Our family has enjoyed several Christmas Parties and Christmas Musical Celebrations. My daughter is now playing the Clarinet in the band (she gave up the viola for the clarinet) and she is suprisingly good at playing the clarinet (much better than the viola, ouch, I can testify to that, if your reading this honey, I'm just kidding you were ok at the viola, you're just better at the clarinet). So far, she has managed to stay in the first chair spot and I don't have to remind her to practice (which is a big improvement over last years episodes of "Nagging Mother knows Best")
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The last game of the Volleyball season is over, and basketball starts next week (swim team goes on year round mind you). I love that the kids enjoy sports, and music, and scouts, but I'm ready to have them settle down and specialize in something. As a parent we want to give them every opportunity to explore their talents, and discover their strengths, whether it is in sports, music, academics, or other service type activities. I believe that is why we as parents have trouble saying "no more", but that is exactly why we should say "no more", because if we continually open doors, the opportunities available are more numerous than the time we have to try them all. All those choices seem to muddle the decision making process when it comes down to figuring out what activities my child needs to be involved in, and which need to go by the wayside.
I once had someone tell me they were the Jack-of-all-trades, but Master of none. And now I know what that means. A person can be stretched to thin, you can be involved in a lot of things, but not really good at any of them. If you want to be really good at something you have to figure out what your gift is and concentrate in that area. Only then can you master what you set out to accomplish and be the very best at it.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It's nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday life. We headed out to the old home place, my grandparents farm, 60+ acres of woods and meadow, 5 miles from nowhere, and an hour from any major after Thanksgiving shopping sales. My grandparents are not with us anymore, but we still have the farm. Being there reminds me of all the fun I had with them as a child; exploring the woods, running through the fields, gathering hen eggs, picking tomatoes, getting chased by Brahma Bulls, and fishing in the pond. I hope your Thanksgiving was like ours, filled with family fun.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
By far the most fun I have about this time of year is baking cookies. One of our favorite family traditions is baking and eating cookies while we put the ornaments on the tree. I do like Thanksgiving, but for me it is just the first celebration of the Christmas season. It's the warm up band for the main concert. When the last dish of the Thanksgiving meal has been washed and dried, I'm ready to break out the Christmas CD's, warm up the oven, and mix up a batch of cookies. Here's a great place to find those recipes that you can't seem to locate in your recipe box.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I promise, I do not have a green thumb, but this year I have had the best garden and I have no explanation other than God saw fit to send the rain. I am terrible about watering regularly, and I haven't put in a drip system because I don't really have enough square footage for the garden to merit that kind of attention. This year we did have a lot of rain and I am still reaping the fruit of the harvest. My tomato plants are so loaded with tomatoes that the tomato cages that I set up to support the plants are groaning under the weight.
This summer the hubs, the kids and I enjoyed, corn, canelope, squash, bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, tomatoes and peanuts (they're still drying). It really has been an unbelieveably good gardening year, and I can't take credit for the bounty that we have harvested. What is most surprising is that I'll probably pick three dozen tomatoes off these vines within the week, thanks to 80 degree temps for the past few days which will continue on until Wednesday. It was so warm yesterday that my oldest put on his swim suit and hopped into the pool. I admit, its a little too chilly for my liking, but the kids aren't as particular when it comes to water temperature as I tend to be.
Even the rose bushes are still working overtime, which reminds me that I need to prune them back. I usually forget and they get all gangly and ugly looking by spring, and by then I hate to cut them back because they've already started flowering.
Thank you God for a wonderful summer garden and the extra fall fruit!
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Yesterday, I had a similar light bulb experience, thankfully not about math problems. I was listening to a woman I know talk about prayer. She made the point that prayer's purpose was not for me to change God's will about what ever was concerning me, but for God to change me so that I could follow his will for my life. "Hello!" I know probably all ya'll mature christians already knew that, and if I thought about it long enough I would have agreed as well. But honestly, I don't think I really have thought, I mean really analyzed my prayers. God's probably rolled his eyes at me on multiple occasions as I posted my "wish list" up to him..."and I'd like this and I'd like that"...instead of praying how I ought to pray, with praise and thankfulness while I petition him for his help.
Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll just fess up, that I also don't like it when God says "No". Have you ever had that happen to you? Well it's not fun, and when things don't go my way, I'm sure that I haven't acted like a happy camper. Thankfully, I haven't been struck by lightning for throwing a tantrum when God says "no". He is so patient and kind, much more so than I am with my children, but I'd hate to press him on an issue, just in case, remember Korah in the OT, Numbers 16. (shiver).
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Maybe this is just me, but I like to buy toys for my kids and things for the house that remind me of my childhood. Retro things spark those nostalgic memories of growing up in the 60's and 70's, where things were made well and held up for 20 years. Not like our current DVD player which is broken right now and is made so cheaply that it's not worth it to get it fixed, but cheaper to just replace it; which we have already done multiple times. In my mind, the stuff of today is disposable, and the toys I had as a kid were built well and timeless. That's why I got so excited when I saw that 5 Minutes for Mom was having a Retro Giveaway . What I'd like to win is this Crosley Traveler Stack-o-Matic record player! It looks exactly like one I used to play with as a kid, except I think I had colored all over mine. If you'd like to check out this giveaway and put your name in for the drawing, head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom. You might also want to check out their store Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles. The winner will be drawn on Friday November 30th, just in time for Christmas.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I'd feed and dress the toddler and the baby, take them to daycare, peel them off of me and head for work. Of course, no morning is complete without that dose of Mommy guilt that comes with leaving my children at daycare. It begins with the babies crying Moooomeeee" and holding their chubby little arms out as I drive away, which I would think about over and over, all day, until it distracted me so that I'd have to call the daycare to make sure that everyone was still alive. I'd work all day, watching the clock slowly wind it's way towards quitting time. The moment the clock struck 5 I was outta there, heading for the daycare to gather up my little chicks to take them home, play with them, feed them, bathe them and put their sweet little chubby cheeks to bed, only to do it all over again the next day.
It was an exhausting time that taught me to trust in God and that he would provide all we would need, even if I could not imagine how he would do so. This is my verse, the one that I held on to during that time:
Sunday, November 11, 2007
It's even more exciting when you receive an award:
Friday, November 9, 2007
By today's standards, he would be considered a progressive man. He used to brag to the grand kids that he could cook breakfast better that my grandmother. He said that by the time she got the biscuits cooked, her eggs had gotten cold. And if she cooked the biscuits first, then they'd have cold biscuits when the eggs got done. He would tell us, "I can take 'em all up at once, Granny can't do that!". Meaning not only could he cook the biscuits, eggs, and bacon, but he could time it so that they'd all be done at the exact same instant and he'd put them all on the table at the same time. Surprisingly, he could do that, and my grandmother would just laugh and let him do all the cooking when we were visiting. Now who's the smart one there?
I remember one morning he pulled the biscuits out and they were flat instead of fluffy. I said, "grandpa, what happened to those biscuits?", and he said, "they got cooked in the squat". "What do you mean?", I asked. "Well", he said, "they squatted to rise and got cooked in the squat. That happens to people sometimes too". He went on to explain that sometimes people get all ready to do something great, and something happens that discourages them, or causes them to doubt. So instead of doing that "great thing", they quit. Just like those biscuits, they get cooked in the squat, about to rise to the occasion, only to fall instead.
So on those days when things don't go as I had planned, and my enthusiasm gets squashed, my kids are less that helpful, and I can't find any clean socks in the laundry, I think about my grandfather. I think about how difficult his life was compared to mine. I remember his wisdom and his love for his family and I am glad that he warned me about getting cooked in the squat.
Monday, November 5, 2007
We did archery, games and a ropes course.The Girls
By that evening everyone was beat. We finished up our day with skits around the campfire, and peach cobbler baked on the coals. Yum.
A perfect end to a perfect day.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
I can't remember exactly when "Headless Barbie" lost her head. I remember it was awhile ago, OK, several years ago, and there were lots of tears and glue. I can't even remember which brother pulled her head off, but my daughter was very sad that Barbies' head could not be successfully glued back on. My daughter absolutely refused to throw "Headless Barbie" away, so she lived among the other Barbies, in the Barbie Box in my daughters room. This Barbie Box contained more Barbies that I care to count, along with all of the different Barbie clothes and accessories. What's a Barbie with out her clothes and accessories?
As you can imagine, "Headless Barbie" did not get invited to participate in any more pageants or fashion shows. She lived a quiet and isolated existence in the Barbie Box, virtually untouched for years. Luckily, her fellow Barbies accepted her and loved her unconditionally, and overlooked her most obvious beauty flaw. Had my daughter not been a pack rat, "Headless Barbie" would have been history. But as fate would have it, "Headless Barbie" was one day called into service, thus making every pack rat's dream come true, the ability to produce something out of the closet that should have been thrown away years ago!
