Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm using a curriculum to teach the Bible to the kids, which at first seemed unnecessary to me, because isn't the Bible all you need to teach the Bible?  But the curriculum just organizes it into easy chunks to teach, and suggests good discussion points.

This morning, we were reading in the book of James about jealousy.  The curriculum guide said, "Tell your children about a time when you were jealous, and then confess it to God and ask for forgiveness."  The incident that came to my mind was one that I don't think I've ever told anyone, and I certainly never planned on telling my kids.  It was something I did in an unreasonable fit of jealousy.  I took a deep breath and started telling the kids. I immediately had their full attention.

Their eyes widened as they listened to how foolish their mommy was.  One of them asked in disbelief, "How old were you?"  And I said ,"Old enough to know better, for sure.  I was almost thirty."  Then I confessed to God and asked His forgiveness, and it was very freeing.  To my surprise, Sarah piped up and told about a time when she was jealous, and then she spontaneously prayed and asked forgiveness.  We both glanced at Noah, and he volunteered something that makes him jealous (which I didn't even know about), and then he said a great prayer.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Muskrat Love

It's late at night.  I'm the only customer at Kroger.  I'm strolling along, putting food in my cart, and listening to "Muskrat Love" on the muzac.  After awhile I realize I'm singing along (very quietly, of course, because even though I'm the only customer, an employee could come around the corner at any time).  I start wondering how I know the words to "Muskrat Love".  I guess everyone who grew up in the seventies just automatically knows.  Then I listen to the lyrics and think, "What IS this song about?"  Is it really about mating muskrats, or is there some deeper meaning I'm not getting?  Why was it so popular?  Then it gets to part where the muskrats are squeaking, and I think this is the stupidest song I've ever heard.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Creative math

I told Noah to write his name on his math workbook, and this is how he did it:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Social workers

Noah was playing with his Lego ship and soldiers, and Sarah was playing with her plastic bears.  Noah's soldiers sailed the ship to El Salvador, and he ran into Sarah, who was running an orphanage there.  The soldiers wanted to adopt all the kids/bears, so Sarah was busy making passports for all of them.  Noah said he thought Sarah would be a good social worker because she's good at paperwork, but he thinks her personality might not be quite right for the job, because every time she finished a passport, she would yell, "A baby's ready!" and throw the bear across the room in the direction of the soldiers.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I've kept a file labeled "Depressing rejection letters" in our file cabinet for about 20 years.  It contains all my rejection letters from publishers, companies where I applied for jobs, etc.  I don't know why I keep them.  I never look at them.  Maybe I'm thinking if I ever get famous, I can pull it out and say, "Look where I came from!"  I don't know. 

Every time we move and go through the files, Mike pulls out that file, rolls his eyes, and says, "Do we really need to keep this?" and I always say yes. I'm not sure why I'm so attached to my own failures.  Since we just moved again, Mike pulled out the rejections and said, "Can you let go of these yet?" and I pondered a minute and then said, "Yes!  But first let me spread them out and take a picture of them so I don't forget.  Then the kids can use them for scratch paper."
This is one of my favorites.  The Boston Review really needs to work on their rejection letters!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nobody left to pray for

Tonight during prayers, Mike was very long-winded.  When he finished, Noah said, "Jeez, Dad.  You prayed for half the world!"  I must have gone on for a long time too, because when I got done, Noah said, "And you prayed for the OTHER half!  There's nobody left for me to pray for!"

We need to broaden these kids' horizons!

I asked the kids, "If you could live in any city in the world besides Morton, where would you live?"
Noah said, "East Peoria."
Sarah said, "Chicago."  I asked her why, and she said, "I have no idea."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Filling the hours

Kids were up at 7:00 a.m.; Mike was getting ready to leave for work and an after-work meeting, and I was facing a 13-hour day home alone with the sick ones.  We missed CBS for the second week in a row because of this long-lasting nasty flu.  Last week when we were all feeling our worst, I removed all limits on TV viewing time.  We watched TV in bed all day long.  Now that we're feeling well enough to get out of bed (but still coughing too much to expose anyone), I imposed a two-hour total time limit on all screens, including TV, computer, and Wii.  Noah asked, "Does staring at my digital clock count?"

I started doing the mental math.  Thirteen hours minus two hours of screen, one hour of quiet time, one hour of reading, one hour of eating, one hour of schoolwork and piano practice still left eight hours looming out there.  If I didn't come up with alternatives, those hours would probably be lost to whining, arguing, and complaining.  I gave each kid a book of possible activities and asked them to look through and find something they wanted to do.  Sarah spotted the broccoli on the counter and said, "I just want to cook broccoli, that's all."  I asked how she wanted to cook it, and she said, "Steam some and roast some."  Noah asked if we could fry some too.

We spent at least an hour steaming, frying, roasting, and eating broccoli, which was definitely not something I would have planned, but it worked.  Other unexpected activities today included rollerblading in the basement and Sarah's two-hour nap.

 threw some carrots in to steam too, since I didn't have much broccoli.

 fried, my favorite.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Noah's writing assignment

Every day in school, I give Noah five or six words and have him make up a sentence or two using them.  Today I gave him "whale, doing, shrimp, strongest, priceless". Here's the story he wrote:
The whale was doing games with shrimp.  Even though the whale was the strongest, they had a priceless friendship.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Frozen gorilla at church

The shower in our bathroom leaks into the basement, so we've been showering in the kids' bathroom.  My razor isn't in there, and I keep forgetting to bring it with me, so I have started to resemble a gorilla.  This morning, we all took back-to-back showers getting ready for church, and I was the last one to get in there, so the water was cold by then. As the cold water cascaded over my fur, I realized that I had once again forgotten to bring my razor.  When I got out, I discovered that I had also forgotten to bring my towel, so I used the same towel that the previous three people had used.  It didn't offer any warmth when I wrapped it around my freezing body.  I didn't bring my deodorant either, so I had to run down the cold hall in my cold, wet towel to our bathroom.  This wasted time, and I could see my fully-dressed, warm, dry husband pacing and checking his watch.  He was scheduled to usher, and since we now live very close to church, I told him to go ahead and I would get there eventually.  So the frozen gorilla came flying in to church with wet hair right at ten o'clock.