Monday, December 26

Prayer request

Please keep me in prayer. It seems I have a LOT of improving to do as a wife. Details are irrelevant, but support is much appreciated. Thanks!

Saturday, December 17

Ok, well that week flew by!

I guess I was so busy shopping and child sitting and sending out Christmas cards and trying to breathe that I forgot to blog!

I'm done with my Christmas shopping now. For real. Except for some of the stuff for Christmas dinner. That's a hard thing to say, because I keep coming up with more great ideas. But now is the time for self-discipline.

Remember when I got sick back in October? Well, I felt great for about a week in November, and then it started all over again. So I finally went to the doctor. A steroid shot and two antibiotic pills later, I'm feeling much better. Hopefully I'll be totally over this by the end of the month.

I drove Toby to work this morning (a strange statement to get used to), and poor Gracie was NOT ready to be awake. She was eager for a nap by 10am. Here she is, snoozing hard on Daddy's pillow.

Friday, December 9

Baby got blog

Toby and Lynae started blogs today. Their links are listed on the right side of this page. Check 'em out... I'm so blessed to spend my days with these children!

Gratitude For a Sovereign God

Mood-setting media: The song I can't get out of my head

It's a big day: a treasured IRL friend is loading a truck to move across the country. A treasured internet friend just got home from the hospital after surgery. Another internet friend is grieving the loss of her father. And my sister is having her baby.

My own life is boring by comparison - praise the Lord! And praise the Lord, He is in control of all these situations, as well as the child who was hit and killed by the skidding plane, and the two brothers who were killed in car accidents 20 minutes apart, leaving their father with unspeakable grief.

With that in mind, it seems I should be able to handle my own burdens with wisdom, patience, and a grateful attitude. Lord, help me to do so. And be with my friends and my sister through these big changes in their lives.

Friday, December 2

Happy December!

I have a minute while I use my nebulizer, so it seems like a good time to post.

We had a very quiet and low-key Thanksgiving, and are now overwhelmed by "holiday stuff". There are packages to send (I'm grateful for online ordering and the option of having things shipped directly, but I have a couple to mail myself anyway), a parade to be in, pictures to take, cards to mail, a concert to attend, friends to bid farewell (sniffle), field trips to take, treats and memories to make, and a special diet to maintain (groan). Oh, and then there's the cleaning and decorating.

It makes me want to hide out in bed under my new quilt and read the following giant stack of books on my dresser:

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds
Parenting With Love and Logic
Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+LA
The Business of Heaven
Created to Be His Help Meet
Love and Respect

But no... gotta run!

Friday, November 11

Listening to: The ticking of the clock and my two oldest blessings giggling together in the other room

It's almost my bedtime. What's funny about that? Well, I just woke up from a nap a couple of hours ago. We tend to spend the afternoon in town after the homeschool meeting each month, and come home totally exhausted. Today we laid down just after 4:00, and the little ones are still sleeping. I'm sure it was nice for Loren to come home from work and be able to crawl into bed, rather than being mobbed by enthusiastic children who try to keep him up for hours!

Hmm... come to think of it, this might be a great time for me to make a Walmart run! (groan) Loren did the grocery shopping for me yesterday (have I mentioned that he's a wonderful husband?), but I have a couple of meds to pick up for myself. Can you say "bronchitis"?

It turns out my big kids were cracking each other up, talking about words which are often mispronounced ("often" being one of them). I told them about Category 7, the weather comedy designed to promote the religion of environmentalism. I wonder how anyone could take it as anything but a joke when the leading scientist character continues referring to the "mesosphere" as the "messophere".

On an unrelated note, Toby said he woke up from his nap to find Lynae writing by the light of his fish tank. I told her, "Girl, you are going to go blind and deaf (added for dramatic effect only) and there will be nothing I can do about it." Toby added, "Yeah, you'll have to go sniff out truffles." ROFL!! He got it from Guy Noir, A Prairie Home Companion

Welp, I think the kids and I are going to giggle and cough our way through Walmart. I leave you with something I found encouraging:

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Wednesday, November 9

73 Degrees and Autumn-y

The air has an autumn glow about it this afternoon, so I took the kids outside to play. Normally I'd send them out, but today I went with them. I walked until I was winded, then came back in. That didn't take long, since I'm out of shape and recovering from respiratory crud, but it felt (and smelled) so good to be out there!

This has been a modestly productive week so far. We're plugging away at chores, school, and a bunch of desk work I'd been putting off forever. It feels really good to be getting back into the swing of things again. I have no doubt that we'll be doing great by Thanksgiving, and will hate to take a break from school at that time. Maybe we won't this year. We'll see.

