Sunday, August 30, 2009


I cheated at dinner tonight. Christopher is out of town again, and I wasn't in the mood to try and wrestle a full-fledged meal from my pantry shelves. Instead I contrived something resembling sound nutrition using:

Kraft Mac and Cheese
Ball Park Turkey Franks
Ore-Ida Tater Tots

I will state for the record that not even this kid-inspired version of Nirvana made the 100% satisfied cut. Everyone had a combination of the above mentioned morsels, but no single eater ate all three. However, Caleb (who is allergic to dairy, and so was forced through genetic disqualification to partake in only 2/3 of the meal's delicacies) announced the following:

This is the BEST meal in my WHOLE life.

Why do I bother?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

non sequitur

We were sitting around the dinner table last night when I noticed two, clean slices in Mary's shirt. They corresponded exactly with the snips a pair of scissors would make. Both Leah and Mary share the shirt, marking the culprit as one of these two little people. I didn't bother addressing anyone else at the table, for obvious reasons.

Mary, did you cut your shirt?


Are you sure you didn't play with scissors today?

No, I didn't. Serious.
(This is her favorite additive to any statement, giving it instant merit regardless of its actual validity.)

Leah, did you cut this shirt with scissors?

Huh-uh. I didn't even do that at all!

Are you sure, Leah?

Yep, I am so sure! I did NOT touch it with scissors. No way.
(She excitedly swung her hands across her chest in the universal body language for: none, stop, no, I didn't do it, et al.)

Mary, are you sure you didn't use scissors to cut this shirt?

Serious. I didn't. Serious.

I looked between the girls, wondering which line of questioning I should travel next when Caleb decided to announce his own innocence in the debacle:

I have no revolve in this plate!

We are still unsure of exactly what expression he was trying to use, but it certainly got us laughing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Schizophrenia, And Other Hair Maladies

I used to have beautiful, silky hair.

I spent hours, more money than I care to remember, and copious amounts of styling aid to have perfect, lovely hair. It was smooth, styled, and generally worn fashionably coiffed.

I also had no children - or very few.

I am now lucky if I manage to get the whole mess dry before something earth shattering interrupts me. By earth shattering I refer to the truly magnificent, like ill-gotten lego booty in Josiah's mouth.

As a result of this ongoing abuse my hair has developed several alarming conditions!

It hallucinates about the "good ole days", believing it can once again find that long lost luster if only the right conditioner were used.

Multiple Personality Disorder.
It has created at least 3 separate hair types: curly, straight and wiry; all on top of my single head. None of them communicates with the others, leaving each blissfully unaware that it occupies only 1/3 of my head at any given point.

Bipolar Disorder.
There are manic days, and then there are depressed days. I never know whether my hair will be one gigantic frizz ball, like I stuck my finger in the light socket all night, or hang, sallow and limp, without a breathe of volume.

Alzheimer's Disease.
My hair is progressively losing its identity to dementia. It doesn't remember whether it likes to: be up or down; use a certain conditioner from one day to the next; get curled with an iron or rollers; stay smooth through the night or freak out into cowlicks. And every new birth sends it over an edge further down the path of total insanity.

Obviously I could resolve one or two of these, but certainly not all of them! I have tried psychotropic leave in conditioners, shock treatment with diffusers, and group therapy with multiple styling products, but to no avail. I am afraid my hair has reached a point of no return.

Just one more thing to add to the list of, "Things they never tell you about having kids."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Today, during our morning devotions we studied Proverbs chapter 2. Like much of the book of Proverbs this particular passage exhorts the reader to gain wisdom, seeking for it like silver or hidden treasure. I wanted to impress upon the children the value, and importance of applying themselves to gleaning biblical wisdom. At the end of our conversation I noticed that Leah was particularly animated in her response to my query about why wisdom was so important. I decided to ask her, specifically, why she believed wisdom was valuable.

Because wisdom is what keeps you from falling off the bird.

*keeping a straight face* And how does wisdom do that?

*without skipping a beat* Because wisdom is what keeps you from jumping out of the airplane onto the bird's back - which can't hold you and so it flies low - and then you fall off, and land on a pile of gold.

*here Caleb sighs before uttering the following* Oh, Leah! Gold's not real.

And so ended our theology lesson of the day.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How Do You Do It?

People are constantly asking me, "How do you do it?" The question is usually posed after they learn about my large family. If it slipped by on that revelation the fact that I homeschool definitely gets it! The assumption is that home education must be so much more difficult than public or classical private education. I was recently reminded why this isn't true. Running around, picking this child up from here and dropping the other child over there, packing up younger siblings in order to drop older siblings at their appointments/camp, organizing fun with friends, and maintaining my regular household routines has plum tuckered me out this summer! I can't imagine trying to do it all with 8 hours of the day taken away for school.

