Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Broken Bone!

Poor Josie broke her collarbone "in the service of the Lord," so to speak. She was helping take up the Sunday School collection at church and she somehow tripped (as only her mother could teach her) and landed in exactly the right spot to fracture her left clavicle. It HURT. She cried and cried all through church, and she ended up staying out in the van with Lynn (the ER nurse) and Jesse checking on her throughout the service. When she came home, she was just miserable and she stayed on the couch all afternoon and evening. I finally made the call to take her to the hospital, knowing firsthand how something can be broken and a parent not know it! (Case in point, my daddy let me walk/hop around on a broken tibia for two days because it didn't swell up = not broken). Jesse took her and they xrayed her and yep, it was broken, all right. She nursed her poor arm/shoulder and took the pain like a pro - only a little bit of Tylenol and she was rearing to go again. She was NOT happy about having to wear her sling with all her fancy Christmas dresses, though. Who knew the Lord's work could be so dangerous? :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Long Day

The days are long, but the years are short.

Sometimes I stop and look at my children and I can't believe that they are really mine. I can't believe that my little sweet babies, that I carried in my womb and in my arms, are so big and grown up. They are doing okay without me, wiping their own butts, getting their own snacks, taking their own showers, reading their own books.

It's bittersweet. I'm proud of them, of the young ladies they are becoming, and I know that I'll be sad when they don't need me anymore. It's funny, day in and day out I get SO TIRED of hearing, "MOMMY! I'm DONE!" and "Come look at this!" and "I need help with this!" and dozens of other things I hear over and over and over.

But one day I will long for it.

Tonight, I am exhausted after a long day of being mom.

One day I will wish for one more day filled with exhaustion-causing mundane tasks. I love them so much. I hope they know.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Last week on one of those unseasonably warm fall days, we went to the park. Somewhere between the swings, the slide, and the merry-go-round, Sadie found a woolly bear caterpillar crawling along in the mulch. She picked him (I mean her) up and let her crawl across her hand.

The woolly bear caterpillar, with its 13 distinct black and reddish segments, has somehow earned the reputation of being able to forecast what kind of weather we're going to have this winter. Sadie didn’t know this though. And she didn’t care.

Once she picked up that worm and held it in her hand, she immediately fell head over segments.

For the next two hours, during what was supposed to our nature walk, Sadie was completely preoccupied with this woolly worm. I would go so far as to say she became obsessed.

The few times she let the newly-named “Coco” out of her sight, she was like a nervous mother hen.

“Where is she? Where did she go? A BIRD WILL EAT HER! Watch her for me, Mom, would you?”

Then she decided on a middle name. Furbear. Coco Furbear Lansing.

Our scientific nature walk was completely overshadowed – the careful observation of this tiny creature took its place. Now that I think about it, I guess that lends itself a lot more to learning scientifically than just a run-of-the-mill nature walk.

“She has suction cup feet – she’s so fuzzy! Feel her! Hmm, but she has a creepy face, kind of like an alien.”

“What happens to these, Mom? Do you know? Do they turn into something?”

I honestly didn’t know. We decided to bring Coco home with us and do some research. This would be a great science project! We found out that she would turn into a Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth, so we looked up pictures of tiger moths. It’s really amazing that these fuzzy little things turn into such delicate creatures.

Sadie decided that she wanted to keep Coco all winter and watch her build a cocoon. We found out that they eat fresh grass, so we filled a box with grass and poked air holes in the lid. Then we left Coco to her own devices, or so I thought.

I left the girls upstairs for quiet time and came downstairs.

When next I saw their room, it had been turned into a wooly worm obstacle course. There were paper towel rolls for crawling through. Strings had been strung as tightropes. There was a matchbox car for driving around, a My Little Pony Ferris wheel for recreational purposes.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then next day, I was awakened by a little person standing next to my bed with a worm on her finger. She said, “Somebody got up early this morning! She was standing up in her box. She wanted to get out and play!”

Of course she did.

Adelaide scampered in behind her sister and yelled excitedly, “Yes! She WAS! Sadie already let me holded her 2 times!”

Later a friend of ours brought over a woolly bear playmate for Coco. Christened “Fudge,” he was put into the box and watched intently. Sadie hoped against hope for some mating activity to ensue so that there would be caterpillar eggs - and lots of little baby Cocos crawling around.

