Something So Big

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am super-busy working on books for my business right now. It's a good busy. I love working with people to find out what's special to them, listening to their stories. Sometimes the stories are as random as "the squirrels don't like the new feed I put out for them" or "she learned how to say 'alright!' when she was still a baby". But to me, no story is trivial. All stories combine to make a person unique, one-of-a-kind.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure to deliver audio-books to Hank and Ashley. It was such a joy to give people something that is so personal, celebrating their lives. Hank is a dear gentleman who is always so anxious to welcome us into his home. His house is a museum of artifacts from around the world, combined with the comforts of home. My little Indiana Jones loves to just gaze at the art, the antiques, and the geologic treasures. Did I tell you about how Wynne remembers Hank's house? See, the roof is A-frame and whenever Wynne sees a triangle now she says, "Harry's house!"

Anyway, the kids and I stopped over on Saturday to bring Hank the book. After several days of interviews and my own computer work (editing, scanning, lay-out, etc.), it was gratifying for me to hand him the finished product. Receiving awards from prestigious universities and the United Nations, it was humbling for me to hear, "I think this is the nicest gift I've ever received." Thank you so much, Harry, for all of your time and kindness. I thoroughly enjoyed putting together your life story!

Another book I recently finished was for Ashley, a high school senior. Ashley is shown here at our kids club hayride, 6th from the left, holding Shae.

Ashley is a sweet, sweet girl who has helped at our Christian Kids Club and Vacation Bible School for the past few years. She is graduating from high school in May, and her mother was gracious enough to let me interview them about their little girl. We made a graduation book for her, and it was so much fun spending time with her family. Candy just emailed me (if I may gloat a little more):
Hi Amy, Thanks for bringing the book and card and everthing. I LOVE IT! More importantly, Ashley loves it. I kept forgetting to contact you. (Busy weekend) I finally got to look thru the book last night. I had to find it. Ashley had it. I got to see some of it Friday. I like the way it looks like a scrapbook. Thanks for all your hard work. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you. You are very helpfull and you kept me on track.
You have a fun, enjoyable job. I like that.
I hope your business really takes off.

Thank YOU, Candy, for letting me come into your home and visit with your amazingly nice family. You are a joy!
I hope the books bring just a little bit of that joy back to these friends!

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?--Micah 6:8

Monday, March 30, 2009

They Grow Up So Fast...

What better to do on a cold, sunny Sunday afternoon than play dolls? Ally and Wynne have real AG dolls (Molly & Bitty Baby, respectively), were given to us from a dear friend. (Lest you think we would stop eating or driving for a few months to buy American Girl stuff for 5 kids.) Here they are taking a break on the piano.

Being the only boy with four sisters, you have to cut my son some slack. He is not a girly-boy by any means, but he does have a doll. Like the twins', his is a Target knock-off purchased on craigslist for 5 bucks. My husband gave the doll a haircut and wa-la! we have "James". (Or Indiana Jones, or Brett Favre, depending on the outfit he's wearing.)

Here is Wynne's baby, all set up for picture-taking. She has no other name than "Baby" for the time being. (Check back in a few months.)

Our 10-year-old took all of these pictures and did a pretty good job, I think. She told me she was taking their "graduation pictures".
Here we see Shae's little friend Kirsten, reflecting on pioneer life in the 1860s. (I know, I know; the textured wall and floor board are a little too modern; just imagine with me here!!)

Next we find Elizabeth in her frilly blue dress, wishing it was warm enough to go outside. Paige likes to rotate between her modern dress and her colonial gown. Whatever mood she's in, you know.

Just like Ally, Molly is ready to play basketball! (I must give mention to our friend Pat Jones, who made all of the doll outfits except for this one and Molly's pink dress in the piano shot. Other than that, Pat made everything. She is awesomely talented at replicating anything...and her prices are a fraction of the AG Dynasty's. In the words of my college theatre advisor, she "sews like lightning"!!)

And here comes my favorite shot. You can tell that my little girl has seen some graduation pictures (browsing with me online; we love looking at photography websites, especially wedding and senior pics...)

How cute is that?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cute Things They Say, Part 4

I just had to get these down before I forget...
--"tuhds", "buhds", "cheese cuhds"...etc...--Paige, age 6 (I can't spell out how cute it sounds. She has a hard time pronouncing her r's, so say turds, birds, and curds without the r's and you get it.)

