Monday, March 31, 2008

The Secret to a Lasting Marriage

"One of the people has to be sane, and the other one is only allowed to be insane occasionally. We take turns on who gets to be which person."

-Actor Christopher Meloni

Fred was the sane one yesterday. And today. Do I have to take turns???

Seriously, though, I feel like I've been under oppression lately. Too many things crowding in at once. Instead of being my normal energetic and rather cheerful self (right??), I've become a mess of blubbering curls.

So what do I do with this new development? Pray? Read my Bible? Cry? Call friends? Well, all of the above, but not in the right order. I'll let you in on my not-so-successful coping strategy: I bawl. Yep, I just sit somewhere and eat cookies and bawl my eyes out. Great, huh? I like to cook when I'm anxious, so there are plenty of breads and desserts abounding right now.

Some people offer wonderful advice. Some people think they offer wonderful's well-meaning, but totally the WRONG thing to say!! I had one of those conversations today. So I called someone else, naturally (actually my Mimi, to pray, and then a friend to come over.) Thank the Dear Lord for friends when you need them. This dear friend drove right over and helped, while I took a time out with the Bible.

And you know what? THAT helped. Duh. So why don't I do that immediately?? WHY? I can't claim the new-Christian-syndrome, because I don't even remember when I was saved. Why do I wait so long to run to my Father's arms? Possibly because I feel foolish crying over such little things when there are so many BIG things that other people deal with. You know, who am I to disturb God, right? Sounds foolish. I tell my kids just the opposite all the time, but then I wait and wait and wait before I work up the courage to knock on that door.

I have two verses on my computer desk: 1 John 5:14 "Now this is confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."
and Psalm 144:2,3 "He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my deliverer. He stands before me as a shield, and I take refuge in him. He subdues the nations under me."

I can believe that. I do believe that. Yet I crumble so easily. Argh.

So, I'm setting some goals, and putting them out here for all to see. Why? Because, like Adelia, I believe that sharing your goals with people you love will help you achieve what you desire. I need prayer, encouragement.
First, I need to stop worrying. I know this isn't easily gauged, and everyone worries to a certain extent. But, specifically, I need to release the worry over things of which I have no control. That does no good.

Second, I need to redeem my time. A line in a book last night suddenly struck me: "A person rescues what he loves." Yes, how obvious. But, really, I tend to let the most important things in my life slide while I take care of "everything else." I need to rescue what I love. I need to focus.

Third (and this is directly related to every other goal), I need to get back on a schedule. How can I redeem my time and reduce my worry if I don't have a game plan? I'm overwhelmed. I need my structure back. Right now I feel like I've lost it from every area: church life, finances, homeschool, housework, you name it. Everything has slid away from me. My darling little sister is helping me work on my Home Keeping Binder, which I plan to put into effect on Thursday. Pray on Thursday. ;-) I know it won't be --KABOOM-- change, but that is the start of my implementation!

Fourth, dang I'm tired. I forgot. Oh, yeah!! I need more sleep. I just *think* that I can get away with 5 or so hours of sleep, but I'm not doing so hot apparently. So I'm setting a curfew. And I'm planning to get up earlier than the kids (no small feat), and have my Bible time ALONE. The kids can read in bed until 7am.

Okay, enough for now. Bible time in bed. I need it.

PS Am I stressing anyone out lately? Didn't someone recently comment about me being upbeat or something? Yeah. Sorry about this, guys. "And this too shall pass."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Been Busy!! Take a look-see...

Okay, so I've been neglecting my bloggin' buddies. In my defense, my computer was sick. I had completely filled up my hard-drive, to the point of not even being able to download my camera. UGH. So I had to backup files today, and get back into the swing of things!!

Here are the nursery curtains. I moved the white curtain rod shelf back in, put up the striped curtains, and used thread to lace the starfish up over the edge. I need to take a picture of the other shells, hung over the dresser. I'm still working on that dresser, too. Sherrill told me to post a picture of my kitchen light. Ignore the dust and focus on the wrapped flowers. ;-) And, yes, I realize that I'm also missing a valance in the background! Heh. I only have 20 or so projects going right now. Fred teases me about starting one, without finishing the others...but, hey, that keeps life fun! I can work on whatever I feel like! And, luckily, my sweet hubby really doesn't mind. He just grins and bears it. ;-)
The sewing machine. It's actually my Mom's, because my sister still has mine. Ah, sewing. I tried to make a lovey for Oliver. It did not turn out well. I will not subject you to a picture! But I have not given up hope yet!! My Mimi is an amazing seamstress, and my Mom is incredibly creative with her ideas and sewing projects as has to be in my blood, right?!

