Saturday, March 31, 2012

Here's a Gratuitous Picture of My Cat!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

This is my favorite time of the year. It's Putting in the Garden Day! Should be a national holiday, in my opinion.  It's so much fun. Sometimes there are issues, though. Seasonal Garden Overlap (SGO) is a real problem. What do you do with the stuff that's still in from the spring garden? You can see my lettuce is doing beautifully!
So are my onions!  And they are so tasty, too! And they smell wonderful when I pick them. I've never had much success planting onions in the past, but this spring they are doing well.  

 That's a bit of a problem, but you just kind of work around it! So, in spite of the SGO, I went to the nursery today and picked out plants. I went to a different one today. My mom always goes to this one. She says you can buy one or two tomato plants instead of a whole six pack. I usually don't go there because it's small and a little chaotic. The one I usually go to is big and very pretty. Lots of fountains. I like it.  But, this time I went to the small one and had so much fun. I got into big trouble, too. I bought 11 tomato plants. Yeah, Hubby gave me The Look when we were trying to figure out where to put them all. I didn't realize I had bought so many. Just two of these and two of those. Pretty soon that adds up to a lot of tomatoes. But I did find a place for them all. Plus a little room for the ones Hubby started from seed.
I also bought a whole bunch of different types of peppers. We have bells and some wax peppers and some other kind the lady said were good. I also bought five jalapeno hybrids. Did I mention that I like to make salsa with all my tomatoes? There is nothing better in the summer than a big bowl of salsa. I went to my girlfriend's house once last summer and we made a lunch of chips and salsa while the kids swam. It was heaven, I tell you! Heaven! 

I planted eight Japanese cucumber plants on our trellis. If you don't plant cucumbers on a trellis, you really need to start doing so. They grow so much better that way. Keeps them up off the ground, makes them easier to see and they grow nice and straight. It's a good thing!
I planted a row of green beans, too.
I'm going to have to hold off on the squash until after I take care of the SGO problem. The lettuce and onions will probably be done in another month and then I can use that raised bed for the squash.
Here's Bubba. I gave him the chance to earn a couple bucks.  I pay 5 cents per snail.
He made $1.20 off of my peas. Aren't they gross? I hate snails!
And I got my garden in just in time. Planted my last plants and it started to rain.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Messy House Ministry!

My dear, wonderful sister-in-law (actually, I have many dear, wonderful sister-in-laws, for whom I thank God, because I have no sisters, so He more than made up for it by giving me several dear, wonderful sister-in-laws, but I am talking about one in particular) said once that having a messy house was her ministry. Because other mothers of young children would come over to her house and if they saw she had a messy house then they wouldn't feel nearly as bad about their own messy homes. If there's one thing that can really make you feel bad about yourself is seeing someone else with as many children as you do have a clean house. That's clean as in not-messy. Not clean as in not-dirty. There's a difference between messy and dirty. I'm not talking dirty. I'm talking messy. Ok, now that we've got that cleared up (no pun intended).... let's see.... where was I? Let me have another sip of coffee here... mmmm... that was good. I've never forgotten that. What she said. Now, I do try to keep my house sort of neat. It's a battle every day, but the goal is reasonable neatness, and I try not to stress when someone comes over and my house isn't looking all that great.

 Well, yesterday a girlfriend came over in the afternoon. She'd been feeling stressed, had a bad day and mentioned this on Facebook. I offered what I could .... what all true friends offer.... chocolate and a listening ear. So, she came over for a bit and when she came in the door, and looked around (and saw the wreck that was my house, clutter, papers, toys everywhere your eyes landed) she said, "Wow, I don't feel so bad now!" And I had to chuckle. Didn't make me feel any better about the mess, or any less inclined to clean it up, but it did make me realize that my sister-in-law's tongue in cheek remark has a lot of truth in it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Looks Like You Did Some Serious Shopping!"

