This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 29

I am feeling better. Thanks for the prayers, yo. Day 29 wasn't pretty, but I got to read some more of my book, which is always a happy event. I joined a book club. We are reading Cutting For Stone. So far it is scandalous and very well written. Someone, someday, somewheres is going to put my book down and say, "That Shontell is sure well written." Amen.

Why I Like Mike #29

He remembers to buy me cough medicine when I forget it for myself. I know it's early, but I woke this morning, not from coughing or a cricked neck from sleeping on the couch. I woke early because I actually slept most of the night. Thanks for taking care of me babe.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 28

I came. I coughed up a lung. I bruised my diaphragm. No kidding. That's what it feels like.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 27

My head is fuzzy. I want to do something fun like scrapbook. Instead, I am sitting on my couch, sweating, then cold while Sam coughs all over his sister. My future is bleak. Ideally, my room would be clean, as I had planned this morning, and I would be ending my night reading Harry Potter the Seventh to my kids and scrapping whilst I watch a movie. It's not going to happen. Is 7:16 too early to send my kids to bed for the night even if it's a vacation day? BAH.
Ps. sorry for the grumpiness of this post. I feel miserable.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 26

We like to bake at the Christmas holiday. It's a great family pastime. My husband takes much of the lead, as I am just not very good at the baking. I help, but it's more to delegate and grab ingredients for the chefs. The following pictures offer an excellent insight into the children that are my offspring.
She cleans.
They cooperate and tackle the trickiest treats: marshmallows.
She creates the eclectic: puppy chow.
He is just weird. Enough said.
Sadly I am missing a a picture of Layla Grace. Most likely she was flittering about the kitchen encouraging good work ethic and cleaning up behind the mess makers so as to encourage order.

Day 25

Merry Christmas. Take your face out of your phone and your computer long enough to have a real conversation with someone. Take time to play a game. Take time to get back to the good old days where people interacted and laughed and shared and got to know one another, even if those people are your own children. Three year olds can carry some pretty funny conversations.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 24: The Brew Crew

People think I jest when I say, "We need our own show." Not only would I love the funds that would come from this sort of situation, but the people of this great nation would finally be able to see for themselves what I mean when I say, "My kids are a hoot. Like a funny owl." They are you know? Funny owls. May I introduce the cast?

Addison,the sweet to look at sassy to speak to, please don't be an idiot anywhere near her if you can't handle what she may have to say about it.
Samuel, the kid you want to approach, even though you can't always understand the English coming out of his mouth, and you completely love him, until you make him lose his temper. Then. He will eat your face off and storm away. Only to return if you grovel and offer sugar.
Elijah, the kid who starts the party as he walks in the door, is learning when funny and rude separate, but can make the most stoic person sing along to a happy birthday falsetto. Also, he looks smashing in a fedora and blazer. At the age of ten.
Layla Grace. Her name explains that she is retro and capable and graceful and worth knowing. All things true. She has hutzpah. Everyone she knows is changed.
Isabelle Rose, the girl who is a beauty with a voice she is still too shy to try out in public. She is growing into her own skin and working on new talents. She is a smart alexis. I like it.
Cumulatively, they make the Brew Crew, not at all unlike the Partridge Family.
Tonight, as we arrived home from checking out Nampa's Christmas lights, we were informed we were in for a treat aka a show. They performed no less than six Christmas songs, played two songs with a piano accompaniment, and reenacted the nativity scene with baby Samuel playing Jesus. Far fetched? Jesus would be flattered. The whole thing was fantastic- even the part where Addison was irate that the dress Izzy made for her was pinned and not sewn. Even the part when Elijah sang falsetto to Away in a Manger while posing as The Strong Man and playing Joseph. Multitasker.
Good times. Sorry you don't live here. Sorry we don't have our own show.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Comes Early to the Brew Crew

Tonight, the kids and I snuggled up with Nanna and watched this year's run of The Nativity. Tonight, I set out several, and then some, gifts. Tonight I made, from the scratch, cinnamon rolls.
Tomorrow, I will make the coffee maple glaze to atop them. (sing) YUM. In the morning, my kids will stay holed up in their bedrooms until The Man gets home from work. 8:15 ish. This time will come slowly for all of us.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate Jesus and his birth and, by extension, what he did for us on the cross. Sunday, we will eat his birthday cake. I am positive it's what he would want ;)

Day 23

People often ask me if I am fearful or sit around and worry over my husband because of his job. He is a fire fighter, obviously, as the photo to the right indicates. Also, he is hot, as the caption to the right indicates. I digress.

I do not, though. I do not worry about The Man being a fire fighter. He was seventeen the first time he mentioned becoming one. He did other things for a while. But, when God puts a passion in your heart to be or do something, no matter how many distractions may come up, you seem to go back to it. God has miraculously made my husband a fire fighter. Twice.
When he got laid off from the Reno Fire Department, we were heart broken. We took as many tiny steps in faith as we could muster. Packed. Placed the house on the market. Made steps to be ready. Prepared our hearts for what was next.
I dreamed that I got a call from the Nampa Fire Department. The man on the phone asked if I thought My Husband could be up to Idaho in two weeks. Then our house sold, and we decided to take the first offer for fire fighter that came The Man's way. We got many letters saying he was first on the list, second on the list, third on the list to be called. We prayed a little more and tried not to let frustration at the unknown rule.
The Man took an interim job, and the kids and I took a trip to Vegas to see friends and family before we moved further away. While I was there, I got a new tattoo and a phone call from the Nampa Fire Department asking if my husband was still interested in taking a job with them. Overwhelmed at the similarity from my dream, I asked him why he called me and not my husband. Turns out The Man accidentally typed my cell number on his resume. Funny how God works.
So, no. I am not fearful of the position that God has so precisely paced My Husband in. I feel better when I hear from him after a fire, but I know God is the author and finisher of his faith and his desires. It's where he is supposed to be.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Next Day: Cheers

I love getting posts and emails and texts saying I am a loser for slacking on my goals. Accountability is a beautiful thing. People have not nearly enough of it. I welcome it in right portions and places in my life. Like posts and emails and texts saying GET BACK ON TRACK!!
Titus 2 says much on discipleship. It gets you thinking though; are you disciplining anyone? Are you being discipled by another? How is that going? Walls? Pride? Arrogance? Or breakthrough? Encouragement? Overflow? That's what discipleship is really- being filled so you can be emptied again. That means someone fills my coffee cup and I pour my coffee into another's mug. Metaphorically speaking. (Also, if you literally have coffee to pour into my coffee mug, I will take it.)
I always pray, "God, use me." He does probably, but to the best of my ability. It's not him. It's me. He puts people around me so as to disciple me. He puts people around me to disciple. It's when I get involved that things get a little haywire.

