Friday, August 29, 2014

A New One's Just Begun...

Another year of our educational journey began this past Monday.  We are steadily plodding along, which is a really good way to describe my approach to education.  It's more like plodding and less like sprinting or coasting.  Homeschooling isn't easy.  It takes discipline. 

I said it.  That "d" word.  DISCIPLINE.  This is our children's education I'm talking about here.  If I sluff off, they suffer in the long run - being less prepared for real life and its challenges. 

I'm doing more with Blossom3 this year.  She LOVES school, as did all my girls at that age.  They were just dyin' to learn to read.  Prior to Monday, I thought that if I spent more time doing preschool with Blossom3, I'd actually spend less time trying to occupy her and convince her that we'd do some schoolwork later.  Thus far, that has entirely proved to be true.  She's very content to occupy herself with toys and such wherever I decree, because she's happy that her turn is plenty long and she gets lots of learning time with Mommy.  She has big plans for this year.  She believes that if she learns to read, she can start her Kindergarten stuff... that's what she keeps telling people anyway.  I think we'll just take it one day at a time. 

And Blossom4... you can guess what she's doing the whole time.  She's learning to play in a designated area.  She's never been a big toy baby-child.  Household items and sisters' belongings have always held much more appeal for her.  So, I'm striving for balance.  I strongly believe in free play AND I believe in learning to obey for the benefit for the entire family.  Peeling her off of the top of her sister's lampstand is necessary because climbing on that distracts the family.   There are other harmless exploratory type of plays that she can perform quietly.  We're making progress there.
I wasn't dreading another year and I'm still not dreading it.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here.  It's a privilege, not a burden.  That being said, I have been really, really tired by the time bedtime rolls around. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Memory of the Righteous

The value of living for God day-by-day, day-after-day is immeasurable.  I can't tell you how priceless it is.  Holiness day in and day out can only be achieved by steadily plodding along with the Holy Spirit helping us in each moment.  Only then can a person's final home-going be beautiful and peaceful. 

Think of it like saving for Christmas.  You put a little money way, every day and then, Christmas shopping is a joy.  However, if you shirked squirrelling away funds all through the year, Christmastime won't be so pleasant for you.  You can't make up for the lack of saving.

Similarly, you can't make up for the lack of a Godly life.  Rejecting Christ over and over becomes a lifestyle stemming from a hardened heart. 

Living for God is much like a long term investment.  The eternal dividends pay rich returns of peace and eternity with God.  Those eternal dividends lack the pain of regrets.  They leave behind a rich legacy of righteousness and Godly character.  It brings to mind Proverbs 10:7.

"The memory of the righteous is blessed..."

May the Lord help me to live for Him every day, day after day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nice People Make Great Victims

I was seated in the Poultry/Rabbit enjoying the company of my friend, Gwen and her grand-daughter, when I man approached us and started yakking.  He was somewhat elderly and I do try to be friendly to the elderly.  I think it's what Jesus would do.  They're usually lonely people.  I was sitting on a bench, fully covered, nursing Blossom4.  Only her shoes could be seen.  He stopped his friendly chatter about the delicious French fries he was eating and began to make off-color remarks about me nursing.  Now, the man did mumble a lot, so it was kinda easy to brush it off, even though I was appalled at what I was pretty sure the tenor of his remarks were.  The conversation stretched on and on, ranging from a very distant mutual acquaintance we had, to now flirtatious, crude, off-color comments toward Gwen and me.  We just kept thinking this man would go away.  We were trying to be nice.  It just kept getting weirder and weirder.  Then, he began talking to our children, especially trying to find out their names.  Gwen and I were telegraphing our alarm to each other with our eyes and verbally calling the children to stay close to us.  Abruptly, Gwen blurted out, "Isn't it time for us to be over there?" while motioning to the other side of the fairground.  The whole, long, creepy, awful conversation came to a complete halt.  The man left. 

My friend, Red, was running a garage sale with her beautiful baby daughter and preschool-age niece.  An older fellow came to browse and doggedly proclaimed how beautiful the little girl and the baby were.  He just kept saying it over and over and over... AND, he wanted to take pictures of them to take home with him.  He wanted to buy a camera and batteries and the garage sale to do so.  Red had no place to go.  She was manning the sale herself.  Eventually he just left.

These two seemingly harmless, yet decidedly creepy, occurrences have caused me to think a little about situations I'd rather not dwell on. 

Nice people make great victims. 

Yes, Gwen, Red and I, in our individual situations, all were concerned about our children and kept them in eye sight, but why didn't we take it a step further?

We were too busy being nice.

There is a place for wisdom, a time that trumps kindness to strangers. 

If you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself and your children from the situation.  It can be done as gracefully as loading up your stroller and heading to a busier part of the park or something (or leaving).  It doesn't have to be graceful though.  Don't stick around just to be nice.  If you can't be removed from the situation, if the situation becomes a confrontation, that's when it's time for other options, but

my point today is that I'm done being so nice that I forget wisdom and common sense types of solutions.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mindful of us

Friday dawned foggy, but nice.

