November 2, 2012
We don’t do Halloween here.
We just don’t.
I won’t go into all the whys and wherefors but they are all noble except this one…..
Is it just me or is Halloween decorating just plain tacky?
I would also feel okay using the words redneck, trashy, and perhaps throwing in a garish or two.
Orange? Really? Black is classy but when you mix it in with orange, it just screams dollar-store-plastic-flamingoes-on-the-front-lawn to me.
Does anyone else get that?
Instead, we do “harvest parties” which, I realize, is just a cover-up but instead of plastic spiders and fake bloody hands and the always-offensive and equally-trashy skeletons, you get horns-’o-plenty and a harmless scarecrow or two.
And pumpkins. By they way, I know they are orange and all, but pumpkins are just classy and it kinda upsets me that they have been lumped in with the unclassi-ness that is Halloween.
Like, if I was a pumpkin? I’d be ticked.
So we went to a harvest party at church and it was kinda rockin’ fun. They did a raffle thing where they had all these cool kid-gifts and if you played a million rounds of bobbing-for-apples, knock-down-the-cans, and throw-the-rings-onto-the-sticks thing, you’d get tickets that you could put into the raffle for whichever gift you wanted.
Can I just say that our family CLEANED STINKIN’ UP! My kids were so successful with winning the raffle over and over again, that I may have to rethink my stance on playing the lottery.
Literally half of my kids won stuff.
They also had raffle gifts for adults and we could’ve tried for those, but they just didn’t appeal to me. Here is a list of what they were to see if you agree……
1. An axe. I have no problems with axes. It’s just that, at this point in my life, living on a military base, I have little need for a nice axe.
2. Ammo for a gun that we don’t own. If the gun had come with it, that would’ve been another matter.
3. A gift certificate to get your nails done. I’m sorry but I just don’t get the whole pedicure/manicure thing. I mean, WHY would I spend the time AND the money to get someone else to clip my nails and paint them when I can get that done in under 10 minutes in my own bathroom, wearing my bathrobe? I mean seriously. This is something that I will have to ask God to explain when I get to heaven because I just don’t get it.
4. A container of truffles. Now, I’m not against chocolate, but if you gave me a choice of truffles and Sour Patch Kids? I’m not picking the truffles. Plus, who came up with that name anyways? It just sounds all hoity-toity, and like they would be this incredibly French pastry that you’d roll your eyes and moan at the second one hit your lips, but, to me, are just waaaay overrated dessert pieces. Plus, I don’t need candy sitting around my house, calling to me from the cupboards.
So I didn’t play any games or get any tickets. But I learned something new that night, as did my 4-year-old.
Apparently, the idea of a raffle, no matter how many times or ways you try to explain it, is not easily grasped by small children with cowlicks and lisps. I found this out when the kids’ fishing pole went to another small child, and MY small child began crying uncontrollably while running dramatically across the room to my side. BUT! BUT! The next name that was called…..for a small plastic toolbox….was the exact name of said toddler!
So here’s a tip I can pass on to you, my dear readers…..If you don’t get something you want someday, CRY HARD, and if there is someone that you can dramatically run to…..preferrably across a room, but a green, flowery meadow would be EVEN BETTER….do that too. (and doing it in slow motion would be even cooler!) Because as soon as you do that, you’ll get that thing you cried about! Really! It’s an amazing trick!
And one that I had to explain to 4-year-old was a fluke so unimaginable in our home, it would never happen again. Sorta like seeing the Loch Ness Monster.
If we had, which we haven’t.
And assuming that it exists, which it probably doesn’t, even though I wish it did.
So there you have it. A blog post with the words “harvest party” AND “Loch Ness monster” in it!
Try to duplicate THAT anywhere else on the internet today!
October 22, 2012
Oldest Child left earlier this week to go spend a few months helping a missionary family in Europe. If you’ve known me even for a little while, you know that I have a weird love/obsession/rabidity for all things European. I loved living in Germany more than I’ve loved living anywhere else…..and that’s saying something when you’ve spent more than 19 years basically moving around the world for a living.
