Posts Tagged ‘mom’

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!

Hindsight….. again…..

March 3, 2017

skiing-with-noraLast week, I took the kids skiing in Flagstaff on Tuesday. It is a 90 minute drive from our house, which is surprising because we live in Phoenix, AZ. But when you drive up to 10,000 feet, even in Arizona, there is snow in the winter. A blustery storm had blown through the previous weekend and the mountain was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. for my three skiers. No, I didn’t ski. Being the planning maniac that I am, I brought a list of TO-DO items that I was going to have checked off while I sat in the cozy lodge sipping cocoa. Much to my dismay, there was no phone service NOR internet connectivity at the lodge. What century are we in? And I brought NOTHING else to do. My to-do-list-checking-self had a hard time for eight long hours, as you can imagine.

At one point, I folded my arms on the table, in the middle of the noisy ski chalet between the cafe and the bar, put my head on one of my children’s discarded sweatshirts and took an hour-long nap. Nap. Check!

Wednesday, I drove north again. This time to Sedona, land of the red rocks, where my husband was on a three-day work retreat and wives were invited. Unfortunately, the first day was Tuesday… ski day. Rick and I enjoyed a flavorful Mexican meal at our favorite stop Javalina Cantina. Unfortunately, my mind was still frozen from the previous day and I thoroughly squandered salsa loaded with cilantro. Cilantro is my newly discovered #2 highly allergic food. DUH. That night didn’t end comfortably.

Thursday, for the first time in my life, I visited Jerome, Arizona. Rumor has it, people drive for forever to go there. Seven of my homeschool-mom-peeps and I were spending Thursday through Sunday at a cabin in the woods in Prescott… just to get away from it all. It was sublime. Anyway, there is a “highway” from Sedona to Prescott that goes through Jerome, a very sleepy little mining town that is truly built on the side of a mountain. I’m convinced that a map of the town would look like a Chutes-N-Ladders game. Currently it is an artsy tourist metropolis with next-to-no parking. Public restroom are in the fire hall… FYI.

The “highway” reminded me of the Road to Hana in Maui…. however, palm trees were replaced with pine trees, the drop off the cliff into the ocean was replaced with sheer rock cliffs to solid rock cavern, and the one-lane bridges were replaced with very narrow jaunts through the town. I can add this adventure and then check it off my bucket list. Jerome. Check!

prescott

Sunday 1:00 in the afternoon… pending doom hit. I got chills that were multiplying. My body’s ability to regulate temperature was losing control. I climbed under the power that the electric blanket was supplying. It was electrifying. But I never shaped up. I needed a friend to drive my van home with me in it. After days of coughing, chills, fever, sweating and “sleeping” in my green birthday chair (instead of flat on my back in my bed) I succumbed to a doctor’s visit. Prognosis: Flu and Bronchitis. She inquired if a note was necessary for work to excuse me for several days so I could rest. I declined.

Then it started. ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE DOCTOR! I hadn’t even made it to the pharmacy to pick up my meds and my very first inhaler. “Can you swing by Costco and pick up a battery for the van?” “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Can you cut my hair?” “We’re going to the park tomorrow, right?” “There’s a birthday party on Saturday.” “Can you please change a few things on my business receipt original copy?” “Are you washing laundry?” “I got Bon Jovi tickets for Saturday night!” “There’s no milk.” Oh my stars.

Never should I have declined the note qualifying my need for rest. What in the blazes was I thinking? I could have taped it on my bedroom door…. or my forehead. (I even declined the opportunity to see John in concert…. THAT’S how much rest I need!)

Rest well, my faithful readers. And use hand sanitizer. You don’t want what I got! Trust me!

Water Filter Infomercial

February 15, 2017

You either HAVE a water filter or you ARE a water filter.

We live in Phoenix, AZ, which is in the Sonoran Desert. Our sunshine state is not know for the quality of our tap water. I’ve heard that Arizona has three years worth of water stored in underground aquifers, for which I am thankful, even though it tastes horrible. So we won’t die of thirst any time soon. I think I could probably crawl out of Arizona to a neighboring state within three years if I had to.

Remember I just ordered a new water filter for the fridge that had the ice maker, the door magnets and the water dispenser fixed? Well, come to find out, my beloved Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator DID NOT HAVE A FILTER! What? I am semi-grossed out by this news.

After pulling out the fridge to inspect the backside, I discovered lots of broken glass under there. The glass used to be the lid to my most-used and well-loved soup pot. Bummer, dude. It almost looked like someone swept it there on purpose…. but I digress.

