Thursday, July 27, 2006

An Addition to the best dad in the world post

Dad looked great even on his wedding day- when he was sick with Mono.
I think this is his best pose- asleep, but still working. Posted by Picasa


I know it's 3 in the morning right now, but I couldn't sleep and my tummy was feeling rather icky- so you get some brief posts here.


What makes a child suddenly decide to retrieve the small hand pruning clippers from dad's stuff and take them to his room and cut the wire to his alarm clock- which was plugged in, by the way, causing himself to be electrocuted?

I have no idea, but such was Jonathon's fate yesterday and the cord on the clock is now about 2 inches long and the whole thing is destined for the garbage. I sure am glad he didn't get hurt and perhaps it scared him enough not to do it again.

And, perhaps all this creativity will pay off in the future somehow!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that today is my daddy's birthday and I love him. Just in case loving him isn't enough, here are 10 reasons why I think he's the best dad in the world.

10. He takes time to teach me things like how to change the spark plugs in my car and how to repair every toilet imaginable.
9. He does a good job providing for his family even when he has to get creative about where the next paycheck is going to come from. Nothing illegal, but he can find the sale in purple trash can lids!
8. He encourages me to take my dreams further that I have dreamed them- "you could sell this", "if you add ____, you could teach this to other people", "why don't you practice this new skill on us" and so on.
7. He lets us mess up his yard and other things all in the name of fun and learning. For example, we put a water slide down the back yard hill every year and it made one very long strip of brown grass right down the middle, but he was more concerned that we were having a good day. He let me mow the grass because I enjoyed it- even though I mowed down his pecan trees when they were little and I helped keep the fig tree a mere stump for years.
6. He orchestrated resanding all the floors in my current residence and thus has made some of my allergy problems almost nonexistent at home.
5. He treats changes as new opportunities- when we went to Puerto Rico as a family (and I hated it and was an awful child most of the time) he made the best effort to see it as an extended vacation and as a result, I have memories of repelling, snorkeling in some beautiful water, camping, camping in the rain, camping at the beach, caving, getting the best cocunut ice cream on the island, going to little bitty resturants for rice and beans and liking it, and eating lunch via the hot dog vendor on the corner.
4. He taught me how to cook AND he taught all my brothers how to cook and as a result we can have some awesome family meals!
3. He made bold efforts to have us enjoy family devotions in the morning, from letting us color, to reading Proverbs over the intercom system and playing music in the background and then making up his own weather report. We also had many times of devotions that were routine and boring- so he knew how to do that too. :-)
2. He taught us to volunteer and serve others. I don't remember a single year growing up that he wasn't helping out at church in some big way, or working in the community and dragging us along- which we minded many times but only worked for our good AND managed to pull us together more as a family. AND he let me take the two week course with the ALERT guys when I was the only female that showed up and I learned all kinds of cool things - but that's just a side note.
1. He taught me to love Jesus. He was there to explain that Jesus wanted to be part of my life and live in my heart. He was there to tell me that Jesus protected me when I had terrible nightmares and was scared out of my mind. He was there to remind me that we serve a BIG God when things looked pretty dreary and overwhelming. He is still there to remind me to trust HIM to take care of me when it looks like the task is too big.

SO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY! I love you. You have been and are still the best dad in the world and don't you ever doubt it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We've Returned from the Wild

The kids and I (along with Diane) returned yesterday from our little vacation around 4pm. We declared it a great success and the children didn't want to leave. This isn't the time that I'm going to write all about it however- just let you know we're back and alive and I will have some pictures to post also.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I thought of several different directions for this post to go.

First, was the awesome time we had on Sunday with a water slide down the front lawn and many friends to share it with. Our friends, the "Weeds"- as a couple of my boys say came over for some water fun along with the other children who live here at Fairwood. We slid down the slide for about 3 hours and thoroughly killed the grass underneath. We also set up a wading pool for little ones and had mounds of squirt guns thanks to Diane R. There was lots of fun and I even went down the slide a number of times. Of course, it being Wednesday I am still discovering different muscles that are sore from the event. First it was just tummy muscles that hurt, but today the backs of my legs are hurting from the walking up the hill. I haven't quite recovered, but we had a blast! The boys really had fun and went to bed exhausted that night.

Second, Brandon told me yesterday he had a dream about me. He said I was in the shower and a piece of plastic blew in and enveloped me and I suffocated and died and then everyone was sad. That made me smile. Not that I died and people were sad, but it isn't often that I think of myself as being valuable to others. I don' t mean to think that I am worthless, but perhaps most of you understand the concept that I don't just walk around thinking, "Ah...I am wonderful and everyone thinks so." I mean how many of you do that? Even if you are?? Which I think most of the friends I have are wonderful, but you don't really dwell on it and yet the thought of passing on and people suddenly being sad that you aren't around can actually be encouraging. You know, I think hmm....despite all my struggles and efforts, I do get some things right and people notice. I know this is a really carnal thought, but still somehow the thought was encouraging. I hope his dreams are not prophetic though!

