Monthly Archives: April 2011

Twisters, and an otherwise average day at our house


Last night we had a tornado watch in effect for Franklin County.  (Yes, we live in Franklin County!)  So over the hour or so that my radio kept screeching the warning, I sent my kids to the basement to play while I made supper.  CJ was out mowing grass with Pappy, so I figured they’d see a twister if anything happened.  (Nothing ever happened.)  Around 200 deaths have been reported from this violent wave of tornadoes and extreme weather, with 130 tornadoes yesterday alone.  My heart goes out to the mothers who did lose children yesterday.

Today is another gorgeous, sunny, windy day.  I’ve been wearing all the sleeveless maternity shirts I can find in my stash, soaking up all the sunshine I can!  (And wishing I’d do something about that upper arm flab…)  We do have some flood watches in effect, after the rain storm last night.  (Where Dee and I had to get up at 2:30am and mop up the water that poured through the windows.)  But no flood watches in our immediate area.

The chickens got out, so we had to chase them down.  Good exercise for this pregnant lady!

Kbug got her first wasp sting of the year, so we whipped up an herbal remedy of plantain, baking soda, and lavender oil.  (That counts for science, right?)  I think Kbug got stung five times last year, if I’m remembering correctly.  If it’s true that bee stings improve your immune system, than I’ve got one healthy girl!

Cboy found a robin’s egg laying on the ground, and I’m still trying to convince the kids that they can’t hatch it.  It must have been blown out of a nest last night, so it was stone cold.  I told them the baby bird — if there was a baby bird yet — is already dead.  We can’t make it come back to life, and even IF we DID hatch it, baby robins don’t have feathers and fluff like baby chickens when they first hatch.  It’s just not possible to raise a robin from scratch!  The kids told me that God could make it hatch, even if I couldn’t, so they’re going to pray about it.

CJ kept popping in the door with stuff from Grammy’s house.  Leftover spaghetti from her fridge (“Mommy, can I eat this?”)… a scythe from the barn (“CJ!!!  YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT!”)… and an announcement that he went pee up at Grammy’s potty.  At least he’s not going potty in the trees anymore!  The thing is, Grammy’s house is empty during the day right now, since she’s at her sisters’ greenhouse, so CJ just sort of took over her house.

(We had spaghetti for supper.  I promised CJ.  And yes, I do feed my children!  All day long!)

I made the mistake of telling a friend, in front of my kids, that Erin and Terri are trying to get pregnant.  “How do they try?” Kbug wanted to know.  The kids were eating popsicles, so I told them to run outside before they dripped all over the house.  Sneaky me.

And in between all of this, Kbug and I managed to get in a good day of school.  We studied Harriet Tubman (with side notes on Amelia Bloomer, the invention of the refrigerator and Kodak box camera, the Wright Brothers, and the extreme racism that existed even after emancipation in 1865), cannibalistic spiders, and frogs that retract their eyeballs to squash prey against their tongue.  Kbug also excelled at adding and subtracting her first double-digit math problems!  She’s very proud of the fact that she’s finishing up 1st grade in a few weeks.  (Me too, maybe a little proud.)  Today my house isn’t so pretty, but… what else is new. =)

A rare case of Monday blues


Monday was a little sad today.  My family drove back home to Massachusetts, leaving my house fairly quiet, except for Moosies asking, “Is Anna coming back?  Can I see Auntie Anna?  I want to see her, okay?”  And Cboy kept saying, “I miss Lizzy” at random times all day.

Me, I miss them too.

I crashed on the couch for a nap while the kids watched cartoons.  But last night’s wee hours of cards and YouTube were definitely worth the sleepy eyes!

CJ had too many walks with Bompa and the dogs, I’m thinking.  He came inside this afternoon, missing his shorts and undies, and announced: “I went poop.”  Outside.  In the mulch.  “Bompa can just scoop it up with one of those little bags,” he said.  Sure enough, CJ had left a little pile of poop out in the tree line!  Well, Bompa was gone, and I didn’t have any of Bompa’s little plastic newspaper bags, so I made do with (doubled) Wal-mart bags.

I pulled a tick out of CJ’s ear at the supper table.  Maybe that will scare him out of pooping in the trees again?

I can’t write much tonight.  I want to go curl up on the couch and read a book and forget that my family lives so far away.  But first, my list of favorites from last week.  (For me, just because I know I’ll forget it all if I don’t.)

