Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Now, where was this when we lived in Idaho?

Come on! Click the link and pass the potato! I want "spud" to see all 50 states...so tell a friend!



"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories."

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Dirt under your fingernails

Don't you just hate that?! That is one of my pet peeves. Dirty fingernails, especially in men.

So -- what did we do yesterday? Landscaping. Tons of dirt. Everywhere. Jeff put a butterfly garden in the side corner of the yard. It looks so pretty. We ran out of mulch (the horror) and top soil. Off to Lowe's we went. The boys love this store. The girls? Not so much.

While there, we found some beautiful roses on sale. I also found a bird-bath that was deeply discounted due to a tiny chip. Honestly, I would have never seen it had they not pointed it out to me. Jeff planted the roses while the kids and I finished up the butterfly garden, complete with bird-bath. I will have to take pictures.

Momma robin is busy with her three babies. They are growing so fast. They started to get their flight feathers over the weekend. The kids are fascinated with the birds.

There isn't much else to report. We pray you had a nice Memorial Day weekend? I know we spent quiet time in prayer on Sunday, and again on Monday to give thanks to our brave soldiers, both in the past and present.


Friday, May 27, 2005

More pictures

As promised -- pictures of Paige and Sarah.

Sarah (oh my goodness -- you should see her dance for the recital! Wow!)

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Paige -- who looks stunning in her deep purple leotard. She lives for ballet!

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I will write more later. The girls have a couple friends over and I promised them a trip to the zoo.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pictures. Getcha your pictures!

Gracie had ballet pictures today. This is in preparation for the annual recital next week.
I can't help but share a couple shots.

First picture is of her and her best friend in the "whole widest world" (direct quote).
Her name is Alivia.

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This is an outside shot. The inside shots didn't load properly. I will try to fix them and post them later. She is holding a teddy bear, dressed in the same outfit. The teddies are in the dance too! :: smile ::

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Paige and Sarah have their pictures on Thurday.

And, while I am here with the digi camera - I wanted to share a picture from our ice skating excursion a couple months ago. I have others -- but this one is too darn cute.
Sarah and Jacob (who wanted no part of the ice rink!).

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Love to all.

Monday, May 23, 2005


I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend? With the exception of an isolated storm yesterday, it was gorgeous. We did a lot of gardening and lounging.

A momma robin has built a nest on our fence. The same thing happened last year. I assume it is the same bird - hard to tell. She picked a different corner this year, but the nest looks exactly the same. She laid 3 eggs on Friday. The thing is, there is absolutely no shelter for the nest (or her). Rain, wind, predators, children and the like can cause harm. I thought about putting a small piece of wood over the corner so she would have some protection for the storms, if nothing else, but Jeff says that isn't a good idea. She may abandon the nest altogether.

Last year -- the babies hatched and survived 5 days before a raccoon and hawk decided to ruin the party. Sad day. The momma bird kept coming back to the nest for 7 days.
The kids were heartbroken too. They were documenting everything, taking pictures and quietly observing from the house (you can see the nest from our kitchen window).
Here's hoping this batch of babies work!

I was helping a new mother at church with breastfeeding issues. This is her first child and everything is overwhelming. She doesn't have much home support (dad would just assume use bottles...the breast area is for him only -- ugh...yes, he said that!).
She is determined though. She understands the health benefits for both mom and baby. Fortunately, her mother is coming for a visit next week and is very supportive in this area. Until then, she needed help. They have the practice down, but like I told her, breastfeeding is 75% mental, 25% breast. For a lot of woman -- their minds prevent progress.
I also printed off some useful articles for her. She wanted something to show her husband. He is an intelligent man, but has fallen victim to societal views on breastfeeding, etc.

I have *so* many files on this subject, but this is a new one for me. I thought I would share it for those interested - Examining the Evidence...
It mostly deals with the reasons not to feed on schedule, but the medical back-up is right on target.

I need to get the laundry finished, read to Gracie and get Em over to volleyball. While she at volleyball, the rest of us will run to Sam's for a few things.

Love and hugs to all.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I'm (almost) speechless

This is so many levels of wrong, I've lost count. If the tables were turned and the older person was a man -- this would be considered sick, sinful and vulagr.
Instead, in a twisted way - it appears to be celebrated. I actually spoke with someone earlier that said, "Well, it doesn't affect me. If they are love, I wish them well."
What in the world? What else will this society accept before we completely fall apart.
Mary Kay Letourneau Weds Her Former Student

SEATTLE (May 21) - Mary Kay Letourneau, whose notorious seduction of 12-year-old boy led to more than seven years in prison, has married the former student she was convicted of raping.
Letourneau, 43, and Vili Fualaau, 22, exchanged vows they had written themselves during a tightly guarded ceremony Friday night, said Janet Annino, co-executive producer of the TV show ''Entertainment Tonight.''

