Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You Just Never Know

Today was a taekwondo day, which means a 40 minute drive to the next town.

The kiddos and I left early to hopefully do some shopping before time for class.  When Greg got out of school he gave me a call to check where we were.

"H e l l o o ow?" I answered the phone with a quavery voice at least an octave higher than my usual.

"Are you ok?" Greg asked.

"Yes," I managed to squeak out, this time on the losing end of holding back full-on crying.

You may be asking the same question Greg did.  "What happened?!"

This is what happened:
When Greg called, we had moments before been directed around an accident that had occurred in the middle of the highway.  My children and I, along with the 7 or 8 cars ahead of us were among the first to come upon it.  There were no police or rescue vehicles on scene.

That was unnerving enough, but what really brought on the tears was that about the same moment I was processing all this and about to answer Greg's call I remembered:

Less than a mile before the accident a pickup truck in front of me turned off the highway onto another road.  The same pickup truck that I had been following for 6-7 miles.  A pickup truck that went the entire 6-7 miles going fifty-two miles per hour in a 70mph zone.  A pickup truck that held us up just long enough to be out of harm's way when two vehicles collided in our path.

The relief and the thankfulness for God's protection via a white Dodge dualy driven by a man in a baseball cap flowed freely, and still do.  It was the best 52 mph I've ever driven.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


One week ago today we were sitting on a sunny beach.
Today it rained all day, after raining all night.

One week ago today it was warm enough to swim.
Today I am contemplating a jacket.

One week ago today was our first full day of our first 'real' vacation.

Today is our first full day back home. Home to 'real' life. 

The biggest thing missing is Daddy.  The biggest blessing is I still get to spend all day each day with my four favorite kids!

Rain or shine, it's good to be home.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh say, can you see?

The sun was out, the waves were big, and the wind was just right.  Greg was out in the water with Dale, while I sat playing in the sand with the other 3.  We were nearing the end of our second (and last) beach run of the day before heading back to the beach house for supper and baths.
Alan looked out toward the water and announced quite nonchalantly, "Daddy lost his glasses."

My head snapped up to see Greg on his knees in the water, his face empty of the glasses he wears from the moment he wakes up in the morning until the moment he lays down at night.

I sprinted down to the water, frantically joining the search, but knowing already how powerful the waves were and how quickly things disappeared within them.

Greg, helpless in the search for his glasses without his glasses, went back to sit with the littles while Dale and I kept wading and looking and pacing and praying for his one and only pair to wash up on shore.

Finally we admitted defeat and went to gather our things and see what could be done about getting some replacements.  

It was now 5:15 on Friday afternoon.

As we drove back to the house, we called my mom for the phone number of the nearest walmart vision center.  Greg and I ran in to grab clothes and my wallet, since I was now our driver and raced back to the van.  The optometrist was open until 6 and we were almost 30 minutes away.

Once rolling in the right direction we called the optometrist office for the second time, this time to make sure they would wait for us.  This was when we found out she was with her last patient and wouldn't be seeing any more after that.

Um... really?  The man can't see and his glasses are in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The woman on the phone offered a Monday appointment.
Greg: That won't work.  Is there anything available tomorrow?
Woman on phone: The dr. doesn't see patients on Sunday.
Greg: Tomorrow is Saturday.
Woman: Saturday... I can offer you an 11:30.
Greg: That will work.

So we U-turned at the nearest turnaround and somberly headed back to the house.  Greg did his best through supper and getting the boys to bed and we went to bed shortly after.

To realize the magnitude of this loss it helps to realize the strength of Greg's prescription.  Back in the old days of his childhood his lenses were what you would call 'coke bottle'.  Thanks to newer technology, his lenses are no longer as thick, although the prescription remains as strong, or stronger.  He does nothing without his glasses.  Nothing.

We carried on Saturday morning with our original plan of a sunrise low-tide walk on the beach, enjoying the morning and searching for seashells.  
And yes, in spite of the odds, searching the sand and seaweed for a pair of glasses.  Which we did not find.  But we did encounter another family out doing exactly the same thing.  Their 11 year old girl had lost her glasses the afternoon before also.  See?  Those waves were strong!

From here our day carried on without a hitch.  Greg saw the optometrist, was fitted for contacts, and given two starter pair.  Back in the land of the seeing again, he resumed his driving duties and we enjoyed the aquarium, afternoon naps, and later, a walk out on the jetty.
We marveled at the fact that we didn't pack a spare pair of glasses, or put a strap on his own.  Even though we have both been extra careful in the past, losing his glasses this time never crossed our mind.  And although we briefly wondered if he had been careless wearing them into the water, I had only to remember noticing what a close watch he kept on our boys in the water to decide, no.  Beyond not being careless, it would have been foolish for him to have been out there without them.

