Posts Tagged ‘mama’

Homeschool Bible Class

March 15, 2017

As previously mentioned here at MSJ, we are using Picture This! Bible curriculum. We love it! You get to color and discuss the Bible. It takes us approximately a week to get through one book of the Bible because the pages are so detailed as they summarize a whole book. We are in the middle of Leviticus currently, learning all about priestly duties and sacrifices and forbidden food, etc.

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Here is a rundown of how our Bible time went:

10:37 We gathered at the patio table with colored pencils, our color sheets, the fat curriculum binder and Nora’s chunky pink Bible.

10:38 I started coughing and returned to the house for water and cough drops. The washing machine buzzed and I changed the load of laundry.

10:43 We turned to Leviticus and reviewed what we have already covered/colored. Okay, this book was complicated. I didn’t even remember what all five sacrifices were for and there were code words to help you remember. Nora looked up several verses and we made our own additional code words on our papers.

10:55 A formidable shadow circled the back lawn drawing our attention and rendering us speechless as we looked at the shape of the wings.

10:56 The second circling shadow had us out of our chairs and onto the lawn, shielding our eyes from the sun, and staring at the hawk 30 feet above our heads. A discussion followed as we stood there, about why it would be circling above our house, what they eat, and what type of hawk it was. It was close enough for us to see it moving its tail back and forth with each turn. So cool. We realized it was not flapping its wings, simply soaring in a slow upward circular motion. So we waited on the lawn to see how long it would take the bird to actually flap.

11:02 I yelled through the screen door to my husband/pilot, “There is no wind. How can this hawk be circling for such a long time without flapping its wings?” He explained wind currents and changes with altitude.

11:06 THE HAWK FLAPPED, but just once, and kept circling.

11:07 Back at the patio table we read about the foods that were forbidden for the Israelites. Nora was truly sad for them because they could not eat bacon. For reals. She read through the list of fish that were approved and not approved. Then we googled an image of a shrimp so she could see what they look like before they get to Panda Express. She thinks they are ugly. She is right, of course.

11:20 We moved on to the moral laws for God’s chosen people. I decided to read these as they listed all the sexual sins and she didn’t need to be trying to pronounce all of those monstrous unfamiliar word. I refrained from glancing up at her because I already knew her dark chocolate irises had white circles all the way around them as I uttered those sins aloud, for God and country to hear out in public. When the list was exhausted, I casually closed the Bible and looked at the the next section in the teacher guide.

11:25 Nora was staring off at the tree over the fence while the wheels in her brain were processing SIN.

11:27 Processing complete, she inquired, “I thought the Bible was for everybody.” I reassured her that it is. “That part you just read is not for kids!” True. To aid to her disbelief of the contents of the Bible, I spouted, “Can you believe that God talked about all these things?” Discussion followed as to why in the world our holy God felt it necessary to mention women’s monthlies, incest and all the others thrown in with them.

11:35 She abruptly changed the subject and asked if we could have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Sure. And Bible was concluded for another day.

Do you understand now why it takes us a week to get through one Bible book?

 

 

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

December 7, 2016

In the year of our Lord 2016 decorating the Christmas tree, for some strange reason, went down a little different than any past year I can recall. My husband was here “helping.” Now I get the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman! Just go take a nap already!

Last week some thoughtful male in our home brought the Jenny Craig imitation tree into the living room for me. How nice! Except that it didn’t get covered all year from Last Christmas and was filthy. Upon request, a son of mine dragged it to the backyard for me and I gave it quite the shower…. lights and all. I couldn’t remember if the lights actually worked and I knew we had 27 million strings of lights from our daughter’s wedding in the garage. Her wedding wasn’t IN the garage… that’s where the lights were.

A day later an extension cord was also brought to the backyard to see if the shower killed the lights. Surprisingly, they worked! Joy to the World! Back in the house that skinny tree was dragged.

