Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin House 2007

Last year I told you about our visit to the Pumpkin House. Well, I think it is going to become our new family tradition. We went again yesterday (Saturday) night. They do not have nearly the pumpkins completed this year. I didn't ask, but am assuming the the unseasonably hot weather followed by a week of rain put the production behind. There were still plenty of pumpkins to see though.

They had the orchestra wall again this year. That wall is over 400 pumpkins carved with instruments, and arranged as an orchestra would be. This year there were four song selections that the orchestra played. When the song plays, the title lights up as does the appropriate instrument sections of the orchestra. It is quite an amazing site. (You can click on the pictures for a larger image.)

That section was Tim and Kellen's favorite. Nolan liked a pumpkin that was carved with a train. Lydia of course, liked the many butterfly pumpkins we found. Vivian just liked running and playing with those waiting to be put on display. I tried to get a half way decent picture of the kids. The oldest and the youngest were not exactly thrilled with the prospect.

We all had a good time, and it was nice to get out together as a family to do something fun and free, especially after the busy and stressful few weeks we've just had. We may go again later in the week to see the completed work, but it not there is always next year!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stuck between a rock head and a hard head

The family drama continues. . .

My brother continues to make idiotic decisions, and fails to see how he is hurting his children, or why anyone is concerned. His kids are upset. My kids are upset, and my parents are very stressed over the situation.

Perhaps from an outsiders view it appears that we are meddling in my brother's business more than we should. We are involved more than in your typical family. Both my brother, and his ex wife have disabilities which prevent them from being capable to properly parent without a strong support system. This is not just our opinion, but the opinion of the court appointed guardian ad litem for the children.

Though legally they have shared parenting, because the distance between them, in a practical sense she is the residential parent, and he gets visitation. Since their separation about seven years ago, my brother has either lived with my parents, or us the majority of the time. His ex wife has constantly tried to whittle away his visitation days, and we have fought her every step. My family has a lot invested emotionally, my parents also financially, and we all are very close to my niece and nephew.

My brother's latest choices have caused his ex-wife to deny him his visitation. And for once we are in agreement with her. We feel that his situation is not a safe environment for the kids. My dad has spoken with her and her husband frequently regarding the situation, and they seemed to be open to allowing the kids to come here instead.

It didn't take her long though to see that she could use the situation to her advantage. All week we had been planning for the kids to be here this weekend. Then yesterday she calls to change the plans; not to just switch weekends, but change the schedule so the kids miss their visit here this weekend and do not make it up. The same kind of crap she has been trying to pull for years, but now we are at her mercy. She does not have to allow the kids to visit us at all. There is no court ordered visitation schedule with us, only with my brother, and he has chosen to compromise and partially forfeit that right. The situation is so unfair, so frustrating. My niece and nephew, my children, and family are stuck between a rock head and a hard head.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quick to Judge?

Near Tim's office it is normal to see someone with a sign asking for food and money. There is a busy intersection and several restaurants there. Two men work the area, both are probably in their 40's. One is obviously homeless, and pushes his possessions around in a shopping cart. The other man looks rough around the edges. He holds a sign saying that he is homeless and hungry.

It is a sad sight. I don't know their story. I've never given them anything (perhaps I should), but seeing them makes me feel for them. It makes me wonder how they could have gotten to this point in their lives.

Today I was shopping in a nearby town, and saw two different people, standing together, holding a sign asking for food and money. The sight of them did not evoke feelings of sadness. If anything the sight of them brought disbelief and anger to the surface.

They were two young women in their twenties. They had nice clothes. They were clean, and had they not been standing there with their sign, I would have thought they were shopping. Though I could not read their entire sign, what I did see read, "Just passing thru. Broke and hungry."

What?! You're just passin' thru, and you want me to finance it? I think what really topped it off is that they were sitting there smoking. Apparently not so hungry that you would go with out your smokes huh girls?

Again, I don't know their story. I did not give them anything. From their appearance and sign, I can only assume that they are traveling out of choice, they have a place to stay, and expect to finance their travels by begging for money.

