Why So Quiet Around Here?

Home Sweet Home

It is a well-known fact (to me) that when big things happen in our real lives, not so much happens on the blog. Part of that is usually due to the extra activity that always accompanies whatever it is making real life crazy at that time; the other part is simply because whatever it is we’re doing isn’t ready for public viewing yet.

We have had a big thing happen again: we made an offer on another house last week, and this one was actually accepted. We’re set to move in on July 18, but we need some help to get there. Craig has come up with a pretty clever way to procure that help, and has all the details available right here.

Thanks for your encouragement and assistance along the way. We’re excited.

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Now We Are Six

Everyone is back where we should be again. Blessings for a lazy Sunday in which we can choose to be together, say no to everything else, and breathe again.
Yay!

Westminster and Me

When Craig taught at a small classical Christian school two years ago, I fell in love with it. I totally saw us sending the girls there in the future and being all involved and everything – seemed like a great fit. The only problem with it was that because it was so small, they didn’t need Craig to teach more than one section of Bible to their students. One section of Bible does not feed a family of six.

Enter Westminster. I will admit to being skeptical of Westminster at first because it fit my preconceived notion of the typical large Christian school, a la the movie Saved. I went through the public school system, and all my experience with kids in Christian schools was less than positive (they also fit the bill for the movie Saved). I wasn’t that excited about the idea of my kids being the kids in the movie Saved. You see how this affects my perception here.

Last summer, when Craig needed to go to Chicago for teacher training, he asked if he could convert his plane ticket into train tickets (which we’ll just leave Amtrak out of this otherwise glowing report for now) and share his hotel room with the rest of us. Westminster agreed in a heartbeat, allowing all of us to travel for essentially the price of one. This did not go unnoticed by me.

This year has admittedly been a bit difficult for me in that, for pretty much the first time in our adult/married lives, I’ve not been really closely tied to Craig’s job/responsibilities. I wasn’t considered to be technically on staff with The Navigators all that time, but I was: I knew all the people, lived at all the places, and was part of that team.

Seminary was similar because we lived on campus the first 18 months and I also took classes. I was involved and knew what was going on.

Westminster ushered us into a completely new stage of life, the stage where Craig has a “real job,” with a dependable paycheck, and where I can’t just pop in whenever I feel like it to say, “Hey!” I don’t know many people there and haven’t really felt like part of that team.

When the opportunity for Craig to attend the Summer Seminar came up, I really wanted him to be able to go to connect better with more staff and some students. I wanted him to really begin feeling like he was part of the school. The fact that the girls’ summer camps (the good ones), lined up with these same two weeks Craig is gone was just accidental. Or was it?

The woman in charge of the camps has really done a fantastic job. But not only that, she’s gone out of her way to just include me in her conversation, ask about our time with Craig gone, etc. I’m beginning to feel a little bit a part of what’s going on there. And the girls? They now think they own the school, so this is no longer an issue for them.

At the end of last week we got an envelope in the mail addressed to “The Craig Dunham Ladies.” Inside were gift cards for Papa John’s and Dairy Queen with a note saying, “Thanks for sharing Craig. While he’s away, enjoy some fun on us. – WCA”

I am beginning to believe they really do care about us as a whole family.

How to Ensure a Parent Will Never Enroll Her Child in Your Day Camp Ever Ever Again

On day one, make sure the four-year-old falls off the playground equipment. Be sure it leaves a nasty red mark on her side and a very painful blister on her hand between her thumb and first finger. When her mom picks her up, don’t bother to mention what happened. When the parent notices anyway and asks, be evasive. Instead tell the parent how shy the child was and how she didn’t interact with anyone else in the group.

On day two, discipline the entire group for the misbehavior of a small handful. Don’t bother to mention it to the parents, but wait for the child to tell the mother that she doesn’t get a treat the next day because they were all bad. When the parent comes over to ask you about it, be clear in saying that, no, her child wasn’t bad, in fact she was very very good, but that yes, the rest of the group was very very bad so everybody loses the gym play time the next day.

Okay, I know I’m being a bit harsh. But to say I’m not that impressed with the local community center’s day camp for preschoolers would be an understatement.

