Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The School of Hard Knocks
















Things I learned at Camp RedCloud this summer:

*I'd rather sleep on the floor than in a bunk bed with a plastic-ish mattress.
*My girls amaze me!
*Logan knows the lyrics to any song I can name...even the ones from the 80s...and he's 14!
*Some people need to learn to trust in things outside of themselves and some people need to learn to trust in themselves.
*I could really get into a daily hour long quiet time outside in the mountains.
*Fear is a strong motivator, but apparently so is pride.
*I wasn't really trusting cables and carabiners and ropes, I was trusting the people who told me those cables and carabiners and ropes would hold ten times my weight.
*I have a hard time letting people figure things out for themselves...I want to rush in with my Wonder Woman magic lasso and rescue them.
*People get belligerent and rude when pushed to do something that scares them.
*My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He will meet my needs!
*I'm fatter than I thought I was.
*I would rather climb a thousand rock walls, rappel from insane heights, drop from a 50 ft. platform and swing like a pendulum, or climb a 14er every day than deal with the daily grind.
*I NEED to write. I'm drowning without this outlet.
*My Lulu is tough as nails. She has a fierce determination not to give in to her fear.
*I cry more for other people than I do for myself.
*I'm a dork. And, guess what? I like myself that way.
*BIFF means "bathroom in forest floor."
*It's a tradition to kiss the carabiners at the top of your climb...AND, the carabiners taste like salt and metal.
*I don't like to be taken care of, but sometimes I need to be...and that's OKAY.
*Your rappelling instructor means it when he says not to hold onto the rope in front of you...major rope burn.
*Shout "pillar" BEFORE you pop a squat, because even though "pillar" means to look away, people's initial reaction is to look toward the person hollering "pillar!"
*Fear the hook. Argh!
*I'm a sucker for a silly camp song.
*Having anyone other than Jason belay me makes me pretty nervous.
*I'm addicted to the Internet, caffeine, salt, and my husband.
*Bella isn't (just) bossy...she is a natural leader.
*Sometimes I need to quit talking to God and just listen.
*It isn't love that makes the world go 'round...actually it's cheese.
*Paul is a mountain man deluxe!
*Things that are easy are never as rewarding to accomplish as things that are difficult.
*It is possible to pop a squat off the weather port deck without actually leaving the decking, but it's surprisingly difficult.
*Fear can paralyze us in more than one way.
*A surprising number of girls grow into teenagers and even into women without ever learning the fine art of peeing outdoors. Shocking.
*Apparently there is a whole system for ranking your BIFF. I hope to never participate.
*I like my whitewater rafting rough.
*I am NOT addicted to my cell phone.
*I need to memorize Philippians 2:14-18 and apply it.
*Apparently deer slapping is a hobby?
*How much our students learn from the godly example of young adults they can look up to.
*If ground squirrels had the intelligence to match their tenacity, they would be ruling the world.
*It's good to get time away and focus on the Lord.

video

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Face of A Child Can Say It All, Especially the Mouth Part of the Face


Here are some of my favorite things said by kids (okay, mostly my kids...but I'm around them a lot):


Words of Wisdom by Jaxon:

*"Moms sure are beautifuller when their babies are littler. They just keep getting grosser and grosser." -while reading Love You Forever.


*"The Lord, the Lord has defeated all the injas!" - sung in a very low, monotone voice. (Injas are ninjas.)


*"Mom, will Jett and I be old men together?" (yes baby.) "Ok, well, will we live together when we are old." (If you want to I guess.) "Ok, well, I think we will be be best brothers forever and defeat ninjas."


*"When I get married I'm going to do gooder and gooder things for my womans. I wonder how many womans I'm going to have when I grow up."


*"So is Jaxon from the bible?" (Well no honey we just really liked that name.) "Oh. So you didn't give me like a ninja name or anything?" (No honey, we didn't know you'd like ninjas. But Jaxon Tate is an old cowboy name I think.) "Really? Which cowboy was he? Like from the movie we watched?" (Yeah like him the one who captured bad guys and saved the ladies.) "Well which one was he? The black hat one?" (Yeah honey that one.) "Hmmmm ok." -discussing how he was named


*"Mom I like strangers. Except the kind that say hey little kid come get in my car I got some candy for ya."


*(Bye Jaxon. I'll call you later.) "Ok mom... Wait, teleport or just call?" (Umm teleport..) "Ok."


*"I'm allergic to tornadoes."


*"I miss the old days." (Jaxon is 5!)



The World According To Haven:

*In the car as a semi hauling bales of hay passes, "That guy's got a big nest."

*Points to her nipples, "These are my ankles." Points to my chest, "You have ankles, too. Your ankles are big because you're big. My ankles are little...and clean. You need to wash your ankles."

