Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Clone

There are some really weird things that happen to identical twins.

We say the same thing. At the same time. In the same tone of voice.

And our kids all look at us like they're in the Twilight Zone.

We also show up at the town park dressed the same. Again. It was so hot that Kris finally gave up on hiding behind the sweatshirt, and I told her we should strut it like we planned it.

Yes, we dressed alike. However, we don't have to call each other beforehand to accomplish this. It just happens when you are a clone. We used to hate it but now we kind of laugh about it.

By the way, I'm not sure how much of this is because we are twins, and how much of this is because we are sisters. There is another sister in the bunch, the younger, kinder, and well-rested version of us, and I must say, when you get the three of us together, we do dress, talk, and act a bit the same.

But there is a real big thing coming in my near future. It is so big I'm trying not to think about it.

My clone is leaving.

With my nephews.

This is a good thing, because it means Uncle 'Keve is home from Afghanistan. How can we ever be sad about that?

They are all leaving to be a family together. In Japan. For a long, long time. When I see those nephews again, they are going to be bowing their greetings to us and taking their shoes off at the door.

As for my identical twin, how will we ever know if we are dressing the same if we don't even live on the same continent? It won't even matter anymore.

I could go on and on with this pity party, but I'll stop.

And resolve to savor the next three weeks that we have with my DNA-duplicate and our nephews. I doubt much official school will be happening, but that's okay by me.

I'll even graciously take the ridiculous comments folks sometimes make about twins. All for the sake of time spent with the clone. My all-time favorite comment was the lady who looked at us and said, "Well you definitely look alike," then pointed at me and let the knife twist in my gut, "but I thought you were the older sister." Yes, thank you very much, mean lady. She's probably wearing skinny jeans right now and laughing at my bootcut mediocrity.

But I'll take it all, if it means I get more time with this little family of mine. So if you see me around town and I'm walking next to a clone, feel free to laugh at us and sing the Doublemint Gum song. You can even tell me I look so much older (or younger) than her, I can handle it.

A little caution is in here somewhere too, because if you come up to me and think I know anything about medicine, you are sorely mistaken. I haven't treated you at the med-surg floor and I know nothing about your hemorrhoids. Aren't you glad?! But if you run into my sister, look out because she can poke, prod, and IV you in two minutes flat.

Until three weeks from now, when she'll be refreshing her sushi orders in Japanese.

I'll be here, whining about it to you for the next year and a half. Prepare yourself.

Hope this weekend finds you enjoying your own family, and especially our Perfect Father.

Resting in Him,

Small-town Snob

The washing machine is whirling. The refrigerator has been cleaned out. The kids are running wild.


I'm back to reality.

But it's good to be back.

Which means that it was a great vacation away.

Three days was just perfect for me and Real Gil.

We did the obligatory ride on the cable cars. I pretended great interest in the mechanical genius of the antiquated transportation, like any good out-of-towner.

We watched the sea lions and tried not to wrinkle our noses at their stink.

It was cu-hold, so we lasted about 1 minute before we headed to Starbucks.
We spent a lot of money on caffeinated beverages.

Then, we went to see this:

I thought it was some Wicca Convention and was a bit hesitant, but Real Gil coerced me with sweet words and good food. And I'm so glad I went along with his peer pressure. Wicked was fantastic. Amazing. And only wicked if you are a surfer or a high schooler, and "wicked" describes something awesome. It was the best Broadway production I have seen yet. That is not a very good compliment seeing how I'm a hick with exactly three Broadway productions under my belt.

Hmm. Two key words there: hick and belt.

Do you sense a story in there somewhere?

Yes, you do. Well, let me indulge your good senses.

We were definitely out-of-place. Hicks. Every panhandler knew it, every harried businessman knew it (as we slowly walked the streets), pretty much we were yokels down to my tooled Danskos and Real Gil's digital camera.

Never was this more apparent than when I entered this great hole-in-the-wall clothing store. Unfortunately for me, it had a universal changing room. I felt like I was back in PE in middle school, trying to hide behind the locker doors. The only other person in the dressing room was an older woman who looked at me and laughed at my walking shoes.

"You must not be from around here," she said, not unkindly. Well, maybe unkindly.

What makes you think so, little fashion-service lady?, I asked with a smarmy undertone.

Perhaps it was this:

My dorky sweater on...inside out. And I didn't realize it until we got home last night.


Of course, I didn't KNOW my sweater was on inside out while I smiled at the weird fashion advisor/philanthropist. Wishing some other country bumpkin would wander unknowingly into the dressing room so I could go cower in the corner with my jeans halfway up, the woman told me the jeans I had were not skinny jeans.

"You really should try some on," she encouraged me. "Don't pay money for those jeans," she added, pointing to the jeans I was putting on.

This was awkward...considering that the jeans I was putting on were mine.

She browsed through the clothes I had hanging on the clothing rack, and seemed to totally ignore the fact that I was standing there in my socks and underwear.

She pointed to a dress that I had already tried on, and exlaimed, "Oh, that's perfect for you! Try it on for me!"

"I already did, and I liked it," I replied.

She huffed, "I can't tell you what belt to buy with it unless you put it back on."

Very well. I'm such a pushover. (You should have seen me with the panhandlers.)

[Warning: very long aside. In retrospect, I still can't fathom why this woman would take time to be my fashion consultant. Surely she had other, more important things to do - close some real estate deal or plan the hand-picked genetics of her first grandchild or book tickets to some Broadway show (in which, I would tell her how our front-row seats at the Orpheum Theater left me with a little crick in my neck). In some ways, I have to admit that she would fit in pretty well in our small town with that slow, methodical personality. It's the tactless and somewhat materialistic dimensions of her that might make life in the country a bit challenging.]

Then, I committed the biggest fashion crime to date when I proceeded to put the dress on with my blue jeans still on underneath. She positively smirked when she saw me standing in front of the mirror, awaiting her approval. Was it my Adidas shoes peeking out from the bottom of the dress that disturbed her so?

Much to my surprise, she gave the dress her full approval and picked a perfectly coordinated belt. Unfortunately for her, I was not paying $52 for the sucker and ruined her day by choosing the $4 knock-off.

"You're making a mistake," she said, as if every syllable was a gift from her perfectly-lined lips to my simple, conservative mind.

