Monday, May 21, 2007
Fortunately for him, he wasn't being destructive, really. He was just playing around with one of those pencils with the special coating on it that makes it heat sensitive. It changes color when you hold it. So he'd already put the pencil in the freezer and then he decided to heat it up in the microwave.
Apparently, pencil lead has a little bit of combustible energy. The lead exploded right out of the pencil and splattered all over the microwave.
I was none too happy with that little experiment. Hopefully there are no further chemical reactions other than explosion. I didn't think that pencil lead could be so dangerous!
In other Johnson news, the kids all participated in the Choir and Missions Recognition Service yesterday, the end of the year celebrations for our Wednesday night activities. It was SO SAD to say good-bye to Wednesday night suppers for the summer. Now I'll have to COOK on Wednesday nights -- gag, eck, sob! -- and it was SO SAD to say good-bye to teachers and helpers and friends for the kids' choirs and missions groups.
Each of the kids' choirs sang two songs. Konner, who didn't even open his mouth last year, sang pretty well, and even managed some of the hand motions. He's usually the clueless wonder up on stage, as he takes more interest in watching the people in the audience, observing the stage equipment and metaphorically picking daisies. This time, though, he did pretty well. I was proud of him.
Each of the kids did well and each of them are already anticipating the changes coming up in the new school year. Kristofer will be moving up to high school -- he's gotten a lot taller in the last few months -- and Kathleen will be moving up to middle school.
Now lunch is long over and I've got to get back to business. It's Kathleen and Kylie's turn to do their laundry today. Plus we have our regular clean-up. Thankfully I'm caught up with the dishes, and I can thank the ants for that. The ants are back, even after a pest control treatment. I can't leave any dirty dishes at all, or there's a whole bunch of them ready to come marching over. And when I clean them up, they bite -- vicious little creatures.
I'm a little off of my schedule because I moved my walk to morning time now that it's getting warmer. I've got to strain my brain and figure out how to get things done in a different order. It shouldn't be that hard, but it is! After my walk, we all went out to the lawn to weed for 15 minutes. Maybe, just maybe, if we weed for 15 minutes a day we can keep some of the billion weeds at bay.
If only weeds could be changed into gas. Locally, we're paying $3.14 a gallon. I can't imagine what it must be like on the West Coast if it's that expensive here.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
When I got home, the kids were watching our latest Netflix DVD -- we're always on the cutting edge of academics on our homeschool day -- Fiddler on the Roof. We can file this time in our school work under: music (of course), Russian history, Jewish tradition, and psychology. What a fun movie. I hadn't seen it since college. So, after putting groceries away, I plopped myself on the couch to watch and cried through quite a few scenes, perhaps because these days I can really identify with the poor parents! And also now the kids know why I sometimes go around singing, "If I were a rich man . . . "
So when we went to the library, I was on the hunt for more musicals. It was The Music Man last week, you might remember, and today I got The Pirates of Penzance. That made me think about my Dad and how when I was in high school we went to go see Pirates of Penzance on stage. Tuesday was my Dad's birthday, so memories of him this week are especially dear. It's hard to believe that it's been six years since he died. I have interminably long lists of silly sayings I say because of him:
"Good, gooder, goodest -- Never let it rest -- until the gooder is better and the goodest is best!"
"Shake and shake the ketchup bottle, first will come and then a lot'll." (or something like that!)
"You wear your food nicely!"
The Star Spangled Banner starts: "Jose can you see . . ."
"Here's your hat, what's your hurry."
"You know the cemetery? They're just dying to get in there."
And the kids will thank my Dad forever for creating "The Thems". These are the people that purposely make us wait in traffic. People who have to make a left turn in the only lane available while you're trying to go straight. People who need to go by while you're trying to merge into traffic. People who trip the signal lights going the opposite way, making the stop at the red light just about forever. All these people are "The Thems." My kids know them well. "The Thems" have followed us all the way from California. They're loyal that way. There aren't as many of them here as there were before because it was a long way to go, but they are here in Georgia none the less.
May holds some other important birthdays as well. My sister Connie's birthday was on Monday! Congratulations, Connie! Woo-hoo! Then, my brother-in-law, Ken, also had a birthday yesterday. He's REALLY old now. : ) I'm the oldest in my family, but Keith is a "woe-is-me" middle child. One of the perks of being a middle child is that you will always have a sibling that is older than you. So I just had to throw in how REALLY OLD Kenny is! Of course, that means that I'm downright ancient in Connie's eyes! Eek! Just thinking about life in my 20s -- O so long ago! -- and how old people were who were in their 40s. It's true!
