Friday, July 31, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

Today I am celebrating one of God's best inventions EVER....GRANDPARENTS!!! I could spend my whole day describing why they are awesome. Here's my evidence, though, just for this week

We have a grandma, who is out of town taking care of my grandma, writing multiple letters each week and sending treasures to the girls. This week, the grandpa, that goes with that grandma, let the girls hang out with the him for a few hours while I had an appointment. He took them all on a date to McDonald's, made sure there was treasure in the treasure boxes that grandma usually maintains and had the Power Wheels jeep battery charged. And finally, my in-laws are taking all of them away for the annual Torch Lake weekend with their cousins. They celebrate special days...such as backwards day (have dessert for breakfast, pancakes for dinner and wear their clothes backwards) and everyone's birthday...they swim...enjoy the special menu that their grandma planned just for them...go fishing with grandpa...enjoy adventures unforeseen at this time. The kids have so much fun that they start counting down to the next year's trip the moment they return from this year's excursion.

They all set a very high bar for grandparents. And they each are blessing in our lives.

Back to my material enjoyments next week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So, You Had Spaghetti For Dinner

Just have to reveal another of my superhero powers...I can communicate to you what I've had for dinner without even saying a word...because it is usually all over my shirt. For now, my story is that it's to communicate empathy to my kids for when they get something on their shirt...but what will I do when they have moved out?

3-Years-Old Going On ...?

Today my dad was going to let the girls hang out with him while I had an appointment. The 3-year-old insisted that she wanted to sleep at his house. I told her that they would not be sleeping over.
"I want to take my bag."
"What bag?"
"My pink bag with the jammies in it."
"You don't need to take your bag because you are not sleeping over."
"You're not my friend!"
As my sister noted...I'm not her friend, her dad is her boyfriend...she is acting like a 13-year-old already. She certainly adds some spice to my life.

What WOULD That Look Like?

My 9-year-old often asks me if she can get her hair tie-dyed. This has been her term for a couple of years, so I think she just means colored or highlighted. While the answer for her remains "No"...I am curious what the literal interpretation of her term would look like...on someone else's 9-year-old.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Are You the Imp in Impatience?

From "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz...
If the devil can't get you to be immoral, drunk, profane, backslidden or a cheat at business, he will rally his imp guerillas of impatience and cause you to wound someone's spirit and bring guilt to your own inner control.

Morning Jam Sessions

Years a galaxy far, far away (just kidding!)...a dear friend gave me a devotional titled "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz. I really wish I knew when I had received was definitely 1994 or later. This book has been a daily treat. It is formatted as a page per day for the year. I started writing in the year that I visited each page in 2005. Sometimes I make a note on the page if that is the anniversary of a significant event in my life. And I made a rule for myself that I can never visit a missed day. It is interesting to reminisce about what may have been going on in my life on a missed day...camping or just off track (and why?). I totally envision this being a treasure to one of my daughters someday.

The author is funny...relatable. Sometimes she makes me smile and sometimes she opens my eyes to my stumblings. I tell you all that to introduce this series of blog posts, where I will share tidbits from the book. The ones that I share will be the ones that I don't be offended...I wasn't thinking of you. But, I figure if I needed the reminder or education, maybe someone else does too. ( I hope so...otherwise it is just me with all these issues.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Will Happily Share Him

We have three daughters...currently ages 11, 9 and 3. On a recent family camping trip, conversation around the fire, while enjoying s'mores, somehow turned to boyfriends and dating. I don't even know how we got there. The interesting part was that it was the 3-year-old who was vehemently proclaiming her desire to date and have a boyfriend. My husband and I looked at one another, saying everything with our silent expressions..."We have our work cut out for us". I now another reason to hope that Jesus returns soon.

The next day we were all splashing around in the waves of Lake Erie, having a great time. Suddenly, the 3-year-old grabs her dad's face and plants a kiss on him, informing him afterwards that they were now "dating" and that he was her "boyfriend". I looked at her and asked her "What about me...his wife?" She kindly allowed that we could "share him".

