Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Babysitters

Real Gil has two days off next week, and I am determined that we are going out on a date. Only one thing is missing: a babysitter.

This got me to thinking, where did that terrible word "babysitter" come from? Do we pay cute young teenagers to come into our house and literally sit on our babies? Does it refer to the possibility that the hired help sits (with a remote control) while the baby runs amuck? Or does it mean that the baby sits obediently and quietly for the lovely temporary mama? Anyway you look at it, it doesn't make me want to pay $10 an hour for one. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure this post is not going to help my odds of finding one by next week.

Anyways, I'm nothing if not a researcher...well, an internet researcher at least. I checked Wikipedia and found that the title "babysit" might stem from egg-laying animals that must sit on their baby eggs to incubate them. Not very comforting to me. Another idea is that the term "babysit" originated from (and I quote directly from Wikipedia) the action of the caretaker "sitting on" the baby in one room, while the parents were entertaining or busy in another. Hmm...perhaps I'm a bit slow on this one, but that doesn't help me.

I've given up on figuring this out. BUT I am not giving up on a babysitter. If you would like to come to my house and tend to, care for, and play with my very healthy children in a very cleaned, disinfected home, Real Gil and I would love to hire you. We do not want you to sit on eggs, sit on our children, or walk around yelling, "Baby, sit!" If you can meet these requirements and Punkin, Sugs, and the Little Man don't scare you away (or their weird mother), you're for hire.

Picture me with my thumb at my ear and my pinky on my lips stage whispering, "Call me."

Resting,
Karen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The History of Our Gastroenteritis



My mom called me today.

"Karen," she said without pretense. "You're in the newspaper."

"I'm in the newspaper?" I repeated.

"No, not you. The sickness," she clarified.

"Oh no. If there is an article about this sickness, I want to be in that article. Me and my three young children. By name." I insisted.

She laughed as if I were joking.

I was not.

The article was not a joke either. It basically said that this specific stomach virus is affecting our entire area and - my favorite part - the infectious period begins as soon as someone becomes ill and lasts at least three days after recovery or, in rare cases, up to three weeks after recovery.

Three weeks of contagion? Oh dear Lord, save this homeschooling mother. I'm rebelling. Officially. I have put us under a seven-day quarantine. After that, all you locals better look out because these crazed, sun-less folk are busting out of this joint.

Do you know who is at fault on this one? My poor dad. But he's not the only one at fault. I am too. We, unknowingly, went out on Saturday and swiftly ruined the Spring Break of visiting extended family.

About a week ago, we had a birthday party for my dad. (He is young-ung!) With all the family gathered at my house, we celebrated, but poor Dad never even got to eat his lemon cheesecake. In fact, by the end of the evening, dear Grandma G.G. (my great-grandma, my father's grandmother who lives with my parents) was sitting in the corner with her hand over her mouth, and my dad was trying not to even look at the food being served. We actually sang "Happy Birthday" to him as we were waving good-bye to their receding car. Then, we all went inside and proceeded to eat his cheesecake.

Unfortunately, we caught the crud. Of course, we don't hold it against dear Dad, especially considering how many germs we've shared with him and Mom.

But that's how The Bowl got to be used this week. And that's how I came to the realization that sleep is highly overrated. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Sick children abound around here. And one recovering parent.

In an act of sheer self-sacrifice, I have sent Real Gil away to sleep at his parents' house when he is not working his shifts. He is the only family member not to get this lovely stomach flu and it would really make work impossible if he got it (duh).

And he did take care of the children while I was vowing to never go near a Panda Express again. In fact, this is what Real Gil was doing, and this is just another reason why I love the man so dearly.


Yes, homemade sugar cookies with blue frosting. I got nauseous just looking at them, but the kids loved them. And him, of course.

SO-O-O, I'm manning this house in my sleep-deprived, queasy state.

A few things I've noticed. My children are fussy when they are sick. So is their Mama. Two examples will suffice:

1. The Little Man actually cried this morning because some of his toes are smaller than other toes. Interesting observation, humorous response. A good parent would not laugh at ridiculous tantrums, but I couldn't resist.