So we got special permission to go to the gate with Oldest Child. That meant we got to go through security.
We were the only ones in line so I guess they hadn’t touched anyone inappropriately in an hour or so and were kinda behind on their quota or something.
Of course I was wearing a long, 8-million-gored skirt so that I could more easily hide those bombs and drugs and Black Market Babies and stuff. So the TSA lady took it upon herself to take me aside and feel my legs and pat me here and there and generally make me feel violated.
It was a fun time.
You can know how invasive it truly was by these two things……
1. I actually asked her if it would just be easier to remove all of my clothing so there wouldn’t have to be so much touching and patting and “now I’m going to turn my hands like this and run them there” kind of stuff. She laughed uncomfortably which was ironic.
2. Yummy Man seriously stood there watching and said, “I thought only I was allowed to do that.”
It was that bad.
I know this doesn’t really fit into my theme of being a mom of many and a homeschooler, blah, blah, blah but I figured someone out there might get a kick out of my extreme discomfort.
I’m all unselfish and giving like that.
In other news, I must not change my look much because today I emerged from my bedroom with my hair put up on both sides in the back. No less than four children asked me why my hair looked like that.
And 4-Year-Old told me that I looked like a bunny rabbit.
I wasn’t sure what to say about that because on one hand, bunnies are cute and soft and furry and their hopping is cute…….
But on the other hand, they have big ears and fluffy tails and are annoyingly fertile. Yeah. To the point where farmers shoot them because their spawn eats the garden.
The similarities are scary.
October 1, 2012
This morning, one of my children wrote this sentence for a spelling exercise that was supposed to include the word “mood”……….
“My mom is in a bad mood today.”
If you’re a home homeschooling mom, would you consider this a bad thing? Or maybe convicting in a humbling kind of way?
Or would it just reiterate to you that the thought you’ve had a few times over the years……that public school could, on very few occasions, actually be BETTER for your kids…..might actually be valid because you’re 43 years old now and maybe things are just beginning to change on the hormone front and maybe that makes it harder to handle when 12-Year-Old can’t grasp the concept of plural possessives and 4-Year-Old is hiding out in the bathroom because he hit his older brother and you’re irritated that now you have to go deal with THAT situation when all you REALLY want to do is sit and cry while eating ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles on top?
Or is that just me?
September 27, 2012
Conversation this morning with Four-Year-Old……
Him: “Mommy, where do sharks live?”
Me: “In the ocean. You know when we go to the beach? Well, waaaaayy out there in the water is where sharks live.”
Him: “Are sharks nice?”
Me: (and please remember that fun morsel about me as you read this) “Well…….um…….(and other trying-to-be-objective sounds)….sharks aren’t really nice. It’s not really their jobs to be nice. They have to eat and God made them have to eat other fish and animals in the ocean.”
Him: “So sharks are mean then? They’re bad guys?” (And please read that with a lisp.)
Me: “I guess they can be the very few times they attack people, but that’s really rare.”
So basically, I restrained myself from totally obliterating the reputation of sharks.
What is WRONG with me? I’m afraid I might start hugging trees soon.
September 15, 2012
Y’all are cool.
The words are formed with rocks and the edging is seaweed. He’s a cool kid. While I was standing around trying to have fun while wearing a coat on the beach…..and did I mention the winds were REALLY windy that day?….this is what HE did. You’re probably jealous that he isn’t YOUR kid, huh? Yeah. Well. Stinks for you. Oh….he also recently won a photo contest. And spent all the earnings on Legos. One day he’s gonna have a mortgage and a wife. Hopefully, they will remind him of their need for heat and food and stuff. Otherwise, their cardboard box in the alley over the street grate will be full of Legos and they won’t have room to crawl in and go to sleep before Daddy has to get up to go stand on the street corner with the “WILL WORK FOR LEGOS” sign.
