Thursday, May 29, 2014

The School Year Is Officially Over!

We made it through!  After many festivities today, the school is over.  It was a great year for all my kids, so it's a little sad to say good-bye to their amazing teachers, but I am really ready for some summer fun and relaxation with my people!


This week I took Little Girl with me to Nordstrom department store to return something I'd bought online and they were having their half-yearly women's and kids sale, so there were racks of sale items lining the walkway.  As soon as we walked in, Little Girl spotted a rack of ladies' evening gowns.  "Oh, Mommy!  LOOK AT THESE DRESSES!"  Then she found a full length bright blue sequin dress and it was all over, 

Her:  "OHHHHHH, IT'S LIKE ELSA'S DRESS!!! (From the movie Frozen).  Can I get this dress?"
Me:  "It's $328 even on sale."
Her:  "I'm going to start saving my money!"
Me:  "It will be about 10 years before that dress will fit you.  Here let me take a picture of you with it."

She did not give up easily about that dress, even trying to convince me to buy it for myself!


Then I took her upstairs to the children's department where we needed to return the item.  And she found ALL KINDS of clothes she wanted up there!  I did spy a cute dress that was on sale and took her into the dressing room to try it on.  Now, because I order most things for my kids online, have them shipped, and then try them on in the living room of our own home and return to the store what doesn't fit/work, my children have had minimal store dressing room experience.

And I don't think I've ever taken Little Girl into a dressing room to try on clothes for her.  I have to say it was QUITE THE EXPERIENCE!  She immediately switched into diva mode and was striking all kinds of poses and then busted into a full on dance!

After all her enthusiasm I had to buy her something, so we did leave with a new dress that she now asks every day if she can wear.


After Nordstrom we hit the Container Store where my cart looked like this:

"Lovey" had to ride around in the cart like that!  This is one aspect of having young children I will miss someday, I mean it's not like I can as a grown woman get away with pushing a stuffed animal around in my shopping cart unless I have a child with me!


Happy Summer Everyone!!  My big relaxation plans may not be realized for another week or so as we have 2 swim meets and 5 days of VBS in the next 7 days, but the lazy days, they are a' coming!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Sure Sign It's The Second to Last Day of School

We got to the elementary school this morning at 7:56, just 4 minutes shy of the tardy bell.  As I unloaded my 4 children from my vehicle the 1st grader realized he left his backpack at home.  The backpack he'd carefully packed with everything he needed for the day's events. . .

It's definitely the second to last day of school!

I may or may not have lamented to a mom friend who was nearby, "I just need this school year to end!!"

Then after school today, the entire contents of my local elementary school descended upon my kitchen:

It's definitely the second to last day of school!

Right after I took that picture, I pulled out a large trash bag and my 7 year old son asked, "But, why, Mom?  Why do have to throw things away?!!!"

To which I responded, "Because nobody wants to live in a trash dump!"

We started going through the contents of my 3rd grade daughter's backpack.  You know the sorting - keepsake box, trash, trash, keepsake, not sure, trash . . .

But, we are all so exhausted that it quickly got too hard.  And my daughter came up with a great suggestion, "We could just put it all in a grocery bag and go through it later."  Yes!  As much as I want to get rid of junk in my house, I was totally on board with that idea!  Because the stuff is just too overwhelming!  Just look, that is the inside of just ONE of the three backpacks that came home:

ONE more day to go!  We can do this!!  Especially since the kids all have pizza parties tomorrow so I am officially done packing lunches -- HOORAY!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What My Son DID Get for 5th Grade Graduation

Yesterday I blogged about what my son was NOT getting for his 5th grade graduation.

Today I'm sharing what he got instead.

First, he has been mentioning that he'd like his own bank account, so my husband came home from work early today on our son's 5th grade graduation day and before the ceremony he took him to the bank and helped him open his first savings account.  As our gift to him, we deposited the first $150 into the account.  My son is very excited about getting his very own ATM card in the mail in a few days!  This child has been a very responsible spender of his allowance the past 6 years, in fact, he typically gives large sums away to World Vision or Compassion International, so I have confidence he will use the money wisely.