Considering the conversation of the previous night, I am happy to share him with my girls. He can set the precedent on how they should expect to be treated when they are the way, far away future. It will take some special young men to live up to the bar he sets for them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday

It was such an easy pick this week...sandwiched between two camping weekends. I want to celebrate the pop-up camper!

Speaking as an engineer, I have to say that I am impressed with the concept of the pop-up camper. It takes up so little space when all buttoned up but has a decent amount of room when fully opened. And it uses real estate wisely for stashing all of those camping necessities (many of those are worthy of their own FIF posts).

Speaking as a mom, I love all that it represents in our life--quality family time...away from distracting duties at home...opportunities to explore new places together...playing games...going on bike rides...skipping stones on any nearby body of water...passing time by poking at the campfire with sticks.

Now, I realize that it is not luxurious...but it keeps when it rains and we are off the ground away from the creepy-crawlies. It was perfect for breaking the family into the camping adventures and will help us appreciate any future upgrades.

If you want to read more about what I love about camping, you can go check out a post I did last year by clicking here.

Well, have to run...we are still packing for this weekend's fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Buttprints in the Sand

I originally came across this poem in Anita Renfroe's "A Purse-Driven Life" (A laugh out loud read, by the way!) and wanted to share it here. While looking for the poem online, I also found a site that now sells postcards, posters, etc. inspired by the poem. You can find that site here.

Enjoy the poem!

Buttprints in the Sand (author unknown)
One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some strange prints appeared
I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat
But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones
"For miles I carried you along
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made me wait."

"You disobeyed, you would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired, I got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Favorite Quote Today

This morning I had left a message for a homeschooling friend to call me back...I had a task that I wanted to see if she was up to. It was a long time, an hour perhaps, before she returned the call. In that hour, though, another solution had presented itself. Now, before I tell you her response, let me explain that I know that she would take on whatever was asked...that is what makes it so funny. Here is a (rough) summary of the call.
Me: "Hello!"
Friend: "Hi! Just returning your call."
Me: "I appreciate you calling back. Since I left you the message though, the spot has been filled."
Friend: "Procrastination pays off again!"

Update 7/28/09 -- Oops! I was looking at something else and in a skim over this post saw that I said "It was a long time...before she returned the call". What I meant to say was "It was NOT a long time...". My sincerest apologies!!

Favorite Invention Friday

It's Friday, People!!! Ya know what that means, right?!! That's right!! I get to talk about something that makes my life enjoyable!!

Today, I'm talking about my cell phone with the QWERTY keyboard for easy texting!!!

Now, I believe I was a little late to the texting party...really only started about 18 months ago-ish. But I love it! I love it because it saves time! You might be thinking "What?!" It does, its saves time and cements relationships. My sister lives in CA and I live in MI. She's a busy, working wife and mom. I'm a busy wife and homeschooling mom. If something strikes me as funny, have a question, need to let her know the check is in the mail...I can text it and I'm done within seconds. If I had had to make a call, it would have taken several minutes because her and I just don't do quick phone calls. While I love talking to her, neither of us have time for daily 30 minute phone conversations. So, I saved time for both of us and still got to communicate with her. The phone has provided the same benefit in regards to some of my closest friends. We don't have time to talk everyday, but I can send them a text to let them know I'm thinking of them or that I need an arrow prayer (a prayer you shoot up quickly, short and sweet) in no time at all. I'm quite excited that my mom is now trying out texting in her life. I expect the same benefits. And finally, I love that I can easily drop a love note to my husband...whenever I feel like it.

And I love the QWERTY because of it's ease! My right thumb would get sore when I texted on my old phone and texting took longer.

Now, I do understand that there is a time to text and a time not to. Don't ignore others that are with you to text someone who is not with you...excuse yourself if it is urgent and IMPORTANT. And, don't make texting your primary mode of communication. It is better to talk to whole sentences as opposed to abbreviated-text-speak. Utilize it when you need convenience. Beware of letting texting language (e.g. using "r" for "are", "u" for "you") influence how you write normally...that would make all those high school English classes a waste of time and we don't want to do that....and it looks unprofessional in a work-related memo or email. And, you could fall into an open manhole if you are not paying attention while texting, and lose a shoe (go here for the story).