The couple have been in the spotlight since Letourneau was imprisoned in 1997. But when she was released last August, the couple - who have two daughters together - reunited.
The ceremony was at the Columbia Winery in Woodinville, about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, Annino said.

''Mary Kay was whisked out of the hotel to this venue under intense security,'' she said. ''She arrived here with a sheet over her head. She had to lie down in the car coming in to avoid the paparazzi.''

Letourneau and Fualaau gave a series of interviews to ''Entertainment Tonight'' and its sister TV show, ''The Insider,'' which had exclusive rights to the nuptials. Show officials said they did not pay for the wedding.

Letourneau's teenage daughter, Mary Claire, from her earlier marriage, was maid of honor. The couple's two daughters, Audrey, 8, and Alexis Georgia, 7, were flower girls.

The couple first met when Fualaau was in the second grade. Their relationship became sexual when he was 12 and she was a 34-year-old married mother of four, a teacher at a suburban elementary school.

Letourneau was pregnant with Fualaau's first child when she was arrested in 1997. She pleaded guilty to second-degree child rape and was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison, with all but six months suspended.

Within weeks of her release, she was caught having sex with Fualaau in her car and ordered to serve the remainder of her sentence. She gave birth to the couple's second daughter while serving time.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ladies and gentleman of the Senate....

....please do your job.
I request this as a citizen of the United States and someone who helps to fund your pocketbook. I ask this as a citizen that voted you into the position you are now taking for granted.

Enough with the temper tantrums, threats, stall tactics and game playing.
Take a majority vote and move on.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Our poor confused children -- what a world we live in...

The child can't pray in school. The child can't openly invite friends to church for Vacation Bible School. The child can't share the joy of Christmas in school. The child can't sing his favorite hymn in school. Now, the child can't read his Bible during non class time recess.
::: shaking head :::

What in the world are some people so afraid of? Are they afraid that their notions and thoughts will be challenged and just maybe, they will be left with doubts? Doubts about the very thing they cling to for self preservation and acceptance? Is it because deep down they know they are putting valuable thoughts into something false? Rather than tackle the demon, they run to it -- looking for security? Yes, in most cases, I think so.

I wonder -- if the child in question brought Wiccan, Muslim or Buddhist material -- would this be an issue? Or, in the name of tolerance -- would it be relished and cheered? Why must Christians be the tolerant people, but everyone else can pick and choose?

Normally I'm not one to jump on the "Christians are being persecuted" bandwagon -- but it fits my mood today. What must our Heavenly Father be thinking? What are we doing? What are we teaching? What kind of world are the sweet children growing up in?

I wish I knew the sweet children in this article. I would hug them tightly and say, "Stand tall. You are loved. You are accepted. Be the change you want to see in the world."

Bible study banned on playgrounds

Posted: May 12, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com-->© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

An elementary school principal who barred students from studying the Bible during recess after a complaint from parents is violating the Constitution, according to a public-interest law firm challenging her actions.

In a letter to the Knox County School District in Tennessee, the Alliance Defense Fund declared the principal of Karns Elementary School is on "shaky constitutional ground."
"The Constitution does not prohibit Bibles during recess; it prohibits the wholesale banning of Bibles during recess," said Charles Pope, the ADF-allied attorney who wrote the letter to the district.
"A school official cannot tell a student that he can't bring his Bible to school or study it with friends during non-classroom time," Pope stated.

According to ADF, 10-year-old student Luke Whitson used his regularly scheduled recess time to read the Bible with a few friends on his school's playground. After receiving a complaint from a parent, the principal reportedly ordered the students to stop their activity, put their Bibles away and cease from bringing them to school.

"There are no 'age discrimination' allowances in the First Amendment of the Constitution," said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco. "The law protects these students the same as it protects all students."
Infranco said children "have rights of speech and association during their non-instructional time, and the school may not curtail those rights because of their age."
Whitson's parents sought legal assistance from Pope, who contends "the law as it pertains to this situation is well settled."

"Students may have religious discussions and Bible study during non-instructional time," he explained in his letter. "The school district should immediately issue a statement addressing the unconstitutional actions and policy and alerting all personnel to permit Luke and other similarly situated students to exercise their constitutional rights."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

So, you know you're getting older...

......when you find out that both the music pastor and assistant pastor are younger than you.
:: sigh :::
Not by much, but the mere fact that I take life advice from men younger than me is somehow weird. Very weird.

What next? A gynecologist that is fresh out of medical school? Oy.

I mean, I was just coming to terms with the fact that I have a 17 year old niece (who is darling by the way) and friends old enough to have kids graduating from high school. Pastors and their wives younger than me? Can't cope. Nope. I need prayer, for sure!

