Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010!

This is how we ended 2010.

2010, I've had just about enough of you. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The best gift...

Yes, yes we did.

Why? You ask. I have no idea. I think I experience some sort of seizure or brain injury and it momentarily altered my personality, and I bought rodents.

The girls were completely shocked.

The thing is, I wanted an electronics-free Christmas. I am tired of buying things that need to be monitored. Everything in this house hooks up to the internet and the internet is a wonderful thing, but it requires some attention. It's a bit like a dark alley, you can't just let kids wander down it willy-nilly. You must be in attendance. I am tired of wandering down the dark alley with my children.

So this Christmas? No electronics.

We got stuff for our sons' trucks that they needed. Mats, new seats, and the like. This was Dave's department. I bought Dave some part for the car. I have no idea what it is. He sent me the link, I ordered it. Romantic, no?

And the girls got rodents.

I think I like my gift the best. A new necklace...sort of. I am not a real jewelry person. I don't wear much. My wedding ring is just a simple band. Anything more and I catch it on stuff. I normally wear a simple, gold, cross neckless. I have for years. That's it in the jewelry department.

When I turned 16 my aunt and uncle (who I lived with) bought me a ruby and diamond stud set of earrings. I loved those earrings. Wore them for years. Well, a few years ago, I lost one. I was very, very sad. The other one sat, sad and lonely, in my jewelry box.

This year, for Christmas, Dave took that sad, lonely, earring and had it made into a pendant for me to wear on my necklace. I LOVE it! It's simple, I can leave it on all the time, and best of all, it has a history and a story.

So? What was your favorite gift this year?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Waiting...and Growing Up

Last night Dave and I and the girls went to a Life Group Christmas party. We are not actually part of a Life Group but we are friends with most of the people in the group so were invited. We had a wonderful time. We ate, we laughed, we talked, we sang, we played games we had a wonderful time.

We are considering joining the group. There are a few things holding me back. One is that despite my best efforts to the contrary, it seems there is something going on every night of the week for at least one member of the family. It’s not like when the kids were little and I was in control of all schedules and I could make sure we were at home more than we were not. Now the kids are bigger, one even an adult, and they make their own schedules. There is the nights Dave has to work late, and my bible study, and the youth group meeting, and the college bible study, and AWANA, and then the social events that are associated with each of those groups. As it stands there is one night a week we are all home. I don’t like that.

And yet, that seems to be the way it is. The kids are older. They are not even going to live here for much longer. It’s hard to imagine. So we improvise, and we make due, and we adjust.

Take Advent for instance. Advent is very important to me. We have always done Advent. Every night for 4 weeks leading up to Christmas we eat a nice dinner together, we light the candles, we read the scripture and we talk. We’ve read the Jotham’s Journey books, we’ve read other devotionals we’ve done Proclamation Ornaments, we’ve done it various ways but the idea is the same. Every night, together, studying God’s word and waiting on Jesus’ birthday.

Last year was a horrid disappointment. I tried to make it mandatory that he kids be home for dinner. It’s only 4 weeks. It didn’t work. I was disappointed and frustrated and the kids were annoyed. It’s not like they are out on the town. They have legitimate, important things to do. They are developing their own lives. I can’t make it like it was. I have to change too.

So this year, we’ve done Advent scripture and candle lighting with whoever is here for dinner. The mandatory event is Sunday lunch. There have been days of Advent this year where we’ve not done it at all in the evenings and instead the girls and I will do it at lunch during our homeschool time. It’s kinda sad, but it’s much less stressful and harmonious to the changing family dynamic. The kids are growing up and changing and I can’t stop it, so I guess I’m going to have to grow and change with them.

(My adorable children, before they went and grew up)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday elfing my family. Then we laughed our heads off. Seriously, this is an addictive activity!

And now the kids...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Photo Attempt, Revisited.

Once again, I decided to attempt an impromptu Christmas Photo. We were camping over Thanksgiving this year and the surroundings were unique and beautiful. THE SWAMP! How can you not love that?? I mean, who else would have a Christmas photo taken in the swamp. Well, except those who actually live in the swamp.

