Speed Limits

Yesterday Luke and I were able to go out to eat and to visit the new Cabela’s. On the way down we encountered some really heavy traffic. For miles we kept trying to see ahead, wondering if there was an accident, or some construction going on and lanes shifting, but none of that ever appeared. Eventually we could see what was going on- there were semis in each of the two lanes of the highway, going at a slow speed, with probably a mile of slowed cars behind them. It seems pretty unlikely that two different truck drivers would be that oblivious to what they were doing, so I am left to assume that they were doing it on purpose. If so, that is probably the rudest and most dangerous behavior on a highway I have ever seen. It is a wonder one of the multitude of cars behind them didn’t try something to get around them, and cause an accident. Finally, when the highway became three lanes again, we were able to get around these two clowns. One was a Roadway Express, and one was a company out of Iowa. I would boycott these immediately if I knew what they shipped. Probably every essential item I use on a daily basis.
We were a lot later getting to our destination, so we decided to go to Cabela’s before dinner since they closed at 8. It is a pretty neat store, with everything one would need for fishing, camping, and hunting. And, they have a fudge shop! But it was closed when we got there. After Cabela’s we went to Ruby Tuesday. I was disappointed to see that the salad bar was not as grand as it used to be, and the meal portions were smaller. Oh, well, that kind of thing is happening everywhere. Less of what you want for more money.
Kenan went with us, since he is nursing. He is a pretty happy baby, but I notice how unpredictable he can be when we travel anywhere further than in town. I go to Columbus every week for a Bible study, and he has not done very well in the car for an hour! Last night was no exception. He would have gotten really upset on the way down, except since we were only going stop and go behind those trucks, I was able to sit back with him and nurse him. Then, on the way home, he screamed for a while before finally going to sleep in his car seat. I am not looking forward to tonight’s trip to Columbus, but am hoping he does better.
Kenan definitely is a home body. This is probably because I am more at ease at home, too, and he senses that. I have trouble being out and about with a newborn because there are so many things that can happen/ go wrong. I prefer staying home, too. The most memorable time out with a newborn for me would have to be the time I took Caleb to the eye doctor with me. I hoped he would sit calmly in his car seat while the doctor examined my eyes, which he did. For about five minutes. Then, he proceeded to scream his head off, making it very hard for us to continue the exam. I should have just rescheduled it, but instead we kept on, with me holding the screaming Caleb on my lap. During the part of the exam where I looked at the red and green squares, I must have been giving him answers that didn’t line up with my current prescription, and he had the gall to say I was pathological (all in my head) in my sight judgment! A couple of years later, my new eye doctor discovered that the eyeglasses this previous doctor had fitted me with were the wrong prescription! And I had been wearing them for all this time, though only at night or when ill, thank goodness. I learned my lesson- a newborn should probably stay away from the eye doctor’s office.
Kenan has been doing okay at Bible study, though. It is a room full of ladies, most of them mothers and grandmothers themselves. I do get nervous being among them when he gets noisy, just like I would be if we were in a church service. But each week gets a little easier.

Wild Things

This morning there was a coyote in our yard, dancing around Bella. I was sitting on the couch right across from the window, but didn’t even notice until Luke saw the animal and ran for his gun. He has been on a survival/preparedness/hunting kick lately anyway, and this was the perfect way for him to start the day. He got the coyote in two shots. I made the mistake of watching while the first shot didn’t quite kill the animal. Maybe that is why the rest of the day has been funky for me. I have trouble watching animals suffer. Mature, spiritual me says to get over it; the suffering of humans is much more eternally important. But still I would rather not see anyone suffer in this world, man or beast. At least I can know why there is suffering in the world, and can pray that it is obliterated in my lifetime. Even so come, Lord Jesus.
I attended a simulcast with Aliyah and Sarah this morning about sharing the Gospel. It was pretty good; I took away some neat thoughts. Like how Jesus didn’t really say just once on the cross, “Father, forgive them…” The greek means that He said it over and over again. The speaker’s point was, if Jesus fervently prayed on the behalf of those killing Him, how can we do any less than be fervently praying for those we know who are lost? Good thought. Another question was asked, if you knew God would answer every prayer you prayed for the lost last week, how would (or would) His kingdom be more populated? It was convicting.
Right before we walked in the church building I think I saw an eagle. The bird was big, with a white head, white legs, and it could soar without flapping its wings forever. And, it was so high in the sky! Wow. I love that there are eagles in our area to spot. They are so majestic. I think God likes them, too- He talks a lot about eagles in the Bible.
This afternoon I tried to combat my funky mood by going for a jog/walk down the road. The weather today was just beautiful. The birds were chirping all over the place and the air smelled good. When I got to the top of one hill, I heard this strange clicking sound then saw a big flutter of to my side. This pheasant flew out from the bushes and across the road! It was gorgeous, with a reddish head and tan wings. Two impressive birds and a coyote in one day. That’s like a record or something.