--"I lub you, Mom." --Wynne, almost 3, with a cold. (so precious)

--"peanut butter shamrwich" --Shae, age 6 (again, I can't type out how cute it sounds)

--"You don't have to worry about my life, Mom!!" --Cy, age 8, when I ask him if his homework is finished (NOT CUTE but written here for posterity.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Double Double Toil and Trouble

No they're not really the 3 witches from Macbeth...they are the double set of twins from Potosi!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Actually, Shannon and Kirsten are delightful young ladies who just happen to be only a few months younger than Shae and Paige. My 3 little girls and I shared a wonderful morning of fun and hair styling with them. Thanks Valorie for your mad-cosmetology-skilz!

As it is, there are many parts, but one body.--1 Corinthians 12:20

Make Your Own Pizza Night

I have nothing earth-shattering to relate in this post. Only that I am a very slow learner.

A few weeks ago there was a sale on pizza crust mix. Four packs for a dollar. I thought, "What a deal!" That night I added water to two packs, stirred up the dough, and let the kids have at it.

First revelation for a slow learner: When a package says "Serves 4", it really means "Serves 1, maybe 2 if you're lucky."

So we opened up another pack and enlarged the dough (kind of like Elijah and the widow of Zarephath!). The kids each took a ball of dough and made their own pizza crust. I set out some toppings for them, like sauce, crumbled hamburger, cold cuts, shredded cheese, and mushrooms.

Second revelation for a slow learner: Let the kids make their own pizza. Then you can please everyone.
Shae likes cheese but no sauce; Paige likes cheese but only if it's orange AND white at the same time (cojack); Cy likes lots of meat; Ally & Wynne aren't too picky thank the Lord, and Daddy & Mommy like mushrooms.

Third revelation for a slow learner: Next time you see 4 for a dollar, pick up at least 8.

They loved it! Even though I have tried to engage the children in meal-making before, this time it was a huge hit. Their enthusiasm overflowed into table setting, even. (Not quite enough to spill over into post-meal clean-up, but I'll take what I can get.)

Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the LORD truly speaks through you.” --1 Kings 17:24

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not Ready for the DIY Network

Mark and I learned the hard way that you have to pay BIG BUCKS for a decent mudding/taping job. Anyone who knows me knows what a tightwad I am. Hence, the thick texturing we had to do in our new addition.

So for the past 15 months, I've been putting off painting the twins' room. When a friend generously gave us her old bedding and paint, I took that as a sign that I should probably get going on that white room. I bought a few more quarts of paint and set to work last week on one of their birthday presents.

Here you can see the result of about 2 hours of measuring, math, and taping. The first stripe went up.

More taping (by the way, blue tape really doesn't stick on bumpy walls) and Color #2.

To preface my shoddy paint job, I just want to show you how "textured" the walls are.

Color #3. Jesus & Dora are happy to finally get some color in here!!

I tried cutting a large daisy petal out of a sponge and using lagoon breeze (orange), but it looked like Patrick Star. So I painted over that and went with little white free-handed flowers, inspired by a gift bag design.

It was supposed to be done when the girls came home from school, but not quite. Several hours later, the "reveal" was ready for Paige and Shae. They loved it! (You can see my little painter's helper proudly standing next to her big sisters.)

For future reference (if anybody cares), I used a 6-year-old can of "desert green" from the local True Value Hardware (thank you Kathy for the paint, bedding, and push I needed to get this job started!), "palm green", "azalea", and Ally's room "lagoon breeze" from Walmart, and white from Menards. Mind you, this is only one wall. I went with the "3's" approach ala Slacker Mom...3 walls left white, 1 wall painted. (The opposite wall will have the girls' names painted in these colors, at the head of their beds.) It turned out pretty cute; at least the girls were thrilled. As my husband would say, it was a job, well...done. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ready or Not!

Two days ago, our twin daughters celebrated their 6th birthday. SIX...that's WAYYY too old. They even have to use TWO hands to show us their age now! I still haven't accepted it.
I don't think I'll ever be ready for these two. From the moment we heard "possible spina bifida, more testing needed" at 5 months the moment they arrived 2 months prematurely...
to their asthma and constant health needs...

to the day they started NOW

...and beyond...I'll never be ready. Wait for me, girls! Wait for me!

Paige, (A.K.A. Roo) you arrived first, the smaller feisty one. Now you're just a little bit taller and heavier than your sister...but still just as feisty! You weren't supposed to leave the IICU as early as Shae because you didn't know how to suck and feed as well as she did. My heart ached thinking we would have to leave you there, 2 hours away from home...but you turned the corner literally overnight. When we arrived to bring Shae home, you were dressed and ready to go, too! You learned at an early age how to fight for the underdog. Your compassion for others, your sweetness, your all mixes together to make you...beautiful you.

