Hold On...About to Get Sentimental...

So I've been spending a lot of time on FaceBook lately...a lot of time. It fascinates me. In a few short days I have reconnected with people that I thought were lost forever to time. Now, granted, the majority of my "friends" are people that I could hop in my car and be in their driveways in less than 30 minutes, but there are those that I am still in awe over having found.

I found all of my college roommates...and one just had a baby on Thursday! Congratulations, Lindsay and Dave! If it weren't for FaceBook...I never would have known about Miss Bailey.

I found a couple of guys I went to highschool with...we use to toilet paper people's houses together...good times.

I found lots of girls that were in Teacher Ed with me at OBU...Yah, big shout out to 3rd floor McClellan!

And then, most amazingly to me, because you can't find them on HighSchool and College searches, I found a few of my MK buddies...and, I found my first best friend. Her name is Emily. Emily and I went to Bangladesh when we were both 5 as missionary kids. We went to Kindergarten together. We lived in the same duplex. We were inseparable...even when our families were moved out to different villages...it was like nothing changed when we got back together at Mission Meetings and Retreats. When my family moved to Thailand, Emily and I began to lose touch a bit...I think I remember writing letters, I'm sure we did. Then, when we moved back to the States, that was it. Never really saw or heard from her again. I think that their family was at my sisters' wedding, but can't remember that either, really. And then, yesterday...I found her on FaceBook. Memories flooded back. She had pictures of her family in her album, and I wanted to cry looking at her mom, dad, and brother....they were our family. Our parents were best friends. We spent vacations together. These were the people that we clung to over there.

So, since I found her, my mind has been moving back to those years overseas. I was so young when the experience began; I didn't know enough to try really hard to remember things. I didn't know that one day I wouldn't be able to remember the colors and smells. That I wouldn't be able to remember the people and the language. So, now, I sit here trying to visualize it all, trying to hear the voices of the people, trying to remember the slightest of memories...and all I see are photographs...pictures that my parents took while there. I've seen those pictures a million times...now those are what I think of when I think of Bangladesh...except for one thing...

My memories of my friendship with Emily...these memories are active...they are not still photographs...they are of us running and laughing...

Our lives are on two completely different courses now. Probably don't have much in common anymore. But, there has to be something said for a first best friend...that when you find them after 20 something years you say, "Oh my goodness, I'm SO GLAD I found you!"


Teach Me, O Young Ones...

Okay, so I've had my niece and nephew here all week...they go home tomorrow...and here are all the things that I've learned this week (well, that I can remember!)...

  1. My car stinks...I was informed that my car has a "funny" smell like rotten fruit snacks. I had no idea.
  2. I should do something about the ants and bugs...living in the country apparently isn't a good enough reason for having them.
  3. I should have bought 5 boxes of pancake mix instead of 4.
  4. I have no idea what I would do to entertain kids if it weren't for video games.
  5. I should have bought stock in Totino's Pizza Bites...we've ate our weights!
  6. I'm cool because I know how to roller skate...c'mon, Michele, it's not cool to always sit behind the camera!
  7. Strawberry Kool-aide is the best kind...they have drank 9 gallons in 6 days...no lie.
  8. Shopping with a 6th grade girl is lots of fun...I'll just have to enjoy my girl time with Kayla...ain't gonna happen any other way!
  9. I should clean out the toys from underneath my couch...they're right. What they don't know is that I sometimes leave them under there on purpose! HA! Now you know my little secret!
  10. I spend way too much time on the computer...again, they're right. What they don't know is that Blogger and FaceBook have been my sanity-saver this week!!!! :)
  11. My house must be more fun than their house...they want to stay another week with me and cried when their mom said "no." I must be cool!

So, Kay and Jor go home tomorrow. I'm kind of sad to see them go. This has been a long week, but a really fun one, too. It was fun to see the cousins enjoying each other (even though there was a whole lot of fussing).

Love them.



The kids have had a blast this week with thier cousins.

One of Keaton's FAVORITE toys are K'NEX (glorified tinker toys) and all the boys have had a blast this week building and inventing contraptions--when they were on break from the Wii! Right now the K'NEX are still scattered all over my living room floor from last night's construction session...

Keaton wanted the pictures posted on his blog instead of mine, so in an attempt to humor him, I'll oblige. To check out the boys and their mighty inventions go to Keaton's blog. You can find him at http://creativek-g.blogspot.com


Just Beachy

Love that sun and sand! I don't know how many times I've said that I love Lake DeGray, but I'm going to say it again...I love it!

All the kids had a great time today...Kayla and Jordan said that they liked it better than the Water Park...impressive. Stephanie and the kids met us out there. It was so good to visit with her and watch the kids play. They chased a few fish around, built an impressive sand castle bridge thing, and did a whole lot of splish-splashing!

Jordan and Tate



Jordan and the sandcastle creation

Too bad it started lightening...I think we could have stayed all day.


Still Tired...

(I need to preface this post by telling my sweet sister Michele that I really do love her kids and that they are being really good for me!!)


I've had my niece and nephew for a couple of days now and we are really having a great time, but I'm tired. I just don't think I'm cut out for so much entertaining. Not that Kayla and Jordan are high-maintenance...they're not...it is just different when you have other kids in your house for a long period of time. They are still getting accustomed to certain rules we have, so it just feels like I'm constantly on my feet to go and check on everyone. (On my feet, because I've been sitting at the computer way too much these past few days due to my new FaceBook addiction!)