It is outrageous to me, and I have to wonder is it really working for them? Do people really see two nicely dressed, well kept young ladies puffing away, and feel moved to give them money? Of course the cynical side of me has a few ideas who might be willing to give them some money, but I'll leave that idea alone.

Four people claiming to be hungry, and begging for help. I know nothing about any of them, except what I've seen at a glance, from a distance. Yet, they bring about completely different feelings, perhaps justified, perhaps not.

My assumptions may be entirely accurate, but if someone is claiming to be hungry, is it my place to judge why they are hungry and if they deserve my help? Or should I just buy them a cheeseburger? How quick I am to judge based on appearances alone.

The cousins visit

Not exactly portrait quality. Don't look too closely, they've been playing hard, and it shows! They sure had fun though!
Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Potty Talk

Stories only mothers of little boys can really understand:

Boys and their pee make for so many interesting stories. Nolan (3) has certainly given us many. When he first potty trained he would only pee outside. Then he started using the toilet, and I wished he'd go back outside so I wouldn't have to clean so much pee off the floor. Though he enjoyed our toilet, he refused to go anywhere but home, unless of course you let him pee outside.

When we first started potty training and he had to go #1 and #2 he would stand to pee, and then sit down to take care of the rest. A few months ago, he decided he wanted to sit down for all his business. Problem with that is the way he sat. The pee shot right through the crack between the toilet bowl and the seat. Yes, more pee on the floor. Ugh! He is helping to clean it up now!

I've been trying to teach him to direct his business part down. He isn't too thrilled about the idea. The other day I went in to help him wipe. (Ah yes cleaning up the poop and pee never seems to end.) He informed me that he did not pee on the floor this time. I congratulated him and asked if he had held his penis down so that he didn't pee on the floor. He responded, "No, Mommy. It is just all grown up."

I'm relating this story to Tim, and he tells me that he can top it. The other day when I wasn't home, Nolan was in the bathroom, doing his business. He called Tim in to help him wipe. When Tim went in the bathroom Nolan's hair was wet. Tim asked how his hair had gotten wet. Nolan showed him.

While sitting on the toilet, Nolan bent over, head between his knees, to watch himself pee. Well, I guess you can figure out what happened next. You're right honey, your story is better than mine!

Nolan gives us so much material; for laughs now and blackmail in the future!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not as Planned

Moms everywhere are crying out for time alone, begging for a few minutes for themselves. When you are a stay at home mom, especially one who homeschools that need seems huge. You are surrounded by children needing your attention twenty four seven. Your days are a constant juggle of teaching one child to read, another to write a well structured paragraph, and keep the younger children busy so the older ones can work. Oh, and don't forget about cooking, keeping the house half way decent, and trying to find ways to stretch the family budget. It is enough to make a mom scream, "If only I had a few quiet hours alone, I could catch up on all the tasks that need done!"

And then it happens, those glorious few hours alone, and you don't know what to do with yourself. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Today three of the four kids went to pick up their cousins about 2:30. (For those of you who read about that family situation, things are still really not settled, but for this weekend the cousins are coming here.) While they were gone the little one took a nap.

I thought I would get so much accomplished. I have writing to do (writing that is not on this blog,) cleaning that has been neglected, things to list on eBay, fall clean up outside, and long list of other things that could use my attention. I've tried to do a few things that require brain power. You'd think that this would be the perfect time to accomplish those tasks, wouldn't you? It is like my brain won't work without the constant activity and noise that is the norm for this house. I just stared blankly at the screen with no ideas.

Three hours later. . . Vivian has been up for quite some time, not much has gotten marked off the list, and here I sit doing something that I don't really need to. It feels nice. Maybe what we mom's really need is a few hours of peace and quiet to throw out the to do list and recharge the brain cells so that we can function in the chaos of our everyday. I'm using that as my excuse anyway!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Reflection of My Housekeeping?

What do you think it could mean that whenever I ask the kids to clean up their room, or other areas of the house, their first question is, "Who is coming to visit?" Um. . . don't answer that question.

Perhaps we need to institute a more consistent routine?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Big Helper

This picture was actually taken in February. Both the kids seem to have grown so much since then.

