Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

As chronicled by Abby five minutes ago my notes in red:

Mom--to go to bed earlier
Dad--pay off a bunch of bills
K-- not available for comment
Abby--be able to do the splits
Ian--Do a back hand-spring "I'm already talented in many ways, and soon I will be able to do back hand-springs." Well, nothing wrong with that child's self-esteem. May have to work on humility...
Marina--Be able to do cartwheels
Randy--Ride my bike without training wheels, and do tricks on my skateboard.
Cara--to get on the potty by myself. Ahem, I think the big sisters regularly sent to do this chore may have prompted her "resolution."

And since I'd like to get going on my resolution....Goodnight!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Night Nothing

I'm making a new year's resolution to blog more, so I better get a running start. Christmas was great. My dad said it was a good thing we are all so poor. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had room in the house for the gifts. It's true. It took well over three hours to open presents on Christmas morning. Even when we feel we are stretched to the absolute end, we still have so much.
The master, Abby, and Cara are on their way back from Houston. Master had his prosthetic greased and oiled and Cara had her three month check-up. She's doing great! She is 25% in height and 50% in weight. That's her round little belly. I could just eat it up! Abby went along as bathroom escort and official keep-Daddy-from-dozing-off side-kick.
Since the master was on his way south long before dawn, I had to open the daycare at 5:30. Then, I spent the better part of the day entering tax information for my daycare parents. I hate paperwork. Hence, I have a terrible headache.
Randy is tracking ants (Will we never be rid of them??!!)
Ian read me a bedtime story.
Marina is tucked in tight.
K is taking a shower.
Goodnight all!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope yours was as blessed as mine. I'm stuffed and feeling drowsy and the master needs the computer to download IWorship for tomorrow's service, so I will have to give you a longer post later.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Talked yesterday with S________ about how birthmother's visit was going. She said it was going good--that they were able to talk through things, and make peace with the past. Then she said, "I've decided that she is my sister. Because Mom is my mom, and nothing is going to change that, and Mom is her mom, too. So that is what she is going to be. My sister."
How wonderful that she came to that conclusion on her own. I see now how wise M____ (adoptive mom) was to allow her freedom to choose what role her birthmother would play.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Picture Potpourri

We began the season with Thanksgiving in Illinois. Remember two years ago, when I posted that Grandma Z would not be with us much longer? Well, I've never been happier to report that I was wrong. We had a great time, love our extended family there, and wish Texas and Illinois were closer.

As soon as we returned, we visited the tree farm and took the lovely pictures you see in my header. After finding the most beautiful tree there to be our very own, we visited the master's uncle, where Aunt Myrna treated the kids to their first Christmas goodies of the season, and snapped many photos.

We almost forgot about the Christmas parade that Abby's dance school marched in. Luckily, one of our dads at the daycare made a comment about going to the Christmas parade in town, or we would have missed it.

Cara at the Christmas parade. I love this picture.

And speaking of Cara, lookie what we can do now. BRAIDS!! So adorable. It makes it hard to decide whether to trim it again into the precious "Dora" cut, or let it grow so we can do more styles. This picture was taken right before we went to Grandma's birthday party. Her shirt has Christmas cookies and gumdrops and reads, "Sweet as Grandma's lovin'"

We revived an old family tradition and made the Nachitoches Christmas Lights Festival for the first time in five or six years. Mom, Dad, sisters, and 12 children on a riverbank for ten hours and we still enjoyed our day. Pretty amazing. And, as is obvious from K's expression, the fireworks were AWESOME!

That brings us up to the first weekend in December. What a crazy time of year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Truth Hurts-Episode ?

We have a young lady in our church who also happens to be our neighbor. She is a fun girl who does quite a bit with our family--I think I've had her pic on the blog before. She came over tonight to stay with the kids while we did a funeral visitation. Tomorrow is a big day for her. She will see her birthmother for the first time since she was eight years old. She only saw her sporadically from the age of four until then. Her and her brother's young life with their birthmom was neglectful and traumatic. They were subsequently raised and, a few years ago, officially adopted by their maternal grandmother. She told the master she was nervous about the meeting--particularly over not being sure about what to call her.

The master: Well, did you talk with your mom about that?
S: We talked about maybe calling her Aunt _________, but that's weird 'cause she's not my aunt. Then my mom said I should just call her what feels natural.
The master: What feels natural?
S: Mom

After she left, the master wondered if that had hurt M_____ to hear S ______ say that. I didn't think so. S_______ calls me mom all the time, and I've heard her use that name with several other women in the church. I've never been comfortable with it, knowing what I do about attachment, but hadn't the heart to ask her to stop. Especially since she would view it as a rejection. At any rate, the "mommy shopping" behaviors, don't seem to bother M__________, so I doubted she would be overly hurt by the comment. But I knew I would if my child said that to me. It would cut me to the quick. I secretly even hope that my kids will not grow up and call their mother-in-laws 'mom.' I grabbed the first child that came into arms reach--Marina--in a bear hug and half-jokingly cried, "But don't ever let me catch one of you calling someone else 'mom' You hear me? I'm your one and only." I wasn't thinking about Marina being adopted. I would have said the same thing to any of them. But she looked up and said, "Well, there is my birthmother."

