Monday, November 1, 2010

Random stuff no one cares about

Izzi (our youngest) just turned 12. She had a sleepover with Eva, Victoria and AG. (Madison spent the night with Baylee) the night after, Oct. 30th, when we had trick-or-treating in Avon. The girls and I had the School Open House, then I took Izzi and her friends to Metropolis mall. They went to Toys-R-Us, Justice, and Claires. Then we came home, the girls dressed up and Rog took them trick or treating. Audrey Gail stayed here to help me pass out candy. We went through two huge bowls and had to turn our light on before 8:00 because we didn't have any more. But when the girls got back and started trading, they had SO MUCH FUN. Izzi told me at least two times how happy she was. She just hugged me and looked up into my face and said, "I'm so happy." All the girls were talking in the car about how this was the best day they'd ever had. They stayed on the trampoline until late, then watched a movie in the living room.

Yesterday (Sunday) was the family birthday party for Miriam and Izzi at Bone and Leah's house. Madison and AG were there. We had a taco salad bar. Yum!!!

I took AG and Madison home and talked to Kelly for a long time. Last night Rog and I just hung out. It was nice. I love my husband.

Well, that's all. Peace!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ordinary lives

As I was driving home from an American Heritage Girls meeting tonight (I'm the high school leader), I was thinking about how God uses all of us in so many different ways. He led my sister and brother clearly to bring home two boys from Ethiopia...that is big. I mean BIG and I have to admit I've struggled with feelings of "not being righteous enough". I mean, if I am a "good Christian", why don't I have the same calling?

But on the way home, I started reflecting on the meeting, on how much I like it, on how much the girls in my group like it, on how glad they are that I am part of their lives and how glad I am that they are part of mine. And how I know it's from God that He led me here. Right where I am. Touching these lives. Touching the lives around me. And it made me feel warm all over when I thought that God even uses lives that seem ordinary and unimportant, like mine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Things that have happened since my last post:

We got a cat. (Or it got us, not sure which!)
The Cincinnati Reds lost their bid for the World Series.
I became (by default) a Texas Ranger fan.
School started and is going well. Our first 9 week (quarter) celebration is this weekend.
Our youngest turns 12 in five days.
I turned 42.
Rog turned 41.
We celebrated our 18th anniversary.
Our grass died and ugly weeds took over and we did nothing about it.
I went on a business trip with Rog for 5 days in Dallas.
My sister-in-law used a home-kit to highlight my hair.
She also gave me a used sewing machine for my birthday, which I am soooo excited about since mine doesn't work.
This is exciting stuff, I'm telling you!
We got a new front door.
I sewed some really cool bags.
I'm going to church now.
Peace!
Things that have happened since my last post:

We got a cat. (Or it got us, not sure which!)
The Cincinnati Reds lost their bid for the World Series.
I became (by default) a Texas Ranger fan.
School started and is going well. Our first 9 week (quarter) celebration is this weekend.
Our youngest turns 12 in five days.
I turned 42.
Rog turned 41.
We celebrated our 18th anniversary.
I went on a business trip with Rog for 5 days in Dallas.
My sister-in-law used a home-kit to highlight my hair.
She also gave me a used sewing machine for my birthday, which I am soooo excited about since mine doesn't work.
This is exciting stuff, I'm telling you!
We got a new front door.
I sewed some really cool bags.
I'm going to church now.
Peace!
Things that have happened since my last post:

We got a cat. (Or it got us, not sure which!)
The Cincinnati Reds lost their bid for the World Series.
I became (by default) a Texas Ranger fan.
School started and is going well. Our first 9 week (quarter) celebration is this weekend.
Our youngest turns 12 in five days.
I turned 42.
Rog turned 41.
We celebrated our 18th anniversary.
I went on a business trip with Rog for 5 days in Dallas.
My sister-in-law used a home-kit to highlight my hair.
She also gave me a used sewing machine for my birthday, which I am soooo excited about since mine doesn't work.
We got a new front door.
I sewed some really cool bags.
I'm going to church now.
Peace!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Presents

To prove her loyalty to our family, yesterday the cat brought me a dead mouse and laid it at my feet. Because nothing says devotion like a dead rodent.

