Monday, December 31, 2007

Good bye 07, hello 08...and Jed Clampett.

Here I sit in my flannel pants, thermal knit shirt, and fluffy socks watching Beverly Hillbillies with D who is comfortably installed in his favorite chair, waiting to ring in the New Year.

It’s going to be a New Years Eve to remember, or not.

I’ll be pleased just to make it to midnight awake.

I have spent some time today thinking about the last year. It has been rather uneventful except for one thing. My kids, they are weeds!

I know people sat this a lot, but it is like they have grown three years worth in the last year, the boys especially. They’re both young men now; taller than me. They were not taller than me last year. And E! She is turning into a young lady and not the chubby little toddler I want her to stay.

I don’t know when this happened, but suddenly my boys know lots of things I don’t, suddenly they can do things without me. It all started with the learners permit, then the purchase of the truck, then the license. Now those boys just go off and do stuff. They don’t need me to take them places anymore. I blinked, and they grew up.

I also started the blog this year. This has been fun. I have met many new friends, some even on other countries! How international of me.

We have also spent the last year paying down debt like there is no tomorrow. We are so close to being debt free! We’ll be completely out of debt sometime in 08, if all goes as planned. Wow! I can hardly believe it.

I pray 08 will see us grow closer to the Lord and closer to each other, and hopefully be full of blogging fodder!

So happy New Year to you all, enjoy your kiddos, and go check out my GIVE-AWAY. Only one day left!

Now please excuse me, Jed Clampett is waiting.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Katie is running around Heaven tonight.

I believe that God is sovereign and I believe that God is love. Because I believe these things, something like this is so hard to understand.

I got the news today that my friend D (who is my best friend S’s SIL) and her husband E, lost their 15 year old daughter Katie, yesterday.

Katie was born handicapped and struggled all her life just to breathe. She has never been well, she has never walked, she has never sung, she has never danced, she has never said I love you.

Yesterday, while surrounded by her family, Katie quietly slipped into the arms of Jesus.

This side of eternity we will never know why God allowed his beloved Katie to have such a hard life. But what we do know, is that right now…

Katie is well.

Katie is walking.

Katie is singing,

and Katie is dancing.

And one day, when they are all reunited, D and E will hear Katie say, I love you.

My friend Tonya, who is Katie’s aunt wrote a beautiful tribute to Katie.

The Give-Away: Extended

I hope you all don’t mind, I’ve decided to extend the give away until Tuesday night at midnight; in light of my post about Katie.

I want to leave the Katie post up for a while. So, scroll up to read about Katie and scroll down to enter the Give-away.

I’ll be back on Wed to let the Give-Away winner know how to claim their prize!

And, Hug your kiddos today. Every moment is precious.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

This is what I come up with when I'm alone...

I have to admit that I am a little stuck musically. I have some good stuff on my MP3 but it’s been there a while. The boys told me of some good current Christian stuff and I have some of that. I have some old 80’s and 90’s pop that I like, but honestly, I spent all of the 90’s listening to Barney’s sing along songs and I kinda lost an entire music decade. There starting to call the songs of my youth ‘the oldies’ and this disturbs me a little bit.

I like country but you have to wade through so much ‘my husband left me, my truck won’t run so I’m gonna go kick the dog’ type music that it is sometimes overwhelming.

So this morning, B is off working his mowing jobs (that I don’t have to drive him to anymore Praise the Lord!) and D took the other kids to help his brother move (yeah, that is gonna work real well, but I’m not about to tell him that and mess up my quiet morning) and I am alone with the remote in a quiet house!

I flipped channels a bit while I was surfing the net, and I landed on the Country Music Channel. Cool! Didn’t really even know that was there, that should show you how much I get to hold the remote.

Here are two of the songs I heard. And yes, I did have to wade through a few ‘my husband left me, my truck won’t run so I’m gonna go kick the dog’ songs, but that is what the mute button is for.

Letter To Me by Brad Paisley

If I could write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself at 17
First I'd prove it's me by saying look under your bed
There's a Skoal can and a Playboy no one else would know you hid
(Um, yeah, not so fond of that particular line)
And then I'd say I know it's tough when you break up after seven months
And yeah, I know you really liked her, and it just don't seem fair
All I can say is pain like that is fast, and it's rare.

And oh, you got so much going for you, going right
But I know at 17, it's hard to see past Friday night
She wasn't right for you
And still you feel like there's a knife sticking out of your back
And you're wondering if you'll survive*but*
You'll make it through this and you'll see
You're still around to write this letter to me.

At the stop sign at Tomlinson and Eighth
Always stop completely
Don't just tap your brakes
And when you get a date with Bridgett
Make sure the tank is full
On second thought forget it
That one turns out kinda cool
Each and every time you have a fight
Just assume you're wrong and dad is right
And you should really thank Mrs. Brinkman
She spent so much extra time
It's like *she sees* the diamond underneath
And she's polishing you 'til you shine.

And oh, you got so much going for you, going right
But I know at 17 it's hard to see past Friday night
Tonight's the bonfire rally but you're staying home instead
Because if you fail algebra, mom and dad will kill you dead *but*
Trust me you'll squeak by and get a C
And you're still around to write this letter to me.

You've got so much *up* ahead
You'll make new friends, you should see your kids and wife
And I'd end by saying have no fear
These are nowhere near the best years of your life.