Me: Thinking, well, duh, Jessica. But you know sometimes I really do forget. Yes, but you don't have to worry about what to call her. She is your 'birthmother.' only term we have used, with the exception of telling her that she does have her birthmother's name.
Marina: But what will I call her when we go to Russia and I meet her? this blew me away because Marina came up with this idea on her own and remains smiling and relaxed in my arms. She does not seem threatened at all. Up until recently, we couldn't mention the possibility of traveling to Russia without a complete shut down.
Me: Please don't think I am cruel for my next words. I have to tell her the truth as hard as it is. Marina, remember? Your birthmother was very, very sick. The kind of sickness doctors don't know how to make better. She most likely did not live much longer.
Marina: Is that why I was left at the orphanage? I am totally amazed at this point because this is the first time ever that she has seemed to grasp that
1). The orphanage was a place she lived in--as opposed to a lousy daycare where she spent an unpleasant visit and
And still she is relaxed and making eye contact.
Me: Yes, she was too sick to take care of a baby--any baby. Even one as beautiful and wonderful as you. Picking her up and smothering her face and neck with kisses.

She lets a giggle escape and skips off. I watch her go, thinking that this has been the least painful of our adoption talks. Then I look at the master and his eyes are filled with tears.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Wrapping Skin

Love this time of year. And love the fact I got a new blog skin up before it passed me by.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For the Record

I am not Super Woman. Today, I'm not even Mediocre Woman. I'm tired and whiney and heartsick and small. Today, all the little thanksgiving clips on facebook make me sick. Today, my children are the worst behaved kids I know. My husband is the most unsympathetic. Today, my employees were mouthy. My students were inattentive and loud. Because I was in a hurry, I got caught by every red light and the train. My dachshund won't poop outside. Today the new foster child in my daycare came with no shoes, but plenty of lice, and a raw, painful diaper rash, and I am mad as hell that she has been treated this way and frustrated at how little I can do to help. Today was my payday, but I didn't get paid--again.
And tomorrow I will feel ashamed for my crappy attitude about it all. But not today. Today I am going to bed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life Lesson

Abby got a rabbit for her ninth birthday. We discovered that rabbits do not make very good pets. Even though Abby made every effort to befriend the recalcitrant bunny, she would not return affection, but scratched and clawed (as rabbits are want to do) at each overture of affection. After a few weeks, Abby stopped trying. Then in another few weeks, she all but forgot the animal. We were constantly reminding her to feed and water the rabbit. I began to tend it myself, when I would think of it, and I was forever finding its bowl empty and the water tower dry. We've scolded and nagged and warned Abby that if she didn't take care of Lollipop it would die. And on Monday it happened. Marina noticed the rabbit "sleeping" in its hutch as they walked by after school. Probably a combination of cooler nights and irregular, inadequate nutrition were to blame. There was no sign of predator attack or sickness.
Abby was more upset than I have ever seen her. She was simply devastated. When I asked her if she was sad because her rabbit was dead or if she was upset because she was partly responsible for its death, she sobbed, "Because I killed her." The next morning I found this note. And for the record, I did not read my daughter's diary. She put it on top of a stack of her art work in plain view. I also checked with her about re-posting it on my blog.
I give you permission to smile or even chuckle at this note. I did. I couldn't help myself. I'm sure--many years from now--Abby will be able to see the humorous side to this tragedy, too.
I truly regret that Lollipop died, and any time your child hurts like that, you hurt as well, but I'm glad Abby is learning this hard lesson now--at the age of nine with a pet rabbit--as opposed to later, when human lives and relationships are depending on her. When you don't take care of your responsibilities, others suffer.

Because of Me

Because of me a poor rabbit is dead. I am the one to blame. Everyday I should have fed it and petted it for at least 30 minutes. But I didn't. So now in a rabbit cage there lays a stiff as stone rabbit, eyes closed and not breathing. I disspear (she means despair) greatly. I will not get another pet until I'm grown. Some people don't know how bad it feels when you cause a heart to stop beating. Right now my hand and the ground around me is splashed with my tears. I'm afraid the more I write, the more guilt I feel. So, I'm gong to stop now. But remember, take care of your pet, because I didn't, and she died.

Because of me, Lollipop is dead.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sleeping Beauties

Fast asleep in her big girl bed. She threw her hand over her eyes when I flipped the light on. I gently moved it out of the way so you could see a little more of her cuteness. Sundays are still rough on her.
Here are my two squirrels. They have bunk beds, but always sleep curled up together in a nest of many sheets and blankets. Unlike Cara, they did not flinch when the light came on.

Marina went to sleep in her church clothes and silly bands. Silly girl. She tends to pull the fitted sheet off in her sleep that is why you can see the mattress peaking through.

Princess Abby sleeps with no less than seven pillows to buffer her slumber. She is going to "die" of embarrassment when she finds out I posted a picture of her sleeping. He. He. He.

This big kid sleeps hard. Just like his daddy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Nine

1. What do you see when you are watching the wheels go round?
Does this question have a hidden meaning of which I am not aware? Because I'm not getting it.
2. Do you watch reality shows? Which ones?
I don't have television, but if I did, I would enjoy watching "Baby Story" and "Adoption Story." I'm not even sure TLC still produces those, but I liked them. And the few times I've watched the show with the Duggar's, I liked it. Though it drives me nuts that people are constantly asking me if Iwatch that show when they find out I have six kids. O.K., people, 6 is a few children short of 19. Just so you know. The other thing that rubs me the wrong way on that show is that, she says, during the opening credits, "And, yes, I gave birth to all of them." As though adoption would somehow diminish or illigitimize the marvel of successfully parenting nineteen children???!!!
3. What's your favorite all time reality show?
See question 2.
4. Do you feel "reality" shows are real or are they faked?
Some are definitely faked.
5. What does your personal neon sign say to the world?
There was a neon sign up in the Mexican food restaurant tonight, "Todo por una Bud-Light" Meaning, "Everyone wants one," but literally translates into English as "All for one, Bud Light." Which made me think of the three Musketeer's slogan: "All for one, and one all." I would love for my neon sign to read, "All for One-Jesus Christ." Sad that so often it blinks other, less attractive messages.
6. Ever seen a neon sign with certain letters burned out so that it said something unintended?
Not that I recall.
7. What gives you a headache? Could be a scent, a sound, someone's actions - anything.
Cigarette smoke, lack of sleep, hormonal changes.
8. What song, artist or album in your music collection would you pull out and play if you wanted to give your roommate/neighbors a huge, head-splitting headache?
I bought this CD for Abby on her first birthday. You know, one of those CD's where they sing her name in all the songs? It is extremely annoying, corny, awful. We only play it ONCE a year.
9. What do you do to relieve stress?
I sew or scrapbook. Or blog....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Catch Up

