Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Weekend

Christmas this year was pretty much perfect. I had a week of vacation before the holiday weekend which gave me plenty of time for all the preparations without feeling stressed. I also didn't get stressed at all because I didn't let myself get stressed at all. I was determined to have an easy, smooth, relaxing holiday weekend. And it was.

Monday I finished my shopping and didn't even mind standing in line which I only had to do a few times. Besides that, waiting in line is a perfect time to watch people, one of my favorite past times. Tuesday I cleaned house and played with the kids. Wednesday I wrapped presents and played some more. Thursday Arrty and I split up the kids and took them shopping. Adam chose to spend his own money on a gift for me. He was determined to get me something perfect. (And he did. The new Lady Antebellum cd which I love! He's a very thoughtful kid.) Then Thursday night I watched Christmas movies with some of my favorite girls who could hardly believe that it was my first time seeing "A Christmas Story." (Thanks, Katrina.) Friday was spent making goodies (lemon bars, cream cheese drops, fudge, chocolate covered pretzels), finishing up the wrapping, and making a pre-Christmas dinner (ham, augratin potatoes, green beans, apple asiago bread). And all that was done with very minimal, if any stress. Aaahhh.

Saturday we went over to Mom and Dad's house for lunch (West Virginia sandwiches, homemade fries, and cookies for dessert). Then we opened our traditional Christmas Eve gift--pajamas. Since we were getting ready to go to church, the kids held their pajamas in front of them instead of wearing them in the annual "jammies in front of the tree" picture. Then we went with the family to their church's Christmas Eve service. It was nice to get to sing and worship with Mom, Dad, and my sister and her family. Then we went back to Mom and Dad's for cookies and tea. Then to our congregation's first annual Christmas Eve service. It was lovely. I enjoyed it very much. After all that, it was still before 6:00, so Arrty drove us around town to see Christmas lights. There were lots of great displays, but my favorite was the one in a local neighborhood that played to music on the radio. It was very entertaining. Then we headed home for snacks and animated Christmas movies. It was a great day.

Sunday morning we got up early and opened stockings and presents. The kids were thrilled and that means I was, too. This was the first year Julianna has really been able to participate in the whole process. It was so fun watching her open presents and appreciate each one. She was laughing and jumping and absolutely loved every minute! It was different this year with the boys. They are at an age where they've kind of outgrown most toys. So they got video games, movies, and books. Which they liked a lot, but I so missed the scattering of Transformers and Legos and Matchbox cars. But I did enjoy the scattering of Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop and Fur Real pets. After presents we ate egg nog french toast and ham. (Yes, I made egg nog french toast.) Then we all got ready and headed into town for church services. (That made three times to church in two days. The kids were a little overwhelmed with that prospect when we told them the plans for the weekend. And, honestly, I was, too. But it turned out to be such a blessing. It was a great way to keep Jesus at the center of the holiday.)

After church, we went back to Mom and Dad's. We had lasagna, salad, and Ada's homemade bread sticks for lunch. Even though some people around the table thought it was a weird Christmas meal, I loved it. It was simple and yummy. After a record breaking fast clean up, we all gathered in the moose room to open presents. Dad and Mom had a special treat in store for us. They had planned to share a childhood Christmas memory with us. As they told their stories, the room was silent as all eyes and ears were on Grandma and Pappy. Their stories were wonderful and will make for a good blog post someday. Ada had suggested that we open gifts one at a time so everyone could see what everyone else got instead of a free-for-all like last year. So we went around the room from youngest to oldest and opened gifts. It went amazingly smoothly and even Julianna and Abby were very patient while waiting their turn. Only one gift was opened out of turn when one of Dad's "fell off" the couch and mysteriously came open. It was all very suspicious, if you ask me. It took awhile for 6 adults and 6 kids to open several gifts each, but it was well worth it to see the faces on all the recipients as they opened their gifts. Every one was happy and overwhelmed with all the gifts...especially when we had a $10 limit for the grown ups. (Amazingly, we all won, earned, or were given things that we gave to others in the family...books, gift cards, movies, and I even got a beach blanket and umbrella from mom. The creativity of sticking to this new limit was one of my favorite parts of the day.) After we picked up all the paper and boxes, the boys took their new air-soft guns outside to shoot, Abby vacuumed with her new mini pink vacuum, Julianna got all dressed up in her new princess dress up clothes, and Asher watched it all looking adorable as usual. After a little more clean-up and visiting we headed home.

Christmas night we watched movies and played and just kind of soaked it all in. It was an amazing weekend. So peaceful and full of love. And so full of Jesus. Just as it should be. A lot of Jesus and a lot of family with a few gifts and some really good food thrown in for good measure. Hope yours was just as merry.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blessed Sunday

Christmas vacation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reason for the Season

I've always shied away from cards and gifts that say "Jesus is the reason for the season." Not that there's anything wrong with that saying. I guess I just feel like everybody knows it already. It's the celebration of his birthday after all. I don't need my Christmas cards to remind anyone of that. But over the last few weeks, I've needed reminding myself. I had lost sight of the reason for the season. I was preoccupied with what my kids would like to find under the tree and the fact that I wouldn't be able to buy every single thing on their lists. But the sad thing is, their lists were in my head. The boys have asked for only a few things...airsoft guns, a game for their DS, and a silver dollar (they both collect coins). And Julianna, for the last several weeks, only wants "a dog that walks." (Luckily she means a toy and not a real dog. We already have two of those.) But my list was full of electronics for the boys and sparkly, pink things for Jules. And I was beating myself up over the fact that I couldn't provide all their (well, my) heart's desires. Until last week when I voiced my concerns to my friend Kathy. She didn't say much, but her just listening and me being able to share it, helped so much. And for the last several days, God's been reminding me of the reason, His reason, for the season. Like when my sister told me the story of a 6th grader at a local middle school asking for laundry detergent, toilet paper, and dishes and silverware for her family on her Christmas wish list. And the outpouring of support for that child and others. And when I went to the church giving tree to pick a child for my class to support and received two gifts the very next day from the parents of my students. And I'm sure that by Friday, our little one year old boy who likes balls and puzzles will be well supported by all of the families in our class. And then there's the fact that our school (with 50 students) has collected well over 100 books to donate to Books for Tots. Giving, sharing, loving. That's the reason we're here. That's the reason for this season and every season.

So on Christmas morning, my kids will be spoiled because not only will they have a warm house and clean clothes and an amazing Christmas meal, they will each have three lovely gifts and a stocking full of treats. They will have two loving parents who are willing and able to provide for them. They will have smiles on their faces not just because they are unwrapping presents, but because they have people and a place that make them feel safe and loved. And they will know, because their mommy knows, the reason for the season.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Books, Burgers, and Trader Joe's

I went to the Scholastic Book Warehouse sale yesterday. If you've never been to the book warehouse and are a book lover, you should go. It's literally a warehouse full of books. Shelves from the floor to tall enough that I have to stand on my tiptoes to reach the highest one. (And yes, I know that's not that high. But still.) You can find everything from board books for the youngest reader to kid's picture books to young adult lit to adult best sellers. With some pencils and posters and bookmarks thrown in for good measure. And right now almost everything is 50-80% off. To give you a little perspective, Kathy and I were in the warehouse for 3 hours. 3 hours. Granted we go up and down every aisle (sometimes twice) and pick up anything that looks remotely interesting and read the back. And I couldn't help but think, "So many books, so little time." It would take me year to read all the books I picked up and thought, "Oh, this looks good." (I chose 4 including The Reading Promise.)

During this trip we were looking for books for our classrooms, Christmas gifts, and Books for Tots*. The best deal is the "Build-a-Box." For $24.95 you get all the books you can pack into the provided box. The books for this are usually older or something they have an overabundance of, but there are still lots of good finds. The average person can probably pack around $100 worth of books in the box. Kathy can pack $300 worth of books into the box. That's why I go with her. So for 25 bucks I got at least 20 books for Books for Tots with a few extras for stocking stuffers for my students and kids thrown in for good measure.

After our book shopping, we were hungry. We had decided to go to Wolffy's, a 50s themed hamburger joint. The lady in Kathy's phone told us how to get there, but when we got there, it was gone. Hmmm, we were just there...12 years ago. So we decided to eat later and go on to our next destination, Trader Joe's. The phone lady led us right to Trader Joe's and guess what was right next to it! Hogan's, a 50s themed hamburger joint! We happily went in and ordered. Kathy got the bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate shake and I got the bleu cheese burger with bacon and a hot chocolate with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles. (I was freezing!) The food was yummy and the service was good and the music was wonderfully retro.

