Thursday, December 21, 2006

They saw the star...Matthew 2:10

Guess what? We've been traveling again! I need to convince myself that that IS normal and plan accordingly.

We will be home for Christmas this year so The Man and children went out in the forest yesterday to find a tree. It is a beautiful BIG tree. The Man got it out of the pickup and stood it up in the front yard for me to see. "Oh, it looks a lot bigger here than it did in the forest." After careful measuring the man cut off a foot or so from the bottom and brought it into the house. After situating it in the stand and trimming some off the top it nearly reached the ceiling. All was well and fine until The Man brought in the decorations and I unpacked the star.

"It won't fit," I said. The Man agreed and started contemplating how much more he would have to cut off the tree. I told him not to cut it, but just attach it to the front of the tree. "I don't care" was the response I gave to how he would go about doing that. I really didn't care. I was tuckered out from my cleaning and bread baking marathon yesterday. I really didn't care.

With a smile, The Man looked in the produce drawer in the refrigerator. He came back and affixed the star to the tree. It was still a bit wobbly so he went and retrieved something from another drawer.

"I'm blogging this," I told him.

"You can't complain, you said you didn't care." I'm not complaining. The tree is beautiful.
When the lights are on, the produce-sized rubber band and thin strip of duct tape aren't even noticeable.
I happen to think it matches beautifully. Orange baling twine would have clashed. I probably would have complained about that.

Our most recent travels have been happy and sad. Last weekend we went to Washington to visit my brother and family, with a stop to see some special friends on the way. Prior to that we attended the memorial service for The Man's Grandpa.

He was 99 and in failing health, so although it wasn't completely unexpected, it was still very sad. Since he was a Navy man
a Pearl Harbor survivor—the honor guard came and participated in the service. It was very touching.
During this season when we remember the birth of One who came here as a babe, we also remember that He died for us so He can return with the sound of the trumpet and claim us as His own. Matthew 24:31. Praise Him!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge...Prov. 12:1

If you are a Philomath, you may enjoy the new feature down at the side or very bottom of this page (it can't seem to decide where it will be). A daily word match and hangman game for your learning pleasure.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Be thankful...Psalm 100:4

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The Man worked on Thanksgiving so the kids and I just stayed home and prepared food for our feast on Friday. Here is J chopping an onion for our loaf.
Here is the Pilgrim family watching the onions sauté. I'm not sure why the children look so jaundiced.
Here are the Pilgrims feasting with Squanto and other Indians.

Monday, November 20, 2006

In all labor there is profit...Prov. 14:23

Last month I mentioned our chore chart/laundry system. Considering it was used one week, we went on vacation, we used it one or two more weeks, we went on vacation, and we're starting our 2nd uninterrupted week (which includes a holiday), we're still fine-tuning it all. Before I show you the photo I will say that I had an idea in my mind what it would look like. I was wrong. It wasn't until I was taping up the pockets that I realized how h-u-g-e this monstrosity was going to be. And...colorful...blindingly so. I had ordered 4 packages of the library pockets from a homeschool supply company that will here remain nameless since I'm very aggravated at them right now for this and various other reasons. I received 2 packages of one color scheme and 2 packages of a slightly different color scheme.It is in a handy place, on the side of a kitchen cupboard, that is only visible if you're coming from the computer or the utility room. It consists of 4 sets of cards (one for each child) with 3 cards each for Sunday through Friday. The card for Sabbath mornings is something quick such as making sure the previously-cleaned entry or bathroom is straightened before we leave for church.

What I like about it:
1) It is flexible. When vacations are coming up or I can see that the trash will
really need to be taken out tomorrow instead of Wednesday, it is easy to switch a laundry or trash card to the day it actually needs to be done instead of what was scheduled on Sunday night.

2) It doesn't get lost. Previous chore charts have been too portable, which meant they were prone to being buried in a pile of paper.

3) It has been helpful to me that the chores (such as laundry) are spread out over the entire week instead of me doing marathon sorting/washing/drying/sorting/ folding/putting away laundry all day on Friday. Each child has his or her own hamper and on his laundry day he removes the sheets from his bed and those along with his clothing make a good-sized load. He adds the clothes to the machine and is able to fill the cup with detergent. I help the younger two turn on the machine, but they stay and enjoy watching the water fill the machine. Mid-morning I'll remind him to switch the laundry to the dryer (I switch A's) and before supper he puts the clean clothes back in his rolling hamper and takes it to his room where he will fold and put away the laundry and make his bed.