For instance, my kids can play ball in the house...yikes! am I freaking anybody out yet?...but, we have certain rules about how hard and how high they can throw the ball (that comes from one too many of my pictures getting knocked off the wall!). So, today I heard LOUD noises coming from my living room...go in and there is a HUGE game of DodgeBall going on. Wow! What Fun! Only that the balls are going a lot higher and a lot harder than usual!! My boys had told Jordan that we could throw balls in the house, but they had forgotten to tell him the rules. AND...they evidently forgot the rules, too!! So, needless to say, I had to leave my BlogSpot/FaceBook perch to intervene.

We did go see a movie today (the theatre in Hot Springs does Kid Flicks--where they show old movies for dirt cheap and you can get $1 popcorn and sodas, but the kids think that they are doing something really fantastic!!) and we went bowling. Oh, we also ate at the IHOP which is one of most fav restaurants in the world!! Love those pancakes!!

So, although I'm exhausted, Michele, we're making it great! Don't worry about us!! Your kids are the greatest and I love them to pieces! Right now all five are spread out on sleeping bags watching Alvin and the Chipmunks. I can hear them laughing together...what a beautiful sound! Makes the DodgeBall game all worth it!!!

I'm A Techno Whiz...not really!

I feel so techno-savvy...

I'm a little behind, I know, but I just got hooked up with FaceBook (thanks,
Steph! -- she had to walk me through it, because I KNOW NOTHING!). A lot of fun!!

I have already "reconnected" with a couple of friends that I haven't talked to in ages...I'm very excited about all of this!

This BLOG and FACEBOOK all in the same month...what will August bring? What has happened to me?


From 3 to 5

So, now I know what it is like to have five children. Don't know how people do it all the time.

My niece and nephew are here for the week. My brother-in-law is a youth minister, so he and my sister are at an X-Fuge Camp in Panama City Beach this week...poor them. (My youth group never took trips to Florida, but, whatever...). Anyway, I get the pleasure of keeping Kayla and Jordan for the week.

So far, everyone is still alive and breathing and nobody has broken any bones. Although I did have to dish out band-aids to all four boys yesterday...

We're on our way to the Water Park for some good clean entertainment today. I had planned on taking them swimming every day this week, just so that they were doing something everyday, and my sister says they really like to swim. But, Jordan just informed me that he doesn't like to do the same things over and over....hmmmmmm...we may just have to do it anyway...because everyone knows there isn't anything else to do in our town, and I'll go crazy if I just keep them home!!

Pray for me this week...I'll need it for sure!! :)


So Sorry...

Now I'm really embarrassed. I'm sitting at my sister's computer, looking over my blog...and I'm mortified. Simply mortified.

See, on my computer at home the pictures are really dark, so I didn't think you could really tell how bad my closet really was....oh, my goodness. I'm so sorry that you had to be exposed to that horror!

My apologies to all of you who have bright screens... No wonder you were so worried about me, Leanne!!!

(Yes, my flooring is really that ugly in that closet!) :)


If You've Been Worried...

For Those of You Who Have Been Super Worried About Me and My Closet (uh-hum...Leanne!) ...

It is now CLEAN and TIDY!!!

Nine trash bags later...yes, I said NINE! I feel so successful! Oh my goodness, let me just tell you some of the horrifying stuff I found in that pit of junk...

  • old CDs from when I was in high school and college (n'Sync, Rickey Martin, and even Brittney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again!" just to name a few...I'm not kidding!)
  • boxes from every pair of tennis shoes and boots that Kirk has bought in the past five years. They were all empty...why did we keep those? (And there were only his boxes...strange...)
  • old workout/aerobic VHS tapes...the leotards the girls are wearing on the front covers are enough for me to never use those again!!
  • all these hand-painted wooden signs and decorations from when the country look was in. Way too much mauve and country blue -- even for a junk closet. I'm shuddering as I think about it.
After discovering a few more ancient and ridiculous treasures/trash...I got busy cleaning. I started by just throwing everything out into the floor of my dining room and then started putting it back in (if I was going to keep it). IT TOOK FOREVER!!!!

But, I'm so happy now. It is still pretty crowded in there, just because it is a small closet and we don't have much storage space in the house, but at least everything is put in its place and is organized. It also isn't so much of a fire hazard anymore, which will make Stephanie feel better!! :)

Here is a picture of my success! Still crowded, but come on...nothing like before!!! The picture is a little dark, but I promise...it is clean!

In addition to my hall closet triumph, I cleaned out my closet and chest-of-drawers. Talk about another ridiculous undertaking...I cleaned out 5 trash bags full of clothes and 2 full of shoes. And my closet is still full. But, it is much better and I can at least get all my clothes in my closet now without having to leave some of them hanging in the laundry room. Why in the world did I ever say I never had anything to wear!?!?!

So, now I get to move on to the boys' rooms and closets...ugh...


Shhhhh...What's That?



That's right...for the next 2 days I'm all alone!! I took the kids to my sister's house yesterday leaving me by myself. Kirk will be home in the evenings, but he will be busy outside working on our new batting cage...so, that leaves me!!!!

Don't think that I'm just going to lie around and do nothing but drink Diet Dr. Peppers all day...I wouldn't mind doing that...but, I have projects that I'm determined to accomplish! Like so many of you that I have talked to or read your blogs, I have way too much stuff. It is ridiculous the amount of junk that five people can accumulate. I have stuff that I don't even remember getting and can't think of any logical reason for ever using.

So, my hall closest is a mess...more than a mess..you should have to wear a HazMat suit to enter it. I take that back, you can't even enter it. I'm not kidding. It is one of those closets from the cartoons and kids' movies where everything comes crashing out of it if you open the door. Now, I'm going to highly offend my super-neat friend Leanne here, but I'm going to show you a picture. This is very humbling for me, because I don't want you guys to think I'm a complete slob -- I just don't have much storage and it has become super-easy to just stuff junk in there to get it out of the way.
I know -- horrible -- isn't it? I pray everyday that my water heater doesn't bust a pipe or we'd never be able to get to it! Yeah...my water heater is in there somewhere...this is pathetic. So embarrassing.