Then to Trader Joe's we went. Neither of us had ever been there, so it was a fun little adventure to explore all the quirky, unique items. And the employees seemed thrilled to be there and were so friendly and helpful. I bought a few snacks and treats for my family and a few stocking stuffers. Then we headed for home. We were happy with our book finds, full of yummy food, and thrilled that we got the last four boxes of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Coal to be found in the Pacific Northwest. It was really fun. And a much needed break from real life for me. I think this little excursion could easily become a new tradition.

*Our school is collecting books for Books for Tots until Thursday, December 15th. Our goal is 150 books, so if you'd like to donate, just drop them off and we'll add them to our collection. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wednesday WORD

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ~Luke 2:8-12

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Every year at this time I have a dilemma. It's this. Do I do a gift exchange in my class? Some teachers do. Some teachers have a book exchange. Some do treat bags and everyone brings a little something for everyone else. I can never decide what to do. It's really fun for the kids to bring a gift for a classmate. They love the giving. And it's fun for them to get a little toy from someone else. In the past, when I've had a gift exchange, I've had all the boys bring something for a boy and the girls bring something for a girl with a $5 limit. (I always bring a couple of wrapped gifts in case someone forgets.) It's always been fun with a few exceptions of kids not being happy with their gift or wanting what someone else got. But is a traditional gift exchage outdated? Unwanted? Silly? What do I do. Here are my options.

A. Traditional gift exchange with $5 limit.
B. Book exchange. (I give my students a book every year no matter what we do.)
C. Treat bags with everyone contributing small treats for each other.
D. No gifts exchanged. Just a party with treats and games.
E. None of the above. (Share your ideas.)

What do you think?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things you can find at our annual CCS Craft and Gift Fair this Saturday.*

1. This Stephen Lyman "Moonlit Flight on Christmas Night" signed and numbered print. I've had it for years and have never been able to frame it or display it. Even though I love it, I'd love even more for someone who would enjoy it more to have it. (And I really hope to sell it so that I have some money for Christmas shopping.)
2. Bubble bath. Avon bubble bath. I have a few craft fair customers who come every year and buy bubble bath.
3. Jewelry. Avon and Silpada along with others.
4. Stocking stuffers. Lots at my booth and even more at others.
5. Rice bags. You know. The wonderful ones that you can heat up in the microwave to keep you warm on those cold, winter nights.
6. Photography. A budding photographer friend will be taking shots with and without props. A great time to get those Christmas card photos. One pose will be provided free as a way to promote her new business.
7. Booths to benefit World Vision supporting children sponsored by our school's classes.
8. Yummy baked goods. Our PTO is famous for their amazing bake sale booth.
9. Lunch. Mr. D. is cooking up a full turkey meal available in the kitchen. I know you just finished off your turkey from last week, so you're bound to be ready for some more.
10. 35+ vendor booths selling a huge variety of handmade crafts and gift items. You can get all your holiday shopping done in one stop!

Bonus: Me! I'll be in booth #14. Stop by and say hello.

*Coeur d'Alene Christian School on the corner of 4th and Hanley.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A short story...

Once upon a time, there was a kindergarten teacher who loved her job...most of the time. She loved teaching children their letters because she knew that would lead to teaching them to read. She loved teaching children numbers because she knew that would lead to adding and counting money and telling time. She loved teaching art and poetry and songs. She loved new crayons and glue sticks and even the smell of new Play Doh. She loved teaching. But she didn't love child care. You see, every afternoon, this kindergarten teacher gathered all the school's preschool students into her classroom to provide child care for working moms and dads. And as much as she loved each little soul who walked through her door, she did not love all that it entailed to care for them. She did not love the fight to get them to be still at rest time. She did not love the bickering over toys or the tattling. She did not love the mess that the whirlwind of 18 preschoolers left in its wake at the end of each day. And this teacher, as much as she fought it, began to have a bad attitude about her job. She didn't like that. She wanted to be happy about the place God had placed her. She wanted to laugh and play and make school fun for all her students--morning and afternoon. So she decided to make some changes. She was going to be more consistent and firm about the rules. She was going to have more structure for the students to follow. And she was going to pray really hard for each little child in her care and for herself to have more patience with them. She wondered if it would make a difference. She hoped, for all their sakes, that it would.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I stayed home from church with Julianna yesterday because she was up all night coughing and just didn't feel good. She laid on the couch or sat on my lap all day. It made me worry a little because even when she's sick, she is normally up and around some. Then at 2am this morning she was fussing in her bed and I went in to check on her and noticed she felt a little warm. By 4am she was throwing up. So I'm home with her today, too. Really?! Whooping cough isn't enough? We have to have every cold and flu, too? That's it! We are doing whatever it takes to build up our immune systems. Eating more veggies. Taking more vitamins. Washing our hands until we no longer have fingerprints. I am sick of any of us being sick...and it's not even December.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking Dawn

Yes. The title of this post is referring to the latest installment of the Twilight movies. I saw it yesterday afternoon with two of my Twilight pals. We are not those silly kind of fans who wait in line for days and see the midnight showing on opening night. (Although we know some of those.) We are those silly kind of fans who at least wait until Sunday of opening weekend. The funny thing is, I've read the books. I know what's going to happen. There's really no big surprises in the movies. Especially at this point with this being the 4th movie in the series. Bella is going to be angsty and awkward. Edward is going to have great hair and be charming in a teenage vampire sort of way. Jacob is going to be angry...and shirtless. And the plot is the same as the book. Human bride/vampire groom wedding. Some sort of weird, time warped pregnancy. Wolves growling. Crazy baby name. Disgusting birth scene of half human-half vampire baby. It's all in the book and all in the movie. But I went to see it anyway. "Why?" you might ask. Well, these movies are just so bad that they're good. They will never win any Oscars. But they are fun. Just pure fun for anyone with an open mind to the ridiculous. And I guess that fits me.

So here are my thoughts about the major scenes in the movie.

The wedding scene. Nervous bride. Smiling groom. Unsure father of the bride. Human and vampire wedding guests. (Including a cameo by author Stephanie Meyer.) Lovely dress. Sincere vows. Romantic kiss. It was sweet.
The wedding toasts. Emmett...umm, are you sure you want to give him the mike? hilariously protective. Renee...really, lullabies? sweet with his promises of love...forever.
The honeymoon. I loved that the bride and groom were nervous on their wedding night. It was so refreshing to see two teenagers in a movie who were nervous about the whole consummation thing and who knew it was a big deal and took it seriously. And if you've read the book, you know that vampire/human relations are not, ummm, normal. The broken furniture and flying feathers were hilarious.
The wolves. It's no secret that I am a wolf girl. The vampires are nice and all. But, come on, you have to admit the wolves are more fun. They laugh and play and howl at the moon. The scene where they are reading each others thoughts but we can hear is so very cheesy and great. The whole mysticism part of the book was well portrayed, I thought. So compared to other movies with mind reading werewolves, it was really good.
The pregnancy. So creepy. So gut wrenching. So weird. So good. And drinking blood through a straw out of a Styrofoam cup with a lid. Priceless.
The names. E.J. for Edward Jacob if it's a boy. Okay. I get that one. But I loved that they kind of make a joke of the whole Renesme thing. The look on Jacob's face when they tell him is perfect. He's thinking what we all were when we read it in the book. Really? Renesme? Really?
The delivery. Okay. It's disturbing to say the least. I won't go into details for fear of spoiling it for those who plan to see the movie. But be prepared to groan and look away for at least a part of it. And plug your ears if you can.
The baby. She's cute. After she's cleaned up a little. But please, call her Nessie.
The imprinting. Jacob imprinting on Nessie is very interesting. I know the whole subject has caused a lot of controversy, but I liked how they showed it in the movie. It was less creepy than it could have been.
The change. We all know that Bella becomes a vampire. But watching the change is kind of fascinating. This is one scene where having read the book changes things. You know that she is feeling what they all felt as they changed to vampires...excruciating pain. And yet she is lying there motionless, controlling her screaming so that she doesn't upset Edward. Such a Bella thing to do. The movie doesn't go into that and you'd miss the importance if you didn't go in knowing it.
The final shot. Unexpected. And pretty much perfect.

