Saturday, October 30, 2010

Last hurrah

My husband had a mini vacation this week, and I am so glad that we actually did something with it.  Often I feel we waste his vacations, but this week we had a game night with friends, went to Burney Falls and then we went to Reno. 

In Reno we tried out a new Mediterranean restaurant, bought a rockin’ new card game, grabbed some treats for our beloved dog and made our mandatory Reno-stop to Barnes and Noble.

It was a whirlwind trip, but didn’t feel rushed in the least.  Trying new food was a neat experience and a lady even said our children are beautiful.  That is good for a momma-soul!  Best of all, we spent garage sale money, so there is no buyer’s remorse!!  That is fabulous!

When we got home, I womped his butt at the game and we watched The Truman Show with the kids—great mine for conversation!  As his last act of vacation, my husband stayed up past my own crash-time to watch a movie.  I hope he is fully full, equipped and loved for whatever work may bring.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Pictures from Burney Falls

I just loved all the pics, and need a whole post to show them off!

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The family.

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My kids on a bridge that scares me.  I am not sure where I was when this was taken…Probably running from it.

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Pretty river scene that I missed because it is from the scary bridge.

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This woodpecker was unafraid enough to let us watch him for a while when we were both coming and going on the trail.  So beautiful!

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My kids, taking a break from the uphill climb.  I can share here that my son wanted to rock climb.  All the way down, he kept finding ‘perfect’ places to climb, rather than stay on the trail.  I tried to console him by telling him that on our way back to the parking lot, our hike would be a climb.  We walked in a silence for a little while and then he said, ‘that really means we will only be hiking uphill.’  Ah, when they were young and gullible…

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Aren’t they cute?

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Here is a little tiny bit they could actually climb!!  Yay!

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My daughter took this picture of a most handsome man!  I need to get my hands on him!

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In our California History Class, we learned about this trail you can walk from Mexico to Canada.  I was so excited when I heard that we could access that same trail just a tenth of a mile up from the falls trail.  We couldn’t pass up the photo op!

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So cool!  Sadly, because of construction, this was about as close as we could get to the falls.  We are being positive, though, and saying that it gives us a good excuse to go back in spring!

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This is from the other side of the river from the picture just before it.

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This picture just cracks me up.  I should crop it to get a better view of my boy, but he looks so funny pancaked out in the wilderness.  He says he was trying to not scare that woodpecker. 

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One of the gifts from God I most treasure is a friend willing to walk the trail with me. 

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This tree was the perfect seat, growing horizontally from the hill before reaching up vertically.

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My boy takes a turn in the tree chair.

Thomases with Max and MAdi

Our friends with our kids.


Piggy Back!


Me, too, me too!

mom and Madi at Burney

Last Picture

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Long autumn walks

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Tuesday was a gift of a day for my family.  With some dear friends, we drove up to Burney Falls for a day of hiking, picnicking and picture taking. 

Burney Falls, )oct 2010 045I got over one hundred shots with my own camera, plus I used our friends’ camera to get some beautiful photos of them in front of the falls and on a nostalgic looking rustic bridge. 

Our time at the falls also afforded us some up-close observation of a couple of animals.  We got to see this fabulous woodpecker who was kind enough to put on a show for us both on our way down to the falls and when we returned.  During lunch, there were three or four fierce blue jays sparing with several squirrels all providing enough comic relief to qualify our picnic as ‘dinner and a show.’


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I love walking when it is cold.  I don’t especially enjoy being cold, but there is freedom knowing that I only need to walk faster or further and I will warm up.  On the contrary, I find walking in the heat brutally miserable.  You can’t do anything to get cooler.  But in the fall…the world is on fire with color, but cool enough to linger among the colors to enjoy them.

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It was a fantastic day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We are wrapping up our Pacific Islands study, and as our grand finale, we had a luau!!  My husband had the day off, we had the new clothes and decorations, so today was the day!

Instead of burying a whole pig with yams in the back yard for a day, we took the simpler route by baking a nicely glazed ham and delicious sweet potatoes.   So yummy!  My prince of a husband got not just the food bought and prepared, but he also put up the decorations!  How cool is that?  the kids prepared for their island presentations by drawing depictions of the two different island types.

