Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top Ten Signs that You're Getting Old...

Some of my best 'material' is prompted by the musings of others, so if you read both of us you'll know that I've 'borrowed' this topic from my friend Louise.

10. You no longer cry when watching "The Little Mermaid" with your kids. Rather, you spend the hour and-a half napping on the couch while the kids are entertained.
9. Your body refuses to cooperate with the weight loss tricks that worked for you two years ago.
8. When slender people complain about their 'trouble areas' you forget all sense of decorum and guffaw in their face.
7. When you go to the movies, you smuggle snacks in a really large purse and say "I am way to cheap to pay THOSE prices!"
6. You actually begin to care about flossing your teeth daily.
5. You still foolishly try to stay up late occasionally. It takes you a week of naps and early bedtimes to recover from that one late night.
4. You notice feelings of road rage toward other drivers more frequently.
3. Interestingly, other drivers seem to be honking and gesturing at you on a regular basis.
2. While popping one of those lovely pimples that still likes to visit, you get a good view of the crows feet around your eyes.
1. When you're up really, really close to the mirror to put mascara on, you notice one (or two) stray, inch long hair on your chin!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Abbey (6, in Kindergarten) is apparently self-learning math. Because I assure you, I have nothing to do with any learning she has experienced!

She called Pat and I over to look at the notebook she was writing in. I was expecting to see a lovely picture of a butterfly or a girl. Abbey points down at the page and says, "ten take away five plus three is eight." So I quickly think (10-5=5+3=8) - ohmygoodness! I laughed and asked her where she's seen that before and she tells me, "I didn't. I just KNOW."

To prove her point, a few minutes later she tells me that "one-hundred take away one-hundred equals zero." And when I exclaim that she's right again she giggles and says, "I thought that was right. It makes sense." Cute, smart, and humble - that's my girl!


Meg (5) was in the back yard gardening with Grandma. Grandma, not really expecting an answer, asks Meg where her dad keeps the spade. "Do you want the blue one or the green one?" asks Meg.

Surprised, Grandma asks Meg if she knows what a spade is. "No!" giggles Megan as she runs off across the yard. 'I don't know what the object is that you're looking for, but I'm sure you can find it in any colour you wish...'

For more Tiny Talk, stop over and see Mary at Not Before 7.

Inspired (and a Winner)

We are home from our insane super fun weekend. Yes, we were at YC with our Church's senior high youth group (that's grades 9-12 for my American friends). Good guessing everyone! Highlights coming soon...

Since this is what you've all been anxiously awaiting (I'm certain you've all got nothing better to do with your weekend than wait on my blog, right?), I'll announce the winner first.

I would like you all to visit Mary at Not Before 7 and congratulate her! In my very non-random fashion, I selected Mary for the following reasons:
#1 - she answered first,
#2 - she did research,
#3 - she used Google (you go, girl!),
#4 - she doesn't live here, and
#5 - because I can!
(LOL. Please know that I also love, love, love my other commenters/ guessers - Louise & Heidi, Barb, Bobbie, Kris, and Darlene - and you should visit their blogs, too.) Mary, I'll email you to get your mailing info. :)

Here's what Mary has won (and will receive in however long it takes me to remember to mail it, *wink). [Can I just interject a small complaint here? Okay, thanks. You will notice the price for this item on is quite reasonable. Yes? So I must fume ponder the fact that it was being sold at YC, by the author himself, for a different (read: higher) price. That just doesn't seem right! Geeeeesh, people! Is there no sense of fairness in this crazy economy?! Phew. I needed that. Thanks for listening. Rant over.] I have not yet listened to this audio drama, but have heard from a number of people that it is great and that the message is powerful. Let me know what you think after you give it a listen, okay Mary?

Now, back to the inspired part...

The first speaker of the weekend was by far my favorite. John Bevere has such deep wisdom to share and he really spoke to me. (FYI, he's pretty serious and to the point, so I'm not sure that he was the best choice for a YOUTH event, but all us youth leaders were scribbling copious notes.)

The question: Why are there so many Christians without intimacy with Christ? (In other words, why are so many lacking a closeness, a deep relationship, an understanding, a friendship with Jesus?)