This next picture is one of Alaska’s version of rest stops….outhouses in the middle of nowhere. You are probably asking, “WHO takes pictures of outhouses?” See the fog? I have a weird love for fog. Always have. And then I married a yummy man who would become a weather forecaster, who told me that fog is really clouds down really low, and I realized that when there’s fog, we’re walking around in clouds! Is that not cool to anyone else? Told you it was weird.
And here is quite possibly the greatest picture i’ve ever taken…….with the reflection of the rear view mirror totally ruining it. That’s what you get when you try to take stellar pictures out a 12-passenger van with 10 kids participating in various forms of entertainment (some good, some not-so-much, meaning LOUD!). And Yummy Man pushing the speed limit. I’d totally stink as a war correspondent/photographer.
I know it doesn’t go with the rest of the pictures. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Also? There are very few hayfields where we live and I kinda miss the ones in Iowa. Hayfields and normal winters. Not the tornadoes.
September 14, 2012
If you just got here and are wondering what’s going on, scroll down and read the explanation of where I’ve been and why I’ve been such a blogging loser.
If you’ve already read that, and have dared to return, I’m going to reward you with…..are you sitting down?…..PICTURES!
I KNOW! ASTOUNDING!
I’m a little weird about putting my kids’ pictures on the internet and I make no apologies for that. It’s just the way I am. But I have a lot of pictures that I CAN post so I’m hoping you’re in the mood.
There are a few pictures I took out the window in Anchorage on the way to Homer. Homer is a small, quaint town on the southeastern coast of Alaska. We rented a house on the Kachemak Bay there. The house we stayed in was on a 600-acre estate of a family who raised their 8 children in a 400-foot rough cabin.
This was taken in front of the original homestead. Yummy Man and I walked through this meadow, trying to make it down to the ocean. The problem with Homer is that it’s not like the east coast beaches that I’m used to. Did you know that there are beaches in the world that have to be repelled to? On real estate brochures in Homer, it actually states how many feet UP the house is on the bluffs……as in 1500 feet. How dumb am I that I finally understand what the word “bluffs” means?
The next day we took the kids to the homestead to tour the little house so they would understand when we told them to quit whining about their lives….they COULD be living in a 400-square-foot cabin in the most beautiful place in the world. Yeah…THAT’LL get ‘em! So they ran out in the meadow in front of the cabin and proceeded to be stinkin’ adorable and incredibly photogenic.
A few years ago, we visited the Grand Canyon. We were only there about 10 minutes because, 9 children standing on the edge of the largest hole in the world just didn’t go over well with me so when Yummy Man finally gave in to my pleadings to “Can we go NOW?”, we left really quickly. The point of this little tidbit is that, the pictures I took there just can’t capture the awesomeness of that place. I don’t know that they could’ve even if I had had a very expensive camera. It is just beyond description in ANY medium. I feel the same way about the beauty of Homer. It is just stunning. The juxtaposition of the ocean and the mountains and the ice fields and the green grass and the dark sand of the beach and the blue of the sky. Wow. Just….wow.
By the way, I took all of these pictures on my cell phone. Some of them were shot in the van, going 60 mph, and you can see the blur of the brush in the foreground. All of the ones I am posting here were then edited with a photo editor called Pixlromatic. The people I know who enjoy photography would hate this editor, but it works for me because I can just choose the template I like in a matter of seconds and BOOM! It’s done. I don’t have the time to ratchet the “warmth” up or the pixels down or any of the other 462 choices that there are in editing software. This works for me. I’m happy with the results. I’m not entering any contests. And I’m okay with that.
Here are some pictures taken from the balcony of the house we stayed in. I know that these probably look fake, but they are not. It is THAT beautiful.
That’s a house waaaaayyyy down there and it’s sitting on a bluff a few thousand feet above the beach. We should pray for the unfortunate people of Homer who have to live in such hideous surroundings. I asked one lady we met where she goes for a vacation and she said
she doesn’t take vacations. She realizes the beauty she lives in every day and told us she thanks God every day that she gets to live in Homer.
