Monday, May 30, 2011


As I mentioned, the kids are hanging with grandparents this weekend. I am not sure if they will want to come back. They are having a grand time, enjoying some carefree summer days in Mississippi. Alas, my main man is also there. So I am on my own. Utterly alone.

Don't get me wrong. I am enjoying it. I like to have some silence. I like being able to do things on my own time. I have had lots of thinking time (which can get me in trouble sometimes :). And I am not listening to whining, tattling, arguing, or millions of questions. I mean, I miss those people, but sometimes taking a break from the responsibilities of parenthood is necessary for my well-being. I stress a lot as a parent, worry, fret, question, doubt. It is nice to have a break from that. A little relief. A little peace of mind.

At the same time, I want to spend every minute of that time wisely.

So I make the mistake every time of setting "goals" for myself on these rare occasions.

That was a mistake. I have a LONG list of "want done" chores for the house. But since we are close to the end of school (so I have been told...haven't seen that yet :), I have had to focus most of my time on school chores which have to get done one way or another.

So I have been busy.

I just haven't met my goals.

Before I get discouraged, I am going to remind myself of the things I have done rather than the things I haven't...

  • worked on my communication log (a log of my communication with parents)
  • emptied out e-mails on my school account
  • enjoyed dinner with my family (including sister and nieces/nephew)
  • emptied out the fridge (most of it)
  • cleaned out a lot of recycling materials (after emptying out the fridge)
  • organized my recipe/cookbook shelf in the kitchen
  • checked in on and commented on many blogs I follow.
  • put away clean clothes for children 3 and 4
  • organized 4's sock drawer
  • matched unmatched socks (as much as was possible)
  • wrote on a couple of my blogs...I haven't done enough cooking or hiking in recent days to post on those blogs :)
  • edited and organized 550 or so pictures from the school year. (My class, not my own kids)
  • took several pictures of the caterpillars/chrysalises for child 4 (as I made a mental note to next time order the insects when we have NO vacations or getaways coming up because they will start to change when he isn't here)
  • "graded" papers
  • went to Sunday School and church where I got to rock a precious baby
  • emptied out a couple of bags where I had "stuffed" stuff until I could deal with it
  • cleaned out the toaster (the best I could)
  • worked several hours in my classroom, starting to pack things up and organize
  • ran some errands in the afternoon rather than waiting for anyone to be in bed and having to do it late at night
  • read several newspapers that have piled up in the garage due to "busy"ness
  • a few loads of laundry
  • empty/refill the dishwasher
  • straightened up our scrapbooks/photo albums
  • caught up reading/commenting on friends' blogs
  • straightened up some kitchen drawers
I know I did several other things but even now, I am running out of steam.

I spent all day (Monday) at school planning for next year with most of my team.

The crew is home now.

Back to real life :)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's on the List

I once heard a story about a couple who had been married for many years. On their anniversary, someone asked the woman what her secret to a long marriage was. She responded that when they got married, she made a list of five things her new husband did that drove her crazy. She decided to overlook those faults throughout their marriage. Over the years, when he was doing something annoying, she said she told herself, "Well, that was probably on the list..."

I have often thought of this story. I am not saying my husband is driving me crazy. I was actually thinking more about my kids.

There are days I could let them get the best of me. I could get annoyed. And maybe sometimes I do. But maybe I should just think, "That was probably on the list..."

So here are a few things that are probably on the list...
  • the fact that when I go to sit down in my chair in the living room, I always have to move a backpack or two even though every child has hooks for backpack in their room
  • finding clothes in the dirty clothes basket that they wore for less than an hour
  • trying to leave the house in the morning (in a hurry usually) and finding every light in the house still the kids sit in the cars ready to go
  • when I am reading the newspaper, and a child just snatches it up to look closer at a picture
  • the crumbs I find on the floor after every single meal
  • finding random socks all over the house, no match in sight
  • when I have been working on dinner for a few hours only to have a child snarl when I tell them what we are having for dinner then say, "Do I have to eat that?"
  • the fact that I find food in our sink all of the time, never rinsed out
  • toothpaste all over the counter...often MY bathroom counter. And it isn't my toothpaste
  • stepping on hair scrunchies and barrettes as I walk through the house
  • the reality that our yard NEVER gets cleaned up after the kids have been outside
  • thinking that my dear children have cleaned their rooms only to find things stuffed under their beds
  • going to turn on the TV, only to find that it is still set to Wii or PS2
  • looking into my van and seeing trash, books, school papers, etc that have been long forgotten...of course, nobody ever claims them
  • walking into the kids' bathroom and noticing that the toilet paper is gone and nobody walked the two feet to the cabinet to get a new roll (and also wondering what they have been using!)
  • trying to listen to my favorite song on the radio or a relevant talk show as a child chooses that very moment to tell me everything going on in their life...loudly
  • finding snippets of Gogurt packages in the scissors drawer
  • finding an empty box of Gogurt in the fridge
  • getting asked the same question over and over and over (I guess in hopes that I will change my answer)
  • sitting down to eat only to have someone ask if I can get them another glass of milk
I could probably go is a lengthy list. :)

So, next time I am feeling flustergated (a made up word that works well in these situations), I will just remember, "No need to get is probably on the list."