I guess I'll see you in the mirror
When you're a grown man
P.S. go hug Aunt Rita every chance you can.

And oh, you got so much going for you, going right
But I know at 17, it's hard to see past Friday night
I wish you'd study Spanish
I wish you'd take a typing class
I wish you wouldn't worry, let it be
I'd say have a little faith, and you'll see.

If I could write a letter to me, to me...

Small Town Southern Man by Alan Jackson

Born the middle son of a farmer
And a small town southern man
Like his daddy’s daddy before him
Brought up workin’ on the land
Fell in love with a small town woman
And they married up and settled down
Natural way of life if you’re lucky
For a small town Southern man

First there came four pretty daughters
For this small town Southern man
Then a few years later came another
A boy, he wasn’t planned
Seven people living all together
In a house built with his own hands
Little words with love and understanding
From a small town Southern man

And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
He was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones you leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Callous hands told the story
For this small town Southern man
He gave it all to keep it all together
And keep his family on his land
Like his daddy, years wore out his body
Made it hard just to walk and stand
You can break the back
But you can’t break the spirit
Of a small town Southern man

And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
He was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones you leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Finally death came callin’
For this small town Southern man
He said it’s alright ’cause I see angels
And they got me by the hand
Don’t you cry, and don’t you worry
I’m blessed, and I know I am
‘Cause God has a place in Heaven
For a small town Southern man

And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
He was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones you leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

See? Don’t you just kinda go Ahh, after you read those poetic lyrics? So, okay, it’s certainly not Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it’s kinda purty.

Now that you’ve gotten your dose of culture you may go on about your day.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sad, It's Really Sad.

This is what we have become. This is how far we have fallen.

Because we live with The Devourers, we have taken to writing our name on the fruit.

This is akin to licking it.

I bought a bunch of at least 8 bananas. This is the only one left. It is still there only because D claimed it.

It is a sad, sad, state of affairs.

***And don't forget to sign up for My Give-away!***

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bigfoot And The Devourers (Hey, that sounds like a rock band)

D and I put all the kids to bed early last night because my kids can only handle so many nights of being up until the wee hours before something bad happens, and we watched a fascinating documentary…on Bigfoot. Because we’re cultured like that.

I have decided that Bigfoot is just someone who never stopped eating like a teenage boy. That is how he got so big. As for the hairy thing, well…I haven’t figured that one out yet. I can’t solve all the worlds’ mysteries.

And speaking of teen boys and eating. My devourers are eating me out of house and home! Every time we turn around they are eating. Last night D and I and the girls drove back up to Auntie R’s where we spent Christmas evening, to pick up all the things we’d forgotten, and she gave us more leftovers to take home. She has seen our devourers eat.

When we got home, the boys ate, and ate, and ate. Then I saw the pizza box by the trash can. Before they devoured at least two servings of everything we brought home from Auntie R’s they had both eaten half a pizza! And those boys are skinny! If I ate half as much as they do I’d be the size of Idaho.

And on a slightly different note, a couple of days ago my family, sans D who was a work, was eating lunch together. G was using less than stellar table manners.

Seriously, it is like he is afraid his food is going to get up and run off his plate so he must shovel it in as fast as he can. After reminding him a few times to have some couth for goodness sake! I finally asked him if he were born in a barn!

He replied “What’s wrong with that? Wasn’t Jesus born in a barn?”

“Um, yes…yes He was.”

But I’m thinking, despite his place of birth, Jesus had some table manners!

***Don't forget to check out my Give-Away!***

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Welcome To Our Christmas Morning…

These photos show perfectly the personalities of my girls. Here is A with all her Christmas gifts and the wrapping paper surrounding her in a disorganized mess, while she gleefully surveyed the scene.

This is E with all her wrapping paper cleaned up and all her gifts neatly stacked, analyzed, and catalogued.

And here I am with my new wood blinds for the downstairs. I was up until; I don’t know I stopped looking at the clock at 1:30.The kids could only be coerced into staying in bed until 7am. So this is not me at my best, but those are some really comfy pj’s just FYI.

The girls and I all got toe socks, I am not sure I can handle toe socks. My piggies need to feel their sisters or they become unhappy.

Here is Dave being silly and holding a gift that my teen boys wrapped for him with a quilt and dirty shoe laces.

Here is B with the new stereo system for his truck, which I think might be worth more than his truck.

Here is G, the next great Rock Star, if he can just figure out how to tune the thing.

This is what we did after we opened presents. We had breakfast, lit all the Advent candles, and read the Christmas Story while we watched the Jesus candle flicker.

Then I took a LONG nap!

I hope your day was as wonderful.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I pray you and your family experience the Blessings of the Savior’s presence in your lives on this, His birthday!

From my family to yours; Merry Christmas!

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Trying to redeem myself after yesterdays Sponge Bob post...

I am home to day with two sort of sick little girls. A was a little feverish yesterday and E is a little feverish today, she also has a headache and is a bit sniffily. So instead of going to Church, I stayed home and read some of Sally Clarkson’s The Mom Walk.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2.