*"Wat up, dude-Mom?"

*"I'm a good mouth talker!"

*Sigh..."This is hurting a lot." I look up to see a q-tip sticking out of each of her nostrils.

*After being straight-cathed at the ER..."It is NOT fun when the doctor pushes down on your bottom. Going to the playground is fun...pushing down your bottom...not fun."

*Brushing her hair out of her face..."My hair is on backward!"


*Me: "Is that something you can do by yourself?"

Buttercup: "Yes, only one thing...you have to help me."


*Bella, finding Buttercup in the laundry basket: "What's wrong?"

Buttercup: "Avery won't play fashion with me so now all I have to do is sit in this box and be alone."


*While looking into my sewing basket: "I found a measure of courage lit by hope's eternal flame!"

*"I have one brother and three moms!" (referring to her brother and three SISTERS)


*While "preaching": "What does the Bible say...about chapstick?"


*"Hannah, I'm going to light you on fire. Everything will be alright."


*Bella: "Just one more time Haven!"


Buttercup: "Okay! And then again and again and again!"


Big Kids are Funny, Too!


*Princeska to Bella: "I was thinking I could borrow one of your belts cause your hips aren't very big. Not as big as your head or anything."


* Bella: "Is gunmentery a word?"


Me: "Haha! No!"


Bella: "Rifleshippery?"


Me: "Riflery?"


*Lulu: I get why the lady in those tanning ads is really brown & wears a bikini everywhere, but why does she have a man voice? Did she get throat cancer, too???


*Bella: I teach children to literacy.


*Princeska (while listening to "Leader of the Pack): "I really like how he turns around and goes and picks her up on his motorcycle cause thats like, you know, true love!"


*Lulu: I think I just saw my cat fly by the window.



*Lulu: "So what's wrong with me?"


Bella: "Your brain is square."


Lulu: "Well that's no good. At least Monk could eat it on a sandwich."


*Lulu: "I have an ice cream lipstache!"


Bella: "You mean mustache?"


Lulu:"Uh no. It's on my lip not my mus!"



*Princeska: "The longest word in the dictionary is smile! Get it! S-mile! Mile!"


Bella: "What about league?"


Buttercup: "Or poop?!"


*When you're running there's no encouragement like a naked three year old doing jumping jacks while holding ping pong paddles and yelling, "Go Hannah go!!! Go Hannah go!!! Wow!!! You're so fast!!!"


*Lulu: "I'm pretty sure armadillos do indeed have magical powers. Have you seen those things?! Plumb unnatural."


*Lulu: "I bet I can name 5 animals with tusks right here and now"


Bella: "Go for it!"


Lulu: "Hog. Porcupine. Snake. Ballerina. Iguana. I win."


*Princeska: "I'm putting lots of detail to my paper snowman. It makes it fancier. Or as the cake boss says, it 'brings it to life.'


*Lulu: "You just can't trust a person with no teeth. If they can't afford dentures then they can't afford to be honest."


*Lulu: "Oh this loads really slow. When I try to get on it I open another window cause I get impatient. Or I put my hands on the screen and chant."


*Lulu's version of the Olive Garden commercials: "Hi! My family and I are all supermodels and love each other! These noodles are so good! It makes us burst into spontaneous laughter!!!"


*Bella: I think Dora's a hoarder. Have you seen what all she keeps in her backpack?! What are we teaching children these days?!


*Bella: There is a fine line between being tan and looking like you've rolled in doritos. Please fry yourself with discretion


*While cutting up sweet potatoes, Bella expressed her relief at finally coming across a skinny one that was easier to cut. Lulu reprimanded her, "Hannah, I'm ashamed. There is so much more to love in one of those fat yams. Don't be judgmental."


*Max: "You should play football with us next time!"


Bella: "but I'm really bad at football!!!"


Max: "well that's what practice is for you dingus!"


*Bubba-Man to Jackson: "We can shoot my bb gun, but we have to follow all the rules, like don't shoot the neighbor's dog..."



*Bella: (panicky) "Stop! What are you doing??? Don't drink after me!!!"


Caleb: "What?!?!"


Lulu: "They're like Romeo and Juliet!"


*Lulu: "You lured me in with your seductive voice! Oh ya. I forgot what your voice actually sounded like this morning."



*Lulu starts to dance...Bella: "Addy! Your butt dance is..."


Lulu: "Madly attractive?!"


Buttercup: "I think it's beautiful!"




Parenting Moments:


*Bubba-man: "What did the hospital do with my appendix?"


Dad: "Sold it to a Chinese restauraunt."



*Lulu: "Mother, will you smooth out your eyebrow?"


Me: lick finger and procede to smooth...


Lulu: "Uuuhhhhh, nope."