Jonathan had a monumental day today. He and I discussed Michael Pearl's wisdom regarding 7 year olds:

"By the time a child reaches seven, he should be making your life easier. A house full of seven-year-olds ought to be self-sustaining."

I explained that we'd been putting off this expectation in his case, trying to make allowances for his unique challenges. But since I thought Jon was reasonably prepared and he was sure of it, we made some changes in his life. Today we updated his chore list, passed on a couple of his chores to Mike and Grace, and put him on the payroll. That's a huge deal at our house. He now earns $1/week per year of age. He gets a check, from which "taxes" have been deducted. He tithes on the gross amount, saves, and uses his spending money to cover everything except toiletry items, curriculum, and groceries. I've also explained to him that if he wants to continue wearing diapers, he can buy those himself. BIG decision time for Jon! Yes, he'll be able to afford that if he chooses. He'll also have to buy his own clothes. I have a feeling this may cut down on his urge to destroy his clothing, though it won't surprise me if he has to buy a few items before he gets it.

True to form, he's had a challenging day since then. No meltdowns, just a lot of whimpering and complaining about silly things, and pretending to be confused about something quite ridiculous. At the end of the day, though, I think we'll come through it all right.

Monday, November 7

I appreciate technology. I'm on hold with Loren's benefit enrollment people, so I decided to blog while I wait. They tell me I'm the 6th in line. I could get irritated about being on hold, but I remember waiting on the line for 45 minutes to get my children well baby appointments at the clinic on Ft. Carson 10 years ago... with a corded phone, a toddler, and a baby! Now THAT was a drag!

Ok, I just found out that open enrollment doesn't start until Thursday, which is why I couldn't enroll online. Looking... looking... looking... nowhere does it say the start date in the paperwork. Ok, so I'm not the only one who forgets things sometimes. (sigh)

Tonight we're trying our hand at crockpot lasagna. We ate lunch at 4:00, so I guess we'll have a late supper. LOL But first we'll watch Surface.

Speaking of technology, I want to watch movies and network TV programs on my computer. I'd rather have it on my PC than on my cell phone. Is that possible?

Sunday, November 6

Reason #59

to home church:

Or maybe go straight to a prayer meetin'!

Praise the Lord! We lost a tree and a huge limb in last night's storm, but they were both up the hill and not near the house. I often stay awake during such storms just in case a tree falls on the house. Wouldn't that be a rude awakening?!

I'm so thankful for a husband who will tighten the chain on his chainsaw when I mention that it's loose, rather than disregard my interference.

Saturday, October 29

Do the next thing

Well shucks! I updated last night, but must've been distracted before I posted the update. It was all about our great camping trip last weekend. We had a BLAST! Rather than recreate it, I'll let you read my friend Nancy's take on it and see some of the pictures I took.

My health has been going steadily downhill since we got back. It started as a benign sinus thing, but I felt it settle in my chest, which is always a bad sign. Add insomnia and exhaustion, and you've got a recipe for yuck.

Every day I look at the camping stuff that's still out and think, "Ugh, not today." Then I look at my perky, completely doable school plan and think, "Ugh, not today." Then I look around at the housework beckoning to me, and think, "Ugh, not today." It's beginning to feel like a Richard Scarry book, the ending of which would include me and the kids getting plenty of rest, waking up healthy, and deciding, "Yes, we'll do it today!"

I keep trying to tell myself to do the next thing, in my best Elisabeth Elliot voice. For some reason, though, that just leads to me pacing through the house again before flopping back down. It's so totally pathetic!! I don't think it's at ALL what Mrs. Elliot had in mind.

(Ok, I just threw away a lozenge wrapper. Woo-hoo... progress!)

Let me tell you about my dear husband. He's been sick, too. And yet, he's been picking up a lot of the slack for me this week, even though I've been grumbling at him. Today I told him that I was feeling critical and oversensitive, and asked him to stop me if I start going off on him. My mind kept drifting to his flaws as well as my own. He took it in stride and had a snappy comeback for me. And then, you know what he did? He packed up the kids (and Manoah, the Traveling Wonder Dog) and took them to town. He has a big plan for them which includes playing at the park and eating at Wendy's. What a husband!

Of course, I feel guilty for not getting all sorts of housework done while he's gone, since that's normally what I love to do with my "alone" time at home. That's not happening today. But I did get a chance to think about my current circumstances. And I realized that I'm being very short-sighted. My illness, the state of the house and the camping gear, and all the things that are bugging me right now will likely be non-issues in a week or two. God must just be shaking His head at my foolishness. Here He's got all of eternity laid out for me, and I can't see beyond my box of tissues and cup of tea. It's times like this when I wish I were better at pressing toward the mark. Most of the time I do well to just recognize the mark.

