Monday, March 30, 2009

Woo Hoo! It's spring break!

I am so looking forward to a week without lessons planned. Spring break while homeschooling is different than any other spring break we've had because we tend to take time off and do things at other times, too. But this week, we've planned a whole week with no lessons. (Well, I am going to sneak in a little literature, but what they don't know won't hurt them, right?) We are all looking forward to getting outside in the warmish spring weather. Maybe we can go to the park or for long walks or downtown to the boardwalk. They boys can ride their bikes and we can get out in the yard to do spring cleanup and maybe play a little catch. It's going to be so nice to open the windows and let in the fresh spring breeze.

I think I'll open the blinds right now to let in the morning sun...

Oh, yeah. I forgot for a minute that we are in North Idaho. Happy spring break.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

So, how's the weather?

I spent yesterday watching movies and trying to recover from a spring cold. The first movie I watched was Sense and Sensibility. I nearly laughed out loud when Mrs. Dashwood said to her youngest daughter,

"If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say, you should restrict your thoughts to the weather."

I am so going to start saying that instead of, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I might even say it with a British accent!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why I Don't Go To The Mall

The other day I went to the mall with a friend* and since it was raining, we decided to duck into a salon and go through to the main part of the mall. When we stepped in, we apparently also stepped into 1987. All the women working there had bad blond dye jobs and really big hair. Kind of ironic at a beauty salon. And it smelled like perm solution and nail polish. But what was kind of weird was that they were also selling shoes and were having a big sale. I walked straight through and out into the main part of the mall, but my friend, who can't pass up a bargain, started shopping for shoes. So I stood outside the salon and waited for her. A few minutes later she stepped halfway out of the store to ask my advice about a pair of shoes. "They're cute," I said, "but shouldn't you pay for them before you take them out of the store." She headed back in to finish shopping and pay. Meanwhile, the blondest, biggest-hair beautician came out and told me that I needed to come back inside the salon because they were calling security and he wanted to talk to me. "Why," I asked. "Shoes were removed from the store before they were paid for," she answered none to kindly. I tried to explain that my friend was just asking my opinion and had all intentions of paying for the shoes. That didn't matter, I was told, if merchandise is removed from the store for any reason before it's paid for, they had to call security. Whatever. So I stood there surrounded by the Beach Blond Beautician Brigade (BBBB) while my friend continued shopping. I don't really blame her, though, it was a really good sale. While I was standing there, I spotted a few pairs of shoes that I might like. But I told them angrily, "I might have bought those and those, but certainly not now." Pretty soon the security guy came into the salon. He looked a little like a cross between Brad Pitt and Toby Keith (without the cowboy hat and guitar). I explained the situation to him. He laughed it off and said it wasn't a big deal. This did not make the BBBB very happy. But I didn't care what they thought. I just wanted to get out of there. (I only thought for a second about buying shoes. They were really cute and really cheap.) I told my friend, who was still shopping, that I would wait for her outside and to please pay before coming out this time. A little while later, she came out with bags of shoes, thankfully paid for...and then I woke up.

What a weird dream. Because, one, I rarely go to the mall and only then if absolutely necessary. Two, I've seen the mall cops and they do not look like the one in my dream. And three, the friend who was with me, who truly loves a good deal, would have had my back. She always does.

*This friend, who shall remain nameless, knows who she is. And I just have to say, the shoes you picked out were really cute. Can I borrow them? :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've had a hard time thinking about writing this week with my heart still with Stellan's family. It's seems strange to care so much about a child and his family who I have never spoken to or met. But I pray for strangers all the time, even when I don't know their stories. I pray for families I hear about on the news. I pray when I see an ambulance or firetruck drive by with sirens blaring. I pray for those that I only know from their written words and who live all across the world. So knowing Stellan's story and reading his mama's words everyday makes me care for them even more. So I'll keep praying and hope you will, too.

This whole week I have been reminded of what a blessing healthy children are. I thank God everyday that I have three healthy, beautiful, amazing children. And when I see children who aren't so healthy, I say a quick prayer of thanks that mine are and for blessings on those who aren't. Last night when I was up with Julianna at 1:30 and we were rocking in the quiet dark of her room, I didn't feel one ounce of frustration about having to get up with her. I just sat there, staring at her sweet face, grateful that we were in her room, in our home, safe and sound.

