Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Project Complete!

In a breathtaking display of accomplishment, I actually finished all five of the chairs today! (If you knew how rare it is that a project get all the way completed at my house, you would better appreciate my comment.) Like I said, I'm not in love with the fabric. It looked so fun at the fabric store, but once I got it home it looked kind of old fashioned, in a dowdy kind of way. And adding that plastic over it just totally smacks of grandma's houses that still have the plastic covers over the couches and chairs. But, hey--that's the price you pay for having no less than six mess-makers at your dinner table at any given meal.

In another exciting news story, I bought myself a new digital camera tonite. My mom got me my first one quite a few years ago, but it died somewhere along the line. Then my husband bought a digital video camera which supposedly takes photos, but so far I find it less than user friendly, and the photo quality totally stinks. So now I have a handy dandy pink Kodak Easy Share, which is by no means a fancy camera, but at least I can make it go without any trouble at all. Yay me!

(now that I have a camera handy, maybe I will start taking horrible, embarrassing photos of the worst parts of my house, and then maybe motivate myself to clean those up so that I can take a great AFTER picture..... You know--if I even got marginally inspired to do some of that, it would be well worth the price of the camera.....)

Today: Getting a Project Done

Our dining chairs have been in need of being recovered for quite awhile, and about a week ago I purchased some new fabric for that. I also got some clear plastic to go over the fabric so that it's kid-proof and can be wiped off. After some ado this morning trying to get set up, I've now completed two of the seats, with three to go. I don't like the fabric as much as I did in the store, but at least it's clean and fresh. That counts for a lot around here. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Made Cheese

If you want to read about my recent adventure in cheesemaking, you can go read about it here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on the FLDS Children, and a few thoughts on our rights...or lack thereof

My mom sent me the URL for this site which offers a timeline of what has happened with the FLDS children in Texas, as well as photos and videos--including videos of the children being herded into buses to take them away from their home, and the conditions that these children and some mothers were held in. Tonite the news is that the children have been moved to foster care. The article I read made it sound like they would be in state "care" until at least early June. I just pray for these children and families. It must be a very painful situation for all of them.

I am still just shocked and outraged at how this situation is being handled. Swat teams with guns coming into this community to take away children. Armored vehicles. If the concern was that underage girls were being forced into marriages, THAT should have been handled. Nursing babies and little toddlers and school aged children were not included in that group of concern. Removing these children from their parents IS abuse, and placing them in state care is to place them in a situation that certainly has the potential for abuse. This type of huge influx of children into the state foster care system cannot be handled wisely or safely, I fear.

I hate to think what kinds of questions and tests these poor children have had to endure. No doubt what they have gone through IS abuse and is extremely tragic and will have long term consequences in the lives of these families. So, while there may be a problem with underage girls being married off, which many people would consider abuse, now 100% of these children have been abused and traumatized, courtesy of the state of Texas and all of the taxpaying citizens of Texas.

It is easy to think that this sort of thing could only happen to other people. Unusual people with lifestyles that are outside the mainstream in America. Yes, people in those categories are more easily mistreated, but it could certainly happen to any of us.

Back in October 2007 a woman on one of my egroups, Mary Anaya, has police burst into their home and snatch away her newborn baby for a state mandated blood test that the Anayas objected to because of their religious beliefs. These people came into their home with guns, scared all of the family including their many children. Not only were the Anaya's sincere religious beliefs ignored and violated, but their baby was taken into foster care, Mary was prevented from easy access to her son to be able to breastfeed him as she normally would, and I believe that the baby was not released from foster care for over a week. You can read more about this case here, here, and here, as well as google Mary Anaya for more information.

You may not agree with the relgious beliefs of the Anaya family. You may not have made the same choice that they made. That's fine. What you need to understand is that at some point in the future it might be MY beliefs or YOUR beliefs that become an issue big enough for the police to come barging into our homes with guns. I don't know what the answers are, but I think that sitting up and taking notice and asking questions and expressing our opinions about situations like this one in Texas is a place to begin.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It Wouldn't Be The Weekend Without Some Music, Right??

I've got this player shuffling at random, so who knows what fun Classic Rock Fave you will get next! (the anticipation! It's killing me!!)

