Tuesday, July 29, 2008

renaming Live Wire

I'm renaming LiveWire to something with a more positive connotation. A real live wire is out of control and can kill you. Maybe not the best thing to name a 3-year old. It just implies the wrong things about his bubbly little personality! :-)

I received a lot of suggestions to my last inquiry: The Nudist, Pianist, Craziest, Running Man, Da Vinci, Energizer, Exuberant One, The Unkissable, Eager Beaver, Minimalist, Escapist,MonsterMonkey, Destroyer of Worlds, Showstopper, The Little Performer, Too Fast-Too Furious, Mr. T, LiveWire, Dash, Scientist, Linguist, Socialist. Some very interesting ideas!!

I've decided to go with Dash. After all, I really like the Incredibles movie! And he's a blondie boy, he can get around awfully fast and he has the potential to be an awesome little hero, aiding others and using his powers for good.

My little Dash can be a real charmer. Some days he's stubborn as can be, but on the flip side of the coin, he can also be the most determined little boy, to help others and do good. He's a lot like me, and I have to remember that. We should all use our powers for good! :-)

rain, rain go away (at least figuratively speaking)

When it's all nice and sunny, sometimes I don't notice as much as I should. I'm too busy.
I take it for granted.
So when it starts to cloud up a bit, I don't really notice that either.
Too much is going on. My list is too long.
I just forget to look around.
It's not intentional.
Before I know it, the rain starts coming down...
just sprinkles at first, so that's no big deal.

I might look around, maybe comment on the unexpected rain, but I keep on walking.
I have an umbrella, so it's no biggie. I get busy again and just keep walking, doing, going about life...and before I know it I've walked right out from under that protective umbrella.
And THEN I stop and look around.
What happened??I'm in the middle of the storm with no protection. It's thundering and lightening.
Friends are running (some shielded under their own large umbrellas.)And me? I just stand there like a dope, looking around,
getting soaked, and wondering when on earth all this happened? Such is life.
I've let complacency overcome me.
There really is a battle between the good and the best.
And sometimes, even when I think I'm choosing the best,
I'm still choosing what is good first.
Sometimes it takes a good sister to kick you in the rear and make you stand back up.
Put top things top. Seek GOD, and stop getting so comfortable.
Thanks, Jules.

And, in case anyone else finds themselves without an umbrella,

Umbrellas aren't hard to come by, you just gotta ask for one back!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's off to work we go...

Okay so it's only been like 8 days since my last post and I feel like I'm in total deprivation from the computer. I've had to force myself to stay away from the beckoning monitor to get housework done and then fun stuff in. Lots of game-playing with friends, and the kiddos. The Artist's new favorite is Scattergories.

Life is crazy-- CRAZY, I tell you. We've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Which is fine and fun at times, but leaves me no time to get my painting done and other misc ventures. But, still, the most important things should come first, and I'm not complaining.

I've been working. Not WORK work, but fun work. I've done two big portrait sessions and a wedding in the past week. The wedding alone left me with over a thousand pictures in a four-hour time frame. Lots to edit, crop, play with.

It's also the time of year to get busy for the coming school year. I've decided to do my eclectic mix again: some Charlotte Mason, A Beka math for the Artist and K12 math for The Nature Boy. Konos for other subjects along with some science kits and various readers. There's just too much available to be pinned down with one thing. And the kids are too different to pick a brand/ style for them to do together. Some of that is okay, but not everything. I'm different, too. I need some fun stuff tied in. Oh, who am I kidding? I need LOTS of fun stuff-- lots of music, hands-on stuff, reading great books, and LOTS and LOTS of time outside.We learn by doing: crafting, cooking, reading, writing, narrating.

I also have many good quotes now from a couple of friends, that I plan to work into my homeschool (and life) philosophy:

"Your family is your number one ministry."

"Every time you walk out the door, that is a potential enemy to your family life. It had better be important."

"Parent-teacher conferences are the best, because I can just sit around blabbering to myself."

