Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We had our little family Christmas this morning. I wanted the kids to have one whole day to enjoy their gifts and the company of Mommy and Daddy. They were so excited this morning, and were both up taking a bath by 6:30. (Which was the earliest I let them get up. They weren't allowed to come get Mommy until 7, but I couldn't sleep either. I'm a kid at heart, I guess.)

I can't find my camera. I remember having it with me on Monday at the assisted living center where Betty lives, but I don't remember it after that, so I'm worried about its whereabouts. I hope someone stumbles across it very soon, because it is the wrong time of year to misplace your only good camera!

Luckily, Art was a sweetheart and bought me an ipod to replace the one Zaya dropped in the toilet last week. It has a camera, so I used that for our pictures this morning. They aren't great, but at least they exist!

Here's Zaya with his Penicillin. We're trying to build up the "good guys" section of his plush microbe collection since he's about to get a few more "bad guys" from Grandma Lilibeth.

Mim is playing with her DS. We got each kid one, and they were both ecstatic. This ended up being a fairly hefty Christmas bill, but the hope is that the next few years will be less in comparison. (We'll see how that goes.)

Art also bought me a lovely set of silver, Celtic rings. I'm so excited, and I'm trying to be very good and not lose them. So far it's been almost 12 hours. While that isn't a record, it's certainly an accomplishment for me.

Here's Art putting together Mim's fort. As per usual, she drug it out, and we had to put it together. Oh well. That's what being a parent is all about, I suppose. Well, you know, that and all the the training and loving stuff.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The first spelling bee is officially over. Zaya's class of three little boys joined the first graders at the C campus, so there were about 18 children competing. Zaya didn't win, but he did well. He made it to the final round, anyway. He went out on the word "crawl". He started with C-R-A-L then said, "wait, wait! It's A-W-L!" but of course, she had to take his first response. Oh well. He didn't cry or pout. (Probably because Mrs. P gave candy canes and a hug to each kid as they misspelled their word. She's an excellent and very experienced teacher.) (In the picture, Zaya is spelling his word in the practice round. The lady in the green sweater is his teacher, Mrs. D)

And that may be the only spelling bee we'll ever participate in. This week has made me thankful that we'll be home-schooling next year. All the stress is ridiculous. I love Christmas, but with all the school and church commitments, it's become almost unbearable at moments. Oddly enough, Mim has been the stable one this week. She's usually the one who is fearful and worried, but I think God knew that I needed someone to keep track of me, so He's given Mim an especially sweet temper and a helpful spirit lately.

I just have to keep reminding myself that God's incredible blessings come with responsibilities. I'm so glad that I have my two children. They're healthy, bright, active, obedient children, and they make me happy. They are able to attend a small school where they are loved and surrounded by good, Christian teachers and friends, which is also a blessing. Worrying about a spelling bee is so far down on the list of things a mother could conceivably worry about that I'm ashamed of how much it has been bothering me.

Our families and friends are amazing. I can turn to so many people, and know that they will help me out of my own stupid predicaments. For that, too, I am thankful.
And I'm especially thankful for my husband, who has the patience of Job and wisdom of Solomon. Or close enough, anyway.

God forgive me for my whining, and help me live in this moment. Breathing in grace, and breathing out peace. What's done, is done, and what is yet to come will pass too quickly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Too Much

This has not been my day. Sure, it could've been much worse, but still. For one thing, I'm just too busy. There were too many demands on my time, energy, money and patience today. This evening, between 5 and 9, I had four different events/practices to make, all of which overlapped with the next event/practice. It was hectic.

This afternoon, I tried to check out at Wal-mart only to discover that I didn't have my debit card. I had to call Aaron to come from work and pay for my items. (I had purchased some things for a church group that I had to bring tonight.) (I found the debit card later. Apparently I had left it at Walgreens yesterday.) And to just really set the evening rolling right, Zaya dropped my iPod touch in the toilet right before we left the house for the first event at 4:50. Yes, that's right, in the toilet. It's toast. Kaput. Dead.

He's heartbroken and very remorseful, so his daddy and I are trying to keep a stiff upper lip about the whole thing, but it's hard.