I was checking out at Target this morning. And this is what the lady behind me said. "Looks like you did some serious shopping!"  I laughed and answered, "Yes, this is what happens when I don't have kids with me!" And she laughed! And that's the truth. When I have kids with me, I stick to my list. And I'm in and out as fast as I can.  But today.... today was a teacher in-service day.  One of the publishers I use for homeschool curriculum had a book display in The Big City and they offer free shipping when you order from a display. Well, I was going to place a pretty good sized order, so it made it worth my while to go up there. I also figured I'd get my allergy shots and stop by Target while I'm at it. Well, the allergy shots fizzled out because they don't start injections till 10:00am on Thursday and I got there at 9:30. Bleh!  Oh well! I then took the kids to Hubby's parents because there was no way I was going to take them with me to the book display. I need to think at places like that and when I have all my kids with me thinking is not allowed.  So, I got that done quickly and ran to Target. I only had a short list. Make-up. Cotton make-up remover thingies. Printer paper.  Easter dress for Baby. Uh huh! An hour later I had done some "serious shopping!" Oi vey! Well, okay, in my defense, some of this had to be done. I'm  not sure if you've noticed, but Target is always a season ahead in their clothes department. I was looking for sweats for the boys in January (yes, January, not July) and there was not a sweatshirt to be found.  So, as I was passing racks of swimsuits, I realized that if I wanted the kids to have swimsuits this summer, maybe I should get them now. Since they'll be pullin' out the snow boots come June!
And then I had to get Easter candy. I love Marshmallow Peeps!
And then.... and then... I saw this. I'm sorry I have to show this to you, but it is true confessions time. And I love coconut. You can see from the bottom left corner of the picture that I've already gotten in to it. These are so good. They have that hint of coconut that reminds you of walking on the beach and smelling all that coconut flavored suntan lotion. I love that stuff. I could just eat it. It probably wouldn't taste that great. But these... oh my word! These are delicious!
So, between that stuff, the stuff on my list, a birthday present for Cee-cee (which I forgot about, but then realized it's in a couple of weeks, so I had to get that, too) and a skirt for myself.... I did some serious shopping!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Step Closer....

We are one step closer to finalizing the adoption of our two precious babies.  Yesterday was an important court date. The judge ruled according to the law and we are rejoicing because this puts us one step closer to making our little girls truly and legally part of our family. Praise the Lord!

Parenting

Sometimes I go to bed completely exhausted. And I wonder, why am I so tired? We didn't go anywhere. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Why am I so tired? I guess it's because parenting is hard work. I have two children who are particularly.... how do I put it? Sensitive? Deep?  They require a lot of listening and understanding.  The other night, I was making my rounds kissing good-night and Duh-duh was standing there in the hallway with a book in his hand and a stunned look on his face.  I told him to get back in bed, I'd be there in a bit. He just stood there. I had to tell him again. Then he obeyed.  After I kissed Missie Lou, I made my way into the boys' room and Duh-duh was in bed with his head under his covers. I asked him what was bothering him and he thrust the book in my hand and said, "Look!" and pointed to a picture. The book was one of those easy reader books and it was about the space race.  The picture he pointed to was of the dog who the Russians shot out into space before they actually put a person in space. So, I looked at the picture and then Duh-duh pointed to the sentence that said, "Unfortunately the dog died several days later." and then he just burst into tears. My heart just melted. He is such a sensitive child. So, I held him, rubbed his back, reassured him that it was ok to cry, and told him how wonderful it was that he was a sensitive and caring person.  And then I asked him, "Were you reading this book to yourself?"  Because the thing is.... neither of my boys read to themselves. I've mentioned Bubba's delight in being read aloud to, but the child has never once picked up a book to read to himself.  When Duh-duh shook his head "yes" to my question, inside I jumped for joy! One of my boys is starting to read to himself.  Of course I didn't express my extreme joy. I didn't feel it was appropriate under the circumstances. I just casually said, "Oh, that's great you're reading to yourself, honey!" And then continued with the consolation, which culminated with my singing "Joy to the World" and kissing him goodnight.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Livin' the Good Life Cooking Tip of the Day!

