Tuesday, September 29, 2009

don't eat floppy pancakes

we're sitting here eating lunch
and the topic turns to directions
when Josiah asks, "Which way is north?"
'remembering' the mnemonic phrase,
says, "Oh - don't eat floppy pancakes."
uh huh.
Also known as
Never Eat Soggy Waffles.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

memory lane

Lily, Josiah, and Jeremiah
all had a favorite song
when then were babies.
Some (Lily's) were more tolerable than others (Jeremiah's - gag!).
The song would get played
and over
and over
(usually while someone was dancing)
to keep the baby from screaming

Jeremiah is in the bedroom
singing "I Loved Her First" to Lexi.
He should know it;
he's heard it a million and one times...
It was right around the time Luke and Lana started courting
that Lily picked this song.
We couldn't get the song pulled up on youtube fast enough!
I'd dance around the living room
and bawl my eyes out
waltzing with one baby girl, while my other girl
was getting ready to waltz out the door.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Little Miss Lexi
has joined the ranks

and she's durn proud of it
She's crawling - sort of;
she gets up
goes forward a little
sits down
gets back on her knees and does it again.
she can pull up to standing - sort of....
watch out, world;
Lexi's comin'

Friday, September 25, 2009

is this normal?

was not happy when he realized that
is a Saturday.
As in
no school.
He decided that we'd just have to make it a school day
"Dad never gets to see how good I do with my school -
with my letters and my words."

Last Saturday with Papa;
another delightful scene from my kitchen window...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I know, I know.

People will say
that I already have more than my share
that I don't need another.
Why on earth would I even want another??

I've never been one to care much
what people say.

What's another mouth to feed
when you already have so many?
Another soft little body to love on?

the newest member of the fam.


the scrawniest little thing you ever did see
Ton's in love
and so are the rest of us

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

overdoin' it?

I think
we take things a tad too far.
for example
the pre-birthday dessert we just ate
in anticipation of Brandon's 11th birthday tomorrow.
Funnel Cakes
and then
since we'd already have hot grease...
we added
Fried Oreos to the menu
but probably not worth it!
we all feel very heavy
and the house stinks like fried food

Saturday, September 19, 2009

wrap me in Your arms

"God sure is loving you, Lady."
Tyler lovingly said to me last night
as we were eating a delicious dinner
that I didn't have to make.
Michael Gunger sings a song we sing in church sometimes:

There is a God who loves me
Who wraps me in His arms
that is the place where I'm changed
And that's where I belong

Take me to that place Lord
To that secret place where
I can be with You
You can make me like You
Wrap me in Your arms
Wrap me in Your arms
Wrap me in your arms
When we sang this a couple weeks ago
I thought, "Oh, I want to be wrapped in His arms
but I don't even know what that feels like."
I want to be changed; I want to be more like God.
at least
I want
to want to.
But rarely is change painless.
And that's the part I don't like so much.
The past few months have been a struggle for me
the past few years have been a struggle.
I love my children tremendously
I wouldn't want to know a life without any of them.
When Lexi was such a pill our first (and second!) day of school,
I was consciously thankful for her - that we have her
even in all her crabbiness.
children don't make life easy....
And when they come 4 in just a little over 5 years
(and you've already got four...)
things can get a little tricksy.
And so I struggle
(the past couple of weeks, especially so)
far too often in my own strength, instead of His.
Looking back over several days, I can see
God has been using His people to wrap me in His arms
A phone visit with a very dear friend
who loves me enough to tell me hard things
a phone call from another friend - out of the blue
with the loan of exactly what I wanted
and she had no clue I wanted it
a refreshing visit with a sweet lady I don't know real well
yet another phone call with another dear friend
and finally
a friend I am not particularly close with anymore
(no real reason - we've just kinda grown apart over the years)
showed up at my house with dinner yesterday
because she wanted to surprise and bless me.
None of these ladies knew I was having a rough time.
None of them!
On top of that - being a homebody by nature, and a busy one, at that
I can go weeks
(yes, weeks!)
never talking to another soul - save the 10 in my immediate family.
So last night when Tyler said, "God is really loving you."