Poor Zaya, he's having the same kind of week that I am. He cried quite a bit this evening, each time saying things like, "I just keep doing things wrong." And he has been especially spacey this week. I think we're all just overwhelmed and stressed beyond reason. Oh, and, he has a spelling bee tomorrow morning, (Yes, he's in first grade. It's maybe a bit ridiculous at this age, but whatever) so he's very stressed about that because he's entirely capable of forgetting where he is or what he's supposed to be doing at any given moment. Especially this week and after a late night.

The kids still have school until next Tuesday, then we have Christmas celebrations on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th. It's going to be a wild ride. I'm just glad we have a week off after that to recover from all the fun.

I could use a week right now, or even a day, of quiet, restful peace. It's not going to happen for a while though. Zaya and I will just have to comfort each other.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Promise, It Was Just Root Beer!

We had a little birthday get-together at my parents' home yesterday. (Art and I have a birthday this next week.) After lunch and opening our presents (thanks, everyone!) we played a game that we've discovered in the last few years called Telestrations. We were first introduced to it by some sunday school leaders, and have since found an actual board game with nifty flip-cards to use instead of paper.

Here's the basic idea. Each person reads a word off of a card, and then tries to draw a picture of that word on the first page of their paper. They pass it to their right. That person looks at the picture, then flips to the second page and writes their guess as to what that picture was supposed to be. Sometimes this is easier than others, as will be made clear to you in a bit. This person then passes it on to the next and in that way it makes it all around the table. If you have eight players, then there will be eight booklets making their way around the table. Here's a great demo from our game yesterday. Further proof that my family is a little bit strange! (As if that were needed.)

This was my word. It was "Airhead". So I drew this.

Art somehow knew what this was. Kudos to him.

My brother, Elijah, then drew his own bizarre idea of an airhead.

And his lovely wife somehow knew what he meant, too. I'm glad we've both married people who can somehow understand us!

Then my sister, Claye, got hold of it. You have to understand that Claye is an artist. Which means her brain works differently from normal people. (Yeah, I love you too, Sis!)

Now, what would you guess if faced with this Dali-on-LSD drawing? My dad decided it was...

Yes, that says, "Chef Boyardee on Mind Blowing drugs", which mom then had to try to draw.

Being a little young for the concept of "mind blowing drugs" (thank goodness), Zaya went for the obvious.

Thus ended my little booklet. I wish I could show you some of the others. There were several classics this time. For instance, my dad had to draw a "flower child", so he drew a stick man with long hair and a head band holding a flower and a long 'cigarette'. Mom somehow pulled "anniversary" out of that. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? (She said she thought the cigarette was a candle.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Change of Plans

We are officially home on a sick day, again. Mim became sick to her stomach about a block from school this morning, so I decided to keep Zaya home too and we turned around and came back home.

We're having a warm, cozy day instead of the insanely busy, hectic day I had planned. I had to make about 5 phone calls this morning to cancel aforementioned hectic day, but there's a certain freedom in that. Of course, Mim's sick, which makes for stress and occasional misery, but we're trying to look at the bright side. She's watching Casper and drinking rice broth with newly washed hair and clean, warm pjs.

I ought to be using this time to work on the house, but the motivation is so very lacking. I think I'll be doing good to keep up with the laundry. Ooh, and maybe we can all take a nap this afternoon. I think we might be able to salvage this day yet! Just pray with me that the virus is quick and doesn't pass like wildfire.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Good Kind of Crazy

I think I've purchased all my Christmas presents. I think. Every time I walk into a store, though, I remember something else I was planning to pick up or someone else that I'm supposed to buy a present for.

My bedroom is equally full of laundry and presents. I promise they're separated. Don't worry. No one's present should smell like dirty socks. Probably.

The kids, of course, are about to be spoiled rotten, once again. I'm so thankful that they aren't very materialistic. Yet, anyway. We talk about it quite a bit, and I'm hoping to counter the culture as much as possible. I mean, as much as I can while still showering them with gifts a couple times a year. What can I say? I love giving gifts!

