Friday, October 31, 2008

got candy?

It was trick-or-treat here in town last evening. Can you say "chocolate?!" Oh my. I'm estimating that we had 150 beggars here based on the number of treats we gave away. Unfortunately, the kids brought home 9 times that much. (Lucy stayed here with me, while John took 7, and the 2 oldest were out with friends.) I had to pull suckers out of the mouths of babes last night, literally, as they were climbing into bed.
Needless to say, an emergency sort and stash was necessary while they were sleeping in order to prevent them (me) from binging all day today. I filled 2 gallon size bags of chocolate bars for the freezer, and 1 quart size bag of tiny goodies that will look cute on our Christmas gingerbread house. I stashed one quart jar of bubble gum in the cupboard for all the times the kids beg for a piece. There's a small pumpkin of "chewy" candies that the littler kids can pick from today, and I still have at least 5# more chocolate on top of the fridge for when someone thinks to ask. I'm praying it's still there at Easter, at which time we can toss it. (Please, let me forget. Please let me forget!) I filled the snack cupboard with bags of chips and crackers, oh did I mention about 5# of suckers, tootsie rolls, jawbreakers and other candy that Emma wants to cash in at the dentist next week. (Our local dentist buys back candy for $1/lb. and then sends it to our soldiers in Iraq) Emma's all about the cash and could care less about the sweets. (Reminds me of her Godfather.) Anyhow, I'm thinking I'll just set this little pumpkin of sweets on the coffee table and let the kids have at it this morning for all the times I've pulled someone off the cupboard by now. As for me, I'm hanging in there. It's 9:07 and I've yet to have my first Reese's cup for the day. (Praying for self discipline!)

Have a blessed day all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

there's no blocking!

Growing up with my 2 brothers, one of the rottenest things we could do to each other is point a toe in their direction and "bzzzz" them. It was as low-down as you could get, and inevitibly, the person on the receiving end would holler "Mom!!! Jamie just buzzed me!" It meant war. And bzzzing would abound!
Anyhow, today while laying on the couch for a moment with little Lucy, I found myself pointing my sock-covered foot in little John's direction and "bzzzzing" at him. (socks or barefeet were more criminal than shoes.) Without flinching, or missing a beat, he calmly responded. "Who cares, I got a blocker on." ("What?!" I thought in outrage. "There's no blocking!") I bzzzed him again, this time with a little more stretch and point to the toe. Still without faltering, he shrugged at me. "I don't care, I got my blocker on."
I was furious (to myself). There's no blocking! You can't change the rules to a game we created 30 some years ago. I've been bzzzing for years. Hmmmph. Blocking is just wrong. I bzzzed him again just because, as he turned to walk away. Ha. I got the last bzzz.
I know we've all heard it before, but this one sends chills down my spine. As a nurse, mother, human being...I can not even imagine! Please pray that people will be moved and awakened to vote with a conscience.

future plumber brothers?

Always interested in how things work, I recently found myself bringing young John and Charlie on a field trip into the basement. Mission: follow the "poop pipe." That's right, the question came up "Where does the poop go after you flush?" I tried the line from Nemo about all pipes lead to the ocean but in midwest Ohio, that doesn't really fly. So, after taking care of business, I explained in brief how the toilet works and and we pointed (on hands and knees) the path of the water until it went down through the floor. This took us into the basement to see...the "poop pipe." We continue to trace the path through the pipes and out of the basement through the backyard and towards the alley. I showed them the manhole in the alley, and that's where our journey ended. Although, we did have to take turns flushing the toilet while one of the boys stood in the basement to hear the water going through the pipes.
This morning I walked by the bathroom and found John and Charlie again, doing their bathroom business and talking a hundred miles an hour. They were retracing verbally the path of things through the "poop pipe." It was too funny! Perhaps we have a few "Joe Plumbers" in our midst here. A family business perhaps. (Someone please help me to know we're not the only ones having conversations like these.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Don't be alarmed if this strange brew shows up on your doorsteps...'tis the season for tricks and treats. Tonight we attended our Knights of Columbus annual Halloween costume contest. I'm excited (and a little embarassed) to report that the Schmiesings nearly swept the contest with a win in 4 of the 5 age groups. CIA Special Agent (Sam), Mummy (Grace), Vampire (John), and Clown (Lucy) all took home cash prizes.
I had to laugh as we drove home, everyone thrilled with an evening of silly fun with friends, and cookies & juice to boot. Emma started "talking trash" about her loss for the evening. It went something like this (and in good humor):
Emma: "Man, what a rip-off! I should have won with my 100% recycled costume!"
Mom: "Maybe you just didn't work it Emma. Take little Lucy. All 10 of you kids have worn that outfit (we have two that I made when Alice and Emma were babies) and Lucy is the first one to bring home a prize with it. First one out of 10!"
Dad: "Yeah Emma, Lucy know's how to work it with the judges."
Sam: "Way to go it!"
Lucy: (gumming on her clown hat, oblivious): "bla, bla, bla, bla"
Emma continued (laughing now) to trash talk the whole evening, and everyone laughingly gave it right back. Face it Emma, you were outplayed by a 10 month old.
Back at home, everyone exited the van, high-fiving Lucy for her big win, and tickled with a fun night out. Two more days till trick-or-treat! Wooo hooooo! Bring on the chocolate.