Kitties and sump pumps

Last Sunday, a cat followed my daughter home from a friend's house. Since this is the daughter who can't even pass the stuffed animal sections at stores without knowing that they are all begging her to rescue them, the cat was brilliant to pick her. Since then, our daughter who loves to take care of things more than anyone I know, has adopted "Sunday" as her own. And I have to admit, the kitty is pretty cute. She's very nice and gentle. Her back feet have been declawed and she is clean like a house cat would be. She lives under our deck and on our front porch. So it seems the Shuman family has a kitty---at least for the time being.

We got the news yesterday that we need a whole new front door. We've lived here ten years and the front of our house faces the weather, so our uncovered entry gets a lot of abuse. The steel door is fine, it's the wood frame that has rotted. So we have to get a whole new set...it's only going to cost a few thousand dollars. This on top of the new sump system we need for the basement is pretty much going to wipe out our savings. But as Rog says, at least we have savings. I asked him to give me a few hours to arrive at that point mentally. :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer

I love summer. Have I said that lately? These are some of the things I love:

Not having to layer up or put coats on when we leave the house.

Having daylight until almost 10 PM.

The fireflies in the thousands in our backyard and across the bean field behind our house.

Jogging in the morning when it is fresh and cool and comfortable and the rising sun throws inviting shadows across the trees that fall on my shoulders as I pass beneath.

Not having school.

Going to baseball games.

Swimming.

Wearing shorts.

Watching "Food Network Star".

Sunshine and heat. 'Nuff said.

What I don't like about summer:

Um....

Monday, July 12, 2010

July, 2010

Even though I'm not feeling creative or funny at all today, I decided I needed to start blogging again, just to keep a journal or record of our lives. So here goes...

A person I know whom shall remain nameless to protect their identity, experienced a significant physical event for the first time yesterday. This on the heels of buying a real bra last week (instead of a training bra) and beginning to shave her legs the week before that. And she and I have been sharing clothes for the last couple months and sometimes Rog even mistakes her for me out of the corner of his eye. It's so weird how fast it happened...my little girl becoming a woman-girl. But I am so happy and pleased with the glimpses I see of the woman she will be some day. I just hope that day doesn't come too soon!

We actually had a family lunch at my mom's after church yesterday, something that used to be a weekly event. But it hasn't happened since my sister and her husband brought their two boys home from Ethiopia two months ago. So it was really nice.

Rog got Wil a job at his office working two days a week in the shipping department making ten dollars an hour. It's just too bad Wil doesn't have a true understanding of appreciation of such a cherry job falling in his lap like that. But we're still praying and hoping that it might be a growing, maturing experience.

And last night, he played his first double elimination baseball game. Even though they actually hit two home runs in the game, they still lost. Oooh, that hurt. Or was that all the bugs that dined on me during the game? A little bit of both, I guess.

And what's going on with this heat wave that is sweeping much of the country? (Hey, wait a minute. I sound like a really bad comedy routine. I deeply apologize, but I can't seem to stop.) This is the hottest overall summer I can remember. I mean, we have really hot and humid days here in the summer, but usually not so MANY and for so long in a row. It's in the mid nineties pretty much every day. I usually like the heat and would still much rather have this than snow, but it's actually getting to me a little this year. And our tomato plants have blight. I think I'm about ready to cry since I pretty much live on fresh tomatoes in August. And we planted 12 plants this year just to make sure we have enough. Sigh.

Well, that's it for now. Miss Sniz out. Try the veal and don't forget to tip your waitresses.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trampolines: tear-making, age-determining devices

We got a trampoline this weekend. It has already proven to be a blessing and a curse. The kids' excitement knows no bounds, but that also means emotions are close to the surface and tears over it break forth at the drop of a hat.

"But we just got it. I don't want anyone else jumping on it." (Tears)
"My back hurts." "Well, stop jumping for a little while." "But I want to SO MUCH." (tears)
"When she jumps with other people, she acts happy and they have so much fun, but when I jump with her, she acts bored and won't play anything with me." (tears)
"They leave me out." (tears)

Of course, when I jump on it, I quickly realize my age. Here I thought I was in pretty good shape for a 41 year old. But on that thing, I can't do anything except jump up and down and even that exhausts me. What in the heck? I can jog for miles, but I can barely catch my breath after 5 minutes on that thing. And bladder control when you are bouncing so hard...when did that become an issue? I just don't like feeling this way, especially since I just graduated from high school not very long ago. (In my mind, that is always less than 5 years ago.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a horse's rear end

If you have kids, they will embarrass you at least once in their life, if not several times. But yesterday I had a little revenge.

