24 December 2008

Christmas peace

I've just been so blessed by this post. I want to share it with you and encourage you to read this blog, especially if you are hoping not to miss Jesus this Christmas season.

Click here to read and have a peaceful Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from the Caboodle and me

I love Christmas Eve! The anticipation, the baking, the cleaning, the lights, wearing lots of red: It's all so fun.
Today John and the children went out for the last few menu items, plus a few things I was not allowed to know about. This is the first year that we have taken the boys to do their own Christmas shopping with their own money. On Monday night, we completed almost all of their shopping at Rite Aid (a drugstore). It was so awesome. Theo is giving his brothers each a can of Pringles potato chips. He got a chocolate bar for John (don't worry, John won't read this before tomorrow!). It was really fun to help them choose gifts, and also to help them wrap all their goodies - choosing the right paper for the recipient, choosing a ribbon, card or sticky gift label?

I'm in the middle of preparing cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning, and our traditional Christmas Eve meal of albondigas (Mexican meatball soup), ensalada de Noche Buena and sopapillas (kind of like fried dough).

Church is at 6:30, Lessons and Carols. This year Walter will be one of the readers.

I've been listening to what I think is my favorite Christmas carol, "All my heart this night rejoices". We sang it in college, but I've rarely heart it sung since then. I didn't even have it on any of our Christmas CDs, so I bought it on iTunes this year.

I'll leave you with its lyric. Merry Christmas! May you enjoy the wonder of God's condescension to us, Emmanuel, God with us!

All my heart this night rejoices as I hear,
far and near, sweetest angel voices.
"Christ is born!" their choirs are singing
Til the air everywhere now with joy is ringing.

Hark! A voice from yonder manger
Soft and sweet doth entreat, "Flee from woe and danger.
Brethren, come from all doth grieve you.
You are freed; all you need I will surely give you."

Come, then let us hasten yonder.
Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder.
Love Him who with love is yearning.
Hail the star that from far bright with love is burning!

Thee, dear Lord, with heed I'll cherish,
Live to Thee, and with Thee, dying shall not perish;
But shall dwell with Thee forever
Far on high in the joy that shall alter never.

17 December 2008

Conspiracy theory

SOMETHING or SOMEONE is conspiring against me. Really, I'm pretty sure I'm going crazy. Here's what I've done in the past week that leads me to this conclusion:

1. One week ago today, I lost my keys in Kohl's. I have a clear recollection of my keys being on the seat of the cart I was using. Then, after I checked out, they were gone. Not in purse, not in cart. I retraced my steps at least three times, looked under displays, asked the cashiers. No keys. They were in the store, then they weren't. John had to rent a Zipcar and bring me keys so I could pick up the kids...oh, and also so I could leave Kohl's and not have to live there. The keys have NEVER turned up.

2. Two days ago, I received a check in the mail. I was sitting in my car when I opened the envelope, removed the check, put it in my purse, went to the bank. No check. Not in purse, card, stack of mail, bank, driveway. As Lucy says when I ask her where something is, it's NOWHERE!

3. Last night I put some towels and jackets in the wash, including my orange parka. When I went to the dungeon to move items from wash to dryer, I heard a strange, suspicious clunking sound when I put my parka in the dryer. Hmmm. Open pocket, remove cell phone. It's really clean now. Also, it doesn't work.

I beg of you, do not entrust me with anything valuable. I fear for my children while they are in my care. I may lose them or break them, with this streak I'm on.

What in the name of all that is holy is happening?!?

P.S. Hey, I think I'll use that check I got in the mail to pay for the new cell...Never mind.

10 December 2008

Boys growing up


Over the past few days, we've seen all three boys showing signs of growing up. We're thankful for the privilege of watching these boys, shepherding them and pointing them to the Lover of their souls.

On Saturday, five of us went ice skating (Walter went to a Lego workshop with a neighbor!). The first graders from the school were getting together to skate, so we headed to the North End, ready for adventure. Clayton and Theo were both very excited to get on the ice, though they have very limited experience. They both ambled out, wobbly, tippy and soon very discouraged.

Clayton would try to rev up speed, only to have his feet fly out from under him. Theo saw his classmates gliding past him, and felt embarrassed that he didn't have the same skills. We were able to obtain stacked crates for each one, so they slowly, slowly, slowly began to make their way around the ice. One time...two times...until Theo was keeping up with his buddy (still with his crates). Clayton and I practiced without crates a few times, but then he went back to them so he could go faster! (With boys, it's all about the speed.)

John and I were so proud of their perseverance and great attitudes. They kept at it, fought through the difficulty to get to the fun. I can't tell you how many times Clayton would wipe out and immediately say, "I know, I'm okay. It's okay," even while he grimaced with the bumps and bruises. It was such a fun afternoon, and now we know we need to get them back on the ice soon, before they forget that they can do it!

Note: We debated about putting Lucy in skates, not knowing if they even came in her tiny size. But they did, so we set her up with teeny tiny skates and a little PVC pipe supporter for her to lean on. To our surprise, Lucy took right to the ice. She skated around for over an hour, and outlasted her brothers. Several people on the ice commented on the fact that she must have skated many times before. Someone called her a natural. Note to self: look into skating lessons. I'll be a figure skating mom before you know it. :) WISH we had our camera with us!

Walter has taken a much greater interest and responsibility in the kitchen in the last several weeks. He wants to be my special kitchen helper many nights, and is now a great salad maker. He even gets to use "Papa's shiny knife" (dubbed by Lucy) and is very careful with slicing peppers, removing the seeds, peeling and slicing cukes, adding tasty extras, like nuts and feta cheese.

Last night, John was at a meeting, so I decided we would have breakfast for dinner. I cooked the bacon in the oven, because while I love bacon's yummy taste, I hate it's messy cooking and clean-up. Meanwhile, Walter measured and mixed the buttermilk pancake batter on his own. Once I had the stove-top griddle set up for him, he cooked and flipped each pancake into PERFECTION. I'm not kidding, the kid burned maybe one pancake - much better than my record. He is now officially my new pancake flipper. I really love working with him in the kitchen, and seeing him grow into new privileges and responsibilities.

06 December 2008

Three

Our little girl turned three a few weeks ago, and in her honor, I will write this post in pink, her "favorite kind of color".

It's hard to believe that our littlest one is moving out of babyhood. She is completely potty-trained, becomes more and more independent every day. And yet, she still sleeps in her crib (she doesn't know she could climb out if she tried!) and is in love with her two pink "bitties" (blankies). She is a very girly girl who loves clothes, shoes, ballerinas, pink and purple, fixing her hair and singing.

As she lives in this house full of testosterone, she loves spending time with other girls. When my brother's girlfriend was here over Thanksgiving, she played ballet with Lucy and taught her some ballet moves. Lucy was in heaven! At church, we have lots of attentive female friends who shower Lucy with love. Our Lulu revels in all the girliness.

From a mother's view, it has been such a joy to have a girl. After having three wonderful boys, I did not realize what a different experience it would be to have a girl in the family. For John and me, we enjoy so much seeing her natural feminity come out and flourish. Of course, this does not mean she doesn't think it's fun to join with her brothers in the ubiquitous poop jokes. The girl can throw around the word "poop" like no one's business! But she'll do it with a giggle and a flounce in her step.

This year was Lucy's first really birthday party. We had three of Lucy's friends, in addition to their parents and brothers. I'm pretty sure it was the loudest birthday party to date. Oh my word, the shrieking and running. Our downstairs neighbor must have wondered what we were up to.

