Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Brother's Departure

As we prepare for my brother  and his family to return to the mission-field, I am feeling very glum and reflecting on their time here in our town.  It has been 11 years since we have been in the same town for a whole year and we have missed them.  

Our kids never really knew each other, but they have bonded.  The "cousins" are a great addition to our lives.  Previously, the times #3 and M.'s #1 have been together have been for short trips and quick family gatherings.  For this year, "the girls" were so totally in each others' lives, that they had their own ongoing games, their own "language", their own way of pretending, infinite sharing of books, and no - absolutely NO arguments.  Whatever their differences, the girls somehow find their own world where they agree on almost everything and enjoy each other's company so completely that no one else matters unless that someone is trying to separate them. 

For the boys on the other hand (speaking of my #4 and M.'s #2) they are hardly together on anything.  They can't agree on how to spend their time, what game to play or how to play it.  They irritate each other to the nth degree, but they have added to each others' lives.  They have taught each other the value of difference, but they never really figured out how to overcome them or give in enough to get along.  They have, despite their differences, enjoyed each other in some weird way and longed for each other.  It was just usually always a trial for the adult(s) caring for them.  

So for me, the change will be in two ways.  First, knowing that my brother (when he wasn't traveling), was only a couple of miles away.  There was comfort in that.  Second, for the change it will mean for my girl.  I weep for myself, but mostly for her.  She so bonded with her cousin that it will mean a sad change for her.  So, when the church had M. up for blessing and prayer this morning,  I was the only one weeping.  "M n M" feel very relieved to be going to where they "belong", to the place where God has called them.  The kids are oblivious, at least for the moment.  But I am sad.  So I weep.  I am sure that there are those who understand, but they are not immediately around me.  

This week, as they stay with us to prepare to leave, I determine to enjoy their company.  I promise to not think of the future and what it holds.  I will simply take deep breaths and stay calm, savoring the moments with them and the kids (even those of the two little boys arguing).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Adding a little to the last post

Just one more little thought - As I have said, we do what we can to recycle and reduce, but Ted's Montana Grill (IMO) takes it a little far.....paper straws?!!!!  I mean, come on!!!! 


Cute movie.....but why, oh why does every little kid movie have to have SO much social commentary.  We know, we are FAT, LAZY, and put out a lot of TRASH!!!  We are dumb, but haven't forgotten how to read YET.  Can't movies just be fun, funny and even poignant, but not feel like a slap in the face.....

Ok, my "take home" is to do what you can....we recycle, try to not buy things we don't need or won't use, and we do turn off electronics for a good portion of the day (at least during the school year).  My kids read, two of them LOVE to read.  They are smart, verbal and think for themselves.  I can do better, maybe......

My review is two stars....cute, but could have been better.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tent Camping with the Experts

This is us with our friends from TN.  We had fun camping for one night at a state park about midway between the two.  We LOVE the W's!!!  I actually can't wait to do this again.  J. was nervous the whole time that it would rain and I wouldn't have fun (I have some horrible memories of camping all the way to Maine - "a la" raining so much that everything floated, leaving the tent flap open and our bedding getting wet, vomiting in the tent, etc.)  The W's have all the equipment and are experts backpackers, campers and LOVE hiking.  We were kind of "along for the ride".......

Scavenger Hunt

This picture was for a scavenger hunt for our church.  We tie-dyed the shirts (the kids wanted the letters added but that was a little "Laverne and Shirley-ish").  We got extra points for having our Bibles.  No one really had fun but me!!!

The Three "I's"

This is a picture I have been trying to get for about a year since the baby "I" was born.  I found it very cool to have them all in this picture.  We went with "big I" on a mission trip in 2006 to Honduras.  They all go to our church and the "big I" and "baby I"'s parents are friends, but getting "my I" in was a challenge.....