I wish I had action photos for you… but no.

Today I am feeling like a boss. With my new filter in hand, along with several attachments and no instructions, I turned to trusty youtube and learned how to splice the water line and install the water filter ALL BY MINESELF. (That’s what our eldest used to say twenty-two years ago.) After the second try, it doesn’t even leak! Feeling like a homeschooler.

My assistants, (okay, I had a little help) my two “willing” teenagers, tested the water, wrapped white sealant tape, emptied the pail and moved the fridge back in its hole. Thank you, my children. We will have yummy water and delicious ice cubes for dinner!

Need plumbing or large appliance assistance? 1-800-LindaIsABoss. BAM!

Homeschooling and Brain Surgery

February 14, 2017

An 18-year-old, non-homeschooled friend of my son’s was at our house during our Bible lesson with my 13-year-old daughter. He was sitting on the couch not far from the kitchen table where Nora and I sat coloring our Bible lesson. Yes, you read that right… coloring. It’s the BEST Bible curriculum out there, in my humble 16-year homeschooling experience.

“Picture This!” is a walk through the Bible system that has pages for each book with lightly shaded lines for you to draw and color the history from the Word of God. We read Bible verses, then we draw, then we color, and then we read more Bible verses talking about each as we go along.

This is not a sales pitch for the curriculum, but I love it so much I wouldn’t have a hard time selling it. (I am making no profit from this…. in case you thought I had figured out how to make profits off my favorite homeschool ditties. Um… no.)

Here is the page we were working on when our story began:

“This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time,” says the Lord.
“I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.” Hebrews 10:16

brain

Wanting to always be RIGHT, my daughter asked, “Mom, what color are brains?

An honest question. I replied, “I think they are sort of pink.”

Nora inquired, “How do you know? Have you seen a brain?”

Then, as most homeschooling lessons go, we veered off to a bunny trail on youtube and watched a video on brain surgery so my girl could see a real live brain. The surgeon was removing some dark colored blob and we could see the blood still pumping through different veins. She thought it was the most supremely awesome video in the history of the galaxy. How is this my child?

Setting my phone down, so I didn’t have to hold all seven minutes of brain surgery in my hand, I concentrated on non-gagging images in my head… like watercolor pictures of flowers and birdies. I get queasy with blood and guts and bones and such. I realize this is surprising to some who know our family’s history of frequent ER trips. But it’s true. I’m an injured-anatomy wimp.

When brain surgery ended, we found another video (like one wasn’t enough!) with a scientist holding a recently harvested brain before it had hardened up. I didn’t realize brains harden up, but they do. I am learning so much from homeschooling. Miss Scientist was naming the different lobes while holding and squeezing it in her gloved hands, and showing the characteristics of a fresh brain. It was so gross to me I had to keep my eyes averted most of the little show. However, my daughter’s dream of becoming a scientist was planted a little deeper in her blood-n-guts loving heart.

Back to the non-homeschooler on the couch… his interest was piqued and he sauntered into the kitchen and viewed the videos with us. His only comment, “I thought you guys were doing Bible?”

“We ARE doing Bible. This is homeschooling.” And back to coloring we went.

Who Knew?

February 12, 2017

We have had our fridge for almost 12 years. It came new with the house. I loved my new Whirlpool side-by-side, ice and water dispensing wonder of the kitchen gods. Notice that was past tense?

Through its 12 years of service the fridge has taken a beating… literally, unfortunately. In my absence, a child of mine, who was old enough to know better, spent an evening taking shots at my beloved refrigerator with a hockey stick and puck. He didn’t even bother trying to cover his tracks by wiping off the black puck marks in all 27 dents. It was a low point of my summer… I cried. Remember, I loved my fridge.

Then the ice maker stopped producing ice. We had a handyman come and “fix” it. Seems he wasn’t as handy as we hoped. To replace the whole ice maker it would suck $158 from my clothes shopping fund (because we didn’t have a ice-maker-replacement-fund at the time)… so I bought plastic ice cube trays at Walmart. BAM. Bring on six more flowy tank tops in bright colors with fringe on the bottom and bling on the front. Priorities, people.

Next the water dispenser stopped pouring water into my cup. I realize this is a first world problem. (No hate mail, please.) This was a while ago and if my memory serves me correctly, it was around the same time the stinky slime puddle was discovered growing three colors of mold under the fridge. Maybe during the clean-up (that made me gag profusely) the hose to the water dispenser got kinked or cut or removed at that time. Who knew?

