Are You Up To The Challenge?


Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting a reading challenge. Here are my reading goals, to be accomplished by June 21, 2007. (Hmmm. Seems there is something else going on on that day; can’t quite put my finger on it…) Listed below are the books I’m reading (title, author, and a brief excerpt):

Book List

1 & 2 Corinthians- God

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

Thundering Sneakers- Prudence Mackintosh

“…Our children’s early years were not just an interruption in a writing career or in a good night’s sleep, or a blur of mindless, boring tasks. To the contrary, they contained all of the loveliness, violence, humor, and mystery that we could handle.”

The Mommy Survival Guide- Barbara Curtis

“Our culture has really cultivated a sense in us that we’re somehow entitled to excitement, beauty, fun, and romance long after we’ve settled into raising a family. And that sense of entitlement battles against the very real demands of raising children and raising them well.”

Heaven- Randy Alcorn

“We are homesick for Eden. We’re nostalgic for what is implanted in our hearts…We long for what the first man and woman once enjoyed- a perfect and beautiful Earth with free and untainted relationships with God…Every attempt at human progress has been an attempt to overcome what was lost in the Fall.”

Jewel- Bret Lott

“I love you, Jewel, “ and he looked up at me. The words nearly knocked my wind out… They were words I hadn’t heard from him since Before, and all I could say, all I could offer him right there on the water, were my own words, ones I couldn’t remember offering up to him myself since then: “I love you, Leston,” I said almost in a whisper, and I made sure my eyes were square on his…I wanted him to know I was here, with him, not back on shore and worried with our baby.

Making The Most Of Every Move- Garner Dodson

“We have left behind us the most extraordinary succession of delightful dwelling houses each of which in turn once meant everything to us, but not one of which we now regret having left.” -Alfred North Whitehead

How ’bout it? Are there half-finished books collecting dust at your house, or am I the only one? Follow the link above to Katrina’s to add your list to the challenge.

Ready, Set, Go!

Monkey Brains For Dinner

While Luke was gone last week, I took the opportunity to try some new recipes out on the family. Luke has a tough time when I make a new recipe. He’ll ask what is for dinner and I describe something new (eyes glaze over) and exciting (gulp). It might have something to do with the time I made a pasta dish that had cinnamon in it. He’ll never let me live that down. A peek inside Luke’s head on New Recipe Night:
[mental gears turning] Is that meal in my database? If yes-> give satisfied smile and say, Sounds good. If No->this is a case of her getting bored with dinner and shaking things up again. Paste on a look that is somewhere in between amused and annoyed, raise eyebrows a little, and say, Oh.

You can plainly see why I prefer to avoid this. I made Spinach Manicotti, from Tammy’s Recipes, and Amy’s Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein, one of the meals from the cookoff last week. Amy won the cookoff, by the way, but only by a dollar. Aldi shopping and loss leader shopping remain two respectable means of saving money. But back to my own little cookoff: the manicotti was good, but only so so. It had a cheese filling and white sauce topping; apart from the spinach it was quite monochromatic, and bland.
The Lo Mein was fantastic. I was thrilled to have all of the ingredients on hand; I guess I am becoming a better grocery shopper and pantry stocker than I thought. This is a dish that I won’t hesitate to fix for Luke- he can raise his eyebrows all he wants.
Why, why, why, I didn’t make a third recipe I’d found while he was away, I am kicking myself for now. No, I waited to make it for Sunday supper, with him in a foul mood besides, thanks to a broken washing machine. It was Crockpot Cabbage Rolls, a meal Meredith made in the cookoff. I thought they sounded good; I like cabbage, and want to get it and more veggies in our diet.
We sat down to dinner Sunday night. Luke, having come from cleaning out our filthy van and starting to struggle with the washer, looks at the rolls and says, “I’m sorry, I just can’t eat monkey brains for dinner,” and proceeds to rummage through the fridge for other sustenance. I asked for it, I know. They were tasty in spite of their humble appearance, and I heartily recommend them to anyone who likes cabbage. If you live close by, you can have one of my 8 left over from dinner- I stuck them in the freezer. As to whether they resemble monkey brains, you’ll have to look at Meredith’s photo (scroll down) and decide for yourself.
Luke really is a wonderful guy, don’t misunderstand me. He ended up fixing our washing machine that evening!!! (“That’ll be $150, please,” he says.) A certain small, round piece of cloth that nursing mothers often need got stuck in the motor somehow. I am feeling really sheepish, but remind myself and anyone who’ll listen that it could just as easily been a baby sock. We’re still not sure how it got that far into the machine. Must have slipped between the top of the basin and the rim. I am so glad to have a working washer, and I love my hard-working hubby. Even if he won’t eat monkey brains.