"Yes, well, you convinced me on the dress, but I'm not splurging on a belt, of all things."

I might as well have punched her in the gut, her gasp was so sudden.

I very gently informed the little lady that I was from a small town where skinny jeans and peep-toed ankle boots were not exactly practical given the snowfall and three toddlers I chase. (Mentally, I panicked thinking, "What am I going to do when I don't have three children to use as my excuse for being out-of-style, out-of-sorts, and out of time?") As different as I might look in San Francisco, she would look even more odd standing on a street corner in our town dressed in her leopard-skin pants and blood-red peasant blouse.

We parted ways when her cell phone rang. I snuck back into my dear, old, faithful, slumpy blue jeans. Slumpy is not a word, Dr. Bateman, I know, but it perfectly describes the jeans - they were as slumped as the Velveteen Rabbit. I grabbed my pile of intended purchases and made a quick exit from the dressing room. 'Cuz country girls do not move at a slower pace, much to you city folks surprise, we just don't always have such an urgency to move. Until we get to the city and almost get "citified."


I must say, the fashion advice I received wasn't the only odd thing we observed in San Francisco. Of course.

Real Gil and I did a lot of scratching our heads, and adolescent giggling behind our hands. And I think I officially became a small town snob.

It might have been soon after the crazy man on the street caught sight of Real Gil and I holding hands and started quoting weird Bible verses at us about immorality. The sign he was holding had all sorts of mis-quoted Bible verses and he pointed right at us, yelling "I'll bet you aren't virgins." I was proud of Gil who stopped and gently explained that we were married. The crazy man said we had chosen sex over Jesus, to which I got a bit...ummm...upset. He looked at me and said, "You don't have the life of Christ."

What?! I smiled at him as he started to quote some odd verse (I'm not even sure it was from the Bible) and interrupted, putting my palms up with emphasis: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20) He didn't like that one bit, but Real Gil and I walked away scratching our heads.

Yes, I'm a small-town snob now.

Between the fashion police and the virgin-marriage police, I was just about done with San Francisco. But my favorite puzzled moment was this one, caught on our way across the Bay Bridge. I barely caught a picture as we stared:

Can you see it?
A Port-a-Potty planted on a stand that hung OFF the side of the Bay Bridge.

As is usual with me and a camera, the picture doesn't do it justice. Those trees in the background were quite a bit removed. There was nothing around that little toilet except AIR. I told Real Gil that I would rather wet myself than climb the little ladder and use that restroom. What could be worse than falling off the Bay Bridge while attempting to use the restroom? Or even worse, falling off the Bay Bridge in a twisting, turning, tumbling port-a-potty?

Wait, I know something that could be even worse. Being in a sinking port-a-potty with the fashion police and the crazy no-sex dude.

Heaven help the San Franciscans!

Just to set the record straight, my shirt is on correctly today and my bootcut jeans are acceptable around these parts. So there, smug little "I once was a model for the Gap" lady! And if that's not enough, at least our toilets are firmly screwed into the ground, not dangling over shark-infested waters.

It's good to be home!

No matter where you call home, I pray you are enjoying the day gifted to you. More than anything, I pray you are resting in Him who is our life (whether the weird guy believes you or not!).

Resting in Christ Alone,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Guilt Trip

Every year, the men in our family pack up and get together for a weekend vacation. They usually hit an amusement park or two, and some kind of sporting event. This year's weekend is in two weeks. And they are going to Disneyland.

Need I say more?

So, we're off to San Francisco this morning for two days. I try very hard not to play the whole manipulation, guilt-game in our marriage. But maybe I should have whined a bit more about missing Disneyland, because I'm loving this!

I'll be not-so-tucked-in for the next few days, but will return soon. I'll see you in a few!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Read THIS!!!

I have the best links for you this Friday, EVER.

Do you want to know why?

Because they tell a TRUE story, one that our family has watched closely, then from a distance, as it has unfolded in a way that only God could design.

It was 6 and a half years ago when a fellow mom and my dear sister in Christ started this journey. The telling of it is not over, I know, but the most recent chapter has me on my knees, somewhere I have been many times when I think of Tammy. Only this time, it is in thanksgiving, not supplication.

Will you take the time to follow this link from Tammy by clicking here, and then if you want another perspective, here's the story from the perspective of her sister-in-law, Cameo?

Might we all be willing to go to the "shadows of the valley" (Psalm 23) so that God might reveal His unmeasurable love in the hopeless moments. After reading this, I laugh at that word: hopeless? Ha! As Philip Yancey says, hope is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. I'm loving the reverse tonight! Thank you, Tammy, for the endurance all these years, for THIS moment.

Many blessings to you all this weekend.

Resting in Him,

Your prayers appreciated.

How is it that we can grieve someone we don't really even know?

Please join me in praying for the family of Greg Stultz, one of "our guys" - the 20 men making up Uncle Steve's platoon. As we have prayed for them and sent them off with well wishes back in October, these men have become a true band of brothers in Afghanistan. Steve, my identical twin sister's husband and father to my two nephews, leads them with an amazing blend of humility and authority (so they tell us!). Serving in Afghanistan before the front lines even get there, we are all indebted to these men.

Won't you join me in praying for them as they continue with missions, for the Stultz family who will be laying their son to rest this weekend, and for my sister, Kris, who will be flying to Indiana to represent the Marine family at the funeral?


Thursday, April 22, 2010

How a Face and a Name Change Everything

This came in the mail today. Our first letter from Sergene!

At Christmastime this year, our three kids chose Sergene, a.k.a. "Jeannie," as their adopted Compassion child. She was our Christmas present to Jesus. A picture of her hangs at childrens' level in the hallway and the kids often stop to look at their new "sister." We knew very little about her...until now!

I read aloud: "Sergene is one of ten children being raised by her aunt. Her daily duties include hauling drinking water for the family and helping with the laundry. She loves to play with tin cans. (What, Mama? I repeat that part and my children all just look at me sideways.) And she loves sheep. Do you have any hobbies? Please pray for God's protection for me from disease."

Every night, the kids pray for her by name...along with "Uncle Keve and Mr. Mawty and Mr. Jordan and Chip and Sean and Todd and Wash" (these are all Marines except for Wash. That is Sug's make-believe Marine...). They talk about her often throughout our day.

Now, they all want to write again. And I happily oblige.

