Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Here are some fun things we got Ike for his 12th birthday!

I found this awesome book, "You Gotta Be Kidding!" by Randy Horn. It is a crazy book of "would you rather" questions. 

Would you rather...
Turn into a fly 
turn into a cockroach?

Would you rather...
Have no teeth and try to eat a big bowl of caramel popcorn
try to eat four bagels?

Would you rather...
Get poison ivy all over your rear end
between all your fingers and toes? 

Out of all the gifts we gave our youngest OS, so far this book seems to be the gift he likes the most. Ike completely grossed me out as we drove to my nephew Jon's 3rd birthday party. Anytime a 12 year old can repulse his mom is a good day. Although I can usually keep pace with my three OS in the gross department, I must say You Gotta Be Kidding pushed me to the limit. By the time we arrived, I had more than a day's worth of disgusting questions about spit and pus. It was fun though, I think it will elicit some interesting dinnertime conversations!

Then Ike got a new CD collection of Adventures in Odyssey stories. 
You should listen to this wonderful series of radio programs by Focus on the Family. Ike learns Biblical truth in an entertaining and educational way and whenever I join him, I always find a fresh word from the Lord. They aren't preachy or lecturing, they are humorous and truly worthwhile. You can also listen to the series on the radio with this link. Ike does this all the time, too!

And I found this travel version of Hang Man for Ike. It is a wooden game with an erasable whiteboard and self-storing dry-erase marker. It should be cool to use when we make longer car rides and I'm hoping Ike will let me borrow this for my trip to El Salvador on Nov. 15th.

Mark was out of town on Ike's birthday but being the great daddy he is, he wrote on a card for his boy. In the card, Mark included a handmade coupon entitling Isaac to his all-time favorite dinner. Crab legs. Isaac has been asking for crab legs since the last time he had them. I think if our growing boy actually paid for crab legs, he would ask less often!

So after eating pizza and birthday cake at Jon's b-day, we went to Sam's Club and I purchased $47 worth of giant Alaskan king crab legs. We gorged on the ocean's delectable treasures. 

Sounds like a fitting way to celebrate our sweet boy! Psalm 127:3 "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." 

Busy, busy

I'm so sick of political ads, aren't you?  Thankfully we have digital cable so I can tape my favorite tv shows. I can watch those programs while fast forwarding through all the commercials, especially the political ones. I am ready for this whole thing to be done, that's for sure. 

But yesterday was so busy, none of the politicians had a chance of getting a minute of my time. It was Isaac's 12th birthday and I had plenty to do. First I picked up sub sandwiches for my guys and dropped them off for lunch. Aaron announced to his friends that I was the best mom of the day so I had that going for me!

Then I went grocery shopping at Trader's Joes. I behaved myself very nicely, didn't drop salt on anyone's head but while on my way to the next errand, I witnessed a car accident.  A woman was taking a left turn and she veered into a street sign on the median. Crystal, (that was the young woman's name), ran over the sign and then her car stopped in a small hill. Her car was dangerously blocking traffic and I gasped. As soon as I could, I immediately stopped my car right by hers to make sure she was ok. I was afraid someone could crash into my car but I was more concerned about her. She was fine but very shaken up. I called the police, she said she didn't need an ambulance and I stayed with her. Apparently her sunglasses dropped and when she tried to retrieve them, she lost control of her car. The street sign toppled over like a popsicle stick. We sat on the curb and I prayed softly for her. I left after telling the police officer about the accident. Crystal had moved to our town for a new start. I told her that she could still find a new start despite this accident. We hugged, I told her I would pray for her. 

Although Crystal's car (actually it was her boyfriend's dad's car = awkward) would be classified as a beater, to our mutual surprise, her car was drivable

Then I continued on my quest to find my delicious, freckle-face 12 year old boy the perfect birthday presents, the subject of my next blog post. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm feeling old today. Old and dumb. 

I went to the doctor and got a steroid/lidocaine shot in my knee because of arthritis pain. 

Plus my face looks old and weary. I need to go back to the gym. 

And my poor son has been trying for TWO days to help me install AIM via cell phone conversations and we are having no luck! Praise the Lord, Nate has been patient with me but it has been a VERY frustrating experience with very little progress. 

It's times like this that I feel pretty badly about myself.

So I'll try and concentrate on my morning. After taking the guys to school, I went grocery shopping. This time my experience at the grocery store did not involve projectile salt or on a foot scooter! Thank goodness! While there I had an encounter with the lady at the deli counter which ended much better than it began. I don't seem to have a lot of luck at the deli counter. At the risk of sounding very prejudice, I find that people who work with lunch meat to generally have very lousy attitudes. 

