Tuesday, June 30, 2015

With All the Rain Came Some Amazing Skies, Photo Blogging Challenge

Have I mentioned that the rain just will not stop? Every day. Pouring rain. As a matter of fact, it's raining as I type this post.

While scrolling through my photos, looking for some sort of theme for June's Photo Blogging Challenge, I realized that with the rain, we were given some cool-looking skies.

Sunrise in the fog, June 7th.

Impending storm, June 12th

We had approximately 2 hours of blue sky this month, June19

One of the coolest weather-related sights we've ever seen. During a thunderstorm, with lightening and pouring rain, the setting sun burned through. There were no rays of sunshine. Just a big, red ball of sun. June 30th, about 60 minutes ago.

And because I don't have another sky photo from this month, and it was so mesmerizing, I'm just going to stick in another photo of the same sun.

Tomorrow is July already?!?! It makes me want to cry.

P.J. will be posting next month's theme tomorrow, July 1, if you want to join in.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Explaining a Few Things to the Best of My Ability

I am not a fan of getting into political or controversial issues here on the blog. I like to keep this place fun and occasionally helpful. Every once in a while, though, I just can't let something go.

This is one of those times.

My Facebook feed has been lit up the last few days, and I only have 88 Facebook friends.

And yet, with even such few people, I've seen all sorts of things being said that I just can't let go. There are lots of assumptions and untruths flying around, and I'm going to try to clear a few things up. "Try" being the word you focus on in that sentence. I'm not an expert. I am a Catholic person who does her very best to follow the teachings of her Church. I honestly believe it leads me to be the best person I can be. The person God wants me to be. It is not an easy faith. It asks a lot of us. Self-sacrifice is a theme throughout the teachings, and self-sacrifice is hard a lot of the time.

Let's get to it.

I'm going to start with an opinion that I've seen a whole heck of a lot these days.

People who oppose same-sex marriage are bigots, homophobes and full of hate.

Not gonna lie. Some are. There are most definitely people out there who are opposed to it and have no trouble saying vile, horrible things.

They are giving us a bad name.

I have also seen horrible things said from the other side, too.

They are giving the rest a bad name.

Hate doesn't take sides. It's everywhere.

Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time must know that I don't hate anyone. I've never even hinted at hating anyone. I don't encourage anyone to be mean or hateful.

Catholic teaching is all about love. We take very seriously the call to love others regardless of who they are or what they believe.

The Catholic Church has hospitals, homeless shelters, food pantries, crisis pregnancy centers, disaster relief services, prison ministries, mission trips...The list goes on and on. All of them Catholic, and they serve, with love and respect and dignity, anyone who walks in the door.

We as individuals are called to serve. To love and serve all people, not just those who agree with us. Every single person on this earth has value, an equal value, and they deserve to be shown love, respect, and compassion.

We don't always live up to the ideal we are called to be.

No one does.

We're human with human flaws.

But we try.

We try really hard.

Next up, we're going to have to talk sex. (Sorry, Dad.)

Only those in sacramental marriage should be having sex. It's a big no to everyone else.

The primary purpose of sex is to create new life.

Any sexual act that prevents or is incompatible with the making of a baby shouldn't be done.

That includes using contraception. That includes sex that isn't between a man and a woman.

Even married couples are called to be chaste if they aren't willing to have a child.

Like I said, self-sacrifice. It isn't easy.

I guess this would be as good a place as any to define marriage as the Catholic Church teaches it.

As my Archbishop recently wrote,

"The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, intended towards the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured."

Clearly this is not a belief shared by everyone.

But neither are many of the Catholic teachings.

Contraception has been used by many for decades. Divorce and remarriage is common. Sex outside of marriage is even more common. Pornography is a multi-million dollar business.

Being deemed "outdated" in our beliefs isn't new.

We aren't surprised that same-sex marriage is now legal.

It doesn't change our beliefs, just as other laws, such as legal abortion, haven't changed our beliefs.

So why are people worried now? Why are your Catholic (and other Christian) friends so concerned now?

Well, I'll tell you one reason.

While you, I, and the Church know that not everyone will follow the Church's teachings, the Church and Catholics can't knowingly help people to sin.

That's why Catholic doctors don't prescribe the pill.

It's why Catholic hospitals refuse to perform vasectomies.

It's why Catholic priests will not officiate same-sex weddings.

It's why Catholic bakers won't make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

Discrimination and hate have nothing to do with it. In fact, the opposite is true. It's all about love. When you truly love another person, you encourage him to be better. You encourage him to live better. You don't stand by while he goes off to sin. You certainly don't help him to sin.

We can't, in good conscience, be a part of it.

So when businesses are asked to be a part of a same-sex wedding, the owners of those businesses have to go with their conscience. They can't be a part.

Your Catholic and other Christian friends are worried because they are being punished for choosing their conscience. Businesses are being sued and shut down, with fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, because owners choose their conscience over their businesses. They aren't being allowed to practice their religion. It isn't right, yet it's happening.