I also love these famous quotes:

"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." - W B Yeats

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives." Willa A. Foster

Here's hoping and praying that we all have a productive, enjoyable and Christ-centered year of learning ahead of us!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What "Good Girls" do and other rambling knockin'-about thoughts when I'm tired

I am one of those mom's who doesn't go out without make-up. Why? Because I usually feel most comfortable with make-up on. Sure, there are those days that I wish I didn't feel the "need" to put it on. But on the whole, I enjoy dressing up. For me, make-up and clothes are almost an art form. It's fun to experiment, dress-up, and "play pretty." Besides, it makes my husband feel special when I take a little extra effort to look nice for him.
On those days that I just don't feel like it, though, I feel obligated to stay home. The make-up thing, while being enjoyable and fun for me, also turns into a crippling weakness at times. When I really look a mess, I feel a mess. If I don't look pulled together I don't feel put together.
And I feel judged.
Women have a bad habit of judging everything from clothes to hair to parenting choices. So your best friend dyes her hair every other week? So what? Does that hurt anyone? Does it ruin her testimony? Does a nose ring mean you aren't a Christian? Does an extra long hem-line mean you are better equipped to serve God? Long hair or short hair? Dyed hair or natural? Public school, private, or homeschool? House immaculate...or a mess? Live by a schedule, or just one moment at a time? Why do people, especially women it seems, get so defensive when others live differently?
Hmmm....I just wonder what compels women to judge, judge, judge each other?
We should be cheering each other on, not judging and demeaning. We should be helping each other.
Mentoring each other.
Jealousy is rife among girls and women. Women frequently react with thinly veiled jealousy when they see other women come into unexpected blessings or succeed in some way. (A success they either don't know how to, or don't feel able to claim for themselves.)

I know there are many women out there who are emotionally starved. And it must be hard to see other women being fed well, when they are starving for that. The reaction to criticize, to put down and to tell other women that they are behaving in an unacceptable manner makes sense at some level if you are famished and desperately crying out, desiring attention, needing help. So I guess the next time I am criticized, I will just look at it as a cry for help! :-)
(Heh heh-- Not that I am ever criticized for anything!! )

Anyway, I've mentioned before how much I LOVE Mothering Matters. I've never been involved in a group before that so purposely puts Titus 2: 3 and 4
to work. (Older women are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children...) Older women, for the most part, seem to be past all the pettiness. We could learn a lot from that. All the "little stuff" doesn't matter so much. Life is about glorifying God, right? Living for HIM. Banding together to worship, to reach others and be a light for the world. Each of us, in our own walks, can live for Him. We can reach others the way no one else can. If we were all alike, just Christian cloned robots, how could we possibly reach and relate to anyone different?

No, it's the blue-hairdo spiky Christian that can reach other blue-hair spiky people. (Or people who think that hair is "totally awesome"...)It's the public school Christians that other p.s. people can relate better to. It's the homeschooled Christ-followers that other homeschoolers might be interested in talking to. So why do we judge differences? I want to be who I am supposed to be...and if that means I have a bright green living room and short red hair and lots of beautiful children who are homeschooled...well, maybe I can strike up a conversation with someone else who likes bright green in their living room!

At any rate, I know God will use me. For me. And I am trying NOT to care what anyone else thinks. Not that I have been let down by people lately, but I've just been thinking a lot about how we tend to stick to standards, live by the norm, and judge anyone who walks a to a different tune, on the same path.
Romans 12: 4-6 "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith."

Together we are a force to be reckoned with. We are Christ's body. We can make a difference.

Tonight I had a fantastic night with an awesome family. The lovely lady is not only amazingly equipped to reach others, but she desires to with her whole heart. And she equips others to "go and do likewise" simply with the power of encouraging words and a hospitable heart. Ah, what sweet relief it is to be around others who just love others for who they are, differences and all. (Even though I did pull her down with my pathetic attempt at playing Mad Gab. I warned you I was no good!!)

My little darling

My Little Darling Artist is now 9. NINE YEARS OLD. Someone splash me with cold water!!
How fitting that my parents would take her to Philbrook to celebrate. She spent 5+ hours studying paintings, puppets, sculptures, you name it. She brought along a sketchbook, and came home with amazing little sketches of her favorite pictures.

Man, I love this kid!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

before and after, paint jobs!

I'm making progress! Half of my living room is done (the faster half!) I still need to bring a ladder in and do the top trim, but I'll wait until the weekend when Fred is around and awake. I've fallen off of ladders before.
My sis said it looked beautiful, classic, "like a hotel lobby." Heh, heh. Nice description. Who doesn't love hotel lobbies??

But I have four kids. Small house. I need vibrant color, shapes, fun and cheerful dots, and joyful swirls. It's like a circus in here, so we might as well have the same FUN!

