Friday, November 30, 2012

There will be NO picture with this post...

While I was taking a shower this morning, getting ready to run some errands with Sarah, she asked if she could pick my outfit.  I said ok.  She said, "Whatever I pick is what you have to wear, every bit of it and nothing else. OK?"  That made me a little wary, but I agreed, mainly so I could shower in peace.

What awaited me when I got out of the shower?  Black dress pants 2 sizes too small (don't we all keep a few "skinny clothes" in our closets, hoping someday they'll fit again?), a red fleece Mickey Mouse pullover, white athletic socks, underwear, and no bra.  I couldn't button the pants, but thankfully Mickey was long enough to cover that fact. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decking the halls

Sarah holding up her favorite ornament

Noah with his favorite "ornament": the piece of his backhoe that broke when he was 2, and the ladder that broke off his fire truck when he was 3.  He couldn't bear to part with these precious treasures, so he hung them on the Christmas tree. He's been hanging them on it every year since. 

Sarah setting up the nativity scene, or as she calls it, "playing with the Christmas action figures".  Noah put out a little water bowl for the goat this year. 

Mike declared that no one was hanging anything anywhere until the lights were up ("One bulb goes out, they ALL go out!"), so Noah is guarding the area to prevent violations.  Not exactly a Norman Rockwell moment, but that's the way we roll. 

Lighting the first fire of the season.

using the tree skirt as a superhero cape

The kittens were quick to undecorate.  They are thoroughly enjoying their first Christmas!
This ornament is older than I am.  I remember putting it on our Christmas tree when I was little.

Noah hanging the stockings by the chimney with care.

Moments later, Shadow unhung them without a care.

Covered in the dreaded flocking.  How can any still be left after how much falls off every year?

That awkward moment when Mike realized he's too old to lift Noah up to put the angel on top of the tree.
But he can still get Sarah up there...barely. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dreaming of an exotic vacation

Shiloh studying the map

contemplating Argentina
and she's decided on Peru.


Noah and I built a double decker Jenga tower.
But then the curious kittens noticed it. 
We tried to keep playing.
The moment before Shiloh knocked down the tower. 
The tower falling.  Notice Shiloh's tail as she fled the scene. 
Noah ended up building smaller towers and shooting them down.

Presidential entitlement

President Marty stretched out in the sun.     
Shiloh wanted to be in the sunny spot too, but Marty growled and hissed and ordered her to leave.  Shiloh kept slowly inching closer, until Marty punched her in the face.

Then Shiloh moved over to sleep with her buddy and gave up the nice sunny spot.  The whole episode reminded me of Proverbs 25:24:  "It is better to live in a corner of the attic than in a house shared with a contentious woman."


Thanksgiving morning cooking

Tried this trick that I read about to keep potatoes from boiling over, and it worked! Every year, the potatoes boil over, but not this time.  Why wouldn't the water just boil right past that spoon? I don't understand why it works, but I'll be doing it every time.

The bird formerly known as Tom, until Noah said, "Can we please not name it? Then I won't be able to eat it."

Sarah learning the carving trade from Grandpa.

My sister-in-law with her beautiful braid, and my mom helping hold the ridiculously heavy platter.

We had planned on having the kids eat outside, but it rained, so they were relegated to the basement.  Shadow observed from the mattress, hoping for food to be left unattended.

The adult crowd

Abrupt shift into Noah's birthday party.  The poor kid was born the day before Thanksgiving, so his party always gets combined with it.

The thankfulness book.  Interesting to see how the kids' handwriting has changed through the years.

opening birthday presents

Sarah doing a gymnastics performance

My nephew doing a trombone performance

Lego time

The men, doing what they do.

Marty loves a party.

My dad getting his cat fix.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

I won't get up at 4 a.m. and wait in long lines in the cold for ANY kind of deal, even free stuff.  And I won't go anywhere near Peoria on this crazy day. My idea of Black Friday shopping is going to the Morton K-Mart at 9:00 a.m.  The only reason I even did that was because we were completely out of milk, so I had to go to Kroger anyway.  I asked the kids if they wanted to experience the "holiday" with me.  Noah said no way, but Sarah was all about it.  She likes shopping.  I saw something I wanted to buy for her, so I sent her on a wild goose chase to look for something while I sneaked to the checkout lane.  The cashier bagged it in a big black bag so I could hide it.  When I found Sarah, she was cowering in front of an old lady pushing a cart and threatening, "Get out of my way or I'll run you over!"  Sarah looked genuinely scared.  She was happy to see me.  She hid behind me and whimpered, "People are mean on Black Friday!"

We also went to Walmart, and we saw a gull in the parking lot.  Sarah said, "That's not a seagull, because it's nowhere near the sea.  It's a Walgull!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cake moisturizer

Sarah is making Noah's birthday cake.  Therefore, I'm staying out of the kitchen.  I heard the usual banging and clanging and mumbling to herself.  Then she called to me, "Mom, how long does it take to moisturize a cake?"  I thought perhaps I should pay a visit to the kitchen (with my mess blinders on, of course). 

