Friday, October 27, 2006

Bills, bills, bills

Warning: Punchy email . . .

Yippee! Today was the last day that I needed to get Keva up for school in the dead of night because of Daylight Savings. I've been dragging these days with the early morning alarm clock. I shouldn't complain, though, with Keith working such long hours . . .

Lately, it's been hormones galore. I'm glad to be back among the land of the semi-sane now. For a while, I had this HUGE zit on my chin. I felt like that lady on a travel commercial, "Hi, Aunt Mole." If you watch too much TV, you'll understand the reference . . .

I've also been battling bills ("Bills, bills, bills. We make bill collectors leave you alone!"-- another inane TV commercial) One day this week, I waded through paperwork for four hours straight. Some things can take so much time. We've had so many doctor visits lately and, as a result, a whole pile of medical bills. I'm happy to report that after a few phone calls to the right places, I was able to get rid of two bills. Our insurance company was going to charge us $18 for Kade and Konner's eye checks during their well visits. $18!!!! Come on! The eye test consisted of having each boy stand, covering one eye, and identifying pictures. But, since it was considered eye care (and our insurance doesn't cover eye care), we were going to be charged for it. Amazingly enough, I complained, and they took the charges off. How about that!

During one particularly crazed bill paying/paperwork sequence, I was trying to return a call for an appointment that I had set up for Keva. This involved a three-hour hearing test that the school decided was not a requirement after all. So, I tried to cancel said appointment. Only I got lost in a phone menu system, trying desperately to get to a real voice. Instead, I'd go through a whole series of menu options, only to find a recording saying, "You have reached such-and-such office. Such-in-such is too busy to take your call, please call back again!" (no opportunity to leave a message or anything!) Argh! Double argh! (Can you just see the puffs of smoke from the firing hormones?) I had to go through the phone menu sequence THREE times before I got to a real person. Keri Lynn came to my desk right about that time with a test for me to grade and she heard me muttering to myself. So she did what she knew would make me laugh -- this really silly imitation of a comic strip character that never fails to put me in stitches. I burst into peals of laughter just as a REAL PERSON came on the line at the doctor's office. I somehow got out a few words asking for the office assistant that I needed, sputtering apologies as I went, when I got a message, "Such-and-such is not available at this time . . . " AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! By the way, I finally did get to cancel the appointment.

Needless to say, I got a little punchy after a while working on the bills/paperwork, so much so that I ended up calling MY OWN NUMBER when trying to pay a utility bill because my number (oddly enough) was on the bill. I ended up calling TWICE. And finally figured out what I was doing when, the second time, I was still getting a busy signal. Ha!

Speaking of phones, I did finally manage to sign us up for Vonage. Supposedly, it will cost us about $15 a month for phone bills. I'll report to let you know if it is indeed $15, or if there are a whole bunch of extra fees tacked on. The service is attached to our cable system through the Internet. If we lose power, we'll also loose phone service, but I figure we'll still have our cell phones available in case of emergency.

It's been raining all day today. Poor Kody has been going stir crazy, but the rest of us have been watching videos or reading books all day. Keri Lynn, ever faithful, has gotten school work done, but the rest of us have been lax, to say the least. The kids have watched (in order): A Mary Kate and Ashley Olson mystery video, a movie about Squanto, Aladdin, Ride a Wild Pony and Shirley Temple's Little Princess (all courtesy of our wonderful library). We finally turned the TV off and found ourselves in our family room, still living and breathing. Now Kathleen has gone off to play at a friend's house and is hoping to get someone, anyone, to come spend the night with her. Keva is home from school. Kristofer has walked the dog, done the dishes and taken out the trash . . . You see, Kristofer wants desperately to go to Walmart and get a dart game with $10 that is burning a hole in his pocket. And because I don't want to do anything for the rest of the day, I think I'll order pizza for dinner. Yum. Then maybe we'll have movie night!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Eewww! Snakes!

I really need to be doing bills and preparing kids' lessons, but here I am plunking at my keyboard . . .

I was chatting happily with one of our neighbors at a birthday party on Friday, when I told her about the black snake that Keri Lynn saw in the backyard.

"Oh, that's a Water Moccasin. You have about 15 minutes for the paramedics to come if it bites."


