Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An "Aha" Moment

Missy's been pushing buttons and refusing to obey since Friday. I thought it would get better since my sister arrived and the cousins are here.

Wishful thinking.

This morning she woke up a on the cranky side. After laying in my bed with me, I asked her to go get dressed.

She refused.

Battle ensued.

I was trying to talk to her but I was only getting disrespect and sullen looks. Discipline only made her angry.

I was like, "OH, Lord, this is SOOOOO HARD! I don't WANT to do this right now and really I don't know what will make a break through."

The phone rang. I had to answer.

While on the phone, I noticed a bag of clothes I had bought from the Goodwill. In it were two beautiful dresses I had picked up for Missy. As I talked on the phone I pulled the dresses out of the bag and laid them across Missy's lap. She instantly softened, but she did not so much as touch them.

After I got off the phone I asked, "Do you SEE that mommy loves you?"

She smiled and nodded. I pulled her into my lap. We talked for a moment about when she would wear the dresses. One I said would be for when we saw her Bio mother later this week. I tried to get her to talk about it. She only said "Yes" or "No" to my questions. She had no problem with the visit. She's not scared. She remembers past visits. She wasn't giving me any negative clues regarding this, but she was getting mad about my insistence that she talk. Talking is hard. She struggles to communicate, but while I know she's only three in her head, she's seven in years and I figure she has to try sometime.

Finally she was crying again and mad. I said, "You must tell me why you are upset. You must tell me why you are crying."


I waited and


Suddenly, she turned to me and almost spat the words at me.



She's unsettled because I am leaving for a few days without her.

So, we talked it through. I am leaving today with my sister for ARME Bible Camp. My kids and Julie's kids are staying here with Steve and will meet up with us on Friday. I told her I would be there for the visit with her first mom.We talked how the kids will go to Cindy's house for a few hours until Steve got off of work. I also took liberties to tell her I could not take her to Bible ARME Camp 'cause they can't have screaming kids there and Momma needs a break!! We talked how we would be together for Sabbath and how on Sunday morning we leave for California TOGETHER.

She knew all that, of course, but we had not talked it through from beginning to end. I had not assured her that  it was all going to be okay.

She's all smiles.
She's dressed.
She going about her business.

Goodness. She is so insecure. We'll probably have to go over the schedule a dozen more times before I leave in 4 hours.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Is for Swimming

It must be the worst summer of the century,
but there are still moments when you think you need a swimming pool.

At least mom thinks it's a good distraction from the insanity going on
with his dearly beloved sister.

But, of course, you can't do anything with water alone...
at least not when you have waterfowl for pets.

It was all so exciting that even the ducks wanted to join the fun.
However, since they are pretty possessive of the pond the geese felt like,
fair is fair. Stick with your pond, 
the hose is ours!
But they loosened up on the rules after awhile.
Today was suppose to be a swimming play date.
Missy was going to continue her tirade, but I told her about the swimming appointment...
and she straightened up, just like that.
I now however must tell her it has been called off due to the thunder and rain.
oh, boy! I'm pretty discouraged with her.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One of THOSE Days

Missy is actively looking for reasons to lie.

I have had her right next to me all day. It's the ol' apron strings trick.

She has lied a blue streak ALL. DAY.

I have called her on each one.

Mostly she lies to get out of taking responsibility for her disobedience, but it's taking on a life of it's own. She has gone so far as to say she saw the gander fly over the barn. The geese don't fly. I mean, I saw him once fly 3 feet off the ground for about 10 feet the other day and he was just as surprised as I was at his feat. He is certainly not flying over barn roofs. The ducks, yes, the geese, no.

We talked about her making up stories for attention. We talked about how that's lying to try and get people to believe things happened that did not.

Hours later I sent her with some dead flowers to the compost. She came back with a  big story of how BOTH geese flew over the other barn this time.

I just looked at her.

She smirked.

I said, "What did you just do?"

She laughed and giggled and batted her eyes refused to talk and finally said, " I lied".

I have disciplined her plenty. It means nothing. She wants something from me and I don't know what it is. She is at the moment screaming and yelling at me and I am not responding. Nothing I do or say will make a difference. There are no tears. There is no real anger. She would like me to believe she is mad, but it's all a theatrical display. She's just trying to get something or some reaction.  I don't really have a solution.

James has about had it with her. In tears he said, "I don't like her!!"

Behaving to be in Control or Simply Trusting

So, the last thing she did last night was disobey and lie about it.

And the first thing she did this morning was disobey and lie about it.