The following is a cute anecdote using a slight twist to the ole, "How do you do it?" question. I thought it befitting.

Author Unknown

Two women meet at a playground, where their children are swinging and playing ball. The women are sitting on a bench watching. Eventually, they begin to talk.

W1: Hi. My name is Maggie. My kids are the three in red shirts –helps me keep track of them.

W2: (Smiles) I’m Patty. Mine are in the pink and yellow shirts. Do you come here a lot?

W1: Usually two or three times a week, after we go to the library.

W2: Wow! Where do you find the time?

W1: We homeschool, so we do it during the day most of the time.

W2: Some of my neighbors homeschool, but I send my kids to public school.

W1: How do you do it?

W2: It’s not easy. I go to all the PTA meetings, work with the kids every day after school, and stay really involved.

W1: But what about socialization? Aren’t you worried about them being cooped up all day with kids their own ages, never getting the opportunity for natural relationships?

W2: Well, yes. But I work hard to balance that. They have some friends who’re homeschooled, and we visit their grandparents almost every month.

W1: Sounds like you’re a very dedicated mom. But don’t you worry about all the opportunities they’re missing out on? I mean they’re so isolated from real life — how will they know what the world is like –what people do to make a living — how to get along with all different kinds of people?

W2: Oh, we discussed that at PTA, and we started a fund to bring real people into the classrooms. Last month we had a policeman and a doctor come in to talk to every class. And next month we’re having a woman from Japan and a man from Kenya come to speak.

W1: Oh, we met a man from Japan in the grocery store the other week, and he got to talking about his childhood in Tokyo. My kids were absolutely fascinated. We invited him to dinner and got to meet his wife and their three children.

W2: That’s nice. Hmm. Maybe we should plan some Japanese food for the lunchroom on Multicultural Day.

W1: Maybe your Japanese guest could eat with the children.

W2: Oh, no. She’s on a very tight schedule. She has two other schools to visit that day. It’s a systemwide thing we’re doing.

W1: Oh, I’m sorry. Well, maybe you’ll meet someone interesting in the grocery store sometime and you’ll end up having them over for dinner.

W2: I don’t think so. I never talk to people in the store –certainly not people who might not even speak my language. What if that Japanese man hadn’t spoken English?

W1: To tell you the truth, I never had time to think about it. Before I even saw him, my six-year-old had asked him what he was going to do with all the oranges he was buying.

W2: Your child talks to strangers?

W1: I was right there with him. He knows that as long as he’s with me, he can talk to anyone he wishes.

W2: But you’re developing dangerous habits in him. My children never talk to strangers.

W1: Not even when they’re with you?

W2: They’re never with me, except at home after school. So you see why it’s so important for them to understand that talking to strangers is a big no-no.

W1: Yes, I do. But if they were with you, they could get to meet interesting people and still be safe. They’d get a taste of the real world, in real settings. They’d also get a real feel for how to tell when a situation is dangerous or suspicious.

W2: They’ll get that in the third and fifth grades in their health courses.

W1: Well, I can tell you’re a very caring mom. Let me give you my number–if you ever want to talk, give me call. It was good to meet you.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

I wish I could say I had time to sit in the card store browsing for hours to find the perfect one for each occasion requiring a note. I don't. I used to get frazzled waiting until the last second to grab a card before dashing to the post office/event madly signing the note while driving. There has to be a better way!

I made a card binder, and while I am still not the world's best note giver (A word about "love languages" - gifts are not mine *wink*. They rarely enter my radar screen for me, or others.) I have come a long way with this simple tool. Many companies merchandise this little gem, but you can save money and make one yourself. All you need are:

-3-ring binder
-12 plastic paper protector pockets (say that 10 times fast)
-12 paper dividers (I like the ones in bright colors - and most of them have templates that your computer's software program recognizes so you can print the categories neatly right onto the dividers)
-assorted cards you have stashed in a box

Decide for which events you tend to send cards. List them out, then made a divider for each category. A few of my categories are Birthday, Condolence, Get well, and Congratulation. Place one plastic pocket behind each divider. Sort your cards into each category, and place the cards into the pockets. Voila!

Now, when you are in a crunch you can grab a card for that birthday party. Or you can send the congratulatory note without adding another errand to the card store. And the next time you are at a store with cards and have a few minutes to kill you can pick up some cute ones knowing you have a home for them when you get back to your house.