I also got the easel back out! YEA! It's actually broken, and I had to use twisties just to hold it together. That works for now, though! I did some sketches of people...hopefully the nude won't offend anyone. I also did some rather strange paintings of birds, that look like they may have come from the hand of a 5-year old. I'm out of practice. I miss my art instructors.
This is going to be part of a game table for the kids. I made this side into a tic-tac-toe board. On the other side I will paint a checker board. My kids love checkers! I'll get some really neat, heavy buttons for the pieces. These circle and star pieces are wood.
And don't forget about the playground, which I've also been doing in my "spare time." Fred has been helping me a lot! YEA! We have two climbing walls up now, the rope, monkey bars, little tower, and slide. Next is the attached swing set. We're getting close to being done, but I need some warmer weather to finish it. Yesterday was fantastic...but today was just too chilly for me.
So there you have it. Today was Mothering Matters day, so we only worry about the schoolwork that they get done in their class. Fred got off work early, too. We decided to put all projects aside and just "hang out" with the kids, reading books, playing Nintendo (the old Mario Cart is all we have), and slurping root beer floats. I also squeezed in some card-making right after I got the kids in bed.
Okay, okay, I also have to tell you my exciting news: my sink is clean!! I know, this seems like such a little thing. But I've been in a bad habit of leaving dishes in the sink to pursue "greater goals." Haha. My darling friends have inspired me with their Home Keeping Binders. I want to get my tush in gear with the house. I'm good at some routines, but I let the house slide when it comes to regular care. I'm realizing, though, that things are SO much easier when I just do them and get them out of the way.
Yeah, I tell my kids that ALL the time, but it's so much harder to do it.
What would I do without great friends to keep me in line?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Things Boys Do

Oliver, my almost-1-year old, decided to crawl around the house today and remove all of the plug-in safety thing-a-ma-bobs!! I've never had an infant do that before!!! Little rascal.

He also took off at the library today! I sat him down by my feet while I looked through a book, in the kids' room. When I looked down, he was gone! He had crawled out of the kiddie room and was making his way down the hall, much to the delight of an older woman watching.

Trevor. Oh, where do I begin? His newest response when I ask him to do something is, "How 'bout NOT?"

"Trevor, wash your hands and go sit at the table."

"How 'bout NOT."

"Trevor, pick up your blocks now."

"How 'bout NOT."

It's driving me a little crazy.

Does everyone have a child that drives them batty? It used to be Ethan for me, but Ethan has thankfully grown out of that stage. Now it's Trevor all the way. It must be a 3-year old boy thing. I hope.

I have my own sensory overload issues, too. I really like the house to stay pretty clean. And I REALLY don't like things to be too loud. For instance, tapping a fork loudly on the table a few times will just drive me bonkers. Someone coming up behind me and hollering in my ear is unnerving. A bugger who finds my whistle in the backseat and blows it as loud as he can while I'm driving down the highway...arfgh!! Don't get me wrong...I love Trevor to pieces...when he's asleep.

Just kidding. I really do adore him, but he really does frustrate me on an hourly basis. I reread Bringing Up Boys about every 6 months, just to try to understand him and cope with him. After all, most of the time he is not trying to be naughty, he's just being loud and rowdy...all the things boys are, you know. I think I need to find some more good coping books, to keep me in the right frame of mind. Any suggestions?

Fred reminds me that Trev is just "asking" for some undivided attention. That's probably true, but when he acts up, I find myself wanting to get more distance. My initial reaction is always to f l e e, rather than to swoop in for special mama time. I'm working on recognizing this, and thereby stamping out my old patterns of behaviour.

It helps to have someone like Fred. He's so laid back and good-natured. When Trevor starts in with his whinies, Fred looks at him, "I don't understand Whinese, try saying that again." Or, one of Fred's favorite lines, "Do you want me to call the WAH-mbulance?" Both of these get a smile from Trevor and he starts talking like a normal person.
I still have a lot to learn when it comes to boys. ;-)

Prayer is always appreciated!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Loss, New Life, and the One Who Conquers All

*Warning* This is gonna be long. You may have already read parts of it. It's personal...a kind-of pregnancy testimony of sorts...and it's not for the feint of heart. If you are pregnant, just don't read it. It's also late and I'm tired, so it may have some typos or whatever. Yeah. Just ignore all the imperfections in my posting!

This year I feel such a torn spirit around Easter. I still have my child-like sadness that Jesus had to die for us. Yes, I am happy and thankful that he loved us so much. But God's only Son..His child, His creation..put to death for us. I look at sons, my babies, my loves. Oh, it makes you want to scream at the injustice of it all.

But Jesus is the only one who passed the test. He lived a perfect life before his Father and people. He offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for all of us imperfect people. And then He ROSE. Yes, he ROSE and defeated death. Now, the resurrected Jesus offers his righteousness and life to all who trust him as their savior. I try to teach this to my kids every year. Easter is about JESUS!! Sure, we still do the egg thing, but we talk about how the eggs represent new life...our new life from Jesus.

