Something So Big

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not the Nurturing Type

Slacker Mom is back in full force. Let's see, we're about 4 weeks into the school year and I'm already feeling overwhelmed. It seems like somebody is sick and home from school about every other day here, and the G word creeps into my mind and in, "Aren't I keeping the house clean enough? Am I feeding the kids enough fruits and vegetables to ward off infections? Are they washing their hands enough? Should I be disinfecting the light switches, door knobs, and toothbrushes?"

Then, of course, it's my turn to get sick. Not sure what is going on, but 4 days into it I begged for mercy and amoxycillin. Ally, Shae, and I are all on it. We might as well have a big pink pump dispenser in our fridge. (Okay; I take the pills, but the liquid form is smiley-good, even when your throat is on fire.)

But guess what? Homecoming Week must go on! Without our school spirit? I think not! I muster up enough strength to lug the old broken playdome down out of the shed rafters and down the driveway. Wynne is ever-eager to help. At night the kids come home and help make a large dice cube and cover up some feed buckets. It's a board game theme "Game On" and by golly, this Coach's Wife/Spirit Mom is going to show our family's school spirit!! Cy said, "It doesn't look anything like the Trouble game, Mom," but we girls are proud.

Every bedtime last week seemed like it couldn't come soon enough. Sick kids, sick mom, and then some kids who couldn't get to sleep because they were planning a secret ambush on the toilet papering parties that hit our house all week. Sunday, Monday, Friday--ah yes, Hurricane Charmin hit once again. Coach's house gets hit every year; we never have a reprieve. The white streamers are rather pretty in the wind...

...but then the morning dew or rain comes and it's all one big ugly mess.

Yes, while many of you were doing something productive this weekend, or enjoying the fall weather, the sickies and I (who stayed home from a scouting trip/football game) were cleaning up soggy toilet paper. I'm such a slave driver. But hey, I waited till the sun came out and the TP had dried sufficiently. So I'm not all that mean. However, I was reminded of my Non-Nurturing Tendencies when Shae fell off of a chair and hit her head and started crying. I told Wynne to go get her an ice pack, while I looked at her (I was typing up a paper for a class I'm taking) and said, "Well what do you expect when you're dancing around on a chair? That's why you're supposed to sit in them, not stand on them!" Okay, I am pretty mean. (Or sick and tired. Take your pick.)

After a good cry and some icy love, Shae perked up and joined us for our outdoor clean-up brigade. I should have taken a picture of the girls riding the flat rack while I pulled them on the lawn tractor, sitting on top of mounds of white mixed with leaves. It's the Siegert Family Fun version of the Fall Hayride. We should call it the TP Ride or something more creative than that!

So I'm not the Nurturing Type. Last week we watched Addy, one of the assistant coach's little girls (coming up on age two) during football practice. She's been here a few times before, so you'd think she was okay with playing with Wynne and the gang. But NOOOOOOOOOOO....more tears and screaming when her daddy left. I held her and tried not to breathe sick germs on her, dancing around the room with her and trying to distract her for a while. After half an hour or so, she finally died down because I was swinging her and Wynne wouldn't stop talking with her, trying to reassure her that her dad would come back sometime after football practice. (My kids are used to this. It's fall, so Dad doesn't get home till dark, right?) This is why I don't do a daycare and majored in MIDDLE LEVEL education, not early childhood. I'm just not great with the littluns. I try, oh how I try.

Here's another little girl who freaked out at our house. Our niece Kierta! Isn't she cute?

Mark's brother Greg and Kierta came down for the Homecoming game, and they had supper with us on Saturday night. Kierta learned how to walk a few months ago, and she's really good at it, even on our slope from kitchen to living room!
Greg predicted that Kierta would find some shoes and put them on her hands. He knows his little girl pretty well!

Mark took advantage of his brother being here to help carry our old water heater out of the basement, haul a church pew out of our sitting room (the one that used to hold our hats and coats until this beauty was installed), and put the climbing dome back in the shed. Poor little Kierta was so scared when her daddy walked out of the house; I tried to hold her and distract her, but after a while I just had to put her down and get my camera. (another sign of my Non-Nurturing Tendencies) I want her dark, wavy hair in my next life. Please God!