She's testing me big time. She's pushing the limits hard.


She enjoyed a happy 19 days in a row and all the privileges that go with that. We had a great time together. Why would she want it any other way?
Reality is, while it seemed like she had let go on the control issues and her combativeness during those 19 days, Steve and I noticed that it was really still there. It was just directed differently. She threw a lot of it in her brother's direction and towards food, and maybe she was still trying to be in control of her life by behaving instead of simply trusting? (Hmmm... object lesson of truth for adults? )

She has such a long road ahead. I'm afraid you probably can't "Teach" anyone to TRUST. They have to accept it and experience it. It's going to take a miracle of grace for this guarded and addictive little personality.

Life is easier for all of us when she is behaving, even when it's her way to stay on top of things, and I do think the more she practices the acceptable behavior, the better for her in the long run . . . but we're after the heart.  There again, I can't change her heart. I can only pray and encourage her to accept Christ's new heart for her.

Yesterday I was telling the children's story at church. I am not a children's story teller. Don't know why they ask me, but anyway, I couldn't come up with a fancy story so I told the children about our ducks. Told them how the ducks keep the duckling close to the pond so that when danger comes they can dive in and be safe from the cat. When the mother quacks loud all the little ducklings dive in very fast. I asked, "Do you think one of the little ducklings ever says, "Ah, mom! I'm tired of swimming. I just want to stay here and rest for awhile. I'll come in a few minutes" ?

All the little heads shook 'NO'

except one.

I'll leave you to guess which child vigorously nodded her head up and down and shouted right out, "YES!"


Maybe there is one little duckling out there that identifies with her. I don't know.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It was no little melt-down. When she blew, she blew!! Mount St. Helens came to mind.

But I am here to say she recovered quicker than I have ever seen her recover. I took a little longer. I was fine at first; calm, all that. But later the adrenaline kicked in and I shook for an hour. I had a hard time looking past the behavior then to being able to give her hugs assure her that I love her, which she absolutely needed. She was ashamed and figured she didn't deserve love. You could see it.  Later she gave me the biggest kiss and hug.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where Greedy Gets You

I've been MIA because I have been sick.

.... again!

I'm getting really tired of it.

By the way, my sickness has nothing to do with the title of this post. Just thought I would clarify that! :-)

Anyway, I don't feel too bad today and I think I'm on the mend which is good because I'm only 15,339 days old even if I feel like a hundred years. Tomorrow I'll be 42. I had to write that down, because I have thought I was 42 or 43 or 40 something for a whole year now. My husband is really daft or he likes to get me confused and  I'm beginning to think he's daft... 'cause the joke is getting old. He has no trouble getting me royally confused about how old I am. You see, I have trouble with numbers. If there is such a thing as number dyslexia, I've got it. Only, I think I see them fine, I just can't remember them for NOTHING! Not prices, not miles per gallon, not distances, not highway numbers, not phone numbers,  not my social security number, license plate number, not any number period ... not even my age. I use  mnemonics to remember the things I HAVE to know. It only works for things that always stay the same. Like my girls were born in '93, '95' 97. Those are all odd numbers, spaced evenly apart, and they were born just before the new century, etc...  Don't ask how I managed to teach my kids their times tables. Oh, yeah, mnemonics again. Mrs. Snowman (8) and Mrs. Weeks (7) were driving down the road one mile over the speed limit.... Ack! What was the speed limit again? 

I was thinking today was the end of our peace. Missy was snarly this morning and very competitive with her bro. When I called her on it she made like she was going to hit the roof... but she is taking a quiet time out and is complying nicely. I'm grateful.

She's been getting more and more irritated with my control over the amount of food she eats. This kid seems not to have a shut off valve. She's greedy and will scarf a bowl of food in 15 seconds flat if she thinks she can get more by hurrying. There isn't anything she won't eat. I have been giving her mini opportunities to show restraint but it isn't working. I let her serve herself the other day. I told her exactly how much to take and when I had my back turned she took it all and left none for anyone else. If I let her put peanut butter on her bread the next thing you know she's got her hand in there eating it as fast as she can. I have to serve her and tell her, "AND THAT'S IT! Don't ask for more."  and she always repeats me, "THAT's IT?? WHY". She's been getting grumpy about that recently.

The other day I told Steve, "I think I  am going to have to let her pig out one of these days so she can know why I am helping her with serving portions."

Steve was like, "Oh, no! Don't do that. She needs you to serve her."

Yesterday I had to leave the kids with Steve for a bit and the kids were playing outside.

