Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's A...

It's been a pretty busy week around here with running afoul of pitchforks and drinking soapy concoctions and what not.  I completely forgot to to bring you up to date with my latest doctor's appointment.

Robert met me at Dr Silver's office on Wednesday.  I, of course, was running late.  (Construction.  Not my fault!  Even if I did know in advance that particular road was closed.  And forgot to take my afore planned detour...)

I seem to have run out of bizarre and/or unusual questions to pepper Dr Sliver with.  I'll have to work harder next month.

Mainly, I was excited to find out if we are having a Reindeer or a Hairy Sasquatch.

It's a Reindeer!!!

Maybe I should clarify.  Alvin suggested girl and boy names, respectively.  So, for the duration of this pregnancy our little girly will be affectionately known as Reindeer.

I am just thrilled!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Home Remedy, Not!

excerpted from my Facebook status, because I'm too tired to write it out again...
 
Okay, this is embarrassing...
I've been feeling like I might be coming down with a cold, so I dropped a fizzy Emergen-C tablet in my glass and went about my business while it dissolved. I came back to drink it and thought, "Hm, this doesn't taste very good." But I stoically chugged the whole glass down. Immediately I begin to feel ill, my throat is burning and I start foaming at the mouth. Someone had squirted a sizable amount of Palmolive dish soap in my glass!!!! And I actually drank the whole thing!! Poison Control assured me I won't die, and through snickers asked me how old I am. What they should have asked is my hair color... 
The perp confessed. He thought the fizz was an experiment his brother was conducting and that adding soap would have a scientific benefit. When nothing exploded he walked off and forgot about it. I'm feeling a lot better now. Not something I'll soon forget.
I'm just glad it wasn't bleach or anything actually dangerous. And since it was the "antibacterial" variety, maybe it will beat this cold. 
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Off To Urgent Care We Go

Am I the only one who thinks Snow White's dwarfs are creepy?

Yesterday, I had the privilege and pleasure of watching 11 kids.  All at once.  It was actually a lot of fun.  The boys had a rousing game of Cops and Robbers... "We need a murderer and we need a victim!"  The girls helped me sort apples by rotten, wormy and passable.

All was going well until Dee hobbled into the kitchen gasping, "I'm dead, I'm dead!  The pitchfork stabbed me!"

I could see the top of his foot was bloody.  I figured there might be a puncture wound or two.  I helped him hop to the bathroom where I could clean the wound and see what was going on.  The shock was wearing off and full fledged panic settling in.  For him, not me.  Once I got some of the blood wiped away, I could see this was no puncture wound.  It was a 3 inch by 1 inch gash.  I could see the flesh beneath.  By this time, Dee was full on screaming and flailing any time I even looked at him with a peroxide soaked cotton ball in hand.

Eventually I got the wound rinsed and patted dry.  I had the other kids turn on a video and Dee settled down on the couch to wait until the mothers could come and pick up their children.  Robert came home in time to watch Elle and Sherry took Cy and Alvin home with her.

As Dee limped out the door I remarked, "Hey!  We get to have time together, just me and you.  How fun!"  He snorted contemptuously, "You call this fun?"  Where's his sense of adventure?

By the time we reached the Urgent Care center, Dee had chilled enough to fall asleep.  Thankfully, it was not very busy and they got us right in.  The nurse commented admiringly that this was the worst cut he'd seen all day.  Dee smiled in gratification.  When they asked if he cried when it happened he said No, without blinking.  I guess what happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom.  By the time the doctor swept into the room, white coat and all, Dee was thoroughly entranced.  He watched with great interest as they cleaned, numbed and stitched the laceration.  He got 5 stitches in all!  A new family record...

Next, we went to WalMart for his antibiotic prescription.  I let him get a (free) cookie from the bakery, then select some candy from the checkout line.  He got the nasty bubble gum tape.  I had to run by Roy's Chicken anyways, so I bought him a piece of chunk chicken.  Just for him.  He smiled from the back seat and pronounced this a "very fun day!"