So there you have it, more Confessions of a Slacker Mom. I prefer decorating the yard over preparing healthy foods and disinfecting my house. I prefer taking pictures over cuddling and cooing. My cards are on the table!

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.--Psalm 51:6

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glimpses of the Last Week

What a blessing to experience almost a week at home with all of the children!

After missing her first 3 matches (due to kid illnesses and hospitalizations), I finally got to see my little girl play volleyball! Ally loves to pass and set with me or whoever else will indulge her. It really pays off, as she looked pretty good out there. She still has an underhand serve, but my goodness they're only 5th and 6th graders! Twice, they had to rotate her out of serving because she had accumulated the maximum # of service points at this level (5 in a row). After the game, she said, "Mom, we're 4 and 0!" What a competitor. Kinda takes after her dad.

On Saturday morning we went to the Belmont Fair. I don't think I've ever missed a Fair parade in my life. Growing up in Belmont, it was always fun to dress up and walk with your class in elementary school (or ride a float in middle school and high school). Marching band was one of my favorite things to do, along with football halftime shows and pep bands. Here is a shot of my nephew Christopher (center of pic, black t-shirt, black/green/orange mohawk) with his class, marching to the theme "Kindergarten Rocks". Check out the dad with the long hair and top hat!

Tradition holds that my extended family (whoever is around) gets together for lunch after the parade. This year my mom and dad had us down to the farm, but there were only two families--Julie's and ours. The cousins got together and played some volleyball, the sport in season. (From spring through summer, it's softball.)

Then we went up to the school for the Fair. It's the oldest school fair in the state, and although non-natives would think "no big deal", this is a fun event for all ages and especially for alumni. It's so fun to see little kids running around and try to connect those familiar faces with their parents, people you went to school with twenty-some years ago.
Our kids especially love looking in the gym at all of the student and adult exhibits. Lego collections, hand-made quilts, produce, everything from soup to nuts. This is nobody-in-particular's pumpkin, just thought what a fun big pumpkin for September! Garrison and Wynne liked it, too.

After a few hours at the Fair, the kids and I trekked down to South Wayne for their dad's football game. The coolness of the morning burned off by kick-off, and it was a long HOT game.
The boys didn't do so "hot", though. Blackhawk did an excellent job of keeping the ball out of our hands, and it didn't help that we fumbled it FIVE TIMES. We managed to sneak out with a win, but it was a very frustrating game (leading to a sleepless night for Mark).

Nothing cools you off like lying on hot metal bleachers with a ringpop.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.--James 1:2-4

Monday, September 21, 2009

Takes Me Back to My Dorothy Days

I was Dorothy in our high school rendition of "Wizard of Oz" way back when. I remember loving to rehearse the big Judy Garland number "Over the Rainbow"...and the biggest privilege was singing that song in a jazz rendition with Ken Kilian's orchestra playing along. Pretty sweet experience for a high school senior.

So when we saw BOTH SIDES of a rainbow arching over our property on our way home from church last night, I couldn't help but think back to those Dorothy days.

The neat thing is that, I never really thought much back then about the significance of a rainbow in God's plan for our world. Twenty-one years later, I am older, perhaps "wiser", but also more hopeful as I consider His promise of restoration!

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.--Genesis 9:13

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, the project is complete. It disrupted our lives for about three weeks, which is not bad at all.

What was supposed to be a stress reliever for football season is done before Game 4. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. For us at home, it's great!

Here is my amazing husband working his carpenter magic. Fun for him, get-everybody-out-of-my-way for me.

Here is evidence that I didn't do my job too well. But this is also the laundry room and our entry room, so it's hard to keep everyone out of there!

Here is the kind of thing I do before Wynne wakes up. It was a lot of fun climbing into those cubbies with a paint brush. NOT!!

I debated whether to apply polyurethane. Oh, how I wanted to skip that part. But when you think about how many nicks and scratches the benches & lockers are going to get over the years...and you see this beautiful figure, might as well go all out. Nobody needs to eat or wear clothes anyway. (And it's more fun than watching kids puke in the living room.)