She continued, "I was told that I need to buy two King Cobras and let them out in my backyard to get rid of the other snakes." (She has a creek behind her house and has had several Water Moccasin sightings there.) "King Cobras are dangerous to other snakes, including Water Moccasins, but aren't dangerous to humans, hence the name "King" Cobra."

I could feel myself turning green at the thought of taking myself off to the pet store for a couple of King Cobras. Eeewwww!

The weather has turned cold REALLY fast. It may warm up again before the cold sets in, but I don't think so. It was below freezing last night and we saw our first frost on the ground when we got up this morning. Everyone else's lawn was all crystallized and pretty from the frost except for our lawn which we only, so there was little moisture to make much frost, just a few patches here and there. Our heater is in full force now.

My sister Connie came through for an evening and morning on a return from a trip to Nashville. She had to fly through Atlanta, of course, on a buddy pass, so got stuck here. Mom bought her a ticket to come home so that she wouldn't miss her classes today -- otherwise she would have had to stay until this morning. (Now I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures while she was here to post on the blog -- bummer, bummer, bummer! The time went too fast!) At any rate, it was good to see her. We'll be seeing Mom, Rich and Connie's kids in less than two weeks when they come through on a visit. They'll also be traveling on Keith's buddy passes, but hopefully won't be getting stuck in any airports since they'll be traveling in the week rather than weekend.

Connie came at just the right time. The trees are GORGEOUS. I'll be posting some pictures soon. It's so fun to simply drive around right now and watch the leaves falling and swirling. Each day, there's another new fall color on display. I can't believe that the trees will be losing their leaves AGAIN! (Didn't we go through this last year?) And then they'll be just as naked and stark as can be while we all freeze! It's amazing to see God's artistic flair in nature. He is the great Artist Creator.

Yesterday, we had our 10-month walk-thru. With the house, we get a two-month and 10-month walk-thru to go through any warranty issues related to the house. We will actually have been in our house here in Newnan for one year by the end of this month. I cannot state enough how much I dislike the walk-thru process. I'd just as soon just skip the whole thing and go about my business. However, I've got this husband who likes to make sure that we're getting our money's worth on this "little" investment called a house, so I set up the meeting anyway! And it went pretty well. The flooring company will be coming soon to repair some gaps in our wood floor and in some linoleum. A guy will be coming to fix some carpet problems. Our deadbolt in the basement actually works now. And . . . the most amazing thing . . . the guy is trying to figure out what to do about our uneven floors in the kitchen, living room and dining room.

It was the funniest thing, because he could see the obvious lean of our refrigerator. It's a full inch slant because of the slope of the floor. So he actually left from our meeting and then came back about half an hour later to check it out further, bringing one of the builders with him to get his opinion. They looked at the support beams in the basement and were up and down for a good part of an hour. I put in my two cents worth about the other uneven parts, showing the lean in the china cabinet, bookcase, and desk unit. It's going to be a complicated fix, but I think they're going to, at the very least, fix the slant at the refrigerator, because they could see a mistake at the beams.

As it turns out, the builder that the warranty guy brought in was the guy who designed our house model! I was so pleased to meet him and tell him how much I love the design. I think he was quite pleased since I'm sure he hears far more complaints than compliments.

Bits and Pieces

Kade and Konner tackle Kody
The kids are not supposed to touch the crate while the dog is in it. The crate is to be Kody's safe haven from the crazy household of seven kids. Where do I find Konner one day? IN the crate.
Kade works on our new puzzle.
I don't know if you can see the trees, but we've been slowly planting our baby maples along the inside of our fence.
Brokeback Johnson Belongings: Dead vacuum, dead steam cleaner bottle, dead lamp cord, and a dead broom handle laying against a very dead end table.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Raging Hormones

My hormones are raging today. Big heavy sigh. The kids know to duck and cover when I'm like this. It doesn't help when everything starts breaking down. In the last week:

1) Vacuum cleaner hose -- a bent nail got stuck in it, plugging up the fuzzy carpet stuff so that nothing could get through. After about an hour, thankfully, Kathleen and I got it unplugged. I was really worried that we'd lost it for good this time.

2) The cleaning fluid bottle came off the tank of The Indispensable Steam Cleaner. That's the tank the reads: DO NOT REMOVE CLEANING FLUID BOTTLE. The steam cleaner still works, but not with the cleaner. BIG BUMMER.

