Thankful Thursday

December 31, 2009 by Rieshy
It's ironic that today is both New Year's Eve and Thankful Thursday.

I'm not feeling especially thankful,  chagrined would be the better word.  Chagrined because I keep losing sight of all my blessings and what's worse- mentally pouting.  I hate pouters.

When I think about the 2010 coming I'm not feeling especially powerful either. Closer to the truth is that I'm doubtful of my abilities to be the person I want to be.

Which leads me to the passage that was read last Sunday night at church:

The steadfast love of the Lord
never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness. 
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, 
"therefore I will hope in him."

Lamentations 3:22-24

It reminds me that even though I enjoy making goals and resolutions the truth is that every day is a new day. I don't have to be powerful, or drink 8 glasses of water a day, or meet any measure of tangible success.  I just have to wait upon the Lord.

Which of course is monumentally simple and monumentally unfathomable.  Most of all it is monumentally blessed.

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Unexpected Content

December 28, 2009 by Rieshy
Last year about this time our then 2 year old son was very sick- he spent Thanksgiving in the hospital and would spend 5 days in the beginning of January in the hospital.

It was a major time of stress for me (duh) caring for him and keeping up with my other children.  My 16 year old son had been struggling with a poetry assignment.  Late the night before it was due he asked me to read what he had written.  I expected poetry along the lines of my son's normal Monty Python-esque sense of humor.  The poem was an unexpected blessing:

God Is With You

When times are dark and bleak,
and troubles come around.
Through it all you should know-
God is with you.

When things are good and fine,
your troubles gone away.
You may forget what you knew-
God is with you.

When choices spin around,
you don't know which is best.
you need to ask but don't know who-
God is with you.

Through everything you go,
from good to bad to worse.
Always remember this important fact-
God is with you.

Trust in God

This was part of Steady Mom's 30 minute challenge.  12 minutes because my son did all the work.
Gratituesday is full of encouragement as ususal.

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Pondering the Petty

by Rieshy
My plans to attack my kitchen with a total reorganization and scrub down today have led me to a conundrum.  If I do in fact empty and organize my kitchen junk drawer... then what is the junk drawer's purpose, and even more importantly; what would it then be called?

Perhaps I should just sit back and contemplate a while longer...
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The Worst

December 26, 2009 by Rieshy
What's the worst thing about home schooling?

It's not what many people might imagine.  It's not the fear that you will wake up when your child is 15 and suddenly remember that you completely forgot to teach math.  It's not the messy house caused by home science experiments and omnipresent children.  It's not even the daily grind.

It is the fact that after any holiday break, when your kids have been jazzed up on diets abnormally high in sugar, when your family has abandoned all semblance of a regular schedule, when family "togetherness" has begun to wear thin; you can't just send them off for someone else to whip back into a learning frenzy.

Which is why I think I will spend the next week of vacation feeding my children nothing but beans and rice while they work pressure washing the house, painting the downstairs,  cleaning out the garage, finding matches to all the orphaned socks, and re-calking the bathtub.

Well, it's amusing to imagine...  maybe I'll let them have sour cream with the beans and rice.

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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2009 by Rieshy

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Keep the Lists.

December 24, 2009 by Rieshy
I purge my house relentlessly.  Over the years if I've regretted tossing or giving away anything; the regret was so short lived I've already tossed the regret.

Except... except for regretting that I've never held onto the individual Christmas wish-lists my kids have made. Each year's list has been a interesting glimpse into the maturing personality of it's author. Additonally, not only have many of the requests been hilarious but they have always included various side notes explaining relevance of wishes.

For instance, one list this year from a young person included the request for a manicure set because, "I really would like one because it would keep me from picking at my nales."  That's a pretty good mothering incentive to buy the manicure set, right? -and possibly remember to do more spelling assignments.

From now on, after carrying the lists around for weeks, splashing coffee on them late at night while wrapping gifts, and letting a baby draw on the backs of them during church- I'm going to attempt to tuck them away.

I figure one piece of paper, times 4 younger kids, times the number of years still at home, will turn into something that I won't regret saving.

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December 21, 2009 by Rieshy
My husband and I just had our 22nd wedding anniversary.  That's a long time.

In related news I just watched Twilight with my older teens.  The repeated refrain of, "Oh, Edward" was sung out in a falsetto voice by my teens- especially my 17 yo son, whenever the hormone gushy emotions of a scene exceeded the bounds of reality and/or sanity.  O.K. we sang out the refrain quite a bit.  Interactive viewing at it's best.

Why do I relate this to being married for 22 years?  Because if I can teach my children anything about love,  especially my girls, it's two related things:
  •   Staring into a beloved's eyes is only romantic for a limited time period.  Stare too long and both you and your beloved will find there is nothing there to stare at anymore but boredom and annoying habits. 
  • The feelings of romantic love will not sustain a marriage long term.
Thank you, Greg, for insisting that love is a verb and not a noun; thank you for 22 years of living and doing, interspersed with (wonderful) times of gushy staring.

This was part of Steady Mom's  30 minute Challenge.
Check out Gratituesday for more blessings.

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Do you ever catch yourself?

December 19, 2009 by Rieshy
Hello, my name is Susan and I'm a uber-hypocrite-Mom.

Yesterday, I saw in my calendar that my 10 yo, Bekah, had a pediatrician's re-check appointment at 9:00.  It was 8:15 when I read the entry.  Panic and running and guilt ensued as the doctor is 30 minutes away and we were both still in our jammies. Guilt because it's easy to forget about my healthy kids medical needs when Jack's needs are so much more obvious.