*We do highs and lows at the dinner table . One night J asked Buttercup, "Did you have a good high today?"


*Christmas quote of the year by J to Buttercup: "That's right, Haven. Baby Jesus is important, because without him, Christmas would be about Hell."



Friday, May 7, 2010

Runner's Remorse


I seem to have, in a momentary but deep lapse of judgement, agreed to run the Muddy Buddy race with my husband. Some people know Muddy Buddies as a delicious concoction of chex cereal coated in chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar (also known as "puppy chow"). If you are one such person, do not be confused...this race, unfortunately, in no way involves tasty treats. What is a Muddy Buddy race, then? Basically, it is a team effort to both challenge yourself physically while simultaneously getting as dirty as humanly possible.


Here's how it works...

As previously mentioned, the race is run by partners. Racing partners start at the same time, one running and one biking. The 6 miles long course is separated into 5 legs by obstacles along the way. The first obstacle is near the one mile mark. Assuming that the biker is traveling faster than the runner, the biker will approach the first obstacles transition area first. The biker will drop the bike and conquer the obstacle and start running to the 2nd transition/obstacle. The runner will then approach the first transition area, conquer the obstacle, find the bike and start riding to the 2nd transition/obstacle area. The team will continue to leap frog throughout the course switching from biking and running along the way. Because the course has five legs. .
There will be five obstacles on each Muddy Buddy course. The obstacles can be challenges such as a cargo net crawl, a wall, monkey bars, or a hay bale obstacle. At the end of the race, teams have to conquer the famous Mud Pit before crossing the finish line together.

If this sounds like great fun to you, Jason may be looking for a new partner soon! I have tried to weasel my way out of this while at the same time trying not to look like a weenie. I've used the, "Maybe you'd like to compete with one of your cyclist friends...that way you'd actually have a chance to win..." method; the "Gosh, I sure hope my knees are up to this," cop-out; and the hugely unsuccessful, "What, the Muddy Buddy? I don't remember you asking me about that..." out-right lie. So far, he's not biting. Looks like I'm in, like it or not. Okay, knees, the rest of us is up for the challenge...don't fail me now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hodge Podge






Since I can't seem to formulate a complete sentence, let alone a coherent blog, here is a hodge podge of blog fodder.

*Avery Isabelle turned 7! She had 8 guests over to spend the night. Yes, I'm crazy. BUT, all of her friends seem to be having slumber parties, too, so apparently the slumber party is a required element of the first grader's social life.

*Haven Esther is a maniac. If we have it, she doesn't want it. When she gets hurt, she gets angry (yes, i realize she gets that from me). She knows a few sight words. Although I am trying feverishly to stunt her intellectual growth with fast food, movies, and not working with her at all, she seems intent on achieving child genius status. Haven will pee in the potty, but she will NOT poop in it.

*There is a pile of laundry on my chair that, if it topples over, could crush a small child...or a medium sized child.

*We are enjoying 4 soccer games every Saturday. Or, rather, we would be enjoying them if the Oklahoma wind didn't blow us sideways with every gust. Bub and Princeska are both playing, and Jason and I find ourselves parking our chairs in between fields and then looking from side to side like fans at an intense tennis match. At the fields, Haven: runs around, pets people's dogs, begs us for snacks we don't have while rejecting the ones we do have, follows a group of 5-7 year old girls around wherever they go, mooches beverages off of other soccer moms, and cheers for Avery & her team..."Goooooo, Funder! Good job, Avery! Shoot it, green!"

*There is a lot of green snot and coughing at my house. Yeah, it's great.

*It's almost summer. The words "bathing suit season" usually strike fear in my heart, but I just don't really care right now. Not that I think I'm going to be looking hot in my bikini, but I just have too many other things to worry about as of late. Besides, the way our summer schedule is shaping up, I'm not going to have a whole lot of time to swim.

*Hannah is taking physics. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached a subject that I am completely unable to help her with. Good times.

*Jason and I tried to get away to OKC for three days. We had a really nice hotel in bricktown...we had a suite. But, life happens and we actually spent less than 24 hours alone in our "love shack." The kids joined us the morning of the second day. Hannah and I napped and took in a movie while Jason took the other 4 to the zoo. We met up for supper and walked to a Mexican restaurant nearby where Haven so completely charmed the manager that he took $10 off our bill just because he liked her. The next morning we walked to the art fair downtown. We didn't get to spend much time browsing...mainly because Haddon kept insisting that "so much art bothers my eyes." Although, really, it WAS close to lunch time, Addy wandered off and scared me to death, and we hadn't brought anything to drink, so all those factors played in too. I was really disappointed. I'm really not disappointed in my children very much, but at the art fair, I didn't feel like our family was a cohesive group. I felt like we were just a bunch of individuals, all looking out for number one. We ate lunch at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, then headed back to Woodward. We pulled up in our driveway two hours later to find a group of our church family cleaning up our backyard. We surprised them, too, since they weren't expecting us home until the next day! They were mowing, edging, raking, and sweeping. They were amazing. We walked in the house to find that they had also tidied there! AND they left fresh flowers and a basket of our favorite snacks on the table.