the family that prays together...

...well, you know. We're in the early, experimental phases, but it's going very well, so I need to share the idea of a family rosary. I've heard other people mention it, but communal prayer at home other than at meals or bedtime just really was a foreign concept to me. Sorry, but just wasn't raised that way. Anyhow, to celebrate October as the month of the Holy Rosary, I started having my second grade religion students pray a decade each time we met. They loved it, and were so enthusiastic about it, that a little lightbulb went off, and I had to bring the idea home. I started with just a decade the first couple days with the younger kids while John was at work. (For some reason, I expected it to go terribly and was a little afraid of failure in front of John.) Silly, I know! Anyhow, the kids loved it at home too, and asked about doing it again. I checked a few Catholic websites for tips about praying a family rosary with young kids, and this is what seems to be working for us so far. At the kids usual bedtime, I mention that we're going to pray a rosary, and whoever would like to stay up the extra 15-20 minutes may do so. (this makes praying together a treat) So far everyone's all for it. I usually put the youngest to bed after the first decade...when they're starting to show signs of breaking...and Dad and the others continue on, and I join in after just a few missed Hail Marys. We take turns leading the prayers, so that the kids are very involved, and on their toes waiting for their next chance. And for the young ones who still stumble over some of the words, we help them along. They're learning so fast! Today I picked up some simple "How to pray the rosary" pamphlets that include pictures of each of the mysteries, which I'm hoping will help us all to better focus and meditate as we pray the words. In talking about how things went afterwards, John mentioned that he had thought about suggesting this years ago, but was embarassed. And as terrible as it sounds, I may not have been as open to the idea a few years ago either. We all come to things in our own time, by the grace and movement of the Spirit. I'm so grateful that this came to our home now, while our children are so young. I pray that we continue to make time for the rosary, and devotion to our Blessed Mother. What a gift for our children, I think. I encourage you all to try it, especially if you've thought about it but are procrastinating for whatever reason. Just do it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

flickers of hope

39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. ~Mark 4:39 (NIV)

As we walked down the street to our church last evening for the Pro-Life Pumpkin Memorial, John and I both whispered prayers for the wind to calm. The cooler temperatures were bearable, but the gusting winds would never allow for all those pumpkins to be lit. We arrived to the front of our church along with several other hundred who had gathered. The folk group was singing/playing beautifully, and the kids unbundled just enough to sample some cookies from the refreshment table. We chatted briefly with friends and family, then found a spot near the street light pole to sit with the kids up front.
The teens organizing the event, started with a few abortion statistics. May we find hope in the fact that the number of abortions have declined since last year, but still 3,600 babies die every day in the US from abortion. There were 400 pumpkins on the steps, each memorializing 9 of those babies. Our parish priest, Fr. Rick prayed with us, and music continued as the teens proceeded to light the 400 pumpkins...with only a slight breeze. Prayers were answered as the wind had been calmed! Thank you Jesus! I got goosebumps as the crowd of hundreds sang together "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman." It was just beautiful. Afterwards everyone was welcome to take a pumkin (or several) home with them to light and show support for Life. We pulled our little red wagon home, this time in winds that nearly pushed the little ones over. Thank you Lord, for allowing the calm, if only for 1/2 an hour!
I am so inspired by the youth of our parish, and hopeful that this ugly battle for Life will one day end. I continue to remain optimistic that the ProLife ticket will prevail next Tuesday. You're just in time to begin a Novena for the Election...join me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin carving 101