So, thank you, cell phone with the QWERTY keyboard, for all you do in my life!!! I won't leave home without you...on purpose anyway.

See you next week on FIF!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Golden Rule

I had one of those normal everyday situations where I got to flex my parenting muscles. It started with the following exchange.
"Mom! She slapped me on the back of my head!"
"She wrote on my math page!"
"Well, she wrote on mine!"
The resulting discussion was filled with teachings on tattling, example (particularly for their three-year-old sister) and, of course, the Golden Rule.

From Mark 22:28-34, we read that a scribe asked Jesus what the first commandment of all is (out of the 613 contained in the ancient Scriptures, and recognized by the religious leaders of the day). Jesus teaches that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. He goes on to teach that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. This often called the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

So, after reminding them of this teaching from Jesus (I love the leverage He provides me as a parent), I reminded them to filter all actions and words through the question "Would I want someone to do this to me?" After the girls departed, I continued to ponder the Golden Rule. I measured myself, my attitudes, my actions, on any given day, against it. Do I always treat others the way they want to be treated? What about when they are not with me or when they have turned their back? While I may be doing the right thing, what is my motivation and/or attitude about it, and how am I displaying it? What example am I providing for my daughters when I am in a store or driving? The results of my thinking...I have as much to learn about how I treat others as my kids do. The nature of my acts against others may not be as obvious as those between young siblings, but that doesn't make them any less harmful. They may even be more harmful because, as an adult, I should know better. But as a sinner, knowing and doing don't always align.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Inaugural Post of Favorite Invention Fridays

Welcome to the first ever Favorite Invention Friday post. There can only be one first time at anything and I'm glad that you decided to join me for this one. Now, before we get to the primary purpose at hand, I do feel it necessary to take care of some business. I want to make it clear to all of you, that despite the rampant rumors, this is not the gig that led Sarah Palin to resign from being the governor of Alaska. Secondly, President Barack Obama will not be joining us today. He had discussed returning early from the G8 shindig in Europe to take over this responsibility. But, I told him that he has enough on his plate with banking, industry and healthcare. He could leave this one thing to me. If it doesn't go well, I'm sure I will hear from his appointed American Mommy Blogger Task Force ...a group comprised of single men who work in the aerospace industry and career women who have decided not to have children. Now on with FAVORITE INVENTION FRIDAY!!!!

The first post has to be dedicated to the item that inspired this whole concept...the FLOATIE BATHING SUIT!!! I love this item! It means that the kids get to go swimming way more because I don't have to get in with them to keep the three-year-old upright. I wouldn't say that it allows me to be a lazy mom...but it does allow me to stay dry, except in the event of an emergency or 85 degree water. It really is a win-win. The kids get to go swimming way more because they don't care what the water temp is -- to say that I was a bottleneck here would be an understatement. And, I get to read from a nearby perch, ready to leap in as needed...enjoying any number of books from my reading pile and catching a little vitamin D.

So please join me as I say "Thank you, floatie suit!! Thank you!!"

And I invite you to meet me here next Friday as I celebrate another wonderful item that brings quality to my life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

They Will Keep You Humble III

While making breakfast for the 3-year-old, I hear her say so sweetly "I love you". My back is to her, but I know that she is talking to me because no one is in the kitchen with us. So, I give the obvious response..."I love you too". "Awwww"...right? But then I hear the giggle.

"I wasn't talking to you."
"Well, who were you talking to?"
"The toaster."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drumming

The three-year-old has a toy laptop that does all kinds of It was the music that caught my attention

Apparently, she can hit some combination of buttons and a song plays. As I was making dinner, I hear the tune of "Jimmy Cracked Corn" in the background. I suddenly realize that she is singing along with it, but she has lyrics of her own. It goes something like this...

Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball!

So...does anyone want to schedule a playdate?