I'm so thankful that when I confess this to God, He is faithful and just to forgive me. It brings peace and hope, and the courage to "do the next thing."

So now I will go spiff the kitchen, fill up my God-shaped hole, and get ready for a good night's sleep... AFTER I submit this post!

Saturday, October 15


Yesterday I was exposed as the shallow fraud that I am. You know those stereotypical nightmares where you find yourself naked in public? It felt just like that. Even with big, comfy clothes on.

But first, let me back up. Actually, let's back up all the way to the root of the problem: I don't lean on God nearly enough. He is not the first one I think of in the morning, nor is He always the last one I think of at night. There have been days when the children and I don't mention God in conversation. There are even days when we don't open a Bible, even in a browser window. And as you can see, my writings are not full praises and acknowledgements of our Creator.

There. I've said it. Our roots are shallow and our fruit is small and withered. And yesterday, everyone who attended the homeschool meeting got to see it.

We met at a new location, which didn't quite work out as planned, so once we got there, we had to make some last-minute changes. My right-hand person, whose job is to oversee the childrens' classes, couldn't make it. This wasn't a huge problem, but my inability to think on my feet began to get the best of me. (Today I'm thinking it wouldn't have if I prayed more... God could take it away completely, or at least allow me to function.) We got a late start, and I had to ask if we start with announcements or devotions. Normally I know these things. I made a few more blunders before the scheduled "talk", and each one shook me just a little more.

We had a panel discussion which was to cover "favorite tips, curriculum favorites, and things that we have learned over the years." I was on the panel with three other experienced homeschool moms. Well, I soon realized I'd missed an important point: they all came prepared to discuss the fact that it's all about training and discipleship, not curriculum. Their most important homeschool resources are the Bible and a book on being a good wife. Mine is the internet. They were able to discuss the Charlotte Mason method, classical education, and the importance of reading aloud. Like all the time. Thousands of books. My big things are having routines in place, staying home and building skills and relationships there, and teaching my kids to read so they can learn independently. I hate reading aloud. After my introduction, I found there was nothing else I could add to the discussion. I sat there, the chaos manager on a panel of really amazing, magazine article quality homeschool moms. Their years of experience have led them to the fount of wisdom. Mine have led me to put all my kids' assignments for a grade level into one folder for them to manage, and to phonics.

To make matters worse, I'm developing really bad anxiety about speaking in front of this group. (Is it any wonder why?) My mouth gets so dry I can hardly speak, and I can hardly tell what I'm saying. When this happens, apparently I'm still able to connect words, but I can't comprehend what I'm saying to know whether what I've said so far makes sense or if it will go with whatever comes out next. So I don't know what I've really said or whether I'm done. It's horrible.

I must say, I was relieved when it was over. The kids helped me pack up, and we went to lunch. I let Lynae choose from a couple of restaurants, and we went to the one she chose. When we got there, it was super crowded. By the time we finished ordering, though, there was an empty table, so we sat in the dining room to eat. Guess who was on the other side of the dining room? The rest of the panel, along with THE homeschool mom who has been a mentor and example to everyone in our group for years. Can you say "awkward"?

I managed to choke down my lunch and not rush the kids too much, and we came home and took a nap. When I woke up, I felt like I'd been run over, beaten up, and stepped on. I was up and around within an hour, but it was seven excruciating hours before the headache went away.

Anyway, it's all over now... until next week's planned humiliation: camping with the homeschool group as the token fat lady. LOL I love camping. I hope this doesn't ruin it!

Saturday, October 1

Monday cometh

Mood-setting media: Large Family Logistics

Saturday is the day of the week on which I most look forward to Monday. Monday represents a fresh start. God's mercies are new every morning, but I'm not as generous with myself.

This week, I determined that I need to get back to some of my most basic routines. Medications and sleep cycles have been neglected lately, and when my health suffers, so does the family. This afternoon, I announced my intentions to Loren, full of hope and determination. Actually, I started by telling him I plan to become less flexible. LOL Being in charge of our schedule, I often require us to be so flexible that we end up in knots. That just doesn't work for us. I also told him that it's quite a challenge to choose something that works and stay with it, with so many different ways to organize a family and educate children. The grass always seems greener and more consistently cut on the other side of the computer screen, ya know?

In spite of all that, tonight I was reading the blog on Large Family Logistics. Boy oh boy, this woman's got it together. And yet, she can be flexible. She's got a Plan B. She only does her laundry once a week. Ooh, another novel idea! But NO, I'm not falling for the old trap. I will continue with what I have chosen, and be happy that her way works so well. I will keep reading, but only glean and implement what will work for this family, not try to make yet another family's system work for me. Oh, I feel so liberated!

