Saturday, April 29, 2006

Takin' a Ride

This afternoon we went out for a ride. James wanted to take a look at a sawmill in Waterloo, and so we also went to the Mennonite store in Seneca Falls. Sauder's is a great place to buy spices because they cost so much less than in the grocery store. Of course we also bought a few other items, how could we resist? It's hard to pass up fresh baked rolls and bread. And... I did buy a small container of maple syrup, not from a Mennonite farm (I can tell because it says "Everson's" on the sticker and he is my friend Sheri's dad) but still just as yummy. I like maple syrup on my oatmeal in the morning. Nate decided to amuse himself by taking pictures while James wandered about the sawmill place. (This is me peeking into the back seat.) Unfortunately the owner of the place was not to be found. Anyway, it was a nice afternoon to take a ride.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006


It has been a busy day so far. I went to the grocery store this morning and picked up some items to make dinner tonight. Kathy and Mike are coming over and so are the rest of our kids. It's another family dinner. This will be two in one week! I bought some chicken to cook on the grill and some salad fixin's too. Maybe we'll heat up some baked beans if we feel like it. The sun is shining as though it were picnic weather but I'm afraid it's still a little bit cool to eat outside. Kathy will soon be leaving us to live in New Mexico. She has been here for the past two years, giving us a chance to get to know each other. It will be sad to see her go but also good that she will be with friends and very near to her son, William. So tonight we will have a dinner to celebrate her being here and to tell her how much we love her.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Good Old Days

Wouldn't it be fun to be a kid again? I think I would like to go back in time and go down to Uncle Joe's farm again. Oh to be a little girl exploring the barn, watching the cows and smelling all those strange farm smells. I still don't mind the smell of cows, in fact there is someting nostalgic about it. I love an old hay mow. How fun to go up in the loft and hide in the hay or search for kittens born up there in the privacy of the barn. How about those chickens that come running when someone cries out, "Here, chick, chick!" as they scatter grain on the ground, or the ducks waddling across the yard? And then the corn on the cob boiling in a pot on the kitchen stove. We'd eat it with fresh butter and salt and pepper. Mmmmm... We could watch the tractors drive past down the road and wave to the farmer or even drive one ourselves. We could sing loud, silly songs mistakenly thinking that no one could hear. We could play in the woods, jumping the creek and climbing trees with no fear of strangers being out there, our imaginations running wild. Those of childhood must be the most vivid of all memories. I often wonder what it will be like in heaven. Will we be like children again?

My Oreo Cookie

Monday, April 24, 2006

No Inspiration

I am not feeling very inspired to write lately. Today was another "Cat In the Hat" day, "...too cold to go out and too wet to play ball, so we stayed in the house, we did nothing at all..." That's not entirely true, I did go out to lunch with James, which was very nice. I always enjoy that. I also cleaned the house, an everyday task but one that must be done none the less. I did some more laundry, of course, and... my goodness! I don't know what else... I just feel very unproductive lately. Somehow those sunny days always feel more motivating. I need to plan some rainy day tasks so that I don't feel so down and out when it's raining. Any good ideas?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Little Bit O' Lovin"

Well, I can't help but smile at the affection this silly cat gives my husband. James seems to enjoy it almost as much as Oreo does. Now how could anybody not like cats?

It's a gray and rainy day, a good day to sit here and read blogs but there are other things to be done too. Maybe I'll think about doing the laundry or baking some more chocolate chip cookies. (They turned out really yummy last night at church.) Maybe I'll play with my clay or pull out my paints. Maybe I'll take a nap later. Dark rainy days are good for naps... I am glad to see that the weather in Dallas is supposed to be hot and sunny. It's a wonderful day for my niece's Texas wedding.

Friday, April 21, 2006

It May Be April, But It Feels Like May

This has been a beautiful week for spring break, lots and lots of sunshine and warm temperatures. Yesterday I finally finished my little garden plot out in the backyard. I planted peas and radishes and hopefully this afternoon I will get to planting some spinach or leaf lettuce, maybe both. We are planning to have another garden down around the barn when we get a little bit more into May. Then we'll plant the peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and ... oh, who knows what all. I am looking forward to a great garden! Tomorrow it is supposed to rain so I want to enjoy the sun today.

This morning we went to the grocery store and also to Walmart. I was beginning to feel a little like Old Mother Hubbard there for a while. We even ran out of dog food! Well, we're all set now for a while... Sara and Alysa will be here for a few hours this afternoon as their mom has to work at 4 o'clock. I'll take them to Kid's Club with us later on. Tonight is our last Kids Club night and we are going to be making cookies. Jan and I decided to do something a little different with the girls than we usually do and thought that maybe baking would be fun. I hope the girls like it. I know they all love cookies. May 5th is a picnic and then we will be finished for the year. After that I have to pray about next year and whether I will be a leader again or not. I'm not sure...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An Orchard Walk

Yesterday Rachel came over with the boys and we took a walk in the orchard. So in honor of Thursday Thirteen, here are thirteen things about living in an apple orchard.

