Happy Thanksgiving

Peace to you and yours this Thanksgiving. I hope your next days are filled with pleasant conversations, good food, and the makings of fun memories to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Giving It Our Best Shot

Last Wednesday was a home day for our family. The home day that would. not. end. I wrote about this homeschool, family photo shoot, visit with a friend, guitar lessons, Walmart run, house pseudo-tidy, City Group hosting, apple pie and cake making, 7th grade English grammar test studying, and dropping dead at 1am Wednesday over at the Veritas Wise Counsel blog today.

Thankful tomorrow ushers in a little break. Whew!

Shower, Interrupted

You sort of expect this when your kids are toddlers – the whole “I can’t take a shower” common mom complaint. I remember turning to Sesame Street as my saving grace in the mornings just so I could take a shower and finally get to feel the new Rheem water heater that the rest of my family gets a chance to enjoy whenever they please.

My kids are much older now: 13, 12, 10, and 9, yet somehow they still have this weird kid radar that goes off every single time I hop in the shower. Nobody will need me for a while and I’ll think, “Great time for a shower.” In I go. It never fails. The moment I lock the door and step inside I hear a persistent knock. It’s like something goes off in their heads that says, “Super! Mom’s in the shower. This is the perfect time to ask her where I put my math book.”

Generally these conversations go like this:

Kid: Moooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!

Me: (maybe if I don’t answer they will realize that the locked door and sound of running water means I’m in the shower)

Kid: Mooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: (going to try this again: _______________ )

Kid: Moooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!

Me (yelling over the water): WHAT DO YOU NEED?

Kid: alkjslkja sdssljl mmmmfppph sd


Kid: rrrsjsoos smmmmm;flss


Kid: Silence

Me: (Do we really have to do this every single time I take a shower?)


And I wonder – at what point do kids stop thinking this is a great time to have an important conversation with Mom? Because I sort of thought it would have happened by now.

Checking In, Not Checking Out

On Saturday, Millie and I made four pie crusts together and eleven dozen rolls. We froze it up in prep for Thanksgiving and the various festivals and feasts taking place this week. I took a big step on Saturday when I gave each of us our own bowls and we mixed up our own pie crusts at the same time. She mixed. She rolled. She fluted the edges. And it was beautiful. It was a significant lesson for me in allowing my kids to do things that are typically easier to just do myself. They never learn when I do that.

I have a default when I’m tired: Do it myself, and be by myself.

Am I alone there? Probably not. And for the introverted mother of four, there is value in being alone. I will go so far as to say I need the two days/week my kids are in school to just keep my mouth shut and be alone. It’s a good thing.

But sometimes I don’t get that luxury and I must be ON all the the time. Either I’m substitute teaching or volunteering somewhere or just doing something that engages me with other people. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does wear me down much faster than I otherwise would.

This is why the last time I substitute taught I choose to come home that evening, get everyone settled, and pick back up in reading James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small to the girls before bed. We started this book well over a year ago, but I will confess to taking several months off from it, for no real good reason at all.

That Tuesday night I was tired. I’d been on my feet all day. The girls had choir rehearsal after school and all of us were away from the house from 6:45am until 8:15pm. All I wanted to do when we got home was check out.

But we read. And we’ve been reading every night ever since. I actually like reading aloud to my kids at night, but sometimes I get so caught up in what I “need” I forget about what I really enjoy.

I’ve said before that May is the new December and August is the new May. Now November is the new August and…basically every month is crazy. Craig is going out of town tomorrow and we have another busy day knocking on our door. It was for this reason that when I was asked to mystery shop a local hotel tomorrow night I actually said I would. There is something about the excitement of packing up for a little overnight trip that changes defaults into delight. The girls and I will cram into the room with cable TV and we’ll watch some movies and we’ll play some games and we’ll eat the free breakfast and we’ll just be together. I won’t check out on them because you really can’t do that when you are in that small of a space for that long. It’s my version of indoor camping, if you will.

So tomorrow night we will check in in order to not check out. I’m looking forward to it.

