Thursday, January 31, 2008


The ducking principle has yet to fail. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to explain the ducking principal to Katie in terms of the fruit of the Spirit (specifically self-control). The ducking principle, for those unacquainted with it, is simply the idea of "ducking" to get out of the way so God can work without our interference (no matter how well intended).

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galations 5:22-25, NASB)

All that good stuff listed in Galatians 5 happens when we duck. When our actions, words, attitudes, and lives are in submission to Christ, then we will display the fruit of the Spirit. When we attempt to seize control in our lives, things tend to go south quickly. Ducking and submission go hand-in-hand. I find I need more courage to ride along in the passenger seat than would be necessary if I were reaching for the wheel to help steer as I go hurtling down the highway of life. (Incidentally, I am more of a brake stomper than a wheel grabber. I want to stop and carefully plan the route before proceeding... )

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hormonal Breakdown

Today's special word is either "hormones" or "patience". Either way, it has been a long morning. Don thought about staying home from his men's group because his accountability partner is out of the country, but he decided to go in case there was some need for him to be there. It turned out that he needed to not be here. The girls started a screaming match that required me to get off the cell phone with Don who was driving to his group. (Don and I are usually on the phone with one another if we are not in the same place. I was serious about my claim that we are the most codependent couple in the world.)
Katie had been told to change already because of an ink stain on the leg and a short sleeved shirt I deemed unacceptable because it is 40 degrees outside today. Katie was refusing to change because Erin was "staring at her". Erin was curled up in a ball on the floor having failed to get dressed at all because Katie was trying to "boss" her. I figured this could be a quick fix. I told Katie she could have privacy if she dressed in the bathroom, but that she could not order Erin out of their shared bedroom. I told Erin to get dressed in whatever she wanted to wear, but to do it immediately after making it clear that she could not be made to leave the bedroom by Katie.
Twenty minutes later, Erin is dressed, but she has not brushed her hair and she has no shoes on her feet. Katie has made no progress at all, but she is tormenting her little sister by pulling clothes which belong to Erin off the hangers and dropping them on the floor so that Erin will have to pick them up later. Erin is understandably protesting. I send Erin off with instructions to brush her hair (with shoes and socks in hand) in order to both remove her from the line of fire and get her ready to go. I inform Katie that she will change clothes, pick up the items off the floor, and that I will be telling Zach that she cannot ride to school with him this morning because she is too busy throwing a fit. I also inform her that I can wait all day, but that she will have to explain why she is late to school if she does not get moving. Katie is sobbing, but I need to get Erin out the door.
I drive Erin to school. It's an opportunity to reiterate that Katie does not have the right to toss Erin out of their bedroom. Erin seems satisfied that I understand her problem. We talk about how we are supposed to help others, but that this morning there was no way Erin could help Katie. Instead, Erin needed to just get on with her own responsibilities and let Mom handle Katie's issues. We talked about personal responsibility, and I stated that everybody has their own. Erin said, "Except for babies." Okay then.
I returned home to find Katie curled up asleep on her bed... still wearing the short-sleeved shirt and stained jeans. I contemplated strangling her, but in the end I woke her up by asking loudly why she was not yet changed. The water works resumed and my girl wailed that she did not know what to wear. (We're the recipients of mountains of hand-me-downs and the girls were given new items for Christmas. There is no shortage of clothing.) Instead of pursuing the strangulation plan, I stalked to the hanging rack to offer a couple of suggestions because I can see that she is so overwrought that she won't be getting anywhere if left to her own devices. I then opted to leave the room stating that she could dress in the privacy she had previously requested.
Katie is dressed in long sleeves, but she is still wearing the ink-stained jeans. I do not really care about the stain at this point. She won't be cold which is my primary concern. (I place a hand on her head and pray for her while giving her a much-needed hug. I wish I could do this growing up thing for her.) She is also still intermittently crying. I ask if she has herself "together enough" to go on to class. She says she doesn't know. Since she is already tardy, I figure we will sort this out on the brief drive to school. As we leave our neighborhood she is red-faced with tears streaming and she is gulping air in between sobs that are growing rather than diminishing.
I suggest that we drive around the block so she can regain her composure before she goes to class. I can see her trying to do this in the rearview mirror. I suggest that if she gets upset at school she can ask to call me. She is afraid she will have to explain why she needs her Mommy and start crying at school. (That would not go over well in 5th grade. The girls have started to turn mean with hormones as we have already seen this morning.)
I pull up to the school, and we walk quickly into the front office. I tell the registrar that Katie will be a little late this morning "because she is 10", and we go back to the truck. (I thank God that Don is at his group because this is not the morning for the most expedient solution to our daughter's behavioral troubles.) I drive over to Starbucks thinking of the times I have met a friend there for a cup of tea or coffee. Katie perks up quickly. She seems to like the idea of a cup of decaf hot tea. (How very grown-up this likely seems to her. It definitely beats the grounding that she will also enjoy after this morning's work and the embarrassment of Zach knowing she threw a fit.) I explain that this is a ritual that I periodically engage in with Daddy, Sylvia, Ally, Denise, or some other friend that never fails as a pick-me-up. (Then again, I get a caffeinated beverage.)
She is now calm enough to talk about what was really bothering her this morning. That would be everything. She is chafing at the level of closeness and lack of privacy in our household. Her brother is weird. She tries to include him socially because he is also one of the friendliest people on earth which sometimes leads to embarrassment. Her little sister is ever-present. Katie is tired of sharing everything from the same bedroom to much of the same clothing with Erin. Erin is seven and the nuances of Katie's pre-teen moods frequently escape her leading to episodes like we experienced this morning. Mostly, Katie is disappointed with her own lack of self-control.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good Game

Today we played a new game. Bella was laying on her side sliding back and forth on the floor in front of the sofa with a paw stretched out underneath it. While I found that mildy entertaining, I figured her little legs just are not long enough to reach whatever she was after. Feeling momentarily merciful, I pulled the sofa out to discover exactly what had caught her eye. Over a dozen ponytail holders were under the sofa. While one or two may have wandered under there after escaping from either my or the girls' hair, I doubt we can accept full responsibility. Bella can. Hair bands are Bella's very favorite toy other than dog tails. (The hair bands are far more cooperative about being played with than the dog tails are typically.)
Don and I agreed that flinging all the ponytail holders in the air at once would be a good idea to get the cat excited. The cat, in true cat form, did not particularly care. Until I kicked one catching her undivided attention. She likes that very much. I kick a hair band so it skitters across the laminate floor at Bella. She entertains me by failing to hit the brakes and crashing into walls and furniture chasing after the hairband. It's a good game.
When the dogs decide to play it becomes a complicated game. It's like soccer, but with hairy four-footed players who have the distinct disadvantage of being unable to get their footing as they pick up speed. Hee-hee. This is my kind of game. We add to the challenge by putting another rubber band into play. Bella alters the play to more closely resemble "Monkey in the Middle" by playing from atop furniture the dogs are not allowed to climb. The dogs give up easily and decide to nap. Bella discovers a power cord to chew on requiring me to put the furniture back in place before the cat fries herself. I think it is her way of indicating that the game is over.