It was a very pink party. Here are the pictures to prove it. We're so glad you're three, Lucy!



Lucy and the "You are Special Today" plate


The Hello Kitty birthday cake made by me


That's a happy birthday smile! Lucy and her friend, Lucy A.


Opening presents

Lucy's fancy dress-up dress and dolly from her grandparents

05 December 2008

Go back, my friend

Click here to read my latest post about my shopping exploits.

I started the post on November 15, so when I just completed and published it, Blogger put it back in its correct chronological place. I'm not sure how to fix it. If you know how I can make it post on the day it's finished and not on the day it was started, let me know.

The hollow weenie


Halloween was especially fun this year because it was on a Friday, and we could stay up late eating candy to our hearts' content without having to be vigilant about getting up for school the next day.

This year we had two secret agents, an army guy and a fairy. All the boys were very into their weapons this time around. It was all about the weapons, as you can see from the picture.

This year we invited our neighbors to come around after trick-or-treating. A few people did make it by and it was really nice to get to know some people better. I hope we can host something like that again soon. And I'd love to make the Halloween night party a tradition, as John and I seek to love our neighbors and our neighborhood.


P.S. I want you to notice that Clayton's expression never changes in these pictures. He remains completely in character. And his 'stache is so sweet...black eyeliner.




P.P.S. I know, the title of this post is SOOO immature. That's why it makes me laugh.

Alphabet Redux

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Lucy will rap the ABCs. She is quite amazing. I like John's help in the background. And be sure to notice her bow at the end(s).


video

03 December 2008

Apple Picking 2008


Apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities. This year, we had to squeeze it in, so we didn't all go as a family. I took the children on a weekday after school as a surprise. We had a wonderful time, though many of the apples had suffered hail damage earlier in the season. It took us longer than usual to fill our bag. When we were done, we looked at the farm animals, played on the old tractor, ate TONS of cider doughnuts and did the hedge maze.
It was a great day, though we did miss our Papa!







Fall's over...here's the update

I'm a bit behind on updating with fall events...apple picking, Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, what-not.
So here are a few posts to keep you up to date. And then hopefully I'll stay up to date as we move into Advent, one of my favorite seasons of the year!
Enjoy the pictures! I wish my camera was better...someday we'll get an SLR, but until then these will have to do!
Happy December!

25 November 2008

T minus 43 hours and counting

Yea! It's Thanksgiving vacation! I didn't have to teach today, and the boys are off starting tomorrow. Even John is taking tomorrow off, so we are officially on break!

Let the mad cooking and cleaning begin! On Thursday we will be 19 around the table (more likely two tables...or three). It is going to be so fun! I do love Thanksgiving and all the cooking, preparing, not the cleaning, and the great fun to be together. I grew up with big Thanksgiving celebrations, with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and sometimes a few friends thrown in the mix. The only family who will be here this Thanksgiving will be my brother and his girlfriend, but I am so thankful that we can host so many other wonderful friends and friends of friends.

John and I will do a good bit of cooking tomorrow, but our friends are also bringing things (thank goodness!).
Here is what will be brought by friends (as far as we know):

Fried turkey
Sweet potatoes
Green beans
Cornbread dressing
Pumpkin cake
Great-grandmother's rolls
Salad

We will round out the menu with the following:

Glazed ham
Mashed potatoes
Cranberries in red wine
Whiskey glazed carrots
Jello salad (a Texas Thanksgiving staple)
Pumpkin spice rolls
Nutmeg Maple Cream pie (to DIE for!!!)
Honeyed Apple Pie

What am I forgetting? Probably something. So far the cranberries are done, and I plan to make my pastry crust tonight. Maybe the congealed salad as well. I've also got to iron the napkins and set out the china, etc.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. I am also hoping to actually sleep between now and then.

20 November 2008

Excuse me?

In the mornings, after all the men have gone off to school and work, Lucy and I sit at the kitchen table and eat our breakfasts.

Many days, she asks me to read the Bible to her, and I'll start reading whatever the day's passages are in my Daily Reading Bible (ESV, if you're interested).

Today she begged, "Can you please please please read the Bible to me?"

I'm not one to turn down an eager Bible listener, so I started right in on Ezekiel. I had read a few paragraphs when Lucy put up her little hand, closed it into a fist and said, "Beep! Time out! My turn!"

I just looked at her in shock for a minute, so she repeated, "Beep! Time out! Beep! Beep!"

I know I shouldn't encourage this, but I could not help laughing. I have no idea where she came up with this little method of interruption.

19 November 2008

Nemesis

Entropy is my enemy. I am doomed to a life of eternal frustration.

(Hyberbole, anyone?)

17 November 2008

Happiness is...

seeing your 10 year-old son and two year-old daughter contentedly holding hands while riding in the car on the way home.

15 November 2008

Nordstrom Crack

It's finally happened. Nordstrom Rack has come to our fair (and by fair I mean liberal) state. Are you acquainted with the Nordstrom Rack? It is Nordstom's discount cousin, the place where last season's or overstocks go to be snatched up by the likes of discount shoppers like me.

It used to be, when John traveled for work, that he would stop into the Rack if he came across one (like Seattle...hello, three Nordstrom Racks in the metro area...we've been to them ALL). He always came away with great deals on shoes, clothes for the kids and fun treats for him and me.

It opened the day before my birthday and so John took me there for a little birthday shopping. Oooo, baby. Two words: shoe department.

Mind you, I had birthday money to burn. This was no regular clothes budget shopping trip. And I was smokin', because I came away with three pairs of boots, two by Franco Sarto (one of my favorite shoe labels, I've decided) and one by Cole Haan. Cole Haan! I'm not going to tell you exactly how much I paid, as that would be uncouth. But let me just say that it was a deal, especially for boots.

So my birthday money took me a long way at the Crack. You can guess why we call it that. IT'S ADDICTING! And once you've been there, you want to go back for more.

Here are my Crack finds to date. Keep in mind this place has only been open one month. Ha ha!

1. black patent leather ankle booties
2. grey suede boots with heel
3. red suede flats
4. Joe's Jeans that fit me PERFECTLY!
5. cute red sweater, long but with short sleeves
6. four long sleeved t-shirts for layering
7. grey-blue cabled cardigan
8. cream-colored coat with fun details at collar and hem
9. a watch by Fossil with a fun red face
10. beautiful brown leather boots by Cole Haan (which I returned, as I'm not sure I need another pair of brown boots. But they were so beautiful!)
11. Lucy's red patent leather birthday shoes

Hmmm, I'm noticing some themes: red, fun, boots. What does this say about me?

If you haven't heard yet, the Crack is at Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers. Call me and I'll go with you!

10 November 2008

Update

10:58 a.m. All is quiet. Clayton and Mac are doing the sit and spin at the top of the stairs. Do you think that's safe? Water on the stove for an early lunch of delicious and nutritious mac and cheese. The girls are playing. Ben is reading, I think. He and Walter may still be sulking at all my "ruining of their fun".

11:07 a.m. Had to put Lucy in her bed by herself, as she is screaming at everyone. Uh oh, someone's crying. Clayton. Apparently Walter was kicking him. Shocking.

11:09 a.m. Lucy is quiet. Maybe I can let her out. Still haven't gotten my clothes on. Must...get...clothes...on.

11:29 a.m. Had a really sweet talk with Walter about his being a leader, why we have conflict with each other, why we need Jesus. I think he was really listening. Finally I am dressed. Mac and cheese is ready. Lucy has fallen asleep. Poor little thing is completely overwrought. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with one's idol. Louisa is Lucy's idol.