I have to admit I continued to look for those glasses each trip back to the beach, and was a little disappointed God didn't WOW us with them washing up on shore.  Or on a dolphin's nose.  ;)

The whole episode was a reminder for me that faith is not believing that God will do what you want him to, but that God will do what is best.  Sometimes that is a hard reality to face.  For better or worse this incident had me playing the 'what-ifs'.  What if it had been one of our boys that washed away in the Gulf?  Even the thought is too much to face, and even more so in light of the whole "faith that God will do what is best" concept.  

But, morbid thoughts aside, we are extremely thankful for how it all worked out.  Greg is enjoying wearing contacts again for the first time in 15 years.  God has blessed and taken care of every detail.  So even though it isn't the way I would have scripted it, it does feel better to just let it go, and trust God for his best.  Truly, " 'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus."

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.  Psalm 69:34

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kids Say Funny Stuff...

...even on vacation!

This morning, for no particular reason, I sang, "raindrops keep falling on my head...".  I don't think Dale knows the song, but he jumped right in with a second line (and tune) all his own: "And I say that's better tha-an hail!"  Good point there, buddy.

Yesterday we had a conversation that included the Bible verse from Genesis that says God said "It is not good for man to be alone."  Today, the whole family was supposed to be having rest/nap time, but one by one the boys slipped out of their room.  Finally, with Dale and Tyler playing in the living room and Greg out for a run, Alan appeared next to my bed where I was laying with Brooklyn.  He launched into a typical Alan-rambling run-on sentence that went something like this: 

"We are supposed to be having rest time but Dale left our room and Tyler left our room and even though I was trying to go to sleep I was all by myself in our room so I got up because God says it isn't good for man to be alone."  

I couldn't argue with that one.

Kite-flying from the roof level deck... in pj's!
And finally, yesterday, in the tight quarters of a dining car at the railroad museum, Greg turned around to navigate to another section of the car and lost track of Tyler, who was basically right behind him.  But it was crowded and Tyler does only stand 2.5 feet tall.  "Where is Tyler?" he asked.

Tyler immediately piped up, "Here I am! I found me!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

When Plans Get Derailed

Today we traded our swimsuits for bluejeans, our flip-flops for tennis shoes and headed to Galveston for a day out.

We very much enjoyed the scenery of an almost hour-long drive along the coast.  

Once in Galveston we headed for the Galveston Railroad Museum

 I have an entire other post to devote to a section of this museum, but that is for later.  Today we're talking about... today.
Look at my manly man carrying my bag.  Since I was carrying his baby and all.  Even with a sling (yay for baby-wearing!) Mama's arms can get tired.

Tyler can make anything funny.  Here he stepped in a hole in the flooring of an engine.  Without any drama or tears he announced "I stuck in the train! My foot stuck in the train!!"  No harm done to Tyler, his shoe, or the train. 
One of my favorite pictures from the day.  It's HUGE!

From here we continued on with our agenda and headed for the tip-top end of Galveston Island for a ride on the ferry.
Out of the van and to the front of the boat:
Brooklyn, along for the ride, as always:
As we approached the docking site I heard a dad next to us tell his kids we'd be seeing the dolphins soon.  I thought he was just teasing with his little girls, but no!  Just a few moments later... there they were!  So glad I had the video camera in hand to grab that right quick.
After the dolphins we all scurried back to our cars and exited the ferry.  Here is where things took a sudden departure from planned.

We were supposed to drive less than a mile up the beach and picnic at a totally cool and interesting historic park and playground area.  Seaside.

We drove right to it, alright, only to be met with orange cones, a dump truck, and a "Closed Until March 2012 for Road Construction" sign.  What!?  Ummm... this is March 2012 so... can we come in?  Please?

We did all we knew to do and took an about face.... back to the ferry.

Here's the catch: the line to get on the ferry going TO Galveston is a lot longer than the line OUT of Galveston.  We sat.  And waited.  And sat.

Once we finally got to the ferry station area, we were quite dismayed to be pointed off to the side, out of the line of cars.  

We had just been randomly selected for a homeland security inspection.  We watched the driver and passenger in the vehicle in front of us get out and stand near their vehicle while two officials looked under it with a mirror, under the hood, and all around.  

Brooklyn started to cry.  I was already laughing and the thought of all 6 of us piling out and rebuckling.

The inspectors were super nice, Brooklyn behaved, and only Greg had to get out.  (And we passed with flying colors... Whew!) ;)

And this is my absolute favoritist part of the day: you don't get delayed when you get randomly inspected.  Oh no.  Once you pass your inspection you are ushered to the front of the line.  My car-cranky kids whose lunch was delayed and playground under construction got to pass alllll those other cars in that long,long line and get right on the ferry.  We were one of the last cars on board.  

See how God did that?  Love it.