It isn't just about same-sex marriage, either.

Laws are being passed requiring businesses to pay for their employees' contraception. Businesses owned by NUNS are being forced to do so. If their appeals are shut down, the nuns will have to close their businesses, because they can't be a part of another person's sins.

The buzz words of the day are show love and compassion. That's what we're trying to do. The question is, will we be allowed to continue to do so?

I realize that this is a broad overview. There is no way I can address all issues fully in one blog post. If you have questions, please feel free to ask them. I'll do my best to answer them.

I also realize that most people reading this won't agree with me. I'm OK with that. I can still be your friend.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting My Thankful On, TToT #106

Well, my marvelous summer schedule of work and play has blown all up in my face this week.

So. Many. Appointments.

And Buttercup's soccer workouts right smack in the middle of the day.

It all aligned to make my summer days go KAPLOOEY!

Don't worry, I still love summer.

To the thankfuls:

1. We had  three days in a row without rain. It looked like it was going to rain most of the time, but it didn't. We managed to dry out a bit before the next multiple day onslaught began.

2. Produce in our yard is plentiful, and I'm managing to get things used and preserved. Each night for dinner we have yet another green thing from the garden. Zucchini, green beans, lettuce, and (still!) asparagus are all in the rotation. We've had raspberry cobbler twice. I've canned 13 quarts of beans and frozen 12 cups of raspberries. Next up are the 15 zucchini sitting on the counter and another 7 quarts of green beans I picked last night. (If you live in town and would like some zucchini, let me know!)

3. Star made it home safely from Boy Scout camp. He had lots of fun and even managed to learn a few things.

4. A gigantic pile of dirt arrived Friday morning. Operation Landscaping This Giant Mess of a Yard has begun. Bryan finally had the time and weather to get a huge tree branch that fell cut up and relocated. Things are looking so much better already, and I haven't even planted anything yet.

5. Cuckoo has been begging to go to KidsCommons in Columbus, IN for months. On Friday, I finally had the chance to take Cuckoo, Turken, Giant, and Giant's friend. They had a great time.

6. So, if you've read Dyanne's post already, you heard the news that we have a cat. It just showed up on our porch and looked in our window. It is the friendliest little thing, and the kids have become attached quickly. Unfortunately, the dogs are not nearly so fond of it. They keep chasing the poor cat away whenever they realize it has come into "their" yard. Yesterday, they almost caught her. If she comes back, we already have a family who will take her. (We can't keep her as an indoor cat, as Bryan is allergic to cats.)

7. Related to #6, this morning I had a huge scare. Roy ran across the front yard barking, so I looked out to see what was going on. There was Hershey, with a light gray and white animal in her mouth. I panicked and ran outside to let her have it. When she saw me, she dropped the animal and came to me. It was an opossum. Not a cat. We're good.

8. Phoenix had his last driving lesson. He has his 50 hours. On Monday or Tuesday he will be able to take his driving test. I darn well better have a licensed teenager in the house by Wednesday. I'm sure I will be a nervous wreck when he pulls out of the driveway alone for the first time, but oh my word, this is going to make things so much easier around here!

9. The mother of one of my best friends in the world is making the move to an independent living facility. It is a good thing. Her mom made the choice, so it is as peaceful a move as it can be. Going through a lifetime of worldly possessions, choosing what to keep and what not to keep is not easy, but it is going well. I am happy that my schedule allows for me to go help them do it.

10. Bryan and I celebrated our 21st anniversary this week with dinner and a movie. It has been a long while since we've had the chance to go out on a date, so the night was appreciated even more.

I'm going to be honest here and say this post almost didn't happen. The only reason it did is because I had started writing it on Thursday morning. Since the Supreme Court ruling was announced, I've been reading through all sorts of posts and opinions. My mind has been consumed with it all. I have a post almost finished with my own thoughts. Since you know I'm Catholic, you probably know I did not cheer the ruling. I'm not posting any rainbows. But I'm not booing it either. It was what most of us expected. Well, you'll see when I post it. If I have the courage to post it.

The sun is shining. It will be a beautiful day. I'm planning on making the most of it.

I pray you have a lovely day, too.

Your turn. What are you thankful for this week?

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Answer Me This: Dads Edition

Yesterday I asked Bryan what he wanted to do for Father's Day. He replied, "Well, unlike Mother's Day, Father's Day is about being with your kids, so I guess something with the kids".

Funny man.

He'll be going to see Jurassic World with the older boys, because it's the first movie in a long while that he really wants to see.

While I..who knows.

To celebrate the day Kendra came up with questions all about dads, so I'm joining in, since I didn't get my dad or Bryan a gift. :)

What is the best thing about your dad?

He loves his family, and he shows it.

