Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things I Wish I Didn't Have to Say


(This is how seriously I am taken around here.)

Things I Should Not Have to Say

  1. Please stop blowing your nose on the bulletin. (Said to my 8-yr. old during the evening worship service. His defense? "I didn't want to get up to get a tissue. That would be a distraction." And all the crinkling while you snot all over the preacher your father's outline is not?)
  2. Do not stick rabbit food up your nose. (Said to the 2-yr. old after he had been sneezing for two days. We thought he had a cold. He kept saying, "Bunny rabbit hurt my nose." An especially explosive sneeze proved he was [sort of] right.)
  3. Do not spray Febreze air freshener in your eyes. (Said to the same 2-yr. old who had to be taken to the Walmart bathroom to have his very red and very swollen face thoroughly rinsed and scrubbed.)
  4. Do not squirt alcohol swimmer's ear drops up your baby sister's nose. (Said to a 5-yr. old after we had to call Poison Control and make an emergency run to Walmart for some saline to re-irrigate baby's nostrils.)
  5. I don't have time to cut your toenails. Put some socks on. (The 8-yr. old. And, come to think of it, one of the 5-yr. olds.)
  6. When I say, "Tighten your seatbelt," I do not mean for you to tighten it so much that you are crying because you can't breathe. (The 6-yr. old.)
  7. Do not lick the dog. (ALL of them. Seriously.)
  8. Do not lick the shopping cart.
  9. Do not lick the van.
  10. Really? You're still licking????

"How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind?"
(Job 8:2, Bildad to Job, taken greatly out of context yet somehow fitting...)

Anyone else?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Motivation for Monday

"Your mother must have been a very original woman!" said the lady listening interestingly. "I would like to have known her. The perfect idea of educating a child out of one book and doing all that!"
"Oh, but the book was the Bible, you know," explained the young student.

~ from Ladybird, by Grace Livingston Hill

Working on history craft with Lily


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


One thing we love (perhaps that's a little too strong - "happily endure"?) about Staunton is the summer ... oddly enough. I would normally advise anyone traveling to Virginia to pick fall or winter or spring to come, but we've been surprised by charm even in the midst of summer. While it has gotten hot (and Very Good Friends Russ and Kathy -- how'd you like those Capital Letters, Kath? -- arrived just in time to help us install our mega window-unit air conditioning), the breezes are constant, the nights are beginning to cool (and it's still August!), and there are enough water spots to cool us down on the hottest days.

We've explored around and found lakes and ponds and dams and the swimming pool of some friends. We've been enjoying ending Mondays at our friends' pool. Granted, most of the time is spent helping children overcome their fear of water (and get their suits on) and keeping babies occupied, but the kids eagerly look forward to Mondays and brag all week about what kind of swimming they're going to try.

And there's been other water play ... a canner full of water and a spray bottle provided almost an entire afternoon's entertainment.

Miriam and Jonathan

(And when it's not your turn with the spray bottle, just go ahead and dump a water bottle down her back...)

Miriam and Abraham
Eden, Ben, and Lily

Some of us just watch the goings-on.

David Bianca (the bunny) and his/her? paper towel

Salem and Maverick


But the real trick is when Papa gets home from work...luring him out of the van so you can douse him.

Jonathan and Ethan
And then when it's time to come inside, everyone is STARVING (because water can make you SOOOO HUNGRRRRYYYYY MOOOOOM). We eat lots, and then we play some more.

Gideon, taken by Benjamin
And it turns out summer's not so bad after all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friends don't let friends eat twinkies...

...but corn on the cob is OK.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School with Littles

I am taking a break from our regularly-scheduled school day (har, har, hee hee hee, snort, whoo-wee that's a good one!) to ... well, to take a break.

I **had** planned to have an actual planning session for this first day of school. I got about 5 minutes into looking at the books and promptly took a nap. Seriously. It was Saturday afternoon, and that couch is THAT comfortable.

Anyway. One of my sisters refers to me as an "unschooler." I'm not, and the negative publicity unschoolers have garnered for themselves (people, if you homeschool, STAY OUT of the media! They will not make you look good!) makes me even more hesitant to be so labeled.

That being said, it is true that I do not use a boxed curriculum. We choose material based on what we think our kids need to know (no to sex ed: hello, you have seven siblings -- yes to catechism memorization), what is written for independent learners, and what we can afford.

I am learning to smile when someone tells me what WONDERFUL material or program they are using. That is wonderful - to find something that works for your child(ren) and you. But I am also learning to be happy with what we are doing ... because it works well for us. It does! And when I stop believing that and buy into whatever program is a miracle for so-and-so -- just because they love it so and not because we have deemed it to be appropriate for us -- well, that's just more money down the drain. I end up with expensive books taking up precious shelf space and not being used.

It helps incredibly to have a husband who cheers me on and keeps the iced coffee supply flowing.

Today I decided to do my schedule backwards. Instead of writing it down and schooling according to it, I decided to plunge ahead in schooling and write down what we did - after the fact.