I started with the five-year-old boy next door who comes over whenever he perceives movement of any kind at our house. Landon looks in our windows, rings our doorbell, comes into our garage, and "invites himself" into any activity our kids are engaged in, be it riding bikes or playing basketball or even football in the street. Whenever we pull into our driveway, he appears and asks 10 or so questions before we can even get into the house. Of course, his parents are no where to be found.

Now, our kids are older...11,13 and 16 and although my son tried to be patient and the girls would play with him sometimes, they would often ask him nicely to let them play their games in peace. Soon he started to ignore their requests so they became more "stern", and when that stopped working, they even got a trifle mean. But even that didn't seem to deter Landon and my husband said that under no circumstance were they allowed to be unkind, and that if Landon continued to jump in on their activities, he would take care of it.

So it came to be that my son and his friends were occupied with a game of "HORSE" in our driveway and Landon came over and started shooting his own basketball randomly in the middle of their game. Maybe he thought he was 16 or 17, instead of 5, I don't know. I was in the kitchen, and my daughter and my son would alternate, coming to complain every ten minutes or so, saying they had asked him to leave, but he wouldn't.

Well, my husband was upstairs, so I did what any conscientious mom would do...I nodded and shrugged until they went away, hoping the problem would resolve itself. Until my son came in for the third time begging one of us to get Landon to leave. By this time my husband was in the shower. No help there. Then my son said the clincher, "I don't know why, but Landon grabbed my butt." Now of course, he knew as well as I did that a five year old grabbing a sixteen year old's nether regions is just not that big of a deal. But he was obviously desperate to get me involved, having his hands tied, as it were. So I reluctantly came out on the front porch. Several faces turned to look at me...my daughters', my son's friends, and Landon's. I hesitated, unsure of what to say, but everyone was looking. I heard my son come out behind me. And that's when it happened.

"Landon, did you touch William's rear end?" I asked loudly.

Everyone's faces registered shock and disbelief. Then there was total silence.

I felt my face grow hot. Questions raced through my mind. Had I just referred to my 16 year old's son rear end in front of all of his friends? I don't even call it a rear end at home...what sort of a dork calls it that? I mean, where did that come from? And how could I get away with some semblance of dignity left? Would I forever be dubbed "That crazy lady?" And how was William going to ever live it down?

Then Wil's best friend collapsed on the grass and literally started rolling around, his hands on his stomach and tears in his eyes. Between wails of laughter, he sputtered, "You just made my day!"

That broke the ice and I started laughing too. William said, "Yeah, I've been harassed by a five year old and I need my mom to fight for me." My daughters started squealing too, and soon everyone was cracking up.

Meanwhile, Landon stood frozen on the driveway. I looked at him and said kindly, "I think it's time for you to go home, honey." He put down the basketball and scampered off.

Now why couldn't I have said that in the first place?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Confessions of a Deadbeat Blogger and bagless vacuums

OK, so it's been a little while since I blogged. OK, maybe a little longer than that. OK, maybe a LONG TIME. Anyway, I just signed on today for the first time in --- ahem, A WHILE, and I had 40 comments to moderate. Yay, I thought. I am popular even when I'm a deadbeat! Imagine my angst when I realized that 39 out of 40 comments were links that if you followed them, would take to you to sites selling Viagra or discount shoes or illegal prescription drugs. Of course, looking at the gigantic list, I thought of starting a new home business. After all, the links were all there...all I had to do was hit "publish", and everyone who visited my blog could use it to access all the worthwhile free stuff available on the internet. But then I wondered about kickbacks and began to seriously doubt that I would see any monetary recompense for "sharing important links". So, beside the one comment from a blog entry that is a couple of years old (for some reason I still get a lot of comments on this post I wrote a long time ago about softball chants), I deleted all the rest. So if you are "Anonymous", I'm sorry. Use your name next time and you might get farther.

Last night the family went to buy a new vacuum cleaner. "Oh that's nice" you think. But you'd be wrong.

