Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I don't think he gets it

See all these pine cones? They used to be in someone else's yard.

Here's how they got in our yard.

Joshua had one of his cousins over to play last week, and they asked me if they could take the wagon down the street a ways. Sure, said I, thinking they wanted to pull each other.

I checked on them a little while later and saw them a few houses away with pine cones in the wagon. Unfortunately, I did not give it much thought; I had primarily been confirming their whereabouts.

Some time later they came in the house, whereupon Josh and I had the following conversation:

J: Mom, you should see how many pine cones John and I collected.

Me: Really? From where?

J: Down the street. Mom, can we have some money for doing that?

Me: Where are the pine cones now?

J, pointing out our window: Right out there.

Me: In our yard??!

J: Yes. So, will you pay us?

Me: Let me see if I understand this. You want me to pay you for taking pine cones that WERE in someone else's yard and PUTTING them in our yard so now WE have a giant pine cone mess we did not have before?

J: Um . . . yeah?

Me: No.

J: Well, if we clean it up, then will you pay us?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quick Updates

1. I'm in the process of painting my dining room. I'm pretty sure I may be the worst painter ever, but my price was so good I couldn't refuse. Before and after pictures to follow soon. And by soon I mean when I finish sometime in the next week to year.

2. My kids all have their own beds, but tonight they have chosen to share one double bed. All three of them with their never-ending don't touch me and he's too close and she won't stop looking at me's all day long. Yeah, this is gonna work out for sure.

3. Remember the love-affair I had with a GPS last summer? My heart led me astray again this week, but this time it ended badly. Very badly. I will share the sordid details once I have managed to put the pieces of my heart back together again.

4. For those of you who don't know me on Facebook: Yesterday Lauren got out some scissors and paper while I was painting the dining room. I asked her what she was cutting, and she replied, "Can't tell you. But trust me, it'll be impressive!" I found her use of the word impressive pretty impressive.

5. I just cannot get enough of Spring. The flowers, the sunshine, the birds. This little guy was splashing around in a mud puddle in our front yard this afternoon. I couldn't get the camera in time to snap him in the water, but he hung around in a tree for a while so I could snap a shot of his cute little red-headed self I'm sure.

It's not a great shot, but getting a better one would have required leaving my porch, which would have required putting on shoes, which would have required . . . well, you get the idea. I'm as lazy a photographer as I am a blogger.

Monday, April 19, 2010

You're a Toilet-head

While I was painting some trim in my dining room this weekend, my kids were entertaining themselves by listening to songs from my ipod. At one point, I heard the beginning of a song that is not really appropriate for children. (It's nothing terrible; it's just an old rock song that I think may have a bad word or two in it.) So, I told the kids to skip forward to the next song.

Joshua: Why?
Me: Because I think that song may have some not nice words in it.
Joshua: Like what?
Me: Well, I'm not going to say them. I don't want you to hear them; that's why I said to skip the song.
Lauren, very confidently: Oh, IIII know. It's going to say "I don't love you" and "You're a toilet-head," right mommy?
Me: Something like that, sweetie.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Have you ever tried to explain God? To use words - letters strung together - to describe the holy, omnipotent Creator of all things?

Have you tried to explain acts of God? To ascertain why He caused or allowed certain things to happen but prevented others? To make sense of what He is doing?

I thought of this today as I was dropping Lauren off at the babysitter's house so I could go to work. She was protesting having to stay there and trying to think of a way to get to go with me. (Just for the record, she loves going to the sitter's house and did not want to leave when I picked her up 2.5 hours later.)

Her final attempt was this: "I'll go to work and you stay here."

So I asked her, "What would you do if you went to work for me? What do you think I'm going to do when I get to my office?"

After some vague answers about doing "important stuff" and talking to "work people," she finally decided that I would be "typing and calling somebody on the phone."

Pretty accurate. So I probed further.

Me: "Who do you think I will call?"
L: "Mr. W." (another attorney in town who used to work with David)
"And what will I type?"
"What will the letters say?"
"Hmmmm . . . Dear Mr. W. and Dear Mrs. Bacon (which cracked her up) and Dear Paige and Dear Tyler . . . Everybody loves cotton candy and sugar. And we all love hair and teeth. Love, Rebecca R."

When I thought about it later, it occurred to me that I probably sound just as hilariously off-base when I try to explain things of God.

