Saturday, March 29, 2008

Here's What We've Been Up To

Sunday was such a stormy day that it was a real blessing to have Monday be so nice! We all went for a walk at noon and later, went out and bought strawberry plants to put on the deck in planters. The kids played outside for a bit. Spring is on its way, right?

Wrong. Wednesday it began to snow. And snow. And snow! All day. All night. Chad went out and played in it. We got 1-2 inches that stuck until the next day. It melted but it continued to snow/hail/rain. Today - more snow/hail/freezy rain. I'm freezing. It's a good thing I didn't put away my winter stuff (what little I have).

Of course, we ran out of firewood at the door so Chad (brave soul) moved more wood up from the front stack. It was icy which makes it kind of scary. A nurse Todd works with slid on the ice today and hit a parked car. This is the end of March for goodness sake!

My dh went out and bought 2 guitars, one for himself and a smaller one for the kids. Alec has expressed an interest and since we want him to do something musical, this seems to be a start. Todd is teaching himself, Alec and me. Todd looked pretty cool, walking into the courtyard out front carrying a guitar (twice). It has been nice, listening to soft guitar twanging/strumming/thrumming. I've learned 7 notes so far - it's fun!

Chad has postponed his euphonium playing for now as it hurts to play with braces. But he's gone back to playing piano and that's also been really nice to hear.

Our strawberries and daffodils have survived the snow and ice, so far. There's no let up in sight until Monday. Send me some warm thoughts, o.k?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Fun

We had a rather unusual Easter today.

My husband worked a 12-hr shift last night, so he spent part of the day sleeping. My 10 yr old, Alec, went anti-egg everything. And I'm hormonal, still sore from a muscle injury and either still recovering from my illness or now I've got allergies. Oh, and it stormed most of the day, winds up to 35 mph and it was COLD!

Since my husband was working, we dyed eggs yesterday without him. Late that evening, I had to do the baskets and fill and hide the plastic eggs alone. I prefer him to join me with these things but it couldn't be helped. I just wasn't into doing it. But I did it.

2 weeks ago, my son Alec announced he didn't want to dye eggs, didn't want a basket with candy and didn't want to find eggs on Easter morning. He said there's too much candy (I do try not to overdo it) and that's not what Easter is about. We said that was fine and he's right, it's not what Easter is about. I said that we do focus on Christ's Resurrection but the other things are just fun traditions. I also said he didn't have to have candy at all - I could give him a can of green beans instead (I happened to be by the pantry and I think that's where I got this brilliant idea). He said that would be fine. O.k.

This morning, when the kids went to find their hidden baskets, Alec found a small basket with a can of green beans in it. I wasn't sure how he'd respond ... he said, "Oh, green beans, it's just what I wanted!" Then he sat down and watched his siblings hunting for eggs. We finally told him to go hunt for eggs - now! He jumped up and ran around like a mad man, hoping to get his share. I don't know what all this was about but we just went with it. I think he wanted to stick with his original plan and not look stupid or something because in the end, he really did want to find eggs. Oh, and I did make him up a second basket with candy that I allowed him to find - and he was very pleased. But he thanked me again, later, for those green beans. Go figure!

We don't have a local church at the moment and with Todd working overnight, attending my friend's church 1 hour away wasn't really an option. Especially due to the weather we had. It was really cold and storming like crazy. 35 mph wind gusts. Rain from all directions. It was wild. I've always wanted to attend the sunrise service offered on one of the highest hills here in our town (our town is mostly situated on hills along the river) but since we've lived here, I can't recall too many Easters that have been nice enough - it's usually raining or cold or both. So I dressed up nicer than usual and so did the boys. Not Carmen - she doesn't like to dress up at all at the moment. Todd stayed up for the egg hunt and breakfast, then slept late morning until afternoon. There was finally a sun break and we drove over to a church that creates a cross on the front lawn made up of daffodils. It was really beautiful - I felt like crying! The daffodils sometimes come too early for a fresh cross on Easter - God allowed the flowers to be right on time this year.

I had planned a nice ham dinner tonight but my husband wanted homemade pizza. So, that was our Easter dinner. Which was fine because that made it easier for me!

A most unusual Easter but it was a fun one. We started the day reading to the kids a book about Jesus' life and death and resurrection, then we prayed. And we ended the day reading about it from the Bible and praying. Oh how thankful I am for Jesus! May my children grow to love Him more than anything else on this earth!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Guppy News

Just a quick fish update (I'm sure you were wondering!)

I actually prayed that the Lord would spare that baby guppy that we thought got sucked into the filter (the Lord cares about the greatest as well as the smallest, right?) And the next morning, I went in and inspected Carmen's fish tank. There it was! I called in the kids and we were so thrilled. I told them that God answered my prayer. We were all so happy. Chad netted the baby out and put it in with the mama guppy in her fish bowl.

As of today (Tuesday) we still do not have any more babies. I think it's strange that she gave birth to just one. She still looks pregnant so we'll see if more arrive. In the meantime, the baby has grown enough that some orange color is showing - he must be male as the females are plain.

My daughter is so proud. She runs around saying how "she's the first person in this house to breed fish!" My son has told her not to name the baby guppy yet because it might not survive. But I told her to go ahead and name it. I mean, why not? Even if it only lives a short time, it is still her fish. She has spent a lot of time thinking about a name - hasn't picked one yet.