I have also been encouraged by Stellan's sweet mama. She so obviously trusts the Lord and knows that he will do the right thing even if it's not what she thinks the right thing is. Wow! I truly don't know if I could be so gracious in her shoes. I hope I could. I hope I could give my sick child to God and trust him with all my heart. I hope and pray that I never have to find out how strong my faith is in such circumstances.

I have also seen the power of blogging this week. MckMama has thousands of people praying for her family all across the world because of her blog. There are bloggers out there who are doing all kinds of wonderful things for her and her family during this difficult time. What an amazing resource we are a part of.

So today I will continue praying. And I will hug my children a few extra times. And I will remember that He can do more than we can ask or even imagine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Request

Please pray for Stellan. He is the 4 month old son of MckMama, another mommy blogger. He, and his parents, have had a long journey in his short life both before his birthday and since. He had a serious heart issue before he was born, but was born healthy a few months ago. Yesterday, though, his heart trouble returned and his little heart is beating up to 300 beats per minute. The doctors have yet to get it under control. Pray hard for this little one and his family. You can read all about him at

Friday, March 20, 2009


So I got a phone call yesterday morning reminding me that I had signed up to host a small group of our church's youth group girls for dinner last night. I knew I had signed up and had been thinking about it and planning what to serve. Only I thought I had signed up for next Thursday. But even though I was a little caught off guard, I was still willing and able to host the dinner. I knew that I had a bunch of veggies to make a salad and the stuff for a chicken noodle casserole that I had been wanting to try. I even had a fresh loaf of french bread. And a box of brownie mix and a new container of vanilla ice cream. All the makings of a perfectly respectable dinner.

So a little before six o'clock, our guests arrived--three 7th grade girls and the children's minister, Allison. For the past few months, they have been visiting different homes to eat together and fellowship and pray. It's a super idea and I'm so glad that Allison is doing it and that I was able to be involved. A few minutes after arriving, one of the girls said, "Let me guess. We're having some kind of chicken casserole?" "Yep," I said with a smile. Apparently that is what they've had every week. But at least mine had noodles. They hadn't had one with noodles yet. They were all very polite and appreciative even if it was chicken again. (I didn't tell them that I had actually planned to have "make your own pizza" night. Maybe next time.)

I am not around teenage girls very often and even though I taught seventh grade last year, it's completely different out of the classroom. They were silly and funny and smart. They played off each other's silliness and made me smile. I tried to remember what I was like when I was thirteen. I think I was probably silly, but in a different way than these girls. I was also more reserved around adults, but I don't know if that was good or not. And when I was thirteen, there was no youtube or texting so the conversation was much different. One thing remains the same, though. One of the girls has a crush on Johnny Depp. What girl doesn't when they are a teenager...or a thirty something?

The best part of the whole evening was when the girls shared about how their week was going. I learned more about teenage girls in that half an hour than I could from reading twenty books on the subject. They have the same issues that I had at that age. School, friends, parents. They have good days and bad just like everyone. They worry about their families and their friends and their future. They love and live passionately. And did I mention that they are silly? But what came after that was priceless. We went around the circle and prayed. Each girl prayed for what was on her heart and each was sincere. Sincere in what they were feeling and sincere in their belief that God heard them and would be there for them. What a blessing to see young girls, so full of life and fun and with so much ahead of them, trusting the Lord and wanting to know and serve him better.

I couldn't help but think, as Julianna climbed all over me, that someday she will be thirteen. A teenage girl. A girl caught somewhere between child and woman. What will I do? What will I say to her? How will I encourage her to be who she was created to be? Who will she be in those few short years? Only time will tell. I guess for now I will pray even harder for her and for guidance as her mom. And I guess I should start collecting Johnny Depp posters.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And then there were two

Guess what I found this morning? Julianna's second tooth!! The first one is just big enough to see when she smiles, so out of curiosity I felt next to it this morning and there it was. The tiniest little ridge of a second tooth. This should make her very happy because she is taking after Adam in preferring baby sized finger foods to squishy baby food. Her favorites so far are banana, crackers, cheese, and of course, Cheerios. But she's also tried toast, cheese quesadillas, ham, strawberries, noodles, green beans, several varieties of Gerber baby snacks, and whatever Kathy has given her without me knowing. She is quite a good eater for only being in the 25th percentile in size. Maybe it's because she needs all that energy for her constant adventuring.

