Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Happy (belated) Birthday

It might appear that Caleb is getting an awful lot of air time these days. It is just the way it seems to work out. Inevitably one of our children becomes the star of the show for a few weeks, and right not it seems to be the boy. This post however, is late in coming so I really can't be blamed for favoritism.

Caleb turned 4 on June 10! He is now a big boy, and gets to do some neat big boy things that he couldn't do when he was merely 3. We started the celebration with Caleb's request of a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with his siblings and friend of his choice. Travey-my-brother (otherwise known as Travis) won the coveted honor, but only after Kayden (who is 12!) was found to be out of town. We all had a wonderful time, and I would gladly show you a picture of our adventure, except I forgot to take the camera. I do have a sweet shot of Caleb and Travey, taken by Travey's mom, at a playdate just recently.

We did however, get a great shot of the Big Boy being allowed to stay up with the girls for story time before bed. This is something I do just about every night, and Caleb has been asking to join us for months. Christopher and I thought it would make a neat "turned 4" privilege, and began preparing him for the big night a few weeks before his birthday. He was SO excited. The day of his birthday the only thing that consistently kept coming up was how he would be able to stay up with the girls now. Alas, the reality versus the fantasy are two very different things. We are currently reading through the Narnia series, and Caleb could not sit still for even a few moments. He was lost in the story, couldn't follow the plot, and asked a million little questions that pertained to nothing. Daddy took the following picture which sums up the entire event.

Still, 4 years old! He really IS our big boy (even though he wants this new baby to be an older brother).

Vincent van Gough, Claude Monet, or Caleb Randall?

In case you don't have the artist's eye to understand the above statement, let me enlighten you.

First, the smattering of dots represents rain. The smaller yellow in the bottom right hand corner is obviously the sun. This should not be confused with the larger yellow, which is God. The earth sits between the sun, and God - specified by red. Above God is a large box (no universe is quite complete without one). And finally the pièce de résistance is the hippopotamus (I knew you were waiting for me to address it) in the upper left hand corner. The hippopotamus' earring is just below, using anther dynamic brown shape.

Now that you are versed in art, take a few moments to stop and recognize it all around you. Maybe you can learn to draw with such passion, and feeling. Of course, you will have to give up everything you know about how to hold a writing utensil.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

PG is on the Map!

There is a blog that I love to visit called Strangers Among Us. I have it listed in my links on the right ------------> See?

A recent post has a wonderful picture of a couple of Strangers in good ole Pacific Grove, CA. Check it out!


Hole In Your Head

Caleb has a hole in his head. Seriously.

Maybe I should back up a bit and explain.

Several days ago I was walking downstairs when I heard Caleb sob up to me from the family room, "Mama, I got a hole in my heard." Now, I don't know what you other moms think about when your son says this, but I must admit my first reaction was probably not as appropriate as you might expect.

"Really Son. How'd that happen?" I don't go for the whole drama thing.

"I tripped on Hannah's foot, and I got a hole in my head." By this time I've made it into the family room, and can now observe the hole in his head. Sure enough, he has a round surface wound on the top of his forehead. As he delicately probed the area he was quite convinced the circular scratch was a hole.

"Hmmm, well buddy it looks like you have a pretty good hole in your head."


So he is now very proud of his holes, and gets them rather regularly. Not boo-boos. Not ouchies. Not scratches, cuts, scrapes, or owies. Just holes.

Last night he was wrestling with Daddy when he accidentally got a good scratch on his forehead from Daddy's fingernail. When I noticed it a bit later I asked him what happened. Christopher motioned to his finger in the background, so I already recognized the truth of the wound's origin. However, Caleb's rendition, created on the spot, is much more entertaining.

"Oh, I got another hole in my head."


"Well, I jumped off a surf board into the ocean (jumps up and down for good measure, so I understand how big his jump was), and a shark came by like this (makes a swimming motion with his hand), and he had a needle, and he shotted the needle out of his mouth (makes that boy shooting sound, and zooms one finger towards his face, representing the flight pattern of the needle), and it hit my head (plants his finger square onto the hole)."


"Yea. So now I have a hole in my head. Again." He sighs, rolls his eyes in resignation, and then goes back to playing with the girls.

Man, life is rough when you have a bunch of holes in your head.

ps - After I took this picture Caleb wanted to see it. "Ouch," he says. "That must have hurt! How'd I get it?"


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Soap Box

Ever get those emails that tell you to forward it to your 10 best friends, to show them how much you love them? What about the ones that say you will pass this on only if you believe in God, and really care about social justice? My favorite are the legislative updates warning us of impending capitalistic greed, the ones sharing how the US Postal service is currently working on a bill to charge people for their email use - because the government of the United States has nothing better to do with its time. And let's not even go into why it is impossible for Victoria's Secret to track your forwarded email so they can send you that free gift card.

Now, I agree there are some funny jokes going around from time to time (even though by the time you send it to me I guarantee I heard it 4 times before). And it can be hard to pass up that really great awareness email about breast cancer (yes, clicking on the button on their website does help fund mammograms for impoverished women, but it does not fund an entire procedure with every click). So let me clear up a few things about those forwarded emails...


It is really simple. Why do people think we enjoy taking 30 minutes of our time opening 19 other forwarded emails within that email to finally get to the actual text? And I won't even mention the scrolling, and unintelligent babble from 2000 other people forwarding the email, creating a piece of artwork with the <<<< and broken sentences I must decipher. Can I also say...


I would imagine you are not a big fan of learning your phone number has been scrawled on the bathroom wall at the local bowling alley. Yea, I feel the same way. I have received so many random emails from people I don't even know because they just added names to their address book off some forwarded email that had my email in it. Nice.

I tell you all of this because my life has been altered by my emails. You see...