1. When surrounded by orchard, you get a totally different view of life in a farm town. Living in the town just doesn't have the same effect.

2. You will hear tractors going up and down the road from early in the morning until late at night and find that most farmers are actually pretty friendly and wave to you as they drive by.

3. When living in the orchards you get the benefit of seeing the apple blossoms in bloom. They're so pretty!

4. You will always have plenty of places to take walks with friends and your kids will have a great place to ride their bicycles off the main road.

5. You get a little different view of the illegal immigrant issue. It's tough to know how to handle that one as these are the guys who probably do most of the work out there in the fruit trees.

6. You can pick a snack on a long walk in the fall.

7. You know that there are countless varieties of apples and are certain that red deliciuos is not near as delicious as most of the others.

8. Your dogs have a great place to run off to when they slip out the door.

9. There are plenty of ponds back in the orchard and that makes wonderful opportunity to listen to the "peepers" every night at the end of April.

10. When the farmers spray the orchards with insecticides, it kills off most of the mosquitoes making summer evenings much more comfortable.

11. You' probably have an apple tree or two on your own property but if you don't your neighbor will probably give you some or sell you a bushel at a very reasonable cost.

12. Oh yes, you do need to be careful which direction the wind is blowing if you leave your windows open on a summer night. You never know when they might be spraying the trees.

13. If the Mott's factory isn't too far away, you might know someone who works there and they can buy apple sauce and juice for wonderful discount prices, even if Motts doesn't "sell to the public".

I love living in the orchards. We should have moved out of town years ago!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

How Random...

Arbitrary statements and random thoughts... Who said that anyway?

1. The sun shines when there's not a cloud in the sky.
2. Information is not knowledge.
3. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
4. Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.
5. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
6. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
7. It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
8. It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
9. Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile
10. The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
11. The faster you go, the shorter you are.
12. The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
13. The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
14. The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
15. The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
16. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
17. Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.
18. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
19. We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

One of these statements is mine. Any guesses as to which one?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

An Easter Miracle

This little guy is nearly two months old! He is a miracle baby!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Momma's Lap

I'm thinking that I really need to drag my clay out to the table and work with it a little more. I have the clay and the kiln so why not make use of them? Somewhere along the line I lost my motivation but I think I can get it going again if I put my mind to it. "An endless possibility" will never become a reality unless I make it happen... Julia's blog on keeping life simple has been getting me thinking again.

Are You Listening?

The other day I was reading Luke 8 and one particular verse jumped out at me. I have been pondering this verse for the past several days. It isn't difficult to understand, I think what amazes me is that it never struck me this way before. Jesus had just told the parable of the sower and the seed. You probably know the story; as the sower threw the seed, some fell by the wayside and was trampled down or devoured by birds, some fell on rock, grew up and then withered because of lack of water, some fell among thorns and the thorns spang up and choked it, and finally, some fell on good soil, sprang up and yielded a crop. Jesus explained the the seed was the word of God. Our hearts are the ground on which the seed fell. Those by the wayside but then the devil comes and steals the word out of their hearts lest they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock hear and believe for a time but when temptation comes they fall away. Those among thorns hear but when they go out are choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this world. Those that fell on good ground keep the word with a noble and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Then in verse 18 Jesus says, "Therefore take heed how you hear." I began to think about when I sit in church and listen to the message. Am I really paying attention? Am I looking and listening for what God is teaching me, or am I thinking about what we are having for lunch or who I need to talk to after service? Am I looking around at other people or cleaning my fingernails? Am I wondering what time it is? Am I falling asleep or wishing I had served in the nursery this morning? Am I disregarding what the Lord is speaking to me or am I taking heed how I hear?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Bigger the Better

I decided to add a link or two to my profile this morning and then checked out a few other people with large families. I find it fascinating that I am not the only "woman in the shoe" out there. I used to dream about large family get togethers but never quite had the gumption to get a group started. I'm not sure my poor husband would have known how to handle it. Anyway (there's that word again), as it is Thursday, I thought maybe today would be a great time to list 13 Things About Large Families.