See, we've lived in our house for ten years. When we moved here, I was a good housekeeper. In fact, I even remember a friend commenting to me one time that everything looked so nice and clean in my house, especially the floors. I commented cheerily (if a little smugly), that since I didn't have to work outside the home, that keeping our house clean was the least I could do. And I even thought at the time that it was pretty easy to do. (Poor, disillusioned girl.)

This brings me to the present and our vacuum cleaner. It's been broken for a while (okay, 6 months) and although I did enjoy the built-in excuse for dirty floors it provided, I realized the time had come for a new one when I vacuumed my grandma's house for her, and the vacuum didn't emit even one of those little "ping" noises a vacuum makes when it's picking up dirt. Even at my housekeeping peak, our vacuum always sounded like a bike with a trading card in the spokes as I pushed it around our living room. Oops, there going a Polly Pocket shoe...oops, there goes a poptab or a plastic bead or a cheese cracker or a piece of pizza (how did THAT get there?)...well, you get the idea.

Anyway, last night we brought our new bagless vacuum cleaner home and tried it out for less than 10 seconds to see how it worked. That's when I found out that I prefer a "bagged" vacuum because when we pulled out the "dirt cup", it was nearly full of dust and dirt (after only 10 seconds). "What in the heck?" we thought. "Where did that come from?" As a side note here, in my opinion, the so-called "dirt cup" is a horrible invention designed to make housekeepers everywhere feel like failures. Since that time I have been studiously avoiding thinking about what that really means, that the floor we've been walking on for the past month or so was FILTHY. Besides, if I vacuumed today, hardly any dirt get would get in the "dirt cup".
Of course, I don't think about the fact that I vacuumed slowly and carefully several times last night and had to empty said "dirt cup" often. I mean, what really matters is how clean it is now, right? Not how clean it was when my kids slept on the floor last weekend.

As I write this, it occurs to me that if I were to get philosophical, I might see an analogy between our hearts and how dirt can hide in them and how the longer we go between deep cleanings, the more the filth builds up until we don't even notice it. We'd rather keep all the dirt in a bag that we can throw away without seeing or touching all the filth.

And I might wonder that while my life looks clean on the outside, how much dirt would be in my "dirt cup"?

I might think those things if I was getting philosophical.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Looking back

OK, as my husband commented, that last post was a little intense! I have usually kept it light around here, but during my 4-month bloggy break, I've started to look at our family and my life more seriously. Or maybe I always did and my lighthearted blog was an escape from the seriousness. I really don't feel like analyzing right now. Anyway, without being clairvoyant, I would think that in the future I'll have light-hearted bloggy times with some serious ones mixed in. Maybe that's not so different than before. Why did I start rambling like this???

OK. (Deep breath.) I want to talk about my sister and something amazing that's going on in her life and family.

My sister is my best friend. I am blessed that she lives a few minutes from me. She has three kids, just like me, who are close in age to my younger two. In fact, my kids' best friends are their cousins. Anyway, about two weeks ago she and her husband Tom, shared something with us that is awesome and exciting and scary and...well, there's too many emotions to list. She has started a blog about it entitled No Looking Back. Please go there and read her story.

People, her heart is wonderful and I applaud and support them in this. I am so excited to be a part of witnessing how this plays out first-hand and to be directly involved in their future children's lives.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homeschooling will promote a love of learning in your child (if you have the right books)

…One of the best things about homeschooling is that …iIf you are excited about the opportunity to learn, then your child will be too. From the article, "Educating from a Place of Rest and Peace" by Angelina Stanford

I homeschool two of our three children. Did I ever say that? I don’t think I have ever really talked about my children’s education on this blog. Let me just say now for the record, that I think educating children and equipping them for adult life is THE most difficult thing a person will ever do. And I think the above statement creates the opposite of what the author intended. Instead of peace and rest, it can cause unnecessary guilt.

Our sixteen year old is a sophomore at our local high school. I homeschooled him from fourth grade through eighth grade. We put him into our local public school in ninth grade as a freshman. He is now a sophomore. I still homeschool our daughters, grades 5 and 7, so this is my seventh year of homeschooling.

I am in a unique situation, at least for where I live and whom I am around, as I have a foot in both camps, so to speak.