So there it is. I am slightly embarrassed to say that 1) I paid (matinee price) to see this movie and 2) I not only admitted it on the world-wide web, but spent more minutes of my life that I will never get back writing about it. But it made me happy. It gave me two hours of uninterrupted silliness in an otherwise mostly serious life. And, if you must know, I'll even buy it on dvd when it comes out so that I have the whole collection. You can come over and we'll have a Twilight marathon. Come on. You know you want to.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blessed Sunday

Singing. Singing is a blessing. In the car. Doing housework. With my kids. In church. I love to sing. For the last several weeks I haven't been able to sing. At all. With all the coughing, my throat is shot. I can barely speak most of the time, no less sing. But today I was feeling better in church services and decided to try to sing. I looked through the schedule of songs and waited for one I really wanted to sing. And I did. It was kind of croaky and my voice only lasted for that one song. But I sang. And it felt good. I've missed it. Slowly but surely I'm getting better. Maybe next week I can sing two songs.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 And Counting

I did it again. I missed my blogiversary! On November 4th, 2006, I started this blog and have been stunning readers with my brilliant posts ever since. Well, maybe not. But some of you are still checking in and reading my posts, so that's something. How things have changed in the last 5 years. In 2006 I was the mom of two little boys. Now I have two half grown men and a 3 year old daughter to mother. Then I had one sweet little nephew. Now I have a nephew who is taller every time I see him, an amazingly adorable niece, and another nephew who just happens to be the cutest baby in the world. In 2006, Adam was in my kindergarten class. Now, I still teach kindergarten, but it's Julianna in my afternoon pre-school/kindergarten class. In 2006, I found my first gray hair. And now, five years later, I couldn't count them if I wanted to. The biggest difference, though, is my state of mind. I started this blog as a distraction from my severe, yet to be diagnosed, anxiety disorder. And today? Today I am fully in control of my anxiety and look on that time as painful, but necessary to make me who I am today. This blog was such a blessing in those days giving me something to focus on besides my pain and worry. And it remains a blessing 5 years later as a place to write and share and collect memories and stories for my kids to read someday.

It's funny how five years seems to have been just a day long and a lifetime long at the same time. So much has happened and changed in my life. Good and bad. Trials and blessings. And yet, here I am. Smarter and stronger and thankful for it all. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Here's to the next five years!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Stitches

So I made it through 12 years of parenthood without any of my children having an injury worthy of stitches. 12 years of Josh running and riding and trying to jump to the 5th monkey bar that only resulted in a scraped chin and a broken baby tooth. 10 years of Adam chasing butterflies and throwing rocks and racing with his brother that only resulted in minor scrapes and scratches. And 3 years of Julianna climbing and sliding and running around the playground...which is what finally led to the stitches. Yep. My boys are not the first of my children to require stitches. My cute little girly girl is. Here's the story.

I'm sitting at my desk enjoying the 12 1/2 seconds of peace I have during the day when I hear one of the older boys rush into the building and yell for me. I could tell something was wrong and headed in his direction right away. From the look on his face I knew it wasn't good. All he said was, "Julianna." I started to panic a little, but know from experience that minor things can get made into more than they are. I hurried outside and saw the teacher on duty cradling Julianna and rushing to get her to me. The closer I got, the more blood I saw and once I reached them all I could see was the blood. Luckily my common sense kicked in and reminded me that head wounds always look worse than they are because of the blood. But for a few seconds my mommy sense kicked in, too, and all I could think is that my baby was in my arms covered with blood. (Kathy described her as looking like Carrie during the prom scene in the movie.) I got her into the office and with the help of our secretary, grabbed some tissues to start cleaning her up. Then Kathy came in with wet wipes and we were able to use them to clean her little face and hair and clothes. The more blood we removed, the easier it was to see that it all came from a little 1/2 inch cut right in the middle of her forehead. During all this she never cried. She was mostly mad that I was holding her like a baby and just wanted to be put down. She sat patiently as we ministered to her and calmly told us what had happened. One of her friends was throwing a stuffed dog off the top of the jungle gym and she was running to catch it and ran into one of the poles. And her friend Tyler caught it instead. If the cut would have been a little higher and covered by her hair, I probably would have cleaned it up and left it to heal. But since it was right in the middle of her perfect little forehead I decided to take her to see if she needed stitches.

Our regular doctor was able to see her right away and confirmed that she did in fact need a few stitches to hopefully prevent scarring. So the nurse cleaned it up using her handy, dandy little squirter and since it was pink, Jules was fine with it. Then they put some numbing gel on it for about 5 minutes. Then it was time for the stitches. The only fussing she did through the whole process was when they wanted her to lie down on the examining table. But with a little persuasion she went along with it. (Which was a relief because they also brought in a board with straps into the room in case she wouldn't lie still for the procedure.) They covered her with a sheet covering her whole face except for a hole around the cut. Still she laid still and didn't complain. Then the doctor began the stitching. I watched as much as I could but had to look away a few times. Not because of the needle or blood, but because all I could think of was my baby girl lying on that table being sewn. She was such a trooper, though. Amazingly cooperative and brave. (Braver than at least one of the boys would have been.) Soon she was stitched and bandaged and praised and ready to go. I sent her home with her daddy and headed back to school exhausted from the whole ordeal. But oh so glad that two stitches was all that were needed. And grateful for such a sweet girl, stitches and all.

Here's the injury.

Here's the Tweety Bird bandaid holding on the numbing gel.

Here's Little Miss Stitches with her humongous bandaid and her new "what a brave girl" puppy.

And here's the picture that "needs to be cute."

And another one trying to "be cute."

As you can see, she's no worse for the wear. And cute in every picture if you ask me.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Josh and Adam loved stuffed animals when they were little. They collected easily a hundred each over the years and most of those slept in their beds for many years. Whenever I would ask them the names of some of their furry friends they would usually say something like "Brown Dog" or "Spots" or "Hippo." Nothing too creative, but perfect for them. So having Julianna is totally different. For a while she named every animal and baby "Sally." Then there was a "Sarah" and an "Abby" after her cousin. And just the other day I asked her what she'd named her fuzzy, pink rabbit. She looked at me without hesitation and said, "Bunnyster Daisy." Well, now that's a name. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her new found panda.

Speaking of stuffed animals, since the boys were born they've gotten a stuffed animal in their Christmas stocking. A couple of years ago I'd decided that they were too old for another animal. But then I overheard them discussing what kind of animal they might get in their stocking that year. Needless to say, I went out on Christmas Eve and bought two stuffed animals. So my question is this. Should I ask them this year if they are too old for stuffed animals or should I just put them in the stockings and wait for them to tell me when they are too old?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blessed Sunday

I am feeling blessed today to feel up to blogging. It's been weeks of barely being able to do the necessary before I collapse on the couch. I'm still coughing some and still the "take your breath away" coughing occasionally. But oh, so much better than this time last week. I'm still mad that I got whooping cough at all. (The family who gave it to me is no longer at our school, by the way.) But it has encouraged me to build up my immune system to try to be a stronger against the bombardment of kindergarten germs. So if you are healthy today, count that as a blessing. Because it really, truly is.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I slept for 5 hours in a row last night! That's the longest I've slept at one time in the last 3 weeks of waking up every hour or two coughing. Amazing what a little sleep can do!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dear Parents of all of my future students,

Please, for all that is holy, have your children immunized so that the sweet little darlings don't give me whooping cough ever again in my entire life. I know that you may have reasons why you choose not to immunize your children. But if they get sick with these preventable diseases, they can give them to those of us who are immunized. Like me. And if the last week and a half of my life is any indication, you DO NOT want your child, or anyone else, to get whooping cough. If you would spend just one day, or night, with me and hear the intense and body wracking coughing I go through, you would not wish it on your worst enemy, no less your precious children. You protect them in every other way. Why not protect them, and everyone else, from these illnesses? At least think about it.


P.S. To the family whose child gave me whooping cough: I forgive you and pray for your sweet daughter's healing, too. But if my own children get it, it will not be so easy to forgive.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Tired. Grouchy. Sore. Weak. Mad. Back soon. Maybe.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I have seen a lot of things in my many years as a teacher. Many, many things. But today I saw something for the first time. I was sitting at my desk doing what teachers do while the kids enjoyed a few minutes of free time. And this is what I heard:

H: A., do you take him to be your wedding husband?
A: I do.
H: J., do you take her to be your wedding wife.
J: Umm, I guess so.
H: I now pronounce you married. You may kiss the bride.
(Upon which I peeked at the ceremony just in time to see the "bride" grab and kiss the "groom" on the cheek while he struggled to get away.)
H: Okay, now the baby can be born.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was the cutest thing I've seen all day. Who else in the whole world can say they attended a wedding ceremony (and birth) while teaching kindergarten?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things about the story of Abraham--8 according to my K-2nd grade Bible students and 2 according to me. First is the acrostic created by the kids.