I've adjusted some things to make it as easy as possible for the kids to take care of their own laundry.
As they were outgrown or got holey I phased out all white socks for the boys. With the way S & J tend to "lose" their boots outside it was impossible, even with bleach, to keep them white. I have bought a bunch of dark colored socks for the boys so we don't deal with bleach. J and M both have a dozen pairs of identical black socks. The most "unmatched" from any load is one sock. It is simply thrown back in the hamper and will hopefully find a mate the next go-around.

The chart is a lot "fuller" now than it was when I first put it up. I purposely didn't fill in every slot because I knew I would think of other jobs that the kids were capable of that needed to be done on a regular basis. Now the dog gets brushed (almost) every day and mouse traps in the garage are checked 2x a week. Before it was just whenever I happened to think about it.

It is hard to see in the photo, but just to the left of each child's set of cards there is a plain 3x5 card taped up with daily morning activities such as get dressed, put away pjs, brush teeth, make bed, etc. Then, each child has up to three jobs that day. There are other things that I'll ask them to do or help me with, but these are things that need to be done on a regular basis and assigning them here just keeps me from having to remember to tell someone to do it later.

We're still working on a regular "chore time," but for now, whenever a child seems to have too much time on their hands they can be reminded to check their chore list for the day and that usually keeps them appropriately occupied.

That's all for now. I may think of more once we've actually had a chance to use it for more that 2 weeks straight...and I just had a shocking thought...could it be that we've never had more than 2 "normal" weeks here? Off to ponder...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eat...for strength...Eccl. 10:17

I know it has been a while since the blog has been updated when I start getting emails from faithful readers wondering where we are. We are here. However we have been traveling, both near and far.

This morning we went up to the city for the 2nd annual Turkey Trot. One of the clinics that The Man works at started a 3k walk/5k fun-run last year with about 50 participants. This year they didn't advertise as much and only 16 showed up to participate, including the six of us.
Along with the Dog we started and ended the 3k walk together with a time of 29:44. The best part was the surprise that a local grocery store donated 10 $25 gift cards to be raffled off. That's right...sixteen participants and ten gift cards. While walking we discussed the probability of all six of us getting a card vs. none of us getting a card. It was decided that statistically, we probably wouldn't get them all, but we probably wouldn't go home empty-handed either. The Man, S, and I, along with 7 other non-related participants, were the ones who got the cards. We stopped by the store on the way home and allowed the kids to pick out anything they wanted. Mushrooms and fresh pineapple topped the list as well as sundry items such as flour, onions, and yams. It was definitely worth the trip over the mountain for a little morning exercise!

We spent the beginning of the month partying. The Man's birthday came first, mine was the next day, and The Man's grandpa had a birthday the next day. We all went to help him celebrate the big 99! Here's a picture of the 3 birthday boys.
As you can see, we also celebrated S's birthday, which followed 2 days after Great-Grandpa's.

We arrived back home just in time to celebrate S's birthday again. He requested a garter snake and mouse cake, along with green leaves and vines around the edge. I aim to please, although Grandma did think I was crazy (or mean, or both) when she called and I told her the cake was iced and the garter snake and mouse were in the freezer. The silence that followed told me that I needed to explain the mouse and snake were made out of icing that was hardening in the freezer. Whatever would possess a child to ask for a garter snake and mouse on his cake? It must have been J's request 2 years ago for rattlesnake and rat cakes. I aim to please.

Monday, October 23, 2006

...that nothing be lost...John 6:12

We're back! Actually we've been back since last Wednesday night, but I'm just now getting around to updating things here. It was quite a busy week. While unloading the van curbside at the airport we discovered that M's carry-on bag was not in the van. I was sure that I packed the bags and placed them by the door for The Man to carry to the van the night before. The Man was sure that he carried all the bags by the door to van. Fortunately it only contained "stuff to do on the plane" things, so he was able to share with the others. From now on I think he will take care of his own bags.

M was a good sport about it and helped me lug all the bags through the line while The Man went to park the van. We filled out all the little paper luggage tags for our checked and carry-on baggage. We had one left over.