I'll be planning my week in my head tonight as I help the kids get ready for church tomorrow. And hopefully I'll lose some of that overstuffed feeling I got from eating too many homemade egg rolls. Oops!

Sunday, September 18

I made Jon laugh!

Mood-setting media: Randy Travis Worship & Faith

Today was a good day. I made Jon laugh. We laughed together. That hadn't happened since the last time I wrote about it, so you can see it's quite rare. We were discussing the word "sew" and why it doesn't sound like "sue". It was no big deal, but I found his funnybone, which definitely IS a big deal. Gracie was particularly helpful and sweet. Loren installed another window (just one left!) and cleaned the garage. It only got up to 70 degrees, and is currently a beautiful 55 degrees, moony, and foggy. I spent some time on the front steps tonight just drinking it in. If only this were normal here for this time of year! (sigh)

School plans for the year have already changed, just 10 sputtering weeks into it.

I've decided to take Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays off. That way we have a day of rest, a cleaning day (I love Mondays!), and errand/choir day. I'm hoping this will allow us to focus more completely on school when we're doing it, since we won't have to cram it in before going to town.

Instead of writing out weekly assignment sheets from my planner, Toby and Lynae have each been given a folder that will take them through their current "grade" levels. Most of their assignments are spelled out for them, with a couple of pages devoted to "Mom's choice" assignments. All I need to do now is tell them each morning how many assignments I want them to do that day. So far I haven't come up with any reason why it won't work and I'll have to scrap it and start over. I'm a little suspicious.

I've also decided that Jon's going to do very little writing this year -- he'll mostly be reading. It's one of the few things he does without complaint, and he does it well. I figure if I can keep him excited about learning on his own, we can cover written work later on... next semester, next year, or whenever he seems ready to do it without ripping his paper, breaking his pencil, and crying.

Ok, I just deleted a bunch of really dumb stuff. Yet again, I've waited until all is quiet here to sit and write, and now I'm dozing off. I won't try to share what I was thinking... not tonight. If it's worth sharing, it'll come around again. It's time to go find the "good" pillows (a complicated process by which pillows are ranked by size, shape, and pillowcase) and get them arranged just right so I can sleep.

Wednesday, August 31

Another very real day

While I was in town last night, I noticed that flood waters are receding in Hopkinsville. Bleachers are once again visible in Trail of Tears Park, and main roads are passable, at least the ones I normally use.

I got groceries last night, and was thrilled to have a manageable total, even after buying Michael's birthday present. And it only took two carts to get it to the truck! Yay!

We were all up by noon today. The dogs went out to enjoy the dry weather, and we have laundry on the line. After several days of rain, it's a nice change. Loren has been working in the kitchen making batches of stew - one for tonight and a couple to freeze. The little ones have been helping him and having a great time. Toby and Lynae are getting laundry and math done, and have earned the privilege of riding their bikes to the post office.

Jon is being Jon. He's working on compound words. He had four to write. One of them had a few mistakes, so I erased it and asked him to rewrite it. Instead, he wet himself (he'd just been sent to the bathroom 30 minutes earlier) and erased the other three as well. He told me since he had to rewrite one, he figured he rewrite them all. Since he hasn't earned the privilege of creating his own assignments, I told him he can rewrite each word 5 times before stopping to eat. That was 20 minutes ago, and so far he's only been poking the apples in the basket in front of him.

I've been at the computer, parenting, and putting out fires. I admire the mothers who can garden, can, cook, sew, clean, scrapbook, etc. while parenting. I can't seem to do any of those things for very long without focusing on them completely. But I can get all sorts of computer work done - and play, too - and still give the kids the help, attention, and supervision they need. So here I sit. It's a temporary phase, but I've done a great job of justifying it, dontcha think? ;-)

9:30 PM update - He's finally done. Praise the living God! That was only a little over 6 hours!

Wednesday, August 24

Sorrow and comfort

Comfort came to me from an unusual source tonight. After a heartbreaking incident with the boys which required hammers and nails and rearranging of beds, Loren and the older children each got out a poetry book. They took turns reading poems, and I was touched by Lynae's reading of Longfellow's "Christmas Bells"...

"It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"


And someday the ugly, smelly, bare and trashed room in our house will be restored to a cute little bedroom with wallpaper, curtains, posters, cozy beds and toys and the sweet dreams of children. I doubt we'll be here to see it.

Thursday, August 18

I'm back!

The homeschool meeting went very well, and I've just now recovered. That took an awful lot out of me, but it's so satisfying to see how God is using our dedicated group of leaders this year! We have over 40 member families already, which is what we had last year. The planning for the fall semester is coming together nicely, and I'm confident it will be a good year for PACHEK.