We journeyed to a local State Park that the girls and I had never visited before.  Daddy had a day off and so we made a day of it.

It's rare that you find a hike with a difficulty level of THREE and a scenery level of EIGHT.  Those kinds of hikes are gems, in my opinion.  I actually can't wait to do this particular hike again. 

"When I consider Thy heavens, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained...

"What is man that Thou are mindful of him?..." 

God's creation puts it all in order again.  We're little.  He's big.  We're just a tiny part of the ginormous picture, and it's good for us to know that... even from a young age.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Foggy morning beauty...

This is what our mornings look like lately.
Not many things are prettier than a dewy web.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

You know you live in the country when...

A few country thoughts,

- When the sounds that soothe your soul are the bleating of sheep and the purring of contented hens, you know you savor country lullabies.

- When you get your dander up because there's just "so many people at Wal-Mart," (on a Tuesday?) you know you appreciate your country solitude. 

- When the rooster is your alarm clock, you know you live in the country.

- When your idea of a privacy fence is a field of cornstalks, you know you live in the country.

- When there's no light pollution but lightning bugs and no noise pollution but the occasional tractor or lowing animal, you must live in the country.

- When you don't wait for Pest Control Services to take care of garden pests, you live in the country.

- When your neighbors use the same "Pest Control methods" you do, you live in the country.

- When passing a buggy (even on a double yellow) is considered acceptable, you know you live in the country.

- When you think nothing of buying fruit and veggies at a roadside stand, you live in the country.

- When you take note of where the Amish are having church, so you can drive home via an alternate route, you know you live in the country.

- When following farm equipment can make you late for goin' somewhere, you know you live in the country.  (And yet, you wave at the man as you finally drive past.)

And my favorite, the unspoken rule,
- When you wave at strangers on the road, in their yard or nearby, as you pass, you KNOW you live in the country.  (Because they wave back, instead of looking at you funny.)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Meet Bree

Drum roll please... Ladies and Gents, I'd like to introduce to you...
I can't remember her name.
I usually just call her "Your Bunny Rabbit."

(That's currently her name... today, anyway.)
And that's actually "Bree the Narnian Rabbit" to be exact.
Yes, they just got done listening to CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy last week.

We're enjoying Bree!  I *think* Bree is enjoying us.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

You can tell a Mama's tired when...

You can tell a Mama's tired when:

- She tells you that she decided against buying a souvenir t-shirt because she has so many t-shirts, she isn't sure she could EAT them all. 

- She almost places boiled lettuce in her child's snack container, rather than in the tadpole container.  (Google it.  Best thing to feed tadpoles in captivity is boiled lettuce.  Who knew?  Ours are thriving!  We've released several frogs already!  Unfortunately, I'm fairly certain that 15 month old Blossoms do not thrive on boiled lettuce, only shredded cheese, Greek yogurt and fishy crackers.)

- She finishes NO sentences, much to the Blossoms' chagrin.  (Mama, will you please finish what you were saying?!)

- She worked hard all day, but when asked, couldn't tell you what she did!  (It's just a vague hazy feeling...)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Orange Shirts

At busy playgrounds or amusement parks, this mama has stumbled on an easy solution for keeping track of all of our Blossoms.  Nope, not leashes.  Nope, not sitting on them. 
Orange shirts.
We call it Mandatory Orange around here.  'Cept this is my new "mandatory" for busy public outings like fairs, craft shows, parks and the like. 
(Pardon the less than perfect shorts, I dress our girls to play, not model.  They like it that way.)

Can you pick out which kiddos are ours?

All day, I counted, "One, two... hmmm, missing one orange shirt... wait, there she is!"

Seriously, check out the craft department at your local Wal-Mart.  I picked these up for $3.00 a piece.  Yes, there's only one youth size to work with, but it works for the girlies.  Now, I just gotta find one small enough for BabyBlossom.  This has only recently become an issue because she was also strapped to me before!  And, on my last trip to Wally World, I was tickled to find a bright orange Gildan brand shirt in my size.  Maybe that'll quell the panic when they come through a gate or down a slide and can't pick me out of the awaiting crowd right away.  :) 

Friday, August 8, 2014

One Shirt Alert

I think every lady I know who is interested in dressing modestly has expressed the frustration of having to wear minimum of two shirts in order to dress tastefully.  So, when somebody finds an inexpensive shirt that fully covers, flatters, is pretty AND is inexpensive, that somebody ought to share the one-shirt love. 

This is your first official One Shirt Alert!

