Two-and-a-Half Months of Bliss (with some sorrow thrown in)

July 29, 2015

Somewhere I read once that you should spread out high-stress situations in your life. Albeit happy stress, we weren’t able to spread out AT ALL this summer. Since May 21st, our family has participated in, put-on, or partied at the following activities:

1. Graduation – that I’m in charge of…. 2,500 people in attendance.

2. Wedding – our lovely daughter, who wanted to be married in California. (It’s a tad warm in AZ in the summer.)

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3. Funeral – a life-long friend’s mother. Sad.

4. Arizona Homeschool Convention – I only spoke six times. Whew.

5. The Colombian Princess’ golden birthday celebration. (12 on the 12th!)

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6. The Arizona wedding reception for our married kids, John and Larisa.

7. Two VBS’s. (Can I get an amen?)

8.  Baby Shower!  So darling!  A friend’s first grandbaby is coming!

9.  School Switch-Up. This was unexpected and a month earlier than planned. August was supposed to be my month off, but no. We will start school on August 3rd. It’s not what I planned. It’s not what I want. But we will make it work with God’s help.

If you still have a month off, enjoy it for me, please. Relax. Read some good books. Play lots of games. Sit by the sea. Paint a few watercolors. Bake some delicious cookies. Eat watermelon. And R.E.S.T. in my absence.

My Seeds Aren’t Growing

May 27, 2015

Over at a friend’s house in our neighborhood, my new BFF plucked a bunch of mint for me that was growing like stink weed in her side yard. I brought the bunch home and stuck it in a mason jar full of water on my kitchen counter. For the next several days I took clippings of the leaves and my water cup had fresh mint in it… ahhhh, so refreshing.

Then I noticed tiny black seeds had fallen off the mint leaves onto the counter. I picked one up and squeezed it to see if it broke open and smelled like mint. That baby was rock solid, but DID smell like mint. Remembering my friend’s over-prolific mint plot, I brushed the little seeds into the palm of my hand and traipsed out to the back yard to plant them. We have a pot with basil and oregano volunteers just starting to grow, so I made a little trench on the far side of the pot and planted the mint seeds. Visions of transplanting the mint to a permanent location consumed my mind, well, until the washing machine buzzed and I was called to laundry duty.

The next day, lo and behold, there were more little seeds. Then there was a repeat of the brushing and traipsing and planting and envisioning a mint farm in my own oasis.

On the third day, I noticed that all the leaves were missing from the tops of the mint sprigs… and more seeds were on the counter….. and there was a very fat, formerly very hungry caterpillar lying dead in my kitchen sink.

You guessed it. They were not seeds. They will not grow. I was planting caterpillar poop in the planter on my patio. After squeezing it and smelling it and holding it gingerly in my hand. Ewwwwwwww.  Just ewwwwwww.

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BUT, I trimmed the mint and it has rooted in the jar of water and new leaves have grown in to replace the eaten ones, so I’m still having visions of a mint harvest from lush plants grown in my own backyard…. maybe in the fall. Summer is too hot in Phoenix for anything to survive if I accidentally forget to water even for one day!

Happy gardening!

If You Give a Mom a Lightbulb…

April 29, 2015

This is EXACTLY like the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, except different.

I love a bright and sun-shiny house which is a bonus living in Arizona, land of the golden sun almost every blinkin’ day! But I’m also a night owl and need some electrical help for partying and mayhem after sundown. (Thank God we don’t have to kill geese to get fat, so we could rip up old sheets and braid them together to make lamp wicks!!! I’m also thankful for air conditioning, but that’s to be praised another time.)

So, when the three light fixtures in our kitchen/family room were reduced to only 7 of 11 bulbs working, I quit relying on Mr. Fix-It, and took matters into my own hands at Walmart. There are SO many choices for light bulbs these days. Thomas Edison would be in filament heaven had he lived to be 168 years old! And I’m not sure what I really think about the swirly bulbs that require a hazmat suit in order to dispose of them. My theory is that Mr. Hazmat invented the swirly bulbs to increase suit sales. Crosbys did not fall for that. We’re not from the sticks. (Well, I’M not.)

The bulbs were replaced in the kitchen and over the table. All went well. No electrocution. No falling and not getting up. Then came the family room ceiling fan/light. Good gravy, it looked so straightforward. I’m a technical woman who can change a tire and install a ceiling fan with the best of ’em. I thought I was capable of changing one light bulb without peril. Not true.

Carefully standing on the kitchen chair (not a rolling chair, mind you!), I unscrewed the bottom cutesy bolt and tried to lower the globe in one fell swoop. There were these pesky pull chains with the wide dealie-bobs that hook them together that did not fit through the little holes in the bottom support plate. If I were an octopus, I could have done it. But I’m not. Then I had to stand their holding up the globe while my little assistant fed the chickens, changed their water, gathered eggs…..slower than a turtle riding on a slug’s back!

