Something So Big

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cute Things They Say, continued

Is it part 5?
I can't remember.

This isn't really cute, but I just had to write it down before I forget because it means so much to me. Plus she'll probably change her mind tomorrow.

--"I wish you were our student teacher, Mom." --Ally, age 10 (We were talking about her fourth grade class, and she just said this out of the blue. When I asked her why she said this, she said "Because you're a good teacher, Mom!" Given the fact that I left professional teaching 9 years ago and have been leading Vacation Bible School, Christian Kids Club, and summer school classes ever was kinda nice to hear, especially coming from my tween.)

Shameless Self-Promotion

Crazy busy around here the last few weeks...planning a birthday party, a father-daughter dance (which I really need to post about soon), kids club, bible school, Mother's Day present, working on a retirement book for my business, and getting ready for the Women's E-expo! My friend Astrid and I are going to have a booth at this expo tonight -- so if you're in the tri-state area, come on over for some fun booths, great break-out sessions, an uplifting speaker, and a makeover of one lucky lady in the audience!

Speaking for Astrid and myself, this is our first time venturing into the home business world and marketing and all that we're a little (LOT) nervous! But excited. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men--Colossians 3:23

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do You See a Clue?

We had a few people over for Wynne's birthday party on Sunday. Okay, 58 people (Mark counted). Thank goodness the rain cleared enough to enjoy some softball and Blue's Clues outside!!!

First of all, let me clarify: we don't have a huge ruckus for every kid's every birthday. And even though she's our baby and is probably spoiled, we don't favor Wynne. But we usually do have our families over for at least one birthday during the kids' early years....and it just happened to be the year for Wynne. I'm not sure why. I guess it's because Mark fixed up the backyard last year and I didn't have enough going on last week (ha!). Oh, and it was kind of a going-away party for Mark's brother Joe who is moving to Georgia for lineman's school. Mark is the oldest of 7; I am the the youngest of 9, so we have kinda big families. Lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. Mark's grandmothers both live within 45 minutes of us, so we were blessed to have them up for the party, too. It was also my dad's sobriety birthday (28! Go Dad!!). And spring. Lots to celebrate!

So we played Blue's Clues. Wynne's godfather, Uncle Doug, made a perfect Steve (even though I couldn't find him a green or striped shirt to save my life). Wynne's godmother, Aunt Tammie, was Mrs. Pepper. (Which means that her hubb--my brother, Uncle Dan, was Mr. Salt!) Daddy played Mailbox, and I was Blue (I just carried Ally's stuffed puppy around). Everybody got a little Handy Dandy Notebook (the twins helped me make last week), and we were all set!

First Steve had to ask Wynne how old she is.

Then we had to play Blue's Clues to figure out what Blue was giving Wynne for her birthday! (Warning: MOM DORK SHOT. Aunt Elle took awesome pictures, but she forgot to leave me out of them!!)

The first clue was a picture of Wynne, so everybody had to draw it in their Handy Dandy Notebooks!

Then Blue Ski-doo'd into the Goldilocks & the 3 Bears fairy tale to leave a second clue (pieces of Baby Bear's chair).

Next, it was MAILTIME!! Wynne was pretty happy to sing & dance along with Steve. After all, everybody likes to get mail!

Daddy being the Mailbox asked the Birthday Girl to reach in and get the letter.

The letter was from Mailbox himself. He lost his flag and needed the kids' help putting it back on, so...time for "Pin the Flag on Mailbox"!

After all that excitement, Blue went over to the kitchen. Mr. Salt & Mrs. Pepper were waiting there!

Mr. Salt & Mrs. Pepper needed our help cleaning out their kitchen drawers. Steve helped the kids sort out the cookie cutters, spices, and utensils.

Blue left Clue #3 on the heart-shaped cookie cutter! Here's Wynne trying to dry a heart in her notebook.

We have all 3 clues! Time to sit in our...Thinking Chair! Let's think...