There will always be giants in our land. There will always be things that could potentially overwhelm us. We have to make a choice to believe in God’s ability to provide, and so free us to celebrate. We must trust Him to take us into His generous provision or we will allow life to demoralize us and we will give our children instead a model and attitude of complaining and grumbling…

…We choose to practice praise, joy and love when we cultivate celebration even as God did, we then find that we experience the love of God to a greater degree in our own lives. He is there, walking in the garden of our own lives, looking for us to see Him and to respond and walk with Him in His providing love. But in order to see Him, we must turn out eyes and hearts to Him seeking to listen to Him in our souls and thus validating for our children and ourselves the reality of His joy.

A mother who gives her children a heart to celebrate God’s life and beauty gives a gift that will help her children draw joy from their lives and memories that will bring them strength and pleasure all their days.

So for today, look for joy. Seek out beauty and model to your children what it means to live in celebration of God’s marvelous life. Look for the miracles that go unnoticed each day. Rest in the pleasure of your Lord’s companionship and revel in His creation. The end result will be that you have brought celebration to the very heart of your own loving Father.

I pray that you and your families will enjoy celebration with your Savior today!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And now, for some mature TV viewing.

There is something wrong with my family, seriously W R O N G!

They are all in the living room, laughing their heads off at Sponge Bob. Sponge Bob.

I am not talking about the kids, D is in there too laughing so loud I think the neighbors can hear him.

I do not get Sponge Bob. I find it stupid and the voices extremely irritating. But D, he LOVES it.

So I’ll leave them to their bonding. I have more mature things to do…like blogging.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Standoff

Some of you have asked if I knew how 'The Standoff' turned out since I did not stick around to find out.

I did watch the news that night and nothing about it showed up. It is somewhat disconcerting to know that I live in such a crime ridden big city, that a little ol' suburban standoff is not newsworthy.

Anyway, this is the little blurb I found on the website of our little suburbs newspaper. I wonder if it will be worthy of a whole article when the weekly paper comes out.

(Town name) police respond to Check N Go armed robbery Dec. 19
Thursday, December 20, 2007 8:30 AM CST

At 12:08pm officers with the (town name) Police Department responded to a robbery alarm in the 200 block of (street name) Drive. Officers arrived and made contact with the employee from Check N Go. He advised an unknown race male subject entered the location and displayed a handgun and demanded money. While the suspect was attempting to get into a cash drawer the employee was able to leave the location. Officers arrived a very short time later and then determined that the suspect had fled out of the back door of the location. The suspect was described as an unknown race male about 5'5" with a thin build and he has not been located at this time.

So apparently checking to see if the back door was locked was not such a ridiculous idea after-all!

So there you go, another crime gotten away with. This burns me up. If criminals would just spend as much time working as they do working to steal...UGH!

BTW, they do leave out the part where they locked down all the stores and stood in the parking lot for at least half an hour aiming guns at the Check N Go before the ascertained the guy got out the back. We wouldn't want them to appear like the Keystone Cops or anything. :o)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I knew this day would come.

So, B finished doing the dishes and realized we were out of dishwasher soap. Not a surprise as we run the dishwasher 551 times a day.

Usually this is an annoyance. The dishwasher can’t run until I drag myself to the store. Which is about the dead last place I want to go right now.

However, this time it was not a problem. Want to know why?

I’ll tell you why…because I simply sent my 16 year old son to the store to get me some dishwasher soap…because he can do that now.

God help me! (And I do not mean that in a taking the Lord’s name in vain kinda way, I am totally serious.)

This is not wholly unexpected. I blogged about him getting his permit. I blogged about him buying his truck. I knew this day was coming, but I simply can’t believe he can just hop in his car and drive away. Out there with all those crazy people. Away from his mommy.

God help me! And keep a hand on him PLEASE!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If only I’d had a camera phone.

The kids and I have a tradition. Every year, a few days before Christmas I take all the kids to the Dollar Store to buy gifts for each other. We park Moby Dick (the 12 pass van) in front of the store, then they come in with me one at a time, while the others wait in the car, to choose their gifts. This is tedious and time consuming, but it saves me from making the trip 4 different times.

This year we did it a little differently, I had so many errands that I just took one kid with me every time I had to leave the house, and we stopped by the dollar store while we were out.

So today, E and I went out to lunch and then we ran into the Dollar Store. After we spent a very long time pondering the pluses and minuses of hair bows vs. candy, we finally checked out and headed to the door. But lo, we were stopped at the front door and told we could not leave the store.

What? Excuse me? I cannot leave the Dollar Store? Have I entered one of my recurring nightmares where I am forever stuck in a Dollar Store that is playing loud obnoxious Christmas country music?

No, it was worse than that.

The manager, who won’t let me leave the dollar store, but who is himself hanging half out of the open door, proceeds to explain to me the situation.

Apparently, some men robbed the Check and Go place next door, but are now holed up in there, and the police came and told all the stores in the strip mall to not let their patrons exit the stores.

As he was telling me and the other shoppers who had gathered around me this tale, I began to notice an alarming number of police cars gathering in the parking lot. They were aiming guns IN MY DIRECTION!! Okay, to not overdramatize the situation (as you know I would never do) they were not aiming the guns at me, so much as in my general direction. Now, I have spent enough time around my Federal Agent Uncle to know you NEVER want to be downrange from anyone’s high powered rifle, Police or not.

So I took my daughters hand and walked to the back of the store. Everyone else seemed happy to stand at the windows and gawk. Odd, as I am pretty darn sure the Dollar Store did not invest in bullet proof glass. Also the crazy manager was hanging half out of the open door to see what was going on over at the Check and Go where all the fun was happening. I am also thinking this is probably not the best idea.