I fearfully approached the deli counter having noticed that its normal hours of operation are 9am-9pm. I was an hour early. The lady looked up and half-heartedly asked me if I needed something. Trepedaciously (ew, big word!), I asked her if she wouldn't mind helping me even though I was an hour early. Her curt reply was, "what do you want?" Allrighty then, I said to myself and cautiously ordered a half pound of ham off the bone.

But something inside of me wasn't content to leave our connection in such a miserable way and so I persisted in engaging her in conversation. It was risky but we pressed on discussing the chilly weather, the terrible economy, etc. 

As I placed another order, this time for a half-pound of provolone cheese, I offered her a word of encouragement. "Even though the economy is bad and it seems like a lot of scary things are happening, let me tell you what our pastor preached on yesterday. Our preacher told us that in spite of all this uncertainty, God is."

Her whole attitude changed and as then I ordered a quarter pound of pancetta. Pancetta for minestrone tonight!  Two semi-thick slices. By the end of our conversation, I had invited her to our church and I asked for her name and she moved her apron to show me. Her name was Mary. She wanted to exchange phone numbers! Although we probably have a lot of differences on a host of issues, I was blessed to leave Mary with a smile on her face. Her entire attitude had changed.

So I need to concentrate on my encounter with Mary and NOT my wrinkles, my pain, my concerns and troubles. I need to keep my eyes on the Lord, He will fail me not. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is your room clean?

I try to keep an orderly home. Some days it is not easy and it seems like we are all slobs. And then there are bathrooms...If you have read my blog profile you know that one of my goals in life is to raise three young men who love and live for Jesus AND put the toilet seat down after using it. A girl's gotta aim high while hoping her men just aim, right? We have our good days and our bad days and our home will probably never pass the white glove test.

That is until our oldest OS began attending West Point. He will be home for Thanksgiving and I am so excited! After 18 years, our boy has finally learned to clean his room! And when I say clean, I mean, spotlessly clean!

A few weeks ago, he had a SAMI. For you non-West Point-y types, that means a super duper room inspection. I am often amused at the contrasts between having a child attending a 
military academy versus traditional college and this is a major difference. Our son's room was going to be inspected and not just spot-checked for cleanliness. Oh no, my friends, every last inch, dare I say, centimeter of his room was going to be examined.

So in uncharacteristic fashion, our son and his roommate (the other one was away visiting family), spent the entire night cleaning their room. Top to bottom. Inside and out. Not a cranny of that room was left with a speck of dirt. A dust bunny didn't have a chance, these young soldiers killed it instantly. My jaw nearly hit the floor when Nate told us that they had even cleaned in between the door hinges! Who would have thunk? 

This is what his room looked like prior to the SAMI...

And this was after the whirlwind cleaning 

I was looking forward to my boy being home for
Turkey Day but now, I am overjoyed at this new found skill and what this will mean for our family. What mother wouldn't long to put her arms around her baby boy and then give him a long list of chores he now can expertly complete? Who cares about him knowing how to throw a grenade or march in procession, at long last, I have a son who can clean! God is good! 

The Friday after Thanksgiving, while many in our country are shopping (hopefully for our economy), my husband and two other OS will be attending a mandatory cleaning class and I expect there to be some big improvements in the house as a result. 

Why just take a look at these pics. My OS slept on the floor the night before his SAMI. He went to bed at 5 in the morning and got one hour of sleep. That boy even starched his sheets! His roommate's bed was so tight, he received compliments from fellow cadets. 

If this whole West Point thing doesn't work out, I'm now totally confident our son could easily get a job at the nearest Marriott Hotel. They'd snatch that boy up in a jiffy!

I'm so glad my boy is learning now things! Can't wait to see those skills put into action. Dust bunnies, you've got until Thanksgiving, then watch out, Nate's coming back with vengeance!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trouble at Trader Joe's

My next post was supposed to be about beds or boxing...

That is until I went to Trader Joe's and accidentally dropped 26.5 ounces of salt on a lady's head.

All I wanted to do was pick up fresh basil and a few other ingredients. I had no intention of hurting anyone, especially in front of my children, that's for sure.

But that's what happened. 

A petite lady in her mid 50's wearing a brownish outfit was bent over looking at the dry active yeast packets. I wanted sea salt. Sea salt is good for you and we were running low. We were in the home stretch of our errand when I reached over to grab the salt. I could have waited for her to finish selecting her active dry yeast packets but I didn't. Suddenly, inexplicably the cylinder of sea salt slipped from my hands and landed right on the corner of the lady's head.

I was dumbstruck and embarrassed beyond mention. My boys were silent. No giggles, no nothing. I started rubbing her head, asking her if she was ok, apologizing, offering to get some ice, apologizing again and feeling horrible. It was 26.5 ounces aka 1 lb. 10.5 ounces of Baleine's Sea Salt that clipped the side of her head. 