2. The girls were trying to play pretend, albeit weakly. And they ended up in a fight over princes. The interesting thing, I pointed out to them in perfect Spirit-filled patience, was that the princes were imaginary.

But we are surviving. And I have found the new washing machine's "Sanitary" cycle to be "tested and proven." Candyland has been taken out and played a few hundred times. (Have you ever wondered why Mrs. Nut is in there? What kind of candy is a nut? What a bum deal for her. She should be Mrs. Toffee or Mrs. Sour Patch Kids or something else, but Mrs. Nut? C'mon now, toy manufacturers, think like a kid. At least one with a sweet tooth.)

We are officially quarantined so if you live anywhere near us, resist the temptation to visit. (I know it's hard.) And if you don't live near us, thank our good Lord. Then, go wash your hands just in case.

Hope you and yours are healthy today. And if not, I hope you have a working washing machine and lots of Lysol.

Resting,
Karen

Monday, March 29, 2010

Morbid Monday, or a pre-posthumous letter from the first wife to her replacement.

Dear Second Wife,

I have no intentions of dying any time soon, but I'm all about being prepared. And controlling. Even from the grave. In fact, I am so controlling that I'll reach out to the competition (hate to phrase it that way, but you are, my dear). Helpfulness is not my middle name, but it will be if it means Real Gil and the children are happy. In all honesty, your happiness is somewhat secondary, but not by much. After all, you've taken on my children with all of their odd idiosyncrasies and flesh patterns. Thank you for doing it. They are well worth the stress, laundry, and diapers. Real Gil, well, I'm not sure I'm ready to say thank you for that. He's my best friend, and in fifty years, I still won't be ready to hand him over. But because I love him so obsessively, I do want him to be happy, even if it's with you...after he's cried a lot about me. By the way, he hates this Morbid Monday post idea. (And I'm really glad.) But like I said, I thank you for taking on my lovely human children and the running of the house.

Maybe you are wondering why, all of a sudden, I have decided to write down all of my instructions, tips, confessions, and sarcasms to you, the second wife. It's really quite simple, and it happened this week. You see, I was suffering a miserable bout of the stomach flu. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that I saw THE bowl through your eyes. And it scared me! What if you didn't know that it was THE bowl? What if you saw it and thought to yourself, "I'm going to make a fresh salad in this perfectly sized bowl!" This first wife would roll over in her grave! So much so that even in my suffering state, I got out of bed, located a Sharpie pen, and clearly labeled the bowl. The only thing that should ever be tossed in it are cookies. And not the edible kind.



So I, Karen, do bequeath you THE bowl. The Ralph bowl. Have fun with that one.

What else do I give you? Lots of good quality thrift store purchases and hand-me-d0wn furniture. You can have The Meadow picture, and my mini-van. You can wear my clothes, use my make-up, even my new triple-barrel iron. There's my Kitchen-Aid and lots of favorite books on the bookshelf. In an act of self-sacrifice, I'll even give you my wedding dress. Good luck getting into it - I was one skinny bride. Harumph. Totally not connected, there's a treadmill in the back room if you need it. It's all yours.

This might be a little awkward. But there are a few things that you cannot have.

1. The Dave Barnes song, Nothing Fancy, is my song. I claim it and talk about it all the time with Real Gil. I know that since it is Dave Barnes' song, it's impossible for it to be mine. But it is and you can't have it. 'Nuf said.

2. I am sure you will be a great cook. But after 12 years of collecting recipes, you cannot have my personal cookbook. I want the children to remember the smells of my cooking and not confuse it with yours. (This may sound harsh, but I have informed my mother and sisters of this so don't try anything underhanded.)

3. You can't have my blog. You can guest blog any time you want and you probably should review it. It'll give you a pretty good idea about what goes on around this house - family worship time around the warm fire, apron-donned mother stirring dinner while her homeschooled children sit at the kitchen table and practice how to win spelling bees, perfect order and belly laughs abound. Or, on second thought, don't read the blog. You don't want to get overly intimidated by me. But you should probably take a few minutes during your transition to our house to introduce yourself to my blog readers. They will probably want to harshly judge warmly welcome you.