I think I can say, without it being considered boastful, that I am a pretty decent cook. No, I'll never have my own cooking show, but I can follow a recipe pretty well and feel competent when I have people over for dinner. And there are a few things that I do really well. One of them is make pies. Berry pie is one of my specialties.
I made berry pie for dinner on Friday night.  We had the grandparents over for Missie Lou and Duh-duh's birthday party and as I'd already made them cakes (and I'm not overly fond of cake to begin with) I made an icecream pie and a berry pie.  This is what's left of the berry pie. It was delicious!
I do have to say, however, that my berry pie wouldn't be nearly so good if it wasn't for the cooking tip I received once regarding berry pies, and today I am passing that tip on to you. See, I made a berry pie once for a church function. It tasted delicious, but it was very very runny! And I had followed the recipe perfectly, putting the right amount of flour as thickener. This, of course, caused me a bit of embarrassment, but not too much, because as I said before, it tasted good.  So, we're at this function and I was talking to Mrs. R about my pie and she said, "If you don't want it to be runny, cook it before you put it in the crust with sugar and corn starch."  So, I did. And after that, I have never had trouble with a runny berry pie.  So, there you go. Your cooking tip of the day. Go out and bake yourself a berry pie. And eat it with a big scoop of vanilla icecream. I promise, you won't regret it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another Great Read!

Peter The Great 
I enjoy reading. I always have. When I was a kid, I read and read and read. And I'd read the same books over and over again. There were certain books I loved, certain characters I "bonded" with, so I'd read these books again and again. About 15 years ago I really got into reading biographies. And this is when my love of history really took off. I don't remember where I got it, but the book that I think really lit the fire in me is "The Conquering Family" by Thomas Costain.  This is a fantastic book about the beginnings of  Plantagenet Dynasty in 11th Century England.  There are four books in this series and I read all of them.  Over the years I've read any number of books about the Plantagenet Family. Another favorite era is the Tudors. I've read bios of all the wives of Henry VIII, and also the bio of his daughter Queen Elizabeth I.  Our studies in history in our little homeschool have also had a big impact on my reading. When we were studying the Egyptians a couple years ago in history, Cleopatra piqued my interest, and I read a really good bio about her. Well, then, when we got to the Romans, you absolutely cannot ignore Julius Caeser. He is probably one of the most amazing men who ever lived. I had a great time reading about him. So, it shouldn't be surprising, that after reading a chapter on Peter the Great of Russia in our history book, I should be interested and pick up an adult-sized bio of him, too. I Googled him and this one came up. And I cannot for the life of me put it down. Seriously. I am constantly picking up my iPad to read a page or two. The book is incredibly well-written (it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography), but the subject matter is also quite fascinating. People like him fascinate me. People with drive and determination, who are highly intelligent and capable of doing the amazing things they've done. So, I've been enjoying this read and would strongly recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Little of this.... and a Little of That!

Happy Thursday folks. Yes, it's another one of those days. Got Baby sitting on my lap, drawing on everything she can get her hands on and grabbing for my cup of coffee. But I need this cup of coffee. I have a splitting headache. And I just looked out the window and noticed my redbuds are in full bloom. I love redbuds. And they are Oklahoma Redbuds at that. I was curious.... do they really have Oklahoma Redbuds in Oklahoma? Or did they just call them Oklahoma Redbuds for no good reason whatsoever.

