Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strange Happenings

Sometimes I just have to laugh at the goings on in this house. I really do try to manage the children. Really I do. But I'm sure I don't know even the half of what happens when I'm not looking.

Last week, after being gone for two days, I went to lay sweet John down to bed. I pulled back the covers to find a disturbing sight- a roll of ground turkey bulging and ready to explode. Why? How could this be? It was like handling a live grenade. Scary. All I could picture is putrid raw turkey meat splattered all over the walls. It was a bad scene. Apparently, John had an ouchy and helpful Rebekah decided that he needed some ice. But, you see, we didn't have any ice, so she used the meat instead. I don't even want to know how many nights he had been sleeping with that meat.

Then today Hannah was making banana bread and was concerned that the oven was smoking. She kept telling me that "all the burnt stuff on the bottom of the oven is getting too hot!" Well, I thought little batter had overflowed and spilled on the bottom and ignored it. No big deal, right?

Later when cleaning up the kitchen, I picked up the sugar container that was sitting on the back burner and sugar poured out through a hole in the bottom. Yep. She set the sugar on the oven vent while baking. The plastic melted and there was sugar all the way up the pipe. It was burning out the other end into the oven. The oven has since been vacuumed, but I'm kind of afraid to turn it on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

-Proverbs 3:11-12

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. -Galatians 6:1-5

I am so thankful this Lord's Day that God's word is so clear as to not only how we should act, but how we should be thinking rightly about ourselves and others. My prayers today are for those being disciplined and seeking restoration as well as the confession of my own willful sins. These are hard times for many. May the Name of the Lord be praised. He is our Redeemer God.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rebekah!

Dear Becca Becks,

The morning you were to be born Daddy and I drove to the hospital in the dark singing together Psalm 16. "Preserve me O, God, for in you do I trust...." We had sung it at church the evening before and it was our prayer for what your birthday would hold.

We did not know it at the time, but God knew all along that your journey into this world would be a dangerous one for us both. A diligent nurse, Cindy, caught the early signs of trouble and worked hard to save you. The doctor ran back into the hospital and took us into surgery. In just moments everything had changed.

I went to sleep really fast not knowing if you would be okay. Not knowing if you were a boy or a girl. Not knowing what we would be facing when I woke up. I should have been a lot of pain- you were ready to be born! I remember feeling nothing. God was singing His Psalm to me and I was singing it back to Him from under my oxygen mask. The nurses kept trying to take off the mask so that I could talk to them. I kept putting it back on telling them that I was just praying.

When I did wake, I saw you, Rebekah, our fifth daughter with lots of dark, brown hair and petite feminine features. I loved you the minute I saw you there with your oxygen mask on. I held you and kissed you and cried. We were quite a sight!

I can't imagine our family without you here. Your sweet giggles, your sense of humor, your flexibility, your eagerness to be a helper are just a few of the things that bless me every day.

Happy birthday my big four year old girly girl! I'm sorry that you are sick on your birthday. Your cream of wheat wouldn't hold candles for you to blow out, so we'll just have to eat cake later.

Your Mommy

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spring Mill State Park

We had a wonderful time away exploring the working pioneer village at Spring Mill State Park in Southern Indiana. We saw a working leather shop, smithy, weaver and grist mill. The weather was gorgeous and the interpreters so engaging to all of the kids. My favorite part was just being outdoors. We aren't quite up for an adventurous hike at his point, but John and I did catch a nap on a big blanket under the trees. Perfect.

State park inns are some of the best hotels. They are extremely affordable, clean, uniquely decorated and geared for large family gatherings. Spring Mill Inn has an indoor pool and large game room with ping pong and lots of board games. Often families can be found there eating takeout in their pajamas. That's my kind of place.

And to end our trip on a more perfect note, on the way home we stopped by to visit my friend, Cindy, and her wonder dog, Cheddar.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I don't even want to blink

So many times people will see the kids after a long absence and be shocked by how much they've grown and changed. This always stops me in my tracks. They have? When did that happen? Why didn't anyone tell me what was going on? I expect this response when it comes to the baby, but not so much the older kids.

Other times I'll watch them from across the room or walk behind them down the stairs or see them sleeping in their beds and it will hit me. How is it that she carries herself with the confidence of a young lady? When did he stop holding on the the banister? These beds must be shrinking because those toes are poking over the edge!

Time is flying. I am with the kids all of the time, yet I fear that I will miss these growing years by being caught up in the "urgency" of dishes, laundry, shopping, schedules and the dailiness of life.