Decided to play a little family catch-up. When we fall behind at the daycare with the week's plans, I say, "Ooooh, we are going to have to play catch-up." Only, the kids all think I'm saying 'ketchup,' but they've learned that playing 'ketchup' means we are going to hurry, hurry, hurry and get a lot done.

The master--Well, the master is continuing to settle into life as a bi-vocational pastor. He's been working for two months, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, in a friend's vending machine business (a job he knows all to well) and Wednesday and Friday at the office. But that really wasn't working for our family and it doesn't pay squat. When we figured out that we pay our employees at the daycare better, we decided to make a switch. Starting next week, he will work mornings 8-12 in the church office and the afternoons at S*nnyside. He is also looking at returning to seminary in the spring, changing his masters to Children's Education as opposed to Divinity. Makes sense with us running a daycare and all.

K--Still basking in the glow of last week's trip to Washington DC. He attended a week long leadership conference, flying up there and back on his own. Big steps for my big boy. He came back to the love of his life--football. His team is undefeated and headed to the playoffs. We are considering--for the first time ever--moving him up in grades. He is not impressed at all with middle school and he is way beyond the subject matter. Basically, he spends his time tutoring other children.

Abby--Went back to ballet this fall after a year and a half absence. It seems to be kinda a snooty studio, but it is the only one around that teaches classic ballet as opposed to jazz and contemporary. I know if we stick with it, we will eventually be accepted as "in," but it sure does chaff to pay good money and be given the cold shoulder.

Ian--Did I tell you Ian accepted Christ last month? Well, if I didn't he did! Just before his eighth birthday. I remember because he was baptised on his birthday. Both Ian and Marina started gymnastics, and Ian was moved up to the advanced class after the first lesson.

Marina--It is the change of the seasons so not really fun times with Marina at present. She never does well with the clothing problems that arrive with the cooler temperatures (and again with the warmer temperatures in the spring). I keep hoping she will grow out of it, but days like today I envision her at sixteen still unable to deduct that 45 degree temperatures warrant more than a tank top and sandals--and then dissolving into total melt down when I demand she make a different wardrobe choice.

Randy--Living life large. Four is such a cute age. It's also the age for information. You can really tell that he is sorting out how the world works--from why we have special clothes for church to how to make an apple pie--topics we've covered today alone.

Cara--About to be featured in her very first modeling job! A bill-board for an up and coming daycare in town ;0) See her cover-girl shot below. She is talking non-stop now and even sings her A-B-C's. She loves to start singing--ABC's, Wheels on the Bus, Six Little Ducks, etc.--when we are out in public. Of course, people are very impressed with a child as small as she knowing her alphabet (Which she doesn't. She just memorized the song), and she loves to soak up the attention. Funny, but she is the only one of my children to really "perform" for strangers. I remember C.C. saying that in school she always sang in the choir and had a nice alto voice, so I wonder if she gets her enthusiasm from song from her.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We All Fall Down

Being in a large family may mean that you have to wear hand-me-downs. You may have to share a room, a bath; well, there may not be many things in life you don't have to share--at least from time to time.
Your piece of pie may be a mite on the smallish side. On occasion your mother may call you by three or four names before arriving at the right one. Strangers may look at you funny and ask crazy questions. But by golly, you're never at a loss when a rousing game of "Ring Around the Rosy" strikes your fancy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Human Growth and Development

Found a humorous tidbit of literature as I took my powder room break a few minutes ago. My kids are as avid authors as they are readers, and there is no telling where you will find the latest volume. Apparently, inspiration hit Abby as she sat on the toilette. This piece was actually missing a title, so I have done the honors, but everything else is exactly as she wrote it. You are missing out on the illustrations, which is really a shame, but perhaps it will be good for a few smiles.

You start out as a little baby (Crying baby, bottle, and paci at bottom of page)

Then you turn into a wobbling toddler (slightly larger stick figure with the words "Ma-ma." Da-da written above.)

And before you know it, your a preschooler, and then starting school. (Little girl with backpack)

As you age, you become more advanced, with new abilities and responses. (boy playing basketball.)

And then it seems in no time at all, you're a teen. Thinking you're smarter than your parents. Having a girlfriend and learning to text. That's what's gonna happen next. (Shows made up face of girl)

Time flies. You're now grown-up. Stressing with bills. Worrying about your children. Working a job, having troubles. Yep you're an adult. (Shows financial tally sheet, a family of stick figures, a stick figure pushing a grocery cart. Side note--makes me a little sad that the adult portion is portrayed as such a drag.)

Then your children move out, and you think you are free. Now you are old you see! (shows man and woman using walker and cane moving toward a sign that reads 'Nursing Home')

Your life has flown by. From young baby to old person--what a life!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Evening at My House--Take two

Abby wants you to note that she got her long hair cut yesterday. And that she wishes you "peace." Must be a fourth grade thing.
Marina is just back from her Thursday evening visit with Mr. Mark (counselor). Not really sure how much headway we've made--they play cards and CandyLand--but we only have a five dollar copay and she loves the undivided attention. Because of the visits, she misses her afternoon nap--hence the circles under her eyes.