Imagine if you will, one knife weilding adult, and 10 very enthusiastic scoopers waiting for their turn to scrape the "guts" out of a pumpkin. I can't seem to get the tops off fast enough, and enthusiasm soon turns to pandemonium. Lucy's under the table eating seeds, Frank and Rose are taking turns trying to grab the knife when I lay it down (which I quickly learn NOT to do.) and the others are just squeezing into my hips tighter and tighter trying to be the next in line to scoop out the guts. Charlie eventually gives up on scooping and decides its more fun to run his trucks and cars through the piles of pumkin seeds and pulp on the table. The purring of his little engine noises and beeping as he backs up to drive through again, are awful cute, but not helping the mess as more seeds are being thrown down to Lucy. After a few tries at pulling the squishy slop out, the girls quickly decided they'd rather carry the pumpkins in and out of the house for me. Somehow we managed to get them all cleaned, and saved carving for naptime, when I had a few less helpers.
The busted pumpkin was cleaned and baked, and used to make pumpkin raisin bread which smells absolutely wonderful. We may have to try it for breakfast tomorrow. And despite the chaos, I'm grateful the kids were able to participate in it, and for such a greater good. These were just a dozen of the 400 pumpkins that will be lit in tomorrow's ProLife pumpkin memorial at our church. I'm grateful to be such a small part of something so amazing and touching. I hope it brings greater awareness to the number of babies being killed each year by abortion, especially at this election time, when the ProLife movement is in such jeopardy of a terrible setback.

okay I was being optimistic!

I didn't make it through the entire list, and a few things were altered slightly, but we kept busy today! (and happy to report it was another t.v.-free day.)

Basement cleaned (check)
Family rosary (check)
12 pumpkins carved (check) oops one fell and busted
so, instead of cookies it was pumpkin bread...4 loaves (check)
pictures sorted (check)...For now, each of the kids has a photo box. No albums yet
kitchen floor scrubbed (check) ...see above note about busted pumpkin!
pot roast for supper (check) ...and oh, so yummy
Lucy snuggle (check) and Rose, and Charlie too!
laundry (check)

I do have to mention that I'm trying something new with laundry. We'll see how it goes. But, I'd heard a few folks mention that they don't sort laundry anymore, they just wash everything for the day in one load. This means one load per day. Hmmm. After doing a laundry marathon earlier in the week just to catch up, I'm ready to give it a try. For 2 nights now, I empty the laundry chute right into the washer (with the exception of socks and underwear, cause that just grosses me out and needs to be washed seperately.) So, I do one load of laundry each night, and in the morning I fold it and put it away. I did run a second load yesterday of socks, underwear and washrags, and today a second load of delicates. But wow! So far, so good. I'll keep you posted. The rest of the list, well that will be waiting for me tomorrow. Or, Monday.

My to-do list for the day...

Rather than tell you what I actually accomplish, I'll let you wonder in amazement and believe that I might actually pull it off.

basement cleaned, vacuumed and dusted
carve pumpkins (for the ProLife Pumpkin memorial)
bake cookies
sort 600 pictures (just printed a years worth from snapfish)
shovel out the girls' rooms and rearrange their furniture (per their request)
snuggle with Lucy again (it's addictive)
pot roast for supper
family rosary (yesterday's attempt was inspiring)
scrub kitchen floor (WAY over-due!)
clean bathrooms
vaccum dust family room
finish a cup of coffee before it's cold (never happens!)

that's in addition to changing diapers, cooking, playing with the kids, kissing ouchies, etc. Should be a good one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Would it be a sacrilege?

The boys in my house have quite the imagination. It's not at all unusual to see them in dress up throughout most of the worker, fireman, army man, cowboy, football or baseball player, or anything else they come up with. I caught Charlie in his fireman hat and badge out on the patio tonight putting out a "fire" with his tree branch "firehose." So, my question is real...would it be a sacrilege to have a priest outfit in the dressup box? If we're trying out potential vocations, is it wrong to play mass, annoint, or baptize? Just wondering.

Lucy's lullaby

Little Lucy woke early from her nap today. Often times a pacifier and snuggly blanket will hush her right back to dreamland, but today that wasn't the case. She looked really tired yet, but wanted some mom-time, so I scooped her out of her crib and together we snuggled in the rocking chair. She hummed along as I sang her the words to a lullaby I'd learned years ago when I competed in a Solo and Ensemble contest back in high school. (Funny that I can remember still.) I have never been a good singer, but I can dream. Anyways, as I gazed into her sleepy eyes and sang lovingly to her, I remembered quite clearly the contest for which I first learned the song. The judge told me afterwards that while the notes were right, it just "wasn't believable." He told me I wasn't really singing it as a lullaby. Huh?! I'm sure I shrugged my "whatever" shrug, and left the room with my 2 rating, and whatever was left of my pride. I really didn't get what he meant till just now...20 years later. (sometimes it takes me awhile) I didn't understand how to sing a lullaby then, any more than I could tell you what it's like to walk on the moon. But now, as I hold this child with complete and unconditional love, and sing so that she feels the love outpoured, love that gives peace and rest, I understand what it means to sing a real lullaby...and to love and trust completely.