Shae ("Ra"), you tend to be more mellow than your twin sister, the thumb-sucker (trying to give that up for Lent, how's it working out honey?). But not always! You can get just as wound up as Roosie, when you want to. In fact, sometimes I can't tell who's who (just by listening) because you swap personalities! However, from day one, you were the steady grower...the baby who learned things first and fell down and got bruises first, started walking and pushing your sister in the always want to be first. The second one out of Mommy's belly, you still haven't gotten over that! In fact, if anyone else gets attention or praise, you must admit you get jealous. "I did it, too!" is your familiar cry. You like doing what the big kids do (that's how you lost your front tooth, basically), and sometimes you get a little too big for your britches. But overall, you are a sweet, kindhearted, helpful young lady. Shaesy Daisy, Shaeser Lazer, Shae-ra.

Together, you are the Chickens. Your phy. ed. teacher calls you "Sage". You play together, fight together, and whine in stereo--often driving the rest of the house crazy. Your kindergarten teacher says you are a "delight" (one of those letters that a mom keeps and treasures). You are a force of feminine fury and love to be reckoned with! Singly, you are Paige. You are Shae. You are two unique individuals who have different feelings, different dreams, and different personalities. You just happen to be even more complete when you are together. I can't explain it, just to say you are twins who are best friends.
Happy Birthday, girls. Mom & Dad love you so much!!

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."--Matthew 9:14

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Madness

If you've followed this blog at all, you know we're a football family...but we love all sports and so we know a little about March Madness. But who cares about the NCAAs when you have the Junior Pro Bowling Championships going on at your friendly neighborhood bowling alley??

I wish this picture would have turned out better. The shoes were just so darn little and cute!!

I didn't even know they had these ramp things. Pretty sweet!

The cousins had fun just seeing how long it took the ball to get down there. Thanks Uncle Tim & Aunt Maryellen! Happy 5th Birthday, Christopher!

Then it was on to the girls sectional championships.

This was some really physical basketball. Our girls emerged victorious...

Sectional champs!! On to STATE!!

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.--1 Chronicles 16:25

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Love Wacky Wednesdays!!

Our school is celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday all week with dress-up days in the elementary. Today is Wacky Wednesday, and let me tell you, it is a Slacker Mom's favorite day of the year. Here's why:

1. No need to keep nagging the kids to get out of bed. Just say, "Good morning! It's Wacky Wednesday!" and up they leap, ready to put on a fantastically fun outfit they picked out the night before.

2. No need to search for matching socks.

3. You don't have to argue with your 8-year-old-son about wearing the same boring clothes over and over. He will branch out - maybe throw something on inside out - without a word from you!

4. No need to search for matching shoes.

5. Braids and pony tails not tight and clean enough? Who cares! It's Wacky Wednesday! And while we're at it, let's just stop with one braid and put a bun on the other side of your head, 'kay?

6. Matching tops and bottoms? No worries!

7. You may just see a little smile crack from your tweenager's face....juuuuussst maybe. (If you catch her when she doesn't see you. But remember, don't expect her to walk out to the bus looking wacky. Everything is in place, and her "wacky" socks will come out only at school IF the other kids are following suit.)

a little bit of my favorite Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind....."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cabin Fever Non-TV Activities

We're trying not to watch so much TV around here. The kids and Mark had a little winter "break" (no school Friday or Monday), but it's been too cold to play outside. I was pretty proud of the kids; we cleaned house and played school on Friday - the TV didn't even go on all day! But by Sunday after church, we succumbed. Plus we had about 3 movie nights. Oh well, family time right??

We have a Cranium "Hullabaloo" game which is nifty because the children, although various ages, can all play together. (Okay, Wynne doesn't stand on the right game pads, but we forgive her for that.)

Last night I had a VBS planning meeting, and here's what I found when I came back:

Daddy has initiated a puzzle party in the basement. He bought a one THOUSAND piece puzzle for us to put together. ONE. THOUSAND. PIECES. It is Mickey Mouse and every single piece has an image from a Disney movie, vintage or otherwise. The goal is to put it together, glue it, and hang it in the playroom. I love their ambition!! (Did I mention there were 1000 pieces in this thing?)

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.--2 Corinthians 5:9