And although it was a little bit more of a delay, we circled around to another park.
One we had seen from the ferry.  And finally, at 2:30 in the afternoon, sat down in the shade for our picnic.
It even had a playground.  Can you spot all 4 of my guys in this picture?
Meanwhile, Brooklyn and I enjoyed the shade a bit more:
It was a long day out, but another fun day full of God's blessings and provisions.  So thankful!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Location!

Never mind all these scheduled posts about laundry and menus.  

Here's the good stuff:

Menu Planning Boost

One day recently - when there were probably 20-40 other things I should have been doing - I decided to make an index of every main dish I have made in the last couple of years (at least those that I have a record of and/or remember making).

My rule was that I couldn't write something down unless #1 - I had made it before, and #2 - I felt likely to make it again.

After searching through my recipe binder, my saved favorites online, and various menu plans on scraps of paper, I had a list of 80 meal ideas!

80!  That's a potential 11 weeks + without a repeat!

As I searched, I wrote my dishes down divided into categories:
Chicken, Beef, Fish, Pork, Turkey, & Meatless.

From the amount of recipes I have in those 5 categories I figure I could loosely plan for 2 chicken, 2 meatless, 1 beef, and 2 fish/pork/turkey.

Over 25% of the recipes I have listed are crock pot friendly.  Most are dairy free.

The only remaining question: Do I reeeeally want to divide these up week-by-week and not have to menu plan for almost 3 months?  Or do I just want to enjoy having these lists as a reference?

Oh, and I did break my own rule.  I wrote down chicken pot pie.  Haven't made one in forver - if ever - but I want to and that's good enough. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Laundry Routine

Although it originally just happened more than me deciding to do it, I have been following a weekly laundry routine for several months now.

It is so helpful to #1 - not have to decide what to wash each morning, and #2 - know when the next load of X,Y ,or Z will be.

We separate the laundry into 2 hampers as it is dirtied: a white hamper for whites and a blue hamper for colors.  Most weeks my laundry routine looks like this:

Monday - Blue hamper.  This includes the majority of clothes and pjs, and takes 2 loads to get it all clean.
Tuesday - White hamper.  Socks, undies, etc.
Wednesday - Sheets & towels.
Thursday - Blue hamper.  Again on Thursdays this usually requires 2 loads.
Friday - Kitchen towels and dishcloths and any miscellaneous leftovers.

Brooklyn's things are still separate in her own laundry basket, and I wash hers as-needed.  Generally once a week.

Of course, this is a general guideline and not a rigid schedule, but I love the general predictability of it and (usually) not having to do laundry on weekends!  I estimate we wash 8-10 loads of laundry each week.

Do you have a laundry system?  How many loads do you do each week?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Me & My Peeps...

... hanging out in the church nursery.

Last Sunday night we all went to church early because Daddy had a meeting.

The kiddos and I camped out in the nursery while we waiting for time for church to start.  I decided to document Brooklyn's outfit, since so many things she only wears 2 or 3 times.  

Once I had the camera out, everyone else wanted in on the action, too!

I missed church this week because of a yucky cold. :(  

Brooklyn and Tyler stayed home with me.  Because, what's the point, really, of sending a toddler when Mama is at home?

We sure miss our church family when we aren't there!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fun

Mom and I found ourselves on a rabbit trail this morning (that'd be 'lapine', by the way) and learned some new stuff. 

I love learning new stuff!

Without looking it up, can you answer the following two questions:

1. If cats, dogs, and cows are 'feline', 'canine' and 'bovine', what is the '-ine' word for sheep?  Bonus points if you know the one for goats, too. 

2.  What part of speech is an animal '-ine' word?

Answers will be posted at 9pm tonight.  Give or take an hour or two. :)


1. The '-ine' descriptive word for sheep is.... Ovine!  And for goats, caprine, which is also the source of the word 'capricious'.  

2.  The '-ine' words are adjectives, describing the characteristics of these animals, or those acting like them.  "She danced with feline grace."  "His behavior for the meeting was simply asinine."  

Thanks for playing along!  Happy weekend-ing to you all!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monkey Business

Yesterday, as Greg was mowing for the first time this year, I remembered the time a golf ball came flying through our window.  I asked Alan to remove himself from said window and then began searching the blog   to find the post where I blogged about the golf ball and the broken glass and all the excitement.

I couldn't find it.  Boo!

But I did have a great trip down memory lane.  There was the funny story about an 18-month old Alan making me mind my manners, and another about nearly-5 year old Dale and his always-thinking little self.

I also thought, as I poked around here and there through my blogging years, "This blog used to be FUN!"

And maybe y'all think it still is.

But I'm thinking I need more kid quotes, more kid stories, and more kid pictures.  They are the most interesting and entertaining things I've got going on.  I've got twice as many kids now as I had then so it should be easy right? Ha! (That's a joke, you know.)