The hard work was well worth it!

Organizational bliss. And barn beams to match ;)

Look! The best thing that I myself have seen, which is pretty, is that one should eat and drink and see good for all his hard work with which he works hard under the sun for the number of the days of his life that the [true] God has given him, for that is his portion. - Proverbs 5:18

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cute Things They Say, Part VI (The All-Cy Version)

When you have a kid home from school, you get to hear lots of funny things.

--We had to run an errand for his dad today, and on the way we passed a buggy. After several moments, Cy asked in all sincerity, "Why would anyone want to be Amish?"

I know that's not politically correct to share, but just the way he said it, with seriousness and curiosity--I guess you had to be there. I had a hard time answering that one (and keeping a straight face).

--"Stop singing, Mom. You're embarrassing me." (Sigh. He's not even 12 or 13 yet.)

--"This (money given to him via get-well-wishers) is my living."

--"The Thrift Shop is for women and old ladies, which is why I'm concerned to go in there." (Notice how women and old ladies are two distinct groups.)

And my personal favorite of the day:

--"Math makes me sweaty."

Boys Will Be Boys

After 4 days/nights in the hospital, Cy came home yesterday! Everybody was so glad to have him back, and he was ready to be back. Still a few days of "taking it easy" at home (and doing make-up schoolwork), but other than that - we are blessed; there seem to be no signs of infection and he's in very little pain. I don't think he's taken a Tylenol for 2 days now.

So I learned some things this past extended weekend, things about my son and things about the male species in general...

Nine-year-old boys are fickle when it comes to dignity. Wearing a hospital gown and needing help using the toilet is not cool, but farting, mooning, and toilet talk IS.

Nine-year-old boys do not like to shower and keep clean*. Under ANY circumstances. In sickness or in health!

Nine-year-old boys can never get enough Legos. Ever.

Nine-year-old boys can endure a lot of pain without much complaining.

Nine-year-old boys like to watch the needle going into their vein and see what comes out.

Nine-year-old boys can come up with some pretty cool insights about themselves and others.

I also learned some things about high school boys over the past few days:

High school boys, if given a nudge from one or two leaders, will take the time to sign a card and throw in a dollar to make the coach's son light up (and the coach, too)!

Cy is on the road to healing, and we thank everybody for all of their help, calls, prayers, cards, and gifts. It is overwhelming and God shows His goodness through so many people in so many ways. The hospital staff was excellent to us, and their food is pretty darn good, too!

I've been re-reading "Gender Matters" by Leonard Sax, and man is it a good book. (no gender pun intended in that expression) Every parent and teacher on this planet should read it. The chapter on discipline is especially useful to me, but the entire book is interesting, eye-opening, and applicable. Some of it you just "kinda knew" deep down, but Dr. Sax goes onto explain the scientific/physiological "whys" behind everything. For example, I always just "kinda knew" that boys liked to take risks. But what I didn't know is that boys literally have a higher pain tolerance in most instances (except for a woman in her 3rd trimester of pregnancy), and that they are more apt to feel exhilarated when in pain (versus nauseated or frightened, as studies show in females). This is not to say that girls are wimpier than boys or that ALL boys like to inflict pain on themselves, but it does explain why they seem to be less sensitive to it and even intrigued by it. I know that is certainly the case for Cyrus!

The other thing that I always "kinda knew" but was confirmed in my thinking was that boys over-estimate their abilities, while girls under-estimate theirs. I don't know about you and your kids, but I have a boy who thinks nothing of climbing up our windmill or riding his bike over big rocks with little repurcussion. He thinks he can get his homework done in five minutes while eating a bowl of cereal and watching cartoons and still be a straight-A student. He thinks he is entitled to snacks at any and all hours of the day, and he doesn't care if he eats them all with none left over for his sisters or parents. He operates from the base of his brain for most things, the most primitive part of the brain. He has needs and he meets them!