All that to say, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. They kids are in school until Dec. 21st. Which is crazy, in my opinion. We will have our little family celebration on the 22nd, because we will have large, gift-ful family get-togethers on the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th. If everything goes according to the current plan, of course. Things change, I realize. So I have exactly 0 free days of Christmas vacation to clean my house or wrap presents or try to remember who in the world I bought that necklace for.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

And So On and So Forth

Here's a quick rundown of our latest exploits.

We've been enjoying our wood stove, and Art has discovered a clever solution for the floating ash problem we had last year when we tried to clean it out. It's loud, but effective. And we've only had one live coal actually enter the chamber of the vacuum.

The kids had a Thanksgiving Musical at the larger of the two campuses of the little Christian school that they're attending this year. It was...long...but the kids sang to a full house of family and friends who loved them anyway.

Zaya is the little guy at the very end on the left. He was as enthusiastic as always, and only horsed around with the kid next to him between songs, so I guess that's something.

Zaya lost his first tooth. And the peasants rejoiced. Ok, well, just he rejoiced, but it was some rejoicing.

We had several Thanksgiving dinners, and got to see lots of family, which is always wonderful. As usual, I forgot to take my camera out until the absolute last minute when the last few were leaving. Here's a smattering of the almost 30 family members that we had together at Lilibeth's house on Thursday.

It was especially nice to see our relatives from New Mexico. C'J was there, and her husband and her two daughters, Alli and Ren. I don't think we'd ever actually met, but I feel like we all know each other so well because of the miracle of the internet.

Oh, and they also brought their puppy, Bailey. Mim thought she was "super awesome."

Then I went shopping with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law on Black Friday. They were at Wal-mart at midnight, but I waited and met them in W'ville at five. Then we all went to the City and spent way too much money, as usual. It was fun, though, and I'll probably do it again next year. Call me crazy. I bought several pair of tights for Mim. They were too big. Tell me if you think these should fit a four year old. (They were sized 4-6x)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trying Something New

Based on my theory that something forbidden gains extra mystery and wonder, I decided to let the kids Trick or Treat this year. I really hate Halloween. However, I love costumes and candy, and so do little kids. Obviously a problem. Thankfully, our tiny little town is a very safe place to live, and the people here are great. Not a single house we passed went out of their way to be scary or creepy in any way. We know everyone (or almost, anyway) and can tell you who their relatives are and most of their life story. If there's anywhere that it's safe to Trick or Treat, this would be the place.

Needless to say, the kids loved it. Their country cousins came to join us, and they went around a few blocks near our home. (Based on another theory, which is that if you make them walk the whole time, they get tired more quickly. Shorter time equals less candy.) My sister-in-law and I walked around with them the entire time, and it was just enough of a success that the kids enjoyed themselves, but not so much that they'll be obsessing about it all year. Perfect.

Jaida is a southern Belle, and Addy is a fairy princess. Little Jack is too busy flying around saving the world to make into many pictures. (He's Superman.)

Here's Zaya in his costume. In case you can't tell, and surely everyone can, right? right? he is Luke Skywalker. He has his Mark Hamill hair going on right now, so I thought that would be perfect. He didn't argue, because what little geek doesn't want to be Luke Skywalker...even if their only contact with the Star Wars series is through the Lego game.

Mim wanted to be a cat. Not any specific cat, just "a cat". Well, ok. So mommy tried to come up with a cat costume. The ears were a loaner from our friend Ms Julie. Otherwise, we just improvised. She especially loved her tail, which will be visible in later photos.

Zaya led the charge to the houses while the girls followed more demurely (but only slightly) behind.

We went by Lisa (formerly Tina) and C'uncle M's (also known as Blondie) house. Yes, that's right, they share the same house now, because they recently got married. If I had remembered to take my camera to their wedding, I would have a post about that too. You'll just have to imagine it. (It was lovely.)

Mim was really working the tail in these pictures. We had to try so hard to stop laughing, because it really was hilarious, but she wouldn't have understood why. I did not know my daughter had those kinds of moves.

At some point in the evening, Mim began losing her black spots. (She should have four on her back.) One of them is visible in this picture. Can you spot it?