Here's how it looks so far. Ignore the details and just look at the groupings of kids:

First Language Lessons lesson 4 (proper nouns)
"Holy, Holy, Holy"
Catechism review

Mystery of History lesson 3
Stuart Little chs. 1-3

ABRAHAM, MIRIAM, EDEN, (and it ended up being JONATHAN, too):
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons lesson 3
Read 3 storybooks to them (anybody else sick of The Hungry Little Caterpillar?)

Math-U-See 26D-F
Trumpet of the Swan ch. 17
Handwriting-2 pgs.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons lesson 87
Handwriting-2 pgs.

Math-U-See 1A-B

Six different groupings for five kids???

This has been the trick today: trying to occupy children while other children are "learning." Of course, it's ALL learning: "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" (Charlotte Mason). But that atmosphere is severely marred when your little brother sticks stamps on your paper or uses the glue stick to attach your artwork to the bottom of the chair or when your twin 6-mos. old siblings eat your drawing (really, I have no shortage of examples).

I feel like I need about 10 more hours of sleep and 10 more cups of coffee to handle the constant energy-zapping. Meals? Laundry? Diapers?


The absolutely most helpful thing I've done is to keep Jonathan (2 yr. old Chief Troublemaker) by my side the entire time (except Nap Time WHICH I LOVE). He has been happier and I've been more productive, not having to unclog the toilet and all (unsupervised 2-yr. olds are SO. DESTRUCTIVELY. INVENTIVE).

Fresh air is good, too.

The other helpful thing has been the ongoing cups of coffee. Which probably explains all the capital letters.

I'm winding down the school day (this means children are now up from naps and I feel like I need to go down). Mt. Laundry still needs to be folded and put away, and supper won't fix itself.

But we're One Day Down!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Like Brother, Like Sister


And that, my friends, is the trouble with twins.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Sunday we were served dinner at the home of some friends. The hostess was explaining to the children how water is so very good for you and flushes your body of toxins.

On Monday, I made a quiche for lunch. I decided to use up the rest of the pizza fixin's from the weekend. Chicken, cheeses, and tomato went in the quiche. "Tomatoes? TOMATOES???? Ewww! Do we HAVE to eat the tomatoes?"

"You do if you want dessert," I responded.

Abraham (5) took a big bite of his quiche and then hollered, "QUICK! Get me some water! I need to flush this poison from my body!"

Thanks, Midge. My kids now eagerly drink water to counter their mother's cooking.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Facebook Shmacebook

I hate Facebook.

I really do. I hate it when my real-life friends (aka the ones whose voices I can hear, not just read) tell me about some long-lost person who recently contacted them via Facebook. I hate hearing their turmoil over whether to friend someone. I hate what they've done to mundane terms like "The Wall," "poke," and "like."

My husband hates it more. He's a purist hater, not a hypocritical one like me. In other words, he has managed to naysay it for years and refrain from setting up a Facebook account.

Me, not so much.

I'm still trying to figure out how to naysay it and maintain an account. I'm 75% sure I'll delete the account (or try very hard...I've heard it's very difficult to do). It was a dumb decision made late at night when we were trying to find a picture of a certain someone that a certain someone else we know may be interested in. We could see a little bit on Facebook, but not enough to satisfy our (OK, my) curiosity. And then we (OK, I) started rabbit-trailing and looking up people from Homer, Alaska, in an attempt to lure my husband in and get him to stop giving me that raised eyebrow.

It sort of worked.

I've always used the excuse that if I wanted to keep a relationship going with someone, I would. I wouldn't need some social networking site to get us together so we could relive high-school  times when we wore the same dress to the Prom (err..."Extravaganza"...I went to a Christian school). And that's mostly true. I keep in contact, or know how to keep in contact, with most of my good friends.

But it's not all the way true. I mean, let's face it: I can't can barely keep track of the people in this house, let alone those outside of it. For the past two (three?) weeks, a certain 2-yr. old has been discovered wearing a size 8 blue croc and a size 9 blue croc (he's a size 6 camouflage croc) every time we get to our destination (how I consistently miss this when we leave the house, I don't know. Yes, I do. It's very low on my priority list). And if a friend (or, OK, acquaintance) has a life crisis and doesn't email all of her friends but instead hastily updates her Facebook, I can be aware of how to help. (It's a MISSION FIELD! Snort, snort, har, har, chuckle, chuckle...relax, Ethan, I jest, I jest!)

Or, more to the point (and perhaps marginally less likely), if someone wants to get ahold of me because they are burdened with financial excess (or a 15-passenger van) that they would like to unload on my family but they don't know how to track me down...well, Facebook could be a lifesaver.

Blecch. The words Facebook and lifesaver in the same sentence are sour in my mouth. And on my fingertips.

The truth is that I'm nosy. I've posted enough to satisfy any nosy long-ago friends of mine (she has EIGHT kids? She's a PASTOR'S wife? I knew she was weird! But how'd she hook that guy?) and that's enough for me. People can see I'm there (for the minute) and contact me (I love REAL MAIL...ask me for my address!) or not.