As we ran out the door I grabbed a bag of frozen peanut M&M's and threw them to Bekah.  Breakfast of champions.  We munched chocolate goodness all the way to the pediatrician.

Of course the flow of time stopped completely in the waiting room.  I had the opportunity to amaze myself with my own hypocrisy:  In the waiting room there was girl about Bekah's age who was eating breakfast out of a baggy.

"Look at that baggy of full of some sort of crappo-sugary cereal complete with dyes of the rainbow variety. Poor child, what a horrid breakfast," I thought to myself.

Yes, I had fed my daughter M&M's for breakfast yet I had the temerity to mentally scoff at another mother who had planned ahead,  purchased, and packed cereal for her daughter.

A hypocrite's motto: It doesn't matter what your children eat as long as no one sees.
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Teminator 4: The Return of the Spiral Perm and other Friday Leftovers

December 18, 2009 by Rieshy
  • I watched Teminator- Salvation last night.  It gave me hope.  Judging from the looks of the women in the movie; trendy clothing boutiques and hair salons can survive a nuclear holocaust.
  • If you want to eat candy without being noticed by your children you must first put it into a container that does not broadcast a tell-tale crinkle noise. 
  • Mommy blogging is often as over produced as reality t.v. - wouldn't you kick that dirty sock out of the shot of your kids putting puzzles together?
  • You know you blog too much when something funny happens and one of your children says, "Mom you should post about that."
  • One of the many blessings of having teen aged girls is that they take over all the holiday baking. 
  • Does anyone know why the normally ubiquitous flats of cheap pansies for Fall planting were nowhere to be found this year?   

Check out Sippy Cups Are Not For Starbucks for more Leftovers.

    A Question of Prayer

    December 17, 2009 by Rieshy
    In many places I've lived if you want to say something negative you just say it. For instance, "Did you know Beatrice, the slob, has run off with a trapeze sales man?"

    In the South you would say, "Bless her heart, did you know that poor Beatrice has turned into a slob and run off with a trapeze sales man?"

    If you want to gossip in the South without appearing to be gossiping you might say. "We need to pray for poor Beatrice, bless her heart; did you know she's always been a slob and has run off with a trapeze salesman?"

    Prayer requests can be a tricky thing for me. I don't usually have a problem with gossip- I'm too stuck on my own issues to worry overmuch about what anyone else is up to. However, I realized this week that often when I ask for prayer requests for my son Jack and his illness; I'm actually using the request only as a way to let people know that he is having problems again.

    I'm using the prayer request as a way to let people know why my oldest son is ferrying the kids around to church and events instead of my husband and me. As a way to let people know that if my older kids seem tired or cranky to please give them a break.

    What I've not been doing lately is asking with faith; believing that prayer can actually change the course of Jack's illness or even heal him. I come close- I can totally get behind the idea that the prayer of others strengthens me, gives me wisdom and clear thinking. But somehow, I'm finding myself lacking faith to believe more.

    I still feel blessed. Every night of crisis, like last night's, that blows over with treatment at home. Every time Jack bounces back I feel blessed. I know God has a plan for Jack. I believe in prayer, intellectually. I believe that the answers to our prayers are often ones we would not choose but they are from our loving Father nonetheless.

    I guess I even feel blessed to realize my lack of faith. I've never related better to Mark 9:24- Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."

    I feel amazingly thankful to read in Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin.

    Now I'm going to go get some badly needed coffee and read some posts from Thankful Thursday.

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    Pediatrician's Office

    December 15, 2009 by Rieshy
    "We have a cancellation, can you make it in 20 minutes?"

    Rushing, stressing, dressing
    Tidal wave of roar, done.

    Flourescents humming, wiggling, fretting, dreading.
    An hour's view:

    What to do?
    Humming...  Head


    Knees and toes, Knees and toes.

    Picture making, toddler angle of good news.

    This was part of Steady Mom's 30 minute challenge-  only 30 minutes, plus a tray of burned toast.

    Visit Gratituesday for more shared thankfulness.

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    Energy Requirements

    December 13, 2009 by Rieshy

    The hustle and bustle of the holidays and the end of the semester have taken their toll on my family.  My older kids are revved up and ready to do more- oh except concentrate on school work.  My little two are revved up as well, but not in such a fun way:

    • Samuel has a virus of some toddler variety- the variety that makes me thankful that I have not, in fact, potty trained him.  
    • Jack's body is so revved up that it's temporarily burned out his limited ability to maintain normal blood sugar ranges.  He's back on round-the-clock blood sugar monitoring and extra starch dosages.

    I think that by the time my chronically ill toddlers are grown up I'll be perfectly suited for a career in public relations.  I'll have had enough practice putting spin on news, at any rate.  For instance I had to call and tell my Dad not to come visit tomorrow because of the little one's illness. * In my announcement to the older kids I told the truth, "We don't want to share Sam's virus with GrandDad."  However, I left off the part about how Jack wouldn't be able to handle the energy requirements of any overnight visitor right now.

    My Dad is not a drain- he's a fun, big tall Texan, with a shiny red pickup truck, hunting equipment, cowboy boots and hat, and funny stories.  My kids only see him about once a year; it is an Event when he blows through town.