She finally had the hens happy and pecking and she returned inside so I could hand her the light blub, each little pull cord piece, the fancy bolt screw, the support plate and eventually the burned out bulb. (Only AFTER she washed her hands to eliminate salmonella from spreading in amongst our family unit.) VOILA! Easy peasey! Yeah yeah, grasshopper, it all looks so simple.

I replaced the bulb like a pro. BAM! Next I put the paper-thin glass globe back in place, but realized I needed to put the pull cords back together first. PHUN! That done, the globe went back up and I began the trying-not-to-swear job of feeding the little tiny chains through their little tiny holes in the support plate. The globe slipped and I caught it. Catastrophe averted. I painstakingly tried again and AGAIN to get the blasted chains in the stupid holes. The globe slipped again and I accidentally slammed it back up too hard in my haste and it cracked. Not a simple straight one-inch-long crack that could be crazy glued. It was a sophisticated nine-inch crack shaped like a question mark. Cool! Um, no.

Slightly defeated, I put the globe in a plastic bag where it proceeded to break itself into two pieces. Over the river and through the woods to the hardware store we went. They do not sell replacement globes at said store close to our house. I did not want to drive all over Timbuktu to find a new globe. We looked for the cheapest light fixture that had a similar globe and bought it. Here it is:

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That sounds all nice and quaint and smart and all. BUT, the center bolt in the ceiling fan was too long, so we had to replace it with the new one. Easy! The new light came with a fancy silver support plate and cutesy bolt that didn’t match. We decided to use the old gold ones, but there were no holes in the new globe for pull chains. So my husband got the wire cutters and cut them off. Just like that… no more variable speeds at the Crosby farm. Our fan is forever on high and the light is on BRIGHT! Those chains you see hanging there in the picture are placebo chains. If you ever come over to visit (or just to marvel at a hobo-Joe repair job), do not, I repeat, DO NOT pull on them. Use the light switch on the wall, please and thank you.

Just Doing my Duties

April 1, 2015

Today was my inaugural experience with dead guy duties… I mean jury duty. (If you don’t know lines from Nacho Libre, you may as well be living in a cardboard box!)

My third summons arrived in the mailbox a while back and I decided to give it a whirl instead of listing all the lame reasons why someone else can’t watch my kids for a few days. After all, it’s Spring… and homeschool mamas are about done with school anyway, so why not use a civil duty as another Spring Break excuse? Right? Spring Break Week THREE!

Parking downtown in a free lot was certainly a bonus. The air conditioned motor coach delivery to the Superior Court was a nice touch. Free cinnamon buns and coffee was the literal icing on the cake, but I have tasted supreme cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven of a Mennonite grandmother, so those didn’t tempt me a bit. And free coffee… eeechk. Sitting at a cubicle in the “business center” of the juror waiting area made me feel IMPORTANTE! Like I was doing a mission for de Lord. (Insert Nacho accent.)

Alas, on the third juror selection screen, “Crosby, L.” showed up. Dangit. For those who know me well, or have read my blog and picked up on the nuances of numbers that I use… number 27 is my favorite number. It works well with most exaggerations and sounds kind of cute… there were 327 singers at de par-tee. (Nacho, again.) So, as it happened, the random appointment of 65 jurors with numbers landed me at, ……you guessed it, TWENTY-SEVEN. Like it was ordained or something. I almost laughed out loud. I texted my daughter at college and told her I was juror #27 to which she replied, “Of course you are!”

The rules of jury duty were explained and the one that had me tripped up a tad was: “#4 Show no emotional reaction to evidence, testimony or statements.” Now, I’m a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of gal. You wonder what I think?….. just watch my face. I would NEVER succeed as a poker player. Rationalizing, or more appropriately, “irrationalizing” I figured I could play stone face for a five day trial. Au contraire. I didn’t even make it through jury selection.

As various jurors were stating why they couldn’t participate in a domestic violence case, one gal sobbed her way through her explanation of life with her abusive ex-husband. I didn’t sob, but I needed multiple Kleenexes. Then to my amusement, someone stated that they couldn’t participate because they couldn’t leave their dog for five days. Unfortunately, an involuntary laugh escaped from my lips. Immediately I was embarrassed by my outburst in the quiet courtroom, but was more taken aback that no one else found that ridiculously funny. Do I just find things funnier than most people? IT WAS A DOG! It’s not like Dr. Doolittle didn’t leave his pets behind once in a while. Yeah, I’m not really a “show no emotion” type gal.