I just hope this caterpillar lasts till spring, or there is going to be one very sad worm funeral going on around here.

from my 11/27/11 article for

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Thankful Tree

In honor of the upcoming season, I decided that my kids needed to do something to remind them to be thankful for what they have.

After all, children seem to be way too entitled these days, don’t they? Sometimes they just don’t seem to appreciate what they have.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine told me about a tradition she started at her house called a Thankful Tree. It sounded like a good idea to me, and I was determined that my girls would feel thankful this season. So, I went to work with some green and brown construction paper and set about “building” a big green tree with a brown trunk.

Next, the girls and I took their safety scissors and cut out little paper leaves from different fall colors – yellow, orange, and some white (since we couldn’t find any red.) Then we each took some leaves out of the “leaf pile” and began to write down the things we are thankful for.

I wrote on my own leaves and helped three-year-old Adelaide as my older girls, ages 6 and 7, focused on their leaves. Sadie’s tongue poked out the corner of her mouth in concentration (just like her dad when he uses scissors.) Josie gripped her pencil firmly in her left hand while she stared at her paper, pondering her blessings.

After we all finished our leaves, we took turns using double-sided tape to stick them up on our tree. Sadie and Adelaide finished and headed to the family room to resume their game of “inside walking tag.” Six-year-old Josie went over to the table to make a few more leaves. I stayed by the tree to read what everyone had written.

To my surprise, I noticed that the girls had been much more thoughtful than me. The leaves growing on our tree now boasted things of great magnitude, like “God, Grandpas, Grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, Jesus, Dad, Mom, brother, sisters....” There were also some that read “my bike, my Snoopy, my Dorothy doll, my dog.” Then there were others that you'd expect, like “my house, my room, my blanket, my favorite pillow."

Wait a minute... maybe my kids weren't ungrateful after all!

As a matter of fact, my leaves seemed a bit more trivial after I read theirs. In addition to my family and friends, I had written things that don't really matter that much in the great scheme of things. Things like my coffee maker, my car, electricity, my clothes.

A minute later (and feeling a bit humbled), I watched as Josie padded back over to the tree in her fuzzy pink slippers. She said, “Here, Mommy. I almost forgot something important.” She stuck three more leaves to the tree, them scampered off to join her sisters.

Tears filled my eyes as I read what was so important to my little girl.

Stuck haphazardly to the brown construction paper branches in scrawling, messy handwriting, were six simple words that changed my heart for this season of thanksgiving. Written in her childish pencil were the words:

"My hand.

My feet.

My eyes."

My heart full, I realized at that moment that I'm the one who was feeling entitled. I'm the one who was being ungrateful.

I realized that we all have so much more to be thankful for than we ever acknowledge – perhaps more than we even realize.

I went into this little activity trying to teach my kids something about thankfulness. Little did I know that they were going to be the ones teaching me.

from my 11/20/11 article for

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday Boy!

I can't believe that my sweet little Jeddy-boo is already one year old. Today was his birthday, and we celebrated by (what else?) going to El Rodeo. He (of course) wore the birthday sombrero... although he didn't want to. He also pointed with his little ET finger and got INCREDIBLY excited when they brought out a little fried ice cream with a lit candle on top. He knew EXACTLY what that thing was, since he had had a candle in his very FIRST cupcake at his party on Sunday. He freaked out and pointed and "oohed!" and squealed and half-cried until we gave him a bite of whipped cream. Too funny.

Like I said, we had his party on Sunday at Grandma and Grandpa's house (otherwise known as Lansing Party Central). Since they were going to be out of town this coming weekend, we ended up having a triple birthday party for Sarah, Ireson (turning 5!) and Jed's Big One. He was very sleepy from skipping his morning nap because of church, so we fed him lunch and then rushed everyone in to sing to him so he could smash his cake and them take a nap during the sugar crash. He was very interested in the cake (Sarah held it so he wouldn't burn his fingers on the candle) and seemed to be wondering why everyone was watching him all of a sudden. We all assumed he would attack the cake and smear it in his ears and nose and everywhere else (like Adelaide), but he picked it up in his two little hands and very neatly took little bites from it. It was SO CUTE and he was so careful with it. He even used his pointer finger to pick up the crumbs and put them into his mouth. I think he was afraid that he'd never get a chance like this again (to eat something this sugary) and so he didn't want to miss a single morsel.