It had been three years since the boys had flown (2 for A), so they spent most of the flight becoming reacquainted with the aircraft. While The Man tried to nap, S studied the plane evacuation procedures. He is now able to explain, in great detail, that in the unlikely event that our plane goes down on water we are not to use the back exits. And, you'll be happy to hear, there ARE flotation devices under the seats. S checked.
They had a wonderful time at Grandma & Grandpa's. While there, we were able to spend a few days at a Restoration International family camp, spend time with cousins, aunts & uncles, and visit a children's science museum. That's J and A exploring the 2-story grapevine. Soon it was time to pack up again and return home. S and A followed the flight attendant's instructions and "flapped their wings" to make the plane go faster. She said they were the only two on the plane that followed through. It was because of them that the plane was only 30 minutes late due to headwinds. Really. An airline employee said so, so it must be true. S was so proud.

We didn't get home until 11:30 that night (that's 2:30 a.m. in the time zone we had left). By 11:35 everyone was in bed and sound asleep.

The next day I set out in search of the missing carry-on baggage. I found it packed, in my walk-in closet. It must have walked in there.
Q: What do you call a deer head in a paper sack?

A: Carrion (Carry-on) luggage.
The dog missed us while we were gone. At least he sure was excited to see us all when we returned. The critter sitter said he was rather ill the day after we left. I didn't get all the details, but I did use my carpet cleaner when we returned. Maybe it had something to do with the deer head he found and consumed the day before we left. Could be.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How long will your journey be? ...Neh. 2:6

A's dolls are all loaded up and ready to go. I wish I could say the same for the rest of us.

All the laundry was finished yesterday and the science experiments from the refrigerator were given to the chickens. Most of the kids' clothes have been packed. I still need to go to town today and get some food for our journey and make a list for our house/critter-sitter. We're leaving the house at 3:30 in the morning (yawn) to drive to an airport 4 hours away. Eight or nine hours later we (hopefully!) will be at our destination to relax for a week with Grandma & Grandpa. Then we get to do the journey in reverse.

The children are doing all of their own laundry. A needs a bit of help, of course, but the kids' new chore chart was a smashing success last week. They each have a different day to do their own laundry
washing, drying, folding, and putting away. I feel so free!

We took our school pictures on Tuesday. The air has been so bad due to fires, so I hadn't wanted to spend much time outside. Tuesday we finally got outside and spent 1 1/2 hours taking 217 shots of the kids. Only about 20 were worthy of being uploaded. Email me if you would like to see the album.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Until the day dawns...2 Peter 1:19

The hot air balloon fair came to town. In previous years I have found out about it as I see the balloons up in the air, but this year I saw the announcement in the paper a few weeks ahead of time. The kids were excited and wanted to go see the balloons lifting off at dawn. Great. Dawn comes kind of early in the morning.

Since the paper didn't give an exact time and I didn't know how long it would take for the balloons to be set up prior to lift off, we left early last Friday morning. By 4:30 a.m. the kids and I were on our way to the field 40 minutes away. We followed the signs and found the launch site. It seemed rather empty, so I asked the older couple coming out of their RV if I was at the right place. Yes, I was, but they were in charge of parking the cars, and they weren't going to start doing that until 5:30. At 5:30 we parked and walked over to listen in on the pilots' briefing. About 6:30 the crews started laying out the tarps and unrolling the balloons.

It was cold, but exciting as the kids watched the process of the balloons being set up, filled with air (J got to help one of the crews with this), be rolled back up, and put away. Huh? As the sun was coming up the wind picked up, and the mass launch was scratched.

Disappointed, we piled back in the truck and returned home to take care of the critters and have a mandatory nap time since everyone was a bit cold and cranky.

Sunday morning we tried again. This time we dressed in many layers that included winter coats and mittens, opened the chicken coop before we left, fixed some breakfast sandwiches to eat on the way, and didn't pull out of the driveway until 5:40 a.m. Sunday morning was quite a bit more eventful and happy since the launch actually happened and the kids were fed and warm. By 8:00 we were on our way home. The boys spent the rest of the day with plastic groceries bags and hair dryers.

Yesterday morning we again got up early to visit the Sheep Dog Finals. It was fascinating to watch a dog herd four sheep through a series of gates with the master simply blowing on a whistle. We met up with some friends from med school who live in the area and went to their house for lunch. They have 2 little girls, so A was thrilled to play girl stuff for the afternoon. The Dog was also thrilled to have a few doggie playmates for the afternoon. The Dog got to attend the competition with us, leashed, of course. But he was able to run around and play in the afternoon. We decided to make a side trip on the way home to visit Costco and the discount grocery store, so after 13 hours, 298 miles, and half a tank a fuel, we returned home. Whew.