12:07 p.m. Ahhhh...peace. Everyone is fed, the big boys are playing football outside, Lucy is asleep still, Theo and Louisa are playing together with Webkins and I am making my own lunch. Yea!

Live blogging with 7 kids

Our good friends are out of town for a few days, and we are taking care of their three children for a time...two days and two nights. They came home with us after church yesterday and will be picked up tomorrow around lunch time. These are the friends who had our FOUR children for five days while we went to London. So this is absolutely the least we can do for them!

Here is a summary of how it is going. Just one word: CHAOS.

Okay, so now that I've gotten that out, I'm going to try to keep you updated on what is really, actually happening around here. Today and tomorrow are days off school, so we're just...hanging around.

Let's back up to this morning.

6:45 a.m. Lucy and Louisa wake up and start chattering. Loudly. Ben comes in and whispers to them to whisper and be quiet because the boys are trying to sleep.

7 a.m. Walter comes in to ask if they can watch television. We say yes, then snuggle in our bed with Lucy for about 15 minutes. Louisa comes in to tell me how hungry she is (surprise, surprise!)

8 a.m. Television is turned off but not before Walter gives me attitude about it. Breakfast is on the table: cinnamon toast, bananas, Cheerios, juice, milk. There are requests for hot cider but we are all out. Ben REALLY wants something hot to drink so we make french vanilla tea with milk and sugar. Yummy. But it all remains undrunk (don't think that's a word) on the table. Hmmm.

9 a.m. Is it snack time yet? No, not yet. Lucy is crying about everything. Ben and Walter are off by themselves, reading. Clayton and Mac are making a fort in the living room and Theo is getting in fights and annoying everyone he can.

9:45 a.m. Is it snack time yet? Not yet...Boys come in from outside covered in sidewalk chalk. I insist they change. More attitude from Walter. Now is it snack time? NO...I mean, no, not yet. Let me get the dishes in the dishwasher. It should only take me about 45 minutes, with all the fights, crying, request for snacks, etc.

10: 41 Walter and Ben want to do things on their own, but of course all the other children want to join in. I had to stop the jumping into piles of pillows in the living room because of excessive screaming from the two youngest. Walter just told me I'm ruining all their fun. I'm sure I am. Am I being too strict? I know that they have a physical need to hurl their bodies against things, but there has got to be a line somewhere. Where do I draw it? Isn't this what the outdoors are for? I think we've got to get out of here. Walter just already asked for lunch. Do you think I can get them to all take naps?

That gets us up to date. I think I need to pull myself together, have a powwow with the tribe (it's a mixed tribe) and make a plan. We've got to get out of here! Jesus help.
More as it happens.

06 November 2008

More on idolatry...isn't this FUN?!???

Here is a quote from Tertullian, one of the first theologians and apologists of the Church.  It is a quote referenced by our pastor in his sermons the past two weeks.  The idea here has really stayed with me, and given me much food for thought.

"The principle crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry.  For although each individual sin retains its own proper feature, although it is destined to judgment under its own proper name also, yet they all fall under the general heading of idolatry...(All murder and adultery, for example, are idolatry, for they arise because something is loved more than God - yet, in turn, all idolatry is murder because it assaults God, and all idolatry is adultery for it is unfaithfulness to God.)  Thus it comes to pass, that in idolatry all crimes are detected, and in all crimes idolatry."

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  
Let's just get personal.  What idols are in your life?  What good things are you tempted to make into ultimate things?  
Talk amongst yourselves.

05 November 2008

Bitter water

Our pastor has been preaching from Habakkuk the past few months, and so we've been discussing the passages in our community group on Monday nights. Both this week and last have focused on idolatry and how it manifests itself in our lives.

Most of us in our culture are not bowing down to carved statues, but I would posit that all of us are idolaters in one way or another. We are God's image bearers, and we are made to worship. If we don't worship the one true God, we will QUICKLY find something else to worship. Our pastor has made a point of saying how close idolatry is to the human heart, how quickly we will turn a good thing into an ultimate thing.

As we discussed this in our group, we learned that a good test of a good thing that may have become an idol is to examine what makes us angry. When our idols are threatened, we may respond in anger or defensiveness. With this as a litmus test, I think that some of my idols are control, perfectly obedient children, peace and a smooth schedule. Notice how all of those things are essentially good things! But my sinful heart wants to worship these things more than I naturally want to worship God. And I want to find my identity in them. So when they are threatened, I react in anger, anxiety and despair, because it is as if my very identity is as stake.

Something that I am praying for God to change in me is my reaction when things don't go my way. As a mom, things do not go as planned quite often. Much of how the family runs depends on me, but let's not forget that there are six distinct personalities in this house. So sometimes things don't run exactly as I plan. Tantrums happen, people don't get up on time, spills happen, things break, shoes disappear. You know what I'm talking about. I call this thwarting. I am thwarted at every turn. I have MY plan, and I constantly run into thwarting.

We were laughing about this thwarting in community group, but it points to a serious problem. The problem is that I am so reluctant to accept God's will for me, and I act like an orphan when things don't go my way. I have my own tantrum when I am thwarted, forgetting that I am a DAUGHTER OF THE KING and that He is looking out for me. He has things to teach me and things He wants to change in me AND He wants to take care of me (not necessarily make me comfortable).

This quote from Amy Carmichael (19th c. missionary to India) has haunted me for years. It's from her tiny book entitled If.

"If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted."

Sit in that for a while. Do you think it's too much? I don't. I think she has an amazing point.

O Lord, I am more often filled with bitter water and it all comes spilling out. Please fill me with sweet water, so that when I spill over, it is not in wrath and anger, but with acceptance and joy. You know what is best, and I don't.

04 November 2008

Let' s just hope it works.

Hello there and happy Election Day to you all!

As I mentioned previously, I have been sick.  And today I think I feel the beginnings of a sinus infection.  I really don't like to take antibiotics, so I'm doing everything I can to help my body fight off infection.  Of course, I don't think all the candy consumption since Halloween has helped at all.  Rats.

So here's my game plan.  Let's hope it works.

1.  Neti pot.  Do you know what this is?  It is a way of cleansing your nasal passages and comes from the yoga tradition.  All I know is that it feels like getting water up your nose.  But from past experience, it works.

2.  The most disgusting "tea" you will ever drink.  I can't remember who told me this concoction, but I turn to it when I need help fighting infection.  Squeeze a whole lemon into a large mug (strain out the pulp and seeds).  Mince one or two garlic cloves and put in the mug.  Add hot water.  Sweeten with honey as needed (you'll need a lot!).

Let me tell you, it is really not pleasant to drink.  And I'm sure I will scare off anyone within a fifteen foot radius with my garlic smells while I wait in line to vote.  But this, too, has helped get well naturally over the years.

If you have any other natural remedies, leave them in the comments.  I am SERIOUS about NOT taking antibiotics!

On another note, I can't wait to find out who our next president is going to be!  I think it is awesome that so many people are voting today.  No matter who wins, we should celebrate that we are free and safe to vote as we choose, and that so many people are choosing to exercise their voting rights this election year.  I'm planning on taking the whole family!

27 October 2008

I got nothin'

No, really I got nuthin'. Nuthinbutalottatalkanabadge. Quick, what movie?!?

I usually want my posts to be amusing, revelatory or incredibly insightful. Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, it's been 11 days since my last post. And the date of my last post keeps staring at me, taunting me that I GOT NUTHIN'.

