Monday, 31 March 2008

Home for a Visit

We got a surprise email last week from our daughter Kirsten, letting us know that their family was coming home from France for one month! We got to work finishing things at our missionary house for them. Two of our neighbors, Rob and Fred, are retired and spent most of three days turning a gross 80's bathroom into something beautiful!
The McKenzies arrived late Friday night and it was so good to just hold them tight. All the sisters came into town for the weekend and we had grandkids ru
nning though here like mice. How long can I make a month last?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


All but two of the ten of us has had the flu in the last couple of weeks. I have been picturing myself in a plastic bubble while administering to the sick and have avoided it.

We have gone through STACKS of tissues. We started using the jumbo pack at Wal-Mart and quickly moved on to the Kirkland humongo pack at Costco. We had to put a limit on how many the children were allowed to use in an hour. Steven with his extra large nose swore he needed to blow with 3 at once. We compromised at 2. Gabby with her tiny perky nose would take a tissue and daub at the tiniest stream of liquid barely discernible in her nostril and toss the tissue away. Someone was going to have to get a second job to pay for all these tissues.

Then AnnaClaire hit upon the perfect solution. Way to go Anna - and you look so good too.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Different Point of View

Our 5 year old, Gabby, asked me, "So what does - look on the bright side- actually mean?" I gave her an extremely long explanation; threw in some verses and she understood completely.
I don't know if her question jinxed me or maybe God saw what lay ahead and had me all prepared, but the next few days our discussion came to me over and over.

Grace developed some signs of peritonitis (infection in her abdomen which is very bad when you are doing dialysis) and when we went to have it checked they insisted on admitting her. I didn't want to accept that decision - there were eggs to dye and dresses to buy and company was coming for Easter. I was throwing little fits and mumbling not nice things about how stupid I thought the doctor was being. When we got her room assignment we discovered she would be in the new wing of Children's Hospital and it was nice. I got her settled into the bed and went sulking over to the window. There, framed in the window perfectly, was a magnificent view of the Capital dome and the Washington Monument in the background behind a row of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Okay, that was a bright side.

We got home in time for Easter and I bought two roasting chickens to cook slowly for lunch while we were at church. Early Easter morning I searched through both refrigerators for the roasters that I asked one of the kids to put in the night before. They weren't there. I couldn't understand it. I found them - in the freezer - minutes before we left for church, as hard as cannonballs. I was ready to throw a full out mad fit. Then, thanks to Gabby, I looked on the bright side. We could buy some roasters at the grocery store and I wouldn't have to cook!! Not cooking is definitely bright!

I don't want to get all stupid and happy about every bad thing that happens but it is nice when my mad fits are shorter and a little less loud.

Wow. A "real blog"

Kate is at the hospital for a "more than routine less than emergency" for our daughter Grace. Of course, an emergency for Grace goes beyond our normal mortal ability...

To make it even more fun, Kate can't get onto the internet to post her blog. This is our second daughter's 29th birthday. I told Kate this morning that I posted to my 2 blogs and emailed Kara, but Kate replied "yeah, but no one reads your blog...will you post it on mine?"


So, with all of the privilege that goes with entering on a blog that is READ, here's what I said:

"Today is the 29th birthday of our second daughter. She was our spring baby, and has been that all of her life. She grew up in the pink fluff of a princess, often seen donning a tiara while playing in the sandbox. As though to memorialize the maturity of her "pinkness", she named her first daughter Scarlett, a color that must start out as pink before it deepens with age.

Kara has a smile that shows her gums. She is still a little apprehensive about going to the MacDonald's counter by herself. If any male dares suggest a car repair, she is under the hood in a flash proving there is nothing under there that a girl can't fix. Her baby Scarlett enjoys the best researched diet on the planet, and her husband Nate is the only person that laughs as much and enjoys the same quirky brand of music as much.

Our father God showed Kate and I his love by blessing us with Kara. "

Oh, and since I have am blogging in this realm of higher readership, look on Kate's blog for Smallgreenriver and James' Jernill for some light reading from the other end of the blogosphere.

And also, to prove that I am less than hopeless in this effort, a lot of comments would be nice. After you have your first coffee.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

I Need a Dog

Our dog, Ottawa, died of Lyme's disease last year and the house hasn't been the same since. I still miss his sweet face and we have to sweep under the kitchen table now after every meal. Ottawa was a Miniature Pincher and he was just about perfect.
Lately I've been wanting a new dog, especially since my friend Anita brought home a beautiful brindle colored boxer puppy.
I've been looking at all the breeds to figure out which would be best for our family. I don't like big dogs and I really don't like hairy/shedding. We have lots of kids in and out, so it would have to do well with kids of all ages and not be too fragile.
Anyone have a suggestion?

Monday, 17 March 2008

Lighten the Load

I used to NEVER let any child do laundry at my house. Ask any of them. Because kids will somehow mess up the clothes. They'll turn the whites - pink, or wash a marker or something evil. And I like doing the wash, it's my favorite household chore.
A few months ago I taught AnnaClaire to do it. She's
neat and careful and I'm busy. She's done a great job and she'll do a load whenever I ask her to. AnnaClaire will soon be getting her learner's permit and has just started working for a family across the street doing cleaning. So many mature accomplishments.
And it's driving Grace crazy! Grace is not quite one year y
ounger than AnnaClaire and she wants it all too.
So I taught her how to do laundry.
Why did I wait so long? I don't ask her to do a load, she looks for laundry through the house.

This is a picture of our laundry baskets and hanging rack and folding table. All empty!
Which is no easy task in a family of 10. S
he even matches the socks in the sock basket! It has only been a week. I'll see how this enthusiasm holds up for the long term. But right now, I'm loving it!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Doesn't Anybody Understand Me?