After the dismissal of 20 jurors (the dog watcher included) those of us remaining had to state our employment, our spouse’s employment and our children. I tried to sound normal… normal for a homeschooling mom with four kids is not really normal to most of society. “I am an author, speaker and homeschooling mom to four kids ages 21, 18, 16 and 11.” That was it. Pretty normal if you ask me. It’s not like I was summoning my eagle powers at that moment. (Please go watch Nacho Libre if all of these references are going over your sheltered head.)

Then, my slam-dunk-weirdo-alert occurred. The attorney for the prosecution stood up and asked if there was anyone who has never seen an episode of a TV show like CSI. He was doing it as proof that EVERYONE (meaning normal people) has seen law and order shows and has a biased opinion from them. Unfortunately, maybe…fortunately, I raised the pink laminated 27. He looked at me for a second and then asked incredulously, “You have never seen a law type TV show?” “Um, no…. (pause for weirdness factor to exponentially explode) We don’t have TV. There was an audible gasp in the room and I heard a whisper from a fellow juror behind me, “Good for you!” I believe that sealed the deal and I could go home to my room for some toast. (Nacho is seriously addicting.) I didn’t even need to bring my large purple purse with the Jesus Saves bumper stickers on it. My own true story was weird enough to get me out of bad guy duties.

Thankfully, I didn’t make the cut. I think de Lord was protecting me from having to witness evidence in a domestic violence case. I am jury duty free for two years now! And now I can relax during Easters.

Taking a Little Test

March 24, 2015

Nora at the beach

(The beach has nothing to do with the test.)

Today was the long awaited day when I took the Colombian princess to a reading specialist for testing to determine if this homeschool mama had just “lost her touch” or if there is something else going on in that cute little dark-haired, dimpled head. As requested upon arrival, I sat at the table with the teacher and my daughter the whole four-hours-when-I-planned-on-getting-stuff-done time. When she initially stated “stay during the testing” I translated that to “be in the house” not “pay attention for four hours.”  My mistake.

So this is what I learned from the testing: I have OCD WAY worse than I originally anticipated. There were crumbs on the table…. WITH the animal flash cards and the blue and white bottle caps used for Morse code. I believe I was the only one who noticed them. Miniature crumbs…. a red hole punch, bread crumbs, half a staple and (gag-reflex warning) a fingernail. EWWWW. Just EWWW!  But my self control is also WAY more advanced than it used to be. Those items are STILL on that table… and I’m not there to worry about them any more.

The plaid and sunflower placemat would have needed to be removed for me to put ten animal flash cards in line. WAY too much going on for this sister. I’m not sure what that means…. it could also be OCD, but visual clutter makes me crazy. Hmmmmmm. This could explain a few mountains I have to climb every time I want to work at my desk.

My auditory memory is quite good for letters and words, but not for numbers. This was a test for an 11-year-old and I knew I couldn’t pass it. A sheet with numbers 1-100 (in order) was placed on the table and she was given three sets of instructions before she could follow the directions. “Draw a line from 27 to 34. Draw a line from 78-79. Draw a line from 17-20.” Bam. That was it. By the time drawing commenced, I could barely remember the last combination of numbers, let alone the first two sets. And math was my favorite. I love numbers. I simply don’t remember them. This may explain why I can’t tell Mr. Wallet how much groceries were upon returning from the store. I don’t know!  Look at the receipt, Mr. Math-a-Holic!

Walking backwards on a balance beam is hard, especially toe to heel.

The good news is, after discussing my case of dyslexia for the first time in history with a professional, mine is a very minor impediment. A one on a scale of 1-5. Which I knew, but it was my very first diagnosis and I’ll be the last number of the 40’s in a few weeks. That’s a long time to go through life knowing something is different and never having discussed it. All my skeletons are now out of the closet.

So the testing was all worth it. We got a two-fer!  2 for 1 and the specialist didn’t even know it.

P.S. Nora did great!

One More Little Addition…..

February 16, 2015

The Before and After Living Room Make Over is so getting close to being done. (My husband thinks it IS done… so this is top secret.) I have fabric and pillow forms to make three more pillows: two for the matching white chairs and one for the bench in the entry. The entry seems stark to me. A little skinny plant stand with a green plant would be so perfect on the far side of the bench. (Remember… shhhhhh.) AND the stairwell never got its second coat of paint. The cutting in is not done at the top of the two story wall in the stairwell either. So my display of large family portraits in black frames that is to hang in the stairwell is still sitting in a pile upstairs… waiting for paint.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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The only items I kept were the white chairs. Even though it’s not totally done, I love sitting in there and it makes me happy when I come down the stairs each morning. LOVE.

Happy Birthday, Rickey!