I have been concerned that the higher level of material would make it difficult for my daughter to process the experiences of this year.  That is why we will be doing these themed days each time we finish learning about a people group or area.  I hope it will help plant some long lasting memories in the minds of my precious lambs.

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Australia, here we come!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bone Science

Core 5 school 032I just love our science this year!  Each year we have done with this company has been more exciting than the last.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to finish the three-part series on zoology or if I wanted to change horses midstream to study anatomy and physiology.  My husband made the decision for me, which reminds me to go tackle him with a thank-you kiss later.
We have, so far, made a cell out of candy (my son remarked that his sweet-toothed sister possibly authored the experiment), experimented with boned and not-boned people, and run around with raw eggs to see the benefits of liquid cushioning for our brains.  We are also making a ‘personal person’ onto whom we will add systems as we study them.  It is all so exciting!Core 5 school 031
  We began our study on the skeletal system by making clay people.  It took some of us a little longer than others to get the people fully formed, but happily, they all fell down without bones.  Isn’t it lovely when experiments and demonstrations actually work out as planned?  Then we inserted our toothpick bones and tried to get them to stand.  Getting this part of the demo took a little more ingenuity.  Our people needed larger feet—which I believed comforted our big-footed boy.  We also got a unplanned-but-happy lesson on the fact that we call it a skeletal system.  They aren’t just bones standing alone. Without overlapping or otherwise joining the toothpicks together, the body simply broke at the ‘joints.’  It is neat when things like that work out.Core 5 school 035
 Core 5 school 001They ran around with an egg in a bowl that we sealed—so glad they include little steps like that in the instructions!  My daughter’s egg (brain) was actually frothy!  They did it again with the bowl full of water.  Now, if I actually read the instructions with a little more attention to the details, I would have noticed they said to use plastic containers.  So, our brains were a little cracked after the water run—but still intact!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cell Science

I asked my husband, thinking he would surely agree with me, but he didn’t.  I guess I really didn’t pay attention in school, because I thought cells have gotten more complicated since I last studied them.  I didn’t know there were so many parts!  My husband just looked at me like I was crazy—unfortunately that is not a rarity.  So I guess we’ve known about all these organelles (see how fancy I am?) for a while now.Science Oct 2010 005

I was worried about helping my kids make sense of all these different parts with their special jobs.  Thankfully, the book was way ahead of me.  First, we drew a cell over the course of a couple of days.  Then we made a cell wheel, repeating the duties of the various organelles.  Finally, we got to make an edible cell!

We used Jell-O for the cytoplasm and all manner of junk food for the other parts.  I was supposed to add another thickener that we did not have, and boy, did that make a difference in the end result!  Thankfully, my kids learned long ago that school is about the process, not the product!

I don’t know if they will better remember what a Golgi Body is or what is does, but we have sure had fun learning about it!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Changed the look again

I like to move things around.  Every season or so, I rearrange the living room to achieve a fresh look.  But, as I get more things, there are fewer choices for the arrangements.  I don’t know if it is because we moved around a lot when I was a kid, and in my early married life, or for some other reason, but I really get a boost from these changes.

I host a blog for our homeschool support and enrichment group.  I try to be a little less raw, a little more professional ‘over there.’  So, I don’t make any changes to the look or formatting.  Which is why I change the look of this blog so often.  If I get bored looking at the books from the other blog, I switch things up here to give me a little release from that itch for the new.

So, there is a new look here.  Like it?  Autumn is my favorite season.  The colors and smells and memories fill the senses this time of year.  I thought I would choose a background picture to reflect the beauty.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boo Radley

I have such a stinky neighbor that the nicest thing I can do is to call him Boo Radley.  Although, for that to be accurate, he’d need to stay on his side of the fence more often.  And be nice.  But I think calling him Boo helps soften my heart to him and hope for something good to come from this situation at some point.  And it is better than calling him ‘the mean neighbor’ or ‘the scary neighbor,’ as my children are wont to do.