Which brings me to another point. Life. New life. I've always heard that loss is the hardest around holidays. It is for me this year, for several reasons. Oliver was born right around Easter last year. And I had one beautiful precious baby boy...but I should have had two in my arms.

I've written this out, in length, at one other time, but I'm going to recap here.

We've had a lot of loss. This is our 11th year of marriage. We've grown up a lot, and really become strong as a couple. In psychology classes, I learned so much. I really took them to better understand myself and my past, not so much because I had any intention of ever pursuing the field. At any rate, tragedy usually either brings a couple closer or it tears them completely apart. There isn't a lot of middle ground. It may seem grayish for awhile, but eventually it will head down one of these paths. So you have to be determined in the beginning that every trial will result in you clinging tighter to your spouse.

We lost our first baby in 1997. I was devastated and blamed myself. Nobody knew, but Fred, and that made it so much harder. I was young, people wouldn't care, or so I thought.

Within 6 months I was pregnant again. At 9 weeks I started spotting. We lost another baby. This time people knew. We had JUST told everyone. That was hard, because we were already being questioned for having a baby soon. I felt like people were relieved that it would be awhile. Relieved over the death of my child? And maybe I was just consumed by my own shame and hurt. I still felt like this must be a result of my own actions somehow. I had brought this pain and punishment on myself.

In 1998 I got pregnant a third time. I was terrified. I ate all of the right things, exercised diligently (but not too strenuously,) I gave up caffeine and most medications except for Tylenol. I was determined to "be good" and make everything right. I pleaded with God to give me the baby, and I assured him that my punishment was already great enough. I did not know God as I do now. I did not know that He was in pain with me, comforting me, holding me up through it all.

God gave me a wonderful doctor (I thank God for your husband regularly, Trish.)
Isabelle was born in 1999-- a beautiful and completely healthy baby. The child never seemed to sleep and demanded my every moment, but I was totally content with that. My life revolved around her.

In the summer of 2000, after Isabelle had just turned 1-year old, I began having VERY sharp pains one day. I called Fred at work and asked him to come home. The pains got worse and worse. I went to my local doctor and, after some tests, he came in and said that I was having a miscarriage, and I should go home and rest. I was SHOCKED. I had no idea I was even pregnant. I had to call my husband from the office and tell him, and have him pick me up. Well, the pains got worse and worse. Fred carried me to the car that night and took me to the ER. After an ultrasound, they said the same thing and sent me home. I was right back within an hour. Finally, after more ER visits, a doctor had the sense to do an exam....(Hix, if you know him. He may have saved my life.) My cervix was closed. I was NOT having a miscarriage. But I went into shock and had to have immediate surgery. My right fallopian tube was bursting from an ectopic pregnancy. I'll make an already long story shorter, and just tell you that the right tube was removed and the left cleared itself-- yes, I had TWIN ectopics. That is unheard of. I had NO risk factors.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I hadn't even known about the babies, and now they were both gone. And what should have been outpatient surgery lasted for several days b/c I was over-sensitive to the pain meds and I was unconscious for 30 hours after surgery! I woke up to a pregnant nurse. Oh, the pain.

After all of the problems, my doc gave me a 50% chance of having more kids. I had one fallopian tube left, and it was damaged...

It's getting late (and LONG), but I'm going to finish the story. Maybe it will be therapeutic.
That was 2000...I'd been married for nearly three years and I had one baby girl, and had lost 4 babies already.

That winter I found out I was expecting again. On Christmas Day I started bleeding. We rushed to the ER and they did an ultrasound. We were losing one baby--yes, twins again! When you lose one, the chances of miscarrying the other are higher. We prayed, we hoped... I was so scared through that pregnancy... but God heard me cry out to Him... and my precious Ethan was born the following August, in 2001.

So 2001-- I'd been married for 4 years, I had 2 children, and I had lost 5.

In 2003 we lost another baby. It was early. I had just found out. I was going to school full-time and I had two toddlers. I sometimes wonder if it was the stress. After that I decided to get a 5-year IUD. That was a horrible mistake. I bled NONSTOP for 3 months after having it put in. I became anemic and sick. They removed it in January, and I was going to start the pill with the first cycle. The cycle never came...because I had gotten pregnant within days of having the IUD removed. I was still in school full-time, and scared beyond reason that I could lose the baby. At this point, I was obviously a high-risk pregnancy, so my specialist had me come in every three days for ultrasounds. Talk about stress! I relaxed a bit at the 3-month mark. It was a great pregnancy. I was due on Halloween and Trevor was born on November 6th, 2004. At this point my doctor was advising that Fred not even look at me, lest I become pregnant immediately again.

2004-- I had been married for 7 years then, had three beautiful children, and had lost 6.

