Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mexico Departure, Part I

It's a good thing that one of the W mottoes was in play yesterday. The first W motto is, "Are you going to eat that?" We beamed with pride when our son, unprompted, stated this motto at age 3.

The second W motto is, "If you're not ten minutes early, you're late." We are so amazed when people actually plan on being late. I directed a wedding a few years ago and the bride, on the night of the rehearsal, informed me, "We're probably going to be late tomorrow." I was baffled! She was actually planning ahead of time to be late (and she was). Why could she not plan to be early?

Yesterday, there were two events happening simultaneously at the church. The Mexico Team was departing for their two week adventure, and the Mothers and Daughters were having a sleepover event. It made for one crowded canopy, but there were many to see the Team off, pray for them, and encourage them.

Since we were exercising the second W motto before we left the house, a potential tragedy was actually more comical than despairing. We were loading up the Escape with Ty's things and our (the girls') things. The last one out of the house shut the door.

Himself looked at me and asked, "Do you have the keys?"

Why on earth would I have the keys? Not only was I not driving, I was juggling an overnight bag, a spinach salad, a pasta salad, and my emotions.

There's one window in our home that wasn't properly latched. (But it's latched now. Do you hear that, thieves?) Unfortunately, it's on the second floor. Fortunately, we've been housing the extension ladder for one Nancy B. these past four years. Also fortunately, it made a great photo opportunity.

I bring you these photos at great risk to my personal health. Here, my firstborn son is pelting me with pennies from his pocket while snarling, "Stop taking my picture!" I have decided that I'm the mom, he is my firstborn, and I'll take his picture if I want to, thank you very much!

Himself tossed him up a prying tool. Didn't quite make it on the first try. No problem.

This, my friends, is why we practice W motto #2. When you plan on being on time, you must leave room for things to go wrong. We arrived at the church exactly on time.

It probably helps that we live less than a mile away.

Friday, May 30, 2008

For Mr. & Mrs. R and Their Daughter in the Ukraine

We love flowers and butterflies. Mr. & Mrs. R. and their daughter in the Ukraine, however, make flowers and butterflies come alive. Literally! Mr. R has hatched many a chrysalis. Mrs. R has a beautiful butterfly garden in the back yard (I guess it's Mr. R's, too) and their daughter in the Ukraine sees beauty wherever she looks.

I love gardening, but I'm unable to garden. I've decided to limit my grandiose plans to one small bucket. Between Glenna and I, we're managing to keep it alive. (See honey, I told you that red bucket would be used for something some day. I just didn't know what when I bought it six years ago.)

Here's our butterfly garden! When we were touring the nursery the other day, they had these Mother's Day baskets with butterfly plants. I was thinking I needed half the back yard for a functional butterfly garden, but the attendant assured me that their wee baskets were indeed enough.

I was trying to describe our plants to Mrs. R, but the only names we could remember were the Mexican Sunflower and the Milkweed.

Mrs. R said any plant with the name "Mexican" in it would become invasive. I'm glad we've limited this one to a bucket. Still, she knows our Kelly. Mrs. R, do you honestly think Kelly could have resisted that color, or those palm-sized blooms?

These two photos are of the milkweed. I just love these colors together. I want my entire house to be variations of these colors together!

This is the purple stuff. Some people know all the names for plants and flowers. I know quite a few, but then I resort to names like "That purple stuff."

Here's the Red Stuff. See above explanation. All I know is that it's butterfly friendly. And it's Red. Stuff.

Same plant, showing off the blooms. This poor thing may need to be staked. Half of it broke off in a recent wind.

I was also given carnations by a student and put it in the bucket. Do you think this is keeping the butterflies away? I'm so excited that we're keeping these alive. In fact, the only dead thing in this photo is the purple car in the background.

Sorry, Ty. We'll deal with it when you're back from Mexico!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taylor Update

Hi All . . . Taylor's cancer is still responding incredibly to the chemo. We're so thankful! Today, however, she's back in the hospital. She has severe headaches, and it could be one of three possible things (or all three) causing them. Her blood counts are also very low and need to pick up by Friday in order to continue treatment. She could use some prayer!

What a contradiction; we want her to be well enough to make her sick with chemo. Still, each treatment is one step closer to wellness. If you get a chance, could you stop by her page and leave her a message? She loves hearing from everyone so much, even from people she doesn't know.