Back to the quote at the top. I KNOW the author had the very, very best of intentions and really desires to encourage homeschooling parents. And the article did have a lot of good things to say. But unfortunately if any homeschoolers out there have a child like mine (and I know there are some), this article, and others like it, accomplishes exactly opposite in our lives. If I would have read this the last year I homeschooled our son, I would have been very discouraged and almost angry at reading the following quotes:

The first is: …what do you want your child to look like as an adult? Do you want him to be wise and virtuous, able to think and engage in articulate discussion of ideas—both in speech and in writing? Then each year, as you plan out your child’s school year, consider what curriculum choices will move your child closer to you end goal.

Ok, who DOESN’T want his or her child to be wise and virtuous? Who doesn’t want him/her to think and engage in articulate discussion of ideas in speech and writing? Well, according to this author, all you need to do to ensure this happens to your child is to consider the curriculums that will move him/her toward that goal. Yeah, right. That sure didn’t happen for me. Five years of trying every curriculum under the sun NEVER fostered anything articulate or wise or even caused any sort of interest in our son.

Next: … If you want your child to be an articulate adult, then each year, you must fill your child’s mind with very best literature, the very best examples of the English language, and then give him ample opportunity to discuss what he has read---both orally and in writing.

Ok, check, check, AND check. I did what this article suggested. And waited. Nothing. No articulate person. No desire for classic literature. No desire to discuss ANYTHING, let alone read-alouds. And believe me, with parents who love learning like his father and I do, he has had AMPLE opportunity to discuss what he wants! But he doesn’t want!

The next quote: …And what I discovered was that when I thought I was introducing some new and exciting history event or science fact, my children often would jump ahead of me and begin describing---usually in greater detail that I had prepared---the topic I was teaching. How did they do that? They read---a lot! We have an extensive library of the highest quality books on a variety of subjects. Just from reading on their own, my children had managed to learn most of the things that I wanted to teach them.

OK, that is so NOT true for my son. Implying that having good books on hand will not only make you a better parent, but will also make your child educated is ridiculous. Having cool books around and readily available means NOTHING if the child won’t seek the books out and read them. And mine doesn’t. I have always LOVED reading and read in front of my kids all the time. We have LOTS of great books in the house, both fiction and non-fiction, on every subject and every period in history, but my son has no interest in reading any of them. So it doesn’t matter if they are here or not. The implication here is that if those of us who have unmotivated children just got the right books...

Give your children access to books, lots and lots of books, and let the authors of these books teach your children for you. Take the time to discuss the more difficult ideas and concepts with your children, but you can have peace that most of the information that children need to learn, they can learn on their own in books.

Didn’t I address this already? My son has ACCESS, he doesn’t take advantage of that access. So does the access matter? Truly?

(Regarding read-alouds)…We have laughed at Tom Sawyer, and we have cried over the death of Old Yeller, and we have grown closer together as a family. These stories have become part of our family culture. It is not unusual at all to hear one of my children make a joke that is an obscure Shakespearean reference. We all laugh, and I rest in the knowledge that they are learning in a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere instead of a prison of anxiety.

I have read Old Yeller to my kids. I have read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer . I have read LOTS of books from all of the homeschool reading lists and the classic literature lists, and although they are good books, they did not automatically inspire a love of great literature or reading in my kids. My son read Romeo and Juliet. He didn’t fall in love…he thought Romeo and Juliet were dumb. Why did they kill themselves? It made no sense. Oh horror! A homeschool boy who doesn’t think Shakespeare is the I Ching!

Then there is: …All of the books and catalogs put such an emphasis on activities and hands-on learning, that I felt guilty because I wasn’t including those activities in our day. But I finally came to understand that learning is its own reward and that it is important for my children to understand that—I want them to be lifelong learners, and I think it is far more likely that they will continue to be curious and desire knowledge if I have nurtured their love of learning rather than relying on gimmicks.

My son was NEVER curious!!!! He never desired knowledge, no matter what I did or didn’t do. I love school. I love learning. But my son couldn’t be more different. Where did he get this attitude? Not from school, since he was homeschooled the majority of his life. Not from his father or I. How did I get a son who has no desire to learn? How did I get a child that always takes the easy road, the road of least resistance, whose philosophy is that learning requires effort, so it should be avoided? These questions swirl around in my head. He didn’t learn that attitude by example, so that trait has to come from inside him.