I guess being injured isn't so bad after all. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Educational Theory, In Case You Were Wondering


I am nervous/excited about the upcoming school year.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do it when I'm 9 months pregnant or when I have a newborn.  This is the most ambitious year yet and I have a second grader, first grader, preschooler and a meddlesome toddler.  But, God is not calling me to a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.  So, here we go...

I was visiting with a lady at karate last night.  She is from Venezuela.  She was very surprised to learn that in Oklahoma we can educate our own children, at home, without any government interference, all the way through high school.  And she seemed to think I must be a genius of some sort.  That I must be much smarter than she is, because she wouldn't dare attempt to teach her children.  Her dad was a Chemistry teacher and she knows she could never do what he did.  This is a very bright and educated lady.  She has all my respect.  She left her home to come to a new country, a different culture, learn a new language and start a new life.  Her English is definitely better than my Spanish!  I have every confidence that if she decided that this is something she wants to do, she could teach her children exceptionally well.

 And so can I.

And so can you.

That is the dirty little secret that the educational society doesn't want us to figure out.  Anyone who can read and has an imagination can teach themselves or anyone else practically anything.

It's that simple.  We don't need fancy programs.  We don't need teachers unions and federal funding.  We don't need glossy, cartooned materials.  All we really need is interest.

Children are born eager and ready to learn.  And their mothers and fathers do an excellent job of teaching them.  Who taught your child to walk, talk, tell colors and shapes, sing the alphabet, tie their shoes and make their beds?  You did!  Who answered their first questions about where rainbows come from and why do leaves fall and what is the sun made of?  You did that too.  And they loved to hear about their world from your lips.  I bet you enjoyed seeing the world from their perspective.  Math, Science, Phonics, Literature, Philosophy were passed effortlessly from you to your small shadows on a daily basis.   This is the core of my Educational Theory.

Of course, once the small fry hit about 6 or so, we start getting antsy about starting "school".  Every one else is headed to the bus stop.  What if our children get behind?  And how do we even get started, anyways?  We are so blessed to have so many resources at our fingertips.  The choices of methods, philosophies and systems are staggering.  We feel a crushing weight of responsibility for our progeny's future success and happiness.  Professional teachers have a degree, after all.  Just who do we think we are?!

Let's step back a moment at look at the educational systems of one hundred years ago and today.  If you have ever read the Little House On The Prairie books, you might remember 16 year old Laura, the teacher of a one room school house.  She never went to college.  Her teachers probably didn't either.  To her, Head Start meant a few extra seconds in a race.  She didn't even begin school until around 9 or 10.  Her mother taught her to read at home with the few books they brought with them from Wisconsin.  But, she was a well educated lady.  Many people of that time were.  They didn't need calculators or computers.  The math was done in their head.  Many understood classical literature and even read it in the original languages.  Anne Of Green Gables read Virgil in Latin.  Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, all men of knowledge and wisdom.  Self taught men.  Fathers and Architects of a nation.  They did not have the "benefit" of ipads and Facebook.  Or even Wikipedia.  Certainly not a 12th grade homeroom.

Today, our country spends more money on education than just about any other country in the history of the world.  And we have Miley Cyrus.  Okay, okay, that's not fair.  We also have Steve Jobs and Ben Carson.  But Steve Jobs and Ben Carson are self taught men.  They took the education they received and expanded it themselves.  Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, JayZ and their fans are the products of today's education.  Don't get me wrong.  In the 17 and 1800's there were millions of illiterate children who never went to school at all.  I almost said they never had a chance to become skilled or get good jobs.  But that is not true.  There were many skilled wheel wrights and farmers and cowboys.  In many ways they had happy and productive lives.  Today we attempt to educate all children, but there are still many illiterate and unskilled laborers as the result.  And they mostly have aimless, miserable lives.  Lives of dependency and servitude to an almighty government.  My point is that the education of yesteryear was more effective.

I am trying to return to the basics with my family.  It is more feasible for me to educate my handful of children at home than to trust them to the teaming masses of our school district and hope they don't get lost in the shuffle.  Besides, I hate textbooks.