3) Konner decided it would be great fun to let Kody chew on my broom. My broom is now half a broom and Konner is lucky he's still alive to tell the tale.

4) Grandma Johnson's lamp -- It used to sit in a cute little cubby over the fireplace at our house in Los Angeles, and now it's in our living room here. I finally had to replace the lampshade, but the cord finally gave way. It's still a cute lamp, but now it's a non-functioning cute lamp.

5) I took pictures of all the above next to my poor end table that Kristofer tried to put together earlier this year. He glued it together, but not quite right. I really need to just let it go to "glory" and find something else instead of trying to prop it up next to the recliners.

When hormones start raging, it is wise to make sure everyone (especially myself) is getting enough sleep. On our way to the library yesterday, the kids wanted to get a movie there and have a movie night. I said that would be fine as long as we had dinner by about 5:00 and started the movie about 6:00, then everyone would be in bed by 8:00 and all would be well.

Reality: Dinner at about 6:15 (not bad, really) except there was a huge altercation about whether they would watch James and the Giant Peach or The Indian in the Cupboard. I decided to let them watch both -- stupid, stupid, stupid. Why am I so into immediate gratification? Why couldn't I just decide on one and let them enjoy the second one the next night? I don't know! Gurrr!

So, I had them all raise their right hands and repeat after me, "I (state your name) do solemnly promise to not be grumpy tomorrow!"

They all made their solemn vows and guess what! Not only did I have my own hormone attack, but each and every one of the younger set were as grumpy as could be today. Did I learn my lesson? YES! We will not do a movie night past bedtime on a school night again!

On the cute side of home life at the Johnson house . . .

Kathleen, honing her culinary skills, decided to make Koolaide on her own. She put in the packet of Koolaide, added water and stirred, but -- strangely enough -- it tasted quite bitter, so she added ANOTHER packet of Koolaide. Still was bitter, so she gave up and poured it out. I told her that next time she needs to add sugar.

Keri Lynn came downstairs this afternoon from her studies to inform me that she saw what she thought was a stick moving in the backyard, but, of course, it was a SNAKE! Ick! Gross! I hate snakes, probably worse than just about anything else.

Kade and Konner, upon hearing that news, said in tandem, "AWESOME!"

Then Kade looked at me funny, "Mom, I thought you hated mice?"

"I do hate mice, but I think I hate snakes more. (Me and Indianan Jones.) The only good thing about snakes is that they eat mice!"

Then I launched into a lecture about not touching snakes, especially the pretty colorful ones.

"Yeah!" the boys chorused in anticipation.

On a teary note, since I'm into song lyrics right now and I'm a mother, I really appreciate this song by Mark Schultz. It doesn't seem that my kids would ever be old enough to go off to war, let alone leave home. But then again, I never thought I'd ever be a mother of two teenagers either. Really weird.

Letters from Home

She walked to the mailbox
On that bright summer's day
Found a letter from her son
In a war far away

He spoke of the weather
And good friends that he'd made
Said I'd been thinking 'bout dad
And the life that he had
That's why I'm here today
And at the end he said
You are what I'm fighting for
It was the first of the letters from war

She started writing
You're good and you're brave
What a father that you'll be someday
make it home
make it safe

She wrote every night as she prayed

Late in December
A day she'll not forget
Oh her tears stained the paper
With every word that she read

It said "I was up on a hill
I was out there alone
When the shots all rang out
And bombs were exploding
And that's when I saw him
He came back for me
And though he was captured
A man set me free
And that man was your son
He asked me to write to you
I told him I would, oh I swore"
It was the last of the letters from war

And she prayed he was living
Kept on believing
And wrote every night just to say

You are good
And you're brave
What a father that you'll be someday
Make it home
Make it safe
Still she kept writing each day

Then two years later
Autumn leaves all around
A car pulled in the driveway
And she fell to the ground
And out stepped a captain
Where her boy used to stand

He said "Mom, I'm following orders
From all of your letters
And I've come home again",
He ran into hold her
And dropped all his bags on the floor
Holding all of her letters from war

Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sweet Keva

As promised, here are a few pictures of Keva that I took today in her room. She's got her own room, the bedroom closest to the master.

Some of these pictures came out sideways, and I don't know why. But she's still awfully cute, don't you think!