In a couple of years our oldest will be going to High School and after that there will be a steady stream of birds leaving the nest. I am beyond thankful that we have been able to have them home together as we have. I love it that Lydia reads to John for his afternoon nap. I love it that I've had time to teach Hannah how to cook and bake. I love it that Miriam and Joseph enjoy building lego cities together. I love it that Rebekah has her older sisters around to teach her how to dress up like a princess and play kitchen.

Life is not perfect, but it sure does have its sweet spots.

Sean is leaving for Texas tomorrow and we are headed off the pick apples with our homeschool group. I'm going to keep driving south after that and surprise the kids with an overnight at a State Park. I'd considered all the work I could get done here at home, but there won't be many more fall days like these. I don't want to miss the opportunity to make another memory for the kids. I don't even want to blink.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The remnants of hurricane traveled all the way to Indiana and made for some pretty interesting weather Sunday afternoon. High winds caused several trees to be broken at the base. Our neighbor's tree nearly hit their front door. Going over to assess the damage, Joseph was full of ideas for our neighbor's use of the wood:

"I know. Could you cut the wood? Cut it really skinny and then make it smooth. Then I could make a skateboard with the wood. Could you do that for me? Oh, PLEASE...."

"Or you could play hide and seek in the tree. Hide in the branches and leaves."

"Maybe you could climb the tree and not fall down."

That mind never stops turning.

Rebekah (3) came to our bed early this morning with this tale.

Mommy. I want you. I tad a tad dream.

What happened?

A worm. Two worms. (Holds up 2 cute fingers.) Big worms uptairs. Daddy dead one.

Where did the other one go?

Daddy dead the green one. The white one in baby John's bed. I scared.

Hop on over to Mary's to read what other kids are saying and get ready to smile.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frugal $400 Update

We are half way through the month and I'm happy to report that I've been a good girl thus far. There is about $95 left in the grocery/household budget. This will need to cover the two packs of diapers and food for the last 10 days of the month. I think we can make it stretch. I'm planning a special trip with the kids at the end of the week while Sean is out of town, so I'll need to get creative with that.

I still have yet to see the inside of a CVS or to score a great grocery deal. I'm finding it hard to justify going to one store for just a few items. Time and energy are at a premium, but I'm keeping my eyes open nonetheless.

So how have we been staying on track this month?
- Planned all of our meals and snacks
- Made our own instant oatmeal
- Caught the Kroger dairy man marking down milk and stocked the freezer
- Clipping coupons again
- Staying home more

He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. -Psalm 111:4-5

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Work to be done...

We went to the Children's Museum today- for five hours. There were probably only 200 people in the building, so we had reign of the place. Now we are all exhausted and I'm looking at a house that has been neglected since this time yesterday. How do nine people accomplish such a mess with so little effort? I must have forgotten to leave the key for the maid to come in and clean while we were away. What was I thinking?

Time to get off this chair, turn up the music and get it done. Then I'm going to read until I fall asleep. I just started "Of Plymouth Plantation" by William Bradford. Teaching elementary history has expanded my horizons. Tomorrow will be a much brighter day if I don't step on cheese first thing in the morning.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


In my attempts to redeem myself and to keep a promise long made long ago, this weekend we successfully pulled off a surprise 8 1/2 year old birthday party for dear Miriam. In our family, each kid gets a special sleepover party when they turn 8. Being that Miriam's birthday is in the middle of basketball season and during the months that there is always at least one person sick, it just didn't happen.

A few weeks ago I found a paper that she had written. It was a letter to herself in which she was questioning why it is that she had not yet had her party. "Maybe it's a suprize. I hope it is."

I think she was very delighted to open the door to a group of friends and family all dressed in cowgirl attire. Horses are her favorite thing right now. The older girls had a lot of joy planning and preparing for the party in secret.

We ate a cowgirl dinner and then headed off the Jump and Play, an indoor inflatable playland. When we returned, the girls roasted marshmallows, made jewelry and slept in a tent.

This evening when I got home from work she was still smiling. Happy Belated Birthday to the most patient eight year old in the world!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Frugal $400 Failure

You may or may not remember my resolution to spend $400 a month on grocery/household items in 2008. Well, I'm just calling the summer a wash in that regard. June we were out of town. July I had to bulk back up on staples from being out of town. Then in August I worked and Sean was the shopper. I think we hit $400 by day 10.