Ironically, the first email I received after returning from the meeting was regarding a new homeschool group in Bemidji. An old contact forwarded it to me - they're doing a survey to find out what homeschoolers in the area would like from a support group. I was invited to add my $.02, so I will probably do that this weekend. I'm thrilled that they will have a real homeschool group up there when we arrive!

Jon turned 7 on Saturday. He received lovely gifts and had a delicious chocolate cake, which Toby decorated in bright colors for him. He tried on a new attitude of snotty ingratitude for the occasion... it didn't fit very well, but we're subtly eliminating it. It was interesting, to say the least!

On Monday, we celebrated our 4 year anniversary with an adoption party. Unfortunately, not many people were able to attend. But we were blessed by the presence of the children's caseworker and a couple of dear friends. I have a feeling that Jon wouldn't have done well with other children that day, so it may be just as well that ours were the only children there. We had a great picnic at the park, with a pinata and special cake.

Tuesday was spent recovering from crashing blood sugar. LOL We cleaned the house and did yard work, and on Wednesday, we got back to some school work. It's good to be back.

Over the weekend, I began suffering from a very uncomfortable staph infection. After a few days of complete misery, I finally got to the doctor and am feeling much better with the help of antibiotics and pain relievers.

I got an amazing amount of stuff done today. I even found out how to resolve a credit report issue which has puzzled us and various bank people for 8 years. I think tonight will be the first night in months that I've gone to bed at a reasonable time (before midnight... heck, before 2am!) and slept through the night. In fact, I've done so much today, I think I will even be able to read a magazine before going to sleep. Wow. I hardly know how to handle that. :-)

Tuesday, August 9

Is it August already? Hm.

Maybe I should look at the date on my taskbar clock more often. Right now I'm knee-deep in preparations for our first homeschool meeting on Friday. There are so many details, it seems I'll never be ready. The kids and I did a couple days of boot camp last week, and I actually gave up. LOL So unlike me! I was just exhausted. Pretty much the only school work being done right now is what the children can do without me. The rest of the time they're working hard to help me... except Gracie, who's working hard to look cute enough to get away with whatever she wants. And I'm just distracted enough that it's working.

Jon will be seven this week, too. I have no idea how we'll celebrate. I need to think about what he can handle and what we can reasonably do, and I haven't had a chance to consider either yet. I'm sure that as soon as I pray that prayer, God will have an answer waiting for me. He's good like that.

One of my hermit crabs molted this week. After having read so many nervewracking stories on the internet about molting hermies, I'm pleased that it seems to have been successful. I hope not to find out otherwise when Blink'n emerges after eating his little exoskeleton that would fit on my pinky fingernail. I have another, larger hermie, Sundance, whom I'm hoping will molt and change shells soon. He just doesn't look like he could possibly be happy right now in his too-small, broken shell. Maybe someday I'll post pictures of my hermit crabs with their old and new shells. Some of these old shells are quite pathetic. I don't know who I expect would be interested, but I may do it anyway. Boy, could I tell stories about the secret lives of hermit crabs! They're actually great little pets if you're easily amused. They have crabinalities and everything. I also like them because they're nocturnal, like me. And quiet. Gotta love quiet.

I think I'll go enjoy some quiet with my sleeping husband before he gets up for work in 20 minutes. I admire his willingness to get up at crazy times to go to work. I never hear him complain about it. Then again, I'm usually sound asleep and snoring when he leaves. LOL

Tuesday, July 26

It's been a week since the adoption already. Life is so normal, it's almost scary. Jonathan got upset with me at breakfast this morning. Want to know how I know? I know because he stood there in his time out, arms crossed, and calmly said to me, "I'm upset with you now, Mom."

(dramatic pause)

That was it. I was shocked. I was speechless. No tirade, no tantrum, no terrorism. Just plain and simple, respectfully telling it like it was. Writing that in the middle of the night, I'd like to go wake that boy up and smother him with kisses. But I didn't at the time. I made an example of him. I let all the kids know how well he had expressed himself. Then I let him out of his time out and had him finish his breakfast.

He's been handling things well this past week, with only a few exceptions. Maybe he's honeymooning all over again. Or maybe he's breathed a sigh of relief and settled in real good. It's hard to know, but I'll take it either way.

The adoption is changing some of the little things in our lives. It's easier to talk about the birth family and how we came together through a God-orchestrated series of events. Some interesting new questions have come up, as we suddenly realize that Michael doesn't understand that not everyone is adopted. Or that it's too late to change his name to Hector. And Gracie sounds pretty silly when she gets all excited and says, "I'm not getting adopted again!" At one point a few days ago, Jon and I became giddy about the adoption at the same time. I don't think he and I had ever shared that feeling together before. We liked it.