On a sad note, the friend who celebrated her 100th birthday a few weeks ago died this week. S still sleeps with the huge stuffed bear she gave him last year. He was pretty sad about it even though, at 100, it wasn't a huge shock. We are all looking forward to that new day dawning.

Monday, September 18, 2006

They washed their clothes...Exodus 19:14

It has been very busy around here the past few weeks. The hay needed to be cut, but The Man was occupied with more important things. I decided that I was perfectly capable of cutting hay, so The Man took the equipment to the field for me. The cutting was fairly boring and uneventful...except for the irrigation line wheel that I got a bit too close to and the broken bushing. We do have a spare wheel that we can swap for the one I munched and the bushing was only $14 to replace (that was probably due to the old equipment and not my driving). I had noticed the mower started making a louder-than-normal banging noise, but since it always makes noise, I didn't stop to investigate until the cutting-thingie quit cutting.

So, while trying to catch up on all the laundry from the recent backpacking trip I noticed the dryer was making a weird noise. Suspecting rocks left in little boys' pockets, I emptied the dryer of clothes and rocks. Even running empty, the dryer was still making noise. Since I had to make a trip to the local Fluff & Fold to wash the sleeping bags in the commercial washers, last weekend the kids and I loaded up every piece of laundry and $30 in quarters and set off to the
laundromat. Three hours later we were home with many baskets full of clean, folded clothes.

One of the sleeping bags was unwashed and one load of clothes wasn't dried since my quarters ran out and the coin machine at the Fluff & Fold was empty. As I was showing M how to hang his clothes on the clothesline at home M handed me the quarters left over from when he was helping load the machines. I thought my $30 had disappeared very quickly!

I washed 12 loads of laundry, but the little machines only hold about 1/3 of what my machine can handle, and there were only 3 functional dryers. After spending 3 hours there with four kids, I was inspired to take apart my dryer later that day. More rocks were found. The dryer only makes drying noises now. I hope to never return to the Fluff & Fold. Although the lady that runs the place did tell me that Coca-Cola will remove oil from clothing. It has to be the real stuff, not generic or some other cola. I probably never would have discovered that
on my own. Now I know!

After spending the morning in the laundromat with the kids I spent a quiet afternoon in the field raking the hay I'd already cut. I got most of that done before the rake started making a horribly squeaky noise. Given my recent history with the equipment, I quit while it was still functional. The Man & S greased all greasable parts yesterday, so I hope to get the remainder raked today.
The kids are all doing well. Above is one A's favorite drawings. She's been drawing quite a few of the example on the left. "This is you, Mommy, when you get out of the shower, before you get dressed." I finally asked if she could draw one with clothes. I find it fascinating that not only does my body and hair change color when I am dried and dressed, but I look taller also.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

As a...charging bear...Prov. 28:15

The Man and boys returned safely from their backpacking trip on Sunday. Yesterday we went to a Labor Day picnic at some church members' house. That's A with the "Look Ma, no hands" pose on the tire swing. I didn't take any pictures of the boys on the swing...I couldn't bear to watch.

Speaking of bears...The Man called as soon as he got to work this morning. I'm not to let the kids outside unattended today. It has something to do with the big pile of something The Man saw at the end of our driveway this morning. Yes, he's sure it is from a bear...or a HUGE dog that eats lots of berries. Maybe I'll go take a picture of it...or not.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My peace I give unto you...John 14:27

Total Weights: The Man—238 lbs., S—64 lbs., J—70 lbs., M—91 lbs.

It seems so still. The Man and boys went backpacking. We were all going to go, but since I still don't feel up to walking long distances, all the boys went and A stayed home with me. The dog misses them all greatly. I'm sure I will also once the long weekend is over, but right now I'm enjoying the stillness.

It isn't quiet here. A talks a lot. I never realized before how much she talks. Maybe she's just not used to the quietness and she's trying to compensate for it. She enjoyed playing with J's legos for awhile, but her favorite thing to do has been reading her Bible.

She can't read, but she thinks if she puts her finger on the words and talks really slow, it sounds like she is reading. She is very good at it. If it wasn't for the fact that I was following her finger I might think she was really reading. Today she asked me to read some verses to her from the first part of Luke 8. I did and she promptly told me I was wrong. "It act-u-ally says, 'My peaceness I give unto you.'"

