Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eyes in the back of my head

Six-year old B said to me, recently, "Mom, those eyes in the back of your head are really starting to freak me out. Everytime I go in a room and do something I'm not supposed to do, you always know about it!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deep thoughts from me and the kids

My grandma passed away today, nearly two weeks after experiencing a stroke in her brain stem. What seemed relatively minor when she arrived at the hospital progressed rather rapidly to her not having use of any of her body other than her head, less her ability to speak. Eventually, she couldn't move her head anymore and in the last couple days she mostly slept. Her temperature crept up to 105 from apparently aspirating while she was vomiting after the stroke. Pneumonia is common in this situation, but I don't think it was expected to be a direct result of the stroke, as much as being stuck in a mostly-reclined position. While in hospice-care, there is no treatment for infection. So, at the age of 84, my grandma passed away.

(Last name not published here because it is a public blog. Although followers are few, I have no idea how many readers there are. An occasional hopper does visit, as I frequent many other blogs.)

I won't use this platform right now to preach the gospel or share, in depth, our faith in God and the Bible as truth, but let's just say that we believe it to the core. My children believe and believe they do! It's amazing how profound their faith is, even at the ages of 9 and 6. (My 3 year old has some very neat things to say and questions to ask, but she didn't chime in at all on this. She does, however, have an amazing understanding of the life cycle.)

After my dad called to tell me that grandma had passed away, about 10 minutes went by when A (9) came to me with a huge smile on her face and said with pure joy, "Mom, I bet she's amazed right now at what she sees!" Then she wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly. If you're a believer, you know what she's talking about! I had a brief opportunity to talk to my grandma and pray for her (in her presence) the day after her stroke. A couple days later, there was so much more I wanted to say to her, but she was asleep. I heard God tell me that I said what I should and it was His turn now. He then told me, "Be still. And know that I am God." I know that she was embraced in His arms during her hospital stay and that she is with Him now

I thank you, God, my Father, for meeting each of us right where we are and knowing exactly how to speak to each one of us (even if we don't always listen.)

Later in the day, a neighbor child came to see if the kids could play. I heard A telling her about grandma and figured it was good for her to have friends to talk to about it and help her further process the events of the day. Now, you might have to really know my kids (B)- or any kid on the autism spectrum - to have an appreciation for bluntness. I have no idea if the neighbor girl didn't completely understand what was being said, or why she would ask the question she did, but this is the conversation I heard:

Child A (9): Yeah, so my great-grandma died today. This morning.
Friend: So, where did she go?
Child B (6): Hea-ven! She died. Get it?
{end of conversation}

So, after this emotionally draining day, I was at a loss of energy or ideas for dinner. We decided to go to Ci-Ci's pizza. Because we can feed a family of 5 there for $20. It was that or Taco Bell, the only other place we can keep it at $20 or less. On our way home, we took a route that took us on an off-ramp that goes up to an overpass. B (6) looks out her window and sees that the only thing between her side of the van and the road under the overpass is a little wall. Suddenly, she says very matter-of-fact, "Dad, be careful. The only thing between us and certain death is a tiny wall that isn't that thick. I'm pretty sure it's not that thick!"

She's absolutely right. That wall isn't that thick. The wall between our life here and our eternal life - whether it be a life in heaven or hell. And the wall between heaven and hell - eternal life or eternal death.

Do you know where you will spend eternity?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Water-soluble paint

I'm not a painter. I have very little creative talent. Analytical, yes. Creative, no.

My kitchen had been painted by the previous owners. The wooden cabinets were painted with paint. Not stained to enhance the grain, but painted. I don't agree with painting wood that way, but it was their house at the time and that's what they liked. I can appreciate that. Three years ago I decided to paint over their paint. I would have like to just replace the cabinets, but it was cost prohibitive. In an effort to make the decor a bit more my taste (after 7 years), I bought a color that was different from what it was and put the baby in the backpack and painted the cabinets - right over the paint already on them. I had no idea.

I had no idea that I needed to prep the cabinets. I did wash them, but I didn't know that I needed to "rough it up" somehow to make the paint adhere to the already there paint. (I had mentioned to the hardware store guy what I was doing and he did NOT volunteer any information, which is a bit disappointing.) I painted day after day, coat over coat, sponged some of them and left others a straight coat. With the last couple cabinet doors left under the sink, I let the 2 bigger kids (6 and 3, at the time) paint. They did a great job.

Now the paint has peeled and it looks like yuck. Some of them still look nice, but the ones where food drips or where kids run into them ... well, the paint just peels right off. Sigh. I didn't know. I had NO idea that more needed to be done. I actually have no idea how to prep the surface to re-paint either.