In 2006 I found out I was expecting again. I waited several days and took three tests before I told Fred. October was the first person to find out. In fact, she bought the second ...and third pregnancy tests for me.

I knew Fred would be happy and excited...but I also knew that we were both scared, we had no money, and I had already postponed finishing school. We were homeschooling and living on a shoestring (still are.) Of course, Fred WAS excited. And scared. We started our every-3-day trips to the OB. Things looked good. Of course, we were very happy and surprised (and scared beyond reason) to be expecting twins again!! They must run in my family somewhere.

This time we got photos of the twins. We started contemplating names. I liked Grant, Adele Lillian, Simon, maybe Oliver and Olivia if they were boy/ girl. It was too early to tell yet. At nearly 3 months, we lost one. An ultrasound showed a problem. We prayed and asked friends, family, our church to pray. But then I bled, raced in, and it was too late. To say that it was upsetting and tragic to us is an understatement. I went on and smiled. I pretended everything was okay. After all, it looked like one baby would be okay, right? But I began to get depressed and couldn't seem to shake the mournful, but hopeful, unnerving, jittery feelings creeping over me. I wanted to be excited about being pregnant again, because I WAS, but I was also so sad for our loss and so scared. Yet I need to be strong for the kids. They shouldn't feel my sadness and my burden. School must continue. Mommy must still "be there" for them.

I prayed constantly for our baby that was left. And he was okay, thank You, God. Oliver was born last April.
This year-- we will celebrate 11 years of marriage. We have four beautiful children, and we have lost 7.
Fred had a vasectomy after Oliver was born. We just couldn't handle losing any more, and Fred said he couldn't handle losing me, if I were to have another ectopic... they are so much more likely after you've had one.

Before I end this, let me just say, when someone loses a baby, just hug them and say how sorry and sad you are. Do NOT say "at least you still have one." Do NOT say "it must have been for a reason" or "something must have been wrong with that baby." Just simply pray for them and tell them that you are praying.

And I will delete any unkind comments to this. I did try birth control, and I don't blame that on my miscarriages. I did want all of my children, and I would have happily had more if I was financially able. I miss my children. I look at Oliver and Ethan, knowing that they were both twins. Will they "feel" that some day? Should I tell them? And when? I kept all of my ultrasounds. I have a tape of beating hearts. And sometimes I just ache for closure, and don't know how to get it. The children I have are just miracles to me. They are absolute miracles, gifts from God.

I do love Easter. I love that God defeated death for us. I know my children are with their heavenly Father. Jesus died to give us all life. I've accepted that gift, with a desperation and urgency...sometimes I just forget how badly I want to see Him and be with Him, and how much I appreciate all He has done for me. And then I remember and it all floods back over me. I want to keep this passion all the time, not just when I am flooded with emotion.

Frankly, sometimes a picture really does say a thousand words. I saw some lovely pictures earlier of beautiful twins boys. So here is my baby boy, when he was about a month old and we were at a homeschool field trip. He was in the baby Bjorn, and Isabelle leaned in to look at him, right as I snapped the picture. Awww...

This God of ours, who gives life and gives it, isn't He awesome? And then to defeat death! He rose, and conquered all sin and evil in the world, simply because He-- the maker of the universe-- loves US that much. Takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Computer Down!!!!

Wendy's computer is down. She cannot check emails right now.

Please be patient. She's trying to work it out. Please pray for computer healing.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Works for Wendy Wednesday--I SPY jars and books

Originally I had planned to use our entire spring break to build the playset. In light of our recent flooding, though, we have chosen instead to craft and craft and craft some more!!

Yesterday we started out making I SPY jars, a wonderful idea from Angela. We filled jars with beads, beans, and other little trinkets and things to search for. Ethan turns it this way and that to find the orange tack, the silver frog, the yellow teddy bear, and so forth. Wonderful idea! This will be Great for the van-trips.
Ethan is so totally obsessed with the I SPY books. We also love the hidden pictures in Graeme Base books. Truly amazing.

So next we decided to make our own I SPY books! The kids worked hard cutting out all of the pictures, for themed pages. This first one is a random collage.

I SPY... 5 Ethans, 2 Grandfather clocks, a violin, two lanterns, Uncle Adam, a flying cow...and so forth...

Then our Garden page, with hidden food. I SPY...two mad carrots, 2 plates of spaghetti, 3 eggs, 2 apples, 4 bananas, and so on...

This is our People Page. I SPY... 6 pairs of glasses, a gold bracelet, 2 potted flags and a potted child, 4 Isabelles, binoculars, a blindfolded chicken...

We did six 2-page spreads (using an old calender, turned sideways for our "book,") and the kids are having a blast searching for the things they cut out, as well as pictures of them, and our family and friends. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner!

We used glue-all to put the pictures on, and then modge podged over it, to better protect the surface.