You see, my youngest son had to enter a pumpkin carving contest and he wanted to create a Carnivorous (Girl Scout eating) Pumpkin. Thus the need for a sacrificial Barbie. When my daughter heard of his plan she jumped to her pack rat little feet, and said "I have just the person for your project!", wouldn't you know, she dug out "Headless Barbie" who hadn't seen the light of day in years, and she offered "Headless Barbie" to her little brother, to use in his Pumpkin Contest. I could tell she had that thrill of digging out something she had saved, and finally putting it to good use, and doing that had made her little heart go pitter patter. It's the sign of a happy pack rat.
So, after all those years in the Barbie Box, "Headless Barbie" finally had a purpose. She did a good job as "Headless Barbie" in the Carnivorous Pumpkin, and she and my youngest son won first place in the Funniest Pumpkin Category.It just goes to show you, that old saying "haste makes waste" could possibly be true, and the next time I'm cleaning out my closet I won't be so hasty in tossing out my old junk, because I'll remember "Headless Barbie"!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Here we are in front of "Jack's French Fries" one of our favorite haunts
The State Fair is an annual event for our entire family, and has been for many years. My Dad (now 76) used to tout the fact that he hadn't missed a State Fair since he was in 4th grade (because of health reasons, he missed for the first time last year).
We usually start at one end of the Midway, ride a few rides, and eat our way towards the exhibit halls, craft tent and finally the car show.
Every year they have the "new" food...this years new food was fried coke. I didn't try it, I stuck to the old favorites. The kids on the other hand, had a bit of almost everything, candy apples, corn on a stick, cotton candy, Fletcher's Corney Dogs (of course), French Fries, Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese, Nachos, Chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, chocolate milk, you name it someone in the group had it. It wasn't long before the heat and the smells got to "the inventor". I have to admit he is prone to this type of behavior. We were leaving the food court when he announced the he needed to go to the bathroom real bad.
This is "the inventor" with a mouth full of cotton candy, just minutes before his "I need to go to the bathroom real bad" announcement.
I am apparently incredibly dense about these subtle hints of impending doom, because I turned around to him and said that classic mom statement, "why didn't you go before, when everyone else went?", and with out another word, everything he had eaten came up and out. Well we couldn't have been in a worse place, right in the middle of a crowd of people in a food court trying to buy their lunch, while my child was in the process of loosing his lunch. I'm sure sales plummeted at the Gyro stand, which we were standing in front of, when this calamity broke forth. He had that wild eyed look on his face, like there was more where that came from. So, I hurried him outside to finish up, and he did.This is "the inventor" about 5 minutes later( notice the new shirt, moms think of everything)
As you can see within moments he was back to his usual self, and having fun, but sadly no more snacks for this boy, or for the rest of us for that matter, we were all sufficiently "grossed out". Except for that one little tiny, itsy bitsy incident, all went well at the Fair and I look forward to next year.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The heat was so bad that before the concert, the concert organizers were out on the stage telling the girls to hold up their hands if they felt dizzy or felt that they needed medical assistance. Then they proceeded to spray down the crown with fire hoses, which 30 years ago I would have thought that was great fun, but not anymore, so we kept our distance. Luckily, I had been to my share of out door concerts as a teen, and had come prepared with lots of water, sunscreen and snacks. My sister and I also didn't let the girls out into the wild crowd until the very last minute. The mistake outdoor concert goers make, is they cue up early to get a good spot, then they end up waiting a long time for the concert to begin, all the while getting sunburned, hungry and dehydrated. What the newbie little girl concert goers don't know, is that if you travel light, you can shimmy your way to the very front at the last minute. So my sister and I filled the girls up with a good lunch and lots of water, and sent them packing with extra waters and a cell phone, to brave the little girl crowd of concert goers. As I expected, the two of them worked their way through the crowd and ended up front and center with a great view. My sister, my mom and I and the boys then sat at the back in the shade, sipping lemonade and eating popcorn in our portable soccer chairs that we had brought with us. It was great. They got to get up close so they could sing along, yell and scream, and we got to sit in the shade and relax. Sometimes it's good to be old.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007