Friday, May 28, 2010

Finders Keepers-- Not

Great news. Alex didn't complain about his new AFO braces today and I only saw one slight red mark! Thanks to all that said to give it time for him to get used to them. I can already tell how much steadier he is in them.
I bought some flip-flops at the store the other day. Of course Dennis wanted to try them on. This child loves shoes!

I think he looks so cute in them curling up his toes when he walks so that they don't fall off.

Adam baked us a cake for dessert-- as always it turned out delicious.

For dinner I made country style pork ribs with a jar of pace picante and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke poured over and baked for 3 1/2 hours served over a bed of rice pilaf. It was so easy and yet so delicious. Even better the next day!

Anna loves to lick the cake batter bowl clean! She would eat a bowl of it if she could!
Today my son was told by a teacher to pick up some trash while waiting for the bus to go home. He picked it up, only to find out it was not trash at all but an envelope with money. Numerous envelopes actually totaling $80. I am disappointed to say that he pocketed the money but offered his sister $20 on the bus ride home. Knowing she would tell, he quickly changed his story telling her that he had only $60 because he accidentally threw away $20 with the envelopes. Yeah right. As soon as I heard the story, I pulled him aside and first thing asked him for the other $20. Without a word, he handed it over.
This is such a hard place to be in but what a teaching moment. Here my son felt that he had found the money that the teacher had told him was trash, so he should be able to keep it-- yet he is not being raised with those values. I asked him what he felt the right thing to do should have been and then explained why. In the morning, we will return the money to the principal. Other than that-- he had a great day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What a Lunch!

Rachel asked Sveta to pack her lunch. Sveta didn't remember Rachel asking her please. So John gave Sveta the idea to pack Rachel a really good lunch that she will enjoy tomorrow.

Sveta cracked herself up as she packed her sister's lunch.

I think Rachel is going to love it!

Conversations with Dennis *Priceless*

A long time ago Dennis would answer like this.

Do you want cereal or waffles Dennis?
Okay. Do you want waffles or cereal?
Really. So do you want cereal or waffles?

Can you see the pattern?

Then today-- he blew me away.

We came back from an appointment later than planned so I raced to feed Alex and Dennis lunch before rushing Alex off to pre-school. Dennis was not done as I pulled him away from his cereal-- but I promised he could eat it when we came back in 15 minutes. I wiped his alligator tears and that was that.

Fast forward 15 minutes as I am unlocking the front door back from dropping Alex off.

So Dennis, do you want to take a nap or watch Spongebob-aloo with Mama?

Eat lunch! And Dennis raced back to his chair and shouted Me eat cereal!

Meet Bella

Isn't she adorable? She shares this little house with Misty and Dolly our two doggies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not Loving These Surprises

Everyday is full of surprises. Seriously, I could do without them for a few days. It began with John coming home early because he is sick. Poor guy. Next, came two medical claims that were denied and the cancellation of CCS for Alex's physical therapy when I got the mail. I straightened out the medical claims once again but the CCS denial for physical therapy is one that I do not think I can fix. At this point, I have to honestly say that while they gave me some good ideas of what to work on with Alex, the minimal time they spent with him didn't amount to a hill of beans anyway-- so it really isn't even worth fighting for. Of course the biggest surprise was saved for last-- a phone call from the vice-principal about some inappropriate note passing. I didn't even know my son knew that particular word or what that even meant--- ugh.

Tomorrow, Alex gets new AFO braces and hopefully a lift in his shoe. Later in the day, I will take Caleb to his third to the last orthodontist appointment. While I wait for him, I will run over to the jewelers and pick up my wedding ring that I snapped on a chain link fence when I went to close it a few weeks back.

Busy, busy, busy.

Worthy of mentioning--- William made his Accelerated Reader (AR) goal so next week I will take Taco Bell to his school and have lunch with him. Caleb won his last baseball game. Sveta and Jonny were awarded student of the month so this Friday I will join them for breakfast in the school cafeteria.


Dennis has started calling out to me, "Mama, Mama!"

I have been waiting for this for nearly two years.

God is so good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Something is Lingering

We have this sickness lingering in our home. A sore throat, some aches and pains, a head ache here and there--- yet it is nothing serious. BUT IT IS THERE. Today I passed around the Tylenol. Some went to bed early. As I tucked the kids into bed, I wiped Dennis' nose.

Heavenly Father, our Great Physician, please heal whatever sickness is going through our family.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Have a Great Weekend!

Okay, I'll be nice. I posted our appt. date which is June 16th!!!! Wooo-hooo! Sorry, for being a big bug.

And I just finished packing for my little getaway. The timing is perfect given I have to come home and plan for a much bigger trip!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chiseling Away

I couldn't have come across this video at a better time. I think the skit is done very well and certainly has a wonderful message. I can totally relate.

How about you?