So, here's to hoping that the bloggy writer's block goes away. And here, in my favorite literary form, the list, is what's going on with us.

1. John drove a huge truck back from Texas. The truck was filled with all manner of furniture acquired from John's parents' Texas house. All kinds of beautiful and amazing furniture. And large furniture. Large, Texas-size furniture. Hard to fit in New England home. Our house is in a shambles. As my son said, "It looks like we're moving. But we're not moving." Exactly. Furniture everywhere, stuff everywhere. Crazy, man. Serenity now!

2. As a result of all this "moving", we'll be selling off some stuff. I'm planning a yard sale in the next week and a half. We're getting rid of some furniture and some baby stuff. Part of me is VERY happy to de-clutter and part of me is like this (on the inside): "NO!! Don't take my baby stuff! I don't want to say that I'm done having sweet, snuggly little babies! You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers!!!" Scary, I know.

3. Halloween is coming! This year we will have a fairy, two secret agents and an army guy. We've also invited our neighbors to come around for an open house on Halloween night. Good reason to get this furniture in some kind of configuration that makes sense.

4. I'm sick. I've had this stinkin' cold for A WEEK now, which is so long for me to be sick. I've been a pretty functional sickie this week, but today I'm still in my bathrobe and it's 1:30 in the afternoon. I feel such a compulsion to be PRODUCTIVE that I just have a hard time letting myself get better. Something I've been thinking about lately.

If any of you have interior decorating skills, please come over and lend your expertise to our crazy abode. It's *just* about to drive me nuts. Breathe in...breathe out. It's going to be okay.

Over and out, dudes.

16 October 2008

A Lucy interlude

We interrupt this Texas series to bring you some notes from Lucy:

Lucy to Mama: You cannot do dat, but you can have a meeting with me.

Mama to Lucy: Oh, I can have a meeting with you? When?

Lucy to Mama: Thursday or Friday.

Lately, everything that is in the future in on "Thursday or Friday" and everything that is in the past is "last year".

This morning on the way to school.

Mama (to no one in particular, groggily): I wish I had a coffee.

Lucy to Mama (quite cheerily): Sorry, Mama! Maybe later!

Christology by Lucy: "Jesus was a WEETY [really] brave guy! He was weety, weety brave."

13 October 2008

In a van down by the river

This trip to Texas was my first in several years. I'm pretty sure the last time I was there was for a family reunion in 2003, when Theo was just a baby not yet one year old! Of course, John has been back several times since then, but we have tended to visit as a family when his folks were at their place in New Mexico.

In the last several months, his parents sold their place in Texas, and instead of downsizing in the same area, they decided to purchase...wait for it...an RV! They really don't enjoy flying very much, and this way they can easily travel between the Lone Star State and the Land of Enchantment and have their own place to stay.

Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with the title of this post?

Up until now, we would have stayed with John's parents on a trip to Texas. But all 6 of us really wouldn't fit too comfortable in the RV, along with the parents and two dogs. So we stayed at the home of a friend of theirs: a beautiful home on the golf course, with four bathrooms (the BEST luxury for a family with one toilet), a swimming pool and huge TVs. It was gorgeous, so roomy and comfortable for all of us. Meanwhile, John's parents told us we could find them "in the RV park just over the bridge". Whaaa? We are staying in the beautiful lake house and they are "in the RV park just over the bridge"? Is this some kind of new world order?

*Bonus points for the reader who can tell where the title comes from! Just like before, fame and glory on my blog, read of tens of people every week (if I'm really lucky)!


12 October 2008

Two Truths about Travel

If you ever should happen to travel with kids, there are two things you can count on. They are these:

1. Someone will have to go #2 just as you begin your descent and the flight attendant instructs you to stay in your seat with your seat belt fastened.

2. If you are on a several hour flight and every one is cranky, fighting and not sleeping, all children will miraculously fall into a deep and peaceful sleep in the last fifteen minutes of the flight. Just watch; it will happen.

Is there some kind of scientific explanation for this? Can someone help me out?

11 October 2008

It's all about the food

Our first day in Texas, we went to breakfast at the Blue Bonnet Cafe with John's parents and grandparents, Memaw and Granddad.

Here's what we had:
Eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits and gravy and some people even had PIE for dessert! I mean, who has dessert after breakfast?! If you're ever in Marble Falls, you must go to the Blue Bonnet.

No lunch; we were all too full from breakfast, of course.

From 3 to 5 p.m., the Blue Bonnet has Pie Happy Hour. Pie and a drink for $3.00. So we went for pie and iced tea. Mind you, from where we were staying, it was a good 20 to 25 minute drive to get back to the Blue Bonnet. We are serious about our pie.

Dinner was the BEST barbeque from Opie's near Austin. Brisket. Ribs. Beans. SO good.

More later...

Texas My Texas

Okay, I know it's not really my Texas. I'm not from Texas. But John's mom (my dear mother-in-love) DID give me an Honorary Texan card when we got engaged. So maybe it is just a little bit my Texas.

We've been in Texas since last Tuesday for the wedding (and other related events) of John's brother, Derek, and his gorgeous bride, Luz. There is so much to tell, so I'm starting a Texas series today. We're going back to Boston in the morning...goodbye warm weather, swimming pools, Mexican food and Shiner Bock beer.

30 September 2008

I want, I want, I need, I need

In Target yesterday with Lucy, we came upon the shoe department. Lucy spied some VERY sparkly Converse sneakers in the ladies department.
"Mama!" she squealed. "You should get those!"

"Oh, really? Should I try them on?", as I took a pair from the shelf.

"Oh, Mama! You don't WANT those! You NEED those!"

* Edited to add: Bonus points for the saavy reader who can name the movie the title comes from! A prize! A BIG one! Okay, just kidding. Just fame and glory on my blog...read by TENS of people EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

25 September 2008

Scene

I love this scene, experienced this morning:
Driving along Soldiers Field Road, a somewhat misty morning. Harvard's playing fields on our right and the Charles River to our left. The river is still except for the soft wakes of the sculls, with one or two or eight rowers. The muted sunlight shines on the water and warms us as we creep along with the traffic.

22 September 2008

I think I must be almost famous

Someone famous commented on my blog.  

SOMEONEFAMOUSCOMMENTEDONMYBLOG!!!!

And what a thrilling post it was for her to read and comment on.  She must have been just BLOWN AWAY with my blogging skillz, my wit, my depth of insight.  Oh sheesh, how embarrassing.  Anyway, if you want to know who it was, look at the previous post.  And then start reading her blog, because she is stinkin' hilarious.  Unless you are easily offended and don't like decapitated Barbies.  Then don't read her blog 'cause you might get mad.

On another note, thinking about Martha Stewart (I tried not to think about her very long) reminded me of a very funny story of long ago.  A story that involves Martha Stewart and one very astute little boy.  The little boy's name rhymes with Salter.

Long ago, when this little boy was just a wee lad of perhaps three, he and I happened to watch a television show featuring dear old Martha making something in the kitchen.  Maybe it was cookies.  Or maybe it was Raspberry-Topped Chocolate Tartlets with Pecan Crusts.  Who can remember such things?  ANYWAYS.  This little boy may also have seen dear old Martha on the cover of a magazine, probably holding an elaborate leaf and acorn wreath.  Or maybe it was hand-knitted silverware dispenser.  WHO CAN REMEMBER SUCH THINGS?  And the astute little boy said the following:  "Poor Martha!  She has to get up in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT to make the cookies, and bake the cakes.  Poor Martha.  She is always making something..." and he proceeded to go on and on about all of poor Martha's labors.  Poor Martha indeed.

