Thursday, April 29, 2010

A seriously blow was dealt to my own estimation of how successful my mothering is and it was self-inflicted.  Sometimes I think I have crept into the underworld and decided from that perch I should  make decisions regarding how to best rear my brood.

Cue Silly Bands. 

You know, I don't think I bow down to the peer pressure that I see my kids experience. Jay on the other hand has so many horrific flashbacks from his childhood memories of knitted clothing, two odd-ball jogging suits and  that he

And, so, silly bands it is this time around.  What mother wouldn't want to spend $3 on the thinnest piece of plastic every created by man, molded into some barely discernible shape that you wear like a bumpy bracelet.
I begin this post knowing that I will probably ruffle some feathers.  I might even be seen as arrogant and pompous.  However, I write this post in an effort to put to paper what I learn about Sadie.  I have been given great insight into her being over the past week or so. 

The Sadies of the world attribute to about 2-3% of the general population. And here is the best definition I have found so far.

"Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their questioning as undermining authority, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional. They stand out from the norm."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Does I really feel better about my mothering when I know the kids leave for school in the morning with teeth brushed, hair combed, decent lunches/snacks in their bags?

I am "on top" of my game this week.  It usually happens when we move back into the house for market.  I make some ridiculous attempt at maintaining the house at that uber sanitized level for about 2 weeks.  Nothing escapes my clutch of control.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I am thankful for...

1.  A friend who took time out to instruct me on the world of homeschooling.  She has been a wealth of knowledge and I feel a teeny bit of confidence because of her encouragement and support.

2.  A friend who has been so appreciative for some things I gave her for her son that I am humbled.  Not only did I get a handwritten thank you note and an email with a couple of photos that brought an enormous chuckle to my day, but she sent us four t-shirts with her fabulous homemade embellishments on them.  Just over the top thankfulness - a lesson to be learned!

3.  A friend who opened up to me this week for what might be the first time in our friendship.  I have wanted to hear her heart for years and finally it has happened.  May God use this to work in both of our lives.

4.  A friend who called me to check on me this weekend.  I have been out of sorts, mostly physically, and she was the first to pick up on it.  God has blessed her with incredible interpretative skills.  It is comforting to know someone recognizes when I am not myself.

5.  A friend who always nails me to the wall of reality and pushed me to action.  You always need a friend who speaks Gods word honestly and frankly.  She never lets me slither away to stew, moan, and groan in the cave of self-pity. 

6.  A friend who asked to get together for coffee or something in the next couple of weeks.  It is nice to know that someone wants to spend time with me.

7.  A child who thanked me with his fully sincere heart for some punishment he was dealt earlier in the day.  He knew he was in the wrong and knew that he needed to be helped back in line.

8. A child who stopped to blow me a kiss as she skipped out of the door this morning on her way to school.

9.  A child who prepared her lunch last night and made her brother's lunch as well without being asked. 

10.  A husband who gladly left the house this morning to head to a job that is extremely stressful to amply provide for our needs and quite a few of our wants, too.

I am abundantly blessed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My first day at trying to go with the calling of the Holy Spirit has been met with disaster.  Now, I know that this is not always an instantaneous happening, but I thought that with constant prayers throughout the day, begging for the Holy Spirit, I might tap into that life and peace I am promised.  Unfortunately, the result is not quite the day I envisioned.  In fact, it has been met with a lot of discord, irritations, disappointments and ended with quite a bit of crying, by me.  What is going on?

Is it possible to become ADD as you get older?  I mean, I know that I haven't always been able to remember and keep up with things, but it is getting progressively more bothersome as I get older.  In less than 24 hours, I lost our market rent check.  To list all the searching I have done would take hours.  I'll just note that the pinnacle was going piece by piece through a black garbage back that was in our toter...just in case.  I have prayed and prayed and prayed over this check and finally realized that I would have to call my renters and ask for another one.  How completely embarrassing.  I could list about 3-5 other things that are along that vein that have happened this week - forgetting Lily's piano books, losing the map to our house that I have used forever (given to people, not used by myself of course), forgetting to measure a pipe on our hot water heater so I can get the right part resulting in a slight flood, forgetting to send in our annual report for part of a subset of our business, etc. etc. etc.