Gibbles field trip, where everyone got FOUR BAGS of potato chips!  Going to the park to eat all our chips and puffies.  Driving to City Park too, just because it was one of the few sunny days in weeks!  Ducklings, monster fish… and adorable kids lying on their bellies, swishing sticks and hands in the pond.  My peas popped up in the garden!  Creeks and rivers completely flooded, from all the rain.  CJ learned to pump (thanks Andrew)!  Easter dinner on Good Friday, with EVERYONE around the table.  Feeling my baby kick, and hoping Shelly’s new baby boy comes soon!  Seeing tiny buds on my maple trees.  Dee cut grass for the first time!  Spring cleaning with Anna.  Kbug singing in the choir on Easter morning.  My two-year-old baby girl in shorts.  Bunnies on our lap for school and movies.  Donuts at Krumpe’s, in the rain, one night before bed.  Bog boots from my siblings.  Coffee in the mornings, and at Starbucks too!  My home filled with noise and chatter and love.

Honeymoons never go out of style


Dee and I are home from our “honeymoon!”  On our way out the door Friday evening, Dee ran back into the house to grab my sunglasses.  Kbug teased, “Whatcha gettin’, Dad?  Stuff to mess around with on your honeymoon?”  Too adorable, that girl.  Who, by the way, fifteen minutes earlier was weeping her eyes out and clinging to me for dear life.  “But I don’t WANT you to go away, Mommy!”  Oh, the drama.

(My boys, they gave us kisses and ran back outside.)

Gettysburg was our first stop, and we checked in to a very nice motel on the outskirts of down-town.  (I tried to get Dee to stay at a motel that had a whole lobby full of navy men, but he wouldn’t do it.)  Such a beautiful town!  We live forty-five minutes way, and we’d never before wandered the streets of Gettysburg!   We ate a Mexican supper, poked around a bunch of shops, and sat in a french cafe to sip coffee and comment that the food was probably really good.

(Derek also drove me around the campus of Gettysburg College, and pointed out all the buildings where he delivered shingles for ABC.  He kind of did this the whole weekend as we drove around; pointed out roofs where he boomed shingles.  It was fun to see his “mark” all over Pennsylvania!)

Saturday was extremely rainy, as a majority of the east coast knows!  No flash floods or tornadoes though.   Just cozy wet weather.  We drove up to Lancaster and ate lunch at a friend’s joint, hit up Starbucks for some COFFEE, checked in to another motel, shopped at the outlets, got soaked ordering custard at Rita’s, drove around down-town Lancaster, and went to see “Hanna” at a Regal Cinema we finally found.  (Yay for locals and smartphones!)

Yesterday morning we slept in late, visited Starbucks again, did more outlet shopping, and then drove home on back roads.  Our kids barely gave us passing glances when we walked back in the door!  I had to drag hugs and kisses out of them.  I guess Anna and Andrew did a good job taking over for us!

Moosies, I must admit, was excited to see us.  She was sleeping when we got home, but had a huge grin on her face when she woke up and saw me.  I was snuggling with her on the couch, and asked, “So did you have a fun time with Anna?  Did you play with her?”  (Anna is her favorite person in the whole world beside me, and sometimes even that order is questionable!)  Moosies wrinkled her eyebrows and said, “No.  I didn’t.  Anna just put me in bed and I went to sleep.”  Haha!  She was so cutely serious that I had to laugh!  And come to find out, she was telling the truth.  There had been a couple of eating battles, once where she ended up without ice cream and once where she ended up in bed.  I can’t believe Moosies is old enough to “tell” on Anna!

You were awesome, by the way, sister dear!  Andrew too.  Thanks for letting Dee and I sneak away for another honeymoon!

(But the front-desk clerk at the Gettysburg motel said that she doesn’t want to see us back again next year.  She’s afraid we’ll tell her that we’re expecting baby #6!  She told us we don’t need to get away.  We need to stay home.)

It’s okay to be spoiled every now and then, right?


It’s Monday!  Again!  Have I mentioned recently how much I love Mondays?  (Seriously, no sarcasm there.)  It’s a fresh start to the week, I’m usually more productive than on other days, and today happens to be GORGEOUS!  Eighty-nine degrees by 4:00pm!  I let my kids fill up the pool, put their bathing suits on, and get soaked.

(We’ve been going barefoot for weeks, so that’s nothing new.)

To anyone that missed me, would you believe that bunnies nibbled on my computer cord and fried my computer?  No?  Truth is, I just haven’t had internet connection for five days.  There’s a downside to bumming a Comcast connection off of my next-door in-laws!  Rain, hail, snow, wind, excessive heat (okay, made that one up)… it all bumps me off-line.