And do they look like this? They sure are gorgeous when they bloom. Just this brilliant purply-red color. And I go outside and all I hear is the buzz of bees. Actually, they're a very nice tree year round. Summer they have pretty heart shaped leaves. Autumn isn't their best month. I can't even really remember what color they turn. Kind of a dull yellow, I think.
So, the redbuds are blooming. And then.... oh, excuse my while I go get my bread out of the oven. We are finally having our little family birthday party for Duh-duh and Missie Lou.  And we're having sliders. You know, those yummy little mini-hamburgers. I make my own buns. Yeah, I know. But really.... once you have had homemade hamburger buns you will never go back to store bought. Seriously! Plus, I haven't seen where you can buy slider buns in the store. So, I made buns.
Oh, and would you like to know what my newest hobby is? It's this... reading on my iPad. Don't ask me how I got started on that. I was so adamant.... I will not use an e-reader. I like the feel of real paper. And then, I took Hubby's Nook to t-ball practice....
Yes, we have a Nook, too. It's Barnes & Noble's e-reader. I got it for Hubby for Valentine's Day. Anyhow, I took it to t-ball practice and kind of got hooked. And then, yesterday.... I was a little bored. And thinking about how I really wanted to read "Peter the Great" by Robert Massie (which is his Pulitzer Prize winning biography about .... you guessed it, Peter the Great of Russia), but I didn't want to put it on the Nook because it it Hubby's toy and I don't want to just walk off with that, too (you know that old saying when you get married, "What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine") and then all the sudden I was on the Amazon website and I'm telling you, it was really too easy to just download the Kindle ap onto my iPad and then I bought that silly book just like that. It was too easy. Criminal almost. And then I started reading it. It is such a good book. And I don't even mind it on the iPad.
So, there you have it. Or, there I have it. It's quite fun, actually.
Oh, and these pictures? I have no idea what they are. They just appeared on my camera. They are the result of leaving my camera where grubby little hands can get at it.
I think they might be of a video game.
Anyhow, have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Ways of Thinking

If someone asks you, "What does it mean to be a Christian?" What would you say? I guess you could answer this question if you are a Christian or not. A lot of people would say that they are saved or that they go to church. Some people would say they do or don't do certain things. I've never really been able to answer that question well. I would usually answer it by referring to my salvation, but still, I never felt that was a satisfying answer. Well, we've started a new Sunday School class at church. Hubby and I are leading it. It's based on this book I read recently by Michelle Anthony called "Spiritual Parenting".
It's a DVD/book series and I'm learning a lot.  And I'm learning how to answer that question - What does it mean to be a Christian? and more importantly, how do I pass that down to my children? Michelle Anthony references Psalm 78 a lot and other places in the Bible teach us how important it is to pass our faith on to our children. But, when the rubber meets the road, how is that done?

Psalm 78:2-4  I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 

Most people would say, "Well, duh! Get them a good Bible Story book. Take them to church. Teach them morals and values." Yes. Those things are all part of it.  And that will work for some kids.  But, how do I pass my faith on to them?  My faith!  Michelle Anthony was talking in the DVD last week about how a lot of Christians define themselves by the things they don't do. You remember that rhyme - "I don't drink, smoke or chew.... or go with guys that do!"  I grew up with that type of thing. As Christians we were separate from the world because of all the things we didn't do. Or the things we did do. We went to church three times a week. We prayed. We tithed.  And, as I said before, that might work with some children. Some children for whom that lifestyle suits, who are compliant and have no trouble following the rules. But, even then, do you have Christians or just moral people?  And I'm struggling so much with this because I do not have compliant children. None of them are compliant.

One of them I battle every single day on almost every single issue. And so I've been struggling with how I pass my faith on to him.  He's one who's already enamored by the Dark Side. He's the one with whom I sat for 15 minutes this afternoon looking at his R.L. Stine graphic "scary" novels, trying to be interested and work on our relationship in a positive way, but not too approving and honestly not knowing what the heck to say or do. Really. I hate that stuff. It's not right. But if I would forbid him to bring it home.... it would be one more battle. And not that I'm avoiding battles, but it's the wedge that continues to be driven each time I say "this is the way it is," and he says, "I hate that. I don't want to do it!" And this is a heart issue we're talking about, anyway. He loves this stuff. I can say, "no!" but he would still desire it. And then he would become sneaky and lie.  And I know that only God can change a heart.