Silly, silly girl here. Said, "Take my picture, Mommy!" Then, "Cheese!" and finally, "Let me see." So, when did she learn to talk?

Randy found this sweatshirt yesterday and has been completely undeterred from its use despite temperatures in the mid 90's.
K was disappointed in today's student council elections. He had thought he was a shoe-in but lost by sixteen points. "Mom. There are only 19 kids in my class." Apparently, his opponent brought candy. In the middle school classroom, candy talks. But his spirits were cheered by fashioning an enormous pipe from foil. (Should I be concerned????)

Ian showing off his new "pet" newt. He discovered it in his room this afternoon. We will be releasing him in the wild soon (as in after dinner).

I realize I did this a few weeks ago, but it is the best way I know for jumping back into my blog after being gone a while. Plus, I figure when I am bent and grey, these are the post I will cherish the most.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

Children went back to school today. It was a big relief for general daycare operations and my own children were eager to get in the swing of things. Don't ask me why they are leaning in this photo. I was already at the daycare when the official "back-to-school" pictures were shot. No new children starting school this year. Randy would be old enough to attend the district's half-day pre-k, but since I assure the parents that my center will have their children "kindergarten ready," I figure sending my own child off would not be good advertisement for my business.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Nine

Saturday 9: Welcome Back
1. Where were you the last time that someone welcomed you back?
In my front yard. No, wait, that's not right. I went to a teacher conference last week, and when I went back into the daycare that afternoon, I was welcomed back by MANY small people.

2. Tell us who is you favorite non-family member to hang out with?
Gosh, that is a tough one. Can't say for sure about one particular person, it varies so widely depending on my mood and the circumstances, but I was thinking the other day, how I would love to slip back in time to college and spend a few days lounging on the beds in the dorm rooms of Merle Bruce, brushing each others' hair, talking and laughing...those were some good times.

3. What was the last thing that happened to anger you?
See prior two posts.

4. What was the last thing that you saw that was shocking to see?
Usually it is something I hear about that shocks me. Not something I see. I guess the last thing I first-person saw that truly shocked me was meeting Cara's birth mother two years ago. What drugs and degredation had done to the body, mind, and spirit of what had been a beautiful young woman was so disturbing, I still wake in the night and cry over that memory.

5. What is your favorite thing to do on Saturday besides Saturday 9?
Sleep in.

6. Have you had your summer vacation yet? If yes tell us about it.
Besides weekend getaways to the lake house, we haven't had a vacation this year.

7. Pick out one of your cousins and tell us about them.
My cousin Karen is five years older than me. She and her sister inherited all the beautiful Native American features--high cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, and jet black hair. (My sisters and I got the shaft.) She is HILARIOUS. She just had her first baby in April. It's been fun read her new mommy posts on facebook, because I always looked up to her as a kid and now I think, "Oh, yeah, been there. Done that."

8. Do you have any special plans for next week?
Kids go back to school.

9. At what age will you consider yourself old and why?
I think 72. Not sure why that number just popped into my head.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The master is still employed at the church with an 83% vote. I would say something regarding the other 17%, but my husband thinks that I shouldn't and he is reading over my shoulder. Suffice to say, I hope they will be very happy wherever they end up.
Thank you all for your prayers. There was no visible ugly last night.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Prayers Requested

I haven't posted (much) about the L-O-N-G drama of church, but since sometime before Easter, we have not had an easy time of it. That is putting it far too mildly, but I digress...
What it has boiled down ('up?' because I've no doubt that the fires of hell itself has fueled it) to is a vote of no confidence in the master tomorrow night. He has the support of a majority of the church--if it had been otherwise, he would have resigned months ago--but, according to the by-laws of the congregation, the vote must be carried by 75%. That is a rather high percentage, and we know that the people who are opposing him have been on a phone campaign and will undoubtedly bring as many members as they can dig up to the vote tomorrow night.
Side note: Can we get any more childish? Are we really going to drag His name through the mud before a lost and dying world? Really? How did we come to this?
At this point, I don't know how to pray for this situation. If the minority succeeds in running the master off, it will surely kill the church. The majority who love and support him are also--coincidentally--the ones who actually do the work of ministry. Many will leave if he is forced out. But he has been hurt very badly by these people. It's been ugly. That's the only word for it. Ugly. A 'no' vote would be almost like a release from prison. Permission to shake the dust off our feet and move on.
So just pray for God's will to be done. And especially pray for no more ugly. O.K.?

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalms 90:17 emphasis added

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Big Girl Bed

Yes, she was using the potty and speaking in full sentences, but still slept in a crib. No longer. We dug out the old toddler bed today, slapped on a new paint job (it was looking sad and pitiful after Marina, Randy, and two moves), and gave Cara her final "your not a baby any more" promotion. As you can tell she is pretty darn excited about it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday Nine

1. When was the last time you were told to go your own way?

Don't know that I've ever been encouraged to go my own way. I've gone my own way too many times, and the end thereof is pain and destruction.

2. What one experience has strengthened your character the most so far?

O.K., aside from meeting and falling in love with Jesus, I don't think I could pick just one. Here are just a few life experiences that come quickly to mind: as a child watching my grandmother decline with Alzheimer's and my mother take care of her, participating in missions as a teenager--culminating in a summer spent in California, having secret sin publicly exposed and being restored, becoming a mother, adopting my daughters, losing our house in a hurricane, my husband losing his leg...

3. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

4. How long can you go without your cell phone?


5. Do you wish you were somewhere else right now?

No. We had a nice little mini-trip to Dallas this weekend for a pastor/pastor's wives retreat, and I'm enjoying being home.

