Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goodbye, September & Cincinnati

We leave tomorrow for home. Again, we're in a holding pattern until we know where Sweet Man's next assignment will be. I'm crossing fingers for Atlanta...I love Atlanta and Savannah. I think I love the South.

Today was laidback. We did school and then letterboxed. What is letterboxing, you ask? It's a treasure hunt  of sorts. It's fun, adventurous, cheap, and gets the blood pumping. Perfect for this family on the move. (Geocaching is very similar, but this Momma is low-tech.)

We found three boxes within 5 miles of our hotel. Why didn't I remember to do this when we were in Wichita or Houston? Ah, well. But we have remembered to letterbox (yes, it can be a verb, I think) on vacation on the Outer Banks.

I need to be a bit more organized to do this...keep our supplies together in the car. Maybe even make our own symbol stamp and come up with a cute family name. Any suggestions?

Racing to the starting location

Locating a letterbox

Does this look like a treasure? (Well, of course, he is....) 

Beauty along the trail

Just throwing this in here...'cuz I love him.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I love fall

Yesterday we went to a beautiful park with Sweet Daddy and then to Shaw Farms to visit the pumpkin people.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An exercise in futility

You may be about to know more about me than you want to...
transparency, right?

I exercise.

Imagine how volumptuous I'd be if I didn't.
Well, I imagine it; you don't have to.

I'm fairly dedicated to the pursuit of fitness.

And to the pursuit of varying amuse-bouches.
The latter to reward the former.
My mind is twisted, I tell ya.

The amuse-bouche du jour is good bread, feta cheese, and pesto.
Or Jenni's candy corn "trail mix."
Or a Honeycrisp apple.
Or the oatmeal raisin cookies from the W-mart bakery...
I know! That was a surprise.
It's that day-old gets me almost every time.

Oh, right...exercise.
But I do enjoy walking, aerobics, biking, even running (albeit slowly,) etc.

 I really like the Wii Fit.
It don't lie.

Since my body has accommodated two beautiful, rascally, considerably-sized babes
and delivered them into the world...

I have noticed some changes in my anatomy.

And its capacities.

I must choose my mode of exercise wisely.

And how vigorously I propel myself,

or laugh....

(So if you think I don't find you raucously funny...

I may be holding back, refraining from expressing it
 on your upholstered furniture.

Or maybe you aren't terribly funny. That is a possiblity.)

Perhaps you know what I'm talking about.
Perhaps not.

Sweet Man suggests I take up swimming for fitness...
and stop fighting it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Railroad ties

I think I just gave myself an aneurysm trying to bite into frozen mini snickers...ouch. I'll keep working on it, rest assured.

Got out of the hotel today to travel a mere 10 minutes to EnterTrainment Junction. Oh, wasn't too excited about this one, folks. Bug really wanted to go. But we had a great day with the extra bonus of meeting my sweet friend and her nephew who are here for a few weeks. Fortuitous.

The main feature is a giant model train display with amazing detail and some railroad history scattered throughout. There was also a kid's train-themed play area and a seasonal walk-thru exhibit.

Here are pictures ~ the photographer was not on her game this day ~ forgive her. And yes, that is the brown dress Bean's wearing...imagine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And now for something completely different

Thanks for reading (if you did) yesterday. Transparency...I need it.

Anywho, we are heading to Cincy again today. Actually we meant to get there last night, but there was too much to do. Sweet Daddy is already there. We will join him this evening and stay until Friday or Saturday.

Today we pack...this trip is shorter, therefore packing is easy peasy. The kids each have their own suitcases and we use these handy-dandy laminated packing lists to help them be a bit more independent. That is the goal, is it not? To raise adults. To work myself out of a job.

I cannot take credit for this...I snagged the idea from house on hill road....

We pack for trips often. For each trip, we determine what each child needs to bring and fill in the amounts. I've already filled out Bean's and Bug will fill in his during school time ;) I didn't include books and toys on our lists because we pack those separately. And we have toothbrushes stashed everywhere: our house, my shower kit, the camping box, each grandparents' house, and the car. We're not always brushing; it's just that I have forgotten toothbrushes too many times.

By the by, do you local peeps know that we have a gem at our branch of OSU?  The Educational Resource Center has laminating and Ellison machines to use for free or cheap. They also have a pretty neat library. It's located in Hopewell Hall.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Public parenting

Disclaimer: This another anti-fluff post.