Tomorrow she and I are going to attend the 100th birthday celebration for one of our church members. The boys will probably be home on Sunday. We've been out to collect eggs several times today. A enjoys doing that and M doesn't let her do it often. We need to go out now and top off the water for the horse and chickens. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered...Matt. 10:30

Game: Laundry Relay

Equipment: 3 empty laundry baskets and 2 loads of clothes belonging to J, S, and A (M does all of his own laundry by himself)

Rules: Start at empty baskets. When Mom says "Go," walk quickly down the hallway to the pile of clean clothes. Remove an item that belongs to you, fold it, and place neatly in your basket. If you cannot find one of your items because there are too many of your siblings' items on top of yours, fold and put away siblings' items until you find another one of yours. Earn double points by placing matching shirts/pants in basket together.

Winner: Everybody!

I thought it was a fun game, but the kids haven't asked to play it since I invented it last week.

Here are the dirt babies the kids made at the county fair a few weeks ago...

Back row, from left to right, the ones made by J, S (hidden, up close pic below), and M. A's is on the plate in front. It is smaller than the others and the face is hidden when she is in the cup. They are made from a length of stocking tied at one end, grass seed added, then dirt, other end tied off, and decorated by the kids with wiggly eyes and foam pieces.

They've been sitting in their cups of water on the kitchen window sill for the past few weeks growing their hair. J has been begging to give his a haircut, so today is the day. We may even try to extract the weed growing up the front of M's baby's face. eww.

For some reason S's grass seed didn't sprout on top yet...just on the top of ear and around the back of the head. I think it is because the person at the fair put in too much seed. It is well-loved in spite of the pattern baldness. He will probably get a haircut today also.
Foot update...sore but functional. Since I only have 2 pairs of sandals that I can comfortably wear, I'll just be grateful it is still summer.

School update...going along quite well. We are still gradually easing into everything. I saw this morning that the company that I ordered most of our new books from charged the credit card, so I'm hoping that means the order has been shipped and is on the way to our post office. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From the sole of the foot [there are] wounds and bruises...Isaiah 1:6

We're making history here...this is the very first blog post written from the laptop. I did one of those things yesterday that, in retrospect, seems rather stupid. I would explain exactly what happened, but I'm not quite sure exactly what happened. Either the branch was a lot longer than I thought it was, or it was heavier than it looked, or maybe I'm just not as strong as I think I am. What I do know is the branch than I meant to toss off the hill and over the retaining wall into the backyard didn't quite make it and ended up on my foot. I managed to hobble back inside the house. I took something for the pain while a child retrieved an icepack from the freezer. I spent the remainder of the day in bed.

A enjoyed playing nurse. She made me several smoothies in her play kitchen. Banana smoothie...yum. Oatmeal smoothie...(I'm glad these were all imaginary). After a bit she decided her foot had an owie also. J retrieved an icepack for her foot and she spent the rest of the day with her foot propped up beside me.

The Man says it probably isn't broken, although we can't tell for sure without an x-ray. Since knowing whether or not it is broken won't make any difference, and since the out-of-pocket expense for the x-ray would pay for several books, I'll just keep it propped up until the swelling disappears.

The pain is completely gone today, unless I try to walk on it. The top of the foot and toe look a lot better than I was expecting it to. Down below is a picture of my feet that I took last night (you'll have to scroll down, I won't make anyone look at my feet unless they want to). You can see that the left foot is a bit swollen and bruised. It looks about the same now. I was surprised at how swollen and bruised the bottom of the foot is this morning.

So, of course, yesterday was the day that we were going to ease back into school. HA! We did get quite a bit done prior to my mishap, and we accomplished just as much this morning from my bed. We're mostly continuing things that were started last year. I need to place orders for the remainder of the books and supplies for this year.

Yesterday while sitting in bed with nothing else to do I finally compiled a list of what I needed to order from all the dog-eared, sticky-noted catalogs. The good news: I'm going to qualify for free shipping.

~nothing more but the picture

~it really isn't that exciting

~just a picture to fill space

~do you really want to see it?


~here it is...



Friday, August 11, 2006

Seek, and you will find...Matt. 7:7

We’ve had an adventuresome time at the fair this week. Several fair-goers who are seeking a relationship with God have stopped by our booth to pick up some materials.

In the booth right next to ours is a very nice lady who is selling personalized VeggieTales books and CDs. CDs. CDs that play over…and over…and over…all…day…long. It could be a lot worse; that I will admit. The lady also sells personalized Barney CDs. Really, though, would you like to hear Larry sing: "Oh, where is my hairbrush? Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh, where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where, oh, where oh, where ... is my hairbrush?" about 250 times a day? Maybe it’s payback for my childhood renditions of “99 Bottles.”