6. Of all the people you've ever known, who have you most feared?

My mother. She's going to be really ticked when she reads that, but it's true. Perhaps 'fear' isn't the correct term....'healthy respect'?...Nah, going to have to keep 'fear.' Sorry, Mom.

7. Do people tell you that you look your age?

Wouldn't that be a horrible thing to tell someone? "Girl, you are looking your age--and then some."
When people find out that I have so many children, they will often say, "You don't look old enough to have that many kids!" I used to find that pretty irritating, but the older I get, the more complimentary it seems.

8. Your ex shows up randomly at your house, what do you say?

Don't have one.

9. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

I don't believe we deserve a first chance, but praise God, He doesn't give us what we deserve.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Evening in Pictures

Here is the cute diaper-less (going on three weeks!!) girl who likes to run around my house in her pj's.
Two adorable rogues who play in the woods behind my house until they are called in for dinner...

The two lovely young ladies who cheese for the camera whenever the opportunity arises...

The handsome hunk who will soon delight his family with a delicous supper from his new Father Day grill...

The studious lad who sneaks off to the couch with a good book (Sherlock Holmes is the latest)when he can...

And the gorgeous bouquet he picked for me after a long morning of work in the pea fields.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wall*Mart Wake Up Call

So we went to the lake for the holiday, and I decided that the children and I would attend services in the tiny Louisiana town that sits some 15 miles away (incidentally, the same town my Daddy grew up in). The kids are just not worth living with if you do not take them to church. They will sermonize you to death.
"Isn't this Sunday? The Lord's Day?" confused and perplexed
"We aren't going to church?!" aghast
"But I want to go to Sunday School and learn about Jesus!" pleading
What is a mom to do? The good little Baptists had all packed their Sunday clothes, but their mother--the reprobate--had not. I decided I would whip into the old fashioned Wally-world (I bet you didn't even know they still existed) and grab a dress. They did not have any dresses in the ladies department except three marked down on the "plus" size wrack. I looked at the purple glorified moo-moo and shook my head. Certain that the thing would simply swallow me, I grabbed a belt and went to try it on.
I was shocked to find that it didn't swallow me. It did not need a belt. Besides being a little roomy in the bust, It looked like it was made for me. I cried.
I quit my aerobics class months ago--it wasn't feasible with the daycare schedule. And meals had become a matter of catching what I could when I could. Most often that meant high-carb, high fat. In the evenings we were eating out alot. And my daily coca-cola (or two) quickly became my lifesaver and an evening snow-cone run an addiction. Hey, I was working hard, so I deserved it, right?
Notice the use of the past tense? Yes, friends, the master and I and our two oldest children are on a quest to eat right and exercise. Our goal is a BMI in the healthy range (since the master, K and I are considered "obese"--Abby is only "overweight"). For me, that means 30 pounds. Yikes!!! That seems like a huge number. But I can't do plus sizes. They are so NOT "Just My Size"

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Second Time is the Killer

Coming out of Johnny C*rino's tonight, it began to shower. We turned around to watch the rainbow appear against the purple clouds of dusk. The kids were exclaiming over the beauty when K began to preach...
K: Every rainbow is a sign of God's promise...
Abby: Yes, that He will never again flood the earth with water.
The master: No. Not with water. The next time He will destroy it with fire.
Ian: Oh, snap.

Maybe you would have to know my middle son to truly appreciate the humor of his comment, but trust me, it was hilarious!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In Celebration of Ignorance

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to my daddy and my husband. Running a daycare is a learning experience. But not everything I'm learning is new. Rather, it is being intimately involved with so many families--learning who they are, how they work, what they struggle with--that is confirming ideas and concepts I've always believed in theory. One of those cliches I'm discovering is actually an irrefutable law: Children need a father.
So, I want to thank my daddy for giving me a childhood where that maxim of truth was irrelevant to me. For allowing me the immeasurable gift of ignorance and innocence. By committing to my mother. By providing for our family. By loving me lavishly and unconditionally--and telling me so. By taking us to the Lord's house and in turn, giving Him the place of honor in our home.
Do you have any idea how rare that is?
I am most blessed among children.
And to my husband, thank you for continuing this legacy of unenlightenment. That even though our children--with tender hearts--grieve for their friends and companions when they talk of "divorce," "custody agreements," and "court ordered visits" (and yes, little children know and use these words), it is sorrow mixed with bewilderment. They have no personal experience on which to understand these things. Pray God they never do. Even from the beginning--when you could have so easily walked away--you've stuck by me and been my true helpmate in loving and raising these children.
Do you have any idea how rare that is?
I am most blessed among mothers.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cara's Two

Celebrating Cara's two year old birthday today. I took her out this morning and she and I got our hair cut. It was her first cut and turned out absolutely precious. The stylist called it a Dora cut, and I think she does resemble Dora now more than ever. She screamed like a banshee when we first sat down, which I figured she would and was why I put it off as long as I could. But then another stylist fished out a sucker for her and she was fine after that. Now why--after six children and running my own daycare--didn't I think of that?

When we were done at the salon we went on into J.C. P*nney and picked her out a new swim suit for her splash party. She really does not like the water, but we rented a water slide. What else can you do with a late June party in Texas? The nephews and nieces loved it, and finally--after all the party guests departed--she decided to go up with me. And then she did not want to stop.

She was cute opening her presents this year. Saying, "Oooooh," "wow!," "neat" as she unwrapped the presents. She could even label a few of them, "Shoes!" "Duck...Quack" and "phone." She got her first big girl panties and wanted to put them on right after the party. Hopefully, this bodes well for completion of the potty-training process.
I love this little girl so much. Here is to a healthy, happy second year baby girl.