Well...I'm going to clean it. Now that I have humiliated myself in front of the entire world, I have no choice. I'm going to purge, purge, purge. I even have nifty bins and containers waiting to be used to organize all the junk. I also have a yard sale coming up that I can get rid of a lot of this stuff at.

Now I just have to go do it...

Other Projects While My Little Men Are Away:

  • clean out the boys' toys while they are gone. I can never do it when they are with me...evidently everything is precious, even though they never play with half of it.

  • clean out my closet. Way too many clothes for one person who has zero social life. I already wear the exact same thing to church about every Sunday and when school starts I only wear khakis and comfy shirts. Other than that...the only place I go is to WalMart. No reason to hang on to 17 pairs of jeans -- I've only worn 2 pair in the past 2 years. I also have a silver metallic button-up shirt...hmmmmm...not sure what that is about. Needless to say...time to get rid of this stuff.

  • clean out the refrigerator...I mean pull out all the drawers and shelves...yuck...so dreading that. That's why it's last on my list!!!!!!

If you are doing something relaxing these next few days...think of me...in my HazMat suit!!

P.S. -- Hope the picture of my closet doesn't give you nightmares!! :)

***** My sister just posted some pictures of my kids on her blog. Check it out of you want to see what the wild ones have been up to. http://more-of-mich.blogspot.com/


I've Been Tagged...

I've been tagged!! Thanks, Jennifer!

Here are the answers to the questions...

1. If you could inherit a comfortable home in any city in the world that you could use, but not sell, where would you want it to be? Definitely out West somewhere. I would love to be able to be in the mountains. Maybe Wyoming -- somewhere in the Tetons.

2. If you could be instantly fluent in one other language that you currently do not read or speak, which would it be? Why? My high school and college Spanish teachers would want me to say Espanol, but I think I would choose Italian...so romantic.

3. If you were given an hour to spend an unlimited amount of money in any store in the world where would it be? Oh, if I was shopping for clothes...it would have to be Banana Republic! Love that store! If I was shopping for the house...Pottery Barn!

4. If you had to give your children to the care of someone famous, whom would you pick? Well, it wouldn't be Brad and Angelina!! What a hard question! I honestly have no idea...oddly enough the only person that is coming to mind is First Lady Laura Bush...that is so weird.

5. If you could cast an actor now alive to play you in a new film, what kind of film would it be and whom would you choose? Reese Witherspoon. I think she is quirky enough to play me. I'm sure it would be a romantic comedy...can't imagine myself in anything else.

6. If you could have an elegant dinner alone with anyone presently alive, whether you know them or not, who would you want it to be? I would pick my husband. In fact, it doesn't even have to be elegant...just dinner alone!!!!

7. If you could resolve any single dispute, anywhere in the world what would you solve? I would have everyone lay off of our President. I get so tired of hearing people bash him. I happen to have a lot of respect for Mr. Bush, and get so tired of the lack of understanding people give our leader.

8. If you were instantly able to play one musical instrument perfectly that you have never played before, what would it be? I would love to be able to play the drums!

There you go....

My turn! STEPH & MICH -- Tag!


Quick, Slow, Slow

One of my favorite blogs to read is The Simple Wife. I just love, well, her simplicity. I was feeling kind of in a funk this morning and was already super snappy with everyone, probably mostly from exhaustion from our long weekend and the thought of all the laundry and "putting away" that I had to do today. Anyway, I was checking up on some email and blog reading that I had missed over the weekend, and clicked on The Simple Wife. Instant message from the Lord.

If you get the chance, check out her blog post, because she words it so much better than I'm going to be able to, but she talked about feeling really convicted about a certain Scripture in the book of James. (Interestingly enough, I had just gone through the book of James a few days ago, so I was fresh with this passage.)

Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak,
and slow to become angry,
for man's anger does not bring about
the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19-20
I guess that I have always viewed this passage as an "out-of-the-house" kind of instruction. Or as an inward attitude-check, but Joanne (The Simple Wife) pointed out that she was feeling it as conviction about the way that she parented.
Oh my. Did that hit home or what? I began to reflect and meditate on the passage of Scripture and came to the same conclusion. I don't have a problem with my temper or with anger management -- out in public. But, in my own home, I do get frustrated and aggravated...a lot. I realized that I am not being a good model for them. I often times am not quick to listen to them and hear them out. I become wrapped up in my own projects or schedules, and don't make as much time for them as I should to just LISTEN. I'm also not slow to speak. I'm very quick to speak. Especially to my kids. I find myself always barking or instructing or correcting...all day long...again, not stopping long enough to hear them out. And becoming angry? I'm pretty quick to become angry (more frustrated) with them, and I have a habit of raising my voice a little too often with my kids.
So, what have I learned? That if I want my kids to become tremendous men of God (and I've been entrusted with the job of raising them to be just that), I MUST be a model for them. How can they be expected to take on this way of handling themselves when their primary teacher (me) can't even handle herself in that way? I must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Because more than anything in this world, I want my children and my family to have the righteous life that God desires for us.
Joanne pointed out that she was going to try to keep in mind "Quick, Slow, Slow" throughout the day as a reminder of this instruction. Me too.
Quick. Slow. Slow.
Quick. Slow. Slow.


I Survived...and Liked It!!

I don't even know who I am anymore.

No really. It wasn't very many years ago (okay...days ago) that I was spouting off about not being up for camping...and certainly not tent camping. I didn't think I could rough it. I wasn't that type of girl.