That being said, I openly admit that I know nothing about paint. Well, almost nothing. I mean, there is this thing called water-soluble paint. They are not water-based, but clean up easily with water. So, if you are going to do a craft with the kids or do some painting indoors and want easy clean-up, this may be the paint for you. Just be sure that you are using it on something that won't be getting wet so that your project won't be ruined. Would I use this on my cabinets? No. Because food splatters, drinks spill, and the unexpected is expected to happen. I don't want the paint streaked or dissolved.

However, apparently it's cheaper than more durable paints. And apparently no one in my state's Department of Transportation audits the local municipalities' uses of paint for painting the lines in the road. You know, those lines that separate the lanes? Not only the dotted lines between lanes going the same direction, but also those of turn lanes and the single or double-yellow lines to separate the on-coming traffic. Have you ever driven on a road. in the dark. in the rain. with no lines? It is very difficult to gage where one lane ends and another begins. Especially when the drivers around you are poor at gaging the same thing and the car next to you is way too far away from the curb and that on-coming car is clearly driving down the middle of the road!

What is my point here? That my local village, which has just about no money at all right now, has roads where the lines are completely worn away. When this was brought up for discussion at a local traffic and safety commission meeting (brought up by one of the commissioners, by the way), the village representative stated that the village uses water-soluble paint because it is less expensive than the reflective paint and reflective tape that the village cannot afford. (He went on to say that the road being discussed would be resurfaced next year, so it should get reflective tape at that time, but until then it be without lines) So, what he basically said is that the lines will wash away in the rain fade because of the type of paint and safety will be compromised and nothing will be done about it at this time.

I simply could not believe that it is acceptable in any way to use water-based paint for lane designation on any road.

(I apologize for mis-use of this blog. It is supposed to be representative of the view(s) of my child(ren), while this post is clearly my own. Regardless, I had to get this off my chest.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little girls really do dream of being...

We tuck the girls in to bed when they go to bed, but then I re-tuck them in before I go to bed. As I tucked A in that second time, I pulled the blankets up, and tucked it in around her neck. As I kissed her on the cheek, she snuggled deeper into the blankets and, still completely asleep, asked, "Am I queen yet?"

Then, Friday morning, I was awakened at 7:20 by a very loud, deep, throaty, "ROAR" from C, who sleeps next to my bed. She was still deeply asleep, but I was not anymore.

So, if they don't dream of being a princess or a queen, apparently, they dream of being lions or tigers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Watch this!

Watch the God's Chisel video by The Skit Guys first, then read. I’ll wait. I have all the time in the world. This post isn’t going anywhere.

This post isn’t about the kids. If you were looking for something funny or cute or crazy, then you will not find that here today. This is totally serious and heartfelt. It’s important to me and I’m hoping that this video (below) will be forwarded to others who struggle with human-junk in their walk with The Lord. It hits home and is very easy to understand, but hard to watch. No, it’s not gory or gross. It’s personal. That’s where it hits you – inside.

After watching this video I didn’t sleep very well. I never sleep well when I need to be praying more. God wakes me up and draws me near in the middle of the night. A time when I would rather do nothing else but sleep. It’s hard. I want to pray for sleep. I want to pray for feeling rested. But that’s not what I pray for. I use this time to pray for everyone but myself. Except after watching this video.

But after watching this video, prayed for myself. I apologized to God for not trusting Him. I like control – over my house, my kids, my life. I realized by watching this video that my most prized possessions are my kids and my husband. But they don’t really belong to me. They are merely on loan. Even though two of my three children have been dedicated in church, I considered that more of hubby and me dedicating our lives to raising our children in a Godly manner and to raise them while seeking God’s direction in our parenting. I also considered those baby dedications to be a commitment from church members to lift us up and support us in raising our children. Not so much, did I consider it giving my children up to God and trusting Him with them. I know God loves each of us more than we are capable of loving each other. I don’t doubt that one bit. But I hadn’t realized that every time I yell at one or all of my children, or ignore them because they are bickering and I am tired of listening, or invoke some method of discipline while I am still angry that I am doing that to God’s daughters. Yes, I gave birth to them, but only by the grace of God. He entrusted me with this job and I feel like have been letting him down (even though I never held Him up in the first place.)