It must have been a Jedi mind trick.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brave New World

We are now the proud owners of a Tokay Gecko named Coyote. (in Spanish, so it's pronounced more like coy-o-tay) Zaya's hermit crabs died last month, and I had promised him that when the hermit crabs died, he could get a different pet. I talked him out of the snake, and the tarantula, but then he decided he wanted a lizard, and there was no convincing him otherwise. So, a lizard it is. (It looks just like the one in the picture, but that's not ours.)

The tricky part-

1. Geckos only eat live crickets (and other small, soft-shelled insects). The crickets have to be "gut-loaded", which means fed a super-diet of nutritious cricket food. The crickets have be dusted in calcium powder before the Gecko eats them.

2. Geckos need their vivarium to be at a fairly high temperature, so there should be a heat lamp going at all times. Heat lamps make me nervous. His cage has to stay at a fairly high humidity level too. He should have lots of live plants and large sticks to climb on. (Although ours just seems to hang out on the glass all day.)

3. The Tokay Gecko is called "the pit-bull of the gecko world" for its aggressive nature and ferocious bite. It should not be handled. Once it bites, it doesn't want to let go. Or so we've heard.

So why did we get a Tokay Gecko? Well, first, I foolishly made a promise to my son, thinking his hermit crabs were going to defy the laws of nature and live forever. Second, the other lizards were at least $50 more than the Gecko. Third, I had no idea how complicated it would be. But mostly I blame Geico.

So now we're on the lookout for a bigger terrarium, a good source of live crickets and a super-safe, kid-friendly heat lamp with a low-light night option.

At least it's not a tarantula.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Working Things Through

I promise we're all still here. I don't know what's happened to my blogging motivation. It just seems like there's nothing to say once I sit down to the computer. Oh, things are happening, but I have trouble believing that they would interest anyone. Life is busy and stressful, but in a good way.

School is going well for the kids. We recently had parent teacher conferences, and everything is progressing as it should, I guess. I love the school that they are going to right now, but we've been talking a lot about what we'll do next year. We're seriously considering homeschool for a while. Even here, I don't feel like I can explain myself, and I know a lot of people would tell me I don't have to, so I won't. Suffice it to say, that it would really just work for us right now in many different ways. We'll continue to support the little Christian school that they're in right now, because I believe very strongly in what they're doing, and they are awesome people.

Every day, though, when I leave the house at 7:30 (late again) and get home at 4 (after having driven all over and done a kajillion things) I think, "Hmmm. Home. Just us." And the thought feels like a cup of warm milk to a midnight insomniac. I don't know what all might happen between now and next summer, but as of October the 26th, 2010, that is my plan for the next school year.

Here are a couple of pictures from this last week. Mim is drawing something on her board, and the first two pictures were cute and smiley. This is the look I get when she's had quite enough of the camera and would just like me to mind my own business for a while.

I recently bought a new game for the kids from thinkgeek. It's called Aba-conundrums, and is a series of puzzles to use with an abacus. It's teaching them how to use the abacus and some basic logic skills. Here's Zaya working on a puzzle.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Crackle, Crackle

We're getting excited about firing up the wood stove for the first time. We haven't yet, of course, but nights are getting very, very cold. Well, ok, sort of cold. Coldish. Cool, if you will.

You have to understand that our house stays at about 80 degrees throughout the summer. It might be 77 or 78 in the early morning, and 82 in the afternoon. So waking up to 67 in the morning, feels downright chilly.

I'm sure I'll be tired of hauling wood around from the backyard within a few weeks, but for now, I'm looking forward to having a warm place to stand and try to coax circulation back into my fingers.

Mim, on the other hand, still sleeps with her fan on, and last night she opened her window so she could have "a little cool air". I know she's my child, but sometimes I wonder...

Monday, September 27, 2010


When people tell me that they are amazed at the time and effort I spend for my Hispanic friends, I have to laugh.

I wish they could see how much they do for me. My friends will talk to me about anything, which means I get to do the same. They have taught me Spanish, which is a wonderful gift. They give of themselves and their talents constantly. They make me jewelry and food. They find clothes for me and my children. They're absolutely fantastic ladies.