I feel like Barney Fife

Katie has been memorizing Isaiah 42 in school this year. This week she tackled verses 6-7. She’s getting it, but it’s tough work. After getting multiple prompts just now she muttered, “I feel like Barney Fife.”

And I started giggling at the very thought of it and almost couldn’t help her out anymore. *grin*

The Promise

If you need a friend,
don’t look to a stranger,
You know in the end,
I’ll always be there.

And when you’re in doubt,
and when you’re in danger,
Take a look all around,
and I’ll be there.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you I will.

When your day is through,
and so is your temper,
You know what to do,
I’m gonna always be there.

Sometimes if I shout,
it’s not what’s intended.
These words just come out,
with no gripe to bear.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you…

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
And if I had to walk the world, that make you fall for me,
I promise you, I promise you I will.

I gotta tell ya, I need to tell ya, I gotta tell ya, I gotta tell yaaaa …

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me,
I promise you, I promise you…

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
And if I have to walk the world to make you fall for me,
I promise you, I promise you I will …
I will…
I will…
I will…


I just snagged the lyrics to When In Rome’s The Promise from here. This song came on the 80s on 8 this past Friday while I was in the van on my way to pick up Katie and Millie from art class. I ended up posting two lines as a Facebook status: “I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.” To which Craig immediately came back with, “But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me, I promise you, I promise you I will.

It sounds dumb to say one goofy 80s song seems to sum up so much of what I continue to wrestle with both online and off, yet here I go. I wonder about the blog. I wonder if it’s time to say, “Gig’s up, time to move on.” In other words, “I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say. I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.” And as much as I want to be able to follow that up with “But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me, I promise you, I promise you I will.”

I can’t promise that because I just don’t know.

My ratio of thoughtful post to mindless review posts is about 1 to 10 right now. That may be generous. I didn’t go back and count. And yet, when I WANT to write something with depth I find I just don’t seem to have any left. I’m floating so close the surface right now I’m not even sure how deep the pool is anymore.

And part of me wants to scrap this one in favor of a new one: Approaching the 40s: Life in the midst of predictable mediocrity. That’s what I seem to be swimming in these days. And part of me eschews that thought completely while the other part just embraces it. This is what life is: dishes and laundry and driving and schooling and refereeing and predicting the what-is-to-come.

And, irony: Of all the reviews, there’s one I’m really looking forward to doing because I actually had the book pre-ordered on Amazon before I was offered a free review copy. It’s Margie Haack’s The Exact Place. And darn it if I can’t find that book ANYWHERE right now.

That just sums things up completely. Or something.

We tried to reinstate our weekly Sabbath meals and 24-hour electronic fast this weekend. I made the meal, no problem. But I didn’t do such a great job with the electronic fast. I didn’t hop on social media venues, but I caved in a bit after cleaning up a massive amount of sick from one particular daughter, whom I then had sleep downstairs so she could be super close to the bathroom. One of her sisters wanted to sleep downstairs too so she wouldn’t feel lonely and I was also planning to sleep downstairs in case I needed to dash to clean-up duty at 3am. But it was 9:30 when they went to sleep and the lights were off. And I wasn’t tired yet. So I popped on the computer to work on some posts that were coming due soon and just put them in my drafts folders.

Honestly, it felt pretty good to get those posts done and in storage, but it felt pretty bad that I couldn’t seem to stay off-screen for a full 24-hours. We have a phrase we frequently use when we don’t measure up to our (honestly not super high) expectations. It’s, “I suck.”

That’s what it felt like last night.

And I keep wondering how long I’m going to feel that way. Maybe until I finally get curtains hung in the bedrooms. Or the big panels made for one of our front rooms so the entire neighborhood can’t see in at night. Or when I get around to painting my bedroom. Or maybe when I finally get a good laundry system in place.

Or maybe I’m going to realize that I’m never going to measure up to any expectations; yours, mine, or anyone’s and I’m going to have to simply be okay with that. By okay I don’t mean to imply I won’t keep trying, because I will. But my end results may never look like what either one of us really wants it to. And that bothers me. Maybe more than it should.

So here’s to getting a groove back. Or at least putting on a good record. Or at least continuing to listen to the 80s on 8. And here’s to living in the shallow end for a while – let’s hope it doesn’t translate into a face down float.

