Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Lazy Days of Summer...Or Are They?

I know I said I was going to write all about unemployment this week.  And yes, we are still there.  But there is something else on my mind.

The lazy days of summer.

Or are they?

I have fond memories of summer.

Playing in the sprinkler.  Riding my bike.  Playing with neighbors.  Playing school.  Visiting family.  Going to the library to check out piles of books.  Chasing fireflies.  Eating popsicles.  Fishing with my grandfather on the lake.  Jumping on the trampoline. 

I maybe attended VBS and an occasional day camp (then church camp and cheerleading camp later in my teen years).

They were truly the lazy days of summer.

I am not so sure many kids can say that these days.

I LOVE Pinterest (which you may know if you read the cooking blog).  But one trend that has bothered me is the multiple "pinnings" of sites with lists of activities to do with your kids in the summer to keep them busy.  One local kid publication is filled with camps...if I had enough money, I could send my kids to camps all summer long (I wouldn't, but I could).  Yesterday I listened to a lady detailing her summer.  One child is in gymnastics several days a week, while another is on a traveling baseball team.  The baseball team has ONE off week this summer. Even my kids have been known to come in and say, "So what are we doing today?"  (I just laugh because they obviously forget from summer to summer who I am :)

I am not saying activities are bad.  Or camps are bad.  Some of my kids will attend one or two.

What I am saying is that free time is NOT all bad.

In fact, it might be good.

By the way, I don't count free time curled up in front of the tv all day.

Sometimes kids need to have free time.  Whether they know it or not.

I know I do.

And when they do, they might surprise you.

The kids might turn out to be creative.  They might have imagination. They might actually play with some of that stuff that clutters their rooms.  They might find ways to fill their time, ways you wouldn't imagine.

Which is why I try to keep my summers as lazy as possible other than an occasional camp.  Or our summer vacation (which is actually very laid-back too).

Just this week, we have had tents made out of blankets.  Fashion shows.  Talent shows.  Singing. Swimming in my parents' pool.  Playing with cousins.  Coloring.  Listening to books on CD.  Reading.  Playing with the dog.  Exercising with me.  Playing with toys in the toyroom, toys that are ignored the rest of the year due to the busyness of school. Arts and crafts.

Yes, it can be a pain sometimes.  They make messes. They tattle.  They argue. They complain they are bored (at least until I offer them chores to do :).

But I still believe, deep in my heart, there is value in having free time.

They learn to entertain themselves.  They learn to work together to accomplish things. They create and plan.  They slow down.  They rest.  They recharge.  And they have fun.

And so do I.

And that is why I love the lazy days of summer.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making the Cut

I am going to guess that this week's posts will mainly be about unemployment.  It is kind of the big elephant in our room/house right now, so a lot of my thoughts are geared toward it.  Unfortunately. :) 

When my DH (dear hubby) first told me about his "unhiring" (the term his bosses used...guess that softens the blow???), I was in a state of shock.  Actually, in some ways, I still am.  We all are.

One of the first things I said was, "I am still going to the beach!"

If you know me at all, you know I spend my whole year looking forward to the next beach vacation.

And this year's is already planned.

Hubby reassured me that yes, we were still going.

Maybe not wise financially.  But it may just be my last hurrah.  I am aware that DH may not get a job for a while.  Or it may be a lower paying job. My beach days may end this year.  I am going to enjoy each and every moment there.  We may not be eating out as much.  And dolphin tours (rather pricey for six kids) are probably out.  But we will be going.

However, in my true conservative nature, I immediately starting rattling off things in my mind.  What can we cut out? Where can we scale back? How can we save a little money? 

In the spending department, I am right in the middle.  I am not excessively frugal. I don't use coupons nearly enough (that takes a lot of time and planning).  I also don't splurge often.  I shop "middle of the road" stores.  I buy generic for some things, name brands for other things (there is ONLY one Mtn. Dew out there :).  We occasionally treat ourselves to eating out but I cook much of the time to save a few bucks.  I ask for favorites for birthdays/ Christmas (favorite Bath and Bodyworks soaps, pistachios, Ghirardelli chocolates) so I don't have to buy them as much. :) 

So while I am thankful for most of the time being a sensible spender, I also realize that doesn't give me as much leeway in cutting back.