On the other hand, the day camps being done by Westminster have been fantastic. Chloe and Katie went last week and I was really impressed with their program. The girls loved it too. Maddie is going this week and is having a blast. Kudos to WCA for exceeding both my expectations and the local community center’s camp.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

When I was in high school my sister was already married and my mom traveled a lot with her job. I can’t remember which shift my dad was on during these years – it seems like usually he worked the 7am-3pm – that must be right because he’d then get home about the same time I would from school. On Fridays we’d go to Braum’s and share a banana split together.

That time was special, yes because I loved that ice cream, but more because of the time with Dad. I don’t recall any really deep conversations or solved world problems, we just spent the time together. I’m sure he’d ask me how school was going and I probably asked him to explain, “Just exactly what do you do again?” one more time. I probably told him school was fine, but that my English teacher wasn’t fair to anyone who wasn’t a cheerleader and he probably told me he screwed things into big round things and had a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch. I have no idea what we said. I just remember that he wanted to spend the time with me. And I ate that up right along with the cherries he so willingly sacrificed for me.

I went to college at Oklahoma State, 90 minutes away from home. We had a Braum’s in Stillwater, but the ice cream didn’t taste quite as good. I would occasionally drive home on a Friday afternoon in time to ask Dad if he’d like to share a banana split with me.

When I was thinking about that this week, I toyed with the idea of actually going home this weekend and taking Dad out for ice cream. I wish I could have done it. There are no Braum’s in St. Louis and I’ve never been interested in ordering banana splits anywhere else, nor with anyone else.

Dad, I love you. Your investment in me made a difference. I remember. My kids will too. Thanks for being such a good Papa to my girls.

E4 and Papa Playing Checkers

I’ve Got Commitment Issues

So to anyone following our housing saga, it’s not looking good for the original house that kick-started the “Hmm, should we think about moving again?” campaign. Before Craig left he said he was planning to place our third and highest offer when he came back. I’m not sure it will still be around when he comes back because according to the realtor, it’s been receiving a lot of interest this week from rehabbers and other realtors who are interested in flipping it.

On the other hand, Craig also said if I wanted to see some other houses while he was gone, to feel free to do that. So tomorrow I’m signed up to go through four different houses. I’ve got mixed feelings about it, though, because stylistically, none of the four are ones I really love from the outside. One of them looks like a bad attempt to copy the Brady Bunch house. Interestingly enough, though, the photos of that one on the inside are amazing. Craig’s only concern here is that I’m settling on style for size and price. He wants this next move to be THE move. That’s what scares me.

If I thought we could buy the funky Brady Bunch house next month, live in it for three years, hope the market picks back up, sell it and then get the house we really want, I would do it in a heartbeat. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though. Because this next move will be THE move, I’m not in nearly the rush to move as I thought I was in May. This is a big deal, sort of like getting married, having children, committing to a church. It’s time for me to wrestle through my housing attachment disorder, choose a place to live and then live there. Forever.

Guess this renting thing isn’t too bad of a gig for now…

While the Cat’s Away…

…the mice will host out of town guests and catch up on three years worth of scrapbook photos!

Eubanks and Dunhams

Here’s a photo of my friend Marcie, with all 8 of our kids. What, you can’t see 8 kids in this photo? That’s because two of them haven’t been born yet. It was fun to talk twins with Marcie last night as well as catch up on lots of other stuff. Darn it, though, my pregnant friend was too tired to stay up until 2am braiding each other’s hair and making banana splits and such. Oh wait, my hair isn’t long enough to braid anymore anyway. It was a fun but fast 21 hours, and we were glad to be on her St. Louis tour stop this week. Oh, and guess who is up to her group-photo antics again? That girl sure acts like a four-year-old sometimes. Oh wait, she is a four-year-old.

In other news, I’ve turned our living room into scrapbook central while I attempt to put the last three years of our lives on paper:

Scrapbook Haven

Times like these it’s really nice to live across the street from Walgreens with a round-the-clock 1-hour photo lab. I find there’s nothing worse than realizing that I forgot to print that one picture that I really wanted for the scrapbook. From my computer to theirs, presto. The photo guy now recognizes me and thinks I’m odd. He can join the club.

One of these days I’m going to figure out the whole digital scrapbook thing, but since I currently have three years of photos mostly printed already, I’m going to continue on in my old fashioned ways for a bit longer.

So off I go. I have at least two more good hours of cutting and gluing left in me tonight.

PS: My editor is currently in a tent somewhere north. Please excuse any and all random misspellings and improper use of the comma.