So I decided to line up the crew, including the dog this year, and get that photo! Yeah, that never works. One problem was that, well, we were camping so we looked a mess! No one has any nice clothes, and the kids were a bit dirty, I mean, we were camping in the swamp after-all! goes.

Smile, Everyone! Wait, where's Annika?

There she is! Wow, that hair's a mess!

Um, Annika, what's with that face?

Annika, look at the camera!

Really, Gunnar?

And again with the goofy face, Gunnar.

Nice trash can.

Evelyn! And I don't really want to send out a Christmas card featuring Violet's bottom!

Gunnar again with the Stink-eye.

And this is what happens when you tell him to stop with the stink-eye.

I guess this one's not bad.

Why did I decide to do this again?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This afternoon after church, Dave and I and the girls did something very, very dangerous. We went to the local SPCA.

We had some time to kill and we thought the girls would enjoy it. We didn't tell them where we were going, but right before we pulled in the parking lot we told them that the place where we were going was a LOOK ONLY place. That we were, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, shopping. We WOULD NOT be going home with anything.

Once that was firmly established, we pulled in the SPCA parking lot. There was squealing.

Um, maybe this was not such a good idea...

Oh no...


You'll be happy to know that we did not leave with any 4 legged friends. I was proud of the girls, I know they wanted to ask about 4 million times if they could take one home, but they didn't.

One day, maybe, if we ever move to a bigger place we may get a puppy. I think Violet needs a puppy.

Right now she does not other dogs, and I think if we got a puppy that would help her. She needs a 4 legged friend.

But for now, in our little place Violet is enough. BUt look at that face! If you live anywhere near DFW, this little doll could be yours. She's at the Industrial BLVD SPCA right now....

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The blog's been kinda quiet lately. It's not for lack of stuff to say. I have much to say. Much I would like to share, but, well, I have all these internet savvy kids now and they're not so happy about me blogging about them.

I mean, yeah, they're okay with me sharing some stuff, like last night Ev and her cousin Kaarin went to the opening of Harry Potter. They made these shirts with tape and bleach water in a spray bottle. Cool huh? Bryce and Gunnar took them. It was a blast.

But when I started this blog I had younger kids and I could share the joys and frustrations of parenting. I can't really share the frustrations anymore. They don't like that. So it feels kinda fake sometimes. Raising teens can be extremely rewarding and extremely frustrating. I love them, they are funny and I enjoy their personalities and being around them, but why, WHY can they not clean their rooms? WHY? And the amount of food that is consumed in this house could feed a small third world country! And I have to go buy it all and bring it home and put it away. That, in and of itself, is a full time job. WHEW!

And watching them on their path to adulthood can be excruciating. They have to make their own decisions. I may be sure what's best, and I can guide, but sometimes I just have to stand back and watch them fail. Even when I knew it was coming. I had to just watch. That is hard. I don't like that. I'd like to share that, what it's like, how to handle it, but it's not really fair to my kids to smear their issues all over the internet.

So the blog's quiet, and not quite equitable. So, I guess, when you read here about all our joys and fun and success and happiness, assume that we're a normal family, just like yours and we have just as much frustration, and yes, they are turning my hair gray. I just don't write about it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I think this may be my new favorite quote...

Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween '10

Here we are, all decked out for Halloween.

Can you guess what Dave is? He's a Chilean Miner. Not so PC I don't imagine, but it sure was funny! I'm a Gypsy, Ev is a cowgirl and Annika is the Pink Panther.

Bryce was supposed to play in a soccer game that night but it got canceled so he was a dejected soccer player, and not by choice. It's kinda sad when your kids outgrow Halloween.

Here is Gunnar's last year. He dressed the same and he was not around at photo taking time. Both of my boys spent all day at the Church setting up and taking down the Trunk or Treat. I have pretty amazing, hardworking boys.

I know that many Christians do not like to celebrate Halloween and I totally respect that. But I LOVE how so many churches are finding a way to redeem the holiday. In our area the streets are nearly empty and the churches are full. Never does our church look more like our community than Halloween night. We live in a very diverse community; white, black, hispanic, Asian... and on and on. But our church is mostly white. On Halloween I look around and the parking lot is packed with all different colors. This makes me happy.