I'm exhausted. This is hard stuff to write. I'll continue next week if I can think of anything more you should know about this family. Until then, second wife, thank you for putting up with my words. Do you think we'll meet in this lifetime? It might be convenient for me to hand-pick you, but that might be a bit too extreme, even for this control freak.

Resting,
Karen

Friday, March 26, 2010

Teamwork

video



What caption would you put under this video?

I pray your weekend is one of Rest, the best kind, that somehow energizes you in the midst of exhaustion and perhaps even moves you to Strengthened service as He leads.

And that you get little helpers to lighten the load! At your house, do you get the dressed or the non-dressed versions?

Resting,
Karen

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Father-in-Law






I call my mother-in-law my mother-in-love because she rocks. My father-in-law rocks too, but it's a bit awkward to call him my father-in-love. So, I won't. After 18 years of knowing the dear fellow, we've had our share of awkward moments...the time I was following him down the hallway when he stopped suddenly, and I rammed him from behind, my cheek coming to rest on his shoulder in an odd embrace...that whole premarital counseling got weird, especially Session #7 (Physical Intimacy)...the time he and the mother-in-love came to visit me in the postpartum wing and the nurse came in and asked rather loudly if I had had any gas or a BM yet...



He is a pastor, our pastor in fact. After close to 40 years in the ministry (most of those at the same church), he is a walking Bible Answer Man, even on the beach with a baby in his arms. (For some reason, all of my pictures of him seem to be shirtless and on a beach. He does wear a shirt when he's in the pulpit.) But he's also very unassuming and humble. You have to think of the questions before you can watch his gift of wisdom in action. Other gifts he has: the gift of hoarding paperwork -you want to know what they spent in gas in 1979? Yes, sirree, he has it...and I'll be shredding it all in another thirty years; the gift of TiVO meets ESPN - where one can watch an entire Basketball game in thirty minutes or less; the gift of naps - wherein we all roll our eyes as Father-in-Law heads upstairs in the midst of family emergencies, garage sales, and any other mid-day activity - us parents of young ones are just jealous.

The other day we were at their house hanging out, pre-naptime. And as always, the guy amazes me with his gift for teaching God's Word paired with his gentle, simple way of explaining it to folks like me. Every time he gets going on a topic or a passage of the Bible, I want to scramble over people to get a notebook and a good pen. Often, I think to myself, what will I do when I can't call the father-in-law for help understanding God's wonderful, but sometimes confusing, love letter to us? Then, I found this - our church website. In particular, the link to all of the father-in-law's notes! That's like 35 years worth of smarts down in one place. I can't wait to steal all of his ideas and claim them as my own. And now, there's no more stress that he's going to kick the bucket and leave us high and dry.

The legacy abounds, dear Father-in-Law. Thank you for all of the wisdom you have put down to paper. I promise not to tease you anymore about your age or your naps. As long as I can infringe on your copyrights.

And happy digging to the rest of you. It's a gold mine kind of resource.

Resting in Him,
Karen

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Swim Suit Solutions!

I obviously do not get paid to promote any business. You have to be able to write REAL and grammatically correct sentences, and you to have more than three non-family-member readers to do that.

But I don't care if they give me a single dime. I have found the greatest website for swim suits. Have you heard of Lime Ricki Swimwear?


With Springtime approaching and the release of their new line of swimwear, I'm actually looking forward to wearing a swimsuit. If you live around me, I'm getting one so if you want to matchy-matchy, the answer is simple. NO. I am a recovering identical twin who does not match anything unless it comes with a hair bow and Mary Janes. I know you want to look like me, but I draw the line here (and so will you, when you see me in a swimsuit) so don't meet me at the pool in this swimsuit, I claim it already.

Now, if only I looked like the model in the doggone thing...



