June 30, 2009

Things I Ponder

One of the endearing qualities of my hubby, is his life-long love for cartoons.  Some men love ESPN.  Some men love Fox News.  My man loves the Cartoon Network.  Brings out the kid in him.  So, due to the fact that I have been exposed to more cartoons than the average woman, I've had time to ponder some things.

Let's begin with one of  hubby's favorites:

Hello Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Velma.  I have a few questions for you.
1. First of all, Daphne, love how you've brought the scarf back in to fashion.  It's so versatile. Could you please tell Velma that her glasses are a little dated, and the bobby socks have got to go?
2. Shaggy, have you ever considered therapy?  How about a cameo appearance on Fear Factor?
3. Friends, after a bazillion episodes, it's time to put on your thinking caps and do a little extrapolation:  the scary bad guy isn't really a monster.  He's just a grumpy old fart that wants his money back, and in recent months realized how much he could have been saving with Geico.

Moving on to more current shows...
My children have recently enjoyed this little duo:
But really.  Couldn't the writers come up with some other names?  As if mothers of preschoolers don't have enough toots and puddles to deal with.  However, it does air on Noggin, which in fact, is "like preschool on tv."  So at least I know I can set my child in front of the tube for the day and know that all of his educational needs will be met.  Ahem.

As an educator, I'm all about shows with educational/character building qualities.  Take for instance these little guys.  They don't let size get in the way of rescuing other animals from sure disaster.  But...
I DO have a problem with their voices.  Somebody please tell them they can get state funded speech therapy!  

Speaking of getting the government involved, I think someone needs to notify DSS of the lack of parental care in this household:
Poor Ruby has to care for her little brother Max round the clock.  I'm not sure what happened to their parents, but it must have been very disturbing.  Max fixates on one word and repeats it until poor Ruby realizes the brilliant little brother had the answer all along.   We've been watching this show for at least 4 years and his elocution is still deficient. Maybe he could join the Wonder Pets in speech therapy, 2 for 1 deal, maybe?

Not only do I love a good character building show, but one that also gets the kids up and moving is a real plus.  The makers of "Lazytown" are right on.  After watching the moves of Sportacus and Stephanie, it makes me want to go join the local gymnastics class.
But sometimes I wonder is Stephanie ever notices that she doesn't quite look like the rest of the people in Lazytown.  Also, she might want to tell her colorist to go a little light on the pink highlights.  It's starting to look a little like her neighbors... 
By the way, does anyone look at her and wonder how old she is?  I mean, she could be anywhere from 10 to 18.  It's puzzling.

Speaking of puzzling...
I recently became aware of this little retro show that happens to come on at a very convenient time for moms who like to cook dinner in peace (5:30 EST, Cartoon Network):

The Banana Splits
Anyone remember this one?  I checked online: it debuted in 1968. It is a modge-podge of the characters, pictured above; a few short little animations (Three Musketeers being a favorite with my little guy) and an ongoing mini-saga entitled Danger Island.  The latter is what has caused me to ponder.   One of the characters is a young teenage boy who looked vaguely familiar.  Who is that blonde sailor?  Could it truly be??
Stringfellow Hawke from Airwolf?   Why yes it is!  A young Jan-Michael Vincent.  Swoon.
Ahh... what memories.  I can still hear the theme song as the blades of that hi-tech chopper rose from the dust.  
So this is I ponder: Will Steve from Blues Clues one day be the star of an action packed prime time slot?  Oh the possibilities!

 I do have my limitations.  There are many cartoons that are banned from our house for obvious reasons.  But there are a few that are banned simply because mom cannot bear them.  
1. Aurthur.  Waay too much sibling bickering and name calling.  
2. Caillou.  Who needs another whining, demanding preschooler in the house?!
3. Yo-Gaba gaba.  Just freakishly weird.

Well, I'm off to do more important things than ponder the personality qualities of cartoon characters.  
Do you have a favorite?  How about one that just gets under your skin?

June 25, 2009

Jumpin' for Joy

That's my boy jumpin' for joy at the beach.  Yes, my blog has suffered because, well, I'm on vacation. Now, before all of you stalkers/robbers/thieves start trying to figure out my address, just know that my manly man is still at home with my guard dog.  They are ready and waiting.

