Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let the Summer Begin!

   This past week was our first official week of summer break!  Mommy is all ready for school to start again...haha, just kidding!  

   The First-Born finished up with his school work early last week, and we had our school awards night last Wednesday.  He walked away with a lot of awards, especially in his academic accomplishments.  He received the awards for the most work completed, and highest overall average!  So this caused his teacher and myself to wonder why the only trouble he ever got in at school was for wasting time?! :)  He is looking forward to having lots of fun (and wasting lots of time) this summer!

   We took the Middle Biscuit to the Lego store for a birthday shopping trip over the weekend.  He bought several sets, including Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater from the Cars movie.  He has aways loved the movie, so this was a perfect find for him!  

   We are settling into our summer routine around here.  I spent today working on the daily schedule for the summer months.  It always makes me feel a lot more on-top-of-things when I have a game-plan in the back of my mind.  And, like I told my mom, when you write something down, you feel a lot more obligated to get it done!  So, our schedule is all written out for each day, and will only need a slight adjustment here and there to finish it off.  Big sigh of relief for mommy!  

   One of the biggest helps in having a schedule is that if the boys know generally what the plan is, they are less likely to get bored.  Getting bored usually translates into whining and getting into fights, so the house is a much more peaceful place with a set plan of operation!  All they have to do is look at the clock, and they know what time it is and what they're supposed to be doing.  This also helps with boredom, because we are moving from one activity to another with regularity, instead of getting stuck doing one thing.  Sanity for all concerned! :) 

   Oh, and on that note, I just had to share that I found some great "medication" for my OCD problem!  The hubby got me an e-book reader for my birthday last month.  (It's a Barnes & Noble Nook, if you're interested.)  Anyway, there's a website called projectgutenberg.org that compiles book into a format that can be read on the e-readers.  The books are ones that the copyrights have run out on, so they are mostly "classics."  But to get them from book form to e-book form is a process!  The original is scanned into a computer, and then the text is put into a text editor.  Then people proof-read the text and fix any scanned errors.  This happens three times, then formatting issues are fixed and then the book is posted so you can put it on your e-reader.  Well, all that work is volunteer based, so people just create an account, and then proof-read on different projects as they have time.  Well, for someone with OCD, it is very soothing to fix "mistakes" and make things look right!  I am having a lot of fun with it!  

   Well, that's what has been going on around here lately.  Typical life! :) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Beginnings and Old Friends

   It's been a week since I posted last, and although it hasn't been as "circus-like" around here, we have still been pretty busy! 

   One of the major things that has happened since I last blogged was that God has been working in my parent's hunt for a new house.  Two Saturdays ago, my mom and I decided to sit down on the computer for a few minutes and look for house for sale in this area.  They want to move further out in the country, but still be close enough to the two churches my dad pastors.  So, we found a few properties, and noted a few addresses to look at.  But nothing really just "grabbed" us.  Until we found "the" place.  As we looked at the location, we noticed it was out in the country, further down our road towards the river.  Then, as we looked through the on-line photos of the house and property, we both liked it more and more.  It was in their price range, and it had several things that they had always wanted in a "dream house"--big rock fireplace, window seat in the bedroom (Mom!), and a hot tub on the deck (Dad!)!!  So they called to set up an appointment to look at the property, and came back in love with the house.  They didn't want to get their hopes up too high, since there were several steps still to get through.  But they have received loan approval, and the sellers took their offer, and so it looks like it will be moving forward!  The boys are very excited about Mimi & Pa's "new" house, with woods and a little creek, and lots of room to run and play!  Oh, and did I mention that the property is almost exactly right between the two churches?  It has been great to see God answering prayers-even the little ones! 

   Speaking of answered prayers, now comes the biggest story of the week around here.  If you've been reading this blog, you are aware that we never recovered Middle Biscuit's sleeping buddy after the tornado.  We took him to get a new friend, which he likes, but it's just not the same.  Well, I got a phone call last night during supper, from my aunt who lives here in town.  (The one whose house we stayed in after the storm.)  She said she had been on a "found items" site on Facebook, and that she had run across a photo of a blanket bear that she was fairly sure belonged to Middle Biscuit.  I told her we would get on and check it out.  So we hopped on the computer, and spent a few minutes tracking down the photo.  And suddenly, there it was, as big as life on the screen!  Since it has his name on it, it's a fairly unique item, so there was no mistaking it.  A lady had posted that she had found it, washed it, and posted it in the hope of getting it home.  She had put up her phone number, which hubby called right away.  We set up to meet her first thing the next morning.  So this morning, bright and early, Mommy, Mimi, and Middle Biscuit headed off to bring night-night bear home.  Oh, I haven't mentioned where she lived...and hour away!  It had traveled about 45 miles and landed in a pond close to her house!  