Sleep now little baby.
Close your sleepy eyes.
Sandman's waiting for you,
with a big surprise.
He'll take you to dreamland,
flying through the night,
to find hidden in slumber
visions of delight...
Ice Cream mountains, and soda fountains,
and candy orchards you'll see.
Chocolate makers and apple pie bakers
are waiting there, for thee.
Sleep now little baby, let there be no more cries.
You'll find your mother and father, when you open your eyes.

too pooped to post

Sorry for no post yesterday, was just too tired. I was up later than usual Tuesday night catching up on laundry (1am), and had to punch a time clock on Wednesday. I absolutely love going to work though, so it's a good kind of exhaustion. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had to go in everyday, but I don't know, it's a pretty nice job.
Anyhow, by last evening, I had the laundry monster tamed. The kids new chore lists are really helping a lot. They have things tidied before they can turn on any bedtime tv, and as part of the new list we've added a second cleaning...Wednedsay night:bonus night. The cleaning they do on Wednesday nights earns them 50 everyone's happy. What a wonderful feeling it is to settle on the couch at 9:30 with house clean, kids sleeping peacefully, last of the laundry folded (for now.) John grabbed for the newspaper, and I sat with the computer, and needless to say, woke up at 10:00 with the computer on my lap, and nothing typed. High ho, high ho, off to bed I go!

We're back at this morning now, rejuvinated, and ready to roll. The house is turned upside down again, and I've already washed 2 loads of laundry...didn't I just say I was caught up?? (sigh)That was then. The sun is shining though, kids are healthy, chili's on the stove for supper and smells wonderful. I think I might fire 'ol Herbie up and bake us some bread to go with.
Have a blessed day all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkins for Life

Several youth in our parish have once again organized a Pro-Life Pumpkin Memorial to take place on the steps of our St. Augustine Parish. 400 pumpkins are carved with a cross and lit to represent the children killed by abortion each year. It will take place this Sunday, October 26th at 7:30pm. What a unique and amazing show of support for life. I am truly inspired by the teens who work so hard to get the message out. Check out pictures from last years event at (you'll want to click on "index" to view the flyer.)

Hope to see you there!

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.
This morning was one of those rare ocassions where silence in the house doesn't mean someone's up to something they shouldn't be...

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, October 20, 2008

on the subject of chores...

I'm sure my kids will tell you how hard they have it. Their incredibly mean mom insists they do chores. In addition to helping with Saturday: Cleaning day, they also have a rotating chore schedule. Nothing major. Just a little job each day. The oldest 3 were doing jobs like "empty dishwasher" or "sort laundry" or "set dinner table" while the next 3 shared simpler jobs like picking up toys and books. Nobody was terribly upset you can imagine, when Lucy got ahold of and chewed up the chore list. I went without help for 2 or 3 weeks, before making a new one this weekend. Today was the maiden voyage for our new list, and I think things went quite well. I changed all of the jobs, giving the older kids more flexibility with their busy schedules, and giving the younger ones new responsiblities. 4 year old John wasn't crazy about helping the 3 and 2 year olds to put toothpaste on their brushes, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. And 2 year old Rosie was tickled beyond words to have the help. It's a simple process, I tried to explain to John..."Put a tiny bit on, let them brush, rinse, tap it on the edge of the sink, and back in the cup. Dry with a towel, and voila." Rosie agreed. "Voila!" she giggled. He thinks he's gonna like setting the lunch table better tomorrow.
It's all good.

where to begin?!

It's been such a beautiful past couple days, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll start with Sunday mass, which, with Charlie is always a treat. (hint of sarcasm). Early in the mass, while checking out everything but what's going on up front, Charlie notices the stations of the cross. More specifically he mentions "Look mom, that guy has a hammer!" I whisper to him a little about what's going on in that mosaic...that Jesus is being nailed to the cross, etc." We both agreed "he wasn't a nice worker." Later in mass, when Charlie attempted a left hook in my direction (upset with me for taking away his offering envelope...punishment for his being disruptive.) I reminded him that his angry actions were just like the "bad worker" and when we allow our anger to get the best of us, we're helping to nail Jesus to the cross. His expression changed abit as he glanced again to the mosaic...and apologized. I gave him his envelope back, and he sat still with me, if only for a brief moment. He had to question the woman sitting to his right about the contents of her "pretty little purse." She smiled, but was not amused.