So the clues were: Wynne's picture, pieces, and a heart. Shae figured it out: Blue gave Wynne a heart-shaped puzzle with her picture on it.

Cake time!

But my favorite picture was the day Wynnie helped me make the cake. (This was before I figured out black jelly beans would work for her eyes.)

All in all, I think Wynne had a really fun time. Love you, My Baby!

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.--John 15:5

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Blessing or a Curse?

As I get older, it seems that I have lost my sense of smell. I mean, I can still smell--just not as keenly as before. Is it the result of lots of colds? I can't help but think it has something to do with being a Slacker Mom. Most of my senses have sort of dulled over the past decade. Years of cleaning up vomit, dirty diaper explosions, kitchen catastrophes, etc. have taken their toll on my nose.

It's weird because my husband has the exact opposite problem. He can smell things that the rest of us in the same room can't even detect. He inspects the clean laundry and announces, "Did you even wash this? Because it really stinks." And then I give that same laundry the biggest sniff I can muster and -- nothing. I smell nothing. Is it a physical defect, or just a psychological defense mechanism? One has to wonder.

I think research has been done that finds a correlation between aging and smell. One goes up, the other goes down. In my desperate attempt to deny aging, I must add another factor in there: parenthood. Show me a study on the effects of parenthood on the ability to smell; there HAS to be one! I did a little research of my own and came up with several causes for "smell disorders" (hyposmia or anosmia, as it were):
-upper respiratory infections
-head injuries
-dental problems
-exposure to chemicals

Well, I don't smoke and I don't have dental problems, so those two are ruled out. No head injuries or exposure to chemicals, either. Sure, I've had my share of URI's, but my husband has even MORE, and his sniffer works great, so that one's cancelled out. See, I told you I was onto something: the effects of parenthood.

Okay, now you say, "But your husband is a parent, too!" to which I say, "Yes, but he is a more effective parent than me." Meaning, he doesn't have to yell as much at the kids as I do, and I am around the kids about 50% more than him (make that 90% during football season). So I'm thinking that my Slacker Mom status greatly elevates my risk of decreased sniffing ability. Are you with me? Nod your head.

I will go so far as to say that being a Slacker Mom has not only dulled my sense of smell, it has dulled my sense of hearing. I have developed an immunity to 85% of the noise in my house. I filter out a lot of the yelling, whining, fighting, and complaining that goes on in a house full of kids. People call us on the phone and probably think they've called a bus station or rock concert, but it's just our kitchen. No worries.

So I'm not sure whether to complain or rejoice. Is this a blessing, or a curse? Choosing to remain positive, I will embrace the blessing in it. Thank you, God, that I cannot smell the dead mouse next to my treadmill in the basement. And thanks for talking with me in my head, just loud enough to drown out the sound of my noisy children. God bless them all." Amen!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Baby

Yesterday our baby turned three. Don't tell me she's not a baby anymore. She's MY baby!! (Okay, technically, she's God's first, then Mark's and mine.) I'm still calling her the baby. Even when she grows up and gets married. Non-negotiable.

I remember being embarrassed when my parents would call me their baby. Now I know why they did it, and I understand. If you are the lastborn, you are the baby and you always will be. Non-negotiable.

So here's my baby celebrating at the restaurant of her choice. Not exactly her parents' favorite place to eat (Daddy calls it McSquirts for a reason we shall not go into), but it was Wynne's day and Wynne's call!

My baby helped me frost the cake and picked blue for the color. We're working on colors right now. The only one she is pretty solid on is blue, thanks to Blue's Clues!

I know this picture is a little fuzzy, but I love it so much.

How blessed am I? As Woots would say "I know it!!"

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.--Matthew 18:4-5

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kids Against Hunger

Last week we had the awesome opportunity to join some other church friends at a local Kids Against Hunger worksite. It was at a church in a nearby town, and the place was packed with friendly people, eager to help. At 23 cents a serving, one bag of this

feeds a family of six. It contains all the essential nutrients needed to fight the war against hunger. These bags are packaged all over the U.S. and used to fight hunger in our country and around the world! So the day after Easter, we gathered up our loose change and headed over to the packaging event at River Valley Community Church. All 5 of our kids--even Wynne--worked for 2 hours to measure and dump ingredients(rice, soy, vegetables, and chicken base) into bags.