Also, we gave my 11 year old the book, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations,  with an inscription we wrote inside the cover about how proud we are of him, how we believe God has a plan for his life, and how we are always there for him.

The book was written by teenage twin brothers and it encourages young people to step outside their comfort zones and trust God enough to do hard things for the glory of God.  I am really excited to have my son read this book and also want to read through it and discuss it as a family this summer!

Really, that book seems to illustrate why we didn't want to get our son the iphone he wanted for 5th grade graduation, because we have bigger dreams for his life.  Better things we believe he can do if he is not glued to a 2 by 5 inch screen!

The graduate:


Monday, May 26, 2014

What My Son Is NOT Getting for 5th Grade Graduation

Tomorrow is my 11 year old's graduation ceremony.

From 5th Grade! 

It is so hard to believe that his elementary school days are over!

My husband and I are so proud of the great job he's done these 6 years of kindergarten through 5th grades!

We really could not have asked for better.  He has excelled with both his grades and also what we always stress is more important, his behavior and character displayed at school.

But, still.

I'm having a little trouble getting on board with ALL THE FANFARE modern society seems to now put on 5th grade graduation.

Maybe it is just where we live, but it has been turned into a WAY bigger deal than when I graduated from 5th grade.

There is no shortage of parties and special things and the graduation ceremony itself is at the local high school.

And then there is the idea of a graduation gift.  Again, just to be clear we're talking elementary school, not high school graduation, here!

I'm left feeling that the hoopla around 5th Grade Graduation is much like the birthday party goodie bag, something ridiculously unnecessary that modern parents have invented to help our kids feel special, but in reality only makes our kids feel entitled.

I've seen it so many times I can't even count, even in my own children, they have played for 2 hours at the party place complete with multiple bouncy houses, they were fed pizza and cupcakes only to ask "Where's my goodie bag?" at the end of the party.  And then we parents are embarrassed by how ungrateful our children are, but we have made them that way.  We have followed along with modern society and over-catered to our children.  It is so hard to push back against the tide of our society!  I struggle all the time and am always questioning the right parenting move.

As my husband and I mulled over the idea of a 5th Grade Graduation gift, a thing many parents seem to do in a big way, I couldn't help but think about kids in Ethiopia who walk over an hour each way in worn out shoes to attend school.  They will never have a 5th grade graduation to celebrate their achievement making it through the lower grades!  They are just thrilled with the opportunity to go and learn!  Yet my American kid with his Nike running shoes who was driven in a car and dropped off at the door to his school each day carrying a homemade, nutritious lunch complete with a dessert and a little note from his mom, deserves all manner of celebration and parties and a gift for successfully completing grades kinder through 5th?!!

I know what my 11 year old son would love to get for his 5th grade graduation:

But, that is the thing he is definitely NOT getting!

And, yes, I'm aware that ALL the kids in his 5th grade class already have iphones because my son has told me.

But, we are not at all ready to go there.

Giving a kid an iphone unleashes not only the cell phone privilege/responsibility, but also, the Internet, a camera, texting, email, video games, etc., etc. -- all things that are hard for even adults to use and manage responsibly, much less a preteen!  And, yes, I know you can turn off/disable/monitor all those features on your kid's phone because other parents have told me elaborate things about what they do, but I just keep saying, "The teenager is always going to be smarter than me at the technology!  There is no way to completely monitor that device once I give it to them!"

Even though it is not the popular answer, I know beyond any doubt that the best thing for my kid is NOT to have an iphone and not to get an over-the-top 5th grade graduation gift.  I also know it's only going to get harder, this living counter-culturally as our kids rapidly approach the teen years.  But we are praying that as we help them navigate the relatively small world that is public middle school while staying true to who God created them to be rather than what the world would have them be, that when they grow up and enter the big, real world, they will have the confidence to stand strong even when they are calling their own shots and buying their own iphones!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Update: Find out what my son DID get for 5th grade graduation here

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

To-Do List Help

I believe I have blogged here before about my love/hate relationship with my to-do list.