Sunday evening, in light of the beautiful fall weather, we had one last campfire in the back yard. I made hot chocolate with marshmallows for all the kids, including a stray neighbor or two. We toasted marshmallows, and even made popcorn. It was a wonderful treat, and the kids loved staying outdoors past dark on a school night. It's as if they too realized that our outdoor days are numbered before winter sets in. My mom and dad had stopped by, and joined us for a bit. My dad, while playing kickball with the kids, got a ball stuck in the top of the tree. The ensuing attempts to retrieve it were quite entertaining to say the least. Parents and grandparents were tossing baseballs and anything else into the tip-top of the tree, while kids wearing bike helmets stood underneath retrieving fly balls. I had to stop more than once just to laugh out loud. How silly are we...and easily amused!

Anyway, it was a wonderful end to a beautiful fall weekend, and I'm grateful as always for God's abundant blessings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

my quandry for the day...

How in the world are we expected to parent/discipline our kids when they are complete clowns? They are crackin' me up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

okay, I did a little digging, and just had to share the music and lyrics while I had it on my mind...

Saturday afternoon dance party.

I just love days when we don't see the tv. Today was one of those days (for the most part.) It started off in our usual fashion, kids waking quietly and watching a little cartoons until everyone else is up. Then breakfast of oatmeal & toast, and cold cereal for those who prefer it. After that it was off to the bedrooms for dressing, bedmaking and straightening up. Emma had another soccer game today, so we did a quick clean-up of the basement, vaccumed and dusted the living room, swept and wiped down kitchen, and just skimmed over the bathrooms quickly. Grandma offered to take Emma to her game, so the rest of us stayed home and played; boys outside in the swingset fort with rubberband guns in tow, girls in the house coloring.
Emma returned in time for lunch, and from there the day just got more fun. While I cleaned up the kitchen, the boys returned outside for more gun-slingin', and the girls moved the living room furniture around for a "dance party." Music was blaring, and the girls were having a ball. Even Lucy enjoyed the attention she got from her older sisters who swayed with her and dipped her. She just squeeled with delight. When the dancing faded, the girls started in on halloween coloring and crafting. Some budding artists, I must say. Before long, while the little ones settled in for afternoon naps, the older ones had talked me into bringing up the halloween costume trunk from the basement. They were dressing up in every imaginable ensemble trying to choose what they'd be this year. I've made all of their costumes over the years, and so it's nice now...the young ones choose what we already have, and I don't have to do much sewing anymore. I think everyone found something they liked...a clown, a cheerleader, a fireman, a vampire, a mummy and an indian to name a few.
Despite a few episodes of drama (mostly over minor things like spilled milk, falling Hannah Montana posters, and kids trying get by without shoes or jackets in the much cooler temps) it was truly another blessed day!

An old Martina McBride song popped in my head just now..."I have been blessed. And I feel like I've found my way. I thank God for all I've been given, at the end of every day...I have been blessed!" I'm gonna have to give that song a listen again...remember the rest of the words.

Friday, October 17, 2008

while the big cats are away...

...these are the mice left to play. My four babies at home, while the 6 oldest are off to elementary, kindergarden, and preschool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

tongue twister

I noticed a small scab on one of the boys and asked what happened..."It was a scooter bite, mom."
me: "You mean a 'skeeter bite?"
he just giggled.
I went on... "A scooter is something you ride, a 'skeeter is something that bites."
"Ya mom, I got a skeeber dite."

(almost got it.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

on bread machines and shaving cream

Just a few random thoughts here today...
First of all, how many of us received bread machines for Christmas, or weddings, anniversaries maybe. You know, like 10 years ago when bread machines were all the rage. I know I did, at least 10 years ago, pre-kids. Anyhow, I just dug mine out of the closet a few weeks back. It was a good find, cause I thought it went on the garage sale years ago. Nonetheless, we got it out, and fired that baby up. Low and behold, it still works, and it's soooooo simple!!! Homemade bread for supper without any effort! I've been making a loaf daily here lately, and the kids (and hubs) are loving it!!! Mine came with a recipe book for any variety under the sun, so I can make a flavor to match any meal. Although the smell of plain old white bread baking still has to be the best. The kids have named the machine "Herbie" and this morning were pleasantly surprised that Herbie baked us fresh bread for breakfast while the rest of us slept. How cool is that!? If you still have one buried in the basement or attic somewhere...I'm suggesting you dig that puppy out!