Monday, June 14, 2010


A word about the new blog skin. The art work is an original Abby with the words "Eight Hearts" added with permission by yours truly. Yes, I know the Bible verse has a typo. I've gone back to scrapblog three times to try and fix it but it will not save the corrected version. Let this be a lesson to us all, proof read before you export.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Nine

1. Have you had to say goodbye to a good friend or lover because they were moving?

My, my, my. I really like Saturday Nine posts, but sometimes the questions just make me blush. You can certainly tell they were not authored by a little ol' fashioned backwoods Baptist girl. Ahem. My freshman year in highschool a close friend of mine moved away and I was devastated. Her father was a minister and he took a new church in another part of the state. Ironically, I remember thinking how I could never do that to my children. Hmmm...
And as for the other, I've only had one, and whither he goest, I shall go.

2. Have you ever wanted to use personal information about someone to sort of "blackmail" them? If yes, tell us about it.

As a young child, I did this routinely with my little sister. But I find even the thought of it detestable now.

3. What two things influenced the choice of your present job or to stay at home?

Opportunity and spouse's encouragement (insistence?)
4. Do you like warm weather? How warm does it get where you live? What is the best way to spend a hot, summer day?

I don't like to sweat, but I like a great many of the activities that come with warm weather. It gets HOT here. 95 today with a heat index of over 100, and the weather man was telling us to enjoy our "break" in the heat. The best way to spend a hot summer day is at the lake.

5. What do you find "hot" in a man/woman? What is the first thing you notice about someone who is hot? Do you ever think of yourself as hot?

Awww, shucks, I'm blushing again. If we can steer clear of the term "hot" I think I can answer this question. First thing I notice is eyes and smile and I've always been partial to short stocky build. Give me a man with some meat on him. I do occasionally think of myself as attractive--following a trip to the salon, a new outfit, a flattering photograph--but have not thought of myself as the other word since my go-go boots and Lycra days.

6. Are you quick to anger? How do you react when you are angry or frustrated? What do you do to cool down?

Yes. If I am really truly angry, I will cry. Is that crazy or what? And I usually recite scripture to cool down. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry"....sing with me...
7. In your family, who is the least like the rest of you?

In the family I grew up in, it would be my older sister. She always did see things differently. But she is more like us now than she was growing up.

8. What are a few great books that you've taken along to the beach or on vacation in years past? If you aren't a big reader, what do you do to while away the lazy hours?

I always take a few good Christian historical romance and something aimed at improving my life or the effectiveness thereof when on vacation. I wouldn't say the Christian romances are great works of literature, but when you are on vacation, you deserve a little mind candy. I took a novel by Traci Paterson on this last trip and a book entitled--please don't laugh-- "You Can Double Your Class in Two Years."

9. Do you like going outside during a thunderstorm and watching the lightening?


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pride Goes Before

The older four children were on a trip to a nearby waterpark today. It was their reward for participation in Sunday night children's ministry. I sent them off--declining to serve as chaperon--confident that our children would behave, regardless of our presence (though I did admonish K to stick close to Marina).
I guess you know where this is going, huh?
Who threw a fit when the adult in charge told them to put on a life jacket? Who told the adult that they didn't want to wear a life jacket? (AS IF in their whole entire life they have been allowed the luxury of desires and preferences??!!) Who sobbed and pouted and fussed until we were called? Surely not. Surely not my children.
Ian and Marina
Who dropped what she was doing and made the hour long drive to pick up their sorry--and about to become infinitely more sorry--little tooshies?
Sometimes I need a little hole to crawl into.....and if one of you could be so kind as to throw the dirt in on top of me?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...

It's been a rough day for my vanity. Tonight, as we were sitting at the ball field, the master asked, "Do you know Cara is spitting ice in your lap?" To which I replied,"Yes." He continued, "Well, aren't you going to stop her? She's making it look like you wet yourself."
"So far today I've been asked, 'Mrs. Jessica, why do you have a mustache?' 'Mrs. Jessica, what is that growing over your eyes?' and just a few minutes ago, that little girl...," pausing to gesture, "wanted to know if I had a baby in my tummy. When I told her 'no' she stared at my stomach and asked, 'Are you sure?' So to answer your question, No. I don't see as how a little--or even a large--pee spot is going to make matters any worse."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday Nine

1. When was the last time you lied and why?

I don't remember! That could be good--if it has been so long ago that my memory fails--or it could mean that I have a hardened conscience--as in, I don't even notice when I tell a falsehood.

2. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you, where would you go and who would you take?

I think I would go on a FIRST honeymoon with my husband since today is our 12th anniversary. And I wouldn't really care where we went. AWAY. That would be fine with me.

3. What was the last thought before falling asleep last night?

This bed feels good....ZZZZZ. I think that is my last thought most nights.

4. What’s your favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex?

All the men in my life wear briefs.

5. If you didn't have to work, would you?


If you work from home, are there days you’d rather be in the workplace?

The daycare is attached to my home, and I'm actually very thankful for its proximity.

6. What is a secret that you wouldn't mind everyone knowing?

I have a few secrets that would be a great relief for everyone to know, but only in a perfect world. A world where everyone would react the way I wanted them to. Wouldn't that be nice?

7. What’s a favorite movie that you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?

If I tell you, then you would know about it, wouldn't you? That is a bizarre question.

8. What’s you favorite all time medical and why?

I don't know what this question means.

9. What’s the worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?

Not sure. I've made many social blunders in my time. But, right at the moment, I can't think of any relationships that were damaged beyond repair by my stupidity, so that's good.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Mother's Day Boquet

K made me cinnamon toast (without the sugar) and Abby wrote me a letter. Ian is holding the puppy that I begged the master for because I think children should grow up with a dog. It is my Mother's Day present. Marina did her part to make it a peaceful morning by matching her clothes without a fuss. Randy ate the chocolate candy from the card he made in Sunday School and Cara took my flower from service. Just another Mother's Day morning. Have a blessed one!