Basically I love having a place to keep track of the things I need to do and I love checking things off the list.

But, I do NOT love that my list seems to go something like this:  scratch 2 things off, add 4 things, accomplish 1 thing, add 3 things. . . 

You see how this is going.

I could have the most productive day but still end it with 12 more items on my list than when the day began.  Really, can you see how a girl might just want to give up?!!

Sometimes it was so frustrating I just stopped looking at the list.  I'd just keep it all in my head, but then there was the nagging fear that I was forgetting something important!

The last few months, I have found a system that has helped my sanity.  In reality it is just mind games to help me feel more productive, but it works!

Here's what I do:

I have a 3 different lists I keep in the "Reminders" app of my phone.  

One is a "Big To-Do List" where everything I need to do goes once I realize I need to do it.  These are both immediate and future to-do items.  This list is infinity long.

The 2nd is called "Today" and that is where I pick out a few manageable items from the Big To-Do List that I need to do today and can actually realistically accomplish today.


The 3rd list is called "Tomorrow" and as I am living today, I can move things to "Tomorrow" if they are just not going to fit today or if I think of something from the Big To-Do List that I really must get to tomorrow.  At the end of the day, the "Tomorrow" items get moved to "Today"

The beauty of all of this is really the feeling of actually finishing a to-do list which never happens with my big list but occasionally happens with my "Today" list!  Plus it keeps me more focused and a bit less overwhelmed.

How do you manage the ever-growing to-do lists of your life?

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Moments to Remember

As I walked Little Girl out of her last day of preschool (my last day of preschool) on Friday, we got literally about 20 seconds out of the gate and were on the sidewalk in front of her school when Little Girl exclaimed, "Awwwww, I miss my people!"

I reminded her that she'd see one of those school friends that very night at a function at our church!

Her Socialness leaving preschool forever:


My girls had dance recital pictures on Saturday morning and I was very nearly in tears over the stress of getting TWO girls into hair and makeup and costume with a time deadline.  Two girls with totally opposite hair, I might add!  My bathroom was declared a disaster in the aftermath of it all, but we GOT IT DONE!  And other moms even complimented my girls on their hair and makeup -- amazing when I felt so inadequate doing it!!

This picture is called, "Big Sister Trying To Get Little Sister to Be Still so I Could Snap a Picture Before the Real Pictures!"


I had to have an outpatient surgical procedure today, nothing serious, just a crazy situation with a stone in my salivary gland.  I know!  Who knew you could get stones there?!!  Well, me, I knew because I've had it since college when a spot under my chin suddenly began swelling up huge when I ate.  My roommate insisted it was the strangest thing she'd ever since and I had to got to the doctor.  That is where I first learned about salivary gland stones.  He told me a few things I could try to get it to go down and if it didn't I'd need surgery.  He said it was nothing serious.  The issue disappeared within a few days and all was normal after I ate.

This pattern of my salivary gland doing it's swelling thing for a few days and then returning to normal came and went once or twice a year for the next 17 years of my life.  But it was never a big enough issue to worry much over.

Until a few months ago, when it swelled up larger than ever and wouldn't go down!  My tongue got all tingly and I worried it would begin restricting my airway.  I Googled (because that is my first source for all things medical) the problem and doctors to see about it and found there was one doctor in my area who was doing a new procedure of removing the stones without removing the whole salivary gland which has been the only option for years.  That doctor was able to prescribe medicine to get the swelling to go down, he did CT scans confirming what we already knew and he warned I needed the surgery or the problem would just keep recurring and probably get worse as I got older.

Today I had the procedure, and the stone was in fact removed, all 4 mm of it, which was an impressive size to my doctor who has done this many times before.  Well, "Go big or go home, right?!!"