Little Miss got into the cherry tree. Now, we have NEVER ever had trouble with the kids taking food without permission. They just don't. Whatever fuss they may make about it, they won't take it without an okay. However, the little kids next door came over and started eating cherries off the tree and the twins took that as permission to eat their fill. Missy then ate lunch and went back out and continued eating cherries while Steve was working outside. He never thought anything of it.

Ah, cherries. Perfect.

In the evening I called for her and she came up with her bicycle helmet on, holding her tummy and groaning her way up the drive. I thought she had been in a wreck. "Oh sweetie, did you fall off your bike? Where are you hurt?"

Moan, groan, "I aTe ToO mUcH!" Wail.....

I'll spare you the details. It was reminiscent of a year ago.  She had quite a time scrubbing underwear and cleaning herself up while I held a towel over my head and told her what to do.

I'd never make a nurse.

Don't you wish I was your mom? lol... Poor kid was miserable. Didn't even want supper.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jack and Jill

Went up the hill...

But Jack isn't likely to break his crown over it.

He's more likely to let Jill do that.
She can carry the greater part of that basket, too, while she's at it.

It WAS kind of heavy, though.
So here's a couple of funnies from our day.
There were two water bottles. One was pink and the other clear.
Missy wanted to know which one was hers... which to me was a no brainer.
But apparently too much for her to figure out. 
Ahem!! Not really. She was looking for some action...
I didn't bite.
I just said, "You choose".
She then turned to her unsuspecting twin and asked, 
"would you like the pink one or the white one?"
He, being all boy that he is, chose the white one.
At which, she screached, "YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT ONE!!!"
Sadly daddy and I found it rather funny and made her stick to her offer of letting HIM CHOOSE
and TAKE the one he wanted.

She's got a knack for that kind of thing.

I've been working with them about sharing.
James is rather docile.She picks the fights and squawks the loudest.
I nearly fell off my chair in amusement this evening when she came a-tattling,
"James is fighting over the shower!!"
I took that to mean, James was going about his business of taking his shower when she finally got her act together and she found that he was in the shower she wanted. 
All her fussing and fuming did not budge him out of said shower stall
and she was looking for a higher power to uninstall him.
Good luck, little lady.


New critters on the farm.
Hatched this morning!

it was quite an anxious
trip from nest 
to pond

cats a-prowling
curious geese 
excited children
made the
parents extremely overwrought.
I saved the littlest weakest duckling from the claws
of Cleo
and was attacked for the favor.

So, they are in the pond.
Now what?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mini Lessons in Self Government

Today is summer.

Enjoy it. It might be the last day of summer we get for another week.

The weather is so weird.

There's not so much to write about. I picked cherries off our tree yesterday and pitted and canned until 10:30 last night.  I am embarrassed to tell how few jars I managed to put up. I'm just so not used to doing stuff by myself.

This morning I mowed the whole pasture with the push mower before breakfast.

And that kind of put the twins in a position where I could see just how much they have learned (or not)  in the area of self-government. James came through with flying colors. Another little someone did not.

Last evening while I was pitting the twins were outside and 5 of the neighbor kids played with them on the trampoline - ring-around-the-rosie,  duck-duck-goose, that kind of thing. It's the first time they have come over since Missy's garden tantrum in May.  Anyway, I let them play later than usual because I was busy and they were playing so nicely. Eventually, I told them that they had 5 minutes to finish up and come in to get ready for bed. In 5 minutes James did just that and the neighbor kids went home. Forty-five minutes later Missy showed her face - and only because Steve had arrived from work.

I was out mowing before the kids woke up this morning. When they finally crawled out of bed and waved at me through the window I gave them instructions to get ready for the day so we could eat before we had to leave for our appointment.

Almost 2 hours later James completed everything and had eaten and was hopping into the car. Missy - dear little Missy, was wildly offended as she had barely begun, but I made her take care of the her bunny while I waited for her. When the tirade of words coming from her corner of the car threatened to grow out of control I stopped the vehicle in the middle of the road and turned and asked her if she was done yet. I reminded her that I had given her the same amount of time to do her chores and eat as her brother. I had even made a point of giving her periodic reminders, but she had chosen to play around. I asked her to please close her mouth. When silence had reigned for a whole 10 minutes I handed her a V8 which she promptly spilled all over her lap. A good reminder as to why we don't let her eat in the car! We had to take the clothes off when we arrived at our destination.