Dad ('cause I know he's reading this), I noticed that you never missed a weekend or evening to have us after the divorce. I noticed that you were at every special occasion. I remember that you got up early to make my breakfast and pack my lunch the year I moved in with you, even though I was a junior in high school and was perfectly capable of doing it myself. I remember driving to my college visit while listening to the Oldies station. I will forever cherish the hours and hours we've spent around the card table, laughing our full heads off. By watching you take care of Grandma, visiting her every day and doing what she asks, even when you think she's off her rocker, I've learned how to love you and Mom as you get older. I do things with my kids that we did with you, like take pictures on the stairs every Christmas and Easter and stop at battlefields to learn a bit of history. (Although, I don't ask endless questions of the tour guide just to embarrass them.) I see your perpetual smile when you are surrounded by your kids and grandkids, and I know that you love us with every fiber of your being. Thank you.

My dad with my brothers and me, 1981

 If you have kids, what is the best thing about THEIR dad?

During Bryan's early days as an attorney, he would regularly get called in with a partner to talk about his hours. They weren't happy that he was gone by 5:30 every day and that he didn't come in on Saturdays. He basically told them to stuff it. He got his hours in and wasn't going to spend more time away from his kids than necessary.

When Bryan gets home, he brings the silly with him. He does things with the kids I wouldn't think to do (or even would do if I thought of it). He's the one who plans every single vacation. He's the one who came up with the idea for special trips for the kids. He's the one who acts silly and makes silly jokes and even throws in a silly dance every once in a while (though those are getting more rare now that we're getting older). Basically, he makes the kids a priority, and when he's with them he makes it fun.

Bryan with Phoenix, Star, and Giant

What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?

I don't remember specific advice. He wasn't/isn't much of an advice giver. One thing I have taken into adulthood with me, though, is his opinion of being on time. Ten minutes early is early, five minutes early is on time, and on time is late.

What's something you have in common with your dad?

Dad and I are very much tied to our families, both those who are alive and those who have gone before. We love gatherings with all of my siblings, their kids, aunts and uncles, and anyone else we can convince to come. Some of my favorite times with my dad are the drives around our hometown. He'll just drive and tell me story after story of our family, with stories of other people sprinkled in. (As a policeman, he knows a lot of stories.) Canton is where my great-grandma, my grandma, my dad, and I were born. There is a lot of history there, and I love that my dad likes to share it with me.

What is the manliest thing you know how to do?

Well, besides wrangling pigs, I'm going to have to go with getting a vehicle out of the snow/a ditch/the mud. I've even managed to get a septic truck (that had just emptied our septic tank) out of the mud in our driveway. I'm going to have to say right here, though, that while these are considered "manly" things to do, neither my husband nor the septic tank guy have proven that they can do such a thing.

Who is your favorite fictional dad?

First thing that comes to my mind is Tom Bradford. I wanted to be on Eight Is Enough so badly when I was a kid.

My dad was an undercover narcotics agent when I was a baby. When I was a tween/teen, he was in charge of the narcotics department for the county. If you want to read more about it, you can read Secret Agent. I wrote it a while ago.

To the few fathers who read this blog, Happy Father's Day!

To the rest of you, have a lovely day making fathers feel special.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Birthday, a Change of Attitude, and Some Other Things, TToT 105

Well, it's happened.

I've gone viral.

Don't worry. I won't forget all of you who were with me in the early days of bad writing and pointless posts.

I may not have time for you, what with signing autographs and all, but I won't forget you.



It's so absurd I can't even take the joke any farther.

I'll explain later.

But first (also known as 1.), I must say a gigantic thank you for

this guy.

Fourteen years ago, Star brightened our world and made it just a wee bit (ok, a lot. A LOT) louder. He's brilliant. He's funny. He's brave. He's extreme. He's maturing into a thoughtful, helpful, responsible young man. Most importantly this week, he's forgiving and patient. His birthday plans have been blown to bits. Every single thing we were planning to do had to be put off for a variety of reasons, and he has rolled with it with no complaints. Even when his birthday party had to be postponed because of the endless rain we've had.

He could easily be my favorite kid this week. :)

OK, back to my fame (aka 2.)...

Normally, when I put a link on my Facebook page about a new blog post, that update is shown to 25-75 people.

This week my post on my kids' lack of smartphones must have struck a chord. Both Melody  and Susan shared it. And then more people did. Last time I checked, 21 people shared it. I've gotten over 500 hits to that post from Facebook alone. (That's about 100 times what I usually get.)

I had that post in my drafts for months. Even during the A-Z Challenge, when I dedicated the whole month to giving unsolicited advice, I chose not to post it. I was nervous about it for some reason.

I'm glad I finally just hit the publish button. Not because it brought me fame (I can hardly type the word "fame" without laughing.) without the fortune, but because I've heard from some people who said it actually prompted them to have discussions with their husbands. It got people really thinking about the subject. Whether they agree with me or not, I just want parents to go into a smartphone purchase after dedicated thought, not just because it was the easy thing to do.