Hold on because I really am approaching the point of the story.  I had to have general anesthesia and various other loveliness but was out of the hospital before lunchtime and it seems I will be able to return to normal activities tomorrow or the next day.  But, my husband had complete kid duty today.  By himself!  Packing lunches (I had to be at the hospital super early), getting them to school, swim practice (even manning the day at swim practice where the swim shop came to sell team swim suits and all 4 of our kids needed a new suit!), dinner, baths, and bedtime (conveniently I was told at the hospital not to go up or down stairs for the rest of the day)!

But the classic part came when we were having dinner, my husband was lamenting that he forgot to bring home his work computer on Friday and there was something key he couldn't work on today,  the 11 year old replied with, "But you probably didn't have time anyway since you were replacing Mommy today."

Without missing a beat, my 7 year old son said very matter-of-factly, "Mommy can't be replaced."

And thus he secured his spot as my favorite child.  Kidding but in all seriousness my husband really put forth an amazing effort today!  He even signed the 3rd grader's agenda which I've been mostly forgetting to do for the better part of the last 4 weeks.  But, I'm still putting it down in the books as a comment to remember forever, "Mommy can't be replaced."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wildlife safaris with 1st graders and tomorrow is my last day of preschool!!

If you have never been on a wildlife safari with a tram full of 1st graders, then I submit that perhaps you haven't really lived.  And if you have, well, then each of us has a keen understanding of what the other has been through!

I chaperoned my younger son's 1st grade field trip to a place where they have various wildlife -- elk, buffalo, kangaroos, alligators, zebras, donkeys, giraffe, snacks, turtles, longhorns, etc., etc. -- and give each person a large bucket of animal food and then they take you on a tram ride through the animals where you can feed them.  

Really it was very fun, but also quite crazy!  There were large, hungry animal heads coming into our tram from both sides at times.  Some kids were super excited and wanted to FEED! ALL! THE! ANIMALS! and some children were terrified.  One little girl in my group very nearly fell out of the tram and a little boy I had to tell no shortage of 87 times to "Sit down!"  I was pegged in the back of the head with animal feed and my jeans were slobbered on by some sort of bison-like creature!

But, there was much squealing and laughing and I didn't lose a single child, so all in all, it was definitely a successful field trip!


Tomorrow is my last day of preschool!!  Okay, really it is this little princess's last day of preschool:

But considering that she is my youngest child and I have had one child or another in preschool for the past 9 years STRAIGHT, I am totally claiming it as MY last day of preschool!

I have no idea whether I'll cheer or cry, the emotions are so mixed.  The preschool years are so sweet and I have really loved our school so it is sad to leave it behind, but eleven and a half years in total of having a small person (or people) with me for the majority of every day is a long time and part of me is ready for this new era of parenting all school-age children!


Happy Friday, Friends!
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why We Are Going Back to Ethiopia

She just HAD to wear it to her gymnastics class last week.  

The dress that was packed away in a box in the top of my closet.

The dress I agreed she could wear into gymnastics over her leotard but had to take off before the actual gymnastics began.

The dress was at least 3 sizes too small.

The dress was the one she wore when she left the orphanage nearly 2 and a half years ago.

The dress that was given to her by the lady in the orphanage who was her special caregiver.

 I know, it makes my heart hurt, too!

You see these past few weeks my Little Girl has been wanting to talk a lot about Ethiopia and she has shared some things about her life there before she joined our family that she had never told me before.

I don't know if it is her age now or emotional development or something about how secure she feels in our family, but she has begun talking about things we weren't sure if she'd ever talk to us about or if she even remembered.

What she has told us is not really different from much of what we already knew, but hearing her say it and share specific details we never told her, is a very new thing.

It has been so good and simultaneously so hard for this mama's heart!

I am so glad she feels comfortable and safe enough to tell me these things.  I am privileged to walk this journey of healing with her, one that will continue over the course of her entire life, ebbing and flowing as she grows up and processes things differently.