A Beary Fun Birthday Party

Millie turned 9 last month. My baby. My youngest is NINE. *sniff* HOW did this happen? Time, you are but a tricky one. Speaking of time, somehow it slipped away from me because we had this awesome Build-A-Bear Birthday Party on October 6 and here it is, November already. I’m still scratching my head here.

At any rate, it was a BEARY fun party. And I took so many photos I’m a little overwhelmed at figuring out which ones to show here because I want to post all 246 of them, but that seems a little like overkill to me. You? So bear with me here while I choose the beary best of them (Okay, I’ll stop with the bear puns now).

We invited all the girls in Millie’s class plus a couple of girls from the other class. We were given a gift card that had enough in value to allow for 10 kids to have at it in the store. We were really trying to keep the head count to 10 so the girls could have the full experience. In the end, we had more girls than originally expected, but it turned out okay. We just lowered everyone’s budget by a few dollars and they were good to go.

It was actually a pretty good lesson in economics for these 3rd graders. I explained to them at the beginning how much they each had to spend and, like typical 8 and 9 year old girls, they each immediately went to the most expensive end of the bear section. When I told them at that point that it was fine if they chose that animal, but they needed to understand that doing so meant they wouldn’t be able to choose an outfit too, as a herd, they all rushed down to the least expensive end of the bear section. It was really pretty funny to watch that happen. They all made their selections and then we had the bear ceremony.

Then, of course, came the stuffing, the fluffing, and the dressing of everyone’s new friend:

The staff did a great job of making the girls feel welcome and Millie, in particular, extra special. She really hates having the spotlight on her, so she was embarrassed when they called out to the entire store that it was her birthday and they were going to sing. But it was good for her. *wink*

After the party we went out to the food court area where I had a party table set up. It was Sonic Happy Hour, so we got everyone a drink of her choice. I found these cute little drink tags at Target so we put each of the girls’ names on one with her drink order on the other. Two of my daughters took care of placing the orders while we were finishing up at Build-A-Bear Workshop. And we had a Groupon for Sara Sara Cupcakes, so we had awesome treats for the party!

It was a super fun party and a super great group of girls. And Millie felt extra special. Win-win all the way around!

Thanks, Build-A-Bear Workshop, for helping make Millie’s ninth birthday BEARY memorable!

I am one of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s 15 Friends in 2012 and receive occasional product and compensation in exchange for posting honest feedback on my blog.  All thoughts are and will continue to remain my own.


Great Wolf Lodge Bound

On Sunday I loaded up the van with the precious cargo you see above. We drove to the Great Wolf Lodge near Dallas, TX and played our hearts out for about 24 hours. Two other families drove up more kids from our church. I think we had 18 kids there in all and it was so. much. fun. Sure, we’re all still tired from the quick turn-around, but I think we all say it was worth it.

And sure, being in that close of quarters with another family means you get to see aspects of that family you maybe would rather not have seen (ie: MY family), but I suppose that’s what living in community together is all about: the good, the bad, the cranky.

I love these girls. Those who share my home all the time and those who shared our room for one night. I’m thankful for their families and their place in our lives at this moment in time.

And I’d go back to Dallas with them in a heartbeat. But maybe in another month or two. *wink*

Happy Candy Haul Day!

Halloween 2012

Did you hear the one about the Angry Birds, Snow White, and a pink crayon who walked into a….

I keep wondering when we’re going to age out of this stage. I think we’re getting close, but not *quite* there yet. As long as we have the youngest who really does still enjoy dressing up and going out, the older three are more than happy to go with her.

Oh, and please excuse the book mass behind them. We’ve rearranged the living room at least six times in the past four days. I think I’ve *finally* landed on how I want the room arranged. It only took 17 months. Now that I have it, it’s time to deal with the books we took off a shelf and I think I’m taking the doors off the bottom of that shelf on the right. I’m even thinking about finally painting over the dreaded paneling just to buy us some time before we can afford to have it removed/replaced.

At any rate, all of that to say this: May your fall be fabulous and may your candy stash diminish before you manage to eat it all.

Happy Candy Haul Day!