February 15, 2015

Frontier Airlines was having a screaming deal on plane tickets from Phoenix to San Francisco as 2015 approached. A friend of mine alerted me to the $20.15 tickets and I immediately checked the dates they were available. Then I checked the Edmonton Oilers schedule and the stars aligned for my die-hard-Oiler-fan husband. The cheap ticket and the Oilers playing the Sharks in San Jose all landed the day before his 48th birthday! (Yes, the return ticket was a bit more, but STILL!)

rick at sj hockey game

Rick was swimming in a sea of turquoise in the Shark tank for sure!  But, seeing it was Rickey’s birthday and he flew in to watch his team, the Oilers pulled out a win in a shootout…. just for Rick.  It was picture perfect. (In case you are not familiar with the Edmonton Oilers, they are a come back team. Rick has told me this for years. We are still waiting for them to come back. How many first round draft picks will they get before they come back? We don’t know. Jesus may come back first.)

Lasagna and black forest cake were awaiting Rick’s return on his actual birthday. He told me this was the best birthday gift I have ever given him…….  (to send him away from me for his birthday)…. hmmmmm. I think there is oil in his blood.

Happy 48th birthday, Rick!  I love you!

Wedding Planning Extravaganza

January 30, 2015

wedding linens

Today I bring to you just a glimpse of how wedding planning is going for us. Here is the latest phone conversation with the store selling linens.

Me: Hi! I’d like to order a color sample chart.

Store: I’m sorry we are out of our color charts. They should be available end of February or March.

Me: (of course you are out) O.K., could I please order one napkin of each of the four colors we are looking at?

Store: I’m sorry, no, you can’t. The napkins only come in packages of 12.

Me: (of course they do) O.K., What is your return policy?

Store: You can return anything as long as it is unused and not laundered.

Me: Perfect. I would like to order a dozen each of linen napkins in ivory, beige, coral and hemlock.

Store: I would be happy to place that for you. What is the shipping address?

Me: (gives Larisa’s address at school that contains a C.P.O. Box)

Store: Oh, is that a post office box?

Me: No, it is a student box at a college.

Store: Packages cannot be delivered to P.O. Boxes.

Me: This is NOT a post office box. I send packages there all the time.

Store: O.K., but we are not responsible if it is returned.

Me: Fine.

(credit card number and details are exchanged)

Store: This name on the card does not match the shipping name.

Me: (no duh) Yes, that is my daughter, but I’m paying for this.

Store: So the address for the credit card is the same as the shipping address?

Me: No. (I don’t live with my daughter at college.)

(New billing address is given.)

Store: Thank you for your order. Those are pretty colors that will all look great together mixed on the tables.

Me: Thank you. (SERIOUSLY!? Did you forget the questions about color cards and ordering single napkins and return policy questions???)

And the 48 multi-colored napkins arrived in two days at O.R.U., were examined and are now all being returned.

End of story.

Happy 18 Years!

January 27, 2015

As of this past week, we have lived in the USA for 18 long years. Here’s the update on the past 216 months.

We came from Canada with two kids, ages four months and three years. Now we have four kids ages: 21, 18, 16 and 11.

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We have lived in five places since arriving: one month at my parent’s house, 16 months in an apartment, 6 years in our first house, 6 months in a rental house and now almost 10 years in our current house.

Our eldest went to a charter school for kindergarten and grade one. We are in the middle of our 14th year of homeschooling. Now our eldest is a junior in college.

Rick has worked in credit card processing, flying for FedEx, had a janitorial business, a bug business and has been flying for the State of AZ for 14 years now.

We went to our first church for 18 months and then helped start a sister church where we attended for 11 years. We have been at our current church for five years five months.

I have been heading up to Prescott for scrapbooking retreats for 17 years.… but now they are just relaxing retreats.

We have been serving on the board of Arizona Families for Home Education for 4 1/2 years.

We love Arizona, but we do try to be gone for 3-6 weeks every summer. :o)

Hair Donations Galore

January 17, 2015

It was a sad day for me when my eldest daughter decided to donate her beautiful long blonde hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was sad. I was also proud that she thought of others… and started a trend in our family three years ago.

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I was glad when my youngest daughter decided to donate her beautiful long dark brown hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was glad. I was the one who had to comb through it and watch her overly dramatic face when I hit tangles. I was also proud that she thought of others… and kept the trend in our family going.

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It was a HAPPY day for me when my eldest son decided to donate his beautiful long blonde hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was HAPPY. I was also proud that he thought of others… and continued a trend in our family last night!

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I’m not quite sure how I feel about three of my four children being able to donate their hair….. I’m thankful that son #2 told me he would never grow his hair that long.  Thank you, Keeve!

On a side note, we researched the companies where you can send your chopped off ponytails for donations. There are some shady companies out there who sell the hair you send them.  Do your research before you mail your hair!


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