The article goes on to say…A friend of mind regularly laments to me that her children do not love homeschool. This, of course, produces a great deal of anxiety for her. But what she doesn’t understand is that her children are not the problem. She is. She does not love learning, and so neither do her children. It is impossible to convince our children to value those things that we do not value. If you think of your homeschooling as an unpleasant chore, so will they. However, the converse is also true. When we are excited about learning, our children will be excited as well.

What???? This is perhaps the most offensive statement of them all!
How dare anyone say that if I love learning, my children will, but if they don’t love learning, it is MY fault!?!?!?!? And how is saying that the mother is the problem supposed to alleviate guilt and promote peace and rest????

I LOVE LEARNING AM EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! That has NOTHING to do with how my kids feel about learning! And I WON’T take the blame for it!!!! The statement that if I am excited about learning, my kids will be too is bogus. You hear me???? Bogus!!!!!

Eventually I hated homeschooling my son because he was argumentative, disrespectful, totally unmotivated and fought me at every turn. That is NOT MY FAULT! I love him. He knows it. He has no desire to achieve anything academically. After years of trying and failing with him, my husband and I realize that he, unfortunately, will have to learn the hard way. He doesn’t heed our wisdom--- we have spent hours of time with him, as well as lots of prayer, directly imparting that wisdom to him, but it doesn’t matter. My husband spends time with him every morning studying the Bible and working through biblical books before school. My son knows the truth. What more can we do? Does God expect us to do His job? I don’t think so. It has taken years, but I have finally accepted that I can’t make my son the kind of person I think he should be. He is going to be the way HE is, regardless of me. All my husband and I can do is teach him the truth, but we can’t MAKE him do anything. As a mother, that is hard to accept. I want to think of him as my baby, my child that I can control and teach. But he isn’t. I CAN’T MAKE HIM DO ANYTHING! HE IS NOT MINE, HE IS GOD’S.

So I think homeschooling is great…but it’s not for every child in every circumstance. And God is bigger than anything we humans do anyway. That is comforting to me. And for any homeschooler to imply that if we would just do _______ and ________, then our kids would be great students, I say stop! We all love our kids. We all want them to succeed. Don’t imply that you are better at being a parent than the rest of us and if we would just take all of your tips, our kids will be in love with school and learning. It’s just not the truth.

I hope this is encouraging to others out there who don’t have the “perfect” student!

All your homeshooling parents out there…you rock! And all of the rest of you parents out there, public school or whatever…you rock too!!! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think being a good parent is the hardest thing you will ever do and I applaud all of you.

You go, people, go!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Flounderer (and I don't mean the fish)

What do you get when a husband is gone for a week-long business trip? A toilet clogged with the biggest bucket load of crap imaginable (from a little friend of my daughter's no less) that took me more than two days and lots of changes of clothes and washing of hands and loud yell---I mean mutterings, to unclog. A child who knows better than to play with fire who almost burns the house down while playing with a lighter. A slow-draining bathtub in the kids' bathroom that, when taken apart, is full of a soft-ball sized clog of hair, pony-tail holders, dirt and slime that takes several hours and lots of tools to get out. A gagging and crying, stressed-out wife and mother who is handling all of this by herself who can barely walk because of a ripped-off big toenail.

Despite all of this, all seems quiet on the family front. At least on the outside. But beyond the quiet, I am experiencing what seems to me to be life-changing events. I feel lost, floating in a sea of uncertainty. I keep praying. What should I do, Lord? I don't have answers. I thought maybe I did, but now I realize that I don't. In time I know that I will feel grounded again, but right now I am floundering.

I know you're wondering what in the world I am talking about and all I can say is that it has to do with our 15 year old son. Our 15 year old son who is turning 16 in November. Our 15 year old son who is only a little more than 2 years away from 18 and having to take on adult responsibility. Our 15 year old son. Yeah.

Lord help us. Lord help HIM.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Warning: I'm climbing onto my soap box for this one!