So all of these thoughts are swirling around in my head.  We have some expenses we will just have to face.  Braces.  Readoption (to officially change Joshua's name).  We have some expenses we can scale back on.  Groceries (especially the more expensive meals).  Clothing.  Extracurricular activities.  And some expenses may just have to become a thing of the past.  I am still working on those things in my mind.

I don't know what the future holds.  I know God will provide our needs, though I am not naive. I know there are many followers of Christ out there who are in dire circumstances too.  My needs may not be the needs He sees as needing to be met.  I may have to give up some things I have held dear to me.

And that won't be fun.

But I also know this is a temporary home.  (Earth, not my own home)

And one day I will be standing on streets of gold without a care in the world, standing before my Jesus.

That is all that truly matters.

Even more than trips to the beach.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Memories

We started our Memorial Day memories last night.

We had some families from church (our Bible Fellowship which is a fancy word for Sunday School) over for a cookout.  We hadn't all gotten together in a while. After the evening, I was wondering why we didn't do that more often.  I can't speak for anyone else but I really enjoyed the time together. The kids played tag, jumped on the trampoline, raced each other, played ball together.  The adults just sat out on the back porch and chatted, supervising the kids and soothing any injuries that occurred.  Of course, and we ate.  You can't "fellowship" without eating!

We got to bed later than usual after those festivities, so the BIG treat was sleeping in this morning.  Woohoo!  Marley didn't quite make it but she wasn't as playful as she normally is in the morning.

After a little lounging, it was time to head to the "barn" of our friends.  This barn is really just like a big rec room.  Really big.  It was fun visiting with friends, old and new.  The kids slid down the "hillbilly" waterslide, and we were able to celebrate a milestone birthday of a friend of ours.  My highlight was holding the 2 month baby of another friend. I held him for much of the getting those "baby fixes".

We came home early afternoon and sent the little ones to bed for a nap.  I then changed into some grungy clothes and headed back to the school for some more cleaning/organizing.  I didn't quite finish but I am REALLY close!  Woohoo!  I am also feeling it this evening.  Lots of lifting and moving.  Can I count that for my exercise for the day? :)

I arrived home with just enough time to hop in the shower and slip on some somewhat nicer (and patriotic) clothes.  Then we headed back down the road to my parents' house.  There, we enjoyed a cookout.  And swimming.  Well, I didn't.  The kids did.  Before dinner, then after dinner.

One of the night's highlights was watching our three pups playing together (all three are dachshunds). 

As I was sitting outside chatting with my hubby, my mom, and my sister, I felt an occasional splash of water from the cousins playing together in the pool.  The sun was setting.  My belly was full.  And the pups were playing by my feet.  The air was somewhat cool (compared to the day).  And my heart was happy.

I really wanted to freeze time.

For just that little bit, there was no worry about paychecks, jobs, interviews (for hubby, not me), etc.

Just a time to enjoy the moment.

And the freedom I had to be there.

PS Not really even any pics to share...I was just enjoying the moment IN the moment :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday...The Morning After

Yesterday was my "last day" of school (the kids were done the day before), though I am not actually quite finished packing up my room. So I am not truly done yet.  However, I will hopefully finish up over the weekend when I have a chance.

After all that, I conked out last night before posting this.

It has been a difficult week. A chaotic week.  A not always fun week.

But I am thankful.

I choose to be thankful.

Because even in the midst of trials and tribulations, there are blessings.

Even when your husband has lost his job.

So here are a few things I am thankful for this week:
  • the end of school.  I LOVE my job, but I am so ready to have some relaxing days of summer.
  • the kids' school years.  They all had good years.  There were ups and downs for each of them in different areas, but in the end, they have all grown socially, academically, and emotionally.  We are so very grateful to their teachers for being a part of that.
  • lunch out with a couple of co-workers yesterday at one of my favorite places, eating one of my favorite salads.  It was just nice to sit and relax a bit.
  • the prayers and encouragement that have been sent our way this week.
  • a sweet bouquet of flowers and a precious note from one of my graduating fifth graders.  One of the most special notes I have ever read.
  • my sweet students.  They blessed me in a big way this year.
  • a new "shaved ice" flavor.  Hog Wild.  YUM.  Thanks, Julie, for showing me the way...
  • listening to my daughter sing with the chorus at the Naturals game.
  • our last preschool tuition payment. WOOHOO!
  • that hubby was able to keep his cell phone number (though we had to buy a new phone and are now paying for his service too).  I had that number written on LOTS and LOTS of forms around town.  I am so thankful I don't have to change them all :)
  • that if hubby was going to be jobless, the last week of school was the week for it to happen.  I have been able to work later, run up to the school when needed, etc. without worrying about what to do with the kids.
  • hubby's former co-workers...they have been encouraging and supportive during this time.
  • our music minister's successful surgery to remove cancer.
  • my sister's in town (though I haven't gotten to see her...yet)
  • that both of our vehicles are paid off
  • watching our daughter shine as she "graduated" fifth grade
  • sweet cards and FB notes from parents of my students
I could think of more but the kid crew is begging for breakfast, so I better stop for now.

