Fancy

July 5, 2016

We attend a church where the children are part of the entire service. This makes for slightly louder, and more chaotic services, but it is something we seek out wherever we’ve lived because we believe that it’s the biblical way of “doing church.”

Training our children to sit through these church services through the years has been a time-consuming, frustrating, but ultimately rewarding thing. We are still working at it with our 2-year-old. We take baskets of books, paper and pencils, and various other distractions to help with the task.

Some Sundays are better than others, but, thankfully, we have a community of people around us who are doing, and have done, the same thing. Remembering that helps on the fifth trip to the lobby to “have a chit-chat” with the trainee.

This past Sunday, after the opening songs, the wrestling match that is church-training commenced. 2-Year-Old whizzed through all the training tools in record time.

And then he found a Fancy Nancy book in the church basket.

If you don’t have daughters, then you don’t have knowledge of Fancy Nancy. I am sorry for that, because Fancy Nancy?

Rules!

She’s a prissy schoolgirl who is weirdly, yet adorably, into French culture, language, and lore. She says “Bonjour!” for “Hello!”; she wears boas to recess; and she informs her readers of the fancy word for “fancy” (posh), and the French word for butterfly (pavilion). She loves to dress up to go to the ice cream stand with her non-fancy family, while wearing 2 different colored bows AND a feather in her hair, sequined ballet slippers, and a wool herringbone swing coat.

She’s kinda awesome.

Our girls LOVE Fancy Nancy. They read the books over and over and over again. They read them aloud to little brothers and each other. It’s a beautiful thing.

So when 2-Year-Old pulled the book from the basket and sat on my lap and opened it up, I was secretly thrilled.

The speaker was up front doing his thing, while 2-Year-Old perused the book.

All was right with the world.

Then the speaker paused, gathering his thoughts for the next sentence. Weirdly, no other kid-noises were heard…..

Until 2-Year-Old, at that exact, so-quiet-you-could-hear-a-pin-drop moment, turned a page in the book, and called out…..

“OOO-LA-LA!!!”

And you just can’t get more awesome than that.

Yummy Man

June 18, 2016

Third post today! (I’ve been saving them up in my head over the last week or two.)

Remember how Yummy Man was a weather forecaster in the military? Did I ever share that? Well he was, and even though he’s not a hard-core weather nerd, he enjoys watching the varied weather here, following it with the tools he can find online, and discussing it with a meteorologist at church….. and when i say “discussing”, i mean making fun of the poor young guy for making a bad call on that storm last night, because that’s how Yummy Man rolls.

Last week, he and I were eating lunch at a restaurant nearby. We were sitting at a table that is on the second floor, with a huge window that faces the street. We were talking, and then suddenly, Yummy Man glances out the window and says in a concerned voice, “Oh no!” Thinking he’d just seen a biker get hit by a car, I looked where he was staring, and asked what was wrong.

He said this….

“Mid cloud nine!”

Catching Up

June 18, 2016

For the few people who still come here occasionally, let me catch you up on our lives before I go any further……

My husband, Yummy Man, retired last Fall after 22 years in the military. He is currently unemployed……a situation that basically makes him a sitting duck for blog fodder. This is the only way that I am even slightly able to be on even terms with his level of teasing and heaping piles of contrary-ness. (What’s the correct term there? It’s summer break. I’m not required to look it up. Homeschooling Mom rules.)
We now live in the U.P., the term affectionately used for the sliver of land that hovers above the state of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula.
We still have all eleven of our children at home. The oldest two have graduated high school, and both work as full-time as they are allowed in this economy.
The other nine are at various stages of homeschooling. Only one loves it.
We live on ten beautiful acres within a ten minute drive to the largest freshwater body of water in the world. The winters get lots and lots of snow, and the summers get lots and lots of awesome in the form of low humidity, generally cool temperatures, and the clearest air you’ve ever breathed. The people here, referred to as Yoopers, are casual, genuine, and friendly.
We chose the place we wanted to raise our family after years of living where we were sent. We’re very happy with our decision.

And that’s the last few years in a nutshell.

Let’s Try This Again

June 18, 2016

Some of my children have recently re-read the book I made for them from my first few years of blogging here. They LOVE reading about themselves and their siblings, remembering which house we were in when that kid fell down the stairs, which kid it was who vomited after a special trip to the pizza buffet, and which kid carried the cat around by its head. I love hearing them laughing aloud as they sit in the big leather chair in the sunroom, reading the “word scrapbook” I began years ago and, in recent years, have woefully neglected.

I don’t want to be the parent who took a million pictures of their first baby, and two of subsequent ones. I don’t want to do the written-word equivalent of that.

So I will begin again, placing each everyday story of our lives here in this scrapbook of sorts, making and keeping the memories fresh and safe for my favorite people in the world.