The answer: Psalm 25:14.
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. (NLT)
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (NIV)
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. (NKJV)
God-friendship is for God-worshipers; they are the ones he confides in. (MSG)
The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. (AMP)

Many believers today do not have the FEAR OF THE LORD in them. I have struggled with understanding the meaning of this phrase. I know that we're not supposed to feel AFRAID of God, but I have no other understanding for this word - fear.

Bevere explains this term fear as reverence, respect, admiration, awe.

It is NOT an 'Adam and Eve are naked and hiding in the bushes so they don't get caught in sin' kind of fear. Rather, it is a 'fall on your face because you can't even comprehend His majesty and greatness' kind of fear. It is NOT a 'I am going to be in so much trouble' kind of fear, but a 'I totally let you down and broke your heart and I'm so sorry I could die' kind of fear. Reverence for His Holy Name. Respect for His rules for living. Admiration for His righteousness and justness. Awe at His power and might. That is the stuff that fear of the Lord is made of.

I am sad to admit that I often approach God from a profane perspective. (Bevere defines profane as 'treating what is sacred as common, what is holy as ordinary.') I come to Him with my everyday requests, toss them at His feet, turn and go about my day. How much more ordinary could I treat HIM?! This is the ONE who spoke the earth into existence. This is the ONE who parts the seas and raises the dead! This is the ONE who let His very own baby boy die - for me. This is no ordinary man. He's not someone to be treated like the host of the radio request line. You don't just drop Him a quick line telling Him what you want and say "buh-bye." Oh. My. Goodness. It's no wonder that some days I feel totally lacking in the 'intimacy with God' department. I treat Him as if I don't even know Him!

If you've just come to the same realization as me, here are some pointers on how to reverence the Lord (a conglomeration of my thoughts and ideas and those presented by Bevere).

Take some time to reflect on who God is and what He has done (throughout time and in your own life). Start making a list of these things so you can revisit it periodically (ideally at those times when God is feeling kind-of far away).

Serve God. That is, make choices and take actions that matter to Him. Do not serve anyone else! Don't be motivated in decision-making by what others think you should do. Don't behave in certain ways for certain situations based on what others might think of you. "You will serve whom you fear." Do you fear (reverence) God? Or do you fear (are afraid of/concerned with) man?

Talk to God about everything. But more importantly, spend some time just listening. Imagine a conversation with a friend where she just goes on and on about her day and then leaves. Imagine that this happens over and over again. Would you want to spend time with that friend? Would you even feel like she sees you as a treasured friend? I suspect that we don't make God feel very special or treasured when we just talk, talk, talk without ever listening.

Obey Him. Those who have the fear of the Lord in them will obey God instantly, even if what He's asking doesn't make sense (see * below), even if it might hurt (see Genesis 22:1-18), and even if they can't see the possible benefits (see Joshua 6:1-16).

Worship the Lord. Sing songs praising Him, admire His handiwork in nature, tell your kids about how He has blessed you. Just let yourself be amazed by Him!

Try these things, and let me know if you notice a change in your relationship with the Lord. I'm going to do the same. I am not satisfied with simply being a follower of Jesus, I want to be able to declare, "I am a friend of Jesus!"

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~James 4:8a (NKJV)


* (To my understanding, this is a true story, as shared by my friend Jim. Names in the story have been changed due to my pathetic memory. As well, I have taken some creative liberties for the 'flow' of the story - but don't worry, the gist remains the same.)

Harriet worked hard at her professional job, and enjoyed it immensely. But she felt the need to do something more in her life. Because she had some unique talents, including gymnastics, acrobatics, funny voices, and comedy, a friend suggested she sign up to be a clown at the local children's hospital.

Harriet was on her way to spread some joy among children with cancer, when she sensed the Holy Spirit's nudging within her. For reasons unknown, she was compelled to pull into a particular gas station along the way. Though she was sure that her tank was full, Harriet pulled up to the pumps and began to fill her vehicle. "Perhaps the fuel gauge isn't working and God wants to make sure I'm not stranded on the road on my way home tonight," she thought to herself. The nozzle clicked off after only a few dollars.

