Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Ventures

So this week brought some new things to our house. Hope had her first job! She worked for a young mother from church. I wasn't real sure about the reactions of the rest of the people in the house, but they did handle it well.  When you send your daughter out to work for the first time you wonder, "Did I teach her right? Does she actually know how to help, or will the other mother feel like she just gained a teen student?"
I was pleased when Hope came home and said, "We did baking, picked beans, and then she said I could take a break while she puts the girls to bed, but there were so many dishes in the sink, I decided to wash them."
WOW!  sorry just had to brag.

Today we get to add another child to the house, a thirteen-year-old girl.....from China.....for only two weeks. I have very mixed feelings about this. Part of me is resentful.
Why do people think I have any extra nurturing left in me to parent ANOTHER child for two weeks?
Just because we already have Chinese children living in our house does that make us more qualified?
What if she is a really spoiled rich kid?   (after all who has the money to send their THIRTEEN year old child across the world? Or the naivete to send them to live with a family they know NOTHING about?)
Maybe I have the word "sucker" written across my forehead...I get the privilege of figuring out meals, sleeping arrangements, transportation, and crowd control because I "have such a kind heart"?
What about her clothes will I need to be a strict mama and get her "something decent"?
What if she looks down her nose at MY children? OUR lifestyle?

Then I know what I SHOULD be feeling, thinking...
We will give this child the privilege to see a family in action (poor thing)....after all she is probably an "only child".
We will hopefully give her a glimpse of the Gospel or the Jesus that showed us by His example what we should be doing.
I really do have enough room in my heart to care for another child....but what if I like her too much?
After the sermon this morning on hospitality I should be looking for ways to serve.
We spent a total of 4 days with teens from NZ and they changed our outlook on life forever.
She is probably as worried about spending time in our family. If they gave her the same brief outline about us, that we got about her...
All we know is "My English name is Catherine. I am a 13 year old girl. I like listening to music and watching movies."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Being Thankful

Ben has been helping at "Thursday Church" for a little over a year. "Thursday Church" is a program that one of the urban Mennonite churches runs for the children of the community. He has been learning about the tough side of life. Things he takes for granted are foreign to some of these children. The other night he was watching me comb the girls' hair and he told them "Girls just be thankful for a mom that combs your hair for you."
This past week they had VBS for this community and afterward one of the boys was singing "On Top of Old Smokey"...(the kids version about spaghetti)...
The kid ended his version with "and then my poor meatball rolled out of the door."

So Ben finished with the last verse:

"It rolled in the garden and under a bush
and then my poor meatball was nothing
but mush!
And then the next summer it grew to a tree
Now there's a meatball for you and for me."

The little boy looked at him "Is that really the last verse?"

Ben said, "Well that's my dad's version."

Little boy, looks at Ben," Did you like it when you had a dad?... Did he hit you and stuff?"

Ben said he was in keep-things-under-control mode and didn't get hit by the question on later.

I wanted to send dad with Ben the next time and let Ben use him for show and tell.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So Can You?

This was a conversation I had the other day with one of my boys. Probably controversial...

"So mom, can you be a Christian and play soccer professionally...." this after the goalie on the US team was featured in news articles proclaiming his Christianity.
I turned the question back on him...."so can you?"
He decided that he could have been this year cause the US team didn't play any games in the World Cup on Sunday.   (not exactly what I was looking for)
Next question:
"So if I play in the NBA can I be a Christian?"  (he would be able to play on the team of his choice...if he tried hard enough, and had enough money.)

So can you glorify Christ and play a game as your job?    I don't know....maybe?

We get into these discussions at our house when I notice that my son's think winning a tournament at school is all-important.  I contend that there is plenty of energy going into those games. "Mom pray for us to win" doesn't happen at our house.   I tell them I will pray that they are good losers, and humble winners.
I ask them what God must think when the moms from the opposing high school pray for their child to win and I'm praying the same prayer??!!

"But mom," they say, " this is good, we get to know the other schools."

I counter "you'd get to know them better if I'd count off 1,2   1, 2  and mix you up."

I'd be a REAL popular phys-ed teacher.

Oh and you can pray for me...we have a new driver in the house...didn't get a picture yet, he's off on work week with the youth group.