I had a nice time at the women's retreat. My only disappointment was that none of the ladies from my Sunday School class went, except for one who was in another group, so I didn't get to talk with her much. I was either at a table with a lot of young moms or hanging out with older ladies. It was still valuable, though. Each connection is important, especially in a church. And I'll be interested to see how these new relationships blossom.

I had some fun conversations with our very talented, no-nonsense church pianist, an energetic 78-year-old mother of six, two ladies who happen to both work in social services, a lady who literally lives down the street from us and is a very talented artist, another artist lady who specializes in horses and can do amazing quick portraits . . .

I'm amazed at how the Lord brings people together and calls us His church! He is good to us.

Evidently, my snoring wasn't too bad while on retreat, because no one commented on it the next morning and I didn't ask! It was for only one night anyway.

On the retreat, I ate like there was no tomorrow. I do that when I'm on vacation or just out having a nice time. Fun = Food, I guess!

A neighbor girl came by today concerned because the little kids had been out with Kody and she saw Kody nipping at Konner. She then gave us some great pointers on how to train him to stop nipping. I think she's willing to come by occasionally and help us out. She has experience and a nicely behaved dog that Kody likes to play with. Kristofer has been praying for her brother James -- for salvation. We could also pray for her as well. Tiffany.

I've been busy getting the house back into a semblance of order after the busy weekend. Keri Lynn did a great job of babysitting Friday night for me while I was gone -- Keith doesn't come home until 1:00 or 2:00 on week nights. So when I came home Saturday afternoon with dishes done and the house still standing, she said, "You don't have to pay me for babysitting (she's getting used to getting babysitting money again these days!), but you can take me out to El Charro's for dinner tonight!" So we went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant while Keith watched the rest of the kids.

The temperature has changed nearly overnight. Leaves are turning color and falling. Kids are wearing jackets and SHOES when they go outside. We've switched from air conditioning to heating! Gas prices, here we come! Ack!

Today, I spent most of the day catching up on bills, laundry and general cleaning. I battled my vacuum cleaner today for about an hour trying to clean out a plugged up spot. As it turns out, a bent nail got caught up right in the middle of the hose and was clogging the system. I could just reach it with one of my long knitting needles. The vacuum cleaner still sounds like it's going through the death throws of emphysema, but at least it's working again.

I need to go make dinner now because the minions are rioting. I'm going to try to make my own beef stroganoff. Sounds yummy to me tonight. First, though, I guess I need to go clean up a pee mess in the dining room. Sigh.

Later . . .

Not only did I clean the pee mess but a vomit mess. Kristofer hosed off the bottom of Kody's crate where he'd upchucked and I got out the faithful steam cleaner AGAIN. That dog! I feel like the Skipper on Gilligan's Island, "Gi-li-gan!" This all exploded (literally) when I was making dinner. Blick!

And now I'm just tired and ready to go to bed but I still need to finish some laundry or Keith is going to work naked tomorrow. The kids all took baths, even Keva, which means I'll undoubtedly be changing a stinky diaper for Keva some time tonight. She always "does her doody" when she's had a nice warm bath. (I apologize to all my queasy readers!)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Off to Women's Retreat

I'm just about ready to take the kids to the park to meet with some other homeschool families. I hope there will be some new friends there! We miss our dear homeschool friends in California very much.

Then, we'll come home and I'll whisk myself away to the women's retreat. It's an overnighter at Calloway Gardens. I've been wanting to go check out the gardens since we moved to Georgia, but this is the first opportunity. The retreat will go through tomorrow noon, so the kids won't be desolate without me for too long. : )

I'm a little worried (okay, a lot worried) about my snoring problem. Last time I went to retreat in California, it was up in the mountains, I was starting to get a cold, and I guess I must have been snoring REALLY loudly. There were comments made that ended up really hurting my feelings. My skin is so thin -- too thin, I think. Nevertheless, I love getting together with other Christian women so much and it's a great opportunity to make new connections with the women at First Baptist.

Kids are calling!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Poop Deck

Puzzle mania! Our first puzzle done! We are so proud! Mac joined in the celebration, too! He tried to put a few pieces together!
Is this not the cutest picture ever! Konner drew it in Sunday School. He's not much for arts and crafts, so I treasure the ones I do get.
Beautiful Kylie with several gaps in her mouth
Kade and Konner. Can you tell which brother lost his first tooth?