Harriet walked inside to pay. On her way in she passed a Pepsi vending machine. A rather bizarre thought popped into Harriet's head, 'stand on your head in front of this pop machine.' She smiled to herself, shook her head, and walked into the store. While paying for her smidgen of fuel, Harriet felt a little tug in her heart, 'talk to him.' She looked up at the young cashier, gave a slight smile, and left. "I'm going to be late. He doesn't want to talk to an old lady anyway."

Four hours later, Harriet was headed home from the children's hospital, and she again felt compelled to pull into the service station. She ignored the feeling and continued down the road. But the odd feeling that she was supposed to go to that particular gas station just would not leave. The further she drove, the stronger the feeling became. Finally, only a couple blocks from home, Harriet turned her car around and headed back the way she'd come. She pulled into the parking lot and turned off the car. 'Stand on your head in front of the Pepsi machine,' again, the most unusual and perplexing thought!

Harriet prayed, asking the Lord, "is this You, God? Do you want me to be here? Do you want me to do a headstand on the sidewalk?" She felt a stirring in her spirit, 'yes, do it.' "But Lord," she prayed, "it makes no sense! Why would I stand on my head in the dark at a gas station?" 'Daughter,' this time the stirring inside of her felt strong - urgent, 'do what I ask.' At this point, Harriet was fairly certain God was asking her to do something. She didn't understand why. In fact, she couldn't make any sense of it. But knowing that God is well, God, Harriet decided it would be in her best interests to look crazy and obey God (rather than appear completely sane but ignore her Heavenly Father).

As Harriet was standing on her head and talking to God, the young man from earlier came out of the store. "What. Are. You. Doing?" he asked. He sounded angry. Harriet stood to her feet and told him, "well, this might sound kinda crazy, but, um, well, I think God told me to stand on my head out here. So, anyway, um, I decided that there was no harm in trying. Right?" She looked up at the young man only to see tears streaming down his face. She walked over and hugged him, and for a long time he cried while she held him.

Hiccuping and breathing in gasps and spurts, he told her his story. "My life sucks. My parents split up. My girlfriend dumped me. My friends have all ditched me. I'm a pathetic loser and I hate my life. I decided to end it all. Because everyone would be better off if I were gone, anyway. Hey - weren't you in here earlier?" She nodded. He took a deep breath.

"Just before you got here," he told Harriet, "I was about to go out the back door and shoot myself. When your car pulled in I decided to wait until after you left. Wouldn't do any good to have a stranger find me like that, all bloody and dead. After you left I kinda lost my nerve. So I told God He had one chance to convince me. If He was really real, He had to send someone to me before my shift ended. I told him that He had to make someone do a headstand right there in front 'a that pop machine. If He did that, I'd believe in Him. And I'd hold off on the whole shootin' myself thing." Harriet looked at her watch - it was 10:55pm.

Tears streaming down her face, Harriet felt that stirring again. This time she didn't doubt, she didn't hesitate. She took that boy's hands in her own and she prayed. She waited until he locked up the store, took him into her car, and brought him to her home where she introduced him to her husband, Rick. Rick was a Christian counsellor who worked closely with the local crisis and suicide intervention centre.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

*Giveaway* Guessing Game

Since it's been a positively boring week for anyone who's visited my blog, I figured I'd spice things up a bit and get you all back on board with me (*wink).

So here's the contest... It's gonna take a little effort. Guess where I'm going this weekend.

Okay, I'll give you a couple hints:
- I am going with Pat (it's more his thing than mine), but we will be sleeping separately.
- The event falls under the following categories: fun, loud, exhausting, refreshing, ministry, young people, old people, pastors, walking, standing, loud, fun.
- I live in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
- We will be travelling less than 2 hours (or less than 200 km, or less than 120 mi).
- I will not be getting ANY quiet time the entire weekend!

I apologize if this is too vague for my American friends, but if I give any more hints my local friends will have a big advantage.

The prize - a CD I purchase while I'm (there). Maybe some other cool paraphernalia too, depending how much money I have to spend on food.

