My mother-in-law and I were sorting through piles and piles of laundry the other day, and she shared with me that, as a young mother, she used to play a little metaphor game whenever there was laundry to be done, and there always was. After I thought about it, I could totally see how this motivated her to get the laundry done!

It was simple: she'd compare the laundry to sin. Really, no joke. And actually, it plays out pretty well. So I thought, "why not?" I'll give it a go on the blog and see what my brilliant readers can come up with.

So...play if you like! How is laundry like sin? I'll start:

- If you ignore it, the problem usually just builds and builds.

- Some of the stains are really set in deep.

- It stinks. While usually not quite so noticeable right away, at closer inspection it becomes clear that something isn't quite right.

Feel free to expound on what I've listed, or come up with your own. I love metaphors....


Happy Camper

In July, we're going camping. In tents. I am SO EXCITED!!! Sure, we're going as part of an enormously long road trip with a caravan of teenagers, but actually, I'm excited about that, too.

So last Saturday, while we were working on this, we got out a small tent for the boys to play in, kinda like a trial run. We of course won't be taking this tent, as it's too small and they won't be camping in their own tent. (Although, I guess maybe they could camp in this tent inside of our tent, but we'll have to think about that one...)

Anyway, when the older boys moved on to something else, we gave their little brother a turn.

I have to say, he was pretty stinkin' adorable sitting up in that tiny little tent all by himself.

At first, he wasn't sure what this camping thing was all about. But as I danced around taking pictures of him, he started to ham it up a little bit.

I think we're good to go come July. This kid is one happy camper.


Would You Rather?

Whaddya know?! You responded! I'm impressed. Turns out people really do read my blog, after all. Ha! Well, I suppose it's only fair that I post my answer now since: a) I told you I would, and b) you kept up your end of the deal. So now, you have to listen to...errr...read...my stream-of-consciousness type rambling [insert sinister laugh]. Ah, well. It is my blog, after all.

I admit, I was almost swayed by some of your answers. But ultimately I decided:
I would rather be a dog.

See, I'm a dog person down to my very core. I don't know, maybe it's because I had the same dog from age 5 to age 17 and completely experienced the whole "man's best friend" thing. Or maybe....yeah, I really like being adored, and dogs do that. But would I prefer to be the one doing the adoring? Hmmm... 

Maybe it's because I myself am very loyal to those I love. And they're so fun-loving and fancy free. Who cares if they have slobber all over their faces if they're having a great time? They run around exploring all day long, jump in rivers whenever they want, and do cool things like herd cattle. Dogs are always portayed as the dummies, but think about it: loyalty, heroism, self-sacrifice, the love and adoration of children...dogs are no dummies. Although, I am also an introvert, and "me time" is a pretty sacred thing (that I don't get much of these days), so I'll admit, the whole "I-don't-really-feel-like-dealing-with-you-people-today-so-I'm-just-gonna-find-a-quiet-comfy-spot-in-the-sunshine-and-pretend-like-you-aren't-here" thing is enormously appealing.

But you know, the whole condescending split-personality thing is really the clincher for me. I'm not much of one for using people, and in my experience, that's what cats do. They love you when they want something. There's no give and take. Well, unless you count the dead squirrels and things they leave on your doormat as "presents." I'm not cool with that, either.

So, dog it is. But a big one. I really can't stand those yippy little things. Ooooh, what about big cats? I would totally be a tiger. Hmmm....but no. Still with the attitude. Except with them it's got the added "mess with me and I'll eat you" bit, which again, I'm just not cool with.
Yay for dogs!



Are there any Dr. Seuss fans out there reading this? I love Dr. Seuss. Really, who doesn't love him? I also wonder why I can't think of some hair-brained idea like writing books about complete nonsense and selling millions of copies so I can stay home with my children for as long as I want and never have to worry about money to feed them with, thankyouverymuch.