My family was here again!  Traveling back through on their way home from Florida.  All of them are ridiculously tan!  My youngest brother and sister were left here (on purpose), and my family will drive back down at Easter to spend the weekend with us and bring Anna and Andrew back home.

I’ve been spoiled this year, seeing my family so much!  I’ve been able to spend way more time with them, in only three months, than most people who live eight hours away from each other.  And, of course, spoiled with a sister that helps with my kids, dishes, laundry, and cooking.  I know it’s not real life, but I’m sure enjoying it!

My mom took me shopping at Motherhood while she was here, and bought me two maternity shirts and a maternity swimsuit.  I don’t care how many maternity clothes a girl has, new ones are always nice!  And my mom spoils me there. =)

I spoiled myself and bought an $80 pair of jeans at Banana Republic.  The jeans are AWESOME!  (And I only spent $20 on them, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.)  I will never again scoff at people who spend extra money on nice jeans.  They just feel so good!  I was having issues with my hips NOT fitting into jeans I already own.  I think after five pregnancies and four births, my hips might be stuck in the next size up for good.  Or maybe my clothes shrank, or it’s just because I’m pregnant… I can hope, right?

Oh, and in case it crossed anyone’s mind that it’s a little weird for a pregnant lady to be shopping at Banana Republic, I was just there for the pants.  I refuse to buy maternity pants!  I hate the way they look and feel.  So I just wear low-rise stuff all the way through my pregnancies.  There’s always a first time though, ’cause like I said, my body seems to be acting differently this time.  Like, maybe its age?!

Okay, so I just wrote a whole post about clothes and my pampered life.  Umm…

I’m going to go pull some weeds or fold laundry.  Just so you know I’m not a princess.  Or, if I am, I’m the kind that throws fits like the princess who threw the frog against the wall.

Less drama, more rose-smelling!


It’s Monday.  For some people, that means laundry day!  I have a load in the washer, a load in the dryer, and at least one more load of dirty clothes sitting in my hamper.  That’s actually not a lot of clothes for my family!  I must be keeping on top of things. =)  Not!  I wonder where it all went…

(In the chapter of “Little House on the Prairie” that Kbug and I read today, Ma Ingalls washes all her clothes in a tub of water.  I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY WHIRLPOOL FRONT LOADER!!!)

If my clothes don’t make it to the folded-and-in-drawers stage, it’s okay.

If my maternity clothes mountain still sits in the corner, that’s okay too.

If I don’t finish vacuuming the mud room, so be it.  Dirt lives here!

If I run out of energy to make the casserole I was planning, and if the crayons stay on the floor, and I don’t strip the beds even though the sheets haven’t been washed in weeks, it’s okay.

I’m trying to live with less stress and drama.

My perfectionism drives us all up the wall.  (Um, you can’t always see that I’m a perfectionist, because my house isn’t perfect!)  I hate when the house gets messy, and I get stressed out if I see animal crackers under the couch.  The couch I’m sitting on while I try to be the perfect home school mother.  (Yeah, I stress out about that one too!) My perfectionism doesn’t always turn ugly, but when it does, it’s, well, ugly.  I yell and snap and turn into a mother and wife I would hate to live with!

A few months ago I was sighing, maybe even crying  (okay, I probably was), about all the work, and how I couldn’t do it all, and Dee said, “Babe, you have GOT to stop trying to be perfect!”

When I have my meltdowns, I think it’s like a slap in the face to my man.  I’m not 100% sure, because I’m afraid to ask!  Just a gut feeling I have.  Because when I complain, even if it’s not directed at Dee, I’m communicating discontent.  And discontent means I’m not happy!  And if I’m not happy, that means my guy must not be doing his job, right?  He must not be working hard enough, helping enough, loving enough… Basically, he’s just failing.  I would never, never, never say that to his face!  Even consciously think it!  But I think it’s easy to say it to his heart without even realizing what I’m doing.

One of the most powerful stories I read recently was about this lady’s trip to the grocery store.  (And I wish I could remember her name, so I could give proper credit!)  She ran into this elderly gentleman, her next-door neighbor, recently widowed after thirty years of marriage.  She hadn’t spoken to him since his wife died, and told him she was sorry for his loss.  He said, “Thank you, but I’m actually looking forward to starting over again!”  He looked excited.  He said, “Don’t get me wrong, I loved my wife dearly, but if I could go back in time, I’d choose less drama.  I just want to enjoy life with someone!”