Toby and Lynae are starting to treat their siblings more like they treat each other now. It must be nice to see them as forever part of the family instead of annoying children who've been sent to your house by the government to basically ruin your life. Granted, they can still be annoying. But it's just different now.

Next huge milestone: Gracie will turn four next spring. We are so looking forward to that!! Three is no one's favorite age around here! Three year olds are small, quick, and smart. They know all the best ways to wreak havoc and shorten lifespans. And they try every way at least once. LOL Now that I think of it, a month later, I'll have a teenager. Maybe I shouldn't count any chicks just yet.

New Homeschooling Habit-of-the-Week: I'm having Toby and Lynae copy their own assignments from my plan book onto an assignment sheet. That way they become more familiar with what's expected of them, and can "own" it a little more. We'll see how that works.

I think one of my ten hermit crabs is chirping. I also think it's now officially past my bedtime. You know what that means... not much. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 20

Ahh... normalcy! (It's all relative)

We did it! We adopted Jonathan, Michael, and Gracie! That wasn't so bad... ROFLMBBO!

Today is a school day. Currently on my stovetop:

Lugol's iodine
frying pan
Mom's breakfast

Sunday, July 17

Always and forever

Mood-setting media:Always and Forever I keep singing that phrase today. LOL

School has been good this week. Toby is really into exercising his brain right now, which is a great phase he can stay in for as long as he wants. Loren is teaching history. They had a great first lesson. The little ones are having a blast with the science stuff I've put together. We're going through The Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World and doing coloring pages, worksheets, mini books, and projects to go with the various topics. I have no idea how long we will do it, but it's fun for them and easy for me. Gotta love that!

I did NOT pick up India's sister at the animal shelter this week. No, instead I bought five more hermit crabs. I think seven is plenty... for now. I set them up with a lovely crabitat which sits on the desk next to my monitor. Now I have another excuse for staying up late and playing computer games when my work is done - these critters are nocturnal and love to come out when I turn down the lights.

I'm so proud of myself for limiting the emotional chaos to small impulse buys at the pet store! Last night I cleaned the boys' closet, but that was a project I could actually finish. When I wiped a cobweb off the living room wall tonight and saw how horribly dirty the walls are, I really had to fight the urge to deep clean the living room tonight. But I will go to bed on time (before 1AM) and actually get some sleep. Tomorrow will come and go like any other day. And at the end of it, I hope to breathe a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, July 6

Morning by Morning, New Mercies I See

Today Toby and Lynae are mowing the entire yard, which is about a 5 hour job for them with breaks. I'm hoping that with school starting next week, we will have a little more structure and be able to keep up through the rest of the summer. Toby and I have felt the wrath of chiggers, so we're motivated.

I'd love to be out there helping them, but my asthma has been terrible for the past week or so. I've done a lot of sitting quietly, choosing my work carefully, and delegating generously.

In spite of my asthma, we planned to pack up my nebulizer and enjoy an evening with friends and fireworks on the lake for the 4th. We forgot the nebulizer, though, so I sat. It was a challenge, but I think it's safe to say "a good time was had by all." Yes, even though it rained and the fireworks were postponed.

Jonathan played exceptionally well with friends that night. I was so proud of him! The next day, we were planning to go to the fair. In the past, a good night like that would've led to a meltdown of at least a few days, and two nights of activities would just do him in completely. So I talked to him early in the day to help him stay on track. We came up with a code phrase to use if he was beginning to make a bad choice... sometimes it works for him, sometimes not.

The day seemed calm and manageable until just before we left. I began noticing messes (which is sort of a last-minute compulsion if it's "that time"), the two little ones grew tired and cranky, and we found out India had been missing since morning. After a quick cry, I sent Loren to the fair with Toby, Lynae, and Jonathan. While the little ones napped, I began asking the neighbors if they'd seen India. Thankfully, one of them had found her and held onto her for me. The little ones were still sleeping when we returned, and we all had a quiet and restful evening.

Loren and the kids had a good night, too. They got the unlimited rides stamp, which was a first for them. Loren pretty much let the kids do everything they wanted for the whole night, and they had a blast. The best part is that the code phrase worked, and Jonathan is still doing well! I just love it when he's so "normal"... for him and for me.

I haven't told him the date of the adoption hearing. I'm not ready for him to crash. In fact, I'm considering waiting until just a couple days before. That way we might have a successful start to our school year, as well. It saddens me to think how many times I've created chaos by giving him such information as though he could handle it like a "normal" child.

Then again, I praise God when I think of how far we've come since he came here as a 3-year-old, and I know the Great Physician is continuing to bind our wounds and heal our hearts and minds. He has begun a very good work in our family, and He will be faithful to complete it.

