Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Red Sox do it again!

Sunday was a very exciting day in our house. My children are budding Sox fans, much to the dismay of my Yankee loving father-in-law. They were very excited that the Sox had a chance to win it all Sunday night. Rachel and Alex were not at all happy about going to bed just as the game started. They made me promise to wake them in the ninth inning if the Sox were ahead. In the words of Rachel, "This is important stuff, Mom." It was somewhat of a nail biter, especially having grown-up with the memories of heartache after heartache. I was a freshman at Boston University in 1986 when the Sox played the Mets in the World Series. You could see Kenmore Square from my dorm, and Fenway was a five minute walk away. It happened to be parent's weekend the night of game 6. I'll never forget the look on my Dad's face when that ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs. As a seasoned fan, I'm sure he half expected it, but still it was heartbreaking just the same. Even with the victory in 2004 under our belt, I still knew anything could happen when it came to the Red Sox. I was somewhat cautious waking the kids in the ninth inning. It seemed kind of risky to wake sleeping children, only to see the Sox implode. The funny thing was, the kids fully expected the Sox to win. They had no fear! We tried to explain that it's not over till it's over, but they weren't swayed from their optimism. That's when it occurred to me how different their perspective was from mine. They've only known the Sox as winners. They know nothing of the heartbreak of being a Sox fan. After the final out we all hugged and jumped around. Being a girl, my favorite part was watching the players hug. The kids thought it was great seeing Jason Varitek leap into Papelbon's arms. It was fun to share the moment with my kids. That's when they asked how many times the Red Sox won the World Series in my lifetime. 2 times, same as in their lifetimes. Well, what about Papa? How many times have they won it since he's been a fan? 2 times, same as them. How about my Gramps, who passed away before they were born? Well, he never saw it happen. They were pretty amazed by this! It just goes to show, perspective is everything.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How worldly!

Yesterday , Alex found himself in a predicament. He was not a good, little boy going to bed the night before. In addition, he was not at all cooperative or obedient about remaining quiet during "quiet time". I'm not looking for perfection here. Just don't scream your head off and run around upstairs when you're supposed to be playing quietly in your room. And at bedtime, I just want quiet, horizontal children. I don't think that's too much to ask. After failing miserably at following these simple rules, Alex was banished to his room for the rest of the day. He was also going to bed an hour early. So Alex devised a clever plan to avoid the consequences of his misdeeds. He set about cleaning his room. When he called me up to show off his great cleaning job, he was quite sure I would rescind the banishment. Imagine his surprise when I praised his effort, then explained that his good deed would not cover his disobedience. Now that I think about it, he didn't even show any repentance for his behavior, he just hoped his goodness would outshine his disobedience. The whole scenario made me so aware of the world's view of sin and good works. Alex really thought he could avoid the consequence of his repeated disobedience by performing an act of goodness. I guess it's human nature to think that way. How many people believe they will spend eternity in Heaven because of their goodness? A lot I think. The simplicity of God's plan seems so beyond the comprehension of most, so they rely on their own works to earn them something they think they deserve. Imagine standing before the Almighty Maker of the universe. Before you is the pitiful molehill of good deeds you occasionally performed. The sad, little hill is overshadowed by the vast mountain of sin you committed on a daily basis. Even if that was how God operated, how could anyone hope to come out ahead in that situation? And yet so many cling to their misguided belief, that in the end, the good in them will outweigh the bad. And somehow, their good works will magically hide the sinful life they lived. It truly boogles my mind when I see people reject God's free offer of forgiveness, with puffed up pride about their own greatness. A pride that says, "I'll take my chances on myself, rather than give up control to someone else. Even if that someone is the Savior of the world." It's sad, really. And very, very frustrating. I am thankful though, that as we talked through the situation, my little boy was able to see how illogical that thinking was. If only the world could have the mind of a child.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mr. Pickles is on the loose!