So I prayed that God would guide me clearly through this venture. That He will give me more patience – not put me in situations that require more patience and wait for me to seek Him, but for Him to be gracious and generous with the patience He just bestows upon me so I can be a better mother and be a better influence. My children learn from me every day. I am their teacher, but I am also their mother. They are learning how to be a mom from how I treat them. I asked God to please calm the anger in me and help me teach them more love. If someone else treated my children with anything but love, I’d be very upset. I can only imagine how God must cringe at times with my parenting. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children! We do all kinds of fun things together and have a lot of joy. But I am human and I am a sinner. I have said things that are hurtful, just as any parent has. And it is hard not to when a child says mean things to you. But it’s not right to say something hurtful in return. In fact, God tells us to be content in all circumstances. Is saying something hurtful or pretending not to hear a child tell a story being content? Not really. Not at all. At least I hope I’m not content when I react that way!

I prayed a lot and asked for forgiveness for how I’ve treated God’s daughters that He has loaned me. He so generously, and apparently confidently, trusts me to raise them for Him. Now I need to trust Him to lead me through.

If you didn’t watch the video, please do. Really. And please share it with others. As believers we are not only supposed to lift each other up and worship together, we are also supposed to hold each other accountable. This video really hits the personal stuff. How did it affect you?

This song is a wonderful complement to the video skit:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Careful use of Ebay while making Apple Crisp

Because kids say and do cute things and those moments get fewer and farther between as they grow older, I am going back in time to bring you this information. Did you know I have a time machine? It lives in my email folders. This particular folder is named “Ebay Disputes.”

Ebay has been one of my best friends for 9 years now. I love Ebay. Ebay loves me. They send me coupons (really good coupons, but not as good as the ones they send my father-in-law). Ebay has everything. They have new things, old things, useless things, weird things. You name it; most of it can be found on Ebay. I can shop for just about anything without lugging the kids along and without finding things in the cart that I didn’t put in there! Uhm. Yeah. Right. Until October 27, 2006, that is. I was watching a few items that were scheduled to end within the hour and I didn’t want to forget to bid. I had already bought a firefighter costume for Halloween and some other things for the kids. But I didn’t want to miss those other auctions…

I remember it so clearly. We were making Apple Crisp (recipe below). It’s an annual tradition after we go apple picking. Each of the kids has a role in the apple-crisp-making. We all peel. Child B cores/slices. Child A uses a super-sharp knife to cut the slices in half (because we like it that way). Child C piles the slices in the pan. Everyone gets to do something. (OK, if you’ve done the math or thought much about it, you know that Child C was only 10 months old that year. So, she really wasn’t helping much. But she did throw in some apple slices, ate some, and threw in some more. You may also be wondering why on earth I was letting my 6yo use a super-sharp knife??? Yes, she was 6 at the time. A is very responsible. And careful. Using a dull knife is more likely to result in an injury. Then she’d never want to use a knife again! She was taught to place the sharp part of the knife on top of the apple slice, then place her other hand on top of the knife and push down. This way there are no fingers under the knife to accidentally remove! Would I recommend this for all 6yos? Absolutely NOT!)

I guess at one point A got bored and disappeared to the family room. I suspected she was watching tv. Wrong child. She wasn’t watching tv, but I didn’t know that. And she came back out to finish helping, so I didn’t have to go looking for her. After the Apple Crisp was in the oven, I went in to check on the auctions. All the auctions I had already won were already paid. But I noticed that I had 2 auctions awaiting payment. That seemed peculiar, so I refreshed MyEbay, thinking maybe I was looking at a cached page. Nope, I still have 2 auctions awaiting payment. Obviously intrigued, I click through to see what I needed to pay for.


My heart stopped. I had a little, mini heart-attack right there. I might have peed my pants. I know I stopped breathing. How can Ebay think I bought something for eight hundred eleven dollars and eighty-two cents?

Apparently, while I was still making apple crisp, A was looking at the MyEbay page and saw the costume I had bought. She then clicked on it and clicked on the link within that auction to view the sellers other auctions. She saw auctions for:

Star Wars XL DARTH VADER SUPREME Costume *IN STOCK* for $399.99

She clicked the Buy It Now button and then confirmed. For both auctions. Lovely. I felt sick to my stomach. The auction said that non-payers would be reported to Ebay and the credit reporting agencies. I had never seen that in an auction before, but I was freaked out.