Day, Um

You know what I like? A lot of things, but mostly I like that I don't have any vital reason to be on my computer some days. Do you ever feel we have become drones in front of our technology? I catch myself checking my phone even when I have not heard the little chime that denotes an incoming message, email, or game play. Why is that? Boredom probably.
Yesterday, I got caught up in the last quarter of my book in the series I am reading. It was well worth my time to sit, and be, and not check my phone or get on my computer. I took a break mid-day to play a board game with the kids. Disney's version of Headbanz. Good times.
I read some more, and then we headed off chockabock full of gift cards to the movies and dinner at The Olive Gardens. Then, we got home, and I finished my book. I did not play on my phone all day. I did not surf websites that deep down add up to little meaning and memories. I did not spend my day wrapped up in what was coming next. I read a good book, did a few chores, and spent time with people. Real people. In front of my face people.
Challenge thrown.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 17

Christmas movies are a must this time of year. Today, I spent a good hour or more stalking the stores in the greater Nampa area looking for a copy of The Preacher's Wife starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. No go. I have owned a copy of this movie, which I recorded from the television back in the day of VHS tapes. Apparently, this movie has landed in the same abyss as my other missing favorite objects. A place I like to think of as Schenectady. I have never been there, but I am certain it now houses my bootleg movie and my beloved locket along with several other of my most favorite things. Freaking New York.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 16: aliens

Speaking of beef jerky, I don't believe in aliens. Not related topics? Well, I teach first graders all day. I was told relevance is irrelevant. Like when a teacher called me over in the middle of benchmark testing to say she ate a meatball off the staff treats table, but instead of eating it with her mouth, she rolled it down her sweatshirt. This further explained why she smelled of meatballs. I didn't smell them. I took her word for it. She is a hoot. I am so glad I was placed with her as to aide/ aid (I just can never remember) her in her classroom. It's like God knows. I need sarcasm in Costco proportions. Also, beef jerky.

Day 15

I know it isn't day 15. Yesterday was day 15. Today, you will get two posts as my schedule for yesterday went like this:
6am- wrap Addison's birthday present
6:08- wake kids to sing to the squirrel
6:11- sing to the squirrel and say she smells like one too
6:20- oversee children getting ready for school, sign papers, whatnot
6:58- convince kids to be a little lazier and allow me to drive them to school at 8
6:59-7:00- lay around the house time
7:01- laundry, straightening, calendar checking, coffee making, breakfast eating (but not me. the others ate breakfast. I forgot, which is why I ate more than my fair share of the treats at school. I am not proud.)
7:45- drove kids to school, smooched, sang the good bye song much like the Von Trapps would have done, had a six minute conversation with Samuel on burping with our mouths open
8am- drank coffee, read bible, welcomed husband home with a smooch on the cheek and a semi-clean home
The next few hours were full of work, stuffing my face with said Christmas treats, teaching children to read, write, and 'rithmetic, and communicating with teachers who are as antsy to be done with school as the kids are.
At 2, I had an interview for a job with a tutoring company.
At 3:30, I went to the grocery store to purchase Squirrel's birthday dinner selection of nachos, lemonade sprite combo, and pineapple upside down cake.
This is also the part where I was supposed call a lady at the kids' school to coordinate a meeting time with her to hand over the key to the PTO cabinet, which I right out stole from the school. She needed it last night. I remembered that I was supposed to call her as SOON as I got in the car, but I was too far away, so I waited. I remembered that I never called this morning at 6 am. sigh
On the bright side, dinner was delish, the presents were a hit, the cake was SO yum (made by The Man and The Fish), and Addison successfully turned seven. 
Now, I have to go call the PTO lady and tell her sorry she wasn't able to cut out her 600 Christmas trees because I still have the key. I am lame.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 14: Conversations with a Squirrel

Addison, our resident squirrel and I were riding in the car listening to music on my Ipod. My friend Rebekah Brown and her friend Kristopher came over the speaker singing reminders of where God has me. Her voice is beautiful, and she has more musical talent in her teeniest finger than I have in my entire being. Plus, she has great hair.
So, from the peanut gallery (where squirrels typically sit), Addison started chattering away.

Me: Squirrel, let's listen to Ms. Rebekah Brown sing to us.
Addison: That isn't Ms. Rebekah Brown.
Me: Why would I lie? It's my friend. Ms. Rebekah Brown. Let's listen to her sing to us.
Addison: That is a boy singing.
Me: Well, YES, THAT is a boy she is singing with, but the girl's voice you will hear in a second is my friend. Rebekah Brown. Listen.
Addison: That's a horn.
Me: I am telling her you said that.
Addison (laughs maniacally): NOOOO DON'T TELL HER!!! Let's just listen. :/
Me: (snicker)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Netflix: Bippity Boppity Cebu