I realized
is what it feels like to be wrapped in His arms.
It's humbling, really.
which (hopefully) serves to bring me just a wee bit closer
to being 'more like You'

Friday, September 18, 2009

7 quick takes - photo edition


early stages of the BBR

Mrs. Lisa taught Lily how to polish silver in Aunt Terri's shop.
I love how - even from this angle -
you can see how closely Lily was paying attention


just ordinary life
I love these people!!!


Tyler's wants a photo for facebook.

the second one gets my vote

hubba, hubba

life with brothers....


Happy 17th, Ton'
You are such a blessing to our family!
I love you


For easy bedtime reading:
poor man's version of the gutter bookshelves
which, incidentally,
we like better
although - in a permanent house - I'd paint 'em
(The upright boards go to the bed, not the shelves - ignore them.)
We simply took a 2x4 & cut it the length we wanted the shelf to be
(by 'we' I mean, Tony, mostly)
then we split the board in half, so we had (roughly) 2 - 2x2's.
Found the studs then screwed the 2x2's onto the wall.
Then we put a line of glue
on the bottom portion of a 1x3 cut to the same length as the 2x4 (now the 2x2)
lined up the bottom of both boards
and added a few finishing nails.

I figure they can choose new books every week.
If they're especially careful,
they can earn the privilege of having library books on their shelves, too!
I didn't want them fighting over books
so I kept sending them to get 2 books each.
Jeremiah was very thoughtful choosing his books;
Josiah wasn't. (except Mouse Paint - he loves that book!)


last week's Family Fun Night

sisters playing together make me so happy!

I do love these people
for more quick takes, visit Jen

Thursday, September 17, 2009

one down

179 to go
Today was our 10th first day of homeschool!
We should celebrate
but frankly
I'm worn out.

Probably our worst 1st day ever.
To borrow from Mr. Putter,
was a nightmare.

Besides the fact that Lexi had absolutely no interest
in any of her siblings
receiving any semblance of a formal education
things went well.
I do need to purchase noise-reducing ear muffs for the boys, though.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the big day

We were going to
start school today.
No matter what.
Ready or not.
We didn't.
I did something I rarely ever do last night;
I went to bed early.
With a whole bunch of stuff undone.
I was just so tired!
logic was - I was going to bed so early
surely I'd wake up
- refreshed -
and I could accomplish more than if I stayed up
and attempted to finish my work
while in a sleep-deprived state
(I've been averaging 5 hours a night (interrupted, of course)
and that just doesn't cut it anymore)
My logic failed me.
The night was not restful
and was even more interrupted than normal.
when I got up this morning
than usual
I decided to swallow my pride
and take
yet one more
'one more day'
to really get ready
and we'll give it another go
All is not lost, though
I've got the oven warming up
so we can start our last
'last day of summer'
off right
with cookies for dessert
after breakfast

Friday, September 11, 2009

boys blessings and papa bears

Often when TJ and the boys do something (bowling, movie..)
they'll invite Tyler to go along.
He doesn't usually get to go- but it's an honor to be asked.
We gave Tony an early birthday present this evening:
two tickets to tomorrow's Rock the River 10-hour concert.
He grinned,
"You going with me, Dad?"
What a blessing for my sons to have a Pop
who loves to invest in them
what a blessing to have sons who enjoy being
with their dear-old-dad!
I don't know of many 17 year-olds
who'd be happy their dad was going to a concert with them.
What's also neat,
is - it would have still been cool with Ton'
if Brandon was going along, too.
There really aren't many guys who'd be good with that!
I love you, my men;
all of you!
(and I'm really glad I'm not going to the concert!)
Sons are a heritage from the LORD
Ps 127:3