But, I am her mommy.  And mommies don't like sad and tragic things to happen to their babies!  Hearing my Little Girl tell about things no child should have to go through makes me hurt on a whole new level for her.  Which is a good thing.

I told her recently after she shared something (Remember we are keeping the specific details of her story private.  It is her story to share with others when and if she is ever ready.) about her past, "I wish I could have been there.  I wish I could have been there to make it better for you."

But, while I couldn't be there for my Little Girl then, I can be there for her now and I am so grateful for that.

AND I can be there for other children.  To keep similar things from happening to them.

THAT is why we partnered a little over a year ago with a care point run by Children's Hopechest in Ethiopia, a new one just getting started.  To help prevent children from becoming orphans, to provide for them through a local church with food, medical care, education, and best of all teaching about Jesus!

This summer I'll travel with my husband and 11 year old son half-way across the world so that we can stand eye to eye with Ethiopian mommies who don't like sad and tragic things to happen to their babies any more than American mommies do.  And hug their beautiful children who don't deserve to starve or suffer from sickness, or loose a parent due to a preventable illness, or wander around the streets looking for food, children who hopefully won't have to become orphans.  We can kiss cheeks and hold hands and play with kids and see the care point as it stands today and dream along with the rest of team about what could be.  A clean water well?  A school?  A library?  A medical clinic?  Scholarships for the brightest students to attend university? 

A better future for this little community in southern Ethiopia! 

We can do for those children what we wish someone would have done for our Little Girl.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Toddler Years

I was around a friend's toddler son recently and he was so cute and reminded me so much of my boys when they were smaller.

I almost said out loud that I missed those toddler years, and in many ways I do miss it, but I have photographic evidence of what it's REALLY like living with a toddler:

And also evidence of the joys of that THIRD child! 

For anyone still in the throws of parenting a toddler, it does pass.

That adorable, mischievous little guy of mine is now 7 years old!  (And he never colors on the wall any more!) 

And the Mr. Clean Eraser?  Is your friend!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Where in the World?

In the past few weeks we've been firming up plans for our summer mission trip.

We went to the Dominican Republic last year with our two oldest children.  

Where will we go this year?

I can tell you, I am over the moon excited about this trip!

There is no place else I'd rather go!! 

Malaria meds will be required.

Only our oldest child will go with us this time as this place will be our most remote trip yet.

We've been to this particular country before, but never the southern region of it.

This country?  Holds a huge piece of my heart!

 More to come on why we are going and what we'll be doing there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Somebody . . .

Somebody had a visit to the beauty shop this week for a much needed haircut and it wasn't me!   Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure what it says about my life that I pay THREE TIMES the amount to get the dog's haircut as I do when I get my own haircut.

The bows were a nice surprise when we picked her up from the groomer, they've never done more than a bandana, but they bows went about as well as we expected they would.  They lasted all of 3 hours before she managed to scratch them out!

Bows are just not really her thing.

Somebody needs to convince my 8 year old to free the silverfish!  Yes, it is still alive after over a week!  

It survived a near drowning by my 5 year old daughter who decided it needed "some water" while her big sister was at school and dumped water from her water bottle into the bug habitat.  I didn't realize what had happened until a few hours later when we noticed the silverfish didn't look so good and was submerged under water.  We emptied the water, but there were a tense few hours where we weren't sure if "Unknown" the Silverfish was going to make it and there were some dramatic, "YOU killed my silverfish!!!!" exclamations from big sister to little sister that I had to mediate.  BUT that silverfish rallied and survived!

However, in my opinion, not only is the silverfish gross, it just seems to be living a sad existence stuck there in the bug habitat.  Hence the need for somebody to convince my daughter to LET IT GO!

The bug girl at work:


Speaking of LET IT GO, somebody (sadly it was me) got assigned to the FACE PAINTING table when I volunteered at the preschool Outdoor Day last Friday.  Y'all, I cannot draw well on paper, much less the cheek of a small, squirming child!  It was not pretty.  AT ALL!  