Out And About

I lifted up my head from my bowl of chili mac and listened. It was so quiet in the house! We did end up going to town this morning, and once we got home and ate lunch, most all of us were ready to crash.
Kenan didn’t end up going to the doctor; Luke didn’t think we needed to take him just yet, so that freed me up from needing to be anywhere at a certain time. I did, however, want to try to get into the salon when it opened, so we were out the door by 8:45. A real feat for me! Though I got there in time and was able to get a haircut, Kenan cried the whole time, making me wonder if I had made the right choice in canceling his doctor’s appointment. He settled soon after I was done and able to hold him. He does seem quite attached to me. This is nothing to complain about, of course- who wouldn’t want a warm cuddly baby who is happy in their arms? But it may continue to present some challenges. I haven’t used my Ergo or wrap very much with him; like Caleb was, he actually pushes me away with his little fists when he is against my chest. Probably too hot, too close. As he gets bigger and my back improves with exercise and the weather gets better, it should get easier to wear him.
Some neat things happened this morning while we were out. The kids are almost too well behaved in Aldi- they ALL want to help and I can’t come up with enough things for them to run and get. It went pretty smoothly, though. This was the first time I have taken all ten out grocery shopping, and the buddy system was really helpful to have implemented. I didn’t have to worry so much about the little ones because I knew they were with their older buddies. Abbie, the odd one out right now, stayed with Kenan and me. At Meijer I sent the older 3 (Aliyah, Sarah, and Sam) into the store with some cash and a list. This was so much easier than us all going in, for obvious reasons. I’m glad they are capable of doing this. I don’t think all three needed to go in for so few groceries that I needed there, but I knew they would keep each other on task. Sam came out saying they helped an elderly lady bag her groceries, and she paid him $2! I told them they should have held up their hand and said modestly, “It was nothing”, but Sam said she “forced me” to take the money. I bet. Still, it makes me so happy to see my kids show a kindness for kindness’ sake. Sam in particular has done this before in a store, and Sarah is one to do this all the time at home, whether it is organizing my pantry or taking a little one with her to go play when I need a break.
I thought about that lady in Meijer, how she was alone. Maybe she was planning on an employee helping her, or just getting the job done herself, but it made me kinda sad to think she didn’t have anybody with her to help her. It makes me want to keep my eyes more open to the many needs around me.
While we waited for the older 3 to come out of Meijer, the kids were enjoying watching the activity in the parking lot. I always pull through two spaces if I can, especially with our van, but this time my back end was hanging over the spot behind me. A truck had parked in that spot, super close to us since I was being a hog. Caleb called out to us later, when the truck was leaving, “Hey, their dog can buckle hisself in by hisself. He didn’t even need help. That was really weird. Probably a training dog, they trained him to buckle up. We should train our dog to buckle up.” Fat chance, Caleb. The thought of Bella buckling herself up in the van- oh, it makes me laugh. I needed a good laugh. Caleb’s so funny. Anna noticed another truck go by with a spruce in the back. She said, “Look, that car has a Christmas tree in it!” I told her that maybe they would plant it in their yard, since I could see it had its root ball. I got to wondering where the owner got the tree, since he came from the direction opposite of Lowe’s. What a blessing to have time to sit and daydream about where this man got his spruce! Thank you, older 3!