In many ways, Jeannie is another one of our children. I think of her often, whenever we throw away leftover food or complain about being hungry or tired or cold. I dream of meeting her someday, hugging her shyly and then without inhibition. While our family is not currently in a position to adopt, we are in a position to love on this little girl, even from a distance. And I've told Real Gil that if I could, I'd scoop her up as she already seems like ours.

I wonder, did we sponsor her for the gifts she would receive, or the lessons we would learn? I'll speak for myself when I admit that my reasons were not completely sacrificial. One reason, of course, was clear today, as this first letter was carefully unfolded, breathed over, read repeatedly, savored, and tucked into a high drawer. If you want an immediate reason to be thankful, another reason to yearn for Heaven, although these may be secondary motives to sponsor a child, they are blessings we are enjoying in this home today.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Men eating. No talking.

When men eat, they growl. At least that's what they do around here. I love watching the Little Man admire and imitate his papa. Right down to the way he eats his pear.

The good news in this video is that the little one yelling, "MOM!" repeatedly is on my end, not yours. :) Hopefully, you're viewing with relative peace and quiet to accompany.

Resting in Him,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trying Something New on Family Night

Do I talk too much about Real Gil?

It's hard not to when you're married to your best friend. And I'm going to do so again. Right now.

Real Gil had a day off, and it takes about twenty minutes before the man is bored. There wasn't a car that needed an oil change, and there wasn't even a child that needed a diaper change.

So, Real Gil decided it was time for an outing. We put the school books away (er... this might be stretching the truth a bit...we dragged the kids out of the warm spring sunshine and cleaned them up. I might have put a few school books back on the shelf AS IF we had done some school.) and loaded the car.

Small towns are great for growing families, but a cold wind was blowing which eliminated lots of activities. We made the hour-long trek to our nearest "big city" and tried our hand at something new.


Maybe, maybe...?

This was a victory dance, mid-step.

This was about as excited as Punkin ever got. Not sure bowling was her thing.

The children bowled exactly five rounds before promptly ditching their parents. Little Man just wanted to jump from ugly-firework-design-on-disgustingly-dirty-bowling-alley-carpet to ugly-firework-design-on-disgustingly-dirty-bowling-alley-carpet. The girls found an old arcade game, one of those hunting games with the plastic, germ-riddled rifles strung up to the sides of the machine. Who knew a hunting for cartoon caribou could be so exciting with the words "Insert Coin" flashing across the screen? I followed them with an eagle eye because 1) I'm full of absurd generalizations about folks who bowl; 2) I was relieved to have an excuse to leave bowling for another day; and 3) I wanted to watch Real Gil from a distance bowl five more rounds for five family himself. It was hilarious! He was throwing bowling balls as fast as the machinery could process them. And I must say, I've never had my name on the bowling score card with a triple digit next to it. Thank you very much, Gil.

Afterward, we went out for dinner together. We thought this was a brilliant idea, until we saw that everyone else in the city thought it was a brilliant idea. So, while we waited, we took goofy pictures, toured the bathroom (four times), and played with the revolving door at the entrance.

For other ideas of what to do with little ones at a restaurant, check this link. To be honest, we don't have enough restaurant outings to need to occupy our little ones, they're pretty excited to just be eating in a booth, with lots of people to stare at, point to, or make embarrassing comments about. (I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, English high school teacher extraordinaire, Dr. Bateman. I know. It's just that naptime is only so long, and I don't care to re-work the darn thing. Take it or leave it, sister.)

What has your family been doing for family outings or playdates? And what do you do with little ones to keep them occupied during dinners out? And how hard do they crash afterward?

Resting in Him,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boycotting Morbid Monday - and just rambling.

Yes, I am indeed.

Like a fad from the 1980s, I'm throwing out that terrible idea of Morbid Mondays. Far too depressing for Real Gil me. The bummer for you is that leaves us all with a bunch of my ramblings, mostly done last night as Real Gil readied for working the night shift. His words, "You're still awake?" had me typing quickly, and clicking "Save" without further thought. But here we are, on Monday morning, without no morbid letters to my replacement. For those, you'll have to go to the archives because she - not I - is history.

Happy Monday from this well-rested house of chaos to your house of chaos. Enjoy my ramblings (or skim them quickly if you dare):

Many things happened this weekend, some of which I am sinfully proud of, some of which I am baffled by, some of which have humbled me sweetly, and some of which I am still ALMOST too embarrassed to admit. You'll have to decide which is which, my dear friends.

1. I left a cupboard open and went to bed. If you don't realize the gravity of the non-symmetrical, unbalanced earth at that very moment in time, you need to spend a few weeks in my brain. Perhaps I am obsessive/compulsive (aren't we all, about something or other?). Perhaps I am not, I announce with a foot stomp for emphasis. After all, I did indeed leave a kitchen cupboard gaping, it's door in a yawn that won't end until I get up in the morning and finally let the poor thing rest a bit. We'll see how I sleep tonight.

2. Speaking of sleep, I got just about none last night. But as far as I know, I did not fall asleep during church today, I did not forget any children, and...well...for Pete's sake, I am writing this amazingly coherent post at 9:45 at night. That must count for something.

3. If you want to know why I am so tired, surprisingly, it had little to do with my children, and a lot to do with one famously rude night visitor who decided it would be fun to freak out a mama on a Saturday night when her hubby was at work. (Famously rude night visitor, if you want to doorbell ditch a house, find the one that doesn't have sleeping toddlers. And tonight, I am indeed sleeping with a nightlight. And I've got weapons: speed-dial, groggy-aim, and mother-adrenaline under my belt - er, nightgown. Do not mess with me. Or the dear sheriff's deputy who so kindly patrolled the neighborhood after Dispatch told him to calm the hysterical lady north of town. No matter that dear Deputy lacked tact when he commented, "This house is really nice. I could see why someone would want to prowl here..." I cringed, especially when he asked if I was single (He wanted to know if hubby would return, he explained awkwardly.) But no matter, famously rude night prowler. If you come pounding on my door tonight in the wee hours, I am ready for you. And if any innocent person wanted to drop off some surprise basket of goodies - or small adoptable babies - on my doorstep, tonight would not be a good night to do so.

