Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Unidentified flying widgets

Just for clarification...I have NO clue what this is or how it was taken, as my 15yo daughter took it with her digital camera while she was trying to get pictures of car lights passing from the passenger seat on the autobahn. SHE can't even figure out what it was. Guesses, anyone?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday--Emotional Decluttering, Scheduling

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My task for this Tuesday is twofold--I'm decluttering my heart, and "ordering my day". It's not just about the housework today.
I doubt but maybe a rare handful of people in cyberspace will understand this decluttering project of mine, but it just needs to be done. I have no idea whether the person I have in mind will read this or not; I have no way of knowing, actually, but since there is no other feasible way to do this without endangering my family, I'm doing it here in the offchance that she has stumbled upon my little corner of the 'net and is reading my ramblings. I've had a HARD time struggling with this for nearly two and a half years, and I've been trying desperately to reach a point where I could just let this go. It's time. I want my heart free of this; the weight of it is just too much to bear anymore, and it's done little more than remain a daily reminder of Satan's power. I don't want that reminder anymore. So, LG, you know who you are. You know why I'm saying this. And you know why it has been so hard for me to reach this point. I forgive you. I'm sorry I had any part in any of your pain, and I hope you either have or eventually will release that and me in forgiveness. I have nothing but pain left in my heart, but I pray daily that God will turn that pain to love. I want the best for you and your boys, and I hope and pray with all my heart that one day this very fractured and toxic relationship can be made perfect in Heaven. I plan on being there, I only hope bitter and selfish traps set by Satan don't keep you from meeting me there and reconciling in God's presence. It's very difficult for me to say this, but I do still love you.
**long, cleansing breath**

It's amazing how absolutely freeing that was.

**one more cleansing breath, and a second cup of coffee**

Moving on to more practical matters, I'm going to be spending the remainder of my day getting organized for school. I'm mostly ready in the curriculum/lesson plan department, with the exception of the biology and grammar books I'm STILL waiting on (I'm getting too many opportunities to practice that patience I've never prayed for...), but my scheduling and household management leaves a lot to be desired. I think I'm going to be 'enrolling' myself in Home Management Binder University over at Keeping the Home, and dedicating some concentrated time into getting myself together. I tried Teri Maxwell's Managers of Their Homes, but it was just SOOO overwhelming that I couldn't ever get it all arranged. I'd love to be able to use a schedule like she has, because it's simply amazing--but I get completely bogged down in all those little squares, and it's just too much for me. I need something simpler! Lessee.....goals......objectives......
  • Pete wants a copy of our daily "plan" on the refrigerator so he can see what has and hasn't been accomplished--makes him feel a bit more connected to us and it really appeals to his "duty roster" nature!
  • The girls need something they can feel organized with like the rest of us. Might help for them to grasp days of the week and a daily routine as well.
  • Jon and Kelsey need to be able to see what is expected of them and when.
  • I need some form of accountability, and I do tend to work well when I can see what I've got ahead of me so I don't get distracted in fifty different directions at once.
  • We need continuity--a plan that shows us all what needs to get done so we actually accomplish things in a priority that serves our family without leaving all the necessities undone. We're all FAR too quick to jump ship on housekeeping chores when there's the possibility of doing something spontaneous.
  • Lists are good. I may detest them, but hey, lists ARE good.

Time to go read. I've got a "class" to take! Hmm, I wonder if all of this is going to actually FIT in my 3-ring binder?

Hmm, while I'm at it, maybe I'll go ahead and write the Scriptures of the Day on our dry-erase board (since Pete forgot today in his haste to get to work way too early). What are they, you ask?

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun Monday--Why do I blog?

Lisa's Chaos is hosting a Fun Monday that looks like fun (hence the title, maybe? DUH), so I'll give it a shot since I have a few extra minutes! It's my first Fun Monday, but I may have to go back for more! Here's this week's assignment:

I’d like to know more about you, what makes you tick. I’d like to know how you started blogging. Did you keep a diary under lock and key safely hidden as a child? Do you still? Do you share the same things on your blog that you would have, or do, in your diary? Why did you start blogging and why do you continue? May as well throw in any roadblocks you have run into while blogging. If you still have your old diaries we’d love to see them.

What makes me tick, eh? Well if you go by yesterday's personality profile results, it's obviously introspection that makes me tick, so blogging suits me VERY well, it would seem!

How did I start blogging? Honestly, I've had a couple of false starts. I have a problem following through on my grand plans (dagnabbit, that silly profile has me pegged perfectly!), so I actually have two blogs that never even got off the ground. Same for the journals and diaries of my youth (and recent years as well); I get them started, then get distracted and forget, so I've probably had fifty or sixty journals/diaries with three or four entries. I never bothered with the lock and key, as nobody around me was all that interested in hearing my innermost thoughts--seems I was a bit too free with those thoughts anyway, so there apparently wasn't much they thought was "secret" about me. I have only kept one journal, from probably the worst period of my life, and I am really wanting to get rid of it because I'm not sure I want to remember everything I was struggling with back then. I'd rather focus on the good that came of it than the awful internal battle that weighed me down.

This blog has managed to survive that "start it and forget it" phase, but I'm not really sure why! I think the first blog I actually sat down and read was this one, and what intrigued me was the outlet for all the mental ramblings. I needed that, and it actually surprised me when I was able to turn this into not just a journal-type outlet but also a creative outlet as well. It's been FUN! Besides, I type MUCH faster than I write, so I am able to get so much more done on a blog than on paper!

My purpose in blogging now is entirely selfish. I really have no other activity to fill my day with that is JUST for me, with no other motive. Scrapbooking comes close, but a lot of that is for my family as well. Crafting, sewing, almost all of that is for others, but my blog? It's for ME. And I've used it to reign in my thoughts pretty well, I think. I'm very easily discouraged, but blogging has almost forced me to focus on the positive in every situation because once I get it on a screen, I can see exactly where negativity may be dragging me down.

The only roadblock I've had, if you could really call it that, is this guilt trip I get from my older kids for "hogging" the computer on weekdays (won't happen when we start school, that much I guarantee) when they want to be online surfing and playing games. Deal with it, yung'uns, it's not your computer anyway!

High School Meme

Just who ARE those skinny people?

I've seen this at several blogs lately and with the public schools starting back today, it seemed kind of timely for me to give it a shot.