Now to shaving cream. As I finished fixing all the girls' hair in the bathroom this morning, Frank stood at my ankles begging for some "fixin" time himself. He has a butch haircut, so there's not much primping I can do with him. So instead, I filled the sink with water (just like Dad) and put a little shaving cream on his face (just like Dad) and proceeded to give him a "shave" with a plastic spoon. It took all of 3 minutes from start to finish, but the ear-to-ear grin was priceless when we were done. He just loved being a big boy, "just like dad." Easy fun for the little men in your lives.

Have a good day everyone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ring around the ghosties

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a big kid when it comes to decorating for the holidays, and halloween is no different. I try to stay away from the scary stuff...just good fun. So the last couple evenings here the kids have helped me to decorate the front porch with corn stalks, pumpkins, mums, orange lights, a scarecrow, and of course our big plastic light-up vultures that stand guard on either side of the door. Tonight, we added a cute ring of ghosts around the front tree that appear to be playing "ring-around-the-rosey." It's a cute idea I found in our Family Fun magazine a few years back, and finally decided to try it. All the kids loved helping me make the "ghosties." Even Frank and Rose, who donned the leftover scraps of bedsheets and became "ghosties" themselves. Too cute.
Anyway, after the decorating was done 9 of our kids along with 2 of the neighbors started their own game of "Ring-around-the-ghosties." The 11 of them joined hand in hand, circled the ring of ghosts and made up their own words..."Ring around the ghosties, a pocket full of candy, Pumpkins, Goblins, We all shout BOO!"
It was pretty cute. Just wish the batteries were charged for the video camera. Doggonit!

It's independence day!

As usual this morning, I brought Rosie into her room and picked clothes for her to get dressed. But unlike usual, today she gave me a firm NO. She proceeded to show me exactly what she intended to wear. Oh my. It doesn't quite match, but in time we moms learn to choose our battles and clothing is not one of mine. So, here's my independent 2 year old...putting her own mark on fashion. The world will never be the same.

Monday, October 13, 2008

to end the day

as always...

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love,
commits me here.
Ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.

just a few pics

finally getting around to sharing these pics from oktoberfest parade... super pooper scoopers, Alice and Emma (with a friend in the middle)

...little Lucy (sorry, couldn't figure out how to rotate the pic)...

...and the rest of the gang.

oh, and how could I forget?!

I nearly forgot to share something beautiful I experienced yesterday...this is especially for the folks living in this neck of the woods...while in Columbus yesterday, I smelled grass! Real, green, beautiful, plush grass. So beautiful I had to take my shoes off (and Lucy's) and walk on it. It has been so incredibly dry this summer at home that I had forgotten what green grass looks (and smells) like. It was a gift to behold. I'm a little jealous as I look out at our brown, dry dusty yard. But I'm grateful for a day in the green grass. I'm tellin you, it's the little things that make my world go round!

happy monday morning to all

(Sigh) what a nice weekend we had. Saturday was cleaning day as usual, and it was another one of those days where the kids went above and beyond. Finishing their jobs, and doing more than I asked. I love that! It allowed me to get a little more done than usual too. Stop by and see my countertops! (before they're gone again) Emma had another soccer game too, and boy was it fun to watch! Her whole team has improved immensely since the first game, Emma included. She's always been an aggressive player, and to see her compete against the 4th grade boys and do so well is really cool. She's definitely my tom-boy, and competitive no doubt. She did manage to score one goal and had a couple really great assists and her team came out on top 5-1. Sunday, John had to work as usual, so the kids and I made a trip to New Albany for my godson's 4th birthday party. What a wonderfully exausting day that was! The kids just love playing with their cousins, and I of course love chatting with adults any day of the week. If anyone went hungry, it was their own fault. My sister-in-law had a beautiful spread of munchies and sweets to appeal to any taste. Yumm! It was sad to leave, but we hadn't seen Dad all day, and of course it was a school night, so we left around 7, and made it home in time for showers, a quick visit with dad, and bedtime. I'm embarrased to say that in all my 35 years, this was only the 3rd time I'd driven to Columbus, so it was a great accomplishment for me to get to their house and back without any trouble. Watch out Martha, we may be coming your way more often! Ha! The first words out of Charlie's mouth, before his eyes were even open was "Can we go back to Tom's house again?" Good times.
Anyway, it was hard for all of us to get out of bed this morning. The big kids are off to school. Being that it's monday, and the start of John's "weekend" we're moving slowly. Not rushing to get out of our jammies, and enjoying the coffee. I'm hoping to get out our halloween decorations today, and have the front porch "spook-ified" before the kids get home from school. We'll see what the day brings.
Peace and God Bless!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

good fun!