The big hit of the night was getting to work the "sealer".

Everybody wanted to work the "sealer". Cy kind of hogged it.

What was neat was the interaction among all ages. Here's Shae carrying the sealed bags over to a bunch of high school boys who were packaging them into boxes. Shae was so proud when they said, "You're pretty strong to be lifting all those bags!"

Now mind you, we didn't work for two hours straight. Wynne got a little bored and started playing with the rice about an hour into it, so we took a break to eat supper (provided so generously by the host church).

Then we went back to work. It was so satisfying to be a part of this. Over 60,000 meals were assembled and loaded onto the truck!

We are definitely doing this again. Hopefully it spurred my kids' interest in helping others and wanting less "stuff". Cy said, "Mom, can you sign me up for that for the rest of my life??" So it was pretty cool.

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.--Luke 12:33

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter People

On Resurrection Sunday Pastor Mark challenged us to be "Easter People". We are supposed to be proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of JESUS' RESURRECTION! "He ain't there (in the tomb)!" We are challenged to stop dwelling on past hurts and what-ifs and move forward in the hope that Christ has made possible for us all through his death and resurrection. It was a pep talk and a very good one, at that.

I think it's pretty neat how God makes the earth come back to live each year, right around Easter time. Coincidence? I think not. Everywhere you look, there are signs of new life. Even on those cold, rainy days when you have to stay indoors...and your kids make up a play.

This year we were especially blessed to enjoy some warm, sunny weather outdoors for the annual Engelke Easter egg hunt. Here are the "single cousins" present (there are 31 total, some are married & some couldn't make it)!

Then it was down to Grandma & Grandpa's farm for a rousing softball game.

Girls vs. the boys! I love how the older girls were so patient and enthusiastic with their younger cousins.

Back home for the annual Skin (Egg) Coloring.

The Easter Bunny visited us OUTSIDE this year!

Even Mickey got a little treat.

Time to celebrate the REASON for the season...all slicked up for church!

After cooking a delicious meal, Great-Grandma Joan explained the directions for her "Easter gift hunt" (she hides little presents for the kids).

For the first time, we visited Mark's dad's family, too. Listening to Great-Grandma Boots play the guitar and sing was a real treat. It really capped off a beautiful Easter.

May we remember to celebrate each day as Easter, for that is what it is--a gift from God! Happy Easter!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here! He has risen!"--Luke 24:5

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Marriage of Miss Q to Mr. U

Paige and Shae got to dress up like "queens" last week for the wedding of Mr. U to Miss Q. Their teacher read a book about Q & U coming together into all kinds of wonderful words. The children decorated the floor with "qu" words such as "quick" "quiet" and "quarter". There were Q & U cupcakes, quarterback boys, queen girls, and even a lit wedding arch! The officiant was our principal who asked important vows like, "Will you, Miss U, take Q to be with you except for words where he can stand alone, like 'umbrella' and 'underwear'? Do you promise not to Quarrel or Quibble, but to ask Questions and be Quick to listen to each other?"

It was Quite Quirky and yet so darn QUTE. (If I may be so indulged to make up that word!)
The cupcake reception was the biggest hit. The poor groom couldn't wait to be done with the ceremony!!

Here are some of the "queens".

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work. --Ecclesiastes 4:9

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Family Video March 2009

Family Video January-February 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Swimsuit Edition

No, it's not Sports Illustrated. It's a whole lot cuter!!

We went over to Ava's house to play a few days ago. The kids are adorable, and so is their bathroom! Handpainted sea creatures...great job, Astrid! (Sorry I should have probably asked permission to post this, huh?)

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it. --Psalm 24:1