Third, our family is gearing up for vacation up in Maine again. We went last year to Diane's camp and this weekend we are planning to go again. Brandon is going to be there for the first several days and then Diane and I are going to stay with the kids for a little longer before coming back home. I am both looking forward to it and sort of hesitant. I know it will be a good break and lots of fun for the kids as well as the adults. It's a pretty laid back atmosphere and we plan easy meals and there is very little upkeep of things. But lately I've been having some "evening sickness" which seems to last from mid afternoon to late in the evening. I'm about 2 months along right now and the ickies are getting a little more noticable. I hope they are over soon and I also hope they don't interfere with our trip too much.

Fourth, I have finally stooped to the level of whistling for my kids. I used to think that the concept (like in the Sound of Music) was a little demeaning to the children- to be whistled at like a dog. However, Fairwood is a BIG place and when they go out to play, sometimes I can not yell loud enough to get their attention and sometimes I have zero idea as to which direction to head out on the hunt. So, I've taken to whistling. A couple of years ago I finally learning how to do one of those super loud shrill whistles with my fingers in my mouth and I've been practicing ever since. Now it's paying off. The boys can hear it even over the lawn mowers! I'm so glad! AND for those of you who think that I am just blessed with such a marvelous talent, let me tell you, I spent long hours spitting all over myself trying to figure out just how that noise was supposed to be made. When I finally got a little "tweet" I kept experimenting until I could get a real impressive noise. Every once in a while I start to whistle and for some reason it doesn't work right and I spit all over myself again and the sound is more similar to a squeaky door rather than a loud bugle call, but I just laugh with all the other people laughing at me and try again. WHoooohoo! No more loosing my voice trying to hail the children. I suppose the best part is that so far they are actually responding to it and coming right away. I hope that continues for a long time.

Ok, and last, I just want to mention that I will have no phone line this next week and therfore will not have access to email or blogging, so while I will try to give a great report when we return, After Thursday, you'll just have to find some other way to entertain yourself besides my blog- At least until next Wednesday or Thursday. Until then, have fun!

Funny Quote this week: Jonathon: Mama, come look at my train track. It is very lovely!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On the German Carousel. (Jeff and Rachel were taking a rest break in the stroller.) Hope you enjoy these pictures of Storyland adventures. We had a GREAT time. Posted by Picasa
Diane with the two older boys in the swan boats. They could actually steer! Posted by Picasa
Here are the children sitting on the throne in Cinderella's Palace. Posted by Picasa
Jonathon in the ball crawl. Can you find him? Posted by Picasa
Jeff in the ball crawl. Posted by Picasa
James in the house next to Mary, Mary quite contrary's garden. Posted by Picasa
The children on the balloon ride. Posted by Picasa
James all wet after the raft ride. Posted by Picasa
Jonathon and James with Diane on the raft ride. Posted by Picasa
Jonathon, Rachel, and Diane in the Antique Cars at Storyland. Posted by Picasa
James and Jeff riding in the Antique Cars at Storyland Posted by Picasa
I think Rachel might have to wait until next year to ride on Jonathon's trike. Posted by Picasa
Jeff learning to ride a trike. This is his first time riding something solo. Posted by Picasa
Brandon and James preparing to throw Jonathon down the hill. All three were having a grand time! Posted by Picasa
This is Diane T. finishing the mile race on field day. Way to go Diane! And she came in ahead of Dave H.!!!! (He ran the whole thing backwards!) Posted by Picasa
This is Petie who finished a race he technically didn't start. Isn't he cute! Posted by Picasa
James in the field day races at Family Convention. He wanted to race, but about half way through he changed his mind and was very sad- but bravely finished. Posted by Picasa
Jonathon in the field day races at Family Convention. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Story of the Mouse

Some of you have heard this story already. I’m only documenting it here for those of you who have not and because it was a great story- even if it did happen about 3 weeks ago. I will warn you, this is not for the weak stomach among us, so if you think you might need to hug a toilet- either have one nearby, or don’t read anymore. This is YOUR responsibility, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! This is a true story.

Ahem….once upon a time there was a nice lady who lived in the upstairs rooms of a large house. Some kids say she lives in the attic, but she doesn’t really- only next to the attic in a little apartment complete with a bedroom, bathroom, and great room. She’s a really nice lady and she frequently has visitors over for snacks, movies, games, and many other exciting things. She even keeps a box of little toys under a table for little children who come to visit, though she has none of her own.

Well, one day the mouse population got wind of the generosity and hospitality of this woman and decided to impose their great force upon her. When she noticed that they were coming continually without being invited, she declared them rude and sentenced them to death by the trap. Many of the relatives went the way of the trap over the course of the year and by and by the mice stopped coming around and the trap went away. But recently, the mice decided to test the waters again and once more, without proper consent, they began barging in and taking what wasn’t theirs and what hadn’t been offered to them. Out came the trap and things started going snap! Three little thieves were caught one by one and disposed of properly, but one little mouse didn’t use the proper procedure for death by trap and here is where the story takes a turn for the worse.