*Hannah is almost entirely in her senior subjects. I am panicking as college seems right around the corner. Am I ready for this? Is she?

*Lulu continues to prove that in spite of her unassuming exterior, inside dwells a spiritual superhero. She is amazing. Can't wait to go on mission with her in September. Look out, Guatemala, here we come!

*Bubba-man has been super hypochondriacal since his appendectomy. It's driving me CRAZY! What to do about that???

*I feel pulled in a million directions. One minute I'm fine, the next I'm crying in the middle of Taco Mayo. I feel sad that Hannah doesn't need me any more and frustrated that Haven needs me so much. I want to have it all together, but I can't seem to achieve that. I wish I could learn to not be so honest...or at least to just keep my mouth shut. I have so much to say that I don't know what to write.

Maybe there will be a coherent blog sometime in the near future. Or, maybe not.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Super Mom Rides Again!







Yes, I idiotically thought I'd just do the whole banquet myself...the planning, cooking, decorating, entertainment, and clean up. Thank goodness some of you recognized the the insanity and stepped in.
In short, the room was decorated, the game was played, the food was thoroughly cooked, and miraculously it all got cleaned up in time for church the next morning. Remind me of this next year, will ya'?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Kids Will Do ANYTHING to Get Out of School

Almost every day at school Haddon asks me if he can go home with me. I'm serious, almost every day. He likes school, don't get me wrong, he'd just prefer to be at home reading, playing the wii, and creating Star Wars battle strategies. He won't out and out LIE to get out of school, but he will take any little thing and try to twist it into an excuse to stay home. Well, this week he out-did himself!

Monday night, after eating supper, Haddon said his tummy hurt. He didn't feel like he was going to throw up, but it hurt when he moved, laughed, sneezed, etc. (Red flag #1) I sent him upstairs to take a shower, but when I didn't hear the water turn on after twenty minutes or so, I went up to check on him. He was in his pajamas and laying in bed. "I got stuck in my bed," he said. Since he was already laying down I poked around on his belly. It hurt below his belly button. He said it hurt on both sides, but as I pressed, he said it hurt worse on the right side. In fact, it hurt on the right side when I pressed on the left side. (Red flags #2 & #3) It even hurt more when I let go then when I pressed down...hello, red flag #4! I started grilling him about his bowel habits and discovered that he hadn't pooped on Monday. (Red flag #5) Being the uber mom that I am, I made my son get in the shower anyway. My exact thought was, "If he's going to have to have surgery, he'd better be clean!"

But, he slept all night. Like a log. When he got up I asked him how his tummy was and he just said, "The same." He didn't eat any breakfast, which is unusual for him, but he seemed okay. So, off to school he went. I put in a call to my favorite nurse, Dawn, so that she could talk me down. That plan kind of backfired, fortunately, when she said that I'd better bring him in to be looked at. We set an appointment for 12:15, when he'd be at lunch. I checked in on him several times during the day. He seemed fine, but very still. I could tell that he was really guarding himself, trying not to jar himself or move too much. That worried me, but then he ate two cheeseburgers and fries for lunch!

I ended up taking him in to see Dr. K. and then the next three hours went very quickly. We went straight from Dr. K's office to the surgeon's office to the hospital to surgery to recovery. I went from suspicious to worried to justified to relieved. Jason went from skeptical to worried to relieved to indifferent.



Haddon was alert and not in much pain right after surgery. He's such a trooper! He had an entire entourage of hospital volunteers fawning over him both before and after surgery. His respiratory therapist couldn't get over how cooperative he was. He did so well that he got to come home less than 24 hours after his appendectomy! He's a little pale & has three holes in his belly, but other than that he seems good as new.




He is now comfortably enjoying his hard-earned mini-vacation at home. He can't go back to school until Monday...Dr.'s orders. He's filling his time with movies, computer games, the Wii, and army guys. He's eating like a horse! And even though he walks around like an old man, he doesn't complain a bit (except that his tummy is still bloated and funny looking). If the surgeon hadn't confirmed post-surgery that Bub did, in fact, have appendicitis, I'd think he faked the whole episode just to get out of school for a few days!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew



The theme of my life...well, that and "flying by the seat of my pants."

February is science fair month at the academy. The Dirks bunch has a long standing tradition at the science fair. We like to win it. I am all about the science projects. I love it when the kids come up with their own ideas and then we work together to come up with a scientific method to test them. Unfortunately, my kids think BIG.

