Friday, February 29, 2008

For Vicki

Vicki has tagged me for seven more random facts. I'm not the best at tagging others, (even as a kid I had a hard time catching anyone), but I'll combine it with a "Friday Flashback" and give it another go.

1. When I was a child we owned a dachshund named Katie (actually Kathryn von Bora).

2. Kate and I were once in the kiddie parade together. I went as a clown and she went as a dachsund. We didn't win a prize but it was fun never the less.

3. We almost always had a cat, but once we had a sick one who Dad had to clean up after each morning. Dad got rid of the cats and hasn't had another since. (He watches birds instead.)

4. For several years I shared a finished attic bedroom with my sister Priscilla.

5. I hate getting wet and especially hate cold water, but my friends and I used to enjoy water wars on hot summer days during Jr. High.
6. I don't ever recall stepping on a bee but pricker plants I've had plenty of experience with.
7. As a very small child I loved Velveeta cheese. I never buy it now and can't remember the last time I had any.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Too Cold for a Snowman

It's been one of those days where I would have preferred to stay in my house and not venture outside into the cold, but today is Thursday and that is when Troy must be picked up from preschool, so we trekked out into the cold once again today. On the way home we stopped to say hello to the snowman parked in Troy's front yard. (His mom also found Tuesday afternoon perfect for building a snowman.) This poor snowman's hat was so covered by the blowing snow that Troy's mom thought maybe it had blown away. There it was just peeking out from under a covering of fresh flakes.

My dear friend, Ann, called me from sunny Florida this afternoon. We had a wonderful long conversation. I should have put on that pot of tea so we could share a cup like in the "old days". Ann says I should do some research on Peekapoos. I've never known one of those but she thinks maybe she could get me a good deal on one of these furry little friends. I just may have to give that some quick consideration.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wearing a Little Blush

It was a lazy morning. The clock read 7:30 am. I knew I should get up, but the covers wrapped their warm arms around my shoulders and convinced me to stay just a little longer. It was just about eight o'clock when I heard Jasmine bark downstairs. I hopped out of bed and looked out the window into the driveway. Was that Bryan's car? What was he doing here at eight instead of eight-thirty? It took me just a few seconds to recall that he had asked yesterday morning if he could drop Troy off a little early today. "Blush" I grabbed my seldom used robe from behind the bathroom door, threw it over my pj's, and headed down the stairs to answer the door. "Where was James when I needed him? In the barn working. Where were my kids? Still sleeping." In my humbled state, I welcomed Troy inside and Bryan laughed at my embarrassment and forgetfulness. It was a good thing I hadn't climbed into the shower five minutes earlier! I started to wonder if I had recently prayed for humility or if God was just continuing to answer an old prayer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Snowy Day

This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow. By afternoon the flakes were getting bigger and stickier. I went out to see if I could find anything interesting... and decided that never should a winter go by without a least one little snowman. So here he is! (I moved the wheelbarrow to the back porch after I took the picture. I figure that way he can look in and enjoy our company from outside.)

Josh came to visit today while his mommy played waitress and I think he'll be back to play again tomorrow. He is such a cute little guy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Jesus Style

Gayle Erwin was our guest speaker at church yesterday morning. (I felt good enough to go.) Known for being animated and always wearing a smile, he is a pleasure to listen to. The lesson yesterday was on forgiveness and how, wrapped up in total forgiveness, is the necessity of prayer, not just praying for the ability to forgive, but actually praying God's blessing on whoever I am at odds with. I like to think of myself as a forgiving person, but a reminder is always helpful. Sometimes those feelings of animosity return and I must go back to the Lord again. I am thankful that God has taught and continues to teach me this valuable lesson.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


"He puzzled three hours till his puzzler was sore, Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before..."

Today is a beautiful sunny Saturday. I am lying low and trying to stay in out of the winter-like temperatures. Earlier in the week my throat was feeling a little sore and scratchy. Yesterday it turned into a full blown cold. I have a big box of tissues, a pot of orange tea, and a lovely puzzle to keep me occupied. My favorite puzzles are the Charles Wysocki and Hometown Collection puzzles. They have 1000 pieces but can be done in a reasonable amount of time. I don't see any point in puzzles that are impossible or next to it. I enjoy putting the pieces together and finishing the picture within a day or two. Hannah is a great puzzle maker. She helps me out when I mess up and get the pieces together wrong, which is fairly often. My other kids and husband help too and I rarely ever finish a puzzle alone. I'm thinking of shipping this one off to Priscilla when I'm done.
How about you? Are you a puzzler or are they just too puzzling for you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Heather!