And so, as I work at passing on my faith to this child, and my other children it has to be so much more than a list of dos and don'ts. It has to be something that changes their heart and makes them love Jesus and hate the world. And that's what I'm starting to learn in this Sunday School class we're doing. How to identify myself as a Christian by who I am and my relationship to Christ. How to, as Michelle Anthony says, "Proclaim with my life that God is real!" and not to close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and yell, "I'm not listening" when the world encroaches. It's a different way to think, but I believe it's better than I used to think.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Losing Time

Do you ever feel like you've lost time? No, I don't mean in that way that everyone talks about like.... "Oh, time goes by so fast," and all that! I mean, like you've lost a couple weeks of your life? That happens to me all the time when either I'm sick or the kids are sick. The last couple weeks have been horrible with this virus that's going around. Today we had our 3rd doctor appointment in a week. Although it's the only time I've taken a child to the doctor and she said, "It's nothing. Just the virus." I was sure Bubba had an ear infection and that somehow he'd escaped this virus. His ear hurt. Duh. I think that would be my first clue. He had a fever, too. A short-lived one, but a fever, nonetheless. Anyhow, I took him to the doctor today because his ear infections always morph into some middle-of-the-night-screaming-and-writhing-in-pain affair and I just didn't want to deal with that  (or have him go through that, either). So, we waited for an hour, saw the new doctor (our old one, Dr. S, is gone. Boohoo!) and she said his ears look great and she took a strep culture which came back negative. So, she said it's just the virus which should go away in about 10 days. Well, fine.  I guess that makes five of us now that has been dealing with this.  But, for the most part, we're on our way to better health and all the sudden I looked up and noticed that it was the first day of Spring and less than three weeks till Easter. That's a little disorienting. I was disoriented. I hate that feeling. I like the feeling of just kind of going along in life, with everything that's coming up is in the back of my mind and I just kind of know where I am on the whole space-time continuum. But now, I'm having to do some major mental re-alignments. I have to start thinking about Spring. And Easter dresses. Which I did just order yesterday. Thank goodness for on-line shopping. And sandals. And planting my garden. And baseball games. Where did those two weeks in March go?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Much Better Houseguests

For the past month we have been hosting a family. A butterfly family. It's been a project for science, and a very neat project at that. Much better than when we hosted the family of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches last summer.  They were disgusting. But this was a fun little project. You order the larva from a company and they send you a little plastic cup with 5 teeny tiny caterpillars in it. They are microscopic. But they grow. And grow. And grow. There's this brown stuff in the bottom of the cup which is their food, so it's all self-contained. You don't have to do anything but watch them. Then, in about 10 days they all hang upside down on the lid and spin their little cocoons. And that point you need to put them in their little habitat. Which you do have to purchase separately.

And about 10 days after that, they burst forth in all their glory. And they are beautiful beautiful butterflies.
It was pretty neat because they all became butterflies the day before Missie Lou's butterfly birthday party. So, the girls were able to look at them all fresh and newly hatched. We kept them for a while. I suppose they might have laid eggs if I would have put some branches or a plant in there, but we've all been deathly ill this past week. I've been getting over a horrendous sinus infection, and it's been all I could do to keep body and soul together, much less care about the egg-laying habits of butterflies.  So, anyhow, yesterday we finished our record keeping on our butterflies in our science book and then let them be free. Either they were too old (a butterfly lifespan is pretty short, actually, only a couple weeks) or just become too used to their little cage because they didn't do too well! But, that's ok, I guess. Maybe next year if we do it, we'll let them free a little sooner and they can go lay eggs or something and continue the line.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Doctors, Donuts and Abject Bribery!

