Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another poem

Actually it's a song.  Sarah wrote it for Noah and sang it to him.

Without you
I couldn't be me.
Without you
there's a missing piece.
Without you
I wouldn't be free.
Without you
I just couldn't be me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jekyll and Hyde

Last week Sarah was in one of those unbearable phases where she's just wicked, contrary, rude, stubborn, doing everything wrong, and not caring in the least.  She gets like that. But the last few days I've noticed that she's been pretty sweet, polite, pleasant, and obedient.  Noah noticed it too.
N: You've been pretty nice lately, Sarah!
S: Yep, Bad Sarah is gone.
N: Where did she go?
S: On vacation.
M: If she comes back, I'm not letting her in.
S: She doesn't knock; she just barges right in.
N: We could put a deadbolt on the door and nail some boards to it.
S: She's so strong, she'll bust right through all that!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

vacuuming fun

I don't like vacuuming.   It's boring and mostly pointless.  Vacuuming this house is like shoveling your driveway while it's still snowing.  But if you don't do it, you might be trapped until the spring thaw.  So I was vacuuming and came across Noah's G.I. Joe dude in the hall, in this position:
 I had an irrestible urge to ram him in the behind with the vacuum.  He went flying into the living room, and I burst out laughing.  I yelled at him, "How'd that feel, Mr. Tough Guy?" and Mike yelled, "Medic!"
Then Mike emptied the vacuum and cleaned out the hair that got stuck in the roller brush.  I thanked him for doing it and said I know it's not a pleasant job.  He said, "Oh, it's fun.  I get to run my fingers through your hair."  It's a barrel of laughs around here sometimes.

poem and pics

Sarah wrote this for Mike this morning:

Dear Dad,
I love poetry.  Here's some ideas for Christmas presents: crayons, markers, notebooks, a watch.  
This is a poem:
I love you very much
as the sun shines down on us,
as we wrestle and play
in the warm-hot summer day
till the sun goes away.

And here are some random fall pictures:
Mike put up the last piece of siding last week! 

It was unusually warm last week, so the kids got in the creek.

Noah and some neighbor kids agreed that they would all go underwater on the count of three.  They counted to three and just looked at each other, waiting for someone to go first!

They did finally go underwater.  It was very cold water!

Sarah made me a fruit plate for my birthday.


Last picture as a white belt

doing forms

getting taken down

Sarah made friends.

holding horse stance for a long time

Noah putting the hurt on his partner

Kyoh Sa Nim putting yellow stripes on Noah's belt.

studying his new martial arts ID card

congratulations from Kyoh Sa Nim

This group survived their grueling 3-hour test.

Sarah leaning on Noah at the pizza party after testing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Repeat offenders

In CBS, we're currently studying Judges, where the Israelites keep falling into the same cycle of sin, punishment, repentance, and salvation over and over.  Noah was exasperated and said, "What's wrong with these fools?!  Don't they ever learn?"  I admit I had the same thought myself until God brought to my attention the fact that I'm doing the same exact thing.  I keep on committing the same sins, much as I want to stop. 

In Sarah's book, her last question said, "Make a list of the sins you commit in your life over and over."  On the blank lines that followed, Sarah wrote, "They worshipped idols, they broke the ark of the covenant (??), they stole..."  I stopped her there and clarified that she was supposed to write a list of her own sins, not those of the Israelites.  So then she wrote, "We lie, we disobey, we..." I stopped her again and asked, "Who's we?"  She said, "You know.  People." I explained again that she's supposed to be making a list of her own personal sins.  She tapped her pencil, she looked around, she seemed to be deep in thought.  Finally she wrote, "I threw the cat in the pool."  She proceeded to close up her book, satisfied. Done.

I said, "That was definitely a sin, but you're supposed to make a LIST of the sins that you keep doing over and over.  You only threw the cat in the pool once..." Then a terrible thought came to me.  "You did only throw the cat in the pool once, didn't you?"  She rolled her eyes and said, "Yes, Mom. It only took one time to find out he really could swim." 

I was sitting there thinking I'd need a separate sheet of paper (or even a whole notebook) if I was to make a list of her repeated sins.  I was mentally ticking them off, while she was apparently still trying to think of a single one.  Finally she said, "Well, I do know what I'm good at.  I'm good at confessing my sins."  As I thought about it, I realized that her perspective is actually much healthier than mine.  God sees her as perfectly sinless, because Jesus has already paid for all her sins, and mine too.  But I'm the one focusing on her sin, my sin, everyone else's sin, while she realizes that the slate is truly wiped clean. Psalm 103:12 says,

"As far as east is from west— that's how far God has removed our sin from us."