This contest is open to all peeps from all nations (I can't imagine shipping on a CD to anywhere in the world can be THAT much). The winner will be, of course, the one who guesses correctly. OR, if no one is correct, whoever comes up with the most creative idea. OR, if no one comments, the winner will be ME! :) (Sorry mom, you are disqualified from the guessing. Your prize is spending an exhausting weekend with 5 little monkeys.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Mom's Day to Me!

Our family vehicle, for the past several years, has been a Dodge Caravan. It's a pretty standard minivan - not the new kind with the big cargo space and the handy little unlock button. Nope. Basic model, small cargo space, unlocks with key only, no rear heat/air. It did have a DVD player, so on the scale of bells 'n whistles I'll give old Cara Van ONE BELL.

At the risk of using strong language that I discourage the children to use - I hated this van! It was squishy and squashy! If I wanted to get groceries for our family of 7 it was necessary to remove the stroller and leave the children at home (which is really quite okay, because who likes to shop with 5 kids?). In order to go on a fun outing and bring Grandma along (for fun and help) it was necessary to bring 2 vehicles (or have Grandma sit on the floor - don't worry, she's youthful and strong, lol).

To get in, a key had to be inserted into the lock. To lock, the front door had to be left open until everything was unloaded, the lock button pushed, then the front door could be closed. And did I mention that it was squishy? Seats seven, seven seated, three in car seats. Can I just say 'ugh!'

So after much grumbling, whining, and crying, Pat finally caved in order to get me to shush! We have been looking for one of these babies for months, and on Mother's Day weekend we finally found one at a price we could live with! Without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Burban (that's her nickname, her full name is 2003 Suburban).

She has - count them - EIGHT seats! And MAJOR cargo space! Rear heat and air, triple climate control! And I can unlock her with a little button! YAY!!!!! Sad little side note, she is lacking in the DVD player department. We may need to invest in a portable player (or two, since the rows of seating are so. very. far. apart. yay.) before making our 4-day trip down to Reno this summer. We are now accepting donations toward the DVD fund...

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Got Nothin'

This is going to be my most exciting post ever, really.

I have nothing to say, but actually have a few free moments to blog. Lately, the opposite has been true - lots to say but no time to get it down.

Weather - It is good! We've had a couple be-ay-ou-ti-ful days of 25 plus (Celsius). I glory in it! Glory, I tell you! This afternoon I laid on a blanket in my front yard and took a 15-minute cat nap. Ahhhhhh.

Ministry - It is done! Well, slowing down for summer, to be more accurate. That means I can rest a bit. Not quite so many trouble-shooting phone calls, slightly slower on the busy-ness scale. I'm glad. It's time. This year has worn on me pretty hard.

Home - It's clean! Vacuumed, dusted, bathrooms scrubbed, floors washed. I L-O-V-E this feeling, though it usually last but a few moments. Okay, not completely - remember this? Well, it's only slightly improved. (My mother and husband are both terribly ashamed. In the words of Popeye, "I yam what I yam!")

Long Weekend - Is here! My sweet husband will be home with his family for three whole days! It has been a busy time at his work, and I've been on my own more than I'd like, so I cannot tell you how excited I am for this weekend. Plus, did I mention that it's supposed to be HOT?! Might even get some yard work done. (Our yard also ranks fairly high on the embarrassment scale. It's a cross between "we run a daycare for 12 children here" and "come quick, big yard sale!")

And now it's time to fetch child #2 from her bus stop. Which is convenient, because I'm done. The sun has fried my brain cells.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Kitchen Clean-Up

I have been reading up on other's WFMW tips for ages, but never felt I had any great ideas to contribute. As I was rushing about cleaning up the kitchen last night I was struck by a thought, "I bet no one else does this thing - I should post it on WFMW!" So, here I am. :)

There is nothing I hate more than trying to wipe down a kitchen table (or counters) covered in crumbs. It is simply impossible to catch all those little buggers in the cloth and avoid having to sweep the floor. And it is just plain irritating to shake and rinse the cloth fourteen times before the table is actually clean. So here's 2 tips in one: mini broom and dustpan, microfibre cloth.