I don't like horror movies. In fact, I've never watched one all the way through because I don't want to put images in my mind that will be with me the rest of my life. Oh sure, the constant dwelling on them may fade, but things like that have a way of resurfacing unannounced, like when BD is on a business trip for a week and I'm crawling into bed and hear a noise. I've spent many nights in agony thinking about "what might happen". I don't need to make things worse. Why would I choose to do that to myself?

The same applies for anything of a perverse or sexual nature. Other people may do horrible things, but why do I want to put those ideas in my mind? While a naive flight attendant of 22, I happened to see a postcard of a perverse sexual nature on a street corner in Athens, Greece. It was in one of those turn-racks, right next to the picture of a sunset over the Parthenon that read "Wish you were here". That image is now burned into my brain and pops up at the worst times. Before that, I hadn't even imagined such aberrant things were possible. I'll remember that image until the day I die. Is it possible to be too sensitive in this area? I don't think so. Every act starts in the mind. Who knows where one step will lead?

Anyway, while at the library with my girls the other day, I walked by the shelves in the teen section and one book in particular caught my eye. It was obviously new and expensive. On the cover of the thick, glossy book jacket was a photo of a pretty little girl's dress made of white silk strewn with tiny pink roses. I was intrigued by the photo and by the title, "Living Dead Girl". The back breifly mentioned that it was an abduction story. I like mystery, especially if there's a happy ending as the pretty cover seemed to indicate, so while my girl's were in the children's section, I sat down and started to read the first few pages.

I wish I hadn't.

It was an abduction story, all right. Told from the first person perspective of a 15 year old girl who'd been abducted at ten and kept as a sexual slave by her captor. It wasn't a fantasy, like a vampire novel, or a Harry Potter tome. It was reality. It was told in great detail. Told graphically. There were things in those first five pages that will haunt me the rest of my life, details you would never hear about on the news or even said outloud on the street. Those pages deeply depressed me to the point that I walked around distracted and on the verge of tears for a few days. I tried to stop replaying it in my head. I begged God to let me stop thinking about it, and the worst part of it is that this book was in our public library that our tax dollars are paying for and was in the TEEN SECTION.

I admit that I'm a little naive, especially for a forty year old woman. But I don't think I'm a prude, nor am I am I legalistic in any way. I may not agree with what an adult chooses to read or fill their heads with, but I don't have the right to tell an adult what to do (unless they are a serial killer. :-) Then I might tell them to stop killing people!) But it scares me to death to think an unsuspecting young mind could innocently pick up that book and have pictures of these sexual horrors in their heads. And even scarier is that someone made the decision that this was suitable reading for teenagers. If someone is caught doing the things that were done in this book, we call them a monster, more animal than human, someone without a conscience. But reading about them being done to a child is OK. And hey, it's enlightening for young minds to be exposed to all sorts of things, right? I pray every day for the Lord's protection to be around my childrens' thoughts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My beautiful kids

I am blessed to have two sisters who take great pictures. Here are some examples:

These were taken by my sister in 2003.




These were taken by my sister-in-law in 2006.





And these were taken by that same sister-in-law in her back yard today:





(This one is looking at me when I was a girl.)


Monday, August 17, 2009

Banana Pops gone wrong

If you want to do your kids a favor and make them dislike chocolate, just go to the store, buy that waxy dipping chocolate, melt it, then try to coat peeled bananas with it. You'll end up with globs of half-liquid melted chocolate that barely cling to the bananas because they are more interested in congealing into squishy lumps of chocolate-flavored wax. Then sit back and watch as your children greedily down the dubious brown mass and proceed to get stomach aches they will remember the rest of their days. Now pat yourself on the back. You have accomplished your goal of making the mere mention of melted chocolate distasteful to them for life. You're a great parent!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

School news

My son started his sophmore year Wednesday and I start school with the girls Monday. Today is my planning day. Since I'm using the same curriculum I used last year, I'm familiar with how the day goes and am hoping it won't be overwhelming today. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Indian's game

Last night the kids and I went to the Indianapolis Indians game because our good friends, the Millers, were singing the national anthem before the game. I wish I could figure out how to embed video so I could put it on here. (It's on my Facebook page if anyone wants to see it there.) Anyway, we sat on the lawn. The incline of the ground made it perfect to lay back and actually see the game from that position. The kids running around and the fact that it was so far away were the downfalls of our seats, but it was a nice night--the perfect temperature, and we had a blast!

