Wednesday, 28 February 2007

May I Have this Dance?

After 18 years of driving from West Virginia to Washington D.C. every morning and 30 years total service, my husband decided to retire from the military. He could have hung around the house and I would have been happy to give him a list of things to do that I was too short to reach or too busy to fix or too weak to lift or too smart to worry about. All he wanted to do was not put on his uniform when he got up in the morning. God, however, must think he looks rather snappy in the uniform, as do I, because He called him to teach Jr. R.O.T. C. in the public high school. Now, every morning he puts on the uniform and spends his day with 210 high school kids, 3 of which are our own kids. He actually loves being with them and the Lord has given him many opportunities to speak that love into his student's lives.
One of the big
gest events of the year is the Military Ball. It's a VERY formal affair, much more refined than a prom. Weeks are spent in preparation...leaning military etiquette, honing manners and learning how to dance without stepping on your partners feet. (This is particularly difficult for the 9Th grade boys- many of whom would rather eat gum off the bottom of their shoe than dance with a girl at all.) I had the pleasure of dancing with my husband and both sons and my toes were unharmed.
Maybe this wasn't the retirement James had planned but women love a man in un
iform and it's working for me

Monday, 26 February 2007

Snow Storms of Blessing

Our son David has finally saved enough money to buy a new/used car for himself. Last summer he had purchased a "fixer-upper" that never ran and is a paper weight holding down the earth in the local junkyard now, but this is a car that really runs. David was extremely excited. Actually David lives in a high state of animation (i.e. Ritalin candidate) but his bouncing and jumping was over the top when he drove up to the house in it the other day. He was especially happy to have four-wheel drive after our last storm.

The very next morning we woke to five more inches of snow.
God is too cool to give him that.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Spending the Night

Our granddaughter, Layla Grace, came and spent the weekend with us while our daughter and her husband took a mini vacation away. She had grandmas and poppas and aunts and uncles attending to her every cute whim. We all thought she was just about perfect and then we put her to bed the first night. She kissed us all and went down without a single protest. The next morning, 12 hours later, I went in and woke her up. (I figured after that long she must be dead and knew her mom and dad would kill me!) She woke up and smiled at me sweetly. She is perfect and can stay with us anytime! And we love her PJ's!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Calm Down

Our next door neighbors have inherited a dog from one of their relatives and I made the dog's acquaintance yesterday. The little guy is a poodle/cairn terrier mix...which is like putting a caffeine IV in a fools arm. Completely wild with absolutely no sense. The dog was cute and friendly enough, but what intrigued me was the saddle looking thing on his back. His owner explained that he was so hyper that he would literally spin out of control when walked on a lease - flying around, tangling himself, falling over. They bought a "back pack" for him that had pockets on either side to load weights. The weights were enough to keep him walking forward instead of in circles. They had experimented with the weights to find the perfect amount. Too much and his legs went out to the side on a slick floor and too little and he continued his ridiculous gyrations. Kind of like Ritalin for dogs.
I was thinking about the dog and wondered if God uses a similar approach with us. When my two biological daughters were in school I had way too much time and energy on my hands. I worked some, but I could have easily started spinning out of control with so little "weight" on my life. Starting into foster/adoptive care was perfect. I loved the excitement, craziness, places to go and even the work it took to have a big family. God found the perfect balance for my life these 17 years. Although at times I have felt my legs going out to the side He knows how much is enough and picks me up gently when needed. I am hoping someday He finds me capable of walking around without too much extra weight.....maybe if I promise to be real good & quiet! (Actually that sounds completely boring)

Monday, 19 February 2007

Throw On Another Log

A week ago, just about the time the snow headed our way, one of our heat pumps broke. The repair men said that the motor needed replacing and a new one would have to be ordered. We called today and the part still isn't in. In the meantime, we've had to heat our main living area with the fireplace. It takes much more effort on my husband and son's part to keep us warm. They've had to get, chop and stack firewood all week. It requires all of us to continually feed the fire throughout the day and night. As much as everyone will be glad to have the heat pump running again, there's something about using the fireplace .....the smell of the wood burning outside, the flickering lights in the evening, Kelly laying in front of it reading her has a coziness that can't come out of a heat duct!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Big Red and Ice Skating