This Gildan brand tee was $3.97 at Wal-Mart two weeks ago.  It is comfortable, has an unquestionably modest V-neck and a flattering but covering length.  I bought three and I love them already.  And, they've been washed several times in that two week period.  When you pick your size, take note that these are already pre-shrunk, which means the sizing won't change after you wash and dry them at home.  I did notice that you had to pay attention to the sizes.  I found that the white in the medium was humongous, so I figured it was a factory mistake but the blue, purple and gray that I purchase all were consistent in size.  Wal-Mart also had a crew neckline available and loads of other colors.  I'm telling you, for barely $4.00, it's a One Shirt miracle.  Here's hoping that they are still there when I head back for my bi-weekly Wal-Mart trek this weekend, because I plan on snagging a few more! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Move Over S'mores, Here Come the Doughboys

Yes, I said it.  We nixed S'MORES... for DOUGHBOYS!

Or, "dose little man-tings" as Blossom3 called them!  What's not to love about golden brown dough, butter and cinnamon & sugar?  So, thaw frozen bread dough dinner rolls at room temperature.  Then, roll them between your hands play-doh snake style.  Attach to your roasting fork like the pic below.  (You could use a stick too.)

Roast over the fire slowly, so as to brown evenly.  You're going for slow heat so the inside bakes and the outside browns.  (and your mouth waters!)

Then, take your stick of butter and slather it on all over.  Sprinkle or roll in cinnamon sugar. 

More cinnamon sugar!

Even more cinnamon sugar makes it even better!

Give it a shot.  I bet you won't go back to s'mores!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thoughts from the Fair

Being that we're 4-Hers now, we've been spending a lot of time at our county Fair.  We've been enjoying this change of pace, especially all the new people we've been meeting and observations we've been making.

Now I know why they call children "kids!"  We watched a Goat Show yesterday.  That's three plus hours of whining, stubborn entertainment.  And that was from the goats, not the Blossoms.  (Actually, a couple of people commented on how well-behaved the girls were.  I was SO thankful for that.)  I just had to laugh at the goats.  They balk.  They cry.  They whine.  They buck.  They dawdle.  They get distracted.  AND, they even do that limp-wriggle thing that we call, "Goin' boneless."  The 4-Hers have to firmly pull the goats to get them to do what they want.  Country entertainment at it's finest!  It is also important to note that "firm handling" is considered a good thing in the goat show world.  Not sure why some folks don't appreciate "firm handling" in the parenting world. 

We've spent a bunch of time observing one exhibitor's hen and chicks.  I've decided that I can relate with the hen.  The chicks stand on her back.  They poop on her.  They stand in her food.  They climb on her head.  They crawl all over her.  They get in her face.  Oftentimes, she resorts to sitting on them.  I go right up to her cage and say, "Honey, I can relate... except it isn't socially acceptable in the human world for me to sit on them."  Seriously though, motherhood is a selfless job with rewards sometimes not seen for years and years and years.  Thank the Lord for grace to keep on, even when I might have that harried, ruffled-up look like my hen friend.

Then, there's the rejoice with those that are rejoicing concept.  There's plenty of opportunities for that... like when your sister wins something for her cabbage, another sister wins something for her sewing project and you win nothing for your zucchini.  But then, the shoe (boot?) is on the other foot when someone gives one girlie boots that don't fit smaller little girlies (yet).  So, the lesson is rejoice with your sister! 

Good times, my friend, good times!  What an experience this county fair thing is!  I'd better get out and take care of home stuff, since I'm actually home. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Mommies and Personal Care

Dear Doctor,
I tried to hydrate myself today.  I got a fresh glass of water and sat on the swing to watch my children play.  One child stuck her hand in to get an ice cube.  Now my water is gritty.  I got another glass of water.  One child wanted a drink.  Now my glass is slimy.  Then, another child wanted to be near me.  My glass of water got spilled.  (I think I may try drinking straight out of the faucet.)  Another time, I decided to try a fresh glass of water left out on the counter.  My littlest climbed up and dumped it all over the counter.  I've recently switched to those pretty plastic cups with lids and straws.  My child was nearby in a high chair.  She grabbed it, took a long swig and then pitched it over the side, as she does with all her other sippy cups.  My fancy cup cracked open and spilled all over the floor.  Sigh.  This is why I am dehydrated.  I gave up and ate some chocolate instead. 

Dear Chiropractor,
I know you want me to work out so I don't turn into a jelly body.  I tried to stretch and one child climbed on my back.  Another child laid in my lap and insisted on nursing.  When I give Tae Bo a shot, everyone wants to do it with me, and I spend more time instructing than actually working out.  They bounce off the walls; I don't even break a sweat.  The dog thinks it's playtime and bites me.  I've thought of working out when they are asleep, but I really like sleeping at naptime.  Besides, they might get ahead of me where sleep hours are concerned.  I've attempted walking, but they all walk too slow for me to break a sweat.  I gave up and ate some Nutella instead.

Dear Dentist,
Please refer to above letters.  I realize I should floss more but I'm exhausted from all my other personal care attempts, so I fall into bed at night.