I called hubby at work, in tears. I emailed the seller and their email box was full. Messages bounced back. I tried calling them. Their voice mail box was full. Then I looked at their address. The shop is in a town only 15 minutes away (if I were able to hop in the car and go straight there.) OK, it took us about 45 minutes to get the kids out the door and into the van and us over there (and don’t forget the Apple Crisp in the oven!) We kindly explained the situation and A apologized. She was so embarrassed, but I was convinced that she really needed to in order to understand in her 6yo mind how wrong it was for her to use mommy’s computer and click on things without mommy knowing about it. The costume shop people notified Ebay that both the seller and buyer wanted to cancel the transaction. (At the time, I didn't even know you could do that!) We didn’t have to pay $811.82 for adult costumes we didn’t need or want. They didn’t have to pay Ebay fees for A being a little click-happy. Whew.

So, when leaving your computer unattended in the presence of children, don’t stay logged in to any shopping site. I don’t know what I would have done if the business hadn’t been local. Other than cry. A lot.

That Apple Crisp sure was tasty! (But NOT worth $811.82!)

Apple Crisp
Enough apples to slice and scatter all piled up in a 9x13 baking dish (I use 6-8 large)
Honey to drizzle over the apples (1/2 -1 cup if you like honey like I do)
Flour (2 parts) *
Sugar (1 part) *
Butter, melted (1 part) *
Spray olive oil (or any other oil you like)
Cinnamon, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray the oil to coat the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Peel, slice, and core the apples. Scatter and pile them in the baking dish.
4. Drizzle honey over the apples slices, sprinkle with cinnamon (if desired) and toss gently with a spoon.
5. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and melted butter. Stir until moist. Then crumble over the apples.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

* Example: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter OR 3 cups flour, 1½ cups sugar, 1½ cups butter. For however much flour is used, ½ of that same amount would be the measurement for sugar and butter.

(This is NOT my recipe and I do not claim it is. It is a super easy recipe I got from one of my local La Leche League Leaders years ago and I have no idea if it's hers or not. It is, however, delicious and easy!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday!

I didn’t make my kids a smoothie with fresh fruits, organic milk and yogurt, and flax meal, sneaking in spinach, too, and then ask them if we should try adding spinach one of these days. Nope, not me. I wouldn’t ask them if we should do something I already did.

While we weren’t at Kiddie Land this weekend, I didn’t go skyscrapers high with 2 of my kids to go on a raft ride. While up there, I didn’t listen to a tween boy review the two different tubes of the ride, after he’d proclaimed to ride each one at least 30 times. I didn’t then proceed to tell the same tween boy behind us in line that the only reason you can see light partway down in the pitch black tube is because the ride is so old it’s falling apart. Those are the cracks where it’s breaking. That’s why Kiddie Land is closing this year. (I did, however, tell him I was just messing with him when he had a look of horror on his face.)

While shopping at Target the other day, there were 7 carts inside the front door of the store. They were in 3 groups: 2 groups of 2 carts and 1 group of 3 carts. The carts were each stuck to another cart and I couldn’t for the life of me get them separated. With my own 3 kids in tow, plus a neighbor girl, I didn’t load everyone up with a basket and tell them they all get to help carry the groceries. Nope. I wouldn’t make the children all help out and actually carry the groceries. Not me.
To find out what other mom's aren't doing, hop on over to MckMama's blog. She has a great Not Me Monday carnival and it's funny to read about others, be able to be brutally honest, and not feel a bit ton of guilt about it. We are all human and take shortcuts, make fun, and sometimes just get by. It's OK and it's great to share!
Check back Thursday for a [long and amusing, but] simple suggestion about using Ebay and a super easy, very tasty recipe for Apple Crisp!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not a reason to swear

Last night Child C had a little tiny owie in her foot. Just a dot of blood and a lot of tears. We got a baby wipe and, when I started to clean it off, she whispered very emphatically, "Ow, dammit. Dammit." I was a bit startled and just looked at her curiously. Did she just say what I think she did? Has she heard it that much? Well, between hubby working from home and my parenting frustration, I guess she may have heard it more often than I'd like. Wow. My eyes were opened to having to be more cautious verbally.

Then she looked up at me, as I was wiping her foot again, and she said, in that strong whisper, "Dam, Mommy." I told her gently, "Sweetie, you don't have to say that. You can just tell me it hurts. I'll be more gentle." Then she spoke up and said it more loudly, "Dab! Dab it, Mommy." The clarity brought a sigh of relief. She wanted me to d.a.b. her wound, not wipe it.

She wasn't swearing at all, simply wanting me to be more gentle. Whew. It's really hard to retrain a child to stop saying something once they start. We will learn this lesson without having to learn it the hard way, for now. (Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to reflect and learn!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


On our way home tonight from a wonderful day at the local county fair, the children were sharing the most delicious bag of kettle corn ever. Well, the ones who were still awake, that is.