Friday, October 19, 2012

What am I, a football coach?

Football analogies are really not my thing.  But I'm raising a boy, so I do what I have to do to relate to him.  Today I was nagging him about his lackluster performance in math, and his eyes were glazing over.  Then I said, "You're barely crawling to the 50-yard line, and I know you can make it into the end zone!"  He perked right up and said, "Yeah, Mom, but I got blizted at the ten."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Today's distraction and crafty girl

Yesterday's distraction was the "free bike wash", a.k.a. hydrant flushing on our street, combined with the great weather.  This morning's distraction was "firing" a wall of mud so it would become solid and hard.  I don't know where Noah gets these ideas, but it's best to just let him do what he needs to do to figure things out.

So there's a wall of mud under there that they made yesterday.  It baked in the sun but didn't get hard enough, so they put some wood and newspaper on top of it and around it and started a fire. 

They put some cold water in a can and put some hot rocks from the fire in it.  They kept adding hot rocks until the water actually started boiling!  That was pretty neat. 

Back to tending the mudwall fire.  
It actually did turn into a nice solid wall after the fire.  Then the rain started. 

Meanwhile, Sarah made this envelope for me.  She is very crafty, always wanting to do messy projects and make pretty things.  I am not and have never been a crafty girl.  I just don't see the point.  But I try not to thwart her creativity.  So when she handed me this bit of loveliness, I oohed and aahed appropriately on the outside while thinking on the inside, "I'm going to be vacuuming up glitter for the rest of my life."

Here's the other side.

I was rather impressed by the note inside. "There is good in bad. Just dig it out." 

more kitchen mishaps

I could seriously write a whole book about all the catastrophes that have happened to me in the various kitchens I've had my whole life.  I can remember incidents I've had in my mom and dad's kitchen and every place I've lived since.  The main issue in my current kitchen has been the breaking of darn near every dish I own.  I can't believe there's anything left to break, but sure enough, I dropped a glass measuring cup on the tile, and it shattered all over the place.  Of course I was in a hurry, and Sarah was in the kitchen helping me cook.  I had a pot of shrimp tails and other goodies boiling on the stove to make stock.

I have broken so many things in the last 2 years in this kitchen that Sarah knows the routine.  She froze and waited for me to sweep up all the glass shards.  I scooped her up and put her in the pantry to get the linguini noodles.  While I was down on the floor picking up glass, the pot on the stove boiled over and started spitting boiling hot stock all over me.  Right then Sarah yells from the pantry that we don't have linguini noodles.  I was doing ninja moves, trying to turn off the burner while avoiding the splattering hot liquid and sharp glass, and I told her to just get spaghetti noodles.  The hood vent is on, and it's loud and chaotic, so this communication takes several tries. A few minutes later, she yells that there's no spaghetti noodles either.  I told her to just grab whatever long, skinny noodles she could find and hurry up about it.  She said, "We have 5 boxes of rotini, 2 boxes of macaroni, and that's it!"  I've never used rotini for shrimp scampi, but I figured pasta is pasta, and it worked.  We scarfed it down, and Noah and I rushed out for martial arts, leaving Mike to do a fast cleanup before he had to take off for somewhere else.  I guess those five or ten minutes we were sitting at the table together counts as a family meal?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dental distress

My kids have always loved going to the dentist, and we've always known it's because the hygienist is too good to be true.  The woman is absolutely amazing.  She's great with the kids (fun, but not patronizing) and full of knowledge.  On the way there, the kids were saying how they could hardly wait to see her and hear her tell them how perfect their teeth are. 

When we got there, a different hygienist called them back to the chair.  My disappointment must have been apparent, because she said, "Oh, didn't you know Ann retired?"  My kids did a better job of rolling with it than I did.  I actually had to fight back tears.  She was more than our hygienist; she had been our friend for the last 9 years.  I felt a little betrayed. 

The new hygienist was all business.  No fun, no "look at your perfect teeth!  What a good brusher you are!", no attitude of you-are-wonderful-and-I-will-gladly-take-all-the-time-you-need.  Instead it was just cleaning and "They are not brushing their back molars well enough." 

The hits kept on coming when a new dentist came to check them.  He said Sarah needs a filling.  I said, "She has a cavity?" (she's never had one before) and he said, "No, just a natural pit in the tooth."  I fell into a natural pit myself at his next statement:  "And they both need braces.  I'll refer you to an orthodontist."  Boo.  Hiss.  Bad day at the dentist all around. 