    I spin things because I don't want my older children to dwell on the many life-ripples caused by having a sibling with chronic illness.  I'm trying to balance having an active, fun, purposeful home for my teens with having a restful, calm, healing home for my chronically ill toddlers.

    I have faith that there is a way.  The bummer with mothering is that it takes about 50 years to see how your choices worked out.  So, check back in about 50 years...

    Here's to hoping we are just as silly-

    in 50 years.

    * The kids dramatically improved- my Dad was able to come and spend time target shooting with the teens, hanging out with the Middles, and wrestling with the Littles.
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    Odd's and Ends

    December 11, 2009 by Rieshy
    Friday Leftovers- odd random thoughts that might need to be explored or might need to be tossed:
    • Taking a two year old and a three year old to a sibling's band concert is kind of like going to the dentist; you have to do it twice a year, you know it's the right thing to do, you are happiest when it is over.
    • Gumby's voice is a lethal weapon.
    • It's totally disconcerting to walk with my teen daughters and notice boys and men notice them.
    • I have spent so many hours running to "Holiday" events that I now think Ebenezer S. may have had the right point of view before the ghosts got to him.
    • This week I had to explain what "panty hose" were to my teens.
    • While reading "Mrs. Piggly Wiggly" out-loud to my 8 yo,  I wondered about the sickly little boy that had the over protective mother. I wondered if she was really over-protective or if her son actually had mitochondrial disease or FOD, which were unknown during the time period the book was written.  Then I remembered the book is children's fiction.  Must go to bed early tonight.
    • Had Spinning Guild today.  It reminded me how important it is to have creative outlets in my life that push me beyond my daily bubble.
    • Batman and Robin don't have to wear pants.  As my 3 yo said, "They can wear just underwear."

    Thanks to Sippy Cups Are Not For Starbucks for this meme.

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    The Passing of the Baton

    December 10, 2009 by Rieshy
    My husband and my oldest son, Luke, used to build Bionicles together when Luke was much younger.  After waiting 15 long years Luke was thrilled to take his younger brother on as his Bionicle apprentice.

    Ben is the Master now.

    Something momentous happened this week. Something insignificantly momentous, that I am momentously thankful for:

    We took a family errand run and Ben's younger brother, Jack, bought his first Bionicle.  Ben and Jack rushed into the house. When I walked in, 13 seconds later, Ben already had the pieces spread out and the schematics open.  Jack was sitting at his side watching and learning.

    The Bionicles are beside the point.  What makes the event momentous is that a baton has been passed.   Luke was a wonderful, loving big brother.  He taught Ben how to be a wonderful, loving big brother. Now Jack is the apprentice.

    See more Thankful Thursdays.

    Super No Va

    December 9, 2009 by Rieshy
    Or, Poetry for the Sleep Deprived

    Mo' vacation please?
    Motive shunning, shirking notice of mental relocation.
    Where's the sense of my vocation?
    Motive shrinking, shrieking gone, chased by mote sleep's ration.

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    Knitting Mother-In-Laws

    December 7, 2009 by Rieshy
    Can a knitter make a good mother-in-law? This question may be years premature for me, but eventually I do hope to be a mother-in-law, quite a few times over. I think it important to figure things out ahead of time.

    The problem is that knitters have a tendency to disregard the wishes and personalities, not to mention taste, of their knitted-gift recipients. I know this because not only am I a compulsive knitter but because my own mother was a compulsive knitter. I'll never forget my first married Christmas watching my husband lift a heavy 100% wool, bright aqua, fussily knitted wool sweater out of a box. For Him from Her.

    I knew I'd love my husband forever when he found the words to thank my mom for all her hard work. It was a beautiful sweater- as a fellow knitter there was no denying it. As a wife, however, I had to work not to shout with laughter. We lived in West Texas at the time- such a sweater could have been worn for about 3.17 days out of the year... by a very cold-natured gay interior designer who had little fashion sense.

    With uncharacteristic compassion I hid the sweater in the back of our closet planning to unravel it and re-use the yarn to do something truly cruel; I was going to knit one of my brother-in-laws a tie out of it.

    I digress. My mom was a truly beautiful person and in the love language of knitters she was trying to tell my husband that he was a fully accepted member of the tribe. The problem was that my husband was and is a warm natured, low key, earth tone, stockinette stitch kind of guy. Why had my mother lost track of that?

    I know why my mom forgot about my husband- because she was a KNITTER. She found some yarn that she fell in love with, possibly on sale, possibly it came with a cool pattern, and she was off and knitting. My husband may have been the recipient but he was not the object.

    My own mother-in-law is fabulous. I'm pretty sure she sees me for exactly who I am and she loves me anyway- but then, she's not a knitter.

    This post was accomplished during nap-time as part of Steady Mom's 30 min. challenge.

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    December 6, 2009 by Rieshy
    It has come to my attention that the heart of my home is the refrigerator; which no longer works. It has also come to my attention that my children are wandering about thirsty because they do not know how to get water from the sink.

    This is the Year of the Appliance. I've had to replace our water heater, washing machine, freezer and now perhaps our refrigerator. Oh and a week ago we had to have the toilet in the kids bathroom worked on. I take full responsibility for the toilet; somehow it never occurred to me to tell the 2 yo not to flush pencils and handfuls of rubber bands.