I know I am a mom of three which means that I am fully responsible for 3 other human beings and all of their belongings.  That is an excuse I hear myself saying all the time.  However, I just don't buy that excuse - being overwhelmed.  Maybe it is being out of our normal routine down here under the stairs.  Thankfully, we move back up tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What do you know?

So, we had our first bible study meeting. This study, Remembering the Forgotten God, is going to be incredibly enlightening and fascinating. At least the beginning of it seems indicative of such.

The author Francis Chan first asks us to write about what we know about the Holy Spirit. Then he asks us to dissect it, attributing it to how we know that - scripture, life experience, church, what others have said. Although I have done that with other spiritual areas, I haven't investigated it in the area of the Holy Spirit.

I have seen a lot of what I can only describe as "voo doo" attributed to the Holy Spirit. Inauthentic, unfortunately, later admitted to or proven to be false. In my own life I have experienced a couple of "strange incidents" that I can only attribute to it. I have been privy to a few moments when what I saw, experienced lined up scripturally with something not of this world. Through other bible studies, I have read that Jesus asked God to send us the Holy Spirit to be with us since he would/could not be. It is our guide, a gift, a reminder that He is always there.

The study goes on to have us read quite a few more scripture passages that outline just who/what the Holy Spirit is. limited I was on my vision. Opening myself up to that!?!?!? It just shows me that I have experienced only the tip of the iceberg of God's goodness. I would say that 95% of the time I work on being holy; I am such a "performer."  I don't just step aside and let the Holy Spirit work through me.  The anticipation, the possibilities, the wonder, the awesomeness that is there...well, I just can't wait to go deeper.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Wolf Ma-Flodge

I am writing this post from the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord. We decided we could all use a break from the basement and drove an hour to get here. We came once last year, but unfortunately, Sadie spent much of it vomiting in the hotel room trashcan - not the best memory for her. However, this time, the kids are having a blast which I am sure is related to the fact that Jay is not in complete freak-out mode this time around. Seriously, this place is so much better with strong swimmers. I rode the Howlin' Tornado twice - once with Ethan and once with Sadie. That is one wild, breath-taking ride. Lily can't quite remember how to say the name correctly and calls it the "Wolf Ma-Flodge." Cracks us up every time.

For reasons still a little vague to me, Jay suggested we all go over to Concord Mills last night - a ridiculously large outlet/shopping complex. Considering that Jay claims to have an aneurysm every time he shops, it seemed an odd choice. We ended up in the Lego store. Surprise surprise. What an awesome place to play. Computer Lego games, make your own legos, even this "view it" screen which showed the actual 3-D model of what a completed Lego kit would look like when you held the box up to it. Very, very cool. Sadie bought a large cup of varying color and shapes of legos, Ethan bought a book, "Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary," which he has not ceased pouring over, and Lily picked out her first kit - a kit of the Krusty Krab from SpongeBob complete with a small Lego krabby patty.

We are now back home. Exhausted, we were, as evidenced by the ridiculously long 3 hour naps we all took. Four nights left in the basement and market is over. The last bit of the school year is here and I the last 5- 6 weeks will sprout wings and be complete before I can bat an eye. My calendar is jam packed with Stanford Testing dates, end of year parties, field trips, field day, swim meets, etc. Whew!
I found the song, "I love you, Lord" and had to put it on my blog. It is the second one on my playlist. That was the song I sang to Lily every night when I rocked her to sleep as a baby. It has always been "our song." If I were more technical, I would record her singing it and load it on here. As sweet as it sounds to me, that little lovey voice, I know it sounds more so to Him.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Last words.

I wrestled out of my slumber this morning by reliving one of the last days I had with Ansley. It never fails to transform me into a jar of marbles that have been spilled across a hardwood floor. The marbles just keep rolling in all directions, some bouncing little hops tip...tap...tip.tap.tiptaptiptap. Others make a spiraling sound as they move across the hard surface. Scattering.

It was the last day that I had a conversation with her. It was also her worst day with cancer. She was in the hospital, had been for over a week. Her liver functions were down the drain and the doctor was trying to sort through options, choose a new treatment, and give reason for hope. The cancer had invaded so much of her body, but nowhere more so than her bones. Her scans lit up like a Christmas tree and the pain in her hips and weakness in her legs had forced her to a wheelchair. Knowing all of this, however, did not prepare me for what was to happen that day. My sister simply rolled over in the hospital bed and her hip snapped. The bone had been eaten away by cancer leaving little strong bone left. It was as completely awful as it sounds.