When you have a birthday, you know that a trip to the doctor is right around the corner. And today was the day. Both Missie Lou and Duh-duh had birthdays a couple weeks ago and today they had to have their physicals. Duh-duh is pretty cooperative about the whole thing. He's a healthy kid. When he was a baby he had all these ear infections and I was on a first name basis with his pediatrician, but after he got ear-tubes he hasn't been sick since.  So, she poked and prodded and took pee and decided that he's in good shape. I could have told her that, but it's nice to get confirmation.  And then there's Missie Lou. I had to get her in a head-lock so they could do the finger poke thing for the hemoglobin test. Seriously. And then the examination. Ooooh boy! Finally, I resorted to the same trick every mother resorts to when faced with a balking child in the doctor's office. I said, "You cooperate with the doctor and we'll get donuts after!" Well, she wasn't exactly cooperative, but she did let the doctor finish the exam.  She's healthy, too, relatively speaking. She's got allergies, which causes fluid build-up in her ears intermittently, which affects her hearing. So.... it's back to the audiologist and then... I guess allergy treatments. You know, if you have ever thought about moving to this part of California, if the idea has even crossed your mind..... ignore that thought. Put it far far away. Stay away from here. This is not where you want to live. I'm serious. Unless you want to spend an awful lot of time and energy at the allergist getting shots and taking allergy meds. This place is like the allergy capitol of the world. Oh, and I forgot to mention that she upped Duh-duh's allergy meds, too because he's totally congested. So, aside from that little Public Service Announcement, the bad news is.... our pediatrician, Dr. S., who is the only reason I will agree to wait in a waiting room for over an hour at times in a room full of snotty kids, is leaving. She's got a job working with chronically ill children at Children's Hospital. I guess this is something she's always wanted to do and the job opened up. But, it sure stinks for us!  So, anyhow, after all that, we got the donuts (I even got one - glazed old-fashioned, my favorite) and went to the park for a little while. And the good news is, we won't have to do this for another year. But now I have to find a new pediatrician!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Gift

I grew up  in a sub-culture that emphasized frugality, hard work, self-reliance and making do. Now, in and of themselves these are excellent characteristics. They really are. In fact, our world would be a lot better off if everyone aspired to practice these things.  However, like every other virtue, there is a flip-side and a person has to be very careful to keep these things as virtues and not otherwise. For example, frugality is a good thing. Miserliness is not. Hard work is a good thing. Never resting is not.  Self-reliance is a good thing. Never accepting (or asking for) help when you need it, is not.  I see in my own life that these virtues have a tendency to turn ugly because my own personality finds moderation very difficult. I'm an all or nothing sort of person. I'm either a raging success or an abject failure in my mind, there's no middle ground of being "good enough" and I know this is not correct thinking. Anyhow, several months ago in Sunday School we were talking about being open and helping each other and I admitted I was really struggling with having five kids. And my thinking that "if I couldn't handle it, why did we adopt all these kids?" It's that old self-reliance run-amok thing again.  So, after Sunday School a lady I know fairly well approached me. She's the executor for the estate of a single woman in our church who passed away fairly recently. She said the money was in a trust and that J wanted it to be used to help people.  She said she would like to give me a sum to be used to hire some help for me. That this was something J would want. I was floored. I was humbled. And so I hired a cleaning service to come once a week. And it has made such a difference. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted and it is such a blessing to come home to a clean house. Of course, we have to do day-to-day stuff, but the floors, bathrooms, etc. are done weekly. My stress level has diminished.  And.... I am admitting that I can't do it by myself. I need help. And I can accept help. And I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Now That's Not Very Neighborly!

It was about 7:30 this morning, I was rooting through Baby's dresser in my bedroom looking for something for her to wear and I look out the window and there's a man in our neighbor's tree. And I'm standing there in my robe. I looked again and he was tying a rope to one of the main branches and my heart sunk. Oh dear, they're cutting down that tree. See, here in the great Central Valley of California summers are hot and dry.  A tree is a very valuable commodity when it's 105 degrees outside and 18% humidity because it really does make a difference in whether it's bearable to be outside or not. This tree of our neighbor's was a Raywood Ash and it was a great shade tree. It was big and dense and shaded 3/4 of our yard in the afternoon and evening. I must say I'm a little peeved at this neighbor. I know it's their yard and everything, but that tree was pretty important to us. This is where it was.
This is what it looked like an hour ago.
And now it's gone. They shredded the poor thing up into wood chips. The boys went outside and watched them take the stump out.
They thought it was pretty cool and it's nice that I could let them do it. We're starting school a little late today. Well, a lot late. We still have some sickies and the washing machine broke and I'm not feeling all that great, so.... we can start school late. And watch the tree guys pull out the stump with a remote control tractor. This is the stuff boys get into!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some Sweet Baby Books