As an added bonus, I got some serious back-up for when my kids mention their sad state of being the only kids without smartphones. :)

3. It's been raining. For days. While I grumbled about the landscaping we couldn't do, Cuckoo cheered.

IT'S RAINING! (As opposed to snowing, which his foot attire might indicate.)
So, we've embraced the rain. It's warm, and there's usually no thunder or lightening, so there's no reason NOT to play in it. Only difference is their crazy is now wet.

I'm cool with that. And yes, they were in their pajamas to play this morning. I'm cool with that, too.

4. A couple of times this week, we enjoyed a couple of breaks in the rain (Well, as much as one can enjoy a sauna-like atmosphere.). One day, we even saw the sun for an hour. Take a guess how they spent that time...

Yup. Playing in water. Falling from the sky. In their clothes.

 I am happy to know about this great, free park to take the boys once the rain eventually stops (It will stop, right?!?!?) and the heat of summer descends upon us.

5. Buttercup is coming home tomorrow!! She's had one heck of an experience out at the reservation, but we're ready to have her back.

6. I have to say, even though the rain is making my life a bit more difficult, it has been marvelous for all things fruits and vegetable. The black raspberry bushes on our property are popping with fruit. I've already frozen 5 cups of them, Turken has eaten about a quart, and I have enough in the fridge to make a cobbler tomorrow. And there are plenty more to pick.

7. The green bean plants are out of control, too. When I was in the garden pulling weeds on Thursday (during a break in the rain), there were teeny, tiny beans all over. I'll be doing plenty of canning in the coming weeks. I'm excited, seeing as how they all went to waste last year thanks to my injury, our trip to Europe, and my surgery.

8. I took the boys to see Inside Out this afternoon. It was THE BEST movie. No joke. I loved it. The kids loved it. I even had one of the teens with us. I won't embarrass him and call him out by name, but he loved it, too. It's funny. It's touching. It has some real truths about emotions in it.

9. Our summer of getting projects done has been derailed, but I'm not letting it go for good. We've gotten some cleaning out done inside the house, and it makes me happy. The game closet has been reclaimed!

10. I love summer. (Have I mentioned that before?) To go with the cleaning/project completion, we also get to try new things. Today, the little boys and I made homemade lemonade. We used this recipe, and my word, it lived up to its name.

We'll be making plenty more throughout the summer.


11. In one break in the rain, Giant and Phoenix and I did manage to get some landscaping work done. There is one area in the back of the house that we have not touched for two years. It is filled with poison ivy, and we're all terribly allergic to it, so we simply avoid it. NO MORE! The three of us donned our long pants, long-sleeve shirts, gloves, and hats and had at it. We pulled out 4 (little) trees and innumerable tree-sized wild rhubarb bushes. (No joke. They were as tall as me.) That was Monday. As of today, not one of us has come down with a rash. WOOHOO!

12. Blast. I know I'm forgetting something, but I can't remember what it is. Consider this a place holder.

Well, Friends, it's your turn. (And yes, you are friends. Internet friends are real friends, no matter what my family thinks.) Link up your post or tell me what made you smile this week.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lest You Think It's All Smiles and Giggles Here at the Coop...

Do not adjust your screens.

Sorry for that little moment of "What the...am I in the right place?"

Today's post will be dedicated to things not going exactly as planned.

************** 1 ************

Long story short, I have to redesign my blog's look. I didn't mean to do this. A redesign was all hypothetical until I started messing with it and accidentally changed it and then realized that the old template was no longer available.

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, so be patient with the new looks every single time you come back.

Or get happy with this, in case I never actually figure it out.

************** 2 ***************

Buttercup has called us each night that she's been on her mission trip. I was expecting to hear about all the work she's been doing and the fun times she's been having. 

Not so much.

Last night I heard that she got stuck in a hail storm while riding in the back of a pick-up truck.

C'est la life experience that didn't kill her, I guess.

************* 3 ************

It won't stop raining.

I can't execute our grand landscaping plan if it won't stop raining.

And it won't. Stop. RAINING!

Except for short bursts where the sun comes out and makes everything niiiice and humid.

************* 4 **********

Did I mention I got a bad haircut a few weeks ago? It had been 11 months since my last (bad) haircut, and I told the person I wanted my hair to be chin-length when it was curly and dry.

It seems I have multiple chins, because my hair, when wet and straight, barely hits the bottom of my ear.

It's hard to mess up curly hair, really. Curls cover all sorts of mistakes. The one thing it can't cover? Short. I can't do anything about short.

Add in the humidity from #3, and I'm lookin' good.

Reeeeealz good.

********* 5 *********

When we were preparing to go to Europe last summer, Bryan downloaded a French tutorial on his phone. Lately, he's gone back to practicing some phrases. Buttercup found out and talked him into getting the "flirty" version. 

Unfortunately, when he speaks a different language, the accent always comes out sounding German, but with a Latin twist thrown in. 