I may have mentioned before some challenges in my relationship with my Bug. I am crazy in love with this boy, but am realizing that there are some fundamental mistakes in my parenting, the results of which are becoming obvious. In a nutshell, he is exhibiting those tendencies of being lazy, afraid, apathetic, unchallenged, and unmotivated. Those tendencies against which his momma has always fought in herself. Why would I be intolerant, you ask? Good question.

Saturday night, we drove home from the lake and Sweet Man parked the car at our nearest big mart to grab a couple of things for dinner. Just fine, until Bug woke up from a little nap. I won't go into details about all of it. He did something he shouldn't have done. Suffice it to say... 

...I lost composure (been trying so hard to keep that in check,) my temper, my effort to refrain from humiliating my child, and my streak of never swearing at my child. And it happened in public. In the W-mart parking lot. I was actually standing outside the van, at the trunk, when I blew. my. top.

I said things to him and around him, that I never have before. I was mean. I wanted him to feel bad. Major damage.

And to contrast even more I was scheduled to sing with the Praise Team the next morning. That doesn't mean I should hide this incident, just that maybe I am not in a place to be leading others in worship. I was actually hoping that someone from church would see me in my unfaithful moment and call me out on it. Maybe someone did see me and we'll have a talk some time soon. Good, I deserve it.

I can attempt to explain the incident with having a semi-crazy summer and a month of just trying to survive. Or blame it on lack of sleep at the campground or the junk-food diet for the last few days. Too many days of wacky schedule, easy eating, gifts, TV time, and treats have led to expectations and negotiations and just plain bad behavior.

But that would not suffice.

I have a problem. I try to keep control and want each and every circumstance to turn out favorably for me...I take responsibility for the actions of my children and want them to reflect the best of me. And when that doesn't happen and I am inconvenienced or embarrassed...I lose it.

I was very wrong. I need forgiveness from him, my husband, and my Father.

I was surprised by the appearance of the woman I thought I had left behind. The angry, mean, intolerant, irrational momma...each time she shows herself I am humbled and full of regret and pray that I never see her again. She always surprises me. Remember that transformation to which I was referring a few posts back...yeah, well, I do believe I've taken a few steps backward on that path. 

I'm left wondering...the old (wo)man that I was, full of sin, bought and redeemed by the blood of Christ...I thought she was eradicated, gone, out of me. But has she just been bound up to be unleashed? Is she still in me? And how do I get rid of her?

I long to be different. I am different than I was, but not as much as I thought.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We shall return, Kelley's Island

kayakers on the shore

twin sister boat of the ferry we are riding to KI

Momma, Opa, Sweet Daddy, Bean in Daddy's arms, Bug on the bench

glacial grooves...truly amazing

Friday, September 18, 2009

with Opa

Happy Friday! Here we are...up in East Harbor State Park, near Sandusky, on the banks of the Great Lake Erie. My dad has been here since Monday. We are just staying tonight.

We have spectacular weather today, a full-up fridge, and a promise of a campfire tonight.... 

And my girl is back with me after 4 days...she's asked me to stop telling her how much I missed her. And I do believe she had a fantastic time with Grammy and Grandpa. I bet they're napping as I type. Whew!

On our drive up, today, we happened upon a fun General Store in Olivesburg...old-fashioned candy, Amish furniture, interesting things. Here are the kids, each with their candies of choice. Yes, it was about 10 o'clock this morning and yes, I'm a superb parent.

The kids and I have already been to see the glacial grooves that are exposed in this state park.  But the most famous ones are over on Kelley's Island. Tomorrow we'll probably head over there or do something else tourist-y. I'm driving my dad and husband crazy outlining the planning options for tomorrow. 

They all went off for a walk to the camp store and I find myself here alone, half-wondering when my momma is going to get back from wherever she is with a plan for dinner. 

Ooo, I smell campfires already. I really think I could become a full-time camper. I love this.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She says it so much better, part deux

Go and read, "my charming kids" today. She speaks truth...just what my heart would want to say with boldness and love. 

I've often felt chastened by the thought that I will proclaim my newest attempt at dieting or recipes (diametrically opposed, methinks) to my friends who may or may not love Jesus, but I am timid about sharing how He is continually transforming my life. I keep that under wraps until I am assured of my acceptance, calling it consideration. Or I muster up and blast with my agenda, calling it passion. Both are futile and false.

Lord, help me to love in all times, in all surroundings and point to Your compelling truth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Not much going on here.