Does that mean I need more calories since I chase her around all day? Probably not.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where'd you put the Oreos?

I don't like it when people mess with my routine. For the past several weeks the owners of my grocery store of choice have been remodeling. I don't like it. I don't like it that every time I go in there things are moved around. And I won't like it when it's finished because I had the store memorized and could get in and out quickly. Now it takes twice as long to shop because I have to zig zag back and forth through the store because my list is written in the order of how the store used to be arranged. I hope when the project is completed they give away maps of the new store layout so that I can study it and write my list accordingly. Sure, the finished section of new floors look nice and the spruced up produce department is cool, but even still I get a little agitated at all the change. And I'm not the only one. When I was in there Sunday afternoon, an elderly lady was being guided to the coffee when she asked, in a disgruntled voice, "How many more months am I going to need help to find what I need around here." The answer from the young employee, "I think it's supposed to be finished in April or May." But I will still shop there because it is the most convenient and, well, changing stores would be an even bigger change than relearning where the cereal is.

And then, Friday I ran into Costco to get strawberries, tangerines, and baby formula. I was in a hurry so I was darting back to the produce without even stopping at the book section. When I got to where the fruit is supposed to be I was surrounded by wine. What?!?! Now Costco is doing it to me. The fruit is where the wine used to be. It totally messed up my whole hurrying thing. What is this world coming to when two of the three stores I shop at are moving things around on me? At least the formula was where it was supposed to be.

If they start moving things around in Target, I don't know what I'll do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

We took the boys to see The Jungle Book performed by the Christian Youth Theater last week. I really enjoyed it and I think the rest of the family did, too. I was really impressed by some of the young people who were the actors. They were all between the ages of 8 and 18 and some of them were really good performers. The little girl who played young Angeli made me tear up a little with her solo. What a cutie. There were a few, though, who I think were probably being forced by their parents to participate. The looks on their faces were either from that or stage fright. But all in all it was a lot of fun to watch.

They presented the whole story from Mowgli getting lost to his adoption by the wolves to his reunion with his family years later. Three different boys played Mowgli through the stages of his life. One really sweet scene was when the teenage Mowgli and Angeli were singing about how each thinks is the right way to show affection to someone they like. Mowgli has learned from the animals how to show affection, so Angeli has to teach him how humans do it. For a few seconds she lowers her parasol in front of she and Mowgli and the audience can guess that they are kissing behind it. So that's how human do it?

After the show, I asked the boys if they thought they might want to be in a play. As expected, they said, "No." But a little while later, Josh said, "Mom, if I was going to be in The Jungle Book, I'd want to be the oldest Mowgli." "Oh, yeah," I replied, "Why?" His answer was, "Because he gets to do something with the girl behind the umbrella."

Oh, my. I think I'll encourage him to be Shere Khan. At least then he'll just get set on fire.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A one and a two...

We were invited to go to a performance by the Spokane Symphony Orchestra today with some of the students from the school we were at last year. We rarely turn down the opportunity for a field trip so we tagged along. On the way we stopped by the school to pick up three students to help with the carpooling. That made five boys with me in the car. I commented on how quiet they were. A second later, one of them started talking Pokemon with Josh and the conversation continued all the way there. One boy in the way back of the car was very intent on something that I assumed to be a handheld game of some sort. When I looked closer, I was surprised and pleased to see that he was reading the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.

The concert was great. The conductor, with the help of his musicians, introduced each of the instruments and explained how each worked. It was very interesting and held the attention of several hundred students in the audience. I was also impressed by how many students knew the four groups in the orchestra and the names of the instruments.

When we got back in the van, I asked each of the boys which instrument they would like to play.

Josh: "The bassoon."

Z: "The piano." (He already plays.)