Quote of the day:  Shekinah sitting at the supper table, looks to the left and right. "So why are you all looking at me? You think I'm CUTE!?"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Fad

video video
                                    Let's just sit down on the rip-sticks, not so far to fall.
                     Some of us need to work on the core muscle thing....not naming names.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Newest Members

Before my niece got married the other week she decided to get rid of her "dart frog", she somehow thought we could handle a pet.  We learned that he is actually a Fire Belly Toad. He eats crickets and small worms. Even though he is a toad he likes to hang out in his water dish.
              The other day this one had a birthday! She is now 9! We ate dessert at McD's and then I made a cake when the cousins were here and she didn't want candles, soooo that is why we don't have pictures of your cake this year.  She chose to do the same thing as her sister a few weeks ago. We went out for lunch and then went shopping. One of the things she found is a head lamp so she can read in bed. We thought she looked more like a minion without the yellow shirt.
         Parker continues to get more like his daddy....he just didn't learn the word "on"...yet.
           Hope decided it is time to hit the books again....she actually had attentive students for a few hours.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


We normally babysit Parker on Tuesdays and watching him grow into a little boy is apparently causing a thought process in Joseph's mind.
Suddenly at lunch time Joseph asked me " If I have children will they be half Chinese?"

"Umm, yeah at least half."

" Well, what am I gonna tell them to put on their achievement tests then?"

We had this discussion last year when they had their standardized testing at school, "mom, what am I supposed to put when it asks Caucasian, Chinese, Latino, African American, Pacific Islander?"

I jokingly told them to chose "other" because it sorta irks me that they need/want to know...why don't they just check if the curriculum is teaching the students.
Hope informed me though that she tried that and her teacher made her change it to Chinese.

I told them there is every reason to mark the circle beside "Chinese", because I think that is what they are asking, but the question still irritates me.
That irritation caused us to be noticed by the US Census bureau too....if you choose a couple different ethnicites in your household they call you and want an in depth interview.  So they do read those papers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This and That

    The other day Shekinah came around the corner of the house to check up on hubby and my conversation, to avoid the damp grass she walked carefully on some landscape bricks. She suddenly pointed, "look daddy a snake!" Daddy took a look and sure enough a garter snake was disappearing into the bushes. I glanced at the route the snake must have taken and THERE WENT ANOTHER ONE!   I know they are harmless, but I still don't like the idea of a snake crawling just inches from my daughter's foot.   The next morning Ezekiel brought in a "fresh" snake skin...the snake all shiny and clean was just disappearing under one of the planters.
                                         Shekinah enjoyed inspecting the eyes and mouth.
                                 Faith and Parker having a laughing party...when the girls aren't fighting over
                                  him they enjoy playing with him.
                       Since our AC units are stored in the basement I took cooking operations out to the
                        "summer kitchen". I think I will try to cook that way more often.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Birthday!

                    First tablet in this house, found it at a yard sale. She can figure out exactly how to use it!
                           Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  The flowers are funny shaped licorice pieces.

         A few days late, but she knew her "brown-like- Zell " baby was coming, 
she picked which one she wanted

Saturday, June 7, 2014


The other day a friend of mine called and asked "you have a busy week planned?" I didn't and somehow I ended up agreeing to babysit her 7 year old daughter.  Actually, I know exactly why I accepted.

But this isn't just any old babysitting stint, this child comes with the warning of "she will try you out."  I know that is code used by the mothers of "tough" children, the ones who have had trouble attaching with their mothers and fathers. She is doing well after many hours of therapeutic parenting, BUT!

In some ways she is just like a regular child or a garden...if left unattended they tend to run wild.... but since I have come to love and respect this little family I didn't want to cause any carefully mended tapestry to start to unravel.

Four days... before arrival, I advised my girls that "Betsy" might "try to run things", but they can make a choice of giving in to each request or refusing, I would mediate if asked. They weren't too worried.
First morning Hope decided to have school and all of the little girls trooped to the basement classroom. I was busy with Parker but soon notice that the youngest two were playing in the living room. Ah well. Soon Hope comes up and announces "recess time" and all went out to ripstick on the driveway.

Recess lasted all day. I asked Hope how school went "she doesn't listen!"
Hmm, good training.
Later Hope came and reported that "Betsy" asked her "do you have to listen to your mommy?" Hope says she told her "of course".   "Well," "Betsy" replied, "I don't have to listen."  (not sure to whom).

So I wasn't surprised when I told Shekinah and "Betsy" to pick up their ripstick/skateboard and bring them in off the drive. I had one little girl answer "Huh?"  She caught me and I repeated myself the second "Huh" it hit me...she's operating straight out of the "drive mom nuts" chapter!
"You heard me"
"And if I have to pick it up, you won't be using it tomorrow."
Suddenly she had good hearing BUT
Miss Shekinah had to check if I meant it for her....
I did (sigh)
So to aid my faulty memory, I walked through the house and advised ALL present that the skateboard is OFF- LIMITS for Shekinah  tomorrow. "Betsy" followed that with interest.