Friday, April 18, 2008

YFZ Ranch Video Interviews

You can go here to see several interviews with men and women whose families have been torn apart in this situation.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Go, Me.

I would just like to say that I have not been watching the current season of The Bachelor. The past two seasons were enough befuddlement for me.

Thank you. And, good night.

Texas Polygamy Situation

Am I the only person looking at this polygamist situation and feeling truly grieved for these children and mothers?

I watched an interview with some of the moms, and although I do not wear prairie dresses or wear my hair in a bun, I could see that these are women are just as I would be---truly heartbroken and concerned about their children.

Certainly I am also concerned about the alleged forced marriages and sexual abuse, and in no way do I support such a thing. However, it seems to me to be a very complicated situation. Children who have been raised in as insulated a way as these children seem to have been are not likely to do well in foster homes or regular school. Even if placed in a foster home as compassionate and sensitive as my own home might be, I am sure that probably much of how we live here would be considered wrong, sinful, or frightening to children who have been sheltered so much. Regardless of our opinions about whether or not it is wise or necessary to raise children under such sheltered conditions, it is surely a scary and confusing situation for these children right now. And even if we think it odd or overkill, it is not against the law to wear prairie dresses, never watch TV, go to church a lot, or in general close out the rest of "normal" society.

I do not understand why the mothers have been separated from their children. Why couldn't they set up a way for mothers to care for their own children while being supervised in some way, if they felt that the mothers were a danger to the children (which I do not think is the concern). I cannot imagine that keeping these children in an already overburdened foster care system is necessarily safe or wise. I am not so optimistic as to believe that no harm will come to these children while in state care.

Yes, certainly the anonymous phone call needed to be checked out. Yes, we do not want young girls forced into marriages and turned into baby-making vessels. Yes, we want to protect the innocent. I am just not convinced that this is a good way to go about doing that.

I Stomped Last Night!

After hoping that my husband would get my Stomp tickets to the point where I doubted any decent seats were left, and once I learned that the show was probably the very same one I saw 9 years ago, I decided to switch my birthday request to something else. As it turned out, I didn't get my new request either. You know, I am about to just swear off any gift-giving occasions in my future, because although I am not a materialistic person, nor do I care that much about what I GET, I do care about feeling loved and cared for. I thought I already had low expectations, but alas, they are now going lower. (**Alternate plan: Purchase gifts for myself for Mother's Day. Give a box full of gifts, wrapping, etc. to one of the older children and let them help the younger ones wrap and decide who gets to give what. Pretend to be surprised when they make their presentations.)

AnyHOOO, yesterday evening as I was still feeling down from the unBirthday, I got a phone call from my son's girlfriend's mother. She had an extra ticket to see Stomp and wondered if I would like to come with them.

Yes! I would. Definitely. Just let me get out of my PJs (that I've been wearing all day even though I had to drive to the school three times today) and try to find some clean, unwrinkled clothing, and do something with my hair.....and...how much time do I have to get there?!

We had fourth row center seats, which were awesome. And the show, while having many of the same elements as I remembered, still was very fresh and fun. I had forgotten how much comedy is woven throughout the show. There is a lot of laughter and SO much energy--if I could find out what vitamins those people take I would definitely be taking them myself. :)

It was a redeeming two hours. I will not hesitate to see Stomp again. And it put a smile on my face for awhile, which was needed.

A Little Meme

I got this from Morning Coffee. Want to play? Copy and Paste your answers to these questions onto your blog.

Four Things about Me (or Three, if I couldn't think of a fourth)

A) FOUR PLACES I GO OVER AND OVER: My children's schools, the grocery store, to the computer, to sleep.

B) FOUR PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGED MY FAITH ALONG THE WAY: The environment and people at my Christian school (Faith Heritage School in Syracuse, NY--Woot!). More than four there for sure.

C) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS: pizza, Chocolate Mint Jocalat bars, fruit smoothies, Italian chicken and rice.

D) FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW: Sleeping, someplace quiet and alone, visiting my mom, on a beach.

E) FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER: Sweet Home Alabama, Meet the Parents, The Patriot, Dan in Real Life.