Kade lost his first tooth this week. He's 6 3/4, so he's actually a little early losing his teeth in our family. Kathleen reminded me that she was eight when she lost her first tooth. Bless her heart, Kathleen remembered to get a dollar under Kade's pillow last night. We give a dollar for the first tooth and a quarter thereafter. She had to go up to the other tooth fairy conspirator (Keri Lynn) to borrow money since I was in the shower! That made it a lot of fun this morning when Kade came out with his loot.

"Mom, is there such thing as a tooth fairy?"

(I remember having this conversation with Kylie just last week.)

Kade is younger, though, and I go back to the usual modus operendum, "Well, who do you think put that dollar under your pillow?"

"Did YOU?"

"Nope," I can say in all honesty.

"I know! DADDY did!"


"Then, who?"

"Hmmm. I wonder . . . ."

"I bet it was Daddy!"

"He'll be awake in a few minutes. Go ahead and ask him," I say with confidence.

Kade is terribly pleased, nonetheless. A whole dollar! It's burning a hole in his pocket. Can I take him out RIGHT NOW to go get something at Dollar Tree? Kylie pipes up that she wants to go, too, since she still has her tooth fairy money.

On the way to the library this afternoon for our usual Thursday Library Run, Kristofer talked about his tooth fairy experiences -- how he had seen Daddy sneak into his room and put the money under his pillow, how he knew that Keri Lynn was the one who had written an apologetic note from the tooth fairy when I had forgotten another time. He hadn't said anything at all this whole time because he enjoyed keeping the secret and he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings! So sweet.

We finished our first puzzle a few weeks ago and I finally laminated it last week. I'd like to have a wall of laminated puzzles down in the basement rec room (when we get it finished anyway!) So, the first one is ready! We were all excited to break out the second puzzle. I was happily putting pieces together yesterday when a very disgusting, large, slimy, brown roach crawled out of the table and along its edge right where I usually sit! I summoned Kristofer to kill it but it escaped into a crevice and no matter how hard he tried to bang it out it wouldn't budge. I decided I wouldn't be doing any puzzle work for a while. Gross! Gross! Gross!

And as if I didn't have enough gross things going on in my house, Kody has been doing his business pretty regularly (when we can't catch him on time) in the dining room and now out on the deck. I guess you could officially call it a "poop deck".

Anyway, his last poop on the deck was extra disgusting. I refused to deal with it. The kids kept saying, "Mom, the poop is still on the deck."

And I kept saying, "You mean it hasn't disappeared all by itself yet?"

Finally, Kristofer had mercy on me and cleaned it up. He had to bring up the mop and bucket and everything. Kristofer deserves a huge crown in heaven for cleaning up poop and killing disgusting creatures for his mom. What a kid!

Kody is doing better with his nipping problem. I think he's just getting used to us. He loves to be with everyone. One of the main reasons we picked a Labrador is because they are typically social. He tolerates quite a bit of kid abuse. Konner is forever trying to ride him like a horse and both of the little boys keep crawling into his crate with him, and they all stick fingers into his crate. I keep telling them that the crate is his "Safe Place" and have finally had to resort to The Boo-Boo Stick to keep them out. When Kody is out of his crate, he's ready to play. The kids chase him around the house which he greatly enjoys, but he also loves to get a toy and play keep away. Keva especially will grab onto his tail or his back end and hang on for dear life.

I think I'm getting used to Kody, too. I'm feeling more relaxed and not so TIRED. It's been like having a newborn in a lot of ways -- getting used to an extra feeding schedule, cleaning up poop and pee, keeping an eye on him when he's awake, etc. Kathleen declared that Kody is her favorite dog EVER! Kylie says, "I'm glad we've finally got a dog!" It is fun, even though our house doesn't smell as good as it did before. Then again, our house has never been exactly approved by Good Housekeeping.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send out a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ginny today! Hope you have an extra special one and maybe I'll even CALL you to wish you happy birthday. Wouldn't that be something!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Lunch Crew

Keri Lynn with her helping of macaroni and cheese. She STILL likes that stuff.
The Gruesome Threesome
Kathleen and Kristofer -- best friends and worst enememies. Note Kristofer's new haircut.

