Monday, March 31, 2008


There is a new phenomenon (or perhaps not quite so new, but I am just now learning about it which makes it new to me) called facebook. It is an online networking community, similar to MySpace (which was totally lost on me), but supposedly designed for an older crowd - in internet years that includes me. So, I joined. It has some pretty fun stuff, like games you can play with your friends, photos you can share, little places where you write messages on other people's profiles. It has the air of maturity, calling things "networks", and "groups" but in essence it is about how many friends you can accrue. I am sadly lacking! For instance, of the ten people who have deigned to be my friend (and one of those is my hubby, and is under obligation to acknowledge me) there are no fewer than a combined total of 862 friends. EIGHT HUNDRED & SIXTY TWO. Read it again. It's a good thing I am so mature, and not easily caught up in popularity wars.

Said very quickly, in the "Announcer of all things Legal" voice:
Go sign up for a facebook account immediately, and flood Trisha's inbox with friend requests so she can be cool, and have lots of people in her "network".

Monday, March 24, 2008

What It Takes

Easter is often thought of as that special day when the whole family puts on their new spring clothes, everyone looks beautiful, and pictures are taken for family and friends to see. It is, in essence, a highly photo-opportunity-rich event. At least that is how it works in the real world. In Odd... things always seem just a bit different. Here is a look at what it took to get this one photo. 