1. Abraham went...(wherever God told him)
2. Birth of Isaac
3. wRapped up Isaac (to place him on the alter)
4. Abraham took a trip
5. He loved Lot
6. Abram changed his name
7. Mom was old (as in Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born)(This one is my favorite!)

8. I am amazed by Abraham's faith. No wonder he is known for his faithful service to God. He walked with God and obeyed him even when it seemed impossibly hard.
9. I have always been fascinated with Sarah, too. What an amazing woman and wife she must have been to support her husband's God-led lifestyle. And to have a baby at 90! I know that lifespans were different in those days, but still...90!

10. I read this poem about Abraham and Isaac to my class during yesterday's lesson. In case you don't know this part of the story, God tells Abraham that he is to sacrifice his son Isaac. When he is sure that Abraham is really going to go through with it, he stops him...with the knife in mid-air. He assures Abraham that he's passed the test. God now knows that Abraham would not withhold anything, not even his son, from him. This poem is kind of funny in a "when are we going to get there" kind of way, but the last few lines are quite touching. Enjoy.

Where Are We Goin'?

"Where are we goin'?"
little Isaac asked his pop.
"Are ya gonna take me fishin'
or to the candy shop?"

"Why are you so silent?
Have you planned a big surprise?
Are you keepin' it a secret?
Should I cover up my eyes?"

"When will we get there?
How much longer till we stop?
Are we gonna climb that mountain?
Are we hikin' to the top?'

"What will we do there
when we finally reach the peak?
Say, Pop,
is that a teardrop
that is rollin' down your cheek?"

~Marty Nystrom
(from the book Don't Mess with Moses)

The kids knew the story. We talked about it for two days. And after I read the poem, one little boy raised his hand and said, "He's kind of annoying. I would have sacrificed him." Are you kidding me?! I couldn't make this stuff up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

That's Tough!

Julianna just ran to hide under my desk at school and hit her head on the underside hard enough to make a good "bang" sound. She didn't cry. She rarely does. When I asked her if she was okay she assured me that she was. Her little friend T., who is also 3, then said, "She's alright. She's tough as nails." Yes, T. Yes, she is.

It's Monday...

...that's it. Just "it's Monday."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Saturday...

...and I have nothing to do until 6:30 tonight. That means a whole day to do whatever we want. So here's what I've done. Dishes, cleaned out my school bags (yes, plural), read, made eggs, sausage, and toast for my family, read, played puppies with Jules, read, took a nap, ate a popsicle, wrote this post. It's been lovely so far and there are still a few hours left. I may just get finished with An Irish Country Doctor before the day is done. Hope you are enjoying your Saturday, too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday WORD

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. ~Matthew 12:34b

Monday, October 10, 2011


On this day 12 years ago my firstborn son made his appearance in the world. His birthday should have been the 9th. But he had other plans and hung in there until October 10th. October 10th is also the first day of elk hunting season. On the 9th 12 years ago, I called my dad who was getting ready to head to the woods, and told him he might want to stick around for a few more hours (which turned out to be a lot more hours). Finally, October 10th turned out to be Josh's birthday. Through the years the clashing of birthday/elk season has caused me to have to be creative in planning birthday celebrations so that Pappy could be there like Josh wanted. But this year it's not just Pappy who's hunting. Josh turns 12 today and that means he is able to big game hunt. Big game = elk. Elk = October 10th. Which all adds up to mean that I will not be hugging on my new 12 year old today. I may not even get to talk to him depending on cell service where they're hunting. I'm a little sad about that, but I knew the day was coming (and actually the same thing happened last year even though he was just "hunting" with Pappy and not with his own gun). So here's what we did. Friday night was his family birthday night. We usually go out to eat on birthdays, but Josh chose to have his night at home with homemade pizza (pepperoni, mushroom, and black olives), ice cream (Blue Bunny wedding cake flavored), movies (Transformers and X-Men First Class), and presents (a new camera*). He declared it a great night and I agree. If he's happy, I'm happy. And when he gets back we'll have a party with his friends, so plenty of birthday celebrating will occur. Just not on the actual birthday. Tonight, though, my dad will unwrap a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and stick a candle in it and hand Josh a card from me wishing him all the happiness in the world on his special day and every day to come. So 12 years ago, I spent this day exhausted and amazed and happier than I'd ever been before. And this year on this day I will look back on that day, all the days since, and all the days to come and know that the happy just keeps coming.

Happy Birthday, Josh! I love you more than words can say.

*So my friend Carrie had the great idea to get Josh a camera for his birthday when I told her I couldn't think of anything to get him. I did a little research online and then headed to Target. I prayed that God would let me find a great camera for a great price since price would play the biggest part in my decision. I asked the lady in the camera department what she suggested and she took me to the Kodak section. She pointed out a few cameras that she thought would be good and then showed me a clearance camera and told me that since it was the last one, she could give me 10% more off. That would make the camera $45. Then I looked a little closer at the the description card and discovered that the original price of the camera was $199.99. I asked her if that was the real original price and she said that it was. Well, that made the decision a lot easier. I walked out of the store with the camera (which happens to be a lot nicer than my point and shoot), a case, and a memory disk for under $70. Nice. Thank you, God, for answering even the smallest of my prayers.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things you should take on a trip...according to my kindergarten through 2nd grade Bible class.

1. clothes
2. toothbrush and toothpaste
3. gps
4. binoculars
5. tent
6. refrigerator
7. brain and heart--said in all seriousness because "If you don't you would die."
8. guts--said in all silliness after the previous answer
9. batteries
10. map

This was a discussion leading up to the story of God sending Abram from Ur to Hebron. He left without knowing where he was going or how long he'd be gone. He just went because it's what God said to do. Good lesson for me to teach. God often says to me, too, "Just go. I'll fill you in on the details later." Guess I'd better get my brain and heart ready.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Quote of the Day

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

Monday, October 03, 2011


As you might remember, our family sponsors two World Vision children. Lenah from Kenya and Vinicius from Brazil. Throughout the year we send them letters and cards and little gifts. I especially try to send something around their birthdays. The trick is, we can only send 6x9 inch envelopes. No big packages or boxes. Lenah just turned 9 in August. She's easy to shop for. Stickers, pencils, notepads, headbands, necklaces... There are tons of little things that would make a 9 year old little girl smile. And Vini's birthday is coming up in November. He will be turning 15. I have no idea what to send him. None at all. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Blessed Sunday

When the cutest little girl in the whole wide world says to me, "You're the best mommy ever,"...that's a blessing.

Friday, September 30, 2011


A California student was punished by his teacher for saying "bless you" to a sneezing classmate. The teacher, Steve Cuckovich, says the punishment wasn't about religious beliefs, but about the disruption it caused. The school's principal says he talked with Cuckovich about the punishment. (More of the story here.)

So here's my thoughts on this story. As a teacher I understand classroom disruptions and being consistent and stopping trouble makers in their tracks. But saying, "bless you?" I would just be glad that my students were showing good manners, outdated or not. (Not, if you ask me.) Settle down, Mr. Cuckovich. Ignore it and pass the tissues.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


If you go to my house right now, right this very minute, you can see it clean.* If you wait until we get home, don't bother because it won't last. But right now it's cleaner that it's been in a long, long, long time. I just wish I was there to enjoy it before we walk through the door this afternoon and instantly mess it up with lunch boxes and shoes and jackets and homework and life. But right now...right now it's clean.

*It's clean because the appraiser for our refinance is coming this afternoon. Maybe I should schedule an appraisal once a month.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blessed Sunday

I don't know how many of you have gone to Blogs I Read and clicked over to meet Gitz at Choose Joy. I've been reading her blog for a while now and have been touched so many times by her joy, love, and exuberance for life...whatever that life might hold. At first I was sad to read her posts because I knew that her life, confined to her apartment in an ill body that didn't match her heart, wasn't what she wanted. I was scared to think that if someone like Sara could be given such a life to live, it could happen to anyone. But I kept reading. Sara's posts don't allow for her readers to be sad or scared. Each and every post lifts spirits and glorifies the Lord. Sara's love for God and acceptance of His plan for her ended up overcoming my sadness and fear and became inspiration. I can't even tell you how many times I was feeling sorry for myself and thoughts of Sara came to me. I can walk outside and feel the sun on my face and breeze in my hair. I can come and go in my life and not be afraid that I'll catch every little thing there is to catch. I can move and breath and speak and laugh without a second thought. All impossible for sweet Sara. Sara's trust in the Lord, his plans, and his timing became an example to me. And I'm reminded so, so often, because of Sara, to choose joy.