Netflix is genius. Honestly, the whole concept reeks of Google and those nerds sitting on their bean bags inventing, and I use it nearly everyday. We are budgeters now though, and we have to take a look at some things that are weighing us down. Netflix has raised their prices to $16/ month (and the irate world went irate-ier). It's really a good price if you ask me. We get streaming movies on our Wii, and we get a movie in the mail a few days after we sent in the last one. Win, win.
What sucks is the FACT that Netflix is using magic against me. We are gung ho to ditch our debt and even cancel our subscription with these guys to put that $16/month toward a debt. I know that sounds like peanuts, but that equals almost $200 per year, which could be paying for two of my kids to play sports instead of watching television. It hurts to see it, but it's true. Anyway, the magic.
We had been tossing the idea around the ole living room, canceling our Netflix. And wouldn't you know it, our movie went missing. Missing. Since Halloween. Netflix used magic against us so we couldn't cancel.
We pulled everything out of everywhere. Don't try to picture it. It was a mess. We dumped couches. We prayed. We used flashlights. We prayed.
Then yesterday, The Man was looking in the box for our Wii beeswax and noticed a shiny little circle wedged INTO the entertainment center. Yes. INTO. Thank you thank you thank you Jesus. We will now cancel our Netflix before they can hex us any further.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12

Mother in laws who live across the country are difficult to shop for. I don't like to guess at presents for people, especially if I don't know them super well. After all, the point of a gift is to say "I love you" not "Here. Here is a present that is vague enough to be liked, even though I don't know you, and cute enough not to be returned." Usually, if I don't have a good idea in mind, I ask. When I asked my MIL, she said she wanted to eat waffles one morning. Hmmm. Not sure how to wrap THAT.
We went to the mall and visited several stores. We left with two tiny presents and one article of clothing. Well, WE left with bellies FULL of Wetzel's Pretzels, both the salted and cinnamon flavors. Win, Win.

Sabbath Sunday: Day 11

Why Yesterday Was Great by...well I wrote this- Obviously.

No one fought before church
My favorite jeans still fit
I was able to make  semi-drab outfit cute with a ribbon
Everyone was willing to YET AGAIN try a new church
Halfway through service I cried because I felt like this place could be a good fit
God talked to me during service (he pointed out my issues, but he did it nicely, so it's all good)
A little over halfway through the service, The Man leaned over and said, "I hope the teaching is good because I really like this church so far."
The teaching was good
We decided this is our new church
God loves us and never forgets even things like what church we should go to (AND HE SPOKE, "THE CHURCHETH THAT GIVETH THE FREE COFFEE") check
Everyone in my family liked the church
We celebrated by baking endlessly and having a Christmas movie marathon
Now that's what I call a happy Sabbath

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10: Rambles

Yesterday, I started a new book. I have actually read the first book in the series once, but now that it's been over a year and the second book has come out, I wanted a re-do. So, I am rereading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. It's well written and just creepy enough.

Today, we went to the mall. All seven of us. It was hairy, but fun.
The kids are always trying to scrounge money to buy one another presents, so The Man came up with the brilliant idea of secret Santa. We drew names and hit Target. We split up into groups, and I think it's going to be a success. We even had a chance to do a little schooling called "stick to your budget."

Tomorrow, well. Tomorrow is Sunday. Church. Sigh. 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Day 9 Hopping

This verb, hopping- it isn't an intimidating or instantly off putting word. Plenty of words make me cringe: smear, pulp, chunky, bulbous, anyways, etc. There are plenty of times I use the word hopping, and it makes me feel kiddish and happy. Light. But when you put this unassuming word into the phrase "church hopping" I yell en guard and waggle my sword at your face. Let me be clear.


I realize how spoiled I have been my whole life. Church has seldom been a struggle. I do not know WHY I didn't realize how spoiled I was. I have heard people tell terrible stories about their experiences with churches. Maybe I assumed something was wrong with those people. Don't judge me. Something is wrong with YOU. >: /

Sorry I acted out. AnyWAY. The point is, I don't like going to other churches if I am not already rooted in my own. I realize, after four months of living here and church hopping, I do not make friends outside of church. I have acquaintances. I say hi to neighbors. I don't have friends. People I can call for coffee and encouragement. People who say, "Hi. You are pretty. Why are you being dumb? I like your hair." I need these sort of people- people willing to hold me accountable and compliment me after to make me feel a little better.

I need church. But so far, either the worship scares my curls to straighten, or the teachings are from the steps of brimstone, or the teachings consist of milk. I don't need brimstone. I don't need milk. I need church.

So, for any of you teetering on the idea of planting a solidly structured, sound teaching, humble worship, loving on my kids, and caring more about others than yourself sort of church in the greater Nampa area, shoot me a text. God is bigger than my pipe dream.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Day 8

I did it. I did it. I really, really did it. My upcoming goal of getting back to Rosalie the Guitar started early. Rather than wait until the new year, I started growing my callouses today. I used an app on my iPhone and mastered four lessons out of the eight in the beginner's stage. I can easily, knowledgeably, and confidently play A#, Em, G, C, and D. Still working on moving between all of them speedily, but it's a start. Tomorrow, I get to learn two more chords. Today I learned the names of the strings by using a mnemonic: Eddie, Ate, Dynamite; Good, Bye, Eddie- EADGBE. Thanks Eddie.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Day 7

What is in my minivan trunk you ask? Get ready.
  • a package of blueberries from my last trip to Costco
  • a handful of reusable grocery bags that I keep forgetting to bring inside the store
  • two shoes (I know what you are thinking, but no, they are two shoes from different sets. Same foot though, so that's helpful. Win, win.)
  • an opened pack of carrots that has a strange odor
  • a green ribbon
  • a grocery bag full of too small kid clothes and one of my old clothes I felt bored of. Good news though, because it has been so long since I put them in there, I sort of like them again.
  • a towel from a beach trip over the summer. There is also the sand to prove it.
  • a very furry jacket that two people I once called friends placed in my vehicle after we visited them. Drove seven hours to see them. Left family events a little earlier than we should have to spend time with them. Prayed for them and their upcoming trip. Stayed up late with them to get things in order for said trip. Looked in their eyes and saw what I thought was honesty to the question, "You didn't put that coat in my van did you?" I was wrong. They are liars to my face. Shun. (OK to be fair, we hid the very scary coat in their house last time we were there and left little clues for them to hunt in their house until they found it. I should have known it was coming.)
  • One of my kids. No, I am kidding, but sometimes they will disappear for an hour or so, and I can't help but wonder if they have been swallowed up by the pit that is my minivan trunk.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Day 6