Happy shopping!
Karen

Dust Bunnies, Part Two

We had small group on Thursday night. As always, it was full of laughter and lessons.

And beforehand, as always, I tried to clean the house. (Key word: tried) This is nothing new or earth-shattering. My frantic antics are legendary around here. But there's something about having the pastor come for an observation that kicks your cleaning into high gear.

Do you remember this from a few weeks ago?

"Pastor John is coming to observe our group" announces the answering machine as we pile in the back door from morning Bible study. It makes perfect sense, then, that I had to climb into our bathtub and scrub the porcelain this afternoon. Never mind that my dear children might have been bathing with small particles of sand rubbing their cute, angelic rears lately, or that the washrags used as doll blankets might have been begging for replacements two days ago. My children alone were not motivation, it required some external catalyst...like a pastor coming to evaluate.

Of course, it's all about rest. (ah-hem) Rest time, that is. For the two-year old. So I can get back to this focus on
me cleaning. As I turn on the battery-powered candles and throw simple food at my family tonight, I'm wondering if I need medication. Or just a simple turning. Deep breath. And a turn back to He who desires the glory in this house. I'm gladly giving it to Him, and trusting Him with the not-so-fresh hand towels in the bathroom (Oh yes, I just flipped them...Granny taught me that trick.). And here we are at three 0'clock. Smiling genuinely now, resting with the dust bunnies still under my bed (as if our pastor is going to get down on his stomach and look), and off to cook real dinner.

Well, fast forward to this week.

Other than me forgetting to hide my damp bra that was drying in a not-so-obscure place, it all went without a hitch. Fellowship, laughter, and the life-giving Word.

Then, I discovered this:

video

Such freedom I have found! I'm embracing the dust bunnies. And wondering if this will make it into PJ's official evaluation. If so, I can explain.

But the real question is, can HE explain?

Resting,
Karen

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Repurposing Old Recipe Cards



What to do with old recipe cards? The handwritten ones passed down that include odd ingredients like lard and curd? At my house, it was the Booze Cake that I didn't necessarily like, but the handwriting was Grandma's and I couldn't bear to toss it out, even in my most obsessive/compulsive organizational mode.

Here's what I did:


Looking up at the ceiling between our great room and kitchen


Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a few boxes of old recipe cards, some from my mom, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother.


After making color copies of them, I used an adhesive spray glue to attach them to the inside of my kitchen walkway. Wallpaper glue did not do the trick so Elmer's took over. Over the top of this, I used a paintbrush to slap on a little Mod Podge topcoat.



Every day, as I walk through this entryway, I think of all of the other women in my family who cooked in their own kitchens for their own families. Does it matter if I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my family for dinner, or Real Gil's favorite steaks? Perhaps my work is not earth-shattering, but it is part of the legacy I leave. This kitchen work is part of the prepared tasks God has put before me today (Ephesians 2:10). I figure that Jesus himself made breakfast for the disciples so it's not above me. And someone had to make that boy's lunch of fish and bread so Jesus could perform a miracle!

Whether God uses my food for miracles or just to teach me to put someone else's needs ahead of my own, I step willingly into the kitchen. But it's always easier when you stop to smile at other generations' meticulous writing, and serving, and ultimately, their legacy.

Resting,
Karen

DIY Day @ ASPTL

Dollar Store Rejects

While the men were off bonding with the monster trucks, we women did what we do best: shop.

At the Dollar Store.

My girls each had $2 from Gramma and off they went. I picked these up for myself since I have yet to find comfortable ear buds for my ipod. I'm not sure why I thought that my odds were better at the Dollar Store.




Tonight, I pulled them out and found this inside:


Oh yes, they're lightweight and comfortable. Good to know. With a 48-inch cord. Convenient, I say. Compatible with all MP3 players. That's fantastic. What's that? A warning?

This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.

Really?! Really???

I'm prepared to wash my hands after I handle raw meat, or steer a germy grocery cart through the Target aisles. But after I touch the earbuds?!