Monday, May 14, 2007
The weekend was relaxing. The kids were great for Mother's Day. I got to sleep in while the older ones got ready for church, made breakfast, changed and dressed Keva and made sure the little boys didn't look like orphans. Keith was combing down little boys' hair when I made my appearance. Kids were playing a match game in the family room because everyone was ready to go to church. We even had time for a few pictures to commemorate this most wonderful day.
I made it clear last week, delicately but firmly, that I didn't want breakfast in bed. I don't like to think of crumbs making their way to sheets and pillows. So, my favorite egg casserole was waiting for me in the kitchen. Yum.
Then, we all went to church. Kristofer was super excited about being asked to help with the cameras in the worship service. The service is always filmed and shown a week later on our local channel, and since Kristofer's been doing such a great job with the tech work for the youth group, he was asked to help with the cameras. I think he'll do his Grandpa Stan proud since Grandpa Stan is the original church tech guy.
After church, Keith swung by to get me a very delicious Hardee burger. Everyone else ate the usual Sunday lunch fare -- sandwiches, top ramen, etc. -- but I got to eat a double patty bacon burger. It was scrumptious. And I only had to give a few bites away -- one to Keith, two to Kade and one to Konner. (Not that I was possessive of it or anything.)
I cooked a couple of whole chickens for dinner that night for the rest of the family while Keri Lynn and I went off to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Charro, for a dinner, just the two of us. It had been a while since we'd gone out to eat, so it was a wonderful treat.
Today, I'm dealing with the consequences of eating Mexican for dinner. Even thought I took home 3/4 of my meal, I still slept fitfully. I may have to sneak a nap in this afternoon to get back on track. It was worth it, though!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
The following post is my "Purse Meme" -- a expose on the contents of my purse. Why? You might ask. Several of my favorite blogs have done purse memes recently, and it's amazing how much is revealed about a woman from the contents of her purse. So, without further ado, the Purse Meme . . .
Here is my purse. It's a backpack-style purse. It always seems that I never go anywhere with JUST a purse, so I actually carry it like a backpack most of the time, and then I'm free to slog a big bag or whatever as well. I've had it for about five years. I am monogamous to my husband and to my purse. I don't own any other purses. When this one finally dies (loses a handle, gets stolen/lost, becomes unsightly), only then will I go back on the hunt for another purse. I would like to stipulate here that if Keith should ever lose a handle, get stolen/lost, or become unsightly, I WILL NOT replace him.
Here's the front of my purse. I got it during my "brown" accessories phase. At the time, I bought cute brown boots to go with my cute new purse. Today, it's looking a little the worse for wear and getting close to "meeting its reward."
And now for the contents of my purse. I want to add here that I did not edit ANY contents. I took the contents of my purse and spread them on my bed and snapped a bunch of pictures. (I know this must be absolutely fascinating!) : )
First of all, I do not leave the house without some form of writing utensil. So I usually have at least two pens stuck in the big outside pocket of my purse. I've been writing stories and letters since junior high years. And now blog posts are just an extension of my writing bug. I'm currently writing a story that I keep in a spiral notebook in the bag that I schlep around with my purse. If I don't have my notebook . . .
. . . then I grab scrap paper and scribble part of my story on that to be alter transferred to my main story. So that's what this paper is, tucked somewhere at the bottom of my purse. I remember writing this particular tidbit while waiting for pizza at Little Caesar's.
Here we have the all-important paint chips. How can one go shopping without having one's color scheme close at hand. And how could one not fully discuss said color scheme without showing friends the many and varied possibilities! The four strips in the forefront are the current colors of choice while the ones in the background are the contenders and/or bedroom color paint chips. Do you recognize the "electric lime" that is now actually on the walls of my kitchen/breakfast area? so it's blue on the left for the living room, a deep peachy color next for family room, the lime that I already wrote about and the red for the dining room. (Ginny might be the only one remotely interested in the colors!)
Hair care, of course. Keva hates this brush! The pony tail holders are for protection against are roll-down air-conditioning in the van.
I had at the very bottom of my purse a packet of AA batteries still in their bag from Kroger. I have to literally hide these batteries from my children who will appropriate them for their various plug-and-play game systems and for their other electronic toys. This cannot happen because I NEED to have batteries for my little $5 cassette Walkman for my walks and for the boredom of dishes and laundry.