And next is the side wall that leads into the hallway. Plate display from my aunt. The ones in the kitchen are from Dollar Tree. The black iron one in my dining room was a yard sale find. Total cost of two iron plate holders and five single ones: $6 The color is a little off in this picture. The actual color is a bit more vibrant, light and bright, not at all sage.
Next Up--the rug!
Check it out!!! I went shopping today, for last minute birthday stuff for The Artist. This rug beckoned to me. All of the rugs around it were marked down, hundreds of dollars less than other beautiful ones I've looked at. Anyway, this one looked like someone had scrawled "44" on the back. Might as well ask for a price, right? The guy came back, looked puzzled and said there were none of these rugs in stock. It was just a display, and it was misprinted. So they rolled it up and gave it to me for $44!!!!!!!! -- it's about 6 x 8 feet. Love it. :-) The swirls almost look yellowish in my living room, which is awesome for my "spring glow" paint.
Excuse the sideway picture in cluttery living room. Baby was grabbing for the camera. ;-)
It's all coming together. But tomorrow we'll take a break from interior design to celebrate my daughter's 9th birthday!!! NINE YEARS OLD. I don't know whether to laugh or cry (or both!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mistreating the walls...and windows...and furniture!

Well, my sister Amy bought me a gorgeous print a couple weeks ago. I'd been pining for it, as it is to be the inspiration for my living room makeover. The darling gal set me afloat. How wonderful it is to have interior design-y people in the family. Today I had a scheduled consultation with her, to pick out paint colors, curtains, and a color for my furniture. Yes, I plan to sail into uncharted territory and recover my sofa and love seat by myself. Of course, it does help that my husband builds furniture for a living.

Where was I? Ah, yes. We picked "Spring Glow" for the walls, "Garden Sprout" for the accent, and a bright reddish orange "Paprika" for the furniture color. Curtains are also "spring glow" with yellow sheers behind them. This. Makes. Me. Happy. COLOR. My phrase for the room is "Simply Cheerful." Not too far-fetched a dream, eh?

I did just redo my living room (in fact, ALL the rooms) when I was pregnant, but that was more of a nesting thing, in my defense. And it was springtime. So I thought that dark, deep, intense shades would be great. You know sophisticated or something. It turns out that deep and dark, although gorgeous, is rather depressing to me during the cold wintry months when I 'm stuck in a small house with four small children.

Neither of my sisters have ever designed a room that didn't turn out stunning, so I have total confidence in them. Me? Well, I'm crafty and all, but I just don't know how to put colors together. Hence my signature "squiggly eye" handmade cards.

I love Nester's philosophy. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Why get your panties in a bunch, when something might look just as phenomenal with a quick color coat? I'm hoping that my couches look fabulous, but I'm not gonna sweat it if there are some crinkles or wrinkles. I'll just pretend that I intended it to look that way. Just hoping for no stray nails poking out! I may sleep on them before I invite any of y'all over again. Unless you think it's worth the risk. You could always just sit on the floor. Did I mention that I'm going to save for a rug, too? Oh yeah, baby!

So, anyway, I am VERY excited! Especially because I found so many great deals. You know me, I'm all about saving money!-- you know, since I have none. :-)

In other news, my Dad and hubby headed to the Naturals game tonight. Fred caught a ball. It would have hit my Dad in the face. (Way to pay attention, Dad.) Fred is totally psyched! He wrote the game info on the ball and then announced that it's going "in the bathroom." Yeah, poor guy just gets a bathroom. Hey, I think it's a pretty great arrangement. I decorate the whole house, and he just worries about one measly bathroom. He can do whatever he wants to that room (within reason, I mean, come on!) There are football figures, Chicago Bears colors, old action heroes, and now a famous baseball. No wonder he spends so much time in there. ;-)

Now, must get to bed. I won't be able to paint again until the kids go to bed tomorrow night.

So tomorrow we will dance and sing and jump around in our new half-way painted living room. And the kids can help me make more plans. Maybe we'll play Twister again while we discuss it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Before and After

The Artist donated 13 inches of hair to Locks of Love today. :-)



PS On Tuesday night I will post before and after...and after...pictures of me, too!! :-)

Photo Idea

My friend, Miss Jenny posted a link to this fun photo idea, and I thought I'd try it out. We just cut the letters out of craft foam. I'll get some wooden letters next time around. I was short on time, though, as my Mimi's birthday is Monday. Happy Birthday, Mimi!!
(Don't ya just love how LittleLad bit the letter I? So cute!
My Mom's birthday is the 27th. Don't worry, she doesn't know how to work computers, so there's no chance of her seeing this early. ;-) The kids call her "Noni." Little Lad was not cooperating that day, so I went with a sleeping picture!! Heh.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm a leper, hear me roar!

The kids have been going to HABC VBS this week. On the first day, The Naturalist came home and told me all about "playing leopard."

He said they put on spot stickers.

And they were sick.

And couldn't see their families.

Aha! Do you mean "leper," Honey?