So be on guard, family of mine. Anything and everything has become potential blog fodder once again.

You’ve been warned.

Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016

As I reflected on Mother’s Day this morning and the mom I have and the things I wanted to tell her that I love about her, I realized that an entirely new layer has been added to her “credentials”.

Almost two years ago, my mom drove my dad to the hospital early one morning for a surgery that was supposed to be routine, would require a few days in the hospital, and a few months until he would be back hiking and biking.

Something went very wrong in the surgery, and a cascade of bad events afterwards changed my parents’ lives.

When my mom brought my dad back home two months later, she became his caretaker.  She encouraged him in his exercises to restore his health, she took him to his many doctors’ appointments, she helped him get from here to there, she was his constant companion, and, as always, his best and most loyal friend.  Her life changed dramatically, yet she barely batted an eye at the changes that were necessary. She took on the challenge, as she always has, and she looked for ways to give him more help, more dignity, more comfort, and the best life he could have.  

If you haven’t read the post below this one, about my dad and his death, I will post an excerpt here that is fitting for this Mother’s Day post…….

It’s impossible to think of my dad without my mom. He adored her, cherished her, protected her. My mom is an incredibly admirable woman in many many ways. But the picture I’ll remember of her for the rest of my life, the one I’ll tell my children about, and revisit in my mind again and again, is the one of her caring for my dad during the nights he was at his sickest. I slept with her in their room the last few nights of my dad’s life so that I could help her listen for him and make sure he didn’t try to get out of bed in his sleep. I would wake up and see her there in the dark, leaning over his bed in her nightgown, whispering to him gently, calming him with her voice, telling him she loved him. She would straighten his covers and make him more comfortable in whatever way she could, there in the dark. I’ve birthed eleven babies, and the picture of my mom caring for my dad across the room in the night rivals the first nano-seconds of my babies’ lives when they were lifted up, slippery and red, for me to behold. I don’t know any better way of explaining to you, reader of these humble words, the magnitude of my mom’s example and how it has affected me forever.

On this Mother’s Day, as I reflect on all that has happened the last year in our lives, I want to acknowledge the incredible dedication my mom had for my dad, and the incredible example of love she showed him and all of us who were there.

So thanks, Momma, for being such an incredible mom……by taking such amazing care of my dad. 

My dad

August 12, 2015

My dad died yesterday.

He was the gentlest man I’ve ever known.

He loved the underdog. He loved hiking in the mountains. He loved his wife greater and better than any man I’ve ever seen. He loved people in ways that are uncommon and incredibly special. He was a wise and godly man. He had a special mind, able to think up games in the yard to play with his kids, or new ways to expand his business. He was tender-hearted, soft-spoken, easy to be with. He was curious, incredibly kind, slow to anger.

I want to be like him when I grow up. I want to care about others as deeply as he did. I want to be gentle and soft-spoken. I want to be wise and tender-hearted. I want to love others more than I love myself.

I got to spend what would be his last night caring for my dad. My mom, who has spent the last year tending to his every need and caring for him tenderly and selflessly, desperately needed rest, so I stayed in their room with him, awakening hourly to give him the medications that people need in the end of their lives. I went to him every time he cried out or let me know he needed or wanted something that I could give. He was incredibly agitated and nothing we had given him calmed him down or helped him rest and have peace. The only time he rested and slept peacefully that night was when I rubbed his back…….arguably one of his top three pleasures in life. At one point in those last hours, he thanked me. I told him that it was my absolute privilege to serve him. And I meant it. All those years of taking care of ME, caring about MY life, being a dad who loved me more than he loved himself, being an amazing example…..rubbing his back, bringing him a sip of cold water, whispering in the dark to try and ease the anxieties on the last night of his life,  was a privilege of epic proportions. I may never ever again in my lifetime be blessed in that manner, and I will remember that night for the rest of my days.

When I’ve prayed over these last few months, when we all knew my dad was terminal, my prayer wasn’t that he would be healed. My prayer, over and over again, was to thank the Lord that He gave me my dad…..that He made me to be born into THIS family, with THIS man as my earthly father. What a blessing that was! How utterly and profoundly thankful I am to have been given the dad I was.

When I think of God, I think he’s like my dad…..gentle, wise, loving others in incredible ways, always rooting for the underdog.

As I finish writing this post, my dad has been gone now for almost 43 hours. I miss him terribly. But I’ve been wondering since he left about what all he’s seeing and doing in Heaven. I’m thrilled for him. I’m so glad he’s rid of that body he had that went bad on him in a matter of hours almost one year ago. I rejoice that his time on earth is over. But I miss his presence here with us.