1. Who was your best friend? Going into high school, Stacy Pettinelli--but she quickly dumped me and my band geek ways for the glitz and glamour of the Chiefettes drill team members. After that, it was Pete.

2. Did you play any sports? time!

3. What kind of car did you drive? I didn't drive. My parents let me try driving the T-bird once, then my mom freaked out and changed her mind. I didn't learn to drive till Pete and I bought our own car a year and a half after we were married.

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? Marching on the football field during halftime, or sitting in the stands in a very hot and sticky polyester marching band uniform. Then there was that lovely, stinky bus ride home from away games...

5. Were you a party animal? Not even close.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Doubtful, unless you ask Colby Dyess. I don't want to know what he had to say...

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? The band was my life. Marching band, concert band, band, band, band, band, BAND!
8. Were you a nerd? Yes. Good grades, glasses, AP classes, honor society. Oh yeah, and there's that BAND thing.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? Not even close. Look up "goody-two-shoes" in the dictionary and there was a picture of me. I was terrified of my own shadow, I didn't do ANYTHING to get in trouble in school.

10. Can you sing the fight song? I don't think I ever could sing it. Hum it, yes. All three trumpet parts and the drumline! Now,, don't think so. It's one of those tunes I tried very hard to forget!

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Mr. Burdick, because I had a huge crush on him and he made my freshman English class less of a drudgery, but Mr. Fresco was a HOOT in AP World History--I didn't learn much about world history but I can still quote Monty Python!

12. What was your school mascot? the Chiefs

13. Did you go to the Prom? Nope.

14. If you could go back, would you? Not in a million years or for a million dollars.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? That the only one I went to was Pete's. I didn't graduate; I opted to get my GED during my junior year when the administration placed me in a teen parent program that took me out of my AP classes and put me in basic, remedial courses. It was mind-numbing, and I saw no point in continuing in what wasn't a real "education". During Pete's graduation a few months earlier, though, I remember clearly getting very choked up as Pete walked past the band (we, of course, were playing Pomp and Circumstance for the umpteenth time) and said "I'm outta here!"

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? Never happened, as I didn't have a senior year, but I seriously doubt I would have skipped had I gotten the chance--the idea of an unexcused absence on my record wasn't something I was looking forward to for any reason.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? Again, no senior year, but I wouldn't have been allowed to work during the school year anyway.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? We didn't have an open campus; we "ate" at the cafeteria...YUCK.

19. Have you gained weight since then? I weighed 94 pounds my last day of high school. If I didn't gain weight, I'd have blown away by now.

20. What did you do after graduation? Again, no graduation ceremony for me. I got my diploma in the mail. Kind of a non-event!

21. What year did you graduate? 1990

22. Who was your Senior Prom Date? Didn’t go, our parents would have never allowed it, but I *would* have gone with Pete.

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion? Nope. For starters, we were in Germany, but considering the last contact I had with anyone from high school was Phillip (Oakey) Mancusi telling me that I was ruining Pete's life by not getting an abortion and two of my "friends" saying that we'd never make it to see our first anniversary, I didn't really have much to go back for. Pete wants to go to his 20th, but we'll see.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Allow myself to introduce...myself.

I'm home from worship services today, sick with whatever this bug is that Morgan, Jamie, and I have been fighting for the last few days. On top of some online devotional reading, I chased a rabbit trail from Lisa's blog to Karen's blog to Robin's blog, and decided to try my hand at a personality profile, since I've got little physical energy for anything more and I'm not feeling particularly creative at the moment. Here's what I found out about me:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Kiersey calls my personality type the Healer Idealist. Yep, that sounds adequate. Here's what else he had to say about *me*:

Healer Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in striving for their ends, and investigative and attentive in their interpersonal relations. Healer present a seemingly tranquil, and noticiably pleasant face to the world, and though to all appearances they might seem reserved, and even shy, on the inside they are anything but reserved, having a capacity for caring not always found in other types. (Everybody say it with me..."I'm not weird, I'm MISUNDERSTOOD!") They care deeply-indeed, passionately-about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace and integrity to their loved ones and the world. (Ding, ding, ding, ding, DING!)
Healers have a profound sense of idealism derived from a strong personal morality, and they conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place. Indeed, to understand Healers, we must understand their idealism as almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. The Healer is the Prince or Princess of fairytale, the King's Champion or Defender of the Faith, like Sir Galahad or Joan of Arc. Healers are found in only 1 percent of the general population, although, at times, their idealism leaves them feeling even more isolated from the rest of humanity. ( THAT's why?)
Healers seek unity in their lives, unity of body and mind, emotions and intellect, perhaps because they are likely to have a sense of inner division threaded through their lives, which comes from their often unhappy childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood, which, unfortunately, is discouraged or even punished by many parents. In a practical-minded family, required by their parents to be sociable and industrious in concrete ways, and also given down-to-earth siblings who conform to these parental expectations, Healers come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. (So it wasn't just the feathers and webbed feet?) Other types usually shrug off parental expectations that do not fit them, but not the Healers. Wishing to please their parents and siblings, but not knowing quite how to do it, they try to hide their differences, believing they are bad to be so fanciful, so unlike their more solid brothers and sisters. (Ok, that was profound. No comment...just letting it sink in.) They wonder, some of them for the rest of their lives, whether they are OK. They are quite OK, just different from the rest of their family-swans reared in a family of ducks. Even so, to realize and really believe this is not easy for them. (Ya think???) Deeply committed to the positive and the good, yet taught to believe there is evil in them, Healers can come to develop a certain fascination with the problem of good and evil, sacred and profane. Healers are drawn toward purity, but can become engrossed with the profane, continuously on the lookout for the wickedness that lurks within them. Then, when Healers believe thay have yielded to an impure temptation, they may be given to acts of self-sacrifice in atonement. Others seldom detect this inner turmoil, however, for the struggle between good and evil is within the Healer, who does not feel compelled to make the issue public.

Woah. I need a moment to introspect.