Decorate-the-O-Christmas-Tree day quickly turned into clean-out-the-garage day, much to my chagrin. It all started at 10 a.m. with the typical where-is-the-box-with-the-decorations search and recover mission. Then the shelves got cleaned out and the toilet paper and paper towels were put on the clean shelves. Then we swept the garage floor. Then the camping equipment got put back on the shelves. Then a ton of junk got thrown out. Then I got a big scrape on my arm that produced blood. Then we swept the garage floor again. Then we threw out the dilapidated camping chairs that served their purpose for 11 strong years. (This is how my kids write stories. Every sentence starts with “then.” It really holds the interest of the readers and keeps the story moving along rapidly.) Then we found the bag of sheep’s wool that we will need to study sheep in January. Then we were all hungry. Then the Popsicle man came at the right moment. Then five kids from the youth group showed up and ate tacos at our kitchen table.

Side note: this was a stay-at-home-and-look-ugly day. I hadn’t even brushed my hair. I did brush my teeth because you can only be so gross on a stay-at-home-and-look-ugly day. I was sporting a red t-shirt, grey bally sweat pants that are floods, fuzzy black slippers and a light blue and pink Peter Rabbit apron covered with ruffles. The Popsicle man is probably used to this sort of housewife-dressing-down-deal. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

It was 7:30 p.m. when Nora, our 13-year-old, could not take the suspense any longer and begged to decorate the tree. Okay, Okay! Don’t get pushy! Let’s get this Blue Christmas rolling!

We weren’t ten minutes into our mission when realization hit me that my husband hasn’t really helped hang ornaments on the tree for YEARS! He was not aware of the ornament rules and was breaking the ornament rules faster than I could instruct him in the ways of righteousness. Little ones on top. Big ones on bottom…. but not the last row of branches. Ugly ones in the back. Elvis ones in the back. (I had to make that two rules so Rick didn’t know I think the Elvis ornaments are ugly. Shhhh.) Expensive ones at eye level and next to lights. Sheesh. How hard is it? It was notably NOT a Silent Night!

Here is the front and center of our tree: (Several rules are broken!)

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Then he figured since I had rules, he needed to make some rules. “Don’t linger by the ornament box! Just pull out your ornament and move away from the box!” Sheesh! I’ll admit I rolled my eyeballs toward heaven a few times and thanked God that He gave me All I Want for Christmas in this helpful man.

So, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at the Crosby homestead! I pray your decorations went up with glee! May your Christmas be merry and bright at this Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Cooking with the Pilot

December 6, 2016

Wandering into the kitchen one morning last weekend, my hockey-playing, pilot husband, who is an exterminator and has a degree in Biblical studies, was vigorously chopping some food source in a frying pan on the stove. I mention his hobbies, schooling and his occupations to point out that he has no formal, or informal for that matter, training in the culinary arts. NONE! He is widely renown for his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. So his attempt at cooking amused me initially. As I began to ascertain the situation at hand, I became highly amused…. blog-worthy-amused!

On impulse at Costco, my sweet husband, the provider for our family, purchased a skid of hashbrowns. Just look at how crispy-fried those salty morsels appear! He was probably salivating in the super store. Gluten free and 100% REAL potatoes. How could he go wrong?

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Kindly I explained that the objective of hashbrown cooking is to leave them alone so they can get brown and crunchy. Smashing them to smithereens won’t get the desired results. Previously I had cooked two boxes of said Costco bulk purchase, so I was quite well-informed on the procedure.

Peering into the pan, something didn’t seem right. The limp potato strips looked dry (and smashed.) Kindly I inquired, “Did you read the directions?” It was an honest question. As soon as my question was delivered, my 13-year-old daughter, who has been trained in our kitchen by my capable side, started laughing and pointed at her dad the I-told-you-so-finger-of-doom. Seems she already mentioned reading the directions to him. That’s my girl!

Rick, Mr. Master Chef, (term used very sarcastically) opened the little carton of goodness and dumped the freeze-dried potatoes in the hot frying pan. He realized something was off. His spidey senses alerted him to the need for butter. In went a dollop of creamy yellow goodness. Butter is the answer to SO MANY cooking situations.