20 September 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha

Ha ha! I just signed up on Martha Stewart's blog to have my blog reviewed by her worker bees. So here, in return, is a link to Martha's blog.

Click here to go to her blog!

18 September 2008

Meet my friend

Today I read a blog post written by my friend, Howard. Howard and John worked at the seminary together for years, and Howard's wife, Karen, was a good pal in seminary days and beyond. They have three boys, we have three boys. Their family provided staple guests at all our birthday parties and vice versa. Recently, they moved from the idyllic North Shore (read: homogeneous, big backyard, quiet streets and easy parking) to Manhattan so Howard can work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. They're real city dwellers now, with a fourth floor walk-up AND Karen rides around the city on her scooter.  She's so cool.  Did I mention the three boys? They are brave!

ANYWAY. Read what Howard has to say here about waiting on and listening to God.  Read and be encouraged. He's an amazing writer.

The Alphabet 2008

Here's Lucy's recitation of the alphabet this morning.  Perfect for an election year.

"A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O - Bama."

Okay then.

We are girls

This is a phrase that Lucy like to say when she and I are doing something together.  During the days now, all the brothers are at school so I told Lucy, "It's just you and me!"  She latched right on to that idea and now tells me each morning, when all the men of the house have departed, "Mom, it's me and you!"  And this morning, she added on, "We are girls!"  
The other day, I had her "help" me in the kitchen (she stirred flour, sugar and water while I prepared dinner) and she said, "I help you, Mom!  We are girls!  Oh yeah!"
And she is quick to tell her brothers, "You not a girl.  You a boy." 
No lack of self-confidence here!

I love me some funny punctuation

Okay, I have another site to make you laugh.  That is, if you're geeky like me and think punctuation can be funny.  I found this site linked at Cake Wrecks, which, if you haven't seen yet...hie thee hence!

This really tickled me.  The first one or two aren't so hilarious, but keep scrolling down.  It's totally wicked awesome, dude.

15 September 2008

My Book Stack

Do you have a stack of books next to your bed that you mean to read?  I always do.  I go through seasons when I hardly read at all, and then others when I'm a reading fool.  

The summer is always a good time for me to read.  Three books read over the summer that stand out to me are:  Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson; The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy and Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger.  I recommend them all, for different reasons.  In Enger's book, the penultimate chapter is a moving description of what heaven might be like.  I wept while reading it, and even wept while reading it for the second and third times.  It made me want heaven so much.  And it's only one author's vision!  Imagine how wonderful it will be in reality when we are there.  I found it comforting, and especially thought of my dear friends who have lost parents or children in the last year.  I wondered if they might find it a comfort as well.

So here is what is in my stack currently:
Marriage to a Difficult Man, The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, Elisabeth D. Dodds (don't you love that title?) (currently reading)
How to Eat, Nigella Lawson (currently reading)
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (just started)
Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, C. John Miller
The Thing Itself:  On the Search for Authenticity, Richard Todd
Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges
The Heart of a Servant Leader, C. John Miller (ongoing reading)
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

12 September 2008

Announcement

Well, I'm not going to be able to hide this for long, so I might as well tell you now...

I'm...


NOT PREGNANT!

Ha ha! Did I trick you?

But I did get haircut today. I mean, a major haircut. I've never been super cautious about my hair overall. At certain times I have been very cautious (read: BORING!). But in the span of my life, I've had all hair lengths. Well, not Crystal Gayle length (does anybody know who she is any more? You youngsters might not).

ANYWAYS. I have cut my hair. And it is short. So be prepared, if you live close enough to see me. My hair guy, Erik, assures me this is a cut he saw all over Los Angeles, when he was there a few weeks ago. And that's all that matters, right? It's not how you feel, it's how you look, dahling!

06 September 2008

I should be in bed, but I'm here cryin'

I'm staying up way too late, with John asleep next to me on the sofa, laughing until I cry at this.

I'm not kidding, tears are going down my face. It's just me and the computer. You have to check it out.

03 September 2008

The nominee

Sarah Palin! Whoa!

02 September 2008

A trap

I'm having many thoughts lately about my life, how I want to live it, what really matters.  Here are some of my thoughts, taken (roughly) from my journal.  While at different times in my life I have been a faithful journal keeper, right now my journal is more of a survival journal.  I use it for lists, sermon notes, budget notes and thoughts that I find I must get out onto paper.  I'm still more of a pen-and-paper sort of person, though I'm becoming more comfortable with typing my thoughts (which is really helpful when you're keeping a blog; the pen-and-paper blog just hasn't really taken off).

Here is a trap.  I feel convicted that I want to live for others and share my faith and so I determine that I need to read my Bible more, to be more disciplined and organized, etc.  And so in the process I become self-absorbed and set on achieving my plan for my own betterment.

What I need is the Gospel.
What I need is God's Word.
What I need is to be filled up with sweet water so that
whatever spills over is not bitter but sweet.

I cannot fill myself up like that.  

I can put myself in a position to be filled by reading God's Word, praying for the Holy Spirit and warming myself at the fire of God's love.

But having a more disciplined schedule, WHILE BENEFICIAL, will not lead me into godliness, will not sustain my soul, will not fill me up with that sweet water I so desperately need.

And here's the thing:  all this is already mine!  Jesus is ready and able, He stand waiting to help me.  He is so much more inclined to help that I am inclined to believe that He wants to help!

O Lord, the time is short.  Work in me, Spirit of God.  Fill me with sweet water!

31 August 2008

And the beat goes on

The songs are just coming non-stop here at our house. Here are some of the latest lyrics, courtesy of dear Lucy.

"There's thunder in my window
I have my fan
Because I'm safe
I have my friends
I love my jammies
Hallelu"

Here's some blasphemy for you:
"I will praise my jammies"

And two more:

"It's ten o'clock
What time is it?
It's ten 0'clock
What time is it?
Hallelu"

"I will not go to sleep with my dad and my mom
Because I don't want to
There's thunder in my window"

30 August 2008

Tap, tap...is this thing on?

Oh, hi. Is there some kind of a blog supposed to be going on here? Is someone supposed to be, y' know, WRITING something every now and then and, y'know, UPDATING people on the goings on of this household?

Oh, really? I'M supposed to be doing that? Oops.

Ahem.

Three posts in August. Pitiful.

Anyway, here is a report:

This week was Birthday Week in our house. Birthday Week is a short burst of birthdays in what we affectionately call Summer Birthday Season. Summer Birthday Season involves many cakes, guns, cheap party favors and candy.
We also have a Winter Birthday Season, but that one involves less guns and cheap party favors.

Summer Birthday Season (SBS) kicks off in mid-July with Clayton's birthday. This year he turned 8 while John and I were in London. While he had great celebrations with the Barnes' and with Tyler and Amanda (newly engaged! yeah!), we also had a party with a couple of his friends upon our return. It was a Celtics party and we decorated green and white T-shirts, ate cake and played basketball (inside because it was POURING rain). Here's a picture of some of the festivities. That cake can really serve so many functions (Kelly Sawyer!).



Six weeks later we have two birthdays back to back: first Theo, who turned 6, then Walter, who turned...TEN! Theo had a soccer birthday with four of his cute little friends. However, the party did happen to involve quite a bit of crying on Theo's part. It just goes right back to the old song: "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, especially if you score a goal on me or if you whack the pinata harder than me and make all the candy fall out and then get more candy in your bag than I do. Then I'll really cry and have a fit." You know what I'm talking about.