For the last few weeks Sara's already poor health had taken a turn for the worse. Her body began shutting down. I was a little sad knowing that the end of this life was so near for her. But I was mostly happy because I believed that she was ready to take the next step God had planned for her. And last night she took that step. I never heard Sara's voice except through her words on the screen. And we only emailed a few times. But I know that this morning Sara is singing and dancing and running like she's never done before. In the presence of the angels, her dad, and so many more who have loved her here on earth. So I'll say a prayer for her family and friends today who are already missing her. But I will also smile knowing that she is free. Absolutely free and loving every minute of it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Continued

I know you've all been waiting to hear about Saturday at Women of Faith. So here it is.

Lisa Whelchel. Yes, Blair from "The Facts of Life." She is now an author and founder of MomTime Ministries. Her new book is called "Friendship for Grown-ups" and that is what she spoke about at the conference. She shared about how she had to learn to make friends as an adult since her childhood was spent working with on-screen "friends." The thing I took away from what she said was that to have good friends you have to be a good friend. Be a friend who gives, listens, and is gracious. Then those kind of friends will find you. Oh, yeah, I also learned that she got to kiss on George Clooney during his stint on her show. He seems like he'd be a good friend.

Sandi Patty. Well, Sandi Patty could just sing and not talk at all and I'd be happy. But what she says is almost as beautiful as how she sings. She talked about being on the edge of the divine. About how we can live in this life close to God and enjoy all His grace and goodness and love and mercy. And how she is learning to do just that. And I just have to say that if I could sing like this women I'd sing every word I ever spoke for the rest of my life.

Marilyn Meberg. Marilyn seems like the mom of all the ladies on the porch (even though a couple of them are older than she is.) She seems like the down to earth one. The one who could answer all of your deepest, darkest questions and love you along the way. She shared about being closer to God. And isn't that what Christianity is all about?

Debra Joy Winans. Debra Joy was the drama queen of the weekend. She performed several skits over the two days that touched the very heart of many of the women in the audience. She was a mom who literally wore so many hats that she had a hard time keeping track of who she was and who she was supposed to be. And she was a wife and mother who felt invisible in her life but realized that she was not invisible to God and that he saw, and appreciated, everything she did while serving her purpose in Him. The drama part of the weekend isn't usually a highlight for me, but this year Debra Joy made me think and I learned a lot from her performances.

Amy Grant. I've never been a huge Amy Grant fan. I couldn't even name one of her songs if I tried. But I really, really enjoyed her performance. It felt like we were in a small venue when we were in fact in a huge arena. She and her three-man band played several of her songs, both Christian and secular. She seemed very real and down to earth compared to the divaliciousness of Mandisa and the voice perfection of Sandi Patty. She just sang and told stories and was soft and sweet and authentic. I may just have to look her up on itunes and get to know her music. I think I'd like it...and her.

So there you have it. Once again Women of Faith gave me a weekend to remember. It really is a blessing and I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 words (or phrases) for today.

1. school
2. field trip
3. Mudgie and Millie
4. long walk
5. lots of kids
6. head counts
7. laughter
8. fun
9. playground
10. tired

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Monday, September 19, 2011


My weekend was spent with 7,000+ Christian women in an arena praising and praying and laughing and crying. And it was amazing. Women of Faith is always good, but this year was beyond great. The speakers were encouraging, wise, and entertaining. The music was just what music should be. The Spirit was moving and the Lord was present. It made me remember once more what it's all about, this life that I live. It has absolutely nothing to do with a clean house or money or what the world thinks of me. It has everything, everything to do with Jesus.

Each person who walked up on that stage this weekend touched my life in some way. I thought I'd share a thought or two about each one.

Patsy Clairmont. Can I just say first off that I love her. She is what my grandma would call "a case." She is a character with a capital "c." There's just something about her, the way she talks and moves and shares, that makes me happy. I found out this week that she was once agoraphobic. You know. She didn't leave her house and had extreme anxiety issues. I couldn't help but think, "there but for the grace of God go I." But to see her now, it's hard to believe that she was ever anything but her amazing, outgoing, fearless self. She spoke numerous times throughout the weekend and I especially appreciated what she shared about overcoming fear and accepting that change can be good. And I had to laugh out loud when she declared her opinion on medication for depression and anxiety: "Pop a pill in Jesus name." Amen, Miss Patsy!

Andy Andrews. I wasn't so sure about Andy when he first got on stage. He ran around while he talked and the poor camera men could hardly keep up with him. By the time he was finished speaking, I was exhausted. But what he said was really, really good. He spoke about being responsible for our choices and how those choices could and would impact our lives. One of the things I came away with from his words was how everything good in our lives comes about because of how we act. And everything great in our lives comes about because of how we act when the going gets tough. I can hardly wait to read his books, especially "The Traveler's Gift."

Brenda Warner. Brenda is a former marine, mother of seven including one special needs child, child advocate and philanthropist who came from nothing and now wants for nothing. Oh, yeah. She's also the wife of Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner. Brenda spoke about overcoming difficulties in life while still hanging on to the Lord. The hour spent with her gave me the impression that she is strong. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. But she knows, and shared with us, that her strength comes from above.

Mandisa. I can't say enough about Mandisa. I saw her first on American Idol. Remember her? She's the one who told Simon that she forgave him for commenting on her weight after her audition. She didn't win American Idol. Which is probably good for her and better for me and all the women who are touched by her at Women of Faith conferences all over the country. Miss Mandisa rocked the arena Friday night. Her voice, her presence, her words move me to tears every time. Her music was a lifesaver during the darkest days of my life. It was literally something I clung to during those days and one of the things that pulled me out of the stormy sea and back onto the S.S. Savior. Still today I will listen to her cds over and over and sing along with hands in the air and heart full to overflowing with His love.

And that, my friends, was only the beginning. I still have Saturday to tell you about. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things I've been stressed about in the last what I was going to write about. But instead I'm going to write about 10 reasons I feel blessed.

1. I have a house in which to live. It's perpetually messy and beginning to be too small, but it's warm and safe and full of love.
2. I have three healthy, happy children whom I love more than life itself. And they're pretty darn cute to boot.
3. I have a husband who loves me and our children and God.
4. Our family has stable, secure jobs. This is new for us and is truly a blessing.
5. I am going to Women of Faith this weekend. I will be surrounded by sisters in the presence of our Father. I will laugh and cry and sing and be filled to overflowing with His goodness and grace.
6. I was able to serve last night by helping our neighbor who just moved back to the states and is recovering from a broken back. Her husband is working in Afghanistan and she is trying to get her house in order. I went over there exhausted and a little less than cheerfully. I came home so very glad for the opportunity.
7. I work in a Christian environment surrounded by people I love and who love me. It's not always an easy job, but the support of others is undeniably there.
8. I have a new baby in my life and even though he lives at my sister's house with his family, I am completely in love with him. Being an aunt is only second best to being a mom.
9. I know amazing people. People who make my life better and make me better, too.
10. I am saved. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What We Do

Oh, what we do for our children. Sunday I took Adam to Silverwood. All three kids earned passes in the reading program at school last year, but Josh didn't want to go (I know, weird.) and Arrty didn't care either way. So I left Jules at home with him (even though I wanted to take her) to save us the price of admission for one adult and so that I could go on the rides with Adam. And boy did we ride! He loves all the rides and especially the roller coasters. So I went on all the roller coasters (except the Aftershock which Adam rode ALONE!) and lots of other rides. I got soaked on the bumper boats and log ride. I got dizzy on the Trabant. I got bored on the Ferris wheel. I got nervous before the roller coasters and was hoarse afterward from screaming the whole time. And yet I did it. Why, you ask? Because my baby wanted me to. I think even he was surprised that I did everything he wanted to do. But that's what mommies do sometimes. We do things we might not want to do so much just to be with our kids and make them happy.

