That’s Just Vandy


That is what you would hear if you rode with us in our van. And, as we have already outgrown it, the brakes are going to continue to do that, because we don’t want to put any more money into this vehicle. The last weeks have been a challenge, getting this person here and that person there with the two remaining vehicles we have. I realize this starts to sound like a first world problem; three vehicles, really? But we are thinking we do need to have a driving arrangement that could include all fifteen passengers (if Carol goes along), hence the search for a 15 passenger van.

There are many things to consider. do we get a nicer one with less mileage for more money, or a higher mileage one that costs less to just get us through the next four or five years? The former robs us of House Money, the latter seems like a big gamble that we won’t be hit with repairs every few months.

Luke test drove a few yesterday. The first was here in town, and he was able to bring it by the house so I could drive it and a couple of kids could ride along. It used to be a day care van, very inexpensive, had low miles, but was twenty years old! I told Luke it was difficult to keep some snobby feelings in check. Yes, it was cheap and might get us a year or two down the road, literally. And in nine year old Caleb’s words, a van like this was “awesome!” But could my older kids handle the embarrassment of the backing-up beeping (oh, yes) it made? Could I?

To Be Continued, at which time I describe our jaunt to Amish Country.

Less Than Six Degrees

Time once again for our library’s summer reading program. The adult version has us reading up to 16 books, and various other ways to earn raffle tickets, to go toward prizes and coupons. Some years I am so not interested, but for whatever reason this year am totally hooked on reading as many books as I can and completing the ‘bingo’ card on the back of my tally sheet.

I expected to have plenty of time to read, as I nurse all day long and can’t do much else with that time. What I didn’t expect was how these books, as randomly chosen as I could have done, are inexplicably linked. let me give you some examples.

I saw on a blog I read where the lady recommended a book called Raising Real Men. I was able to get this from the library, and enjoyed it very much. It is full of great advice for raising boys, and one book they recommended in there was Now Discover Your Strengths, the manual that accompanies the StrengthsFinder test. I got that book out of the library, too, thinking it would help my older girls as well as my older guys.

Another way to earn a raffle ticket in the library program is to listen to an audiobook on Hoopla. While browsing titles, I saw a book called 5 Habits of a Woman who Doesn’t Quit. That looked like something I could use, for sure, so I began to listen. The author mentioned starting a workout program and, of course, quitting, and the morning I was listening to that, I was just about to head to Mommy and Me. I thought that was strangely coincidental, I mean, what are the odds that I would hear that right then?! Then tonight, I was listening to the fourth chapter, and in it she mentioned StrengthsFinder! Weird stuff. Something similar happened with another book last week, but I can’t remember it now. It might have even been a Little House book! Just some crazy stuff to keep this big part of my summer interesting.

Anyway, here is my book list. F means finished, S means started. Have a go at one or two and see if strange things  relate for you, too.

Raising Real Men F

Your God Is Too Small F EXCELLENT READ You can get this as a pdf, simply google the title and pdf.

Happy Wives Club F

Love Comes Softly series F


Little House series F

Lessons From Madame Chic S FUN READ

In His Steps

In His Place


Prodigal Girl

Big Book of Homeschooling

All the Light We Cannot See S ¬†(I almost finished this a while back, but quit because of vulgarity. A friend gave me the all-clear to finish it, as I had already read the worst, so I plan to fill in the place on my bingo card that says “a book you never finished” with it. It really would be one of my favorite books without these blemishes it has.)

5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit S HA HA HA

Now, Discover Your Strengths S RIVETING READ



At Mommy and Me today the ladies were talking about how meaningful it is to be able to stay home with their children. One mom put it, “You’ll never get that time back!” I look at Kenan, and Elijah, and now Julia, and though I of all people should realize how short this time is, I still find myself chafing, wanting the days to pass more quickly. My attitude stinks when it comes to the daily challenges that each little brings.

This week may not be the best one for introspection, what with my hormones still out of whack and VBS taking away all their playmates every evening. So we have had a Toy Story marathon! And tonight we go to a graduation party, one reason being I don’t want to be stuck home with them another night. The week has gone well, though. Last night I actually got Julia to bed for the night before the kids came home, so Kenan and Elijah and I could enjoy some outside time, watching for the van. We talked about what color the van was, and the house, and the shed..Elijah would run to Grandma’s car and call, “Mama, Mama” until I answered. He’d point to it and say something like ‘Grandma’s car’ then run back to me and do it all over again. Then we sat on the steps and the boys checked my hair for ticks. Pure country, let me tell you.

The girls got their first paychecks today, and it got me thinking about all of the ways we are blessed. I may not notice in the thick of it, but I know love can’t do anything but pay off in the end. Keep doing it, my friends.

Catching Up

I was going to do a weekly play by play of the last weeks since Julia was born, but balked at week 1. My memory of it is already faded like an old photograph. Just as well, as I had a great deal of anxiety the first two weeks. I don’t think I have ever put into words what those first days postpartem feel like to me, though I have had 12 opportunities to do so. But the pain was so acute this time I want to document its existence. First comes this tightness in my gut, like something horrible is happening or about to happen, and it matters not how many times I tell myself everything is fine, it doesn’t lessen. It has some small connection with the sleep loss accompanying a new baby, because it is noticeably better the first night he or she sleeps for 3-4 hours. I was also helped this time by singing hymns and praise songs. I remember with Kenan listening to Matt Maher and Laura Story constantly. I to this day have a sort of crush on the former that Luke doesn’t understand; hey, he helped bring me through a tough time.

That part of the darkness has passed, but I still deal with some emotional, hormonal effects. All to be expected. The Lord has been so faithful, from reminders of His blessings to the knowledge that He is here, He’s got this. I want a t-shirt that says God’s Got This. My birthday is in 18 days; would someone work on making this happen, please?

Luke and the boys just left for a backpacking trip. It will be short, just overnight, but a way to work out the kinks before they travel to PA for the real thing in July. I appreciate his desire to be with our sons, and his activity level. He is still running and cycling, along with the hiking.

At about 4 weeks postpartem I felt well enough to try jogging again. It is going pretty good, and I hope to run in a couple 5Ks this summer. I’m also doing Mommy and Me, a fitness class that meets a few times a week. This fills the summer schedule fast, but I need to commit to things like these to help get back into shape. Unfortunately this will not happen on the couch!

Aliyah and Sarah are working girls now- they have a job at a local grocery store for the summer. Another evidence of them growing up way too fast. They needed id’s for the job, and the bank account, so we got Aliyah her temps (wow, already?) and Sarah a state issue id. They just got their debit cards in the mail today. So cute.

Sam and Noah are also going to work this summer, helping a man from our church keep up with his yard. I can see Sam doing this full time by next summer, if he wants to. Luke is going with them currently, to show them how to use stuff and be there if they need help, so it isn’t an official ‘job’. But they will get paid a little and at the end of the summer will have some cash for their labors.

Next weekend I am taking the kids to an event in Millersburg called Compassion Experience. It appears to be an interactive look at what homes and villages are like in impoverished countries. Should be special. I was talking to Luke about who should go and who should stay, because we have outgrown our van completely (after Elijah I could still squeeze between the front seats, illegally), and he suggested taking both cars and giving Aliyah some driving time. I am not sure about that. Weren’t we going to start in parking lots?

It is time to fix dinner. I made pulled pork in the oven last night (it bakes at a low temp all night) and now some fries are calling to me, “Make us!” This summer is getting off to a good start. Thank You, Jesus, for these days.