Then came Walter's birthday, the big 1-0, double digits, a decade, all that crazy stuff. We wracked our brains for something really great to do, but in the end smaller was definitely better. John took our boys plus their two best buddies, Ben and Mac, to the batting cages. Then we had a small party with all the Barnes' and our friends, the Wascos. I think that Walter had a great day and that's what really counts.




As for me...WHEWW! Birthday Season is officially closed until November, when Winter Birthday Season (WBS) will open with a bang on the 8th (shout out to all my birthday buddies, Meghann, Kathryn and Nicole).

16 August 2008

Two more Lucy songs

Two more Lucy songs I don't want to forget:

"Because my baby [pronounced beh-beh] is so strong..." (sung at the top of her lungs from the stroller as we walked around Beacon Hill)

"Can you believe with me?"

This is what it means

...to be the mother of boys. I was reading aloud to the boys tonight in their room. One boy is snuggled up to me, nice and sweaty. One boy's face appears above me, upside down and sans shirt, as he peers down at me from his loft bed up above. The last boy is across the room from me, laser light from his Nerf gun trained on my head as I read. I was about to get really irritated and tell everyone to just lie down, quit goofing around, don't point that light at me, when something inside told me that this is what it is to be the mother of boys. They weren't being bad, and they all were really listening to our book. But this is what boys do. And I, as a "girl", need to let them be boys and make sure I'm not trying to turn them into little girls.
Oh boy, do I need wisdom.

On another note, my two week (plus) hiatus has been due to VBS at church (Lord, that was tiring); a week's trip to Maine with my mom and dad; and another week with my folks here at home. They returned home today. I hope it is not so long before I see them again. So now we're looking ahead to the last weeks of summer and the start of school. I plan to be posting more regularly and with pictures, too!

26 July 2008

American Idol?

Lucy is singing right now. She's holding up a book, as if she's reading it and here is what she is singing, with gusto:

"Glory, don't catch me. Glory, don't catch me. Glory you. People, all glory with me. Glory, don't say poo poo. Don't catch me again."

She uses the word "glory" in her singing A LOT. What does that mean?

Walter just walked in and said, "I hope she doesn't grow up to be some kind of singing performer."

Wee hours

London time is still with me. I was up this morning at 3:55 a.m. I'm sitting in the darkened kitchen, doing a few administrative things online, and now I'm about to plan out all the craft supplies I need to purchase today for VBS next week. Eek, it's a bit overwhelming.

But I am enjoying the quiet. A few minutes ago, a bird started practicing his song just outside the window. It's really lovely. By now the light is starting to come up a bit. It's very peaceful. I hope the lack of sleep doesn't catch up with me too early in the day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Clayton's 8th birthday. We are having a small party, so I need to prepare for that today as well. He wants to play basketball at the park with his buddies. I hope that it doesn't rain on us, and I hope we can get enough friends there to really play. It's tough with the summer birthdays.

Yesterday was John's day off and we went to Wingaersheek Beach. I think that is my favorite beach. We climbed all over the rocks and found many clams, hermit crabs and a few sand dollars. As the tide came in, the water became deep enough for us to jump off the rocks into the (freezing!) water. Clayton was the first to discover this delight, and as he came bouncing up out of the water, the look of pure joy on his face made my heart leap. I still can't help but smile, remembering his expression. I think he discovered that not only was it fun to jump into water (we don't have much diving board experience), but it was thrilling to overcome a little bit of fear, and to do something BEFORE his big brother could do it! I love that sweet guy. I'm so thankful for him.

24 July 2008

Re-Entry

John and I returned to Boston late Tuesday night, after the LEAP conference ended on Monday evening.  What an amazing ten days!  I'm looking forward to processing everything that we saw and did and learned.  I realize that my posts while in London were rather frivolous, but that in no way reflects the whole tenor of the trip!  I do have to say that joy and fun were a big part of it, though.

Yesterday morning we had a sweet, sweet reunion with our children.  What a blessing to hold little Lucy in my arms again, and to have our cute boys jump into bed with us, tumbling all over each other to tell us of all their adventures, show us their newest bruises and bumps and get in LOTS of snuggles.  They all seemed so much bigger, and Lucy seemed to be talking so much.

I don't know if you've experienced this with your own kids, but I find that when talking to my children on the phone, they sound so much smaller, so tiny.  Their voices seem higher than in real life, and it makes me feel that they are still just my babies.  It was strange to hold them again, and feel how lanky and big they are!  

John took the day off to recoup, and we all just enjoyed being together, reading lots of books to Theo and Lucy, doing a bit of grocery shopping, and playing together.  We played with Clayton's new birthday presents, showed pictures of our trip and gave the children the presents we had brought for them:  a tiny kameez (Indian tunic or shirt) for Lucy, soccer jerseys for the boys and English candy for all.  I scored some perfume at the duty-free shop in Heathrow. 

I am so thankful for our trip and I am so thankful for our family.  I'm looking forward to life at home, jet-lag and all!  Cheers!

18 July 2008

A day in Londontown and GUEST POST!

Today was our day off during the LEAP conference, so John and I have spent the day in London proper. In honor of the occasion, I am going to host my very first, inaugural, initial AND did I mention first, guest post! Here's John:

Trying to see London in a day is a pretty daunting task, but I think Kit and I have done pretty well. We did a little (very little) shopping in Oxford Circus, rode a double-decker down to Trafalgar Square, caught the free lunchtime concert at St. Martin-In-The-Fields church, walked all along the Thames, saw the Houses of Parliament and Westminster, visited the British Museum, ate at Nando's (shout out to Rick!), saw the Globe Theater, walked across Tower Bridge, and checked out (the outside of) The Tower of London (too expensive to go in!). But, of all the impressive things I have seen in this great city, the thing that impresses me most is...the McDonald's! First of all - there would be no guest-posting right now if it weren't for their free wi-fi (what else is free in London?), it is incredibly clean, and the decor is pretty stunning - big, bright lounge chairs, Wagamama-style communal tables, striking modern-art prints on the walls. What can I say? This beats the heck out of the McDonald's on Middlesex Turnpike where I take my kids on occasion. I have added a pic of Kit and me chillin' in their incredibly comfortable lounge chairs, just to give you some of the flavor.



That's all for now. Guest post: out!

17 July 2008

Not an Oreo, not a Nutter-Butter, not a chocolate chip...

In a talk we heard yesterday, one of the World Harvest Mission staff said something great:

"There is no cookie-cutter way to share the gospel.  I'll tell you why.  Because the gospel is not a cookie."  

He went on to say that it is a many-faceted diamond, more beautiful than anything we have ever seen, and that we consider what facet to present to our audience based on what they need to hear most.  A very fascinating and wonderful concept, and one I hope to discuss and learn more about while I am here.

15 July 2008

Wembley

Good evening, friends.  It's just about pub time (if I can stay awake), but I thought I would give a quick update on our day today.

This morning we had two great sessions of learning from Bob Heppe, the founder of the work here in London.  He is very wise, having been here fourteen years, and is a wealth of knowledge about the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim cultures.

This afternoon, we visited the neighborhood of Wembley (home of the stadium).  We were given a map of the area and instructed to eat an Indian meal and do cultural exploration.  We had such a great time, and were able to have chats with several people.  In fact, John met two people that he had met last year on this trip!  One of them even remembered him and the things they talked about.