Close your eyes and just maybe you can hear this wonderful group singing a birthday song...

"A happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you,
Everyday of the year, may you find Jesus near,
A happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you,
May it be the best year you've ever had."

PS. They can dance too. (At least Hannah can... and Laura.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Little More of Winter

Yesterday there was not much snow on the ground. I drove out to and back from Priscilla's house on dry roads, but last night the snow started to fall and today it looks like winter again. That is the beauty of living near one of the Great Lakes, "lake effect" snow. It really can be very pretty and adds some interest to an otherwise long drab winter.

I went out yesterday with no clue what craft we would be doing with the kids. I thought maybe Priscilla would have some ideas, but she didn't. Instead I looked around her house a little and spotted a sock snowman relaxing on the piano. Cute idea... Alicia said it was filled with white rice and she had made it in kindergarten. (She's almost 9 now.) We made a stop at Walmart on the way home and picked up some small white socks, a large bag of white rice, and some colored pom poms. I think they turned out cute and the kids were happy too.
PS Check out my "Kid Stuff" blog for Ben's castle slide show!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Very Lovely Day

This morning we got up a little bit earlier than usual, ran some errands, and headed out to Priscilla's house for a long overdue visit. It was a wonderful day. We shared a cup of coffee late in the morning and a cup of tea later in the afternoon after lunch. Audra challanged us to a game of Dutch Blitz, while the boys found some fun of their own. (I'll see about posting that tomorrow...) The back room was bright, comfortable, and sunny and the time passed much too quickly. Soon it was time to head home, grab some supper and head out to church.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Valentown's Day

While the kids and I were out yesterday, we passed this old building and stopped to take a few pictures. The structure was erected in 1879 as a shopping mall and community center. Looking ahead, Levi Valentine built his mall where the railroad was scheduled to pass.
Sad for him the railroad company ran out of both tracks and money long before they reached the Valentown Mall. The building was abandoned until Sheldon Fisher purchased it in 1940 and turned it into a museum.

I have passed by this spot many times but have never been inside the building. I am curious though. Maybe the kids and I will have go back when the weather warms up and take a look around. Anyone care to join us?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Things Above

IF then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

It was a gray morning, soggy and overcast. Ben, Hannah and I decided to go out for a ride. I have been a little down lately, so I was encouraged when the Lord brought this verse to mind today, "Set your mind on things above". Sometimes I get a little too focused on the here and now. I take my eyes off the goal and set them on things that will soon pass away. It's too easy to get distracted when I am tired or discouraged, but God is still there, leading me along, nudging me when I come to a standstill and carrying me when I can't take another step. "I 've got a mansion, just over the hilltop". How could I not smile about that?


Last night we had a meltdown. It is not complete as ice takes much longer to melt than snow, but the difference some wind, rain, and higher temperatures can make is amazing. Almost all the grass is visible and Teal Lake is thriving. We are looking for colder temperatures the next few days, so you never know what it will look like outside tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Caffeine Withdrawal

I have not had a cup of coffee in a little over a week. For the most part I haven't felt like having any, instead I have been drinking tea, juice, or water, but this evening a nice French vanilla coffee sounded especially good. I was tired, my eyes were achy, and it is still cold and snowy outside. Why didn't I give in? I suppose it was because the clock said almost 5 pm and I really want to have a good night's sleep. Instead I ended up taking 1/4 of an Excederin to stop the flashy, achy feeling in my eyes. It's not that I am giving up coffee forever, I'm just taking a "coffee break".

Friday, February 15, 2008

This and That

Last Wednesday night I did not have a craft for our church kids class. I thought I could just once get away with handing out paper and markers and letting them draw on their own. Since the class is typically made up of four active boys and one bouncy little girl, this did not produce positive results. This week I decided that a craft was necessary even if it didn't go along with the lesson. We made foam marshmallow puppy dogs, fun for the kids and therapudic for me. I found the idea online months ago and thought it was cute.

