Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things about Chuck E. Cheese.

1. It is a perfect reward for potty training. Jules has been saying for days, "Chuck E. Cheese, here we come!" every time she went to the bathroom. They even have a "potty perfect" calendar on the website that can help you keep track of success. And the "perfect pottier" gets 10 free tokens once it's filled in.
2. Julianna loves the games and rides. And it's great because each costs one token. No worrying about her not knowing how many tokens to put in.
3. The boys still like to go. There are plenty of games to keep them entertained for a few hours, too.
4. Chuck E. is scary. Not to me. I know he's just some kid in a giant mouse costume. But Julianna doesn't want to get "too close." At least she doesn't still hide in the seat behind me every time he's near.
5. The food's not bad. It's not gourmet pizza by any means, but it's edible. And the salad bar is pretty good.
6. They changed from Coke to Pepsi products. Which doesn't really matter to me. I'll drink either. But some people I know are not happy about the change. Not happy at all.
7. Sam rocks. Sam is the octogenarian owner of the two Chuck E. Cheese's franchises in Spokane. He's there almost every time we are and walks around and talks to as many customers as he can. He really wants everyone to be happy and have fun.
8. This is not allowed. Who would have thought that the sweet, little girl would be the one to get us into trouble? (And yes, I took pictures before I got her down.)
9. Some kids are just not as well mannered as ours. It takes one mean mother to put some kids in their place. (I was not that mean mother, by the way.)
10. It's a great place to take pictures.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blessed Sunday

1. Living in a place and time where my children can be taken care of.
2. Answered prayers.
3. Tylenol with codeine.
4. Oregon chai, warm blanket, good book.
5. Spring break...even though it's snowing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things about potty training.

1. I've done it three times.
2. Each time was very different.
3. It's not easy or fun.
4. It's the first thing parents have to actually teach their children. Eating, rolling, crawling, walking, talking all seem to come naturally. Pottying in the potty? Not so much.
5. M-n-Ms are as valuable as gold. As are stickers with Jules. And the promise of Chuck E. Cheese's.
6. It is a challenge at home.
7. And even more of a challenge at school while trying to teach kindergarten.
8. It's kind of weird that bathroom habits can make me so happy. ("Are you happy that I went in the potty, Mommy?" "Oh my goodness, Julianna, I am so, so, so happy.")
9. I will never have to potty train another child. Never. Ever.
10. Julianna is potty trained. (I have to say that quietly so I don't jinx it.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blessed Sunday

I can think of 100 things that have been a blessing to me this week. Probably more. But the blessings themselves, although wonderful, aren't what I'm feeling the most blessed by today. What I feel most blessed by is that I can see those blessings. And be grateful for them. I can know from whom they come and raise my voice in praise. I can look forward to tomorrow knowing that I will continue to be blessed. Some days I'm reminded of the dark days in my life and it makes me oh so grateful to be out of them. In those dark days I felt surrounded by thick, impenetrable darkness. The kind I remember from my childhood when we visited my grandparents in the hills of West Virginia and when the lights went out, I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. There were no street lights or neighborhood lights. Even the moon was obscured by the hills surrounding the house. It was so very dark. That's how those days felt. I couldn't see anything, not even right in front of my eyes. I was blinded by pain and depression and fear. But today the sun is shining and I can look around and see everything. I no longer have those blinders on. Praise God! So today I am blessed...just by knowing how blessed I truly am.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Overheard in Kindergarten

Teacher, I'm going to find a rainbow and go to the end of it and find the pot of gold and then catch a leprechaun with my net...Just kidding. I don't have a net.

If you like my DS so much, you should lose some teeth so you can buy one.

I used to be a ninja.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things about St. Patrick's Day.