THEN he proceeded to read the directions. And I’ll admit, the instructions for this delicacy are unusual. 1. Open carton and add hot water to the fill line. 2. Close carton and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain well.

Uh oh.

Things were off to a poor start. The pan he had chosen was obviously too small if water was to be added, so he switched to a larger pan. (The only reason I know this is because I discovered a small frying pan in the sink with the remains of burnt freeze-dried potatoes stuck to its non-nonstick bottom.) It was too late to add water to the carton full of spuds, so he added water to the frying pan full of crunchy strips and butter. It said HOT water, so the stove burner was turned to HIGH, obviously. Just like whipping up a grilled cheese sandwich to quality blackness.

Disclaimer: my daughter filled me in on this whole process after the fact so this is all hearsay.

Okay, thinking he was good, he went back to the directions. 3. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and 2 TBSP. oil over medium-high heat. So, FAIL on the non-stick part. Next oil was poured over the soggy white, limp, smashed potato strips. Doesn’t this make you want to have some???

This is when I wandered in… to witness the mutilation of the oily, half-saturated delicacy. Kindly I probed to see what oil he used. There are four oils in my cupboard: coconut, olive, sesame and vegetable. He had a 75% chance of success. Again, my daughter who loves home-ec informed me in a Dad-is-so-busted tone, “He used butter from your bowl. The one you measured to make cookies.” Ooooh, there are several things that could make this mama go all kinds of crazy on you. Using my softened butter that is measured in a bowl for baking is one of them. And she knew he knew better! That’s my girl. Again the finger-of-doom was pointed at the perpetrator.

It’s doubtful if he ever did read 4. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Kindly I offered to show him how to divide the pan of scrumptiousness into thirds and flip them to golden brown perfection.

Surprisingly, they tasted okay.

The moral of the story is: When at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again.

Or: Touch mama’s measured butter and die a slow death of much pain. (Kindly I let him live.)

Jury Duty, My Nemesis

November 28, 2016

Since it’s been 18 months and zero days since my last jury duty, the flimsy white postcard arrived in the mail as scheduled announcing my day(s) off from homeschooling! Yay!

It’s that weird season between Thanksgiving and Christmas when most homeschool mamas are torn between math and cocoa with whipped cream. Grammar and Elf. History and fuzzy socks and a snuggly blanket and a good Christmas storybook. Turning on the heater or playing wii Dance 2 for P.E.

Needless to say, I wasn’t super disappointed to be leaving my children unattended for a day or three. (This will be our little secret, k?) My remaining offspring are 13 and 18 and fully self-reliant… with eating and staying alive. Not so resilient with doing school work unsupervised, but hey, it’s December. (Well in three days it’s December, but close enough to already have Christmas cheer!) And lying cozy and warm in your bed reading a fantastic book for hours IS school! Yep!

The day started off with a BANG! From the short walk from the shuttle bus to the front of the court house, I crossed paths with a very angry black woman who spewed, “White supremacists!” to me and my fellow non-assuming, white, middle-aged, minding-our-own-business jurors. Her words literally shocked me. My mouth dropped open. Turning to the lady walking right behind me I shared, “I have never been called that before!” She hadn’t either. Wow! I felt sorry for the name-calling woman. To harbor that much anger must make life horrible! I thought of singing Christmas carols to bring up the Christmas cheer but she walked off too rapidly for my first tune to commence. Joy to the World would have been top of my chart.

Being a returning expert to jury duty, I arrived on time. Signed in and got my sticker badge. Most of my morning was spent reading two months of text messages and trying to figure out who was the other texter. I lost all my contacts on my phone except those who left text messages… but they were nameless numbers. For two hours I READ texts from September 26 to November 28 and tried to remember who I had that conversation with followed by typing in every blinking name. When would I have had time to do that if not for jury duty? Thank you, Madison Court House!

Finally I sat working at a desk until my name was announced. Dang it. I have heard rumors of people getting the notice and sitting in the waiting area ALL DAY. Think of it! ALL DAY pretty much alone to read or look up papier mache Christmas ornaments on Pinterest or make grocery lists or doodle or nap or knit. Sugary bliss! But no.