We have had trouble with them off and on for years, but we got a visit from both the lady and the gentleman yesterday in the the course of 6 hours.  Considering the tenor of their visits, that is too many for a whole year.  They complain about everything.  I believe with all my heart this is a family meant for the great wilderness—with nary a house nor soul in sight. 

They don’t like kids, dogs, lights or sounds.  Well, when you live in a city with the houses close enough to wave at people through them, you are going to also experience the lights and sounds that children and animals—and living—create.  I actually fantasize about winning the lottery so that I can pay for them to move!  How bad does a neighbor have to be that you spend your imaginary money setting them up anyplace else?  It is either move, or erect a 16 foot wall with sound proofing around their place.

Ugh!  I wish they’d just give us a break!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Make-up Party

Well my gal finally got her long-anticipated birthday party. We had to cancel last week because she was sick. She was just elated that everyone was able to attend the rescheduled date and could barely stay in her skin as we decorated. Now the party’s over and I think she is totally contented with a wonderful evening celebrating her birth.

I tend to be more critical, however. It has been a while since I put on a kid’s birthday party in my house. We’ve been doing family things, or out-of-the-house gatherings the last couple of years. I used to do it as easily as breathing. We did themed parties, and I made fancy cakes and prepared a feast. We had cool games, dressed up to enhance the theme and elaborate activities that adults and kids just loved. I even hosted the birthdays of friends’ kids! I don’t know what is so very wrong with me, but things just seem to come up short nowadays.

I bought a cake instead of making one—and it had raspberry filling. So cool for real adults, but for food babies like me, mixing dessert with fruit is just silly. I could hear my little guests voicing my sentiments while eating. I felt like I was a bad host to the adults. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize we were missing a dad! Goodness!

I also felt like a bad host to the kids. I hadn’t accounted for larger bodies coursing with hormones when I planned my daughter’s party. I didn’t know how to respond to the flirting going on among our older-sibs-guests. They threw food, ate off of serving utensils and just couldn’t seem to keep their hands to themselves. I used to be a youth group minister. I get teens and how they act. These guys were just having a good time. But I found myself wracking my brain for solutions to get them to calm down a bit but still have fun.

If I were teaching a class with 16 kids, I could have done it without batting an eye. But a party is supposed to be fun—no rules, have a ball! I feel like I am an old fuddy duddy when I stop confetti throwing, or pinch fights. I actually had to threaten to send a kid to go sit with his mom if he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Yuck! Who wants to go to that party?

Thankfully I have about six months before I have to think about this again. I believe we will be taking a different tack when planning our next celebration. When did I get to be so freakin’ boring??

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You’ve got to be kidding me

We get up to start our regular school day by 8:00 am.  We get up to take Daddy to work on special days that require a vehicle at 5:30 am.  Either way, the kids need to be awakened by someone and they exit their bedrooms dragging their blankets around them—as though it were attached.

Last night was when I told them that they could get up in the morning, get their breakfast, watch TV, play with toys, and whatever else as long as they were quiet and safe.  I wanted to be disturbed only in case of blood, right?

Well, this morning my husband got up, showered, dressed and watched a little TV over his breakfast.  Guess what I heard during this routine?  The voice of children who think they are quieter than they actually are! Five am!!!  The moment my husband left the house, I heard the bedroom door open. 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is it wrong to say…

Is it wrong to tell your kids to not wake you unless they are bleeding?  Does it make it more or less wrong if the only reaction you get is your son simply clarifying the instructions? ‘Or something similar.’

This was my bad-mom saying for the day this evening before I went to bed.  I was beat.  I’d been up early, to bed late and felt like I’d been going non-stop.  Even at night in bed, my mind was whirring with plans.  I desperately wanted to go to bed knowing that NOTHING would get me up until my body had been fully rested.

So my kids are on their own tomorrow morning.  I guess there are some untapped perks to having older offspring!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review of our Curriculum

It is a little early for me to fairly assess a 36 week course, when I have only used 2 weeks of plans, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of some of the essential, defining characteristics. I will review it now and will check back after we’ve gotten further along to see if and how my opinion has changed.