Several weeks ago, on a day off school, Kathie dropped off the girls and handed me an envelope. I tucked it under my arm as I tied Ellie out on her leash. "Don't lose it," Kathie said and I assured her I wouldn't. When I got back inside I opened the envelope to find a very nice thank you card and two fifty dollar bills. The money was totally unexpected and much appreciated. I placed it back inside the card, put the card into the envelope, and tucked it into my "spot" by the wall where I stick important stuff. That was on a Monday. I didn't look for it again until along about Friday and then the envelope wasn't there. James feared maybe he had accidentally thrown it out but I was certain he wouldn't toss a card with my name on the outside before looking in it or asking me. I decided not to fret and trust that somehow God was teaching me a lesson I couldn't clearly see. Three weeks went by and whenever I thought of the lost money, I gave it back to the Lord. Yesterday morning we set out for the grocery store but before leaving I had Nate run back into the house to grab the menu I had clipped to the fridge. After we returned home, the kids helped me unload the van while I quickly washed out the inside of my rather grungy refrigerator. I must have been looking for some lunch when I turned around and noticed an envelope with my name on it clipped to the refrigerator door. The card had been there the whole time, hidden behind my dinner menu. I have to smile as I realize the Lord's work in my life. There was a time (and likely still is) when I would have been frantic at losing that amount of cash, but somehow He is there teaching me to lean on Him and trust that He has everything in His hand. Will I pass the next test? I don't know, but I do know He is here taking care of me, growing me, and teaching me to trust Him.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

I had already been thinking of doing a pet post when Wanda listed hers. Ironically, I came up with thirteen (not including fish, rabbits, or gerbils).

1 Shadow was our first cat. He was a little black stray that James brought home from work one day. A very friendly kitten who, even though we had him vaccinated, eventually died of feline leukemia.

2. Gracie was our first dog. Her momma was a poodle that belonged to my uncle. Being pregnant and dealing with a puppy didn't mix too well back than and one day I let Rachel take her home to Grandma's house where she lived out all her happy days.

3. Misty was a German shepherd mix given to James by a friend at work. As a pup she was a stray on the streets of Rochester. She thought I was her mommy and followed me everywhere including the library where she would hang around outside until we came out. We had her for twelve years until her arthritis was so bad she couldn't get up anymore.

4. KC, short for Kitty Cat, came from Jim's fourth grade teacher. She was the stereotypical cat who would bite your backside when she wasn't happy with you.

5. Peaches was a big, fluffy orange tom cat who showed up at our house one spring when the kids were still little. He gradually worked his way into our hearts and became a family member. He eventually came down with feline HIV. He was a great cat!

6. Oreo came to our door one morning when a woman driving past saw him laying by the street. I took him in because I had a friend who I was sure would take him. He had a dislocated ankle and couldn't walk on his back legs. He was scared to death of us but took a liking to Peach. They became fast friends.

7. Ande was a Jack Russell terrier mix and belonged to my son, Dave. He was a wonderful puppy, full of mischief and life. I cried for weeks after James and I returned home to find he was hit by a car. It was my birthday. Not only did I miss the little guy but I hurt for my son who loved him too.

8. Dillon was just a baby when we brought him home, cocker spaniel and blue heeler. He trained easily and loved to play but as an adult dog growled and threatened to bite even my own children. Three years ago I took him to the local animal shelter.

9. Bo Cat was dropped off at the door of Bethany's friend, with five kittens. She needed a home and Beth fell in love with her. In September of 2000 she had another litter of kittens which we found to be a wonderful experience. We gave away all but one.

10. Little Cat is Bo's kitten, although she is twice Bo's size.

11. Jasmine came from the animal shelter seven years ago. She is a wonderful friend but isn't much for chasing balls and sticks. She does sommersauls and loves to have her belly rubbed, and is a great companion on orchard walks.

12. That takes me to Ellie and the fact that I cannot add small numbers correctly. Five dogs plus seven cats equals twelve animals not thirteen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Basket Case

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23

I feel like somewhat of a basket case. If only I can be a "Basket Case for Christ", full of His fruit rather than the selfishness of me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oooo, Baby!

My kids have been a little camera crazy lately. Sometimes it is a good thing and sometimes I'm not so sure. There are times when I've had to hide my camera and times when I give them permission to have some fun with it.

Bethany was here for supper tonight. Josh is looking very bright eyed these days. He is very interested in what is going on around him and is even beginning to be a little silly. He loves to talk, especially to Nate. He has been looking at his hands for the past week or so and is now beginning to grab hold of things. What fun he is!
Back to the camera issue... Ben is taking the photo here. Hannah is standing behind the chair, arms outstretched in case the baby moves. Not a good idea in my opinion, but I'm sure they thought he was perfectly safe. (We'll have to discuss this a little... ) Where was I while this was happening? Bad, bad Grandma!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Going Bananas

Last week I bought some bananas. The smaller bunch was just ripe, a nice yellow color, and second bunch was green. We ate up the yellow bananas and waited for the others to ripen. We waited and waited. They slowly turned from green to a sickly greenish brown color. I like bananas when they have just turned yellow and I prefer them without the brown spots. They are now past their prime. It looks like I may be making several batches of banana bread in the next few days. If the monkeys are hungry, send them over!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Cold Winter Wind

Thank you to all who left comments on my last post. It's been a rough weekend but I am getting through it. I know there will sad moments yet, but I have so much to be thankful for. I know that if God's eye is on the sparrow and not one falls without his knowledge, then he also cares for little dogs and those who love them. I can't question why He let this happen, I just have to trust Him. Maybe someday He will give me another little friend.