Off to try and prepare Tyler for Mexico! He leaves tomorrow night!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Economus Stimulus

I have done my civic duty. I have participated in the great American Dream. I have thusly stimulated the economy!

In 7 to 10 short days, UPS will toot their happy horn and deliver this:

I have wanted this thing for YEARS. I have stood before the demo guy at Costco for YEARS. I have never had money at the same time they were at Costco, and of course they're only there for a week or a weekend, only once or twice per year.

When I was leaving for the convention, I saw them at Costco. I called John and asked if I could take from whichever budget account and get it. He [wisely] told me to wait. If it's meant to be mine, the stimulus check would arrive in time.

It didn't.

I was bitterly disappointed (again).

When the check finally arrived yesterday, I decided to check on ebay. There were too many days to wait and too many bids, making it at or above the Costco cost. So, I did what any sane woman would do:

I Googled it.

Not only did I find it at a decent price, but I didn't have to pay shipping OR tax! I paid less than I would have at Costco!

Smoothies, anyone? (And juice, and salsa, and soup, and ice cream, and . . . )

The girls and I headed to mall today to do further patriotic duty. We were in dire need of undergarments. (Sorry Kelly and Glenna, but everyone knows that everyone wears them.) I hate shopping for undergarments almost more than I hate shopping for bathing suits. I. Just. Do.

Still, we had a very successful trip and hit a few sales. We're all properly under clothed. We were cruising back toward the parking lot when [gasp of horror] we ran into some guys from Kelly's youth group.

They wanted to know what we were shopping for.

We showed them some Payless shoes.

And nothing else.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Getting Dry Here

We've had a little rain, but nothing like the daily afternoon showers we need. A sure sign it's dry in Florida is when we hear news stories like this one.

As a Southern Californian and former desert resident, I never thought I would be saying how much I miss the thunderstorms and rain!

Bring on the rain!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thrive Youth

Friday, the team leaves for Mexico! Thank you to all of you who have contributed financially and prayerfully for Tyler's participation. You will be hearing from him shortly!

The team has a blog set up so you can follow their progress. They will hopefully post daily. I can't wait!

Since there was so much going on at and after church yesterday, I postponed my usually "Crash after the Convention" day to today. If you come over, I'll be in my jammies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It's that time of year; time for the home school convention!

Each year, I help out at the convention and earn money towards curriculum for the upcoming year. I'm so thankful God has faithfully provided opportunities for me to do this!

This year, in celebration of my 10th year of home schooling, I am staying two nights at the resort! Normally, I get up at o-dark-thirty and drive down there each day, then drag myself home at the end of the evening, and then I get up and do it all over again.

Not this time!

This time, I get to go up to my room and pour over all the information I've received. I get to check my lists twice and make sure I've gotten everything. I get to rise at a decent hour and actually apply make-up correctly! I get to sleep in a bed I didn't have to make, take a shower in a bathroom I didn't have to clean . . . you get the idea.

BONUS: My friend BA is coming on Friday and staying overnight.

EXTRA BONUS: My Kelly and The Kate (short for Kate the Great) are coming, too! They have all kinds of pampering planned, along with hanging out at the pool, cruising the exhibit hall, and sleeping.

Glenna will be home with the Dad. I told her that when she's in 10th grade like her sister, it will be HER tenth year of home schooling and we'll have to do it all again!

So, this is probably my last post until Sunday. Or Monday. Or, whenever I actually recover.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Florida would Be So Pleasant . . .

. . . if it weren't for the mosquitoes.

Himself and I were enjoying a relaxing evening on the porch. Neighborhoods can be so entertaining! Who needs video games and DVDs? (By the way, are they still called Video Games? What's the current name? Disc games?) Who needs television? People, let me tell you; truth is stranger than fiction.

This evening's entertainment came in the form of a miniature Pincher named Gordie. Gordie lives directly across the street with Ms. Mary T, who is exactly eleventy-hundred years old.

Let's just say it: Gordie is a rotten little dog.

Regularly, Gordie escapes from the paradise of Ms. Mary's and takes off down the street. We only wait a few minutes before Ms. Mary appears, leash in hand, snow-white hair blowing in the breeze, eyes scanning the empty street.

Gordie! Gooordie!!! Gordie, get over here!