To give you the big picture, I will share what our whole day/week looks like. We are studying the Eastern Hemisphere, using Sonlight’s Core 5. We use the Bible and Language Arts program for level five, as well. On top of that, we do piano, recorder, health in the form of sex ed, Spanish, drawing, math and PE. For Science we are studying Anatomy and Physiology through Apologia. We dropped Greek and Roman root words and typing because it was just too much.

So. For the core, which is History and Geography, we are reading several books. One is a book about some missionaries who went to Papua New Guinea. This we will finish shortly. We love the book. There are so many conversation starters, I feel it is an active gold mine. I will be sad to finish it.

We are also reading 100 Gateway Cities, or something titled similarly. For the other lower levels of Sonlight, there is always a book used throughout the school year used to explore and pray for people groups. One year we prayed for tribes of Native Americans. Another year we prayed for people groups beginning with a new letter of the alphabet who at the time didn’t have the Bible written in their native language. This book we are reading is akin to those. It focuses on a city in the area of the world where there is the highest population and least evangelized people. Very cool. But the first week we spent reading introductions by various people. These I am sure were intended to inform and inspire, but all they did for me was demonstrate how easily passion can be turned into dogma. In my opinion, the burden of ‘should’ is emphasized over love and freely giving.

Our reader doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Eastern Hemisphere, but we are eating up Henry Reed, Inc anyway.

The core of the core is called Eastern Hemisphere Explorer. It is notebook pages coupled with a World Book CDROM Encyclopedia. In it are the cool assignments, like putting on a luau, making a volcano, studying African drums, jewelry making, or writing an epic story. So cool, right?? But in order to make the most of those adventures, you need to establish some foundational knowledge about the country or people group we are studying. It sounds like it will be fun: looking into the timeline, learning some lingo, and understanding other ways of life. But the problem is the source of knowledge. That stinkin, beautiful encyclopedia. Gorgeous pictures. But the search engine makes want to pull my hair out. I can see why people complain about it.

It is tough because I have become pretty confident about setting aside school items that don’t benefit us. So normally, I wouldn’t sweat this. But it is the key to the whole program—studying the Eastern Hemisphere—and a step needed to get to the awesome adventures that will make this year so very special and memorable.

So, we all just sit down and go through it together. I am quick to switch to an internet search if the encyclopedia doesn’t give me a quick answer. I think it is going to be a great year!

Monday, October 18, 2010

National Geographic

It has been so long since I have watched a National Geographic special that I forgot I knew them.  We have been watching them lately to supplement school.  We watched The Incredible Human Body yesterday and one on volcanoes today.  A couple of days ago got me started when I watched one on their photographers. 

Now, when the trumpets blast, ‘ba ba ba bAAA bum, ba ba ba baaa bum…’ this flood of memories wash over me.  My grandma and I used to watch the shows together!  It is such a unique sensation to be thoroughly caught in a memory.  When the memory is positive, such as this is for me, there is a desire to go deeper.  But the deeper you go, to more involved the senses are, and it is almost dizzying.national-geographic-channel

We’ve enjoyed the films we have watches so far, and the queue is full of more.  I am even more excited about watching them now than I was before. (I am a poet!)  I will be learning, teaching my kids and snuggling with my grandma all at the same time.  Phew!  I hope I will be able to keep my eyes dry!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Joy Thief

I have a great life.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me and encourages me in all my efforts.  My kids are terrific.  I have sisters who are friends.  I get to stay home and homeschool.  I am free to worship my Lord as I feel led.  We have a house—for now—and more than we need of material possessions.  All is well.

And yet I still struggle with losing my joy for life.  Criticisms cut too deeply.  Defeat is too devastating.  Inertia is an enemy; personal failure is a too-constant companion.

Why do I allow for these things?  I know Truth.  I’ve done the studies, heard the sermons and even delivered the pep talks.  And still I fall victim to the trappings of depression.

I’ve got to snap out of it.  More importantly, I need to recognize triggers and avoid them like the proverbial plague.  In fact, that is a pretty proper analogy.  When I lose my joy, it is as though I am sick.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I win!