It started when Hannah was a third grader embarking on her first science fair adventure. She wanted to watch roots grow, so we came up with a plan to make a planter bisected at an angle with Plexiglas to make roots visible. Great plan. However, my little Hannah was absolutely set on doing the project by herself. When she insisted that having her parents cut the Tupperware with the saw was CHEATING, we had to put in a call to Miss W who graciously explained to Hannah that parents could, in fact, do all of the power tooling necessary to complete the project. Hannah tied for Grand Champion that year...WITH A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Addy's first year she wanted to investigate the causes of tsunamis. After a lot of research, she found that there are three natural causes of tidal waves: wind, land slide, and earthquake. Then we developed three simulators to test which created the largest waves. (Simulator is a pretty fancy word for what we did which involved huge Rubbermaid's, water, sand, wood, bricks, wire, and a fan.) It would have been much easier to choose her project for her...something simple, but she learned a lot. Addy won her division that year.

Through the years, we have: tested how different genres of music affect heart rate, found which stain treaters work best on common stains, found out which brand of paper towel is the strongest, tested whether Diet Dr. Pepper actually tastes like Dr. Pepper, hung nails in different beverages to see if any of them caused corrosion, tested whether boys or girls have more cavities, observed whether or not shoppers are more helpful to somebody who is dressed nicely or to somebody who is dressed shabbily (neither, it turns out), built biomes, investigated the Bermuda Triangle, and tried to determine if (in our area) people lived longer in the past or now. These experiments have involved hundreds of volunteers, dozens of seeds, hours upon hours of research, engineering and re-engineering, thinking and re-thinking, observing, recording, interviews, and approximately 27 hours of footwork in Woodward's cemetery writing down the birth and death dates from every tombstone (there are 8000+ by the way)and then averaged the length of years lived for every ten year period. We may have gone overboard a few times, but Dirks kids have won their divisions or Grand Champion every year. EVERY YEAR. The first year Hannah was beaten out for Grand Champion was traumatic; for all of us. Even though she'd won her division, she was livid that she hadn't won the fair. She was like the spoiled private school girl of movies, "This is MY science fair." She wasn't kidding. She began planning for the next year almost immediately, sure that her superior planning and intellect would put her back on top. It did.

The last two years we have had three children doing science projects! This year Hannah did a research paper on global warming. Since she can drive herself to and from the library (YAY!) and write her own well thought out paper, all I had to do was proof read it. Addy was a little bit at a loss this year, but she researched some fun things on the computer and found a project she could be excited about. She dropped different objects in club soda and observed what happened. Some things floated, some things sank, and some things sank, floated to the top, then sank again, repeat. It wasn't a difficult project, but we tested a ridiculous variety of items so it took a while! Haddon's project, on the other hand, was a doozie! He wanted to build a catapult. Or, rather, he wanted to build several catapults...in different styles. I talked with him about what he hoped to learn by building these catapults and we came up with a project idea. He would build three different styles of (desktop, which was a huge compromise on his part) catapults, then launch marshmallows with them and see which one could launch them the furthest. We found plans for five different kinds online that we thought would be do-able and chose three. Somehow Jason didn't get that memo, however, and we ended up building four since he was under the assumption that we were making all five types we had researched. The building process took longer than we'd anticipated because...well, because it always does. We finally had all catapults made the night before everything was due, but we had yet to test them. So, the next morning at school, Haddon and I hung out in the gym after opening assembly and fired each catapult five times, measuring and recording each launch. It was fun! They all worked, two of them worked really well. I even sustained a war wound when Haddon let go of the tape measure before I was quite ready and when it recoiled my finger got in the way and was sliced. Then he got to go into his classroom and launch mini marshmallows into all of his classmates' mouths! I got to go to my office and superglue my finger.

I am loathe to tell my kids that they cannot do something for the science fair that they are truly interested in. I, often, have to fight the impulse to steer them, bully them, influence them that their project is too hard, too involved, not hard enough, or not the best way to test what they are eager to find out. I often grimace at their backboards when they are hand-written or crooked or when things have been glued on, pulled off, then re-adhered. But, I think it is sometimes those things that tip the judges of that these are projects that are actually thought up and done by the student, not his or her parents. True, I make myself very available to help in any way my kids need me, but it's their baby and it shows. I think it would be easier to choose for them. To check out a book or log on to a website and follow the step-by-step instructions found there. However, my kids LOVE their projects...and I am convinced that even though they might create a lot more work for themselves and their parents, they would not learn as much by doing a project they weren't excited about.