Out to Lunch

Jonny brought home an award the other day for a free lunch to Togos. Everyday since, he would ask me when we could go so that he could redeem it. Not interested in taking the whole family out, I finally thought of a good idea. I picked him up from school and took him out to lunch. It wouldn't have been a problem except the place that I thought was a Togos was actually a Port of Subs. Ugh.

I began to get frustrated as I racked my brain trying to think of where a Togos was. Immediately it popped into my head-- Praise the Lord!

While I ordered our food, Dennis decided to run around the restaurant like a wild child until I grabbed him and placed him sternly in his chair. He proceeded to scream. "Oh no you don't," I thought to myself as I noticed a couple from church walk into the restaurant. I covered his mouth and let him know that if he didn't stop screaming, I would take him out to the van for five minutes. Not sure if I could deliver on that promise, I was thankful he settled down. By then our sandwiches were ready and I walked back up to the counter to get them. The couple from church nodded hi and asked, "Wow, how do you get your boys to sit so nicely with their hands folded?" I just smiled.

We ate lunch and then I took Jonny and Alex back to school.

Have I mentioned I am so looking forward to tomorrow? John is in for one big treat! Giggle.... giggle, he is watching our friend Denise's three kids too. Don't worry, I am thanking him tonight for what an amazing husband he is. I am blessed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

But What Do I Go and Do???

Lately I have been in my own secret little funk. Sure on the outside everything looks okay, but on the inside there have been days when the littlest thing has set me off crying, and something insignificant has seemed overwhelming, and my anger has gotten the best of me resulting in me yelling louder than usual-- which means the neighbors probably heard me. And then I get embarrassed from that, and feel like such a failure for losing it which leaves me wondering why I still think I can do anything without Him. Because I can't. It seems like most of the time I go about doing the exact things I do not want to do.

I don't want to yell..... but what do I go and do---- SCREAM! Where is the gentle, loving, patient, joyful Mama I so want to be? I think she got lost when she was pumping gas and Dennis got out of his carseat and locked the doors and pretended for a while that he didn't know how to unlock them. Reading about this little incident makes me wonder why I couldn't have smiled and laughed and played the locky-loo game with my son for ten or so minutes. Surely a better Mom than me would do just that-- right?

I don't want to feel like the world is crashing down just because I have three family situations going on, the toilet is overflowing, and I just remembered that I have a meeting in thirty minutes..... but what do I go and do---- I sit down and cry because it is my turn to have a five minute pity party. Where is the strong, got it all together mother of twelve who never sweats the small stuff? She must have stepped out for a while when she found a medical bill she forgot to pay as she was filing away another one she just got done fighting her insurance about. I bet every other Mom never gets their panties in a bind over a few stupid medical bills-- right??

I don't want to constantly point out the messes my kids forgot to put away..... but what do I go and do---- I go and find them, show them the mess, have them clean it up, and then send them to their rooms for a while. Where is the Mom who embraces her messy house that shows she has a houseful of kids? I think she went on strike when she found the bathroom baseboard showing signs of rot because her girls didn't wipe up the water after their shower or maybe it was when she rested her arm on the counter only to find out that her new shirt had strawberry jam all over her sleeve. If only they would have cleaned up that darn jam.

I don't want to entertain the kids tattling on each other..... but what do I go and do--- I listen to them share what mischief their sibling got into and then discipline both kids-- the one who tattled for tattling and the one who threw snails at cars while at the bus stop. Where is the Mom who says no tattling and means it and refuses to listen to it? I think she went on vacation when she found out that one of her children was only packing desserts for lunch and another was borrowing things that she shouldn't be.

I can go on and on but what would be the point? That I am so not perfect, that I so don't have all the answers, that I fall short of my own expectations in the parenting department? I don't need anyone to tell me that. Tonight I spent some time with my younger boys as I tucked them into bed. I didn't rush through prayers and kisses like I usually do. Instead I answered all of those last minute questions and said not one but three different prayers. So it took twenty minutes instead of five-- who's counting??

I guess I share all of this because after a while it gets a little heavy to carry on my own. I just felt it was time to get it off my chest so that I could look at a few of my issues and try to address them head on. At this moment, tackling them seems as impossible as me running a ten minute mile, which I truly can't do right now if my life depended on it. But I know that with running you need to train, just like I need to work on my parenting weaknesses. And I am excited to see just how God is going to use my weakness to bring Him glory. Meanwhile, I will continue to rest in his grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

And let's not forget.....

tomorrow is a new day.

A fresh start.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Romantic

The other day I was driving home from the store. Just up the road, I thought I saw John's car. It very well could have been his car since I knew he had just attended a funeral and might have decided to stop by home before returning to work. The playful side of me sped up in hopes of catching up to him. Sure enough, I saw the car do a u-turn and stop to wait for me. As I passed him, we both honked as he chased me home.