Isaac reminded me that it wasn't just 26.5 ounces that landed on her head. If you account for velocity, it was more than, thanks, Ike.

I apologized again, asked if there was anything I could do. She said she would probably be ok. It was awkward and I was clueless what else was there was to do?? Should I give her my phone number? Insurance card? Money? If my car had run into hers, I would easily have known that to do but I have never dropped sea salt on someone's head before. 

But this was 26.5 ounces of sea salt. What's the right thing to do in this case? So I stood there, looking at my two sons, 14 and almost 12 years old and mouthed to them, "What else should I do?", like they would know! We couldn't think of anything and time was passing so slowly, I pitifully went up to the check out and spoke to the cashier

I told her of my misfortune and tried not to cry. I asked her if it would be possible for her to help me. "I dropped salt on a lady's head and wanted to know if I paid for it, could you give her some flowers from me when she's in the check-out line?" 

She went to get the manager and I had to tell her what I did. I've never felt more guilt-laden at a grocery store in my life! I felt like a really bad person as I tried to discern the manager's facial expressions. Was she mad at me? Did she think I was a horrible person? I described the woman and the manager took the bouquet and offered to locate the lady. She might have also wanted to write an "accident report." Ugh!

The cashier told me it was going to be ok and said she thought it was nice of me to try and do something. I wiped a few tears away from my eyes. I felt powerless and useless. On the way home, we prayed for the lady. I'm sure she is going to be ok. This was in no way a life-threatening injury but I still feel badly. Like most of us when we come to the grocery store, she left with more than she was planning on getting; however, in this case, it was a lump on the side of her head and a bouquet of sunflowers.

Drats! Have you ever done something regretful like this? How did you handle it? 

Monday, October 13, 2008

And the winner is...

Thanks for all your suggestions about blog posts. I am particularly impressed with apeasofmylife and thehokeypokeyplace's challenge to combine all three of my potential posts into one. I appreciate your confidence in my ability but I'm not sure I've got it in me. 
So I hope you can settle with my post being about...

BRAINS (I will do posts about boxing and beds in the near future, promise!) 

Just as I was finishing up my time with a broken foot, Ike decided to tear some ligaments in his foot! Can you believe it??? Last Sunday, I went to church with my orthopedic boot and Isaac on crutches. People are beginning to get worried about us! With limited mobility and a two week fall break in front of us, I had to do something with my son since running and basketball were out of the question. That's when I came up with a brilliant idea...let's make a brain! 

With our oldest OS away at West Point, we could use an extra brain around the house. He's like the smartest guy in our family and we have been feeling his intellectual absence. Maybe your family thinks they are super duper intelligent, we know we're not. No sense in trying to pretend. 

You might think brains are made of grey matter but that would be wrong, my friends (said in a John McCain-y kind of voice;).  Bet you didn't know that brains are actually made of corn starch, gelatin, water and food coloring! And incidentally, they smell kind of icky too.

For Christmas last year we bought our OS a Disgusting Anatomy Brain kit with Bonus Eyeball Kit! It's been sitting in the closet ever since then and so on a beautiful autumn day, we began to make our disgusting brain. 

Isaac stirred the gelatin into the water then the corn starch and in no time at all, our brain was placed into the mold to congeal overnight. Amidst the fresh produce and condiments, there sat our brand new brain, chilling out.

And it was ready just in time, too. As this video clip demonstrates, suddenly we found a family member in DIRE need of a brain. That sometimes happens with 14 year olds...

We sure were glad to have that slimy brain ready for delivery! We performed a minor lobotomy and thank goodness, Aaron has a mind of his own!

(This is part one)

We still have enough stuff to make at least one more brain, give us 24 hours and we can have one ready for you too!  

Mothering is fun! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pick my Post

I have several potential posts waiting in my fingers. I often feel like I have words stuffed in my fingers just waiting to be typed out. If you are a writer or a poet, you probably know the feeling.

So help me folks,

Should my next post be:

About brains?

About boxing?

About beds?

Those are the three options in my writer's head as of noon Wednesday, Oct. 8th. I need help! Which one sounds the most interesting to you? I hope to hear from at least five people before I make my decision. Tawk to me, friends!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog referral

Today is the shortest blog post I have ever done. I simply want to refer you to 

This week happens to mark the 22nd anniversary of my father's passing and I always approach this week with some fear and sadness. My dad didn't leave the kind of legacy a daughter needs and so when I read thehokeypokeyplace I reflect upon its entries as a wife, mom, daughter and Christian believer. Jim is one of the most honorable and courageous people I will ever meet. Ironically we have never met in person just via the Internet but we have several things in common. My husband and son also read his blog so there isn't anything inappropriate going on, just thought I'd mention that. 

Once you read this man's blog, I hope it moves your heart as much as it does mine. Let me know what you think.