My life would be so much less without them. What are ESL classes and the occasional errand compared to that kind of relationship?

Here is tonight's supper, courtesy of my good friend Maria. She says that I am her angel, but little does she know...

The kids are very grateful too, for obvious reasons.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Amazing Invisible Fish

Zaya bought a few fish several weeks ago, one of which is a "glass cat". I think we used to call them x-ray fish. But whatever.

The point is that glass cats, being basically transparent, are hard to spot. All you really see is a backbone, some ribs, and a few tiny organs floating around in the tank. (Hence the fish's name- Backbone.)

Backbone disappeared several weeks ago. We assumed he was dead, but we couldn't find his body, being, as I've said, all but invisible. Art said we should take the plant and the little castle out of tank and see if he died in there, because it wasn't good for the tank if a fish and his mortal coil were left to finish out the universal cycle of life in a small, five-gallon tank.

But we never got around to it. Mostly because I am, let's face it, lazy.

Yesterday evening, though, Backbone was spotted again swimming around! Seriously, it's been weeks! I have no idea where that fish was all that time. I suppose he was hiding out in the castle.

I guess I would too if all my inner organs were available for constant viewing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

La Vida Loca

It's been a while since I've blogged anything, and I'm feeling a little guilty.

Life is progressing normally here, which is to say, just short of utter chaos. But we're happy, relatively healthy, and doing our best to do our best. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave us with much time for taking cute pictures.

The kids are enjoying school, which is a relief. Mim isn't crying at all this year, even though she is at school all day instead of half. I'm running around constantly, yet not actually getting much done, somehow. Wish I could figure that out.

I could use some prayer from my faithful friends and family. Nothing big, just struggling with some chronic health issues that make it hard to be the kind, patient, self-disciplined lady I'd like to be.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

So much fun, so little time

We're enjoying the last warm days as much as possible. The kids play with Daddy in the evenings, and on weekends, and they're soaking in all their "outside recesses" at school, too.

Yesterday they did some trampoline jumping, as usual.

Today, they're playing in the mud while Art does a little amateur terraforming.

And then there's the swingset. Mim has recently discovered that there are quite a few things she can do without Mommy's help now. It's very freeing for both of us.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Art - The Recessive Gene

The kids and I played pictionary this evening. Let me just say that it is surprisingly difficult to guess what a five and six year old have drawn when they were the ones coming up with the ideas in the first place. (We don't have the official Pictionary game, so we just think up something, and then draw it.)

Here are the things Zaya thought up.
A cold virus
A sand dollar
Muddy Water
A virus, bacteria and amoeba
A Bird's eye view of a pyramid in the desert
And a vertical division sign.
Oh, and also a microscopic view of denim jeans.

How many of those do you think we guessed?

Yeah, that's right. Not very many.

Mim drew:

A computer screen with a radar image on it
Our house, with the three of us drawing
A tree being blown around in a T-storm

These kids are nuts.

Just to give you an idea of how difficult this was for Mommy, here are three of the pictures. You tell me what you think they are.

Monday, August 23, 2010

ABC - 123

The kids started kindergarten and 1st grade on August 12th, and so far, so good. Mim and Zaya are both enjoying their classes and teachers, and Mim is tear-free, and staying all day, every day. Here they are on the first day of school.

I miss them during the day, but it's also wonderful to have so much time to be productive. Of course, that means I have no excuses now for not getting the house clean, cooking good meals, writing, exercising, blogging and, most importantly, having a quiet time. Guess I'll have to work on that "self-discipline" thing this year.

The kids' only disappointment so far are that they have only learned one cursive letter (Mim) and they're still just counting and adding ones (Zaya). I'd say those are minor complaints, given all the possibilities.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Mim and I at five years old. Obviously, my mother was a lot more patient with long hair than I am. I'd love for Mim to have long hair, but I'm not ready to face all that brushing. Oh, and the bangs thing, well, it was 1985. What can I say?

Here I am as a flowergirl at Auntie M's wedding.

Here's Mim as the flower girl at Auntie M's daughter's wedding. I forgot how young I was at the time. Mim has a good year and a half on me.