Fish Fry

For Valentine’s Day, we actually got to go out two nights in a row! We received offers of babysitting from two different couples at church, one to go out to eat on Thursday, and one to go to the sweetheart banquet at church on Friday. It was a real treat to spend that time with Luke. At the restaurant on Thursday I ordered blackened tilapia over a black bean cake with red pepper fondue. I really enjoyed it, and decided I would try to recreate it at home sometime. In this Google age, there aren’t too many recipes a person can’t find and make, so I was able to find instructions for each part of this meal. At Aldi tilapia fillets were only 5 something for 2 pounds, which is pretty amazing considering even ground beef is at least 3 dollars a pound! Armed with ingredients, I set about making the tilapia last night. It turned out okay, but the bean cakes were too dry and the red pepper fondue was inedible. Our children’s only exposure to seafood has been in the form of salmon patties and the tuna in a pasta dish they had when the one couple from church came to babysit, so I only expected them to try it. They did okay with the fish, but were grateful that I had also made tater tots (fish and chips!) and rice pudding so they wouldn’t starve.
I don’t know why I constantly get the urge to try new recipes, or copy things I have had in a restaurant. This yields at the most a 26% success rate, much too low odds to keep buying ingredients that may very well go to waste. Just recently, I made up a chart of 30 meals that I can make fairly well- allowing me to plan out our weekly eats quickly and easily. But still I wander away, thinking the grass is greener and all that.
The kids put on a wedding today. We have some seasons of the Duggars, and the wedding of Josh and Anna is one of their favorite episodes, so they are now familiar with the way traditional weddings go. During the ‘dress rehearsal’, Micah was supposed to be the bride, but she refused to walk down the aisle so Sarah carried her. They must have thought this most unbecoming because in the ‘wedding’ the bride was now played by Anna. Highlights were Abbie the flower girl throwing bits of toilet paper from a shoe and Sam the preacher giggling his way through the vows. Interestingly, as many of us as there are, we still barely have enough children to play wedding properly. I was the only one in the audience until Micah came to join me after being dethroned. It is so strange how a houseful of children really doesn’t feel like that at all.
It appears to be very mild out today; I hope I can have a chance to run down to the end of the road this afternoon. After breakfast I did a Leslie Sansone pilates video. Some of the kids joined me in the stretches, some of them sat and watched us. Hey, anything to avoid doing our meal jobs! My sister got this video for me. Before I owned it I used to get it out of the library. I really like the approach she takes (at gut wrenching moments she can be heard asking, “You okay?”), and a couple of the exercises feel especially good on my back.
I am contemplating having a busy day tomorrow. Kenan has his 2 month check up scheduled in the morning, and I am thinking I could go get my hair cut right before that, when the salon opens. Then after the appointment I could go to Aldi for groceries. Of course, the only thing that is necessary is the doctor visit, but since we’re in town it would be good to get more done at the same time. Later on tomorrow we have kids coming over. As we were so blessed by our 2 dates, we decided to offer babysitting to any other couples in our church for 3 Fridays. This is will be the third Friday, and we have had a few families take us up on our offer in the past two weeks. It has worked out fine; we just get a bunch of take and bake pizzas and salad, and watch a movie. The babysitting may become something all our families do on a rotation; we’ll have to see what materializes.

The Last Snow Day

Last night there was a forecast for snow, so we let the kids stay up and watch The Phantom Menace. At first, it was cozy and fun, everybody sitting around the tv taking in the action. Later, though, the toddlers bored of the movie and started looking for interesting things to do and people to bother. I was on the phone with my sister at a time that they usually are all in bed. So that was interesting, trying to talk while Adon ran back and forth from one bedroom wall to another right in front of me trying to get my attention. He finally resorted to climbing on the bed and pinching me, which was when I determined we should probably cut the call short. All the while I was thinking about how we may not get any snow at all; many times this winter the forecast has been wrong or at least overestimated. Still, we are a homeschooling family so it really doesn’t matter to 99% of us if there is school or not. The other 1% is Daddy, for whom the weather forecast means a great deal if it is for snow. He works in school systems, so there is always the chance he gets to stay home if school is cancelled. Today, however, he had to go to work, even though the district he was scheduled to be at was closed. We did get a good amount of snow, but his office was open, so off he went with his lunch sack, and backpack full o’ technology:iPad, MacBook, and Android Phone. It is such a different day and age now that these items are the norm to be carrying on one’s shoulder. I am in the market for a new baby bag, but no more do I search for the traditional diaper bag; my laptop needs to fit comfortably alongside the diapers, wipes and my wallet. I saw a leather bag at a specialty shop downtown. It was marked $100, a price I kinda feel is too much to pay for a ‘purse’. Can I really go round with $100 on my shoulder, when I could have used that money in a variety of better ways? But I think often about that bag. Sometimes one does have to pay more for something to last. The bag came from a leather crafter in Mt. Vernon. I have some spending money from Christmas and just may have to stop in sometime to that shop downtown and see if it is still there.
Since it did snow, I wanted Micah and Adon to have an opportunity to play out in it at least once this winter. Usually I only let the older ones go play, and even they have not been as interested in doing so this year. This is partly due to their thinking that they need to be completely outfitted in snow gear to be able to play in the snow. I sound like an old woman when I tell them repeatedly, “In my day, we went out to play in the snow in a couple of pairs of pants and bags over our sneakers! Why, it was a treat to have matching mittens, let alone snow pants!”
I was inspired by the Duggar family to match my older kids with my younger kids in the form of a ‘buddy system’. This has really helped me when it is time to get everybody out the door, get everybody fed/cleaned up at meals, get everybody put to bed at naptime, etc. I had Micah and Adon’s buddies (Sarah and Sam, respectively) dress them and take them out to play in the snow, and that worked really well. Of course, the preparation time inside outlasted the actual play time outside, but it was good for a few pictures. Though this is a great technological age and we are very blessed with lots of devices, I still can’t come up with a good camera to take pictures when I need it. As Sarah on down to Adon tromped about outside, making a snowman, I hunted for a camera. First I tried the video camera, walking all the way to the window before realizing it was dead. I then walked all the way back to the window before I turned my camera on, knowing that the batteries in it probably had little life left. Once I did, though, the screen said ‘memory card full’. The only option left was my phone, which takes lower quality pictures and no zoom. So if you want to see pictures of the March snow day sometime, I can point out to you which dot is Adon and which dot is Micah, enjoying their first snowman making adventure.