Now? Mark July 14, 2008, on the calendar as the official day of the "New Me!" I survived an entire 4 days of tent camping; braved bugs and critters; took only 2 showers; came home with cricket guts and fish blood under my fingernails; listened to a raccoon have a late-night snack in our trash; and shared the restroom the entire time with a foot long blue-tailed lizard and a wolf spider whose web was spun right over the mirror. I'm so proud of myself.

Know what else? I LIKED IT!!!!!!

It was by far one of the most relaxing, peaceful, and wonderful vacations I have ever had. No lie. I was so hesitant at first, with so many pre-conceived notions going into the weekend, that I was becoming very apprehensive and very unnerved about the whole thing. But, the moment we pulled up to our campsite -- it all went away.

We had the prime spot. Our site was completely shaded by beautiful trees, and it had the most perfect little trail down to the lake with our own private beach. DeGray Lake is so gorgeous. It is one of my most favorite places on earth. It was so amazing to sit by the lake in the evenings and watch the sunset, and to wake up early and sit by the water and enjoy the cool breezes. To talk to God out there...like that...must be pretty close to Heaven. It was amazing.

My previous worries about thinking we brought too much stuff were quickly quieted when the people in the site next to us moved in. These people were ridiculous. They unloaded no less then a dozen fans. And one was one of those huge shop fans. Crazy. They also had a refrigerator...what happened to coolers? So, I fast felt like a pro-camper compared to those people. These were also the same people that kept us up one night fighting over blankets in their tent. Late night entertainment.

Our tent ended up being so great. We had the gigantic monster tent with the 3 different rooms. So nice. Kirk and I had an air mattress in one of the little rooms and the boys had all their sleeping bags in the other. We used the big open part to just put our stuff in and be able to walk around. Good job, Kirk! You did good!!

Kirk's mom and dad came Friday evening and brought our niece and nephew, Moriah and Dawson. What great entertainment for the boys!! The kids had a blast swimming, fishing, playing horseshoes and cards, and hanging out around the campfire.

We didn't do as much on-the-lake fishing as we thought we would. Kirk, Pop, and Moriah went bow-fishing Friday night. Don't think they shot much. Kirk and the boys put out noodles Sunday night, and when they went back and checked them this morning -- they had 2 catfish! Yeah! They ate those for lunch today! But, other than that...we just fished off the bank at our campsite. That was a blast! There weren't any fish there worth keeping, but it was so much fun because every time you cast a cricket in -- you got a bite. The fish were sooooooo tiny. Kirk and I were having a who-can-catch-the-smallest-fish contest this morning...he won. Ugh! That kind of fishing is a lot of fun for the kids, too...not boring at all!!

I was really sad today when it was time to pack up. I wasn't ready to go yet. I giggled at myself a few times thinking how crazy it was that I was feeling that way. My mother-in-law was teasing my this weekend about never having done something like this 10 years ago. Amazing how we grow isn't it?

I was able to read Redeeming Love this weekend. I know God orchestrated my waiting to read that book for this time. What a beautiful experience reading such an inspirational and message-speaking book when I was in a place of feeling so tremendously close to the Creator! Thank you, Jesus, for saving that book for me for this weekend...You knew what You were doing!!!!!! (If you haven't read it...oh, my goodness...please do! You'll never be the same.)

Well, here are a few picts from our big trip!! Can't wait to go back!! (Did I just say that? Yup!! Can't wait!!!!!)
This is the beach just off of our site. So pretty. Those are the kids swimming in the water.

This is the monster.

We played LOTS of cards. Here are Sawyer and Kirk playing a rowdy game of Crazy Eights. That is my father-in-law in the cowboy hat.

Here is Keaton with the rock fort he created.

Whew! Tate was all tuckered out after swimming one day and fell asleep in the chair. Must be tough to relax so much! :)

We really did have an amazing time. The kids made it just fine without TV and video games for 4 whole days. Miracles do happen! It was so refreshing to be away from all those conveniences and just enjoy each other. I'm so blessed.

Oh, by the way...if you were wondering...NO SNAKES!! :)


Rambling Camping Thoughts

In around 4 hours we are to check into our campsite. I really have no idea what to expect. I am flip-flopping between visions of a utopian-like weekend (where we all sit around the campfire singing songs, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying a completely bug-and-snake-free environment) and visions of the weekend from the underworld (where it rains the entire time, we have tent-neighbors who are ax murderers, and I get bitten by a snake...twice). Because I can't see Kirk singing "Kum-By-Ya" in a million years, I have a feeling that our weekend is probably going to land somewhere in the middle of both my visions. I'm just hoping that it doesn't include psycho neighbors or snakes.

I've been running around like crazy today trying to get everything ready. We are such city people. Meredith, you are probably laughing at us right now. We are nothing like you rugged out-doorsey people. Well, Kirk is. I'm not. I know that I'm way-over-preparing for this trip. Oh, well.

So, I went to Wal-Mart super early this morning to get a couple of last minute things. Let me just say that Wal-Mart is great early in the morning. There is nobody there but little old ladies riding in their little scooter carts, and the shelves are all stocked. Amazing! So, at least my day started out right.

Today is Kirk's birthday, and I forgot to tell him Happy B-Day this morning. Whoops. So, I felt bad and bought him a present at the store. We had agreed that I wouldn't buy him a gift, since he just bought the batting cage and pitching machine, but I had to have him something to unwrap. So, I bought him some underwear that he needed anyway and wrapped it. Happy Birthday, Honey!! :) Such a romantic gift....Ugh...we've been married too long.