Sigh. Until then, how about a little game?? I love games. And...in another attempt to get some audience participation going on this blog, I've decided we'll play it here. Well, I will. You can play too, if you want. You know, if you're fun.

My kids have a Dr. Seuss book titled, Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog? It's definitely one of my favorites. Here's an excerpt:

Tell me!
Would you rather be a Dog...or be a Cat?
It's time for you to think about important things like that.
Would you rather be a Bullfrog...or be a Butterfly?
Which one would you rather be? 
Come on, now.
Tell me why.
(c) 1975 Dr. Seuss & Random House Books 

I love how many messages can be found in any one book, and for people of all ages, too. I've read this one to my toddlers, and used it with older elementary school children as a morning "Brainwarmer" to get them thinking and writing. The book is basically a compilation of "would you rather?" questions, and I would just pose them to my students and challenge them to justify their answers in journals. See? Higher-level thinking questions first rattle out of the box. Brilliant teaching, I know.

Now it's your turn. I'll pose the question, and you answer it. And by the way, this works best if you, you know, answer. Just to be fair, I'll give my answer too...but not until you do (and tell me why!). Here goes nothing! We'll start easy.


Would you rather be a dog, or be a cat?



One Thousand Gifts

You can read about my decision to begin to count my blessings, at least intentionally and purposefully, here. And by all means, please join in the fun! Leave a comment about the gifts, however large or small, you have received this week.

#1-17 here, #18-39 here, #40-55 here. #56-76 here.


I am grateful...

77. for the train at park where I was walking the other day, which provided just the right motivation for me to get running just a little faster (past the portion of the trail which parallels the railroad track) so the sleeping babe in the double stroller wouldn't jolt awake when the train passed.

78. for exercise. It is so important to my emotional health. The physical benefits aren't too shabby, either.

79. for hot showers. As I've said, this will be a recurring topic in my gratitude blogging. So relaxing.

80. for working out our complicated child care issues as I return to long-term subbing next week.

81. for tax refunds. I honestly am amazed at God's provision. Time and time again, He had provided just what we have needed financially to get us through the next season of life. Several times, we haven't even known we were in trouble. He is so good.

82. for my husband's selflessness. He sent me to bed early last night, got up when Kayden had a nightmare, changed Callan's diaper before one of his nighttime feedings, and got up with the boys early this morning. I am such a lucky wife.

83. for blogging. I've missed it a lot. Here's hoping we can strike the proper time balance so I can continue to have this outlet.

84. for my incredible in-laws. We've been living here three months now, and our house is still in shambles. It's exceedingly frustrating. And yet, although our family is loud, messy, and constantly hungry, we have suffered not a single complaint. They are remarkable people.

85. for my aunt Kathleen, who is mentally retarded. Without the experience of growing up with her in my life, I'm certain I wouldn't be who I am now. I'll blog about her someday.

86. for the children in the autism program where I will soon be teaching. Long-term subbing has offered me unparalleled opportunities to gain experience in so many grade levels and in widely varied educational settings. This is no doubt part of the plan God has for me. I can't wait to see how all of this experience is woven together in my future.


Head on over to Ann's blog, Holy Experience, to read how her gift counting began and visit her Gratitude Community.


"Not Me!" Monday


Welcome! Are you feeling guilty for being too exhausted to fold the laundry on your master bed, so you just slept under it? Wondering if your in-laws noticed the death stare you gave their son across the dinner table? Beating yourself up over letting "Handy Manny" babysit your children? "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!


This week, we made a mad dash for the grocery store. However...it wasn't me who buckled my infant into his car seat despite his loud screaming. He did not scream all the way to the grocery store, twenty minutes away. When we arrived at the grocery store, I did not realize that I had left my credit card at home. While driving back home, I did not hear: "Mommy, Callan spit up, and it went eeevveryyywheeere!!!" I did not reach back to retrieve Cal's pacifier to find (rather, feel) that yes, he in fact did, and yes, it in fact had. Reeling from the smell, I did not spontaneously pull into our church parking lot (where my husband works), call him out to help me, strip the vomit covered baby on a blanket on the car trunk, place him back in the soiled car seat, commandeer my husband's credit card...and head to the grocery store anyway. 

