I’m busy enjoying my time with my daughter who is visiting during her college spring break, which means not much time for blogging.  For my Thursday post I simply recommend a blog I recently found called It’s Not About Dying.  The author of the blog lost his beautiful daughter to cancer some years back and is now writing about it on his blog.  If you have time, start reading from his very first post (he just started last month) called Chemical Therapy. 

You will be touched.  You will count your blessings.  I promise.

Hoob got into my car today after school and said, “Mom, today was not a very good day.”

“Oh?  Why not?”

“I kept spacing off in math, so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to understand how to do the assignment, and in Biology we did a lab.  During the lab I broke two beakers.”


“Yeah.  The first time I accidentally hit Shayna’s hand while she was washing it which made her drop it in the sink and it broke.”

“What did you two do?”

“We laughed and picked up the pieces.  Then right after that I was grabbing a new beaker and I moved too fast and it slipped out of my hand and hit the wall and broke.”

“Uh oh.  What did Mr. Ditman say?”

“He just said, ‘Beakers break.'”

“That’s it?”


And so my daughter learned a truth today.  Beakers break.

Tires go flat.

Batteries die.

Flowers wilt.

Computers crash.

Stuff happens.

And none of it is worth getting upset about.

Laugh, pick up the pieces, and grab another beaker.

What we saw on Thanksgiving: 

As seen from our front yard.

Just around the corner.


On Black Friday I officially became a shoplifter.  Only, I didn’t know I was a shoplifter until later that night when I was unloading our loot from the shopping bags and discovered (gasp!) that one of the flash drives we had grabbed was hidden underneath all of our gloves, hats, and scarves, which we had removed and shoved in the bag once inside the store and running around like lunatics, because it gets rather warm when you are running around a store like a lunatic looking for a GPS unit and some flash drives, dontcha know?  

The anti-theft thingies (can’t think of what they are called right now) did beep as we were leaving the store, and a security guard did come and check my receipt against the items in my shopping bags, but not one of us thought to look under all the scarves, hats, and gloves.  We must have looked honest, or the security guard was simply too tired at 5:00 in the morning to care, because after a rather quick glimpse at the receipt and contents of the shopping bags, he told us we could go. 

The thing is, we do want to be honest.  And so, yes, the flash drive was returned to the store (on Monday–didn’t have time until then) so that I could pay for it.  The nice young man working the customer service desk allowed me to buy the flash drive for the Black Friday price.  My kids had a good time teasing me about being a shoplifter.  Though the whole incident was inconvenient, I was glad to be able to use it as a time to reinforce a lesson on honesty with my kids. 


Hoob danced at the Festival of Trees with her dance studio on Wednesday evening.  One of our favorite trees there was this one: 

Upside down "Nightmare Before Christmas" tree

Little did I know that our own Christmas tree would have a nightmare of its own last night and throw itself on the floor in an attempt to escape whatever it was dreaming about.  Or, maybe it was trying to do a cartwheel.  Or, it wanted to be upside down like the tree at the festival.  Or…the stupid tree stand broke.  

And, of course, the tree would fall down at midnight, thus waking me from a nice dream of vacationing in Florida, and causing me to sit straight up in bed wondering what I’d heard.  And, of course, Hub didn’t hear the loud crash because he can sleep through anything.  And so, I was the one who crawled out of bed to wander through the dark house in the middle of the night to see if I could discover what had made the loud crash that interrupted my nice dream of vacationing in Florida.  Thankfully, I didn’t hear any scary horror movie music, so I was able to be brave as I wandered through the dark house at midnight. 

And then I saw our poor Christmas tree.  It was down.  It was undignified.  It was pathetic.  And, in its fall, it broke a lot of my kids’ precious ornaments from past Christmases. (Wah, sob, sniff) 

At that time of night I didn’t think to take picture of the mess.  I, instead, enlisted the help of Hub who woke right up when I told him the Christmas tree had fallen.  How on earth did he not hear it???  We propped the tree up against the wall and cleaned up the ornament mess, and now we must hunt for a new Christmas tree stand or a new fake tree.  We haven’t decided which one yet. 


Stupid, stupid Christmas tree stand!

My ex-husband informed the kids last week, that in order for him to keep his job, he has to move out of state in January.  The kids are still processing the information and say that they aren’t sure how they feel about the news.

It is unfortunate that the ex allowed opportunities to spend quality time with his kids slip away.  There were many times that he didn’t pick the kids up on his night to have them, or would wait until Saturday afternoon to pick them up on “his” weekends instead of picking them up on Friday night.  The unspoken message to the kids was that there were other things more important to Dad than his kids.  And the result was that the kids chose not to go to Dad’s house many times.  When I would ask them why they didn’t want to go, the usual answer was, “Why should we?  He doesn’t do anything with us when we’re there.  Most of the time he’s not even around when we are there.”

And now he’s moving away from them.  This past weekend Yawlin was at his dad’s house and he said that it was fun because his dad played games with him.  Maybe the upcoming move is affecting the father and causing him to think?  How sad that it took a forced move to make him value time with his kids.

And perhaps there is a lesson in this for all of us.  When we get so busy that we allow that “busyness” to rob us of time spent with our family, and we rationalize it away by thinking that we will make it up to our family “tomorrow” or “next time,” the danger is that we will continue to think that there will always be a next time.  But sometimes life throws a curve ball, and the “next time” never comes.