One charger for my cell phone. This is a charger that plugs into an outlet because are van cigarette lighter went the way of the air-conditioner. So, just in case I run out of battery power, I have the option of plugging it in when I reach my destination. I also have in my purse (I just realized -- an ear piece -- for talking while driving (always SUCH a good idea!) It's tucked away in the cell phone compartment in my purse. I never use it so I forget it's there. The cell phone should be pictured here, too, but I always put it in a special place next to my car keys when I come home. I never leave home without it.
Next to the charger is my pile of trash -- old receipts mostly and grocery lists. I'm always amazed at just how much trash I can accumulate all by myself.
My purse has a front pouch that contains these items: 1) Mints pilfered from the church's women's restroom. Kade lives for these mints on Sunday mornings while waiting to be let loose to children's church. He's always STARVING until he gets one of them. 2) Three of eight flight cards for when we fly stand-by. Keith has his own and I supposedly have mine and the kids. Maybe Keri Lynn has hers. Why I'm missing four, I don't know. 3) A cute little flashlight key chain my father-in-law gave to each of the grand kids. I ended up with one of them in my purse. I never use it, but there it is anyway -- just in case!
There's an inside zippered pouch that contains my LOADS of change. Said change usually consists of pennies and an odd nickle or dime because the kids like to riffle through my purse in search of money. Then, I have my wallet that contains about a hundred receipts and ATM slips and the usual wallet stuff. Then, there's a little notepad with a running list of books that I want to read. My checkbook -- duplicate one since I'm terrible about keeping track of my checks -- especially because I almost exclusively use my debit card. And this year's Womens' Bible study name tag that is now over for the summer. (I'm going through Bible study withdrawals! boo-hoo!)
There's a make-up compartment at the front of the purse. The story of my make-up would take a whole series of posts all by itself, but I will try to sum it up! First of all, I no longer put my make-up on while driving to my destination. This habit was stopped when we moved to Georgia. There are simply not enough red lights to give me time to put on make-up. It used to be my big time saving strategy. Not anymore. This girl now does hair and make-up at home! So the make-up that I keep in my purse is strictly for putting something in the make-up compartment. I never use any of this stuff, except for maybe the lipgloss. The other lipsticks -- I don't use. Why do I have an eye pencil sharpener when I don't even have an eye pencil to sharpen? Don't know, but I did put it right back into my purse when I took the picture! I might use the toenail clippers on occasion, but I do that mostly at night at home. (Is this TMI?) Anyway, the compact has no make-up in it and is missing one of its two mirrors. I used it for the first time in months yesterday when Keri Lynn wanted to see what she looked like in Michaels wearing a tiara. Oh, and the two syringes in the picture are for Kody's use. I got some worm treatment for him that I have yet to give him. The medicine is up in the medicine cabinet with the people meds (and hopefully I won't accidentally dose someone in the middle of the night with worm treatment when they really have a cough.)
How many readers have I lost now?
Cough drops and a receipt from the latest visit to the pediatrician. I was popping cough drops like candy during the pollen season. It's finally starting to go down. Spring is so pretty, but I sure am a coughing, sneezing, nose-dripping mess.
Anyway, wasn't that interesting, Mom -- who's the only person still reading this post, I'm sure!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Yesterday, Keri Lynn and Kristofer both pounced on me and said that I had to take them shopping. Kristofer decided that he wanted to spend his money that he had earned on some kind of electronic pet that he'd seen at Target. Keri Lynn said that she wanted to look for a formal dress for her Sweet Sixteen party coming up in (gasp!) less than a month! Must. Find. Dress. Now.
So, we all piled into the van this morning and made the rounds. Most of the stops were for Keri Lynn as we needed to check thrift shops and J.C. Penney. We found the perfect dress for her upcoming Cinderella experience. I got a little taste of what it might be to go looking for a wedding dress someday. (Sweet sigh!)
Anyway, since prom season has passed, J.C. Penney had all formal wear on sale! The dress was originally $160 marked down to $84.99, and that got marked down to $74.99 because of a small run in the back. Since we got such a great deal, we went off to get the appropriate underclothes and shoes to go with the dress. We also looked at wraps. Then we went to go drool at the tiaras at Michaels. Alas, the tiaras went over our price range, but there is still a little less than a month for Keri Lynn to rake in that much more babysitting money. Keri Lynn is very pleased with her finds and she truly does look like a princess.
Kristofer got his electronic pet that he has since been happily caring for. He, however, does not look like a princess, especially since hanging around J.C. Penney for hours on end is not his favorite thing to do. We did happen to see a John Deere Monopoly game there that would be PERFECT for Father's Day.