When we walked through the front gates I declared Adam the boss for the day. He was in charge and I think he liked it. We went where he wanted. We ate what he wanted. We rode every ride he wanted to. I didn't complain or "suggest" or "guide." I just followed. Adam doesn't often have times like that. Being the middle child between two strong willed siblings isn't always easy. But for one day he made the rules. And what a day it was. One filled with fun and laughter and memories. At the end of the day he thanked me and said he really liked that it was just the two of us. So did I, Adam. So did I.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things all kindergartners should be able to do coming into my class* (but sometimes don't):

1. recognize their name when written
2. sing the ABC's
3. recognize most of the basic colors
4. count to 10
5. recognize the basic shapes
6. hold a crayon or pencil correctly (or at least close to correctly)
7. put on their shoes (I'll do the tying for a while.)
8. go to the bathroom by themselves
9. know the difference between snack and lunch (Sandwiches are lunch. Goldfish crackers are snack.)
10. sit still for at least 15 seconds

*If they don't know these things I can teach them. It'd just be nice if I didn't have to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wednesday WORD

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Proverbs 4:6-7

Monday, September 05, 2011


The classroom is ready. Name tags placed. Posters up. Desk cleaned. Door decorated. Papers torn out. Lesson plans memorized. Everything is ready. Except for the teacher. She wants one more week of summer. Just one week when she can lie on the beach or read a book or play with her kids. One more week to enjoy every minute of the sunshine and warmth. Just one more. No? How about one more day? Just one more day to breathe in summer. No? Not even one more day? Okay then. In that case I'm off to make lunches and lay out school clothes for tomorrow. Tomorrow? Are you sure school starts tomorrow?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 new things in my classroom.

1. Paint. Lovely blue and tan walls. Fresh coat of white on the doors. (Thanks, Arrty.)
2. Curtains. I took two panels and made them into four for the two windows in my classroom. (Okay, okay. My mom did it. Thanks, Mom.) (But I helped. Really.)
3. Rug. My friend Marci got a piece of carpet free from a garage sale and thought I might be able to use it. Arrty cut it to fit and it's perfect. (Thanks, Marci.)
4. Swivel rocking chair. I asked at church if anyone had a chair they'd like to donate to my class and I was offered two. One is already there and I'm making arrangements to pick up the other. (Thanks, Sylvia and Jo.)
5. Bookshelf. One that my dad made for me when I was a teenager that has been in the basement of my house. It's absolutely perfect for holding my book baskets. (Thanks, Dad.)
6. A new toy cupboard. Okay, so it's not new. But it looks new because I painted over the hot pink with blue to match the walls. I hated that pink. I called it red, but it didn't fool anybody.
7. Terrarium. A beautiful glass tank with a miniature dessert in it. It was kindly donated by my friend Alyson. (Thanks, Alyson.)
8. Two leopard geckos. To live in the tiny dessert terrarium. They are babies and so we don't know if they are boys or girls yet which is leading to trouble with naming them. I'm also concerned because I've read that two males can't live together when they are grown. I guess we'll see what happens. Any name suggestions? I suggested Samson and Delilah, but Adam vetoed it because Delilah was a "betrayer." Good point.
9. Crowntail Betta. Yes, that makes 3 class pets. Three. I'm a gluten for punishment.
10. Whiteboard. Mine got written on with permanent marker last year and I put up with it for the last half of the school year like that. But now I have a fresh, clean white board...that will have no permanent markers anywhere near it.

Bonus: My attitude. I'm going into this year with a goal to do the very best job I can do teaching my students while all the while remembering this: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord...Colossians 3:23

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wanna see...

the cutest baby in the world? Click here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

North Idaho Fair

There have been years when we have gone to the fair 3 or 4 days of the 5 day event. Before we had kids, Arrty and I would walk every inch of the fairgrounds and eat every meal there for days. Then for a few years we took the boys to motocross on Wednesday and went to the rodeo with the whole family on Friday. This year, like last, we went only on Wednesday mostly because I won free tickets from Dave at Huckleberries. I don't know if we would have gone if not for those tickets. (Thanks again, Dave.)

It was hot Wednesday, so the kids and I didn't get there until around 3:00. We walked through all the barns and saw the animals. Of course Julianna loved them all, especially if they were "babies." The boys even held some little rubber boa snakes in the Fish and Game building. Around 4:30 we headed over to the grandstand to watch the motocross heats. It was in the shade, so it was bearable. Arrty met us there shortly after. Between 5:30 and 6:00 we decided to eat before the actual motocross races started. Arrty and the boys got ribs, which is a yearly tradition and has been for my dear husband since he was a teenager in 4-H. He's very sweet to share his ribs with the boys these days. I even ate one even though I don't usually like meat with bones. I headed over to the food court to get fish and chips, my yearly fair meal. But there were no fish and chips! That booth has chicken this year. So I got nachos. I know. That makes no sense since I wanted fish, but that's what happened. We also all ate Hawaiian Shaved Ice which is a glorified snow cone but soooo much better. I had blackberry and strawberry. Mmmmm. After we all washed the rib grease off our fingers, we walked back over and found seats for the motocross.

You know, if you've ever gone to a county fair, that it's a great place to people watch. My dad taught me to people watch a long, long time ago and I enjoy that as much as whatever event I'm attending. This year was a little different though. These four teenagers sat down in front of us, two boys and two girls. I noticed one girl right away because when she brushed her hair to the side she had a four leaf clover tattoo on the back of her neck. I have no body art, but find others' body art fascinating. A four leaf clover is a cool tattoo if you ask this Irish girl. Then I noticed that the other girl had tattoos, too. Her right arm was covered from the elbow to the wrist and her left arm had some writing that wrapped around right above her wrist. Now body art (and piercings, which they also had) is not the least bit surprising these days, but what surprised me was how young these girls looked. They were maybe 17. I didn't notice any tattoos on the boys. One looked about the same age as the girls and the other looked younger, like maybe 14 or so. He was sitting next to the girl with arm tattoos and I thought, "Oh, that's nice. She brought her little brother to the fair with her." Soon after I could tell that the girls were going to get snacks or drinks and asked the boys if they wanted anything. They didn't. Then tattoo-arms leaned over and kissed her "brother" right on the lips! Not in a brotherly way! What?!?!? He's a kid! She's way older than him! And pierced and tattooed so young! First of all, he was way too young to be kissing on girls like that. Secondly, he was way to young to be on a date. Thirdly, she looked way to "worldly" for him with his baseball cap and baby face. I was disturbed. Highly disturbed. I was so distracted by this "couple" that I hardly saw any motocross racing. After I got over my shock and the almost irresistible urge to move down to sit between them, I got down to figuring it out. So here's what I determined.

1. He must be older than he looks. Maybe he's 16 and just looks like he should still be with his mama at the fair.
2. She must be younger than she looks. Maybe she just turned 17 and looks older because of her mature haircut and body art.
3. Their tattoos are temporary. I came to this conclusion when I saw the one covering the inner arm of the boy. There are booths at the fair that sell temporary tattoos and these were all black and white and pretty simple. Yes, temporary. Phew.*
4. They are nice kids. Other than that original kiss and a little hand holding, there was no other public displays of affection. And they did seem nice to each other and their other friends who came and went over the few hours I studied them.
5. They go to church. Her tattoo said "Psalms 23."** And his said "familia." (Not that only church goers find family important enough to get a tattoo expressing that. Just my thinking at the time.)
6. I was maybe a little sensitive about the whole thing since the boy involved looked just a little older than Josh. Just a little. And here he was with a girl. By himself. Kissing. Yikes. Just Yikes.

So I left feeling like the situation was maybe okay. I didn't have to rescue that boy and take him to the "lost child" booth. He would make it home safe and sound and not too kissed up on and be able to wash off that tattoo. Here's hoping.

*Just to reiterate. I have no problem with body art...on adults. If you make a mature decision to ink yourself permanently that's completely okay with me. Just wait until you're old enough to make that important decision. I'm 39 and still haven't made such a decision. But my 40th birthday is coming up...
**Shouldn't it be Psalm 23? No "s." Just asking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My daughter has decided that she's a cat. At least for part of the day she meows everything. "Meow meow meow meow meow?" Which translates to, "Can I have some juice." (And yes, I can translate cat.) Last night she even made me be a cat. Have you ever sung Row, Row, Row Your Boat in meows? I have. How about the ABCs? I have.

But here's the thing about Julianna. She is so adorable that no matter what language she speaks or what she asks me to do, I have to oblige. Maybe it's because her little face can make me melt in a second or maybe it's that I'm an older mom this time around and so understand that I only have a short time to meow with her. But either way I let her meow. And I pretend to understand every word. And I even meow back. Am I crazy? Absolutely. But it has nothing to do with meowing. The meowing isn't the least bit crazy to a mommy in love with her kids.