And it didn't help that EVERY! SINGLE! little girl wanted something Frozen Movie related on their cheek!

I finally lost any shame and just told the kids I could do a snake, a rainbow, or a flower and if they wanted anything else they'd have to wait on one of the other 3 moms who were totally rocking the face painting -- seriously they were like professionals!  I was like, "How exactly did you get so good at face painting?  Is this a craft that you practice regularly?"  "Did I miss a training class or something?"

 Somebody tried out and made it onto the swim team this week:

Little Girl is SO EXCITED to be swimming on the team like her big brothers and sister!  

I was totally over-confident about the try-outs because of my 4 kids she is BY FAR my best swimmer as a 5 year old and the rest of them all made the team when they were 5 years old.  But it was kinda dicey in the tryouts, and I had a moment of panic!  They asked Little Girl to swim "Freestyle", she jumped in and began wildly doggy-paddling.  I have seen her swim really well, so I knew something was up.  It dawned on me that she didn't know what the term "Freestyle" meant.  So I yelled, "Do your big arms and big kicks!"  And then she swam a beautiful freestyle complete with side breathing the entire length of the pool without stopping!  And was then able to do a lap of backstroke, too!

I asked her later if she knew what they meant when they said, "Freestyle" and she said, "No".  But, I'm not at all sure why doggy-paddling was what she decided to try!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!  May you be richly blessed with breakfast in bed, a clean house, and homemade cards!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Remebering the Phone Call of a Lifetime

It's crazy to know that it was 3 years ago on April 29th when we received the phone call of a lifetime with the referral for the little girl we'd adopt!  Life is flying by so fast now, that Little Girl is 5 years old now and has been home almost 2 and a half years, but I do want to always remember what God has done in our lives.  In many ways I'm still in awe of it all! 

From May 2, 2011:
More of the story of The Call. . .

When the phone rang last Friday at 3:45 pm, no way did I expect it to be The Call (and yes, I do believe you have to capitalize that term) we'd been waiting on for nearly 13 months!! In fact, by about 1PM I was like, "Okay, so today's obviously not going to be the day and that means this week has not been the week and now we have to wait out the weekend."

I was busy with my kids and when the phone rang I had to scramble to get it, I saw the number was from our adoption agency's area code and I answered it but still I didn't really think it was The Call! After initial hellos, our caseworker said, "I hear you guys are coming for the training next week and I wanted to make sure I got to see you while you were here." I made small talk with her about the training while opening a snack for one child and cutting a "too scratchy" tag out of the swimsuit of another child (I really think I was babbling incoherently) when in my head all I could think was, "Please don't let that be the only reason you're calling!!!"

Then she finally got to, "There's another reason I'm calling . . ."

And I just about fainted thinking, is this really it are we finally going to know who the little girl is we're going to adopt?!!

When she told me she had our referral ready, I didn't ask her anything about the child, yet, because my husband and I had already decided if at all possible we wanted to find out her age together. Since my husband was at work, I asked if we could call her back and would she be in the office. She gave me the direct number to call her back and I'm so glad I repeated it back to her because I'd written it down wrong my hand was shaking so much!

I called my husband and he agreed to come home so we could be together to get the news and see the pictures. I began flying around my house like a crazy person saying random things to my kids and wildly rubbing sunscreen on them. I dropped my older two kids off at swim team practice and then came back home, started a movie for my little one, then my husband drove up and we called our caseworker back.

She said, "Okay I'm hitting send."

And my email in-box churned for what felt like at least 90 minutes but in reality was about 1 minute. I have no doubt I hit refresh about 120 times during that 1 minute!! And then it was there! The first email introducing our new daughter with about 12 photos attached! Then there was another email with many attachments with medical info, etc., etc. We talked through all the attachments with our caseworker for about 30 minutes. And I have to say, the whole experience is just about as surreal as anything I can imagine! But yet, my husband and I both had complete peace at saying "yes" right away without taking any time to think about it or discuss amongst ourselves, even though we were told we could have several days!