- wipe 1/3 of table
- shake out cloth into garbage can (or sink)
- rinse cloth
- repeat the above steps 2-3 times
- sweep floor
- then, wipe once more for those last sticky spots that were hidden beneath the crumbs

-sweep crumbs off table with handy dandy little broom (I think they're designed for camping, with a handle that just fits in your hand) - directly onto dustpan in other hand
- wipe down with AMAZING microfibre cloth that gets every. single. sticky. spot (trust me, these things are miraculous)
- sweep floor (sorry, I know, I was hoping to skip this step, but come on people - I've got five kids, the floor is always filthy!)

Thanks for visiting. If you want to find more WFMW tips, go visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Abbey (6) recently got 'spring pictures' taken at school. (What's with that, anyway? They don't gouge us enough in fall? Twice a year is better, I guess. I can't believe that they send the pictures home whether you want them or not. Then you must either send them all back, in tact, or keep and pay for them. Lesson learned the hard way.) Anyway, back to the story... In the package of pictures, there was a cool sheet of stickers. The kids were all thrilled with these and everybody wanted one. Abbey proceeded to hand out the stickers, one by one. She approached each family member, patted the sticker onto their chest, and said, "Abbey fan." Later, we found a sticker on the bathroom mirror and Abbey informed me, "Look, the bathroom's an Abbey fan, too!" Kids.


Megan (5) hopped in the van and scooped up a Magic Bag that was tucked under the seat (left there so I would hopefully remember to return it to the friend I borrowed it from). She draped it over her shoulders, leaned her head back, and said, "Ah. I need to relax!"


Meg was full of funniness this week. One day she comes walking into the front door, kicks off her shoes, and exclaims, "My feet are killing me!"

For more Tiny Talk, check out Mary's site.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Faith's Heritage

Last month, I submitted an essay for a CWO writing contest, "Her Life Reflected." The purpose was to write about a mother who reflects Jesus in her life. I wrote about my Mom. Though my article did not win (the one that did was beautiful and definitely deserved it), I wanted to share it with you. I've left it as it was submitted, even though the end feels weird on my blog. :)

Mom didn’t get the easiest start at this thing we call motherhood. She was 18 years old, and all alone. She had been abandoned by my father and was encouraged to abort by her family (or at the very least go away and have a secret adoption). But Mom felt deep within her that I was a gift from God. She has lived out each and every day of my life demonstrating that belief to me.

Life as a single mother was wrought with heartache and struggles. For months, Mom spent at least six hours of every night walking the floors. Bounce, walk, bounce, walk – pray, bounce, walk. No one was around to tell her about colic, how to help it, and when it ended. She just did what she had to do. At eight months of age, I was admitted to the hospital with possible leukemia. Still alone, Mom continued to do what she had to do. She paced the halls and prayed, night and day. When the doctors realized that I was suffering from severe anaemia and that it could be treated, Mom again thanked God for the gift of life.

I remember one night as a young child, awakening in the dark and calling out to my Mom. She hurried into my little bedroom and wrapped her arms around me, gently rocking back and forth. I told her that I was afraid of the shadows in the dark corners – I was certain there was someone lurking in those shadows just waiting and watching me. I was terrified! It was that night that Mom introduced me to the faith she held deep within. She told me about Jesus, and how He loved me and wanted to keep me safe. She told me about the angels Jesus placed all around the world, especially with little children, who watched over us (even as we slept). She promised me that I could speak Jesus Name ANY time for ANY reason, and all the things that frightened me would scatter. This moment marked the beginning of a beautiful heritage in our family.

Though we didn’t actively participate in Church during my younger years, Mom knew the importance of developing a strong foundation of faith. She sent me halfway across the country every summer to attend family camp with my Bible-believing Aunt and Uncle (her sister). She sent me to vacation Bible schools during summer vacation. She allowed our neighbours to bring me to Church with them whenever they offered. As I got older and interested in exploring deeper, she encouraged me in finding a Church I felt comfortable at.