So, next year, bring it on. Life sized catapults, blood pressure cuffs, microscopes, Geiger counters...I'm game. But, for this year, I'm glad it's over!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events




-Sadly, Haven Esther woke up from her nap sick with fever and congestion on Thursday.
-Woefully, she was diagnosed with RSV on Friday.
-Cataclysmically, I gave an employee bad advice that same afternoon.
-Unhappily, Haven did not sleep Friday night and was no better on Saturday.
-Discouragingly, Haven needed to be held all day.
-Unluckily, Haddon started coughing Saturday night.
-Banefully, Haven and I couldn't go to church on Sunday.
-Disastrously, one of my teachers resigned Sunday night...with no notice.
-Shatteringly, Haven didn't sleep all night AGAIN.
-Calamitously, two more teachers called in sick on Monday and I could only find one sub betwixt all three.
-Tragically, it was the week of our big garage sale.
-Annoyingly, Haven could not keep from puking when she coughed.
-Crushingly, both of my secretaries got sick and/or had sick kids and were more miss than hit the rest of the week.
-Accidentally, one of the microwaves at the school caught fire.
-Painfully, Haven developed an ear infection.
-Frighteningly, she cried for over an hour, but had no tears to spare because of dehydration.
-Diligently, we stayed up all night (yet again) and pushed fluids.
-Disgustingly, Haven's ear was dripping gunk the next morning, but...
-Miraculously, she felt a lot better.
-Incidentally, I was ill-prepared for the garage sale, as were most of the parents of WCA.
-Doggedly, I marked garage sale items until the wee hours of the night.
-Dejectedly, I crawled out of bed after only a couple of hours of sleep.
-Determinedly, I sipped coffee and prepared for the big sale.
-Providentially, plenty of helpers arrived.
-Blessedly, the school raised a lot of money.
-Exhaustedly, a skeleton crew emptied the entire gym, hauling it all to the dump and OARC.
-Bitterly, I realized that I wasn't just tired, but sick as well.
-Lethargically, I laid on the couch and sipped cold water.
-Consequently, my house was taken over by it's contents like a field is eventually reclaimed by the jungle it was carved out of.
-Dismally, I blew my nose and felt sorry for myself.
-Unbelievably, Haddon got worse and not better.
-Unfortunately, it isn't summer...yet.


Yes, please...I'd like a little cheese with that whine!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She's a Very Busy Girl...








Today was a snow day. No school! Unfortunately, in addition to the blizzard outside, Hurricane Haven was full force inside. This is a very busy girl...she is like the perfect storm. If the Energizer Bunny married Dennis the Menace and they had kids, well, they would be Haven. She loves to "work" around the house with mom. Today:

Haven sewed with me. I was working on a sling when she climbed up on the chair behind me, put her little feet into the small of my back, locked her knees, and said, "It's my turn now. It's Haven's turn!" Apparently "Haven's turn" sewing involved making several adjustments to my sewing machine and completely unloading my thread box whilst stacking as many as possible on top of the machine.

I decided that being snowed in (or whatever since we didn't actually get any snow until late afternoon) would provide the perfect opportunity to work on potty training, so Haven went diaperless or with panties all morning. She managed not to pee in her panties or on the floor, but also refused to sit on her potty chair whenever I suggested it. Apparently she used it on her own at least once, however...a fact that I discovered when I found her baby doll sitting in the potty chair and upon closer inspection found to be hip deep in urine. Lovely.

Next, we baked blondies (you know...kind of a brownie without the chocolate). Well, I baked blondies and Haven repeatedly stuck clean utensils into the batter and "helped" me. Just to make this clear, I did not invite Miss Haven to help me with the baking. Rather, I went to the pantry to get cooking spray and by the time I got back into the kitchen she had pushed a chair up to the counter, climbed on top of it, and proceeded to dirty every utensil in the drawer.

After lunch we marked garage sale items for the school garage sale. Haven was very, shall we say, active in the process. She was all about unloading the boxes and bags and then re-loading them with both marked and unmarked garage sale goodies. She really had a high time when she found a bag of craft goodies to sort. Haven "sorted" them all over my carpet. I'll be vacuuming them up for weeks.

After nap and a snack, I reorganized the DVDs and attempted to match all of the empty cases with the caseless disks. Haven focused on removing all of the VHS tapes from their cases, stacking them in piles on the floor, then returning the empty cases to the rack. What a helper!

While I was making supper in a surprisingly Haven-free kitchen, Miss Hurricane evidently took it upon herself to feed the dog...from her snack bowl.

As I sit on the couch typing, Haven is busily lining out her baby dolls. They seem to be quite a discipline problem collectively, though they are also quite affectionate with each other and often kiss and hug. Haven just tattled on a doll that is really more of a figurine. "That girl won't give me her purse! Tell that girl to give me her purse...share," she insisted. Unfortunately, the fact that the purse is sewn to the doll's hands means nothing to Haven Esther. Just another challenge to conquer!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10 Things


These are ten things that make me happy. Not the only things, mind you, just the top ten. When I sat down to think about this blog it occurred to me how many, many people in this life bring me joy. How much of God's creation I enjoy. I considered grouping some of this top ten together just to squeeze more in, but in the end abandoned that plan. So, drum roll, please, here they are: 10 Things.