All Things Bright and Beautiful

So much to post, so very little time this week. It seems like we are going, going, going all of the time. But sometimes I am reminded that I need to slow down and enjoy this world God made. Here are just a few things I have enjoyed recently:
  • Yesterday morning I looked outside as I was getting #4 up. I saw a baby bunny hop by my front steps. I chuckled to myself when a squirrel ran up our front steps and just stood by our door. Meanwhile, the birds building the nest were going crazy with the intruders so close. I felt like I was in Animal Kingdom which is rare around here. It was just so sweet (and funny).
  • Sunsets. I always try to make a point to watch the sunset even if just for a minute. I just love the colors, the clouds, the beauty God paints across the sky.
  • Yesterday for lunch I was at a workshop so we went out to eat. I had a grilled chicken and almond salad with sliced avocado and this delicious Parmesan dressing. It was not only delicious, it was one of the most beautiful salads I have ever seen. It was truly a work of art!
  • The nest the birds have built yet again in the corner of our front porch. Those noisy things make a huge mess but we have enjoyed watching each day as they added on a little more to it. I imagine we will have babies soon.
  • The sunshine. After receiving a whole lot of rain, the sunshine has been a beautiful sight.
  • Last week my class visited a little zoo/safari in our area. As we were crossing a little bridge or visiting an animal (can't remember which), we saw a beautiful full blown spider web.
  • The sweet faces of my children. They may drive me crazy at times but I love those faces. (Hubby too :)
  • The picture of heaven I read about in Heaven is for Real. Warmed my heart.
  • The green color everywhere. One of the positives of all of the rain we have received. The world just looks so alive right now.
  • A sweet mom landscaped around our school sign this past weekend. The flowers are beautiful.
I better stop for now. I really need to take more time to find more...there is beauty all around us even in this fallen world we live in.

What beauty have you seen recently?


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mommy's Time Out

As I mentioned yesterday, life is a bit swamped right now. I literally take hour by hour. People ask me how many days until school is out, and I give them a blank stare. I can't count days or even think that far ahead. There is too much to do now!

So today is Stay at Home Day. We have always called it that, though in recent years, we rarely actually stay at home. I was thinking about hiking from the moment I woke up. I knew it was supposed to be cooler but not wet (like it was yesterday). However, I also knew we had a whole bunch of stuff to do, and hiking would throw off all of that. A lot of times I think, "Ahhh, it can wait." But with schedules being so busy, it couldn't wait. So we stayed at home.

Pretty much all morning long, we were not very productive people. I wish I could conjure up a list of things we did that was productive. But we really weren't. In fact, I didn't even make breakfast. The two oldest wanted to for the younger two (frozen waffles :), and then Lauren insisted on making grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

And part of me feels lazy saying that.

But sometimes it is needed.

Sometimes we go, go, go, and I just need to not go.

To further add to my non-productiveness, I made the error of picking up a book. I LOVE to read. I used to read all of the time. Then when I started having children, I stopped. Or rather cut back drastically. I read magazines a lot because I can pick them up and put them down. I can't do that with books. Really. Once I start, if I am interested in it, I don't put it down. So I save books for vacations, when I am riding in the car or have time at the beach while the kids play. But for today, the temptation was too much. I kept reading on Facebook that Heaven is for Real was a good book. And it just so happens I had bought it last week so I could have something to read this summer. But I couldn't wait for summer. So I picked it up.

Big mistake.

For the next two hours or so, I was useless.

It was a good book though. :)

The end of the day was a bit more productive...a trip to the grocery store, dinner, a little laundry, dishes, oh, and my 1200 tulips are now home in my garage (until I figure out where they will go).

And lots of disciplining/correcting children. One of them is enjoying pushing my buttons right now.

And the dreaded exercise time. Blech.

But for just a while today, I enjoyed my own little Mommy Time Out.

I highly recommend it if you haven't done it lately!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

It isn't that they were my first group of kids...

In fact, by the time this group of students came along, I had already had five different classes.

This group was just a very tight knit group. A group who likes to keep in touch. My second group here.

Somehow in the fall, a comment was made that we should have a reunion.

From there, the idea took off.

A few weeks ago, my dear husband called a local restaurant and asked about reservations. I started searching for ways to contact the students. And then I waited. And waited.

I waited until tonight.

Tonight was THE night.