   When we arrived, she came out to the van bringing the bear.  Middle Biscuit's grin could be seen from space!  She had written him a little story about how she found it, which mommy will put up for when he is grown-up, just to show him how much God cares about the little things!  Night-night bear is home now, safe and sound, and not too much the worse for wear. In fact, he has hardly been put down all day!  

   Which just goes to show that God is interested in the small details of our lives, and not even a bear can "fall on the ground" with out our Heavenly Father noticing it! (Matthew 10:29)  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Circus, Act Two!

   Well, this is an unprecedented day for this blog...two posts in a row!  But I know ya'll didn't want to miss act two of yesterday's circus.  Ready...

   A few minutes after I finished the post for yesterday, I was corralling the boys for a much-needed nap time.  (Much-needed for ME, not for them!)  As I was doing this, I hear Middle Biscuit crying in their bathroom.  (It was not a great day for him yesterday either.)  So I go in to try and figure out what was going on.  He said the potty was making noises, and he was worried it would overflow.  I looked at the potty, didn't hear anything, and told him sometimes potties just make noise and to finish up and get in the bed.  

   Then my mom, who had been in the shower in my bathroom, said that the toilet was flushing slowly in there.  With two such reports in about fifteen minutes, I decided I had better investigate a little more thoroughly.  So I headed into my bathroom, only to be greeted by the horrifying sight of backed-up sewage in the garden tub, and stand-up shower.  I quickly went to visit the other bathrooms to fin the same situation in their bathtubs as well.  At this point, I have to admit, I was about ready to throw in the towel on this day, even though it was only half-over!  Oh, and did I mention that lately we have been using the bathtub in the smallest bathroom (which isn't usable because it's knobs are broken) for storage?  Extra cleaning supplies, TP, paper towels, cat litter, and birdseed all had to be carted from the two inches of water they were standing in and put out on the back porch.  Thankfully, we didn't lose much, just the paper towels, and a couple of boxes of tissue.  

   By this time, I had made a call to the hubby, who of course didn't answer his phone the first time!  (It seems like that never happens when you actually NEED to get them!)  After a short, not-so-sweet voice mail, (along the lines of "I'm having a problem. Call me!"), I hung up and tried again.  This time I got him, and shared our "issue" with him.  He said he was on his way.  

   He arrived, got the tools we needed, and was able to fix the issue with not too much effort.  It was probably due to the extra showers, toilet usage, and eight million loads of laundry we have been doing lately. (Tornadoes make a mess of anything you salvage!)  I then cleaned all the tubs and showers (ick), which will at least save me from having to do it today, I guess.  

   Hubby's mom had very kindly offered to fix supper that evening, so at least I was off the hook for that.  After that day, it would probably have been 5 dollar pizzas from Little Caesar's!  Then after supper, hubby took his parents and the boys over to the "site" to show his mom, who hadn't seen it yet.  So I was able to finish cleaning the kitchen and pick up the toy room ALL BY MYSELF!  It was wonderful!  I even had a few minutes to try out my birthday present! (The new Lego Wii Game...Pirates of the Caribbean!  Highly recommended!)  Then it was baths and bed, and the day was finally over!  Hubby was super-nice and bathed the boys for me!  

   Bed felt great, and I'm ready to tackle this new day!  Hopefully with less "circus" in it!  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome to the Circus

   This morning I woke up with the theme music for a circus playing in my head.  You know, the kind you hear in the cartoons and movies about circuses, usually played on a calliope?  Well, I was humming it out loud and my mom asked why I was singing circus music.  I told her that it was apparently the new theme of my life!  I guess my subconscious just decided to embrace my new lifestyle! 