Guess that's why they're at the Dollar Store, eh?

Guess what else is at the Dollar Store?

Standing in line at the checkout, I noticed they have pregnancy tests for sale. For one dollar. That, my friends, is a screaming deal. Just make sure to read the small print.

Resting,
Karen

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Reading

I hope your weekend is full of Peace, the best kind.

And here's a few of my favorite articles from the week, if you'd rather not wash the cars or fold laundry.

How to Become a Legalistic Christian in Three Easy Steps - unbelievable article! Light and fun, but also rich with truth.

A great tutorial on how to make a miniature Easter tomb with grass and a few pots. There's not a crafty bone in me, but I just might be coerced into making these.

For all you fellow homeschooling freaks out there, here's a favorite to return to time and time again.

As we continue to pray for Haiti, I have enjoyed reading this blog from a family that has served in Haiti for many years. Their footage and words are startling, and yet joyful too.

For no legitimate reason except that Brian Regan is the king of sarcasm and I might possibly be a sucker for sarcasm...and because Real Gil and I find ourselves quoting him throughout our simple daily activities, hope you enjoy our tweaked sense of ER humor.

See you on Monday, dear friends.

Resting,
Karen

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nerf War!


One great thing about being in our family is holidays and birthdays. As much as I enjoy all the hoopla surrounding a good party, I do not enjoy capturing those moments and making them into sweet memories. Good news for me, not only did I marry into the family with good recipes and woman-with-man-hands pictures. I married into a family that has this guy:


Now, if you ever see us on vacation and you wonder to yourself, Hmmm...are they celebrities? The answer is no. Well, maybe we are. If you want to make me feel good. But we should clarify. We do not have a member of the paparazzi following us around. We just have James Glover, amazing photographer and - what? Oh! That's convenient! - family member.

There's been a few birthdays around here lately, and the Nephews' Nerf War was the best. You've heard me rave about brother-in-law's photography, and thankfully, he likes to take pictures of his boys. That means we got crazy good pictures of said Nerf War.

If you haven't met the Nephews yet, here they are.


Aren't they cute? Makes this auntie want to pinch a few cheeks and smack some sloppy wet kissed on their foreheads. Don't they look sweet? They are. And they never fight with one another...

Unless you give them a Nerf gun. (Or take their candy or rip their homework or break their stuff or...well, you get the point. They're pretty normal adolescents.)

When we heard about Mason and the Largest Nerf Party Ever over at That Family, we jumped on that bandwagon real quick. Prayers continue to be raised in this house for Mighty Mason, but we also think it's okay to raise Nerf guns too. Do you agree, Mr. Mason? We hope so! Because it was a doggone good time around here. The only thing that would have made it better is if we could have had THE Mason party-planner-extraordinaire there to share the fun with.

So, happy birthday, Mason! Hope your Nerf Party was as fun as ours!



From,
A Family of Trigger-Happy Nerf-ers

*All photos copyrighted James Glover Photography. Like you didn't know THAT yet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Real Gil Has a Day Off

Friday was a day off for my man. After a day with the family it was officially Man Time...mini-van style. The testosterone level was elevated for sure, as they loaded up - these 3 toddler boys and brave Grandpa and Gil - and headed to places unknown, people mysterious and somewhat foreign.

Where, you ask?

The Monster Truck Rally.

With light-up shoes and diaper bags and Auntie* along to help with crowd control, the Boys and Men unite in monster truck love. It was a beautiful thing.



Grave Digger became a household word used for anything unbelievably cool. Earplugs are cool too, bright orange ones in particular.

Who knew that this...



...was going to lead to this?



It takes me back to the 20-week appointment where reality narrows to cold jelly, black-white screens, and that ultrasound tech who announces life in a gender.

"Well, there's his little scrotum."

After all girl babies, I looked at Real Gil and panicked. "And what am I supposed to do with that?!!!"

Apparently, take it to the monster truck rallies.

So, they did.

And I rest.