I had a load of laundry in the washer yesterday, but I forgot about it and now the clothes stink. So, I'm having to rewash those. I hate it when that happens. So, I can't really pack until those come out, because I think a lot of the clothes we need are in that load. I'm not really sure what to pack either. I think I'll just throw a bunch of stuff in the bags and hope it works for us.

I guess I should go and finish packing up. I just keep walking around the house looking at all the stuff, and then I just turn my back on it and find something else to do. But, time is getting away from me and Birthday Boy will be home soon and ready to head out.

I really can't believe I'm getting ready to do this.

I better not get bitten by a snake.


Lot On My Mind...

I have had a lot on my mind today. We leave for our much anticipated camping trip tomorrow, so I've been scurrying here and there gathering all of the paraphernalia that is supposedly needed on these trips. We'll see if we actually use it all. I almost feel like we are going to be those people that are trying to be so over-prepared that we think we will look like we know what we are doing, but when we get out there we are going to look so ridiculous because we are so, well, over-prepared and arn't going to use half the stuff we bring. Oh well. Live and learn, I guess.

But, other than tents, sleeping bags, and smore ingredients, I have had other things on my mind, too. Constantly today I have felt the Lord calling me. He seems to be saying, "Amber, I'm here." That is usually such a comforting call, but this is not the "Don't worry, I'm here" call, it is the "Where have you been? I'm here" call. I can even hear the frustration in His voice as He calls me. The inflection in His voice saddens me.

If you don't want to delve into the deep place I'm about to go, please stop reading now. I'm not sure how long I will ramble here, I just feel like I should "talk" this through until I'm done.

I haven't been giving God what's His. I haven't been giving Him me. I seem to battle with time on a constant basis. There isn't ever enough of it. I am the queen of excuses, and am best at making excuses about where time has gone. During the school year I love to blame the hectic schedule for my lack of quality time with the Lord. I might have squeezed in a quick quiet time or Scripture reading before I jetted off to school or before I turned in at night, and I did make it a fairly good habit of praying in the car on the commute to work everyday, but anything of any lengthy substance was pretty much non-existent. I found myself and still find myself doing the quiet time thing in a rush --more because I know that's what you're supposed to do, rather than really trying to spend the quality time with the Lord waiting and listening for Him to speak. It sounds terrible, but it is just honest.

I found myself saying, "Can't wait 'till summer. Then I'll dive into the Word, because I'll have all the time in the world." I imagined myself toting my Bible everywhere I went, reading every second I could, and sipping my coffee on the deck with my Bible each morning. I can tell you that that hasn't happened once. Why? Get ready, I'm going to blame it on time. My hectic school year schedule has now been replaced with our hectic summer schedule. It really isn't hectic...it is just stuff. Just stuff that finds a way to take up precious time that I could be spending with my precious Saviour.

My heart longs to be with Him. I know the results of an active prayer and study life with Him, so why is it so easy to get into a routine of giving Him second place? I don't know the answer to the question because it seems completely absurd to me. If I know the difference that quality time spent with the Master makes, why don't I just do it?

So, back to the Lord speaking to me all day today. I'm sure He has been whispering to me for a long, long time, but is probably so fed up with pathetic me that He has resorted to screaming at me. I hear Him. He is calling me back. Calling me back to a place of complete submission to Him. A place where I grab my coffee and go to the deck with the Word, so that I can dive in undisturbed. A place where I turn this computer off and I concentrate on the messages He is posting for me. He's calling me.

My heart wants to obey Him. I want it to happen and need it to happen. I need to just be with my Jesus.

I'm so thankful that My God cares enough about His time with me that He misses me and is willing to take the time to call me back to Him.

I praise the Lord if you are one who hasn't strayed from precious time with Him, and I pray for you if you are one who is like me.


I just found ants in my kitchen. I hate ants. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. We go through this every summer. I open up the cabinets one day and BAM! they are in everything.

Good thing I'm on my way to the grocery store, because I've just thrown away a box of taco shells, a box of Cheese Its, a tube of Ritz crackers, half a box of cereal, and a jar of peanut butter that only had about 2 scoops out of it. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Keaton is working overtime devising a plan to trap the ants. He just told me that his thought is to put opened packages of food in the middle of the floor and when we get back from the store all the ants will be piled up on the food and we can just kill them. I don't know that that is going to happen.

I guess I have to add "something to kill the ants" to my list of things to get at the store.

Ugh. I hate bugs.


Stickers, Stickers, Who's Got the Stickers?

This summer I started the Sticker Chore Chart with the kids in an attempt to keep their rooms picked up and teach them some sense of responsibility. I know a lot of people disagree about whether you should pay your kids to do chores or not, but it works for us. There are some jobs that they have to do just because they are part of the family, but these jobs are the ones that I'm lax on making them do (like getting dressed everyday--we would stay in our jammies all day if we could), so having an incentive is good for all 4 of us.

So, the kids are supposed to do their chores, and if they do them, they get a sticker in the slot.

If, at the end of the week, they fill up their chart, they get $2. They can then choose to go to the store and buy something with their money or save it up for a bigger toy. This has helped incredibly with the impulse "Mom, can I have a toy?" every time we're at Wal-Mart. Now I just say, "Save up your money and you can buy it."
We also added a slot called "Super Special Sticker Award" that they can earn a sticker for if they do something exceptional or help with other harder chores around the house. If they earn 7 "SSSA" stickers in a week, they get an extra dollar. This is great for Keaton who loves to over-achieve. Not so great for Sawyer, who enjoys the bare-minimum of any kind of work.

So, yesterday was shopping day. Tate decided that he was going to spend the money he had saved up ($4) and bought a SpiderMan "surfboard" (as he calls it). All I've heard for the past 24 hours is "Surfs Up, Dude!"

Sawyer also decided to spend his money ($5) and bought a really ugly action figure.