4. I sprinted today. I'm no spring chicken, I readily admit, and I'm sure I looked a little goofy, but this was an all-out, arms pumping dash. And unlike my usual sprints, it went further than the parked car in the driveway to the house for almost-forgotten essentials before outings. Details include one steep incline, one three-year old on a Razor scooter, and one family out for a walk with Grandma and Grandpa. When Sugs started her descent, Real Gil and I quickly realized her lack of control, her increasing speed, and - this is the part where I am almost too embarrassed to tell you the rest - her lack of a fitting helmet. So, I ran. There was no way that I could catch her, but her screams of fear and wobbling front wheel had me envisioning another ER visit. Then, a miracle. She rolled to a stop. The Razor scooter was thrown to the ground and her tears poured. (Yes, I know if you are a mother of boys, you would spend the rest of the day sprinting after the scooter as they repeated the adrenaline-boosting experience. It's an odd world you live in, I admit.) I scooped her up and held her tight as Real Gil came near, child lugged on his shoulders. We took a deep breath and gathered up our wits. Tomorrow we go helmet shopping.

5. Today, I worshiped my Savior, and let the first blooms of extended forgiveness grow in me. Surely it is supernatural forgiveness, because my brain isn't ready, but my heart - when focused on Him - can't fight it. So, I don't resist - that's a losing battle, I know. Just as I accept forgiveness from God, I also extend it, opening my hands and letting our family's hurts and rights fall through my fingers. So, I step out in faith, trusting Jesus alone to restore what has been lost, and to heal as I choose to obey, to forgive. It will have to be repeated again and again, I'm sure. Have you heard the saying, "If you want to bury the hatchet, you can't mark the site"? I'm trying not to mark the site where our family was hurt, where we are licking our wounds. Instead, I am turning it all over to Him who has forgiven me, and restored me. How can I not forgive another? His Spirit gently guides and empowers, as I allow. Such freedom, and rest in this place!

I'm resting, and I pray you are too.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dear Persecuted Christian

Dear Persecuted Christian,

Greetings, from a rich, pampered American. I'm a bit embarrassed about that description, but it's the truth.

I read about you often, and pray for you. As do our children, after seeing your names and faces here. My Sunday School students have written letters to you, and I did too. But you seem so far away. And your trials seem so removed from my little life. But I believe in Jesus along with you. His is a love like none other, don't you think?

The other day, I was asked what kind of persecution I have suffered for my faith. I had no answer. I'm not sure that I have ever suffered for my faith. Somehow, though, God in Heaven has still called me His own, and I come rejoicing to Him. My faith is real and true, and encouraged so incredibly by your joy in the midst of trials, your honest endurance in the midst of persecution.

Not too long ago, my six-year old daughter was laying on a gurney with a broken arm, her pain twisting and writhing her little body. We waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently, for the late-night surgeon who skipped his own childrens' Christmas pageant to put our little girl's arm back together. How I wanted to take away her pain, skip the trial, anything to avoid the agony!

How much worse your agony is! And yet you persist. Nothing is skipped or medicated.

Thank you.

You ask God, "How long?" and He answers, "A little while longer." You remain faithful.

That faith does not go by unnoticed. Even if no one here notices.

I thank you for allowing God's answer to be "No." He has not yet returned for His bride, to rescue you from the suffering you endure.

For a little while longer, you wait.

And I'm thankful. Twenty years ago, others were waiting, and some even died waiting...

Like Linh Dao from Vietnam (killed in 1991) and Romulo Saune from Peru (killed in 1992). Also, Gul Masih killed in Pakistan (1992), Pastor Selchun in Nigeria, and Jackie Hamill who was shot and killed in the Philippines in 1992.

I feel like I know these brothers and sisters personally. Perhaps in Heaven I will get the chance to thank them.

Because as they suffered, this naive American sinner became a naive American saint.

Thank you for suffering one more minute, one more hour, so that I could come to know Jesus, the One who will indeed wipe away every tear.

Now, some twenty years later, I thank you, Brother Gao, for suffering another hour, another day, so that others might still be wooed by the ultimate Lover.

Thank you to Pastor Yimiti who is in prison for fifteen years, after converting from Islam to Christianity and daring to give others the Ultimate Hope. And thank you to his wife and children, who now persist, and endure, without father, husband, and fellow Christian. All so that others might know my Savior God.

Thank you to all of my North Korean brothers and sisters who live with an average life expectancy of three months upon confessing their faith in Jesus Christ. Three months to live. But an eternity in His presence.

Looking to Him who will indeed have victory, I await the day I will stand next to saints like these and sing in final triumph.

On that white horse He’ll ride
With blazing eyes of fire

He’ll judge and make things right

Turn all the dark to light
When He splits the eastern sky
With heaven wings I’ll fly
And I will say good-bye
To these tears I’ve cried

Around His throne of grace
We’ll see Him face to face

With those who’ve gone before
We’ll be apart no more
And we will hear the sound
As all are gathered ‘round
Like peals of thunder loud
We will shout

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Salvation and glory and power belong to our King
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, we will sing

Our king of Kings we’ll see

Faithful and True is He
Our faith at last in sight
No more fears and doubts to fight
In heavens choir we’ll be
With robes of majesty
From sin and death now free
We will sing!

What a day that will be
When all darkness finally flees
When all bow and sing to the King
What a day that will be

When His glory we will see
When all bow and sing to the King

We will shout we will sing
We will shout we will sing We will shout we will sing
To the Lamb, to the Lord
To our God, to the King
We will shout we will sing
We will shout we will sing, we will sing

Until then, I'm trusting in Him alone. And praying for you.

Again, thank you for the extra minute, hour, day of endurance.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning Gone Awry

Nothing gets you in the mood to clean out the pantry quite like the thought of nosy strangers discovering your family's weakness for Riceworks Sweet Chili Chips. At $2.69 per bag, we go through them a lot. And we don't want the strangers in on this little secret.

So, I clean the pantry.

And find this.

Red potatoes...with wings. And tails.

That's what my two-year old said.

While most children look at the clouds and see imaginary animals and such, our children just stare at the potatoes.

Too bad Mom ended the game prematurely. With rubber gloves and a pinched nose.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning

A very odd thing is happening around this house.

It all started a few weeks ago when a dear friend of ours, who just so happens to be a realtor, called us and said, "So, I know your house isn't for sale, but can I show it to a couple moving to town?"