It may sound crazy, but it was instantly there, this bond we feel with our new little girl. I told my husband later that night before we went to bed and were staring at the pictures we'd printed out, "She looks really familiar to me for some reason, like she reminds me of someone, but I can't think of who." I still haven't thought of anyone she reminds me of, I really just believe she looks familiar to me because God intended us to be together all along.

My mind is a whirlwind of crazy, so I'm sure this blog post is incoherent at best, but I'll wrap up with telling the kids. It was late evening before we could tell them because my husband had some key work stuff he had to finish, so he went back up to work and ended up staying late to make up for the time he was home in the afternoon, and we wanted to both be there when the kids heard the news (they knew we'd gotten our referral, but just didn't know her age, yet and hadn't seen the pics.).

We hooked up the computer to the TV to show the pictures really big and the three kids gathered in front of the screen. I'll never forget my oldest son's reaction, upon seeing the very first picture he smiled huge, raised both his arms, and cheered, "Yay!!!!"

Makes me cry just writing about it!

My 3 year old (who is now 4 -- it's been a busy last few days!) said, "She's as cute as Madeline!" Madeline is our new puppy. We may or may not tell the little sister someday what he said. But for the record, our puppy is pretty cute!!

My 5 year old daughter was rather quiet so I asked what she thought, and she asked, "Is she a baby?" and I said, "Well, more of a toddler, but she'll always be your baby sister because she'll always be younger than you. And, this way maybe she can share a room with you right away, she may not even be sleeping in a crib when she comes home." My 5 year old was very pleased with the idea of sharing a room with the new sister (she's always wanted someone to share her room with, like the boys share a room)!

Then all then kids began asking about how we'd teach her English so we talked a bit about how someone learns a language. I said, "Just like you guys learned, you can help her learn. Like you can pick up a ball, show her and say, "ball" and that's how she'll learn. Then my 5 year old, being too smart for me, said, "Well how will she ever learn to say 'hi' and 'bye'?" You know because "hi" is not a thing you can show someone! Thank you kindergarten for teaching the concept of a noun!

Anyway, the kids are very excited to help her learn English and I'm afraid she's going to be bombarded by too many eager teachers when she comes home! The 30 children she's living with in her specific house of the care center may seem quiet compared to her 3 siblings!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

17 More Days Until Summer Break, but who's counting?

I'm counting!  17 more days.  I'm ready for a break from the logistics of the school year, for a slower schedule and mostly, more time with my Fab four, just hanging out!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Washing Like It's 1989!

We HAD the new-fangled washer and dryer.  You know, the HE which really means your clothes get washed with nearly no water (anyone else wonder about the science behind how that works?) and the steam dryer that at just a few years old started leaving mysterious brown, rust-like marks on clothes?  It was all VERY FANCY.

But, we got annoyed with all the new and improved.

And decided to go back to the old and reliable (hopefully?!).  No more HE or energy saver or really anything over just a few hundred dollars because if we are going to have to buy a new washer and dryer every 6 years, they might as well be cheap to start with rather than close to $1,000 a piece!!

Oh yeah, Baby!!

I'm washing like it's 1989!  And I have to say it is pretty awesome!

Y'all the washer actually fills ALL THE WAY up with water!

I love the earth God created for us as much as the next guy, but really I don't think washing clothes is the right avenue to conserve water, not if you actually want them to you know, GET CLEAN!!

'Course my poor 11 year old son is so confused trying to decipher the knobs (Mom, you mean there is no digital read-out?!) and determine if his load of clothes is a "large, medium or small load".  Our old washer just SENSED the load size and chose the setting itself.  I'm convinced technology is making our kids weak -- I just taught my academically gifted 11 year old the difference between small, medium and large!!

Now to find him one of those cell phones that you have to carry in a shoulder bag to take with him to middle school!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Pet of the Week

When I wrote last week about the death of our pet roly-polys, I had no idea the pet that was in store for me this week!