F)FOUR THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MY CHURCH: The mindfulness to not burn people out on attending church constantly, people that know how to both love Jesus and have a lot of fun, being at a place that's not afraid to ask questions instead of give pat answers, the people.

G) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE HOBBIES/INTERESTS: reading, having meaningful conversations, doing any project that is likely to improve my life or stay put for awhile, and....??not sure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Blog Design for the Hubby

My husband is very excited because I bought him a design for his firefighting blog. You can check it out here. Quite manly, eh? We hired Heather from Goofy Girl designs, and she did a great job in a very short amount of time, at a rock-bottom price. I highly recommend her!


I've had a conflict with my oldest child tonite. He had done wrong to someone and I told him that he needed to apologize for it. He felt justified in his wrongdoing and does not want to apologize. "It would be lying to say I'm sorry." I suggested that he could honestly say, "I want to apologize for my behavior. It was wrong, and I will not do that again."

On and on the conversation went. I calmly expressed to him multiple times that feeling justified does not make our wrongdoings less wrong. He is a fine young man and I am not going to just let things like this slide by. I believe that by requiring him to make an apology it will make an impression on him, and hopefully in time he will appreciate something meaningful from the experience.

He was quick to tell me that by requiring him to apologize for this thing he has done, he would avoid telling me stuff in the future. I realize that he can certainly do that. Of course, I do not want to do anything to get him to talk to me less. But, I'm not going to let his threat intimidate me out of doing what I can to help him do right and be a good man.

At this age, nearly 16, I realize that the bulk of my ability to teach and guide him is done. I cannot control his thoughts or beliefs, nor would I truly want to. But there is something quite difficult on days like today when you see your child resisting doing right. Although you can require right behavior, you do not have the ability to make their heart or mind embrace it. These days are just a huge faith walk--I hope I've done enough. I hope he has a good enough foundation. I hope that his spirit is tender enough to be open to the humility required to be teachable and make changes.

The wild love I have for my children seems both amazing, and completely inadequate.

Guess What Day It Is?

One year closer to middle age. Wowza.

Join the party and make a donation over at one of my very favorite organizations, Zoe Children's Homes. This wonderful group rescues children from the horrendous practice of human trafficking and gives them a life with safety, love, an education, health care, and everything they need--until adulthood and beyond. Zoe is committed to their kids for the long haul. They are amazing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Weekend!

Got anything fun lined up this weekend? My in-laws are coming to visit us, so from here on out I'll be working on my Hostess With The Mostest routine. :) They are getting ready to move to our area from 14 hours away. My kids will love having grandparents nearby.

I've got some fun music for you to jive to through your weekend. I just picked a few fun ones that always get me up and dancing. Or at the very least, laughing.

A short history of the songs on this playlist:

Love Shack: Came out right around my freshman year of college. I can still see my friend Ron Gardner singing along to this. He had the perfect voice for it too. Anytime I'm in the car and this comes on, I crank it up and SING. Loud.

Play That Funky Music: I know this isn't the original, but it's a fun one. My husband and I had a mighty good time dancing to this one (and Brick House) at our niece's wedding last summer. After we busted a move on the dance floor, I asked my incredulous oldest son (then 14 years old) how it felt to have the coolest parents in the joint. His response was, "Mom. There's a fine line between being the coolest people here, and making a fool of yourselves. You two are flirting with that line." I could live with that. I kicked off my shoes and we kept dancing.

Brick House: Another favorite of my husband's and mine for groovin on the dance floor. it's great especially if your dance moves involve a lot of hip. Which mine do. (in case you wanted to know) Our family loves when this song comes on because my son Jake the Great thought that "shake it down, shake it down, shake it down now" was actually, "shake a cow, shake a cow, shake a cow, now!" So we all make ourselves shake and moo at the same time and laugh our fool heads off. You should try a road trip with us sometime. We're hilarious.

Pump Up The Jam: What can I say? This was one of the main songs played in dance clubs back when I got to go to some when I went to college. Get yer booty on the floor tonite and make my day, yo!