Yesterday I heard the words I'd been fearing all day: "Mommy, we can't find Mr. Pickles. I think he got out!" I knew when I allowed the salamander to come home in a cup from his cousin's house, that it was a dicey proposition. I hoped the critter could stay alive 24 hours, then we could set him free. One day with a salamander wouldn't be the end of the world, right? When we got home the kids found a "Frog Planet" habitat to make into Mr. Pickles home. (We never actually had a frog, but we did have tadpoles for 11 months! But that's a whole different story.) They were very excited, putting in just the right mix of dirt, water and leaves. They dumped Mr. Pickles in, and he seemed quite happy with his new home. In the morning I was happy to find that Mr. Pickles was still with us. Throughout the day, Alex put a bug or two into the habitat for his dining pleasure. Alex is sure he ate the bugs, but I wonder if they got out the same way Mr. Pickles did. As I was cooking dinner I heard those frightening words. Mr. Pickles had escaped, and was roaming around our house. The kids searched high and low, to no avail. From prior experience with catching salamanders, I knew he didn't have long. If he dried out, he was a goner. Well, he hasn't turned up, so I'm assuming somewhere in my house, there lies a dried up salamander. Alex is upstairs now, searching for his little body, so he can have a proper burial. I guess it could have been worse. But I'd never be dumb enough to let a snake in the house. Of course, I didn't think I was dumb enough to let a salamander in, so you never know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My very naughty parents

On Saturday my snow bird parents headed back to Florida. They left my sister's house in New York early in the morning, planning on stopping for the night in Virginia. My dad wanted to be sure to have had dinner and be settled in the hotel in time for Game 6 of the ALCS. My mom and dad are usually very predictable. Once settled in a hotel, they will ALWAYS call myself or one of my siblings to let us know where they are that night. I spoke to my sister Nancy that afternoon, and she confirmed that they had left early in the morning. I was busy all day and didn't think much about it. The game started and the bases were loaded in the 1st inning, when my sister Janet called. "Have you heard from Mom and Dad?" she asked. I realized that I hadn't. I agreed that this was pretty odd, but figured they would call someone soon. I mean this was Game 6 of the ALCS. Has my dad ever watched the Sox in a playoff game and not called someone to commiserate with?? In my mind that was unthinkable. My sister Nancy had tickets to Game 7, so I was sure my dad would call her when the Sox took a big lead. When they were up by about 7 runs I called her. She was busy surfing the net looking for a hotel in Boston for the next night. She hadn't heard from them, but was sure Dad would call any minute to share her excitement about going to Game 7. By 10:30 I was getting seriously worried. I had tried their cell phone several times, only to get a message that they were not available. It's a trac phone, so they have no voice mail. I called my oldest sister, but she seemed unconcerned. She reminded me of my parent's very strict rule growing up: No calls after 9pm. She was sure it was just too late for them to call. I still didn't buy it. I mean this was the Red Sox, after all. There were always exceptions made for the Sox in our house. After calling my sisters one more time, I headed off to bed for a night of tossing and turning. I had visions of my parents in a ditch somewhere along the east coast. If they hadn't called someone by noon, I was scrapping my plans for Sunday, and spending the day calling police and hospitals up and down the coast. After church, I whipped out my cell phone and called my sister. Thankfully, my dad had called my sister about going to game 7! No mention of the fact that THEY DIDN'T CALL TO CHECK IN. Well, as you can imagine, my sister properly chastised them for making us all worry. Their excuse: "Oh, didn't we call anyone? We must have forgotten!" Can you believe that! They had us worried sick! I can't help but wonder if this was some sort of subconscious revenge for our teen years.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Children and prayer

A few nights ago Livvy was having trouble falling asleep. She was crying about being scared of the dark. (She had lost her nightlight for the night, after sneaking out of bed.) I talked to her about not being scared, how mommy and daddy were right downstairs, and her big brother and big sister were in the next rooms. And of course, who's always with us? God! We decided to pray about her not being scared. Right before she prayed she sat up in bed and said she needed to look at the floor. That seemed strange.