Ahhh. This week we hit Peter's denial of Christ in our study of John. There is Peter standing ready with a sword to defend Christ; yet, that is not the way the scene plays out. Instead, Peter is halted by Christ, Malchus gets to keep his ear, Jesus chooses to submit to arrest, and the text comes to Peter's denial of Christ--- not once, but three times over the course of one night. I am no different than Peter. I fumble for my sword ready to race into battle when that is not the way needed. "Here I am Lord--- I am READY!" The truth is that I am not ready. I am a work in progress. I am sometimes overeager, and sometimes too hesitant.
Most recently, hesitation reared its ugly head in speaking up to call the magazines that my daughter's friend brought into our home what they are--- gossip. (I don't want to embarrass my daughter, but the Bible addresses gossip as well as my responsibility as a parent in training my child. This is not a gray area.) I asked the girls about the magazines specifically pointing out a basic definition of gossip. Katie was not embarrassed, but she did get the point. Her friend remained oblivious, but the magazines were stowed back in the girl's duffel bag once Kate's loss of interest was shown. As it turned out, I did not have to embarrass Katie to fulfill my role as her teacher, and I did not choose fitting in with a pair of pre-teens over training my daughter and avoiding gossip.
It's in these everyday situations that I most identify with Peter. I didn't sell out Christ for a gossip magazine and inclusion in a Saturday night sleepover. That's good, but it is unlikely to be the last time I find myself faced with acknowledging Christ in this sort of small detail. Will I choose to read Newsweek instead of People next time I am sitting in a waiting room killing time? Will I choose to keep my mouth shut next time one of my lovies comes up with something I find to be questionable or wrong?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Erin Interview 1

Everyone can use a little of Erin's perspective. You won't get it here though.

Mom: Today you tasted German food. What did you try?
Erin: I tried... schnitzel.
(Erin and I disagree about my typing her responses word-for-word. Erin does not like that.)

Mom: What did you think?
Erin: It tastes good. (Mom, what are those dot dot dots?)

Mom:They show that something has been left out.
Erin: *silence*

Mom [repeats this question several times]: Will you eat it again?
Erin [finally]: Yes
(Interview comes to an end because Erin does not want her words typed.)

Evan Interview 2

Evan's an interesting guy. One interview can hardly do him justice.

Mom: If you were an animal, which one would you be?
Evan: Probably, uhhh... I'd probably say a tiger, or like a leopard. Some kind of bog cat... hahahahah, Mom! You said "bog cat".

Evan will no longer be available for this interview. He made an slight error in judgment. His sister returned home from a "spa party" with an elaborate hairdo. The boy chose to offer what he thought was a tremendous compliment to his sister. He said she looked "like Padme"... as in Natalie Portman in Star Wars. Oh, dear.

Mega Mom

It's thirty-something degrees and we are going for a walk. The dogs need to go out, so we will take them out. It's not really about the dogs though. It has more to do with the Mighty Mega Mom burgers we had for dinner. (The kids named them. The mighty meganess is a quarter pound of beef in patty form with Cavendar's and a smidge of barbecue sauce to give it a bit of Momness, and it prevents the kids from asking for Mickey D's.) We calculated that even with homemade burgers and sugar-free buns, our meal still packed more calories than Don could comfortably ignore. (Not so much a problem for me. I don't care. I was excited about eating.) That's the real culprit behind our walking. Walking burns calories which in turn prevent our yummy, fattening dinner from sticking with us in the form of a spare tire and the inspiration for "Baby Got Back".
Last summer I was totally on board with counting every last calorie we consumed and burned. I am obsessive with details, so we were likely pretty accurate in the accounting. We also dropped over a hundred pounds between us that have stayed off through the holidays and quitting smoking--- neither of which is known for helping maintain weight much less weight loss. At this point, I am pretty happy with my shape. It works for me, and the pronounced pear-shape is the result of producing the herd of children who refer to me as "Mom"... or at least the middle one who chose to grow transverse instead of up and down. Barring surgical intervention, this is my body. It's working pretty well at the moment, so why complain?
My spouse wants to stay as far from his previous weight of "too much" as possible. He's got this very cool habit of drawing a line in the sand and staying as far from the line as possible. He does not like to walk the line. I appreciate this since folks who walk the line have a tendency to slip over it more easily than those who stay way back. So I try to maintain a balance between the southern cooking I love and the healthy, low-cal meals that will allow us to not wear elastic-waist pants. I only sometimes make fun of my precious spouse's need to go on five walks a day, and then usually just because I do not want to be included. He's going to keep us both in far better shape than I would if left to my own devices. (Said devices would be heavily weighted toward York peppermint patties.)