During school this morning we were studying the scientific validity of paleontological reconstruction of the Neanderthal. The point the book was making was that the excessive use of downplayed artistic license coupled with various levels of educated guesses renders the authenticity of any renderings of Neanderthal highly questionable.
I want to teach my kids to ask questions—and to know which questions need to be asked. The book served this purpose very well. However, and more important, I don’t want my kids to make it their personal mission to debunk theories that appear to threaten God or the Gospel. If it turns out God created us through evolution, would your salvation be threatened? I pray not. God is God. He can do whatever He wants however He wants. I certainly have opinions about how He has done things, but I know that my opinions don’t change Truth, and that none of these issues plays a part in eternal life.
First, while Satan is the current ruler of this world and he is the beautiful father of lies, I believe in Truth. Truth is unchanging, and will always rise to the top. I am not so naive as to believe that people don’t go to their graves deceived, though. But the essential Truths do not need to have every untruth dispelled before they shine.
Imagine being in a boat that is taking on water. Shall we start bailing, or argue about the color of the pails we use to bail? If I believe the pail is black, but you insist it is blue, does it change the essence of the pail, or the need for the pail to start moving water off the boat? Not really. I don’t need to know the color of the pail before I make use of the pail. The essential truth is that I am going to drown and this pail will save me. The color of the pail, the molecular makeup of the water or even the geographical location of the sea in which I am drowning aren’t worth debating.
So, arguing young earth or evolution or full-immersion baptism when there are people who haven’t heard that there is only one way to eternal life doesn’t seem to be the best use of time.
That brings me to my second point. What if you are right? Wherever you fall regarding any of the debatable issues is 100% correct. In your list of doctrinal beliefs, there is not a single lemon. Congratulations, by the way! That is pretty cool. But now what? Will you reduce grown men to rubble as you debate and win every point? I picture some fight scene in an action movie where the hero dances through the movements that take down one attacker after another.
But there is a problem. Our enemies aren’t flesh. In fact, those fleshy things lying bleeding around the hero? They were the prize, the goal. And he’s killed them.
We are to preserve people, treat them with love. And if you are ‘in it to win it,’ the love is gone. When truth divorces love, it is no longer truth.
I want my kids to explore these issues. I am even fine with them making a decision after careful research. But I do not ever want them feeling so superior to another person because he falls on the other side of the line. I would be ashamed if my child chastised someone with ‘the facts’ regarding something like evolution. What would be the point? Certainly not to win him to Christ! And if that is not the point, there is no point.
I am a competitive gal. I like to win. But if I forget the prize and start thinking that just being right is the goal, I destroy the prize. I lose.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My daughter’s Observation Writing

My yard is full of rocks.  There are all sorts of different types of rocks. 
Some are different colors, different shapes, just different everything.
I saw some bugs on rocks.  I saw some red rocks, some broken rocks and some cool looking rocks.  They were cool because of their shape and color.  I saw a rock that looked like a boot and was brown.
Some rocks were lumpy and rough and not so pleasant to feel.  Others were so smooth, you just wanted to take them inside and hang them up on your wall and feel them all day.
Rocks are dirty and I’m not so interested in them, but I did it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How a boy watches a Barbie movie

I am so thankful that neither of my children have any issues with playing games or with toys of the opposite gender.  My son plays Littlest Pet Shop just as easily as my daughter goes after Lego Hero Factory.  She can out-wrestle any of us and loves worms.  With less enthusiasm, he knows every Disney princess and Barbie movie by heart.

Today they are watching a Barbie movie that they watched on her botched birthday.  She hadn’t been able to hear the movie that day, so she is having a do-over.  My son is with her, comforting her and trying to cheer her up. 

He was telling her that if the stair well in the castle would be all lined up it would make a message: ‘why do you get measles?’  That is one that sounded so weird I had to look at him and ask if he was just making stuff up.  He shrugged nonchalantly and said yes.

Unfortunately, his humor isn’t translating the lines of gender very well.  He is mocking the bad guy, ‘predicting’ the future, making CGI jokes… She just wants to watch the movie.