Haircuts Gone Wild

Poor Kristofer was the victim of hair clippers gone wild on Saturday. I walked in on Keith attempting to cut Kristofer's hair and the first words out of my mouth were, "Don't worry, Sweetie. It will grow back!"

I quickly took some scissors and salvaged what I could. The stricken look on his face eased some! Now, he looks like he recently joined the Marines.

I'm none to happy with the timing of this haircut, but I shouldn't be too surprised. Stuff like this always happens right about the time I'm planning a family picture. Last year, it was Kylie's hair getting stuck in a small motorized vacuum cleaner. (Don't ask!) She got the hair at the top of her head stuck in it so tightly, that I had to cut it off. For months, she had little tufts of hair sticking up at the top of her head.

Previous years, there have been other disastrous moments that made family pictures difficult. Keith struck again with Kade and Konner, giving them buzz cuts that looked really nice about a month later, but not in time for Christmas pictures. There was the year that Kathleen gave Kylie a haircut. Then there was the time that one of the kids (I forget who) had a black eye. It's always something, I guess! I'm just happy when everyone looks fairly happy and is looking in the same direction!

Yesterday, we took off from school. Public school was off, too, for teacher work day, so the kids spent a lot of time playing with their friends. I joked with the kids that since it was teacher work day, I guess I had to do all the dishes, laundry and cleaning. What I actually did was sit and read most of the day nursing a headache. I was just kind of feeling off all day, so it was a good day to not do much. We did manage to do some clean-up around the house, but today the dishes are still stacked up waiting for a turn in the dishwasher. It'd going to be one of those days where I need to run the dishwasher three or four times to caught up.

Keri Lynn saw a bunch of pots and pans that had been washed still sitting on the counter. She sighed, "I guess I need to put these away now, they're driving me crazy!" Ha! Ha! Little does she know that is part of my master plan. Drive the children crazy so that they'll pitch in to put the things away that I don't want to put away myself! (Keri Lynn, you're not supposed to read this part!)

We've started having Bible time and group school time at 11:00 in the morning instead of right after breakfast so that we can go right into lunch without interrupting school time. The big kids work on their DVD lessons before that and then for a few hours in the afternoon. I've been teaching Kylie, Kade and Konner. Since I had to return the DVDs for Kylie and Kade, I've been kind of making it up as I go along until I can get the teacher books I need. I'm renting the rest of the DVDs for the bigger kids until we're done with the year's work. They're coming along.

That was good news for me, since I seem to have trouble putting things away. It's the same with dishes and laundry. I can scrub pots and pans for hours, but I become paralyzed when it's time to dry and put them back into cabinets. I can do load upon load of laundry, but just try to force me to put clean clothes into a drawer. No way! That's why my current laundry system of folding clean clothes into each kid's laundry basket in the laundry room is working so well for me! Laundry is not nearly the chore that it used to be!

I find myself humming a lot of the kids' music that they've been singing in choir. It's so fun to hear them singing the songs that they've been learning, too. One of my favorite's lately has been a song by Chris Rice that Keri Lynn sang on choir tour. Here are the lyrics:

Cry out to Jesus
Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for Love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk, sometimes we
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain...then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside...then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on glory's side...and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fascinating Lists

Kids are finishing up lunch while I type up a quick note.

On Thursdays after lunch, we head off to the library. It's important for me to get to the library once a week at least, so I can renew the books I still have out and get more books! I love the library!

We're all kind of dragging today. This is very typical for Thursdays after putting out extra effort on Wednesdays for church-related things.

The beginning of the month is always a little hairy as well. I try to keep a monthly list going, so I don't overlook those things that aren't done regularly:

1) FAX homeschool attendance report

2) Pay first of the month bills

3) Put yeast packets into each of the toilets -- this is a treatment for our septic tank

4) Change heating/air filters -- I never do this, but it's on my list to remind Keith to do it. Those filters get absolutely rancid.

I'm pretty good and remembering to do the things that are done every day, but the jobs that require once a week or more attention are hard to get done. So I've tried to compile a list of things to do each day of the week to help maintain our household:

Monday: Kids vacuum rooms, clean bathrooms, we all take out waste basket trash, get all trash ready for Tuesday morning trash pick-up

Tuesday: Clean out car. (This ends up being a twice a year job -- but we're really working on making our car more presentable. There are few things more embarrassing than opening the car door and having trash fall out.)