For lunch, I had sheekh kebab with salad and naan bread.  BOY, was it spicy!  Oooo, my mouth was really burning and I was sweating.  Don't worry, I played it cool.  Didn't let on.  I like to blend into the culture like that.

Then we visited a sari shop that is closing its doors.  I spoke with the owner, asked question about the saris and the shalwar kameez (traditional Punjabi dress).  She is closing her brick and mortar store to go online.  I was able to buy an adorable tiny kameez (long shirt) for Lucy for £3 (that's about $6). 

Another of our assignments was to buy something after haggling on the price.  So I bought a tiny string bracelet that the guy wanted to sell for £1 and I ended up paying 50 pence.  Hmmm.  I think I still got ripped off, because another girl bought about 8 bracelets for £2.  Oh well, anything for relationship, right?!

Then John and I stopped to speak with a man selling Bollywood videos.  So we asked him who his favorite actress is and why, and asked him to suggest a good, classic Bollywood video for us.  We talked with him for so long that we really felt that we had to buy something, so we got a video (probably some illegal copy!) for £5.  He was from Bombay (also called Mumbai), but has lived in UK for 20 years!

The most fun thing I did, and I still can't believe I did this...I had my eyebrows threaded in an Indian beauty salon!  This is a method of shaping/plucking eyebrows using a thread instead of tweezers.  WHY did I do it?!  Well, my eyebrows were in terrible shape, something I noticed on the plane on the way over.  Oops.  Anyway, I had heard of this method before and the sign outside the shop said it was only £2.50!  That's $5!  So cheap.  Anyway, I had a moment of panic as I sat in the chair, wondering if I was going to come out with no eyebrows at all.  But the girl was sweet and quick and it looks great.  Crazy!

More to come later, and hopefully some pics.  Leave me a comment if you read this, and let me know if you're praying for us.  Tomorrow night we will be going door to door in these neighborhoods!

14 July 2008

London!

People, I am posting this FROM the U.K.!  That's right, we have arrived, we are in the mother country. 
Our direct flight from Boston to Heathrow Airport was quite pleasant, made so by the most solicitous, sincere and kind British Airways flight attendants.  Here is a sample of the usual airplane banter, but with a British twist:

(to be read with a lovely English accent in your head; think BBC)

As they interrupt the in-flight entertainment for an announcement:  "We are most sorry for the interruption, but we just did want to give you the update that blah, blah, blah..."

The pilot's announcement:  "Good afternoon, folks.  This is your pilot, Phil Channery. [when do pilots tell you their first and last names?] It's a lovely day for flying, and you'll see that we're just passing over Liverpool, on our way into London..."

As the movies end and we begin to descend into London:  "Well, we do hope that you've been able to get some rest on this flight.  And, if not, then we do hope that you enjoyed the movies that you've been able to watch.  And, if not that, then we hope you've enjoyed the lovely croissant with jam and tea."  (Just kidding on that croissant part.  But the rest is true)

Anyway, we sailed through immigration, despite the humiliating signs for the two types of pass ports:  EU countries, and All Other Countries INCLUDING US and other countries.  What happened to our special relationship, England?!

Well, our team is beckoning me to come to pub and how can I resist?  More pictures and updates to come, including my very first guest post!  Here's a hint:  "Kit and Cat in the UK".

Love to all, and keep praying.  This is going to get challenging.

12 July 2008

To look at the queen?!

When John first went to the London Evangelism and Prayer Conference four years ago, I told the boys that Papa would be going to London for a few days. Theo's response was, "London?! To look at the queen?!" His only reference point for London was the nursery rhyme:

"Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to look at the queen. Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there, I frightened a little mouse under her chair."

So, en la manana, we are off to look at the queen (or should it be Queen?)! John and I will attend the conference this year together, his third time and my first! I am very excited to have this chance to see all that he has experienced there, in World Harvest's ministry among South Asians.

I am especially grateful to all those who are supporting me in SO MANY ways! It takes a lot of people and helpers to get a mother of four out of the country! The Barnes' are going to be parents of SEVEN children for the next five days! Then Tyler and Amanda are going to take on the challenge of their lives, as they child-wrangle (I think that should be my new term for babysitting) for the remaining five days. Not to mention all the lovely friends who are supporting me financially to cover the cost of the conference and flight. I also feel especially blessed by those who are praying for me and for John, and for the children, and for the gospel to go forward among the South Asians of London.

Would you pray for me, if you are a praying person? Pray for my understanding of the gospel, pray for the people I will meet, pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work and for us to be malleable. Also, pray for our sweet children, as we have never been away from them for so long.

I will do my best to update as I am able from London...no promises, as I'm not quite sure of our schedule.

Blessing to you. I'll give the Queen your regards!

10 July 2008

My job description

Today, as I vacuumed, I had a realization. I now KNOW what my job in life is, what I spend the bulk of my days doing.
I don't have time to give much of an explanation, but I'll just give you the title. Maybe we can chat more about what this means later.

Kit Standridge: Entropy Fighter

Any questions?

Lost treasure

I came across a curious receipt as I was straightening the kitchen a few days ago.  

[Imagine a picture is here, which there will be as soon as I can get my internet and my photo program to work AT THE SAME TIME.  Grrrr.]

Let me explain:

About a month ago, during the height of Little League season, the children and I were at a, guess what - baseball game.  Walter's team was playing, and the other three children were making use of the nearby playground.  Lucy, as usual, was parading back and forth between my baseball viewing position and the playground.  At some point, she asked to put on my necklace and I (stupidly) let her.  It was a silver necklace with a big turquoise and lapis pendant, something that John's parents gave me many years ago.  I wear it fairly often as it complements many outfits and it reminds me of my Southwestern roots.

So I put it on Lucy, thinking that I would make sure she stayed near me while wearing it.  Good move, Mom.  Because I, of course, was really watching the game, and not watching Lucy and at some point she scampered over to the playground.  Did I mention the sand pit that houses this playground?  And all the playing fields around the playground?

The game ended and I discovered that the necklace was no longer on Lucy's neck.  I questioned her about its whereabouts, to which she replied, "It's nowhere."  Oh shoot!  I probably spent about 2o minutes searching in the sand and the grass, and did manage to find the silver necklace portion lying in the grass.  But the pendant was still missing.

We went home, as it was getting dark, but I pledged to return in the morning to search some more.  But then I had a brilliant idea...a metal detector would make this a whole lot easier!  The pendant is backed in silver, so it could be detected by said detector.  So I called a rental place down the road, found out it would cost $22 to rent a metal detector for a few hours, decided the pendant was worth it to me, and went to rent one.

I totally felt like one of those nerdy people you see on the beach or at the park, with big head phones on and a fanny pack.  Only I didn't have a fanny pack or ear phones.  But I did feel pretty nerdy, walking around the fields, sweeping my metal detector over the ground, actually praying that God would help me find this thing.

And I found it!  There it was, face down, a bit muddy, under a clump of grass.  I gleefully walked home with my found treasure.  Then I let the boys play with the metal detector in the yard for a while before taking it back.  

Here's what I learned:
1.  DO NOT, even under threat of tantrum, give Lucy things that you are not willing to lose.  Why, oh, why haven't I learned this yet?  Probably the threat of tantrum.
2.  You can rent lots of cool and useful things at Taylor Rental.  Like a cotton candy machine.  Or a backhoe.  Or a wedding candelabra.  Or a metal detector.
3.  Metal detectors are fun, but they beep  A LOT.  And they can really help you find things. 