I so appreciate that he isn’t one of those boys who wouldn’t be caught dead watching such a girlie movie.  He isn’t mocking in order to declare some sense of masculinity.  He is totally in to being with his sister and he knows the movie from repeated showings.  But you can’t take the boy out of a boy.  What he sees is not what she sees. 

It is so funny to watch the two of them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not the memory we’d planned

So, yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.  We were planning this big ballerina tea party.  We haven’t done a big party in quite a while and I haven’t seen her anticipate her birthday the way she has this year.  I have actually been disciplining her because she’s been talking about it so much for so long.
The afternoon before her day her brother got sick.  For a short time he had a headache, but he also had a fever.  We were all worried this would cancel the party.  It turns out the fever lasted about six hours in total.  If you can sign up for a type of sick to get, this is the line you’d want to be in!
The morning of her birthday, I got up early with the kids.  We cuddled and talked about the day and were all about the plans of the day.  Then the birthday girl said she had a headache.  I told her to take a shower and we would see how she felt afterward.  I wrote in this blog while she readied herself for her big day.
Then I realized she’d been missing a while.  I went in search for her and found this figure on the rug of her room, wrapped in a towel too small, still wet and undressed, curled into the fetal position.  I came to her and asked what she was doing.  She answered that she had a headache.  I went to get the thermometer and it read 101.7.  Shoot!  A tear slipped from the corner of her eye as she said, ‘On my birthday?!’
I asked her what she wanted to do.  She said she just wanted to put on pajamas and go to bed.  She didn’t even mention her favorite dance class coming up in a couple of  hours.  So the party was canceled.
I am so proud of how she did.  After that tear, not a single utterance of complaint came from her.  Fever and nausea, vomiting and headache, nothing brought out a temper or self-pity. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, my little girl!

My girl is nine today!  By baby is nine today.  Last single digit year!  Whew!  That is something, isn’t it?

She was actually born in this house.  In the dining room, to be exact.  Most moms can tell you the number of hours they labored, but I can’t with my daughter.  (My son was about 39:45.)  I don’t know how to calculate the time of labor with that girl.  I did hard back labor three nights in a row with her, but experienced frustrating calm through the days.  I labored Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and she finally showed up Friday morning. 

Most moms can also say at what time their children were born.  I can’t do that with either of my kids.  With my son, things were too dangerous and people were running around so busy that no one checked the clock.  With my daughter, since we were at home, we had to go by my clocks—none of which are the same and none of which are accurate.  So, she arrived on the scene at around 8:30 am.

It is because of her arrival that I began schooling my son.  He was only two-and-a-half, but I wanted him to have guaranteed time with me each day.  I have this ridiculous phobia about siblings not getting along or sibling rivalry.  When we found out we were pregnant, we ran out to get my son a large, heavy baby doll.  This doll was treated like a real baby.  No dragging it around by an arm or leg aloud.  I wanted him ready for the special care a baby needs so that he wouldn’t be shocked into resentment. 

And we schooled so he wouldn’t feel entirely replaced or ignored by some baby. I am happy to say that my kids have a pretty good relationship with one another.  They still fuss on occasion, but the frustrations do not define the relationship.

As they get older, I more and more see how I will be fading from the forefront of their lives.  I don’t like it, but I am learning to accept it.  I pray to always be close with both of my kids, but I am also working on giving them the gift of each other.  I continually paint pictures of a future with them as close friends, loving one another’s spouses and watching one another’s children.

Isn’t it funny how birthdays play tricks with time?  I stretch back nine years while reaching forward even further! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Only in a Small Town—or—Those men in Uniform

Getting up before the sun to take my husband to work is more often a rather dull part of the day.  The kids go from bed to back seat, complete with their blankets.  I don’t take many more steps than they do.  We often drive in sleepy silence.

The front gate where my husband works is manned by an armed guard or two.  This is a relatively new development, but already a few weeks in I guess the novelty has already worn off.  The men at the gate have, up until now, been more than friendly.  This morning, however, the guard would have said nothing at all if I had been quicker at getting my ID out.  He is actually the first to check my ID with my husband in the car.