After I consider how glad I am that the rest of my children are at home as apposed to sitting in the van which is currently halfway between me and armed madmen, I call my husband on my cell phone to apprise him of the situation. He tells me to ask the manager if they have locked the back door. Um, good thinking. When I mentioned this to the manager he gave me a non committal “I think it’s locked” all the while giving me a perplexed look, and I’m sure wondering what the lock on the back door had to do with the present action going on out the front door. Apparently it does not take a high level if intelligence to become the manager of the local Dollar Store.

I was beginning do doubt the safety of remaining in the Dollar Store. From my present position in the back of the store, I could not see much of what was happening in the front, but I could see enough to know that the police were not letting anyone in the parking lot and people were rushing to their cars from the Taco Bell in the same parking lot and getting the heck out of Dodge.

Apparently, while this was happening, a coup of sorts was occurring in the front of the store as the other patrons came to the same conclusion about our safety as I did, and walked out of the front door despite the manager’s requests to the contrary. I decided making a break for it was the best option.

So out the door I go, holding tightly to my purse, my daughters hand and 3 bags of trinkity junk that I really didn’t want to sacrifice my life for. Sadly, I had parked closer to the Check and Go than the Dollar Store, so E and I had to walk (very briskly, but in a non panicky way so as not to scare E) in the general direction of the mayhem, still downrange of high powered weapons, keep in mind. As we got to the van, I told E to hop in the car and get down on the floor.

The whole situation felt quite surreal as I am pulling out of my parking space, dodging police cars and others trying to exit the scene, all while acutely aware that I am downrange from high powered weapons as I may have already mentioned, all while telling my 10 year old daughter to keep her head down, while less than 100 feet from me, there is a standoff going on. I am thinking to myself at this point, “but I live in the suburbs…”

We got home safely, albeit a little shaken. I told my boys this story, thinking they would be totally impressed by my brush with crime and my clear-headedness. Yeah, not so much.

B, commented that if only I had gotten the camera phones for the family that he suggested instead of the old, very uncool model I chose, I could have taken pictures of the entire thing.

So, I learned two things today; my boys will say anything to get that camera phone they want, and I will never again be able to go into a Dollar Store.

Also I am thinking of moving to a compound, far far away from the city (or the suburbs), with a big fence surrounding it. And getting dogs, lots and lots of mean looking dogs.

Public Service Announcement

If you have a 10 year old girl and she wants to go to the Disney Fairy site to create her own fairy let her, this is a great activity.

HOWEVER, be VERY CAREFULL when you type in W W W .D i s n e y F a i r i e s . c o m. Do it very slowly and accurately because if you don't...well you might just come upon a site that no one should ever come upon, much less a 10 year old girl looking for Tinkerbell. I am ever so glad I was doing it first and not, say, one of my TEEN BOYS!!!

What kind of world do we live in where people can make Disney Fairies dirty?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Amazing I Have Any Self-Esteem Left.

G Loves pumpkin pies, I mean loves. I almost hated to tell him that pumpkin was a vegetable, and essentially his favorite pie was vegetable pie. But even after he gained that new found knowledge (many years ago) he has maintained his fervent love for the pumpkin pie.

I thought he’d be happy to know that I was bringing the pumpkin pie to Christmas dinner at Auntie R’s house. When I told him, our conversation went something like this.

“G, I'll be making the pumpkin pies this Christmas to take to R's.”

G's response?

"Um, (long pause as he tries to find the right words) Why isn’t Auntie R making them? Could we ask Auntie R to make them?"

Apparently he loves Auntie R’s pumpkin pies.

Humph! :o)

No School Here Today, Nope, None.

Boy, it sure is good we’re not doing school today!

My kids are currently watching Monsterquest, which is about all the black panthers, mountain lions, cougars etc., and how their population seems to be increasing in the US. It is a fascinating program and very informative and dare I say, educational.

Earlier today they were watching History Rocks. I have to say this is a really cool show. They put history to old 80’s rock. It is quite funny, but very educational as well. I learned some things I did not know about Reagan and Gorbachev.

Sure is good we’re not doing school today!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The post in which she uses scrupture for her own ends...

So, today I must…

Go to Walmart again.

Go to Michael’s again.

Bake copious amounts of sugar cookies and Pumpkin bread and figure out a way to hide it so my family of devourers does not eat it all before I can send it to those it was intended for.

Wrap a sickening amount of gifts.

Read the advent book to the kids and get caught up on our Advent ornament thingie (today would be the 17th and I believe we are on day 11.

Do all this and BE MERRY! Because it is Christmas and I refuse to be the Grinch I sometimes feel like!

Perhaps in order to be Merry I should take the advice of William Shakespeare and the great Prophet Isaiah, and I should eat and drink. You know, ‘Eat, Drink, and be Merry for tomorrow we shall die’?

Is 9 am to early for a glass of wine? Hehehe!

So I charge you all, Go forth unto all the world and preach the gospel…and eat drink and be merry for it’s the Christmas season!

(whoo hoo, how’s that for taking scripture out of context?)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Perhaps I should just think less.

I’m going to post about something that has been on my mind for some time. Perhaps it is not a good idea to be so out there with my thoughts, but well, here we go anyway.