Budget. Schmudget. Last night we got our Dave Ramsey on and created a new budget for our life in Idaho which should lead to a happier life in Idaho.
I hate feeling poor. I don't care about fancy cars or houses or clothes (well, I do love clothes, but I am a thrift store girl) or excess. I do not like budgeting food. It brings a sense of insecurity. When I was a kid we were always poor. Ambition often held priority over stability in my home, so I have grown up with a sense of panic when food supplies or money runs low. Revisiting this as an adult made me realize I am not truly trusting God for my provisions if I get sweaty pits at the thought of cutting back on grocery items. I shouldn't need to find a happy place because my pantry isn't well stocked.
God is great, God is good. I will thank him for my food.
Also, I will count on him to fill in the gaps our measly paychecks do not cover. The end.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Day 5

Oh, hello. Good to see you. I am here for a super quick minute to say although my address has changed, my love for receiving Christmas cards has not. I use them as decoration in my home, so if you, and you know who you are, have yet to mail me a card, can you do it please. Call or text for my new address. Here is a clue as to our cards:


So, if you are thinking you don't live near me or aren't sure if I want to receive your Christmas greetings because we aren't as close as we once were, you are wrong. If you send me one, I will have your address. Then I can send you one of our cards. See?
Also, if you are thinking you have received a card from us in the past, so you are a shoe in for this year, you should know my address book did not make it in the move. Nor did my to-go coffee mug, my two Camelbak water bottles, my locket from my husband, or my stash of greeting cards for various occassions. There, now you have my Christmas list as well.

Day 4

I will give you a minute:

Done yelling, blaming, accusing, laughing in my face? Good. Now let me explain.

Sunday. Sunday at our house is the Sabbath. I like it. I try not to do too much work; I try to squeeze in movies and a nap whenever possible. Yesterday, we squeezed in a visit to a new church, which went well, except that three of the seven dwellers of my home were slow going, so we had to sit in crap seats.
Then we squeezed in a few cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. Then was the running children o'er hill and dale (Those are probably actual street names here in Idaho). Cramming dinner into my face on the way out the door to retrieve those people and assigning things to the children so our house wasn't a total disaster whilst we Sabbath. All that to say, I didn't blog yesterday. I know it. You know it. But now you know why. Also, I was on the last 100 pages of my book and I chose it. over you. I AM SORRY!! Truly.

So, to all you people who made yesterday possible, thank you. The Man, for making dinner. The kids, for cooperating and loving cheesy Hallmark movies. The Pastor, for changing his teaching the night before service to speak directly to my struggling heart. Dave Ramsey, for helping us set our new Idaho budget (well, I want to like you, but frankly you always want me to sell things I love, like that well stacked pile of crap in my garage. That took years of my life that I will never get back. OK, Dave. I see what you are saying.)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Day 3

Because I failed you by forgetting to post yesterday, I will honor you with two posts in one day.
"Well, this IS a surprise, Clark. This is just a real nice surprise" ~Cousin Eddy, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Apparently, I have critics. I got a text this morning with some feedback on The Blog. It said I should change my picture because the emotion on my face from the previous picture is unsettling. So, here. I changed it to a profile so as to no longer upset people with my face.
My unsettling face and I are now going to crawl into bed, where we wanted to be half hour ago, but The Man wasn't ready. It went like this:
He finished reading his book.
I continued reading.
He got up and went into our bedroom/bathroom.
I stopped reading and started closing up house and turning off lights.
He came out and began playing Words With Friends.
I asked if he was ready for bed, and I mentioned I could keep reading, he could keep WWFing.
He mentioned no thanks, so I found something to do called catch up on my blogging.
Minutes pass, I settle into writing, and he stands and says, "Well, I am off to bed."
"What the freak just happened" (Kid History, Episode 6)

Let This Be A Lesson

So, I spent the day reading. And, as I settled in to read my night away as well, I remembered I made a goal to blog everyday. Then I realized I didn't blog yesterday. Let this be a lesson to all you ambitious folk. (And here is where I was indecisive over my choice of advice).
Here are the options:

"I'm belligerent rather than ambitious".~ Ian Hart
"Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry, and I will give you something to cry about you little bastard." (The Great White Hype)
They both seem to sum up my feelings. So, sorry I sucked yesterday. Day two. Right at the beginning. Let's pretend we are 8 and this is a game of playground four square, and I just yelled, "DO OVER!"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day 1

It's December. WHAT?! I may have accused one of my students of being a liar for pointing this out to me. Maybe. Then I began thinking of the coming new year and what my goals will be. For the first time in 6 years, my goals will not be education related. The battle I face is being sure all of my goals aren't self serving.
Here are some thoughts running around in my head for goals (although I may ditch some when I remember I am wimpy):
  • Prefer my husband at least once a day (no, before you ask, this is not a euphemism). It's just that I feel that I sure like that guy, and I want him to know it. At least once a day.
  • Bible learnin' needs to be key. Memorizing scripture, speaking them over my life, getting to the point that I believe every scripture in the Bible was written for me. Not you. Me. Okay maybe you. But also me. 
  • Rosalie and me, we need to be insep. I am determined to be able to say, "I play the guitar" and mean "I play guitar well." Also, Rosalie is my guitar. Just to clarify. Some Rosalies are vampires, but mine is not. Mine is a guitar.
  • Exercise. Too cliche? Well whatevers, I have to do it. It is so, so freezing during the days here, so jogging has been a little tricky. But, I just feel, if those people in prison, with their hand made shiv and only a mattress and a toilet as workout apparatus. I have those things. Mattress: check. Toilet: check. Shiv: check. While I DO really miss my treadmill, I plan to add the Dailey Method to my daily routine. Any of you who have access to a Dailey Method gym, go. You will not regret it. Best, best, best workout with such fantastically fast results. 
So, now I need to see what other short, medium, and long term goals I want to focus on that don't just benefit me. Like finishing my book or adding a random act of kindness in every week. What are your goals?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Self Imposed, End of the Year Challenge

I am going to blog everyday until the new year. About what I have no clue; I suppose I will do what most writers do when they feel the block- write nonsense until the words begin to form into something more logical. I realize this is risky. This method will either endear you to me further or confirm the judgements you so graciously held off on because you wanted to give me the benefit of the doubt. Just give in. Everything you are thinking is true. See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shop Til You Drop: Check

I have exactly two presents left to buy. Two. Both for Isabelle Rose, my kid.
Black Friday: Done-ski
Cyber Monday: KaBOW!

