Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I think Zach is going to be a scientist. He's always testing things, looking at them from other angles, trying to find new uses for things. For example, he was hanging out with me in the bathroom while I put make-up on when he found Tim's old contact case. It's one with lids that separate completely from the case itself, and he took them both off and started running water in the case where the contacts belong. He twirled it around over the sink, letting bits slosh out. He did this for awhile, wordlessly and with great concentration. Then he filled both containers again and, without hesitation, drank the water from one. At my exclamation, he spit it out, filled both sides again and put the lids back on.

Yesterday I went into the guest half-bath on the first floor, which is more like The Boys' bathroom than it is for guests, as they use it more than anyone else. On the shelf is one of those Renuzit cone-shaped air fresheners that is filled with the scented gel that slowly evaporates; this one is white peony scent (though the stuff is red). I noticed it was sitting on the edge of the sink, closed. "Who closed this?" I asked as The Boys looked on and I opened it back up. Out gushed water and the liquefied guts of the air freshener. "I did it," Zach piped up. "I wanted to see what would happen."

Of course you did.

I also found a 4 Him Christmas cassette tape, unraveled and tucked way back on the bottom of the entertainment center. After some investigation I found that Zach had pulled the tape out, then vacuumed it up. When that didn't work as he'd planned, he pulled it free from the vacuum cleaner and pulled more tape out-- just for good measure.

There's a bunch to be said of life with boys, and the first is that it's never dull!

BTW, I've now done my 2nd show as a Pampered Chef consultant and it's going pretty well. I have 2 more shows this week and 3 more scheduled for October so far. It's a nice change of pace for me and I'm enjoying making money for the first time in years (other than on eBay but that doesn't really count).

Have you taken a look at my reading list for the year? I'm very excited to be close to on-track for my 50 book yearly goal. I'm at 31 books so far and I've calculated I should be at 39, so I do have some catching up to do, but I think I'll make it! Yay! I should reward myself if I make it, huh? Any suggestions?

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Monday, September 14, 2009

So my commitment to blog at least every-other-day has flown out the window. Had you noticed?!

I do have an excuse for the weekend: I was at a church women's retreat. It was fun, especially because I got put in a room with the other 3 Americans that went and we all went to bed at 10pm while the rest of the ladies cackled and howled into the wee hours of the morning. We were up at 5:45 and by the time we were freshly showered and made up everyone else was yawning, waiting in long lines for one of the 4 showers. Ha! It's the only way someone like me survives these things: sleep and shower.

And now for the excuse that will keep me away from the computer till at least Wednesday: I've become a Pampered Chef consultant. Or, more accurately, I will be one after my first show tomorrow night. I Am Nervous!!! And it's not like I know this nice gal that's agreed to let me learn what I'm doing while she and her friends look on; she's the hairdresser I went to for the first time last month! Then on Saturday I have my second show, for a good friend who is helping me out while earning oodles and oodles of free and half-priced high-quality kitchen products. (How'd you like that plug for the biz?!) Then 2 more shows next week, and 2 more the week after... Hopefully the bookings continue and I figure out what I'm doing quickly.

Anyway, I'm in the last minute panic of trying to learn what all the products are called and what they do and why they're better than your average Walmart stuff. I also have to think up a snazzy presentation and make sure I have all the forms and do-dads I need. Oy. I'm off to the store right now to get name tags and pens, and maybe a food scale (cuz they use those here).

So while I'm temporarily away from the blog, keep me in mind. Say little prayers for me, for confidence and grace. I'll be back Wednesday with a summary of the nights successes and challenges.

;) Ciao!

~REESE (I accidentally erased my little name image, and I don't want to go through the necessary steps to reclaim it.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do It Again, Lord

Dear Lord,

We're still hoping we'll wake up. We're still hoping we'll open a sleepy eye and think, What a horrible dream.

But we won't, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.

There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)

We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn't.

And so we come to you. We don't ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don't request it; we implore it. We know what you can do. We've read the accounts. We've pondered the stories and now we plead, Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.

Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.

And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

You changed Daniel from a captive into a king's counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.

Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced.

And by dusk, heaven's sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.

But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.

We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.

And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.

Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.

And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you've used her to heal a hurting world.

Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

Through Christ, Amen.

As written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 14, 2001. Permission to copy not only granted but encouraged.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Summer

I'm back too :) Thanks so much for being so understanding about Reese and I needing to take a little bloggie break. We really needed it, but I did miss you.

I had an ah-ha moment (you know one of those moments where you get smacked in the face?) the beginning of June which sent me on a whole new direction for my summer. I went to a co-workers high school graduation and you know what I realized? Amanda only has four years left at home. Four years. Do you know how fast four years goes? In a blink of an eye, my baby will be going her own way. I was shocked that I hadn't realized it. The six months prior to June had been filled with total chaos with the fire and everything that entailed, moving back home and helping with my sister in any way possible. It was a whirlwind and I realized that I had not been enjoying my kids in the manner I was meant too.

Dan and I filled our summer with as much fun as possible. We did so much stuff, especially for us, as we tend to be homebodies. We camped several times, went on two vacations, picnics with family, walks in the park, playing in the park until late at night...the list really goes on. I have been ignoring the computer as much as possible, which at times feels like I am ignoring Reese and I hate that (and vow to do better). I have learned so much about my kids, have fallen madly in love with my husband and adore our family so much more then I did back in June.