On our way out, the gate was opened.  Usually it is not.  I made my way slowly, in case they did want me to stop.  One hollered at me.  Hollered!  Then the man who’d checked my ID not five minutes before approached and said, ‘oh, your the…’  That is nice.  I don’t mind many titles of spouse-hood, but ‘the wife’ is not a favorite.  I drove away thinking that if they wanted me to stop, they should have lowered the gate.

I made my way through the inky black morning, with the stream of oncoming lights.  I really don’t like driving in the dark, especially when I can’t use my brights to navigate.  My vision just isn’t what it should be.  I prayed as I tightly gripped the wheel with my hands and the white line with my eyes.  My biggest fear lies in the other drivers.  They are all on their way to work, and have traveled this route countless times.  They speed and pass without a care on the winding road.

Then we had a bit of a surprise.  There were flashing lights of a police vehicle facing me in my lane and a long string of headlights in the other at a full stop.  What were the moving silhouettes between all the lights and us?  Cattle.  Yep.  Cattle.  A dozen or two cattle just taking a little morning stroll around the road.  It was so very silly.  I laughed with the kids and told them this wouldn’t happen in a city like Sacramento. 

The police car slowly came forward, moving into the correct lane and passed me.  Before I could think about how far he would go, my laughter turned to a moment’s fear as the cows crowded my van, showing no signs of stopping.  Just minutes before I way praying for safety as I forced myself to go the speed limit with my babies in the back.  Never had I considered having to protect my children from farm animals while at a full stop!  I wasn’t sure what would happen if the cows behind the ones right at my fenders pressed in. Would they be forced to go ‘up?’ I flashed my lights—revealing so many more of these big beasts than I realized had been there—and lowered my window, hoping the police officer, now out of his car, would tell me what to do.

“Good morning.”  It is good to be casual in times like these, yes?  I don’t want to reveal my city-girl inclinations.  It’s perfectly normal to come across livestock blocking the highway.  He smiled as he waved his flashlight and spoke to the herd to turn them around.  He told me to go ahead forward slowly and just ‘make my way through them.’  Sure.  I do this every day.

I obeyed and inched along behind the cattle as they meandered back up the road a bit.  We (I am now one of the herd?) stopped as another patrol car blocked my lane and we came within several yards of the oncoming traffic that hadn’t yet moved.  Then the police car in front of me blared with the voice of its driver, ‘If you would just stop driving and let us do our jobs…’  Goodness!  I guess he is not a morning person.  Or doesn’t communicate well with his partner—or the public.

I am such a goody-two-shoes, I have always gone out of my way to show proper respect and obedience to those in authority.  I got detention once throughout all my school career and I totally didn’t deserve that!  Being scolded by not one, but two men in uniform before I even had breakfast was a bit surprising.  I wanted to tell him that I was only doing what the first officer had told me to do. 

Thankfully, I am all mature and grown-up now, so these things don’t really bother me. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My man is home!

I don’t like to talk about it while I am actually going through it, but when my husband is away, I really don’t sleep well.  He went to stay with his brother this week for moral support while he waited word on the prognosis on his eyes.  So, the kids and I were here alone.  During the day an evening, that is no big deal.  We actually are pretty productive and I make a point to share some special time with them.  It is in the night that I pop corn

It doesn’t help that the morning my husband left, I was sitting in dance listening to four moms comparing shoulder bruises and caliber benefits.  I like to imagine that only in a redneck town can the mom-talk at ballet be about gun preferences.  And it is not a conversation to which I can continue.  In the moment, I just laughed on the inside at the incongruency of the situation.  But that night I couldn’t laugh. 

It goes without saying that I start by just going to bed late.  The kids and dog are in the room—with everything else locked up tightly.  I bring the phone into my room and this time I brought bug spray in an aerosol can.  Then I just listen.  And plan the order in which I will spray eyes, call 911 and keep the kids and dog out of harm’s way.  It is not conducive to sanity to sit in bed, surrounded by peacefully snoring little ones and anticipate danger.  But it is what I do when my husband is away.

So glad he is home!  I think I’ll take a nap.