Monday, June 30, 2008

Another day in the life

I decided to take pictures as I went through one of my days just so I could see what it is exactly that I do all day. Today I rolled out of bed and was late to meet Lisa and Denise for breakfast because I just could not find my car keys anywhere.
Immediately after breakfast, I ran the kids over to swim at Ally's neighborhood pool for a very short while. Then it was a race to drop off the kids at home, change clothes, and grab lunch before heading to the church.
A friend had a list of tasks for us to knock out before her maternity leave begins, so we did as much of the stuff as I could help with until she had to head off to a meeting.
I stayed to finish up only to have a neighbor appear with his three little darlings in tow. The children helped me finish up the work with the receipts before I headed home leaving them in the hands of their Daddy so I could go see to my own lovies. As usual, I have no earthly idea where the rest of the day went because I stopped taking pictures at this point...

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today I will clean up my scrapbooking messes because I have finished the Poland scrapbook so it can be put away. Don and I delivered the scrapbook detailing the journey of our friends Ralph and Tammy through a recent extended challenge to his health. I am simply not in the mood to play with the little pieces of paper that ordinarily delight me right now. I am sure the mood will eventually strike again, but it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Our kids refer to the dining room as "The Scrapbook Room", but I suspect that cleaning up my tools, books, pages, papers, and whatnot will restore it to its former state as a place for gathering together around the table rather than a hang-out for me and the cat. (Bella's going to really miss all those lovely piles of paper on which to perch...)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flower Beds

Katie and I were headed in from the grocery store, and I was admiring the assorted blooms in the flower bed, when I saw it...

Check out the wee beastie that was hiding out in the flowers!

Passport, Pt. II

Back in May, Don and I headed down to the county courthouse seeking his birth certificate so he could apply for his passport. There was a teensy problem--- he was born in another state, so he had to mail away the necessary request and processing fee. Today his birth certificate arrived in our mailbox. Ready for the next step in the process, we went to have Don's picture taken for his passport photo at the drugstore. He has already completed the passport application forms. All that remains is for us to make the trip over to the post office to turn in his application! Whoo-Hoo!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Full Armor

Yesterday, I was looking up scripture from the trip to Poland to quote in my scrapbook. I am familiar with the verses on the "Full Armor of God", but enjoyed the opportunity for the familiar passage to be presented in a fresh way during the OPS trip to Poland last month.
Dale, who is currently serving in Poland as a missionary, gave an intriguing combination devotional and Polish history lesson to our prayer team. He and three young men (the sons of one of our hosts) appeared dressed in actual armor bearing shields and weaponry! (How cool is that?!)
The scripture reference began with Ephesians 6:10--- for those who are not immediately familiar with the passage:
The Armor of God 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Dale's teaching was an awesome time of preparation for our team before we headed out on our road trip that included the visits to Auschwitz and the Jasna Gora monastery where the Black Madonna is housed. One of our team members became ill on the return trip, but we had Dale's visual of the guys locking their shields together in order to present a stronger defense to inspire us to pray together for the health of our team mate. Our prayers for him were answered with his ability to rejoin us. He said later that he was feeling better after our prayers, but that his full restoration came about as we travelled on down the road singing our praise.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It is generally accepted that I have more words than Don. This is not necessarily true. He's an introvert who runs comments, anecdotes, and jokes in his mind a dozen times before deciding to share his wit and wisdom out loud. In most conversations, by the time he is ready to speak, the topic has changed twice. It's too late for his brilliance to be known. So people get the impression that he is both quiet and quite the thinker.
On the other hand, I have the sometimes embarrassing tendency to have words pop right on out of my mouth before all possible meanings of those words really penetrates my brain. (This can lead to trouble.) I do not remain on topic for any length of time. It's a sort of conversational ADHD. I wander off into new and intriguing topics as I try to follow a conversation that begins at point A and is headed toward point B. Eventually, I will get to point B, but it might be following stops at "first century Roman armor", "What's for dinner?", and "Polish words that need more vowels..." ("trzy"--- Who came up with that?!) A phrase or sentence will draw me back into the original topic so we can arrive at point B five minutes or five years later.
While many people might find it difficult to follow my conversational meandering, it suits Don very well. He can play with the thoughts in his head until he deems them acceptable for verbalization without losing the opportunity to tell me what he is thinking. I can wander off into other topics, and he will always be able to follow the rabbit trails to bring us back to the original topic with his eventual well-thought-out comment.