Friday, January 25, 2008


The other day my pregnant pal made an apt comparison between her gravid state and my focus on Poland. (I had expressed concern that I would be useless for the next four months if I remain focused on Poland.) She likened that "hyper-focus" to the overwhelming awareness of new life as soon as pregnancy is confirmed. A whole future springs into one's awareness with initial notification. We each have a date seared into our minds that divides time into sections of "before", "after", and "when".
Images flit through my hopes and dreams of what might be. Those images will coalesce into a fixed image over time, but for now the image is a gray blur much like the old Polaroid* photographs that ejected from the camera wet with a gray square centered on the picture to develop over the next few minutes until the image was set. The particular photo developing is one that includes faint images of Lisa and Shelley, but I cannot know who else might be in that shot. So I will wait for the time to come that I will be able to clearly see the who, when, where, and how that will all fit into praying for Poland.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


After looking up Polish recipes on-line yesterday, I was ready for a little bit of culinary adventure today. Sylvia suggested German fare for lunch at the Bavarian Grill. Sylvia is well-traveled enough to be able to vouch for authenticity and explain the differences I might see in Polish fare. I am not an adventurous eater, so this was a major leap for me.
The plate of assorted salads made of entirely recognizable cucumber, green bean, tomato, cabbage, and beets was a reassuring start. Sylvia had ordered all sorts of nifty things. I can now say I have tried and like spaetzle, schnitzel, and something that was a sausage. We topped off our meal with black forest cake and coffee.
Sylvia attempted to help me with the correct pronunciations of the foods we had eaten. Languages are just not my strong suit despite the incredibly fun words. I was very taken with a word that started with an "L" that we saw on some signs. It meant airport, but I don't remember what it was exactly. Sylvia suggested that I attempt languages like German or Spanish for my fledgling forays outside of English.
It was an entertaining afternoon with Sylvia sharing her experiences and me just soaking it in. I'm not quite ready for herring and sour cream together or travel outside the suburbs yet, but we're making progress!


I walked into the girls room to tuck them into bed to be informed by Erin that Katie was crying and would not say why. Katie attempted to brush aside her tears as "hormones" only to find that Mom was not going to buy that reason. Katie was working herself into a fine tizzy over the unfairness of her life. Erin had joyfully related her great fortune in having been treated to an ice cream cone while her sibs were out at their evening activities. Katie somehow missed the opportunity to be glad for her sister's good fortune. Thanks to the burden of a green-eyed moster, the child spiraled into misery as she proceeded to pile up a list of missed treats. She literally wailed her final woe. (In case you are curious, Evan & Erin ate the last pieces of chocolate bread at Christmas while she was taking a nap.) I tenderly brushed Katie's hair back from her face, wiped away her tears, and promised to be sure to ground her next time I find it necessary to impose restriction on one of her siblings. The water works dried up as the sniffling burst into a cough that sounded suspiciously like laughter. Erin chose that moment to proclaim that, "Mom and Dad don't treat us all the same because we are not all the same!". I gave both the girls a hug, pointed out that while we do not give them each identical perks and treats, neither do they have to share one another's disciplinary actions. Point made, I kissed both girls Good Night and headed off to bed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We're on!

This morning I went up to the church to meet with my friend Abigail. I don't think either of us actually had an agenda. She walked me upstairs to see if we could track down the Missions guy for our church. We couldn't because he was in a meeting. She introduced me to a man who seriously resembled a slightly more youthful Papa. This fellow was just the right person to talk with this morning. He was able to describe "prayer walking" to me. It's pretty much what I thought, and I cannot do it from home. He described his own experiences with God's provision while travelling in China.
He also filled me in on the news that I will probably need more than a passport to travel. I very much appreciated the explanation of what a visa actually is, as well as the instructions on how to get one! I was pretty excited about the $100 check I have been given toward this sort of expense since the visa will cost an additional $100 on top of the fees already paid to get the passport. I'm starting to wonder if there might be some sort of pyramid scheme in documents. Better still, the lady who will help me with the visa once my passport comes in is none other than one of the volunteers I worked with from the Katrina Relief Distribution Center two years ago!
I headed out to the car looking forward to lunch. Who should come through the door to the stairwell, but the Missions pastor I was actually looking for to begin with this morning. He had his lunch in a take-out bag and only 15 minutes to his next meeting. Rafe still agreed to sit down with me. I explained in brief that I have no idea what I am doing. As soon as I mentioned Abigail, he let me know that he had just run into her while picking up his lunch and she had mentioned me. He listened, asked a few questions, and took a phone call from his next appointment who was running late. I will be back in contact with Rafe as we go forward. I headed out to the truck with a warning to be wary of spiritual warfare.
At home there was an e-mail from Shelley saying that Jack & Joan have given the trip the "Go!" Whoopee! Not that I was in any real doubt, but I am definitely going to Poland! She is asking that Lisa and I start hunting scripture references in preparation for the spiritual warfare sure to come. I'm still feeling kind of swept up, but I am becoming less jittery as we go along. It makes a huge difference to have met our host, and Shelley sent a photo tour of Poznan, too.

Evan Interview 1

Mom: So, Evan... what do you think of me going to Poland?
Evan: I don't really know. I think I would like it better if I could come.

Mom: Do you know why this is such a big deal? Do you know where Poland is?
Evan: I don't know. Isn't Poland like far up north or something?

(Interviewer takes a timeout to search maps for the boy. We compare the size and location of our home state to Poland.)

Mom: Now that you know where Poland really is, what do you think?
Evan: I'm not too sure I want you to go because it's a whole continent away. It would probably really run up the phone bill with calling a lot. Plus, it would be hard to find good times to call.

Mom: Poland is 7 hours ahead of us. That means it is currently just after...
Evan: 2:00... uh, Mom, shouldn't you be driving me to school right now?

Mom nods, finishes typing.

Sleepless & the Superstar

Okay, well, sleeping less anyway. (That may have something to do with the psychotic purring ball of fluff set on reducing my feet to ribbons. Bad Bella needs no sleep tonight, and I am her chosen playmate for the evening.) Erin was up earlier just as I was starting to feel sleepy. She was upset about _______. (I am still waiting for an answer to that, so I can't help you.)
She needs her rest because she is the Superstar of the Week which entails lots of paying attention to Erin. Today she took in her carefully selected photos of her family and pets. She is also this week's game expert. That means she explains how to play a game she brings from home to her classmates. Said game is available for play during centers. She will also be reading an excerpt from a book. (It is supposed to be a "prepared" reading, but I'm not worried about it. She'll do just fine since reading and cartwheels are two of the things she does best.) She also has the opportunity to put an unknown number (between 22 and 100) of items into the estimate jar. She wanted candy. (I obeyed the state guidelines last year about not sending in sweets to school. I would like to note that I was the only parent to do so. Three guesses how thrilled my kids were with passing out little bottles of bubbles or temporary tattoos when the other kids were supplying gigantic cupcakes with mounds of fluffy rainbow-colored icing... and sprinkles.) We gave her 65 chocolate hearts, but because I am up in the middle of the night she now has 64. She would be wise to get the estimate jar far from her chocolate-loving mommy. Too bad that the little duckie who brought me to full wakefulness and my "second wind" just at bedtime is currently snoring away oblivious to the untimely disappearance of one of her candies.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I had my infusion today. I usually sleep through it, but today I only slept for a couple of hours. I paced for most of the day in my little circle from the kitchen through the dining room down the entry hall through the living room back through the breakfast room and into the kitchen again. I did not need to go for a walk around the neighborhood because I paced for at least a mile today.
Since I wasn't experiencing any particular side-effects from the IVIG, I decided to go get the official birth certificate I would need to apply for a passport.
Once that minor task was accomplished, I decided to run by the post office to see about picking up the passport application. The post office was a zoo. I found a parking space, and thought about leaving because the line was out the door. I remembered that passports were buried in a corner on the opposite side of the room from the doors and not subject to that line. I ignored the looks I got as I slipped past the people waiting. Sure enough, the passport office worker was saying that he was closed as I walked up. I asked for an application saying I would just fill it out and bring it back later. The next thing I know, I am calling my Mom for the exact dates and places of birth for my parents, hurriedly filling in the blanks on the application form, and staring into a camera with an expression that Don describes as "excited but freaked-out". I pay the fees and am back out the door with an assurance that my passport will be headed my way in 3-5 weeks.