She looks to us for a clue, and we usually point to whichever direction Gordie has headed. Sometimes, we don't even need to do that because she can hear him.

For an RLD (Rotten Little Dog) like Gordie, it's not enough to stay in his own yard to bark. He has the urgent need, nay, duty, of barking in each yard currently occupied by humans. It's more personal that way, see?

Gordie! Stop that barking! Get over here!

If we're quiet enough, Gordie will pass us by. If we break out in laughter, the little RLD hackles will raise and he'll come right up to our planter, giving us the what-for. If we're lucky, he's on his way home from his adventures and his RLD territory marker has run dry. If not, we try to see if we can scare him off before we're hit.

Enter Linda.

Linda is the neighbor about 5 houses down from Ms. Mary. Linda helps Ms. Mary by mowing the lawn, trimming trees, clearing weeds, hauling off junk, and . . . chasing Gordie.

How to describe Linda? Since there's no real flattering way, we'll have to pass on that. Just picture tank top, shorts, dangling cigarette, and cap. 'Nuff said.

On this particular day, Gordie has finished barking at us and trying to mark his passage (thankfully, it's a dry day in Florida). This is where Linda made a mistake; she left a gate ajar while calling after Gordie, and Buddy escaped!

Everyone knows that if one dog gets out, you can pretty much round him up. If two dogs get out, they're gone for a while.

Gordie! Buddy! Get over here! Where are you?

Linda, cigarette bobbing with each word: I think they're gone for good, Mary.

What? No, I'll get the car.

I'll get 'em.

Do you want the leash?

I'm gonna hit 'em on the head with this flashlight.

At this point, Himself and I had to duck our heads to hide our smiles and laughter.

Florida would be so pleasant if it weren't for the mosquitoes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If I told you . . .

Many of you have asked what the neighbors did to warrant (pun) the S.W.A.T, police, and fire trucks.

I would have asked them, but they may have had to kill me. So, I didn't ask.

We have often referred to this particular neighbor as "That Mafia Guy." He just had the appearance of a mafioso, you know? Lots of gold jewelry, people arriving and departing all hours of the day and night, and he never left the house. All of this spelled "shady business" to us.

Himself made a point of waving to him each and every time he saw him. He reasoned we wanted to be on this good side. Glenna and I even caught his little dog when it escaped and helped him with that, which is when we learned his name was C. He even said to us, "Your husband is a nice fella. I need to meet him." He complemented me on my son's drumming, told me of his band experiences, and that was it. Nice guy until he was arrested!

That is, if he was arrested. We didn't actually see that part. All I know is, things have been much quieter around here.

For months prior to this, we had noticed a man in a white car hanging out in our neighborhood. The girls felt kind of creeped-out by it and told me about him. I kept a keen eye on him and was ready to report him to the police, but my Harley Democrat neighbor told me he was a PI and spying on someone.

Well . . . we all know who he was spying on now, don't we? People, do you know what's going on in your neighborhood?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some Things Never Change

Yesterday, Himself and I went to IKEA to return something. While I was in the restroom, I had a phone call from my daughter. I sent a text stating I was unavailable and she texted that I needed to call her as soon as possible.

These are not words a Mom wants to hear while she's in the restroom at IKEA!

As soon as I could, I called. I couldn't make heads nor tails of her jumbled, breathless words.

"What? Say that again?"

"I said, there's tons of police and a S.W.A.T. team at the house across the street, along with some fire trucks."

These are not words a Mom wants to hear as she has exited the restroom at IKEA!

"Just stay in the house! Where's your brother?"

Fortunately, the band was practicing at our house yesterday. They had seen the whole thing (including police setting up a perimeter defense with machine guns) and made sure the girls were safely inside. When the situation was under control, they went to lunch.

When we lived in California, it was not unusual to have police helicopters searching our neighborhood all hours of the night. I was once switching laundry in my garage when about six police cars pulled up. I had no sooner mumbled, "What's going on?" when a police officer, through my open garage doors, spotted the fugitive trying to escape through my back yard. Hand on his gun he charged through my garage yelling, "Get down! Police!" I ran into the house and huddled next to the fridge, covering my children. I could hear Blaze barking and charging the intruder, which made him quickly exit our yard to the one next door. (They caught the guy in the garage next door, thankfully.)