The snow came down almost a week ago and Big Red sits in the driveway untouched. She's never even been started... frozen like an ice age dinosaur. There's really been no need to move her. She is great at carrying tons of people and incredible amounts of things but there is no chance she could climb the icy hills in the neighborhood to get out. But today is Sunday and we have to go to church and Troy has a birthday party to attend and we need to visit our daughter in Maryland. It's time. There are eight of us and the alternative to Big Red is our four seater Jeep. I don't drive in snow and scares me badly, so my husband will be coaxing her out. I plan on closing my eyes and humming a happy tune and praying we don't start slipping backwards and end up in a snow bank. I can just picture Big Red upside down with her wheels spinning in the air.... Or not.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Not Exactly an Avalanche but Good Enough

Finally, four days ago, we got snow!! Although it was only a few inches, happily for the kids, a one inch layer of ice on top of it, glazed our world to a sudden halt. Our neighborhood is comprised of gentle rolling hills which do an effective job of preventing cars from getting in or out. No mail or paper delivery for three days, no garbage pick up, and most importantly, no school. My husband being a teacher, has led the rejoicing.
With six kids and a husband home all day, (and no TV to watch) by day four, you might think I would be ready to get out of here. Strangely, I'm not. I've amused myself with cleaning and organizing and many many rounds of Boggle with David. David's list of words is always much longer then mine, but as we go through them, his many, "Is this a word?" tries have to be eliminated. He has beat me a few times which has been the only unpleasantness of being snowed in. I've read every one's blogs so many times that I've sent their site meters over the top. The kids and I have taken advantage of the hills and ice which make for perfect sledding conditions. The ice is so hard that having to share our one sled isn't a can go down the hills just as easily on your butt or belly.
Writting "cancelled" on all my appointments this week has actually been wonderful. Eventually I'm sure this will all get old, but for now I'm loving the cabin!

Meatloaf is Red, Violets are Blue

Valentines Day...a day for lovers to shower each other with gifts and my husband and I are no exception. James, ever the romantic, gave me a sweet card declaring his forever love and a beautiful necklace. It was stunning and unique, a small love bird in a round glass with diamonds around, that spins when it moves.
I gave James a meatloaf.
That doesn't sound like a big thing, but I HATE meatloaf, so that makes it nice. And James says that NOBODY makes meatloaf like his mother's so it's been intimidating all 5 times I've made it in our 33 years of marriage. I put ketchup on top to carry the red Valentine theme. He liked it and I noticed while serving that each piece weighed about 29 lbs and almost bent the spatula. I told him...
"Roses are red,
violets are blue,
I made this really incredibly heavy meatloaf
cuz I love you."
It's a marriage made in heaven.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

A Real Live Baby Doll

Our granddaughter Layla is one. When you're one and you have aunts who are 13 and 14 it can be interesting. She was visiting a few days ago and Grace and Ashley asked her mom, Lane, if they could take Layla upstairs to "play house". (They also asked their sisters Kara and Aaliyah who have infants and were told, "NO!")

I could tell that Layla was a little apprehensive when she heard their request but went with them anyway.

Awhile later she returne
d among peals of laughter from the aunts. They had long ago outgrown the dress- ups (not mentally, just physcially) but had discovered that Layla was perfect for them.

She entertained us for a few minutes dancing around as only a one year old in dress-ups can do and then all at once had enough and wanted them off.

Layla loves her aunts and will learn to run from them when necessary I'm sure!

Sunday, 11 February 2007

You Never Out Grow MatchBox Cars

Sunday afternoons and evenings are busy for me. I have to do lesson plans for the week and prepare for a science class I teach on Mondays. It's sometimes hard to "get away" in the house to get all the planning done without interuptions. I had been working for quite awhile and realized it was quiet and very peaceful. The teens usually find things to do but Troy often needs my attention. I went out in the living room and found the source of my solitude. Steven, my 17 year old had been playing cars with Troy for over an hour. I'm sure Troy couldn't believe his incredible luck to have his brother's attention. Steven is my favorite son at the moment!

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Joanne's Tea Party

I have a group of friends who just "click". We enjoy each other, our kids, our stories and eating. At one time we all attended the same church and saw a lot of each other but the Lord has sent us into different directions and getting together now has to be planned. Sometimes we're good at planning and sometimes we go way too long without seeing each other. Joanne invited us all to her house for lunch yesterday and it was great. We talked and laughed and caught up with each other's lives. She even broke out the fancy dishes and served coffee in gold teacups. Her homemade cheesecake was topped with homemade cherry sauce, although there was some whisperings about the cherries tasting better had she grown them herself. I tried the self timer on my new camera and here we are all so lovely except that I'm falling over from the 10 second mad dash to beat the timer. Lunch is at my house next.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Poppa's Back - Look Out!