I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about cyanide in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Laima Veski) who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I can no longer buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use plastic in the microwave because it causes cancer.

And thanks to whoever told me how I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

Thanks to my email, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my toosh.

And, thanks to my email's great advice, I can't ever pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

Oh, and don't forget this one either! I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!

So you see my concern for you? I just don't want you to end up like me. And if this was difficult to understand then...

Click Here

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Our homeschool support group has an Advancement Ceremony each year to honor the students, and their labor over the previous school year. Hannah and Bethany participated in the program, both reciting scripture during the "Tour of Talents" portion, and receiving certificates for their completion of Kindergarten and 2nd grade, respectively. We also had dinner, enjoyed fellowship with other homeschooling families, and laughed a lot at how cute several of the smaller children were while presenting their songs, verses, and poems. It was a great evening, and a lot of fun for everyone there.

One of the pleasures I had was to cook the dinner, and with much mercy from God it turned out well. I thought I would post the 2 most requested recipes here, because I am always looking for new (read easy) ways to cook good food! I hope they bless you.

Perfectly Sweet Carrots

1 lbs carrots (thinly sliced and peeled or whole baby)
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter
2 tsp lemon juice
pepper to taste

In large skillet bring broth, salt, 1 Tbs sugar and carrots to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are almost tender (about 7 minutes).

Uncover, bring to boil again and reduce liquid to 2Tbs, stirring constantly.

Stir in butter and remaining sugar and cook until carrots are tender and glaze is golden (2-5 minutes)

Remove from heat, add lemon juice and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Green Sauce Chicken Enchiladas (I can't take credit for this one... Michaeldavi's mom gave it to me)

1 whole chicken, poached and shredded
1/2 to 1 onion (depending on how much onion you like)
1 can (10oz) cream of chicken soup
~ 1 cup Las Palmas (or comparable brand) green enchilada sauce
1 can (4oz) Ortega (or comparable brand) diced green chilis (not Jalapenos)
1/4 to 1/2 sour cream
~ 1/3 to 1/2 can (10oz) evaporated milk or reg milk if you don't have evap.
grated cheddar and jack or mozzarella cheeses
flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare 9x13 baking dish with Pam.

In sauce pot combine soup, sauce, chilis, sour cream, milk, and heat slowly - do not scorch. Taste for "bite" and consistency. Add more green enchilada sauce or milk to spike or smooth the taste. Keep to side.

Saute onion in olive oil or Pam, add chicken and cook on med-low until thoroughly warm. If chicken is too dry a few Tbs chicken broth or some of your sauce.

Pour a few Tbs sauce into bottom of baking dish to coat bottom.

Place 2-3 Tbs chicken, 1-2 Tbs grated cheese (not too much), 1-2 Tbs sauce into each tortilla and roll. Stack enchiladas closely in bottom of pan. When the first layer is done spread sauce over all the enchiladas, making sure sauce coats all of them, and tuck some between each enchilada. Do not drown them though! Add one more layer. Coat this layer with sauce, as the first, but sprinkle cheese on the top.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve immediately. Makes about 16-20 depending on size of enchiladas.


Friday, June 01, 2007


I am not just a Mama. I am an iMama. Living in the 21st century with small children presents some rather unique, and often comical situations. Teaching little ones about technology can result in bizarre circumstances that make you think, "this is really weird." But then the reality is, we live in an age when modern conveniences are used every day!

For instance, my children -

-know how to play and change a dvd in our multi-dvd player.
-use the microwave to reheat food.
-play with my iPod (what kind of a name is that?).
-understand which button works the remote for the van lock.
-don't freak out when they call someone and are told they have to leave a "voicemail".
-unload the dishwasher, but don't actually wash dishes.
-haven't got a clue about audio tapes.
-think nothing of our cordless phones.
-call sites on the world wide web dot coms.
-want email addresses.
-ask to use the cell when we are out of the house running errands.
-have their own computer, that's not a toy, or useless keyboard.
-never look at the ground when you say "mouse".
-realize that my debit card is more valuable than the less than $5 cash I usually carry in my wallet.
-ask to play on my Palm, and don't think twice about what my hand is doing.
-go to daddy explaining that a toy needs new batteries.
-think high-quality computer animation (read - Pixar), has always been the norm for children's entertainment.
-tell me to charge it when they ask if we can do something, and I explain it is too expensive for us.
-don't get it when someone with a film camera visits, and they can't see the picture right away.
-know the term computer crash, and recognize the blue screen of death (they even encourage me to reboot).

So how do you instill the "old fashion values" of hard work, and honesty when it is so easy to have computers, machines, and automated processes do it all for you? I certainly do not think that we have the corner on the answer. But we have learned a few lessons along the way. Lessons like-

-purchase toys that use motor skills, and good ole kinetic energy (read - Caleb's inexhaustible supply of movement).
-make strong boundaries on computer game time.
-allow only one dvd per day (albeit Ben Hur *wink*)
-establish chores that require participation in household management.
-read to the kids.
-have the kids read to us (the assumption for both of these is books, not the back of cereal boxes).
-ask questions that require more than "yes" or "no" answers, and be willing to give in-depth answers back. In other words, participate in quality conversation.
-play board games together.
-invite friends/family over, and show hospitality through example.
-pray and read the Bible together.

The last one I can't stress enough. I believe the best thing we can do to anchor our children in a world that says, "have it your way, and have it now" is to teach them practically, emotionally and spiritually the greater worth to be had in life. We are not here for our own whims. We are not here to make the fastest buck, and then merely die. We have purpose. Meaning. Value. We teach our children about their calling every day. What a treasure to see them realize that there is a point beyond getting their own way! A treasure worth losing your life for, in order to find it.