It is a very cold and blustery day. We had some snow overnight which is now being whipped around by the wind and swirled through the air. Most of it seems to end up sticking to the roads making driving interesting. Our driveway had been stripped of its snow when we returned from church late this morning. The yard also looked like an ice rink. Old footprints, frozen in the ice, looked fresh but no one had been there. They were our own, left days ago when the snow was soft and slushy. It's possible those footprints will be around for a while. It's supposed to be a cold wintery week. I will have to think up some good inside activities. Maybe Troy and I will bake some more cookies.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Sad Day

Well... I didn't want to write this yesterday so I distracted myself with writing other things instead. We lost our little dog to the road yesterday morning. I miss her and I think I will have a grand headache for the next couple of days, but God is still good and I will be okay eventually.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Winter Trees

I took my camera with me when I went out to pick up Troy yesterday. The trees looked so pretty that I wanted to capture a picture while the snow was still stuck on all the branches. The pine trees have been especially attractive. I love how the ice and snow outline each individual branch. Some snowfalls leave little mounds of snow piled on the needles but this snow was wet and sticky. All the ice that built up on Wednesday merged into a layer of snow.

The street signs were wearing fringes made of icycles. I found that rather amusing. I don't usually see fringed street signs.
And the little bench by my back garden is slightly shivery too. It isn't where I want to sit and relax right now although it does look quite fancy all dressed up like that.

He Ain't Heavy?

Troy loves Josh. At least that's what he says. He likes to look at him, touch him, and hold him. Troy looks just about buried in baby when Josh is on his lap, but holding is a good way for a little boy to make friends with a baby. Now that Josh can smile and coo, he is much more fun, even for me.
He comes to visit once or twice a week so Bethany can help out at the restaurant and so he can get to know his grandparents, aunt, and uncles. He's a good boy and only hollers if his diaper is dirty, he's hungry, or tired, or he wants to be held... He'll be here soon cause its busy at the resaturant during candy seasons.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Living Dangerously

An icy rain fell most of yesterday. Our back porch, which is a slab of concrete covered by a roof, became a sheet of ice. Even the wooden steps up to the sliding glass door were slippery. When Bethany came to get the baby, I had her come in the basement door. When Bryan came to get Troy, I had him come in that way too. And, when Alysa got off the bus, she also came in the seldom used basement door. I was so afraid someone would slip on the steps like I did last year. (It is not much fun bouncing down ice covered steps even if there are only four of them.) Bethany was kind enough to bring me a bag of rock salt and we eventually scattered it on the slippery spots. By the time Kathie came to get the girls, it was looking much better out there. After supper I decided Ellie should go out for a potty break, so I scooped her up and headed out the door. I had let down my guard and was not prepared for the once again iced top step and down I went. (I suppose Ellie went up before going down?) Do you recall the helpless, humbling feeling as you tumble hopelessly out of control? My hands skidded across the icy concrete as I came to an abrupt halt at the bottom of the steps. Bruised, but not broken or bleeding, I headed back into the house and flopped into a chair to catch up with myself. (At least I didn't feel nauseous this time...) Later, as we headed out to church, I realized my glasses were missing. Could I have been "wearing" them on the front of my shirt when I bounced down the back steps? Ah yes, there they were, frozen to the back porch when we got home.

PS. Ben has made a list of "Ben things" below.

Bens "Tagged!" list

Ben's list of "weird" things.

Oh dear, I've been tagged. Why do these things always happen to me? So anyway, here's a couple of things about me.

1. I'm 14.
2. I hate those "Everybody wins" games.
3. I'm a homeschooler from Williamson, which basically makes me the weirdest of the weird.
4. I couldn't find any good pictures @ Beths house.
5. I like cars. my favorites are theEvolution, (mitsubishi) and Impreza .(Subaru).
6. Ich spreche Deutsch sehr tomatoe nicht
7. I like rally racing better than NASCAR (more entertaining)
8. I like spinich.
9. I like sunsets better than sunrises. (more orange, less pink).
10. I have 1 fish and an algae eater.
11. If I could vote I'd vote for Huckabee.
12. I just spent like 30 minutes looking for a good picture.
13. My favorite car maker is Lotus.
14. I like skateboarding but not skateboarders.
15. I like Albuquerque, N.M.