This is about ‘the church’.

I recently read the book ‘Love Jesus, Hate Church’ that I heard about from Lindsey. Now before I go any further I AM NOT recommending this book. I found it to be full of one man’s bitterness and anger due to his lifetime experience in a specific denomination of the church.

The reason I found this to be such an eye opening, albeit off-putting book, was because it showed me how a man who loves the Lord can be so hurt by His people that he no longer wants to associate with them, and goes so far as to tell others that perhaps they should leave the church also. I find this terribly sad.

I think sometimes we humans get it so very wrong that we must surely grieve the Lord. Sometimes my very own church appears more like a country club than the hands and feet of the Almighty God. So often being part of the church detracts from growing as a Christian. How can this be? Where did we go so wrong?

Sometimes I look around and wonder when looking better than the person next to me became more important than loving them. When did wearing the right outfit to church become more the focus than preparing our hearts to hear God? When did my children’s behavior at church become more about my reputation as a parent than what is best for them?

This kind of attitude is so ever-present in church these days. Not only that, but the judgment we inflict on each other is awful. Why would I share what is really on my heart, why would I ask for prayer about an issue that is plaguing me when I know I’m going to get judgment behind the prayers.

Sometimes it seems to me that Church has become more about putting on a facade than being real. Looking better than we really are, acting better than we are, being someone different on Sunday than we are the rest of the week. And if you don’t play the game, well, you don’t fit in.

I’ll tell you all right now, my family does not fit in at our church and we haven’t for years, since we started there 6 years ago. We don’t play the game; we kinda stick out like a sore thumb. We have simply decided it is okay. Both D and I have a weekly bible study that is independent of any church. It is just make up of several friends who want to meet together to study God’s word.

These are the people who keep me sharp. These are the people who are real with me, people who I feel like I can be real with. These are the people who I feel would come along beside me and walk with me through hard times (THEY HAVE) and would gently lead me back if I lost my way. THIS is what the church was ment to be.

I am not really trying to solve any great dilemmas, or answer any age old questions. I am just announcing my sadness over what it sometimes appears the church has become. We don’t always look that different than the rest of the world.

So there are my Sunday ramblings…take it with a grain of salt. I think I have too much time on my hands to think on Sundays.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Of Restoration and Shoping

For those of you who were worried sick about My Precious, worry no more; she has been restored to me!

D took her to a friend who actually knows how computers work and he managed to fix her and she forgot nothing! She still remembers all the things I have told her and all the photos I have shared with her over the last year.

First thing Monday morning I am off to Best Buy to buy some sort of hard drive-back up-zippy thingie, so I will always be backed up.

On another note, I am hopelessly behind on my Christmas Shopping. I got such a good start on Black Friday shopping in my PJ's from my bed using My Precious. But things sotra stalled out after that. I have done my family for the most part. I still have a small thing here and there and a stocking stuffer or two. But the extended family! UGH! I'm nowhere.

I'm planning to spend all next week baking, shopping and shipping. I think my out-of-town family will get Christmas cookies and gift cards. I don't know what I am going to get for the in town family? They may end up with Christmas cookies and gift cards too at this rate.

I have to admit that this time of year, when I am decorating my house, doing Advent with the kids, baking my tale off, wrapping everything in site, addressing Christmas cards, shopping, making lists and checking them twice, doing the regular cooking and cleaning for a family of 7 and, oh yeah, educating 5 children; I begin to envy D. He gets up and...goes to work. Wow.

I think I need to go get a job for vacation!

Friday, December 14, 2007

We Have a Winner!

Okay, actually this is not the card we picked out to mail. The one we picked out to mail is much more sedate with a black background and a verse. (boy was it hard to find a card about the Jesus! It is His birthday after all!)

This is the one I picked because I am very tasteful and classic, and not at all childish.

So while the more tasteful version is getting mailed out, this is my Internet version!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If at first you don't succeed punish your family some more.

Because I have very little else to do since My Precious died, I'll post the photos of our latest attempt at getting a family Christmas photo. I think there are a few winners in here.

And that sweater makes me look fat. Now that I have seem what I look like in that sweater, it is dead to me. Christmas sweater or no, it will never be worn again.

I also snapped a few photos of just the kids, because they were all so clean and brushed and tucked all at once, I just couldn't help myself.

Then there is this one of D and I. Now remember that sweater totally makes me look fat, and the camera adds 10 pounds and there were two cameras taking photos so that is 20 extra pounds.

Really, I promise. I am skinny like a Supermodel!

My Precious

Something really horribly awful has happened. My laptop said really ugly words to me tonight when I tried to turn her on.

Things like 'must restore something or other, because a file is broken missing or something'. (A Tech genius I am). I tried all things I know to do like turning it on and off a kazillion times and it did not work.

So I did the only other thing I know to do when stuff does not work. I called D. He said I was out of luck. He knows nothing about computers either.

My teens were less helpful as they suggested I simply insert the disk the computer was asking for into the drive. Yeah right, like I know where that is.

So D walked out the door tonight with My Precious, and I am relegated to the dinosaur that is in the back room. I am getting finger cramps from pushing down so hard on these keys. And my blog looks different, more grey than blue. It looks sad and dingy, perhaps it too misses My Precious.