U Can't Touch This: My college friends actually went to see MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice in concert. Not being a huge fan of either, I skipped it. Never have regretted that decision, either. This song is, however, excellent at weddings where you are looking for a grand opportunity to use all of your geeky dance moves like The Sprinkler. ("Break it down now. Stop! Hammer Time!")

Ice, Ice Baby: What can I say? How can this song fail to make you roll your eyes and laugh (While tapping your toes) ("Yo! Vanilla! Let's kick it!") I'd like to report that, by complete coincidence, I just saw that Vanilla Ice was just released from his quick stay in jail for pushing his wife. congrats, loser!

What songs have fun memories for you? Maybe I can make a playlist for you, so you'll feel more at home when you visit me here. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Blog to Add to Your Daily Rounds

My dear from Sooz is FINALLY following my good example of the last four years by starting her own blog. She has five kiddos and homeschools, and has been on a wild ride decluttering her house to the MAX. You can check it out here.

Prepare to Laugh

This made me laugh so hard that my kids came running from all directions, thinking something was terribly, terribly wrong with me. I shrieked. I cackled. I screamed and cried. (disclaimer: I didn't think the clown car comment was funny)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Foiled Again

So last we night we set our alarms with a backup plan in place so that we didn't oversleep twice.


Leave it to us to find a new way to screw things up.

This morning the alarm went off just fine. Instead of doing what he normally does, which is turn off my pocket pc and put it right back down next to my side of the bed, he took it with him to the bathroom.

and left it there.

And went away to work.

So I woke up on my own at 6:52am, and got to do the "Hurry-Hurry-Hurry Shuffle" with my three little guys to get them to school on time. Thankfully, I have them sleep in their school clothes, so all they have to do is roll out of bed, go pee, and put their shoes on. We even had time for breakfast before I drove them to school! Just think what I could accomplish if I was actually organized!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Technology Failed Us

Last night I set my pocket pc alarm for 5am (and 5:30am......and 5:50am) as I do every "school night." My husband usually gets up at 5 or 5:30 to go to work. I sometimes get up at 5, but in cases where I had a late night (like last night) I might delay getting up until 5:50.

So this morning I hear my husband hurrying around and I wonder why, since the alarm hasn't gone off.

A few minutes later there's the alarm. I look at it. It's the 5am alarm. But it's 6am!

Never had that happen before!

So we were both running late thanks to failed technology.

I guess my pocket pc was out of practice since the kids were on spring break last week.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Must Visit This Blog

I recently discovered this very clever and funny blog, Stuff Christians Like. If you're open to laughing at yourself, go visit. It cracks me up.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

12 years ago

12 years ago....

I started my day with a brand new baby girl in my arms.

She was my first home birth.

It took 36 hours of real, live, miserable labor to bring her into the world, thanks to her posterior position. Most people would have ended up with a c-section for that birth, because a lot of doctors think that it just isn't possible for women to birth posterior babies. Thanks to the quiet, calm support of my midwife I was able to preserve what little strength I had left for the job at hand. If I had been in a situation where I had to use any of that energy for anything else, I doubt that I could have done it. By the time my daughter was born, I had experienced fatigue so great that I literally didn't know that it was possible to be that tired and still be awake.

Just to show you how horrid the entire labor was, when I was maybe 2 or 3 hours away from the birth, I tried to pep myself up by looking at my firstborn and asking myself, "If you had to go through all of this in order to get him, you'd do it, wouldn't you?"

And the answer I came back with?


It was that. bad.

In natural childbirth books that tell you ways that birth can be almost painless, the one exception is always..posterior position! Yeah--it's a toughie.

Fortunately I lived through it, so did she, and now I have this special girl--just the two of us ladies in a household filled with boys. She gave up wishing for a sister 5 years ago after she got 4 little brothers in a row. Now she's just content with the way things are.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

8 Years Ago

Eight years ago I was in the hospital with my belly feeling like someone had a blow torch going across it, and my fourth child was a 2-and-a-half-pound NICU resident. Today he is a bright and energetic little boy who was able to sound out "satisfaction" on the front of Walmart yesterday. You can read what I wrote about his birth and our experience here. I'll be making a Darth Vadar cake today. How about you?