But now I declare once and for all that the Frugal $400 challenge is back in session, my friends!! God has provided amazingly for our family in giving Sean some new opportunities for income by writing and speaking. In the past, I would have just sucked this money into the budget and relaxed a bit. However, this time I'm determined not to squander away the extra. We have actually set a goal to pay off the van in 2009. This is the first car loan that we've ever had and I can't wait to see it go! The sooner the better:)

So here I go again! I'll let you know how we are doing along the way.

I spent yesterday going through our freezer and cabinets to get an idea of what we already have. From this I've come up with this menu for most of this month:

Sausage Lentil Soup/Rolls
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Tacos x 2
Beef Stir Fry
Asian Tilapia
Parmesan Tilapia
Sausage Quiche/Muffins
Spaghetti Pie
Beef pot pie over biscuits
Turkey Sausage/Green Beans/Potatoes
Italian Chicken and Rice
Baked Chicken Breasts
Tater tot casserole
Texas Beans
3 cheese ravioli

I'm realizing quickly from store prices that our $400 won't stretch as far as it used to even three months ago! I'm going to have to be wise to only make sure that the basics are covered before I start using coupons to buy convenience foods.

I'm going to be relying heavily on our Kroger's Manager's Specials. This will mean a few small trips a week, but well worth it for 1/2 off food.
Monday- bread products
Tuesday- Meat
Friday- Canned/Boxed foods
Saturday- Dairy

I'll be shopping Aldi for the rest of our needs as well as Sam's for some well priced bulk items like canned and fresh fruit. I'm determined only to shop the other stores (Meijer, Marsh, WalMart) if there is a free/nearly free items with coupons. And of course, I'll be back at CVS again. I have to say that I've enjoyed my time off there, but we've used up our stockpile and I'm in serious need of really cheap diapers. I'm sure they'll be happy to see my smiling face once again.

I'll let you know how it goes. How are you fighting the higher grocery prices this fall? Inspire me, please.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

That's my boy

Today I took Joseph and John for haircuts. They were looking a bit woolly around the ears and it is so very hot that I was feeling sorry for them. We went around the corner to a Sports Cut type place. It's basically fast, cheap haircuts for guys. There was an old lady there getting a perm which I thought was interesting.

While waiting for our turn, Joseph was squirming around in his chair pretending that it was a pummel horse or something and asking to do somersaults. The older gentleman next to me asked me if he was in gymnastics. Of course, his is not. Before the man left he asked for Joseph's signature because "someday he's going to be in the Olympics". From that moment on the boy could talk of nothing else.

The waiting area filled up with men who were doing all they could to make no eye contact. But they were all listening to Joseph speaking ever so loudly to the beautician. Joseph is a talker. He has no agenda, he has no intentions, he is just likes to engage people whenever he can. And of course, the hairstylist is a captive audience. After hopping from subject to subject and continually asking for her age, he came to this topic:

"I'm going to be in the Olympics when I'm nine. It's not for four years so then I'll be nine."

"That's good. Then you'll have time to train."

"But I'm already trained. I'm potty trained. Baby John is not potty trained. He poops in his diaper every day."

The group of men couldn't contain themselves. They were snickering and snorting at this point.

As we were leaving he asked the lady, "Do you think I'm funny? My mom and dad think I'm funny. They sometimes listen to me talk and laugh- but just a little bit."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Some celebrate labor day by enjoying this last holiday of summer by swimming, grilling out or just taking a break trying to hang onto the "lazy days of summer". Our vacation did involve some time with family- a wedding and two cookouts, but all the other hours were packed full of work.

Our dishwasher had been sporadically leaking out onto the kitchen floor. In the past few weeks, I've just been shoving a towel under it and trying to ignore the fact that I could ring out that towel in the morning. I thought that this would be a good time for us to pull it out and see what was going on.

There had been a lot of bad things going on behind there. Very, very bad things. It's likely that it has been leaking for much longer than a few weeks and the moisture had resulted in mold which had eaten it's way down the nearby cabinets. Who knew. Ugh. It's a good thing that we looked. I can just imagine the cabinets crumbling in the middle of the night and awaking to the sound of dishes broken all over the floor.

So up came the well worn, thorn-in-my-flesh white vinyl floor. (Can't say I was too sad about that.) Out went the old rusty dishwasher. On went the scrubbing and the chemical treatments and new lumber. Then came the scraping, sweeping, priming, choosing a new floor and then returning those floor tiles at 6:30 in the morning due to the changing of the mind, cutting, shopping for the new dishwasher, and installing the thing after another trip back to the hardware store. Whew!! Enough of this Labor Day stuff. I'm ready to get back to my regular work.