1. Your kids will never have to sit alone in church even if Dad had to stay home and Mom is in the nursery. (All 7 of my kids sat together last night.)
2. Babysitters are not easy to find. People just don't know what to do if there are more than 3 kids in one family, besides it's hard to afford an outside sitter when they charge per child. If you wait until a few of your own are old enough (say 15 or 16) they can share the job of looking after the younger ones.
3. Large families need large vehicles, mostly to carry them back and forth to church and homeschooling field trips. They rarely go anywhere else. (I personally think this new carseat law is a vendetta against us.)
4. A large family can be very happy living in a house with only 3 bedrooms. You buy second hand bunk beds and if need be Mom and Dad can always sleep on a futon in the living room for a few years. (Been there, done that.)
5. There will be enough food to go around if you cook up plenty of rice, pasta, or potatoes, grow a huge vegetable garden, or own a grocery store. PS.- Kids only need one hot dog each.
6. Nobody really knows what belongs to who and mom can't remember either.
7. Everybody pitches in to help because otherwise Mom really would be crazy.
8. There is always someone to play with.
9. It is rarely quiet unless we are all sleeping.
10. There are always way too many shoes sitting by the door. (If I have 7 kids and they each have 2 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of boots, plus my own shoes and my husband's, and then there are a few unclaimed sets,... Well, you get the picture.)
11. You get to know the pediatrician on a first name basis (and the OB/GYN too). At least you aren't a total stranger...
12. People recognize you by, "you know, the people with all the kids."
13. There will always be plenty of family to come back home for the holidays (and hopefully they will bring all the food!)

Honestly, I loved having a large family. I am starting to miss having little people around but I am so glad that even my "grown up" kids still like to come home once in a while.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Give Me A Break!

Sometimes I feel like a meteorologist reporting the weather day after day. Maybe that comes from all those years of sitting on the front porch (see Priscilla's blog). They say that's what old people do, sit on the porch and talk about the weather... Anyway (that's my favorite word), it's looking rather gray outside today, not too cold, but not as inviting as when the sun is shining either. I'm staying inside today just because I want to.

Next week is spring break. That's when all the kids who go to public school get to sleep in, stay home from school, and torment their mothers who are not used to them being home all the time. For me it is a time to find some poor public school mother whose dear child is looking for a friend who can stay overnight and provide some company and entertainment. Then I get a break, maybe... Actually, we are planning to have a couple of friends over ourselves on Monday night. These are also homeschooled friends whose father will be having surgery Tuesday morning. I will get a break because Ben and Hannah will each have a friend to kep them occupied. We look forward to spring break when we get a chance to see some friends who are normally at school or home doing school. Hey Priscilla and Rachel, what are you guys gonna be doing for the break?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catching Some Rays

A beautiful sunny day. Good for taking pictures but still a little cool here by the lake. Summer is just around the corner (I hope!). I'm ready to sit outside on my back porch and drink a tall glass of iced tea. Mmmm...

Put A Lid On It

Yesterday I took a ride out to Webster to do a few errands. Amazingly, I was able to escape the house without any children in tow. First stop was the bank to make a deposit, then to Goodwill to drop off some items, and finally to Walmart where I bought some rather large storage tubs. The first tub was so big that I had to fit it over the front of the cart resting on the bottom rack and the lid I slid down between the handle and the front of the cart. Inside the cart I put 3 other tubs which were a bit smaller and nestled together. Any other items (like yogurt and a lunchable, I was hungry) would fit nicely inside the smaller tubs. I got home and took the tubs up to the boys room. The thought here is to clean out the room and still have their "precious" belongings safe and on the premises. We can take the filled tubs out to one of the barns. The extra large tub was perfect for all the camping supplies we gave the boys for Christmas and each had a smaller tub to himself. Unfortunately, I neglected to pick up lids for the smaller tubs and had to stop at Walmart again a few hours later (while James ran his errands) to pick those up. Nothing like wasting a little time.

Last night I had an awful headache and fell alseep on the couch. James left me there, sleeping peacefully, and went upstairs without me. I finally hauled myself up to bed at about 3:30 am but was very uncomfortable with my aching head, eye, and neck. James got up early, as usual, at about 5 o'clock, and since I couldn't sleep and only wanted to cry, I decided that I would crawl into the bathtub for a nice hot soak. After getting dressed I took 2 Benadyl, got my pillow and went back downstairs to the couch where I could go to sleep sitting up. I could feel the Benadryl working its magic as my body began to relax. Sleep was immanent. The kids woke me up in the morning with just about enough time to get to Ladies' prayer. My headache is basiclly gone now. I figured it would be as it is always most intense just before it goes away. I am left tired from the experience but at least I'm not in pain.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nothin' Doin" (or Doing Nothing)

Wow, what a day! I feel as though I have accomplished absolutely nothing, probably because that is basically true. James cooked breakfast for us this morning, a wonderful Saturday routine, and then we headed off to clean the Sunday school rooms at church. While that may sound like an accomplishment, let me remind you that Joe and Nate do the vacuuming and I wash table and other surfaces and take out the trash. No big thing there. From church we went to visit my mom and dad. This can be considered doing something because I rarely get a chance to stop there for a Visit. Then Nate and I went over to Walmart and back to the church to clean the sanctuary which was previously occupied by a group of ladies from church. (This was no big accomplishment either.) And then we headed back to Mom's to pick up Hannah and visited for a little while longer. When I finally returned home it was 6 o'clock so I threw in a load of laundry and made my bed. What to do now? Can I accomplish anything meaningful before I fall into bed tonight? We shall see...