Wil and I. He's got his sad, puppy dog eyes because he was starting school in the morning.


Baylee, Izzi, Lydia Wright and me. (Yes, I'm talented enough to get all four of us in a picture just by holding out my arm and clicking!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I want to be a mommy!

Ten-year-old: I just want to be a mom so bad. That's why I don't want Jesus to come back until then.

Me: What do you love about the idea of being a mom?

10-year-old, with passion: I just want to tell them about my childhood, I want to go trick-or-treating with them, I want to buy them birthday presents, I want to go with them to get their ears pierced, I want to teach them, I want to take them different places, I want to take them out to eat, I want to teach them to ride a bike, I want to do their hair and nails.

Me: What if you have all boys?

10-year-old: That's OK, I want to have a girl AND a boy. I want to watch them go off diving boards, I want to help them decide what they want to be, to help them pick out what they are interested in. I can't wait to get my own house and paint their rooms and get accessories for them and I want to pick out the names for my kids and I want to walk them to the bus stop, even when they are teenagers. There's SOOO many things I want to do with them. I want to bring them to your house at Christmas. I want them to have friends, and have sleepovers, and go places with their friends, I want to teach them about nature, I want to take them to get their hair cut, I want to teach them to read, to be there when they lose their first tooth. It just seems so fun. I want to be there when they move from the nursery at church to their first Sunday School class. I want to take care of them. I want to bring them over to your house so I can have special dates with my husband. Oh Mommy, there's just SOOO many things I want to do!

Scrap retreat

After six wonderful days in Ohio, the kids and I drove home only for me to turn around less than 24 hours later and attend a retreat with my scrappin sistahs. There is a group of girls at our church that love to scrapbook together and one of them worked it out so we could use her in-law's lake house for the weekend. What a wonderful time of fellowship, fun and crafting! While there, we each issued a challenge, competed to put together the most pages, went to a diner that has been featured on HGTV, got lost, watched Meet the Parents, listened to corny music, and...well, it would take too long to list all that we did. And one of our members turned 35 on Sunday, the last day. On the way home, we got her a cashew-carmel custard dish from Culver's. I've never had such wonderful ice cream in my life.

Anyway, I completed 14 events (21 pages) over the weekend. I was in the zone! I'm sorry to bore some of you, but for those who are interested, here are my completed pages:














Friday, August 7, 2009

My daughter the SAR

My youngest daughter loves to shop. (A girl after my heart!) I love to have her as my little shopping buddy...she's a big help and always has a cheerful attitude. There's just one problem---Izzi is a SAR (Stuffed Animal Rescuer) and she take her job very seriously. She told me last week that she can hardly stand to be around the stuffed animals in the store because they are begging her to save them (in voices too high to hear by adults). "Rescue me! Save me! Love me! Take me home!" Yes, she can hardly bear to be around them, and yet that area of the store draws her as if they were pulling her with invisible strings. If there are stuffed animals in a store, she just sits down in front of the display and carefully chooses which one (or two or more) animals she will ask me to buy. If I do, she will carefully cradle it, stroking and talking to it softly. The way home from the store is precious as she tenderly cares for her new pet. They are very real to her. And it's not like she ever forgets about them. She gets babysitters for all of her animals when she leaves, she feeds them, reads to them, puts them tenderly to bed. Years later she still remembers their birthdays and when and where she rescued them. She seems to have the capacity in her heart for unlimited pets. She builds individual homes for them from shoe-boxes, carefully designing the construction paper decor to suit their needs. She never forgets any of their names. She is precious with them.

Now all of this would not be a problem except that I DON'T WANT 100 OR MORE STUFFED ANIMALS AND THEIR HOMES IN HER ROOM!!! And I feel like the bad guy when I turn down her requests to help her rescue one. (Which is most of the time.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mmmm....

Driving to Chillecothe, Ohio, to visit my mom's parents has been a yearly event since I was born. I think I've missed one summer in 40 years. Anyway, my girls went over to Grandma Mil's Thursday and BD, Wil and I followed after BD got home from work Friday evening. On the four hour drive, Wil just talked and talked and he even made sense sometimes. One of those times was when he just blurted randomly,

Fried chicken is tasty in the summertime!

What can I say? Sometimes he comes up with a profound truth.