That means I bought five children worth of presents, one husband, and even squeezed in some birthday presents for the teeny tiny squirrel who will be turning seven in about two weeks. Someone buy me a drink.
And, I just re-read what I wrote, and I feel I want to clarify that I did not BUY five children. I wouldn't do that. I would allow them to pay me money and then bring them home. NO, I really wouldn't do that. I already HAVE five children, and I wouldn't feel right taking money from children knowing I was going to leave them on the street corner while I go buy myself something nice with their money.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What Did You Do This Week?

I did this.

I finished my schooling at Grand Canyon University. I love learning, and I am so grateful that God saw fit to allow me to accomplish both of my degrees, but my goodness I am thrilled to be finished.
My biggest problem now is putting my priorities back together. This is a challenge for me. Especially after doing 13 hours of homework on Saturday to finish my assignments before Thanksgiving, I feel I may have broken my brain.
  • First priority holidays. Normally by now we have done some family activity to express our thanks and help others, I have completed my shopping, and we are planning our month of December full of memorable outings or hours in front of the television watching Hallmark movies. I am behind. My schedule I mean.
We are traveling for Thanksgiving, which means I don't have to host, which means I don't have to clean, which is why I am typing here instead of cleaning. OK that isn't the only reason, and we both know it. BUT that will change upon our return.
My once organized rental house has begun to feel the sting of clutter. It isn't insurmountable, but it's gotta go. Plus, it's a great time to sell things on Craig's List. People need presents; I need less stuff. We go together.
  • Next is exercise. I feel the namer of exercise did us all a serious injustice by not having this word begin with an "f". It would make me feel better to call it an "F-word." Anyway, I need to be doing it. And eating healthier. It must be done. The noises my 35 year old body now make when I- well, do ANYthing are rude. 
  • Finally, hobbies. I have five that I want to reintroduce in abundance. 
    • My camera. I haven't taken nearly enough photos this year, which is sad because it was a landmark year. (Can a year be a landmark? Well, it was.)
    • My guitar. My sweet Rosalie. We will be together again. I will set goals to master you.
    • Scrapbooking. I love it. I really, really love it. I miss it.
    • Books. Some new friends invited me to join their book club. I am thrilled. 
    • Showering. Gone are the days of choosing between homework, eating, cleaning, and showering. With homework taking most of that time, I should be freer in my choices.
I am excited for new seasons that have nothing to do with the weather. Seasons that have much more to do with my husband, my children, settling in, and, frankly, myself. Who knows, maybe San Deigo will get to see The Man and I attempt our first half-marathon after all. Or maybe I will make him take me to Hawaii.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Working Class Citizen

I gotta job. I love my job. I am currently the first and third grade instructional aid who gets to work with mostly English language learners (ELLs) and the lower guys (both my favorite groups). I might enjoy the stories I leave with as much as I enjoy the kids who tell them.
Scene- I am working with a group of four students, all ELLs, on the floor of the hallway outside the classroom. I am teaching math.
Me: Who can tell me something you know about this shape?
Student 1: It has four pointers.
Me: Very good, it has four points. Anyone else have something to add?
Student 2: It has four sides.
Me: Great observation. Who else can add to that?
Student 3 (the funny one): My grandma had a butt surgery. She went to the hospital and they cut her butt right here (points to butt) and they sewed it up. (pause) she showed me.
Me: That's nasty.
Student 3: Yeah. And, that's a square.
Me: (I just sit there for a bit, unable to recover).

Scene- I am pulling students out one at a time to set reading goals for the next month.
Me: N. Can you tell me something you are good at?
N: (without hesitation) My Spanish accent.
Me: (impressed) WOW that's awesome. You can speak Spanish? Can you say something to me in Spanish?
N: (with eyes that are attempting to control my brain as she sinks into her chair like a villain, she breaths) Spanish-aye
Me: (I just sit there for a bit, unable to recover).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful Through My Senses

I was thinking of making my list of what makes me thankful this year of 2011. There is much, truly. Here is a quick, condensed version based on my senses.
Hear: I am thankful when I hear my husband's jeep coming around the corner. Not only that he has a car to drive, but a job to come home from, and no doubt a smooch waiting to be planted on every one of us.
See: I am thankful to look around my house and see we are trading in the old hand me downs for meaningful, better fitting furniture. My green piano, my cozy couches, my rustic with a touch of country entertainment center. 
Smell: Fireplaces burning which means it is time for snuggling and baking and crafting and holidays.
Taste: Coffee. The end.
Feel: My children's kisses and hugs and snuggles and attempts at being human blankets. 
I am grateful.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Autumn Passing Into Peace

Sometimes God will give us a word before we realize we need it. It's just another way he loves us. He prepares us without us knowing we need to be prepared. Sometimes we hear a teaching or have a conversation or receive news, and our brains will send  little spark of recollection that God has already equipped us for this. This is that time for me.
Autumn Passing Into Peace

The year's slipping away,
but my coffee is warm.
There is so much to say,
but the words will not form.

Your blessings are vast;
it's the peace I crave most
as the sins of my past
my heart no longer hosts.

Winds of change; leaves of red,
I commit to seeking
as I stumble from bed-
your peace, your will, my King.

From the tip of my head
to the toes of my child,
let LOVE replace the dread
and beauty, what was defiled.

As fall settles the Earth,
proof of change I behold.
Let me be as from birth
far from the enemy's hold.

For I know who I am
and to whom I belong.
I choose now to stand,
resolute, steadfast, and strong.