Wait for it . . .

I know!!  Cuddly, right?

The sad thing is that the kids found that gross thing INSIDE the house, lovely!

I caught it to get it out of the house and then they insisted that I help them put it in their bug hotel.  It was quite a process getting it in their bug habitat (that guy is fast!) and I definitely had the thought numerous times of, "Why am I doing this?"

The kids thought it was so unusual looking and named it "Unknown Species".  They were a little disappointed when I told them it was a Silverfish and actually pretty common.

I did put my foot down and say "Unknown Species" was not welcome inside my house, he needed to live in the bug habitat on the patio table.  Of course one of my kids had to point out the irony that the bug was living in our house running FREE before but now that it was trapped safely in the bug habitat I would not let it come inside!  "Good point, but, still, no.  It stays on the patio."

The kids had me research what silverfish eat and as it turns out, this may be the perfect pet for us.  They can go up to a year without eating anything!!!

And for all her cuteness, our dog Madeline

just may not be the favorite pet anymore judging by the time the kids spent with the silverfish this week!

And at least I'll never have to take the silverfish to the groomer!


I totally took the easy way out as far as the contribution I whipped up tonight for the 5th grade bake sale that is tomorrow, but considering I made a from-scratch chocolate cake today for my 7 year old's birthday, I gave myself full freedom to use frozen pre-portioned cookie dough for the bake sale items!  I baked up those babies, slapped some frosting (FROM A CAN) on and sandwiched two of them together.  They fit perfectly into some cellophane treat bags I had left over from a different craft (sometimes I'm glad I'm a pack-rat) and came out pretty cute tied with some red and white bakers twine!

The best part is DONE!  One less thing on my to-do list!


Speaking of DONE, my 11 year old finishes his safety patrol job tomorrow.  He's been training a 4th grader all week to take over his post and tomorrow the 5th graders officially roll-off and the next crop of safety patrols takes over.  I am excited about this!  This week I was talking to a mom I know who has a 4th grade son who is a new safety patrol when she was lamenting the earlier mornings to have the kids at school by 7:20am and it was all I could do to stop myself from dancing right there in front of her with glee that we were almost done with our year!  'Course she'd get the last laugh because she only has 2 kids to go through this 5th grade safety patrol duty and I have a potential 4 years of safety patrol!

There is an end of the year party for the safety patrols but I've found myself saying, "Really, I feel like the parents should get a party, too!"


My son, does not really share my glee about his safety patrol commitment ending.  He's a little sad.  I'm glad he's enjoyed the job and proud of the responsibility he's shown.  We've had some good conversations about how we can be simultaneously sad about one phase ending while also being excited about the new phase we are entering here in his last days of elementary school before middle school.

This week we left the New Student Night at his new middle school and immediately had to go to the elementary school to watch my 1st grader's musical.  As we were walking into the elementary school my 11 year old son said, "I need to go to the restroom.  I didn't want to go at the middle school because I didn't know where it was and figured I'd just go here."  I laughed and told him I understood.  Then I asked if he'd ever heard the term, "comfort zone", I told him, "This elementary school is your comfort zone.  You know everything about it.  All the classrooms, teachers, rules.  It's scary to leave your comfort zone, but that's how you grow as a person.  And before you know it, your new school will feel comfortable, too."


He's a lot more ready for middle school than I am, though.  The principal mentioned a school dance for 6th graders that would be the 2nd week of the new school year and I hyperventilated just a little.  My baby boy going to a school dance?!!!  But, life doesn't slow down, does it?


I got to have a little date with my 8 year old daughter after our haircuts last Saturday.  

We had a great time and I was delighted at the end when we passed someone in high heels and she asked me, "HOW does anyone walk in those shoes?  It looks so funny!  I don't think I'll every wear shoes like that!"   

In about 8 more years, I'm totally holding her to her no high heels declaration!


Happy Friday, y'all!

Half-Past Kissin' Time