Yep, that's me. To a 'T'. I read this about my type too, and found it amusing (from the Jung type descriptions):

creative, smart
(AND forgot humble!), idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized (see previous blog entry!), avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings, prone to quitting, prone to feelings of loneliness, ambivalent of the rules (don't tell me what I can't do!), solitary, daydreams about people to maintain a sense of closeness, focus on fantasies, acts without planning (or is that plans without acting?), low self confidence, emotionally moody, can feel defective, prone to lateness, likes esoteric things, wounded at the core, feels shame, frequently losing things, prone to sadness, prone to dreaming about a rescuer, disorderly, observer, easily distracted (ooh, look, shiny things!), does not like crowds, can act without thinking, private, can feel uncomfortable around others, familiar with the darkside (Luke, I am your father...), hermit (are you calling me crabby?), more likely to support marijuana legalization (NOT!!!!!!!!!!), can sabotage self, likes the rain, sometimes can't control fearful thoughts, prone to crying, prone to regret, attracted to the counter culture, can be submissive, prone to feeling discouraged, frequently second guesses self, not punctual, not always prepared, can feel victimized, prone to confusion, prone to irresponsibility, can be pessimistic

That list forgot something....hates run-on 'paragraphs' with a passion! Funny thing is, though, Pete would probably utter a hearty "AMEN" to roughly 99% of the descriptions in that list!

True to my 'type', I guess, now I'm wondering what on earth I DO with this knowledge????

Friday, August 24, 2007

All hail the Queen!

It has begun...

Dani figured out in a HURRY that her new standing and step-taking skills could be used toward her plans for world sandbox at a time!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I'm tired again today, thanks to another near-sleepless night trying to fend off a little arm that flails about as Dani sleeps, honing in on eyeballs, lips, and hair as if she had a heat-seeking guidance system! One of these days she'll sleep through the night, but I'm not holding my breath. After all, every single one of my five children has detested sleep with a passion, and they have gone far out of their way to avoid it until well past their first birthdays! However, staring at those wide-open eyes at 2am and then again at 5am....and 6am, a sense of gratefulness overtook me that I haven't felt in a long time. Perhaps I've been too caught up in the daily battles with the way-beyond-normal teen rebellion to really take stock, or maybe Satan is just really working on me right now to overshadow the blessings God has showered me with. Whatever the reason, it's unfortunate that I haven't spent more time thanking God for what I have. Life might be lumpy, but it's wonderful!
Pete called me within an hour of leaving the house this morning; he got to his yearly motorcycle safety course this morning to find that his license plate had fallen off somewhere between here and there. It's going to cost $30 to replace the tag...but we don't have to worry that $30 will break us financially like we used to. It still stings to have to pay that much, but that's because I'm cheap, not because we're broke! The Lord has provided for us well through Pete's career. We don't have to worry about having a roof over our heads; it's provided for us (even if it IS teeny and incredibly cramped as we squeeze a family of seven into 900 sq. ft.). We don't have to stress over medical care--when something is wrong, we just call or walk in. It may not be the BEST treatment in the world, but we don't have to choose to leave a condition untreated like countless numbers of people worldwide who can't afford or don't have access to medical treatment when they need it. Even through the worst of financial crises, we always have food on the table and gas in at least one vehicle. By most accounts, we're pretty "well off".
Five healthy children and a husband who is striving to improve himself for the betterment of his family. Ample access to all sorts of communication with wonderful people. The promise that this life, even with all its blessings, is nowhere NEAR the life that God is willing to grant to those who are faithful to Him. What an amazing thing.

Live is good. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Sometimes it seems almost silly that nearly eighteen years into Pete's military career, he and I still struggle with the stay in/get out decision every few years. Thankfully, he's *mostly* taken my thoughts and concerns into consideration when extending his military career, but this time just seems...I don't know, so FINAL. He's two years away from that twenty-year mark when everyone usually starts making plans to hang up the camouflage and move into a civilian life. Yet here we are, at another crossroads. It's crunch time for him to make a major decision that will affect not only his career, but the next seven or eight years of our family's life. Apply for Warrant Officer Candidate School, or just ride out the next few years and hang it all up?

When it's all said and done, if he's accepted for the Warrant Officer program, it will mean just an additional two and a half years tacked on to what he's already going to be serving. Both of us are admittedly weary of the high op-tempo and constant uncertainty. It seems like things never truly "slow down" for Pete, and it would be wonderful to have roots for once; we just don't feel like we have a "home". My parents have moved away from the only hometown I've ever known, his parents have divorced and moved to separate ends of the state, we've sold the only house we ever just feels so disjointed! But of course, this is the only life we've ever known since our family began almost eighteen years ago. Neither of us has a clue what spending more than three years in any one place feels like. How would we handle it? Will we need to pack up everything we own into a U-Haul van and drive it around the block every few years? Repaint and remodel? What does "home" even feel like?

Of course, the obvious question is why does all of this even "scare" us? We've always looked longingly toward Pete's military retirement. We've dreamed of settling down, building a house, and starting a "normal" life for years. God has blessed us richly and He will use the experiences we've had over the years for something wonderful, I'm sure...but are we "done"? Is that extra few hundred dollars a month (okay, close to a thousand) we'll get in his retirement check worth two and a half more years? Why does THAT scare us? After nearly twenty, what's two and a half more years?

I suppose God's answer would be pretty clear--if He doesn't want Pete to spend the extra time in the military, it just wouldn't happen. Talk about your leaps of faith!

Wordless Wednesday--How can she sleep like that??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday--School Disaster Area

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

In three weeks (providing the last of that stack of books I'm waiting on EVER arrives), we will be on day two of our new school year. Yes, it's a little bit later than when public school starts, but there's that whole matter of takes a lifetime and a half to get books delivered, it would seem. But then again, we are also going to be on a five-day school week schedule, and starting off with a short week would be a little bit of a pain, so waiting an extra four days really won't be too big a deal...especially considering that our school year will be roughly four weeks shorter than the public school year. No biggie. But as far as biggies go, the school clutter problem is IT. Every year I make these grandiose plans to get our supplies and books organized, and this year I am actually DOING it! Yippee!!!!!

The choice to use Sonlight this year, combining both kids' history and literature studies was probably the sanest decision I've made, because it's forcing me to be organized. In fact, that enormous Instructor Guide that came along with all those books was organizational insurance! I just look up the week and the day, and I've got the day's assignments. Easy peasy, and PERFECT for a wanna-do-it-all-in-no-particular-0rder ADD brain like mine! Problem is, it's a bittersweet blessing in that the literature-based study I've always wanted to use brought with it....well, a whole shelf full of new books!

No, Jon, there IS no such thing as too many books, I don't care HOW many times you fuss at me.