Friday, April 30, 2010


I'm not supposed to share tales from the daycare, but this only involves my son, so I think I'm safe. As a preliminary note, we were learning about rain this week and I had water in both tubs of the sensory table. Along about Wednesday, someone got the idea to add a squirt of hand soap to the water. Not exactly in keeping with the theme, but I'm supposed to embrace creative thinking and open-ended explorations, right? I let the hand soap stay.
It's center time and I hear several cries of, "Ummmmm, you are going to get in trouble," and, "Mrs. Jessica, Mrs. Jessica, look!" and I see that my son has stuck his head under the water in the sand and water table. Sigh.
"Jeremy Randall S____ get your head out of that water! That is an inappropriate use of the center." I can only embrace so much. "You go get a towel in the bathroom and dry off before you lose all center privileges, do you understand me?"

"Yes, ma'am"

And as he spoke, two enormous bubbles floated out of his mouth. It was like something from the movies. The whole class watched transfixed as they rose in the air and popped on the ceiling. Then we all burst into giggles.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Different Point of View

I've been told I'm "better" (as in, "You're a better woman than me.") I've been told I'm a glutton for punishment. I've been told I'm sexually ignorant (in that I must not know what keeps causing this.) Strangers have regarded me as a freak of nature in "that no normal person could manage." Often, people have insisted that I am certifiably insane. But never--with regards to our family size--has anyone stated, implied, accused or even hinted that I possessed this character trait. Until today.
The master preached tonight at an assisted living prayer service. In an effort to preserve our precious family time, we joined him. As we filed into the community room:
Old lady 1: Oh, my he's brought his family with him.
Old lady 2: That can't be his family. He's brought the children's choir.
Old lady 1:You must be right....1..2..3...4..5...6. Are those children yours?
Me: Yes, ma'm
Old lady 1: All of them?
Me: Yes, ma'm.
Old lady 1: All six of them? Really?

Inwardly, I'm sighing, because if there is one place--no, two places--I expect (hope for?) a little break is with the older generation and brothers and sisters in Christ. It didn't seem as if I was going to get that here, and these folks were both. I mentally prepared a half dozen witty responses, flashed my biggest smile, and braced myself for the worst.

Me: Yes, ma'm all six.
Old lady: Six children! Think of it! Don't you feel selfish having six, when all mine are up and gone away from me?

And looking around at six beautiful faces singing hymns at the nursing home prayer meeting, I did feel mighty selfish indeed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


While brushing Marina's hair--
Abby: with an equal mixture of shock and awe Mom. If it wasn't for adoption, I'd be the only girl in a family of boys.
Me: Yep, you are right.
Abby: now with wholehearted gratitude Thank you, Lord, for adoption!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hello, Blog. It's Me...Jessica

I haven't posted in so long, blogger has disappeared from my drop down box. Who would have thought it could happen to me?
But this week, I have had a little breather. Our third full time employee started work on Monday and it has helped the load immensely. Of course, that will all be shot to heck as soon as we open our fourth classroom. The master and my father-in-law began work on the remodel today. The question that is posed to us most frequently these days is this: How is the daycare going?
In case you too are wondering, I'll share. I think you can tell by the infrequency of my posts that it is certainly keeping us busy. We have 36 children enrolled and growing constantly now. We had a dry spell for February and March, but are now averaging three new kids a week. I think in short order, we should come very near our licensed capacity of 58. Few centers, even those with long waiting lists, operate at 100% capacity. As I mentioned, we have three full time employees, plus I teach a class and the master does our after-schoolers.
We had a rather costly plumbing issue at the beginning of February. Something that was bound to happen with pairing a busy daycare with an antiquated septic system, but now that our bathrooms have been tied into our anaerobic system, we don't foresee any huge ($$$$) problems. We may need to put in new air conditioning units in the gym. Right now, the one operating system cools fine, but I'm preparing myself for that not being the case in June and July. After that point, (and this is counting chickens) we should begin making money. Quite a bit of money.
Emotionally, I suppose it is going better than expected. I knew I would love the kids, and I do. When I am away from the center, I am very glad for the break, but I'm still able to tell the children honestly that, "I missed you!" when I return. My licensing lady is someone that I don't feel is out to ruin me--or worse--so that is a huge relief. She came for her second of three visits last month and stayed for three hours, because she couldn't find anything wrong. YAY!! My biggest doubts were of how we, as a family, would adjust. The house is 10 times messier, and June Cleaver has left our home and may never return, but otherwise we're o.k. Sometimes it really bothers me, and I'll stay up to midnight organizing the pantry or folding 8 loads of laundry, but most of the time, I'm too tired to care.
But I miss all of you. Hopefully, with more hands on deck, I will be able to post more.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pillow Case Dresses

Wanted to post the kids' Easter pictures. I'm so proud of how the girls' dresses turned out. Mom bought the pillowcases from a vintage linens dealer in Canton, and I sewed them into dresses for the little girls. You can't see it in the picture, but the bottom of Cara's dress is delicately embroidered with a floral pattern. So pretty! Makes me want to go back to Canton and buy that lady out. The pillowcases were pretty yellowed, and one had a bad rust stain on it, but after Mom soaked them in a special solution the dealer recommended, they were gleaming white.
I made Abby's dress, too, but not out of a pillow case. You just don't have quite enough material in a pillow case to cut a dress for a nine year old. At least, not one suitable for wearing to church.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1. Are you the type of person who jumps into new ventures or do you prefer baby steps?

Hmm....I guess I'm a jumper at heart, but finances usually require that we take baby steps. The master is a planner. He plans a thing to death.