Free bike wash

Unbelievably busy day today.  Dentist appointments, school work, laundry, ballet, drama, martial arts, single parenting while Mike is in Chicago for work.  I was looking at the schedule and wondering how we were going to do it all when Noah came running in and yelled, "Mom!  There's a free bike wash down the street!  Can we go?" 

Then they dropped a white feather down the drain across the street and ran to the creek to see how long it took it to come out.
They built a wall out of rocks and mud too.  We finally did get everything done on the list, but it involved Sarah doing math while Noah was at martial arts, and Noah doing laundry while Sarah was at drama, and all of us working later than usual.  Tomorrow is shaping up to be another busy day. 

Earning his stripes

I'm so proud of how far he's come in three months!

Friday, October 12, 2012


The Adventure of the Peanut
by Sarah Janes

Once there was a peanut, which rolled off the picnic table. It got pushed into the ground by a gray squirrel. It grew some roots, a stem, and branches. Not a peanut tree though. It became a peanut bushel, and squirrels ate off it.


Nutty for the Nut
by Noah Janes

There once was a little walnut. It grew on a tree. When it fell down, a squirrel almost ate it, but then a gopher tried to get it. They argued and argued and argued over who would get the walnut. They finally said, “Let's take a vote.”
Each got a piece of paper and a pen and went scampering around getting signatures. (Now this is only between you and me, but while they were scampering around, the walnut was slowly decomposing). First, the squirrel went to Mrs. Peacock's house, just across the farm. Gopher went to the old horse to get his signature. Then Squirrel rushed towards the pigs, and Gopher went to the cows. Squirrel got the chickens' signatures, and Gopher got the goats'.
By the time they got back and were about to count up the votes, they noticed...Hey! Where's the walnut? They looked right where they left it and all around, but it was nowhere to be found. It had decomposed while they were getting votes.
The next spring, guess what they found growing out of the ground?


The moral of the story is: You can't be too greedy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Free speech

While we were at Lin's Buffet today, the kids and I were talking about the Presidential debates, the upcoming election, etc.  Sarah was getting all riled up until she finally yelled, "Obama stinks!" at a moment when the full restaurant was pretty quiet.  Noah sank down in his chair, mortified, and hissed, "Everyone is looking at us!  You can't just yell that out in a restaurant!"  I told him that, actually, she could, because we are blessed to live in a country where we have freedom of speech.  Then I told them both that we should respect the office of President of this great country, even if the person holding the office "stinks".  Just because disrespecting our President is legal and all too common doesn't mean it's right.  Romans 13:7 tells us to give respect and honor to those who are in authority. 

a golden day

Today marks the 8th year that we got Sarah on October 8th, so that makes this her Golden Gotcha Day!  I hope it was an extra special one for her.  She was pretty sweet all day.  She woke up requesting waffles and also wanted to make the ginger lemonade she saw on Food Network.  She asked if we could go to Lin's Buffet for lunch (which she quite often does and I usually say no), and I said yes.  Tonight I took her to Fancy Nails, as promised in the Great Nail Fight of three months ago.

Then we topped it off with a Dilly Bar at DQ.
When we got home, we made cookies for Mike to take to a potluck at work tomorrow (killed two birds with one stone there!).  Sarah rattled off this poem she made up on the spot about her big day:

Oh the fame of being a gotcha day girl.
You can be loved and dance and twirl
just like you're a famous shining pearl.
Oh the fame of being a gotcha day girl!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nashville--last one

Last night at the pool

I nabbed a luggage cart the night before we left, so we could load up in the morning.  The carts are under tight security, and it's hard to get your hands on one without a bellboy.  Sarah usually rides on the cart, but she disapproved of my stealing this one, so she said, "I'm not riding on this cart of sin."

A welcome sign!

Nashville--day 5

The weather was finally perfect, so we went to the zoo.

There's a great playground in the middle of the zoo.

You enter the playground through the snake's mouth.

Playing football in a field at the zoo.

This elephant was doing some weird stuff.  He was blowing in his own ears with his trunk, doing some strange ballet steps, and he topped it all off with a loud trumpet!

elephant skull

There were two adult giraffes and two babies (only one baby in this picture).  The male was trying to make more babies the whole time we were there, but the wife kept walking away. 

Inside the meerkat habitat

Lots of bamboo growing in the zoo

This meerkat was shaking and making a squeaky noise like he was laughing.

zoo parking lot on the way out