   Take today for example.  We didn't have school today because two of our students were going to be out for the day.  (Pray for them, their father has cancer, and is not expected to live very long.  The boys are 6 and 10.)  Well, when you only have four students, and your teacher lives an hour away, it doesn't make much sense to have school for the remaining two kids!  So that puts First-Born at home today, and we decided to have him go ahead and do his work for the day.  He is less than enthusiastic about this plan...  So, I am getting a chance to see what home-schooling him would be like...let's just say that I like teaching in a classroom setting a lot better!  WAY less distractions for my focus-challenged learner!  

   And let's not forget the remaining two boys.  Stitch has been ill the past few days...he's had a runny nose and a little cough.  Well, his philosophy when he is not feeling well is that everyone has to be as miserable as he feels!  This leads to lots of aggravation on his part, lots of wailing from the other boys, and lots of "refereeing" on mommy's part!  Trying to keep him off of Middle Biscuit, occupied while I am helping First-Born with school work, and attempting to finish yesterday's laundry is taking some creative juggling on my part!  

   Speaking of juggling, let's move on to our next clowning adventure.  As I was cleaning up the waffles daddy made this morning (sigh), my mom, who was on the phone, says "Something's wrong with Middle Biscuit!"  So I turn around to see him clutching his face, covered in what looked like soap, crying loudly.  He says, "Something's in my eyes!", so I immediately rush him to the bathroom and begin washing them out with water.  He didn't seem to have any permanent damage, so I made him calm down and tell me what he was into.  He said "I squeezed that ball you told me not to squeeze."  And then I had to laugh, because it's not like I hadn't tried to warn them!  They had this ball filled with liquid of some kind, with spiders floating in it.  They were always squeezing it to try and see the spiders, and I told them that it would break eventually, and make a mess.  Well, Middle Biscuit was squeezing it and it exploded, and sprayed all over his face, clothes, and the toy room door.  Lesson learned, albeit the hard way!  

   Welcome to the circus...take a seat, grab some cotton candy, and enjoy the show!  :) 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mall Mission!

   Well, today was the day.  Middle Biscuit has been waiting and asking this whole week "When are we going to Build-A-Bear?"  So, this morning Mommy, Mimi, First-Born, and Middle Biscuit headed off to the mall on our quest for the perfect new sleeping buddy.  Of course, there won't be any replacing the "original", but we wanted to give it our best shot!  (Stitch stayed home with Daddy, Pa, and the Visiting Grandparents...the mall and toddlers don't mix when you have a mission!)

   When we got to the store, it only took a minute for him to choose his new friend.  He chose one that looks remarkably similar to his old one...so we decided that they were cousins!  Middle Biscuit has always been an Indiana Jones (Lego, not real movie...which is a little above his maturity level!!) fan, so he wanted to dress it in brown boots and a khaki vest.  Then he named it "Jones" and we were done! 

   Of course, we can't visit the mall without visiting the Lego store, which just so happens to be right across from Build-A-Bear, so that was our next stop.  We found the new Lego "Pirates of the Caribbean" set, and I had some birthday money left, so I got one for myself.  (Can't wait to put it together...watch for the pics!)  First-Born got a Lego Star Wars Speeder, which he has already put together as of this post!  We found Stitch a sword that he can wear on his back, since he didn't get to come on the adventure.  He thinks it is so great, and is already adept at pulling it out and "cutting up!"  

   So, that was our mall adventure today.  Middle Biscuit has a new buddy, and he is excited about bedtime tonight....although I told him that Jones can't sleep with his boots on! :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


   You know that statement about being careful what you pray for, because you might get it?  Well, let me tell you, it's true!  You see, for the last couple of months I've been working on being a little more flexible, and trying not to sweat the small stuff so much. I knew there would be a couple of big changes coming up in the future, and I thought I'd "get the jump" on them by practicing my flexibility. Well, apparently, God decided to answer my request for a more flexible outlook on life with a great big "OK, here you go!"  Nothing teaches flexibility like a big ol' wind that comes along and blows away lots of stuff! :)

   So, now I'm working on adjustments.  My parents, whose house was wrecked in the storms last week, are staying with us for now.  All the stuff we rescued from their house is also staying here, and over at the church building.  So, my house, which was fairly full before, is now completely full, and running over!  For someone who suffers with "anti-clutter-itis" (this is a syndrome where you have a compulsion to clear every table in your house from whatever has been deposited there on a daily basis), this is a little difficult for me to take in.  I am having to learn to stop, take a breath, and remind myself that "flexibility" is the keyword of my life right now.  I know God is helping me, because I haven't had a complete melt-down, or shut myself in the closet, or anything drastic yet! :)