Child B speaks up from the back of the van, "Mom, I have a problem. I have a conflict I've never had before. My tummy is full, but my mouth really likes to eat this!"

I love her honesty (when she's honest!) I also love that she realizes this conflict. And that she knows the word "conflict" at age 6!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Something New on This Blog - Not Me (or Not My Child) Monday

I'm doing something a bit new today. I'm participating in Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. This week, MckMama is trying out Not My Child! Monday! I can do both...
I did not take my 3 kids to Walmart when I was already short on patience and they had already pushed every button I have. And even if I had, I certainly would not have given in to 3yo Child C when she threw a fit that she didn't want to wear these shorts. Upon announcing that it was time to move to the Kid's department, with her asking "Why, mommy? Why are we going to the Kid's department?" I most certainly did not reply with "Because that's where I can leave you all with a price tag for someone else to buy!"

Can you believe I even still go to Walmart with these children in tow after this incident???

6 yo Child B did not walk up to a woman with dark skin and tell her that her skin was so beautiful and dark... like a brownie. She then did not proceed to ask her if she tasted like a brownie and follow up with "Yummm." Nope, not my child. No way.

OK, to be brutally honest and offer a disclaimer, Child B has little impulse control and will frequently say just about anything that pops into her head, with no thought about whether or not it's appropriate or consideration of social implications. That said, she still would not say something this over the top... certainly not once at a local restaurant a month ago and then not again at a local amusement park two days ago.

(End Not Me! Monday! and Not My Child! Monday!)

Believe it or not, these were NOT the first times the kids have been out of the house! They really do NOT live in a barn! I do NOT keep them locked in a closet. Despite real life in a suburban community, with parents active in their lives, daily prayers and scripture memorization, kids really DO have minds of their own. There is only so much a parent can do.

Free will still reigns.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Summer Fun

Exhausted at the the Splash Pad Fields of Flowers Happy Birthday
Funny Faces with Friends

Rainbow Kitty
WHAT?!? Is that a tutu?
Sand Art!
I'd like a banana split and a blizzard-of-the-month, please.
Drive through service at the vent...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Comments from Child B

Two comments to record...

Thursday, July 2
We were in the van on our way to my in-law's. They live about 5 hours away, or 6 when traveling with children aged between 3 and 9. That's better than the 9 hour drive to the same destination when A was a baby (because nursing babies really do eat all the time!)

On this trip yesterday, we stopped for a potty break. Panera seemed like a clean place to stop and they have been using many billboards for advertising. Much cleaner than a gas station and less likely to result in an impulse buy than McDonalds. We still gave in to the impulse and bought bagels for the kids.

As we're pulling out, each one is gnawing on a bagel and the color is messed up on the 2nd screen of the dvd player. We are getting ready to pull out into traffic when this is a big deal. No adult can easily reach the dvd player and no one but the kids can see it. Hubby reaches around his driver's seat to make the adjustment, asking after each push of the adjustment button "There, how's that?" No response. Louder and another push: "There, how's that?" No response. B tends to zone and often times we cannot get her attention to answer a question anyway. So, now, even LOUDER: "How is that???" Nothing, as we pull out into traffic. OK, now we have to pull over to do this the right way. Hubby gets out, opens the side door, gets in and the. color. is. fine. With complete frustration, he asks "It's fine. Why didn't you say anything???"

B: I'm not supposed to talk with my mouth full.

That's right; she was eating that bagel!

Wednesday, July 1
On Wednesday, B was having a non-surgical out-patient procedure at our local hospital. She would be "asleep" for it with general anesthesia. We didn't give her many details of the procedure, but told her she would have to be still for a long time, so the doctor would give her some medicine to help her take a nap so she wouldn't move. After a couple questions about how the medicine would get in her, she seemed to be OK with it. This is good because B worries. When we got in the van, another conversation took place:

B: Mom, what if something happens? What if it doesn't go well? What if it goes wrong?
ME: What do you mean?
B: Mom, what if they kill me?

Sigh. I guess she had been thinking a lot about it and worrying anyway. Hubby and I spent some minutes re-assuring her that the doctors are very good at what they do and God is with her through the whole thing - even when she's asleep. Of course, the same very thought is at the back of every parent's mind when their child is undergoing general anesthesia.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Poison Ivy, Giant Needle, Raccoon

This was a busy week. As previously posted, B had an allergic reaction to what we thought was hay. After comments about it looking like poison ivy and the doctor even commenting about the similarity - though he did say it could be an allergic reaction and don't let her go near that hay again - we read about how long it can take for a poison ivy reaction and looked at pictures of poison ivy blisters. The conversation went like this:
Me: Have you ever seen anything like that before?
B: Yes.
Me: Really? Where?
B: On my hands.
Me: Really? Do you know what that is?
B: No.
Me: The rash from poison ivy.
B: Oh.
Me: Are you sure you didn't touch any plants at the picnic Sunday evening?
B: Oh OK, OK, I DID.