I decided to take uncle Daves advice and write 15 things instead of a measly old 7.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ice Fishing

Once the lake freezes over, I'm thinking about doing a little ice fishing. Winter sports usually aren't my thing, but I've heard that with ice fishing you can actually set up a little shack out on the ice. Not only does a small structure break the northern wind, but it serves as a great place to put an old reclining chair and relax for a bit. I think it may even be permissible to have the shack heated. If this is true, I may take up a winter hobby afterall. I'm not really so concerned about catching anything as keeping a positve attitude and making use of that body of water in the backyard. When it warms up, maybe I'll set up a blind and go duck hunting.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Very Gray Kind of Day

It is a drippy, soggy, wet and dreary day. Although it is somewhat warm, it is not a good day to play outside or go for a walk. As the snow continues to melt, our backyard is turning into a lake. If it gets very cold in the next day or so, our driveway will be treacherously slippery.

(I couldn't stand to see that yucky outhouse any longer, so I deleted the photo.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

An Explanation

In a previous post I listed a few things about my self and thought I would take this opportunity to explain # 3 I prefer privacy in the restroom. (Shelly will understand.)

In May of 2002 I drove to Pensacola, Florida to pick up my oldest son from college. My good friend, Shelly, did not think it wise for me to travel the distance alone and kindly asked her dear husband if she could go along with me. I was greatful for the company and one sunny morning we set off on our grand adventure. The longer we drove, the sillier we became. Somewhere in Ohio it was decided that we should send a postcard home from every state we passed through. (Finding a place to mail them was quite the challange.) We had just crossed into Kentucky after driving many hours, and it was past midnight when we pulled into one of those little stores along the highway for a potty stop. We had to ask where the ladies room was. When we found the little back room and opened the door, we were both surprised to find two working toilets sitting side by side, no divider. We are good friends and have been for quite some time, but this kind of sharing was something neither of us had planned on. I looked at her, she looked at me and we both started laughing. "You go first" I said.

Hannah's List

I've been tagged. I can't be tagged I don't even have a blog. Oh-well.

1. I like going to the dentist

2. I have an aunt who is younger than I am

3. I have never been to Florida or New York City and all my friends make fun of me for it

4. I absoloutly HATE chocholate cake

5. I would rather live in a village or town than in the country

6. Ich spreche deutsch

7. I'm the youngest of seven kids but so much smarter than all the rest

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tag! You're It!

I have been tagged by Christine to write seven strange/weird things about myself. (Sounds more like a job for my sisters...) I'm not sure I can think of seven more things that I haven't already written at one time or another, but I'll be a good sport and give it a whirl...

1. I don't like having wet feet.

2. I don't like mud.

3. I prefer privacy in the restroom. (Shelly will understand.)

4. I can stand on my head. (At least I used to be able. I haven't tried it in a while.)

5. I don't like winter and the cold doesn't like me, but I have no plans to move south and I still think winter is beautiful.

6. I don't care to watch TV but will sit at the computer, listen to whatever my family is watching, and then ask them questions about what is happening in the movie.

7. And... Shelly will tell you that on very long road trips, I count road-kill. (I must have been too tired to remember.)

There, now I am supposed to tag how many people? Seven?! Hmmmm... How about Michelle, Heather, Shelly, Uncle Dave, Allen, Hannah, and... Priscilla.

Oh, by the way, the snow stuck on the trees all day long today. It was as beautiful when I came home late this afternoon as it was when I left home around 10 am. I took these shots this morning. See how different things look from when "The Claw" was sitting out there? It's a whole new world!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Flashback!

Having seven kids has brought many moments of surprise laughter. One night my three year-old daughter came downstairs with her nightgown on... upside down. I had seen clothing put on both backward and inside out, shoes on the wrong feet, but upside down was something new. Her little feet were through the arm holes right where her hands should have been. Her hands were busy trying to hold the nightie up over her body. She thought it was a great joke and so did I.

I asked both Hannah and Bethany about this last night. Hannah said she knew exactly what she was doing and Beth said Hannah thought it was hilarious. Bethany remembers taking the pictures of her silly little sister. Hannah also mentioned having two Little Mermaid nightgowns and talking Ben into putting one on so that they matched. She said they got in trouble when they came downstairs. I guess Daddy wasn't impressed with Ben's evening attire that night. Too funny!