I asked her to repeat the question, and she did.  I couldn't figure it out.  I asked her what she was trying to do.  She said, "I'm just following the directions.  It says to beat on low until moisturized.  So how long is that?" 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Phoenix rising from ashes

I agreed to take the kids to Culvers after CBS today.  We got our food, sat down at a booth, and the kids started bickering.  I tried to break in and change the subject, but they kept coming back to their ridiculous fight.  There I was, fresh from Bible study, recharged and full of God's peace, surrounded by fools who were engaged in the stupidest fight you ever heard.  I've been intervening in their fights for 8 years, and no amount of coaching, preaching, or discipline seems to make any difference.  Yesterday's feelings of failure as a mom started creeping into my peace.

I decided I wasn't going to let the enemy (in the form of my own children) rob me of my peace.  So I took my food to a table across the room and sat down by myself with my back to my kids.  Ahhhhhh....much more peaceful over there.  I could barely hear them at all.  Occasionally, I heard a brief snippet ("You are so selfish!"  "It's my turn! You promised!") that let me know the argument was still in full swing.

When I finished eating, I threw my garbage away, walked out without looking back, and got in the van.  Believe me, I fantasized about just driving away, but of course I didn't.  I wasn't sitting there long before Noah came flying out in a panic.  "What are you doing? Are we leaving? Should I get Sarah?"  I said, "I don't care."  He said, "Wait, I'm going to go get Sarah."  He got to the door of the restaurant just ahead of a group of several women.  He pulled the door open and stepped aside to let them go in.  There was an old lady who was lagging behind the rest, and my son stood there patiently holding that door until she went in.  My hope was restored, and I thought I must be doing something right, in spite of it all.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


When I was a kid, I thought my mom was perfect and my grandma knew everything.  My kids have never maintained such illusions about me.  One thing about the homeschooling lifestyle is that I have to live out my life in front of them 24/7. 

It was a rough morning.  Several things didn't go well.  When we sat down to lunch, I told them I felt like a failure.  Sweet Noah was quick to pipe up, "No, you're not! You're good at lots of things!  Sarah, let's tell Mom all the things she's good at. You start."  Sarah said, ", I'm sure there's something....things Mom is good! I know!  She's good at setting the alarm clock!"  I think it must have taken her a full 30 seconds to come up with that.  I said, "Gee, thanks," and she said, "No, really!  Not everyone can do that!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

The kids have heard all the election talk and wanted to have their own, so they started campaigning for which of our four cats would be elected Cat President.  Noah made campaign signs and slogans:

And Sarah called friends and family who know all the candidates to get their votes.  Some of my Facebook friends voted as well. 
Shortly before the polls closed, Shiloh was confident enough not to watch the votes being counted.

Snickers made a last minute plea to vote for her.

 And the winner is....

Marty!  With 8 votes.

Shadow was a sore loser and screamed for a recount. He only got 3 votes.  Shiloh got 7, and Snickers 6.

Noah's story

I gave Noah six spelling words and told him to write a story using them.  His words were: achievement, knots, thicker, largest, quickest, yarn.  He started, and after awhile, I checked on what he was writing, and he hadn't used any of the words yet!  He had written:
My family got a boat.  But before we start, let me tell you about my family.  My name is Ryan.  My sister's name is Mia.  My dad's name is Jim.  My mom's name is Lilly.  And my other sister's name is Lizzy.  But my favorite is Alex, my brother.  And I have a baby sister named Katie.
I said, "Well now we know everyone's names, but is it going to go somewhere soon?"  He assured me it was and kept writing:
This is the beginning of my story.  Chapter 1 The New Boat [here he drew a picture of a boat].  Friday night, 10:00.  "Time to go to bed!" yelled Mom."  "Aw Mom, this game is almost over."   "Too bad," Mom said.  I was watching baseball on TV right then.  "GO TO BED!" yelled Mom.  Guess I'm done.  10:45 I'm done arguing.  I'm in bed.  Mom kisses me good night.  She also messes around with the clock.  I don't really care.  I say good night and fall asleep.   5:00 a.m.  The alarm clocks ring in everyone's rooms. 
At this point, I ask him if he remembers that he's supposed to be using the spelling words.  He says, "Oh yeah! I'll get to that. How many knots is 500 miles per hour?"  I told him I had no idea, and he said he was going to Google it.  I encouraged him to stick with his assignment, but he said he needed this information for his story.  So after a brief interlude with Google, he gets out the iPad.  I balk at this, and he tells me he needs to use the calculator app to figure out the knots-to-mph conversion formula he found on Google.  Finally he picks up his pencil and gets back to writing:
We all wake up and go to the living room.  What an achievement by Mom to wake us all up this early!  "What is going on?" said Dad.  "Wait and see," said Mom.  We go outside to the shed.  In there is a boat that is a top-of-the-line boat.  It is the largest, quickest there is.  Its top speed is 434 knots.  We try to use yarn to hold it in place but it won't work.  We need a thicker rope.  Chapter 2 The Ride
and that's where he stopped, because Sarah wanted him to rollerskate with her in the basement.