I thought I wrote this in response to things God was sharing with me. Instead, I see now that he was preparing my heart to be reminded of his promises. It is written, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8. I believed this yesterday. I believe it today. I will believe it tomorrow. God is good. God is capable. He is the lion- able to conquer, full of power. He is the lamb- full of gentleness, able to comfort me.

For I know who I am
and to whom I belong.
I choose now to stand,
resolute, steadfast, and strong.

PS. suck it satan

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

17 Days

The Man. A Girl. The Vampire. 17 days.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's Coming On Fall.

OK so fall has actually been here for a bit, but I am behind on posts. Go with me down memory lane as I share with you what fall means 'round the Brewer B&B. (Side note, we are booked up for Halloween, but we are taking reservations for November visits).
Fall in our family means:
Ribs. Reno Rib Cook Off ribs. Well, all right, I don't eat them, but they make some mean lemonade and other great goodness.

Hunting for stuff: animals, children in my neighborhood out past their curfew, mitten pairs, clearance deals from summer left overs, Elmers.

School bus rides and stops at the most inconvenient times for me.

Pumpkins. To be specific in this case, we made tiny pumpkin discoveries at the corner farmers' market. Sometime this week, we will be visiting one of the many pumpkin patches for pumpkin picking and the accompanying festivities.

Political campaigns. Layla Grace ran for class president. She didn't win, but she was a gracious loser. Then she dismantled this poster and hung it on her bed in case her roommate of a sister forgets. Her slogan was, "Vote for the new girl!", and her motto was, "Making a difference in the world since 2002!!"

Rain. Aw beautiful rainy days. And, yes. I took a picture with my phone while driving through the rain. I am a rebel dotty- a loner.

Leaves. I have never lived in a place that is so full of trees with leaves that change. The reds are almost startling. The yellows are striking. The oranges are simply beautiful. All of these are mixed in with the evergreens. It's an image of God's beauty for certain.
Did I mention pumpkins? These are in the entry of our corner farmers' market which is open all year. I love this place. They have a .25 cent candy section and seasonal fruits and veggies grown by local and nearby farmers. They also offer a glass bottle pop selection of quirky drinks that are fun for special occasion dinners.

Lunch dates at school. Izzy invited me to join her and her friends for lunch. I got to meet her bosom friends (Anne of Green Gables phrasing for you fans), and see the scary possibilities called "lunch." Please do not look at this picture straight on. You may get poked in the eye.

Fashion shows. Now, I know what you are thinking; "Where are the clothes?" But I have to say, if a straight dude were put in charge of clothing design, he very likely WOULD also turn to rolls of tape, whether duct of masking or painter's, to fashion his designs.

Movie snuggling. I love movie days. Forts, bean bags, pillows, popcorn snacks, and great flicks bring a family together.

Homework in the car. Izzy is on her school's basketball team, and Wednesday nights mean youth group runs, so much of our nightly reading happens in the car. The big kids and I are listening to Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince on our way into finishing the entire series before Christmas! I loved reading these with them. I highly recommend the audiobooks.

Caribou in the cemetery. Wait. What do you mean? Do your cemeteries NOT have caribou? I don't understand. Is Idaho advanced? I feel unsure how to proceed.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I can't get enough of this show.
"Hi. I'm Chandler. Could I BE wearing anymore clothes?!"

Ross: Chandler entered a Vanilla Ice look-alike contest and *won*!
Chandler: Ross came fourth and cried!

Phoebe: Hey. Why isn't it Spidermen? You know, like Goldmen, Silvermen.
Chandler: Because, it... it's not his last name.
Phoebe: It isn't?
Chandler: No. It's not like Phil Spidermen. He's a spider *man*. You know, like Goldmen is a last name but there's no gold man.
Phoebe: Oh, oh okay...
Phoebe: There should *be* a gold man!

Chandler: The only way I would've said six would have been if I had said, "Let's meet at seven, not at six."
Monica: The only way I would've said seven, would have been if I had said, 'Wow, my boyfriend is such a wiseass... Seven!'

I wish they were real. I wish they would never age and keep the show going forever. I wish Matthew Perry was my neighbor and he had to come over for eggs or practice his one liners. I am an excellent sounding board.

[Monica knocks]
Chandler: You can't come in.
Monica: Why not?
Chandler: Because, uh, Ross is naked.
Ross: What?
Chandler: Well, I couldn't tell her *I* was naked. She's allowed to see me naked.
Ross: Why does *anyone* have to be naked?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Oh The Places We Will Go

There are a number of places I want to go with this here hot guy. I just need the funds and a little bit of time.

  • The Grand Canyon for obvious reasons and my graduation in the Spring
  • New York to eat a hotdog off the cart
  • Broadway to take in a musical that will make me laugh and cry all in one outing
  • Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and make out, I mean ride a passenger train
  • Oregon to smooch over a sea side campfire
  • Florida to take in every bit of Epcot possible
  • Washington DC so I can turn to him after a near endless tours of the town and say, "I am very happy to be with you in our nation's capitol" 
  • Chicago to touch the bull and eat a slice of pizza
  • Italy to eat my way through city after city until we meet someone I am related to
  • Germany so we can personally learn the difference between a coffee house and a cafe
  • Alaska so my husband can find me and my book by a lodge fire and tell me all about his day of ice fishing with polar bears
  • Israel so we can dip our toes in the river and know we are standing where Jesus stood.
  • Pennsylvania so we can take a tour of all the notable spots of American history that took place 'round those parts
  • Fenway Park to watch the Redsox play ball and scream at the big green wall whilst waving by giant foam finger
  • Hawaii so we can swim in a waterfall and reminisce about our pretend honeymoon there
to name a few.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

You Know What's Annoying?

My daughter's middle school prefers to send information home with students word of mouth and on the very day of the event. Not a written anything and nary a week ahead notice. Is it that they prefer only spontaneous personalities at their functions? Is it that there aren't enough women involved in the communication department at the school? Level with me boys. Are you trying to annoy me? Because it's working.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Are Those Earbuds in Your Ear or Are You Ignoring Me?

