darker with the color this time, but something went awry and I have gone from golden blonde to very, very dark brown. Were I gothic, this would be fine. However, my hair has never been this dark in my entire life. I think it looks unnatural. I think it looks like a wig. A bad wig. A little like the Snow White wigs you can buy at the Disney Store to go with your Snow White dress.

Unfortunately my Snow White dress is at the cleaners.

I did not even want to go out in public today. I was dreading going to church. I tried to walk in and totally act as though nothing were different, but there's not avoiding it. Something is very different. Everyone said they liked it, but I'm not really buying it. You know how you say, "Hey, I like your hair!" but you only say it because you have to acknowledge the change but you can't say, "Gawd! What the heck did you do to your hair?!" It was wretchedly painful.

I am wishing I had never done anything at all. I feel like I lost my femininity along with my long hair. Which is odd, because I had extra short hair for years before I grew it out. But I also had a cuter figure when my hair was short, so perhaps the long hair was the balance I needed to feel like a girl.

I don't want to be preoccupied with my appearance. I don't want to spend lots of time on my hair. I want to get past this. This is ridiculous. There are people in this world who are dying of disease and hunger and I am sitting here completely absorbed in my 'do. IT'S ONLY HAIR, YOU SILLY BUBBLEHEAD!!!!

So, anyone know a good place to stock up on black eyeliner?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Who I Am In My Dreams

I love Kelly Clarkson. I want to be her. But for now, I am more like the people in this video.