Speaking of base-of-the-brain needs, we have 15 other boys out here to deal with. This morning I had to coax our two bull calves back into their little paddock and fence them off so they would no longer destroy our pumpkin patch. Ally was crying and very upset yesterday; she had been watching those pumpkins every day after school, making plans for how many we would need for Halloween, how many we could share, how many we could sell. Those dreams were dashed when she discovered our boisterous young bovines chomping up the biggest orange pumpkins we had. Most of the pumpkins were fenced in the garden, but of course some of the vines had grown through the fence and were producing beautiful orbs of autumn. Oh, the plans my little girl had! The produce stand, the decorating, the carving...all in jeopardy because of a few boys who couldn't find enough to eat on the other 7 acres of pasture, apparently. So this morning when it was feeding time, I led them into their old paddock with a bucket of corn and was almost stampeded by the 13 ram bulls (or bull rams?) as I scattered some corn in the shared feeder. No courtesy, no hesitation or fear of me--just "I'm hungry" and "I don't care who else gets any food; I want my food NOW!"

Then they all looked up at me--all fifteen boys--with that same look of expectation I get when my son comes home from school. "You got anything else?" I didn't have my camera at the time, so these pictures don't quite capture the essence of the male beast.

Once they figured out they just traded 7 acres of pasture for their old paddock and a bucket of corn, Potosi and Chieftain weren't too happy about the arrangement. They bellered and I chided them, saying "That's what you get for messing with my girl's pumpkins!"


*I should post this in "Cute things they say" but I don't know how cute it is. When I was trying to wash Cy's hair 2 days post-op with a wet washcloth and tiny amount of shampoo (it stunk so badly), he leaned his forehead against the bathroom wall and kept muttering, "I'm going to kick you, Mom. I'm going to kick you." In his defense, he was still a little weak from the surgery, and he hasn't kicked me yet!

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.--1 John 2:14b

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Waiting on the Lord

This past week, Wynne opened up the flu at our house. Parents, you know the drill; somebody starts the vomit, and it will eventually make its way out of the bodies of others in the house (if not everybody). Sorry if TMI.

So when Cy told me on Sunday night that his stomach hurt, I prepared the couch for another victim. He slept in the living room and didn't move off of the couch most of the day on Monday. It was Labor Day, so thankfully he wasn't missing any school. Wynne laid around too, very feverish. Not fun. Middle of the night: Shae vomited and joined Cy in the living room infirmary.

Tuesday morning medic report: Cy still very run-down and achy. No vomit yet. Shae and Cy slept in and missed school that day. I had our neighbor friend take Ally to her first volleyball game, as Mark is not home till late on weeknghts during the football season. By Tuesday evening, Shae was feeling 100% better and ready to go back to school. Wynne was feeling better, too. Cy was still a bit "icky" feeling but agreed that he would go to school the next day, as he had no fever and his stomach pain was coming and going.

Wednesday: All kids back to school. We figured maybe he pulled an abdominal muscle or something, so I gave him Tylenol and Flex-all (muscle cream) and wrote an explanatory e-mail to his teacher. She was kind enough to give me updates throughout the day. Cy came home, showed some signs of improved hunger and perkiness, and seemed to be doing pretty well. But he still complained periodically with an emphatic "ouch" when he moved his stomach a certain way. I looked up "appendicitis" on the internets (I love that Will Farrell sketch of President Bush on SNL a few years back!) and it didn't match Cy's description much. The pain was supposed to be on the right side of his abdomen, and Cy kept pointing to his left side. I figured it was a muscle pull and would take a few weeks to feel better. Cy agreed.

Thursday: All kids back to school. Half an hour before dismissal, I got a call from the school secretary to come in and get Cy. He reported that his stomach was hurting, and Sandy got a 100 degree temp on him. I drove in and picked up all the kids since it was the end of the day by the time I got there. Cy wanted to get home and drink some water. He had half of a sub and laid around most of the night. He was really quiet. I knew it was time to take him to the doctor, but I had to wait till morning because the clinic was closed. I gave him some Tylenol and hoped that he would get better overnight, as I had 2 towns to be in and a million errands to run on Friday (not including the house cleaning chores).