Finally, the magnetism on the fridge door weakened so badly that if you shut the freezer, the fridge door opened just a smidge. Somehow this often happened after a son of mine made his midnight raid on the fridge and I would find the door still open in the morning. A smidge is a big enough gap on a side-by-side Whirlpool refrigerator to cause havoc inside the once-cold-box. The motor kicked into high gear, due to the warm kitchen air penetrating the cold barrier. This caused all of my vegetables in the two bottom crisper drawers to freeze solid… and the milk jugs in the door were warmer than cold. Ewwww.

After ten years of owning our home with 8 1/2 major appliances (Is a microwave major?) my thrift-minded and possibly doomsday-anticipating husband purchased a warranty for all major appliances. However, as our fridge was deteriorating before my hazel eyes, I did not remember the warranty purchase. I simply put the vegetables on the top shelf and continued filling ice cube trays.

Two weeks back, my handsome husband handed me a two-year-old warranty agreement and suggested I call to get the fridge fixed. WHAT? Maybe he was trying to get the most out of his $75 call-out fee and waited for three things to be wrong with the fridge. Again, who knew?

Last week the friendly repair man came, looked the fridge over, I paid him $75 and he left. Yesterday, he showed up again and fixed ALL the problems with my fridge, with the exception of the hockey puck dents. BUT, the water tasted horrible coming out of the dispenser… and I knew the new ice cubes were being made with the same horrible water.

Today I looked up the water filter number and ordered a new one on Amazon prime. It will be at my house in two days. BAM!

All this to ask, DID YOU KNOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE CHANGING YOUR FRIDGE WATER FILTER EVERY SIX MONTHS? Who knew? We have saved money on 23 replacements filters that we never bought…. that is $456.55! Saving cash like a boss.

 

 

 

Phoenix… We have a Problem!

January 15, 2017

My parents were blessed to spend New Years in Maui with my sister and her family, relaxing on the beach and enduring the rooster calls on the island. Being the kind and thoughtful daughter, I volunteered for pick-up duty on their arrival home. When they booked the tickets, I remember hearing the return date as January 11th, a date that coincides with a special occasion for one of my nieces, who is from Maui. I thought it coincidental that the dates matched.

Calling my brother, who had taken them for their departure, I wanted to confirm the airline and flight time. All was good. Here’s my sticky note.

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I feel the need to point out the extent of my niceness. That 6:49 is A.M. The airport is 30 miles from our house in the same direction all the Phoenix metro traffic heading downtown. Big fat bumper-to-bumper bummer.

Before I volunteered for o’dark-thirty parent retrieval, I checked with all driving family members to see if it was “more convenient” for someone else to go. Nope. Two had to go to work and one to band class. The glitch in this scenario is that our daughter had to be to her reading specialist at 8:00 a.m. From experience, I knew that I couldn’t make it back from the airport in time to take her and I didn’t want to wake her up at 5:15 a.m. either. The princess needs her sleep.

I called a faithful friend who also has a child in the reading class and asked if Nora could sleep over at her house. Sure! That’s what friends are for. I delivered her to her pajama party late on Tuesday night.

My alarm, which incidentally is only set a few times a year, blasted it’s jovial wake-up tune at 5:15 a.m. Please remember at this time that I am a homeschool mom. One of the top reasons we homeschool is so we can get the rest we need… i.e.: we sleep in…. almost every day.

I threw on sweats, brushed my teeth and hair, and went out the front door into the chilly AZ air. Brrrr… in the low 50s. Black skies laughed at me. I am always surprised when it is dark in the morning, for I rarely see this phenomenon.

Traffic wasn’t bad at all and I pulled into the parkade with 15 minutes to spare. After making mental notes of the level and parking area, I checked the screens for arrival times. 412 from Kahului just landed….6:28. Early! Good. This should go quickly. My comfy bed might even still be warm when it welcomes me back!

If you have ever landed at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, you may be aware of the dual runways and the occasional need to taxi for 15 minutes to get to your gate. It adds to the suspense of deplaning. Thankfully I remembered this little tidbit and was not alarmed by a 20 minute delay between the landing time and seeing weary travelers in Hawaiian shirts getting off the red-eye flight. Finally several vacationers trudged by wearing neck pillows and carrying pale green Hawaiian Cookie Company bags. I was a tad alarmed when I didn’t see my very own weary parents. There was no way I could have missed them walking by. There is only one gate for them to come out of. I was there the whole time. But they didn’t show up.