2. Who do you feel believes in you the most?

My kids.

3. When was the last time you were on a stage?

Two weeks ago I made an update announcement in church. Also, the stage is still intact in our sanctuary-turned-daycare-gym. And I swept that on Friday.

4. Tell us about the worst boss you ever had.

O.K., I had this principal when I taught along the coast. I was brought in after the school year started and children were reassigned to my classroom to reduce overcrowding. The parents did not really have a choice in the matter, and they took all of their disgruntled, resentful feelings out on me. They were constantly picking apart EVERYTHING I did. Instead of supporting/defending me, she basically fed the fire all year long by pandering to their silly (I mean bordering on the ridiculous) complaints. It kept the heat off of her very nicely.

5. If the NCAA Men's or Women's Final Four basketball tournament was played in your hometown arena or within easy driving distance from where you live, would you try to attend one the three games?

Definitely not.

6. Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?

Scrubs. Can you say, 'ELASTIC'?

7. On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?

I would say "StarTrek," but I shudder to think what I would like in those tight spandex body suits. I would have to be of some alien species....a moo-moo wearing one.

8. St. Patrick's Day is on Wednesday March 17th. Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?

I think Mama is sending me a new St. Patrick's Day scrub top.

9. If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?

$80,000 for this building. But if he wouldn't qualify a building as an item, $24,000 for a commercial quilting machine.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Train Up a Child?

Through a set of recent, sad events at church (some of those non-bloggable topics), I’ve learned that a general criticism of our family is that we are “too tough” with our children. I find it ironic, as pastor’s children usually carry the stigma of wild hellions, and pastors have historically been faulted for not exercising better control over their households. You certainly cannot please everyone. The idea is that this carries over into the way I teach the children in my (church) classes and the way the master councils families in crisis. Apparently, we come off as not being mercy givers, full of love and understanding.
I’m trying to shake it off. No one has said anything directly to me, and perhaps that is what is most upsetting. An upfront critique is preferable to hearsay and innuendo. Then again, I don’t know how I would respond should someone accuse me face to face. Probably not as Christ-like as I should.
And, after all, this Great Experiment is still in the works. Who am I to say that my kids will turn out all right when the youngest is still in diapers and the oldest hasn’t hit puberty? Even in my few years of experience, I’ve known children who were buck wild heathens who grew up to be fine upstanding citizens and vice versa. Is there really no rhyme or reason to it? I am set adrift by this idea: all of our careful study, hard work, and heartache…for nothing?

My children do not tell me “no.”
They ask for permission before doing something.
They do not ask again if the answer is no.
We tell them what to do. Once.
Our children are expected to take on responsibilities in their own care, that of their younger siblings, and the running of the household.
They are punished swiftly and firmly for disobedience.
We do not remove natural consequences
We do not offer bribes for our children’s obedience.
We demand respect—including the manner in which we are addressed—from our children and require them to extend it to others

Does this strike you as particularly oppressive? They seem to be healthy, happy children. Are they really just chafing under this “heavy yoke,” waiting for the day they can throw it off in exchange for shame and humiliation? It may sound as though I am being facetious, but truly I am in earnest. Though we have read extensively and incorporated many parenting strategies (particularly in regard to bringing up Marina) that were not used on us as children, for the most part, we parent as we were parented. Among my peers, I always felt (and was told) that I had the “meanest” parents growing up, but I never felt unloved, and never struggled with true rebellion. As a young child, I feared deserved punishment and as a teen I had too great a respect for them. By that point, I was—for lack of a better phrase—in the habit of doing as they asked. My parents have a three of three record and the masters’ a four of four. But is it just a crap shoot in the end?
I remember when we were going through the process of adopting Cara, the agency director, a lady who we greatly respect and admire, made several comments about our parenting style during the time we were having our homestudy and following. Once—when complaining about her grown children not lending a hand when they came to visit—stating, “Of course, I didn’t raise mine the way you are raising yours.” I didn’t know whether to feel complimented or censured. I am uneasy any time this woman, whose career it is, to a large extent, to evaluate how good of a parent a person will make, points us out as odd or unusual. It is as though she, too, is curious to see how our method is going to play out in the end. It all strikes me as grossly unfair; the results only becoming apparent when it is far too late for remedy.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm considering closing the blog. I think my post record over the last two months proves that I don't have the time for it. In addition, the master has forbidden me to post anything in regard to the you-know-what. The children and parents I serve, the funny things they say, and the heartrending, too--all taboo topics. What's really frustrating is he is probably right. I just hate it when that happens.
Since the daycare is consuming about 99.9% of my life at present, there isn't much left over to blog about. Actually, over the last two years, more and more non-bloggable themes have crept into my life. I feel as though I am projecting an incomplete, superficial image. If I can't be honest, what is the point?
I think when we start our Ugandan adoption I will open a new blog, but that will be many months (years?) from now. I will still be reading your blogs, friends, when I can, and posting those inconsequential, centimeter deep, updates on facebook.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I went to bed in Texas and woke up in Alaska. I know for some of my friends a measly 6 inches of snow is hardly noticeable, but around these parts, it's a blizzard. This winter will go down in local history as the year of the "big snow." School was shut down, but my daycare was open, by golly. We tried to squeeze all of those fun educational ideas for snow play in to this day, as for most of my kiddos, it may well prove the one and only of childhood. We built a snowman, painted the snow with colored water, and held a colossal snow ball fight. Here are the few pics I captured of just the S_____ kids:

Here is the S*nnyside snowman. Don't worry, the yellow on his belly is snow paint.

These last two were taken yesterday, before the heavy snow fell. Notice Abby's devilish expression as she pummels her father with a snowball. Probably just as well we live in such a temperate climate.