Friday morning: Cy was worse. Very lethargic and in obvious pain. He was not whiny about it, just "ouch! ouch!" when walking, moving, etc. I had hesitated to take him into the doctor all week because they really frown upon bringing in the stomach flu. With the H1N1 scare going around, I was really going back and forth about making an appointment, but one look at Cy on Friday morning and I knew I had to call as soon as the clinic opened. Our doctor was booked all day. The doctor on call, Dr. Sloan, could work Cy in at 9:30 so I rushed to finish mopping the floors and cleaning the toilets, then showered and woke up Wynne to get Cy over to his appointment.

We waited about 30 minutes to see a doctor, but Cy was so good about it. He brought his Wimpy Kid books to pass the time, and when I think back on it all, he was such a trooper. Especially considering how Wynne was talking like me, reporting to the doctor who had puked in our house and when! When Dr. Sloan nudged around on his abdomen, Cy nearly leapt through the roof. "He needs a blood test, urine test, and stomach x-ray STAT." About an hour later Cy was being admitted to the hospital for an appendectomy. Four weeks, one day after his ear surgery.

Five hours of IV and other-kid-arranging later, Mark and I watched our little boy being wheeled off for another surgery. It was two hours before kick-off, slightly reminiscent of the night when Cy arrived in this world, only a lot less happy. The calls back and forth from the assistant coaches did bring back a little deja vu, however.

The past few days have been a blur. We don't know how many days that Cy will be in here, but it was a ruptured appendix, very messy, and he's in terrific pain. How's that for an ironic description? Do you call that an oxymoron? I don't know; I'm operating on low sleep and crappy diet right now. I miss the girls, but as I sit here on the hospital laptop on this my night to stay overnight (we take turns), I remind myself that Cy is God's child, and He will provide. He will find a way and bring us through this. I hate to see our little boy in so much discomfort, but I am encouraged by his nighttime bathroom trip and hall walk. It hurts to get out of bed, as he has 3 little incisions and a whole lot of soreness, but Cy is incredibly tough--I can't imagine all the pain he was going through all week. His phy. ed teacher told Mark last night at the football game (parent/family night, we missed it but Daddy got there just in time to coach the boys to another victory) that Cy buckled over a few times in phy. ed, but he figured it was just a cramp or sideache. Little did we all know.

I thank God that there are doctors, nurses, and instruments capable of removing the nasty infection growing inside my son's abdomen. I thank God that we had the surgery done not a day later. I thank God for the visits of family and friends, especially of our pastor who kept night vigil with me last night until Mark could get here for his night shift. I thank God that Cy's white count went down a little since yesterday. I thank God that he showed a little progress in sitting up and walking to the bathroom a few hours ago and is now resting peacefully. I thank God for this hospital laptop which allows me to communicate and look up His Word in our deepest times of need. I thank God that He gives us Hope and that Jesus suffered more than we can ever imagine, so He knows our sorrows and is no stranger to pain. I could feel sorry for myself and think back on the other 4 child hospitalizations that our family had to go through, but that is draining, and I need all of the strength and hope I can get. So I concentrate on what is going right, right now. (Plus I got a little work done on this college class-by-mail I'm currently taking!)

Although I hate how Cy has to go through this, I thank God for the chance to take care of our not-so-little boy and to make no apologies for it. It is nice to hold his hand, to have him rely on me a little, to comfort and reassure him with God's Word and an old VBS song:

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising up again I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name!

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.--Psalm 27:14

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How NOT To Start Picture Day

You help everybody get their clothes out the night before School Picture Day. You wake them up 35 minutes before bus time, thinking that will be plenty of time since it usually only takes them 15 minutes to get ready (and they eat breakfast at school). You think that everything is going to go smoothly this year. Right?


I don't remember what order this happened in, but here it is.

-Ally scrambles through the dryer to find her volleyball uniform (which she needed last night and again tonight) and 2 pink monkey socks she borrowed from somebody at school yesterday.

-Cy decides to sleep in until TEN MINUTES BEFORE BUS TIME because, after all, what is the logic of waking up early or even on time? May I also point out that this young man wakes up at dawn on every summer day and every Saturday throughout the school year.