Go Where?!

Yesterday I received an invitation to make the journey to Poznan to pray for Poland... IN Poland. This is definitely unexpected. It seems a little crazy. Okay, it seems a WHOLE LOT of crazy. Yet, I am planning to go. Praying for Poznan I can do right here in my cozy home. I can even ask others to pray with me. These are things that I can do. They are even actions that I have already undertaken. Shelley says prayers have begun coming in and she has become somewhat addicted to her inbox as the encouragement pours in electronically. What I cannot do by my own ability and resources is travel to Poland. For this to happen, God will have to step in to make everything go.
The first hurdle was overcome by willingness to go and the encouragement to do so from my husband and children. The next stumbling block was the need for a passport and the money to pay the fee. The funds for that purpose were provided yesterday along with instructions on how one goes about getting a passport by a friend who is far more experienced in these matters. (Shelley says that's probably a new record for quickest donation to a short-term missions trip ever.) Despite assorted medical conditions that have been a bar to travel for years, I have been given medical clearance to make this trip. My infusion schedule is dead-on to accommodate the doctor's stated preference for me to be able to go.
I will continue to pray for Poland. If I am supposed to do that from home, then I will. If I am supposed to do that from Poland, then I will. We will see.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I am touched by the e-mail responses I received from Shelley Adler & Joan Stockdale this afternoon. God never fails to amaze me. He tells me to pray for Poland. I do. He keeps telling me to pray for Poland. I do. I also start reading Shelley Adler's blog. I contact Shelley's sister to ask about needs for the ministry team in Poland. I still pray for Poland. It still feels like too little despite my BIG God. I pray, e-mail the ministry team, and send out an e-mail asking people to pray for Poland, post the "Poznan" entry on this blog, and continue to pray.
This afternoon I hear from Joan & Shelley. I know how BIG my God is in my own limited way. I easily forget that it's an amazing testimony to Him that I have any idea how big... or how difficult that idea can be to grasp. Shelley says, "... everyone at church this morning was encouraged, as well as a little surprised I think! The Poles seemed pleasantly surprised that God had put their country on an American's heart all the way on the other side of the world! Of course, we know our God is that big and we have these international experiences often as missionaries, but I think for the Poles it was a whole new concept for them- that God is bigger than just Poland! Thanks for your prayers and for sending my email on to others who will also pray. Jack said this morning at church that there's no way of knowing exactly how many people are praying for Poland at this time, but it might be more than has ever happened. It was an empowering thought- that as we're covered in prayer, God will give us more boldness and hopefully we'll see more fruit soon!"
An empowering thought, and a sobering one that motivates me. Jack's words this morning that the congregants cannot know how many people are praying for Poland stick with me. They inspire an idea for glorifying our God while uplifting the people and missionaries in Poland. We live in world where technology makes communication easy. Prayers for Poland can be e-mailed to Shelley and she will read them at the Poznan church to glorify God and encourage His people there.


As in 17 degrees is the current temperature outside. Sane people should stay inside when thermometers outside read 17 degrees. Don and I spent close to ten minutes layering on everything from thermals under jeans to a secondary pair of gloves before heading out to walk our doggies this morning. It was still pretty nippy. We trekked the mile and half circle down our street, out onto the major artery to the middle school, back around by the elementary, and back past the pond on our end of the street. We saw another dog-walking couple out bundled up like we were, a crazy man running in shorts and sleeveless track shirt, and that was about it for company outside on this less than hospitable day.
It could be worse. Don relates the Packers & Giants will be playing today on an open-air field with a projected temperature of three degrees. (He also says that's not even the record for coldest game played in the NFL. Cincinnati played San Diego in 1981 in -9 degree weather with a windchill of -59. Yikes.) He figures that's why those guys get paid the big bucks. I wonder if there was ever a crazy group of parents who sent their kids out to play in similar cold? I have seen some crazy competitive parents on the soccer field, in the dance studio, and certainly in the classroom, and I strongly believe they can be found on football fields. Actually, I know they can. I graduated from a W. Texas high school ever-so-slightly post Friday Night Lights. The player parents and coaches are rabid when it comes to football, but so is everyone else in town so it can be hard to pick them out of the crowd wearing team colors.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


There's a magnet on the fridge to remind me to pray for a ministry team in Poznan. I was blown away by the dedication and heart of Jack & Joan Stockdale when I met the missionary couple at a dinner a year or two ago. They are amazing. This couple, and those of their children who are still at home, live in Poland sharing the gospel. This pair is committed to teaching about Christ through English Clubs for the long haul. The team includes a young couple of Eastern European descent who have added a Russian Club, and Shelley Adler. Check out general info on the ministry at
Don and I had the kids farmed out to the grandparents a couple of years ago for three weeks straight while we stayed at home. During that time we were asked to check on an ancient kitty whose owner was headed out to serve as a missionary in Poland. Shelley's cat eventually went to live with her sister, but her ministry stayed on our radar as a periodic blip from a variety of sources. Shelley's sister Lisa moved back to the area recently after a time in NY state. Shelley's Dad is one of the fellows Don has enjoyed fellowship with on Wednesday mornings for close to a decade. The Missions Team at Grace of course followed one of our own as she proceeded out into the mission field--- especially since our leader was Shelley's former youth pastor. Take a peek into Shelley's life through her blog at
The magnet serves as a visual reminder of the ministry that absorbs this team everyday. (It also holds up a "fat picture" of Don & I to remind us to uphold our body-as-a-temple goals before we open the fridge.) I hope you will check out the web site and blog for this ministry team and join in prayer support for the Poznan team and the people of Poland.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mixed Bag