Sometimes my kids will approach me while I am concentrating heavily on my homework as it appears on my computer screen, ear buds blasting tunes, brows furrowed over my glasses, fingers typing frantically, and they will talk. And talk. And talk. Minutes later I look up, probably with the stupid look of befuddle and say, "Um. Are you talking?" They usually role their eyes and storm away with their own furrowed for a different reason eyebrows.

Was it something I said?

Other times, my kids will wear headphones in public and pretend to beat box. I appreciate both times for different reasons.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Find

I want to adjust my neck without the degree of a chiropractor just because it hurts so much and my appointment is so far away.

hairs on my face where I do not want them. I have very specific hair departments. My chin is not one of them.

my children are loud when I want them quiet and extra quiet and mumbly when I ask them to speak up as in confession.

warmth under the home woven handy quilt I created a couple weeks ago.

myself eating junk more than the average human. GAH! My will power is a snail in a salt storm. goo.

staying up late and waking up early means I am not a fully functioning human. This morning I found myself waving and moaning rather than saying the words I originally planned. Think Frankenstein.

as I age, my grey hairs are determined to own me. I can't decide if I care.

I care about more and care about less all at the same time. How is this possible?

I ramble.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remember When

Remember when I mentioned in passing that my neck is causing headaches in a way that feels unnatural and a bit rude? Well, today, I had ex-rays and let me just say Point Proven. Most people have a backwards C curve to their necks areas. I have a C curve, but it is no longer backwards. In fact, it is so jacked up my chiropractor is recommending traction. He assures me I am fixable, thank you Jesus. Not that God couldn't just wiggle a finger and call it good, but maybe, just maybe he is opting to use this man and his training to do the job. I don't call that any less than a miracle. Here is a little preview of what he is recommending.
well, OK it isn't quite that "cool" but you get the idea.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You??

It's nearly 7am on September 11. 7am is when my sister by law called and woke me. We had two and a half kids then, no dog. My husband was already at work, and I am pretty sure I had been up on and off in the night with babes.
We watched the repeat footage of the first plane crashing into the first tower, still under the impression that a terrible accident had occurred. Our programing was interrupted with news and footage of the second tower crash. She said, "This seems bad." Hind sight.

I cried. I got my kids settled with breakfast and my husband came home. I cried. I watched the news in my room on and off, but I am typically anti the news, and I don't let my kids watch it, so I went about my day as usually sneaking a peak every now and then hoping for new news. Rather than spending my night teaching bible study as I had planned, our church gathered for a prayer vigil. The pastor asked people to stand if they had a loved one or knew of someone still unaccounted for in a crash or New York or the Pentagon or  Pennsylvania field. There were very few people left sitting.
The next day, The Man got a call from his boss saying their company had been asked to fly to New York to set up the computer networking needed for the Red Cross. My first thought was NO WAY. My second thought was, "I am pregnant with baby number three, and there is no way he is flying." Then I thought, "NO." I finally came around to remembering God is in control of my husband and his life. So, he got on a plane and flew to New York. Because the disaster was much greater than anyone foresaw, he didn't get to do much. He was home in a couple of days and clearly in one piece, but if you have never had to experience sending your husband on a plane INTO a crisis, say a quick thank you prayer. I do not recommend it.
Tomorrow morning my husband, the fire fighter, is participating in a remembrance of the fire fighters killed that day. That's a sad way to start a morning. 
All this to say, "Where were you?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's All in the Timing

One minute ago, I was finishing up my homework discussion questions and wondering why people get offended when others follow directions. A guy in my class is annoyed that a girl in my class made a suggestion on his paper. Our assignment? Post your paper and allow others to make suggestions.

One hour ago, I was thinking I had a LOT more homework to complete because I had yet to read that my assignment isn't due until next week. I was contemplating whether or not I should turn off the movie I was watching and focus (but I decided no because Robert Downy Jr in Heart and Soul is just too irresistible).

One day ago, I was snuggling into the guest bed at the Harrison B&B after pigging out at the Rib Cook off (yes we drove there to attend; don't judge me)

One week ago, I was saying a sad salute over the fact that we were going to miss the rib cook off for the first time in at least a decade.

One month ago, we were moving and upheaved and overwhelmed and tired of transition.

One year ago, we felt the winds of change as we felt, heard, and saw God preparing us for new. New can be good. Little, Yellow, Different. Nuprin. I wish I had Nuprin. My head feels like it may explode from the pain that is my headache.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School and Some Other Beeswax

Sam I Am and I stayed home today with The Man while these and the rest of our hooligans attended their first day of school. While Elijah and Layla Grace have been to school before, this was Addison's  first round of elementary school. The bottom picture is an exact likeness of the happiness she felt minutes before walking into class. Currently, she is bleary eyed as she reads me a story about a blue monster from Sesame Street. I have never seen her so exhausted. So cute.
Here are the top ten highlights of my day:
  1. Addison's smile before class
  2. My children's enthusiasm at being in school
  3. Finding out each of my kids have pretty great teachers, whom they each love
  4. Eating breakfast and lunch with just The Man and Sam I Am
  5. Cleaning things in my house that stayed clean after I touched them
  6. Finishing my homework before midnight in a quiet house
  7. The routines now in place because school has started- I heart routine
  8. That Addison is reading to me
  9. Everyone is tired enough to go right to sleep when their 7:30 bedtime rolls around
  10. It's a repeating cycle

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we'd be in gym?" Ferris Beuller

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Speaking of Beef Jerky (or boys)

Here are mine: Elijah is going to be a fifth grader, and Samuel is going to be a kindergartener. Sigh.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Boys (and Girls, Too)