How many of you are now meowing Row, Row, Row Your Boat? I know you are. Admit it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blessed Sunday

So, so, so many blessings to count today.

1. My sweet husband has spent two whole days helping me prep and paint my classroom walls. And he does such a good job. Way better than I would have done by myself. And now he is planning to paint the ceiling, too! How great is he?!

2. The boys are back from camp. Phew. We all made it through the week in one piece. They came back with stories to tell and memories made. (And one of them came back wearing "friendship" bracelets given to him by girls. Guess which one.)

3. I spent a whole week with my darling daughter. We played and talked and went to the beach. It was truly a blessing. She is something else, I tell ya.

4. Thursday was my last day of summer school. So that means I have two weeks off to enjoy the sunshine. (Well, except for the few days I have to go to school to get my room ready for the new school year.)

5. My boys are going to have the teacher they wanted next year. The one who goes on field trips. The one who doesn't lecture. The one who they've both had before. The one who happens to be my friend.

6. We are getting a new family member this week. My new nephew's birthday is Friday. I can hardly wait! My sister grows really cute babies. I just wonder if he has any hair? :)

7. We are having lunch at my parent's house today and celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday. He's chosen salmon for his birthday meal. And if you have ever tasted my dad's grilled salmon, you know it'll be like it's all our birthdays!

8. It's Sunday! May you be blessed today, too!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Call

Josh called me yesterday from camp. I had been waiting since Sunday to receive "the call." You know. The one where he says, "Mom, come and get me. I miss you so much I can't stand it. I can't eat or sleep or have any fun because you're not here. Please rescue me." And yesterday evening the call came in. Only it went a little something like this:

Me: Hello.
Josh: Hi, Mom.
Me: Hi, Josh! How are you?
Josh: Great! Sorry I didn't call you sooner. I was going to call you yesterday after breakfast but I forgot. Sorry.
Me: That's okay. Are you having fun?
Josh: Yeah! Lots! I know all the counselors and junior counselors already and there's lots of fun activities. And we don't even need canteen money because they give us snacks and pop everyday at free time. And the food is really good.
Me: How's your brother doing?
Josh: Good. He's out playing basketball right now. He's in a cabin with Nate and Jacob and Grant. He's having fun, too.
Me: So, are you ready for me to come up and get you?
Josh: Ummm, no.
Me: Are you staying warm at night? Did you take enough clothes?
Josh: Oh, yeah. I'm fine.
Me: Okay. So you're sure you don't want me to come get you?
Josh: Yep, I'm sure.

You can't blame me for trying.

After a few more assurances and "I love yous" and "byes" we hung up. I was smiling. Even though half my heart is 3 hours away. My boys are growing and making memories. For 10 and almost 12 years they've been doing that with me. Now it's time for them to do it without me sometimes. But just sometimes...a very limited sometimes. Because little do they know that when they get back on Saturday they will not be allowed out of my sight for at least a month...maybe two.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What goes around...

When I was a kid and was about to go somewhere overnight with school or church, my dad would offer me $3.00 or a trip to Dairy Queen or both to stay home. I'm pretty sure I never took him up on it. I went on the trip. And I had fun and learned and grew. And rarely thought about mom and dad at home.

So today when the boys were getting ready to head off to camp for a week, I offered them $10.00 or a trip to Outback or both to stay home. (I had to take into account inflation since 1987.) They didn't take me up on my offer. So they got into the church van, waved goodbye, gave me the "I love you" sign, and left me for a week. And I know they will have fun and learn and grow. And rarely think of their mom at home. Even if I am thinking of them every minute.

Friday, August 12, 2011


That's it. Just TGIF.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 numbers.

1. 10+--the number of hours I've worked every day this week
2. 12+--the number of children I have cared for each day
3. 3--the number of children I wanted to be caring for each day
4. 4--the number of hours I've spent outside each day on the playground
5. 27--the number of times I've closed my eyes and smiled at the sun
6. 3--the number of neighborhood hooligans I had to chase off our playground today after they set off firecrackers in the covered slide
7. 7--the number of Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music...which would seem really random if I didn't also mention that I am going to summer theater tonight and the show is The Sound of music
8. 6--the number of lists I've made today
9. 15--the number of days until I meet my new nephew
10. 3--the number of days I have left to work this summer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The strangest thing happened this morning. I went into Josh and Adam's bedroom to wake up my little boys and two half grown men had taken their place.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Dear Teenage Girls at the Movie Theater Last Night,

You are adorable with your trendy clothes, ponytails, and smooth skin. I'm glad that you enjoyed the movie even if you did figure out that she was his daughter early on. I'm sorry that the movie theater girl had to tell you to put your feet down off the seats in front of you.

But why, for all things holy, did you not wash your hands after you went to the bathroom?!!?? You look like smart girls. I'm sure you have mothers at home who love you. And I'm sure those same mothers taught you to wash your hands after you pee. But you didn't. Really?! You stood in front of the mirror to fix your hair and check your lip gloss. Would it have been so hard to turn on the water and rinse your hands? It kind of grossed me out and when I heard you say that your "next plans" were to go eat, I think I gagged a little.

Girls, please, please, make it a habit to wash your hands after using the bathroom. Because I'm pretty sure the boys you no doubt went looking for last night would be grossed out too if they knew you didn't wash your hands.

Concerned and Disgusted Fellow Movie Goer

Thursday, August 04, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things about August.

1. It's here. Why does summer get shorter and shorter every year?
2. It's busy. Our calendar has very few empty boxes.
3. They boys will be going to camp. For a week. Without me.
4. Our last summer theater show is the 11th. It's The Sound of Music. I can hardly wait. And since I'm in charge of the tickets, I'm putting myself next to Katrina because I know she'll sing along and that means I can, too.
5. The county fair starts the 24th. We like to go at least one day although we mostly boycotted last year because they were allowing beer all over the fair grounds instead of limiting it to one area. And it's soooo crowded these days. We'll see what we decide to do this year.
6. We will have a new member of the family. My new nephew who I can't wait to meet will be born in a few short weeks. Well, short for me, not for his mommy. He will raise our family dinner attendance to an even dozen.
7. We just finished Bible Sports Camp at church. I came to the realization while chasing 23 four year olds around and trying to get them to sit still for 5 seconds that I am a willing servant, but not a cheerful servant. I have to work on that.
8. I took the kids to the beach for the first time this year yesterday. They had so much fun and despite the sunburn on my right shoulder, so did I. I hope we can fit in a few more beach days this month. (Apparently spray sunscreen only works where you actually spray it.)
9. There are still a few things left on our "summer to do" list. The ones we hope to get to are garnet digging, a Spokane Indians baseball game, and at least one outdoor concert (for me).
10. The last week of August will be time to get ready for school. Do not remind me that we only have 32 days left of summer.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

That's Me

I'm a lot of things...wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, Christian, and more. But of all these things, one of them I am reminded of more than any other. Mom. Because at least a million times a day I hear the word. "Mom, I can't find socks/ipod/baseball glove." "Mom, what's for breakfast/lunch/dinner?" "Mom, where's my puppy/kitty/baby/book?" "Mom, I'm hungry/thirsty/hot." "Mom, can I watch tv/play video games/have a popsicle?" "Mom, he hit/poked/looked at me!" "Mom, can we go to McDonald's/the park/Pappy's house?" "Mom, do I really have to clean my room/brush my teeth/take a bath/ go to bed?" And on and on and on it goes. Some days I really don't want to even hear the word again. I want to say, "Ask your dad." Or, "Don't even think about asking me one more question today." But I don't. I answer the question or find the puppy or start supper. Because I am, 100 percent, totally and completely Mom.

Last night, after being asleep for a few hours, I heard over the monitor a sleepy, little "Mommy." I know to wait a minute because it's probably just sleep talk. And it was. But lying there awake and having heard that word again, I decided to take it and put it in a little box in my mind. A little box that I can pull out one of these days when I have a day where no one calls me Mom because my children are not living under my roof or dependant on me for all those little things. That day is a long way off since I still have a preschooler at home. But I also have an almost 12 year old, so I know all too well how fast the years fly by. That day will come. And I'll miss these days.

So today, after being called on a million times, I will smile and put the million and first one in my "Mom" box. And save it for a day when I need to hear it once again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things I've seen on the playground this week.