I'm also going to post pictures of the lovely nest from Jerri, as well as my forced branches, and blown eggs on the Art Page. :-)

New pictures of Suzanne and Jerri's families will be on ForgetMeNots later today. The rest of the families that had appts on the 8th will be on the site by this weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

tooth update

Well, I wanted to yank the sucker out. And I prayed for the dentist to take immediate action. He did. Tooth is gone.
Yep, he said that what I was describing: radiating and intense pain, which became worse with heat...that was because of my awful wisdom tooth. So he took it out. Just like that. OUCH.

I guess I'm glad that I didn't have too much warning. I would have stressed.
So now it's mushy foods for me. No hot coffee, no carbonation, no straws... no yummy beef enchiladas that are baking in the oven as we speak. (sigh) That's the hardest part of dental work for me: the inability to EAT what I want!!
Right now I can't eat anything anyway because I'm still bleeding. Sorry to gross you out.

I do wish I had known to eat beforehand, as I've only had a dinner roll since supper last night. I'll start to feel dizzy soon if I don't eat!

Oh, and we did JUST pay off the dentist. But this time I was smart enough to put A LOT of money in medical spending, so I could get my teeth fixed. So this little unplanned ouchie did not cost us anything out of pocket!!

In other news, I'm so happy and feel so blessed to get so many awesome freebies from a friend today!! It was like Christmas!! I even got a pair of jeans for Fred that fit him perfectly. And he is a total gifts person, so this was great for both of us!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The nest, the work, the tooth

I found a great site on forcing branches, so I used Bradford Pears and Redwoods. They are now blooming in my kitchen, complete with a nest from Jerri. Yes, Jerri redeemed herself and found the nest that she thought had already gone to Good Will. I wish I could post a picture!! I took some, but my computer is not detecting my camera for some reason, and I'll have to figure that out tomorrow. I'm too tired right now.

Speaking of Good Will, my sister has been given the opportunity to do something really neat. She will be giving free haircuts to the children at the local shelter. What an amazing ministry!! Julie is so multi-talented. If you need a hair cut, a cake decorated, a personalized portrait, interior decorating, fashion advice...she's your gal! Someday I'm going to make a fortune being managers for Julie, when she is a famous artist, and my other sister Amy, when she is a world renowned author. Oh, yes, there is talent in my family!

Which brings me to yet another point. How many things can a person do excellently? Looking at my sisters, you'd think that a person can do MANY things and excel at each one. But in my personal life, I find that I can only do about two things really well at any given time.

On the days that I keep the kids on schedule and we get lots of work done, and do it well, I find that I can either keep my house decent or do something crafty. If I try to do "crafty" things with our art time, then we get excited and carried away...and the house goes to pot. On the other hand, I can do lots of crafty things on our days off, and still keep the house decent, but we aren't worrying about school work. I can also trade art for decent exercise, or playdates, or baking afternoons...but I can't do it all.

I just asked some trusted friends about this. They seem to have it all together. You know who you are, with your working Home Management Binders. :-) I'm getting there, oh, yes, I'm getting there. Off like a herd of turtles, as my Mom used to say.

This is about what my day *should* look like:
dishes 2x a day, which takes me a total of 30 minutes (kids unload and put dishes away)
do laundry 2 x a day, which takes me a total of 30-45 minutes (kids help fold and put clothes away)
math 1 hour (yeah, it shouldn't take nearly this long, but it usually does!)
reading 1 hour (Isabelle and Ethan reading aloud)
My Bible time 30 minutes, although I usually start prayinga nd don't spend the whole time reading. Isabelle read sthe Bible aloud, too, so we discuss that.
Bible with kids 30 minutes
handwriting and spelling 30 minutes
geography 20 minutes
history 20 minutes
art 1 hour (heh heh...I have a weakness for art, and we don't always cap the time at an hour)
music 30 minutes (during which time we do "crazy dancing." This is not exactly the typical "music appreciation" or instrument instruction time)
PE 1 hour (read: run and play in yard or park)
cooking, 3x a day takes a total of 1- 1 1/2 hours, longer on days that I bake, too
vacuuming 1-3 x day 20 minutes each time (I have a crawler, so frequent vacuuming is absolutely necessary!)
phone calls 30 minutes, and I only answer when I have to, I really prefer email
bills 30 minutes (this doesn't deserve color!)
walking 20 minutes
night-time reading to kids 20 minutes
baths for kids 1 hour!! Yes, to bath all four it take AT LEAST one hour.
time with Fred depends on what he wants to do. We like outdoor activities, like walking, biking, fire pit, etc. And he likes for me to watch movies with him, so I usually fold laundry at the same time. Then he makes fun of me for not being able to sit still. Hehee.
computer ?
sleep - whatever is left

So, my question to you is how do I fit more in? Or do I try to fit more in? Suzanne just posted about this, too. Would God give us these desires do be artistic, to want to learn and do, if He wasn't going to let us fulfill them? Is this a matter of patience? Should I just wait until my kids are grown before I try to fulfill any of my artsy fartsy urges? Or should I just try to include them more? I can decoupage with them, but sketching a serious picture isn't at all easy with four kids underfoot. And, yes, I can use my evening time to do that... but then "therapy" (blogging) would be out. And if I don't do at least half of my household chores at night, then I take time away from the kids the next day to accomplish those things.
Oh bother, as Eeyore says. How do you know what to do and when and how much?