I have been reading the writings of 19th century educator, Charlotte Mason.  She contends that children are people.  People need ideas, living books, beautiful thoughts.  Textbooks pre-chew the information.  The teacher gets in the way.  What is better is to introduce the world to a young child as a beautiful and interesting place.  A place that reveals different facets of its Creator.  And then, step back.  Let the child form the relationships and pursue the questions.  Let the child think and learn to think by hearing the world's greatest thinkers.  Let the child read and learn to write by reading the world's greatest writers.

Some call this a Classical Education.  Some call it Un-Schooling.  Some call it Life.  I mix it all up and add a good dose of judiciously chosen textbooks, a smidgen of a schedule with a dash of Bach and call it School!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Frozen Apple Pie Filling

Our solitary apple tree produced a ton of apples this year.  I'm really surprised.  The past two or three years have been pretty sparse.  I don't think I even ate one apple last year.  But the mild temperatures and bountiful rain this year seem to have done the trick.  Now, what to do with all these apples?  Robert insists I should make every last one into pies...

Frozen Apple Pie Filling

Peel, core and slice 4 cups of apples.  Place in quart size ziplock bag.

Mix in small bowl: 1 cup minus 2Tbs sugar (easiest way to measure 7/8 cup!)
3 Tbs flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt.  Mix well and pour over top of apples in bag.  Seal, label and freeze.

To use, thaw 1 minute 30 seconds in microwave.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Top with pats of butter and second pie crust.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Easy as pie!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Time

It's been a great week here in OKC.  I think I've had all the vacation I can take, which is a very good sign that we had fun!

The kids have watched enough television to last them several months.

I have eaten enough candy bars to permanently raise my blood sugar.

The kids consumed enough candy, cookies, strawberry soda, doughnuts, ice cream and popsicles to put them in a  coma.

We went swimming, even though the pool was fuzzy in places.  I'm sure it's cleaner than the ponds I grew up swimming in, though.

The zoo was a blast!  We took our time and probably only saw a third of it.  But, that's how we roll.  I'd rather the kids get to spend quality time watching whatever captures their interest than to madly rush from one point to the next.  Some of the highights were, the mommy and baby elephant (Elle), the herpataruim with anacondas, pythons and king cobras (Cy), the tropical fish tank complete with Nemo and a phantom octopus (only Alvin could see the octopus, does it really exist? Who knows...)  and the Safari Voyage (Dee).  We returned home hot and sunburned and wet and thoroughly exhausted, but happy.  (The exhibit that stands out to me was the wasted group of gothic youths that stumbled through.  But they were the ones putting themselves on display)

We spent plenty of time visiting with various grandparents, which was really the whole point.  My Grandma Joan is recovering from a knee replacement, so we went to visit her in the hospital.  Later that day we went out to see my Kimball grandparents in Harrah.  Dee came up and whispered to me "These are old fashioned grandparents!"  I wish I could spend more time with them.  I have so many happy memories of weeks spent with them.  Helping grandpa with the chores, taking care of goats and sheep, building projects, picking blackberries.  Grandma teaching me how to sew and cook for a crowd, quilting days, hanging out laundry, telling scary stories about Indian graves and screaming panthers...  All four of my brothers got to come, which is really rare.  We had a grand time.  Later, Grandma put on some old home videos of our History presentations.  We relived the glory days of our dramatic careers.  Moses, Louis Pastuer, Robert E. Lee and The Three Stooges were some of historical characters we portrayed in plays and monologues and homemade costumes.  Here with my husband's parents, the kids have been dragging old junk and treasures out of the closets and begging for stories about what it is and where it all came from.

I'm so thankful for this time to rest and visit old memories and make new ones.  But, it's time.  Time to get back home and finish putting up the apples.  Time to give my husband a big, fat kiss.  Time to finish out last year's remaing math and English lessons in time to start this years books.  Time to start packing for an epic journey to Alaska! 

Time for me to go change a diaper...



Monday, August 19, 2013

One Last Before School Fling

I'm going to be away from the computer for awhile.  I've been wanting to make a trip to The City for awhile. (Oklahoma City, for those who don't have the benefit of living in our great state. All Okies know there is only one City. Tulsa is still referred to as Town)

I'd like the kids and I to get to spend a little time with the grandparents before school starts back.  And, the OKC zoo has retro priced tickets on Wednesdays in August.  $1, whoohoo!  Can't hurt to get a field trip in before the year has even started, right?