Baggage claim is right down stairs from where I had been sitting for 30 minutes. I decided to take a trip down there to see if Dad and Mom teleported from the plane to the baggage area. Nope. All the Hawaiian shirts were sitting on the floor awaiting their tardy suitcases.

Back upstairs I went… a bit concerned. Could something have happened to one of them on the plane? I called both their cell numbers several times. Both went straight to voicemail. I didn’t want to call my sister to see if she put them on the plane because it was 3:45 in the morning in Maui. I called my husband who was across the tarmac in his office. “I can’t find my parents,” I lamented. He comforted me by telling me they were probably just lost. Great! Where do I report missing persons?

My husband suggested checking my text messages again from Maui. I opened up my brother-in-law’s message and it read, “Mom and Dad arrive Thursday morning at 6:49.” Big fat early morning bummer. It was Wednesday.

Their flight WAS on the 11th of January… but arrived on the 12th of January. I was 24 hours early. I decided not to wait for them at the airport.

A Starbucks caramel apple cider soothed my weary soul before I left the terminal. After handing over my $5.00 for parking and I was on my way home to my snuggly bed.

(In a couple weeks I am scheduled to pick up my niece ON THIS SAME FLIGHT! Hopefully I will get it right next time.)

 

Happy New Year 2017!

January 5, 2017

Such an exciting time of year for big goals, fresh plans, brilliant ideas, new clothes (just thought I’d throw that one in there!  Shopping, anyone?) and clean starts! I pray you have begun to think about changes you could make to increase your happiness, effectiveness and joy! I have!

As 2016 came to a close, I was beyond pleased to flush several circumstances we encountered in the past 12 months… things I hope to never live through again. But instead of listing the lame-o occurrences, I choose joy. 1 Thes. 5:16 Rejoice always!

Here is my list of What I Learned in 2016 that has changed who I am and how I look at the world differently from now on. Thank you, Jesus, for opened eyes.

  1. FREEDOM! (Yelled in my best Scottish Braveheart accent with my RRRRs all rolling like thunder!) I learned that freedom is the ability to do what we see fit in our lives without anyone else dictating our actions or judging us. Freedom is power. Avoid those who wish to control you and minimize your freedom. Freedom really brings a freeing feeling. Imagine that! Be free! Is the living joy being sucked out of your life? Make some changes. Be free!
  2. GOD! We all have a hole inside of us that we are striving to fill that can only be filled by God. He gave us the desire for MORE! More of HIM! We tend to try and fill that hole with other things … leading to overworking, addictions, perfectionism, life-crippling habits, over-attention on our kids, trivial busyness, social media, etc. But God.
  3. YOU! You are the only you on the planet. You are here for a reason… so am I. I encourage you to look at your God-given talents and interests and figure out what you are supposed to be doing that no one else can do but YOU! Who are you here to bless? To influence? To encourage? To serve? The rest of us want you to succeed at being YOU!
  4. TIME! We all have the same amount of time each day. Well, that’s not totally true because some of us sleep more than others (I happened to get 10.5 hours last night, but that was post vacation recovery.) …. but that doesn’t change the 24 hours we all have, does it? But I digress. There are a multitude of activities you can and could and might participate in… but should you? Just because you can do a task, doesn’t mean you are supposed to. Which leads us back to #3….
  5. WRONG! This has been my mantra for years, but it was so evident in my life this year: IT’S OKAY TO LET OTHERS BE WRONG. Arguing doesn’t help. Even truthful facts don’t help! Simply let others be wrong and move on with your life.

There you have it, folks. And can I suggest getting away from it all even for a day or two to evaluate your life. Sitting on Kapalua Beach on Maui in early November I made a list of the things in my life that were causing me to feel angry, sad, hurt, mad and frustrated. That day I made some decisions, eliminated activities, distanced myself from a couple situations and my life has been richer, freer, more joy-filled ever since. Change is good… and I’m not a big lover of change.

Make it a point to take every thought captive. Don’t dwell on horrible instances that make your blood boil. It’s a waste of time. Choose to find something to think about that brings you joy. I started a new board on Pinterest that simply makes me happy when I look at the watercolor pictures. Makes me want to run for my paints and brushes. It’s that easy! You got this!

The cool thing is, right after this new mindset, some unbelievable doors opened up for me. Desires of my heart. Thank you, God.

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!

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!