Since we've got babies in our house again, we've had to increase our library of kids books. Most of the board books we had when the olders were little have been chewed up or torn up, and I don't think Baby is quite old enough for Jack London's "White Fang", which is our current read-aloud with the older kids.  When the ladies from church threw us a baby shower in November I received as a gift this fun little book. Now, we did actually receive quite a few books, but not all books for very young children are all that great. Some are too long, or too busy or just plain stupid! But this one.... I love it. And Baby does, too.
It is a board book, which is a must for babies, and the name of the series is "Say and Point Picture Board".  The pages are simple and colorful.

And it actually does have some text, so you don't just read one word per page. I hate those books. You're looking at them with your baby and it's like, "Bear!" and that's it. And it's up to you to make up some other sort of commentary so you don't get through the book in three seconds flat. And that gets tiresome after a while.
I liked it so much I bought two others in the series. There's this one.... about kittens.
And this one about farm animals.

It has such nice photographs which really stand out on a plain, white background.
I love the farm animal one, especially, because all the pictures are of mommy animals and their babies. They are so precious.
So, if you have little ones or if you're going to a baby shower or just need a baby gift for some reason, I would highly recommend these books. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

We're all A Little Under the Weather!

You know, I hate posting about my health. It makes me feel so old. I remember my mother commenting once about getting together with some friends and all they talked about was their health problems. "That's all old people do," she said. "Complain about their health!"  Well, I'm not that old, and I'm not going to complain about my health. Which, generally is pretty good. Except for that eye thing I had several years ago. And that cancer on my leg. But that's gone now. Oh yeah, and all my allergies. Now, that's bad news. I have to get shots for those. You know, we're on the family plan at our allergist. (I wish they actually had a family plan since there are now three of us going there) Hubby's now getting shots, so we try to meet there on Friday afternoons, get our shots, and hang out there for the requisite 30 minutes (in case you go into anaphylactic shock).  I haven't been able to go in on Fridays for the last couple weeks and it's been noticed. The injection lady has commented to Hubby about that. I guess we make an impression. We're now "that family with all those kids." I think that 5 (or it could be 4, I don't know, we kind of skipped from 3 to 5) is that magic number where you go from not really being noticed to strangers looking at you and saying, "Are they all yours?" I wish I had some snappy- smart comeback, but I am just not the snappy-smart comeback type of gal. I'm more of the smile-nicely-and-say-"yes, they are!" type of gal!  So, anyhow back to our health. The female members of the family are ill. The girls all have fevers, I have what they have minus the fever. So, Hubby brought pizza from Costco for dinner and I'm trying not to feel guilty for a messy house. I'm just going to veg in front of the tv and go to bed early and hope that I feel better in the morning. (Oh, and just so you know, I'm sitting far back from the computer so I don't breathe on you! I'd feel bad if you got it, too!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Our Other March Birthday!

 Do you notice that a lot of families have birthday clusters? Not everyone in the family fits into the cluster, but usually you've got 2-3 people who have birthdays in the same month. Or they're all in the same season.  For example, in our family, we have 2 March, 1 April and 1 May birthday.  Then we have 2 October birthdays. And, if you want to extend that to Grandparents, you can add another April and another October. My brother is in May and my niece is in March. I know a lot of people who have the same problem.  So, when March comes, I'm stressin'! And we're eating a lot of cake.  Here's Duh-duh's cake. Since he's turning 8, I told him I'd make him an "Eight Cake". He took one look at it, sneered and said, "That doesn't look like an 8." I sent him to his room. I think it looks like an 8. Kind of a gaudy 8, but it's still an 8.
 So, today we celebrate his birthday. We had McDonald's for lunch.  We were going to take it to the park, but because of our sick little sisters, we just went through the drive-through and brought it home.  And he'll get some presents and his "Eight Cake" and then tomorrow night we'll have a little party with the grandparents and celebrate both his and Missie Lou's birthdays.  So, Happy Birthday, Duh-duh!