Have I shared my new laundry secret yet? Boy, you're going to want to write this one down. It's simple. Just throw your kids' jeans in the washer with a normal amount of detergent. Wash. When the cycle is done, remove clothes from the washer, along with handfuls of dandelions that have fallen out of the pockets that you didn't check. Throw clothes in the dryer, dry, and voila! Natural, clean, crisp scent. At least, this is what I hear. I haven't actually tried this myself.

Cam crawled into my lap for a story the other day. When we were finished reading, he hopped off of my lap and discovered a freckle on my leg. Deeply concerned, he pointed and mumbled, "Uh-oh. I poo-pooed right there??" Not my son!

Last week, I did not come nose to nose with a stink bug who was chillin' out on the rim of my glass of water. That is, if stink bugs have noses. Maybe it was his eyelashes. Anyway. It wasn't a problem. I did not scream like a little girl when I discovered him there.

We made our usual journey outdoors for some much needed playtime last week. As I sat on a blanket nursing Callan, the big boys had free reign of the yard, leaving no stone unturned and no stick untouched. They were busy, and we were all happy. It came as no surprise that Cam headed back to the closest horseshoe pit, his makeshift sandbox and source of continuous joy over the past few sunny weeks. And there he played happily for nearly fifteen minutes. After awhile, his brother joined him, but quickly reported to me that he needed to wash his hands. Soaking up the glorious sun and enjoying the rarity of screech-and-skirmish-free playtime, I didn't think twice. Or three times when he asked again five minutes later. After a third request, we all headed in. But it wasn't me who remained clueless until I was assisting with the boys' shoes and the smell bowled me over like a combine in a corn field.

Why, NO....my boys were in fact not covered in the feces of some unidentified animal. Not my kids!

I did not carry them by the scruff of their shirts all the way to the bathroom, not unlike a mother cat with her young. Well, excepting the in the mouth part. And while the boys were in the bathtub, I in fact did not send my husband this text message: "Cam plays in sand. Sand has poop. Cam gets poop on hands, pants, hair, socks, and shoes. Mom cleans Cam and clothes, Dad cleans shoes." Nope. Not me!

These days, I keep a Boppy in the car. I find it difficult to get out and about with the boys in the increasingly narrow window in between napping, snacking, and nursing schedules. So, while out running errands one day, I decided we'd take a break in the car, and all snack at once. Keep in mind, I am a multi-tasking master. So when I attempted to fill the boys' sippy cups with apple juice and water while simultaneously nursing the baby, it was a breeze. I did not instead spill apple juice all over my nursing infant. Nope. Not me!

One evening, after a particularly trying day home with the kids, I did not become so frustrated with the seriously inconvenient bathroom habits of my dear husband that I actually sat down and googled, "Why does it take men so long to poop??" Nope. Not me. (By the way, search results here. You know you're curious.)

Cal was up until 3am Saturday night, generally restless and uncomfortable. After sleeping through two alarms eeearrrlly Sunday morning, I did not hastily throw on some clothes and rush out the door to worship team practice. On the way in car, I grappled through my purse for some gum. Yep, my new purse that my mom bought me a mere month ago, after having the same ratty old one for nearly a decade. The one I keep impeccably organized, ready for any minor family catastrophe. I did eventually find the gum; however, this was not after I found a rather large mushy puddle of Beech Nut butternut squash baby food swimming around in the bottom. Nope. Not me!

So, if you've discovered before today that (after a short hiatus) I have once again started blogging fairly regularly, you may have taken part in a silly little bloggy mystery this past weekend. Have you guessed what we were up to yet? Here's a recap:

There were baskets of candles, and shoes,

pens, bowls, basketballs, and coffee percolators.