My computer has been malfunctioning and I'm about to pull my hair out...So, I'd better get off of here and actually get some work done.  It's going to be a busy day.  Packing, straightening the house, putting together a casserole for Rob to eat while I'm gone, Dentist appointments for all of us, birthday shopping for the grandparents and cousins I've neglected throughout the summer, library, Goodwill drop and karate before we can leave town.  I'm going to have to lock the computer up in the closet, if I'm going to get this all done.  I need some chocolate...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Obligatory Back To School Post

That sounds inspiring...

I am actually beginning to get excited about this new year.  It will be a challenge.  I face moments of terror.  But who can resist fresh starts and new beginnings?  Not me!  I sat down yesterday and went through all the materials on our school shelf, threw out a ton and made quite a daunting list of "what we must do every day to keep up with everyone else".

Uh-oh.  I'm already in trouble.  Maybe I should follow the advice of my last post and consider what my motive is and/or should be.  When I'm hip deep into this I'm going to need a solid reason why I am doing this to myself.  Otherwise I will become discouraged, despondent and depressed.  Wait, that already happened to me.  Am I physic or what?
                                           
                                                       *DISCLAIMER*                                                                               
 
This is not meant to convict or convince anyone else that they should be doing exactly what I am doing.  I just want to get some of my own personal thoughts on record to encourage myself with later.  I need to be fully convinced in my own mind about what I am doing and why.  Not because it's expected of me, not because this is how I was raised.  Not because this is what I read in the latest homeschooling journal.  Not because of my mom's convictions.  Or even because of my husband's convictions.  These are just my opinions.  I would challenge anyone reading this to spend some time pondering your own situation and choices.  Why do you do what you do?  We are all in different circumstances.  What's important is that we each have a clear reason why we are on our chosen paths and what our desired destination is.  And a willingness to adjust if God nudges us in a different direction.

To quote a favorite president, 'Let me be clear,' I am NOT doing this because I love being with my children so much I can't bear to let them out of my sight for hours at a time.  To say so would be a lie.  At times shipping the kit and kaboodle off for 6-8 hours every day sounds terrific.  Okay, glad I got that off my chest.

I'm not doing this because I'm terrified of public schools.  I've never spent any time in the "system" so I really can't say much about it, good or bad.

As I see it, there are two distinct issues to consider.
1. Spiritual/Political/Cultural-this post
2.  Educational Theory-next post

Spiritual - As a Christian, I believe that God has entrusted these children to my care, to be raised for His glory.  I am to nurture and admonish them in the fear of the Lord.  I am to teach His precepts both by word and by example, all day, every day.  This is more readily accomplished at home.  Here and now is the training ground for tomorrow's leaders.  I cannot in good conscience send my children into the world to "shine as lights" when they are so immature and unprepared.  Some of them aren't even saved yet. Missionary dating doesn't work.  I don't think missionary schooling does either.  Usually it's the bad influences that prevail.  What happens if you pour a cup of muddy water into a cup of clean water?  The general atmosphere of the United States is becoming muddier every day.  Godlessness is proliferating at an alarming rate.  Even professing Christians are living in open and unrepentant sin.  Giving our children a solid foundation on which to stand against the world is paramount.  That being said, there is nothing I can do to guarantee my children's salvation, strength in the Lord or general happiness.  Everything is by God's Grace.  There is no upbringing or lack thereof that He cannot overcome.  I must do my part, (so as to have a clear conscience) then pray for Mercy.  We do not deserve nor can earn the least of His blessings.  The school we attended does not limit or influence what God might chose to do in our lives.

Political - The Government does not have my children's best interest at heart.  And even if it did, the Government is not the appropriate organization to educate the country.  Simply put, it's none of the Government's business.  Private enterprises and organizations are always more efficient and effective.