My ew-o-meter was reading off the charts tonight. I haven't been in a bar in well over a dozen years since a visit to my Uncle Jules (who was tending the bar in question). The establishment I entered tonight to hear and see Don play bass was definitely a bar. Some strange creepy man sent his friend over to 'approach' me despite the fun comparison of wedding rings by myself and two of my companions after discovering we have the same ones. (Ew.) Said strange, creepy man then proceeded to point at me, draw a heart in the air, and then point at himself. (Super-gigantic, extra-humongous, golly gee whiz, EWWWWW!!!) I responded by gesticulating wildly at the stage and using my apparently nonexistent powers of telepathy to summon my spouse to my side. The people I was sitting with were wondering if Don would burst into flame, or just what might happen in response to my gesticulation. (These were new acquaintances from our church. We shall see if they say "Hello" to the crazy lady on Sunday.)
Don has a wireless thing-a-majig that keeps him plugged into his amp even when he moves off the stage to be he-manly and protect his freaked-out wife from a strange man. Okay, it could allow him to do the protecting. Unfortunately, as previously indicated, my telepathy failed. My spouse played the last few songs of the set on stage across the room from where I sat twitching and wanting to run away.
I just wanted to go say, "Yay! You play bass. Yay!" The goal was to support my spouse, and hopefully hear some good music. I was glad to have the opportunity to say "Hi!" to a couple of friends from our former church home who came out to see the show. I was also glad to meet a few new acquaintances from our current church. I just couldn't quite get passed my contentment with being a happily sheltered suburban mommy and wife who cannot figure out how to calmly and kindly deflect a random pick-up. So I freaked out. It's often what I do. If there is such a thing as a bar ministry (well, one that doesn't involve twelve steps), I am not likely to be cut out for it. Ew.


I am a wannabe--- a wannabe fan for the Reloaded Band. I wanna be at the gigs they play to support my husband in pursuing one of his favorite activities. I consider myself to be one particular bass player's groupie. Tonight the planets are finally in alignment for me to go check out the band.
There have been several near-misses when he plays the night before or after a grandparent visit. It's difficult to find a sitter since the majority of available sitters are in the 13-15 age range which leads to several issues. The first being the boy's age--- he's just a couple of months shy of 13 himself. The second is the boy's tendency to strip to his drawers without considering that most people do not wish to see whether he wears briefs or boxers. Couple the oddity of a 13 year-old girl being in our home at night with an almost 13 year-old boy in his drawers and you have a compelling third reason. The fourth is Katie's resistance to the idea of any sitter at all.
Tonight Evan will spend the night at Joey's house. That frees me up to look for a sitter for the girls. Katie objects to a sitter while begging to be allowed to stay home with Erin. I point out that I will be almost 45 minutes away, and that 45 minutes is a long time to be home waiting for parents to return when one is frightened, ill, or injured. (Or longer if there is any delay in reaching Mom or Dad because they do't hear their cell phones or have an interruption in service!) On with the hunt for a sitter. There is one who moved to Lubbock so she's out, another has a boyfriend and is now making bad decisions... Ariel C. would be great except that I would have to drive almost to the location where Don is playing to pick her up, then bring her to our house, drive back to the location, and repeat the whole back and forth procedure to take her home at the end of the evening which would require getting the girls out at 10:30 or 11:00 at night because Don will still be out playing a second set when I leave to head for home to relieve the sitter who is not yet legal to drive. Things are not looking good on the sitter front. I don't typically ask friends to let the kids come visit just while I am out because these gigs are almost always after bedtime!
I call a mom with girls Katie & Erin's age to ask for sitter recommendations. She tells me about her misadventures with the sitters she calls in an emergency. This is not an emergency, and I would prefer to avoid the sitters she describes. This mom is a night owl. She offers to just have me drop our girls off at her house to hang out and watch a movie with her four girls tonight while I drive to hear the Reloaded band play tonight. Part of me wants to say "No thanks, I know you have your hands full with your own girls." That part gets shut-up by the part of me that really wants to finally see Don play with band tonight.
So tonight I will run Evan to Joe's house, hurry home to shower and dress to go out (not that challenging since Bullwinkle's is a pool hall), drop off the girls after dinner and showers at their friends' home, and I am off to be my favorite bass player's biggest fan.

How Great

I heard a very cool story about God meeting needs through the church. I thought I would share.

A lady is at home with her 5 children (age 5 and under) waiting for her home to sell. Her husband is half-way across the country working while waiting for the family home to sell so he can be reunited with the wife and kiddies. She looks for a phone number to a restaurant wishing to place a food order because she feels concerns that her husband is not eating well in his temporary digs, and she wants to help him because he is ill with the flu. She reaches out to friends that her husband has met through the church he is attending via e-mail. (I love that this sweet lady identified her need to virtual strangers.) God met her need not in the way she asked which would have been largely dependent on her own resources. Instead, He used the church to extend the care and food needed by this fellow. He arranged for both nourishing meals and transportation to get the food from out in the suburbs into downtown. How great is our God?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Food Pyramid

It really doesn't matter what the food pyramid featuring recommended nutrition guidelines looks like. My children each have their own versions of what one ought to eat. They break down something like this:

Processed sugars 43%, Fats 24%, Salty Snacks 14%, Red Meat, Ham, Bacon, Sausage, or Pepperoni 11%, White-flour Carbs 8%
Vegetables and fruit are useful for scooping up dip or holding dressing, but should be ingested with moderation.

Fruit & Vegetables 53%; Red Meat, Ham, Bacon, Sausage, eggs, & Dairy (excluding most cheese, milk unless under duress, and yogurt that is not rainbow colored) 24%; Plain white rice, pasta, or bread 10%; Salty Snacks incompatible with orthodontia 6%; Candy and Soda 6%; Brownies 1%
Katie will never turn away from a sweet, but she will prepare meals of plain rice with gigantic dishes of veggies when left to her own devices. The issue here is the lack of lean protein and low-fat dairy in her diet. She experimented with vegetarian/vegan options before realizing that animal products are utilized in baking and meat.