There were frisbees, clothing, and jumper cables,

tablecloths, hangers, books, and Bibles. 
And believe it or not, there were a pair of wrought iron candle stands.

It was so exhausting, we stopped for several juice and snack breaks. 
Callan snoozed in a stroller nearby.

We were even joined briefly by a ferocious T-Rex.

What were we doing? 
Only two of you guessed it, although I suspect many more of you 
won't even be surprised.

We weren't attending, preparing for, or having a yard sale. Cleaning out my in-laws' garage? Nope. Getting ready to move? Nah. Purging the teen ministry closets at church? Wrong again. All good guesses. But we weren't doing any of those things. Rest assured though, we most certainly were not...

...cleaning out my husband's car.

How could all of that junk possibly fit into one four-door sedan? 
It couldn't. No way, no how. 

In the words of one of my favorite fairy tale villains: "Inconceivable!"

Besides, if all that junk were really all crammed into one of our cars, 

 I certainly wouldn't admit it on my blog for all the world to know.

Nope. Not me!!


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun blogging carnival started by MckMama. In a nutshell, it's where we all can be open about the ridiculous things that happen in our everyday lives. Head on over to her blog, where you can read heaps of other great "Not Me!" stories. Or, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!


Great Guesses!

Bravo to those of you who played along with my little photo mystery (and were brave enough to venture a guess or two!) What do you think? Should we try it again sometime?

Stay tuned for my "Not Me!" Monday post tomorrow and the answer to this little mystery. Happy Sunday!

In the meantime...

Yeah, we're still working on renovating our flooded house. At this point, it's taking so long that it seems like we're moving backwards. So many tasks to finish, hurdles and hoops to navigate, materials to buy, children to chase, and so very little time to do it all. I'll probably post on that later just to let off some steam.

In the meantime, much like we did during the blizzards this winter, we'll wait it out: playing, laughing, smiling, tickling, grabbing, drooling, cooing, and growing up too fast.



Last one...

Last clue. Tune in Monday in my "Not Me!" Monday post for the big reveal. I don't promise spectacular; the best I can offer is maybe a nice chuckle. But I know you'll be appreciative, you always are. Toodles!

Clue Number...??

I think I've lost track of clues. Oh well. Here's another:


Are frisbees.

And yep, what we did involved cleaning.

Lots of cleaning.

Best clue yet

What's a good mystery without a terrifying T-Rex?

Clue #5

Whatever we were doing, it included a juice box break...

And snacks,

And snoozing in strollers.

Got it yet?

Still guessing?

What is this? Clue #4? Something like that...

If you're still playing along, it'll be every hour from here on out...

And another...

Have you figured it out yet? Don't count your chickens. Here's a curve ball for you...

Next clue ===> two hours

Another clue...

Any guesses yet on what we were up to this weekend?? Here's another clue...

The next clue will be comin' at ya' just after 2pm....

Rainy Day Mystery

Looking for something to do this (supposed to be rainy but so far quite sunny and hardly looking like it may be rainy) Saturday? How about a mystery? C'mon! It'll be fun! Any guesses what our family was up to yesterday?

Stay tuned...I'll post another clue around noon. I know this is positively riveting. I expect you to stay glued to your computer... Ha! Sarcastic comments welcome.


Melts My Heart

I don't know about other wives out there...

...but every time I see my husband caring for our children...

...wrapping them in his strong arms and just loving on them...

...it absolutely melts my heart.

New and... Improved??

I decided to give the blog a makeover!
It's a process, and will likely change some more 
over the next few weeks as I play around with formats,
backgrounds, pictures, and other updates.

So far....what do you think?


The Bridge

New River Gorge, WV.
The pictures speak for themselves, I think.
These represent only about one-third of what I actually took.
I've book ended with my favorite shot; 
I just love black and white photography.