It was so cute to see him surrounded by his three big sisters and his cousins; you could tell that they all love him so much!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adelaide-ster's Dictionary

Adelaide is three, and she has her own ideas about pretty much everything. In addition to her own ideas, she also has a pretty interesting vocabulary, which she made up her own self (see definition below.)

My own self: used as an emphatic substitute for a possessive pronoun, as in: “I am not your girl. I am my own self’s girl.”

Bain-daid: an adhesive bandage that you apply to your finger when you get a boo-boo.

Macaroni: little round pieces of Italian meat, usually used as a pizza topping.

Cantaloupe: swift-running deer-like animal found in Africa, a favorite meal of lions. As in, “Sadie and Josie are pretending to be lions, and they’re chasing me because I’m a cantaloupe!”

Un-raser: the pink thing on the end of a pencil, used to rub out a mistake on paper.

Er: what you might say to indicate an alternative, as in: “Is that a kid er a grown-up?”

Red Lopsta: the restaurant where they sometimes let you pet the crustaceans before you eat them.

Quaker State and Loober-Hoober: the restaurant down the street from Red Lopsta.

Whiler: an increment of time between a "while" and an "hour" as in: “I did it a whiler ago.”

Jolly Rogers: a brand of little, rectangular hard candies that come in mouthwatering fruit flavors.

Regaly: not special, as in: "Is this my favorite kind of cheese or is it just regaly cheese?"

Cimmaninin: a commonly used spice. As in: "Does this applesauce have cimmaninin in it?

He's: a seldom used pronoun, as in: "I hit him on he's head."

Apparentwy of course dat did not: a phrase used when something happens that you did not want to happen. As in: "Apparentwy, when I put my finger in he's mouf, Jedidiah bit my finger. Of course dat did not hurt. But doze are teef marks."

Teef: bony white structures in your mouth used for chewing.

Bugs Wabbit: the star of Looney Toons cartoons. Famous for saying, "Eh, what's up, Duck?"

Chicken-fish: any kind of chicken er fish that has a batter coating, such as turkey.

I'ont keer: what you say when it something really doesn't matter to you, as in: "I'ont keer if it's naptime. I'ont wanna take a nap!"

Cheese booger: a type of sandwich, usually purchased at a fast food restaurant.

Old McDonald's: a fast food place where you can get cheese boogers.

Breftast: the most important meal of the day.

Salomey: a favorite lunch meat. Best when eaten rolled up, but not dipped in moosetard.

Moosetard: a paste made from the crushed seeds of certain plants, used as a condiment. Also known as yellow ketchup.

Isdroy: to tear something up or maim it: "I will isdroy you with this stick!"

Cive: a place where bees live. "There's lots of honey in that bee cive."

Feel free to use these Adelaide-isms whenever you’d like; I’m sure she won’t “keer.”

-From my 11/13/11 article for

Three additions:

Laver: a molten hot rock that can burn your feet. As in: "Careful! Jump from the couch to the chair or you will step in hot laver!"

Opposed: used to describe something that should or shouldn't be done. As in: "You are not opposed to tickle me!"

Crouton: a noun, much like (in fact, exactly like) an ottoman. Thought process: ottoman is like a futon, futon sounds like crouton. As in: "I'll hide it over there under the crouton."

Beezra: a black and white striped African animal that looks like a horse.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today, Josie and I had our annual Mommy/Josie day. We went (as usual) to the Christmas bazaars close to our church, and we had a fun time looking at all the crafts and ornaments, scarves and pastries that were for sale. We stopped and had a snack at one of the biggest craft shows, and there were tables set up. Josie sat on my lap and drank her hot chocolate, nibbling a piece of cheese pizza. As she looked around, she noticed an elderly man at a table across from us with a black hat on. She asked what the hat said. I told her "Proud to be a World War II Veteran." Since we had just talked about veterans on Friday (and called Papaw and Grampie to say thank you for serving) and learned some about WWII and the Nazis, Josie was very interested. She asked if he had helped to fight "those really really bad guys. The Nazis. The ones who wanted to kill everyone if they weren't white." I told her yes, that he had fought in that war and that he was probably a hero. She said, "Well, I guess we should go and thank him." I told her I thought that was a GREAT idea, and I was SO PROUD of her! We walked over to his table and she went right over and leaned in next to him and said, "I just wanted to say thank you for being a veterinarian." Oh man. It was the sweetest, and funniest, and greatest moment. I love my Josie-Bean!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Garage Sale Junkies

With the beginning of fall comes the end of one of our favorite times of year: garage sale season.