This mouse was like any other ordinary little field mouse- small, brown, smooth and furry, large brown eyes and a little squeaker that said “squeak” when it was frightened. When he approached the trap- ladened with peanut butter he decided to get at the goodies with a paw instead of his head. Now you may say, “Smart mouse! He was sacrificing a hand in hopes of getting away altogether.” But, my friends, you will see that in the end that poor mouse I’m sure was wishing he had just stuck his whole head in there and had it cracked right away!

You see, the nice lady came into the great room that Friday morning and discovered that the trap was missing. Wondering what could have become of it she glanced around and after a time heard some shuffling under her blue swivel chair. Upon looking under the chair she discovered the mouse stick fast in the trap by the paw. He was frightened, very much alive and surely stuck. Now the lady pondered for a moment what to do. How to kill a mouse that didn’t die by the trap? How to get the trap off the mouse? More importantly, how to get the mouse out of the house? With these and many other questions floating through her mind she walked out of the house and into the fresh air to ponder her dilemma. While she was walking she happened upon two mothers tending their children on the playground and related the story to them.

One suggested a whack on the head with a broom might knock it out enough to dispose of it and the other mother, being more spontaneous in nature and wishing the problem to be solved immediately volunteered to do the whacking. (Ugh! That was me. What a dumb idea.)

Ok, so I formulated a plan- 1) lady tilt back chair so as to expose mouse. 2) I whack it with a mop so hard that it dies. 3) Someone removes the dead mouse from the trap and we all live happily ever after…except the mouse of course.

So up we went, the nice lady and I to tackle the battle of the mouse and the trap. I with my mop- a flat boarded style and she with ummm….I don’t think she was carrying anything. Anyway, she lifted the chair and I immediately realized that I could not smash that creature hard enough to kill it. After all, he was very much alive and wiggling.

I quickly formulated another plan: 1) I trap mouse with mop. 2) I stab said mouse in the head- in the brain with a knife, so as to kill it immediately. 3) Remove dead mouse. Unfortunately, I did not factor in my small amount of knowledge from biology in which most people learn that mice have skulls.

So, on with the plan. I successfully did trap the mouse with the mop. Actually, I trapped the trap and the mouse was completely exposed, but couldn’t get away. (At this point I was shaking from the horror and adrenaline of it all and it only got worse.) I raised my knife and stabbed with full force into the mouse, piercing the neck all the way through. A small “squeak” came from the mouse’s lips and after removing the knife I discovered that even though I hurt the creature I had completely missed ALL vital organs and I was going to have to do it AGAIN!!!! Oh how I groaned!!! The thing wouldn’t be still and by this time I was discovering the whole skull thing and realizing that I was getting nowhere with this tactic.

I took the next step and got a coaster from the end table to hold the mouse still so as to have better aim, but still I could not manage to stab the thing in the head. Finally, I was so horrified that I had tortured the thing so long and I was so anxious to be done with it I hollered to the nice lady (who was bravely holding the mop down on the trap), “Don’t look.” And swiftly I changed the angle of my knife and zip, zip….sawed that poor creature's head off. As I cut he flipped over on his belly and made little gurgling choking sounds as he was dying and I quickly covered the whole thing with the coaster so as not to have to watch the horror that I had just caused. After a few seconds it was all done. The mouse was happily in mouse heaven with its other presumptuous relatives and the deed was over.

Of course this still left step 3 and neither of us wanting to see the thing any more agreed that the mouse, trap and all should return to the garbage. So, I scooped up the remains and the still attached trap with a mound of paper towels and deposited it all in the garbage can. Then I went outside for some fresh air and gradually I stopped vibrating like a tuning fork.

The morals I have gleaned from this story are:

A: Always wear gloves. I had my gloves on from cleaning before I even went up there and I am so glad I didn’t have to touch that thing with my bare hands!

B: Maybe whacking the mouse wouldn’t have been so hard after all.

C: I never want a career in torturing lab rats.

D: The nice lady can take care of her own rodents from now on! Hehe!

E: Always have a shot gun on hand in case you need to shoot a mouse at point blank range!

F: I now have to change my reputation as a creature torturer to a friend of the furry ones lest this carry over and mothers of small children think that I am not safe- or perhaps my own children think I am not safe.

Ok, enough morals. Hope you’ve enjoyed this tale and that you had a real squeal. BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fun at Storyland

Diane and I took the kids to Storyland up in Glen, New Hampshire. This was the best picture of the bunch, but I hope to post some more soon. This is just to let you know that I am still around! This is James, Rachel, and Diane on the Bamboo Chutes. James had a "great" time as you can see. He commented later, "I was a little scared." Posted by Picasa