Several people wanted to know why the kids were out of school. I never was asked that in California where there is such a diversity of school schedules and a bigger homeschool contingency. I answered that we homeschool and that today was a home economics field trip. : )
Halfway through our shopping excursion, we stopped by Taco Bell and had lunch. This was a special treat as we have been cutting back a lot on eating out. I have to interject here about the 7-Layer Crunchwrap at Taco Bell. That 7-Layer Crunchwrap is seven layers of heaven. Absolutely yummy. Keri Lynn, Kathleen and I each had one. I love just about anything with those tortilla strips in them. Mmmmmm-mmmmmm.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Then there's Kristofer.
At the table this morning while we were having Bible time, Kristofer was writing the date, "Is it MAY already?!?"
I finally did what Keith has wanted me to do for years now. I delegated laundry. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to do it, but I didn't know how to do it and still have the laundry end up looking okay. It finally occurred to me that it didn't have to look okay. It just needed to be clean and not my responsibility. So currently, Keri Lynn does her laundry on Tuesday afternoons, Kathleen and Kylie team up to do their laundry on Thursdays, and Kristofer does his on Fridays. So far, so good. I'm actually caught up on the rest of the kids' laundry at this moment. I'm behind with Keith's, though. He was asking in rather a pathetic whimper late last night if he had ANY underwear. Any clean underwear at all?
Another major breakthrough has been pushing the bed-wetters to stop bed-wetting. One of the major motivations was the cost of getting diapers for the three bed-wetters: Kylie, Kade and Konner. As it turns out, Kylie just needed a push in that area, where she was forced to stay dry or be wet through the night. She was embarrassed going to sleepovers and to camp last year, and now she's super excited about being able to go for sleepovers without a diaper! Yippee! I'm excited, too! Kade stays dry most nights and Konner is dry some nights, so that means I still have to wash sheets and comforters, but I think they are both improving. We're working on the basics, like not drinking anything before bed, and keeping their beds comfortable for a good night's rest.
Kody has also had some change. We used to put him in his crate for the night to make sure he didn't have any accidents. Dogs do not poop or pee in the place that they sleep. We have rejoiced in the wonders of The Crate! But lately, because his hip is so bad, he was having a terrible time getting up from whatever comfy spot in the family room he'd found himself and dragging himself off to the crate when we turned off lights and went to bed. So, we started leaving him out. So far, no accidents at all. In fact, he hasn't pooped or peed in the house in months. He does have the occasional vomiting, because he likes to chew anything he can get his canines on, especially flavorful paper towels. Kody LOVES paper towels! Paper towels do not like Kody.
I wonder if I will ever get used to the fact that family means constant change and adjustment. Nothing ever is stagnant. Just when I think I've got the whole mother thing down, something happens, and I've got to figure it all out all over again.
In a few short days, my very favorite day of the year is coming. Mother's Day! Can't wait. It's better than Christmas! Since we've been cutting back on expenses, I didn't give my usual Mother's Day message to the masses: "JEWELRY". Instead, I'll settle for being Queen of the Day.
Kathleen wanted to know what I wanted for breakfast in bed, so I decided to lay all my cards out. I let her know gently that I really don't like breakfast in bed. I'd rather have it at the table, if that's all right with everyone. Eggs and toast would be just great, thank you.
"Okay, but you need to sleep in, until about 8:30, then you can get ready for church."
"We'll make sure Keva is dressed. We'll take care of everything. But don't expect that we'll clean the house or anything like that."
I smiled again.
I've got cute kids.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Here's the deal, though, for Alese. SHE, at least, isn't sad. She's in the very presence of God. She gets to see Him face to face. He is wiping the tears from her eyes. And she is doing what anyone would who's in the presence of God -- she is worshiping at His feet and praising His name.
So join me in prayer for her sweet family as they mourn the loss of daughter and sister. Go with God, Alese.
This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to faith in God. If God were to take my child from me, would I still love Him? Would I still serve Him? I hope that the answer is a resounding YES!
Alese is 23, at the prime of her life, standing at the cusp of what should be a new season in her life, yet she is fighting for her very breath. Fighting and fighting for life. She won't give up, her parents won't give up until she has given up her last breath.
Lord, I ask that you would be with this dear family as they continue to hold on hard to You. Bless your girl Alese whether in this life or the next. You are the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. You are the Creator of all things. There is nothing that happens that does not first come through Your capable hands. You are righteous and just. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Then, Keri Lynn tells me that we HAVE to go to the library this morning rather than this afternoon because she's babysitting this afternoon. She can't not have a pile of books to read. (Don't know where she gets THAT from.) So I guess we'll be going in a few minutes to the library.