Ah, me. What kind of mother I must look like to other people. The kiddo was lucky to have a sweater with her, though it was plenty stained with tomato juice. Her hair was unbrushed and her face dirty. BUT hey, though she could have, she chose not to throw a tantrum! That's worth something.

Obviously, this child must be watched and reminded, and pushed and prodded. She probably doesn't have a good sense of time. She likes to play and is super easily distracted...


unless she chooses not to be distracted. She can focus and get things done when she wants to.

But 16 months later I certainly haven't found a reliable key to motivating her to get her morning routine done. It feels like such a fight every single day. I sense that this is the main area that she is holding out on for control. Why else would a kid be willing to risk missing breakfast?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Blessed Sabbath

 The little birdies have flown
 and the rainstorm has flattened out the cup
but it's always exciting to find a hummingbird's nest!

My pictures were not so good,
but it was a high day
in our church family.

Mary was baptized! 

We were blessed with genuine fellowship
and an awesome meal
and the day ended 
with a little fun
in the church parking lot.

You can all see why we opted out of repaving when we remodeled.

: -)

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Brother is Born for Adversity

...NOT to be adversaries.
A certain set of siblings did not get that memo.
I now introduce to you my twins,  Jacob and Esau.

This weary Mama has had enough of the adversity created between them.
It was time for a new approach
so, I sat them back to back on the porch and told them to work it out.
I figure if they are going to  knock each other out - 
now was as good a time as any.
* just kidding*

When they finally stopped smacking each other's head with their own 
and decided to sit quietly back to back
I had them stand up and face one another,
arms around each other in a bear hug.
When they  eventually saw the humor in it all and started to giggle
I brought the Popsicles out
and told them they had to feed each other.

Missy dropped James' popcicle on the porch, but she fed it to him anyway.
I hope they don't get worms or something as a result of my experiment.

The rest of the afternoon they are doing jobs TOGETHER.
They both have to take out the compost and they have to wait for each other.
They have to sort the laundry TOGETHER,
water the strawberries Together,
and not get a break from each other at all.

At the moment they are getting along just fine.
I hope it lasts.

On a side note, we have not had a real tantrum since July 3.
Missy has been showing great restraint and self-control.
I  can see in her face that she is making a conscious choice to swallow the storm
and just face the challenge.
Good for her! It's a step in the right direction.

A friend loveth at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

Grace . . . again

In order to convince others of the  
power of Christ’s grace
we must know its power in our own hearts and lives. 
The gospel we present for the saving of souls must be the gospel by which our own souls are saved. 
Only through a living faith in Christ as a personal Saviour 
is it possible to make our influence felt in a skeptical world. 
If we would draw sinners out of the swift-running current, 
our own feet must be firmly set upon the Rock, 
Christ Jesus.

The badge of Christianity is not an outward sign, 
not the wearing of a cross or a crown,
but it is that which reveals the union of man with God. 
By the power of His grace 
manifested in the transformation of character the world 
is to be convinced that God has sent His Son as its Redeemer. 
No other influence that can surround the human soul has such power as the influence of an unselfish life.
The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian. 
{Ministry of Healing pg 469}

Should we be trying to give this grace to our children,
 - presenting Jesus, the gospel -
to them at every opportunity...
and our own souls are not saved and sanctified by that same grace
it's all so much "talk" 
laid as a heavy burden upon our children
and a means to harden their hearts against the very thing they need.
Because if our own souls are not saved by that grace 

we won't have the Spirit working with us to 
soften and prepare the hearts, 
teaching us what to say,
refining our motives,
giving us wisdom,
and it would be impossible for us to do it right.
It would all come across as manipulation and guilt tripping.
Which is exactly opposite of what the gift of grace and the gospel is.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pictures From Africa

We woke up to a nice treat this morning. My sister-in-law sent us a pile of pictures and she even said I could post a few. It's nice fun to see the kids' cute smiles and see how they are growing, and of course, we were looking for pictures of Christina. Three months is starting to feel like a long time.

Meet my African Family. 
They are all related to me one way or another :-)
Mother, brother, daughter, nephew, nieces, sister-in-law.
Not in that order, 
of course.

Christina at Lake Malawi.
Is three months long enough for hair to grow noticeably longer?
If you have been there once, a picture like this makes you want to go back!!

But it's not all play...
When the African's heard that they were going to get a new church
they made quick work of the old one to make room for it.
Then Jason's crew was put to work.