Who said that romance goes away after marriage?

The Hand Game

We were blessed yesterday.... with three big boxes of clothes. Woo-hoo for hand-me-downs! And what's even better is that Rachel and Annalyn exclaimed, "Mom, now you don't have to buy us anymore back to school clothes!"

I don't know where Caleb gets all of his energy. Not only does he play sports at school-- all the time-- but when he comes home he plays the Wii or goes outside and shoots hoops. Just looking at him makes me tired.

I was served the most delicious salad for Mother's Day so I asked what the special dressing was. I was excited to learn that it was homemade--- apparently Pampered Chef makes a salad dressing mixer with the recipes for the different dressings right on it. Well, I couldn't wait till I ordered one to make the dressing so I got the recipe from the boys' pre-school teacher.

Oooooooo, is it so yummy! Lemon, garlic, Parmesan cheese.... just a few ingredients that go into this amazing dressing.

For dinner last night, we had a wonderful chicken salad---- so good that I plan on making it for dinner one night for me and the girlies on our weekend getaway. That served with a nice loaf of bread will be perfect! Thanks Gina, for the "to die for" recipe!
Last night when John was gone to his last BSF meeting until September, I played a little game with all of the kids. Its only purpose was to get them to all spend some time together doing something fun with Mom. Each of us took a turn being blindfolded while we tried to figure out whose hand it was that we were touching. I was certain, being the Mom and all that I would get them all right. But of course I was the one that probably got the most wrong--- I think Adam said I guessed seven of the kids wrong. Wow-- was that humbling-- especially when Julia and Caleb missed only one or two.

Still, this little game brought us all together..... until my next idea.
The kids could hardly wait.......

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Do You Do Life?

Life for us is always interesting to say the least. I think we are about the furthest from normal as you can get. I would say that each of us walk to the beat of our own drum, thankful that at the foot of the cross we all have a level playing field. With that comfort, we kind of all take flight with the wings the Lord has given us and we all find refuge and acceptance in the place we call home. Crazy as it is, we are a family that probably does way too many things together-- but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I probably lead up the family as the craziest--- but I just tell my kids that they are stuck with me no matter what.

For example---- I decided it would be fun and interesting to buy a big plantain and cook it the other day. Just out of the blue-- and a few of my kids were not interested in doing any science experiments. Caleb jumped right in and helped me smash them with the bottom of a glass. Big fun, I'm telling you-- or at least I teased that it was.

Once they were done frying, we patted off the excess oil, sprinkled salt and dipped them in ketchup. Not bad--- pretty much like eating a bland french fry. I wonder if they would be better cooked up as part of a whole African or Caribbean meal? And maybe we could dress the part too. Maybe learn a few new words. Hmmm, that gives me an idea.
I mentioned us going on a spur of the moment vacation--- more like dinner out with some good friends. Beth and I go back thirteen years-- I set her and her husband up. :) Anyway, she has six beautiful children and all of us had dinner at Hometown Buffet in her neck of the woods. After getting lost, we finally made it to dinner an hour late. But it was well worth it getting to catch up with her. When she moved away ten years ago, I was so sad at the thought of us drifting apart. And yet over the years we have kept in touch-- even more so this past year. It is nice to know that true, good friends never really leave you--- you just might have to find new ways to keep your friendship going-- like a last minute trip to go out to dinner.

Julia and Sarah were born eight months apart-- and they are still good friends.

John took this picture of Beth and I. We just think you are the best Beth!

This is the motel we stayed at. Cramped and determined to find a sleeping arrangement we were all content with, we still managed to rise and shine the next morning by 8 am.

Aren't Andrew and Jonny the worst role models for Dennis? :) Now I know where he gets his rough and tough attitude.

Adam and Caleb

Miss Anna trying to make tea in the motel kitchenette.

After we checked out, we were about to drive out of the parking lot when John realized that he did not have his cell phone. I had to get a key from the front desk and run back to our rooms and get it. It was under the pillow where I last gave it to him. At least we didn't forget it.
Our drive home was shorter since I was not navigating-- I still blame it on Google maps. We had cold cereal for dinner since I had no desire to cook. Everyone was so tired when we went to bed that we didn't even have any early morning visitors to our bed. That was nice since the night before we were a little cramped.
This morning was busy and wet, but I got through everything in a reasonable amount of time, praise the Lord. On our walk out to the van, Alex noticed that his voice echoes throughout our cul-de-sac and decided he wanted to be a big dog. And on our walk in from the van, since it had stopped raining and the bees were back at our bee magnet bush by our front door--- Dennis decided that he was afraid of them. What?? This must have started overnight. I wonder if one of his siblings had anything to do with this? With Dennis refusing to walk past the bees, I had to show him how harmless they were by walking past them a few times. Lucky me.
What us Moms do for our kids.
So what does a day or two look in your life?