1. God. I'm really not saying this to appear to be more spiritual,I'm afraid you all know me too well for that. Truly, He is the thing that makes me the most happy in this life. Without Him, I think I would love a little bit less, feel less deeply, see less vivedly. Without my Savior and my King, I would not know the hope and peace that infuse my life, making me capable of fully enjoying the other things it in. Knowing that I'm not good enough, that my righteousness is filthy rags is made a joyful thing in knowing that His righteousness He has given to me. I don't have to make it on my own merit. He paid my debt for me! What a release, what courage and joy that brings in facing this life with it's trials and pain. I live in amazement that He chose me. The knowledge that He loves me unconditionally makes my heart smile.

2. Jason. How happy it makes me to be married to my best friend! We enjoy each other's company so much. We love to hike, climb, kayak, snorkel, explore, try new things, go new places, talk, dream, and plan. Jason makes me laugh. He makes me feel beautiful. I can think of nobody else that I'd rather spend time with. I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with him and to the many adventures we'll share.

3. Hannah. My first baby. We bonded together over seemingly endless sleepless nights. She was such a challenge. Our precious little one who didn't like to sleep, eat, or play. She nearly sucked me dry, then, suddenly, she turned into a toddler who was loads of fun. She danced, sang, told stories, amazed us with her intelligence, loved to help around the house, and blamed "Beeda" for everything. Inspite of all of my incredibly inept parenting, Hannah has blossomed into a beautiful, confident, godly, talented woman. She amazes me. She dances like sunlight on water. She speaks three languages. She's smart, witty, sharp, independent. She loves to read, research, watch movies. Spending time with her and watching this process as she becomes the woman God created her to be brings me great joy.

4. Addy. The easy one. From day one, she seemed intent on making my life easier. Even labor was only 45 minutes with her! She slept through the night the day we brought her home from the hospital. Her easy-going nature didn't mean that she had any less personality, though. Addy is what we call a corker. As a baby, she crawled around with little dollies' heads in her mouth, climbed everything she could find, and was a mini houdini. She is still a person of contrasts. Addy is remarkebly easy going, but also extremely competetive. Addy's standardized testing will blow you out of the water, but she might not know what day of the week it is. She has a heart for the Lord, a sense of humor as sharp as a scalpel, a sense of mission, compassion. She's artistic and musical. She has the sound track to "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Flyleaf" on her mp3 player. She is an individual, deal with it. My Lulu is quirky and fun! I never know what she'll say next and I love the way she keeps me guessing. Just being in the same world with Addy makes me smile.

5. Haddon. My bubba-man. How did I get so blessed to have this little boy? After two girls, the sheer boyishness of him makes me so happy! Although we knew we were having a boy (thanks to the miracle of ultrasound technology), I will never forget the moment of panic I had the first time I held him in my arms. "I don't know how to hold a boy!" I thought. But, practically, other than the circumcision and the frequent fountainous diaper changes, newborn boys aren't any different than newborn girls. I'm not sure when that changed, but it did...and how! Boys make noises more than they make words. My son is wild, he's crazy, he's a lego maniac, he's all about star wars. He's a young, male, me. He's loud and rowdy. He loves babies and animals. He's all about science and nature. He loves a challenge and lives for meeting the goal. Haddon is happiness to me.

6. Avery. So sweet and so funny! When Avery does something, she does it BIG. As a toddler, she loved my "beans" which is actually arm pit stubble. She always had her hand in my pit. She would only eat macaroni and cheese (not the homemade kind, the kind from a box) and zonies (zone protein bars). She's loyal to a fault, but doesn't know a stranger. Avery has been best friends with Jakob since before she was born. Grown men willingly wrap themselves around her little finger. Avery loves coffee, puppies, soccer, books, glitter, glam, boys, drama, dancing, music, and the outside. She says, "nudist" instead of noticed, "commershical" instead of commercial, "Star Whores" instead of "Star Wars." She's been known to announce, "Ah, that's a good cup a joe!" Watching movies with her is the best because Avery has the best giggle in the entire world!