My juror number this time, out of 40, was 2. Not good. The chances of numbers 30-40 getting selected, in my vast experience, are slim to none. But I was hopeful of being dismissed just by my explanation of what my husband does for work. The trial involved police, so I was sure to mention that Rick flies for Department of Public Safety… the governor, SWAT teams, prisoner transfers and photography… and has for worked for the State of AZ for 17 years. (So the 17 years didn’t always include DPS but I could have clarified if needed.)

This is not my first jury rodeo! (It’s my second.) So I had a much firmer grasp on my emotions as fellow jurors gave feeble attempts at being excused. There was no rolling of my eyes. There were no bursts of laughter like last time. I didn’t even snicker when an elderly gentleman raised his hand and urgently told the judge, “I have to go to the bathroom so bad I can’t think straight!”

The process of jury selection was much quicker this time around and there weren’t sob stories of abuse that we had to endure, thankfully. We returned from lunch and nine jurors were selected just like that. No questioning of any of us from the attorneys. Two minutes after lunch, the rest of us received our Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. BAM! Civic service done! Bring on the eggnog!

December 2016 I will look for my $23 fuel reimbursement check in the mailbox!

May 2018 I will look for the little, flimsy white postcard in the mailbox announcing my next half day off!  Whoo Hoooo!

Laughing in the Midst of Purgatory, Part 2

August 31, 2016

Please read the previous post if you haven’t already.

The next day, after much laughter and hilarity and swearing on the phone, (I never say crappy out loud! I only spell it!) I realized that all my personal and family and business files are still on the email account to which I no longer have access. There is SO MUCH on there… medical info, log-ins for my different sites, copies of proposals, correspondence with publishers, disability info for our girl, all the info about changing the ESA law….. I NEED TO GET IT BACK!

My sister-in-law, Jennie, is a mastermind at computery affairs and let me in on the fact that everything that was ever on the internet is still out there in space and can be retrieved. IF YOU KNOW HOW! She then proved it to me by finding pages that I thought were lost for all eternity, saving me hours of brain power and typing time! It gave me hope.

Cox was contacted again. This time it was a nine minute hold time, but if my files can be retrieved it will be worth nine years of my time! Nice lady number two took my call. She asked me to verify my account with the phone number used to open the account. GREAT! I asked how many tries I get. She sort of chuckled and asked how many I need. I replied, “Three.” She obliged and try number three was the slam dunk. She shoots! She scores! The correct number was the house phone that has been shut off for five or six years. (Please remember that this account was only opened three years ago!) (Insert profuse eye roll.)

I explained that my account was shut down just last week, but I need access to the files. She searched her script …. and competently found section 127 where it read, “If the customer needs files from a closed account, send them to a tier two operator.” So off I went, transferring …  probably to India.

NO! It can’t be! Another person whose first language is English! It’s my lucky day! I should go buy a lottery ticket… except for we don’t gamble with the money the Lord has entrusted to us. Let’s move on. Nothing to see here, folks.

Rainbow-and-Pot-of-Gold

Once again, I lamented about my files in the inaccessible account. My newfound friend’s fingers were making a racket fiddling with her keyboard and I was put on “hopeful” hold numerous times. While she was digging for an answer, or my files, or playing Solitaire for all I knew, I decided to ask questions. Because that’s what homeschool moms do. We ask questions. ALL.DAY.LONG.

“Does Cox offer email accounts that aren’t attached to internet service?”

“Well, yes we do,” she claimed baffling me, “but only in certain markets. But you are in Phoenix and that market does have them still.” Well, glory be!

Through my mind went these random thoughts:

I don’t want to pay back $110 for my files! But I will.

What was that other birdbrain talking about… no emails without internet… GAH!

Do I even keep this account if I can get it back? They could close it again without telling me.

Is she simply acting like she’s trying to help me so I feel helped?

Eventually, the soft-spoken woman explained that this was beyond her capabilities and she would need to notify her supervisor who would call me back to answer my questions and find my files. Good. She asked for the best number to reach me. BAM!