Cultural - I dislike the practice of segregation.  It's undoubtedly more practical to divide children by age and ability when you are managing large crowds.  However, if you are always herded into groups with your own age, that is all you will know.  There is much benefit to be gained by interacting freely with all ages, genders, backgrounds and experiences.  I, personally, am more comfortable interacting with people older than myself. (which might explain why there is an age difference in my marriage)  I can appreciate the different outlook and experiences of older people.

Then there is the "learning as a lifestyle" versus "learning happens on weekdays from 8-2 in the months of August through May" issue.  But that's getting into educational theory.  And I have apples to cut up and freeze...

Toodles!    

     


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Is My Motive?

"Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord?  Or who hath been His counselor?  Or who hath given to Him that it shall be recompensed unto Him again?  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to Whom be glory forever.  Amen."  Romans 11:33-36

We give Thee but Thine own, 
Whate'er the gift may be:
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord from Thee

May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true recieve,
And gladly as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our first fruits give.
                                                                  
                                                                  William W. How

I've been pondering of late a couple of questions that seem now to be coalescing into one main thought.   What is my motive?

It began, oddly enough, with Atlas Shrugged.  This 1200 page doorstop furnished much food for thought.  Ayn Rand is decidedly Godless and I must ultimately disagree with her conclusions.  But she does a masterful job of exposing various personalities and their motives.  Just the word, "motive" sheds some light on a few things.  Her novel is set in and around the railroad industry.  She often speaks of "motive power"  as in what it is that moves machinery and what it is that moves people.  What is my moving force?  Ms Rand would contend that self interest is the only legitimate moving power.  That selfishness is the greatest good.  That anything done with other reasons than personal pleasure is basically thievery.  She illustrates the political consequences very handily.  But her characters are completely without God and without hope in the world.

Romans 11:36 tells me that all things in my life are "of Him".  Originating in God Himself, they are also "through Him".  I can do nothing apart from my Creator.  And the end is "to Him".  God is the first cause, the Motive of the universe.  He is the driving force, He is the only being who can legitimately exist by and for His own pleasure.  And, my greatest good cannot be separated from His greatest glory.  What glorifies Him, what pleases Him, must by definition be the only good possible.  He defines "good".  The English words God and good come from the German gut or gutt.  Literally, God is Good.

So, what moves me.  Why do I get up and get dressed?  Why do I cook oatmeal for breakfast?  Why do I take prenatal vitamins?  Why am I even pregnant in the first place?  Is it because this is what I want?  At first that sounds pretty good.  I do what I want, in the way that I want to do it because it makes me happy.  I wanted to be married and have children.  So I did.  Good for me.  But why did I want this?  Was I depending on a relationship with a nice man to make me happy?  Did I stake everything on cute and adorable children to make me happy?  That all works out well when things are going well.  When the children are perfectly obedient and never cause me more stress and trouble than they are worth.  When my husband does everything exactly the way I would want him to.  But what about when things go wrong?

Is it okay to terminate a marriage that is no longer fun and fulfilling? (purely hypothetical here) 

What about a baby?  Can I terminate her if I don't feel like being pregnant any more?

What about running off and letting someone else raise the kids?  They would surely do a better job than I would anyway.  

What about when I lose everything and everyone that I hold dear?  Is happiness possible in a run down apartment?  What about in a tent?  Under a bridge?  Concentration camp?

Could I be joyful if I lose this baby in a miscarriage?  Stillbirth?  SIDS?  Car wreck?

What if my husband left me?  Became terminally ill?  Never made it home from work?

What if all these calamities happened on the same day?

If all things originate from me and are for me, I can never be happy.  Even in the best of situations.  No person can ever make another person happy.  To depend on someone else to make you happy is a most unfair burden to place on that person.  It's not right to load my toddler with the responsibility of making me happy.  My husband can't bear that burden, how much less an infant?

Situations cannot bring me joy.  I must bring the joy to the situation.  And the only way that is going to work is if the joy of the Lord is my strength.  Joy that comes from Him, through Him and goes back to Him.