A Day Of Firsts

I took some time off of blogging last week, and sure enough, that Tuesday was filled with so many experiences that I could post about. The weather was fabulously warm, and we got to be outside for most of the day’s light. Here are a few of ‘Spring’s Firsts’ that occurred during our play:
First Boo-Boo of Spring: Noah was riding on the back of Sarah Beth’s tricycle, and his foot got caught underneath, yielding some painful scratches on two of his tiny toes. I could tell after some moments of soothing that he wasn’t going to let up the whimpers until I pulled out the band-aids. I had to cut the smallest I had lengthwise into two in order to fulfill his desire. His foot looked pretty cute with those mini bandages. He has enjoyed them all week; I finally had to pry the one remaining off in his bath last night.

First Swing Ride: Abbie has only ever been in an indoor baby swing, and in that only a handful of times. On Tuesday I put her in the baby swing at the swingset, and she seemed to enjoy it for the most part. Except in midswing, at the lowest point, she’d cringe like she didn’t quite know what to think of the way her tummy was flipping. It went something like this- smile, giggle, uh-oh, smile, squeal, wha?!, smile, giggle.

First Whizz on the Side of the House: Sam comes toward me doing his ‘gotta go’ dance, and I tell him to hurry inside and do his business. He says, “Can’t I go out here?” remembering something from last summer. At that time, training him was going verrrrry slow and I thought he might take interest in trying to go outside behind the barn during a yard sale. Now he is better trained, but still wanting to act quickly, I say, “Okay, yeah, see if you can hit the house.” He marches over, drops his drawers, and proceeds to soak a bottom stone in our foundation. As this transpired, I realized that this might not be the best place for our outdoor Port-A-Pot; next time I’ll guide him to one of our large trees.

As you can see, it is a circus around here, with daily doses of all the “violence, humor, and mystery that we could handle.” (Quote from the book I’m currently reading, to be unveiled Wednesday.)

Weekend Thoughts

“Faith gives reality and proof of things unseen, treating them as if they were already objects of sight rather than of hope.” -Charles Ryrie

It Was So Good To See You

I got to go out and run errands by myself this morning (thanks, Lackeys!). While in Aldi, I spotted a lady with all these kids swarming around her cart. She was good looking, a bit older than me, and the five children each slightly resembled her, so I thought quickly what I could say. Usually I am on the receiving end of these encounters, so I know enough to be polite in how I ask the inevitable question: Are these all yours? (I feel like putting italics on one or two of those words, for emphasis, but realize that I have heard it asked of me where all of the words would have been italicized in a transcript, so I won’t bother.)
Deciding that that phrase in itself shouldn’t offend anyone, I asked her. She said, yes, they were. I quickly offered that I have five and one on the way, and she smiled, looking a bit relieved, I think, that I wasn’t just another curious onlooker. I grinned and said, “Fun stuff, huh?” She said, “Busy, but yeah, fun.”
See, I felt compelled to say something to her, even if that was all I said. Though she couldn’t tell from my solitary person standing in that store, I had a life at home that, somewhat closely, resembled hers. I wanted her to know that she was not the only one.
I try to surround myself with books, magazines, and people that are supportive, but the lifestyle we have chosen is, in its very nature, a lonely one. Even though I rarely am discouraged by myself or others, it gets easy to lose my sense of purpose when I am shut in from the rest of the world, home with the kids, day after day. It has helped tremendously to have Luke home; my best friend and my kids right here, what more could a person want? But there are still those times where I become so aware that I might be the only one like me on my block, at my OB practice, in my family.
So, when I happened upon this lady at Aldi this morning, I hoped to encourage her, but I think she encouraged me so much more. Her children were behaving well, fetching groceries for her and talking with ‘inside voices’ (dreamy!). She got through the store in about the same time as me (probably had her list organized according to Aldi’s aisles, something I get lazy and don’t do). The fact that she had all of them there (unless there was a school holiday today I don’t know about) with her, I took to indicate that she is home-schooling. And the kindness on her lips (Proverbs 31:26) toward me and her children indicated she must be somewhat religious, too. Upon leaving, I gave her a big smile, told her to have a good day, and meant it. Seeing her in that store reminded me that I am not the only one, and it gave me a real boost.
Wherever you are, Marion Mom of Many, thank you for being out today with all of your children. Thank you for being an awesome mom to them. Thank you for smiling at me when I said I had as many as you. As if it was a good thing. Thank you for that silent ‘Atta Girl’. I needed to see you balance that baby on your hip, and run your card through the machine at the check out, and see that there are others out there, trying their hardest at juggling it all. And succeeding.
It was so good to see you.