Amanda is now a freshman, Mark has entered middle school and McKenna is a big second grader. There are definitely more moments where Amanda is learning who she is and at times that means testing us. It's so hard. She is so fun, loving and kind and then there are the teenage moments where I literally want to scream "who the heck are you???" but we get through them.

Saturday I had another ah-ha moment. I had the privilege of going to a David Cook concert. I love David Cook and couldn't believe I actually got to go to a concert. My friend that went with me also has a daughter who is a year older then Amanda and on the way there we were chatting about how hard it is to let our girls go and let them grow up. They are at an age where there is so much we can't do for them. They have to figure out their feelings, beliefs and values for themselves. Anyway, if you are familiar with David Cook, you may know the song "Come Back To Me". I love that song, but right when it started my friend looked over at me and said "this song is a dedication to our girls". Can I tell you I lost it right there, absolutely bawling lost it. I know as a parent of these teenagers, you have to let go in a sense. You can not lecture, be in their face or demand they believe as you do. Their lives become more of a conversation where you must listen and you must respect where they are coming from, it's much more give and take at this point. I can not throw out my beliefs without being willing to listen to hers. I have to trust that I've laid a good foundation and that she'll, in a sense, "come back to me".

If you are interested, here is a link to go see a video of him singing live.

Here is how I spent my summer, loving on these guys!

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Rasing a Man

Another first day of school and all is well. What more could I ask for?

Today was Ian's first day of Reception (Kindergarten). The way it works here is the kid starts Nursery (Preschool) in the school year they turn four-years-old. Then when they start Reception, the ones who turned 4 later in the school year- like Ian did in June- they go half days until January. It gives them a few months to age a bit before jumping in full time. So though it was the first day, he knew most of the kids from Nursery last year, plus he has the same teacher Zach had last year so he feels like he already knows her, and it's only a few hours a day anyway.

Ian is a sort of enigma: clingy and attached to me like a last born should be, yet very independent and unruffled when it comes to leaving me in times like the first day of school. He's shy, yet bold. Whiny and brave. Try to detach him from my leg while I make dinner and you might as well catch the Loch Ness Monster and make hors d'ouerves out of him. But when I walked him to his classroom this morning- past the hordes of thrashing children screaming "Mum, don't leave me!"- he walked calmly to the board, found his name, dropped it in the box and waved a silent good-bye to me. He could have lived without the kiss I planted on his cheek and he didn't even notice that I stood on one side of the room and watched him looking lost and brave and confident for a few minutes.

I was very curious about his day, so I peppered him with questions on the walk home.

Me: "Ian, what did you do at school today?"

Ian, calm and happy as can be: "I don't know."

M: "Okay. What did Miss G say to you?"

I: "I don't know. I forgott-ed."

M: "Did you play games? What did you play?"

I: "I don't know."

M: "Who did you play with?"

I: "I don't know."

M: "Are there kids in your class from last year? Which ones?"

I: "I don't know. I forgott-ed."

Is this a man in the making or what?! I've got to teach him the art of conversation or he's going to make some unsuspecting girl who fell for his huge puppy dog eyes really, really miserable! I did get 2 answers out of him:

Me: "What did you eat for snack?"

Ian: "Apples."

Me: "Did you eat your snot?"

Ian: "Yes."

At least he was honest...

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lora has a giveaway going on over at her blog. Not much time, so QUICK! Click here!

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The Hiatus Ends!

It’s happened: the summer has passed and the fall is here. ‘Cause we all know that fall doesn’t start on September 21, or whatever, it starts when the kids go back to school. For this reason I was able to delay fall for a week; The Boys go back tomorrow, while the older kids started a week ago. Sadly, the weather runs on American school time. It was cold and windy most of last week. Then again, that’s England for you.

Since the hiatus was officially for the summer, I thought I’d come out of hiding. That’s the beauty of the blogosphere as opposed to real life: you can be absent and the dishes don’t stack up, the garbages don’t overflow, the food in the fridge doesn’t go bad, there’s no stack of mail under the mail slot. It’s a gorgeous thing. And I’ve enjoyed my laid-back summer.

So much so, in fact, that I’ve been dancing on the edge of making the final decision to quit blogging. I jumped into the blogosphere to escape my loneliness in Germany. It provided a creative outlet at a time when I lived in the middle of a farming village where no one spoke English, and I was half-an-hour from base. I was crazy with all the things I wanted to say rolling around in my head but no one but toddlers and field spiders to tell them to. I began throwing my thoughts into the eWorld and finding some peace. Now, when I feel verbally antsy I’m more likely to call my friend Javare’ than take to the laptop and create a post. I don’t need to blog like I once did.

But after much soul searching I’ve discovered that while I don’t need to blog, I want to. I love my internet friends and some of them have moved from simply commenters to Facebook friends and people I exchange the occasional email with. I have yet to actually meet someone I’ve only “met” online but I think I will someday. I always have room for more friends. And while I make friends and build relationships, I force myself to write. I used to write all the time, but once I hit my 30’s the brain juices dried up and my mind is literally blank when I attempt to come up with a topic for blogging. Hopefully, blogging will restore my mind to its pre-30’s state when words were my life and topics to write on were so plentiful I woke up at night with ideas. At the very least, I’d like to prevent myself from being totally brain-dead by 40. My goals are fairly small.

So that’s the goal and this is the commitment: I’ll blog for this school year at least. Beyond that, well, we’ll see. ‘Cause, really, with the ability to disappear without my picture ending up on the back of a milk carton, the possibilities are endless.

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