    This is the time when the power to perceive the glass half-full is most required. Here's the half-full list:
    1. Our fridge stopped working after Thanksgiving guests and before Christmas guests.
    2. We just had a cold snap so all the food that had to come out of the fridge went into coolers on our deck.
    3. The wonderful repairman that fixed the toilet gave me the number for a fridge repairman and the fridge repairman gave me a gift bag of dark chocolate. As my 15 yo would say, "SCORE!"
    4. But most "half full" of all is the fun I've had laughing at/with my husband. He spent all morning telling the kids to leave the fridge alone and instructing them in the arcane art of getting water from the sink only to just now get up and try to get a glass of water for himself... from the fridge.

    Update: The fridge is fixed, on a Saturday, for under $200. Considering that we thought it was the compressor, and considering the cost of a new fridge I think my glass may actually be full and have crushed ice in it.

    Fod Family Support

    December 4, 2009 by Rieshy

    Fod Family Support has helped our family learn how to treat and care for our two young sons with Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder. I exaggerate not when I say that this group has saved their lives. Without what we've learned from Fod Family Support our boys would certainly not be climbing on fences.

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    Pregnancy Craving Trivia*

    December 3, 2009 by Rieshy
    Recently my children asked me to recount the odd cravings I had while carrying each one. I do not know why this amuses them so. They seem to view it as a personality test of some sort and tease one another about "their craving."

    The list of cravings from oldest to youngest is:

    1. Luke: Tuna Helper (had never eaten it before Luke, nor have I eaten it since) and grapefruit.
    2. Grace: Spinach/fried egg/swiss cheese sandwiches.
    3. Sarah: Omelets made by my wonderful husband. After gaining a million pounds very quickly I found out he was putting 6 eggs, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and butter in every omelet -no wonder they were good.
    4. Bekah: Peanut M&M's, because my husband was doing all the cooking and, with the exception of omelets, he really can't cook.
    5. Ben: Prunes, lots of prunes. A word to the wise, a surfeit of prunes makes for an embarrassing delivery.
    6. Jack: Sushi, which was not allowed so feta cheese which also was not allowed so I whined and ate a ton of jalapenos instead. Do not try to make sense of that.
    7. Samuel: Two fancy organic medjool dates every morning with a cup of tea that I pretended was coffee.
    I can't see that any of those cravings reveal anything about the personalities of my children. Listing all my cravings does reveal that I've spent a lot of years having cravings. Which in turn reveals that my husband has the personality of a saint.

    *Disclaimer for possibly alarmed relatives: I am not currently having any cravings of any sort for any reason.

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    Rare Disorders

    December 1, 2009 by Rieshy

    This week we've had some minor bumps in our Littles' health. Nothing serious, just more adjusting of medications, minor illnesses, and few extra hours at the pediatrician's office. We are very blessed with how great our little ones are doing and very blessed with how little medical intervention they require. However, the "bumps" put me back in ponder-mode about life with chronically ill children.

    My pondering has culminated in a veritable news flash. Prepare yourself for great insight; chronic illness is... well... chronic.

    Actually, I looked up Webster's definition of chronic:
    1. a: marked by long duration or frequent recurrence; not acute b: suffering from a chronic disease
    2. a: always present or encountered esp: constantly vexing, weakening, or troubling b: being such habitually.
    It's a pretty thorough definition. I took comfort in it, as if Mr. Webster himself just gave me personal permission to feel vexed and weak and troubled. I guess the definition validated how I often feel.

    Imagine how much you can start doubting yourself as a parent when you have a child who can go from fine to critical with almost no warning. A child who has such a rare disorder that your (excellent and very experienced) pediatrician has never dealt with it before. A condition so rare, that the residents in the E.R. get excited and come chat with you and look over your child even if they are not technically assigned to your child's case. Imagine you have two such children.

    The hardest thing for me to cope with, chronically, is differentiating symptoms of the disorder from symptoms of normal toddlerhood. For example, is Jack just fussy or is he beginning a metabolic crash? Is Jack losing weight and bruising because he's been running around like a madman and wrestling with his 8 yo brother or because something is medically wrong? Is Sam demanding more milk to stall his bedtime or did he not consume enough carbs. during the day? Part of my mind can never really rest.

    Let me change that last sentence: I have not yet learned how to let part of my mind stay alert to my two Little's condition while letting my mind also rest in God's providence. I will learn. I think it will be a bit like dealing with grief - one day I'll realize that I've turned a corner and left my immature restless-worry behind.

    Until that day comes, though it is a bit out of context, I take comfort in 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 which begins: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair..."

    Finding Out

    November 30, 2009 by Rieshy
    About 6 years ago I was working in my kitchen when I saw Bekah, then 4 years old, streak by shrieking, leaving a faint smell of smoke trailing behind her. It was simultaneously cartoonish and frightening. Long story short- for reasons Bekah could not explain, she had stuck something in an outlet in the entrance to our bonus room. It had sparked and shocked her, melted the outlet plate and some carpet, etc. My husband fixed the damage to the wall/carpet while I kissed/chided Bekah and the incident was forgotten... until today.

    Today, I was waiting in the pediatrician's office with Jack and Bekah (now aged 10). Bekah was serenely knitting while I chatted with Jack in a vain attempt to keep Jack from bouncing off the walls. Jack wandered to an enormous outlet and started to touch it while asking what the outlet was for. Bekah practically came unglued screeching, "Don't touch it- it could shock you!"