So if it is a little quite here on the Hilltop for a while you'll know why. It is because D came back home with My Precious only minus all her information. If this is the case and My Precious ceases to remember anything I have told her or any of the photos I have shown her you will hear the wail all the way in Canada. Then you will here only silence as I crawl into my unhappy place where it is dark, and there are no documents or photos of 07.

Please, please, My Precious, hold on. Help is coming. Don't give up, I need you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Wanna Play.

***I wrote this this afternoon around 3:30, but I forgot to hit the ‘publish’ button. So here it is now for your reading pleasure.***

I have 4 little girls here, ranging in ages from 7 to 11, playing some kind of pretend spy type game. They are wandering around the house in skirts, sparkly purses and hats, going from room to room whispering stuff.

This is what I overheard…

“We need to show our adoption papers so we don’t get sued for being in Canada.”


I miss imaginary play, wonder if they’ll let me join in? I could be the Gestapo or something.


Yesterday the girls and I made sugar cookies using Pioneer Woman’s sugar cookie recipe. (Just the sugar cookie recipe, not the icing, and I substituted the milk for rice milk so as not to kill my daughter with an anaphylactic allergy to all dairy)

I also got to use my Pampered Chef Cookie Press. This was one of those impulse buys that I regretted all year, because it never got used. But come Christmas I’m singing its praises! It is worth every penny. No rolling out of dough, no cookie cutters, no re rolling out the left over dough, and no flour everywhere, well except from the initial mixing of the dough.

Here’s a funny thing. When I was at the store the other day I picked up some red and green sprinkles because I couldn’t remember if we had any. I also bought some baking powder because I was sure I was out.

This is what I found when I looked in the pantry.

Here are some of the cookies we made.

And because I am a good mom I let the girls make a few butterflies with Spring colors. We had to eat these right away as they just didn’t get along well with all the Christmas Cookies. There was a lot of petty jealousy and bickering about why the butterflies got to wear pink and yellow and orange and they could only wear green and red. You know how Christmas Cookies can be.

***And for those of you who were desperately worried about my winter weather deprivation, worry no more. By the time we were decorating the last tray of cookies, the sky opened up, rain fell from the sky in torrents and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees in minutes. Ahhh Texas.

And while I am giddy with happiness about the cooler weather, my hips are aching something fierce from all this weather change! (Yes, I know that makes me sound 80, but what can I say.)***

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Quite The Family Christmas Entertainment I Had In Mind.

D was flipping thorough the many many fascinating channels we get on our TV thanks to that dish shaped thing on our roof, when I noticed an advertisement scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

Have a Larry Christmas...

Cool! A new Veggie Tales Christmas Special, I thought.

...Don't miss the Larry the Cable Guy Holiday Special.

Drat! And, I am such a Mom!

Winter, won't you stay a while?

I just think y’all need to know that I am so utterly confused. I have Christmas music playing on the TV, (satellite radio on the TV, that in and of itself messes with my little mind) Christmas sugar cookies baking in the oven and the flour and red and green sprinkles all over the kitchen to prove they are from scratch. The Christmas tree is decorated and sparkling in the corner of the living room, and it looks cold outside.

BUT IT IS NOT AND I AM SWEATING! It is in the upper 70’s with somewhere around 175% humidity. Having the oven on made it so hot in here I had to turn on the AC!

Two days ago it was in the 80’s. Yesterday it was in the upper 30’s, tomorrow it is supposed to be in the mid 40’s, but today it is in the upper 70’s.


Okay, I know this seems a little extreme to be shouting IN ALL CAPS about weather, but I so look forward to the very few cool, low humidity days that winter affords us, all year. I feel like I am being cheated out of my winter.

I wonder if D’s company has any offices that need a branch manager in Idaho or Montana.

Look! Free Stuff!

I know you are all thinking, why oh why does she have a Praise Baby CD on her blog, she has no babies.

Well, I can’t stand to just walk on by something that is free. Here is the thing, because I came from the age of the Dinosaur, they did not have cool baby CD’s when my kids were little and I feel like I missed out.

Also, I go to many baby showers and this would totally make a great baby shower gift.

So if you want to get in on the fun follow these instructions…

1. Go here and fill out the info.
2. Cut and paste the logo to your blog.
3. Praise Baby will send you a free Praise Baby bib and a $5 off coupon to their new Joy to the World DVD.
4. But be quick about it because this offer is only open to the first 300 bloggers.

Sunday, December 9, 2007



I hardly have words to describe the Cowboy game, or any fingernails left, because my friends, it was a nail biter!

*We pulled it out with a touchdown, Romo to Whitten, with approximately 18 seconds left on the clock and no time outs. Whew!

If I were on blood pressure medicine I’d have to take some right about now.

The lions outplayed *us the whole game and still they lost. I almost feel bad for them…almost.

*I realize the use of the terms we and us imply that I had something to do with the win which is not necessarily true as I was not actually on the field playing. But I cheered, oh yes I did!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The REASON for the season

Because I think it bears repeating...


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals
and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and
endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;
but giving the gift of love will endure


I live in TX. Today, December 7th it is 80 degrees and sunny. This is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.

I love winter. I love to be cold; actually I love when it is cold outside and I can wear flannel things and sweats and socks and be warm despite the cold blustery weather.

Cold blustery weather where are you? Please, please come. Please. I miss you.