Sunday, July 3

High time for an update!

Crunch time is over, and I've caught up on sleep. is updated - yay! Somewhere in there, I even ordered some school books and planned out our first two weeks of school. We will start next week, taking advantage of the opportunity to stay inside with the air conditioning. July and August seem to be the best time of year for us to get a lot of school work done. September is when we emerge and enjoy the weather. This is great... unless we have a garden. Inevitably, it ends up dying in late summer from neglect.

The dogs are getting along well now, though Manoah has discovered that he can drag India around by her collar. I think careful supervision and maturity will eventually put an end to that.

The kids are watching a video and my brain is totally scattered right now. Maybe I'll be able to write more later.

(Oh yes, we found the gerbil yesterday. He never made it out of the cage. Lynae was so sad... for her little sister who must've felt terrible when she realized she couldn't make it better!)

Here are a couple of pictures to hold you over:

Saturday, June 25

Girly girl is 10

Sweet Lynae Marie just turned 10. We took her shopping and she picked out a pair of shoes, a Polly Pocket set, some cute jammies, and a chair for her room. We also got her a camping chair and a clip-on watch, and Toby got her a gerbil. A good time was had by (nearly) all.

She spent the week at a 4-H day camp collecting and identifying bugs and leaves, building a birdhouse, and fishing. She had a blast, and was totally exhausted by Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, when I picked her up, I had to tell her that Gracie let her gerbil out. As of now, he hasn't been found. I figure he's fine somewhere, as long as she didn't flush him.

Wednesday, June 22

God is so good

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

There is peace in trusting God.

I wish I could do that truth justice by elaborating, but I don't think I can. It is so much more complete without my limiting influence. So take a moment to think on it before reading on.

So often, people say that God is good and then share what He has done for them that makes them feel good. His goodness is not limited to our happy feelings. He is good even when we don't see it.

I realize that I am not God, but my children's relationships with me constantly teach me about my relationship with God. I have one child who often tells me whether or not he thinks I'm a good mom. I'm a good mom when I make sure he has clean clothes to wear, a pillow for his head, a tasty or healthy meal, books to read, and a smile from me. In fact, when he's happy, he's as likely to praise me for giving him buttered broccoli as for letting him go swimming. He's generous with his gratitude and praise, as long as he's in the mood to give it.

On the other hand, when he is in a bad mood, he's quick to tell me I am a bad mom. When I require him to wear clean clothes, lie down on his bed, eat the food that's been prepared, read a story, or if I dare to smile at him, he will let me know I'm a terrible mother. As far as he's concerned, perception is reality.

I will admit, it took me a couple of years to stop taking it personally. But I'm learning that his perception of me is sometimes like our perception of God. Sadly, my son may never bond with me to the point that he knows I'm a good mother regardless of how he feels. (And anyway, there are moments when I'm not a good mother. That doesn't help.) I hope that someday, in spite of his relationship with me, he will grow close enough to God to know that God truly is good all the time.

Sunday, June 19

SMACK! - the sound of reality

I just found something that Loren has been trying to hide. (Lest you think porn is the worst thing out there, let me assure you, it's not exactly porn. Nor is porn the worst thing out there.) I wasn't surprised, though I have since had a brief fit of rage. It's old news. I've handled it so many different ways over the years I can't even remember them all. It never has mattered if I knew where it was or not... I could always be fairly certain it was around somewhere. The only difference is that when I find it again, this event or that will begin to make sense. For example, it now seems fitting and downright amusing to me that Loren ran over a dead deer recently and had rotting carcass stuck in the undercarriage of his car. Yes, I'm even chuckling as I type it.

The big picture is far from amusing, don't get me wrong. God just has a way of coming up with far more appropriate consequences than I ever could.

This time, rather than dispose of it, I put it in the living room. It's been affecting our family for years - it's time the kids knew what influence has been at work here. The older ones were suitably dismayed. When they felt sick, they left the room. The younger ones, predictably, thought it was cool. That just fits on so many levels. I figure it's time to give Toby and Lynae the opportunity to ask Loren whatever questions they may have about it... it's not my job to cover it up anymore.

So much for me having a sweet and lovely blog. Welcome to my life in broad daylight.

Wednesday, June 15


It began innocently enough. We were talking about being able to buy anything on eBay. It turns out we couldn't find the particular breed of dog Toby mentioned. It doesn't look like they sell dogs. But my fingers were quick to show him, which I learned about from my LL@H friends.

Just for kicks, I pulled up dogs in our area. Sure enough, there was the chocolate lab Toby had mentioned. Satisfied, he turned his attention to other things. I scrolled through the listings and happened upon India. I clicked. I enlarged. I left her picture in the background as I went about my business.