Keaton is still saving his money. I think he is up to $8 or something like that now, but apparently there is some really cool toy that he's working for. Probably Star Wars if I had to guess.

It's working for us right now...we'll see how long we can keep it up.


Cleaning Woes

This is my new favorite quote:

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

I like it because it totally applies to the chaos that equals my house these days. I am not the best housekeeper in the world, but I do enjoy a clean house. I don't mind clutter so much, I just don't want the house to be nasty. There is a difference.

My house is ridiculous. Yesterday I spent all afternoon and into the evening cleaning it. I spent extra time scrubbing the dried spaghetti sauce off of Sawyer's chair at the kitchen table, digging Keaton's Jolly Rancher wrappers out of the couch cushions, and searching for the dirty clothes that Tate had stuffed in the dress-up cabinet in one of his attempts to clean up his room. So, I really felt like I got something accomplished. I still have a lot of laundry to do, and I need to clean the bathrooms, but you could at least walk across the kitchen floor without your feet sticking to the tile.

Today? Can't even tell I cleaned anything. So frustrating.

So, I guess I will begin again. I'm sure that there is something gross stuck to something nice of mine somewhere in this house!!

Happy cleaning to all you other mothers who feel the same way!!


My Week in Review


  • went to the WaterPark with a good friend. My friend has girls, and since my boys believe in cooties, they weren't too thrilled with the company. I, however, enjoyed talking to my friend and soaking up some rays.
  • I might have cleaned a toilet or two. I can't really remember.
  • the kids went to a neighborhood church's VBS. Tate cried when I dropped him off, but it was only for my benefit. I also met a neighbor of mine for the first time in the 8 years we've lived in this house. I realized that I'm a terrible neighbor...new goal -- be a better neighbor. Maybe I'll make a pie.
  • went to Kirk's softball game. They won -- only because the other team forfeited. First time they've won all season. Hooray! (I already had this published, and Kirk read it...now I have to edit it. He says that they have won one other game...so I stand corrected.)


  • started this blog
  • ran some errands in town -- had to deal with the grouchy lady at the revenue office. She really could be nicer -- I just needed new tags.
  • my very good friend left for Mexico today. I felt pangs of envy all day.
  • kids went back to VBS -- met another neighbor. I'm beginning to feel really bad.
  • ate dinner with Kirk and watched a movie while the kids were gone. How nice! I didn't have to tell Kirk to eat over his plate one time!!


  • ran around the driveway -- how embarrassing! (if you missed that post, scroll down)
  • tackled the laundry monster that was lurking in the laundry room -- I barely came out alive.
  • kids went back to VBS
  • went to the All-Star District Championship baseball game -- they're going to State. I love baseball so much!


  • went to the WaterPark with my good friends. Keaton and Sawyer went down the blue water slide for the first time, but it was 5 minutes before time to go. Haven't heard anything but how badly they want to go back there to slide again since. Beginning to wish they hadn't slid down it.
  • went to the kids' program at their VBS. Tate wouldn't sing. He sat with me. At the fellowship afterwards I met lots of neighbors -- this is getting ridiculous!
  • Kirk decided that he was going to put in a batting cage in our backyard. I think he's had his mid-life crisis a decade or two too early.


  • spent America's birthday at the lake. Love it there.
  • watched the fireworks from the boat...truly amazing! Never seen a better show -- can't say the same for Tate...he fell asleep.


  • found out that my favorite $5 pizza place in town no longer sells $5 pizzas. They are now $5.99. Ugh.
  • kids went to a friend's house while Kirk and I...
  • floated the river. That's right...I said floated the river. I don't really like floating, but did it anyway. Wasn't too bad. Went with some of Kirk's friends from work. I saw one snake and it almost rained on us. But I was entertained by a lot of drunk rednecks who were also on the river -- very interesting group of people. Probably won't go back.
  • went to Walgreens that night to make use of some weekly coupons that were about to go out. Love that coupon shopping!! Found JellyBelly Popsicles (I didn't have a coupon for those, but bought them anyway!) and they are yummy!
  • started watching a movie with Kirk, but fell asleep...I was tired.


  • wanted to stay in my bed (still tired!), but made myself get up and iron every one's church clothes.
  • had nursery duty at church today and got to keep 2 cute visitor's kids. One was a tiny baby girl...really loved holding her!! But, Kirk and I decided it was fun to play with her for an hour and give her back. We don't have to change diapers at our house anymore and it is so nice!
  • ran by the feed store so Kirk could pick up a tool or something. Kids were disappointed that there were no baby chicks or rabbits.
  • took a nap.
  • Kirk and boys went outside to work on odd jobs, and I started cleaning the house. I had burned some tea in one of my good pots the other day, so I spent about an hour scrubbing the bottom of it. I still didn't get it clean. So frustrating.
  • Getting ready to give showers and put the boys in bed, so I can go to bed. I might try to finish that movie I started...


Happy 232nd Birthday!!

Happy Birthday, America!

The lake near our house is one of my most favorite places on earth. I love it there. I could spend all day on the lake and be in complete bliss. I'm lucky that my family feels the same way. Since we were sticking close to home this year for the 4th, we decided to spend it on the lake, swimming and boating. They also shoot fireworks off of an island in the middle of the lake at night, and the best seats in the house (or lake!) are on a boat in the water. Kirk was a little hesitant about getting off the lake after fireworks were over with all the millions of other people trying to get off the lake, but he decided to indulge me.

So we wake up Friday morning, to find the weatherman calling for rain. What? It can't rain on the 4th of July! That has to be unconstitutional!! So, we spend half the morning doing the "what-do-you-want-to-do?" "No-what-do-you-want-to-do?" thing, and finally decided to go ahead and try the lake. If it rains, it rains.