Friday, June 13, 2008


We are having pie. A selection of pies... for dinner. Pizza pies, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and coconut cream pie to be specific. There was an incident with the big freezer. The avocado green behemoth is great when she actually closes. It's been a while since she failed to close, but today was the day. We have been busy cooking everything that had begun to defrost but could still be salvaged. There's still a roast and some chicken in the oven. Thankfully, we do have an extra kid staying over tonight to help with our festival o' pies.

Exploratory Venture

Hmmm. I talked with Shelley (in Poland) this morning. Don and I have been actively seeking a short-term missions trip that would let us head for Poland as a couple. Shelley e-mailed earlier today, and Don told me I should just call rather than trying to contain my response to her in an e-mail. During the conversation she mentioned that a team may be coming in November for a variation on English Clubs. That team will be in transit on our youngest daughter's birthday, and I would prefer not to leave the country on Little Bit's eighth birthday.
As the conversation went on, we turned to the possibility of an exploratory trip. Don and I would potentially head for Poland outside of an organized group. We would stay with Shelley as Lisa and I did this Spring. Because we would not be in country with a larger team, Don and I would have the opportunity to be fully immersed in Polish culture and daily life with Shelley. It's an exciting prospect, and I wonder if it will become a reality.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tag, You're It...

Silly boy. I took the three kids down to the park late this evening. I was yakking away on the cell phone with my Dad. My son decided that the kids should play tag. He also stated that I should keep talking to Granddad because I would be unable to catch any of them with my shaky, old-lady legs. 'Scuse Me?!
This is where I point out that I ran track. I walk for miles. What's the Boy mean I can't catch three kids? Oh, no he didn't. "Sorry, Daddy, I've got to go whomp on your grandson. Bye!" I snapped the phone shut, and shot a meaningful look at Katie (who has played tag with me recently--- and lost because they are not wee little people on whom I will go easy any longer). Evan and Erin (who correctly figured splitting up would be boring since Mom was going to be after big brother) started to run as Katie declared that we were "it".
I figured strategy would be our strong suit. We let them run until they thought to look back at us sipping our fruit punch from the stone picnic table as they gasped to catch their breath. Then we started to slowly walk toward them. There was running, laughing, yelling, and some taunting. Eventually I caught Erin who didn't really mind since she caught me right back before declaring that we were both "it". I figured it was better to let Evan go until he got sloppy. He found himself a cushy hiding spot down hill and slightly out of view--- or so he thought. Hee.
The Boy never saw me coming. I sprinted up and over his hill appearing almost right on top of him shrieking my victory cry. He did try to run at that last minute, but his baby sister cut him off. He tried to declare his bike as "base" but that didn't stop either his mom or his sisters from tackling him. It was glorious fun. Whoo-Hoo!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Laundry, Part III

My closet has been invaded. Just before school was out, I put my foot down regarding the kids' care of their clothing and shoes. Tired of washing clothing that had not been worn (but that had been chunked into the hamper with dirty stuff) and of the assorted articles that were being stored on the bedroom floors, I confiscated almost all of the kids' clothing and shoes. I had them choose their favorite five changes of clothes, four pair each of socks and undergarments, a swimsuit, one jacket, and two pair of shoes as a starting point. Everything else is now in the master bedroom dresser drawers or closets.
Here's the deal: Every seven days when the children are responsible for taking care of their clothing and shoes they will have the opportunity to "shop" for an additional change of clothes plus a bonus item such as more undergarments, another pair of shoes, dressy clothes, or a swimsuit. My theory is that we will determine how many articles they are able to take proper care of with this little experiment. They won't get in trouble over laundry because there is no excess to overwhelm them. Last week they did not earn back anything. This week, I am staying on them because I want my closet back.
Today the duckies will be going through all the winter clothing to pull out any items that no longer fit, or that just are not a style that any of them would choose to wear. Those items can be passed along through our hand-me-down network so I can quit shuffling through them to search for a t-shirt in the mornings before I am properly caffeinated. The kids clothing that dominates my closet and chest of drawers has quickly become an irritant, but I can't really back down from my stand or the laundry will win.
If the kiddies take care of their laundry duties today, then I will be able to rid myself of one change of clothes for each of them. It will be tempting to offer them an extra bonus item just to move a little more of their stuff back to their bedrooms. Hmmm. Sorting through the winter clothes could be the way to an extra bonus for them as well as clearing the items that they will not be interested in earning back. That could work.