I don't know how many times we've been laughed at for having what amounts to a small library in our house. The bookshelf in the bathroom gets giggles every time someone new sees it. The fact that we abandoned bedroom furniture in favor of a floor-t0-ceiling bookshelf and filing cabinet were cause for concern to my mother when she visited a few months ago. Yes, I'm a die-hard book nut. I can't get rid of them. I read them in the bathtub and in bed. I read all the time. And now I've got yet another reason to get this book-clutter monster under control...Danica. She doesn't respect the sanctity of the "school shelf". Neither does Jamie, to be honest. She rather enjoys sitting amongst a stack of books for an hour or so before roughly piling them back onto the shelf she THINKS they came from. It was time to tackle it.

I'll spare cyberspace from the visual horrors that my family experienced in the thick of this organizational nightmare. We had stacks of books lining every wall in the dining room and hallway. Stacks of school supplies littered every horizontal surface. Pete simply diverted his eyes when he came home from work and asked in a longing way if we were EVER going to use the dining room table to eat on again. So I did it. Yesterday I finally got that brand-new Dry-Erase board hung (how many years have I been wanting one?) and it was just the push I needed to get the books and supplies put up for GOOD. Today, I hole-punched the last of my lesson plan forms and got them placed in their binders, I divided my Sonlight Instructor Guide into quarters and placed the first nine weeks' lesson plans, history and literature study guides, and notes into individual binders, and I got those school supplies wrangled up, sorted out, and put away into the kids' personalized drawers. The books? Check it out....

Oh, and notice that look of total shock on Jamie's face...that's the look that says "Mom, what does 'organized' mean????"

On top of the bookcase are all the books we'll be using every day--the Core books for Sonlight and Morgan's few preschool books that I don't want her to have all-the-time access to. The second shelf houses our history 'spines' (Joy Hakim's 'History of US') and assorted read-aloud books for the younger gals, plus the bucket 'o' colored pencils that doesn't fit anywhere else. The second shelf is home to the Dr. Seuss, Disney, and homeschool reference books in addition to the box of "extras" where I keep our packages of pencils, crayons, and index cards that aren't needed just yet. The bottom shelf is for bigger books like dictionaries, Bible reference books, and taller books that are too big to put on the other shelves (phooey on John Saxon for making his math books HUGE!). The stacking drawers next to the shelf are labeled for each child. They'll keep their individual folders, workbooks, and supplies in there. Believe it or not, even a two-year-old can understand that she has her OWN drawer and that she needs to leave everyone else's alone. Amazing how territorial little ones can be! Last but not least is the plastic bin on top of the stacked drawers for the puzzles and craft items that are for "just with Mom" times, and the CD rack on the other side of the shelf is perfect for the girls' little items that they use every day.

Ahh...a sense of may just be a little bit, but it feels great to know where everything goes!

Oh, and this is how you entertain three rambunctious little ones long enough to get this done...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ten Months Old!

Ten months ago today, Danica Jill joined our family. What a little character she has become in such a short time!!! How can it be that this:

Has become this big, SO FAST??
As if she was telling us that she was NOT going to be outdone by her big sister Jamie who walked just after she turned ten months old, Dani celebrated by taking her first two steps today!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A weekend of allergies

At least a few of us are up and enjoying the weekend, but today....I'm sneezing my head off and really not wanting to take anything for it. I'm NOT liking the idea of being nearly comatose during the first sermon Pete has given and a half years?

Shall we weigh the options? Sneezing fits in the nursery vs. pass out from antihistimine fog in the nursery?

Ugh...pass the Benadryl!

Friday, August 17, 2007

YAY! A writer in the making!!!

All of our kids have picked up on "big people" activities rather quickly, each of them choosing one activity that they learned early and did very well. For Jon, nor surprisingly, it was turning a wrench, at 12 months. Now, at 17, he's assisting his dad taking apart and reassembling all things mechanical in nature.

Sometimes, though....he regresses to toddlerhood....

Kelsey had a knack for makeup. She was "painting" my face at just fourteen months, and most of the time she got the stuff in the right place! Morgan was our little "reader". She could turn pages in a Bible (and those are some THIN pages) at just ten months, and she never tore a single one! Jamie observed everything electronic and much to Pete's amazement (and amusement), figured out how to properly use the computer mouse, turn on Windows Media Player, and yes, even open a page and send a blank email at just fifteen months of age.

Dani seems to be following in Mom's footsteps. I noticed not long ago that she was actually using the stylus on Morgan's Magna Doodle with pretty decent form, but then again, she'd watched the girls fight over that thing for weeks, she KNEW there was something amazing about that toy. What I never expected, though, was to be making a list and having my not-quite-ten-month-old steal the paper and pen right out of my hand and then attempt to write!!!!

It may be a BIT too soon, but I'm ready to go out and buy her a box of crayons!!! I can't wait to finally have another writer in the family!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--What I'd Like to Have in OUR House Someday

Thirteen Things I'd Like to Have in OUR House Someday
Sometimes it feels as though we just don't have a "home", moving so often and spending all these years in places that belong to someone else. Pete and I do a good deal of dreaming about what OUR house will look like--his ideas are pretty out-there, but mine are a tad more 'practical'.
1.A nice, wide front porch complete with several rockers and obligatory glasses of sweet tea on a table.
2.A kitchen that works--cabinets whose doors stay attached, drawers that don't fall out, and a stove that doesn't cut off halfway through making a pot of spaghetti.
3.Garbage disposal!!!!
4.A dining room big enough to hold a BIG table and have enough room to move everyone around it instead of squishing our amply-sized hineys between a wall and a chair as we try to get to the other side of the table we can't all sit at.
5.A master bathroom. We've had this ONCE, and it was heavenly.
6.Bedrooms that actually have enough space for real-life furniture.
7. COLOR on the walls!
8.A garage. Pete needs a place for his "stuff" desperately.
9.A room dedicated to computer/office/crafting stuff. I have grown increasingly weary of having the computer and all of my craft supplies in the main living space. I can't overcome clutter if we can't put things away!!!
10.Separate rooms for mingling with guests and watching TV. A living room AND a family room would be wonderful!
11.A grill area in the backyard with a sitting area for us adults. I REALLY miss that.
12.TREES (ok, maybe not IN the house, but you get the idea)
13.My own little space. We have never had enough room for me to have a little sitting area all my own for a nice comfy chair and a bookshelf. It's frivolous, it's selfish, and I would LOVE it!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

~Robin~ ~Tink~ ~Jeremy~ ~Gabriella Hewitt~ ~Suprina~ ~qtpies7~ ~lady penguin~

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Upward and onward!