When he comes into the kitchen and greets me in "French" with a "Salut, Beaute!", he sounds more like a Nazi yelling Et tu, Brute!

So flirty, non?

*********** 6 **********

Pretty sure I mentioned my ability to take power naps these days. Late night with the big kids and early mornings with the little kids leaves Mom with little sleep. I sometimes catch up with a power nap on the couch, with the children running wild around me.

We are needing to review the rules of Mommy's nap time.

Yesterday I was awoken by Cuckoo.

He was holding a dollar and tapping me on the arm.

"Mommy. Can you buy some candy for me the next time you go to the store?"

To review:

1. Do not wake Mommy unless you or someone you know is severely injured or the house is burning down.


OK, so there's only one rule.

************* 7 **********

Has anyone noticed that I haven't had a single pig post this season?

There's a reason.

We don't have any.

The farmer from whom we get our pigs ran out. The 4-H kids get first dibs, and there wasn't a single one left for us.

He couldn't spare a square.

(Seinfeld, anyone?)

I'm torn about the whole no-pig problem.

While I am thrilled to not have to chase, bury, inject, or feed any pigs, my freezer is getting mighty empty. I'll be a sad, sad camper when I have to buy meat again.

Almost as sad as Bryan is. What use is a sausage stuffer when one has no sausage to stuff?

There you have it. Nothing major, but little things not going quite as planned. Coincidence that there are seven, which is the same number as Kelly's Quick Takes?

I think not.

Any of your plans been derailed lately? Let me hear aaaaalll about it.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Will Not Buy Smartphones for My Kids. Here's Why.

Have you noticed that a lot of kids are walking around with smartphones these days? Almost every single person in the big kids' classes have them. Not to mention all of the kids in the younger grades.

Much to my teens' chagrin, they have dumb phones, and there is no chance of them getting anything else.

There are a plethora of reasons for this lack of pocket technology as far as my kids go. I'll let you in on the top three reasons.

Kids and teens have very little sense.

It's the way their brains are made.  Even the brightest, most well-behaved kid will make dumb mistakes.  I am not about to give my child a device which has serious potential to help him make dumb mistakes which can cause great harm to himself or others.  Kids I know have taken video of their teachers and put it on Instagram in the middle of class.  I know kids who have sent nude photos of themselves to each other, and those photos have been sent to a hundred other kids.  Kids have been suspended because of tweets they have sent.

My kids have iPods.  They can take videos.  They can text their friends.  However, they have to have Wifi in order to do so.  They may make a choice to take an embarrassing video of someone while they are at a football game, but they then have to wait until they get home to post it.  That extra time can make a huge difference in the decision making.

I can't stress it enough.  In the heat and "fun" of the moment, bad things can happen. Kids and teens are severely lacking in their ability to predict consequences, both because mob mentality takes away brain cells, but also because they don't have the life experience to be able to foresee trouble.  If the child has even just a few minutes between the idea and the execution, he has time to realize the error of his (or his friend's) idea.

I need to be able to take the devices away from them.

My kids get slide phones the Christmas of their 8th grade year.  Before this age, my kids are never without adult supervision, so a phone of any kind isn't necessary. Once they graduate 8th grade, they have more freedom.  Mostly it's at the high school, where the campus is open and the teens are encouraged to hang out after school and before practices. They may even walk to a nearby store to grab a snack. The phone is for my convenience and their safety.  That's it. If soccer practice plans change, they can text me. If my plans for the afternoon changes, I can text them to let them know where I need them and when. If they are on a bike ride, they can call if someone gets hurt.

A smartphone isn't just a phone. For most kids, it is used to play games and post photos or videos. My kids sometimes break the rules of iPod use. When that happens, the iPods are taken away. If they had smartphones and broke a rule, the phone would be getting confiscated along with the game system. In effect, I'd be punishing myself, too. I'm not a fan of making my life more difficult by punishing myself. I want the phone separate from the games.

My kids can't afford them.

My kids don't have jobs until they are old enough to ref soccer games, and even then, they aren't working year-round.  They don't even get an allowance.  Put simply, they don't have the funds to purchase a phone and pay for the service plan.

We can afford to give our kids smartphones.  We have enough money to give them a lot of things. We choose not to, though, because we don't think it will help them in the future.

From the examples I've seen, many "kids" move back in with their parents after college because they don't know how to be poor.

I'm going to go all granny on you here for a minute.  Back in the day...

When Bryan and I were first married, we weren't broke, but we weren't well off.  We had school loans to pay, I was only working temp jobs, and Bryan had an entry level computer programmer job with a salary to match.  After 6 months, we were very fortunate to get moved to Bermuda, where we lived in the lap of luxury for 7 months.  And then it all came crashing down.

Bryan entered law school.