Since I can’t seem to convince old man winter to come for a visit, I’m just going to pretend. One of the things I like to do in the winter when it’s, you know, COLD is to eat soup. Potato soup. I love the potato, she is my friend. She is the mother of all comfort foods. And when she is in a soup, well my culinary joy is complete.

So here is my potato soup recipe (cooked in the crock pot of course!). If you would like to find some equally yummy soups go on over and visit BooMama. I bet they’ll be soups that don’t use frozen things and are from *gasp* scratch. But really, why go to all that trouble when there is potato soup to be had?

Crock Pot Potato Soup

1.) Put a bag of shredded hash browns in the crock pot. (I use the Southern Style square kind)

2.) Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1 cup chopped ham.

3.) Turn on LOW and cook for 3 to 6 hours. (The longer, the better.)

4.) Stir in one pint of half and half or one can of evaporated milk. (yeah right, who’s going to choose Evaporated milk when Half and Half is an option?)

Remove lid and cook another 30 minutes on HIGH. Serve with a salad and/or a cheesy bread.

Sprinkle your bowl with pepper and extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Serves 4 to 6.

My friend Tonya pointed out to me (in the comments) a vital step in the Potato Soup making process that I forgot to mention, one that I often forget to do myself. (As I have previously stated)


And on a side note. My friend Tonya has started a blog and I think we all need to check her out. She is not just a cyber friend but a friend IRL. I have known Tonya since I was a teen with unfortunate taste in eye makeup and hair styles. And yet, still, she is my friend.

She is a fellow homeschooling mom with 4 kids and a husband in the military, I could tell you more about her husband but then I’d have to kill you and that would be hard since I don’t know where most of you live.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Looking Back

Today I was perusing through my blog, looking at some of the Archives. I wanted to make sure that everything was still lined up and even after the design change.

I came across this post. It was kinda interesting to me that even though I posted it 8 months ago, last school year; I could have posted it today.

I still desire the same things, and I still have the same struggles. I know in light of eternity these struggles are 'Light and Momentary' but 8 months does not seem too momentary. I think I just need to get my head around the fact that I will always have these struggles as long as I have children.

The Perfect Mom

Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter's mouth. ~Victoria Secunda

God intended motherhood to be a relay race. Each generation would pass the baton on to the next. ~ Mary Pride

I have not posted in a while, my Mom’s been visiting. Her visit has really got me thinking. What kind of Mom will my kids describe me as when they are adults? Will they remember all the good times or only the bad?

Will they remember all the nights I read to them before bed, or the nights I was too tired or too busy.

Will they remember all the kind and uplifting words, all the I Love You’s or the times when I raised my voice in anger?

Will they remember all the things I taught them? Or all the things I didn’t know?

Will they have fond memories of all the things we did together, or only remember the times I went without them?

Will they remember the times I let them make a huge mess, cooking in my kitchen, or only think on the times I said no because I didn’t want the hassle?

Will they remember the times we all played games together, or the times when they had to play by themselves.

Will they remember all the times we curled up on the couch to read a great book, or the times I made them do their math?

Will they remember all the great and deep conversations we had, or only the lectures they occasionally had to endure?

I am a parent, I am a sinner, I am human, I will not be a perfect parent. How will my children choose to remember me when they have left the nest?

I know that no one can be the perfect parent. There is this constant tug between doing what feels right and doing what is right in this fallen world we live in. The more I focus on God the more doing what is right, is easier. But I’ll never get it perfectly right this side of eternity.

Even in homeschool, I feel the tug between idealism, and reality. I want to sit and talk and read and have deep spiritual discussions with my kids, and we do that some, but there is always the tyranny of the urgent. The math MUST get done; we MUST study writing more, the SAT’s are coming! We don’t have time to sit and talk about what my 8 year old wants to be when she grows up, we have phonics to cover, and haven’t even started History yet, and I have to go get B from his Algebra tutor in 30 minutes! You get the point and have probably experienced the same struggle.

I know what I want my home and homeschool to look like, I know the Ideal that is in my head, but somehow reality falls far short of that ideal.

I think having my Mom here reminded me that this is not forever, this time I have to teach and influence my children is only a season, then they are on their own and I can’t go back and do or undo anything. I can’t go back and read Peter Pan to my 30 year olds, or pull them on my lap and ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

It’s kind of like the parable of the talents. God has given me these 4 talents for a time. One day He is going to ask me what I did with them. One day I’ll be held to account.

Some day soon this portion of my job will be done and I desperately want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” from my Father, and “You did a good job, Mom, I love you” from my kids.

No pressure or anything!

The above photo...
Enough and Room to Spare
by Frederick Morgan

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Um, you know when you have an electronic object that will not work and you call customer service or try to read the troubleshooting section in the informational pages? You know how the first thing they ask you is if you have checked to see if it is plugged in? And you get irritated and mutter under your breath, “who are these idiots who call customer service without checking the plug first?”

Yeah, here is me raising my hand.

First there is the crock pot thing. I did this again last night by the way. B noticed it in time and we got it plugged in before it was too late.

Remember this post where the clock would not work?

Well, those times no one but me and my 10 daily readers knew. But this time I took up the time of the Dish Network customer service people with my idiocy. My remote stopped working so I did the logical thing, I asked D to fix it. He told me to replace the batteries. I did this and it would still not work. I thought it needed to be re programmed or something so I called customer service.