Pete finally brought the digital camera home last night (although I had to go to the office to remind him), and we got one last shot at getting a picture of Dani standing on her own before the "fun" begins. She actually took a step about two seconds after this picture was taken. She'll be ten months old in five days....think she'll walk before then? Look how proud she was--she was even patting her own belly in a one-handed "clap"...because let's face it, sometimes the pen just tastes too good to put down!

Then again, it may take a little more time to get those marshmallow thighs on the move!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some people have TOO much free time...

It seems that with the unit deployed (but coming, SOON, thank God), the rear detachment has finally settled in to a bit of boredom. At least some of them have. One of Pete's soldiers made the unfortunate decision to take leave to go on a vacation with his family, and he came home to another soldier's handiwork following a boring night of staff duty. Here's the desk sitting immediately next to Pete's in their orderly room:

Every little detail was "covered"...from his collection of Army "atta boy" coins being wrapped so tightly that the raised images on their faces were discernable to the keys on the computer keyboard...

Pitiful. But hilarious!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The end of a season?

On the way home from church yesterday, it occurred to me that I was indeed seeing a shock of yellow in the treeline! Wow...could it be that Fall is just around the corner? The weather forecasts predict only one day in the next two weeks to have a temperature that tops 80 degrees. The nights are pleasantly brisk, and it seems as though the sea of preschool wading pools has all but disappeared from our housing area. Back-to-school sales and the sudden stock of long sleeves and jeans are once again filling the aisles at the post exchange. Yes indeedy, those wonderful days of Autumn are right around the corner, full of colorful foliage and crisp, cool air. By far, my favorite of the four seasons...but then again, when you grow up in Florida and never experience a true change of seasons (except from Spring to Summer), the display of God's handiwork is just awe-inspiring!

If we were in the States, we'd be busy planning an end-of-Summer bash at our house, but we are woefully fellowship-deficient here, so we're reduced to merely dreaming of barbecues, game nights full of fun and silliness (and finger foods!), that last trip to the beach when it's almost too chilly to swim, and the welcome sight of fake fall foliage that litters the malls as we peruse the back-to-school clearance racks.

Homesickness seems to strike the hardest during the months that will follow this. Holiday planning for us will be done from a distance--those we love and wish to spend the holidays with are an ocean away. We can't enjoy the change of seasons with our friends and family. People we keep in regular contact with during the summer...well, they have lives. School starts, and we lose contact. It's easy to get depressed, but I'm choosing to meditate daily on the renewal that this new season brings to us, and the fact that the change of seasons brings a new opportunity for growth and change for the positive.

I've heard lots of moms talk about how much they welcome the "break" the first day of school brings--they celebrate their freedom from the chaos of summer as the kids move into a new school term. While I can't say I'd welcome that "freedom" as openly, I have learned to wholeheartedly embrace the beginning of a new academic year with fervor, looking toward the next four quarters with anticipation of growth and the imparting of knowledge and wisdom. This year is no different. This summer for us has been...well, disastrous. With the older two kids firmly planted in every awful thing their "friends" could offer, the prospect of beginning anew without those influences isn't just refreshing, it's something their souls depend on! Thankfully, they seem to be welcoming the coming homeschool year this time, finally seeing all the blessings that are before them. I just wish it didn't take near-catastrophes to get them there.

It's been difficult to find things for this upcoming school year that inspire Jon and [especially] Kelsey to look toward God's best, but I pray that it will come with time. I've purchased books that will hopefully spark "something" in their hearts, and I've selected as many of their favorite school "luxury" items as I can find. I want them to make this school year "theirs", not just something Mom and Dad are forcing on them. It is my goal to build within them a flame that will burn bright with zeal for their future as God's children.

I wish I'd have come across Sheri's blog Purely His long ago, there are some wonderful insights on there that have blessed me richly! She's also got a giveaway that really sparked my interest. Look at this Back to School Bundle she's giving away, isn't it awesome? Kelsey would love it!
It's been a hard Summer. I pray that as this season of our lives comes to a close that it doesn't affect too greatly the blessing of God's potential for our family, for our children, and for our individual lives. Bring on the sweaters, I'm ready for a change!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


If it weren't for the time difference, I'd have blown my shot at keeping up with the 30 Day Blog Challenge! Weekends make it next to impossible to keep up! Somehow I just couldn't drag my bum out of bed last night to take advantage of the only time all day I'd had to blog. Oh well, I guess I'm glad the time of my blogging is time-adjusted to the States! LOL

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Two years ago today

Our family of six landed in Frankfurt. We are two-thirds of the way through this tour.

364 days and counting!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Goofy girl!

Jamie is fast becoming our little stand-up comic! It seems to have evened out finally, that Jamie has balanced out the dry humor with yet another quick-witted persona! I was beginning to wonder for a little while if Jon and I would be the only ones who were able to crack a funny with an unsolicited one-liner, but Jamie put my mind at ease!

We are attempting to break Jamie of her addiction to her pacifier, so we keep them put away except for bedtime. She seems to find a stray now and again, though (or does she have a secret stash?), and her "mute button" became a source of hilarity last night. Jamie was sitting quietly next to Daddy on the couch as he was watching the evening news and he noticed her paci.

Dad: "Jamie, you need to take that paci and put it away; pacis are for babies."
Jamie: "No, Daddy, my NEED it."
Dad: "Pacis are for babies, Jamie, are you a baby?"
Jamie: "No, my not a baby."
Dad: "No, you're not a baby, you're a big girl, and big girls don't need pacis."
Jamie: "No, Daddy, my NEED it."
Dad: "Jamie, you're a big girl, you don't need a paci."
Jamie: "NO, Daddy, my NOT a big girl, my a Gamie Bug!"

Yep, she's a Jamie Bug indeed! Poor kid thinks her middle name is "Bug". Oh well, it suits her!

If you're gonna do it, do it well!

In my study lately, I've noticed there is a recurring theme in the Bible--not just in the Old Testament, but in the New as well, and that is that God desires excellence in His creation. The Proverbs 31 woman is called "the excellent wife"; Philippians 1:10 exhorts us to approve things that are excellent; 1 Peter 2:12 commands us to keep our behavior excellent. God holds Himself to these high standards as well. Isaiah 12:5 encourages us to "Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things".