It's nice to get to the bottom of the story, isn't it? Sometimes it takes a LOT of digging (nearly to China) to get to the bottom of B's stories!

When we went to the doctor to have the rash checked out, B was very concerned about having to get a shot. She hasn't had many in her life, but the last one - 2 years ago - was memorable and she had a reaction. So no more shots for her. But she doesn't believe me. I assured her that she wouldn't need nor get a shot this time. I was almost positive she wouldn't (because I didn't know if she should have a steroid shot or not and I wanted to leave a little bit of wiggle room.) As we pulled into the parking lot, she says, "Mom, if your almost positive I won't get a shot, that means there is still a small chance I might!" Poor thing.

We parked the van, she looked out her window, and exclaimed: "GIANT NEEDLE!" Here is what she saw:

It's on the TOP of the building where the doctor has his office!

We had a big storm Friday evening. BIG. Not tornado-big, but close. Standing in my across-the-street-neighbor's doorway, I watched one neighbor's tree lose big branches, then I watched half a tree come down right in front of me. Well, I watched the whole thing blow over and only half of it came back up. That was really weird. Weirder was that there was no sound with it. That sheds a whole new light on the question about a tree in the forest. But that's another story.

When the power flickered several times and then didn't come back on after that last flicker, we decided it was time to get the generator going. Last time it was 8 days before it came back on. So Hubby was in and out of the garage a few times in the dark to get the gas tank, extension cords, etc. After the generator was running, he thought he heard some thuds from the garage, but didn't really think anything of it. Saturday morning, heading out for gymnastics with C, I noticed the curtain inside the little window of the garage was pushed aside. Noting it was strange, but not strange enough to remember to mention it, apparently.

Today, we pulled in to the driveway after church. We park in the driveway because there is too much "other stuff" in the garage. (My parents always parked in the garage, but they were pack rats. Hubby's family never parked in the garage and are also pack rats. That should explain the "other stuff" in the garage.) So, pulling in to the driveway, here is what we found:

That little window is broken. We thought someone broke in. Why? Who knows. But that's what we thought. We have so much stuff in there that it would be hard to tell if anything was missing. But it looked ransacked. Stuff was thrown around - knocked off shelves, boxes flung, Hubby's heavy Craftsman stackable tool case toppled over. Huh? Why wouldn't this stuff have been stolen instead of just thrown around? Maybe they were looking for a door into the house? (It's an older home with an originally detached garage that was attached through an addition about 35 years ago, but no door connecting the two, so it's attached but detached still.)

We called the police. We checked the shed. Nothing messed with; nothing missing. The officer arrived and we started showing him around and talking through it. As we looked further and more closely we found footprints. And poop. I don't have pics of those yet, but I may add them just to add to the adventure. It had to have gotten in Friday evening. Looking at what that critter did, can I just tell you, "Man those critters are strong!" I guess we weren't broken in to, but out of. (I'm glad it got out - even if it did have to break the window - rather than us being broken in to or us finding a dead raccoon in the garage!)

I'm sorry Hubby had to board up the window on Father's Day. But he did get a massage from Massage Envy. And 3yo C woke him up this morning saying, "Daddy, Happy Mother's Day!" (Isn't that cute?) LOL. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Answer: Allergic Rash, Much like Poison Ivy


(Oh, before I {sigh} too much, let me thank my commenters to my last post! It DOES look like poison ivy, doesn't it? And the link posted is just enough to make one cringe! We have had so many lessons on identifying poison ivy, too! Let's just say, if there are any things I'm paranoid about, they are poison ivy, lice, and people who do bad things to children!)

B was feeding the Snoopy, our new bunny, Monday night. After I got poked enough by the hay, I asked if anyone else wanted to fill the box with hay. (I'm allergic to hay. It makes me sneeze, my eyes get itchy and runny, and I break out in a rash. Just a MILD rash, though. Not the one in the pictures.) So B took over.

I noticed before she went to bed that she had red splotches all over her hand and a few scratches that penetrated her skin. She had no idea how it happened. Could have been when her hand slipped between the mats at gymnastics earlier in the evening, brushing against the velcro. It didn't seem to bother her at all and it isn't surprising she didn't know where it happened.