For three years we lived in a roach-infested, 4th floor (with no elevator), cinder block, ancient student housing apartment.  Per the school's rules, he wasn't allowed to work, and I had yet to get a teaching job.  I was subbing during the day and decorating cakes at Kroger at night and on weekends.  We were completely broke. When I finally got a teaching job the second year, we celebrated my $17,000/year salary.  Celebrated big! By going to Fazoli's (a cheap, fast-food "Italian" place) for dinner.

I want the same for my kids.

I want them to be poor.  I want their apartments to be filled with odd bits of 20 year old furniture given to them by aunts who are redoing their living rooms.  I want them to eat Salisbury steak three days in a row and live in a crappy apartment.

I want them to be poor as a stepping stone.  I want them to work their way up the ladder to not being poor.  I want them to appreciate what they've done and what they have.  I want them to learn perseverance and gain the confidence that only hard work can teach.

I want them to be poor so they know what it feels like.  When they are no longer poor, I want them to remember what it was like in order to better help those who still are.

I am not going to saddle them with the notion that they HAVE to have all sorts of things in order to be happy.  My kids do not have closets filled with designer clothes and several pairs of shoes from which to choose.  I am not going to hand them expensive smartphones, which they will immediately deem necessary for the rest of their lives, and then tell them, "It's your turn to pay!" when they move out on their own.  If they don't have one handed to them, they won't become dependent on it.  They can use the money they would normally spend on the phone for food.  Or rent.  Or insurance.

Or a phone.  I'm pretty sure they'll all be pretty quick to buy themselves smartphones once they get incomes.

But they'll be the ones buying them.

Which is pretty much the point.

Choosing this path has not been easy. Teens aren't exactly happy to be different from their peers. But I just can't, in good conscience, buy them. I cannot come up with a single, solitary reason (besides making my kids temporarily thrilled) to make such a purchase, so I won't.

(And thankfully, Bryan agrees with me, so he won't either.)

What are your thoughts? Clearly, I'm in the minority. Why did you get smart phones for your kids (if you did)? I'm sure my kids would love you forever if you talked me into them. :)

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Can Explain! (An Answer Me This post)

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Gonna have to go with a no on that one. Last summer (We celebrated 20 years of marriage by taking a trip to Europe without kids.) is going to be our "big plans" for the next many summers. The only thing we'll be doing as a family is taking our 12th annual, week-long vacation with our friend from high school and his family. This year we're heading to Traverse City, Michigan.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed that horrible criminals who were trying to get revenge on my policeman father would come to school and kidnap my siblings and me. I had an exit plan and everything. For some reason, the kidnapping would be dramatic, with the bad guys storming into the Wednesday all-school Mass. While they waved guns and yelled and demanded obedience, I'd crawl under the pews (Thankfully, our church didn't have kneelers, so this was possible.) to collect my three siblings, and we'd escape through the side doors. I just KNEW it was going to happen and I'd have to save my (apparently) incompetent sister and brothers.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride?

Whichever one I'm on. I love, love, love amusement parks. Unfortunately, in my old age, the wooden coasters are getting to be less fun, seeing as how they whip the riders around so much without any head and neck protection. It seems my brittle, old bones now need some support. (This does not mean that I won't try a wooden one once, though.)

4. What's on your summer reading list?

I don't have a summer reading list. Whenever I finish a book, I just go looking for one that looks good. Now that I've figured out our library's newish ebook checkouts, I'll be reading more free books. That's all I know. (Got any suggestions?)

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

So, here's the thing. On Saturday morning, we were up at 4:30 to get Buttercup to the airport. I didn't get a nap before Bryan and I went to hang out with a group of our friends. We were having so much fun, we didn't realize how quickly time was passing. When someone finally looked, it was after 1:00 in the morning! And then! Cuckoo woke us up at 7:00 on Sunday.

The family went to 11:00 Mass, but I went at 5:00pm by myself (I was a Eucharistic Minister). It took everything I had to keep my eyes open. Sadly, I failed. Many times, I actually nodded off enough to have mini-dreams/halucinations during Mass! I was in the 5th pew. Who knows how many people saw my head drop and snap back to attention. I'm just gonna say that everyone assumed I was deep in prayer, not sleep.

6. What is your favorite smell?

Hmmm...freshly cut grass...hyacinth...garlic cooking in butter...chrism...Bryan...chlorine in an indoor pool...

I can't choose a favorite. (You long-time readers probably knew that was coming.)

How would you answer these questions?

Feel free to head to Kendra's to read more or link up your own post. (It's open until Tuesday.)

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Experiences, Hollow Legs, Taking Breaks, TToT Week 104

Ack! Another week has gone by already?!? Summer is going too fast!

I am going to apologize now for any and all grammar or odd wording in this post. We had to be up before the crack of dawn (For all of you with a family full of Don's (like mine), feel free to insert the preferred play on words of buttcrack of Don) to get Buttercup to the airport. As in get up at 4:30 to be at the airport by 5:45. AM!

1. My girl is on her way to work on her first mission trip. She's headed to New Mexico to work on a reservation. (We wouldn't mind some prayers for all of the folks headed out on this trip.)