Why the focus on excellence? God's Word gives us a clear answer in Revelation when we're given a glimpse of what God wants from His children. Lukewarmness disgusts Him. He wants those who are zealous, pure, and "on fire". Not those who are content to be content. God doesn't like mediocrity, it would seem! He could have created a world much like early photographs--black and white. But He didn't. He blessed our world with a rainbow of color, shades and tones and highlights that leave us in awe of a "simple" breathtaking sunset; colors that mystify and excite our senses. He never intended for life to be dull!

I often tell my kids to go back and re-do something they've done sloppily, because to leave something like that says that they don't care enough to do it WELL. Proper grammar, tucking a shirt in all the way, making sure the dishes are done in a way that leaves no trace of the previous meal (eww!), penmanship...all these things speak very loudly about the effort we are willing to put into a task--and its importance as reflected by that effort.

Is our spiritual life any different? Does God want to hear us mumbling a half-hearted hymn as we "praise" Him? Is it of any value to Him if we give only the bare minimum of our talents in service? God gave very implicit direction during the patriarchal days to give Him the firstfruits of flocks and harvests, but Christians in today's fast-paced, high-stress world are far too willing to offer Him only what is left over after resources have been nearly expended. We use our talents to "our" advantage; our paychecks further "our" pursuits; we spend "our" time serving human desires instead of seeking first what God would have us to do and giving the firsfruits--the best, the most excellent of our gifts--to the One who they ultimately belong to in the first place.

For the last several months, I have been mentally meditating over what makes really successful families "tick"; what makes them so different from the rest of us "average" Christian families? In a word, EXCELLENCE. They don't settle for leftovers. They strive to be the best husbands, wives, mothers, children, siblings, and grandparents that they can be, but they give God ample room to work through them, and it shows! Just "getting by" isn't good enough for these families, and their zeal is intoxicating. The words "I just forgot" don't seem to be in their vocabularies, and the strength they receive from Christ oozes from every pore. They don't rely on self; they know that God is the source of all good things, including their wisdom and their very ability to do the tasks at hand. And LOVE--how they LOVE!!!

I spent the first seventeen years of my life in a family that vacillated between mediocrity and perfectionism. It's an odd combination, and it makes for a miserable existence. If you can't be perfect, don't try at all. Yet what is "perfect"? WHY be perfect, if it isn't God's perfection you seek? What reward does perfectionism have in and of itself? What a boring life, to avoid getting dirty at all costs--even if that cost includes shunning hospitality and the enjoyment of God's creation. How hopeless, to believe you are destined for nothing more than 'average'. I grew up seeing God's plan for my life as a set of rules I couldn't break, or I'd be doomed to an eternity of suffering. No one pointed out to me how wonderful this life EXCELLENT. It took years and years for me to see what true joy looks like, and to realize that I can have that for myself! What I never expected was the momentum that carries me now. I never had any clue that once I surrendered the "I've gotta get this done" of my own personal strivings and embraced the Lord's true purpose that I found the strength, the power, the "push" that I lacked all those years. Praise God that I don't have to be the author of my own excellence!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--What I love about being a Christian

Thirteen Things I love about being a Christian
1.The peace of knowing I am one of God's "chosen"; one who has obeyed the call to follow Christ and live as God would have me live.
2. Freedom from the rat race that this world thinks is necessary.
3. Seeing what I have as a gift instead of seeing what I don't have as a personal failure.
4. Enjoying the blessing of marriage as only the Creator of marriage could intend.
5. Not being responsible for my own set of standards--I just plagiarize from the Bible!
6. Knowing that there is a life far more wonderful than anything temporary this mortal world has to offer and that I have a teeny little part in it, designed just for me!
7. The knowledge that I can be a tomboy here on earth but still be a princess for eternity!
8. Having a built-in family wherever I go, and knowing that I will always be "at home" with them.
9. My soul-sister. Jill is more precious to me than a thousand blood sisters could be, because she was hand-picked by God Himself to come into my life at just the right time.
10. Never having to come up with my own version of right or wrong, truth or untruth. God already has all of that figured out and outlined for me. What a relief!
11. Meaning. I love the fact that my life has meaning and purpose and that I really can know what it is!
12. Not having to prove myself to anyone.
13. Never needing to go into a bar, pick up a cigarette, pop a pill, sleep around, or lie, steal, and cheat my way to be loved and accepted. I just am, because of WHOSE I am.

I love that.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


A full blog page with no pictures? I'm SO ashamed, I simply must hide my face.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Homeschool Open House

Less of Me~More of Him is hosting a Homeschool Open House, and I'm never one to turn down any opportunity to ramble on about my family or our homeschool adventures, so I'm joining in!

A Glance Into the Cornerstone Christian School

Our homeschool journey began a few months after our little family moved to Germany in the winter of 1997. Our two children were in second grade and kindergarten in the Department of Defense Dependent School system, and we were becoming increasingly unhappy with the quality of their education. Jonathan, just seven years old, had already been in five different elementary schools. Some of them were good, some were awful, some were just mediocre, but the combination left him very academically confused. Kelsey had been in a pre-K program in El Paso and had begun kindergarten there, only to move twice during that school year as we followed the path the military had mapped out for our family. She had begun reading in pre-K because I had taught her the basics and early reading skills came very naturally. However, within a few weeks after moving to Germany, I noticed that she no longer even tried to read herself, and upon investigating her teacher's methods and standards, I found that my budding reader had been guilted into squelching her own desire to learn. Her teacher had told her that she was being disruptive during "quiet times" by reading to her classmates and was making them feel bad for not being able to read themselves, so would she please stop? Meanwhile, over in the second grade classroom, my spirited son had been given a bad grade in conduct because he wanted to dance during their music class. He'd also come home from school on many occasions nearly in tears because he was required to write essentially the same story over and over every week with a new "topic". My inquisitive and intelligent children were fast becoming victims to a one-size-fits-all school experience, and if we didn't do something FAST, we were afraid they'd get lost in the system. So in the Fall of 1998, we brought our kids home to the "school" that we knew would serve them best.

We have had two moments of weakness during this journey that became more than we could handle, and unfortunately we stopped relying on God to strengthen us. Once was in their 3rd and 5th grade years (they only attended a very-well-chosen public school for six weeks) and again just this last school year, for one semester of their junior and freshman years of high school, respectively. God showed us VERY quickly that we'd made a huge mistake, and now Pete and I are firmly convicted that our children's education--morally, ethically, socially, and academically--is our responsibility and that God will indeed provide all we need to educate any children He blesses us with from infancy to adulthood. We don't see any reason whatsoever to put our children back into the hands of a public school system that has not only failed them, but was a very powerful device used by Satan to bring powerful temptations straight into the hearts of our impressionable teens.