Oh, I miss that man terribly, but there is this thing called food.  And my children like to eat it.  And food costs money, lots of money it seems lately, so he chose to stay home and work.  And yes, I just broke every grammar rule about starting a sentence with "and."   AND it felt kinda good to break a rule.  Because if you know me, you know that I'm a rule follower.  

So while my hubby stays at home, works so we can eat, and deals with the extremely costly headache of having to purchase a new air conditioner unit, my girls dance in the waves. Childhood innocence is beautiful.  There is a fine line of involving our children in the 'team' of family finances and protecting them from fear of financial crisis.  Oh, what a balancing act!  I say, let them dance!

As I dug an enormous pit in the sand for my children to jump and hide in, it occurred to me that much of mothering resembles this task.  I work, sweat, and labor knowing that many of my tasks will need to be repeated, just as I knew the pit would only last until the next high tide.   Why do I wipe counters, wash dishes, pick up toys, and dig sand pits?  

I do these because of my LOVE for my children.  I didn't dig that pit with a bad attitude even though I knew all of my sweat and sore muscles were for a temporary delight.  I did it with joy because of the love I have for my precious ones.  I don't want to get caught in the web of complaining about menial tasks in mothering.  It is part of the journey.  The journey is meant to be enjoyed!   
This is one of my favorite snapshots of the week.  If you look closely, her feet aren't touching the ground.   She has some pep in her step.  

Enjoy the menial today.  It's part of this crazy journey called life.

June 21, 2009

Sunday Rest

Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love...
for it is time to seek the Lord!
Hosea 10:12

June 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Top 10 of my week
10. "Mom, why did God make horseflies?  I'm gonna ask Him when I get to heaven."

9. Friend drove her minivan off our driveway and into the ditch.  2 strangers stopped to help but didn't speak English.   I think they were Spanish speaking angels.  Their solution was pure genius.  And, they wouldn't even accept thank you money.

8. Chic-fil-a peach shake.  Nuf' said.

7. 5 year old's description of seeing a Great Dane (ever so innocently):  "Mom, it was as tall as your boobies."  Really.  Didn't know you knew that word.

6. Same 5 year old: Mom, did you know that your friend _______ has boobies?
Mom: yes, honey, all ladies have them.
5 year old: Even her?!
Must be the topic of the week.  Fabulous.

5. Catching up with long lost college friends through Facebook.  (I tried not to use the word of the week while doing this.)

4. ANTS!!!!
3. Finishing a fun week of VBS with adorable 4 and 5 year olds.

2. Making it through 2 weeks without any duck poop in my yard

1. Knowing that the beach is just 3 days away

June 12, 2009

Summer Decorating

Doesn't this room just envelop you in the warmth of summer?  Yes, the view of the pool definitely completes the look.  My dear friend recently changed her daughter's room from toddler to 10 year old savvy.  This look can follow her into the teen years.  

I loved the whimsical throw pillows.  The subtle monkeys add a punch of fun without being too "themey."  Like my new word?  Made it up myself. :)

Check out these great window treatments.  Two pillow shams folded in half diagonally and tacked up.  The bamboo shades offer privacy and fit beautifully with the toppers.

I. LOVE. THIS. LAMP.  It's so grown up and yet fun at the same time.

This room doubles as the guest room.  Don't you want to be a guest?!  It is so fun yet relaxing.

Randomness in my Life

This precious gift of LIFE turned 10 last week.  T-E-N.  I cannot believe I have had the privilege of being a mom for ten years.  God is so good.  She is such a blessing, in so many ways.  My heart bubbles with love for this beauty.

Speaking of beauties...

My beautiful mom and I attended our first home school conference in May.  It was so fun to get away together.  She waited so patiently while I browsed for hours.  She even attended some seminars for me so I wouldn't miss anything.  After taking a spill on the sidewalk, ripping a hole in her brand new, never-been-worn white capris, getting a giant booboo on her knee and cutting her head (which I believed she needed stitches for), she still wore a gorgeous smile and never complained.  What a trouper!  Oh, and by the way, the whole blood thing was handled without any passing out, thank-you-very-much!