    I told Jack that Bekah knew whereof she spoke, and then turning to Bekah I noticed she had a knowing smile on her face. "So Bekah", said I, "Obviously you remember doing something to the bonus room outlet. Care to share?" That's when I found out that Bekah clearly remembered the whole incident. She had been pretending she was Princess Leia from Star Wars and pretending that the outlet was R2D2 and... and (insert her laughter) she had had a paperclip in her hand that was the secret message for Obi-Wan-Kenobi.

    I have to admit that under those conditions it would make total sense to stick a paperclip in an outlet.

    When she told me today I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes- which certainly wouldn't have happened had Bekah explained it 6 years ago. So treasure those weird unexplained events, let them age like a fine wine. Someday, someday years from now when you are bored or stressed call one of your children and ask them to reveal what they know about a household-mystery from the past. Finding out might just make you laugh.

    This is a 30 min challenge post organized by Steady Mom.

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    May your....

    November 26, 2009 by Rieshy
    May your turkey fit in the oven with space left over for your sweet potatoes.

    May your children not whine.

    May your family enjoy each other and go for a long walk.

    May your favorite dish not be the one you leave in the fridge behind the yogurt container and forget to serve.

    May the dog not eat the chocolate cake left out on the counter.

    May your guests not be allergic to your pets and may your guests arrive bearing chocolate.

    May no balls be thrown in the house knocking over the pitcher of ice tea.

    All in all have a great day!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    Not Thankful, But Thoughtful

    November 25, 2009 by Rieshy
     I like to think through the list of the day's accomplishments when I'm settling down to sleep. Generally, I edit out the negative accomplishments like over spending on groceries or having to go back to the gym twice to look for the sneaker that the 8 yo inexplicably lost while wearing and didn't mention until his barefoot status was questioned as we were driving home.  Not that either of those two things have ever happened... My mental accomplishment list then turns to thanks and prayer to God.  It's a magnificent way to go to sleep- especially on nights when I don't pass out within seconds.

    Thanksgiving Holiday seems to require a bonus thanks, more of a list.  I started thinking about our 2 youngest children and their genetic metabolic disorder called FOD.  I will never, never be thankful for FOD.  I just won't.  I don't want them to have it, I don't want anyone anywhere to have to suffer with it.  I think my churlishness correct.  However, I do have to admit that some of the ways FOD has changed me as a mother and a person have been positive.  I guess in a self-centered way I can be thankful for some of the changes I've experienced.  Here goes-

    Our life before FOD, when I knew:
    • Breast was always best.
    • Healthy food + Activity= Healthy children
    • Strollers were for babies or lazy parents.
    • Chronically ill people look chronically ill.
    • Olive oil and raw butter are health foods.
    • Cornstarch was for pies.
    • I could find our pediatricians phone number-  somewhere.
    • Vitamins and supplements merely produce expensive urine.
    • My husband and I had "good" genes.
    • Nighttime was for sleep.
    • Glucometers were for diabetics.
    • I trusted God.
    I was an experienced, opinionated and fairly rigid mother of five children.
    Since FOD I've learned:
    • How a person feeds their baby is not anyone else's business.
    • Healthy foods + Activity + Medical Care can = Healthy Children
    • Strollers are for babies and floppy, clumsy days, and many things that are not anyone else's business.
    • The term "invisible disability" is now in my consciousness.
    • Olive oil and butter are only healthy if you can metabolize long chain fats.
    • Cornstarch is for pies and for Life.  God bless Argo.
    • My children's pediatrician and geneticist's numbers are on speed dial.
    • Vitamins and supplements make very expensive urine and a sweet smelling active toddler.
    • My husband and I are carriers.
    • Nighttime is for sleep and pajama-clad caregiving.
    • Glucometers can be for FODs.
    • I'm learning to trust God.
    I'm now an often sleepy mother of 7, still experienced, just much less opinionated and hopefully more compassionate. 

    If you are interested in learning more about Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder visit Fod Family Support.  The site is a nonprofit organization that helps many, many families (including ours)  both cope with their children's diagnosis and cope with helping their children thrive.

    "Son, you have a panty on your head."

    November 23, 2009 by Rieshy

    Any fans of "Raising Arizona" out there?  My husband and I loved this Coen movie, until we had children.  I have to admit that the car-seat scenes make me sort of queasy now.  Still, there are many, many lines in this movie that we quote regularly. 
    The problem is that I am beginning to hear myself say the sort of lines Dot had in the movie.  Mind you, if you have not seen the movie, Dot is not the mothering heroine.  Just this week alone I heard myself say the following "Dot-esque" lines:
    • No drawing on your bread!
    • Do not use sandpaper on the van!
    • You are Not a ghost, take the carpet pad off your body and put it back under the carpet!
    • Stop chewing on the table cloth!
    • Pencils do not flush down the toilet!
    The sentence that surprised me the most was, "Are only 4 of the children awake yet?" - I mean really, how many children do we have anyway?  

    The funniest line I heard this week was from our 3 yo, Jack.  He woke up having a blood sugar problem and came into our bedroom at 2:00 a.m.  Jack went to my husband's side of the bed and said softly, "My body needs...  to watch Sponge Bob Square Pants." 

    Proof positive that even toddlers realize cartoons are the mental equivalent of fast-absorbing glucose gel.  But what food group do Coen comedies represent?

    This is part of Steady Mom's 30 minute challenge.

    Godbeat LIVE! Live Streaming Concert! - Jason Eaton

    November 21, 2009 by Rieshy
    Godbeat LIVE! Live Streaming Concert! - Jason Eaton & Robert Mauti - Nov 21st

    My two oldest teens are working on the Godbeat production.  I've been so wrapped up in a stopped-up toilet and impending house guests that I don't even know what my teens are doing- except that I know that they'll have their names in the credits.  