Today was a day from Haitis. I am wiped out. Between violin, ballet and church work -- we spent 4 hours at church this afternoon. The girls have a big recital in 2 weeks. The costume fittings and practice is in over-drive. Thread, lace, tu-tu's and ribbon were everywhere!
It's going to be a wonderful event though. The big night is June 3.

We zoomed home from church - snarfed a snack and got Em over to the pool for swim team. I came back home with the kids - pulled together some papers for midweek service, put dinner in the oven, made some phone calls and waited for Jeff to get home. He walked in and the 3 youngest girls and I walked out. We headed to church. I called a meeting with all of the class leaders. We need to make some curric changes for the class. We want more emphasis on character development and worship. We prayed and talked for 90 minutes. With God's guidance, we have awesome plans in store for the children. I was also able to hire an assistant. This is such a blessing. I need the help, desperately. She is going to be in charge of all crafts and memory verses. She can also fill in for me when I need a break. Whew.

Back to Emily, this was her first practice with the new team. Jeff and the boys went to the pool early to watch. He said she did well, but was so tired. They really worked the kids.
Starting June 1, she will be swimming every morning from 9-10, with meets on Saturday.
She loves it though. God Bless her. You would find me on the bottom of the pool - purposely feigning my illness just so I could get out of the pool. Hard core athlete, I am not!

Anyway, here I sit at 11:30. I should be in bed. We have our annual homeschool gym picnic tomorrow. It is a big affair, complete with horseback riding, canoe rides, hot dog roasts and music. Hard to believe we have finished another year of gym classes. Wow.
Sarah has gymnastics in the evening. She is going to be wiped out tomorrow night.

I can hear Jeff snoring upstairs. Lovely. How does he sleep through that? So odd.
I guess I will get some sleep (try to anyway...kick kick, shove shove, stop snoring!)
I am blessed to have a man that works hard -- I will bless his sleep and ignore the snoring.

Stay in touch! Love to all.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I needed my camera!!!

And the battery was dead!

Let me explain the situation. I was cleaning out the pantry. What a chaotic mess.
I was working on the baking items when I needed to visit the bathroom. The boys were engrossed in Lazy Town -- so I took my chances.

I swear to you. I was in there *maybe* 3 minutes! I come out to a bitter-faced 3 year little boy. Jacob. He looked stunned, frustrated and sickened. I knew why, immediately.

Two words.
Baking chocolate.

Oh come on. We all did it at one point. I remember it well. I was in the kitchen with my Nena. She was making cookies and warned me about the baking chocolate. I didn't believe her. I mean come on, Nena! It's chocolate! How bad can it be?


Jake spit the nastiness in the sink and gulped down a glass of water. Think he will stay away from my dark chocolate M&M's now?

Ha. I didn't think so......


Hi everyone. I pray this note finds you in good health and spirits.

Emily is going to join Arlington Park Swim and Dive (click) this month. It will take the place of H.E.A.T. (home educator's aquatic training). While HEAT has been wonderful in training and support....Arlington is closer to home. That is important these days. Plus, Arlington has done an awesome job with coaching/learning/competing and growing. We go to church with one of the coaches and group treasurer. We will keep you posted.

Sarah starts rec team the first Monday in June. She goes in for her leotard fitting next week. She is so excited. I am happy for her. I will get pictures online asap.

Sarah, Paige and Grace have their ballet recital on June 3. They have been working so hard for this special event. They had costume checks last Friday. Major cuteness!
There are some big changes in store for their ballet training. Their instructor has teamed up with Fort Wayne Ballet (the people who presented Nutcracker) and starting in September, all classes will be held at their facilities. This is a nice experience, but tuition will be on the rise.
It will also require a bit more time management. What can we do? The girls *love* ballet (especially Paige) and it would be cruel to end their training for something they have no control over. We'll find a way.

Jeff has been scheduled for vein surgery on June 10. He has super bad veins in both legs. For a long time, it was cosmetic only, but lately - they are causing pressure and pain. That can lead to more problems, so his doctor referred him to a specialist. The doctor took one look at them and said, "I will finish the examination..but I can tell you right now. You need these removed and/or tied off." We will keep you posted.

We have been looking over the summer calendar. We will be up in New York the first week in August. Ideally, we would like to be there for 2 weeks but it won't happen. The kids are too busy with practice and meets. We will make the best of it!

It is about time to get Em to volleyball. She is yelling in the garage because she can't find her *favorite* ball. I suspect her brothers had something to do with this crisis. :: eyeroll ::

Love and hugs to all.

Friday, May 13, 2005

First thunderstorm of the season

Wowie! We had a doozy of a storm this afternoon. It was our first full fledge thunderstorm of the season. Lots of rain and wind. The temp wasn't high enough to worry about tornadoes, which is always a relief. I have to say, the Midwest really knows how to put on a thunderstorm. Loud and grand.