7. Haven. Hurricane Haven keeps me so busy, and so delighted. She is a walking disaster. If it can be broken, Haven will break it. If it's poisonous, she'll eat it. If it's high, she'll climb up it and then fall off of it. She has scared us to death since before she was born, but I can't imagine life without her. She makes me laugh every day. Haven is so busy. She loves to "fold" laundry and "put away" groceries. She enjoys undressing her babies and then pushing them in her stroller. Haven likes to tell us to "be patient," and "don't you tell me no," and "you stay right there," and "you stand up and hold me." Haven loves animals and strikes fear into the hearts of animals large enough to eat her in one bite. She is a sticky, sweet, noisy ball of perpetual motion. She is a living breathing miracle, one that shouldn't have made it to the ripe old age of two.

8. The written word. Reading is a mini vacation without the hassle of packing, travel, or the laws of the physical universe. Anything is possible in literature. It amazes me how mere words can transport me to magical places far or near. I love the smell and feel of pages, the weight of a book in my hand, the anticipation of taking up a story where I left off. I love getting my words down on paper (or on the computer). Making my imaginings into something solid, tangible. There is something magical about having the power to invite somebody else into my imagination. The written word makes me happy.

9. Nature. Our creative God has constructed a magnificent world to be explored. I love, love, love being outside exploring it. I love trees, mountains, oceans, deer, sand, snow, fish, wind, sun. I love being out in it and I want to see it all, touch it, and smell it.

10. Motion. I love doing. Walking, running, dancing, skiing, climbing, hiking, paddling, swimming, sliding, jumping. Moving makes me happy. Oddly, when I'm tired, moving gives me energy instead of stealing it. I am so at peace when I am DOING and GOING. Motion makes me happy.

Happiness. What makes you happy?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!




I am a HUGE baby about my birthday. I love my birthday and want it celebrated to the nth degree every year. It's the one day each year that I don't feel guilty about being completely selfish. My wonderful husband knows this about me and not only does he put up with it, he feeds my birthday bliss compulsion. Every year he plans something more fun than the last. There was the year he arranged for some friends to take me out, then they delivered me back home after a wonderful supper to a surprise party complete with decorations! Another time he swept me away to a spa day in the city. I honestly don't know how he manages to come up with something every year. This year he put the icing on the cake (pun intended)!

On Tuesday, I left school an hour early so that Jason could whisk me off to OKC. We headed first to Rocktown, an indoor climbing facility housed in an old silo. Now, I have never been rock climbing (been boulder scrambling, but that's a whole different ball game) and though I was excited about trying, I was also worried about a few things. Let's face it, I'm not the most physically fit that I've ever been! Would I embarrass myself by not even making it off the ground? Would they even have climbing gear for chubs like me? If I fell, would my superior body weight yank my husband off the ground and catapult him to the top of the silo as he tried to belay me? Still, I'll try almost anything once, so I pulled up my big girl panties, pasted on a smile, and prepared to make the best of it. Guess what? The harness fit me, the staff did not measure, weigh, or laugh at me, and the other climbers did not gawk at my rather un-streamlined body. Jason and I geared up, then headed into the training room to take the required beginners' course. Morgan, our instructor, showed us the ropes (haha, I've got a million of 'em) and asked us which one of us wanted to belay first. My mind quickly calculated the options. I could climb first and risk humiliation by showcasing my incompetence...OR, I could belay first and watch Jason risk humiliation from the safety of the ground. Bingo! Option 2, belaying it was! Turns out belaying is tricky. Not difficult, mind you, just has more of a procedure than simply ascending a wall. There are a series of commands for the belayer and climber to use. The belayer has to learn how to clip the rope through their harness and through the floor cable, the proper way to take slack out of the line as the climber climbs, the "brake" hold, and how to operate the release apparatus on the belay device so that the climber will be lowered to the floor rather than dropped (sorry, honey, I couldn't remember which way was "slower" and which way was "faster"). Jason looked like a spider monkey as he scaled the wall easily, but I had to have four practices to get belaying down pat.
Then it was my turn. My nervousness had dissipated and sure enough, climbing proved to be easier than belaying. Jason practiced twice, then we were on our own. We had a great time and spent two hours trying all of the easier routes we could find. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I not only like rock climbing, I LOVE it!

Next Jason took me to the Warren theater in Moore. We sat in the balcony in cushy, recliner-like seats with seat warmers! We had a little table and a call button to summon our waitress. Yes, our WAITRESS...Jason and I just ordered popcorn and soda, but a full menu was available. We were presented with 3-D glasses. Not cardboard ones, but "real" glasses that we were to return after the show. We moved the armrest so we could snuggle and watched "Avatar" in 3-D. It was amazing.

After checking in to the Radisson, we walked a couple of blocks to Abuelos for a late supper before turning in. The next day was my actual b-day, so Jason let me sleep in. Then we went to the mall where he picked out my gift: a beautiful James Avery, 3 carat, garnet ring! A fabulous lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, quick stop at Hobby Lobby, visit to friends at Children's Hospital, and then we were headed home.

I can't WAIT to see what he comes up with next year!