People come from the community because they know it's a save place. Hopefully while they are there they are seeing that we Christians are just regular people who love the Lord. Maybe when times get tough in their own lives they'll remember the hope they heard about when they were visiting my church, or just the friendly,loving people they met there and they'll come back to see what it's all about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some things are better left to the professionals.

I thought you all might enjoy my very sad attempt at cute Halloween nails. Yeah, I look like a crazed Cincinnati Bangles fan.

You'll be happy to know that shortly after this photo was taken, I took it off. I think I'm going to have to leave nail designing to the professionals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

My friend Heidi posted about these cookies. I made them recently. I am supposed to be on a diet. It was an unwise decision.

Honestly, I'm not a huge pumpkin fan so I thought I'd be okay. Well. I ate one and that was it. They are really yummy! THey just taste so Fallish!


Pumpkin Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 Cup Pecans (optional)

Cream butter and sugars.
Beat in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
Combine the flour, oats, soda, cinnamon, and salt~ gradually add to creamed mixture.
Stir in morsels.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
Makes: 10 dozen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the Road Again...

We will very soon be going here...

...where the pretty is. And where the leaves are changing. And the cool breezes blow.


It will be lovely. All the family will be together and we have a bonus kid coming. We'll bring the dog, we will meet up with other family and friends, we'll roast marshmallows and sit by the fire.

We'll drink warm coffee in the crisp morning air.

I love camping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Free Diamond Earrings!

Okay, yeah, not real diamond earrings, but hey who has to know that??

I'm not a huge jewelry person. Truthfully, I only wear a small gold cross necklace and a wedding band. I don't even wear my diamond engagement ring because it catches on stuff. I'm a pretty simple person.

However I do have a couple of daughters one of which is definitely a jewelry person. So when I heard about FREE diamond earrings I was all in!

All you have to do is go to, sign up, blog about it, and pay a small ($3.77) shipping fee and there ya go!


Friday, September 24, 2010

A Change is Coming

Once school starts around here things get a little disjointed. I seem to be constantly flitting from one thing to another and not really landing on any one thing.

Little algebra help here, little science help here, what's an adverb, you ask? video's about the American Revolution, Vikings, co op classes...and the list goes on.

My kids are older now, I don't really sit down with them and 'teach' them much anymore. They read through their required books and I'm around to help. It's nice, but different. I am reading Jane Austen's Emma to the girls. That's fun.

And the schedule of things is different. It used to be that we all got up and we all ate breakfast and we all started school. We did so much of it together that we really all were on the same page all day. Sometimes the older boys would do something and I'd work with the younger girls. That was how we did it for years.

Now? Not so much.

I'm not sure when the change happened. Maybe when Bryce started taking duel credit classes at the community college. That was probably the beginning of the change.

This morning, for instance, I get up with Dave at 7:30. Okay, I should rephrase that. Dave got up WAY before 7:30, but I got up to say goodbye to him when he left at 7:30. I go downstairs to check on the rest of the crew. Bryce is already gone as I expected. He's working this semester and saving up for Fire Academy which starts in the spring. His job starts at 7 am and it's about an hour away, so he's long gone with just the lingering smell of coffee to hint at his earlier presence.

Gunnar's the wild card. He has some Tue/Thurs duel credit classes, and he has a landscaping business, and he has a few co op classes and a few classes for me. Other than Tue/Thursday, I am never really sure where he is or what he is doing. I know he tells me, but honestly, unless I write it down it leaks out of my ears. I have been known to text him several times a day 'Where R U?" I'm sure that's annoying.

Today I got up, said goodbye to Dave and let the dog out only to find Gunnar and his partner already out in the neighborhood working. They have several jobs today so I guess they are getting started early. He also has homework to get done for his various classes. It's not unusual to get up and see he's already gone, hard at work. It's also not unusual for him to come lumbering out of his room at 10 am, and surprise me because I thought he was gone working.

It's a strange thing these teenage years. My boys have a lot of freedom because I trust them. I know they are where they say they are (if I can only remember) and doing what they say they are doing. I know they are staying on top of their school, well the one who is still in school.

So, often it is just me and the girls here at home doing school. And at 13 and 11 with the exception of math, they don't really need that much help from me. I'm just here to supervise, check over, and encourage.