Real Gil and I talked and talked and talked. Then, when all that talking didn't get us anywhere, we just shrugged our shoulders and said, "Sure, you can show them our house."

Funny thing though. It's not for sale.

But I have told Real Gil a few times in the past two weeks, if he wants true spring cleaning, all he has to do is tell me that our not-for-sale house is being walked through by a couple of retiring Californians who probably don't have little fingerprints all over their coffee table (we don't even have a coffee table).

Nothing gets you in the mood to clean your house more than imagining some other woman peeking in my spice cabinet, or looking in our attic.

Call me domestic. Because, dear sisters, this house is spot.less. Or, it will be come Friday morning right around 10 a.m.

Now, I know this is a works-for-me post. But it's really a WHO works-for-me.

That would be my amazing mother-in-law. Last Friday night, she marched into my house to help me with this spring cleaning insanity. She carried a bucket, a bottle, and a razor blade. And rubber gloves. Obviously, she meant business.

And her business was my shower. I wish I had a "before" picture to show you the nasty water and soap stains. A non-busy person must have designed this shower. Or a man. Don't they know that you have to actually CLEAN these panes? Well, after three years of agonizing over my inability to clean them, I have learned the secret to cleaning those water stains.

1. Zap! which is expensive soap you can only buy online. It used to be at Costco but someone up in Kirkland, Washington must have decided to let someone else have the Zap monopoly. Get yourself some of this liquid soap goodness.

2. A really good rubber squeegee.

3. A razor blade

So, like any good daughter-in-law, I watched and noted how she worked her magic. Dear mother-in-law just rubbed some of that Zap on the window pane with a sponge. Then, she used a razor blade and just slid it down the surface of the pane. Afterwards, she did a few water rinses and then finished with a window squeegee of the entire surface.

Wow, I feel so practical with this post. Yes, that's me. Miss Practical. But check that shower out. It's now a matter of pride for me, perhaps even a sin.

But this works for me this week.

And if you don't have Zap, I have one other secret weapon for your spring cleaning.

My windows are clean. Bring on the realtors!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another First

Raising a boy has certainly been eye-opening this week. Not surprising, of course, considering how often the oddities of boyhood leave me aghast.

I have learned to change the Little Man's diaper standing up. I know this is nothing earth-shattering, many moms do it. But I don't know of another mom who does it for this reason: if I lay the little guy down and change his diaper, the kid actually lifts his foot and pulls down on the neckline of my shirt. Oh yes, he does. I didn't know this started at age two!

And just yesterday, I rounded the corner of Little Man's room with a diaper and clothes, intending to dress my naked two-year old. He was standing in the middle of his bedroom, his tummy jutted out like a proud first-time expectant mother. He was spinning awkwardly, twisting like he was trying to put his head over his shoulder. I asked him, "What are you doing?" And he answered, "Finding my bottom." And he's been doing it ever since. Like a dog who finally realizes his tail is attached to his backside, my son has discovered that there are members of his body that exist even if he can't see them. Monumental moment, I say, for an egocentric toddler.

Now, if only we can convince him to channel his newest discovery towards the big boy toilet.

Until then, Resting,

Morbid Mondays

Dear Second Wife,

Let me just reiterate: I am planning on living to at least 80 years old. I want to hold grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I want a candy dish at my house with really hard candy inside for all the little kids when they come to our house. I plan on cooking meals for all of our family and being completely ignorant of all the scrambling going on behind me in my own kitchen to keep the whole house from burning down. Real Gil will mow the lawn until our grandson gets hired to do the job, and we'll watch from inside, wanting to get every penny's worth out of him. We are going to pass gas, talk about our ailments, and never take another fish oil capsule as long as we live. We're going to read and pray and putter around like we're busy.

I don't plan on giving even one little bit of this to you, but I also know that "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Prov. 19:21) If He so chooses, the gang is all yours. And all the beautiful chaos of life that comes with them.

But until then, picture me like a territorial toddler with my favorite toy. Don't touch it. Don't touch my stuff. I'm just not feeling the love today. In fact, this just might be my last Morbid Monday. It's exhausting.

But I'm nothing if not practical. And controlling. This week, a few things popped into my mind that you should probably know...
  • I think we have overdue library books, and I have no idea where they are. Check Punkin's basket of books in her bedroom. If you can't find them, I am thinking this is the perfect time to play the "widow-married-me-I'm-clueless" card and hopefully that will get you off the hook. Or at least out of the library fines. You can blame it all on me - the wife that wanted literate children.
  • If the Little Man takes a really long nap, you can always use Sugs to wake him up. She sneaks in to get some missing item and will no doubt wake him up with her three-year old definition of quiet. Just this week, I heard her "sneak" in to his room, wrestle with a few toys, and then, before you know it, the little guy is awake and grumpy. Unaware of my dismay, Sugs marched out proudly with arms full of toys. "I woke him up, so we can go to Gramma's house now. And he wasn't even mad at me. He's just screaming." And so he was.
  • If you venture to the public swimming pool, make sure you take food with you and three pairs of goggles. Also, wear a one-piece suit so that Sugs doesn't start the fire and brimstone talk. We still don't know where she got this. Oh, and believe the kids when they say they need to go to the bathroom. They do. And you don't earn any Mother of the Year Awards for ignoring bathroom pleas at the public swimming pool.
  • It has never crossed my mind that you might have children of your own. I suppose that will just have to do, if indeed Real Gil marries you. Sigh. In an effort to help the transition go well, might I recommend a "special box" for each of my children, in which they can put any of their extra special things that they don't want to share with your kids? Punkin' will need to put her Legos, MagnaTiles, and lots of art supplies. Sugs will cram in as many weird outfits as she can, usually consisting of leotards, tutu skirts, and princess dresses. (And she has the audacity to criticize my swimsuit?!) The Little Man loves his dump truck. Don't even try to touch it, and certainly don't let your children touch it. He truly will become the wicked stepbrother if they do. And if you do, you will become the wicked stepmother, and not by any sabotage on my part. It will be solely by your own doing. Do. Not. Touch.
  • I have known for quite some time that Real Gil does not like the crock-pot. Slow, convenient cooking just doesn't work for him. Or at least my recipes in the crock-pot. With Queen K's amazing carnitas being the only exception, he says that everything that comes out of it tastes the same - shredded. Fall-apart moist just isn't how he wants his meat. So, if you march in here with one of those suckers all ready to plug in, you just might want to march it back out. OR, you can cook with it and make me look even better. Totally up to you. By the way, Queen K will be guest blogging sometime in the near future. She is one loyal gal and she happens to like me. Perhaps not such good news for you. But she loves Jesus so she'll have to get over it and love you. Maybe she'll even give you the only crock-pot recipe that satisfied.
In the meantime, I'm off to cook and clean for this family of mine. Key word: mine. Yes it is, and like a three-year old in a tantrum, I say you can't have it.