After a seemingly forever time in the hospital, my husband James is home again. The doctors got his allergic reaction under control and sent him home with more medicine and a promise to visit them as an outpatient for awhile.
I know he's glad to be home, but not as much as I am. Of course I missed him, but the real problem was the kids. I've noticed it
before...whenever he's gone for an extended period of time the children go sour on me. Normally they're nice. Not when he's gone. They slowly start pushing the lines. Somehow they talk me into staying up an extra hour and having two snacks instead of one. They convince me to have sleepovers on school nights, candy for dinner, elbows on the table and burping contests. And I'm weak by myself - it all starts sounding good to me. When James disciplines them I'm always thinking, "why does he have to be so hard on them?" Why? - because they would be total brats if it were left up to just me.
So he's back and order reigns again in our happy home.
The married sisters all came to visit him and to sit grand kids on his knee to make him feel better.

The "still at home kids" gathered around him like angels. Everyone's glad to have Poppa back in control.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Are You Taking This Serious Young Man?

We sent our son Kevin to college with great expectations of a bright future. He has incredible musical talents and interests in yet unexplored areas of study. He came home to visit not too long ago. He had bought a new hat and a.....fake gold tooth. He had picked up my camera and taken a series of pictures of himself of which this is one.
College seems to be broadening his horizons. It could be worse.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

The Cure Can Kill You

My husband James and son David were still feeling bad with the flu after a week and they went to the doctor's office Friday afternoon to see what was up. My husband was given an antibiotic and took one dose that night. Saturday morning he woke up with swollen and red hands, face and other areas. He called the doctor back and was told to stop taking the medicine and to take Benedryl instead. This morning upon waking, the rash and swelling was way worse and his skin had started to blister and peel off. I told him that he had some kind of flesh eating bacteria. He didn't find that as funny as I thought he would. He went to the emergency room while I went to church for worship and to pick up the teens returning from camp. Seems that James has had a severe reaction to the one dose of penicillin and developed an extremely serious condition called Steven-Johnsons Syndrome. He was admitted to the hospital this evening and they are hoping they can stop it at this stage. His skin is really peeling off leaving open areas that can get infected. I would appreciate your prayers for him. Fourtunatley he isn't in any pain and he said he feels really good actually as the flu seems to have gone away. Yikes!

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Rotten Good for Nothings are Gone - Come Back!

I'm sometimes discouraged with our kids, at how often we have to prod them to get their chores done around the house. ( Imagine that...a child that doesn't want to work hard.) No really, I felt like they were in danger of being rounded up by the "lazy-good-for-nothing" wagon or at least the "never-finish-the job-correctly" catcher.
This weekend they all went off to winter camp with the church youth group, except for Troy. (Did you ever notice that camps charge lots of money to trot your kids away and that somehow we always find a way to justify it?) It will be nice around here...just a little peace and quiet to get things done.

I come down to the kitchen this morning and the dirty dishes are all over the counter and the dishwasher hasn't been run through....oh yea, Kelly's gone. I empty the coffee filter onto the floor because I neglected to notice the trash is overflowing...that would be Grace's job. There sits all the clean laundry in a basket..waiting for Ashley to fold it. And the cat's biting my leg while I'm typing, starving apparently, with Steven not here to feed him.

You know what they say about absence and the heart. I am definitely thinking fonder of their usefulness and quiet has always been over-rated in my mind.

And Troy's job is to look cute and amuse me...and he's earning his keep!

Friday, 2 February 2007

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Apparently Not a Meterologist

We've had a very mild winter, snow wise, and the kids aren't happy about it. Our ten year old announced at dinner that he heard that if you wear your underwear inside out, it'll make it snow. Other's confirmed his idea. I think they were just messing with him.
After his bath, he came down the stairs grinning, saying, "It's going to snow for sure!"
PJs inside out Not only were his underwear reversed (which I took his word for), but his pjs were inside out as well.
I hate to tell him when I wake him up this morning, but the few inches they were calling for last night, never appeared. Maybe he got it wrong and you're supposed to wear your snow boots on the wrong feet.

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