Tuesday morning she had what you see in the pictures in my last post. The only places we were on Monday were swimming lessons at a brand-spankin' new water park that opened up in a local community park district (where we normally take swimming lessons, but this year they have a brand new facility!), home for lunch, then to Vacation Bible School, home for dinner, and out to gymnastics (indoors).

So, Wednesday the doctor said it is an allergic reaction very much like poison ivy. Because we cannot think where she may have touched poison ivy, it must be the hay. (There were other reasons we were at the doctor for B, but this was the reason to go TODAY instead of Saturday.) We've been keeping it covered just so we don't freak people out at swimming lessons or anywhere else. I just feel so bad that it's B who has it. She has the toughest breaks and already doesn't "feel" things quite the way we do. Plus, she is so self-conscious and sensitive. Not that I'd wish it on any child, but B certainly has it rough!

Now that I'm thinking back, I'm wondering if there may have been poison ivy at the park where we picnicked Sunday evening. Or if there may have been any in the flower beds at church when they did some of the activities at VBS...

I guess I'll go look up the time from exposure to rash for poison ivy... just for my peace of mind.

Stay tuned for the GIANT NEEDLE at the doctor's office.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3 guesses

Whose finger is this & what happened? (This is not the only one; there are a bunch on the other hand and arm.)

More to come after we've been to the doctor...

Here are more pictures... every one of the red spots and scratches is full of blisters.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Welcome: Snoopy

I doubt this one will ever be seen riding on top of a dog house re-enacting war zones, but she is the newest member of our family.

She is a beautiful, grey, 3-year old lop. We didn't tell the kids where we were going or what we were doing. We just drove. And drove. And drove. Ok, it really wasn't THAT far, but it was an hour away. We could have gotten one closer, especially with the fair coming up next month. But this one has been raised by people, handled well, is used to being a house-bunny, and is used to cats. All of these are good things for a house with 2 cats and 3 kids.

When we came out to the van with a cage with a bunny in it, the kids were not sure why. When it hit them what we were doing, they were so excited. Calm, but excited. We had to cram a lot of bunny supplies in around the kids and B had no leg room all the way home. She curled her legs up and propped them up on top of the hutch and curled them again. She was a real trooper, not asking how much longer until we were about 15 minutes away from home. Of course, once we got home, she disappeared to decompress (B, not Snoopy). Being out of the house is very taxing for B.

Snoopy is very strong and super curious. She is very sweet and really doesn't care about the cats. The cats aren't sure about her. The kids love her. We are happy to have her join our family and hopefully she will be happy to be here, too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Empathy Update

Today A had a friend over. We ventured out to see the Hannah Montana movie. All 3 + friend. Cute movie and the kids were well behaved going, during, and returning. Thank you, Lord, for I don't know that I'd ever do it again if it didn't go well. It's rated G. And true to it. Yeah! Very few movies now-a-days are really a "G" movie.

So, on the way home, B was telling friend about her new shoes. You know, the ones from here. She was explaining how she can sometimes fit into A's shoes, but A can't wear her shoes because A's feet are narrower and longer. Then she went on to say that if A tried and they didn't fit, well, "I wouldn't be heart-broken for her. It might bleed a little. But definitely not broken."

Baby steps, right? At least it's a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We don't have any monkeys. Do we???

So, we were sitting down for dinner and I put a plate in front of each kid. One had a regular kid plate, another had a plate with little sections to keep the different foods from touching, and the third was heart-shaped and had Disney princesses on it.

C protests that she DOESN'T WANT the princess plate; she wants some other plate.
I whisper in C's ear, "You have the princess plate because your name means 'princess'. Isn't that special?"
B says, so matter-of-factly, to C, "No it doesn't. It means 'horrid monkey'."

And dinner is just getting started...

("Horrid monkey"? Where does she come up with this?)

Hubby and I had to giggle about it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

No more nail polish

Who spilled nail polish on the carpet???

Purple nail polish. A spot about an inch and a half long and half inch wide.

About 6 inches from the corner of the couch. On light, rose-colored carpet.

How in the *(@! do you get out DRIED nail polish???

Thank you, my dear friend Robin, for looking it up.

Windex and shaving cream. Did you read that right? Yes, Windex the window cleaner and foaming shaving cream. And a tooth brush. And water to keep it wet enough to work with. And scrubbing power elbow grease.

It disolved.

If you ever have reason to do this yourself, don't try to pick it out while scrubbing. I think it also affected the carpet glue. A few strings of shag pulled out when I did this, so I stopped picking and just scrubbed. I haven't checked to see if the glue re-dried well, but I'm assuming it did.