Tonight we checked out the Bradford Pumkin Show. None of us had been there before, but we'd heard its a fun little community picnic with a midway of rides, a few crafts, and entertainment. Oh, and did I mention confetti?! They sell confetti by the lunch-sack full for people to throw at will. And by golly, everyone does it. If you don't like confetti in your underwear, you shouldn't go. We spent 6 dollars on 4 bags, stayed for an hour, danced to the local bands and had a ball!!!! There were 20 or more carnival rides, but our kids didn't even notice as we walked down the main street of town tossing confetti on everyone and everything we saw. Can you say awesome! What kid wouldn't love this. It was almost like walking through a winter wonderland, with the confetti blanketing everything like snow. I'm certain several of the kids ate it, because they were laughing with mouths wide open as other kids (and adults) would walk by tossing it about. This could be the first festival we've gone to where kids weren't begging for ride tickets. When our confetti was gone, we stood in front of the stage dancing to tunes like "Sweet Home Alabama" and other classics. Needless to say a good time was had by all. (And Saturday:Cleaning Day cannot be skipped this week...there's confetti everywhere I turn, and I've already vaccumed once!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

ask and ye shall receive

Just last night, I stood in Alice's closet with her, noticing that she "had nothing to wear." It's rare that I'll ever agree with anyone on this, but in her case it's pretty true. As the oldest in the house, she's at the top of the food chain as far as hand-me-downs go, so for her there are none. No biggie, we go through this with her every change of season...make a list of her needs, and eventually we get around to shopping for them. We both agreed she could use some jeans, a pair of khaki's and maybe some sweatpants for gym days. I laughed and told her to "put it on the list," which is something I find myself saying many times throughout the day.
Anyhow, as John came in the house tonight he was carrying a large cardboard box. I asked him about it, and he laughed "I know you just finished cleaning out all the closets...but there are 3 more boxes just like this one in my truck." Clothes from a coworker of his who has passed on some really nice things in the past. As he headed out to get the others, I nosed through the first box. Wouldn't you know the first items I pulled out were 4 pairs of jeans, a pair of khakis and 2 pairs of sweatpants in Alice's size. And all looked as if they'd never been worn. (as a matter of fact, a few of them still had tags.) I laughed out loud. God wasn't even a little bit subtle about fulfilling our needs this time. I shouldn't be surprised by His goodness, I just never cease to be amazed at our Awesome Father though. He has been so generous to us, His blessings abundant!

Luke 12:22-31
22 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?* 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;* yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for his* kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

boys and their hammers

Right now the girls are playing quietly in the basement. It sounds like they're playing school 'cause I hear lots of "please" and "thank-you's" and the rustling of papers and crayons. The boys however, not so quiet. I just confiscated a real hammer (not the toy) from Frank who was getting ready to "fix" the van, while Charlie and John (toy) hammer on the siding of the house. It's all good. They're hard workers, doing what workers do. I'm just grateful we caught Frank on his morning break!
Okay boys, I think the swingset need fixin'! Move along!

watch what you pray for...

okay, so I've been saying the prayer of Jabez...and just this week have had several opportunities come to me. As usual, I'm bucking them..."too busy," "not qualified," whatever, but I'm trying to swallow my fears and forge on. God's will be done. It's true, he does grant our requests, just maybe not quite the way we were anticipating, and certainly not the easy way we'd hoped for. But He is good!
(and so I'll try to be too)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

soldiers for Christ

As usual, the older kids were finished with breakfast, so it was just Lucy and I in the kitchen enjoying some yogurt and listening to one of my favorite morning worship cd's. Charlie and John walk in their army hats and Charlie asks "Mom is this army music?" "Yes, definitely!" I reply. "You're in God's army!" (and in my best narrator/announcer's voice, and arm rasied in the air, I add) "We are soldiers for Christ!"
Eyes got big and were followed with a big "Hoorah!"
Dancing commenced. Carry on, men.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Village People take on soccer.

Today was unofficially "hat day" at our home. You can just imagine then the curious looks the kids got tonight when what appeared to be "The Village People" climbed out of our van for Emma's soccer game. We had a cowboy, an army man, and a construction worker to name a few. Never a dull moment, I'm tellin' you.
Emma took it all in stride and even waved once or twice at the clowns who were cheering incessantly from the sidelines. Feelin' the love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

laundry laughs

...first off this morning, I hear Sam holler up to his sisters "Emma, you got any socks I can borrow? I'm all out. I don't care if they have the yellow stripes on the bottom!" Emma hollers back, "Sorry, think I'm all out too." Just as I was ready to let them know the socks are clean in a basket in my room, I hear Alice chime in "I got some extras you can both borrow!"
God love them for not being just too picky about little things like these. (and "Curses!" for the end of my summer sock hiatus. With everyone out of flip-flops and into tennies again, laundry is increasing!)