-Shae burnt her chin on a s'more (some sort of marshmallow explosion) the other night, so I squeeze a small blob of concealer on my index finger to help cover the scar.

-Paige and Shae are worried that now their dresses are going to be too cold because it's foggy outside. I reassure them that the forecast is still warm and that their jackets are in their bookbags.

-Paige points out that "When we walk down to the bus, it will be like we're walking in clouds, Mama!" I smile inside at her sweetness and say, "That's right, honey."

-Ally declares that her shorts are too short. Her brand-new shorts that she picked out from Farm & Fleet two weeks ago. The same shorts she picked out to wear last night and asked my opinion on the top to go with them.

-I'm curling Shae's bangs (How many years will I make this pathetic attempt to do hair?) and Ally exclaims, "Hey!! Those are MY socks!!" to Shae.

-Shae bursts into tears and runs away to hide.

-I calmly admonish Ally for taking that tone (which wasn't that bad, really; I can't call it yelling) and remind her that it's my fault for putting her socks in the twins' return laundry basket.

-I yell for Shae to come out wherever you are while I run upstairs to check on Cy who is STILL sleeping.

-A bit more yelling on my part.

-Ally decides to change into longer capri shorts.

-I grab a new pair of socks for Shae and tell her so while Paige and I go looking for her.

-Ally complains that I didn't wake them up early enough.

-Cy comes downstairs buttoning his shirt and wearing his crappy old ripped-up jeans from his "old clothes" stash in the closet. Because one new pair of jeans and one new pair of shorts are just not going to cut it with this outfit. (Did I mention he's wearing a too-tight white dress shirt under a white vest with a navy blue tie?)

-More yelling on my part. Something to the effect of the bus being here any minute, Shae come out and get on your shoes and socks, and Cy why can't you wear a dressier looking pair of jeans or shorts like we picked out last night. I don't know; it was all a blur.

-I brush Paige's hair and discover that she had syrup for breakfast yesterday at school. (No, we didn't bathe last night. We did that the night before last, to be ahead of schedule, you know?)

-I run upstairs to grab Cy a better pair of pants or shorts. I grab his dress shorts, trying not to mess them with the blob of make-up that is still on my finger.

-I find Shae in the vanity room closet. She won't come out till Ally leaves the room.

-Ally has me fix her hair a bit and I tell her to say she's sorry to Shae. My eldest complies.

-I go check on Cy's progress. He wants to know where his crappy old Adidas shoes are...I have no idea. I produce his brand-new pair of Nikes and ask what is wrong with wearing his new school shoes versus old ones. He seems to be bent on dressing up on the top and down on the bottom. ??

-Meanwhile, Shae has wondered upstairs for some reason. She is still weepy and inconsolable. I try to encourage her but I think she can detect some anger in my tone as I yell back at Cy, "Hurry up!! I am NOT driving anybody to freakin' school if you miss the freakin' bus!!"

-I kiss Paige good-bye and yell out the door to Ally to have a good day. The bus is thankfully about two minutes late, it seems.

-Shae somehow manages to calm down enough to let me apply a bit of concealer to her quivering chin. She didn't need the make-up, in my opinion, but I promised her last night that by golly, we'd make sure nobody could see that marshmallow burn.

-Cy decides to indulge me in changing out of the ripped-up jeans. He finds a new pair of jeans (because why wear the shorts that Mom has already laid out for you? It has to be your OWN idea, right pal?)and jumps into them as I tie Shae's shoes and kiss her good-bye.

-Cy is still angry about having to wear his Nikes instead of his old Adidas. Poor thing. He gallops down the driveway, into the fog, shoes untied and shirt buttoned crooked. I holler down to him about the buttoning error (probably shouldn't have done that, but it was a knee-jerk reaction) and end with a slightly sarcastic, slightly positive "Have a good day!"

And just think... next year there will be a preschooler to add to the mix! I can hardly wait.