During my eighth-grade year, I again became ill. Once again, Mom was told that she should phone her family, as doctors were not hopeful. Again, she paced the halls and prayed. Two blood transfusions and a frightening stint in intensive care later, I began to recover from another bout of anaemia. Mom recognized this life-saving experience as the Hand of God. She was no longer content to simply believe, but committed to living for Jesus full-out. She was baptized shortly after my release from the hospital. Hearing Mom’s testimony further established the Godly heritage in our family.

During my teen years, we housed many of my friends in our spare room. Some for just a night, some for months – always with the goal of restoring their family relationships. It used to make me crazy that all my friends would come to Mom when they needed a listening ear! I now know that God had called her to show love to young people who were feeling rejected by their family (as she had felt). I recall so many times when a phone call would come – someone in need – and my mom and I would go running. She would listen and love, and always offered practical helps. I can’t count the number of people Mom has helped to move, or the number of houses she has cleaned that are not her own, or the mass amounts of people she has fed over the years.

Not only is Mom Jesus’ hands and feet, she is His heart. So far, two of my five children have made a decision for Christ. Do you know who was there with them, helping each one pray and ask Jesus to be his or her “forever friend?” You guessed it, Mom. Once again, investing in her family and establishing faith’s heritage.

Today, Mom is still the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to those around her. I see it especially in my life. She adores her grandkids, and she takes them to her home after Church every single Sunday. Mom will tell you that she does it for herself, to have that special time with them, but I know that she does it for me, too. Just the other day my babysitter was running late, and Mom rushed over in record time to watch the kids. She comes over for a birthday party and spends her time folding the mountains of laundry, bathing children, and sweeping floors – without missing a single special moment with any of us. But what’s really special about Mom is this – she never stops praying! I can rest assured that every need I bring to her (family, friends, perfect strangers) will be covered by her in prayer. There is no one else I know that demonstrates the love of Jesus so beautifully to those around her. No one but Mom.

Author’s note: Mom married a really great guy in 1993 and blessed me with a Dad, a big brother, a big sister, and a nephew. Though my biological father still chooses not to have a relationship with me or my children, God hand-picked Grandpa extraordinaire for us! One of the things that made him fall in love with Mom was her faith – according to him, “she actually walks what she talks.”

Tyler has her Bachelor of Arts in psychology, and was published in the "Journal of Men and Masculinity" for collaborative research project on male body image.

Tyler's current career, though low on the pay grade, is her most adventurous job so far. She loves being a wife and mother to five children, ages 7 months to 10 years. Tyler also holds a volunteer position leading women's ministry in her Church.

Tyler and her family currently reside in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, where spring (and even summer) snowstorms are never a surprise!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

She Comes by it Honestly

My darlin' Abbey, she's got some issues. The child is forever in pain. "I stubbed my toe...I bonked my head...I bit my tongue...there's a big bruise on my shin...I whacked my funny bone." On and on it goes. Really, it's an unending saga.

My mom and I were commiserating with one of Abbey's most recent injuries - the result of tripping over her own feet and falling into a large, stationary object - and I was whisked back to another time and place.

...Summer, 1986ish, age 8ish...

We always took the most fun summer vacations! Drive from point A to point B, which are generally no less than a full day and night of travel apart, remain at point B for a few days, check out all the tourist-y things to do, drive from point B back to point A. (No stopping allowed while driving, so be prepared to eat and sleep in the backseat of the car. Pee breaks only when stopping for gas is necessary.)

This particular summer, we were headed to Kelowna, BC to visit relatives (it's hard to say if they were really related, as I called a number of my parents' adult friends 'Auntie' and 'Uncle'). This family had, get this, a guest cabin! And horses! Backing onto the mountains! Next door to a cherry orchard! And two little girls to boss around! An *only child's dream vacation. With the exception of the rooster that crowed at 5am...

Many fun moments stand out, but one day's memories dominate all thoughts of that vacation. Old MacDonald's Farm. There were few things that excited me as much as the prospect of this place! All sorts of fun and games, all day long...there was even a waterslide!

We started out the day at the petting zoo. I had great fun bottle feeding a little goat (is that a lamb?) and chasing after some bunnies. But the stinky petting pen couldn't hold my interest for long - across the way I spied a pony ride. Woohoo!