15% eggs, bacon, Miss Sylvia's fajitas, not breakfast sausage or chicken, only barbecued turkey sausage made by Mom; 15% candy & gum; 15% cereal and waffles; 15% Rice; 15% LaCreme vanilla yogurt or Go-Gurt; 15% ice cream; 15% Nuts; 15% Chips & Pretzels; 15% Mac & Cheese; 15% Grilled Cheese sandwiches
Fruit and vegetables are for losers. Dips and dressing can be eaten with a spoon or one's fingers. (Adding is for losers, too. 15 is the new 42. It's the answer to life, the universe, and everything!)

Grocery Game

Don and I gleefully left Kroger after paying $56 for $102 worth of groceries--- a $46 savings without clipping coupons! Here are my recommendations for this week:

*Buy 3 boxes of Kleenex @$1 each. Receive a coupon for a free box worth up to $2.50. (If using self-check, the coupon will print before you pay, so go ahead and pick up one of those pretty decorative oval-shaped boxes at 2.49--- You know you're worth it.)
*Split chicken breast for $.99/lb (Pilgrims Pride or Kroger brand)
*Jumbo Cameo Apples $1/lb
*Buy 4 participating Kellogg's items (We opted for the 19.1 oz boxes of Apple Jacks w/ Barbie or Hot Wheels sports watch inside @ 4/$10.) and receive a 24 pack of Kroger 16.9 oz bottles of water.

Why not pay a bit of your savings forward at the check-out? There are little pads of tear-off slips with bar codes making it quick and easy to donate $1, $3, or $5 to benefit hungry people. Just give a slip to your cashier that will be added onto your bill.


This morning I discovered the latest in a series of lunch sack oddities on the part of our Katie. I suggested the child take a banana in her lunch, but she explained to me why this was simply not a good idea. Per Katie, bananas turn black the second they enter a backpack. (I wish someone had shared this tidbit with me when I was last baking banana bread and wishing for riper bananas.) Her solution is to instead take a whole bag of microwave popcorn. (My thoughts on how that does in her backpack over the hours between leaving the house and her snack time shall remain my own with the exception of, "Yuck.")
Prior to the great banana/popcorn issue, our favorite lunch sack point of contention with Miss Katie is her adamant refusal to take a sandwich or any other sort of entree approximation. She says she will take extra fruit. We have tried to explain to her that there are insufficient calories, protein, and calcium (I'm dancing around the kitchen waving yogurt or string cheese while singing "Calci-YUM!" without convincing her that these are good additions to her midday meal. She does believe that Mom is a big dork.) in the fruit to substitute for the lunchbox holy of holies--- a sandwich.
She says she would just throw a sandwich away, and she does not want to upset me by wasting food. Uh-huh. I wonder if she has given equal thought to how upset I will be when she is diagnosed with malnutrition. I have tried suggesting pretzels or crackers with cheese or peanut butter as an alternative to the dreaded sandwich, but little duckie doesn't like peanut butter or most cheeses. Anyone have any brilliant lunchtime substitutions to suggest?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Slow news day

Front page on YAHOO! News today:
UFO over Stephenville, TX - This explains why people might mistakenly believe Texans to be ignorant. Actually the gentleman who saw the pretty lights while out hunting (but refrained from shooting out of a desire to avoid an intergalactic war) seemed pretty together. The fellow who offered up footage of the last time he saw a UFO (over Cleburne) detracted from credibility a bit. Oh, brother.
Apparently the plague is making a comeback, too. We need to be on the lookout for that.
In really important news today, we found that our Bella is most definitely not an outdoor cat. She crouches in terror before fleeing back into the safe haven of our home. I tried taking her out again several times, but she just looked terrorized. The last time, as soon as I let go of her, she raced back to the front window and peered inside before snaking back through the small opening in the door to hide under a chair. Nope. Definitely not an outdoor kitty.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feet are yucky.

Today I told Don that I think I could be a better Mom to Evan if I could just change my attitude about some of his weirder behaviors. Despite our discussion about how I might better respond to some of his less appropriate moments, I was still unprepared for tonight's Monopoly game. The boy put the dice inside his sock with his foot. He did not understand why I would not let him hand me the dice after he removed them from "storage". Both his sisters and I tried to explain that feet are gross. People do not want to be touched with feet or touch things that have been in contact with feet. For the life of me, I could not come up with any valid reason why not--- probably because I was busy being overwhelmed by the yuck factor.
I made the boy go to wash the dice. He came back from running water in the sink to hand me the still unwashed dice. I informed him that the dice needed to go under the water and that soap should be vigorously applied before rinsing and towel drying after the foot contact. I scrubbed my hands and the offending dice while continuing with my mental "Ew. Ew. Ew. Ewwwww." chorus.
I reminded him that last weekend I held his head over the sink to apply soap to his hair because he refused to use soap in the shower. (He is definitely too old for me to be bathing him, and Don has already tried repeatedly to teach Evan how to wash his hair. That leaves two options: I wash it over the sink, or it stays dirty forever.) I explained that the same concept of using soap to clean his hair would also apply to anything that had touched feet. We'll see if the soap instruction takes this time.


Yesterday I saw just how insular our small world really is in a nutshell. I spent some time chatting with a mommy of three from our church home group during a social. (Everyone else was outside making s'mores around a bonfire which had failed to hold the interest of her precious pair of toddlers.) We previously bumped into each other at a school function, and I even saw her driving down our street one day. Somehow, it did not click that she must live close to us. Don & I closed on our home ten years ago. (Congratulations to Cindy & Oren as they hopefully go to closing today on their first house!!! Yay!) Apparently Heidi & Morris have lived about 1/2 a mile up the street from us for seven years.
Don and I were both a bit struck by how we live in our tidy little suburbs totally unaware of one another. It wasn't just Heidi & Morris (with whom we have shared many discussions, prayer requests, and socials) yesterday. We talked with a pastor between services yesterday who actually lives right around the corner. We can see each other's back yards across the creek. (The pastor and his wife have lived in the home on the creek for 18 years.) Don was amused that the pastor probably signed the paperwork to have his home built in what is now our garage as it housed the builder's office eighteen years ago.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ms. Manners Nonplussed