   I know I'm not the only one "adjusting" right now either.  My poor parents, who were just getting used to (and enjoying) their "empty nest", are now surrounded by three rambunctious boys 24 hours a day!  Plus they are relegated to basically one room, which is rapidly filling up with stuff!  Even our pets are learning flexibility, as we went from a one cat (who was already anti-social) household to a two-cat-and-one-dog household! (So far we haven't had any major fights...just a few hisses now and then!)  

   It's about to get even more interesting around here, as hubby's parents are coming back through at the end of the week!  They will be staying for a little while before heading back to their "home base."  I hope they are still sane when they leave...is craziness catching?  Let's hope not, because there's enough here to go around!  :)  

   So, that's what's been going on around here lately.  I'm sure someday my life will be back to its boring old self.  Or not.  Whatever.  See, I'm learning...flexibility!  :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


   Well, I finally have a chance to update my poor blog!  Things have been a little crazy around here lately.  Okay, well, maybe a LOT crazy!  In all the things we've been through in the last week, only one word comes to mind when I try to describe what's been going on.  And, ironically enough, that word is "indescribable."  

   The physical reality of going through a very large tornado is indescribable.  The knowledge of the sheer power of this force, and that you are helpless in the face of this power is the one of the main things that stays with me after the fact.  The only thing that can be done is praying.  And there's no formulated prayer, either, not in the moment.  It's simply crying out to God just as if you were a small child frightened by something and calling for your parent.  Which, I guess we are!  So thankful for my "Abba, Father."

   The relief that everyone you love is still alive and relatively unharmed is indescribable.  My entire family immediate family, save a few, was in the room with me when the storm hit.  God gave us all protection and kept us all from harm.  My husband had gotten home from work only moments before we headed down to the den.  There were no lives lost on my parent's street, where nearly every house was leveled.  My dad, my husband, and my brothers went from house to house digging people out from under rubble.  The only injuries were minor, cuts, bruises, a couple of head bumps.  But no one died on the street.  This alone is a miracle. 

   The resiliency of my boys has been amazing to me! They are six, four, and two, and have been through something that most people don't go through in a lifetime.  God has guarded their minds and hearts through this event.  So far, we have suffered no nightmares, "clingy-ness", or any other signs of trauma.  They were so brave that day, as we packed them in a wagon and pulled them through a field to safety.  I tried my best to keep them from seeing the injured people being pulled out ahead of us.  We had the blessing of being able to go straight to a somewhat familiar environment, my aunt & uncle's house.  My cousins immediately took the boys to their toyroom and played with them for the next three days!  I think this was so helpful for the boys to have a sense of normalcy about everything.  Especially since we had to keep leaving them there to go back to the site for salvage efforts.  We were also able to recover two of their three night-time stuffed animals that they have all had since they were babies.  This was especially important for the First-Born, since he was definitely the most attached to his.  We have promised the Middle Biscuit, whose bear we didn't recover, that we are going to take him for a special treat to Build-A-Bear to make a new stuffed animal for him.  He is very excited about this, and keeps asking when we're going to go! 

   This leads me right into the next indescribable thing that has come from all this.  I am unable to describe all the kindnesses that have been shown to us from family and strangers alike.  Starting with the people that gave us a ride to safety that night, to churches that have given gifts and supplies, to all the help that has been offered by everyone, the response has been overwhelming.  People have prepared meals, opened their homes, and given of their time to help us and the other people affected by the storms.  When I try to sit and think of all that has been done, I am just unable to take it all in.  God has been proved faithful through all the blessings He has sent our way.  

  Now I am at the most indescribable thing of all.  Our Heavenly Father.  It is beyond my ability to describe how He has shown Himself strong and faithful through all of these events!  His mercies are new every morning.  This phrase has become so real to me in the past week.  Every day is a new opportunity to see His hand of guidance and protection in our lives.  He is there for us.  The power in this simple thought is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately.  The Person in control of the whole universe, and everything in it, (including tornados!) is the One we can count on for all our needs!  His mercies are new every morning.  

Indescribable.  :)