2/21 - win eBay auction for new Easter dresses after grueling hours of searching for, and finding the right ones
3/10 - get dresses in the mail, and try them on to make sure they actually fit
3/20 - ask girlfriend to be prepared to take picture of family when we get to church Sunday morning
3/22 - check dresses to make sure they are clean, pressed, and ready for tomorrow - run out to buy last minute nylons for girls, and slip for Hannah, stop at grocery store to buy fresh salad fixings for Easter dinner - set out everyone's outfit - chat with hubby about the following day
7:53am - alarm goes off... hit snooze once
8:01 - up, shower on and getting warm
8:17 - out of shower, baby waking
8:26 - downstairs, semi-dressed, baby changed, now nursing
8:39 - discuss with hubby plan of attack for day, baby still nursing
8:51 - baby still nursing, hubby in shower
8:56 - baby burped, in swing, Leah is awake and already "dressed", start blow drying hair
9:02 - hubby out of shower & waking up rest of kids, hair still drying, curling iron plugged in - Mary insisting on sitting on potty for 7 hours to go potty, Caleb asking 50 million questions, girls wanting to have me make them beautiful immediately
9:07 - hair dry, directing girls (while curling hair) to get their underclothes on, directing hubby on what clothes were picked out for littler people, keeping an eye on Leah
9:10 - curling hair, helping older girls with underclothes, Leah is showing me her new pretty dress
9:14 - curling Bethany's hair, Caleb wants to show me how handsome he is
9:21 - curling Hannah's hair, Mary wants to show me how beautiful she is
9:24 - get Bethany dressed in new Easter dress
9:29 - get Hannah dressed in new Easter dress, list off to hubby what needs to happen with the diaper bag, make adjustments to Hannah's new slip which requires finding two safety pins
9:35 - put make-up on Bethany, and add a "barrel" curl to her hair so it looks how she wants it to look
9:37 - simultaneously work on Bethany's hair and double check that everyone is on track
9:42 - remind Leah that I will put her hair up when I am done with the older girls
9:46 - put make-up on Hannah, clip Bethany's hair out of her eyes
9:51 - throw some make-up on myself
9:53 - put Leah's hair up, check diaper bag
9:55 - load up the van for special Easter brunch at church, drinking homemade chai on the way out the door
10:02 - pull out of driveway, everyone is fed, burped, powdered, cleaned, pressed, combed, perfumed, diapered, and hungry
10:09 - arrive at Bagel Bakery to buy plain bagels so when we get to brunch at church we don't have to worry about there not being food choices for the kids with all their allergies
10:15 - back on the road after changing our order 3 times because they didn't have enough of our first choices to fill our standard order
10:19 - almost to church...
10:24 - arrive at church, 30 minutes before service starts and still miss most of the brunch goodies!
10:39 - making small chat with everyone, keeping an eye on all 6 little people running around, making sure dresses stay nice, trying to see if camera in phone will work for a group photo (that's laughable)
11:00 - Resurrection Sunday service starts (It Was Wonderful!)
11:42 - children dismissed for Children's Church and (under pain of death if they soil their clothes) are released from our pew
12:19pm - service dismissed
12:21 - hubby trying to procure a camera from someone to take a picture
12:23 - pick Josiah up from the nursery, check to make sure we have all sippy cups from the 2's and 3's for Leah and Mary
12:29 - hubby finds someone with a camera... but no flash card
12:32 - kids getting hungry we decide we are just going to need to get home and take a picture later when we are at our Aunt's house and who cares if we are in plain clothes... if someone wants a picture of all 8 of us at one time they can take it themselves!
12:37 - loading kids in van, who are breaking down from the constant "go" of the morning (not to mention the constant "go" of the past 3 days with park outings, friends spending the night, birthday parties to attend)
12:41 - finally find the second sippy cup in the church, leave church parking lot with at least 3 kids crying
12:57 - pulling into driveway and get bright idea to have the next door neighbor come over and take our picture really quickly before we put everyone down for naps so they can be sane for an entire afternoon/evening back out of the house
12:59 - next door neighbor taking a nap, but willing to help us out
1:03 - open front door and Leah literally runs upstairs to get in her bed for a nap, Josiah is crying for a nursing, Caleb is upset because we told everyone they were taking a rest before Auntie's and he doesn't think he needs it
1:07 - next door neighbor comes over, show him how to run our camera, set up what might be a good composition, try not to worry about how exhausted everyone is
1:10 - picture taken!
1:13 - bring everyone inside, take off Easter clothes, hang everything up, get everyone in bed, hubby and I change out of our clothes
1:27 - change Josiah, start nursing
1:39 - still nursing, chatting with hubby about the rest of the day, plans to make the salad, needing to get the picture uploaded and on the blog
1:48 - baby done nursing, downloading picture
1:53 - find 2 decent pictures in the ones taken, one looking great of me, one looking great of everyone else
2:06 - working on face swapping the good pic of me into the good pic of everyone else, hubby doing up few dishes
2:35 - hubby outside watering the lawn, still working on face swapping (it was a very unflattering pic of me)
2:51 - finish face swap! Start making salad
3:14 - wake everyone up from their "nap", promise to get back to pic and write post tomorrow, reload diaper bag, change out of pajamas into "nice" play clothes, pile into the van, head out the door for more fun!!!
3/24 - (I won't bore you with the other details of my morning so far, suffice it to say we are busy enough) Write blog to go with picture

And there you have it... what it takes to just "snap" a picture of my family!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Tale of Two Men

This is Hannah's first creative writing assignment. She is learning about storytelling, and using her imagination to build character development. I copied her text exactly, so you could enjoy all her nuances in vocabulary, and style. The reference she makes to Dubia is better explained here.

The Tale of Two Men.

Once there was two men.Those two men lived close to each other.Their names were: James and Tyler.James was 22, & Tyler was 20. Oh yea, did I tell you that those men were SELFISH! You would think they where very good men, but when they went shopping with their wives, they would act like little kids, only with food, not with toys. One day they secretly left their wives that, by now they wish they never married in the first place, and their kids. They were going to a place called Dubia, that was in the shape of a palm tree!When they were, say...half way there the ship that they were on caught on fire! It was caused by two men...James & Tyler! They were forced to leave, but they got a piece of wood that served as a raft.That night was the worst night they had ever experienced in their life.About a hour later, they heard a voice saying: "grab on to the rope". They could not belive their eyes, it was their wives!They had to answer. "okay". When they got back they all had a feast, and James and Tyler learned never to be selfish again and to love their wives and kids.And they all lived happly ever after.

non sequitur

A normal conversation in our household:

Bethany - I made the beds, Mama. Is there anything else I need to do?