Wednesday: I've learned to not schedule anything extra on this busy day.

Thursday: Tidy up in garage and basement

Friday: Shampoo rugs, mop floors

Keith works on the lawn and outside work over the weekend. If I need to, I usually get caught up on the laundry on the weekend. (For those of you who know me even a little bit, this means that I'm desperately trying to get caught up on laundry EVERY weekend.)

Now, wasn't that FASCINATING information!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Keva gets a good report

It's closing in on bed time and I am wiped out.

I slept in a little this morning because Keva was to go to her ophthalmology check-up. I thought it was at PAPP Clinic where we had her audiology appointment, but it turns out it was all the way on the other side of town. I figured this out when I looked up the doctor's information to make sure I was going to the right place. So, instead of having time to dress and feed Keva, suddenly I was in a mad panic to get us both out the door.

When I went into her room, I found Keva soaked through and through. Her bedroom reeked. So I gave her a multi baby-wipe wipe down, threw clothes on her and we headed off to her appointment. All the while, I was worried because I had not taken her to see an eye doctor in about seven years. (Procrastination at its best!)

Surprisingly, the doctor told me that she looks great! Imagine my surprise! I was expecting a whole laundry list of medical expenses to follow -- surgery, glasses, eye patches, follow-up appointments. Instead it was a $25 co-pay. Yippee!

Keith came home early today from his Delta job to rest. He did make a stop at Radio Shack on the way back to drool over some kind of weather radio. Then, he looked over the work Kristofer and Kathleen had done planting four of the baby maples in the back, then went to bed. Poor guy. It was my job to make sure Kody wasn't barking and the kids weren't making too much noise. Poor me!

We met a new neighbor at church tonight who moved into the brand new part of Phase 2. Of course, she has a six-year-old boy. That is the pre-requisite after all to move to Maple Creek. She also has a three-year-old girl.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Are they ALL yours?"

Kathleen has been faithfully taking the dog out for his early morning potty break while I get Keva ready for the bus. This morning, she was a little harder to get up than usual, having gone to bed too late the night before. However, she dutifully got up, once she actually understood what I was doing by shaking her awake, slung on her jacket over her nightgown, put on her flip-flops and took a very anxious Kody out.

Then, Kathleen came up to me secretly to let me know that she had gotten a quarter from Keri Lynn to put under Kylie's pillow. Kylie lost yet another tooth yesterday, You see, we have the LAMEST tooth fairy of all time. She has had to have some extra assistance from Keri Lynn over the last four or five years and now Kathleen to even come close to remembering what she's supposed to do when a Johnson kid looses a tooth.

We hate Halloween, we don't do Santa, and we certainly do not take kindly to the Easter Bunny, but we do have the Tooth Fairy. Kylie, though, quite seriously asked me point-blank last week, when she had lost another tooth, if I was the Tooth Fairy. I could not lie or even evade. Nevertheless, she still looked under her pillow the next day!

She's probably my most literal child and needs straight answer. She heard it from Molly, down the street, that there is a Santa Claus because Molly had seen him herself right outside an airplane!

"It's true, Mommy! Molly said so!" And thus ensued some difficult times with friends as they argued amongst themselves about the veracity of a guy in a red suit.

We got a good jump on our school day today after being so sadly lazy yesterday. Then, after lunch, I took all of the boys and Kylie to get immunizations. The little boys at last got caught up on their five-year shots. We went to the Coweta County Health Department because we can pay a whole lot less for shots than we would otherwise through our primary care doctor, When you're getting multiple shots, this is very important. All of the kids did fine. They're always pretty stoic when it comes to stuff like that. Kylie, it turns out, didn't need any boosters at all. So just the boys came out nursing sore arms. Kristofer was the worst, complaining of his arm being numb. I tried to give him some adult Tylenol, but he's never swallowed pills before, so after a dozen failed attempts, he just took some children's Tylenol. Kade, too, was a little put out that the shots actually hurt, but he didn't complain until we were out of the building.

Tomorrow morning, I'm taking Keva to her eye appointment. She hasn't seen an ophthalmologist since she was about four. Obviously, she's long overdue. What's so upsetting, though, is that in my poor little brain, I thought the appointment was Thursday. It wasn't until this afternoon, that I realized that it was Wednesday and I would be missing my Bible study! Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. I look forward to that so much! At least the lecture is televised on the local channel, so I can catch that, but I won't be able to meet with the ladies in my small group.