Being an optimist, I believed her. It’s now been 24 hours with no return call. They probably called the dead house phone number, then sent a follow-up letter to Oklahoma.

Remembering more and more information that is stored in those missing files, my stomach began to roil in agitation. “Dear God, please let me get to my files,” was my last prayer uttered before heading upstairs to bed. Worn out and frustrated, I thought how could this get any worse?

Then out of nowhere, ZING! A blasted scorpion sunk its stinger in the side of my foot right by my little baby toe. SERIOUSLY!?! I’m not even joking.

People who don’t live in Arizona think a scorpion sting is the kiss of death. It’s not. Unless you weigh under 20 pounds. I don’t. I have been stung three or four times, so I quickly swallowed some ibuprofen, dabbed peppermint oil on the sting, and went to lie still in bed. You don’t want to pump the venom through your veins with activity. Today it is tender but I didn’t lose any sleep over the sting… or my files… thank the good Lord!

(Notice I refrained from mentioning that my husband owns and operates a pesticide business…. remind you of the cobbler whose children have no shoes? He does spray the house regularly, I simply find it ironic!)

 

 

 

March 2016 is upon Us! (what?)

March 1, 2016

circle the wagons

To say I have been busy lately is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. In January and February I have been away from home 19 nights… not all for total relaxation, but close. Thankfulness is alive and well in my heart, but still, home life goes on and needs attention. Plants die without mama.

There is a relief in the force (as opposed to a disturbance) as Nora’s online school is over. We “affectionately” called it Stupid School. And it is OHHH-VER! What I learned from this experience: RUN as fast as you can from public online school. They do not care about your kid even 1/100 of what you do. Parents have the final say… period. It’s MY kid. Not yours. We endured the 100 days required to qualify for her to have double the time with her reading specialist, whom we love. Now we are in a blissful state of Little House on the Prairie…. quilting, cooking, planting, playing, discovering, reading and of course we are on season four, episode five of the Prairie-thon. Perfection! Homeschooling rocks my socks.

Today is March. How in the world did that happen? This month marks THREE YEARS since my car accident where the uninsured 19-year-old gal pulled in front of me and I hit her good. The steering wheel air bag malfunctioned and only came out one side, impacting my right shoulder. March 2016 marks THREE YEARS of my shoulder hurting every day. I am not one to whine or complain (unless we share a bed) so most people are surprised to hear this news. Low-grade constant pain is exhausting. Seriously.

Name a type of shoulder pain therapy, I guarantee I have tried it unsuccessfully. I do have a few fond memories of quirky attempts, such as the acupuncturist who put a ring of 12 needles in my shoulder and explained the it was called “Circle the Dragon” and would relieve my pain. I rebuked the dragon and called it “Circle the Wagons” but still, it did nothing. Then there was the medieval torture tools that were dragged and scraped on my shoulder creating colorful bruises… all for naught.

Today, March 1, 2016, I endured a shoulder MRI with contrast injection. Tears running down into my ears, it was all I could do to lie still and breathe. The doctor informed me that this was the epiphany of tests and he WILL be able to tell me what’s wrong. Good. I hope he’s right and no more needles are necessary… wagons or dragons.

My 17-year-old son, Keeve, drove me to my appointment for moral, emotional and physical support. I just returned home to collapse and do nothing for the rest of the day. Eight hours til bedtime. Kids, you’re on your own for dinner. It is Taco Tuesday and there is a Rubio’s gift card in my wallet. If you read my blog, you score.

Go with God.

If You Give a Homeschooler a Computer…….

August 7, 2015

We are doing school a bit differently this year, and we got Nora, our 12-year-old Colombian princess, her own computer for her work. She was SOOOOO excited! Like she’s a big kid now, or something. The other kids never got their own computers! FINALLY! Something that she was FIRST for! Because in her world “that last shall be worst!”