I have more pictures if you’re interested. I’m out of space for this post but if you want to see more, leave a comment. If you’d rather not see more pictures but, instead, would like nothing more than my witty musings on life with 10 walking megaphones, you can say that too.
September 13, 2012
The desire to write is back!
The last two years of our lives have been very, very difficult. We believe that Satan has been trying very hard to destroy our marriage, our family, and have even sometimes wondered if he’s been trying to mess with our sanity.
It really IS a thing here in Alaska.
I thought it was kinda fake and dramatic too until I moved here and realized that I could so go off the deep end if I let go and allowed myself to.
But then I remember that supper has to be made and no one wants to change the nasty diapers so where would that leave Little Bit? And the laundry? I’m the one who makes sure that the dirty laundry actually makes it into the washer and that the house ends up halfway neat at the end of the day and school gets done and no one kills each other over that one toy that’s been in the house for the past 12 years but is now being fought over by 2 kids.
So basically? I’m not allowed to lose it, no matter how much the dark and cold messes with my brain and emotions.
When things get bad, it’s like a well dries up in me. There’s just nuthin’ there. No desire to write and, subsequently, no writing.
I so wish that I was this lady, who can write about beans and moonlight and sad things that happen in a way that makes you ache and want to drive to her house and live in her spare bedroom and watch the way she lives life.
I just don’t have that in me. I hope that I do someday. If that happens, this blog will change drasically from one filled with descriptions of toddler body functions and the way I handled (or DIDN’T handle) a recent temper tantrum (that may or may NOT have been MINE)…..to one of nobility and edification and the furthering of spiritual growth.
Right now, I’m writing about my days in the only way I know how. With humor and self-deprecation and the occasional mention of Yummy Man’s legs.
It’s just all real up in here and I’m gonna try and keep this going because my children love to read about themselves and my yummy man likes to read the words I write and my parents like to read about the grandkids and my uncle likes to read about……wait….I don’t know WHY he likes to read this blog.
So there you go. An attempt to placate those of you who were wondering what happened to us and actually want to read more of our lives. Not sure what that says about YOU, but it makes ME feel loved.
So thank you.
June 7, 2012
So did I tell y’all that we were moving from the outback-ness of Alaska to the base that Yummy Man works at?
(I know. The grammar is bad but I’m too tired to fix it. Just imagine it correctly in your brain and move on. Come on, you can do it.)
Well, we did. And we did the move all by ourselves which, in one way, was kinda pathetic because THAT’S how many friends we have here, but in another way showed me how much my kids ROCK!
My three big boys, who are 11, 13, and 15, could basically start their own moving company. They worked like crazy and didn’t whine about anything other than asking for more Dr. Pepper which they only get on the RAREST of occasions because they have teeth and our dental insurance stinks.
The little kids were very helpful because they put all the smallish, lightish things in the moving truck AND they played nicely while all the moving was going on.
Oldest daughter helped me clean the house and watch Youngest Daughter, and everyone else did their parts when all the stuff was moved and we just had to close out the old house and make it all shiny and sparkly and seemingly-new.
I scrubbed our greatroom on hands and knees because I forgot the clippy things for the mop so I just pretended that I was Caroline Ingalls but with WAY more kids and WAY less hair.
So then we moved to our house on base which rocks in its own way because, although we prayed that we wouldn’t have any neighbors behind us and a huge field to play in, we actually got a house that has a bike path directly behind us AND A RIVER!!!!!!!! So the little kids don’t have to ride on the sidewalks in front of the house, and the big boys get to fish all. day. long.
And in the winter, people ski on the river, ice fish, AND the Yukon Quest races on the river, which is the slightly younger brother of the Iditarod.
So we basically have Disneyland in our backyard.
Add to that the awesome-ness of the bike paths here and it’s just been a really great thing!
When we first moved in, we upgraded most of the kids’ bikes, bought a cool trailer for the two littlest ones, and a tag-along bike for the next smallest.