Oddly enough, in the all-kids-still-in-bed quietness of the morning, I was interrupted in the writing of this post by little tiny noises from Brooklyn's room.

She was up for nursing about a half hour ago and although she wasn't too happy when I laid her back down she quieted fairly quickly.  Until Greg and I recognized the sounds of one of her musical toys coming from her room.

Again.  And again.

And then she cried.  I went to get her and found her on her elbows playing with her found treasure.

New rule: No toys in Brooklyn's bed! 

Brooklyn, 6:23am, with her Fur Elise monkey toy
Not that it's too bad to have a busy little early morning buddy.  Everybody else gets up early around here.  She might as well, too!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tub Update. And other tidbits

Last I left you we had a busted faucet and men gone out shopping for plumbing.

Here's what's happened since:

Before getting any plumbing, the menfolk had to take time out to participate in the Kid's Workshop day and build a couple of bright orange race cars.  Once that was out of the way, they proceeded with looking over all the options.  And came home empty-handed, but with a plan.

A plan that began with deconstruction:

Everything dislodged, disconnected, and disassembled:
Ready for tub exit in 3...2...
You haven't lived until you've watched your 500 lb bathtub roll out your front door.  Fun times.

As a fun side-note, growing up I had a knack for needing parental assistance almost every one of the few times my parents were unavailable.  Bedtime phone call that didn't disconnect left the phone line busy all night long? Of course I felt sick and needed an early a.m. pick-up from a sleepover.  Good thing I knew Nana & PawPaw's number. :)
Both parents tied up on a Saturday morning?  Let's back the car into a ditch!  Good thing I knew Nana & PawPaw's number.  

Sure there have been plenty of times good ol' Mom and Dad were there bail me out, lend a hand, and offer assistance.  But let them get out of pocket just once or twice and I was sure to have a crisis.  

So it figured that we'd have a major plumbing malfunction while they were out of town.  Very thankful, as always, to have Nana & Paw Paw to lean on, too. :)  (And yes, that's PawPaw helping squeeze that tub through the front door.)

Now, back to our plumbing issues.  As you see, our one and only human cleaning receptacle went out our front door Saturday evening.

Bright and early Sunday morning the whole gang loaded up and went to Mimi & Gramps' house for baths and showers.  Even from miles and miles away they were 'there' to lend a hand.  Or a tub.  

Since then we've been making do here and there, getting clean in various locales and ways.

Some of the smaller of us have enjoyed the kitchen sink, but we have a 5-yr limit on that. ;)
Long story short, an entire bathroom re-do is underway!  And rather spontaneously.  As with many home projects this one continues to grow, but we're excited to see what we'll end up with in the end!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We are living "it could be worse" Alternatively Tited...

... Count Your Blessings.

Saturday a.m.  Whole family up early.  No sleeping in around here.  Leisurely breakfast and relatively slow start to the day.  
I had asked Greg his plans for the day.  He mentioned some yard work he wanted to get done.
Dale was in the shower, the first one of us to shower today, when I sent Alan to put away a toy in his room.  Alan stopped short as he left the living room and asked, "What happened in the hallway?"

I ran to his side to see a river of water running toward me from the bathroom.

Turns out the knob that turns the water between shower and tub had broken loose from the pipes and water had sprayed everywhere throughout Dale's shower.  

So, Greg and the big boys are off to the "City" to shop for replacements.  They may come back with only a faucet.  Or they may be coming back with a whole new tub!  We shall see.

And here is where thankfulness starts.  
 - It could have broken on any weekday or Sunday.  But now Greg has an entire day to devote to planning and starting this new project.

 - It could have broken next Saturday, 2 days before we leave on our spring break vacation.

 - The water could have (and by all sense and design should have) soaked all the clothes in my closet (which backs up to the fixtures) and the carpet in our bedroom.  Instead, water ran the opposite direction: out of the bathroom, down the hallway, and into the living room, none of which are carpeted, guided by an unseen channel.  Or Hand. 

 - Even if it may have been earmarked for something else, we have the money in the bank to cover repairs and possibly an upgrade.

- We live in the same town and parents and grandparents.  That is an abundance of tubs and showers at our disposal.  No stinky buffaloes!

 - One glance at the news tells me lives are lost and entire towns wiped out in a tornado outbreak that spawned as many tornadoes in a day as usually seen in the entire month of March.  Seeing our home intact around us makes a little ol' shower pipe seem not quite as big a deal.

And would you believe that just yesterday I looked around our bathroom wistfully and thought how nice it would be to do some renovating in there?  Ha!  You just never know do you?

So... that's how our Saturday is shaping up.  An exercise in having a thankful heart.  It isn't always easy, but God is always good.  And I expect more challenges along the way.  Happy Saturday to you and yours!  You'll find us in the bathroom today. :)