Lauren's answers are based on her experience. She has seen me type and talk on the phone and when she tries to think of really important things, sadly she comes up with cotton candy and sugar. (As if the two weren't redundant.) She has a limited understanding because she has a limited experience.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" Romans 11:33-34

Lauren has no idea what I am doing when I sit in my office, and truth be told, I have no idea what God is doing upon His throne. May I be as unfettered by worry and concern as she is, knowing that the One who does know is running the show.

7 Quick Takes


I am slow.

I used to be fast. I ran the 400 meter dash on my high school track team. I could score points in ultimate frisbee or evade a pursuer in capture-the-flag. My feet were swift.

Today I raced my 7 year-old, and he won. We raced again a few hours later, and we tied but only because the race ended. If it had lasted a few more feet, he would have won. Again.

I cannot believe I am slower than a first grader.

I hope I'm still smarter then a 5th grader.


When we got home from our after dinner walk/run, David was mocking me mercilessly trying to analyze how it is that Josh was able to beat me. I realized that I had been wearing blue jeans during both races.

"Josh," I said as he walked up onto the porch where David and I were sitting, "if I hadn't been wearing jeans I would have beaten you."

"With what?" he replied.

I'm still laughing.


My flowers are blooming!! This is what the bed in front of my house looks like right now:

Spring is here. For today at least. I think next week we're back to highs in the 40's. But for today, beautiful today, I am thankful for Spring.


Of course, with the beautiful flowers comes another unwelcome sign of Spring.


Ethan has had a couple of run-ins with the buzzy little creatures, but he has not been bitten. Nevertheless, every night when I put him to bed, this is what he asks me to pray: that the bees won't sting him or come in his window and that he won't dream about bees or feel like there's a bee in his shirt.

Yes, all of that. Every night. And he reminds me if I forget one.


He also says, "Period" at the end of every prayer these days. Apparently, he's learned that one ends a sentence with a period, and he likes it better than Amen.

"Dear God, thank you for my family and my friends. Help me have good dreams. In Jesus's name, period."


Oh, I almost forgot. Breaking news. Ethan has two loose teeth.

I think I'm going to cry. For two reasons.

One, I love smiles full of baby teeth. They are so cute and precious and not awkwardly half child/half grown-up.

Two, I'm the worst tooth fairy ever. Not only do I always forget to trade the tooth for money, I can't seem to keep up with the teeth afterward. Joshua wants to see all of the teeth he's lost (not surprising from the kid who tries to collect his hair as it falls from the barber's scissors), and I don't know what I've done with most of them.

Hanging my head in shame . . . again.


Don't forget to head over to Conversion Diary to check out more QuickTakes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New art from Josh

Joshua finished his most recent picture today, and I realized I never did post a picture of his last one.

Last month he drew this pirate ship:

Today he finished this sea turtle:

(Sorry for the glare - I already put them in frames because I don't trust myself not to ruin them.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who said?

"Who said?"

This is almost always my children's first response when one of their siblings gives them an instruction.

"Josh, don't go past the fence."
"Who said?"

It's never enough simply to be told something; they must know whence the instruction came. Obviously, being told not to color the front door with sidewalk chalk is one thing if your little sister is doing the telling, quite another if it came from mom.

I was thinking about this as I was praying recently.

I've had a tough week. A week where I yelled at my kids more often than I should. A week where I shuffled them from room to room and task to task more often than I interacted with and engaged them. A week where I barked at them more than I listened to them. Where my relief at the boys going to school or Lauren going to the sitter was more acute than I like to admit.

Sometimes after a week - or even a day - like that I feel like I must be the worst mom ever. A complete and utter failure as a parent.

And, if being a parent is the most important role of my life - more important than the house, the job, the friendships - wouldn't that pretty much just make me a failure . . . period?

After a week where it seemed like I had taken the parenting test and been found sorely lacking, those thoughts reverberated through my head, a condemnation that can be difficult to ignore.

That's when I thought of that question, so frequently uttered in this house: "Who said?"

It occurred to me that my kids were not the first to ask this. No, it turns out yours were not either, nor were our grandparents or their many ancestors.

God asked it first.

In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, God found them hiding from him because they were naked and afraid. God's response? "Who told you you were naked?"

The source matters.

Who tells me I'm a failure? Surely not the God who said I am more than a conqueror.

Who says I can't do this? Surely not the Savior who said that through Him I can do all things.