The crew!
Just so you know,
the demand for One Day Churches is more than they can supply.
This is mainly a strong roof and beams. 
It's up to the congregation to decide what type of walls they want to build under their roof.
Brick works well.They also use these structures for schools. My brother has been very, very involved in this project for quite awhile. He has built  a LOT of them, like maybe 140, and has the construction plans down pat.
If you go to
and look under UPDATES in the bottom left corner you will see
This is basically excerpts from Jason's blog.
And you can find video clips. The ones that interest me are the ones shot in Zimbabwe - 
because, of course,
Jason and Antionette were part of that, too.
So, cool that Christina was able to be a part of this fantastic mission outreach.

The "Other" Family

Yesterday I took the time to respond to bio mom's letter requesting a visit in a certain park on a certain day in an unexpectedly far away city. We had agreed previous to the adoption that she had a once a year visit with the kiddos in July provided she met certain criteria and if we felt that it was in the children's best interest. We were rather surprised at the letter. Well, okay, maybe not really surprised, but it appears the gal expected us to drop the kids off for the day and really, really thought that all the parents of her 5 kiddos were going to make that long trip. For some it is a 6 hour drive and they hadn't expected it to be more than 10 minutes away.

The date didn't work for us however we will be in that area later in the month and we decided to make the effort to try and meet up with her then. I wrote the letter and used Publisher to make it nice with the kids' pictures. Steve was rather surprised at the effort put into it. I felt I had to put myself in her shoes, worthy or not,  and do for her what I would wish. I have to remind myself that who she is cannot change who I am and how I choose to relate to her.

I know for a fact that some of the parents will not make the trip.
Then we got a surprise call in the evening. The twins' sister's family was driving through town and they were stopping for a burger. We drove to the picnic area and the twins played tag and kick the can with their sister and the other kids. From what I can observe, the need for the sibling connection is strongest in the kids older than the twins. The twins were too young and too medicated to have many memories, though this sister closest in age is the one they can relate to best. (Prescription overmedication to the point of abuse.)

As my friend who adopted from Ethiopia remarked, this adopting from foster care has a whole different and involved element that foreign adoptions don't usually have.

There is also an aunt who communicates with me regularly on FB and wants the twins to call her often (though I only allow it occasionally). There again, it's time and effort and my dime. And how much do the twins gain by that? I haven't really decided.

Project #4 The trailer is FULL of KNAP WEED! Ick. What a job.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cherries in the


Cherries in the evening!

Cherries at supper time!

And this guy has figured out a way to eat them without having to have a pit in his mouth. lol. Can you say sensory issues?

He goes out and picks himself a bowl and then washes them, puts on an apron and gets out the pitter,  so unlike the rest of us who eat our cherries right under the tree.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Boring or Not

I'm almost jealous just sitting here watching tomato plants grow. 
The girls are, all three, encountering new
experiences and having exciting adventures
and it's making life at home look pretty boring especially since the twins have 
left off the drama and are acting quite like you would expect children to. --
Don't get any ideas.
I really do.

Actually, it's not all boring. 
I have had the most amazing answer to prayer
come in the most unexpected manner
and restored to me a gift and faith in people and in friendships.
Would you believe it?
Concern, compassion and community still exist.
I pray that I can follow God's lead to do my part.
The Lord is Good!
I thank Him for His orchestration and 
use of my fellowmen who were willing to obey to accomplish His purpose.
And that's all you get.

So back to the girls.
Christina went on vacation - wait a minute, I thought she already was on vacation-
So, I guess she went on vacation from her vacation to 
on building two churches.
 Confused yet?
Jason and his crew of girls/women + 11 yr old Caleb put up 
two One Day Churches near Matema Beach 
where they were staying in a lovely cottage on Lake Malawi.
My guess is Jason worked triple time to keep everybody doing their part.
(Though, my mom's abilities in the building department are nothing to sneeze at.)
For fun they went swimming after their work.
You can read Jason's version of the story here:

Last night Vanessa found herself in a position to teach little inner city children,
who didn't even know who Jesus was,
all about Him.
She told them the story of the great controversy in the simplest form.
This is her most comfortable element - working with kids.
This she knows and has experience with.
She is learning to give Bible studies and has been chosen to go and be discipled in this work.
  And she's very excited about that. She's not afraid to volunteer, either.
The Bible worker took her and some other young people to go minister to a homeless
couple staying in field yesterday.
This young couple is struggling with drug addiction,
however, they have expressed a desire for something better.
The Bible worker and team brought them blankets and 
encouraged them to come back to church and try Jesus.
Brianna and Natalie are working a country area.
Garhett a wealthy part of the city.
So the experiences differ widely!!
Brianna is working with kids, Natalie giving health talks,
they are singing, 
visiting people in their homes.