If situations cannot bring joy, situations cannot destroy joy either.  Not if it's coming from God.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39  

I am slowly beginning to realize that when I am unhappy it is because I am looking to someone or something to supply my joy.  When I feel overwhelmed it's because I feel that everything is depending on me.  If I can just learn to bask in the Presence of God.  If I recognize that God is not borrowing from me, I am simply returning what is His to begin with.  When I sing, play the piano, write, read to my children, give my husband a back rub, cook a meal, scrub a toilet, I am returning to God what He graciously let me borrow.  Every day, every task, every claim on my heart and limited brain cells comes from God and returns back to God.  And He then promises to "repay" me with interest!  It comes from Him, by His power, goes back to Him, for His glory, but He gives me the credit with interest, so that One Day I will have treasure in Heaven to offer back at His feet!  It boggles my mind.

So, I pray,
Lord, let me live today for your glory, in your joy, by your strength.

Amen.   

Monday, August 12, 2013

Papa John's Style Pizza

Pizza is absolutely one of my all time favorite foods.  I love the crust, I love the cheese, I love every single different topping combination, I love how you can sneak leftovers onto a pizza and no one is the wiser.  I love pizza!  I also love thick, chewy, yeasty crusts.  After searching the world wide web over, I finally found a crust I am satisfied with.  It is very similar to Papa John's hand tossed crust, even though I don't know the first thing about hand tossing.  My few attempts were remarkably similar to an I Love Lucy Episode...  But I digress.  Since I like my crust thick, I expanded the recipe by half.  For a thinner crust, you can go by the original measurements to the right in parentheses.

Pizza Dough

4 1/2 cups white, bread or wheat flour or 1/2 and 1/2 mixture.
 I prefer half bread flour, half wheat. (3c) 
1 1/2 tsp salt       (1 tsp)
2 tsp sugar          (1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 Tbs yeast    (1 Tbs)
3 Tbs vegetable or olive oil   (2 Tbs)
1 3/4 c water         (1 1/4 c)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the water and oil.  Mix well.  Knead in the bowl for 5 minutes or until dough is stretchy without being too sticky. Lightly coat the lump with olive oil.  Cover and let rise for 5 minutes if you are in a hurry.  If you have more time, let rise on the counter 30-45 min. or in the refrigerator several hours (the refrigerator method gives the dough the best flavor.  I usually park it there while we go to church on Sunday evenings.  Just be sure to give the dough time to warm to room temperature.)  Divide the dough between two pans, spread with hands to the edges and let sit 5 more minutes.  You can pre-bake the crust at 450 for 10 minutes, top, then freeze, or top right now, bake for 15-20 minutes and EAT!

Little Caeser's Pizza Sauce

This tastes just like Little Caeser's Crazy Sauce.  And it's sooo easy!

Mix 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can tomato paste, salt, garlic and onion powder, basil and oregano to taste.  A pinch of sugar might be in order, up to you.  Ready to spread or dip!

The topping possibilities are endless... Some of my favorite leftover inspired are:
BBQ - toss leftover bbq meat, chicken or brisket with Bar-b-que sauce.  Add sliced onions, bell peppers and cheese

Fajita- Spread leftover refried beans (mixed with enchilada sauce or salsa, perhaps?) on the bottom, top with cheese, leftover fajita or taco meat and well drained pico de gallo or taco condiments.

Robert, ever the Traditionalist prefers Italian sausage, tomato, onion, bell peppers, olives and jalepenos.

What are your favorite or unusual pizza toppings?


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week In Review

It's been a pretty busy week around here.  I was glad to make my piano lesson on Monday.  First time in a month!  I am so glad to be feeling better.  One day last week, I definitely felt first trimester sick.  The next day, I felt second trimester better!  And just in time, too.

This week we had Vacation Bible School.  The theme was The Effectual Call of God.  The kids learned about Jonah, Peter and Paul and how they responded to God's call in their life.  It's the first year that I did not teach.  And I loved it!  I am so happy that there are several "younger" girls willing to step up and take part in this ministry.  And it doesn't bother me one bit that for the first time, I thought of someone else as being "younger" thus making me "elderly".  I am so happy that my sister has moved out here and is part of the church now.  God is good.