    I guess I should watch and find out.

    Posted using ShareThis

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    Found Object Lessons

    November 19, 2009 by Rieshy

    Preschool at my house is a low key, homemade affair.  In fact I don't call it preschool at all, it's just life.  Sometimes life is pleasantly slow and full of free connections that my toddlers create independently. 

    My 2 year old was enamored of the newly emptied baking powder container.  When I handed it to him and saw how perfectly it fit his chubby hands I had to laugh.  It looked made for him. Immediately he sat down to screw the lid on and off and then flip open and shut the flip side of the lid.  He looked up at me from time to time to make sure I was sharing the delight. Quickly I cannibalized a board game for plastic counting chips.  My son then slowly and deliberately dropped in each piece as I counted for him.  We did this approximately a billion times.  I was just glad I had only found 12 counting pieces.
    Learning/playing in an empty cupboard while wearing jammies; life doesn't get much better.

    My two toddlers love the book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", by Bill Martin Jr.  I don't know which is more appealing to them, the rhythm, or their toddler fascination with all things that fall.  One day after reading the book my 3 yo suddenly exclaimed something I didn't understand and ran off.  He came back with an old box of wooden magnetic letters and proceeded to open the book to the inside cover and match the magnet letters to the drawing. The fonts were almost identical.  Not a formal lesson, not an object lesson, merely a free found-object lesson.

    This post is linked to Thirsty Thursday- have fun.

    The Great Penguin Search

    November 18, 2009 by Rieshy

    While I was out schlepping the girls to their band practice my 17 yo, Luke, stayed home to babysit his youngest brothers.  While I was still out I got a phone call from Luke that raised the hair on my head.  There was a strained quality to Luke's voice that had me on instant alert- until I realized that his voice was strained because Luke was struggling to speak without laughing.


    "What's wrong, are the Littles up?", I asked in a panic.

    "Um, yes I just called to-"

    "Have they eaten?" I interrupted.

    "Yes, they're fine, I just wanted to tell you that I was explaining to them about penguins and showed them a bunch of pictures on the computer."  Luke continued, now snorting more uncontrollably.

    My hair settled back on my head and I was able to listen to the rest of the story. 

    Evidently after Luke showed his little brothers pictures of  penguins and explained that penguins live in cold places on ice, he then left the den for a moment.  Passing through the kitchen on the way back to the den he discovered the two yo standing on a stool in front of the wide open freezer searching inside it for... penguins.

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    Choosing Memories

    November 17, 2009 by Rieshy
    Recently one of my younger children wished that their New Jersey family was coming for Thanksgiving.  They then went on to reminisce about how fun last Thanksgiving was with the New Jersey and Texas relatives all at our house. Fun? I was flabbergasted, how could anyone remember so incorrectly?

    Last Thanksgiving one of our children came down with a sudden 24 hour stomach virus the day all the relatives arrived.  He managed to throw up just about everywhere during the present opening festivities before we could quarantine his little self with some Star Wars Movies.  Great fun. Things just went down hill from there. 

    Two of our children have metabolic disorders called FOD- they can't afford to have a stomach bug.  Sure enough my then 2 yo with FOD had to be rushed to the E.R. in the middle of the night when he came down with the same stomach virus.  We had a houseful of guests yet my husband and I spent the rest of their visit in the hospital with our son.  Not a holiday that I want to remember.  A black hole of a holiday.  Just thinking of last Thanksgiving gives me a despairing feeling full of fear.  The Thanksgiving we almost lost our son.

    While we were in the hospital I prayed and prayed for my children at home and for my unfortunate relatives that were having to fend for themselves.  Evidently our relatives were brilliant, so brilliant that my children have wonderful memories of games and ice cream and general silliness. 

    I'd been remembering that holiday as the worst Thanksgiving ever but as I write this I can see it was actually very blessed.  God provided for family to be in town to care for our other children while we were at the hospital.  They in turn provided our children with wonderful holiday memories.  We brought our 2 yo son home strong, undamaged, and alive.  That's a pretty good holiday after all.  I was the one who was remembering incorrectly.

    This is part of the Steady Mom's 30 min challenge.  It have to confess that I lost exact track of time because of little people presenting me with mothering challenges.

    Random Blessings

    November 15, 2009 by Rieshy
    • I brought in my christmas cactus from the porch, where it had spent the Summer, to discover that it was growing "weeds". Notice the clover growing along with a petunia seedling. Can you see the clover seed pods? So delicate, so beautiful- a surprise gift from God.

    • The bottom-in-the-air sleep routine is so classic and lasts such a short time. So peaceful. While he's sleeping this way he not only looks adorable but I can be reasonably sure that he's not throwing our entire Bionicle collection off his big brother's bunk bed. Makes my heart happy.

    • On the way to the park with my husband and the younger troupe Jack asked me completely out of the blue, "Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?" His face was so earnest. Love and attention from a 3 year old is inexpressibly sweet.
    • On the same day that I got my first ever blogging raspberry (shockingly not everyone loves my writing) I also got my first ever blog award, the Lemonade Stand Award, from Ida Red at Under the Golden Apple Tree. Thanks, I needed the encouragement! In return I'm supposed to also list blogs that I think have a great attitude or show gratitude. I'm such a behind the curve blogger that I can't figure out how to grab the lemonade widget. Since time is passing and I'm trying to limit my time on the computer I'd thought I'd go ahead and list two blogs that have blessed me: Sippycups and Fingerprints and It's a Smalling World.
    • The biggest blessing of all: 1 Peter 1:3-5:

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

    Have a great week.