Mama - I don't think so, sweetie. Have you finished your other chores?

Bethany - Yep.

Mama - Great. You can go outside.

Caleb - Speaking of, can I have a glass of lemonade?

Friday, March 14, 2008


Caleb just came in from playing outside, perfectly calm but with his arm stuck out towards me.

Mama, I got this and I need you to take care of it. (He shows me his arm, with a scratch on it.)

Hmm, is it bad?

Uh huh. It has a lot of blood, see?

Well, that looks pretty substantial.

Yeah, I don't think I'm gonna survive.


He shakes his head.

What do you think I can do to fix it?

You probably need to put a band-aid on it. (He sighs, ostensibly from the effort of managing this hugely inconvenient war-wound.)

Alright. You go grab the band-aid box and I will put on one.

It's just so big! This is a Daddy-sized boo-boo. It definitely needs a band-aid.

Hey Caleb, let me take a picture of it.

Oh yeah, good idea Mama. That way you can show everyone how big it is.

That was exactly what I was thinking, son.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who Owns Your Kids?

Who owns your children? Who has the right to make decisions regarding the welfare of your children? Who really has the best interest of your children in mind (emotionally, physically and spiritually)? I ponder these issues because, well, I have several children who I believe God granted to me and my husband in order to raise a godly offspring for His glory. I also ponder these matters because of a recent court opinion handed down at the end of February stating that home education is not a viable option in my home state of CA, as it does not uphold the state's constitution which declares that a person has a right to, "A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement." Don't even get me started... too late.

The first, and I believe fundamental issue that is never going to be adequately dealt with in a secular court of law is the right of ownership. Exactly to whom do children belong? If they belong to themselves then they should have full authority to make decisions regarding their own well-being. Their judgement should be fully accepted for their welfare. But children don't belong to themselves, as is evidenced by the need of management for the most basic of needs. Children can not be trusted to make the best decisions for their welfare when left wholly to their own authority. But what if children belong to the government? If this is the case then the government, both local and national, holds a huge responsibility to train, guide, direct, nurture, and let's not forget love these mini-citizens. But the government can't tuck a small child into bed when he is running a fever. The government doesn't take the time to learn the nuances of each tiny person, and whether they prefer to be rocked or bounced when suffering from indigestion. No, I think the only answer left is that children belong to their parents. But even this is not accurate, and hence my opinion for why we will never get to the bottom of this in a court of law, because children don't even belong to their parents, really. They ultimately belong to God.

My children were given to me by an awesome, all-powerful, sovereign God. The truth of this should strike some good old fashioned fear into the hearts of parents. For example, if you had a boss that trusted you with one of his most prized possessions how would you treat that possession? Chances are you would guard it with your life, making sure to take every measure possible to protect and sustain it. Bingo. Children are that prized possession, and God will take an accounting of my parenting. Parents should not make decisions solely based on what they think is best - they ought to make decisions based on what the Word of God says is true, and the Word of God is not silent on moral, physical, or even intellectual training not to mention spiritual maturation. Humor me while I share a few...

James 1:21 tells us to get rid of all moral filth within us. Parents will be held responsible for training their children in ridding themselves of moral filth, teaching them to be decent, honest, good, and above reproach in all their life's dealings.

Then we read in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 that it is good for men to earn their own living! If they don't work, then perhaps they shouldn't eat. Hmm, interesting notion, especially in light of some of our more controversial welfare policies...

When establishing His tabernacle, God gave particular talent to craftsmen in order to accomplish the work (Exodus 31:2-5). Scripture teaches through the workmanship required of the Israelites that God was pleased with specialized talent. While it is the Spirit who gives gifts and talents in all areas, it is usually the work of discerning parents who bring those talents to light. It is certainly their responsibility to begin the process of unearthing the natural bents and dispositions of their children, so that through training and guidance those smallish people might become contributing adults.