Be still and know that I am God. --Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Toy Testing

Well, I still have a lot to learn about our new camera, but its first outing wasn't too bad. I had to take most of Friday night's pictures from the endzone, as I was selling football clothing out of the back of our tailgate, as well. Mooched off of Grandma Jan to help watch Wynne...the twins are very good about staying in my vacinity. Game night's wives, you know what I'm talking about here.

The game went better than expected. We played the perennial conference powerhouse, a team we beat for the first time EVER last year (as I think I said before). We were expecting a really tough grudge match. It didn't happen...their 4th snap of the game was a punt which we blocked darn near close to our endzone. I sure don't mean to brag, because we know full well what it's like to be on the losing end of the stick (especially against this opponent), but we had the game in hand after that.

I took about 200 pictures, and most of them weren't very good. As my husband was looking at them the other day, he asked me, "What were you taking pictures of??" I told him I was practicing. I guess I was watching the game more than looking at the camera screen. This one was supposed to be of #44 on a big run. (He's the player at the far left of your screen!)

Here's a better one of one of the backs. I tend to take more pics on offense than defense because I don't know the game well enough to anticipate stuff.

Here's one of Mark with our starting quarterback, Rockie. He's named after his dad Rockie Junior. Guess what Dad calls his son? Little Rock. I love it!! (Although I'm pretty sure this kid doesn't want to hear "Come on, Little Rock!" at the games.)

Okay, I forget what I was shooting here. Again, I have a tendency to watch the game rather than the camera. It's so hard!!!

Halftime. I changed the setting to get a decent shot of the twins with cousin Brooke.

Daddy's little right-hand girl taking stats!

I heart this picture. Cy and his best buddy Will, the water boys.

Wynne cheering with Grandma! I think "Chieftains" was one of the first words she learned, actually.

Normally, I don't take sideline shots during the game, but this was in the closing moments.

High school boys come in all shapes and sizes! Especially at a small school like ours.

I took a picture for posterity. Lest you think my husband is a vindictive, ruthless coach, I must defend our score. We never once threw the ball, and our JV kids played the entire second half. It was just surreal, being on the end of a blow-out like this against one of the conference favorites who happens to be a division larger than us. Just amazing! (And for the record, Dave is a really nice guy. The camera didn't do him any favors here.)

Win or lose, every game ends in a team huddle and chant.

And the road back up to the locker-room. Filled with community. Win or lose, it's a great place to be!

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Toy

Actually, I shouldn't call our camera a "toy". It is expensive and it is my lifeblood for chronicling the daily life of our family.

I loved our Kodak Easyshare Z7something. But after 3 and a half years, it bit the dust. Because, you know, nothing is built to last very long--and certainly not to have replacement parts after two years. So this time we asked family and friends and decided on a Sony Cybershot. It arrived just in time for the 4th day of school!

It's game day, can you tell? I love not having to figure out "what are we going to wear" on Fridays in the fall! Don't ask me why Cyrus is wearing a hooded sweatshirt in 75 degree weather. Not sure if the school will let him wear his old mesh practice jersey on his bare chest after a few hours, but that is for Cyrus to learn. I tried telling him...

Anyway, the Sony is pretty slick. I took some pictures in low light last night, and they turned out really well, in my opinion.

I love the 10 zoom! I shot this next one from the pasture, so I was about 100 yards away. (Notice I'm thinking football a lot these days.) I think I had the same zoom capability on the last camera, but the Kodak was 5 mm and this one is 10 mm, whatever that means. All I know is that they were both 10 X zoom, but this one seems to have more clarity to it. I'm a camera novice and will remain one, to be sure!

After "chores" it was time to try out the new "Advanced Sports Shooting" feature. It's supposed to predict the movement of a fast-moving image and set the focus. Mark wants me to try taking some action shots at the game tonight, so I needed to practice on something. The only fast-moving images I could find were the Little Red Rhodies.

They're not that fast, but they certainly bob about quickly. Hopefully our guys will move a lot quicker than this, though!

Here's hoping our boys will make the opposing team "eat dust" tonight! (Ha ha, aren't I clever. I'm not that cold-hearted, though. Really!)
Behold; I make all things new.--Revelation 21:5

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

For Posterity

Last week Ally gave her "little" brother (who, despite being 2 years younger, has twenty pounds and at least an inch on her) this homemade birthday card.