Well, guess I'll get back to my "boring" kids :-P

Monday, July 11, 2011

One For You, Dear

When Steve got an iphone a couple months back he started reading my blog,
I'm not sure if I like.
It's really not good for end of the day conversations...
if you know what I mean.

Wife: "You'll never believe what happened today!"
Husband: "Well, I read your post."
Wife: "Oh. 
Never mind then."

End of conversation.

Okay so maybe it's not that bad.
And maybe he's learning a few things about me 
and our day
more than he would otherwise -
me being such a great conversationalist and all.
Like I probably would not have mentioned Missy's dishwashing escapade 
since that's just par for the course...
but he thought that was real cute of her.

I guess I'll let him read if he wants to
just so long as it doesn't come to this:

 The project of the day was tying and pruning the tomatoes.
My hands are permanently stained.
The tomatoes are ripening and we are enjoying the first fruits.

The kiddos and I were out a little late last night and Steve beat us home.
He thoughtfully turned down the sheets of the twins' beds
and it was an utter surprise to the both of them.
Such a little thing, but they noticed and appreciated the gesture.
Missy had something to say about it and Steve and I 
waited and 
waited and 
for her to put her heart into words.
Such a struggle to say something meaningful.
Nearly every emotion crossed her face in the effort.
She can parrot stuff.
She can communicate her desires and use the proper sentences we have taught her.
She certainly can say hasty, impatient things without much trouble!
She can ask questions by the bushel full, too
But when it comes to really saying what's on her heart
the words just don't come.
About broke our hearts to watch her last night. . .
She's come a million miles from saying "Hava hava!' when she wanted something just 16 months ago,
but she's still got such a long ways to go in this expression department.
It's enough to have the speech issues that comes with cleft palate.
May the Lord give us wisdom because I don't know how to help.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

That Child of Mine

cannot, and I mean cannot do a single task without finding some intriguing mischief to get into. She absolutely cannot get a job done without 500 detours along the way. Something that should take her 5 minutes takes her an hour. Something that should take an hour probably would take all day...

Well at least, you say, she's having fun along the way!

Sometimes that is so.

At this very moment, though, tears are making little pathways down her cheeks for instead of washing the three plates and two cups and three spoons in the ten minutes I generously allotted her, in 65 minutes she has scrubbed an avocado pit shiny, put the blender blade -that must not be immersed ever - in the sink of soap sudsy water, used a quarter of a liter of dish soap, soaked her dress, dumped a jar of water over her head, wrapped the kitchen faucet with plastic saran,  found a knife and cut all the watermelon peels into tiny bits, and sliced her finger (teeny-weeny, almost-can't-see-it-kind-of-slicing but drama queen that she is you would think she cut off her finger. There is no blood, so no band-aid. That's the rule or I would have to take out stocks in Johnson and Johnson Band-aide company.) and, *sigh*  the dishes are still not done.


I'm happy.

Very happy to be dealing with NORMAL childish behavior.

Granted, she has an edge on most 7 year olds for childish behavior, but I'll take it over screaming any day and we haven't had that in a week. YAY! I think she is learning. She gets in a twit when she knows she is in trouble, but doesn't lose total self-control and I'm going easy so that she knows that her self-control is more important to me than the issue at hand.

While she hasn't forgotten the minuscule cut  - she really, really wishes it would bleed - the tears are done and she's continuing to find things to do with soapy water and I continue to remind her to get the job done and that we have other things to do besides shrivel our fingers up in the sink.

It's been so different having the twins without the girls home. James is taking responsibility to help me unasked. He has been way less emotional this week and transitioning decently. I have been feeding him fresh ground flax like it's going out of style at every meal and I do seriously see a difference.

The girls are calling two to three times a day. They are so thrilled with what they are learning. It's almost as if they are in two different programs since they are in separate groups, and their experience is completely different. They are slowly getting busier as each day responsibility is added on. They are both inspired by the Bible workers and testimonies and the classes. Vanessa was so pumped last night she couldn't go to sleep. Imagine. Vanessa hyper?  lol They are certainly not starving, the food is fabulous. 

Ate my very first regular tomato from the garden. Yes! The garden beat the greenhouse. How do you like that?!

Project #2 on Friday: My empty chest freezer has been scrubbed clean! We're ready for the produce... bring it on~!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A new Song

Two sections mowed. Critters fed. Garden watered.