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    Chartres Cathedral

    November 14, 2009 by Rieshy
    In 2000 my husband shot this footage while on a job in France.  The amazing thing is that the audio was captured by the video camera.

    Very peaceful. Enjoy.

    This is part of the Mom Link Round up, enjoy all the links!

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    Developmental Linguistics

    November 12, 2009 by Rieshy

    Language is fraught with difficulties. For instance, Jack told me yesterday during his brother's math lesson that, "The clock said it is not school time.  The clock said it is movie time." 

    We talk often about what the clock "says".  The clock is an authority figure in our home. It often "tells" us to change activities, go somewhere, it announces when friends will be arriving. 

    If everyone in the family can hear the clock talking I guess Jack figured he could too, and why make the clock say something unpleasant? The clock as an imaginary friend whom even Mother has to obey- what could be better?

    When it comes to spiritual truth language is even more confusing.  Discussing God's omnipresence with Ben when he was about 4 was going well, I thought. Until a few days later he came to me and with the air of someone who had puzzled out a great mystery he announced, "God is invisible, that's why when things go through him you don't see the blood."

    Ughh.  Never even saw the possibility for that misunderstanding.  

    This is part of the Mom Link Round-Up, enjoy all the links!

    No More Numbered Lists

    November 10, 2009 by Rieshy
    The mark of a good friend is truthfulness.  I'm blessed with good friends ergo I'm blessed with truthfulness.  I just wish fun and flattering were more often part of the definition of blessed.

    I recently wrote about handling sleep deprivation with a list of how-to's because, well, that's what I'm dealing with.  Evidently I'm not dealing with it as well as I thought. Except for walking and praying I'm pretty much botching it.  

    God answered my prayers for help. While walking, my husband and I got to talking about family life- he had some great ideas for changes in our routines and in the Little's night feeding schedules. Really good ideas- really simple changes. After the humbling realization that I was not being perceived as Queen of Coping; my fuzzy and tired brain still recognized brilliance.

    I chatted with my good friend, Angie, later that day and brought up my husband's brilliance. To my astonishment she also perceived me as a woman on the edge.  More humble pie.  Angie was encouraging and had still more great ideas.  One suggestion was that I'd feel more energetic if I didn't walk around looking like sloppily dressed haggis. - Actually, she didn't say exactly that, but I can read between the lines.

    Changes have been initiated.  Early results indicate sleep on the horizon.   Pride may cometh before a fall, but Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend."

    Where Charlotte Mason Left Off

    November 9, 2009 by Rieshy
    At the beginning of September my 15 yo and I were working on her goals for the school year. Science is not her favorite subject; it became late and we got a little punchy.  We ended up designing a video-education curriculum for high school sciences.  

    Actual facts and real information contained in the following curriculum are entirely spurious and purely coincidental:

    For Horticulture- The Happening

    Astronomy- Deep Impact

    Physics- The Matrix

    Biology- Evolution

    Geology- Dante's Peak

    Climatology- The Day After Tomorrow 

    Oceanography- Waterworld

    Criminology- Minority Report

    Pschology- Rear Window

    My apologies to Charlotte Mason.

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    Self-Serve Toddler, Redundant Mother

    November 8, 2009 by Rieshy

    A little bread,

    and a little water,

    equal a great snack- no mom required.

    This is linked to Steady Mom's 30 minute blog challenge.
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    Sleep Deprivation

    November 6, 2009 by Rieshy
    I lay in bed this morning from about 2:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M. listening to the sounds of my three youngest children coughing.  One goopy cougher was in bed with my husband and me.  He managed to roll just in time to cough full in my face at least once every five minutes.  Lovely.  It made me reflect on sleep and lack thereof.  
    Sleep deprivation, in fits and bursts, is part and parcel of normal motherhood but is especially part of mothering chronically ill children.  Last year we had an extra long stretch where I was unable to get more that 2 or 3 hours together of  sleep for months.  It was ugly, but over time I learned some ways to cope a tad more gracefully with lack of proper sleep.  I've been giving myself  a pep talk of the things I need to do- since one thing I'm not doing this week is sleeping.

    Some of the things that helped me might help a fellow "sufferer".  The great thing is that they are all free and relatively painless:
    1. Go walking each day if at all possible.  It won't make you less tired but it will refresh you, and remind you that the world is a big place.  Breath deep and smile.
    2. Drink extra water, especially if coffee has become your new best friend.
    3. Be kind to yourself.  You are not lazy, ungrateful, unmotivated, undisciplined or depressed. You are exhausted, there is a difference.  However you will become depressed if you have unrealistic expectations and call yourself names for failing to meet those expectations.
    4. Be five times sweeter to your husband than you normally are.  Even if he's not the one getting up he's probably exhausted too.  Sweetness has a way of increasing ten-fold and circling back.
    5. Avoid energizing yourself with sweets and desserts. It doesn't work long term- you'll end up just as tired, with extra padding in places you probably don't want it.
    If you are staring at this bleary eyed, feeling slightly woozy from lack of sleep and worry, don't forget that God is very real.  He can provide you with what you need.  Talk to Him.
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    Veteran Home Schooler?