I also get to sleep a little longer, too, since I'll be taking Keva to school after her appointment. With the mornings being so dark before the time change, it's so hard to get up lately.

When Keva got home from school today, and we had finished up the last of our school work, I got ready to go to the grocery store. Kristofer, Kathleen, Kylie, Kade and Konner all begged to go with me. So I decided to take them all. As we were walking into the grocery store, a woman coming out asked, "Are they ALL yours? And you still have a smile on your face?"

"Yes, of course!" I said, "And I have two more at home."

Then she repeated, "And you STILL have a smile on your face?"

I'm always embarrassed by such questions, mostly because I feel bad for my kids. How is that supposed to make them feel? I know the lady was just amazed that we could manage to be a happy family with so many and that she was complimenting, but does anyone see the underlying message that the kids get from this? Not just my kids, but her kids? That kids are a general nuisance and don't bring joy? When it's actually the opposite!

My kids do stupid things (like Kylie throwing glass bottles at a new house). They cost a lot. (Like our immunizations today). They make us crazy sometimes. But what a blessing! Complete and utter blessing.

Before I get too long -- like I'm not long every single time! -- I have to brag about Keri Lynn. We've been memorizing Colossians 3:1-17 this year in school. We've just about got the whole thing, but I want the bigger kids to be able to say it to me word perfect and I'm willing to give them incentive. Whoever says it to me word perfect, with only two helps or corrections, can go out to dinner with me at the next available time. For Keri Lynn, this was a huge incentive, because she loves to go the our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Charro.

So, she said the verses to me tonight while I was making dinner, and after the others ate, we hustled ourselves over to El Charro for dinner. We talked about Euthanasia and organ donation, of all things, because the A Beka DVD teacher had been discussion those issues.

Now my stomach is saying, "Jackie, you ate too late!" It's a good thing I'm sleeping in a little tomorrow. I'll need to recuperate, but it sure was good and so was the company.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Blues

Some Mondays, I just like to go hide out in my room and play Mindsweeper. Today was one of them.

I actually normally enjoy Mondays. I get a feeling of satisfactions that things are getting done. It's a fresh start. A chance to redeem missed opportunities from last week.

But our school day today was abysmal. I had the kids do bare minimum while we did housework. The never ending housework. Kody peed in the dining room so I pulled out the steam cleaner again. And once the steam cleaner was out, I decided to do the family room as well, since it was starting to smell funky. Then, I got depressed because I really needed to do ALL the rugs, especially the rug going up the stairs. That reminded me that I also needed to steam clean the breakfast room and bar chairs. But I stopped at the family room and told myself to do a little at a time. Maintain, maintain, maintain.

So, I pushed ahead and did what I really needed to do -- the usual -- dishes, tidying up the main rooms, sweeping, vacuuming. I allowed myself one out-of-the-ordinary job, cleaning out the floor in the pantry. (It's those little jobs that kill a day.) And I got the kids to clean up their rooms and bathrooms, too. Kade and Konner were threatened with no playtime, no candy time, no outside time until their room was clean and they had finished their school lessons. To my utter relief, they are now enjoying their playtime!

But now begins the real work, and probably the reason why I'm more stressed than usual today. We have a bunch of bags of cement left over from the fence work that took in moisture and are now very nice tombstones. We can still use them, though, for cement that we'll be putting in at the basement door. Guess who's moving the cement bags? Me and the kids! Whoo-hoo! Keith worked on a patch of cement at the driveway and then measured where the baby maples are supposed to go. But guess who's actually planting the trees? Me and the kids! I'm not upset with Keith for not doing this work, since it was just not physically possible for him to do it. He did all he could over the weekend. I just get tense when there are other things to be done at the same time!

So what am I doing instead? Writing my email!

Other things on the agenda are going to take Kody for his first manicure. : ) His nails are really long and I don't want to cut them too close to his nerve endings. I'd feel horrible. Petsmart will do it for $12.95. Taking him there, I can see how close they cut and do it myself next time. If you ask me, though, it's gross. Then again, I guess cleaning up dog mess from the dining room isn't exactly Etiquette 101 either.