Finally in Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul tells us that we must learn to discern God's will, through mental acuity, by testing what we learn with the Word of God. This requires intelligence, and a regular use of your BRAIN! In order to understand more than "Jesus loves me" you must begin to study language, history, geography, math, science, as well as training yourself in the actual art of study itself. Paul often quoted poets and philosophers from within the cultural context of the day, and we do well to understand the moors of our times by studying the prevailing thinkers. God is not afraid of knowledge.

Of course I have grossly oversimplified the parental role, but if I were to list all the items, big and small, that truly go into raising a child this post would never end! Suffice it to say, I find it HIGHLY ironic that our government assumes it can assert a right which it doesn't actually have (abdicating parents have given it to them) in order to force moral, intellectual and physical growth in children with whom it doesn't have a personal relationship. The truth is that in order to sustain, and support our state’s constitution private family sanctity must be upheld. God designed families to particularly equip young men and women for adulthood. Within a family a child learns affection, responsibility, loyalty, diligence, grace, honesty, and integrity by participating in the activities which contribute to the overall well-being of his home. Does this work 100% of the time? Of course not! It would be foolish to use such a standard to measure its success. But that is what happens often times. When regarding institutionalized care, government officials are often lackadaisical about the statistics for 100% success, sighting the curve towards progress rather than real progress itself. But those same officials are often eager to point out one abomination within an individual family as support for aborting familial rights altogether. Even so, you simply cannot deny that individuals raised with caring, conscientious parents in a grounded home grow up to be successful contributing members of society as opposed to their counterparts raised within government run institutions. Most people don’t argue this point. It is one of the reasons we have such a vast network of foster families working to place children into permanent homes. So, if we can recognize that a family is by far the better place for the development of the child in emotional, spiritual, and moral matters, why is it such a shock that intellectual training be superior as well? If you still question this logic call Harvard, and ask them their take on accepting home educated children... their answer might surprise you.

All of this is to say that God gave children to parents, for better or worse, to train them diligently in all aspects of growth so that through that training those children might become strong citizens in their culture, lighting the way for future generations to come to salvation in Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 03, 2008


I went shopping for lipstick yesterday with a girlfriend (not Jill, demon-of-all-things-chai). Lipstick is hard to figure out for me. For instance, do you buy the really bright red, that makes your lips look like you just stepped out of a circa 1940's photo shoot; or do you wear the soft, frosted peach that resembles Barbie? I had to make sure I didn't end up with some Texas Pink, which needs no further description because we have ALL seen this one, and nobody needs to see it on me. And lastly, I really didn't want another neutral that added the idea of lip-color without actually accomplishing the purpose. So there I am, standing at the Macy's counter using swab after swab trying to discover the crystal ball of lipstick-on-the-back-of-the-hand routine when my friend lets out a little sigh.


You sure are taking a long time just to pick out a single lipstick.

Well, I need to make sure I am going to like it. You just automatically know what lipstick you are going to like?

No, but it doesn't take me this long to decide.

How do you choose?

I just grab what I like.

But what if what you like ends up not being what you like when you get it home? I mean, if I am going to spend this much money on a tube of lipstick I want to make sure that I really like it.

So you are shopping for a year-round look?

Yes! You think I want to go through this much agony multiple times a year??? Well... how do you figure out what shade you like so quickly.

I don't know. I just get what strikes me.

She then proceeds to pull out of her purse at least 5 tubes of color in all differing brands and shades. Cheater! I guiltlessly went back to scrutinizing between "Lustrous" and "Pink Spice." In the end "Pink Spice" by Clinique won the day, with a hint of frost, enough pink to show, but neutral enough to be worn all year. Now I just have to get in the habit of actually putting it on instead of Blistex.