The thing about attachment challenged children is that they keep TESTING you and they keep score...they keep checking if you actually mean what you say or if they have to take charge.

So when I told her she needs to take her book into another room when I was putting Shekinah down for a nap, she simply moved to a different chair in the same room. (Caught it and she moved on  "I thought you said this chair")
She came in the house the one day and asked if she can call me mama. (No, I am not your mama)
She started leaving the table without removing her dishes or asking if she could be excused (her house rule, but she knew and I knew that her mama expected her to do it at our house)
       I didn't catch her with this one the first time, but Wed night I called her back to the table and simply said "Betsy, when you visit here with your mama you do things a lot differently when you are finished eating, let's do it that way."
   "She got a small smile and sat down at her place, waited a bit, and politely 'thank you for supper, can I please be excused' "

That night when I chatted with her mom, she told me that "Betsy" had asked if Chris is a strong mama when she found out she is coming to our house.
Oh bother!
I didn't feel bad then keeping a tight reign on her, it helped her to feel secure.
EVERY meal after Wednesday night I had at least three little girls asking to be excused.
She pretended a few times to not understand a request, or told me I really hadn't said what I thought I had. I either bluffed by way through or simply gave her the knowing smile that told her I had her number.

Thursday night after prayers she said she is glad that she is having a good time and it's not scary to come her after all.
Even though "our daddy" was scary, our water tasted "like city water" and our milk was "only good with lots of chocolate"  and the food was only marginal....well except for the pizza, she loved the rip-stick, and found the computer games fascinating (sorry "Betsy's" mama), I really did like having you.

I wonder how many things I missed?

On another subject, there is a good reason..or two... to keep a small stash of candy in your house...One reason is to treat everyone else when someone is having a screaming fit because_______fill in the blank. Doesn't always create silence, but it makes me feel better.

Tonight I was surprised, Shekinah just couldn't finish her supper. We don't force our children to eat anymore, but we don't allow dessert to children who couldn't eat their other food because obviously they just aren't hungry. Tonite after dessert I was handing out 3 gummi bears to each of us and when I came to Shekinah I decided she can have 2 gummi's "because she couldn't eat her warm things (she didn't have dessert) I told her she can have her 3rd gummi  if she eats her chicken and waffles....suddenly she could finish her food and she earned her gummi!

Quote of the day: " I don't want to be a girl when I grown up! I want to be a chicken or a rooster!"
       Ben went on a missions trip to help to teach VBS in South Dakota just as he was ready to leave he went back inside for his ocarina that I bought him in China, as he went to give me a hug he dropped the ceramic piece, I felt so bad for him, he wanted to play it in the Badlands. Thankfully I had bought some smaller ones that he took instead. Thursday I bought some ceramic glue and painstakingly glued it back together, I hope the sound is still the same.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things You Find

First official day of summer vacation!

Zeke washed windows and put in the screens.

Joe did a load of laundry.

Hope held school.

Faith attended school.

Shekinah attended school for about half the time and then aggravated her sisters the rest of the time.

After lunch I told the older ones to draw until Shekinah is sleeping...One wise soul mentioned that maybe I should give them an idea what to draw, so today we drew a pencil...with shading.....that lasted 1/2 hour.

I was busy re-arranging my sewing room...why? I really don't know. I do have plenty of sewing jobs that I should be working on, but there is a lot of dust in here.  I turned my sewing machine around to face the rest of the room...maybe preventing  a little girl from sitting on my back while I sew?
Cleaning out one room, usually means you make multiple trips to other rooms, so while putting dossier forms in the attic, I decided to grab some old receipt and bring them down to be shredded. While digging through the box I found some old calendar/planners from the days when I was "organized".
Turns out they had been a diary/planner/accounts book and since Hope and Faith can't throw out  a notebook I told them they may look through them....Hope started reading the one from 2002 and of course paged to her birthday...I don't think I'll be throwing out the books after all. It says " Bought Little Orbies doughnuts (tiny little fresh made doughnuts) , one dozen for me and Zeke to share. We each had one and he held the bag on the way home. He asked if he may have one more, I said "yes". When we got home the bag was empty!  I should have known better!"

Then I grabbed the year 2000 and found that on Joseph's birthday, my hubby was an outpatient at the hospital for a biopsy on a lump in his throat!

We have a picture from the day Faith was born...we were taking a walk on the street and Ezekiel and Hope were riding in the wagon.

I just need to find out what we were doing the day Shekinah was born.

   Found these bags in the multitude of China paperwork.