Wow.  Hence, my resolve to be a happy wife!  Less stress and drama.  I would hate for my husband to look back over thirty years of marriage (even ten!) and say, “I wish things had been different.  I wish we’d just had more fun!”

This doesn’t mean I’m going to let my household go to pot!  (I hate to admit this, but I think many times less stress means more organization!)  I AM going to try today.  Not to be perfect, but to be diligent and orderly and do as much as I can because order is peaceful.  But a home is only as peaceful as the attitude of the woman who runs it.

I don’t want to run so hard that I miss life in the sweet, fleeting moments of now. 

Life is not an emergency.  (Okay, I’m totally copying that phrase from two bloggers I follow, but I LOVE it!)  The dirty underwear, the bowls with dried oatmeal hardening by the minute, the dusty lightbulbs… it will all remain for any old time.  The daffodils and forsythia blooming right now, along with my children… the chance to hunt for birds’ nests being built, or watch the peas pop up from the dirt… that stuff will be gone tomorrow.

I’m going to try to be supermom, but maybe it’s in the trying and the failing that we really appreciate Grace?  We realize our inadequacy, and appreciate God’s perfection?   We live on this fallen, groaning earth, and we realize that it’s not the perfectly beautiful place we only catch glimpses of.  It’s a beautiful glimpse of heaven’s perfection.

My week by firsts


I’d never had my very own garden, but now I do!  This week we put peas and onions in the little plot Dee tilled up last fall.  I usually just help with my mother-in-law’s HUGE garden right next door, and do all my canning up there as well.  She’s still growing stuff for us this year, and canning stuff for us too.  (I don’t know how much help I’ll be with a brand new baby and two kids in school in August/September!)  But I wanted to try my hand at a small garden down here on our land.   We’ll also be planting lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and I’m sure at least one watermelon plant.  My kids have big plans and a lot of enthusiasm for this garden!

First time since I’ve lived in Pennsylvania that we’ve had SNOW at the end of March!  I loved it.

First time we’ve had baby bunnies!   Eight of them!  This really threw us for a loop, since Pumpkin (our rabbit) has been caught and in her cage for a few weeks now.  Kbug found the babies a week ago Friday, when she went out to feed Pumpkin.  She saw a mound of rabbit fur in the nest, came inside and told me she thought there were baby rabbits.  I said, “No way, there can’t be!  That’s not even possible!”  But it is, and there are.  I peeked under the rabbit fur (mother rabbits pull out their own fur to make a nest for their kits), and saw two rat-looking pink things.  Yesterday we looked closer and discovered EIGHT baby bunnies!  At least they’re cute now, with some fur.  I know absolutely nothing about baby rabbits, so we’ve been using Google a lot!

Oh, and we’re NOT keeping them.  Does anyone want cute baby bunnies?

On Tuesday we went to Monkey Joe’s for the first time!  It was a birthday party for some friends, and between us five moms, there were eighteen kids.  I think the place emptied out when we left!  Has anyone else ever been to Monkey Joe’s?  It’s an indoor bounce place, and I LOVED letting the kids run and jump and slide for two hours!  Buy one/get one free coupons made the price a whole lot more doable, too.

I pulled my maternity clothes out for the first time this week.  I dumped all five boxes on my bed, tried on a few shirts, and then piled everything back up in a mountain in the corner.  The shirts were still a little baggy, so I just felt fat instead of pregnant.  I’ll just keep stuffing myself into regular T-shirts!

This week one of my kiddos dumped a fifty-five gallon drum filled with trash all over my basement.  There were a few light bulbs amidst the rubble, and these he smashed with a hammer.  That was a first for me!  I deal with a lot of messes, but this was a big one.  I was NOT a happy mama that day!

We watched “Tangled” for the first time on Tuesday, the day it was released.  We loved it!  My kids have been counting down the weeks and then the days until “Tangled” came out on DVD.  There were tears a few weeks ago, when they saw the movie advertised at Bluebox, assumed it was out, and then had their hopes crushed.  (“Frying pans.  Who knew, right?”  Yeah, I have most of the lines memorized by now…)

And sweetest of all, I felt my baby kick for the first time!   From on the outside of my tummy!  I’ve haven’t yet felt super connected to this newest tiny being.  Maybe because I’m so busy?  It’s not the same as my first, sitting around day-dreaming about motherhood.  I’m already IN motherhood full swing, and the thought of adding a fifth baby to this household is overwhelming!  But these tiny kicks… they’re precious.  And I know feeling my baby kick and flip for the next five months will make me fall in love like nothing else!