Much Love,
The Still Kickin' First Wife

Friday, April 9, 2010

Links That Perpetuated the Procrastination of Mopping

Do you remember PE in school? I always loved it...until the day they told us to climb the rope. I will have to do an entire blog post about me and that rope. It still causes me to quiver with shame and inadequacy. If you are a PE teacher, please, please, please let the little children just come to Jesus. No one needs to climb the stupid rope. This post had me laughing; apparently, the rope wasn't the only thing dreaded in PE.

Check this out - this website will show you all the speed traps in your city. I tried it even for our little town and it was right on. Not that I speed or anything, just an interesting read...

And this one. I've heard about this website intended to aid in social networking (whatever that means). Just for kicks, I typed in my name and found my profile. They had a lot of information about me and most of it was right. Some of it was not: as far as I know, I do not have grandchildren yet. They also said that our house was valued at $1 million dollars, we have a pool, and I enjoy bird-watching and collecting figurines. Really intriguing yet incorrect information. Like a fat, juicy rumor. I had to roll my eyes at these. BUT I really didn't want our information on there. To remove your name from the listing, go to the bottom of their home website and click on privacy. That'll do the trick.

And my favorite article from the week. Just great reminders all around.

A sobering, but eye-opening article from a woman who is trying to share Christ's love to children and teenagers caught in sex trafficking. A few times in reading, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief.

Praying for this man of God, that he enjoys this fast of 8 months. Probably every pastor in America needs one of these furloughs.

If you are interested in other links I have enjoyed, you can see a short list off to the right on my blog. Any of these will take you directly to links I have found interesting, uplifting, or maybe just a little bit weird.

Until Monday, happy mopping reading and driving the speed limit, my dears.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who Wants Somethin' That's Shrink-Wrapped...for free?

Who doesn't love free stuff?

For all you teachers or homeschooling families, here's an amazing deal. The History Channel is offering a free copy of their America, the Story of Us, which was a 10-hour special that can be purchased for $40 online. OR you can get one free if you are a teacher. You can check out all of the details here, and have until July 1st to reserve a copy to be shipped to your home. Hurray for free stuff!

Happy Thursday to you all.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When You Want Dessert for Breakfast

There is a guilty pleasure in this house that started when I was pregnant with our first child. It's called: Strawberry Crepes.

They are the most amazing breakfast in the world. How could they not be? It's dessert for breakfast. Even my dad, who is as picky as a four-year old and hates about half of the ingredients, inhales these with gusto. Dad, if you are reading this, read no further if you do not want to know exactly what food enemies you have been readily eating at my house.

Here's the deal. As far as I know, I am not infringing on anyone's copyright because I have taken about three different recipes over the years and made my own out of all of them. But just in case, I will just tell you to go hunt up a good crepe recipe for the actual thin pancakes you need for this recipe. This is under bread in my Better Homes & Garden cookbook. You can't really mess up the pancakes, it's all about the filling.

Here you go:

1. Make a big stack of thin crepes by blending your crepe batter in a blender (or a food processor if you have broken the fourth blender in a YEAR). When you pour the batter into your pan, pour it right in the middle of the pan and then, tip the pan side to side to spread the thin batter. I do not have a special crepe griddle, just a 10-inch skillet will do the trick.

2. Meanwhile, mix the following in a medium sized bowl (I use one with a lid so I can just throw the leftovers right in the fridge after we eat.):

  • 1-2 cups of lowfat/nonfat cottage cheese (EEEEEK! screams most kids, but we have 'em, girls!)
  • 1 cup of cream cheese (I use the low fat kind)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream, low fat sour cream, or nonfat plain yogurt (this is optional)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix these all together, softening the cream cheese in the microwave if needed. When you are ready to serve breakfast, heat the entire bowl in the microwave to make the filling warm.

3. Chop off the green tops of at least 16 ounces of fresh strawberries, or if you don't have those, you can even thaw out some frozen (even sweetened) strawberries. My kids like their strawberries pureed so we throw these into the food processor too.

All boys like machinery, even in the kitchen.
Don't mind his dirty face. That's just all the Dermabond,
keeping him together.

Sleepy cheerleaders, so sweet.

4. Grab a can of whip cream out of your fridge on the way to the table.

5. Start the construction: one crepe, spread with filling, add strawberries, roll up the crepe and top with whip cream, if desired.

6. Enjoy!

Just writing this post has made me hungry for this old faithful friend. With a spring cold making life a bit lazy around here, I might have to throw this comfort food together...for the children, of course.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boycott Ironing

Four reasons I don't iron often:

1. I may be a tad bit lazy in the wrinkle-free department.

2. My husband wears cotton 99% of the time. I don't iron cotton. And Real Gil doesn't like his cotton ironed. Come to think of it, perhaps this is because he knows how I feel about ironing cotton. Not sure which came first, but the details don't matter. We don't iron cotton in this house. Which is yet another reason why I will never be the recipient of a Morbid Monday post. Some men might appreciate a wife with an apron. Real Gil could care less, and after twelve years of marriage, neither do I. That's why we leave and cleave, baby.

3. The great thing about procrastinating on mundane chores is that when Easter Sunday rolls around and you finally throw your back into ironing, it's like a mini-Christmas morning at our house. Kids are falling headlong into the ironing basket and pulling out "new clothes." They beg for ironing and I happily oblige. If you ever want to be thanked for ironing, pull out cute clothes that have needed rediscovering and hum a little working song while you press. I think we could have entirely skipped the Easter baskets full of candy.

