The Family

The Family

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Reading Surprises

I've made it through a few books on my summer reading list. While those books have been decent reads, there are two stories I've read out loud to the children this week that I've enjoyed more than anything I've read thus far.

One is a familiar story; the other is new.

We've been reading Genesis and the story of Joseph.

I'll be the first to admit that I can't always reconcile myself to some of the stories in the Old Testament. I was reluctant to read the Old Testament to the little boy because I was uncertain about answers to some of the hard questions I feared he could ask.

He did ask a few questions like: "Did God kill him?" or "What did God do? Cut off his leg?" (I'm not sure where this one came from).

I answered with "I don't know." It was the truthful response to give because I didn't know.

The story of Joseph, in many ways, is not a happy one. It is however, beautiful.

This verse in Genesis where Joseph speaks to his brothers about their role in his captivity and slavery in Egypt leaves a poignant mark:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...
Genesis 50:20

It reminds me that in my own sufferings, God is at work. 

The other story we've read this week is the fifth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, "The Horse and His Boy."

We finished a chapter tonight that was well above a four-year-old boy's level of comprehension.

A wise, old man, known as the Hermit of the Southern March, was speaking to a war horse that felt he had not shown much bravery in a time of peril. The experience humbled this talking horse on his way to the great land of Narnia.

"You're not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you are nobody very special, you'll be a very decent sort of horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another."

I read this passage aloud twice, more to remind myself of this truth of humility than anything else.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CSA Wednesday

Each Wednesday we head to a local farm to pick up weekly goodies as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here's what we got today.

A whole lot of cantaloupe

Tomatoes - I'm assuming they are cherry tomatoes

Fresh eggs (They are extra fresh today with what I can only describe as white lint [I'm guessing that's from the hens] covering the outside of each egg)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mommy vs. Children

My Idea of Reading: Cuddling together on the couch or bed 
His Idea of Reading: Jumping, squirming and making noise to muffle mommy’s voice
Her Idea of Reading: Grabbing each page in an attempt to rip it to pieces

My Idea of Cleaning Up: Putting everything in its place
His Idea of Cleaning Up: Picking a toy off the floor in one room only to place it on the floor in another room
Her Idea of Cleaning Up: Pulling down what mommy just put up while mommy is picking up something else

My Idea of Nap Time: A baby that sleeps for one to two hours so that I can spend time with the other child and then try to get some things done around the house
His Idea of Nap Time: Nap? Who needs a nap?
Her Idea of Nap Time: Maybe 30 minutes is all I need. Maybe 3 hours will be good this time. What's the use in predictable?

My Idea of Bedtime: Talking softly to one another in an attempt to settle down
His Idea of Bedtime: Delaying the inevitable as long as possible by having to go to the bathroom, get something to drink, and find just one more thing to sleep with multiple times
Her Idea of Bedtime: Just when mommy thinks I’m about asleep, start to laugh and blow spit bubbles

My Idea of Mealtime: Sitting down to a warm plate of food
His Idea of Mealtime: Mommy, can you get me some more milk? Mommy, can you get me some butter for my bread? Mommy, I spilled my drink.
Her Idea of Mealtime: Maybe I’ll let mom sit down for a minute. Nah, she needs to stand and hold me while she tries to eat one-handed

My Idea of Making the Bed: No wrinkles in the comforter and the pillows all in place
His Idea of Making the Bed: While mommy arranges the pillows, I think I’ll take this time to jump on the bed and mess up the comforter. Once I’m done with that I’ll pull off those pillows that are so perfectly placed and sling them back onto the floor
Her Idea of Making the Bed: Laughing at brother as he jumps and slings the pillows onto the floor

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Saturdays

We've spent the past five Saturday mornings doing the same thing.

First, we head to the art museum for the summer art program.

Today's task: mosaics

The little boy picked out pieces of glass and tile

He placed them on contact paper

Almost complete

Then the pans were taken outside
Cement was poured into the pans and left to dry in the form of a stepping stone

As always, baby girl was just along for the ride. 