Enjoy them while you’ve got them.

For us, this was normal this weekend:

*Hub stood at our bedroom window and looked out at our empty garden.  Suddenly he said, “I can’t stand it.  I have to go get some tomato plants!”  He left, came back with eight tomato plants, planted them in the garden, and erected a “wall of water” around each baby plant.  This in spite of the fact that earlier in the week Hub had announced that he wouldn’t plant anything in the garden until after the new vinyl fence was installed so that he wouldn’t have to worry about fence installers trampling on his baby plants.

I surveyed his work in the garden and said, “Well, at least you only got eight tomato plants this year instead of the fourteen you did last year.  Eight is enough.”

Hub shook his head.  “Nooooo, I plan on getting more tomato plants later.”

Sigh.  We are going to have tomatos coming out of our ears this summer.  Again.

*I didn’t fill Easter baskets this year.  I did, however, get each of the kids a few things in anticipation for our road trip to the Oregon coast in June.  One of the items each of our kids got was a cheapie squirt gun.  We’ve been stuck in construction traffic enough times over the years that I’ve learned to have items on hand that help kill the time if we get stuck in traffic.  I envisioned the kids playfully squirting each other through the windows of our vehicles as we slowly pass orange construction cones (with the size of our family, we always have to take two vehicles on road trips). 

I had thought that the squirt guns would be put aside, along with the kites and beach towels, until the trip.

Silly me.

Not with our kids.

After returning from Easter dinner at my parents’ house Squid and Shroom decided it was time to fill the squirt guns.  At first it was the poor dog who got squirted.  Then it progressed to random family members.  When Squid squirted Huh in the face as she came into the kitchen she reacted immediately by grabbing the sink sprayer and turning the water on full blast.  A full-on war broke out after that.  Bio-siblings vs. step-siblings.

Commando rolls.  Leaps behind furniture.  Creeping along walls.  We saw it all.

I slunk through the house turning out lights (to make things more interesting).  As I turned one corner Shroom got me in the face with a straight shot.  There was a slight look of panic on his face and then an apology.  What are the repercussions for shooting one’s step mom in the face?  Then he continued on his way.  I decided that I am getting too old for such things and started retreating upstairs to my bedroom.  I passed Hub on the way who said, “This is your fault.  You’re the one who got them the squirt guns.”

Guilty as charged.

*Juju insisted on eating only the hard-boiled eggs that she had colored.  Because there were forty eggs, many of them looking similar, she had to do a lot of detective work to determine which eggs were “hers.”

*Mack has been suffering from constipation.  We’ve tried prune juice, lots of fresh fruit, and laxatives.  When she finally had a bowel movement over the weekend she announced it to all who were within hearing distance.  “I pooped!”

The entire family cheered.  The kids’ friends who were present looked around in bewilderment, no doubt wondering why our family would celebrate such an announcement.

*Hoob was asked to babysit for a family in the neighborhood Saturday evening.  The kids in this particular family are known throughout the neighborhood for being “difficult.”  Hoob accepted the babysitting job because she wanted some extra spending money.

I received a call from Hoob shortly after she started babysitting.  “Mom, I’m going to kill myself!”

I laughed.  “Hang in there.  At least you only have to survive for a couple of hours.”  There was a groan from Hoob.

When I hung up and moved through the house various family members asked, “Who called?”


“What’d she want?”

“She’s going to kill herself.”

“Oh.”  And then the questioner calmly went back to what they were doing because they understood Hoob’s situation.  As I thought about it later, I realized how strange such an exchange must have sounded to any friends present who were not aware of the babysitting job. 

I promise, we really are not insensitive!

*All through the weekend, as we attended church and did our various activities, I kept trying to get in little thoughts and conversations about the real reason we celebrate Easter.  I won’t go into detail about the conversations, but the kids all insist that they know the real reason.

I hope so.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

“When a man makes war on his own weaknesses he engages in the holiest war that mortals ever wage.  The reward that comes from victory in this struggle is the most enduring, most satisfying, and the most exquisite that man ever experiences.”  –Bryant S. Hinckley

The quote above is one of my favorites.  It is taped to my bedroom mirror where I can see it every day.  I thought I would share it in a quick post since this is the only blogging I will be doing today (I am subbing 3rd grade all day).

Are you willing to take advice from second graders?  Perhaps they have experienced just enough of life to share a bit of wisdom.  Take a look at some of the “Rules of Safety” created by my son’s second grade class.  I can’t help but wonder if some of them are speaking from experience.

*Clean up after yourself before someone slips.

*Don’t climb walls.

*No running in the halls.

*Don’t stay in the sun too long.

*Always clean your room or somebody might trip and fall.

*Stretch out before you dance.

*No running in the lunchroom.

*Don’t swallow hard candy whole.

*Don’t chew more gum than one.

*Do not throw food.

*Don’t jump off the swings.

*Be safe on the bus.

*Don’t throw snowballs at people.

*Never punch eny butty.

*Look out for cars when you cross the street.

*Always wear a helmet when you are skating.

*No running in the hole cuz sum wun will get hurt.

And we must all remember…

*Never hold the cat for a long time!