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.

Posted in Labels: , | 7 Comments »

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!

Posted in Labels: , | 3 Comments »

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

Posted in Labels: | 0 Comments »

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.

Posted in Labels: , , | 2 Comments »

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.

Posted in Labels: , | 1 Comment »

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!

Posted in Labels: , , | 3 Comments »

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.

Posted in Labels: , | 2 Comments »

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.
Posted in Labels: , , | 5 Comments »

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.
Posted in Labels: , , | 5 Comments »

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.  
Posted in Labels: , | 3 Comments »


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.

Posted in Labels: , | 3 Comments »

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.

Posted in Labels: | 0 Comments »