Quick prayer request, too: My tooth is KILLING me, I mean I seriously just want to grab pliers and yank the sucker out. I think it's abscessed. Pray for healing, or pain relief, and pray that the dentist will take immediate action tomorrow. Thanks!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Window Mistreatments 101

These curtains are now hanging in my breakfast room!! I was so inspired by Nesters Window Mistreatments, that I decided to do my own. My sister Julie and I went to Hancocks Fabric. I got the large and small floral prints for 40% off. Good thing, too, because they were expensive. To make all four panels, the valance, with ribbons and curtain hooks, I paid $23!! Can't beat that!! And it took me no longer than an hour to get them up. No sewing. Hallelujah! Woooo-hoooo! I'm excited. It really brightens up my kitchen! :-) Happy, happy face.
The floral valance is only 3/4 yard. I just folded it along the top and pinned, then nailed it up. I tucked the bottom under, tied it with ribbon and VOILA, instant valance! The top of my window actually starts at the bottom on the valance. I took Nester's advice and did this to create an illusion of larger windows. I like it a lot!

The panels are 5 1/2 yards of fabric...cut into four long strips. I folded the top under slightly (like a hem) and then looped it forward to create a U. Then I just put four ring clips at the top of each one and nailed them on the wall! How easy!!

It goes down almost to the floor, and I think I may still get some coordinating fabric and fringe to add to the bottom (using a glue gun, so I won't even have to take them down.) I LOVE this simple method. Who says things have to be done "the right way?" Heh heh. And, anyway, this way I can just pull it off at anytime and drape it differently for a change of style! Oh, yeah!

For more pictures, and also a tutorial on recovering dining room chairs, just visit Wendy*s Art House. :-)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Homeschoolers Under Attack

Okay, There is something on my mind and heart. I need to share and ask for prayer.

On Feb. 28 California appeals court ruled parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their children and that those parents who do must be credentialed teachers. This was not picked up by national media until March 6. The shock waves are rolling now.

It arose in juvenile court and the parties had court-appointed attorneys, so even Home School Legal Defense Association didn't know about it until the ruling was issued. It flew under radar, so to speak.

Judge Croskey declared that "parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children." Furthermore, the judge wrote, if parents teach without credentials they will be subject to criminal action.

This could have broad implications on CA's nearly 200,000 homeschoolers -- and set a dangerous precedent for other students nationwide, my children included.

Keep in mind that California schools are the most liberal. We're talking about schools that push the homosexual, abortion, liberal agenda to the hilt.

This is scary stuff. Do children belong to the state? Does the government know better than the parents? If you are a homeschooler, imagine your children being FORCED away from you every day. And if you are not a homeschooler, imagine being FORCED to put your child into a liberal school (or any place that you object to.) This is about freedom.

Please stop now-- right now, just for a second-- and pray. Lift a heartfelt prayer up to God, and ask Him to intervene. Pray for our freedoms and the safety of our children.

You can listen to Dr. Dobson discuss the case, learn more about the court ruling, see what California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says about this, and sign petition to depublish this ruling by using these links.

Click here to read about Hitler's ruling on homeschooling and how it still haunts Germans today, and threatens the rest of the world.
Be informed. Research, get the facts, follow the story.
Be a voice. Christians need to speak up. Defend yourself. Stand up for your rights and those of your family.

And PRAY. God can do anything. There IS power in prayer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A New Addiction

So sue me. I'm addicted to another blog. Can you blame me? I love to read, I love creativity, making things, staying connected to other moms. Not to mention neglecting laundry...yeah, I love that, too.
This site, The Nesting Place, is just soooooo awesome. Why? Because I am also a "lazy perfectionist." I'm willing to work hard, but not necessarily long. I do so much better with short-term goals. Walk every day for a week. aCheck. Eat healthy today. aCheck. Run a 5K in a year. x RRRR- Thumbs down. Can't do the long-term thing. I tend to sabotage myself at the first hint of inadequacy because I fear failure.

Yeah. I know this, yet it's soooo hard to overcome it and have enough faith in myself (really, faith in God, that He will be there when I do fail, and it doesn't matter how inadequate I am...
umm....soooo, on with the post.)