This morning, I found myself jumping out of bed to look at her picture again. Wait, it gets worse. Or better. I called Loren at work and told him I wanted a dog for my birthday. He was, understandably, stunned. I called the shelter. She was still there. We raced to town. I called my friend Kathy and asked her advice. We had poor reception, so she wasn't able to talk me out of it.
45 minutes later, we had adopted India. Here's the picture from her listing:

We brought her home. Manoah was, understandably, stunned.

I've bathed her twice. She smelled better than Manoah, who was involved in a skunk incident a week or so ago. They just spent some time running through the sprinkler together, so we'll see how they smell tonight. They get along pretty well. Manoah is being quite a goofy pup, showing off and asserting his dominance over this sweet, docile, smaller dog.

Who woulda thunk it? No one who knows me, that's for sure!

Almost Typical

It was such a long, hot day today that I made a list of household chores for the kids, and upon their completion I took them to Sonic for supper. Instead of the usual water, I got each of the little ones a slush. Not smart.

We took the long way home, and I stopped at the playground just as it was getting dark. The kids played in the light of my headlamps, then I started the truck and indicated for them to come buckle up. Four of them did. The other stood and stared. Then he turned and walked away. Long story quite a bit shorter, it was 20 minutes before we got him in the truck (completely wet and soiled). It was another 10 minutes before we found Toby, who had been sent to get his brother. Turns out, Toby hadn't seen him and had walked nearly all the way home. Meanwhile, Lynae and I were yelling for him down at the park. Oh, the drama!

So we got home, and then I had to do the poop-cleanup routine. This time, it took until 1:00 AM. Though we do it several times a week, he still asks me for clarification each step of the way. Tonight I got smart. Lynae and I set up outside the bathroom doorway and played cards while he decided between dawdling and cleaning. She couldn't see him, and I could - it was perfect.

He's finally asleep, and I am too, actually. I hope this post doesn't need to be proofread. LOL

Monday, June 13

Don't let the sun go down on your irritation

When Loren and I are tired, like we are tonight, we're more likely to get snippy with each other. Inevitably, he'll go to bed and I'll stay up half the night. That part is pretty common. But most often, our snippiness shows up when he has to work back-to-back shifts the following two days, so I don't see him for some time.

Thankfully, we've learned it's worth taking a break from each other for a few minutes, cooling down, and making up. If we didn't, with his work schedule and my addictions, we would be right back where we were 10 years ago - ready to separate. I'm thankful that even during our worst times since reconciling, we've never considered splitting up again. It seems strange to me that after surviving two years of separation, doing so again would be unthinkable because there's too much at stake. I guess fear of the known in this case is worse than fear of the unknown was all those years ago.

On a cheerier note, Toby comes home from his 4-H trip tomorrow. We couldn't redo his room, but we spuff it for him this evening. If I weren't so tired, I'd be shopping for a desk to replace his table and getting him a real closet rod. All in all, though, I don't suppose he'll care about that so much. With everything cleaned, decluttered, and organized, he'll be thrilled to have room to dump his stuff when he gets home!

Decluttered: food dehydrator I picked up at Goodwill and never used, cheesy tabletop pool game, empty boxes, canned spinach, cute little busted water cooler, crayfish (live), rocks, powdered milk, dirt, recycled containers, and clothes he outgrew long ago which aren't in hand-me-down condition.

Saturday, June 11

Gosh, he's getting old!

My firstborn is twelve today. He's getting all sentimental about it, which is sweet. This morning, he even played "horsey" for Gracie and invited both of his sisters to sit on his lap.I know he'll be over it soon enough, and swinging from the top of a tree, thrilled to be sweaty, grubby, and on top of the world.

I'm so glad, at times like this, that we homeschool. I cannot imagine having missed so much of his life by sending him off to public school. The years have flown by fast enough as it is.

While he and Loren put a roof over our back porch, I took a stab at cake decorating. Never having done it before, I was certain it would look ridiculous. I think, though, it turned out just ducky. :D

Thursday, June 9

Turning a new leaf

Actually, it's late spring - all the leaves are old enough to know better and have been turned by the storm which just blew through from the northwest.

As always, I've begun this endeavor after midnight, sometime between exhaling and yawning. As I unwind, I find myself wondering who I will be here. Will I be poetic? Clever? Depressing? Boring? Will I be honest, or will this be another exercise in bluffing? Will I ever come back and write a second post?

It's late. I don't know. My teeth are clenched in sleepiness, wishing my fingers would take a hint and finish typing.

It's true what Jerry Seinfeld says, "Night Guy always screws Morning Guy."