Okay, so a new computer means that she needs a desk to work on, because this mama ain’t sharing. I am the sharing type, but not work space at a computer desk. I do have my limits. Up in the loft, that is only used for book storage and sewing, there sits a perfectly good desk that was holding junk that never found its true home. I decided THAT could be Nora’s desk. But then, I need a desk in the loft too, to work along side her [so I don’t lose my ever-lovin’-mind while she takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to sound out moss-quit-toe (mosquito) and mett-hodd (method) repeatedly incorrectly while my eyeballs cramp from trying not to roll into my brain.] I love that kid!

My son has a desk in his room that matches Nora’s new desk. They should be twinsie desks in the loft, I decide. One quick trip on Swip-Swap (a facebook garage sale group) and I find a new IKEA desk for my son for $10. Perfect. An hour later there is a blonde desk sitting in my dining room. BAM. (Too many things have to move before it can go up the stairs.)

Then I realize I must put away all the fairy garden paraphernalia from Nora’s birthday party that is on her new desk, but the craft closet door is dragging across items hanging out of their designated boxes. I must organize the craft closet FIRST.

Then I notice the horizontal blinds have somehow been missed on the spring cleaning list …. possibly for the past six years. That is sadly not an exaggeration. Sorry, Mom. Don’t judge me. My kids are fed and one chicken is still alive. And the windows in the loft…. have they ever been washed on the outside? We’ve lived here for 10 years. So the windows and blinds are all sparkly and shining and clean now. DOUBLE BAM!

But as I washed the blinds (and had to rinse the rag after only four slats each time….ewwwww) I noticed the walls are sorely in need of paint. They WERE white……. ten years ago. So I need to paint the walls before we set up the desk for the computer.

There was a day-bed in the loft…. it got posted on Swip-Swap and left my house within 24 hours. CASH in my hand for wall paint! But with the day-bed missing, we need something cozy to sit on. Back on Swip-Swap I find a red loveseat and within 24 hours it is sitting in my living room next to the blonde IKEA desk…. with cash to spare STILL! (Does anyone else hear angels singing or is it just me?)

Then I notice the drab, tired-looking tan/pinkish color of my curriculum bookshelf and remember the can of darling light turquoise mis-matched $9 can of paint in the garage. A homeschool-room-vision-of-lovliness is materializing in my head. An oasis of higher learning. (“Higher” = upstairs.)

After 27 hours on Pinterest, (just KIDDING!)(kinda) I found homeschool rooms to die for. Seriously… death by darlingness. So adorable… makes me WANT to teach my kids for HOURS if I could just sit in THOSE rooms. The vision is ALIVE!

Turns out my red loveseat is really a brick-rust color. Shoot. Red and turquoise are so cute together. But after a redeeming trip to JoAnn’s Fabrics (my mother ship) all is well and curtains and pillows will now tie together the rust mini-sofa and the soon-to-be-painted light sea-mist turquoise shelf in the loft that will be painted off-white tomorrow.

turq n rust fabric

Tomorrow is homeschool day #5. We are SOOOOO close to setting up the computer!

This Mama’s Rules

November 29, 2014

I got to thinking the other day, because that’s what Mamas do. And I realized that every Mama has her own set of rules that her kids are VERY familiar with and can quote back to their Mama. Here are a few of my own examples:

1. “Do not put your bum where food goes.”  Translation: do not sit on the kitchen table or counters. Ewwww.

2. “Don’t shoot your mother.” This one goes without saying. It doesn’t matter what you are shooting: nerf guns, bb guns, rubber bands, the kitchen sprayer, spit wads, the hose, darts…. etc.

3. “You can go play in the wilderness if three of you go together. That way if one of you dies, one can watch the body while the other runs for help.”  Self explanatory.

4. “The loudest child sits in the back seat of the van.” Also self explanatory.

5. “If you ‘call’ something, you don’t get it.” I.e., “I call the front seat.”  You’re now in the back. “I call the last piece of pumpkin pie!” One of your siblings will now enjoy it.

6. “If you put restaurant left overs in the fridge without writing your name on it… you may as well kiss it goodbye.”

7. “If you are in the kitchen and the trash needs to go out, it is YOUR turn to take it out.”

8. “Ask dinner guests three questions about themselves and then you may leave the table.”