    November 4, 2009 by Rieshy

    I’ve always found it a curiosity that the term “veteran home schooler” has become a title signifying required respect.  “So and So, a veteran home schooler, is giving a lecture on how to teach Klingon to fulfill high school language requirements,” or, “so and so, a veteran home schooler talks about how to make algebra your child’s newest hobby.” The term “veteran homeschooler” alone is supposed to denote authority, competence and success,  and cause you to buy their seminar/product/philosophy/tutorial. 

     To my twisted mind it always brings up an image of a 37 year old woman wearing a denim jumper and flak jacket.  In my imagination the "veteran" is talking into a microphone to a bevy female spectators as she shoots a barrage of flashcards out of a cannon into an opposing ditch filled with her offspring.  The offspring are warding off the flashcards with an assortment of shields made of pots, pans, Harry Potter hardbacks and Bionicle warriors.  The bevy of spectators file up to buy the flashcard system as soon as the children are led off for a snack.

     Am I perhaps a tad cynical?  Am I experiencing a wee bit of home schooling burn out?  Perhaps.  However, ponder a moment.  How does one cross the line from home schooler to “veteran” home schooler?  What are the requirements? 

    Is veteran status earned merely after a certain set number of years in the trenches?  If so when do you start counting?  At birth, at age 5?  Are years home schooling with greater challenges weighted like A.P. classes are?  For instance, every year you home school while pregnant or nursing could count as 2 regular years.  Every year spent teaching beginning reading counts as 2 1/2 years, etc.

    Does veteran status require a certain number of children in your home school?  If so, are you disqualified from ever achieving veteran status if not all of your children are home schooled or if you only have 1?  Are you given faster promotion to veteran if your children are unusually close in age.  What about extra credit for an especially aggravating child?

    Does graduating your oldest from high school instantly qualify you as a veteran?  Does it count if you didn’t home school the entire 12 years?  Relatedly, does veteran status require having your child/children accepted to college? Or does it require having children accepted to Ivy League Universities?  What if they drop-out of college to move to a remote missionary post? Can your veteran status be revoked?

    Who is the accrediting body anyway?

    I prefer another term, "Mother."  Hopefully "Mother" connotes love rather than war, as well as implying warmth and dedication. I want to be a mother, a good mother. One that just happens to also organize my children's education at home.  One that doesn’t claim to know everything but is willing and ready to learn with my kids.  One that doesn’t’ have to run in circles following the latest guru; one that can fall down and get back up. 

    However, if I ever have twins that are still nursing while I'm concurrently teaching reading and high school chemistry all while traveling in an R.V. on a history tour of America-  I want the appellation of "veteran" instantly granted.

    Bad Ideas and Life Lessons

    November 3, 2009 by Rieshy
    Some things are just too funny to get mad about.  

    Two days ago I posted a picture of my children playing on the gigantic ladder we have to pull out each Fall to change our living room clock back an hour. Every year my husband "loves" lugging out that ladder.  Every year, a few days after the time change and after putting away the ladder, the clock needs new batteries.  This year my husband defeated the clock by leaving the ladder standing, just waiting, taunting the batteries to go ahead and die.  

    Either that or I'm exaggerating and my husband has just been too busy to put the ladder away. Regardless, leaving the ladder out provided my 8 yo son with a valuable life lesson: 
    If mom and dad have to take your sister to the doctor and you have a humongous-enormous-gigantic bowl of popcorn to eat all to yourself and your big sister is distracted, it is a really really poor choice to climb to the top of the ladder with said popcorn.  It is inevitable that you will drop the entire bowl from 13 feet in the air just seconds before mom and dad get home.  
    Oh, Related life lesson: a broom and dustpan don't work that well on carpet.

    This was part of the 30 min challenge from SteadyMom.  
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    November 2, 2009 by Rieshy
    Waiting, for what?  Waiting for the Littles naptime? Waiting for the day to be over?  Waiting for a diagnosis?  Waiting for the next pay check/bill?  Waiting for H1N1? Waiting for the second shoe to drop?  Waiting for Godot?  

    The thing about "waiting" is that it can become a lifestyle.  When what you are waiting for finally happens there can always be something else to wait for.  I'm very talented, I've combined waiting with worrying.  I can wait for what I need to worry about next- or worry about what I'm going to wait for next.    I practiced the not-so-dynamic duo (waiting&worrying) this weekend with my sick 10 year old.  Strep or H1N1 was the question.

    I don't want to "wait" my life away.  It dulls everything.  I've never had a sparkling conversation while waiting for the luggage carousal to cough up my suitcase- I'm too busy waiting and watching. A life style of waiting means always looking past the now to watch for something else, it means that nothing is ever the main event, everything is muted.

    Lamentations 3:25  "The Lord is my portion," says my soul "therefore I will hope in him."

    Waiting must be very different from "hoping" because Lamentations 3:25 goes on to say, "The Lord is good to those who wait for him,to the soul that seeks him."

    Lamentations 3:22 Was made into a song I learned in college- "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  

    I'm thankful I have a God that is ever present, ever loving and the giver of second chances.  I'm trying to learn to not wait, but to wait on Him.

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    Time Change

    November 1, 2009 by Rieshy
    Fall back... into a vat of coffee.  With our toddlers that "extra hour of sleep" is purely theoretical.   

    Clocks are just funny looking toys, but an early morning ladder is a pajama party with patient sisters.

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