Sheepish, Now Sleepy, and Suitcase Surprises

Things do not always go as planned. A good example of this would be the happenings with Sam last evening and night. He caught the stomach bug on Friday that his brother had, and was having a much rougher time getting over it. At around midnight, after Sam had awoken many times acting dehydrated and having a lot of abdominal pain, we decided to take him to the ER. Luke took him, and I caught up with them later. The Marion doctors sent him on to Columbus Children’s, wanting to stay on the safe side if he had anything seriously wrong (appendix, intestines, etc.) He started passing a lot of gas, and that seemed to calm and comfort him. At Children’s they looked him over, but it was obvious he was feeling much better by then, so home we are now, very tired and a bit embarrassed to have taken him in, in the first place. But at the time, I was so certain he was dehydrated, and if he spent any more time in that state, I didn’t think it would be good. So, I think we did the right thing. Next time something like this happens, we will probably ‘push off’ doing anything til much later. As it is, we rarely take the kids to doctors, and this is the first ER visit with a kid (A kid outside my body, I mean. Hey, there’s a good blog post theme- my five, soon to be six, fascinating, birth stories!)
So Luke has basically been up all night with Sam, doing all this. He is in bed now, hoping to get a little rest before he leaves for Athens.
While he is sleeping, I will be planting five of these boxes
for him to find later, hidden in his suitcase. One is for each day of the week that he is gone administering the OGT.
There are his favorite candies inside, a verse of the day, and a very inspirational ‘deep thought’ (courtesy of Jack Handey) tucked in the felt fortune cookie.
As a bonus, the kids (when they’re well) and I get all the rest of the candy from the fun packs that I couldn’t fit in the boxes. Not a bad trade-off.
Also, check out my Picassa Web Album down on the sidebar for pictures I have posted here in the past. I’m still figuring out how to delete the repeats and unnecessary ones; please bear with.
Photos: Russell the Sheep from a children’s book fave; one of Luke’s ‘think of me’ boxes

Drifting In, Drifting Out

Between sickness, a house showing, and unreliable Internet connection, I haven’t been up to posting. I started writing this a couple days ago, then forgot about it. Here it is.

Meredith from Like Merchant Ships and Amy from The Aldi Queen are going at it next week on their blogs, about grocery shopping, that is. The challenge will be to see who spends less on their meals next week- Meredith shopping grocery store sales, or Amy getting all her goods at Aldi. Should be very interesting. Check out each girl’s blog all week to watch their progress.

I’m planning to take a blogging “Spring Break” next week. I want to log off and enjoy the warmer weather they say is coming to stay for a bit. Plus, Luke will be out of town all week, which pretty much puts my free time to a minimum, unless I want to stay up late at night. Not happening.

Stay tuned for one more post tomorrow afternoon, then I’m out of here.

What Doesn’t Ruin A Day Only Makes It Worse

Weeeell, the trip to the dentist did not go well. Luke decided to postpone his class and take her himself, and I’m glad he did. The situation that ensued is just the kind of thing that makes me go weak in the knees. I have no boldness when it is needed. But that subject is fodder for another blog post, another day. I guess the dentist (a woman) was foreign, and her English wasn’t very understandable. Strike one. Then, either she didn’t want to try to explain what she was doing (with her broken English) to a nervous 6 year old, or she assumed a nervous 6 year old already completely knew what she was doing, but when she attempted to pry open Aliyah’s mouth and put those cardboard things in for xrays, Aliyah started to cry. Strike two.
“Okay, no xray, no xray”, and the woman stops.
She moves on to do the cleaning. Aliyah did get through that part alright, apparently. But then when time comes to do the filling, Foreign Dentist Woman pulls out the suction thing and Aliyah is again on edge. If she just would have explained anything, it might not have been so frightening for Aliyah. Foreign Dentist Woman concluded that since A wouldn’t sit still for the suction, she’d have to see a pediatric specialist for the filling. Strike three. Luke is out of there. Upon leaving, he comments to the receptionist or somebody, “Is this usually the way your dentists treat children?” and one of the other dentists overhears and says, “What, because your daughter is uncooperative?” The very nerve.
Much can be learned from this, of course. In our defense, this Foreign Dentist Woman shouldn’t be in practice if she is unable to communicate with her patients. My experience with dentists is they usually show the instrument/procedure and explain it, even to an adult, before diving in. Maybe I just have had all super-nice dentists, all my life. But I believe it is standard courtesy.
In their defense, maybe we should have taken her to a pediatric dentist in the first place. She had been to a dentist once, when she was four or five, so I didn’t think that the visit itself would be scary for her. But maybe it was too long ago.
We’ll stick with the dentist here in town from now on, even though he isn’t covered by our insurance. He’s nice, and we can trust him.
This bad experience just adds to the many disappointing situations we have encountered within the medical community. But, that rant will have to wait for another post, too.
Ironically, Mister Rogers’ show yesterday was about going to the dentist. Foreign Dentist Woman should have tuned in to see how it is really done.

The Dentist

Anyone seen ‘Little Shop of Horrors’? Hopefully Aliyah won’t have any experiences resembling that as she goes to see the dentist today. We are pretty sure she has a cavity, so it won’t be a fun visit (not that a routine cleaning is a walk in the park!). You’ll find me in the corner of the exam room, knitting and praying for my baby to do alright.

First Spaghetti Dinner

There I go again, treating this like her baby book. It is the best she’s gonna get, at this point.

Less than three hours until LOST. Stay tuned to find out that the man with the patch- you’ll never guess- can only see out of one eye! I’ve decided not to expect any answers to the mysteries anytime soon, that way I won’t be disappointed. I want to enjoy the show for what excellent television (most of the time) it is.