1. It's an Irish holiday...and I am a Flanagan after all.

2. I get to wear green...but I don't own many green items of clothing.

3. There's traditional food...and I have corned beef and cabbage cooking in the crock pot.

4. The traditional St. Patrick's Day color used to be blue...I have plenty of blue in my closet.

5. There's pinching...but there better not be any in kindergarten.

6. St. Patrick taught Christianity...and chased all the snakes out of Ireland.

7. St. Patrick was born in 387...and died on March 17, 461.

8. St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the pre-Christian Irish...each leaf stood for one part of the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

9. At least a few of my students will forget to wear green...and I will have to dig out my shamrock stickers to put on their shirts for them.

10. I want to visit Ireland someday...and pick real Irish shamrocks.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Isaiah 26:3 (various translations)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

The LORD gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Josh all of a sudden thinks he's 16. He's decided that he's no longer a child...he's a preteen. Well, the preteens in my house get treated like children. Because THEY ARE.

Adam got punched in the face at school a few weeks ago. His black eye is just about gone. I'm glad, because every time I saw my baby's bruised face, I got mad all over again. By the way, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. He didn't deserve it.

Julianna loves to grab my hands and dance around the kitchen. The other day she declared, "Mommy, you're my dancer." To which I replied, "You're my dancer, too." And she is. Always has been. It took me three kids, but I finally got one who will dance with me.

I went to the Grease sing-a-long over the weekend with some of my favorite people. We sang. We danced. We laughed. And we all wished we were brave enough to dress like "Bad Sandy."

Our school auction was a big success. We made over $18,000 which is well over our goal of $12,000. Special thanks to all who supported our school at the auction and who do so throughout the year. I did my part, too. I spent $36.

At the beginning of the year, my afternoon class consisted of 4 of my kindergarten girls. Piece of cake. I actually felt a little guilty since it was going to be so easy. Well, I no longer feel guilty. Today I had 10 in my afternoon class. My 4 girls...and six 3 and 4 year old boys. At least they are all potty trained. Well, mostly.

I don't like the time change. The kids can't go to sleep when they should and therefore can't get up in the morning. It has thrown everybody into some kind of jet-lag like state. I'm sure it won't last long. Probably only 6 months or so...just in time for the next time change.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things for sale at our school auction tomorrow night.

1. 4 Disneyland/California Adventure day passes + 2 night stay at Red Lion
2. $1500 landscaping package
3. snowmobile trailer
4. 42" plasma screen tv
5. Wii
6. several large baskets (gardening, road trip, family fun, fishing, cowboy cookout...)
7. over 100 small packages on silent auction (collectibles, restaurant gift cards, toys, tools, books...)
8. Silverwood tickets
9. a raft
10. dozens of yummy, homemade baked goods

Come join the fun and support a great cause.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Jeremiah 29:11 (various versions)

I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in the end.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Two For Tuesday

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience." Teilhard de Chardin

"Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them." Albert Schweitzer

Monday, March 07, 2011

Birthday Guilt

I'm feeling a little guilty. I really didn't mean for last week's 10 things Thursday to be a birthday shopping list for my family and friends. Really. I didn't. It was just for fun. Really. But it turns out that from my mom I got a wooden bowl, new dish towels, and a gift card to Applebee's. And from my sister and her family I got music (Glee Season 1 cd), a movie (Becoming Jane), and a book (Water For Elephants). Then today, a family friend showed up at school with a Dutch Bros. gift card. So I'm feeling a little guilty and embarrassed. I guess I should be more careful with my lists. But thanks everyone for the gifts. It's just what I wanted! :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Blessed Sunday