plain jane

A friend recently gave me a ton of hand-me-downs
(why on earth are they called that? It makes no sense!)
There were so many
if I’d have kept them all
it would have more than doubled my wardrobe.
my stay-home lifestyle doesn’t warrant many of the clothes
and some of the clothes, while I liked them very much,
just weren’t me.
As I surveyed the pile of keepers
I thought to myself, “I really am plain Jane.”
I was never particularly fond of my wedding dress.
I bought it because it was cheap.
As in - $20 cheap.
And it fit.
I thought it was so plain and boring.
It was plain and boring!
Nothing like what I would have chosen as my wedding dress
if I’d had unlimited funds.
Or just more funds.
Several people commented
(I’m sure they meant it as a compliment - I didn‘t take it as such)
“Oh, your dress is perfect. It’s so ‘you’”
Thank-you very much.
This dress is plain.
It’s like
the ugliest wedding dress I’ve ever seen.
Not a bit of sparkle.
No ruffle.
No floof.
In retrospect
that dress really was ‘me’.
I really am just a plain simple gal.
I adore floral prints - just not on me.
All of my shirts are solid.
In the rare event I stray and buy a patterned shirt;
I get rid of it within a year.
It’s just not me.
am a simple girl.
I am Plain Jane
But I am okay with that now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

doin' the happy dance

I really wanted to do
Tapestry of Grace (ToG) this year, Year 3.
Even done bare-bones style,
it's better than other history programs I've looked at.
I tried to borrow it
but no luck.
Tyler increased my school budget so I could buy it
since it's what I really wanted.
when it came down to it
I just couldn't spend the money,
knowing I wouldn't be able to do the program justice.
It just seemed like I'd be wasting money.
If I borrowed it
I'd be more okay with not doing everything.
Weird, I know.
A dear friend, whom I haven't talked to in ages
called me today.
"Before we start visiting,
I just wanted to remind you that I have that 1 year of ToG
if you ever want to borrow it.
I know you said you'd really like to do Tapestry again.."
"What year is it?" I asked.
"I'd forgotten that you had any ToG..."
"Year three."
That had to be a God thing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I was thinking today...

Several years ago,
I dreaded hearing my father’s voice on the other end
when I picked up the phone.
He was making bad choice after bad choice
and he knew better.
I was so disgusted with him, I just wanted to write him off.
He’d hurt me.
Indirectly, but still painful.
It doesn’t matter how old a child is when their parents divorce;
(I was nearly 30)
it sucks.
(no, kids, you still can‘t say ‘sucks‘)
It shakes you to your very core.
You feel like everything you’ve ever known to be true
is just a lie.
I really felt quite justified in wanting no relationship
with the man who once danced me on his feet.
I used to be daddy’s girl.
Suddenly I was nobody’s,
‘cause I sure didn’t want to be his anymore!
I would have been happy to never talk to him again.
Tyler wouldn’t let me.
‘Never talk to him again’ that is.
Oh, there were a few times
when I was especially fragile
that he intercepted the phone for me
(not that the calls were terribly frequent)
but usually,
he encouraged me to love my father in spite of himself.
To honor him,
simply because God had made him my father.
I chose to listen to Tyler and at least attempt to honor my dad.
To be honest,
I still struggle today to know how to do that well.
The difference, though, is now I want to honor him,
not just because Tyler told me it was the right thing to do,
but because I truly want to.
The last time he called,
I was happy to hear his voice,
“Tracy. This is your father…”
I was thinking today..
How strong my husband was during that time.
It would have been so much easier for him to let me have my way.
To protect me in the way I wanted to be protected,
not the way I needed to be protected.
I can be such a stinker when things don’t go my way.
(or at least I used to could be - now, I’m pretty much sweet all the time.
That’s a joke, Son)
I love you!
More today than yesterday
and certainly more than 11, 12 years ago;
obviously far more than 22 years ago when we first started out.
Thank you for protecting me
For correcting me
For loving me.
For really loving me.
I am so proud of you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the big bathroom remodel