My Lack of Faith

There has been drama around here lately. Oh how I despise family drama, but sometimes it is unavoidable. An adult in the family is making poor choices, again. It is so frustrating.

I am usually the first to say, "Reap and sow." If an adult chooses to repeat mistakes, do things that make no sense or that everyone else can see are harmful, what can you do? You can pray, advise them and love them, but in the end they are adults and the choice is theirs. The consequences will be theirs also.

I do feel that way in this situation for the adult involved, but it is complicated because the decisions affect children. It is further complicated because the decisions affect my children. The relationship my children have with some close family members may be hurt, and there have already been tears shed. This just makes me angry. Being angry makes me want to do something to fix the situation.

So for almost a week I was worrying and fretting. Trying to think of a way to talk some sense into the adult, or if they were going to continue to be unreasonable, figure out a way to still make it ok for all the kids involved. Oh did I have plans and schemes. None of which really would work, but I was trying.

Then one night I was thinking about it (read scheming and planning.) I was getting worked up and angry trying to make my plans. Then came the voice. Not an audible voice, but the one that speaks straight to your heart. The one that brings a calmness and peace that you know is not of yourself. In a gentle way the Lord told me that I was trying to make things happen in my own strength, the way I thought they should be. That I was worrying about things I need not to. With those words spoken to my heart I felt that peace that is ours in Christ.

I wish I could say that the peace had lasted through the through the next days. New developments in the situation made me angry. Talking about the situation still makes me angry, but I know it is not my problem to fix, and that it does not need to be fixed in the way I think is best.

If you would have asked me before all this if I believed that the Lord works all things together for the good, I would have of course told you that I did. This incident has shown me that though I believe that with my head, it is not real to my heart. I do not seen it. I do not have faith for it.

It is truth. He does work all things together for the good. I saw a glimpse of it, and the peace that knowing that truth brings. I wish that I could see that at all times, but I don't. I can't make myself see it either. I can just ask for Him to show me more of it, and stop trying to fix things that I need not worry about.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Good Tow

Remember when Nolan wanted me to throw away his toys? Those toys have been sitting in a bag in my room since that incident. He never asked for any of them, never seemed to miss them, until this week.

This week I pulled them out to sort for the Little Lambs Sale. A few things I discretely put back into the toy bin because they were parts of sets, but the rest were sorted for Goodwill and the toy sale. It was a pain full experience. I tried to sort the toys while he was playing outside, but he came in. With every toy the question came, "Are you going to sell that?"

Every yes answer brought a pout and a few tears. Then he saw the toy he calls Good Tow. The yes answer brought flowing tears and sobs. Apparently Good Tow was his favorite toy. Never mind that he hadn't mentioned it in over two months. I reminded him why Good Tow was in that bag, and that he needed to take care of his things if he wanted to keep them.

Everyday Nolan would ask me about Good Tow, sometimes with tears. Everyday I would remind him again about how Good Tow ended up in the sell pile. I was glad when it was time to take the toys to the sale.

Today I promised I would take the kids to the sale if they got their work done. They all had some money in their piggy banks. Nolan quickly came up with the idea that he could buy Good Tow back. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to handle that one. We got our work done and headed to the sale.

Good Tow was nowhere to be seen. He must have already been purchased. Not that Nolan would have cared anyway. He was enthralled by the mass of toys at the sale. As he was playing with his new toy cordless drill he did mention that he didn't see Good Tow, and I haven't heard anything about him since.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Wigwam

On our field trip last week, the actors camped out as people would in the late 1800's. The Native Americans had a Wigwam and a Tipi. It was very interesting!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Carnivals and More

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is a new carnival. Some good ideas here!

Festival of Frugality
My post made it into the editor's choice posts!

Carnival of Debt Reduction

Make It From Scratch
Silvia, next week's host, is requesting party food ideas for her son's eighth birthday party!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of the Recipes
Next week's edition is all about pumpkin! YUM!

Carnival of Family Life

Scribbit's Winter Bazaar
Tomorrow is the first edition of this. Can't wait to see it!