On Friday I was blessed to have yet another great birthday. First thing in the morning the kids and Arrty all gave me the sweetest cards that they picked out themselves. And they gave me movies that they also picked out. So I got Flushed Away from Josh, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium from Adam, Scooby Doo from Julianna, and The Neverending Story from Arrty. Since one of our favorite family activities is watching movies, it was kind of perfect. Then on the way to school I stopped at Dutch Bros. to get my free birthday drink (large chai latte, of course). At school the kids were all excited about my birthday and sang to me off and on throughout the day including the whole school singing during chapel. Kids love birthdays no matter whose it is. One of my student's moms even went home after dropping her daughter off at school and made cupcakes for the class when she found out it was my birthday. How sweet was that? After school my family took me out to dinner. I picked Texas Roadhouse. I had pulled pork and bbq chicken. It was yummy. And yummy again last night when I ate the other half. After dinner I went to Borders and wandered around looking at all the books that I want to read, and bought myself the new Mark Twain autobiography. It's huge! I should have picked it up last instead of first so I didn't have to carry it around the whole store. Then I made a quick stop by my parents' house because I couldn't not see them on my birthday. They did make it all possible after all. When I got home we watched one of my new movies and laughed and ate popcorn. Then I read 'til way too late because I couldn't put my book down (Catching Fire). It was a good day. I smiled a lot and felt blessed to share my day with all those in my life. Here's to many, many more of those special days.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

And so it begins...

Today I begin my 40th year of life. And I'm totally okay with it. Do I feel 39 going on 40? No. Does is seem all that old? Not today. But what I do feel is determination. Here's why. Throughout my house you will find several journals that have entries from years past. Mostly only the first few pages are written on because frankly I'm not that good at journaling. I start out strong at the beginning of any given year, but by mid-January my entries are sporadic at best and pretty much non-existent after that. But the thing that gets to me when I read any of them is that every year that I began journaling, whether I was 20 or 28 or 35, I have the same goals. Goals that haven't been reached. Really? I've had the same goals for the past 20 years and can't get past them? The good thing, I guess, is that they must be good goals if they are still important to me after all this time. But it's so discouraging to see that I haven't achieved them and moved on. Here's what they are.

Be healthy. Eat better, exercise, lose weight. I know what to do and even how to do it. But it's so hard. And it's so easy to make excuses. But the fact of the matter is that it's no longer just me who needs to be healthy. It's my family. And because of my neglect we are not as healthy as we should be. That's gotta change. Now. So by my 40th birthday, my family will be healthier. We will be stronger and lighter and more able to enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Be closer to God. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Rely on him more. This is the one that has actually changed the most. I have, over the years, grown closer to God. I do pray more and rely on him more. And even though I have read the whole Bible a few times, I don't do it everyday like I know I should. And again it all comes back to my family. At the beginning of the year I started reading my Bible that is broken down into days so that by the end of the year I would read the whole thing. When Adam saw me reading it one evening, he said, "Mom, are you reading the Bible?" When I said yes, he said, "Cool." And I realized that he may have never seen me reading it before. He'd seen me reading hundreds of other books, but he was genuinely surprised to see me reading my Bible. When I do occasionally read it, it's early in the morning or before bed. Not when the kids are up. I need them to know that it's important to me to immerse myself in God's word. Lead by example. By my 40th birthday, I want to once again read through the whole Bible. And let my kids see me do it.

Get my house in order. This has to do with clutter, having time to clean, and getting rid of things we don't need. I struggle with this because there's just so much stuff. It seems like I can't get rid of enough stuff to make a big difference. Not to mention that I live with at least 3 collectors. It feels like we are outgrowing our house. And that there's not enough hours in the day to take care of all the stuff the way it needs to be taken care of. So by my 40th birthday, I will downsize, simplify, and make new habits that include delegating chores.

Be financially stable. Sigh. This is a hard one. The last few years have put us further behind than ever. Dang economy and unemployment. I've always been bad at budgeting, but now it's more important than ever. And we might have to make some changes that we've been reluctant to make in the past. But one way or another, by my 40th birthday, I will at least feel like we're moving ahead in this area.

Write. In my heart, I am a writer. My head is so full of things I want to get on paper. Last night I was wandering through Borders and ran my hand along one of the shelves of books. And it hit me that if all these people can do it, why can't I? I have this great book in my head, several really. And I even have a few started. So by my 40th birthday, I will submit 12 articles to magazines and at least one children's book to publishers.