I was the one who held her, her face inches from mine, her hands strangling mine like a vice grip while they tried to change her soiled linens. Her broken hip being shuffled while she laid there. Her face contorted in pain, eyes wild, while her voice strained through clinched teeth begging God to make it stop. In only a few more hours, they would put her in traction, stabilizing her bones. The increased pain meds looped her into another orbit with only an occasional passing through our world again.

It was during one of these moments that I realized that it was time for me to get home to my own family. I bent toward her face to say goodbye. I gave her a little peck on her forehead; a little stubble from her hair pricked my lips. I said, "I have to go, Ans. I'll see you soon. I love you." She smiled that little wry smile, her lips not giving a hint of the teeth that were behind. She lifted her arm and pulled me back to her. She looked at me, straight to my soul. "I love you, too, Kels. I really do." I responded, "I know. I love you." We gave each other a long, deeply held hug.  And with that, I pulled away, turned, and walked out of the room.

I didn't know that would be our last exchange. I didn't know I wouldn't hear her voice again. I didn't know it was my last chance to say what needed to be said.  And yet, I said what needed to be said, simply. Oh how grateful I am.

Friday, April 16, 2010

April thoughts...

Things that consume my brain in April...

As we are, rather I am, homeschooling Sadie next year, I have been delving into books, websites, magazines, trying to determine what type of environment I want to create for Sadie, what is her learning style, what is my teaching style and what sort of curriculum to choose. I have come to the conclusion that I won't really know what works until we actually start. Therefore, I am going to make some educated guesses and hope for the best.

The kids are at the beginning of long course season in swimming. We have visited several other swimming locations in hopes of determining where we will be next year. Although all the sites have lots of positives, the deciding factors were 1) their love of their current swim coach 2) that I can be a part of a carpool next year which will allow me the luxury of only one day of shuttling the kids to and from practice and finally 3) an incident that happened at the swim banquet which was held at our church. The "incident" was a statement I made to another swim mom. There were a couple of door prizes given away at the banquet in the form of tuition credit. A criterion for being included in the drawing was based on volunteer hours throughout the swim year. They drew three names and before the last name was drawn, I foolishly said, "If I win this last one, we will go to Pyramids." Guess what? They drew my name. I know the statement was not some contractual obligation, but I also know that it hinted at a sign that point to Pyramids. Another note, Sadie received recognition for the largest percentage of time dropped of any swimmer on the team.

My little lovey has started blazing a trail in the reading department. It is so fun to watch her try, listen to her sound out the words and enjoy it. What a blessing it is to witness this first-hand! On the other hand she has delved deeply into the word of blatant disobedience. Makes me miss my "I'll do anything you say" little girl. Hopefully, we are getting back on track soon!

Ethan has developed a nice set of manners when it comes to speaking to other adults. I say "other" because it is not necessarily reflected in his conversations with me, unfortunately. We're working on that. However, it is nice to see the fruits of some labor every once in a while.
Sadie is still collecting "critters" like crazy. How she manages to keep them alive, I don't know. I have been coerced into going to PetsMart today to buy a turtle cage and turtle food. I assure you that I know they carry salmonella and that they are somewhat nasty, but this little turtle is so small that I figure it hasn't had the opportunity to contract any diseases. It is a good lesson on how to practice good hygiene regardless. Yesterday, Sadie was the first to discover the nest of the most perfectly blue eggs in our birdhouse. I think I see a unit study about animals in her future.

I have been quite reflective on friendships lately. What defines them, what drives them, what is their purpose? I have some ideas that have been planted in my heart lately on how to serve some others. I haven't had this happen in a while and it is joyous to me to know that He needs me outside my own home again.

I am starting my new bible study on the "Forgotten God" which is a study on the Holy Spirit. I used to grapple with the question of if "I" was always doing what God wanted me to do. Was "I" fully aware of my sins, fully aware of my weaknesses, was "I" giving God all the glory in every thing that I did. Was "I" living a life that was completely and totaling focused on Him. I came to the conclusion that all that was really needed was an open and willing heart. God plants these questions in our hearts to open up our eyes and hearts to the possibilities and it is then that the Holy Spirit begins to work it out in our lives. We just have to step out of the way and allow Him to work it through us. I am also beginning to see that there is no exact way, step by step process, no A-Z method, that "I" accomplish it; it just happens. A heart transformed, more willing to be His is all it takes.