"Why do you need to look at the floor?" I asked.

"Because that's where God is." she replied, quite sure of herself.

Now I was even more confused.

"God's not in the floor, honey, He's in heaven."

"Then why do people always look at the ground when they talk to Him?" she asked.

Well, we straightened that out, but isn't it so funny the way kids think? The poor thing has probably been wondering why everyone else sees God in the ground, but not her!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why I've disappeared from bloggityville

Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. Time flies when you're running around like a maniac! On Friday we celebrated my baby boy's 7th birthday!! Talk about time flying. I foolishly allowed him to have some friends sleepover. They were well behaved, and actually fell asleep by midnight, so it wasn't so bad. But still not a restful way to start the weekend. The following day was the usual craziness. Soccer, skating, cleaning and preparing for Sunday School. On Sunday night I was the guest speaker at our church's youth group. The teens were a little surprised to see me there. They knew there was going to be a speaker with a "powerful message", so they were all guessing who it could be. I guess they weren't expecting one of the Sunday School teachers. I spoke about the death of my nephew last fall, which was not easy to do. But with God's help I got through it, and hopefully the kids will think twice before making the same mistake he did. On Monday we took the day off from school for a Professional Development Day. That translates to hanging out with some other homeschoolers at my friend, Christine's house. It was great to have a day to hang out with my sisters in Christ. Boy, did I need that! Tuesday was just a normal school day, but it took forever, as I was trying to get caught up. I spend the evening running two million errands. Today was non-stop motion. It started with an 8am trip to the local university for speech therapy. We stopped at the post office on our way home and of course, Dunkin Donuts. When I got home I discovered my two oldest hadn't gotten started on school, so that dragged the school day out. My husband needed me to make another trip to the post office after lunch. Rachel had piano in the afternoon. When we got home from that, I started on making dinner for a family in our church who was going through a rough time. When I realized there wouldn't be enough food to feed our family and theirs, my husband volunteered to pick up Chinese. Yay! Then I was off to deliver the dinner and head to Awana. The highlight was going to Bible Study. A good dose God's Word and Beth Moore was just what I needed. (And I actually got to sit down!) The next three days will be more of the same, culminating with a Women's Ministry conference on Saturday. That actually is a great thing, if I didn't need to be at church at 7am! Yikes, I guess I can try to sleep in one day next week. Think I'll head off to bed now, I'm wiped out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The best sister ever!

I thought I'd extol the virtues of my dear sister, Nancy. When we were little we shared a room, and she loved to torture me. But no one else had better try to hurt me in anyway, or they'd have my super, tough sis to deal with. Yes, she has kicked a few butts on my behalf. Now that we're all grown, I no longer need her to keep me safe, but I've found she's a great person to cry with. When things go wrong, she's the first person I call. She doesn't even mind if I call at 6am, as long as I'm really in need of a good sister cry. When John's nephew died, she volunteered to make the 4 hour drive to pick up my kids for a few days. (We declined because we wanted them around to hug.) But that's just the kind of person she is. She's a great mom, too. Very involved in all the kid's activities. She's super-mom! I just love this girl! I don't know what I'd do without her! And I'm not just saying all this because she has tickets to Game 7 of the ALCS at Fenway. What kind of a person would do that? But Nancy, if you're reading this, I know your daughter may never speak to you again, and our sister Jan is a bigger fan than I, but have any of them ever extolled your virtues in cyberspace??? I didn't think so.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A decluttering masterpiece