Later in the day, Sam was doing his chore for the day which happened to be "sort laundry from the chute." In the middle of this he hollers up from the laundry room "Mom come check this out!!" I went down there, hesitantly, and find him holding a pair of jeans up on the end of a broomstick attempting to place it carefully onto the hugely overfilled hamper of dark clothes. (Okay, I'm still not caught up from the fest weekend...but tonight's laundry marathon.) He was getting such a thrill "fishing" the clothes up onto the mound without knocking them over. Cheap laundry entertainment, at least for someone.

runnin with the big dogs

In an attempt to join in with the neighborhood "big boys" football game tonight, Charlie found the best equipment he old motorcycle helmet, and a jersey from the "dress-up" box. The big boys let him have a couple of catches, before he became more interested in raking leaves with his "work" helmet. Have helmet will travel.

The Prayer of Jabez

"Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil..."
So God granted him what he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:10 (NKJV)

I've read this prayer plenty of times before. One of the kids has a children's board book of the same name. But yesterday I got one of those "forwards" in my inbox insisting I pray this and mail it on to 12 people, etc. I didn't forward it. Sorry. I did pray it, and prayed for the person who sent it, figuring they could use the prayers. It didn't end there though. For some reason this time when I revisited the prayer, I kept getting hung up on the "enlarge my territory" part. It seemed a very selfish thing to pray for. So finally, as I do often when something is stumping me, I googled it. I found the passage in 1 Chronicles, read a little more about Jabez and the life he had. And it came to me that it is not selfish at all if our intentions are to use this gift for His purposes and His will. Jabez was asking for more land for his cattle, more opportunity to build on his reputation. Jabez may have realized that he could do more for God with more land. That's the catch. We must be living (or attempting to live) the life that God calls us to.
I 'spose an examination would be in order of how our current "territories" are being used for His purpose, and then wonder if asking for more is something we want for ourselves, or for the greater good. If we are up to the challenge of going outside our comfort zone to commit the work of our territory to the glory of God, then by all means, we should be asking. And not be so surprised when he grants our request.


Closets are thinned out, clothes redistributed to younger ones, trash, or donations. The house feels like it's raised an inch. Oh, and I can see all corners of my bedroom again. Yeah!!!!

The sun is shining, homemade veggie soup on the stove, it's already a good day!
Peace everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

E-I-E-I-E-I-O! (oy)

My apologies for not keeping in touch this weekend. As previously noted, it was our Oktoberfest celebration here in we were busy, busy, busy. I'll try to briefly recap.

Emma cheered at Friday's game,
She was thrilled they'd picked her name.
Spent lots of time up at the fest,
Draft beer and 'kraut is always best.
Cleaning day just didn't happen,
neither did the weekend nappin'
Too much polka, too many sweets,
and chicken dancing in the streets.
Pretzels, cream puffs, kettle corn,
now Charlie wants a "tuba-horn."
Boys dressed in their lederhosen,
Girls watched as the queen was chosen,
Mom plus 6 would run a mile,
Dad plus 4 would watch and smile.
Parade time was indeed much fun.
Poop scoopers sad they hadn't won.
More polkas, and brats and metts with kraut
Good times for all, there was no doubt!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

baptized again?

Cutest thing: I caught Frank (2) with his chair pushed down the hallway, bathing in the holy water font. His hair and forehead were dripping, and water was running down the wall onto the floor. (I didn't think it held that much water!?)
Anyways, my first thought was to scold him, but shame on me! Instead, I helped him to make the sign of the cross, and we pushed his chair back to his room. I hope to keep that innocent image of him etched in my head forever.

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”(Luke 18:15 ESV)

'tis the season

The cooler weather here is welcome for certain, but the duties that come with it...ummm, not so much. I'm in the middle of sorting through all the closets of clothes here. Not a small undertaking for any mom, but multiplied here. My bedroom is the warzone right now, as it's the only place I can set piles of clothes where little fingers won't "reorganize" it for me. Piles for donation in one corner, other piles for things that need packed away for recirculation next year. It's a crazy process! I keep trying to remind myself that this is a good "problem" to have, and that many people in this world have only what they wear on their back, or less. I thank God for his continued abundant blessings.