Well, that's the latest scoop on the guppies. As for me, the bouquet of flowers I won at J.Jill the other day arrived today. 15 tulips! It feels weird to receive flowers from no one, know what I mean? They are pretty, though, and brighten my kitchen. I left a nice email on the J.Jill website, thanking them for my fun day at the store and all. I also praised the staff at that location and asked that "whoever needed to know" be told how helpful the employees were that day. I got a J.Jill reply, saying that everyone at that store location would be congratulated for their effort. Cool! I think good customer service should be praised and rewarded - and therefore, encouraged!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just In Time for St. Patrick's Day

There has been a birth in our home - no, I'm not talking about me, silly! On my HSB blog, I have talked about our pregnant female guppy "Boney". Tonight, as my daughter was dutifully feeding her guppies, I saw something near the bottom of the tank. On closer inspection, I could see it was a baby guppy - less than 1/4" long. I was mesmerized by this teeny little fish. So perfect in detail yet so tiny. I snapped out of it and hollered for my oldest son, Chad, the fish expert. Everyone sprang into action. Middle son, Alec, jumped out of bed and ran for the prepared fish bowl. Chad took the fish bowl from him and filled it with water, then he got the net and tried to get the guppy out before an adult mistook it for dinner. I sent Carmen for a towel - she needed a job. Unfortunately, the baby guppy swam too close to the filter. We didn't see it after that (sadness fell over everyone). But we did net out "Boney" so she can give birth in the safety and comfort of her own fish bowl. Tomorrow (on St. Patrick's Day, no less - Irish blood flows abundantly here), we are hoping for many more baby guppies. My kids want to sell them to the local fish store - and get rich! Aren't they cute little dreamers. I promise I'll post a photo of my darlings someday - no, not the guppies, my kids!

Oh, what excitement there was! Did anyone want to sleep -of course not! Why do these things always happen at bed time?

Anyway, I praised the fish crew for their quick action and everyone went to bed with smiles on their faces. (Todd, darling, if you read this before the kids are up, don't let on that you already know. Thanks!)

I didn't even know what a guppy was until my daughter got some for her tank. I'm always amazed at the things I learn through my children. Life would be so dull without them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh ... Just Some Thoughts

I do not like it when I write about something as if everyone knows what I'm talking about. Like someone who is talking about someone else that they assume you know but you don't. Therefore, J.Jill is a unique woman's clothing store with boutiques in many locations in many states (how many, I don't know) but they have a great little web site (, a nice catalog and an awesome store credit card that gives you 5% off with each purchase. You also get an extra 5% off during the month of your birthday. And when you sign up for the card, you get 10% off. I've only been to two of the actual stores - they are about the size of our living room. Tiny. But you get great service. I usually mail order and wait for their sales. The clothes can be a bit spendy for us but every so often, Todd just says to go ahead a buy something, don't wait for the sale in case it's sold out. Bless him.

O.k., now that I've clarified that, you can wake up. Is it me or have my posts been a bit ... is plodding the word? Have I lost my spark? Is my creativity sagging? Perhaps it's this stupid cough that is still hanging on from that illness we all had back in February? I'm so sick of coughing. 3 weeks plus. I'm usually a healthy person. I want to be well.

The best news is this: Todd just finished his first 4-day, 12-hr/day work week and is just chipper. Before the surgery, he would be feeling just awful after a week like this but not now. It's SUCH a blessing to see him looking healthy and happy. I'm so thankful it's all over. And he'll never need a pericardectomy again! Ever! That is the best-best news!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Me and Jill

This was an amazing day. For me, anyway. I got to drive to Portland (2 hours each way) all by myself, shop at J.Jill during one of their "events" (ooh, boy!) and buy tickets for an upcoming Waifs concert!

This may not sound so special but it sure was to me. Hours of time that I didn't have to wash one dish or answer one question or break up any tussles. In other words, a non-mom and non-homeschool mom morning!! I haven't had a day like this in ... well, its been a LONG time.

My sweet husband encouraged me to go, made me coffee for the road (a new habit we are sharing in the morning) and packed me a lunch. He printed out maps and wrote out instructions so I wouldn't get lost (he knows his wife). I don't know Portland too well on my own because he's always driving and I'm always tending to the kids, so I don't pay much attention to street signs. As I was getting in the car, he asked if I had my J.Jill card (doesn't everyone have one of these?) - of course I didn't so he brought it out to me. I was set.

It didn't rain. God protected me from what might have been a front fender clip by a careless driver. I found the J.Jill store that I'd never been to. I HAD A BALL! Last night, Todd and I had circled clothing in the new catalog so all I had to do was walk around the store and pick out the things we had preselected. The discounts were deep, the ladies helping were fantastic and fun, I found quite a few things to update my wardrobe. Which really needed updating. As I was leaving, they handed me a tulip. I love flowers. Nice touch!

I found the Aladdin theatre with no problem, found parking reasonably close. Got the tickets and headed home. I didn't get lost.

But it doesn't end there. After I got home, I received a phone call from the store, saying I had won a $50 J.Jill gift card in a drawing! I never entered the drawing so one of the workers must have entered for me! Isn't that amazing? I will also receive a bouquet of flowers in the next few days. Call this icing on the cake. Lots of icing!

While I was gone, my dh did the dishes, baked 3 loaves of bread and helped the kids with their school work. Then he went to bed because he had to work tonight. I am so thankful that my husband encouraged me to spend the day like I did. I am thankful for all Todd did while I was gone. I am thankful that he doesn't mind spending $$ on clothes for me (I'm not comfortable spending his hard-earned $$ on me). An unexpected delight. When things like this happen, it's hard for me to absorb. God cares for our WHOLE lives and he delights in giving us joyful things. I was given a joyful day today. I do not feel that I deserve it. But my praise goes up to Him for caring about a tired Mom who needed a very necessary break. It would serve me well if I looked harder for the small, day-to-day joys that God gives us frequently. And be thankful for each one.