And I'll keep looking for the missing pair of size 8/size 9 crocs.

(Pssst...Ethan....I know you're right. Facebook is stupid.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our New Theme Song

Hat Tip to Catalog Living, a site that makes me giggle

Friday, August 6, 2010

NO, NO, NO!!!!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Has It Been That Long Already?

Newlyweds become oldyweds, and oldyweds are the reasons that families work.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.
~Ecclesiastes 9:9, ESV

Highlights through our years:
  • 2000: our honeymoon :)
  • 2001: Benjamin - our first son and our ineptness (aka Attachment Parenting)
  • 2002: you started seminary
  • 2003: Lily Ann - our first daughter
  • 2004: our trip to Seattle (Ben: "But where's Attle? I want to see her!")
  • 2005: Abraham and Miriam - our first set of twins
  • 2006: our notorious trip to Florida - the breakdown(s) on I-95, the stinky water, the love bugs (ewww), and hiding morning sickness from relatives
  • 2007: Eden - our first chuckley baby -AND- our first family trip to Maine
  • 2008: Jonathan - our first kid to take 9 months to sit b/c he couldn't stop crawling -AND- you finished seminary!
  • 2009: our year in Montana
  • 2010: Gideon and Salem - our first set of twins born at term -AND- your ordination!!!
I'm realizing most of these years are peppered with the births of children. But it's not their momentous births that I remember so well (as you say, women forget what birth is like all too quickly). It's all the stuff in between - the thousands of tickles, kissed owies, nights on the porch after the children are in bed, gifts of iced coffee just when I most need them, Netflix or Hulu that I sleep through, midnight runs for pregnancy tests, 1 1/2 mile hikes that take all afternoon with children, late-night running in a quiet world, mad scrambles for the checkbook or the check or my keys or the cell phone or their shoes, homemade sleds, 5-day road trips, the wonder of a Redwood tree, stolen vehicles, 6-yr. olds and their reading lights, choruses of "broccoli, celery, gotta be ... Wedgie Tales!" - the way you carry on, carry me on, and carry our family on. Nothing has been too much for you. You've never said (out loud), "I don't want this...I hate this...why can't things be like they were before..." You've always embraced the day and helped me to smile at it, too.

I'm not sure that ten years qualifies us as "oldyweds," but I love the thought of being oldywed with you.

God has lavished goodness upon me through you. I love you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

33 Reasons I Love Him

  1. his incredible sense of humor (he finds the laugh in everything)
  2. those clear blue eyes
  3. he likes to pick berries and apples and pears and pumpkins
  4. his terrible mock-Irish accent (Is that Pakistani?)
  5. his strength (he once moved a player piano from our living room across our icy Montana yard to the U-Haul trailer...alone)
  6. the way he endures, even enthusiastically, my patchy, botched-up attempts at pie crusts
  7. the way he endures, even enthusiastically, my family
  8. he can balance a standing baby on his palm
  9. he looks each child in the eyes and makes her feel as if she's his favorite
  10. he looks me in the eyes and makes me feel as if I'm his favorite
  11. his love for the church and her people
  12. the way God has gifted him with discernment -- he can discern anything: the real motive behind a conversation, the true theological problem lurking behind the spoken one, the reason I'm upset or frustrated, the solution to a child's dilemma
  13. he's a true Renaissance man -- want to know about pipes? backpacking? homesteading? church history? Kentucky?  Brazil? mixed martial arts? Alaska? diapers? fishing? brewing? coffee? peppers? Daniel Boone? Donna Reed?
  14. he watches the Donna Reed Show with me
  15. when I start to fade (2/3rds of the way through every Donna Reed show), he smiles, takes my legs and rubs my feet -- I know! He's such a keeper!
  16. when he gives the benediction (and not just because I can turn the kids back over to him!!!)
  17. he runs with me...and doesn't fuss about how slow I go
  18. his decorating sense
  19. he never calls me fat or makes any comment whatsoever about losing weight
  20. he seeks ways to ease others' burdens
  21. he enjoys surprising our children with unexpected delights
  22. he enjoys surprising me with unexpected delights
  23. he doesn't take my whining too seriously but feigns concern rather well
  24. his webbed toes that he passed on to Benjamin
  25. he can stay up all night (another trait passed on to every Allison boy and none of the girls)
  26. the 1000 games he invents to play with the kids, which they love -- and in which he always looks suspiciously like he's taking a nap
  27. every dog in the world loves him
  28. every baby in the world loves him
  29. he knows Portuguese
  30. he can find a common interest with anyone anywhere
  31. he likes road trips -- even with us!!
  32. he never criticizes my teaching the children
  33. and the final one (for this list) has to do with something we've said for ... I don't know how long. I'll say, "I love you," and he'll say, "I love you more," and I'll say, "No, you just love me better." And it's true. He loves me better. And I love him more for it.

Happy birthday, Gorgeous.

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