After she walked me through the steps to re program the remote and it still would not turn on the TV, she asked me if I could manually turn on my TV. Um, that would be a no.

“Is it plugged in?”

“Um, no. No it’s not.”

Brilliance in action my friends!

I Love Me A Good Book!

Time for a book review on the Hilltop.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is one of my favorite Christmas books ever.

We read this little gem every year. It is a short book, only about 80 pages, but it is just so sweet. It is set in the late 50’s early 60’s and is about how a horrible group of siblings take over the Christmas pageant of the local church. Initially everyone is horrifies that that these dirty, and very un- godly little children are going to be playing the Holy Family in the pageant; but when all is said and done, we are reminded that the Heardman children are exactly the kind of people Jesus came here for. And perhaps the Holy family looked a bit more like the Herdman children (tired, bedraggled, unkempt) than the clean cut families from the best homes.

Reading this book together as a family is one of my family’s favorite Charismas traditions, even though they almost have it memorized.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday Brunch

So here are the photos of the Holiday Brunch I promised. I know you were waiting with great anticipation.

Here is the photo of me and my friend S. (wonder if S would mind me putting her photo on the Web for the entire world, or my 10 daily readers, to see?)

My hair was so nicely curled and freshly darkened (oh the gray, it is taking over). However the wind was blowing, so you can not see how nice my hair looked, which is a same because having nicely coiffured hair is a rarity for me, I needed pictorial evidence.

This is a photo of some ladies chatting. Notice the absence of small people, sippy cups, plastic plates or catsup. Ahh, it was wonderful.

My SIL, is a wonder decorator. She has her own business here, and she is really good at what she does. I think she gets twitchy every time she comes to my home decorated in the Early Homeschool Fashion. Here are some of her decorations and the buffet she set out for our brunch.

On a serious note, as Christy stated here, it is important for women to get out now and then and talk to other adults. We need to go back to civility sometimes. I personally forget how to interact with people when it is not my job to train them. I get to just relax and be myself. It was really a wonderful time.

I think I need to make this a regular Saturday occurrence, I wonder if D would mind?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent on the Hilltop

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. It is our tradition to skip church and stay home and have home church, when we begin the years Advent celebrations.

This is how we are celebrating this wonderful day. First we woke up early and had a wonderful breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits and fresh fruit. Kidding, we never do that. In fact, I think the only day we do that is Christmas morning. Needless to say, I am not a morning person.

Back to advent; D and I slept in, which was hard because the girls knew we were going to do our tree today and to say they were excited would be and understatement. EVERYTHING THEY SAID WAS SAID IN ALL CAPS SINCE THEIR EYES OPENED AT 6 AM!

We got up and had some coffee and read the paper. After hearing MOM IS IT TIME HUH? HUH? MOM IS IT TIME? We ordered pizza and began our Advent celebration. As we sat around the table eating pizza, we lit the first candle of the advent season the Prophesy or Hope candle. We read Isaiah 9:2-7

Here is a part of what we read.

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, [b] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Then we pulled out our tree from the wall where we it sat waiting to be decorated and the fun began. The boys put the lights on; and oh the memories. G breaking bulbs, possible electrocution, girls ringing all the bells they found in the Christmas boxes they were unpacking all over the living room, while Reba sang O Come O Come Emanuel. (Who in the world put it on the County Christmas station?) We’re a sophisticated lot let me tell you.

It’s a darn good thing this holiday is really about the Birth of Christ. My advent Wreath is beautiful (I think) and I have the advent readings and books all organized and ready to go. I'm totally on top of it.

As for the Christmas decorations; well, while we may not be creating beauty, we are at least creating memories.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

This and That, Here and There.

Jenny in CA, sorry there is no one Wal-Mart story. I could write a book about my Wal-Mart adventures, but I’ll spare you.

I have just noticed every year that the closer you get to Christmas the scarier it is at Wal-Mart. Sometimes I think I’d rather be in a dark alley all alone at night than at Wal-Mart near Christmastime. It is like everyone has a head cold or a hangover! Normal every day Minivan Moms suddenly morph into people who appear capable of committing murder for that last Disco-Dance Elmo.

It’s a frightening thing.


And Jewlsntexas I really liked your comment about my immigration post. I think I like your idea, perhaps we should ask those who were here first.

One thing I struggle with is that we are all here because of immigration -
But even more upsetting to me is when Christians behave as if anything belongs to them - the world is the Lord's and everything in it.
I agree that there are processes - but at the same time - it smacks sometimes of my kids petty "I was sitting here first!"

Let’s let the Native Americans solve immigration! Seriously, I would live to ask a Native American what they think of the whole immigration situation, I bet they might have an idea or two.


I have much to say about the Holliday Brunch today, it was a great time and I have pictures! I’ll post that tomorrow.


I am going to a women’s brunch today. There will be no kids, real plates, good food and much beauty and adult conversations.

I have on a nice 3\4 length sleeve top (because oven though it is Dec 1st it is going to be 70 degrees) with bead embellishment around the neckline. My hair is curled and I have on makeup.

I can hardly wait.

However, I have this horrible feeling I might tell someone to chew with their mouth closed or to use inside voices or correct someone’s grammar.

I think I’ve forgotten how to behave around a room full of grownups!
Details and photos to follow when I return home.