Next step: throw out all the nail polish in the house. (Actually already done before I started scrubbing.)

Knock-knock. Who's there? Not the tooth fairy.

I woke up yesterday morning.

Well, I wasn't quite awake when I rolled over on my tummy and slid my hands under my pillow. What is THAT? There is something under my pillow...

I pulled out a handful of fruit chews. You know, those sickening sweet and so-chewy-they'll-pull-out-a-filling things that companies want you to believe are nutritious and healthy for your kids? You'll find out how healthy they are after numerous visits to the dentist to repair those pearly whites that have rotted-away-enamel. They are as bad as a tooth soaking in soda-pop. Arg. They are banned in my house. For exactly that reason.

So how did a handful of them end up under my pillow? I don't think it was the tooth fairy...

I won't even start the rant about being glad they hadn't yet attracted ants... under my pillow!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Shoes

Child A gets all the new clothes. Child A gets all the hand-me-downs from cousins (including one 3 years younger than her). Child A has been getting hand-me-downs from friends. The clothes, the shoes, what's a girl to do... it's a dream come true. She loves it and some of it is stuff mommy wouldn't even consider buying her. What does a child of not-yet-9 need pumps for anyway?

All those cute shoes that her older sister gets and B has to WAIT until A grows out of them (and some of them A hasn't even grown into yet!) Child B has wide feet. Many of those shoes will never even fit her feet comfortably. But she still waits (and wears them anyway when A isn't looking!)

Oh, the turmoil of being in the middle...

So, with A having narrow feet and B having wide feet... And A having several pair of dress shoes and B, well, with only her sister's to wear... Today was the day to go shoe shopping for B.

The plan:
1. After church, B and I would use a gift certificate at our local Stride Rite store. Why Stride Rite? Because they will measure her feet, including width. They have a broad selection, including wide shoes. We have a gift certificate! Just the 2 of us.
2. She will be measured.
3. She will try on dress shoes.
4. She gets to pick which shoes she wants.
5. We will purchase them with the gift certificate.

How did it go?

They had 2 pair of dress shoes that fit her and she chose the fancier pair. Of course. She IS a girl!

Bonus: They were on sale. I didn't even have to tell her that! (OK, I would have chosen the more expensive pair because they were more appropriate for a girl her age. BUT, it's OK. She gets to pick so few things and they are pretty much only for church.)

So, on the way home, I mentioned that A would LOVE a pair of shoes like that. A will probably be quite upset when she sees them. (A has been wanting a pair of "high heels" for over a year!) However, A gets a lot of things that B doesn't get or that B has to wait for longer. It's OK for B to have these shoes, but if your sister is very upset, well, what will you do? How will you handle that?

After a brief pause, B says from the back of the van, "Well, I won't be heart-broken about it or anything."

Hmmm. I guess I need to work a little on empathy...

Monday, May 18, 2009


My 3-year old thinks her heart is in her tummy.
She often tells me quite excitedly that she wants God to come out of her tummy so she can hug Him. Then He can go back in her belly button and live there more.

Sweet. Typical for Child C.

Can you unbutton your belly-button?

I asked my 6-year old, who takes life very literally, if I could unbutton her belly-button.
Her response?
A very dramatic, as if I were about to push a button to set off a nuclear bomb:

"Mom, don't! My insides will pour out and it will hurt!"

A dear friend forwarded me a funny email that said if you unbutton your belly-button, your butt would fall off. I laughed.

In one of his books, Author Robert Fulghum pondered belly-button removal and it's implications. After all, it is the life-connection with mother before birth. That is true. It was a very thought-provoking discussion. I'm sorry I don't remember which book; I read several. They were all amusing.

Not as amusing as my sweet, anxious, and lovable Child B.


One day we heard a knock at the door.
My at-the-time-barely-3-year old was always curious when someone was at the door.

Who could it be?
Could it be for her?
Maybe it was some superhero or fairy...

This particular day, it was a man dressed in brown. With a box. After retrieving the box from him and locking the door after, here is the conversation that took place:

3-year old: "Who was that?"
Me: "The UPS driver."
3-year old, with glee: "My p-s driver?"

We had a little alphabet lesson after that... The joys of a naive little girl just learning all the semantics of language.

She is now almost 9 and this conversation still makes me smile. She loves puns, letter games, and sentences or words made up of pictures. (At this moment, I cannot remember what those are called, but she loves them. If you know the word I am looking for, please put it in the comments.) Very detailed.

Thank you, Child A, for a smile today!