Sometimes I read a book that gets me fired up (to serve) and I want people to read it. This time I am reading Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. I like him. Probably because my mother read all of his books when I was a kid and raised us according to much of his advice, so it is familiar. Also, because I have seen his advice change parents, including myself and my mother, and our approach to kids.
This morning I was reading about boys and their self image and how vastly different the men these boys become can be. I have personally heard testimony of a grown man who suffered with eating disorders and self image issues to the extent of considering suicide. There were other struggles beside body image, but when I look at what a solid man of God this guy is, it proves to me that satan can tempt anyone in to believing these nasty lies. He is subtle.
I am pretty sure that is the devil's forte: subtlety. He gets us to believe before we even realize we are believing HIM. It brings up the question: Why do we go round and round with God and His word before we will begin to consider it, but we take what the father of lies tells us at a mere whisper?
The passage I read today was wrought with statistics of boys and violence, abuse, abusing, drug and alcohol addiction, and every other devastating path parents are terrified to consider. Herein lies the problem.
I get these stats. I get that so many of them stem from boys from seriously jacked up homes, so bottom line, these boys didn't stand a chance. What really gets me aggravated are the boys who come from solid homes, two loving and present parents, happy homes. The ones who kill themselves in 8th grade because of bullying at school and didn't know how to cope.

It isn't enough as parents to pray away what scares us in our children and their futures. WE MUST EQUIP OUR CHILDREN TO DEAL.

I am a huge believer in prayer. Come over for coffee sometime, and I will give you a time line of events showcasing the answered prayers in my life. It's real. I am also a believer in the brain, skills, gifts, and heart God gave to me. As it turns out, I have things I can teach my kids, so that when they find themselves face to face with that puking vomitous mass the devil they have the words to speak and the know how to deal.

Too many parents fall asleep fearful of the road their child is on or what evils may worm its way into their child's heart. The fact is, we live in the world. Evil is everywhere; you can't run; you can't hide. But you can equip. Does your child know what to do if he/she is being bullied? Does your kid know what anorexia is and what to do if they see it in a friend or someone at school? Does your kid know you love them and consider them handsome/beautiful? Does your kid know what to do if someone in the high school locker room shows them a pornographic picture? Herein lies the second problem.

You have to be brave enough to ask those poignant, probably embarrassing questions.
Here is a transcript of a conversation with Eli a few months ago:
(As we drive in the car alone together.)
Me: So, are you excited to be in fifth grade?
Eli: yes! I am very excited.
Me: The kids in 5th grade are different than fourth grade. Sometimes stuff will come up that may not always be appropriate.
Eli: What? Gross. What?
Me: Well, what would you do if boy asked you to come look at a magazine and when you got there it was of naked people?
Eli: MOMMY! OH MY... WHAT? That's gross.
Me: Yes, but not all boys are raised by our house rules. Some families may not think it's a big deal, or their family members make bad choices and have magazines like those, so the kids find them and bring them to school. What do you do?
Eli: There are magazines like that?
Me: I am not trying to give you ideas of what to spend your money on. I want to know what you will do.
Eli: ew. that is so inappropriate. I wouldn't look.
Me: I am glad to hear that. Because that is disrespectful to you, and to that girl, and that girl's parents who are probably not very proud of her career choice. Is that all you would do? Just not look?
Eli: I don't know. I guess.
Me: Well that's great that you wouldn't look, but maybe your friend doesn't have anyone in his life to tell him that isn't OK. Maybe he is looking for someone to tell him he doesn't have to look at stuff like that to be cool. Can you think of something you could say to him so he knows you still like him for him and that he shouldn't look at magazines or other inappropriate pictures?
Eli: um. Yeah. I could tell him, "hey man, that magazine is gross. You shouldn't look at that either because it's disrespectful. Wanna go ride our skateboards?
Me: That's perfect. Now you have let him off the hook from trying to be cool, you have been a positive influence in his life, and you have now made yourself a safe friend for him. He doesn't have to be someone else; he can be a little kid and ride skate boards.
Eli: OK. Can we talk about something else?
Me: Yep, I love you buddy. I am proud of you. And, last thing, if something like that ever happens, even if you don't make the right choice, you can tell me or daddy.
Eli: I think I will tell Daddy. He will understand.
Me: I am fine with that. (Although, I am a little nervous as to why my son thinks my husband will understand porn talk)

Now, I am not delusional. I am sure Eli will be tempted plenty and not always make the right choices. But, I have done my job as a parent and he is much better prepared when something comes up. I have helped him to pre-think a situation and its outcome rather than having to play clean up or cowering in my bed with fear. I am a mother; translation, I am a warrior. I am prepared to fight for my kids.
And, I know that what I say gets through to my kids. On a car ride with Izzy I asked her if any of the boys at school have wanted to be more than friends, and she casually said a boy had just asked her out. (This is a boy who had come to her because he heard she prayed and his parents were divorcing and he was devastated. She prayed with him and we prayed for him in our family prayers over the next few weeks). I asked her response to his request. She told him it didn't really make sense to be his girlfriend because she wasn't planning on marrying him(a conversation we had previously about dating). Then she invited him to dinner at our house. He came, and it was really great.
He told her he thought she was a little crazy but that he really liked her. They were friends til she switched schools.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why He is Called The Man

So, once again, my husband is amazing. He worked so hard for the last three weeks to complete a crash course fire fighter's academy. He graduated Friday, and I was left overwhelmed with how God works, not only giving me a man who is simply someone to be proud of at every turn, but God also knew how much we would love being here. As it turns out, we are small town people. Here are some pics of the big event.
This is my kids getting a tour of the fire fighters' museum. Old hoses, turn outs, and fantastic pictures of the city back in the day when horses pulled their water tanks to the fire. The only real let down was the tour guide telling Samuel that he could not jump out of the building onto one of the old school trampolines used to catch people as they jump out a burning building.
And this is Samuel communicating with the machine that will now tell us where to find the last golden ticket and exactly what we can do with a life time supply of chocolate.
Old turn outs. Super cool.
Last time Eli pinned his Daddy. This time Layla Grace asked if she could do the honors. So sweet.
The Man. He is truly a good lookin' man.

This is the fire engine The Man will be riding in. 'Cause he is awesome.
And this is Samuel and the best present he has ever received. I sort of want to buy him a box of these for Christmas. Sort of.
And this is Sam telling his new friend all about it.