Karen

**Auntie is in fact my skinnier, more refined identical twin sister. (But I'm nicer) If lying wasn't a sin, I would have just said that was me in the picture above.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Black Box

Do you have a black box?

In our house, it's a serious matter, this average-sized black box with a little clasp on one end. It sits in our bathroom cupboard and only gets taken down once a month. It is not heavy, but its weight is great. For it comes with obligations.

Remember The Meadow picture I told you about? The popcorn recipe I inherited from my dear in-laws? See here if you need a reminder.

As gracious as the Folks are, these things did not come without strings. Oh no, they did not. Not long after I became engaged to the Real Gil, I received the initiation into Life with the Black Box.

Inside, all cute and packaged freshly, were items I had never, ever used before.

Clippers. Attachments. Hair-cutting scissors.

And after the wedding, as I hung my She-man picture in our first home, as I popped our first bowl of kettle corn, I realized the obligation of the Black Box.

At first, it was simple and sweet. Real Gil would have a day off and I'd spend an hour trimming, combing, fingering, studying his head of forgiving curls. Not that difficult, really, especially when you have an amazing husband like I do. To be honest, the real concessions probably came from Real Gil's side of things, considering I was a young and ambitious bride with absolutely no experience with clippers. Real Gil had to put up with some pretty interesting haircuts. There were times, I'll admit, that I wanted to hand the man fifteen bucks and send him to Supercuts. I'm sure he would have kissed me happily and skipped out the door.

But then, I realized something one day as I was getting my own hair cut. The lovely lady eventually got around to the front of my face and as innocent as can be, had to stick her beautiful buxom self right at my eye level. I couldn't help but stare at her voluptuous chest. It was either that or mess up my bangs and I'm far too vain for that. Now, whenever I think of sending Real Gil to the barber, I remember that sweet hairstylist with her unwitting charm (two in particular) and I'm immediately motivated to get out the Box.

Then, the children started coming. And crawling. And spreading those lovingly shorn locks all over my floor. Now, I cut hair with at least two assistants. Real Gil is an amazing sport when it comes to three girls cutting, picking, pulling, and styling.

Today, however, something brilliantly new happened. If I was a feminist, I would be gleeful.

As the Little Guy climbed up to receive his haircut from Mama, Real Gil took the clippers.


See for yourself.

I'm off the hook, at least when it comes to this head of hair. My new job: handing out the lollipops, and taking pictures.


Then, it got downright silly around here. I think someone else just wanted a lollipop.



(Dear Brother-in-law James Glover, the photography superstar: Can you please teach me how to Photoshop that basket of laundry out of my picture? Oh yes, that's what I get to do after typing this insanity. Maybe that's why I'm still typing...)

So, we gave the Pops a lollipop and told him to sit still.


And with the talk of lollipops floating around this house, our next victim took the bait.


Now if only I can get someone to do my highlights for me...

Resting,
Karen




Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Middle Child






Have you wondered about her?

Yet to grace the blog, I know.

It's not because I am a bad mother. Or because I don't like her. That's like telling the moon not to shine, so great is my love, and like, for her.

My reasons for writing a blog for three months and hardly mentioning her are many. One - I've been forewarned not to use my kids' real names on a public blog and it's taken me this long to figure out a nickname for the dear little gal. Other reasons: she flies below the radar, has not gone to the ER in the last three months unlike the other two children*, and has never pushed out her toots on my leg. But is she worthy of writing about? Most certainly!

Here's what she leaves for me every time we eat cereal for breakfast.


It may not be clear, but those are Frosted Mini-Wheats...without the frosting. Because, let's face it, what's the point of a whole-grain wheat biscuit without the lightly sweetened frosting (as opposed to heavily sweetened frosting? Isn't that what frosting is - sugar?).

As I cleaned this up yet again this morning, I realized her nickname is obvious: Sugs. You might need a big wad of chewing gum and a waitress uniform when you say it because I imagine it pronounced "Shooogs" with an affectionate smack of saliva at the end.