Bam-Bam died last night. For those that don't know, Bam-Bam was our beta fish. He lived 16 months. I'm told that is a pretty long life for a solitary fish. He was a pretty blue who followed your hand at feeding time. Jacob really enjoyed Bam-Bam and was very sad when he died. I'm not sure if we will get another fish? Gracie wants one named Bubbles.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Still here!

My days are flying by! God's grace brings us the sun each morning - days filled with activity and love. Chaos too!

Just some news about happenings in our world:

Last Thursday -- I had dinner with a couple friends. We are heading up a co-op this fall. We have been praying about this for 2 years, and finally, God opened some doors for us. The support and interest is unbelievable. The co-op will be Thursdays from 12-3:15. There will be 3 class sessions for differernt age groups.
Registration begins in July and already, we have 35 families committed.

Oh, we had dinner at Panera's! This place rocks my world. I knew the bread was fantastic, but I discovered their wonderful salads and soups! You must try the Poppyseed Chicken and Strawberry salad! Yummy.

Friday -- We spent the day catching up on some science projects and cleaning the house. Now that the weather is warmer, the kids are outside more. They get dirty quicker, especially the boys. Laundry has always been my obstacle in homemaker-land, but it is getting out of control. Think it would be appropriate to start a nudist colony here in the Heartland? :: smirk ::
Jeff returned home from Dallas around 9 in the evening.

Saturday -- Jeff brought home a super duper, "he's the dad!" present today. A trampoline. I know. I know. I was against them too. They scare me. However, with Sarah's demanding gymnastic schedule, she really can benefit from the trampoline here at the house. To help keep the kids a bit safer, we purchased the net enclosure.
They still have firm rules in place and we keep our eye on them at all times. I have to say...the kids are loving it! Great exercise (and energy burning for the boys!)

That afternoon, I slipped away for a few hours. I got my haircut, went to the annual Homeschool Expo (awesome resource), out to lunch and to the library. It was a nice break.

Sunday -- I was reminded of just how blessed I am to be called, "Mommy."
Happy Mother's Day! I received homemade blueberry waffles in bed, complete with flowers and homemade cards. We went to church where were we treated to songs from the children, pastries and an uplifting sermon from the Pastor and his wife.
From there, we had a picnic lunch at a local park. It was nice. Jeff took us on a long drive through the country. The kids tolerated it - which I appreciated. We stopped for ice cream in a little Amish town and came home. Jeff took care of dinner while I read my new books. I have to say, the day was perfect.

Monday -- The start of a new week. The new homeschool curriculum is demanding. Good, but demanding. The kids are settling into it nicely, with only a few strains here and there.

Jeff came home from work with news that he is leaving his Ph.D program. It seemed like such a good idea a couple year ago - but now it just isn't a good fit.
He has been accepted to Wesleyn College here in town for the MBA program. He starts next week. It is a solid 2 year program. It will allow him to move up the administration ladder at the hospital, with hopes of a COO title in the near future.

Don't get me wrong, this all came as a surprise to me. I mean, I knew things were running slowly with his schooling -- but I didn't recognize his unhappiness. He hid it well. It is frustrating when we think about the finances lost, not to mention the time -- but life is short. You have to do what you love. He has my undying support. Jeff has been in the healthcare field from Day 1. Even with the PhD, he wouldn't have left the hospital field. And, in today's high tech and business oriented society - an MBA makes more sense.

Six years ago, Jeff completed his Masters in Science. It was a long journey. We got through it, stronger. There are a lot more of us now. I know we will pull through - but I don't look forward to the hours, work and time. Prayers are very much appreciated.

Tuesday, today -- We hit a record 83 degrees today. I actually turned the air conditioning on for a couple hours this evening. The kids really enjoyed their swim lessons today, that's for sure! Bless the boy's hearts...they wanted to go swimming in the worst way. They just aren't old enough for this session of lessons. Maybe we can find something for them this summer? 'Cause, you know -- I need van time in my week! :: sigh ::

It is just about time for Amazing Race to begin. It is the last show of the season. I know who wins (a little birdie told me about a spoiler website) but I won't tell the kids or Jeff. I am driving them crazy! Heehee.

Love and hugs to all. God's blessings to you.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Jeff has been in Dallas this week. It is the annual "Come meet the big-wigs who own the hospital" meeting. In all fairness, Jeff has met some great people at these meetings and comes home feeling validated in his work efforts. That is a good thing!

Of course, with him down in Texas - that leaves me here to tame the natives and run the zoo. I tell ya, it sure makes me appreciate him all the more when he comes home. I am blessed to call him "husband and friend." When he isn't home for a couple days - it becomes apparent at just how much he does for us.

In any event, keep him in your prayers. He will be home late tomorrow night.

Honestly, there isn't much else to report. Life is moving along. We miss all of you!

Be well. Stay in touch.