So, as summer drags on and the kids are home and we are doing puzzles, reading, (#2) clarinet, (#1) zoo volunteer, (#3) elimination diet, and (#1,2, and 4) pool, I am feeling busy, but not so busy, bored, but not bored, never in a routine (which I like routine), and uninspired.  I feel that I wish my kids wanted to get out more as all the errands I run are "quickly to the store" and back or "to the zoo" (to drop off #1) and back.  They never want to go anywhere other than the places I have already mentioned.  And, what is missing?  My friends.  I was able to crop at least once a month and see friends at least twice a week. I am trying to get inspired to clean up, but everything just gets messed up so quickly.  Ho hum.....

We started a new read-aloud last night.  We haven't read aloud regularly for several months.  I kept trying to start one and they found it boring.  I hope we can complete this one.  And complete the huge, hard elephant puzzle that is scattered all over my coffee table.  I hope I can get re-inspired to clean out my closet and maybe hubby's too.  I hope I can get the gumption to give away some stuff.  These are my goals for myself.  I am convinced that is better than setting goals for kids that they don't want to accomplish.  Anyone reading this post?  Say a prayer for me.....

Oh, and what I really need is a "mom's night out" and maybe someone to scrapbook with.  Anyone up for that?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Plum Jelly

For some odd reason, I decided to make a batch of plum jelly.  Here is how it went down.

1. #3 and I go to a farmer's market at a local church about 30 minutes before it closes.  
2. All the produce was sold out except blueberries and a sack of plums.
3. I offer to buy the plums and the older couple selling them give me a good deal on a BUNCH of plums.
4. I get home and wonder what I have gotten myself into, but realize there is very little I could do with this many plums before they spoil, so I decide to make jelly.
5. I go to buy the supplies and realize that jelly-making supplies (except for jars) are NOT sold at suburban discount stores and that jelly-making requires some basic supplies like a canner, a pair of "jar tongs" to remove the jars, etc.
6. I press ahead because as you have guessed, I STILL have a large bag of plums and nothing else to do with them, plus I think that it will give the kids something constructive to do.
7. So, I buy jars, sure-jell and sugar (lots of sugar).
8. #3, #4 and I make one batch of plum jelly that turns out "plum" well!!!
9.  I have juice left, so I refrigerate the rest for the next day.
10. I finish out the rest of the juice with darling husband and kids helping me.
11. Batch #2 doesn't turn out quite as well (doesn't jell), but out of that bag of plums, we got 27 jars (half-pints) of plum jelly - well, actually 9 of which is more like syrup than jelly.  
12. We are happy to be done with the jelly making and swear we will never do that again as it is a LOT of work.  However, as you have probably guessed, I am proud of our handiwork and jelly-making is a little like having a baby, when you see the fruit of your labor, you sigh and say, "Maybe it wasn't SO bad."

Scary, huh?!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fun Puzzle

For me, summer is about keeping the kids reading, playing, swimming, inviting friends over, anything to keep them out of trouble and off the Wii!!!  So, I found this little puzzle that is very fun.   The kids and I (and even my hubby) are always arguing over it.  We love it!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I miss you, my friends

This school year while the kids were in school was a great time for me to connect with a couple really great friends.  I had time for those women and they had time for me.  We bonded over and became addicted to "too sour" diet lemonade and walks in the mall.  I took our "dates" for granted and now they won't happen for at least a few weeks.  I miss them, both Mrs. G. and my friend S.  I miss that S. always has some comfort for my "headaches" and I enjoy comforting her at times.  We are so much alike.  We struggle with some of the same things.  And, I am afraid, I took her for granted.  Now, I won't be able to see her very much for the summer weeks.  

 Mrs. G. was my friend who always has something wise to say.  She is fun and always lends an air of culture to everything she touches.  Alas, she also is busy for the summer traveling.  I miss them both.  I am sure I will make it, but I need them.  When summer is over, I am sure S. will be as anxious as me for our walking and (mostly) talking to resume.  But, when summer is over, my time with Mrs. G. will be limited as she lives in India for the winter of every year.  Some time or another, our threesome will be back together.  We will enjoy catching up.  I am sure we will pick up pretty much where we left off.  That is how friends are.  Thank God for friends!!!