What are you thankful for this week???


Monday, May 21, 2012

You Give and Take Away...

One of the praise songs we sing at church has a phrase in it...

You give and take away.

You give and take away.

My heart will choose to say.

Lord, blessed be your name.

At different points in my life, these words have had different meanings.

And I find that this weekend, they have a new meaning for me once again.

Friday afternoon, I came home, happy but tired. It was finally Friday. I had accomplished a lot (winding up the school week to go!).  I was ready for a relaxing evening at home because I knew my weekend would be spent dealing with school stuff.

I pulled into the driveway, pushed that garage door opener, and saw my hubby's vehicle in the garage.

I joked with Joshua, "That is strange...Daddy's home!"

However, at that point, it was 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, so that wasn't completely odd.  Just a little odd.

I walked in the house and looked for him.  I found him our room and made a joke.  "Sick?"

Then I plopped down on the bed in complete exhaustion.

I am SOOOO thankful I plopped down so I was already sitting.

"Um, they unhired me today."

Say what???

I felt like I was going to throw up.

I know I don't really have to say it because if you know him at all, you know that this is true.

My husband is a hard worker.

Sometimes too hard.

He does a good job of balancing family and work, but I will admit to fussing at him on occasion for doing work when I felt like he should be doing the family thing.

Even "vacations" are not true vacations.

The office is just a phone call away.

And his bosses knew that too.

That is not why he was "unhired".

There were just some changes made, and his position was a casualty.

So now we are in a new place.

I am not big on change.  And I am not excited about this one either.

I mean, he LOVED this job.

Ironically, a few days ago, he commented about how much he had enjoyed this job and hadn't been tempted to leave, even when there were opportunities.

But for whatever reason, this change is upon us.

And yes, I have dealt with every emotion.  Lots of sadness, fear, frustration, anger.

But I know who is in control.

And God does take away.

He will give too.

Maybe not in our time, but in His.

But even if He doesn't, my heart will choose to praise.

Blessed is His name.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


Wow. It has been almost a week since I posted. Highly unusual for me. But then again it has been a highly unusual week. Lots of late nights, trying to wrap up school, some not so fun issues to deal with, after school activities, and very out of routine days at school.

I haven't even exercised in four days I think.

Or played my Draw Something games.

 Just no time.

 Every minute filled.

 But the one thing I did make time for this week was a special reunion. As you may or may not remember, last year I had a reunion with my second kindergarten class of graduating seniors (from this school). Just want to clarify that I did love my first kindergarten class from this school...I just wasn't in touch with many of them.  It is much easier to organize if I can find at least part of the group.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time reuniting with that group.

As this year has gone by, I started thinking, "Hmmm, maybe I should do it again." 

I sent out feelers and got a positive response.

So, what could I do?

Have another reunion, of course.

Tuesday I hopped in my car.  I had a cake, plates and forks, gifts and cards, and my smile with me.  And maybe a few nerves.  I haven't seen many of these kids in years.  In fact, some left our school after kindergarten when another elementary school opened up in their neighborhoods.  So it has been almost 12 years for some!

We went to the same local restaurant that I had reunioned at the year before. I ate light all day anticipating the food.
Some of my crew had moved away.  A couple had to work.  One forgot (but I got to see her later when she visited me at school).  And a couple said they were coming but then didn't show up. :(  However, the faithful bunch that did come were delightful.  They are all good kids (or they are fooling me big time :).  And I am so proud of the young men and women they have become.  They all have exciting futures ahead of them.  What a joy it was to be a small part of their lives!  I am thankful that they gave up a couple of hours to come visit with an old lady like me.  I am blessed.
Happy graduation to my former kindergarten class today.  You will forever be in my heart!