I was ready. Presents wrapped. Letters written. Cake ordered.

Then I realized how very nervous I was. Excited and nervous. What if I had nothing to say? What if I didn't recognize people? What if they came and wondered why the heck they were there?

Guess what?

I had the time of my life.

I had almost half my students there. (Three of the original 20 have moved away...)

I won't lie.

I wish they all had been there.

But I am thankful for the 9 who showed up!

It was so fun to listen to their tales of high school, to hear them reminisce over pictures I had brought, to find out where they are headed in life.

More than anything, I just felt proud. They are good kids (or at least they have me fooled :). They are going places in life. And for the most part, they get along with one another.

I found myself wondering...

How did we get from here...
to here?

I don't know the answer, other than it happened in the blink of an eye.

Whether I want it to or not, time marches on.

Sometimes I wish we could just stop it and enjoy the moment a little while longer.

That was where I was tonight.

I find myself trying not to blink...


Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the Go, Go, Go

Some days are just busier than others.

They are all busy.

It is just some are busier.

Today was one of those.

Usually I have faculty meetings on Wednesdays, so Mark picks up the kids.

But today he was in meetings. And thankfully I didn't have a meeting after all.

So after school, we took off.

Delivered child 2 to her gymnastics class right away.

Ran to get child 4.

Ran home to work on some laundry, fill the dishwasher to wash dishes since the sink was already filling up.

Changed my clothes.

We all hopped back in the van.

Headed to pick up child 2.

I noticed that apparently I did get a crack the other day during our crazy hailstorm. Oops.

Picked up child 2.

Stopped at the track at my school. Mark got there about the same time. He was going to take the kids. But on a whim, and I am so glad he does that sometimes, we just let the kids play while he walked with me.

I cannot explain what a treat that was. 30 minutes of fairly uninterrupted conversation. Do you know how rare that is???

Mark then took two kids with him (child 1 was hanging with my parents). I went on to the grocery store with child 3 in tow.

Have I ever mentioned how much that girl can talk?

It is amazing since she was a bit of a late talker.

I think she is making up for it now!

The trip took longer than I thought it would. It always does.

We did practice spelling words in the car.

When we got home, child 3 ran the beef into Mark to shape into patties (since it was now PAST our dinnertime). I brought in the rest of the groceries.

We had dinner (grilled hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes courtesy of child 2...she calls this meal "Marky Rockets" after the restaurant "Johnny Rockets". ).

Got child 4 showered and ready for bed. Trust me, it took a whole lot longer than it sounds.

Got child 3 showered and ready for bed.

Got child 2 off to bed.

Got child 1 off to bed.

Then I ran out to another store to pick up some pictures I had processed. I also needed to pick up some teacher appreciation gifts. Of course, one thing I needed wasn't there. Nor at the next place I stopped. Thankfully the third was the charm...

Got home and started cooking a meal (a teacher appreciation gift).

Refilled the dishwasher again.

Got teacher gifts put together and ready to pack in the morning.

Finally settled in to check e-mails, work on blogs, etc.

I think my go, go, go is gone at this point. :)

More later,

Sunday, May 1, 2011


When we drove into Branson the other day,the bridge (dam) over Table Rock Lake was only open to one lane of traffic. It was a busy traffic time, so we did a lot of sitting and waiting because only a few cars went over at a time. While we were waiting, we kept seeing people peer over the dam. It seemed a bit odd to me...we couldn't see anything out of the ordinary other than that both the lake and the river were higher than normal. But that was about it.

So fast forward to today. I was supposed to be at the Women of Joy conference for the last speaker who I am sure was spectacular. But since we were all there with one vehicle, I decided to not go. It didn't seem fair to leave Mark with four kids and the check out at the condo with time to kill. He would have done it but I didn't want him to have to.

Anyway, we just had a morning of leisure. We slept in a little, ate breakfast, and packed up. Finally we headed down the road for home.

As we were driving, we saw a man standing out in the rain taking pictures. We both looked at each other and said, "What on earth is he taking pictures of?" Then Mark said, "Oh! That is what he is taking pictures of!" It is amazing we didn't drive off the road in surprise. Now we could see the whole picture. Note the gray sky. It rained much of the day today.


That was all I could say.


We saw a road that went up behind the dam and decided to take a little detour. (We and many others) The kids wanted a closer look...
Child 2 took this picture for us.
Then Mark did the whole stretch the arm thing out and snap a photo...
The boys checked out the river. We don't see "whitecaps" on rivers often...

It was an amazing sight.

Scary but amazing.

I know that the speaker today was probably very good.

But sometimes I am thankful for unexpected detours.

Had I gone to the conference, I would have missed this completely. We would have taken a different route. And my children would have missed out on this "waterfall" as well as learning about how water travels, the devastation it can bring, the power of it.

May you have some unexpected detours in life this week.