I would like to tell Larry exactly what he can do with his hairbrush when he finds it...or at least give him another so he doesn’t have to share with the Peach. The Hairbrush Song

Since The Man didn’t have to go to work today, he is staffing the booth so I don’t need to be there. I’ll get to catch up on all the stuff that didn’t get done this week and prepare for the weekend.

I did get to venture out into the garden this morning. These are my kinds of tomatoes and cucumbers…and they don’t have names.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Stand still...2 Chron. 20:17

The county fair starts on Wednesday. Last year while strolling through the commercial building I mused that it would be nice if our church could have a booth at the fair this year. So we are.

Don't expect to see any more updates here until after next Sunday. We're going to be a bit busy the next several days. It shouldn't be too hard. I think most of the work will be paying attention to what we do so we'll be that much ahead next year...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Your garments did not wear out…Deut. 8:4

Can you read it now? There have been some suggestions that the default typeface was too small, so we’ll try making it a bit bigger.


Use #27 for A’s almost out-grown pajamas:

A thought Shue [I've just been informed by A that this is Da, Shue is the girl doll. My apologies to Shue and Da for the mix-up] looked quite handsome in his new clothing. Also, when she holds him up by his head, he seems to be just as tall as she is. How neat!

Use #32 for old socks:

The Dog managed to cut his foot on something. Yes, he has had a rough go of it the past few weeks. In an attempt to keep blood off the carpet, one of A’s old socks was called into action to keep the bandage in place. The Dog didn’t appreciate the kids (and adults) laughing at him as he walked-slipped across the floor so he hid out in his crate until the bleeding subsided.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It is honorable…to stop strife…Prov. 20:3

M’s feet are getting big. I didn’t realize how big until I saw him struggling to put on his boots this morning. He hasn’t had them that long. A quick comparison showed me that his feet are nearly the same size as mine.

I was telling the Man about the "problem" of our son growing up and outgrowing his shoes. At that point S walked into the room. After taking in the situation he said, “Mom, that’s not a problem. Don’t make one.”

The children are accustomed to hearing this “mom-ism” whenever rumblings of discord start around the house. “Is there a problem? No? Then don’t make one.” It is supposed to encourage them to work out a situation before it becomes heated. Now if S will only apply what he has learned to the real problems of his world.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Do not fear…you are of more value than many sparrows...Luke 12:7

The Dog has had a rough time the past few days. Thursday evening about 8:00 p.m. we noticed he was a bit skittish and walking funny. We decided to let him outside to run around a little bit. While walking down the step from the entry to the main part of the porch he went into a skid and had a seizure. Hmmm. When it was over he was obviously shaken, but he wanted to go inside. A few minutes later he tried to jump on my lap (not allowed, but I was making an exception). He made it to my lap, but had another seizure. He then went and hid in his crate. The Man said it wouldn’t be good if he had another seizure while in the crate, and he dragged him back outside to the porch.

While I stayed with the scared Dog, singing to him about sparrows in between the seizures, The Man was trying to get a hold of the vet and anyone else he knew that might know stuff about dogs. The Man popped outside to say I needed to take his temperature. Huh? Yes, his temperature, with a thermometer, in there…that particular thermometer is now in the doggie drawer.

The Man came out to help do the deed since I was still trying to hold him steady during the seizures and I didn’t want to lose the thermometer in there. Well, losing the thermometer wouldn’t have been a problem, retrieving it might have been.

With a temperature of about 105° we knew he was overheated and suspected heatstroke even though he had plenty of water sources available to him. For the next hour I sat on the front lawn with Dog letting water from the hose cool him off. The Man went to get something to stop the seizures. By the time the Man returned, Dog’s temperature was near normal. After a few shots, the seizures lessened, but Dog was still pretty stiff. The Man carried him to the back porch where it was decided Dog and Man would spend the night.

About 1:00 a.m. the vet finally returned the call (he had been out of cell phone range making a house call). The Man took Dog to the vet’s where the vet immediately diagnosed strychnine poisoning. After some additional IV medication, Dog was finally able to relax.The Man and Boys returned the following morning to bring home a very drowsy Dog. A, still in her pajamas, played nurse.After resting Friday and the weekend he is once again drooling at the squirrels and the rabbits through the slider. He won’t be allowed back outside unattended until we find out which neighbor is not being careful with the strychnine poison. We figure he probably got a squirrel or other rodent after it had been poisoned and traveled unto our property.