More soon,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom's Day

Some years I can tell Mom's Day is going to be extra special.  Like the year that we went to Petite Jean...I had a whole weekend of hiking with my family!  Other years I might get gift cards, flowers, treats.  And then...

Other years, Mom's Day is kind of an afterthought.

And I know that too.

Though it would be easy to be hurt, I can understand.

Somehow special days, no matter how special they are, sneak up on you. 

Or at least they do me.

And since the rest of the family does not tend to be planners, I know that it is going to happen here.  A lot.

So yesterday I was out and about running a lot of errands (when I just really wanted to be at home asleep), and I saw a stockpot. A tall one.  I have been wanting one.  When I boil potatoes, they overflow in my regular pot. In fact, I can't even boil a whole bag of potatoes for that reason.

So on somewhat of an impulse, I bought it.

And I told myself happy mother's day.

I also got a pizza dinner date with my hubby after we attended a friend's wedding.

This morning I awoke to a sweet gift from Child 3 (made at school) and a video interview of my kids about me.  And though I didn't get breakfast in bed, I did get breakfast served to the table.  That is a treat. :)

Throughout the day I received more "Happy Mother's Day" comments, along with a poster from Child 2.

And that is my Mom's Day.

Hope you had a Happy Mom's Day too!


Friday, May 4, 2012


I wanted to write a Thankful Thursday post last night.

I really did.

Except by the time I finished up some other things, I was pretty much asleep.

Happens this time of year.

As you could probably tell from my last post, it has been a difficult week again.  A difficult month.  Maybe a difficult couple of months.

And I feel really guilty saying that.

I had three friends lose family members yesterday.

Another received a cancer diagnosis recently while another recovers from major surgery.

A sweet baby whose blog I had just started following (Avery) passed away this week.  Suddenly her parents are living a life without their sweet baby in their arms, much sooner than they had anticipated.

So while I do feel like life has been not so fun recently, I also know it is all relative.  Compared to the above stories, my troubles and trials and tribulations are small.

But they still remind me that this world is not my home.

And they make me appreciate the things I am thankful for that much more...

So what am I thankful for this week?

I won't bullet the list like usual.

This week I was actually thankful for Thursday.

It was my favorite day of the week.

We (as in our kindergarten classes) were supposed to go to a local "zoo"/"safari" on Monday.

But it was rained out.

And I am kind of thankful for that since I had been sick to my stomach.  A bus ride on a bumpy road with kindergarten students is not soothing to the stomach.  Nor is the smell of wild animals.

Anyway, the trip was rescheduled for Thursday.

And Thursday was beautiful.

The weather was beautiful.

And the time was precious.

One of my favorite moments was when we were feeding some bread to the camels.  The camels were eating it up...literally.  My kids were standing there laughing and talking when the camels started making these low sounds, almost like burping noises.  We all laughed.  Nothing spectacular, but a moment I wanted to freeze in time.  The world seemed to stand still.  For just a bit, nothing seemed to matter.  No stress.  No trials.  No hurts.  Just pure joy on a sunny day with some of my favorite people.

And the fun didn't end there.

A few hours later, I picked up my own kids.

All had had a good day.

In fact, a good week.

That is rare for ALL four to have a good week.

Not that they are terrors, but little things come up typically with at least one, if not more...

We went home and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.

We jumped on the trampoline.  Yes, even me.

Played Frisbee.

Threw the ball around.

All six of us.

And a pup.

Pretty sure I went to sleep with a smile on my face.

And that is what I am thankful for this week...


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Trials and Tribulations

I never really picked a theme this year.

Usually for New Year's I have a theme of the year.  Like "Contentment" or "Faith".

Didn't choose one for this year.

Kind of wish I had.

I think one chose me.

Or two.

Or maybe three if you count "and".

Trials and tribulations.

I realize my trials pale in comparison to so many others.

But they are trials nonetheless.

Some parenting.

Some school/work.

Some spiritual.


The kind that make me long for heaven.

The ones that make me feel like an alien here on on earth...this earth is not my home.

And maybe that is the point.

I don't know.

But I still wish I had gone with a fun word for 2012...