While at the conference, I had a chance to finally meet one of my dear blogging buddies...
We had planned get together that day, but just prior to our meeting time, I ran into the bathroom to do a quick lipstick, hair check.  You know, meeting someone 'famous' for the first time can be a little intimidating.  Well, before I even made it to the mirror, there she was!  So, in true girlie fashion, we met for the first time in the ladies room!  So much for the primping I desperately needed.   And yes, Jen is just as adorable and fun in real life as she is on her fabulous blog!  

Speaking of fun, my manly man had some fun this week, too.  His softer, artsy-fartsy side came out again:
Yuhuh!  He did it again!  He wanted to make our daughter's birthday cake.  She loves all things beachy, so he made a flip flop cake.  Watch out Duff! (Ace of Cakes)  Oh and while we're at it, let me show you his cake from our 8 yr. old's birthday:
Any guesses what she likes?  Yes, horses and chocolate.   
If you know my husband IRL, I know you are probably shaking your head in wonder.  I know.  It's an oxymoron.  I'm still scratching my head, wondering where this cake baking gene fits in with his "if it's brown, it's down; if it flies, it dies" hunting mantra.  Love him!!!

June 10, 2009


Humble gratitude to my anonymous friend.
God's timing was perfect.  
You blessed us SO!

June 9, 2009

Jumping In

It's almost comical how differently my children and I approach a swimming pool at the beginning of the summer.  The water is cool and refreshing, often taking my breath away.  As I carefully maneuver the gradual descent into the water I catch my breath, dreading how cold the water will feel with each step.  It is a slow, almost painful event, shivering and gasping as I go.
Meanwhile, my children have jumped in and are squealing  with delight.  Their bodies quickly adapt to the temperature and they are enjoying the benefits of the initial plunge.

Oh, how this parallels my spiritual journey!  So many times I hear the Lord calling, and yet my lack of faith hinders me  from taking the plunge.  I delay the benefit of being able to bask in the rewards of faithful stewardship.  I slowly respond to His call, waiting for Him to confirm and then reaffirm the call. When He calls to me, I know His voice (for He is my Shepherd), yet I often hope that maybe He actually meant to call someone else's name.

When I asked my children what they thought about this, their answer was amazingly simple: "We need to listen and obey."  It's funny how our favorite parental phrases can come back to bite us!  Yes, I need to just listen and obey.  We have taught our children the importance of immediate obedience ... what a lifelong lesson!

I want to be the sheep that follows the voice of her Shepherd, simply because He has called.  I want to respond immediately to His call.  I want to jump in, ready to rest in the assurance that He has called, and I have obeyed.

Today I must make a choice:  Am I ready to take the plunge, or will I endure the disappointments of choosing to follow his call only on my own, unsteady terms?

Lord, help me to respond to you with a cheerful, enthusiastic attitude.  I don't want my clouded view to hinder the joy of jumping in and following your plan.

John 10:3-4

June 7, 2009

A New Chapter

Friday was a bittersweet day for our family.  
A turning of the page, to a new chapter of our lives.

It was the last day of school.  Not just any last-day-of-school.  It was the last day that my children's education rested in the hands of another.  This new chapter of our lives is titled homeschooling.

Before you gasp and cringe and think " I hope she knows what she's getting herself into," let me assure you that this has not been a quick decision.  In fact the Lord pricked my heart just over a year ago.  It was a simple whisper to my heart, and over time, my attitude and preconceptions have changed.  

As a former educator, people would often ask if we were going to homeschool when our oldest was ready for kindergarten.  I would automatically stiffen and reply, "no way, I don't meet the criteria of having 12 children and wearing jumpers."   Recently, I've had the privilege to get to know some REAL homeschool families.  And that is just what they are.... real.  Normal.  Fun.  Beautiful.  Happy.  Gone are my misconceptions and sad prejudices.  