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Birthday Bash

There was no birthday celebration planned for our birthday boy last night, but we ended up partying anyway. Bethany just couldn't stay away on her favorite father's big day, so we bought some Italian sausages and fired up the grill for the first time this year! Beth made some macaroni salad and I had a tossed salad in the fridge. Voila! A birthday dinner. Dave was already here working on his stuff outside and Bethany gave Jim a call. He said he would be around after dinner. I felt really bad about telling Kathy that we weren't celebrating until Sunday afternoon. James was supposed to have had an appointment yesterday evening at 7 pm but he went Wednesday afternoon instead. So anyway, we had dinner together for the second time this week (Tuesday was our family dinner). Adam, our favorite son-in-law, brought a yummy chocolate chip cookie cake and we had ice cream to go along with it. Too bad I can't share the birthday song with you. But there is an almost exact replication of it on my answering machine thanks to Grandmanita and Auntie Lee Anne (good job, guys!). Come on over and take a listen. For entertainment last night, Jim read some wonderful library books, Once Upon a Time, Good Night and The Younger Brother's Survival Guide, both wonderfully entertaining.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Getting Old

Another day older... each day a little closer to gray hair and wrinkles. Ahh, it will catch up with all of us eventually. It's one of the blessings of being alive.

Anyway, today I want to wish a Happy Birthday to one of my very favorite little boys. He's not old yet (He can't be if I'm not!), just a little more "mature". Where does the time go? I married a boy and now he can grow a mustache and beard without any problem. I suppose that means he grew up somewhere along the way. Maybe someday I'll grow up too... maybe.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Spring Vacation

For those of you who are unaware, spring has decided to take a vacation. It was here when I left for the Buffalo airport yesterday but had departed before my return several hours later. It looks rather nice outside at the moment but it is actually deceptively cold. Just listen to that wind! Brrrr... Well, we may have lost our spring-like weather for a bit but at least we aren't dealing with tornadoes.

We took a ride out to Lollypop Farm on Sunday afternoon (just looking for something nice to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon). Lots of other people had decided to do the same thing so it was rather crowded. We didn't see too many dogs or cats that looked interesting but I really liked the goats. One of them decided it would be a great idea to chew on my shirt. It was an old worn out shirt anyway so it didn't matter. He didn't put any new holes in it, just left a trace amount of goat slobber. No big deal. He also decided to take a taste of a lady's skirt and she was not impressed. Maybe some day I'll go back to Lollypop and adopt him.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

No Foolin'

Did you think that summer had arrived? Well, April Fools! We still have to do April before we can really count on it being warm and sunny for any extended length of time. It was beautiful though and I was foolish enough to hope it would last. We are back to gray skies and not so hot weather but we have the sunshine of the past week to carry us though.

I did some running around yesterday, took Ben and Hannah to the dentist, the van up to King's, did some laundry, and still had a chance to be outside in the warm weather for a while. I raked some leaves out of the flower gardens. While the van was at the garage, Hannah and I walked down to visit with Shelly and Jessi for a little bit. It was nice just to sit out on the front porch and visit while the girls played. Sometimes I miss that. There should have been piano lessons mid-afternoon but Leslie had to cancel so the kids got a break. Around 5 o'clock I took Hannah up to the Reinhardt's for an overnight. James and I had the house to ourselves again in the evening as the boys were all at church with the teens. We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and played a couple games of cards. (No Shelly, it wasn't the game you suggested, we played Rummy instead. Any guesses on Shelly's suggestion?)

I can't believe the day is half over already. I haven't done anything special, but today has been pretty busy too. I saw Adam and Louis at church after we cleaned the Sunday school rooms. Adam was washing windows and Louis was trying to explore with a leash on his neck. Adam thinks his kitten is a puppy. Good thing Louis isn't a scaredy cat, just curious. He didn't seem to mind being at church, but then he didn't look thrilled either.

Believe It or Not

Well, here it is almost 2:30 am, April Fool's Day, and I am up out of bed looking at the computer. I went to bed totally exhausted but woke up because my brain won't rest. I have learned over the years that sometimes I can shut out all those things that are causing me stress, but tonight (or is it this morning?) it isn't working very well. My mind is troubled and looking for solutions but there are none to be found, at least none that I can achieve. Deep down inside I know I need to give it all back to the Lord and trust that He has a plan, but I have not been reading my Bible or praying like I should for the past few days, and so that is hard to do. Anyway, I don't plan on being down here for long and I left my large print Bible upstairs by my bed. I'm afraid of waking James up if I go back up to get it.(Nice excuses, huh?) Well, I guess that's all for now...