It has been so much stinkin’ fun riding all over base on the paths!
This morning, we rode for almost 10 miles, played on one playground, and got mildly lost once.
The tag-along is basically a bike seat and back wheel for little kids that attaches onto the back of an adult bike. It kinda looks like a tandem, but the back seat is close to the ground and attached, instead of being built into it like a tandem would be.
Five-Year-Old rides on this behind me. He hasn’t had any experience riding bikes at all because of where we’ve lived over the last few years. So he has just learned the proper way to pedal.
He asks me frequently if he is doing it right.
This morning, as were were biking, I looked back and saw his little feet pedaling away, and I said, “Good job, Bud! You’re riding like a big boy.”
He smiled a proud little smile and then I heard him whisper to himself…..
“I am AWESOME!”
And you gotta add a lisp to make it truly authentic.
And yes. He is THAT cute.
May 13, 2012
Years and years and YEARS ago, when I was an almost-6-foot-tall, 105-pound teen girl with huge glasses and braces, lots of other kids in school made fun of me.
When I’d tell my mom about it, she’d tell me that the boy who dared any OTHER boy in the class to ask me on a date (to subsequent rollicking laughter, high-fiving, and the secret vowing of every girl in the class to NEVER befriend me, the cute-boy-repulser) was probably having a bad day.
Or he’d been in a terrible bicycle accident and had possibly fallen on his head and THAT’S why he had been so unfeeling in his comments about me.
Or maybe it was allergies that were making him not be able to think in a Christian-like manner.
Basically? It felt like she was always on the OTHER person’s side.
But while this sounds bad and accusatory and not-very-Happy-Mother’s-Day-ish, just wait.
The good part, where I grew up and realized what that seeming-unfairness actually taught me, is coming.
My mom is known for just being a good lady. She never speaks badly of ANYONE, never talks behind people’s backs, and ALWAYS begins by thinking the best of everyone she meets.
And now, as a mom and a grown woman (even though, most days, it doesn’t feel that way), I understand what that trait of hers that drove me crazy in school and made me dislike her intensely, did for me.
It made me compassionate. It made me understand that most people have a sad story somewhere in their lives, and most of the time, I do not know that story.
Like the lady that I wrote off as a snobbish officer’s wife, whose baby had recently and very suddenly died.
Or the family who I KNEW had really messed up their kids because they were just bad parents, but who really were dealing with issues I couldn’t have even imagined.
My mom taught me that while I am busy living my life, OTHER people are living THEIR lives and sometimes things that are unfair happen, and things that are painful happen, and things that I can’t even comprehend happen to people whom I assume are stuck-up or rude or uncaring.
When, all the time, they’re just struggling to get through whatever it is and come out on the other side intact.
And maybe I just need to assume that they are in the middle of something bad or sad or unfair, instead of writing them off as Bad People.
That’s what she taught me.
I’m still not very good at it. Some days it makes me feel better to think badly of someone who has treated me unkindly or unfairly.
But OTHER days, I kinda get it, and I remember that they have a story that I don’t know about, and if I DID, I’d feel differently about the way they had just spoken to me and I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.
And maybe I’d stop being so self-centered, actually thinking that people are required to make me feel good about myself and comfortable and happy.
What IS required of me is to love them, and part of that means that I need to assume the best of others no matter how they treat me.
But I have my momma to help show me how to do that.
She thinks that she messed up all those years ago, sticking up for the other person instead of me.
But the years have shown me what was in her heart all that time.
And that’s what my momma taught me.
May 8, 2012
Or just a new idea I read about and am going to try now.
But it’s probably not highly exciting. Or new.
Anyway, it’s a blog-post idea going around the internet called “Things I’m Scared to Tell You”. Or something like that.
Basically? There are things about me that only my awesome kids and yummy Yummy Man know about.
Now, I’m going to tell YOU some of them.
Because I’m all courageous and giving like that.