All that to say, this site has awesome crafting/ decorating ideas and they are quick and fairly easy! YEA! You won't have to sew! You won't have to go buy oodles of expensive anything. Just grab something on hand and make something awesome. Voila!

She even has a tutorial on Window Mistreatments. Oh, yeah, that's my kind of decorating.

No, I don't need an intervention yet. I'm still eating..still sleeping (well, as much as can be expected)...yes, still spending most of my time homeschooling and frog-caring. But I'm using these free night hours to read, design, plan, and CRAFT! Because I have several projects going at once and I don't want to discombobulate you, I'm going to post progress pictures on an added link, Wendy*s Art House. A great idea from Sara*s Art House, which I also LOVE. Visit and support these ladies.

Okay, and one more "just about me" thing. ;-)
I'm visual. I need sunshine. Bright colors are a must. That includes lipstick. And, since I'm a girl-y girl, I enjoy wearing vibrant colors & fancy things & having bright hair. :-) Really, color is important to me.

Red is awesome. Flame, passion, excitement, love, vibrance, life, explosion. I love RED. I also love black and white. What would COLOR be without the black and white to contrast? Do you understand why I decorate constantly, paint all the time, scrapbook insatiably, and yard-sale shop for anything interestinge. I'm visual. I feel better when I see pretty things. I feel better physically when I look better. Which is why I never-- and I mean, NEVER wear sweats. I do not own sweats. I. hate. sweats. Not on other people, but definitely on me. And, by gosh, if I'm gonna put on socks, they'd better be cute ones. Striped and polka dot knee-high socks are the best.

Okay, sorry, now I'm just rambling. Strange post, tired mommy at the end of the day. I'm full of ideas, excited to do things...the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak tonight. Thank You, God, for a new day tomorrow, with renewed energy! And tomorrow is Mothering Matters day--YEA! That means my cup will be filled to overflowing, and I can "flow out on" and encourage others. Where else can I be with, pray with so many other godly women? Thanking God for this wonderful ministry.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Signs of Spring

Shelley's "signs of spring" cracked me up. We have been having some unusually cold weather. But today turned into such a lovely day!! We finished our work in record time (going outside was a good incentive to get it done fast!) and then drew with sidewalk chalk, went walking, and just enjoyed hearing the birds sing.

Fred bought a new birdhouse (half price at Hobby Lobby over the weekend, so this beauty was only $6), and the cardinals have been enjoying it.
Then we adopted a new pet! Well, it's our ONLY pet. His name is Herbert, and he is a lucky of the last few frogs to escape dissection at a college biology lab. ;-)
Herbert is my grandpa's middle name. Herbert...ribbit...I don't know, we just thought it fit. Hehee.
Anyway, this guy has looong legs, so I'm glad our tank has a lid. He seems to like his new home so far. We may end up doing some more "landscaping" in there tomorrow. He might need a bigger pool.
When we should have been sitting down to eat dinner, we were all outside, with our coats on and shovels in hand, looking for tasty treats for our new "brother." The kids caught about 15 worms (under the basketball goal), rolly pollies, and Fred caught a few crickets. Then we ALL watched with fascination as Herbert watched his prey, stuck out his tongue, and snatched one of those crickets. Mmmm.... okay, dinner anyone?
You'd better believe that we'll be doing an extra science lesson tomorrow on this new grass frog, and Ethan will be doing extra research at the library because Herbert has been deemed worthy of the education fair this year.
May you all find frogs and joy. Japanese proverb, maybe?

Monday, March 3, 2008

playing hooky from church

Yesterday we went to a nearby National Park for some hiking and a picnic. Yeah, we just skipped church to go. Sometimes I feel so much closer to God while we rejoice in His creation, rather than sitting in a building. It's great to fellowship with other believers, and also necessary...but there's just something missing sometimes. I need the joy back. I need to look up at the sky, face to the sun, and smile, "thank you, Lord, for this indescribable, amazing beauty!!"

Besides, we had to take advantage of the awesome weather yesterday. It's dropped 30 degrees since then. Argh! I reeeeaaaallly need sunshine. Really. Days like today just start to wear on me pretty fast.

So, anyway, I got to talking to a young mother at the playground area, after our picnic and hike. She was nursing a baby girl, while she watched her 2-year old son play. This woman was very sweet...very talkative, and I soon discovered that she is a cross country runner for NSU, and an early education major. She is about to gradate, but wants to stay home with her kids. Only problem is that hubby wants her to go right to work. Hmmm...

I promised to pray for her, for God's leading and guidance. I really feel for her. I'm so thankful that I have my husband's support to stay home and educate our children.
I mentioned to her that we homeschool and really enjoy that. This opened a whole new can of worms. Apparently she had been "homeschooled" for two years, 8th and 9th grade...except that she "did nothing." She said she literally did NOTHING. It was boring and she got terribly behind her public school peers. They had NO curriculum or assignments, field trips, etc. This is was a total shock to me. WHY would someone keep their kids home, with no intention of teaching them? Wouldn't it be so much easier to send them to school?