Girl fairly warned to make the most of her play time. A moment of peace to soak up. Muscles relax. Mind engages in the world of black print...

MOM! MOM! the stillness is shattered.

I turn to glance.


His face flushed, eyes dancing. You got to hear this!!!

He runs off and returns with historic relic in hand. A cassette player. No matter, he thinks it's a new invention. He presses the button. The song starts up in the middle. MOM! You hear this?  he begins to sing along.

I have decided to follow Jesus no turning back. Though no one join me still I will follow....

I sing with him and marvel at how captivated he is by the song. I suspect through the earnestness of his eyes it's more than the music. He's taken by the message, the commitment to something he only begun to understand.

Mom, you like that song?

Yes, I love that song.

Me, too.

Children of the King. It's an old cassette recorded from an old record in a world of  Cd's and mp3's. Ancient relic indeed. We listened to it yesterday and the day before.. . It's the same music I listened to as a child.

He unplugs the player, I return to my words.

Hey MOM!  He standing beside me a 23rd Psalm picture book in hand. Mom, this book matches the song they are singing, The Lord is My Shepherd.

The music wafts down the stairs... Always, always, I walk with Him always.

And thus went my quiet hour. God is So Good, Praise Ye the Lord, I Am Redeemed -. Each song inspiring him so that he had to share.

I think back to my first memories of these same songs. I was 4. My parents became Christians then. You'd remember when you were 4 if your life had made so great a dramatic change as mine did. I remember sitting in the musty classroom of the basement of the little old church learning these songs and my heart swelling with joy. I loved them. I remember standing on the pew upstairs holding a black hymnal following with my ears, rather than my eyes to the words of the Old Rugged Cross. I can't sing the song without remembering.

It's amazing and a delight to see him soak it up. To know what he is experiencing and the happiness it brings him. It was different for the older girls. They were immersed in the songs before they could remember. They were born musicians, the lyrics a part of who they are. It means the world to them but it was never new; never some astonishing revelation.

I love to hear him sing in his off-key way, and I pray the sacred words will always kindle within his heart praise to the One who gave him the joy.

He hath put a new song in my mouth, 
even praise unto our God. 
Psalm. 40:3 

It's Friday

The girls are settling in and running into old acquaintances and making new friends. They are quite happy there is an exercise track in the trees and they have been using it. Brianna is a bit worried about the late nights... Steve says it will do her some good to experience a little variance to her routine and comfort.  It's the nature of evangelistic work to be late in the evening and the drive is considerable.Vanessa calls me multiple times a day with every exciting detail - as usual. Bri finally called last night. She doesn't like using the phone and sometimes I wonder why we got her a cell. Vanessa's all excited and Brianna is tentative. They get their assignments today.

Missy is gearing up for a blow out. I felt it yesterday all afternoon. She was needling. Repeating of obvious questions, pushing the limits, being extra slow and dilatory, bossing me around.It's not blatant just an undercurrent. She held it together when she was put in time out because she wanted to go swimming and because she knew Joyanna was coming to ride bikes. This morning she came out happy and at my first request she balked. I returned her to her room and I am not sure I want to bring her back out. When is the explosion coming? Last night I think that I stalled it by jumping the gun on her and telling her to go ahead and scream but it would make no difference.She ended up crying real tears of disappointment because she missed the bedtime story playing around instead of getting ready for bed. When she realized I was finished reading to James she was quite sorry.

Jared and Joyanna came over to bike ride. Neither is used to gravel road or riding on such a hill. Jared and James were flying down the hill side by side when Jared lost control and had a major wipe out on the corner.  He might have had better success on his own bike.Anyway,  mango coconut ice cream bars all around seemed to ease the pain quite a bit.

I'm looking forward to Steve arriving home tonight. He and Rhett stayed with good friends last night so they are half way home. I'm feeling slow and dilatory myself this morning. Gotta get a move on.There are ducks and geese and rabbits to feed and dog and cats and gardens to water, lawns to mow and cucumbers to pick....

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The twins are fighting.

over which chair they get to sit in
over who gets to open the vitamin bottle
over who gets to choose the story
over who holds certain items
over chores

This is unusual.
But then, I wonder if they never had an opportunity to fight much when the girls are home because there's always someone around to monitor things. I can't exactly be in every room all at once. I'm sort of letting things play out a bit to see if they can resolve issues on their own. It hasn't gotten too crazy yet, but we'll see.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Project #1

It's 10 PM and I'm finally sitting down.