Our homeschool day has been flexible in the past, but this year I'm striving to implement a more structured schedule. With a 3.5-year-old who is bursting at the seams to "do school" with her high school brother and sister, plus a 2.5-year-old and a 9 month old, it will serve us well to have our day well ordered! We will, Lord willing, graduate our son this year, and sometime next year he'll enter the adult world full-force by enlisting in the US Army like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and all other men in our family have done. Getting up early every day is going to be a necessity, especially if Jon will be able to "hack it" in basic training without falling apart at the seams when the drill sergeant awakens the recruits at oh-dark-thirty every morning!

I am doing something "new" this year with my high schoolers--I'm forcing myself to stick to a much-needed structured lesson plan by way of using Sonlight! I've tried many times in the past to weave my creativity into our homeschool, but unfortunately I'm just not as organized as I want to be, so with much prayer and the prodding of my very patient husband, I ordered Sonlight's Core 100, and both of my teens will be studying American History In Depth this year. History studies in the past has been less than "exciting", and somehow my kids didn't inherit my love of great literature, so Sonlight really was the right "fit" this year for all the goals we are working toward.

Jon's last semester of his junior year left a LOT to be desired, and his six months in public school were spent loafing and "fitting in" with the lazy kids he sat next to, so he failed Algebra 2. He'll be repeating it this year, in full! Kelsey had used Saxon's Algebra 1 at home last year, and that combined with Saxon's Algebra 2 program provides a full credit in geometry as well as algebra, so they will be doing that class together as well. Jon also failed biology, so he's doing that again this year also. Pretty much everything is being used for both kids. The icing on the cake for them, though, and the incentive to not goof off, was my proposal to take that Algebra 2 course WITH them! When I left high school to take my GED and begin my days of motherhood "way too early", the class I missed out on taking was Algebra 2. So, in an effort to prove to my children that I'm not full of hot air when it comes to my insistence on individual (and independent) learning, I'm joining in for that course I needed to complete all those years ago! Thankfully, I've got a hubby who is more than proficient in all things mathematic who will be overseeing this endeavor! Bring on the algebra!

As for our youngest student, Morgan is thrilled to have her very own drawer in our school supply "tower" (stackable plastic drawers) for her very own schoolbooks! Since she's just as excited to learn to read as I was at her age, I'm going to begin Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with her, and we're going to use Ready Writer to hone her pen-to-paper skills before beginning A Reason for Handwriting K later on this year. I have a boatload of books for her to read once she picks up on it, and of course I'll be reading everything she and Jamie plop on my lap with the "Read, Mama, READ" request!

Not to be left out, Jamie HAD to have a school drawer too, so hers is full of coloring books and crayons and her very own spiral notebook for all of the "writing" she insists on doing at the dining room table as the rest of us work on more advanced academic pursuits.

Unfortunately, our base's library will be closing later on this year due to the drawdown of forces here in Germany, but we do have a few options that we'll likely take full advantage of! We are hoping and praying to be able to pack in several "educational" trips this year as we enter what could well be our last year of overseas service. For sure, we simply MUST see some of the notable historical sights here in Germany, and of course we will just have to make another trip to see the Lindt chocolate factory in Koln! Ah, fieldtrips! My favorite part of homeschooling! I really miss the opportunity to go to the beach like we did when we lived just outside of Savannah, Georgia...those marine biology/nature study fieldtrips were DA BOMB!

Common sense, anyone?

Someone PLEASE explain to me how it is sensible for someone to get out a commercial mower and commence to grass-cutting around an apartment building that houses not one, not two, not five, but FIFTEEN families with preschool children at SIX FORTY-FIVE IN THE MORNING??????

And then, while you're at it, tell me please why it somehow is perfectly logical to then weed-whack around said apartment building for nearly an hour, all before 8am?

I'm tired. I'm going to bed. I'm praying for MUCH rain tonight so there's no way anybody can wake up my three-year-old, two-year-old, nine-month-old, and the six-week-old baby who lives downstairs.

UPDATE: Day 2 of ridiculously-timed landscape maintenance, August 8, 2007. SWEET JUSTICE! The rain continued till 7:30am and the mowing commenced at 7:45. At 7:57, our rude mower guy got his just desserts--a rogue rock (or toy, shoe, whatever it was is no longer discernable) completely disabled his high-powered lawnmower!


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cheapskate heaven!

I love thrift shopping. I used to shop at second-hand stores because it was really all we could afford, but now it's more for the thrill of the "hunt". There's something amazingly satisfying about coming out of a store with a "find" that you've paid a fraction of retail price for, and my "finds" have gotten better and better with practice!

It all started with my Dad's cheapskate gene. I got it. I did NOT inherit my mother's retail bone; I get sweaty palms in Macy's and I can't fathom paying designer prices because I just can't see any vast difference between designer and off-brand stuff. When given the opportunity, I'd gladly shop at Wal-Mart or Target, and a trip to Sam's Club was a treat! I love to go to the mall like any other girl, but more for window shopping and people watching! My "heart" is on the sale rack! My kids have never been poorly dressed; the only time any of them has resembled trailer trash is when they did it on purpose! In fact, my thrift shopping has landed my kids some rather pricey clothing at next-to-nothing prices! Jon still wears the Hurley hoodie I got for him at a Goodwill store for $3; he'd have never owned one if I'd have had to pay full price--I just can't see paying more than $30 for a sweatshirt. The little girls have had lots of nice stuff--Carter's, OshKosh, Arizona, GapKids, and Old Navy tags are all over the place in their rooms. Kelsey has had more than her fair share of designer jeans, but I've not paid more than $10 for any of them. And the TOYS!? Wow.

This past weekend, I came home with quite a haul of books, and I'm quite proud of myself! I found a $25 algebra textbook (coincidentally, the one I'd planned on using this school year!) for $3, and a shelf full of books for Pete--Bible study staples like a Matthew Henry commentary, the works of Josephus, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Figures of Speech of the Bible, plus a few others...for TWO DOLLARS, total! I was a very happy camper! I also got some "schoolbooks" for Morgan--brand new handwriting practice tablets, alphabet coloring books, and even a couple of easy reader books.