This weekend I completed a Herculean feat! I decluttered the Homeschool Room, aka, the Dining Room. Now, don't be confused. We don't actually do school in this room. Nor do we eat there. Once, a long time ago, when I had less stuff, we did do school there. It lasted only a few weeks. At the time my youngest was a toddler. She would stand at the gate and cry while I tried to teach Rachel. I soon realized that we should switch to the kitchen, so my little ones could have easy access to Mommy. This created it's own problems, but a least the pathetic crying ended. So, even though we haven't used it for school for 3 years, it's still the Homeschool Room. And it can legitimately called that, as that's were we store all our school "stuff". It started with a bookcase that I painted with a lovely faux finish. I also had a tall drawer storage unit, mostly for craft supplies. Under the window was a cedar chest filled with wedding gifts. Over the past 3+ years an explosion has taken place. Every year it got worse. Between my curriculum addiction, and materials from my years of teaching, the books and papers gradually overtook the room. The bookcase was framed by 3 feet tall piles. The ceder chest had been emptied and filled with things I thought "I might need". Next to the cedar chest was another huge stack of books, very important papers and the occasional history project. I purchased a storage/filing bin somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, it too was covered with a tall stack of yet more stuff. Last year I invested in three wooden vegetable bins. These are the kids lockers. They keep their work and books in these. I also had an overflowing basket of things I planned on selling on ebay. From time to time I would "organize". This basically amounted to straightening the piles, and occasionally rotating what books sat in the coveted bookcase. The fact that I'm an admitted curriculum and ebay junkie didn't help. I also apparently have major issues with just getting rid of things. This year there was just no place left to put things. So the dining room table, which often has it's own assortment of junk deposited there, became my next victim. It became the place I put all those teacher editions I needed to have on hand. The math manipulatives landed there, wayward mail and anything else I happened to have in my hands when I walked in the door. I so wish I had taken a "before" picture! The decluttering happened quite by accident. We have a wicker trunk, that had served as a toy box. We replaced that with a new piece of furniture, so I decided to get rid of the cedar chest, with it's broken top. On Friday afternoon, I started sorting through the cedar chest. I quickly realized I had many, many things that really didn't need to be in the homeschool room. Materials from last year that I wanted to save, completed workbooks from past years, that for some reason I felt compelled to keep. I also found many things I'd searched high and low for, like Rachel's test scores from last year. I thought those were gone for good. I don't know what happened, but I just kept going. I found a large empty bin in the basement to store some of the books I wanted to keep, but just didn't need this year. I filled 2 garbage bags with junk! I worked into the night. The next day, my husband sensed that a good thing was happening, so he took the kids out for several hours. I managed to eliminate every pile! I rearranged some of the storage to make it look almost like a dining room again. The bookcase is full of books I'll actually use this year, and there are no stacks of books to navigate around. I was able to position the trunk in such a way that it hides the filing bin somewhat (and it actually has files in it!). The copier fits nicely on top, and out of the way. Every flat surface, including the table, is clear!! Everyone is amazed at how big the room looks and what a nice table we have! And guess what! Everything now has a place to go!!! So if all goes well, I might be able to keep it this way! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Yikes...it's that time of the year again!

Every year about this time I find myself in the same position. Overscheduled, and then some. When I turned the calender from September to October, I was dismayed to see only 6 days that didn't have something written in them. 4 of those days are Sundays, so those days are booked as well. The filled in days include 4 birthday parties(including one for my son), theater group, speech therapy, 2 field trips, doctor appointments, church meetings...you get the picture. I expect to put at least 1000 miles on my van this month! In addition, my church is hosting a Women's Ministry Conference, for which I'm on the planning team. And then I went and volunteered to speak to the Youth Group this month. That's going to take some time and consideration, as I want to make sure I do justice to the topic. Tonight I started a Beth Moore study, The Beloved Disciple. Again, a good thing, but the study will be time consuming. So needless to say, if I don't post much this month you'll know why. I'll either be in my van, or hiding out in the bathroom! And if you're thinking of stopping by, call first...unless of course you're in the mood to fold piles of laundry. In that case, stop by anytime, I'll leave the key out.