After the art museum, off we go to the library.

A change of clothes were in order for Little Miss before we could make it into the library:)

After picking out our books for the week, getting a prize from the treasure chest for completing five books the previous week and pretend typing on the library computer (it's better than him banging on mine), we usually make our way downtown for lunch.

When you don't have a pool, a good portion of summer Saturdays are spent indoors.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Most days don’t find us going anywhere special. 

While I would love to travel every few weeks, finances, work and exhaustion keep us from that.

Most days around here are the same.

If you are a mom, you know what that means.

It means there is a never-ending list of things to do. By never ending I mean it NEVER ENDS.

I often wake in the morning with a sense of dread about all there is to do that day. I don’t cherish the morning as a time to start anew with these precious creatures residing in this home.

Some days I feel overwhelmed to the point of tears.

Sunday was one of those days.

I try to clean the house on Sundays because that is when the hubby is home. It’s just that waking up knowing I have a lot of cleaning to do later in the day isn’t the best way to start any day, let alone a Sunday. It’s also a time when I begin to fret about what all needs to be done in the week ahead.

This past Sunday, Father’s Day no less, I had a meltdown on the way to church. It had been brewing for a while, but something about the hubby not responding when I made a comment about having to get gas on the way home set me off.

Yes, you read that correctly. I blew my lid over gas. ON-THE-WAY-TO-CHURCH.

A year’s worth of anxiety and stress came pouring out.

It was a relief once I unloaded it all. It was also a relief that the baby fell asleep in the car so I didn't have to put on a fake smile and go into church. The hubby and the little boy went in while I sat in the car with her and listened to the sermon on the radio.

I felt terrible a couple hours later when our waitress asked my husband if he was having a good Father’s Day. He nodded and smiled and said what she expected to hear. I’m sure what he really wanted to say was: “No. My anal wife just dumped on me the entire way to church, and I’d rather be anywhere but near her at this moment.”

I’ve often wondered what people would think if we gave them the real answers - whether it's a stranger in a restaurant, a greeter at church or a friend on the phone. Not the polite responses they expect, but the real, truthful, hard answer.

That would cause many an awkward moment, but it might also lead to a real connection.

I also know that instead of greeting each day with a negative outlook, I should be grateful that EVERYTHING IS the same.

Same means we are all healthy. Same means we are all together. Same means that I have children to clean up after. Same means I have a husband that loves me. Same means that life is a blessing. Same means that life is good around here.

Come to think of it, I’ll take same any day of the week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CSA Wednesday

On Wednesday, we pick up produce from a local farm as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here is what we got today:

Dill - I used it tonight in meat loaf and will try it in chicken salad, with salmon and in slaw during the next few days


Green Beans - I have to be honest, these don't look too appetizing. I'm going to try cooking them in the oven with some olive oil and kosher salt. We'll see how they turn out.

Cantaloupe - It was a surprise opening this up and finding a white center. We ate it with dinner and it's already gone.

If anyone needs onions, send them to me. I don't know what to do with all these.

Fresh eggs

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Leave My Joe Alone

My dad and I had a good laugh this morning.

It was a laugh about nothing important, but those are often the best kind of laughs. Come to think of it, this was one of those times that felt like a Seinfeld moment (we're both big Seinfeld fans and have had many interesting moments about nothing throughout the years).

This morning's nothing was about a lukewarm cup of coffee.

He won't drink the coffee I make because he thinks it's too weak. I won't drink the coffee he makes because I think it's too strong.

Whenever we stay at the other's house, it's a race to the coffee pot.

He stayed with us last night, and I was up first this morning.

If you're a coffee drinker, you know that having your cup of coffee the way you like it is one of the first pleasures of the day.

Maybe it's the brand you most desire. Or maybe the aroma does it for you. Maybe it's the sheer quantity of caffeine you are able to consume in mere minutes.