4. Perhaps the most important reason I do not iron at my house is this: every time I go thrift store shopping, I see perfectly pressed clothes shoved into the racks, gathering the smells of mothballs and cigarettes from the garments harassing them on either side. As much as I like a deal, I despise wasting time, and I almost feel guilty buying someone else's ironed hand-me-downs. It's like I've seen their underwear drawer or something. To think that they ironed! For me?! And they didn't even know it! Just yesterday, I ironed clothes and got rid of two items pre-ironing. If you want to buy my castoffs, they are pretty doggone cute. But be forewarned: they are wrinkled.

So, it's official. I've boycotted ironing...until next Easter.

But on a totally random endnote, I am now the proud owner of one $13.99 WalMart-special iron-of-sorts that you just might need to try.

It's called the triple barrel. Doesn't that sound dramatic? You may call it a crimper if you like, but in my book, this is the only ironing I still do in this house. Real Gil and I did indeed go on a date tonight and this sucker is anything but boycotted. I figure the wrinkled clothes will go well with the wrinkled hair. Now, I did take a picture for you all. But it was not exactly a James Glover shot. I was so vain so tired that I didn't download the red-eyed, pajama-clad picture for you.

Anyways, one iron is out and another is in. Works for me!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Morbid Monday - Crusty Dragons and Hokie Pokie Prayers

Dear Second Wife,

I must reiterate that I have absolutely no intention of living less than fifty more years in this blessed family. I am not suicidal in any way, just compulsive and controlling. And you, my dear, are the brunt of that. Bu-hummer for you.

All this talk about you has got me to thinking, it's really good we don't believe in polygamy. Don't you agree? I'm pretty catty as it is, but can you imagine if you lived with me? The truth is, I'm looking at things from this earth's perspective and it's difficult to conceive of anyone else doing my jobs, in my home. But when I think of heaven, sitting there with Jesus, I really don't care what you do. I don't want to get carried away or anything, but I'm almost ready to give you that cookbook.

This week, I have taken it upon myself to honestly and sacrificially warn you of a few things around here...
  • The Little Man has an issue with boogers. It's absolutely disgusting. He picks his nose and stares at the treasures. Little green crusty dragons. If you tell him to stop picking his nose, he will only deepen the dig, especially if you are in public. Better to just hand him a tissue and ask him to put the booger in there, wipe his hands off, and allow him to keep the tissue so he can examine it from there. If this scares you away, and you have yet to pledge your undying love commitment to Real Gil, it's still not too late to ditch the whole marriage idea and make a run for it.
  • Sugs is an absolute terror from five o'clock p.m. until six-thirty, when she gets her second wind and starts stacking pillows for diving competitions off the couch. Bedtime usually means you demand she get in the bed and she jumps off the foot board onto her pillow, where she promptly falls into an exhausted sleep. Oh, and she doesn't sleep in pajamas. At least not while there are clean leotards and swimsuits to don.
  • Punkin' loves to try anything new - any food, any diving board, any intimidating book. But she also likes security in her old favorites, like strawberry crepes, Ramona Quimby, her pink bathrobe, and whipped cream. Now, on the crepes, you are in luck because I am actually sharing that recipe with my blog readers this week which means you are receiving an indirect bonus recipe straight from Yours Truly. You are welcome. Whatever you do, do not spray whip cream directly into Punkin's mouth. That is unsanitary and gross, and I would never.
  • Some of these children have no inhibitions and others can hardly speak in public. I would divulge the identities of these particular children except that they often trade personalities. Just the other day, the timid one piped up rather loudly at the public swimming pool by saying, "Hey Mama, those girls must not be Christians." This perceptive mother knew what was coming and shushed her quickly, trying to distract her with a challenge to blow bubbles under the water. She saw through my ploy and proceeded loudly, "They're wearing zucchinis." Now, I have tried to explain to her that Christian women can wear different things depending on their own convictions (Romans 14), but she obviously didn't catch that part. If you want to score any points with Sugs, buy yourself a good one-piece. Or better yet, if you're really skinny, an Amish swimsuit.
  • Family get-togethers are loud, chaotic, and must be approached with reckless abandon and humility. Take Easter at the first wives' family home yesterday, for instance. Roaring winds, screaming kids, one hunting dog who loves plastic-wrapped candy, one great-grandmother who can't hear over all the noise and one great-great grandmother who wishes she had the same problem, a few health-conscious eaters fighting the good fight in the face of dear mother's amazing, sweet concoctions, and two-minute intervals of sitting down and visiting before the next interruption trips their way down the hall. Before you start thinking you're off the hook on this one considering it was my family and I'm now deceased, let me burst that bubble real quick - Real Gil's family and mine celebrate together on holidays. So, you're stuck. But you are welcome to invite your family over too. Just tell them to come prepared, no matter which house you go to, even if it's at your house. Strange things happen at those family dinners - squirrels chew through car wiring, folks pray to Jesus and then sing the Hokie Pokie, library volunteers drop by with lots of large print books, tantrums land kicked-off underwear in the bowl of mashed potatoes (oh yes, they did, Mr. Nathan Glover.), impromptu sumo wrestling demonstrations commence (complete with the uniform), and all while the Travel Channel tempts you from the muted TV. [Did you know that Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and it's beautiful in high-definition? Right around 4:30 yesterday, I was ready to book a flight.] The beautiful thing about family is that I wouldn't trade one moment of it (except maybe for Sicily). That's because it's family. Their chaos is mine, and my chaos is theirs. Well, maybe that's stretching the truth. My chaos? Our chaos? I'm just praying that our chaos doesn't drive them crazy. Or to the travel agent for one-way flights to Sicily. The good news for you is that this family is one loyal bunch. Although that might really be bad for you in the beginning, it'll get you far once they defrost a bit. Until then, come hungry, look out for the hunting dog, and smile for the camera.
Until next week,

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Says one little auntie to one little nephew: "How was bible school?"

"We waved the leaves," explains the two-year old. "Jesus rode a horse!"

"Oh!" says the auntie-mama.

"And we shouted stuff," explains nephew.

"What did you shout?" probes the mother.

"We yelled, 'Hooray, Jose! Hooray, Jose!'"

Hosanna in the highest, this Resurrection Day and every day!

Click here if you want to listen to my favorite Resurrection Day song. If not, here are the lyrics to savor.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven's will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive!