Evan has a friend visiting, and said friend has an autism diagnosis which includes the inherent lack of social skills. The young man in question walks through our front door, looks around our home, and states, "I see you have IKEA dormitory furniture. You are low on money. That explains why you don't have much house." *choke* Immediate internal response (which is thankfully not voiced), "Excuse me?! You don't get invited over a second time often do you?" My inner warning bell tolls "AU child. He has no idea the offense given." I choose to herd the dogs to our bedroom to pen them up so they do not bother our young guest. I also gain a moment to pull my jaw off the floor and regain what normally passes for composure. Don finds my discombobulation concerning until it is explained. Then it is merely funny to him.
The boys want to play video games. Evan only has one controller because he has left his at a friend's house that the boys have in common. There is discussion on using the other friend's controller when he is not present. Apparently there is some gamer etiquette of which I am unaware. The boys eventually settle the issue by using the other kids' controller with a pair of our batteries. Maybe the etiquette has to do with the batteries rather the controller? I don't plan to delve too deeply into this one. I am still smarting a teeny bit from my prior encounter with this kid's manners.
In another hour I can send this little darling home. An hour is an awfully long time. Miss Manners failed to write a section on this particular sort of situation, but I am going to assume it is covered under not pointing out our guest's lapse to him. Unfortunately, as a parent, I will be pointing out said lapse to Evan to discourage him from making a similar observation at a later date in a similar situation. That will also require telling him not to correct the friend regarding today's little comment. The social skills do not come naturally to these lovies, but once taught can be assumed with a legalistic rigidity that becomes an issue in itself.

Friday, January 11, 2008


We went over to see what Don refers to as my "dealer". She is actually an adorable lady who happens to be selling off her Christmas Tree china via Craig's List. Well, okay, in my case that probably does qualify her as my pusher. My chasing around after the Christmas china is something of a sickness, but it is one with which I am content.
Armed with birthday money, we purchased the majority of her remaining place settings with an eye toward completing sets for two of my three duckies to one day set a beautiful Christmas table with the china I have been hording. (Katie actually had a moment of "oohing" and "ahhing" over two little dishes last night. I was about her age when I first became aware of this pattern. Maybe she will grow to fully appreciate and enjoy the collection I am trying to build.) The lady sent us home with her china keepers last night, and I spent the time immediately after we returned home carefully separating the 17 place settings that went into the keepers for storage until next year.
The beauty of my china obsession being catapulted into overdrive with the sourcing of Spode production to China and Malaysia is that I have been well occupied with things other than the state of our medical coverage for my IVIG. Now that what I considered to be a crisis has passed with the current and anticipated additions to the china set, I return my concerns to figuring out how our medical plan can best cover the $5000 worth of immunoglobulin I will need to receive in another two weeks. The china was way more fun to fixate on than the insurance questions.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Erin is begging for gymnastics or cheer lessons. She has recently developed a system of travel by cartwheel. (See photos. Sorry they are of her back, but I have concerns with posting kid pics on-line.) I remember the sheer fun of flipping upside down as a kid, and I am not lacking in sympathy. I do prefer that she not incur or inflict any injuries or break any objects. She does cartwheels in stores, in the living room, in the yard, on the side walk, on the grass...
Don and I have heard that parents should try to take an interest in the activities that excite their kids rather than trying to draw the children into the adult's preferred activities. We are not solely subscribing to this theory, but we are applying it. That means we play Risk with Evan who loves all sorts of games. I do cartwheels with Erin and spot both girls with back bends. Don taught Katie how to play her scales on the guitar. I "sing" and "dance" around to Disney soundtracks with my girls until the music becomes so ingrained that I hum the tunes when the girls are not even home. Don and I watch the movies they love, read books by their favorite authors, listen to Radio Disney, and generally try to stay involved with them. I'll let you know how this plan works out in about 10-20 years.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The girls were making fun of Evan last night for quintessential middle school male behavior after they found me in the bathroom leaning against the vanity to closely examine signs of age in the mirror. Apparently he has taken to leaning toward the bathroom mirror (in a similar manner to my own) stroking his upper lip to be sure the moustache he is growing remains while exclaiming over its continued existence. (I have not seen this so-called moustache. There is nothing hairy resting between the boy's upper lip and nose that is visible to the naked eye.) He would be wise to close the door to engage in this sort of behavior since he has a trio of big-mouthed females in his immediate family to report on just this sort of potentially embarrassing activity.
I find it doubly amusing that the same trio of females have certain similar tendencies. We all spend a measure of time examining side views in the mirror for signs of outward or upward expansion. One admits to frequent self-checks for "weird things". (Yes, that is a direct quote.) The third admits to frequently checking for signs of southern migration, grey hair, wrinkles, zits, moles, and any sign of unwanted facial hair. (I wonder how many of those qualify as "weird things"?)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Here and Gone

We returned home from church to find Grandad waiting for us yesterday. Dad's visit included hunting chow-chow at local grocery stores (The regional item is unavailable in their neck of the woods.), dinner out at Jason's deli, and a so-called "short game" of Monopoly in which he trounced both his daughter and grandchildren thoroughly. Grandad brought Valentine cookies for the kids (and me!!!) last night since he won't be here Valentine's Day--- and because he figured the kids' teachers would appreciate the lack of a donut induced sugar high as the kids returned to school today. Dad rolled out early to head for an afternoon appointment in his adopted home state, and all three kiddies were in school by 8:10.
It's back to just Don, the assorted fur balls, and me around here. The house is wonderfully quiet except for the somewhat white noise of clothing tumbling in the dryer. The business of reclaiming the house from the holidays and kid-generated messes really began last week when the Christmas tree came down. I continue methodically tackling the chores I have ignored since mid-December like dusting the blinds and ceiling fans. I expect to have the house back in a reasonable semblance of order about the time the kids have a four-day weekend later this month.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Submit, submit, submit...