Last night we had our annual Summer Birthday Sleepover.  Alvin's birthday is in June, Dee's in July and Cy's in August.  Instead of having three parties, we have one ginormous sleepover.  God has blessed our church with good friends for all the kids.  So,  6 guests+4 of our own=10 wild hooligans. We made pizza, then I ordered a backup pizza with two orders of bread sticks.  I made a chocolate cake, that we have yet to dig into.  We guzzled root beer.  9 boys attacked Robert all at once.  Hold on, actually it was only 8.  Matt documented the mugging on video.  Robert held his own though.  And only one child was stepped on.  Fortunately it was one of mine.  And it wasn't serious.  We opened gifts.  We watched Muppet Treasure Island and Finding Nemo.  We, meaning everyone but me.  I dozed on the couch.  There was a mad scramble to find couch and floor space for everyone.  But finally all were settled in their own nooks.  One boy even brought his own sheets.  That is planning!  Robert cleaned the kitchen at midnight, while I luxuriated in my own cool bed.  And I didn't even feel guilty.  The dawn's early light brought more wrestling and hijinks.  But Rob and I were safe in our locked bedroom.  After a breakfast of Coco Drops (Thank you, Amanda!) and banana bread, all males headed outside to play with fire. (under adult supervision, of course)  Last time I looked out the window, the brush pile was smoldering and boys were running hither and yon with wheel barrows looking for more sticks to throw in.  Nothing like friends and fire to make a forced labor chore turn into a grand competition.

I went to see my OB this week.  That is always the highlight of my month.  I'm serious!  I get to sit in a quiet room and read.  Then I get to visit my doctor and ask all sorts of questions and see my baby.  I've always loved going to see the doctor.  Any doctor.  Such a great opportunity to learn something.  This was a great visit.  My Dr, whom I will call Dr Silver, took the time to actually sit down and visit with me about Bakri balloons and B-Lynch sutures and uterine arterial embolization.  I was in heaven.  Just getting to talk all this out and making sure he knows where I'm coming from, and I know what his plan is makes all the difference in the world.  I feel much more peaceful.  I know I can trust God and I can trust God to move through Dr Silver.  I feel twenty times better than I did this time last month.  Dr Silver keeps exhorting me to not worry and read so much.  But educating myself is the one thing I can do.  And it works.  I'm no longer as fearful of a hysterectomy.  And, as he points out, it is possible that everything will actually go right.  Just because the last two pregnancies ended in massive hemorrhage doesn't mean this one will.  OK, I don't actually believe that.  But that's alright.  I'd rather be prepared for the worst case scenario and be surprised by the best case scenario.

So, that was my week.  Time to start trying to pull the house together and gear up for school to start in the next week or two.  I guess I'll have to make an obligatory back to school post.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If

If

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
 If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them:"Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If either foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!
  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ethics

Is it morally wrong to vacuum up lego pieces?  On purpose.

What about sternly admonishing the boy who is spraying whipped cream into his mouth, when you know that you did it in the laundry room 5 minutes earlier?

When one boy stole the others wallet to put his own 3 quarters and 1 penny in it to take for the church offering plate, and the other boy confiscates the wallet with the money and keeps 2 quarters for himself to "offer" while the first boy howls about how he deserves to be the one who gets all the credit for making such a large offering,  can't I just leave them both on the side of the road?*

Am I a bad parent if I don't spend 2 minutes brushing each child's teeth?

I'm just joking!  Don't hate me!!  The real question is, am I a bad parent if I can't find the baby's tooth brush and it's been a few days, so I just use her brother's brush without telling him?

It's not really lying to blame the sudden odor on the toddler in my lap, is it?

What do you think?  Do y'all out there in blogger land have any ethical dilemas of your own?

*rhetorical question... no one was actually left. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Found...

...whilst vacuuming underneath the couch cushions:

1 pen
2 pencils, 1 with an eraser.  Woohoo!
1 puzzle piece
1 flashcard
1 sock, white -unmatched sock recidivism is at an all time high around these parts
1 wooden building block
1 tie, green
1 black cord used to hold library award pendant

Conspicuously absent, money