- By Matt Maher


Hopeless or Hopeful Saturday

Just this week, I read a very educated and intellectual author's discussion about the importance of the Resurrection. It was deep and maximized the few unused brain cells I had previously planned to use during egg-dying. But I'm flexible like that, and read it, pondered it. He posed many reasons why the Resurrection had to happen, and I liked every single one of them. But he never really mentioned Saturday. Not that he needed to, but this day has always confounded me.

If Friday is called "Good Friday" and Sunday is called "Resurrection Day," I might suggest Saturday be called "Hopeless Saturday." Does anybody else sense that this Saturday is kind of empty? We have activities we do on Good Friday and especially on Sunday, but what do we do on Saturday?

The disciples hid out, licked their wounds, bemoaned their "failures," and doubted their Leader. It truly was a hopeless Saturday, in every way.

But we're on the other side. And this year, I'm spending today reliving the goodness of yesterday and anticipating the hope of tomorrow. Forgiveness found and heaven coming. What a good place to be!

Sandwiched in between two of the most unbelievable events in history is today. Saturday. Perhaps God knew that our human minds would be completely overloaded if He didn't give a short interlude between the two dramatic acts.

Much like life around here, it seems like God is either bringing us through a very difficult time or revealing his amazing faithfulness (usually these go together, don't they?!), or we're in a season of waiting in between the two extremes.

I pray that your weekend is one of hope, no matter what you're going through. That Saturday might have been the most hopeless day on Earth for the disciples, but it doesn't have to be anymore. So, I change my mind. Maybe we should call it Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday, and Hopeful Saturday.

Hope you have the time, energy, brain cells, and peace to take a moment and reflect on His goodness.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

How can Good Friday be good? For those of us who accept the gift, it is good.

Someone in our family who is not saved asked, "Why do we need a Savior?"

I'm so glad that we have One, and that we need One.

In place of my favorite links this weekend, I thought I would leave you with a few great Good Friday and Easter posts.

1. One cannot talk about Jesus in blog world without mentioning Amy Voskamp. She'll make you realize what a terrible writer I am, but it's worth it because she's full of wisdom, especially with this post. If you click on home on her site, you will see some footage she posted of Good Friday. I just couldn't get through it, but perhaps you are stronger than me, or will choose to reflect on Good Friday in this way.

2. Matt Maher is unbelievable. His words and humility are a fragrant offering to God. Here's his blog post on Good Friday, followed at the end by his new song, You Were on the Cross. My ever-changing but all-time favorite (yes, that's an oxymoron) worship song is his Christ is Risen. The lyrics, the music, it all will be shaking the walls of this house on Sunday morning.

3. Dead Man...Saved. So thankful that God's love is offered to all, says I!

4. A really light-hearted video that makes me feel better about my own parenting.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Like anything else in life, there are many difficulties with homeschooling, and many advantages to it.

This week, homeschooling was a good thing.

While our school district was out for the official Spring Break, this is what it looked like outside:

Yes, that's snow. Perhaps worse than the snow was all the bitter wind.

It made us all want to be one place: home.

So, it wasn't much of a stretch to do school around here, especially when my kids are too young to know that all the other kids in the neighborhood aren't riding the bus this week. And we'll rub it in one week when we pack up the ole Tenement on Wheels and go riding off into the distance, while the rest of the world is sitting at school. At least that's what we tell them whenever we're doing something fun during public school hours.

Punkin' is busy reading books, writing letters to Jeannie (our Compassion child), and even took up piano this week. She asked me to teach her how to play a song on the piano and without trying to discourage her, I told her to try and sound it out with her ears instead of trying to memorize Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. (I knew she could do this because just a few weeks ago, I was singing a little ditty and she started singing a harmony! Of course, I ruined the moment by squealing with delight. And she hasn't done it since.) Anyways, this is what she has been doing all week (other than languishing on the couch with The bowl):

Punkin also spent a lot of time reading her newest chapter book and helping Sugs read her first book ever (Hoo-ked on Puh-honics Work Ed for Muh-he - Brian Regan plug, couldn't resist.). She was so cute and proud, as was her mama and papa.

Sugs and the Little Man (who Real Gil now calls TTB - Ticking Time Bomb) spent a lot of time fighting playing together. I even had them doing school for a while.

After scoring these at a garage sale, the kids have loved playing with the Discovery Toy bugs. They sort by colors, then by bug type, and then, they try placing them on the various pattern cards. When they tire of using this set the way it was originally intended, they do what kids do best and improvise, mostly with MagnaTiles - our all-time favorite toy around here - by building houses for their bugs. And while they are busy, I happily snap pictures and sneak away to type.

We pulled out scissors, glue, and a few WalMart preschool workbooks, and the two had a blast.

Especially the Little Man, who used kid scissors for the first time. [After poking me in the face with adult scissors. I acted in complete maturity when I tossed the adult scissors down and growled my way to the bathroom mirror, while the Ticking Time Bomb cried. Apologies said, he told me "I 'give you." All was well again.]

We also made bread. Call me Betty Crocker. And it was even whole wheat, for all you healthy people out there. Before you go getting all insecure out about the fact that I made homemade bread, let me show you the results.

Yes, it tasted amazing to all of our queasy stomachs. But the hole in the middle made it a little tricky to eat. I call it "Resurrection Bread" and this is the empty tomb. Or something spiritual like that.

For a former public school teacher who swore she would never homeschool, this week has been - dare I admit it? - fun.

I have discovered one other benefit to homeschooling. Last night, I sat on the couch and watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, wherein he tries to reform the cafeteria food of a public school district. His fight seems doomed, but the whole idea is an interesting one. Or a disgusting one, when you consider the food being served from the school cafeteria. Poor kitchen ladies are made to be villains, especially Alice, but all in all, it made me proud of my whole wheat bread, even with big gaping holes in it. Don't ask me if I've watched Food Inc. yet, because I haven't? I am sure it is an eye-opening movie, just as everyone tells me it is. But I don't have the energy to fight the processed food battle yet. Baby steps, baby steps. Give me another month and I'll report back.

When all else fails on the homeschooling front, I fell back on one tried-and-true entertainer. I pulled the cars out of the garage, closed the garage doors (important step!), and let the kids ride bikes, scooters, or anything else with wheels in there. They threw bouncy balls all over, colored with chalk, and ate crumbly cookies that I never serve inside the house.

Good times around here. Hope you are having good times too. One thing we have yet to do this week though - dye the eggs. Do I dare? Have you dared?