1. Spongebob Squarepants game where the kids chose the characters they wanted to be and then chased each other around the play equipment inexplicably.
2. An argument over who was going to be the abominable snowman.
3. Campfire building lessons with everything but the actual fire.
4. Bug catching...grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, butterflies...
5. Scooter riding. Except for Julianna who rides a "cooter."
6. Lots of little bare feet. And even though it's totally against school rules to run around barefooted, I'm letting them. It's summer. I run around barefooted, too.
7. My daredevil daughter climbing everything in sight including playground ladders, up the slide, and monkey bars.
8. A rhino/squid. The big brother said the little brother was a squid while the little brother insisted he was a rhino. I voted for rhino.
9. Human and dragon sacrifices. Pretend of course. I'm still not sure why or to whom they were sacrificing but it was very near the fire building pit as to be more effective.
10. Lots of kids having lots of fun. Yeah for summer!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


After over a week of no posts, rambling seems appropriate.

I've been working some extra days at school. The other teacher is in the process of buying a house and has needed some time for paperwork and packing. Anyone who has ever bought a house knows that it's a full time job getting through that.

Working this summer hasn't been too bad. The kids I care for are well behaved (mostly). My kids get to play with other kids. I have time to work in my classroom. I get paid. Except for the getting up early, it's pretty much win/win.

Although I have had the worry this week that without some time off, completely off, I may get tired of school before next school year is over. Maybe I'll try to get a whole week off before September.

Yesterday Julianna was wearing a little skirt/shirt outfit. Adam asked me if she had shorts under her skirt. When I told him "no," he said, "Mom, that skirt is too short to not have shorts under it." I'm going to be glad to have him around for her teenage years.

Josh went on a youth group outing on Monday. Swimming at the lake house of a couple from church. He had a great time. Loved it, as a matter of fact. I was excited for him to get to go and actually encouraged him to. Until about halfway through the day when I realized that my almost 12 year old was way, way, way too big. And growing up right before my eyes without me having a thing to do to prevent it.

I got to spend some time with my sweet sister yesterday afternoon. The busyness of life doesn't allow for nearly enough of those times for us. She is pretty amazing. Right now she is growing my new nephew and being a real trooper about being pregnant all summer. And her kids are such good friends to mine. I love that all the cousins adore each other. The boys play like boys and have such a great time together. And the girls...well, they are the cutest thing ever when they get together. The days when we went swimming together are gone. But now are the days when we watch our kids do the same thing. I couldn't help but smile when Aidan was showing me his handstand in the water...just like his mommy did all those summers ago.

And speaking of swimming, Julianna didn't have a swimsuit to swim in the pool in my sister's backyard so I let her go in her underwear and tank top. Which worked out fine, until her unders got wet and she decided to go without. Ummm...yeah. Let's not run around half naked.

The rest of today will be spent cleaning my house. Well, that and playing with the kids. And maybe a short nap. And the watching of So You Think You Can Dance. And starting a new book. Okay, so I'm going to spend 15 minutes cleaning. It is summer vacation after all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blessed Sunday

If you know me at all or have read my blog for even a little while, you know that I adore my children. They are a great blessing and one I have counted for Blessed Sunday on several occasions. For almost nine years I only had boys. And I love having boys. I don't mind at all the noise and dirt and bugs. I've even gotten used to Hot Wheels and Legos in every corner of the house. I was thrilled to be the mommy of boys and boys alone. Boys are energetic and curious and absolutely made of all kinds of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. And my boys make me so happy with their distinct personalities and quirks. Josh is smart and sensitive and is becoming a great companion in all kinds of activities. Adam is silly and thoughtful and completely hilarious and fun. They are amazing in so many ways and certainly a blessing.

And after all those years of mommying boys, I was frankly a little apprehensive about having a girl. What in the world was I going to do with a girl? I am not a girly girl. What if my daughter was? I didn't know how to put in a decent ponytail and hadn't painted a nail in more years than I could remember. Dresses and bows and tights and sparkles? Really? But of course I fell in love with my daughter before she was even born and all those concerns melted away. And on the day she was born, I knew she was something special. I told Arrty as we were contemplating her name on the day she was born, "Julianna is quite a name. It's going to take quite a girl to fit a name like that." But I knew looking into her tiny, sweet face that this little girl was going to be quite a girl. And she is. She is smart and funny and observant and just a little bit stubborn. She is, in fact, a girly girl. She wants to wear at least some pink every day and has very specific footwear and hair accessory requests. Which I do my best to fulfill. She loves her babies and stuffed animals and wants at least a million in bed with her every night. She loves to be outside and is curious about the world around her. She can't stay away from animals and hugs and often kisses any that will allow it. And she pretends. My boys never were much of pretenders. But Miss Julianna pretends all the time. To cook, to feed her babies, to be a cat or dog or frog, to be a princess or a mommy or a photographer. It's fun and fascinating to watch and sometimes she even lets me play along. Mommying Jules is so very different than mommying the boys. And I love it.

This difference was apparent once more yesterday. I was lying on my bed reading and she was in and out of the room playing and talking and climbing all over me. After a while she discovered a storage box sitting in front of my dresser and asked if she could stand on it. When I told her she could, she climbed up and immediately spotted my jewelry box. She then asked me if she could look in it. Now when I say jewelry box, you should know that I don't wear jewelry and therefore the box contains a bunch of stuff I've collected or been given over the years that pretty much only has sentimental value. So I told her that she could look in it. The girl spent a good hour looking at and trying on all the rings, necklaces, and bracelets. She whispered to herself and sat down and climbed up a hundred times enjoying her play. I spent more time watching her than reading and was amazed once again at this little girl that God has loaned me. Julianna Grace is a blessing. And having a daughter is a blessing. A blessed abundance of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 summery things I love.

1. Watermelon
2. Long days
3. Sunshine
4. Popsicles
5. Green grass
6. Butterflies
7. Sandals
8. Freedom
9. Sundresses
10. Porch sitting

Bonus: Lightning bugs. Even though we don't have them here.

Monday, July 11, 2011


If you are wondering about my math skills after seeing that title, don't worry, it will all make perfect sense soon.

You see, 19 years ago, on 7/11/1992, I got married. I was 20 years old. He was 21. We had known each other since I was in 5th grade and he was in 6th. We had been dating for 3 1/2 years not counting the middle school crush and silliness. We were both in college. We both lived at home. We were oh so young. And oh so in love. So on that 11th day of July with the sun shining and me in my JC Penney wedding dress, we said, "I do." And have been saying the same thing every day for the last 19 years.

We have been through the poorer more than the richer and our fair share of sickness. But the better has still outweighed the worse by a long shot. We have grown up together. Not just our shared childhood, but since we've been married. At 20 years old I felt plenty old enough to get married, but now when I think back I was still so very young. We were both in college and working close to full time. It was a busy time and a wonderful time. For 7 1/2 years it was just the two of us. Frankly it's hard to remember, or even imagine, those years before kids. It's all kind of a blur of growing and learning and becoming a wife. And being happy. Almost as happy as I am after 19 years.

And if I had to do it all over again, I would still walk down that aisle and say, "I do." I would hold his hand and know that he was my lobster. I would smile knowing what was to come for us. I would kiss him longer and not worry about what the old people thought. I would enjoy every second because I would know that that day was just the beginning of something wonderful.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things you could find at our 7th annual 4th of July party:

1. Some of my favorite ladies sitting in the shade, drinking Diet Coke (or water or tea), visiting, and laughing.

2. Video games. Josh and Adam really hit it off with the exchange students from China who joined in our celebration. It was great fun having them there. Even if we had to communicate using sign language. And even though they put watermelon on their hamburgers.

3. Horseshoes. What's the 4th of July without horseshoes? Luckily we didn't have to find out.

4. Cotton candy. Warren and Lynn brought George's cotton candy machine and made all the kids (and some of the adults) very happy.

5. Happy kids. Happy, sticky kids.

6. Friends. Julianna loved playing with Katie. They bonded over cotton candy and bug boxes.

7. Did I mention sticky kids?

8. Kim. One of those "favorite ladies" I mentioned who was especially happy about the appearance of cotton candy.

9. Smiles. This is just one of the many smiles I saw that day. It was a good day.

10. Fireworks. Julianna had a love/hate relationship with the fireworks this year. She loved to see them, but hated the loud noises. She was thrilled to see her three favorite colors: pink, purple, and green. And she especially liked the "sfarkly" ones.