It's not even the slightest bit ironic to me (I don't believe in coincidence, but I wholeheartedly believe in God's providence!) that we've had some amazingly abundant "finds" over the years. To me, it's a matter of stewardship. God has blessed us far above what we ever imagined at times we've been the tightest with our pennies! Sure, we probably could have skimped on essentials if we wanted "the best", but we had secondhand versions of "the best" at better prices. I may be cheap, but I'm not deprived! Shoot, my hubby even has a brand-new pair of $120 Oakley sunglasses with an extra lens AND the case...and I paid a ridiculous price for dollar!

Not as easy as I thought...

Getting my fingers on a keyboard during the weekend is not an easy task. As I type, I have a seventeen year old BEGGING me to hurry up (I've been online maybe five minutes?) so he can play his game. Sheesh!!!!!

Ok, I'm saving the "real" blogging for when I've got "real" time. Right now I can't find anything to write about. Possibly the family making all that noise behind me. I'm just distracted. Ah least I got my blogging in! I wanted to be sure I didn't miss out on any of my days during the 30 Day Blog Challenge.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I am so glad this is Friday! Seriously, there was so much relief that came with knowing today will END this hectic week! We've been without water in our laundry room since Tuesday (the whole building...18 apartments and LOTS of people!) because the housing office decided that even though they couldn't do the work on our fire hydrant in the rain Tuesday and Wednesday, it was no big deal to THEM to leave our laundry room water off till they got around to finishing up yesterday afternoon. Of course at 10pm last night, it was still not back on, so Pete was on the phone calling in a work order at 7am! We're a family of SEVEN, and that includes two cloth diapered bums, so we now have laundry up to our eyeballs, and that diaper pail is starting to get funky! And WHAT is that brown water in my tub????? EWWWWW!

Deep breath....

My hubby is a hero. We have water again. Grocery shopping is done. Got the girls' fingers poked for their WIC bloodwork. Hmm...once that monster laundry pile is whittled down, I'm back on track! Life is good. We have our annual National Night Out tonight complete with FREE FOOD (read: no cooking dinner!!!!!), bouncy castles for the littles, and a bunch of other stuff that will be a nice change from being cooped up in the house because of rain lately. And for the absolute first time YEARS, Pete and I are going out on a date to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 tomorrow! WOW! I'm not sure how we'll handle it! Two whole hours with no kids? Oh my!

We're still hoping that Pete will be able to swing a voluntary assignment to somewhere in the eastern US before the end of the year, because it's going to get rather lonely around this ghost town as Darmstadt closes up shop for good. The date released yesterday as the "official" close of the Darmstadt community is the 14th of July 2008, so we'll be out of here probably two or three months before then if Pete isn't able to pull a rabbit out of the Department of the Army's hat before then. All we know for sure is that we aren't going to move to Baumholder. That request was denied, so now it's up to God and the Army...and Pete's resourcefulness.

Bring on the weekend!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--What we miss about the US

Thirteen Things we miss about living in the US
Ok, so I've heard a ton about Thursday Thirteen since I started blogging, but my voluntary computer illiteracy was stirring massive amounts of fear within me keeping me from actually attempting it, but I figured it was time to just go for it. The older kids and I actually came up with a great list of thirteen things that we missed about the US while we were stuck in a stand-still stau (that's German for traffic jam) yesterday for an hour and 45 minutes, so hmm, I guess I'll start there!
1.Sonic slushies (Kelsey has begged four or five people to just TRY to FedEx her one, to no avail)
2.Shopping at Wal-Mart at midnight instead of being shooed out abruptly of the store at 6pm.
3.Regular fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. One hour a week is NOT enough!
4.Stumpknockers. Yum. Best all-you-can-eat catfish and fried mushrooms ever to cross my lips.
5.Dollar stores
6.Checkers' cajun burgers
7.THE BEACH!!!!!!
8.Being able to take off on a 4-day-weekend to visit anyone we wanted to
9.Cuban crackers
10.Minor league baseball games
11.Golden Corral
13.Friday game nights at our house with too many people, too much food, and so much fun we had to sleep in the next day!
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My how they've grown--Danica

This picture is a couple of months old, but it really is a good representation of what we see in this funny little girl every day. She's an absolute goof--of course we never expected to have a "serious" child, but wow...God never ceases to amaze us with each of our children, the silly nature just seems to grow with every new addition, we've often joked that if we were blessed again, he/she would be born already wearing a straightjacket! It's odd how someone so small can have such a vivid sense of humor, but Dani really does! At times it seems she never smiles (usually when someone brings the camera out!), but she really is just one big bundle of giggles.

Dani already fits the "I can't wait" profile that all of our other kids have, pushing developmental milestones up because they just can't seem to be content to slow down. At nine months, Dani is already trying to walk (except when someone wants to help her), and she has already figured out how to climb--up onto the couch, up and over Daddy's shoulders, and unfortunately, up the crib railing! I think she forgets she's a baby every now and then, because she is doing things that it just really shouldn't be possible for her to be doing yet. She can actually keep up with Morgan and Jamie when they sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider", mimicking their tones and even dancing along with them. Dani will focus intensely on a task like Jon and Jamie did--she loves to sit and turn pages in a book and play with Morgan's Magna Doodle. She even tries to write with the stylus, and she's almost got the right grasp! She'll wave bye-bye while saying "bah-bah" (the older kids joke that for a German, she's got a really good Southern accent!), and can differentiate between 'mama' and 'dada'.

Even though she may be trying her hardest to fit in with the big kids, Dani is still all baby. She's more of a Mama's girl than even Morgan was, and Morgan was pretty stiff competition! I can't leave the room even for a minute, and heaven forbid I try to put her down on the awful floor! Oh, the HORRORS! I don't know how I'd manage if it weren't for the sling and mei tai carriers that keep Dani up close while freeing my hands up. She wants to sit with me (not in her high chair) to eat, and she doesn't want to eat out of her bowl, but off of my plate. She wants to be rocked to sleep, and when she wakes up, it's Mama alone who can calm her. I'm exhausted, but I know this won't last forever. Like my other kids, there will come a time (probably in a few months, if she's like the others) when Dani will toss me aside in favor of her siblings and she'll want to be a big girl, not a baby anymore. I'm not taking this time for granted like I did with the first two. Like the poem says, housework can wait. I've only got this baby for a little while!
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