We went to the Valley last night, empty-handed, but they graciously fed us a yummy meal. We returned without our girl. Bean is staying with Grandma and Grandpa J, maybe for a few days. I wish I could tell you that Bug isn't excited about being an only child, but he kinda is. It's good to have a little space. But I am missing the interruptions and sass.

We've interviewed a few realtors today and hope to have the house listed by the end of the week. For realsies, this time. I believe that there was some divine interference the last time we tried to sell...sure am glad I've had this house for this time, but we're ready to move out and on. I think.

My dad is camping up at Lake Erie...good for him. Just him and Murphy, the dog. If you feel like praying, do so for him...for being alone in the camper with the memories, working things out with his Father, direction for the future, etc. But don't tell him I told you to... ; ) We may join him in a couple of days if Sweet Man still hasn't received the impending call to go out into the world.

Bug just told me how much he likes homeschooling. That's encouraging...because that's the only plan I got. (I will be passing on my stellar grammar ski-zills.)

Making spaghetti sauce today with the bounty of tomatoes we have received. They were looking pretty shriveled. And I've added random vegetable leftovers. Bug is gonna hate it. I see a peanut-butter and honey sandwich dinner in his future.

I'm itching for a big a quilt or a piece of clothing...not so smart. Can't mess up this house and can't take it on the road with me. Not to mention, I need to finish the knitting project that is 2/3rd's done. I need to stay out of the blogosphere. That's where I get these itchy impulses.

Messing with the blog's look a little. I like it better. Stay tuned for changes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When life gives you apples

I feel like every day is an effort to get back to normal. Will it ever be normal again? I think I know the answer to that.

So with the resolve to be normal, we had a normal day on Wednesday. We went to the dentist, did school, shopped for groceries, made some applesauce, and fished with Sweet Daddy (yup, he's still here and we are loving being normal together.)

No secret to the applesauce...pick apples at Mimi and Opa's house, peel and chop, add water, apple juice, a little sugar and lemon juice and cook the snot out of them. All day. Enjoy the scent. Let babes stir and mash. But leave it a little chunky. Can as the babes are going to sleep and the moon rises. (Update: Anyone who receives this applesauce should consider adding a little water to it before eating; it is rich!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Makeover madness

When I was four, my mom trimmed my long blonde hair in preparation for an Olan Mills picture session. Don't remember much about getting my picture taken, but I do remember coming home and seeing scissors left on the back of the toilet, gleaming in the glow of the nightlight. Mom was busy making fried rice in her electric skillet. Our Irish setter, Bridget, was napping under the table. I grabbed my brother and we joined her. And I brought the scissors. I cut his hair, the hair above my right ear, and the hair on Bridget's left flank. My mom lifted the tablecloth and found us. She called, "John!" and began to cry.

Fast forward, 33 years...this morning, I french-braided my Bug's hair into two braids.

Then, fateful mistake...Sweet Man and I were napping (I know~I already feel guilty,) kids were playing. Bug walked into our room, complaining about wanting to take her braids out. I could see little wisps of hair as she struggled with a comb. I thought, "Ahhh, I thought those braids would at least last the day." I began to undo her braids, but hair was coming out in my hands. And then I looked closer...the wisps were not escaped hairs, they were cut hairs....AAAAAACCCCCKKKKK! The scissors were still in her hand.

The little imp had the forethought to bring the scissors (which she had to climb on a stool to reach) and the wastebasket from the downstairs bathroom, upstairs into her room. I found it with clumps of hair in it. And that's when I cried. And so did she.

With his wits about him, Sweet Man retrieved his clippers and a stool and was ready on the porch to finish her job.

She thinks she looks like her Mimi. I think Mimi would like this new do.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Goodbye, summer

Don't come near me with those lips, Sweet Man.

We camped with friends this one point there were 6 families and 18 kids. I love watching and experiencing families knit together, holding each other's babes, helping round them up and sharing life. The kids get their own fun going...the men, their blustery conversations. It really is magic and so. much. fun. Worth the little bit of scrambling last week.

The weather could not have been better for being outdoors: about 80 degrees during the day and 50's at night. We even had a fullish , if not completely full, moon every night. Here is a link to a photo album, unless you were there and lived it or have already recieved a link. I took a ker-squillion pictures of other people's babes this weekend. I think I was pretty annoying actually with the snapping. I need a press pass.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big things

are happening here....

And I am beginning to understand what shutterbugs mean by "catching the light." The weather has been glorious today...and it supposed to be just as beautiful through the long weekend.

Where is this girl's momma? How come her hair is always wild?