Back to our decision to homeschool...
My initial desire to homeschool my children did not come from a dire situation that we needed to get out of.  Rather, it was during one of their track out periods, when I had them to myself that I felt the Holy Spirit ignite my desire to teach them.  When I approached my husband about it, he simply said, "Let me pray about it."  Music to my ears.  I didn't want this to be my decision, or even our decision.  We wanted this to be a God thing.

Over the course of the next few months, we received one confirmation after another; some big, some small.  Nevertheless, we witnessed God's faithfulness as he gently guided us to this decision.

Which leads me to this past Friday, the last day of school.  As I drove out of the carpool line for the last time, a slight panic of "this is it" flashed through my brain.  It was one of those moments of parenting that you think, this is big.  A giant step of faith.  But the panic was replaced with excitement and the true satisfaction of knowing this is exactly where the Lord is calling me to be.

We had to deal with the bittersweet emotions that come with any major life change.  My children are thrilled with our new venture, but saying goodbye to school friends was tough.  I enjoyed my last morning of dropping them off at school and meeting a friend for breakfast.

We step into this new chapter of life with great enthusiasm, much excitement, and a sense of newfound freedom.  

My boys on our Memorial Day hike

We love to hike the mountains, even in the rain.

June 3, 2009

Bye-bye, Hello Again??

First of all, let me just say that it is totally ridiculous how much these ducks have consumed my blog.  I really and truly thought that this would be my very last post about them.  Mmm... we shall see.
We deemed Saturday to be the day of  liberation for our feathered friends.  It took a village to get 6 full size ducks to the pond.  We first tried to load them into a wheelbarrow/garden cart.  Uh... that didn't work.  Then we decided to carry them down the path, through the woods to the pond.  We wrapped them in towels for protection from scratches and transport poop.
The path we take to the pond from their pen is just under 1/2 mile.  Far enough to give them a new place to live.  Close enough to go visit when we want.
As you can see, it is a beautiful, secluded pond.  The perfect haven for 6 ducks.

It was a hard day for our animal girl.  She was sad, shed a few tears, but very brave.  We took our time to say goodbye.  We slowly backed away, one by one so the birds wouldn't follow us.

Sunday afternoon my dad did a reconnaissance mission to make sure the 6 made it through the night.  After an a-okay from him, we took little miss down to see for herself that Doodle and friends were enjoying their new home.  Although sad, she did great in saying goodbye. 

And then Tuesday night happened.  
Around 7 pm my daughter and I were working in the bonus room when hubby came upstairs and said, "you wanna see something funny?"
He pointed out the window and ...

THERE WERE OUR 6 DUCKS enjoying a feast of homegrown grass and clover.

Ya'll.  Let me say it again.

I couldn't believe it.  Those ducks walked all the way back to our house (they can't fly yet) after being gone 3 days!  How did they find their way home?!  We carried them to the pond.  It's not like they walked there and left some kind of scent on the path.  Seriously!!! What are we going to do now?!  
We had already cleaned out their pen and planted a garden.  (Manly man doesn't waste any time on a new project, you know)  We offered them some water to drink.  But the stinky kiddy pool had been put away.  So with no pen, no pool what do I have now? Yard ducks?  

Little animal girl doing a happy dance in her pajamas on Tuesday night.  "I knew they would come back!" she screamed.

So much for my "perfect temporary pet" theory.  

June 2, 2009


As I said in my last post, I got a little crafty last week. When I say little, I do mean little. Like my 8 year old could do this, except for the fact that it involves an exacto knife.
I wanted a little bulletin/note board for my kitchen "desk", a.k.a. junk collector. I have a basket there for the paper mess but sometimes I forget about a certain coupon or something I want to save.
I found this nice big frame in a junk store for $5. Even though it was off-white with gold showing through, I knew it had great potential. Two coats of flat black spray paint and it was ready to go.

5 Simple Tools:
~foam board
~felt or batting
~exacto knife
~pretty fabric
~fabric/craft glue

5 Simple Steps:
1. Measure and cut foam board to fit frame, using exacto knife
2. Cut felt/batting to fit foam board
3. Glue felt to foam board
4. Stretch fabric around board, glue to back.
5. Attach fabric board to frame.
*I didn't have to tape it or nail it in... it just fit perfectly. The back is not pretty, but who's looking?