Updates from last week:
The child is doing much better. The child is still trying to figure out how Grandma knew who it was…Proverbs 20:11.

I didn’t need the sign. The lawnmower man gave me back a working mower on Thursday. M got the front lawn mowed. The side yard is over a foot tall and being pollinated by a variety of stinging insects. After an application of the baking soda and water to the sting site, the rest of the side yard can wait until an evening when it isn’t raining.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A brother offended...Prov. 18:19

I was asked to make this sign last night as I was tucking one of the children in quite a bit early. This child thought that nobody was nice to him/her. So it seemed. This child had an altercation with each and every one of the siblings yesterday. Of course the siblings all got along fine, so it must have been a conspiracy against said child. So sad. Fortunately today has gone much better for this child. It must have been the sign. Now all the other kids want one also.

Perhaps I will even make a sign for myself. Maybe I will get better answers from the lawnmower repair establishment that promised our lawnmower would be ready 2 weeks ago. As much as the children love the push-powered mower, it just won’t cut the weeds.

Tomorrow The Man will start the cut/rake/bale cycle in the hayfield. Hopefully he won’t have to do it on our lawn too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

As the clay is in the potter's hand...Jer. 18:6

We’ve been going to Vacation Bible School at the church up in the city this week. Yesterday and today one of A’s little friends from church has come home with us to spend the afternoon. Two little girls in the house? We survived.

I like Play-doh®. A lot. Maybe because I was never allowed to play with it as a child, I enjoy squishing it in my hands just as much as the kids do.

Since A has reminded me umpteen times in the past few weeks that our Play-doh® is all gone, I bought two 4-packs this morning. After lunch the girls and S disappeared to the back porch. Other than giggles about the “food” they were creating out of the Play-doh®, I didn’t hear a peep out of them for 2 hours. We now have 6 tubs of rainbow Play-doh®.

Here is a sculpture S made of A’s friend.

She was not impressed.

Friday, July 07, 2006

They shall mount up with wings as eagles...Isaiah 40:31

I think the picture speaks for itself. I have a few more gray hairs, but boys will be boys. At least that is what I’m told. That photo is of J. M & S also got great use out of their “new” jump. A even tried it out with a little help from The Man. The “Man” borrowed J’s bike so he could try it out also. Boys will be boys.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The young ones…grow up with corn…Job 39:4

Knee-high by the 4th of July? It depends on whose knee. A’s, yes.

By the way, those weeds interspersed with the corn plants are there on purpose. I read a great book from our library a few weeks ago. Weeds: Guardians of the Soil (get your copy here) encourages its readers to leave the weeds alone. According to this book, certain weeds can actually help the plants be stronger and healthier. That sounds good to me. We’ve been accidentally following this method for many years, but now we can do so without the guilt.

We hope you are having/had a wonderful 4th of July. We had a church picnic here at lunchtime. Of course our lawnmower picked last week to be obstinate after M had half the lawn mowed. It is now resting in a mechanic's shop over the holiday. This morning The Man got out the old mower to try to even out the weeds. S finally was given the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of mowing the lawn. He even let A in on the action.

Some parts got mowed more than once, and others didn't get mowed at all. Of course M & J thought they were having too much fun. S was gracious enough to allow them to try out the contraption.

Tonight we’re going up to the city to watch the fireworks. They aren’t scheduled to start until 10 p.m. so all the kids and The Man are napping…except for the one that just got up for a drink of water, and the one that used the bathroom, and the one who is turning pages in his bed...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Then he went down and dipped himself seven times…2 Kings 5:14

Most of the front of the house has been painted. It certainly looks a lot different, but it is an improvement over the peeling red that was there. We had originally planned on spraying, then we decided we would be rolling the paint. That lasted for about 5 minutes, then we decided it would have to be brushed on the house. S and A helped also. In addition to a light brown “mocha” house, we also have a very special mocha lilac bush and some mocha rosemary.

Last night while taking her bath, A started counting slowly as she dunked her arm under the water. When I asked her why, she said she was going to see if all her spots would disappear. While we didn’t have any miracles of Biblical proportions happen in the tub, with a brisk scrubbing, all the mocha paint spots did go down the drain.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

He closed the book...Luke 4:20

What is this?

a. A pile of books

b. The kid section of the Near-perfect little valley’s public library

c. What The Man found under J’s covers the other night

If you chose “a” you’re taking an easy, albeit correct, route.
If you chose “b” you’re almost right about the number of books in the library smaller than our living room.
If you chose “c” you know that our son takes after his parents.