Keri Lynn continues to make money hand over fist as World's Best Babysitter. Or at least World's Best Babysitter at Maple Creek. Keith and I were chatting to one of our new neighbors, and it went something like this.
Neighbor: So, you have seven kids, right?
Neighbor: Tell me, how old are they?
(I'm already guessing where this is going, because I know he and his wife have a three-year-old and a baby.)
Us: 6 to 15, almost 16.
Neighbor: Is the oldest a boy or a girl?
(Yep, I'm right. He's fishing for a babysitter.)
Us: A girl.
Neighbor: Um, does she, by any chance, um . . . babysit?"
(Hope gleams in his eye. Desperation, maybe. I've seen it all too many times.)
Us: Why, yes. She already babysits for four other families in the neighborhood. She's very good and mature for her age.
Neighbor: (Face relaxes) Oh, that's good . . .
(And then we go on to talk about jobs and lawns and the Homeowners Association.)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
We talked about boys.
Hormones are raging here at the Johnson household with two teenagers and one girl at the cusp of teenhood. Even Keva has blossomed into womanhood in a varying degree. So each of these teaching times are priceless to me as a mother. Keri Lynn wonders if fellow high school students can actually see a difference in her, and she was told by a couple of boys last weekend that she is, indeed, very "mature." They were flabbergasted that she doesn't date and won't date until she's truly interested in someone as a marriage partner. She's also talked with her girlfriends on many occasions. Many cannot understand why she won't date.
We've been brainwashing, I mean, teaching our children about how they are to conduct themselves with the opposite sex for some time now. And we are as conservative as most families get that don't wear gingham dresses with head coverings or black suits.
I know that a lot of other Christians think we might be a bit extreme when it comes to our tactics, and that's fine. Parents are entitled to do what they deem fit for their children. But I would like to interject a warning to fellow parents as many enter into those amazing teen years with their children. Be careful what you allow your children to be exposed to. Protection is a GOOD thing. It's what we're supposed to be doing for our children.
My Mom got me a book for Kathleen for her birthday, Gentle Passages: Guiding Your Daughter into Womanhood by Robin Jones Gunn. It is a sweet book that urges young women to hold themselves as precious to God and to their future mate. Mom also sent a beautiful china plate to remind Kathleen that she is precious in God's eyes. She's not a throw-away paper plate, but a china plate to be used by God for His service.
Which brings me back to the "Girl Talk" we had this morning. One of the arguments that Keri Lynn gets when she talks to her friends about dating is "Well, how are you supposed to get to know the boy if you don't date? How do you know you're marrying the right guy? It's like test driving a car! You would never buy a car without taking it out for a spin!"
The test driving of a car is such a great analogy, but like most analogies, it is somewhat flawed. Of course, one should test drive a car before buying it. One should also do research, get counsel from friends and family, save up for it, have license/insurance/enough money to buy gas, buy it from a reputable dealer, etc. There are many things that one must do before one even gets to the test driving stage.
Then, I would add a little bit to the test drive itself to make it a more accurate analogy to marriage. And this is what I told the girls as we talked at the bar in our kitchen. When one gets INTO the car for that test drive, this is analogous to the many behaviors that occur during dating: hand holding, kissing, necking, and even sex. Whenever this "test driving" is going on, each time there is a "test drive", the driver (and I'm using a girl as an example here) is leaving something of herself IN the car. Think of it as graphically as if, when she got out of the car, some skin peeled off on the seat, and some seat material has peeled off onto her. Now she has left a little of herself with the car, and the car has lost a little of itself to the driver. BOTH have lost something during the "test drive."
If you think this might be a little hard core in thought -- "Come on, Jackie! Please! It's not a big deal to go out on a date with a guy" -- then tell me about that first guy you had feelings for, the first guy you might have given yourself to in some physical or emotional way -- You can never get that back again. Some innocence is lost. Innocence that should be given as a gift to the marriage partner.
It is my fervent prayer that each of the kids will one day be able to present themselves to their spouse as a wonderful present to open. A present that has never been opened before. Because the opening of such a present is only the beginning. So much focus is put on finding that perfect mate, in getting to know him/her, in planning the perfect wedding and honeymoon, that we kind of forget, "Oh, yeah, and then there's the marriage part!"
Which leads me to my last point in my little dissertation of why I think single people should avoid dating. The emphasis should be on the eventual goal -- marriage. Not fun, not experimentation, not disobedience to God. Marriage. If we are truly serious about marriage, then we ought to, as a Christian community, be serious about the way our young people are conducting themselves as they prepare for marriage.
Coming off my soapbox now. : )