Appropriate for her. Considering she's opposed to salt (unless it's saltwater taffy), asks for nothing but dessert, and scoffs at the sight of well-intended parents with vegetables. Then, when you least expect it, Sugs will eat an entire plate of broccoli (because it's a flower, she explains).


I should mention that Sugs has imaginary friends. Not too long ago, I climbed into our car and she squealed with terror as I smashed imaginary friend Mena with my ever-imposing hiny. Of course, the two of them have imaginary princes too, Jeremy and Diego. If Sugs falls, she'll stand up, brush herself off, and simper a breathless "Oh, thank you, Jeremy." Don't try to help her up because that's the job of a prince, not a mother. (Unless there's blood)

When Sugs bestows a hug - and she really does give them like a queen pardoning a criminal, the grace in her being stooping to embrace another with regal ceremony - she will always lift her right leg at the knee, and kick it behind her like a good little princess.

Last night, she slept in her black patent leather dress shoes. I encouraged her to slip them off, but Sugs reminded me that they went perfectly with her pajamas. Indeed. As I write this evening, she is fighting the three-year-old fight against sleep in a pink, fluffy tutu. But never fear - she is not a diva princess. In fact, tonight she informed me that she is a llama. In a pink tutu.

When she had a little coughing fit this morning, I inquired if she was feeling okay. "Yes, Mama," she replied. "I feel good. But my heart hurts when I yawn."

You would think that with these funny quirks, Sugs would be overly dramatic. But she's nothing of the sort! She's not exactly shy, but she's not exactly outgoing either. If given her choice, she'd pick a quiet corner by herself rather than a room full of visitors. If asked to dance or sing in front of family, Sugs will do it but not because she likes the attention, but because the budding artist in her can't not dance or sing.

Her prayers are precious. After her big sister's arm was broken and surgically put back into place, Sugs prayers became very serious matters. My favorite one:

Dear Jesus
, [Imagine chubby hands and eyes squeezed tight with concentration.]
Please help Uncle 'Keve not get killed in the war.
And God, help my sister's arm not fall off.
Amen.


Because I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive about words and hidden meanings, I had to Google the word "Sugs" and make sure it's not some sociopathic acronym or porn website. All is well, and the online urban dictionary even defined it as "a person who is particularly enjoyable." I couldn't agree more!

Without further ado, blog readers, meet Sugs.

Sugs, meet the blog readers. [Ahhh, yes, she curtsies and flutters the eyelashes.]


Resting Tonight,
Karen

** An update on our ER visit count: we paid another visit (and bill) on Thursday when the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Marble Eater cracked his head open and required some Dermabond. All is well, character has been built. Here's my copay...again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What's A Homeschool Mother to Do?

*This is a re-post because I am a wimp. Yes, indeed, I am. I posted this and promptly removed it for fear of offending all of the young teenage girls who may have visited my blog after I spoke on purity (of all things) the following day. Here's your official warning, you beautiful young ladies. I wasn't lying when I told you that it's been a while since I entered a high school or opened a locker with a combination. This is how far removed I am from the life of a sixteen year old. Who needs a homecoming queen when you can be a homeschooling dweeb in sixteen more years? Read on if you dare.

** This post will hold no opinions. Not one. It doesn't need any (in my opinion). **

Imagine a happy homeschooling mama snuggled up in an oversized chair with our most recent read-aloud book, Punkin listening intently while wiggling a fresh, loose tooth.



We weren't exactly this happy, but you get the picture.

Knowing that good homeschool moms read old books (why is that?!), I plunged into chapter 5 of Understood Betsy. And all was well until I got to this paragraph and robotically rattled it off verbatim:

The teacher laughed. "You aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in?"...

"Well, for goodness' sakes!" ejaculated Elizabeth Ann...


Far too discerning for her own good, Punkin perked immediately at one uncensored word. "What's that mean?"

I squirmed. I giggled. And I lied.

"I said, 'exclaimed.'"

The giggle gave me away. "Nuh-huh," she spouted knowingly.

I'm caught.

Great.

What's a mama to do?