We got to the beach in the early afternoon and let the kids play in the sand and swim until dinner time. It started to sprinkle once or twice, but that was it. So glad we decided to go ahead and go. It was beautiful out there. After the kids were satisfied with the swim, we decided to head out on the water.

Yup, those are my feet playing in the sand at the beach. None of my boys at the moment sport pink toenail polish!!

We put the boat in at a boat ramp that is pretty far away. The idea being, maybe it won't be as busy when it is time to get off the lake. After putting in, we cruised around the lake for a little bit, ate a picnic on the boat, and found a cove for the kids to swim. They love to swim off the boat with the help of their life jackets. Me? I sun myself. I don't swim. Here they are swimming with their daddy.

Around dusk, we decided that we better get our spot lined out for fireworks. We found a great little island directly across from where they were shooting them off, so we anchored up and waited. The kids were able to play on the beach of the island. It was so cool. It had waves crashing just like ocean waves (without the salty foam), so they had a blast. At dark, we all snuggled up under blankets and towels to wait.
And wait. And wait. I thought they would never shoot those suckers off. It really was a long time, even longer with tired, cranky kids in the boat. But, when they started...we soon forgot all the waiting. They were so beautiful. And we did have a great spot. A perfect clear shot of all the action, except for that one houseboat that drove right in front of us in the middle of the show.

Kirk's hesitancies about getting off the lake proved true. It is pitch black, and all you can see on the lake are the little lights that are flickering on the boats. So many boats. We had a rather dangerous experience trying to get back to the boat ramp (that is very far away), so by the time we arrived back at the truck around 11:30, we were tense, tired, and completely drained.

I don't know that we will ever watch the fireworks from the boat again, but I'm so glad that I was able to do it once. The day (leading up to the aftermath of the fireworks) was a really good one.

I'm glad that we were able to spend the day together as a family. Laughing, smiling, and doing what we love the most -- just being together.


Sunshine is My Friend

Sunshine is my friend. The kids and I headed to the WaterPark today with some friends of ours. Although, as a mom, I'm supposed to say that summer days filled with water and sun are all for the kids, they aren't. They are just as much for me. I love being in the sun. I know that it isn't healthy for me, and that I'm supposed to wear lots of sunscreen...but, I can't hardly help myself. My friend and I hashed this over today, also. Vanity has very little to do with this obsession of sunshine. I won't lie...I really like being tan, but we decided (well, it was her idea and I just agreed with her) that it really isn't vanity...it's therapy. I can be in the grouchiest mood, lay out in the sun for a few hours, and end the day feeling like a million bucks. Don't know what it is.

I should be more worried about my skin. I know, Mom, I should. But, I can't help it. I just like it.

Now I want to clear this up...it isn't just any sun. I don't like being hot and sweaty and in the sun. That is not the same thing. I like being near water and in the sun. I need to be able to cool off--quickly!

My little fellas love the sunshine and water, too. They look so cute when they are all sun-kissed. Summer days are spectacular!!

Here are my little men all fresh with evidence of today's fun in the sun!


I Heart Baseball!

I love baseball. I mean I really do. There is just something about that game that makes me happy. Not only do I actually love the competition of a good game, but I love all the "stuff" that goes with it. I love broken-in gloves and grimy baseballs littering the floorboard of my van. I love dirty cleats on my kitchen floor. I love ball hats and batting gloves. I love washing uniforms at all hours of the night, so that they can be worn again the next day. And I love that my boys love baseball. I'm a great bleacher mom. I can scream and holler with the best of 'em. Taking the words of my good friend, "I almost climb the fence" I get so excited. Our spring season of baseball is over now, and I can hardly wait for fall ball. If I ever become one of those moms that complains about the long baseball hours...remind me of this post.

I had just about moved baseball out of the entryway of my mind and into the guest bedroom, and then tonight happened. Our good friends (the fence-climbing ones) have a son that is on the All-Star team. They played tonight for the District Championship. Being as we love baseball and we love their family, we went to the game. They won!! Hooray!! This is where I insert a big CONGRATULATIONS to their team! I tell you those boys can play some really good ball. And that ballpark was not the place to go, if you are trying to detox your system from this very intoxicating game.

A little bit of sadness pecks at my heart about my own kids not making it as far as All-Stars this year, but that really isn't important. My kids love baseball. Sawyer eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. Keaton wants to be a baseball player and an inventor when he grows up. And Tate says baseball is "glate." That is what is really important, isn't it? The passion about this great American sport that serves as a diving board for all kinds of dreams.

Although, I was really posting this to give congrats to the All-Star team and wish them luck at State next week, it has taken me down memory lane a bit. Here are a couple of pictures of my sluggers during their season.

That's Keaton slugging away for the Yankees. Sawyer was manning first base for his Tigers T-Ball team. And that's Tate...involved in an exciting game of backyard baseball.

Did I mention that I love baseball? I'm hungry...kinda want a hot dog!! :)

20 Quick Spins in the Gravel...Piece of Cake! Whatever.

I'm such a dork. No, really. I have begun a quest to start exercising again. First, let me tell you that I don't hate exercising...really...I just can't do it conveniently. It isn't as wussy as it sounds. We live 20 minutes out of town, so going to the gym with my kids is out of the question. I could run or walk on our country roads, but my kids aren't old enough to stay by themselves, so that means I have to take them with me. Uh...not going to happen in a million years. We can't afford a treadmill, and even if we could we don't have anywhere to put it. So, I've resorted to cheesy aerobic DVDs with overly-hyper women wearing horrible outfits screaming at me to be excited and telling me that they know I can do it. Whatever "it" is. So, needless to say, I lose interest very quickly, and it is easier for me to curl up in the recliner with a book and a Snickers bar. A place where I'm very happy!