It’s impossible to think of my dad without my mom. He adored her, cherished her, protected her. My mom is an incredibly admirable woman in many many ways. But the picture I’ll remember of her for the rest of my life, the one I’ll tell my children about, and revisit in my mind again and again, is the one of her caring for my dad during the nights he was at his sickest. I slept with her in their room the last few nights of my dad’s life so that I could help her listen for him and make sure he didn’t try to get out of bed in his sleep. I would wake up and see her there in the dark, leaning over his bed in her nightgown, whispering to him gently, calming him with her voice, telling him she loved him. She would straighten his covers and make him more comfortable in whatever way she could, there in the dark. I’ve birthed eleven babies, and the picture of my mom caring for my dad across the room in the night rivals the first nano-seconds of my babies’ lives when they were lifted up, slippery and red, for me to behold. I don’t know any better way of explaining to you, reader of these humble words, the magnitude of my mom’s example and how it has affected me forever.

The Bible tells us that we have the hope and promise of reuniting with those who have gone on before us if we are saved. I can’t wait to see my dad again. Until that day, I never want to forget the legacy my dad left us all.

I want to LIVE that legacy.

Frozen

April 26, 2014

The title says it all, huh?

Those of you who have seen it know what I’m talking about.

I think I made a mistake by buying the soundtrack yesterday. It played on the iPod for no less than six hours. Seriously.

To say the songs are catchy and addictive is like saying the Grand Canyon is an annoying pothole.

My 15-year-old may sing it more than my princess-obsessed little girls.

And he’s a boy. It’s adorable. I want to kiss him all over his face and snuggle him in my lap, but he’s two inches taller than I am, and probably outweighs me too.  But to hear him singing “Do you wanna build a snowman?…..” as he’s doing his morning chores may be cuter than when he was 2, in a sleeper, with a lisp…and my regular readers certainly know how I feel about THAT!

Also? My big, manly military husband does all the motions to “Let It Go”….with the theatrical arm-flinging and spinning, and general ice-queen-ness.

He told me that he went into a meeting at work the other day, singing one of the songs…..and another guy there joined in.

Even my 17-year-old son has been caught singing a line here and there. He just smiles sheepishly because, really, you can’t help yourself.

And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I sing some of the songs at the top of my lungs while making breakfast. The kids all cringe and tell me I’m ruining it, but the reaction is half the reason I do it.

I’m all mature like that.

You just can’t help yourself with this movie, can you?

This Morning

March 8, 2014

So this was a conversation that was heard in our house this morning…….
Yummy Man was telling the bigger kids about the Malaysian plane that disappeared from radar recently.

12-year-old: “Good thing they weren’t flying over the Bermuda Circle!”

I think we need to revisit shapes.

After a few cracks about the Bermuda Square and the Bermuda Quadrangle from other family members who find themselves humorous, we got it straightened out.

But I think I pulled a muscle laughing about that one!

Good thing about having lots of kids? Lots of laughter!

My life is pretty cool.

Homeschooling

February 24, 2014

We use Easy Grammar for our grammar curriculum.

Because it’s easy.

One of my kids, who shall remain nameless, had a section that required him to make certain words into plural form.  He had easy words like “shark” and “house”, and then slightly harder ones like “woman” and “salmon”.  Then he had the trickier ones like “crisis” and “curriculum”.  

But the one that stumped him was “puff”.

He’d already done the plural of “calf” and “knife” and I guess he had that method stuck in his head.

Because he wrote down that the plural of “puff”?

Puves.

And I’m STILL gonna be laughing over that one when I’m 80.

Here is a conversation I had with 3-Year-Old a few weeks ago as I was helping her get dressed for bed…..

3-Year-Old:  “Mommy!  I went icky in my undies today in the garage!”  (She had been wearing training pants and thought this was a significant occurrence that needed to be brought up.)

Me:  “Oh, that’s not good.  We don’t go icky in our undies EVER, and CERTAINLY not in the garage!”  

3-Year-Old then gave me an expression that was a cross between I-can-if-I-want-to and WHY-is-that-not-something-we-do? It-was-a-nice-place-to-go….quiet-and-private-and-heated.

Me:  “If you need to go icky, go in the potty!  Just tell Mommy that you need to go and I’ll help you, just like normal, ok?  Because we just don’t go icky in the garage in our undies.  MOMMY doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage.  11-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage.  9-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage.  GRANDMA doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage (correct me if I’m wrong here, Momma).  DADDY doesn’t go icky in his undies in the garage.  17-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in his undies in the garage.”  (You’re seeing a theme here, aren’t you?)

3-Year-Old, looking confused and apparently feeling the need to clear up my obvious confusion:  “NO, Mommy!  I-I-I-I-I-I (big emphasis on this) go icky in my undies in the garage!”

Totally missed the point.

But….MAN, she’s cute and funny!  (Even WITH the icky-in-her-undies-in-the-garage thing.)

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