The kids and I worked hard today. We worked together. I had them clean the entry way closet and before you know it I was painting the inside. It's like new and you wouldn't believe the stuff we found in there. Even some stuff that isn't ours.
James took a few pictures of me painting
ah, yeah, he might take a few lessons from Bri sometime.
They aren't the most flattering pictures.

Clean and simple.

Delores took the twins swimming with her two and that gave me a couple hours of uninterrupted work time.
I watered gardens,
mowed 2 sections (out of 7 not counting the pasture)
caught up on all the washing and folding, 
attacked the ant problem in the kitchen,
cleaned out the entry way bench,
and prepared food.
And now the animals are all fed and watered and put to bed.
The dishes are all done.
The crock pot is full.
The kids are asleep
and I think I've done all I can do for one day.

The van load of travelers arrived safe and sound.
I think they are in for a really good experience. I'm looking forward to hearing of their adventures.

They're Gone

Steve and the girls left this morning at 3:15 or so. The house is dark and quiet and kind of lonely. It's going to be interesting to see how the twins react to this new arrangement.

 I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of all the gardens, animals, house, mowing, weed wacking, etc.. that is pretty much up to me, myself and I for the next 4 weeks.Steve will be home a little, but he plans to work overtime when he can. There will be less laundry and fewer dishes, but I'm not sure if that's enough to tip the scale in my favor. No one knows just what hard workers my girls are. It takes all of us to keep the place going.

I'm changing up the routine and will hopefully get a plan going that works.

Missy has been settled and pretty easy going. I have seen less control tactics in the last few weeks than usual though we have an explosive tantrum every few days. I had warned her before going out on the 4th that she was to stay fairly close to me, that she would be in my boat, etc... I know this sounds awful, but I told her she couldn't be huggie, huggie and holding hands, and hanging off the other ladies' necks. Two times on the outing she squirmed her little hand into someone else's hand, remembered, looked at me and came over and grabbed my hand. There's a fine line between a child's normal friendliness that includes touch and closeness and that of  inappropriate attention seeking. Even when she was holding the other gals' hands I sensed that she was not crossing the line, but she and I were able to communicate with our eyes and she did not shut me off. I feel this is huge progress.

Okay, off to see if I can catch a wink or two before the day starts in earnest. Yikes!! Gonna need all the energy I can scarf up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 4th Of July!

We celebrated the American way :-) We went all out - minus Dad and the fireworks. It was Dad's turn to work the holidays at the hospital. As for the fireworks, I had planned on taking the kids. I even told them so a week ago, but then we were invited to share the day canoeing and picnicking and all that fun stuff and by the time we got home, while they were still talking about the fireworks, they were not the least unwilling to go to sleep. Usually there are some fireworks in our valley and we usually watch from the porch so I told the kids they could wake up to see them... They went to bed promising to wake us up!! LOL. I had every intention of waking them up - but either there were none, or every single person in the house slept through them. There's a lot of kidding with the twins this morning about them NOT waking us up and us missing the whole show which I'm seriously certain did not happen.

This first photo is a fluke as I am sure I don't know how to take such a picture.
Pretty, eh?

So peaceful. 
James between Tom and Elaine, Brianna at the head of Anderson's canoe, Missy between Vanessa and I.
As a word of explanation:
*yes, I bought matching T-shirts of the occasion. Couldn't pass up the $5 each and every 3rd shirt free. it makes for better coordinated pictures, I'll have you know!
* My potato salad WAS blue because the potatoes I grew are blue not because I cooked them in dye or anything as Steve thought.
* James actually can skip rocks. Missy is likely to "knock some sense into you" with her rocks.
* The crazier the better for Missy - calm and peaceful is her brother's style. Yes, Bri was teaching her how to stand up and paddle a canoe - her twin prefers everybody to sit down.
* James is not ashamed to save his head with mom's sweater when he forgets his hat.
* It's a good thing we weren't gathering armloads of them. Apparently it's not okay to pick the water lilies.Or, so we found out.
* I had my resident artist brained photographer along, hence the random pics of hands and shirts.

that wasn't the end of our day.
Mr. Tom offered to teach James how to drive his go-cart!

 so very exciting!!
 Watch out Joe, off I go!!

My lands, this takes so much concentration. . . and when you have half second-delayed response to everything it makes for an interesting ride :-P
Lesson learned. Accept a little help from big sister . .
It's still fun.

The face says it all!

Ya'll can see why we didn't need fireworks.

Tomorrow my big girls leave for California
and we're gonna miss them!
It's now a big count down to picking them and Christina up in August.