Do you correct your children when they play nativity and one child is the ass? Do your kids say "gay" when they're happy? Or "queer" when something is odd? Or talk about how pretty the pussywillows are while you try to hide your smirk? Because if you read old books, it's inevitable.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why I Haven't Vacuumed This Week


Have you read this yet?

I'm about three years behind on new releases, but this book is a new favorite around these parts. If you are looking for an inspiring true story, you can't beat this one. But you might want to cook a week's worth of meals before you start this sucker. At one point, I had three children happily pounding on pots and pans with metal spoons, and that was okay because I was reading without interruptions (as only a mother can do). You'll never look at big mountains or the Starbucks menu or even homeless folks and God the same.

Resting While I Play Catch Up,
Karen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Parents Do on Vacation

Well, Tucked In parents anyways.

We go to theme parks and take these pictures.


We skip picture opportunities with a Marilyn Monroe lookalike so we can capture the real girl of the hour:

We ride bikes with two seats because we don't feel quite right riding independently.


We eat fish because three children hate fish at home (frozen fish sticks excluded).


We laugh at each other a lot and do NOT get defensive. Real Gil had me cracking up over this sweater.

"Would you be mine? Won't you be mine? Won't you be my neighbor?"

And I had him laughing at my continued persistence to order Pumpkin Raviolis even though I have yet to be satisfied with them. I've officially given up and am now ordering anything with butternut squash. Pumpkins are out, squash is in.



We return home ready to hold and snuggle and wrap up little excited bodies, even though all they want is the Ring Pops we carry.

And now, twenty-four hours later...we are doing what us parents do best. (At least Tucked In parents)

Planning the next getaway.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mathare Valley


Have you been following Kristen at all?

This mother-of-three writes a popular Christian blog, We Are That Family. She is currently in Kenya for her first trip with Compassion International. I have faithfully followed her documentation and wondered if any of you would like to follow along as well.

By the way, she is in the very same slum that my parents are very involved in (Bridge Ministries), along with Compassion International and Compassion Canada. The footage of Mathare Valley is too much for me to grasp, and these photos don't even come with smells or sounds! How does a rich American like myself make sense of this reality? And how do I talk about recipes and haircuts and Curious George (my reality)?

As I threw away the leftovers on my childrens' plates (and let's be honest, my own plate), I am again stuck with that terrible, perpetual question: "What do I do for these children of God?!!" What are we as a family doing? Not enough. I know that. We pray for them. We force ourselves to read current articles no matter how uncomfortable they make us feel. And we sponsor a Compassion child who we have all grown to love, to pray for by name as our "little sister." And most importantly, we walk in His strength and allow Him to reveal other areas where He wants to use us.

But do we do these things because we want to be used by God or because our guilt is so big that we must allay it somehow? Perhaps, in my own case, a little bit of both.

On one hand, I am so thankful that we get to ask, "What are we going to eat for dinner?" instead of "Will we eat dinner?"

How does one rest spiritually in the midst of footage of such physical suffering? It must be in seeing the one Source of true hope, even in Mathare Valley, who never leaves His own. "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him." (Ps. 103:11) This family, tucked into Him, are praying that He sees us as available and willing.

Resting in Him Who Hears,
Karen

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weekend Reading

For those of you that want to read instead of clean this weekend, here's a few favorites from the week...

Why we love Compassion

Top 100 Women Blogs if you have a LOT of time and ambition!

Do you get many emails, some newspaper articles, forwarded on to you? One thing I always try to do once I receive these is to check Snopes for confirmation of the email sources. Many, many times, I have discovered that the emails were completely false! For example, have you received the one about Thomas Jefferson writing long ago about banks and big government being the country's greatest demise? Completely false. Check your emails here.

Sweet words on purity for any of you young girls brave enough to have come to my blog for a quick visit. (Welcome!)

Interesting article from a secular perspective for us Apologia homeschoolers. From Romans 1, it makes sense - we look foolish yet again! I'm okay with it. How 'bout you, Mrs. K.H.?

Resting this weekend,
Karen