2. They aren't allowed to wear shorts on the reservation, so we were thrilled to find some pants at Goodwill that had the yellow tags for 50% off yellow tag day. Three pairs for $9.

3. Travel soccer season is over. Our weekends will be completely clear as soon as Turken's baseball season is over next week.

4. Soccer tryouts for next year were on Monday. Those are never fun. Thankfully, Giant (the only one who tried out this year (since the other kids will be playing at the high school)) is really, really good at soccer, so he had plenty of options as far as a team goes. We let him choose, and I am happy with the one he made. (Not the best team, but a fun group of boys from families I enjoy, and only 8 minutes from our house.)

5. Summer storms in the country are so different than in the suburbs or cities. We can see them coming miles away, and we can see the wall as it bears down.

It's coming...

getting closer...



6. I took the kids bowling. I got game. We'll leave it at that.

7. High school soccer pretty much obliterates dinners with the entire family. Last night was the only night all week the 8 of us got to sit down together, and I was able to make a meal everyone enjoys (chicken Parmesan). Sure, the conversation took a serious downturn after Cuckoo brought up a commercial he had seen that had a blueberry tooting to make a smelly marker, but we were all there together.

In case you are wondering, if you've never seen the commercial of which Cuckoo spoke (I hadn't):

8. I am so thankful that Bryan has a good job. The children never stop eating. Never. And that much food costs a lot of money.

9. There are 6 (SIX) different grocery stores on one road in a span of less than 2 miles that I pass by almost every time I leave the house. Compared to most of the country, food is inexpensive, and that helps with the feeding of the children.

10. Buttercup and I spent an hour with Jesus this week. Our church (along with many Catholic churches) has a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, which means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, someone is there praying. Yes, I can pray anywhere, anytime, but it is marvelous to be able to go to the quiet chapel and just be there with Him. There are always so many things swirling through my head. And with social media (Facebook especially) it feels like people are constantly yelling at me to think a certain way, believe a certain thing, or embrace a certain idea. Taking time to listen to what Jesus has to say helps me stop the swirling and figure out what I believe and what ideas I'm going to embrace.

And there you have it. Ten thankfuls all before 6:15 in the morning.

How was your week? What good happened to make you say thank you?

Link it up or let me know in the comments.

(I apologize now if your comment gets eaten. It seems people are having trouble, and I don't know why. Might I suggest copying it before you hit publish/post/whatever it's called, just in case?)

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Soooo, My Kids Don't Know Me Nearly as Well as They Should

All the cool moms did it.

DyanneSarah, and Kenya did it, too.

Quiz my kids so they can point out my failures and prove that they don't know me at all? I'm in.

Note: Only four kids answered the questions. Phoenix was sleeping and Star was not interested in participating. These things are not surprising.

Another note: The kids were asked these questions while the others were out of the room. They did not hear each other's answers until we were completely done.

1. What is something I always say to you?

Buttercup: "How would you feel if.." or "Is that the kind of person you want to be?"

Giant: Eat a fruit.
Turken: Eat your food.
Cuckoo: Clean.

2. What makes me happy?

B: Being alone.
G: a clean house
T: when we be kind
C: I don't know.

3. What makes me sad?

B: My kids doing things and proving that they are growing up, like doing the live stations of the cross.
G: towels not getting hung up
T: When we do something without asking you first
C: When I go to kindergarten. When you're alone.

4. How do I make you laugh?

B: You make me laugh?
G: You tickle me.
T: You tell a joke.
C: I don't know.

5. What was I like as a child?

B: I don't know. I'm guessing a tomboy. OH! And you had ugly clothes.
G: the bossy one
T: I don't know.
C: I don't know.

6. How old am I?

B: Forty....um...45?
G: 43
T: 43

7. How tall am I?

B: 5'7"
G: 5'7 1/2"
T: 5'8"
C: I don't know. Can I weigh you?

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

B: Read. Weed.
G: Blog.
T: Weed.
C: Play games with us.

9. What do I do when you aren't around?

B: You're never without kids.
G: Blog.
T: Do chores.
C: Pay checks. Is that right?

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?

B: your blog, although I don't know if it's fame material.
T: For being on TV
C: I don't know what that means.

11. What am I really good at?

B: Cleaning, cooking, nagging.
G: weeding
T: blogging
C: You ran and didn't know you won.*

12. What am I not very good at?

B: Playing soccer
G: Picking a channel to watch
T: Playing soccer
C: Basketball

13. What do I do for a job?

B: stay at home mom
G: Nothing.
T: Help your kids.
C: Watch us.

14. What is my favorite food?

B: mushrooms...peppers...anything gross...NOT sweet potatoes or peas.
G: (It's totally peas. he said with a grin) Eggs.
T: Mac and cheese?
C: potatoes

15. What makes you proud of me?

B: When you unclog a toilet.
G: You know everybody.
T: When you make my food. I really like food.