Yucky Bug Going Around!

You know someone once said, "If Jumping to Conclusions was an olympic sport, I'd be a gold medalist!" I tend to be that way. And I'm certainly not one you'd want to have with you in a crisis situation. Really. I panic. I freak out. And when my kids are sick.... oh my. It's good my friend J is nearby. She's the one with 6 kids, ranging from a freshman in college to a 3 year old, so she anchors me when I need it. But, I am learning. I was a basket case with the first two, but now I'm able to talk myself through it before I start making arrangements with the local funeral home. Cee-cee was a little sick earlier in the week. Tuesday she ran a fever, threw up once and got that "look". You know, that sick kid look. They just have that look in their eyes, and you know they aren't faking it.  But, you know, as much as she was running a fever, she was up, playing, doing her thing. She was a little off her feed, but that was it. Oh, and of course she has another cough. But, that's par for the course for her.  And then, this morning, Baby woke up with a fever. And a cough. And lots of snot.  She's a different sort of sick kid than Cee-cee. She just sits here. On my lap. She fell asleep and I was able to put her to bed for a couple of hours. I've been doing the Tylenol/Ibuprophen thing and it's lowered her temp a bit.  I guess this is just going to have to run it's course. Of course, sometimes I get those little twinges, those little panic attacks like, "Oh my word, I need to call the doctor, she's got a horrible disease, she's dying!" But, fortunately, having all these kids has taught me a little and I remember J's advice. "Just wait a few days and see what happens." So, I will.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Learning a Few Things!


"Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against— tribulation, suffering, and persecution— are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39)."  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Do you not love the image Chambers creates in your mind with his analogy? I see in my mind's eye one of those huge waves, like in Hawaii, the Pipeline, and a surfer just riding right through it slick as can be. Of course, a person like me, who has no experience surfing would be crushed and drowned by such a wave, but the surfer, well, he lives for that. He's conquered the fear and learned how to deal with the danger. I know I've mentioned before that I've been dealing, in my own life, the idea of suffering, my own fears of suffering and where do we find God in it all.  I think I'm starting to find some of the answers I'm looking for.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Drumroll please.........

Well, here it is, Tuesday night and our contest has come to an end. To be quite honest, I hate having to pick just one winner. But, I guess in a giveaway, there has to be just one. So here it is..... But, I want you all to know I photo-documented the drawing just so you know it's all on the up-and-up!
Here's my lovely assistant, all fresh and clean from the shower.
She's making sure her eyes are closed as she picks the winner.
There she goes.
And the winner is..... Sheena!
Sheena, if you could e-mail me at krissik7@gmail.com I will see to it that you receive your free copy of Energy Explosion!  Thank you all for participating in our little giveaway here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Energy Explosion Giveaway!

Don't forget to sign up for the Energy Explosion Book Giveaway. Time's a runnin' out!  Just comment on this post and you'll be entered for the drawing to take place tomorrow!

Gentlemen...... Start Your Engines!

Yesterday was our church's Third Annual Pinewood Derby. You know what a Pinewood Derby is. It's when you make a little wooden gravity powered car and race it.  We started a couple years ago when we were running a Pioneer Club.  But then, we decided to open it up to the whole church and have it become a Sunday afternoon affair. I'm telling you, it's not just the kids who get in to it. There was a whole lot of trash talking (all in good fun, of course) by some of the adults, who were competing.
It was really a great afternoon. Lots of good races. Lots of delicious prizes. These are the prizes. I figured, people don't like trophies. You just have to dust them. So, I made cookies as prizes. You get the satisfaction of knowing you won, you get a yummy cookie for your trouble and you don't have a dumb old trophy taking up space. It's a win-win situation.
Bubba won third place in the racing.
We also judged the cars by appearance. And after the race we had a soup supper. It was yummy. I had some chicken noodle soup and some potato sausage soup. Both outstanding. I love it when we have potlucks at church.
So, it was a busy weekend. Birthday parties and car races. But, it was a lot of fun.