Parenting a child with Autism has been a challenge and a joy. When our little guy came, we had no experience to fall back on and we had so much to learn. At his young age his intelligence was difficult to gauge and he was labeled severely mentally impaired. He was almost three and considered at a 9 month level in functioning. In the first two days, when he outsmarted me by sneaking the thing he wanted when my back was turned and then giving me a "ha ha" look, I guessed that he was a little smarter than he let on. What he lacks in conventional, measurable IQ, he more than makes up for in cunning and determination. The word, "stubborn", comes to mind.
He had no means to communicate when he arrived other than to bang his head hard on the floor, or wall, or on your chin if you happened to be holding him, when he wanted something. He can now sign for most of his needs and his head is happier for that. He is the hardest, sweetest, child we have cared for. Every day he learns new things and he amazes us, but there are still many struggles and frustrations. On those kind of days, he sums it up like this!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Dink Town

Our town is small. Small like you've pretty much met everyone at least once. Maybe I'm exaggerating. Slightly.
We have a bowling alley but not a movie theatre. I would trade 6 bowling alleys for one movie theatre. Rarely do I think on a Friday evening..."Hey, I'm in the mood, lets go bowling." I've never in my life actually thought that. I do go bowling but only because my kids beg and if you say no 14 times in a row your kids will think everyone else has a nicer mom than they do. But I'd always rather sit and stare at the big screen and do nothing and eat popcorn and Nonpareils than put on other people's shoes and throw balls at pins.

Anyway. We have one department store. It's Wal-Mart. So when you shop it's not just a shopping trip, it's a social event. You WILL see someone you know there. Which is okay on those days when you plan for it. But when you walk in and you realize that you still have on your pajama shirt over your jeans and not only did you not put on make up but your not sure you even picked all the winkers out of your eyes, it's embarrassing. When I'm feeling good and looking good, I stop every couple of aisles and catch up on every one's life. More gossip is shared in Wal-Mart aisles than anywhere else on planet Earth. When I'm not in the mood (IE, look like I slept upside down in the dryer) I do the "can't see you" shopping. Suddenly my grocery list becomes as fascinating as the hottest best seller and I'm so engrossed in it I don't see you as I walk past. Which is always fun when you see someone reading THEIR list intently and you hail them down anyway.

And our town is so small that when you drive you can wave to someone you know approximately every 8th car. Except for our neighbor Tom who has never seen anyone in any other car while he's driving. I don't know what he thinks about when he drives but his own wife has waved at him in passing in their own car and no response. But other than Tom most people can guess where every one's going most of the time.

I like small towns. Everybody knows your business. Keeps you in line.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Blankey in a Box

When my daughter Kirsten and her family were evacuated from Chad during a rebel attack, they had to leave most of their things behind. They carried out with them two bags for a family of 7. They left behind their clothes, household goods and their car. When I first spoke to Kirsten afterwards she said one of the saddest things left, were the kids' blankets. A friend of ours over the years has made blankets for all the babies born in the church. Each one is chosen to fit the baby and has their name on it. My grandkids have moved many times and given away most of their belongings to follow their parents onto the mission field, but they always had their blankets.
When I called Becky and told her of my conversation with Kirsten, she got to work and yesterday I mailed off a box with all new blankets - updated to fit their more grown up personalities. There's nothing like your blankey when every thing's upside down!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I'm Blue/brown for You

Whenever we get a new kid, I buy them their own color bath towel. I figure it's saved thousands of wash loads because nobody will reuse a towel they think touched someone else's body.

When they move out for whatever reason, the towel color gets recycled to someone new.

I was folding clothes this morning, missing people like crazy.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Push Send

David is a pretty typical teenage boy. He answers when you ask him something or volunteers necessary information......."Mom, I just wrecked Big Red.".

Unlike the girls that tell you how they feel and exactly why they feel that way and do I think they're weired for thinking that? (yes, as a matter of fact I do)

But I found a way for deeper communication with my son. I discovered it when we opened the phone bill and found he had a $68 charge for Texting. That was over 3,000 text messages!! David goes to school for almost 8 hours, he works about 4 some night. When could he possibly find time to do all that Texting? (And he swears that's not why he wrecked Big Red.)

This is the same child who when asked to write anything - a paper for school, a thank you note- flops around and whines and complains and acts like your killing him.

So now I text him and he texts me back (along with many other people apparently). I really need to get faster on the phone keyboard - he can send me six while I'm still figuring how to make a capital letter. But it works.

I wonder if they accept term papers from your phone?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Rocky Mountain Get Away

I'm sitting in a great/weird little Bed and Breakfast in Colorado Springs, Colorado! We have a view of Pikes Peak out of our window.

After 3 extremely difficult days of covering our 8 children's comings and goings and schooling and working and meals while we are gone...we made it out on Friday morning. On paper it looked like we had everything covered and I really don't want to know if anything falls throug
h the cracks. What can we do from here anyway!

We attended Lucas and Michelle's wedding yesterday - they were beautiful and young and in love with each other and the Lord.

The rest of the time here is ours to enjoy. We've already been out to Focus on the Family and I wanted the kids to be there (and then go away again.)

Today we attended a rock'n church that was about 20 times the size of ours at home. Awesome to go to a new town and walk in a church and worship with brothers and sisters!!

We're supposed to take a cog train up Pikes Peak this afternoon but snow has started falling and I have no idea what a cog train is.

One of my favorite things of this trip has been sleeping. Long, whenever I want, uninterrupted sleeping. There is actually real skin where the bags under my eyes have been for months.

And I haven't cooked a single thing since Thursday night. I know this isn't heaven but it sure feels like it!

Grace, Here I am with Whit from Whit's End. Are you so jealous!!!!