This really is going to come to and end some day, isn't it? Some day I may have to decide what I am going to do when I grow up. Some day, my kids really will be on their own. I see it right over the horizon. I'm not sure I like it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Help is Hard to Find

Gunnar got a call a few days ago from a gentleman in our church who owns a parcel of land nearby. He needed some one to come mow it.

Gunnar is the go-to mower guy. He asked the gentleman what equipment he needed to bring to do the job. The gentleman said he had all the equipment on site, he just needed the body to do it.

I got this photo from Gunnar this morning. This is an air conditioned tractor mower. I'm pretty sure Gunnar is never going to want to mow my lawn with the sad ol' push mower again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

A few months ago Gunnar and I watched a Nova program about 9/11. This was the first time he’s ever really gotten to see the extent of what happened that horrid day so many years ago. He was just a little boy of 7 when it actually happened. He and the other kids were too young to understand so Dave and I tried to shield them from as much of the media coverage as we could.

But this day, a few months ago, he saw it all. He was very quiet as he watched. At one point during the program they show a single firefighter standing on a giant pile of rubble. The sky was grey from all the dust and this firefighter stood on what was once a building, but was now just a pile of cement and debris. It was as if he was standing on the moon. There was no background noise, which is strange for New York. No cabs driving, no people talking, no horns honking, there was only one sound. An erie, high pitched sound that I didn’t recognize.

Gunnar looked up at me and said “That sound is the alarms on the SCBA tanks the Fireman wear.” That firefighter was standing on who knows how many bodies of his fallen brothers. Their alarms still ringing, and there was nothing he could do but stand and listen.

It made me cry. It still makes me cry just to think of it. It was the most haunting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

President Obama, and all other presidents who follow, please, we can NEVER forget. We can never forget, in the name of tolerance, that there is an entire group of zealots out there that wish us all dead. They’d happily give up their own lives to see America destroyed.

Let’s not put politics over America’s safety. Over my children’s safety. I don’t ever want it to be my sons who are standing on a pile of rubble listening to the sounds of their fallen brothers.

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “
- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

Friday, September 3, 2010

Educating Children is the Parent’s Responsibility

Did that title catch your attention? I thought it might. I believe it with all my heart. God gave you your children, you alone will have to answer for how they are educated and trained. It’s YOUR responsibility, from teaching them to say ‘mama’ to teaching them quantum mechanics. (Does that even exist? I don’t know.)

But here’s the kicker. While it is the parent’s responsibility, nowhere in the Bible does it say. “Thou Parents ONLY shall teach their children’. We all need help. We all rely on others around us to help. We all part out some part of our children’s education. Either in the form of Sunday School, or Grandma teaching little Suzy how to sew, or math classes at a co op, all the way to sending out kids to school for all their academics. There is no one right way for everyone.

I have many friends who have their children in public or private schools. They feel strongly this is what the Lord would have them do. I homeschool my children. I feel strongly that this is what the Lord would have me do. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive! The Holy Spirit guided my family to this way of life for a reason, as did he lead my friends to theirs for a reason.

Why must we argue about that? Why must we think our way superior; the only right way? How arrogant! How unhelpful to the body of Christ! How disappointing to God. I know people who send their kids to Public School and think that is the only right way. They believe that by homeschooling or private schooling, we are not taking God’s Word to be salt and light seriously. I know homeschoolers that think it’s nothing short of a sin to send one’s offspring off to the evil government schools.

I’m going to be honest with you. Homeschooling has some downfalls. It’s not perfect. My kids are missing things. It’s hard. Someday I want to give up. I also know that public schools have their downfalls. It is not a perfect option. It is hard. I know many parents who wish they could change something about their public school. Private schools have their issues too. I know parents who wish they could change things about their children’s private school. This side of eternity, no option is perfect.

Here’s the thing…can’t we have a little grace for each other? You send your kid to public school and I’m going to support you and applaud you for all you do in the school and for the teachers. You send your kid to private school and I’m going to support you and listen to you and be proud of you for all you do for the students and teachers. And I’m going to homeschool my kids and you can support me.

Arrogance never builds up. It only tears down. The Holy Spirit can lead my family one way and your family the other, and both can be right. That’s how God works.