home again
home again
jiggity jig
We got back early evening yesterday
from a fairly successful
trip to Rogers
for the Big Bathroom Remodel.
The remodel was big;
the bathroom
was not.
Terri asked me a few weeks ago for my
slightly-informed, non-expert opinion
about what it would cost to remodel her bathroom.
Forgetting my dear sister's champagne tastes,
I briefly calculated,
called Tyler,
and then called her back.
"$1,000 - $1,200.
We'll be there soon."
As usual,
that 'we' is loose.
The little kids and I would merely play a supporting role
while the big boys and Tyler did the real work.
After a week of phone calls and e-mails back and forth
and countless trips to hardware stores
both here and in Rogers
(and a call to Gramma & Grampa
to invite ourselves for the long weekend)
we were ready.
We also realized
we were going to be at the 'tops' figure, not the $1,000...
Friday we headed up early
The boys started tearing in right away;
they had to take the whole room down to the studs
and wanted to get as much done as possible before Tyler arrived.
I got to help a little bit since Ter was playing with the little ones;
that was fun!
Matt came over.
"This whole wall (an exterior wall) has got to go!"
"We're on a very tight schedule,"
I remind my 26 year-old baby brother, "and a tight budget!"
By the time Tyler got there in the evening,
the wall was gone and a buddy of Matt's
had installed a stop valve on the toilet
and removed both the toilet and the sink.
Took him
8 seconds.
Fast forward ~ this is getting too long..
TJ ended up coming up to help;
he'd stayed here to watch animals for us
but by Sunday
he couldn't stand missing out on all the fun.
T does love to be around family!
(Thanks Lana & Luke for taking care of Lola after he left!)
We (see above) ended up replacing the entire floor, too,
so she really does have a whole new room.
Terri picked out rich paint
lovely tile
an elegant surround
beautiful vanity, light fixtures and fan
but the crown jewel of her collection
is the cable hookup
so she can watch TV while enjoying a bubble bath.
James'll never get her out of there.
The BBR still isn't complete,
but it will be soon.
We're thinking about our own HGTV show.
Design on a Dime..
Remodel for Rednecks..
(actually - there were no redneck fixes in the remodel of this bathroom)
On the Cheap....
or maybe just Big Bathroom Remodel
and we could only remodel bathrooms....
oh, the possibilities....
(thanks Mom & Bill for keeping the cast & crew well-fed)

Friday, September 4, 2009

what I learned today

You really shouldn't wait
until a few hours before you are supposed to leave
to get eight people packed and ready for a weekend away.
No matter how laid back you are trying to be.
you will be late...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

thanks, Guys!

Tyler and I came home from the visitation
to find that Tony and Brandon
had folded three loads of laundry
(and put most of it away)
They also made a huge dent in the kitchen clean-up.
Thanks a whole heap!!
It was such a blessing to not have to face either mountain!
Love you both!!

our big girls

Just a minute before these pictures were taken,
Lexi was laying on the floor.
Nobody helped her up.
What a big girl!!
Check out that posture!


Lily ran a few errands with me this morning.
A lady asked her, "Where'd you get those curls?"
I wasn't sure how Lily would answer.
A few seconds later, she added,
"And my Papa."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


a tomato canner.
that's right;
I can tomatoes.
At least,
I did.
I have 6 lovely quarts
peeled petite diced tomatoes sitting on my counter
plus another one in the fridge that didn't seal.
But here's the thing:
If I'd have bought 7 big cans of petite diced tomatoes
at Walmart
it'd have cost me $8.33 plus tax.
Them there 7 jars
represent 2 hours of labor
(1 1/2 hours of mine & 1/2 hour of Brandon's - thanks, Bud!!)
and that doesn't include the finding and washing of the jars
lids, rings and canner.
Or the picking of the tomatoes.
Also coming into the equation:
it takes 1 hour and 25 minutes
to water bath process a quart of tomatoes in their own juice.
The heat under the canner was on high for over an hour
prior to that
while I was preparing the tomatoes.
Another burner was on high for an hour an a half
so I could have boiling water to blanch the tomatoes
so their skins would slip off easily.
I had to turn the air on in the kitchen
because it got so hot
(and today was a really cool day!)
My mom gave me lots of canning stuff
(thanks, Mom!!!)
so I didn't have to buy jars or bands
but I did have to buy lids
(14 cents per lid
if memory serves me - which - in all fairness, it may not...)
While the part of me that wants desperately
to live a self-sufficient lifestyle
is quite pleased,
the realist in me
(who is equally loud; probably even louder....)
it really isn't worth it;
just buy your stupid canned tomatoes at the store
and be done with it.
Move on.
at least I can still make my own jam...