Round and round, slow and plodding, with the occasional prod by one of the workers to keep it moving - those Shetland ponies can be pretty stubborn, ya know. Following my turn I had the boredom pleasure of waiting for my cousin to finish his ride. To pass the time, I thought it would be lovely to pet one of those pretty little ponies who was waiting by the sidelines for her turn. Little did I know, this pony was resting after her turn (not excitedly awaiting her opportunity to carry another squirming child in endless circles). My gentle stroking proved too much for her, and sweet Bessy (truth be told, when I not-so-fondly recollect her, her name is 'b@#&!y Bessy') leaned forward and bit me. Yep, took a big chomp with her giant horse teeth. Right. On. My. Belly. "Moooooooooom!!!!!"

Mom rushed me to the concession to retrieve a band-aid because yes, the evil pony actually drew blood! We went around to the washroom (which is in back of the concession), stepped back from the door way momentarily to allow others to exit, then charged in head-first. Literally. Whack! Right on my noggin. There was a dastardly lovely hanging plant near the door to the bathroom, dangling at just the right height for young girls to meet it head-on (pun intended). "Owwwwwwwwww!!!!!"

So far, Old MacDonald's Farm was ranking about second on my list of life's worst experiences.

I did eventually recover from my injuries and re-joined the world of fun. We wandered around from one activity to the next, and though I had a headache and my tummy was throbbing, I made the best of it. I was looking back to my mom to tell her something (probably about how proud she should be of me because I didn't let a little rough patch ruin my whole day). On a side note, I cannot count the number of times my mom had warned me about the perils of walking and looking backwards to talk. Guess what - she was right - I tripped on a rock. Fell flat on my face. "Waaaaaaaa!!!!!" Are you beginning to sense a pattern?!

We ended our day with some fun in the pool. Did I mention there was a waterslide? I had band-aids on my tummy and knees, I had taken a good dose of Tylenol, and I was excited to cool off from the heat of the day. First thing first - down the slide. It's helpful to mention that it was a fairly long waterslide, but designed for smaller children - so it was slower-moving and landed in shallow water. If you've ever done any watersliding, you'll know that you can make a slow slide go faster by laying flat on your back, crossing your ankles, and crossing your arms on your chest. You'll also know that coming off a slide at that speed requires a bit of room in the pool. Did I mention the shallow landing? Oh yeah, you know me by now - my body skidded to a stop by scraping my hindquarters, back, and shoulder blades across the bottom of the shallow pool. "I want to go home!!!!!!!"

You will still find this day logged in the record books as 'Worst Day Ever In My Whole Life.'

I can honestly say that I've outgrown my clumsiness. Except when I need to use a very sharp knife. Or walk straight. Or duck under things. Or climb over things. Or drive around obstacles such as low fences. Totally outgrown it. My husband never feels the need to remind me to "be careful." Never. It's all good.

Oh dear! I must run! Abbey has just whacked her head while crawling under the table (no, I have no idea why she felt the need to do this). And in her effort to get out from under while keeping her eyes closed against the blinding pain she knocked over a chair. It fell across her back. And I think she may have sprained her ankle in the process! She really is my daughter...

* You may be confused by the reference to being an only child, knowing that I have a brother and a sister. They are not mine by birth, but we merged our families when I was 12. So I was a 'lonely only' until I inherited my sibs.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Late to the Party

Better late than never, or so they say... I'm linking up with the Design Time blog carnival at Mary's place. Mary's family is moving into a foreclosure, and she's looking for some ideas. I've got a few suggestions of what to do, and what not to do!

Do: Check out her site for other participant's design time posts.

I'll start out with some lovely samples of, well, the beginning. We bought our 30-some-odd-year-old house 2 years and 4 months ago. As you can see, we started out with a (mostly) nice white clean slate. A little elbow grease to eliminate the lovely *ahem* floral borders, and I had a blank canvas!

Don't: Paste on floral wallpaper. Anywhere! Ever!