Monday, July 6, 2009

What a teeny tiny HUGE World We Live in

If you are reading this at my actual blog site and not through a feed, look up there at the top of page but below all that toolbar stuff. See where it says "Next Blog"? When you are done bouncing around my ramblings, click on it and find out where it takes you. I am always amazed! In the blink of an eye, I am whisked away to any number of places in the world...shown through pictures and languages. I may land on a blog created by some happy parents who just want to keep distant relatives up-to-date on their biological roommates. I may land on an artist's page where photos or sketches can mesmerize. Maybe it's a blog about techie stuff or political stuff. Sometimes it is inappropriate and I speedily click "Next Blog" to whisk me away and sometimes it is an absolute joy that I linger over. Today, I landed on a blog documenting the money found on the streets of New York City by a single person(you can read about it here) The blogger promises to write until $100,000 is collected...currently at $25.98. So many people with so many passions. I am reminded of the concept that we can learn something from each person we encounter because everyone is an expert at something.

I wonder what I can teach anyone.

If you are bouncing around the "Blogger" world and land here...and learn are welcome. But, if you don't benefit in any way...I'm sorry. Please click on "Next Blog".

Now, if you are reading this post through a feed, you have homework. Go to the original postand read from the beginning again.

Happy Travels! Let me know what interesting blog destination you find.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Coming Soon...Favorite Invention Fridays

As I was helping the kids get dried off and dressed after an afternoon of swimming, I was struck by how much I love the ....wait...I'm not going to tell you now and waste an idea for a future post. What I will share with you, though, is that at that very moment a new idea for this blog was born...Favorite Invention Fridays. So, on many (I can't promise every, or even most, yet) Fridays, I will share with you my favorite items that make life easier...make me wonder why I didn't think of that. Hope you find something new...or take advantage of the chance to celebrate one of the blessings of living in these current times.

Look for the first next Friday...assuming I will remember...and that the current beloved item will not have lost its shine for me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What Are You Planning?

During the course of normal parenting, have you started to keep a list of the things you will do someday when you are visiting your then-adult children's homes?

I must admit that I have started to make plans. Here are some of them...

  • Make sure to tell them that I don't like what they cooked.

  • Leave my shoes everywhere.

  • Change my clothes multiple times.

  • Look in a totally different direction when they are talking to me.

  • Tell them that I no longer like to eat _____, even though I have already eaten half of what was given to me.

  • Carry dry, crumbling leaves into the house.

  • Leave lights on when I leave a room.

  • Leave toilet paper holders empty.

  • Hide dishes until the dishwasher has been started.

  • Hide clothes or linens until the washer is almost done.

  • Suggest to their children, that they get the shopping cart that looks like a car and is near impossible to drive through the aisles.

  • Eat from their plate and drink from their glass, bottle, water bottle...perhaps leaving a souvenier behind.

  • Leave any kitchen messes or spills just where fate created them.

  • Just after they sit down, I will sit really close to them and roll around on them, making sure to embed my elbow in the most uncomfortable places.

  • Walk in on them in the bathroom and the shower.

  • Make sure I bring my friends Nobody and Somebody with me, because they are the ones that create all the havoc.

  • Start talking to them or singing whenever they pick up the phone.

Well, as I look back over this list, it is apparent that I have thought about this a bit. Now, you know I won't do this stuff...while it may be tempting on that first visit. I will, though, continue to threaten them with such behavior until they adjust their attitude about what I have cooked.

Honestly, as I consider all of these "challenges" to parenting, I am overwhelmed with the appreciation for the blessing of kids. They teach me so much and I know that any inconsistencies that show up in their actions are because their teacher has been inconsistent, ineffective or both. Genesis 33:5 reminds us that children are a gift from God and it is my job to train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). I will continue to do so faithfully, and imperfectly, knowing that when they are old they will not depart from it (as Proverbs 22:6 continues and promises). Secretly, I will also pray that they at least behave proprerly at the homes of others...because I am vain, and that shows they can apply the lessons learned at home. I'll take any signs of progress, people.