For me, it's the first sip. I like to take it while it's still scalding hot. If I'm at home, I want it in a certain cup with sugar sprinkled before the coffee is poured.

This morning, I knew I needed to drink my coffee before he came downstairs. I also knew that if I didn't, I should tell him to leave it alone until I could get to it.

That was before I began to fix breakfast, change a diaper and doctor a sore arm.

By the time he got downstairs, I had forgotten about it. Fifteen minutes later I remembered.

The perceptive reader might have already figured out what happened.

Yes, he poured it into some random cup with no sugar and it was nowhere near scalding.

"You couldn't wait a few more minutes?" I hollered.

He shook his head and began to chuckle.

To top it off, he decided a few minutes later that he didn't want to make his own coffee afterall. He got in the car and drove to a nearby Starbucks.

"I hope you enjoy your coffee. You ruined mine," I said with a big grin upon his return.

We both began to laugh. Then we (well, maybe I) spent the next few minutes talking about why nobody should mess with another person's first cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I've caught myself using way too many of these lately - !

Yes, the exclamation point.

I use it in texts.

I use it in e-mails.

I use it on FB.

I use it here on this blog.

I sometimes use it with question marks. You know what I'm talking about - ?!?!

I occasionally tack a smiley face onto it - !:)

To some, it is the most dreaded punctuation mark in existence. To social media hounds, it has fast become the most loved symbol for showing enthusiasm, joy, agreement and practically anything that mimics excitement.

I was once in the former category, but have found myself drifting into the deep waters of the all-too-frequent-explanation-point user status. 

I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker a few weeks ago poking fun, as most New Yorker cartoons do, at its overuse. It said something to the effect of “I’ve become immune to exclamation points.”

Seinfeld fans will likely remember the episode when Elaine goes ape about the use of exclamation points.

Social media just makes it so darn easy to get away with. That and it's more enjoyable to exclamation point your way through a thought.

I teach journalism students to avoid this punctuation mark like the plague, yet here I am posting away most days with that heinous symbol spread throughout. 

While I still think the exclamation point should rarely be used in print publications, in online formats and in texts, it helps clarify meaning. Adding an exclamation point or smiley face softens the tone of a message that might otherwise be misconstrued or come across as too harsh.

It also puts you, the writer, in a better mood.

So while students that use this symbol will continue to lose points each time it appears, I'm happy to use it freely here.

Well, not too freely.

I hereby restrict myself to one exclamation point per post!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CSA Wednesday

Each Wednesday we bring home goodies from a local farm's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here's what we brought home today.

Red and Yellow Onions

Fresh eggs


Green Beans

This is not part of the CSA, but I've been waiting for fresh ground beef for a few weeks. This beef, as one of the farmer's sons once told me, is raised on nothing but grass and sunshine!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where to Next?

We were barely through with one trip before I began thinking about the next.

While in Chicago I longed for New York, the city I love more than any other. I was trying to talk myself into a quick trip in August until I realized I was forcing it, and trying to force anything usually doesn’t turn out well. 

The hubby didn’t like the idea of New York in August. I was okay with that because I figured I could get someone else to go with us to help me with two children.

Then I started thinking about navigating New York with luggage, a carseat, a stroller and a baby with a dairy allergy - that means I would HAVE TO go to the grocery story (probably more than once). I reluctantly concluded that New York might be more exhausting than exhilarating.

I also thought about North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but after the drive to South Dakota, I didn't relish the thought of 12 plus hours in the car. 

I was beginning to think that a late summer trip wasn't in the cards until I came across a high school classmate’s blog about a recent trip she and her family took to St. Augustine, FL.  Because she has seven kids, I knew this place would be child friendly. It’s also 6.5 hours away.

After checking out a St. Augustine website, I was impressed.

I've never put much thought into what our nation's oldest city could be, but it appears St. Augustine is it.

I’m thinking St. Augustine might be a good August trip.