Anyway, this is now the view that she has of homeschoolers. Do others share that view, I wonder?
Because I can tell you that the vast majority of homeschoolers work their tails off. It's a never-ending, amazing, complicated, tiring, stressful, but completely joyful and satisfying job. Seems like an oxymoron, but that's the only way I can describe it. I wouldn't give it up, even after stressful days like today. It is fun, rewarding. And I learn as much as the kids do! Most of the homeschool moms that I know share this same feeling. We may get overwhelmed, but we stay the course. I do know of a few out there who just don't make school a priority. To those I will say: put your kids in school or make school at home a priority. Not to say that we don't take days off or get behind sometimes...I'm talking about the people who "do nothing" for two years. That just isn't acceptable.

We talked about a few other things: breastfeeding, church, childcare (which is what she is so concerned about, possibly going into the workforce soon.) Fred laughed about it on the way home. Men get to know each other slowly(talking football for 6 months?) , but women just jump right up on their soap boxes and go to town. :-)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Haven't seen it, can't play Scene It

All of my family came over Friday night: my parents, sisters Julie and Amy and their husbands and the kids. We ate salad, pizza, chocolate eclairs, leftover VDay chocolates, cookies, rootbeers... and coffee. Yep, even after 10pm, we were all chugging down cups of joe. We're a coffee-lovin' family. Of course, after lunchtime I can only have decaf, or I'll be up all night. It was a regular gorge fest, plus games.
We started out just chowing down while we watched He-Man. Yep, you heard right. Hubby just ordered the first 6 (?) DVDs of He-Man and he has already gotten the boys obsessed with it. It's not at all unusual now for me to see Trevor bounding down the hallway in his batman mask, Spiderman pjs, holding his light saber, shouting "by the power of gray skull." Then Ethan declares that he is He-Man and Trevor can be battle cat.

At first I was like, whoooaa now, there are some things in this cartoon that I don't like. The women dress like...well, just not like women should dress. And the skull face bad guy just isn't something I really like. But I decided to back off. Fred is the Daddy. He was a boy and now he's become a great father...and who am I to deprive his boys of He-Man?

Apparently Fred was not the only once-obsessed little boy. My brothers-in-law, Adam and Vu, were glued to the screen as soon as they walked in. I heard lengthy conversations about how He-Man was like Superman, and how Adam always got to be He-Man because of his name (like Clark Kent is Superman, Adam is really He-Man, for those who need a refresher!) It was quite amusing.
After we peeled the men from the cartoons, we started Scene It. Ha! I don't watch TV. I don't watch movies. Is there any doubt that I would totally stink at this game? In my own defense, though, I did get ONE answer right! What little blue fish sings "just keep swimming, just keep swimming?"...

...well, Dory in Finding Nemo, of course! Yea for me! ;-)

After the awful beating I took in that game, we moved on to Nerts (is that right, Julie?) It's a card game, played with four decks of cards. It's fast-paced, and was much more my style.
You know things are getting serious when Fred and Vu turn their hats around!

Adam and I won that game. Julie declared that it was more my kind of game. (yeah, one with no questions, right?? Heh heh)
Anyway, it was so much fun. I love to play games. I'm so grateful to be close to my family, and see them all often.

A Day of Gifts

Today my husband bought me a gorgeous picnic basket set. It has plastic plates, glasses, and silverware for four. It's large enough to pack all of the food and drinks we will need for our family. And, best of all, it was a bargain! :-)
Then I found some absolute steals at a yard sale in a town over. I spent $7 and got an adult Hulk costume, a 3T Spiderman costume, three SpiderMan shirts, Cars pajamas, alligator pj set, Diego 2-piece pajama set, two button up 7/8 shirts, an orange pair of medium boys' shorts, five pairs of socks for me and three for Trevor, two 2T shirts for Oliver, three belts (including an AWESOME V-shaped "Superwoman" one for me!), a wall hanging, angel halo headband, new package of boys' underwear, and a princess tutu outfit!!!-- all for $7!! I was almost hysterical with joy when I made it back to the van. Yes, I'm definitely a financial nerd. And I'm okay with that.
Then I got home, and had a package waiting on my front porch, containing an Easter table cloth and two baby slings that my Mimi made for me! Beautiful, and both of my little boys love them!!

I know I just talked about how gifts are not my love language... but I think that all of the things I received today fall under the "acts" category, too! My husband went out in search of something he knew I wanted. Then he handed me money and waited in the van with four children, playing with them, while I scoured a yard sale for bargains. And, Mimi, I know that your planning, designing, sewing is an act of love! :-) It's these thoughtful and amazing things that people do that just speak volumes to my heart!
Ahhhh, what a nice Saturday!