"Are you sure you don't want to be an Amish goat farmer?
Well I know you will be fine at anything you choose. Happy Birthday from Ally"

I just had to take a picture of this, because it has several layers of meaning for our family. A few miles east of us is an Amish goat farm, and Mark has been teasing Cy that he would do some fine work for that family. He could wear his Indiana Jones hat and put in a hard day's work every day, sun-up to sun-down! (I don't wish for this to come off as insulting the Amish by any means; we admire their work ethic and wish our kids were as obedient.) In the springtime Dad would sad say, "You know, Cy, as soon as school lets out you can go over there and work all day." He really had Cy going for about a month. Cy was nervous and weepy at some points! Once summer was in full-swing and he realized that t-ball, summer school, and home activities were all he was doing, Cy relaxed on the Amish goat farmer threat.

Another side-story is that Cy admires his older sister so much. He knows that he will never be as compliant and soft-spoken as Ally, but he loves to have things in common with her, such as Lego building, TV and computer game interests, and drawing. He wants Ally to approve of him, and he is so proud when he gets to do things with her. So for her to write "I know you will do fine at anything you choose", that means the world to him. Ally doesn't realize how much those words mean to him.

And he would do darn near anything for her. As mad as they get at each other, there is a fierce devotion to his big sister that is undeniable.

Just look at how big they are getting! Six years flew by. Crimaneeze!!
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. --John 15:13

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Picture This In Your Mind

The children are up early and all eager to get to school. It's a new year, and my twin first graders are happily putting on their clothes and tying their shoes (and asking Mommy to double-tie so they don't trip at recess or phy. ed)...and everybody is compliant, brushing their teeth, fixing their hair, etc. etc. The boy is a little less exuberant than the others, strangely enough having a hard time arising early on this day. Funny - he gets up earlier than this in the summer and on weekends. But the excitement of a new bookbag, new shoes, a new teacher, and reuniting with friends is rubbing off on him.

Don't forget the purple ponytail for Paige, so the teacher can tell her apart from Shae!

Don't forget the registration fee for Ally to play volleyball, or the physical card, or the sock money, or the water fountain usage fee! (Okay, that last one is a little sarcastic but I'm telling you, we're not far from that...)

Don't forget the shoe boxes that you decorated, Shae and Paige!

Don't forget the note for Cy because he has to see the ENT on Thursday morning!

Don't forget that Ally won't ride the bus home, as her first practice starts tonight!

The children are chatting as they wait at the end of the driveway for the bus to arrive. They get down there in plenty of time, waiting 20 minutes and starting to worry that maybe they were forgotten and there will be no time to eat the blessed school breakfast which offers five times more cereal and three times more juices than Mom's 24-hour diner.

Mom feeds the chickens and calves and reloads the feed bucket while the kids are still waiting, a little nervous, at the end of the road. "Mom, did we miss him??" the oldest shouts up to me, and I hunch my shoulders and enter the house to check the clock and the answering machine (just in case we did, indeed, miss the bus pick-up time). But then the bright yellow bus comes rolling down the hill, braking to stop at the end of our driveway and pick up four very precious people. We exchange a few air kisses (just about as good as those forehead pecks the children endured moments earlier) and waves and "have a good day"s. A tinge of sadness, a few more prayers, and a small, shameful, Slacker Mom-feeling of glee that the house is quiet for a while, before the baby wakes up. (And yes, a 3-year-old can still be called the baby. Don't argue with me on that point.)

Sadly our camera died last week, just in time to miss the first football game and the start of school. Ironically, an e-mail tells me this morning that the new camera will arrive sometime tomorrow. Sigh. We shall have to remember this time, this start of 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade, in our memory and with words. Hopefully we can commemorate the "first WEEK of school" in a few days. Not sure if the enthusiasm will fade a bit by then, but we shall carry on! There are worse things in life than not having a camera. And you know what? Sometimes you remember things better when all you have to rely on is yourself.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.--Philippians 2:5