Infusion day is here again. I am glad to be able to run the IVIG from home. Other options for receiving the four-hour I.V. medication dose include the hospital, a doctor's office, or an infusion suite. None of those ideas holds much appeal considering the length of time involved, so I am pleased to be at home when I consider the alternatives!
Before starting the meds at 10:00 this morning, I made a mad dash with Evan and Erin to pick up some groceries for the next day or two. I put a little gas in my ginormous fuel-hogging truck. (ouch. $20 will only take us about sixty miles. That hurts!) I also managed to get our Father's Day cards sent off to Grandad and Papa--- who will no doubt be watching their mail for the kids' cards. That done, it was home to pop some Benadryl and Tylenol in preparation for the main event.
While nurse Kathy mixed meds, I showed her the photos from the OPS trip. Like myself, Kathy had envisioned a gray country where bread lines were the norm. I love to show these photographs so that the real beauty of Poland is beginning to replace the drab image that has somehow become the expectation for many people like me. Now the photo album has been put away, paperwork and vital signs are completed, and the IVIG and that dose of Benadryl are calling me to a nap.
Before heeding that call to doze, I will be checking on the kiddies. They've been wonderfully quiet for a good half an hour now. That might mean they are reading but it is equally likely to signal that they are up to something that can only be filed under the "Not Good" heading.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Do not worry about what you will eat or drink... unless it is lunch time and your Mom is scrapbooking instead of preparing your food. I'm not sure where that one is at in the Bible, but it might appear in the New Testament somewhere. At least according to my kids. Despite having never missed a meal, they become mildly alarmed when I fail to announce what will comprise their next meal because I am in the midst of a task that has wholly absorbed my limited attention. Today I was trying to express my thoughts on having visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps while in Poland, and I was struggling to find words that could begin to convey the history and emotion I discovered in that place. Somehow, the thought of food was far from my mind. Go figure.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Last Day of School!

Despite forty mile per hour wind gusts, we spent the day racing between home and the kids schools. Katie's "Fifth Grade Farewell" began at 9:00. We walked home from that event to hop in the car for balloon pick up and delivery to the middle school for a lunch-time pizza party.
Katie's classmates spent the last day of school swimming, playing games, and hanging out at the local pool during their end-of-elementary-school Beach Bash. Don and I picked up Erin a couple of hours early, and she managed to knock out her first Polish lesson. A wildly windy bike ride an hour later saw Evan home from his final day as a seventh grader just in time for Don and I to walk over to retrieve Zach and Kate from their party. We hit the pool with Ally for an hour before a pizza dinner. Evan was worn out, and he fell asleep at about 7:00. Kate's friend Madison came over to spend the night, and I drove the girls over to Dairy Queen for a late-night treat to celebrate the start of summer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Yay! Our language learning software arrived today. Don has been cruising internet sites that give him snippets of Polish language. My favorite so far is "Mój poduszkowiec jest pelen wegorzy !!!" which means "My hovercraft is full of eels!!!" I sincerely hope we never need that one. (Yuck!) We are both daunted by the series of consonants that seem stuck together in many of these words, but we are not giving up. Buying a vowel is starting to become a constant wish as we try to pronounce the words that are wholly unfamiliar. I know the native English-speakers who we have met that speak Polish to whatever degree all seem to have the same perspective because it is a hard language to learn. Rumor has it that the only language more difficult is Chinese. (If that is true, I do not want to know.) It's definitely going to be an adventure!