This is our stipple ceiling. You will note some interesting flecks. The camera doesn't display these in all their splendour, so you may have missed the fact that these flecks are (wait for it) sparkles! We have yet to do anything about our starry night ceilings. I just can't bear to bid them farewell.

Don't: Do I even need to say it?

The picture to the right is, in fact, right-side-up. I am standing at the top of the stairs, looking toward the basement. If you're wondering, yes - that is burnt orange shag carpeting on the wall. You'll notice the lovely shade of rubber-backed office carpet on the floor, selected to match. The bad shade of yellow on the wall - my bad choice. We'd love to one day completely gut the basement, reconfigure the layout, and put down some quality carpets. But I just don't know if I could ever bear to remove the shag from the wall!

Please, please, just don't!

Here you will see the view from our kitchen to our dining room. Well, you can certainly see the big wall between them. If you look carefully you will also note the linoleum in an adorable shade of lemon yellow. Next to it, the carpeted dining room. Ack!

Seriously, don't.

Step one, much to Pat's enjoyment - knocking out the wall.

Do: Open up spaces that make you feel so claustrophobic that you want to scratch out your own eyeballs. (Um, make sure you have someone who knows stuff check out if your walls need to be there because they, like, hold up the whole house.)

Also Do: Remove old, dated, horrifically ugly flooring and replace with something nicer.

For the main floor, I was desperate to try something bold, with a 'pop' behind it, and I was dreaming of red. For obvious reasons, red could not be our main colour, so we selected a complementary yellow. (I don't know why I say 'we,' I do the paint in this family. Pat does other labourious jobs that don't require perfection, patience, and multiple coats. LOL!)

Do: Colour. Really, just DO IT!

Do: Art. Paintings. Photos. These are all good things to put on your walls. It makes it seem like people really live there.

Don't: Ask to see any other walls in my home.

Do: New light fixtures and window coverings. Choose to match your personal style. If you don't know your style, um, ask for help at Home Depot. ;)

(If you love the paint colours, they are from the old Benjamin Moore collection - Dijon and Bonaparte. I used Totem's colour match system and used their store brand paint. Um, DON'T! It's pretty good paint overall, but for strong colours...let's just say, 4 stinkin' coats later!)

Here's a close-up of the painting pictured above my loveseat. I had a budding artist friend custom make the 3x3 foot red orchid for me. I asked her to creatively build in the word Yahweh so that it was visible, but unobtrusive. Nice, nice work Angela!

Here are some handy little projects Pat has completed over the past 28 months...

Do: Cool storage options. This one's from Ikea.

Don't: Ever let me see your bookshelf look as disastrous and cluttered as mine! It's shameful, really.

Do: Create bench seating for large families. This is a major space-saver!

Do: Completely change the look of your kitchen by installing super-uber mosaic tile backsplash!
Don't: Forget to refinish your dated cabinets to go with the new backsplash. (I especially don't recommend waiting more than a year to do this, or you might just give up and settle for ugly.)

Don't: Leave appliances and dirty dishes on your counter when taking pictures. Sheesh!

Okay, at the risk of making this post even longer, I must tell you that I have saved the best for last! I am about the least artistic, crafty, creative person you will ever meet. BUT, I have a gift of creating kid bedroom masterpieces! (Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it!) I may have mentioned that I LOVE colour. And stripes. Stripes are fun, and cute, and oh-so fun!

Do: Be asymmetrical. It's not square. (Get it?!)

Do: Let your kids help in ways that won't destroy all your hard work. Note the removable Tinkerbell stickers.

Do: Let other people do the work that you're not talented enough to do yourself. (Thanks for the freehand work - Pat and Mom!)
Oh, how I could go on. We're nowhere near done yet - just pluggin' away as time (in-between births and birthday parties) and finances (when feeding 7 mouths doesn't split my purse into smithereens) allow. But, pretty proud of what we've done so far. Next on the 'to do' list: re-shingle the roof. Fun times!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words...and dollars

No matter how old the mother is, her love is fresh and new
with each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild.

My Grandma admiring her 6th great-grandchild, Malakai John Daniel.

This post is a submission for the Mother's Day Giveaway at 5minutesformom.