9. “Always look people in the eye when you speak to them… and SMILE.”

10. “If and when you say ‘I’m bored’ I will find a chore for you…. every time.”

They are straight forward and have worked for years.

What are your personal rules???

As Plain as the Mud on my Face!

October 27, 2014

Oh! How I wish I had pictures of this great story to share with you, but alas, they are feeble.

Camping. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we really enjoy it. Spending time outside soaking up the smell and sights and sounds of God’s creation is exhilarating to us.Two weeks ago we hooked up with four other families and ventured off to spend four days in the great outdoors. Bliss!

The very first day, several people went hiking, but one other dad (Dad #2) and myself stayed behind to watch the crowd of kids who wanted to take a dip in the creek and swim in the pool. Yes, this campground had a pool. Posh, I realize. The sun was shining, the wind was refraining from tousling our hair and the gurgling of the creek was calling to us.

camping lolomai MY LEG 010

Look very closely at the small patch of brick-colored muddy bank on the left side of this picture. It seems harmless. It was not. That was the slipperiest mud on God’s green earth. I told the girls several times, “Be careful! The mud is slippery!” The girls dragged me, my backpack and my folding chair to a place up the creek to a delectable rope swing with four huge knots. To my surprise, all three girls took turns swinging out over the water, but not dropping in as it was a tad chilly. I was standing still in the slippery mud. Then I was lying face down in the awful tasting slippery mud. In between those two events there was a loud scream and involuntary throwing of the backpack and the folding chair. I landed on my knees, my elbows and my face. Lovely. I so wish I had a picture of my mud-caked self. Slowly I stood and started to wipe the mud off my arms and face and spit out the mud and gravel that didn’t taste so yummy.

The kids who I was “watching” and five other boys circled me with mouths a gaping and wide eyes. Mama down. Red Alert! Using my water bottle, one of the boys (a stranger!) slowly poured into my hands so I could “wash” them and then rinse my face. I knew I needed a shower but then one of the other boys yelled, “Your leg is bleeding really badly!” Glancing down, I noticed the front of one shin was muddy brown and the other was bright red. Blood red, to be exact.  A large gash was just starting to pain me in my right knee. We poured some of the bottled water on the cut and then I held it shut with Kleenex, because we all know that Kleenex is sanitary and won’t fall apart or get inside a large gash.

The girls ran to find Dad #2. The boys ran off too, I wasn’t sure where. Slowly I limped up the path, holding my Kleenexed knee. The first campsite I arrived at harbored a full-on 38-foot motor coach, complete with a fancy “camping” lady with large, coiffed blonde hair, a long skinny cigarette, a three carat diamond ring on her manicured tennis-bracelet-ed hand and a newly-shaved white poodle with a green bow on each ear. At first site of a muddy, bloody woman limping out of the jungle she dropped that poor dog, put her smoke on a wood pile (!) and ran for her hose to help me get cleaned up. When asked what I needed I requested a cup of water to rinse and spit several times. The kind lady hosed off my pants, legs and shoes. I remember mentioning her smoking woodpile at some point, and there wasn’t a fire later, so she must have taken care of it.

Some of the boys who had witnessed my downfall returned with their very German father and a very well equipped first aid kit. At this point Dad #2 from our group drove up with the rescue vehicle. I was patched up and put in the car on several of the kind lady’s towels. Five stitches, three x-rays and three hours later, we were back at the campground eating grilled cheese sandwiches.  Easy peasey.

Five stitches. No biggie. I figured it would slow me down for a day or two. I figured incorrectly. An infection set in and my wounded leg turned burning-hot red and swelled up from my knee to my foot. Then I got to go visit another ER! A shot in my backside and some strong antibiotics were administered. I was on the couch for NINE DAYS!  NINE DAYS! Because of some slippery mud! The infection stayed for two weeks, but it finally relented and I could walk again.

So the moral of the story is: don’t cry over slippery mud…. no…. falls well that bends well… no… as plain as the mud on my face…… my way or the mud way….. five stitches in time saves nine?… (I’ll quit now.)