16. If I were a character, who would I be?

B: I don't know.
G: Mrs. Everdeen
T: Squidward
C: If you were small, Piglet.

17. What do you and I do together?

B: shopping, watch Downton Abbey
G: Drive and talk.
T: Ride in the car.
C: Play games when everyone is at school.

18. How are you and I the same?

B: We're both stubborn.
G: We have blue eyes.
T: We're both people.
C: Blue eyes.

19. How are you and I different?

B: You're older, and I'm younger.
G: I'm more athletic.
T: You're a girl. I'm a boy.
C: We don't have the same hair or teeth.

20: How do you know I love you?

B: You say it.
G: Because you say so.
T: You take me places.
C: I don't know.

21. Where is my favorite place to go?

B: to bed
G: You don't go many places you like to go...the Train concert
T: to bed
C: a restaurant with Dad

22. How old was I when you were born?

B: Well, I NOW know you're 43...28?
G: 30 or 31
T: 43 minus 7...36!
C: 34?

Well, that was fun. Kinda.

Dare you to quiz your kids!

*The last paper Turken wrote for school this year was about me winning the state meet in high school. He had to interview me, and Cuckoo had listened in. Guess that was the last time I was good at anything as far as he is concerned. :)

Have a lovely day!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Today Marks TEN Years on the Farm! (Yes, There Are Photos.)

I had never heard such silence.

I had never been in so much darkness.

The only light came from the sliver of moon and the millions of stars I could see above me.

Once I managed to unlock the front door, I stepped inside.

It was even darker inside.

I was never a big fan of the dark, but that night, in that dark, I was scared. Heart-racing, palm-sweaty, scalp-tingling kind of scared.

I groped around for a light switch. All I could find were windows and empty space. A space that had looked so pretty in the daytime was now frightening. In my haste, I swumg my arms about. I couldn't even find a wall, let alone a switch on it.

After what seemed like 20 minutes, I tripped on a step and found a wall. My fingers found the light switch and I threw it on.

Better. But it's still mighty creepy.

I unloaded the van and got out of there as quickly as I could. Back to my husband and sleeping children for our last night in our home.

The next morning, we were starting a new adventure. One that completely changed our lives.


Ten years ago today, we moved our young family to the farm.

We did not set out to be farmers. We just liked the house. It has been an adventure we never would have dreamed we'd be taking when we exchanged wedding vows.

TEN YEARS! It just blows my mind. It is officially the longest I have ever lived in a house, including the years I was a kid living with my parents.

Exactly one week after we moved in, we did this:

Star turned four years old.

That child will be starting high school in the fall!

We have seen and done so many things in these 10 years.

For a couple who actually discussed which of them was going to be allergic to animals in order to get out of having a pet, we've come across a whole lot of animals!

Both the expected...

Buttercup with one of the cats that came with the house. This was taken the second week in the house.

Our first pigs, with Buttercup and Giant.

Star and Giant holding the kittens that came with the house.
and the unexpected

One year we were in the migration path of the butterflies. Hundreds of them descended on our property and stayed for a few hours.

Nine puppies from the dog we thought was fixed.
Woodpeckers abound at our house!

We were shocked to find a bald eagle in the field across the street from our house.

The chores my kids have are vastly different than the chores their friends have.

Giant helping Bryan fix the barn roof that blew off in a storm.
Turken putting the eggs away.

Giant collecting grass clippings for the garden. (I have no idea why he is doing this chore with his church clothes on.)

Cuckoo helping Bryan plant the garden.
Yes, there have been some struggles.

OK, lots of struggles.

The pigs alone gave us more struggles than we ever envisioned.

It's also taken lots of money we didn't expect to keep this old house not only comfortable, but inhabitable.

New septic system. We had to start from scratch, since the old one was just a pipe leading out to the field.
I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if, 10 years ago, we would have stayed in a "normal" neighborhood in a "normal" house. But despite the problems and headaches and driving that living here has caused, it has been a marvelous adventure.

Our kids have grown up in fresh air.

Phoenix and Buttercup

They've gotten filthy dirty while having good, country fun.

Star on our (broken) rope swing.
We've made memories they will hold onto their entire lives.

(No, not just memories of dead animals!)

with our best friends. These kids spent 7 years of their lives growing up almost as one family.
The big kids were so young when we moved here. Giant only remembers our old house because close friends still live next door to it.

Giant playing on a tree that fell across the driveway
Our family has grown, mentally, physically and in number.

Turken and Cuckoo playing in the rain in their pajamas. Both born after we moved to the farm.

10 years 6 months ago we couldn't have predicted the direction our lives would take.

I'm not even going to try to predict where we'll be in another 10 years.

But I do hope dead pigs, wolf spiders, and bats will not be involved.

I'm linking this up with Jessica and Katie at Sweet Little Ones. I just learned about their Tuesday Talk link up and thought I'd give it a try. Feel free to join in!

Have a lovely day!