My sweet Naturalist. It made perfect sense to him that they would have him pretend to be a sick leopard for awhile.

Going Up?

This morning Live Wire ran into the living room completely decked out in prison garb, with a Darth Vader mask, and a cowboy hat on (at least he's clothed, right??) He shouts, "Look at me, Mommy, I'm Elevator!"

By the way, yesterday was a MUCH better day, despite the bad sunburn on the back of my neck. Can't believe I missed getting sunscreen on that much skin! And despite the horrid bee sting on my left foot. On the bright side, I got to spend a couple hours with a dear friend at the pool. And The bee died after stinging me.

(Just so you know, ice and toothpaste are the best remedies for bee sting.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wendy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I went to sleep in a warm dry bed and woke up on wet sheets with a toddler next to me. I tripped on my husband's size 13 ski-like shoes when I scrambled out of bed. I fell on a dinosaur. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast, the three big kids ate their food, but the baby threw his off of the highchair. A fly landed in my coffee. And I ran out of root beer.

I think I'll move to Blueberry Land.

At VBS drop-off only one child who was old enough would stay. LiveWire wanted to stay, but he isn't old enough. Dang. I had to drag him out of there. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

The kids fought. The trash leaked. The milk spilled. And there were...ahem...female issues.

LittleLad pulled all the books from the bookcase. Again. And again. Littlelad broke my candle holder. Littlelad knocked the movies down. And Littlelad screamed when I took him out of his highchair. What's up with that? Littlelad is the easy one!

I think I'll move to Blueberry Land. Babies are always happy there, I've heard.

My CD drive won't eject. My car is squealing. Again. My friend is sad. My other friend is out of work. My other friend is angry (not at me, thankfully.) And another friend is in dire need of help. Yeah...you guessed it...I could tell this was gonna be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

And my wonderful husband. Well, he's even getting on my nerves. New position at work. Better position, but I know there's pressure. I'll forgive the...buggerishness of this evening. (What, that's not a word?)

But, you know, some days are just like this. And it could be worse. Much worse.
Even in Blueberry Land.

I'm prepared for tomorrow! New game plan in place. I'm ready to start a new day. Thank You, God, for new days. The sun sets and it comes back up, fresh and ringing with promise.

Tomorrow TWO kids will go to VBS. And one toddler will get "special time" during Littlelad's nap. And Littlelad will be banned from all bookcases. And he will be happy anyway, because we'll play pat-a-cake and he loves pat-a-cake. (So do I!) The big kids won't fight (prayer item here!) and the van won't squeak (I'll drive reeeallly slow.) I'm hoping for A Terrific, Happy, Very Good, Positive Day. :-)

PS Almost forgot two of the GOOD things that happened today. We had ALL debt paid off (except the house) but medical stuff always sneaks up on us. Usually because insurance glitches something up and we end up owing more than they first said we would be required to pay. But...annnyway, I paid off our only debt...a small medical debt and now it's gone. Woo-hoo.

I also met Shan in person!!! At VBS! And, being the dork I am, I didn't realize who on earth it was until about mid-way into our conversation, and at that point I didn't think I should jump up and down and say "IT's YOU!!" because I had...ummm...already kinda pretended to know who on earth I was talking to, and I thought the sudden realization would throw her off a bit. Like I said, this day was just kinda off for me!

Shan, it was nice to meet you!! Tomorrow I'll act more friendly, now that I know who you are. :-)

Oh, and thanks for saying I'm taller than you expected. I'd like to be tall. I wear heels A LOT.

Friday, July 4, 2008

We're Baaaaccckkk! and funnier than ever...heh

So much to write, so little time, as always! First of all, Happy Independence Day!!

I'll share a couple of quick quips, and write more about vacation when I have time! :-)

The Naturalist: "Why is there a cemetery right next to that hospital?"

(as we drive through Johnson)

Daddy says: "I don't know, but that's a baaaaad sign!"

(That happened to be the hospital where I delivered my last baby...)

At Devil's Den State Park today, LiveWire waded into the water, "Mommy! Look, my toes are drowning!"

On the way home from Silver Dollar City on Tuesday, The Artist announces, "I see a guy riding a horse who is wearing a hat!" (She does so love horses!)

LiveWire excitedly looks out the window, "Where's the horse with the hat??"

The Lazy Man's Guide to Cleaning

In case you didn't know, we have pet mice. Don't ask. The favorite one is named Chunky Cheese, because that little bugger loves to eat. As Fred watched him devour an orange slice, he thinks aloud, "Maybe we should let him go in the playroom for awhile each day, to eat up any crumbs."

Uh, no.