“I’m having a hard time sleeping because I hear pages turning.” is S’s way of tattling without tattling. When tucking J in at night I know to sweep my hand under his pillow on the top bunk to make sure there aren’t any contraband books. Apparently we need to do a full bed search also.


Ants, Part II:

On Monday afternoon the children started complaining that they couldn’t refill their water toys because the faucet outside wasn’t working. I called The Man at work to find out what I had to push or pull to get the well pump restarted. Since I could get reception on the cordless phone just outside the well house, but not inside, I would put the phone down outside while I went in to look at whatever he was trying to explain to me. Nice. On one of my trips inside the wind blew the door shut and in the darkness I could see ants sparking as they were making their trek across the switch to retrieve their dead comrades. Hmph. After using a piece of plastic to brush away all the dead ants and jiggling the switch a bit to get rid of all the others stuck in it, the well pump switched back on and we have water again.

The Man brought home some stuff to make the ants to go away…permanently. I dumped some ground cloves on the cords going into the switch. That is supposed to discourage them from using that route. We shall see. Apparently they are attracted to such electrical things.


Tonight we are going to the city for the kid’s final meeting at the church up there. The leaders announced at the last meeting that they are moving away.

Monday, June 26, 2006

All things work together for good...Rom. 8:28

S coined a new word yesterday: Awesomistic.

We have been studying Sword Fighting. In our daily review yesterday S was asked one of the questions, “What will you do when you are tempted to be pessimistic?”

His reply involved a mispronunciation, probably combining the intended word optimistic with pessimistic. “I will be awesomistic because it is written: ‘All things work together for good…’”

Optimistic – Expecting a favorable outcome

Awesomistic – Expecting the very best outcome

Even though it was 102.7° yesterday, the children were awesomistic they would find a way to keep cool.

Even though this was not one of the kids’ lifelike toys that was found in the utility room yesterday. I am awesomistic that it took care of any bugs that happened to be out there. I’m also grateful that I was not the one who discovered it, that it is harmless, and especially that it is now living happily in the flowerbed outside.

One more:

We discovered we had no water right before going to bed last night. The man did a cursory examination of the well house and couldn’t discover a solution. He decided whatever it was could wait until the morning light. I was awesomistic that…that…that…

This morning the man cleaned some dead ants out from around the switch on the well. We have water again. Another happy ending.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Even a child is known by his doings...Prov. 20:11

It is Friday…time to mop skate on the kitchen floor. One bucket of sudsy water + four eager kids + eight holey socks = more fun than should be allowed in the house. My floor is (somewhat) cleaner. The kids had fun. That’s what counts.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The hay appears...Prov. 27:5

Make hay while the sun shines. It sounds easy enough. Nobody ever said it was. It’s not. Most folks around here can get it from the field to barn in 3 days. Cut it one day, rake it the next, then baled and to the barn on the third day.

The man started cutting the hay 2 ½ weeks ago. He thought it was a bit too easy…until the baler broke after the first 5 bales. The parts that were supposed to arrive the next day didn’t. By the time the parts arrived it had rained. I got to re-rake the field a week ago. Since then it has either been too wet or not wet enough when the man was here, so it wasn’t until this morning that the conditions were right to get the rest of the hay baled and to the barn.

What is this?

a. bird
b. angel
c. Mom’s attempt at making a batch of cupcakes resemble an airplane in 15 minutes

J turned 9 today! His birthday celebration with the whole family was supposed to be for supper tonight, but we found out at 11 a.m. there was a scheduling mix-up and the man had to go to work this afternoon. That meant he might not be home for supper so I only had a few minutes to put the requested airplane together. J was thrilled. I won’t be looking for a job at Boeing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

...A time to plant...Eccl. 3:2

I finally got some of my seedling tomatoes in the ground today. The first batch of seeds I'd planted withered before we made it to the June 1 "safe to plant" date. I also planted a second row of hot pepper seedlings. I probably have enough to plant another 2 or 3 rows, but well...maybe we'll dissect the seedlings and look at them under the microscope.

So far in our garden we have:

onions--left over from last year
peas--planted early, but just now putting out a good crop
lettuce--used very old seed, but it seems to be coming along nicely
green beans, corn, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and sunflowers are all showing their stuff

We also have 3 rows of volunteer mystery tomato plants that were given to us. As long as they produce something before the first freeze in September or October it will be an improvement over last year's crop.