Easy, right? Piece of cake. But it must be done. I want to begin my 2nd 40 years with a whole new set of goals after having reached all of these. They've been on my list long enough. It's time they get done and make room for others. So today I begin a journey. A long, hard journey, but one that must be made. One that I am both excited and nervous about. One that I know, in the end, will make me a better person for having taken it.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Show and Tell

"These are my spy goggles and they're very special and I got it for Christmas and that's it."

A doll from the Bahamas that grandma brought K. back from a trip. (Very cute fabric doll with brown skin and braids. Today's cutest show and tell.)

"This is my Barbie and "Mike." She's very special and she's really special and they do this (wildly shakes poor Barbie upside down). And I love them very much."* (Histories most adorable show and teller.)

Lego house that was just built during free time. And believe it or not, "It's very special."

Glass ornament from China where the picture is painted on the inside of the glass ball through a tiny whole in the bottom. (Today's coolest show and tell.)

A white teddy bear holding a red heart that A. got from her mom for Valentine's Day.

"This is my soccer trophy and it's very special and I like it very much and it has a gold star on it and soccer things on the middle and I won it from soccer since I was the best."

Mummy Match game where "you roll the dice once you set it up then you put all the cards upside down and you flip them up and if you see the same letter and it's the same color you get to roll the dice."

Cell phone that's "dead" from M.'s big sister "and you can call people and text people. I can read a lot, like a thousand times a whole book. Like 10 books with 11 pages. And I like my phone a lot and I wish I had a real one so I could call someone. And that's it."

*This was Julianna's first show and tell. And yes, she calls Ken "Mike." Not sure why. Can you tell that she learned how to "show and tell" from kindergartners?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things that would make perfect gifts for me. (This post is in no way related to the fact that tomorrow is my birthday...okay maybe it's a little related.)

1. Books. I love books. The one I really want but haven't splurged for yet is the new Mark Twain autobiography.
2. Movies. I also love movies and our family has a pretty good collection. I am starting to collect the "girl" Disney movies now for Jules.
3. Movie tickets. One of my favorite things to do with others or by myself is go to the movies. But I rarely do anymore because it costs a week's wages to take the whole family. And it's hard to get away by myself.
4. Restaurant gift cards. Who doesn't like a night off from cooking? I know I do.
5. Music. Cds. Itunes. 8 tracks. Okay, so maybe not 8 tracks. (Although if you have some, I think my dad still has a player somewhere.)
6. Dish towels. The ones I've been using are finally wearing out. I might have to break down and buy some for myself.
7. Chai latte. Mmmm.
8. Poetry. Written by the giver.
9. Wooden bowl. We were at a friend's house for dinner a few weeks ago and she had such a cool wooden bowl for her salad. I liked it a lot and thought about sneaking it out of the house in my diaper bag. (Not really. Who do you think I am?)
10. Time. Time with you. Time with my family. Time with a good book and chai latte. Time by myself. Anyone know where I can get some?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


On Monday nights we have a Bible study at our house. Last night's topic was compassion. One of the questions was, "What are some specific acts of compassion you've seen recently?" Things like helping with disaster relief, working with the homeless in our community, and giving to the needy were mentioned. But the one I thought of was adoption. We have several families in our school and church who have adopted children. I am always impressed by their compassion and dedication. They work hard to adopt. Tons of paperwork, lots of fundraising, and years of planning and waiting. All to bring a child home. And all because of the compassion they feel for the children in our world who have no one to call their own.

Over the past few years I have begun to feel that compassion more and more strongly. It breaks my heart to think of children who don't have a mommy to hold them and love them and tuck them in at night. Who go to sleep hungry or cold or afraid. And, oh, how it makes me grateful every single day that my children are warm, safe, fed, and loved. So, so grateful. I've always thought that maybe God has in his plan for us to add to our family through adoption. Maybe he still will. Who knows? What we do now, though, is sponsor two children through World Vision and donate to Lifeline Of Hope. Compassion leads us to do those things. And compassion will continue to lead me to pray for all those small, nameless faces in the world who need an extra blessing today.