Adam: "Drums." (I should have guessed.)

J: "What. Oh, I don't know, I wasn't paying attention." (He was the one with the book.)

And then there was C. When I asked him, he said, "None." "Well, what if you had to?" I asked. "I wouldn't," he answered. "What if you had to either play an instrument or go to prison?" He said, "I'd go to prison." Wouldn't it just be easier to play the triangle?

And by the way, I'd want to play the go with my angelic personality.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


This morning something happened that a few years ago I thought would never happen to me again. Something that when it happened before was slightly annoying but now I look back on with fond memories. Something that often interrupted my only moment of peace and quiet most days. Something that I didn't know I was missing until it happened again. What could it possibly be you ask? It's tiny little fingers appearing under the bathroom door when I'm in there. Tiny little fingers attached to tiny little arms attached to a tiny little body that, on hands and knees, had followed me down the hall without me knowing. And this morning when I saw those tiny little fingers, do you know what I did? I laughed. I laughed right out loud sitting there. Not for one second was it in the least bit annoying. I just laughed and soaked it in. One, because tiny little fingers are so adorable wherever they are, even peeking under the bathroom door. And two, because I know how quickly those fingers grow and no longer follow me wherever I go.

Now I look forward to the next step which, of course, is little toys flying under the door. With the boys it was plastic lizards and snakes and dinosaurs. What will it be with Jules? Barbie shoes and Polly Pocket pieces and barrettes? Who knows? But when it happens, and it will happen, I'll let you know.

Until then, I'll enjoy moments like these that are oh so fleeting.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Two years ago when I turned 35, I wrote this list of 35 things I had learned over my 35 years of life. Here I am two years later turning 37. Two years older and two years smarter. (Well, maybe only a year and a half smarter.) So I thought I'd go back to see if I have any new insights (found in italics) on these things that I have learned. And, of course, add two more things that I've learned over the last two years.

*Sunny days make me feel better than gray days. The sunnier, the better.
*A child’s laughter is the best sound on earth. And it always makes me laugh, too.
*Good meals are best shared with good friends. Especially if it's followed by dessert.
*God’s timing is perfect. But is very rarely my idea of perfect.
*Change little boys’ diapers as fast as possible. And do the same for little girls.
*Father (and Mother) really do know best. And they know not to say, "I told you so."
*It’s fun being married to my childhood sweetheart. Shared memories are a gift.
*Always order the combination plate (and be prepared to share). It takes more than one item to make a combination plate. Always go for at least three.
*God did not give me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. And the greatest of these is love.
*Wear pajamas as much as possible. Which is one of the great things about homeschooling.
*Summer vacation is best spent on the beach. And with kids.
*A clean house makes me feel good. I wish I had a maid.
*Prayer is my most powerful tool. And my most used tool.
*There’s nothing better than a good nap. Absolutely nothing.
*Sisterhood gets better with age. And is one of my most treasured blessings.
*Marriage to a godly husband is a great gift. Especially in times of trial.
*Bugs aren’t scary at all in the hands of a five year old. Except for spiders.
*Music soothes the savage beast and the grumpy child. Which are often very much alike.
*Going to the movies alone is good. And happens far to infrequently.
*Teaching children (especially my own) is very rewarding. And each moment is priceless.
*Grace is amazing. And makes all the difference.
*Sister-friends are the best friends. Now and always.
*Chasing butterflies is good exercise for body and soul. Especially the soul.
*Sometimes I need help. But don't like to ask for it.
*Motherhood is wonderfully scary. And just gets more wonderful and more scary.
*Health is underrated. Physical, mental, and spiritual.
*The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. Julianna!
*Ice water is my favorite drink. With huckleberry lemonade a close second.
*Laughter really is the best medicine. And the doses are easy to swallow.
*The book is always better than the movie. Always.
*Eating cold watermelon on a hot summer day is the best. Mmm...watermelon.
*Family is why we are here. Family is why I am here.
*God’s ways are best. Amen.
*God’s ways are best. Amen.
*God’s ways are best. Amen.

And now for two new ones:

*Having a baby when you are of advanced maternal age is amazing.
*The Lord works for the good of those who serve him.