1. Every night, I check to make sure that my youngest child (who is always a baby under 2 years old or so) is breathing. Yep. Every night. If I forget, I get up out of bed and go make sure because you just KNOW that THAT would be the night they would stop breathing and then I’d be the Worst Mother in the Universe. And yes, I do realize how irrational that is. Your point?
2. I have an almost-totally flat butt. It runs in my family and my parents obviously did not think this through before they reproduced. Thanks, Mom and Dad. I look like a complete idiot in pants. At least in skirts and dresses, I can hide the fact of my non-existent-butted-ness. Whenever I sit on Yummy Man’s lap, it lasts for about 5 minutes and then he starts moaning in pain because he can’t take my knife-sharp butt bones jamming into his thighs any longer. Oh. Brother.
3. I have a terrible memory. I used to have the greatest memory in the world and could memorize tons of things for tests and plays and Bible verses. Now, it’s just sad. I will put something in a special place so that I won’t forget it……and then I forget where that was. Yummy Man tells me to make lists, but then I forget where I put the lists, or that I even MADE the lists. My kids often ask me if I remember when we stayed in that hotel with the water slide and the AWESOME breakfast, and I will have no recollection at all. None. At. All. Huge chunks of my childhood are gone.
4. Packing tape, pulled off of a cardboard box, will give me chills for hours. HOURS! It’s like other people and the nails-on-a-chalkboard thing.
5. I’m not a phone-talker. I would rather email a company and wait for DAYS for them to respond, than call them up and get my question answered in 30 seconds.
6. I can’t STAND black-and-white movies.
7. I used to hate animated movies too, but then Pixar came into existence and now I want to marry “Up” and “Ratatouille”.
8. I have to force myself to not check out books at the library. I used to read 3 or 4 books a week (sometimes simultaneously) growing up, but now whenever I check out books, I stay up until 2 a.m. reading them and then I’m a bad mom the next morning. Also? I’m tempted to read them when I should be doing mom things like homeschooling and changing diapers. I have a problem with priorities when there are interesting books laying around my house. And I do realize the sheer patheticness of that last sentence.
9. I have a weird fetish with smelling new books and magazines. My oldest daughter recently informed me that if people saw the way I sniff them before I begin reading, they would think I have a mental disorder. Whatever. I’m okay with that. They already think that anyway, what with the ten kids and all. Also? If you are in your 40s, you will remember mimeograph pages in school. THOSE were the greatest-smelling things in the WORLD! The teacher would pass out the quizzes that she just printed out on the mimeograph machine, and they’d be all warm and pliable and smelling like heaven! Because God created mimeograph machines on the third day, along with flowers and all the now-dead mimeograph machines will be in heaven. In my mansion.
10. If someone offered me $100 million, I still would not go swimming in the ocean at night. I wouldn’t even do it for a thousand dollars. Because I have a major fear of sharks. Sound childish? Okay. I’ve never been afraid of monsters under my bed, but sharks in the ocean while my skinny, pale arms and legs are flapping around in the water? I’d literally rather be eaten by a grizzly bear. And that’s WAY more likely in my current situation and I actually happen to be fine with it when I compare it to being eaten by a shark. I actually think that a shark could just swim slowly up to me and LICK me, and I’d die right then and there. I blame my brother for most of this fear. My brother who is a missionary. I think he thinks that THAT will get him into heaven after what he did to me emotionally with the shark books and shark pictures and shark articles and the hiding-under-the-water-and-rubbing-my-leg-all-shark-like-until-I-screamed-bloody-murder-and-wet-myself. Doubt that he’ll be getting into heaven for that….even WITH the missionary work and the I-love-you-Allison junk that he does now when he sees me. WHATEVER, Scott.
So there you go. Things you DIDN’T want to know about me and now you do. You’re welcome, and try not to be jealous. Also? I think each person who comments on this highly narcissistic post should tell me one thing that others don’t know about THEM! And make it juicy so that I feel better about my weirdness. Because that’s what the Bible says to do….”Encourage one another, and build each other up.” See? A biblical lesson to go along with this post!