07 July 2008

It's definitely summer...

when you're sweating in your own house, you hear the buzz of some one's lawn mower, you have all the shades drawn and you and your children are eating root beer floats instead of lunch.  Mmmmm.

Another sign of summer is that the boys all have summer cuts.  Last week I bought a clipper set and gave everyone haircuts.  I've been thinking for a while that I could save a good bit of money by giving the boys haircuts, but I never actually bit the bullet.  Last week we all went out to go to the barber.  First, we drove to my barber of choice, but they were closed for a two-week vacation.   We stopped at another barber along the road.  As soon as I walked in, with four children in tow, the lone barber said, "We don't do kids."  Okay, then.  As we drove back toward our house, I decided if the barber shop closest to our house (which I don't like), had a parking space near it, I would stop there.  No parking spot.

So we just kept on driving, to Bed, Bath and Beyond, used a coupon and came home with a clipper set.  Walter took it out of the package on the way home, and within five minutes, he said, "Okay, I think I have this thing figured out."  Typical.

So Clayton was the first guinea pig and it came out really well!  He ended up with the #2 clipper.  I trimmed Lucy's hair, gave Walter a #3 and the biggest change of all was cutting off Theo's long locks!  He looks so different without his long hair; I hardly recognize him.  We did give him a short haircut when he was about three, but I have always liked him with the long hair.  It just seemed to suit him.  But I have to say, he looks very handsome with his #8 (I didn't dare to go shorter!).

Oh, the best part of getting the clipper set?  It cost less to purchase it than it would have to get three haircuts at the barber.  It is well on its way to paying for itself!

Yep, it's definitely summer.

04 July 2008

Independence Day 2008

It's the Fourth of July, y'all!  

This is one of my very favorite holidays, especially here in New England.  Back in the day, when we lived on the North Shore, we would typically go to the parade in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  This is a wonderful, small town parade, with marching bands, homemade floats, kids riding bicycles, candy being thrown from antique cars, Revolutionary War soldiers (with loud guns), and LOTS of fire engines.  People line the streets in their folding chairs, decked out in red, white and blue, waving flags of all kinds.  It is a ton of fun, and one of the best things about living in this area.  I love to get there early with a box of donuts, a nice hot coffee and wait for the parade to begin.  We always were able to get prime parade watching real estate right in front of the cemetery.  The old gravestones provided pre-parade entertainment, as we would search for the headstone with the earliest date.

One year in particular sticks in my memory.  I was hugely pregnant with either Clayton or Theo, and we had spent the day at Singing Beach with our friends.  These friends were living in the top floor of a HUGE mansion in Manchester, and basically had the run of the place, as the owner was away.  When it got dark, we headed up to their apartment for food and to wait for the fireworks.  I remember that Walter got bitten by some kind of sand flea and had tiny bites ALL OVER his back.  And I remember sitting in their tiny (but so cute) third-floor kitchen, sweating, drinking Corona and feeling so heavy.  We tried to go outside to watch the fireworks, but were positively eaten alive by mosquitoes, so we retired inside.  I know it doesn't sound very pleasant by my description of it, but I remember that time with fondness.  Matt and Caroline, if you're reading, do you remember that year? 

Another Independence Day we celebrated in Maine with my mom and dad.  I made Firework hats for the kids, and they were too embarrassed to wear them.  So my mom and I wore them to the parade in Naples and had a great time!

Today is cold and rainy.  It doesn't really seem like the Fourth of July.  We didn't go up to the parade, and we're not going to Castle Island, like we did last year.  The boys just decorated their room with American flags and Clayton and Theo say they are going to do their own parade in our house.  That's the spirit, boys!

I, for one, am going to make oven fried chicken (my mom's recipe; delish!), strawberry roll cake (lots of berries and fresh whipped cream), corn on the cob, veggies and dip and root beer floats!  I also bought Doritos (which we NEVER buy) and cans of Mug root beer, just for a holiday treat.

What's your favorite thing about the Fourth of July? 

Have a great day of celebration, everyone!  Look for more posts over the holiday weekend!


03 July 2008

Happy Birthday to Tata!

Hope you had a great day, Dad! We were thinking of you!

video

We love you and can't wait to see you in August!

02 July 2008

I am here!

Just wanted to reassure you that I am still here!  Our internet has been spotty this week, and I have a couple of posts that I just need to finish up.  Can't wait to get them up, one about childhood vacations and another about last weekend's yard sale finds.

Lucy note:  When Lucy has tears in her eyes, she says, "My eyes are really sad" and she wants you to wipe her tears.  Today, Lucy and I had, how shall I say...a moment of conflict.  Later, we were lying on my bed and I wiped her tears and said, "Your eyes are really sad."   And she reached out her little tiny thumb, and wiped my own tears away.  "Don't cry, Mama," she said.  

26 June 2008

A prayer for today

Dear Lord,
I feel pulled with so many things that should get done today.  Chores, work, making food, playing with children...I'm having a hard time "doing the next thing".  There are so many next things!
Holy Spirit, please guide me.  Give me wisdom.  Help me hold on loosely and trust you.  I really struggle with procrastination and time wasting.  Please help me make wise choices, whether it is reading to my children and responding lovingly to them, or folding laundry and vacuuming or making necessary phone calls. 
Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what THOU art!
Amen.

25 June 2008

Take me out to the ballgame...again!

I know you, my readers, I mean, reader, have been dying to know what HAPPENED with the baseball season.  Little League, that is.
It's been touch and go with the crazy weather we've been having.  One minute, it's not raining, then suddenly it's pouring, and ten minutes later, the sun comes out.  Makes it hard to know if you're going to have a baseball game.
Here's the scoop:
Theo:  Last game of the tee ball season a complete washout.  As in, tons of water suddenly pouring from the sky and people running for cover.  Even the team meeting, scheduled a day later to hand out trophies, was rained out.  Actually, hailed out.  TONIGHT, the meeting will happen (we hope).  It's all about the trophy.

Clayton:  Played the championship game against the Rockies.  They won!  It was very exciting, and Clayton had a great hit.  I think the score was 7-0.  I did feel sorry for the other team...not even one run.  Boo.  Also, Clayton's best friend, Mac, came out to watch the game.  What a treat.

Walter:  Played a huge and ferocious team on Sunday.  They were all so much bigger than our guys, and their pitcher was SMOKIN' the ball across the plate.  It seemed like our players were standing at the plate, knees knocking, terrified to take a swing.  This guy was faster than anyone they've yet come across.  Walter admitted to me later that he was pretty scared of that dude.  I wasn't at this game, but John was.  At first, we were getting killed, 7-0 or something like that.  Then we started to claw our way back!  I tell ya, these Red Sox are scrappy little guys!  Alas, the game was suddenly cut short by the aforementioned deluge.  The (kind of) funny part is that John, Walt and Walt's friend, Ben, were all at the game, but without the car.  I had it for shuttling the other boys to their games.  So when the skies opened up, they were stuck there in the rain, with no car for refuge.  Oops!  When I arrived, they were drenched to the skin.
ANYWAY, the upshot was that they had about one inning left and they planned on finishing it, to see who will advance.  Only problem is that it keeps pouring every afternoon!  So today, we will try again (third time) to finish this game and show that big bad team who's boss!  Right?!  Are you with me?!  They will pick up where they left off:  top of the 6th, Cubs are batting, bases loaded, 2 outs, score is 9-5 Cubs leading.  Oooo boy!  
If we win, we will play another game tonight.  Yippee!

Say a cheer for the Red Sox this afternoon!