There's a scripture verse that reads something like, "I will rest my head, for You alone make me dwell in safety."

I'm going to have to look that verse up again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Why is today Terrific Tuesday?

It used to be Crazy Tuesday. We'd be out the door at 8:20 and head to English co-op, followed by Literature co-op, then History co-op. I'd grab some food for the girls and drop Kelly off at art class, while Glenna and I waited for her at the library. Then we'd pick up Chico and Kate and head to the church for either Service Project or Dance lessons with Chico. They would probably talk me into something else, like heading to Chico's or Kate's to watch DWTS. I'd then tumble into bed around 10 or so.

But THIS Tuesday? Terrific Tuesday?

I stayed home.

Migraine update: I have had only two headaches since I've stopped eating trigger foods; one was cyclical, and the other was because I ate the wrong foods. I re-consulted the book and found out foods I thought were safe were not! I'm going to type up a "Can't touch this" list and stick it on the fridge. The foods I ate within two days were avocado, pickles, sour cream, and a sauce that was too vinegary. Any of these by themselves and I probably would have been fine, but all together they knocked me out for two days.

Added bonus: weight loss!

I've decided to update all the happenings on this blog today. I'm actually only behind on one thing. In March, my friend and mentor, Sarah, paid us a visit from California. I was so happy to see her! She had been watching TBN and heard of the Holy Land Experience, so she really wanted to go there.

The Holy Land Experience was all:
and . . .
And . . .
And . . .

And . . .

And . . .

And . . .

And . . .

Then, because I wanted to show her a more natural Florida, Himself and I took her to Blue Springs. There were only 7 manatee that day but we managed to see them anyway. Sarah thought Natural Florida was beautiful. I agree; it certainly has beauty.

Here she is on the porch of the plantation house there with Rhett Butler.

These particular manatee were fitted with tracking devices. It not only helps them keep track of their habits, but it also lets boaters see them in the water (if they're driving slow enough).

This idiot jumped in past the "Please do not disturb or go near the manatee" sign. Poor little sea cows were panicking like crazy. We didn't stick around to watch him get arrested.

At the head of the trail is the natural spring. Divers and swimmers are allowed to explore to their hearts' content. That is, as long as there's no manatee around. The temperature stays the same year round because of this spring, which is why the manatee flock (herd?) there in the winter.

After Holy Landin' and Manateein', Sarah agreed to teach the girls how to make tortillas.

You know, they never did get it exactly right, but Kelly loves anything she can gush with her hands. Glenna even tried to make them again, solo, but we never had a batch that was soft and pliable.

After Holy Landin', Manateein', and Tortillain', we headed off to Tyler's rock concert. Sarah loved watching him, as do we all! I don't have any pictures of inside, but I have pictures of two viejitas trying to make gansta signs while waiting outside.

The W and the S! We are the best! We may be white, but we got it right! (Ok, one white and one Hispanic.)

It was hard to say goodbye. Anyone else care to visit? Come on over!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Throw it Out

Today is Monday, and I have no English classes. :-)

I called my Mom but she was probably out feeding something or chasing something or staking something out where it could eat the weeds. Hi Mom! I love you! Happy Mother's Day! Did my brothers call you, or am I the good kid? ;-)

How in the world are we supposed to get any school done on a day like this? Not too hot, nice breeze blowing, no English classes. It's torture, I tell you.

Ok, here's something for everyone because I know you don't have enough to do already; go to your closet and throw out five things you no longer wear. When you finish, come back and tell me what you threw out. We'll do this a la Flylady.



Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Eye at Eleven

I am constantly tracking Glenna down to get my camera back. When I go to download pictures, I see the results of her explorations. Some of them are quite good! It's interesting to see the angles she captures, or her artistic interpretations. She wants a camera (obviously) but she'll have to wait!

I don't even know how she did this one. She said she took three pictures and linked them together to get a panorama. Darn kid.

I love you too, Glenna!

For this one, she said she lay down beneath the ceiling fan and rotated the camera around while taking the photo.

Jack is finished being her model. Can't you just see his expression? Stop taking my picture. Now. Please. He's a very polite schnauzer.

Many times I have to holler to her, "Will you please put my camera back on NORMAL? And stop touching it!"

Here's where she figured out how to use the timer. "It's easy, Mom!"

Yeah. Easy.

For an eleven year old.


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