Who whispers in my ear that I'm not good enough? Surely not my Redeemer who promised that I am accepted in the beloved.

Who convinces me that I'm not adequate for this task? Surely not my Creator who said He would accomplish His purpose in me until the end of time.

"Finally . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (emphasis mine)

Lord, help me to remember that the promises You give to me are true, and the lies of the enemy are not. May I always check the source of my thoughts and focus on the Truth that comes from Your voice alone.

Snippets of Spring

That's what we seem to have around here.

Tuesday was a gorgeous, ride-your-bike-in-your-nightgown kind of day. (If you're four and own an Ariel nightgown; otherwise, flannel pants and a t-shirt are probably more prudent.)

We reveled in the beauty of Spring in our front yard.

Of course, not all of the bushes had flowers yet, but Lauren tried to fix that with a little floral relocation:

That was on Tuesday. On Friday we awoke to this:

I'm choosing to be thankful for the snippets, however brief they may be.

(Is it too much to ask that you take the same perspective on my blog as I'm taking on Spring?)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from our family!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I couldn't bear the thought of messing up my hard-earned clean kitchen tonight, so we decided just to pick up some food for dinner. The boys chose McDonald's because they have dragon/viking merchandise in the happy meals right now. Even the box turns into a viking helmet:

Joshua was giddy with excitement about it, as he is about most anything that can be a costume. Until he looked in the mirror.

Josh: I don't really look like a viking.
David: What do you look like?
Josh: I look like a guy with a happy meal box on my head.

Lauren did not let having chosen Subway deter her from joining in on the viking fun:

7 Quick Takes


Since tomorrow is Good Friday, I decided to go ahead and do a few Quick Takes today so that I can write something more contemplative tomorrow.

Lauren loves to beat around on the piano and make up songs. Yesterday she was playing with even more gusto than normal, and when she finished I asked her what that song was called.

Her answer: "Vedree, Why Don't You Take Care of Your Baby?"

If I didn't know better, I'd think my four year-old daughter was a script writer for the Ma.ury Pov.ich show.


I made these cupcakes for Joshua's class yesterday. I probably don't have to tell you that they were a huge hit.

I was feeling like a domestic failure because I tried to make bunny-shaped cookies, but let's just say they did not turn out. Cookies they were. Bunny-shaped they were not.

In my defense, the recipe called for malted milk powder. Who the heck has that on hand? Not me. Most people could probably just run to the store and locate some, but then again, most people live in a town with more than six people.

So when my amoeba-shaped cookies came out of the oven, I began looking online for cute cupcake ideas instead. Cuter and so much easier. (The picture I stole this idea from also included a Twizzler stick as a "handle," but I couldn't bring myself to add yet more sugar to a snack that already included a cupcake with icing, jelly beans, and a marshmallow peep!)


This weekend is causing me no small amount of stress. Which I hate because I would like to be less stressed and more prayerful during Holy Week, but it's not happening this year.

I inquired as to whether our church has any special Easter activities for the children and was told they do not. So, like any other insane person would do, I said, "Why don't I put together something?" So, I am now organizing (and I use the term loosely) an Easter Celebration at our church on Saturday from 1:00-3:00.

Then at 5:00 we are having a birthday party at our house for one of David's aunts who is turning 79. There will be about 20 adults coming for this dinner party. Fortunately, since I have the Easter thing that afternoon and am providing the semi-clean house for the gathering, I am not charged with preparing any of the food. However, my house has many miles to go before it reaches semi-clean status.

And, did I mention my in-laws are coming for the weekend? They'll be here tonight. In about five hours or so.

I am hoping to make it to a Good Friday service tomorrow, but the kids are out of school so we will see how that goes.

I would just take them if it was our own church, but our church does not have one, and I suspect the only service in town will be at the Catholic church. I'm not opposed to taking my kids to a Catholic mass, but somehow I don't think attending with the kids it tow would provide me with the time of spiritual rest and reflection that I am seeking. Just a hunch.


Today is the day we remember the Last Supper, the night Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples:

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'"

I love taking communion in church. I love the reminder that when I feel like I am not adequate for the challenges before me or like I don't have it in me to run this race and finish well, I am reminded in this than I do not run in my own strength. As I partake of the wine and the bread, I am cognizant that I am "filling myself" with Christ and His strength. His righteousness. His merit.

Fill yourself with Him today.