Grrr. The boy had quite an evening followed by quite a night. He was really mad at us because, in his words, we "always assume the worst" [about him]. I'm of the opinion that evidence which paints a clear picture does not add up to an assumption so much as a conclusion. Don & I would be not so much "assuming" as not being stupid in the scenarios which led to the boy reaching level one (no contact with friends) followed by several "resets" (a level lasts for 24 hours without incidence of disrespect) until he attained level two (no electronics--- a fate worse than death in his mind). The lying, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his misdeeds, makes me crazy.
It was great to see so many friends who we have missed over the last couple of weeks at church this morning. This was one of those days when the message hits just right--- it was on worship---and the Lord speaks very clearly. I need periodic reminders of the tie between sacrifice and worship. I need the reminder that worship is found in the state of my heart during the most mundane activities. In every aspect of of life, from dealing with the attitude of our son to attending church service or running the endless loads of dishes and laundry, I have one opportunity after another to worship God by putting others first, honoring Him in my attitude and actions, and by recognizing the obvious gifts He has granted and the often less-obvious ones by which He will grow and teach me. Sometimes I do better than others. The times when I do not do well will hopefully continue to diminish over time as I continue to learn to submit. Doesn't it always seem to come back to submission?!
Here's to a gentle and quiet spirit.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I checked out the pictures of my cousin's dog's litter of cute little puppies while Bella was off being 'altered'. We received word of the safe delivery of a friend's baby (from another friend who is herself expecting) as we were running to pick up our kitty. Last night, we attended a wedding. Our hearts were both glad and heavy for the families as they celebrated with joy despite the intense loss of the bride's father unexpectedly days before the wedding. Today we continue our hunt for the girls' dresses to wear to the annual father/daughter Valentine dance. Tomorrow we welcome my Dad into our home for an overnight visit. Funny how things seem to flow sometimes.

*Photo of me after the wedding with post-op Bella.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Laundry, continued

Fair warning: If you have not read "Laundry" from earlier today you are not prepared to fully appreciating the following...
Katie began to feel concerned when her friend had not called over an hour and a half after the arranged time to confirm the sleepover time for this evening. She was allowed to phone in order to check in with Madison. I spoke with Madison's mom who apologized for M.'s not calling by explaining that her daughter was not allowed to phone Katie until after she... ahem... got around to putting away her laundry. I laughed and explained that Katie was still at least one more load from being allowed to leave the house. We shared one of those knowing Mom laughs that kids generally dislike.
Katie owes Evan one full load of his laundry done by her so she could get out the door to go to Madison's house for the night. It's a good deal for them both. She will do a super job on his laundry later, and he was already doing laundry so putting away her incidental belongings from the final load was not a big chore. She went to her friend's house at the appointed time, and he will skip out of a load of laundry in the future. The laundry is done. Mama's happy, so everybody's happy.
Or so one would think. Apparently Katie made an error in her rush to get out the door. She stripped off the pj pants she had been wearing all day around the house... and threw them in the floor of her bedroom. I found those at about 8:00 this evening. I phoned her friend's mother and explained that the jammies were on the floor and I would like to pick my daughter up so she could come home to put said jammies in the hamper. (Madison's Mom was amused.) I picked Katie up a few minutes later and drove her back home. I waited out front in the truck while she ran inside to put the offending jammies in the hamper. Jammies in the hamper, 20 minutes out of Katie's night with her friend, and I drove Katie back to Madison's for the night before heading home feeling rather pleased with myself.

*Note: Katie was not in the least upset with me. It made perfect sense to her that I would expect her to come home to pick up one pair of pj pants left on the floor. That's my girl.

Girls Rock

In the beginning there was... well, Janis Joplin is really all I can think of in the way of early women in rock besides groupies. (Ew.) In the early punk scene in California there arose a group made up solely of women who went on to pop success as a group and through a couple of solo adventures... and soon the whole original band will be here. The Go-Go's are coming! The Go-Go's are coming! The Go-Go's are coming! They'll be in Dallas at The House of Blues on February 2nd. Don is thinking we might try to catch the show for my "Happy Birthday".
I love the Go-Go's. (In case you couldn't tell.) My two eldest children were danced around apartment living rooms to the Go-Go's on cd regularly during their formative years. (Erin missed out on this important rite of childhood because she was mostly raised by Mrs. Sylvia. Sylvia creates child geniuses, I just make 'em into really bad dancers who sing loudly if not well.) My Aunt Nancy and I could act out the Go-Go's "Vacation" video when we were in elementary school. We really preferred to make up our own dances or have my mom show us old ones like the Monkey or the Jerk to put with our favorite songs like "Cool Jerk". My personal anthem is a Go-Go's tune: "Girl of 100 Lists".


Here's to a relatively quiet day. (We're not doing anything more exciting than paying bills and catching up on housework, but I am a big fan of unexciting days.) Katie's headed out to spend the night at her friend Madison's house tonight, and Evan has his friend Joe coming over. We send one out, but another comes in so it's not like we will really be down by one child this evening. Well, Katie and Evan will be out and have a friend in if the laundry is done before 5:00 p.m.
The whole herd of lovies found themselves in hot water over the laundry earlier. I went on strike a couple of years ago, and the kids found themselves stuck doing their own laundry for a year-and-a-half as a result. Last Fall, I finally relented and began to do their washing again with a few provisos. The kids are expected to turn the clothes right side out, to place dirty clothes in the hamper unless wet, and clean clothes are to be put away within 24 hours. I don't feel that I am being unreasonable with my expectations. That does not mean those expectations are being met.
I deal with the insubordination of my offspring in several different ways. Clothing left inside out or layered will be deposited back in the offender's bedroom floor. (Such deposits are frequently accompanied by a snide comment if said offender is at home, especially if it is not the first laundry offense of the day. Needless to say, the kids rather hope for Mom to do the laundry when they are not at home.) If someone runs out of clean clothing or towels because dirty items did not make it into the hamper, that's not really Mom's problem is it? Clothing that is not put away within 24 hours of washing becomes property of Mom for one week. This created quite a back up since I had to store most of the kids' clothes in the master bedroom and closet the first couple of weeks before they took the policy seriously. They are now better about putting away, but I am also really good at reminding them to do so.
Occasionally we all get a bit lazy. This week the laundry piled up. Today I started to get caught up. After multiple laundry infractions had been committed and largely ignored or half-way dealt with by my children (who were busy watching t.v.), I pretty much just had a Mom Moment. I informed the whole herd of kiddies that they would get a load of laundry in or else. They put in a partial mismatched load. I yelled. Home and Away overnight privileges have been revoked unless all laundry is done by 5:00. That is doable, but it will require them to really stay on it.