But, for whatever reason (although I think it is mostly the very skinny women--who are my age or older...yuck!--that I see prancing around in their cute little swimsuits at the water park) I have decided to get back on the exercise wagon. I did an aerobics DVD yesterday. I'm already bored with that. So, today I got the ingenious idea to run -- AROUND MY DRIVEWAY. I'm not kidding. If I can't run on the roads (b/c of my kids), then I will run around my driveway and the kids can play in the yard. I'm brilliant.

So, I laced up my new Nike's (which I had to buy to hike the mountains in Colorado last week), got a bottle of water, and headed out. I drove around our circle-drive first so that I could clock the mileage. I figured out that if I ran around my drive 20 times, that was a little more than a mile. This was going to be a piece of cake. 20 times. Ha! Did I mention I was brilliant? I was envisioning myself trotting out every morning from here on out, taking my 20 quick spins in the gravel.
What was I thinking?!?
My driveway looks short enough...when I'm in the car. Oh my goodness. I made it about halfway and was quickly reminded not only of the Snickers bars that I have been snuggling up to for the last few months, but of how much I hate running. I remember that now. I came back inside the house with my mind made up that even though I hate to run, it was better than the twinkie in the leotard telling me that she is proud of me through the screen of my TV. So, now I have a challenge. I'm going to make the 20 times around the driveway. Only because you should be able to run around a driveway. It seems weird to not be able to do that. And if I still hate running after I reach my goal, then I'll probably resort to the DVD thing again...or maybe a Snickers!! :)
Oh, one bright side of the Driveway Workout. My sunflowers bloomed. I've been waiting and waiting. And today...they are here! There are at least a dozen blooming. This is the largest one. Isn't it beautiful? Can you see the bee in the center? I may just hang out in the driveway to stare at my flowers!

My Something New

I'm trying something new. Yup. Come to think of it...a few somethings new. Started this blog. That's new. Tried a new shampoo. That's new. And I'm GOING CAMPING! That is very new. The last time I went camping I was on a youth group trip with an over-zealous youth group leader who thought it would be fun to stick all of us city-girls in a tent together knowing full well that it was supposed to rain that night. And it did rain...a lot. He also purposefully (and I know it was on purpose!) booked the campsite that was the furthest from the bathroom--if you could even call it that. I swore that day to never camp again. So what happened? I'll tell you what happened. My boys happened.

Our oldest son, Keaton, is one for adventure. Well, not really adventure, just doing something that seems cool. He also is the first one back in the house if that something ends up not being cool. But, I guess he saw or heard of someone camping and thought that it must be done! Kirk and I have been putting him off for months, trying to get by with the whole "we'll camp in the backyard" thing. He probably would have been satisfied, but then I stepped up! Yes, me!! Hater of all things camping!! I got on-line, and before I could talk myself out of it, I had done it. I booked for us...a campsite. You have to pay when you book it, so there was no turning back after I pushed the button on the keyboard. I did have a slight rush of panic, but worked through it.

We go next week. On Kirk's birthday. Keaton says that according to the X's on his calendar it is in 7 more days. 7 days to prepare for something that I have no idea how to prepare for. Kirk got a tent...a really huge tent. I think he had a lapse in brain function when he bought it, but I have to say, we'll have the best darn tent out there! It has different rooms...who knew?!?! We tried to set it up in the living room for the kids to sleep in one night, and it won't fit. If you've been to my house, you know we have a pretty large living room. The tent is close to a parachute monster. Other than that, we pretty much don't have anything. I think we have a camping stove...somewhere. So, this week, I'm going to search the web and find friends who actually camp so that I can figure out what the heck to bring on our trip. Any must haves...let me know, because I'm clueless! Kirk probably knows what to bring, but won't remember to tell me until we are already out there and he remembers he needs it!! :)

So, trying something new. Could be fun. Could be a disaster. I was smart enough to book at the lake by our house. So, if it rains...I'm going home!!!!!!


You Think I Can Keep This Up?

I've done it. I've taken the plunge. Something that I said I would never do...here I sit, pecking away, entering this crazy world of the "BLOG"! I'm notorious for starting things like this and not always following through with them. I can't tell you the number of journals and diaries that are spread throughout my house, in drawers and cabinets, with empty pages. All because I got busy one day and didn't write in it...only for that to spiral into a vicious cycle. Maybe I'll do better with this. Some accountability...since you guys are reading it. I'm hoping this will be an outlet for me. A way to reach out to old and new friends.

The family is good. Rowdy, but good. Right now the three boys are karate-chopping each other in the living room. I'm waiting for the scream that is my signal to intervene. Until then, I'm letting them be boys. I always thought I wanted a little girl to dress in hair bows and eyelet dresses...but, I think God knew I needed to be a mom of boys. The rough and tough is what guides our days and I can't imagine being prissy if I try. Amazing that God knows what He's doing!! LOL! :)

Kirk is working hard as usual. Hardly see him, but I guess that is how it goes. I went on a business trip with him last week just to spend some time with him. We went to Colorado and had an amazing time. I was able to sleep late, watch what I wanted to on TV, eat at expensive restaurants where I couldn't pronounce the names of the food that I was putting in my mouth, and hold hands walking down the street with my husband, rather than someone under the age of 8! People asked if I missed my kids while I was there. You know, I did, but I think I'm a much better mom if I have a break from them. I certainly appreciate them more.

Ahhh...the scream. I'm being signaled to referee the karate kids! I can also hear someone hollering about being hungry. Must be time to go. What was that I just said about appreciating them?!?! :)