My girls and I are garage sale junkies, and we are not ashamed to admit it.

Since there are four children in our one-income family, our toy budget is very small. At garage sales, though, we can stretch it w-a-a-a-y out.

When Josie’s Big Wheel tricycle bit the dust in the spring, I researched new ones online. They were $80! We found a gently used one (pink and purple, no less) at a garage sale for $4.

We were hooked.

Sadie likens “garage-sale-ing” to a treasure hunt, because “you just never know what you’re going to find!” She and her two sisters gather up their change in their little sparkly purses and load up in the van, on the lookout for handmade signs and tell-tale balloons that mark the spot.

They instruct me to stay out of “town” because there are no “homes” there. Instead, I make a big circle down Lakeshore Avenue, across Center Street, and back up Bellflower Street. We find literally hundreds of garage sales in a 5-mile radius during the spring and summer.

They yell “there’s one, there’s one!” then scope it out to make sure there is some “kid stuff.” Sometimes, we just do what we call a drive-by, checking it out very slowly from the road. They have to take turns getting out of the car, so they want to make sure it’s a good one before they waste their turn on it.

Some of our favorite finds:

Brand new ice skates, just Josie’s size: $1

Gold sequined Michael Jackson hat (a perfect complement to Sadie’s gold purse): $1

2 willow brooms (excellent for playing Little House on the Prairie): $0.75

A free jewelry box for Sadie “because she’s cute.”

A bowlful of sea glass from Lake Erie for Sadie’s collection: $0.10

A leather storage ottoman just like the $250 one that Mommy’s been eyeing: $15

A huge boxful of Magnetix magnet toys: $5

Twin stuffed tigers for Josie: $1

Speaking of twin tigers, we have one problem with garage sales: Josie feels the need to bring home every (soon-to-be) homeless stuffed animal that she sees in the ever-present quarter box at any given sale. The case she usually pleads: “But Mo-ommm, I really need that. That (monkey, elephant, tiger, dog, cat, lizard, camel, mouse) needs a home! He looks so sad! I neeeeeed him! And even worse, he needs meeeee!” Since she already has a shelf full of adoptees, (and a heart bigger than her room) we really have to try and steer clear of the quarter box.

Also, all three of the girls love to patronize the lemonade stands that their peers set up. They are very supportive of the entrepreneurial spirit of anyone in their age bracket; they are willing to submit to the highway robbery that some of these kids charge for cookies and fruit punch. Apparently, snacks taste a lot better when you are buying them from someone your own age WITH your own money.

Books for a quarter, brand new clothes with tags still on them, costumes for the dress-up box, craft materials, coloring books, the thrill of the hunt…. You can see why we are sad to see the season go.

I guess that old saying still applies: one kid’s trash is another kid’s treasure.

So, start cleaning out your closets now – you’ll probably see us in the spring!

-From my 11/6/11 article for

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Sadie's current favorite word is "satisfied." For example, she says things like, "Jedidiah is very satisfied with that hole in the blanket! He likes to mess with it!" or "Roscoe is satisfied with that stick" or even "Adelaide is pretty satisfied with that picture I drew for her." She hardly ever talks about HERSELF being satisfied. Hmmm. Wonder what that means.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Mommy to Sadie, after a morning of many annoyances: "Do you want to annoy the WHOLE WORLD?!" Then, realizing the enormity (and great exaggeration) of that question, we all broke into peals of laughter.

Adelaide, during schooltime: "I need the un-raser. Please excuse me, Porky."

Sadie, burning her tongue: "The tea! The tea is scolding me!"

Adelaide, needing help: "Mommy! Help me! I'm distracted!"