To Market, to market...

I can breathe. The house is ready for our renters and we are in the basement. I can say that this year, I won the battle. The battle of "just how obsessed with cleaning can you be." I don't know if laziness took over, apathy or just a better perspective came into view. I believe it was the latter. It feels good and satisfactory that I did not have one melt down, one hissy fit, one tense moment with any other member of my family. And yet, the house is nice, orderly, and clean. Twice a year, every hairbow is in its place, legos in their boxes, and bills filed. This year, I was done so early; I actually got some painting done. Not obsessive painting, but painting two repair patches from a towel bar gone awry and a door knob in wall incident. It makes me consider trying my hand at professional organizing...well, maybe not.
Over the past 4 years, I know that in the back of my mind, I have had a little chip on my shoulder, a little grudge about renting our house. It is solely my responsibility to get ready for it and I admit I have harbored some resentment over that fact. However, this time around...nothing. Even adjusting to life in our basement has been a breeze this time around. In fact, I am enjoying it. Therefore, I am completely fine and at peace with this continued agreement. Funny, though, now Jay seems a bit antsier about renting and almost appears to be scrounging around, grasping for a reason for this to be our last market.

I am thankful to God for working through me to release the tension and anxiety that normal encapsulates these 4 weeks out of the year. Baby steps...just one little one at a time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung at the Dumoulin house. The kids are finishing up their week of spring break which has felt so much like summer vacation that I am dreading Monday. The weather has been unbelievably warm and I have really enjoyed having the kids with me.

The kids have taken every advantage of it by playing outside - riding their bikes and scooters, playing in the old chicken coop, on the trampoline and down at the creek. Yes, the creek. You know what that means? Critters!
A baby turtle with a salamander on its back. Now THAT is unusual, slightly bizarre.  The turtle has been with us for several days now.  He has been given a name, Boxer.  The addition of the name is a bit concerning.

To the left of the reflection from my flash is a crayfish.

And finally, this is an example of what has just been added to the endangered species list...MY TUPPERWARE!
I told the kids new tupperware would be coming out of their allowance.

Spring also means market cleaning (boo!) and starting our garden (yay!). Our little patch of goodness is coming along. I am so excited something that has already begun sprouting! SUNFLOWERS! And lots and lots of them.

The seeds were a gift from my Aunt Sue. We planted them in a row beneath our kitchen windows so that we will have this beautiful view of sunshiny, bright yellow flowers sometime in about 2 - 3 months. We will have to weed some of them out, because we overplanted. If anyone wants to come take a few, be my guest!

We still have some maintenance and beautification issues to take care of, but all in all, it is a start.

Elsewhere in the garden, my lettuce is looking a little weak, but I think that is because we had that string of bizarre 90 degree days this week. Tomatoes, green beans, squash, zucchini and a couple of cucumbers. I have a pot with some herbs, another pot with a few strawberry plants and another single rosemary plant. I am still waiting to plant the sugar peas and various peppers. The kids have been an integral part of the process - weeding, watering, etc. I think today they will feed the garden and all the rose bushes in the yard.  We have our first strawberry!

Huh. I just realized that I will need to find someone to watch the dogs and water the garden while we are on our trip in May/June. Add that one to the list.

In a move that can only be describe as self-destructive, I took Sadie to the store that makes me insane yesterday. Yes, Justice. Sadie chose a new scarf and decided she was much better off with her budget to go to Claire's. Good move Sadie! The kids had some money from Valentine's, Easter and from money earned for market cleaning. Let me make a note that my kids have become quite the expert cleaners. For example, Ethan rocked the baseboards in the house and Sadie is a meticulous furniture polisher. Their attitudes have also been that of servanthood for a change and that has made the week wonderful.

Therefore, we have done quite a bit of fun stuff, along with the cleaning. We went to the zoo, the kids had a night with one set of grandparents where they fished and had a bon fire by the creek. The other grandparents took them to lunch and the movies. Two kids have had sleepovers with their cousins and one had a playdate at another friend's house. I failed at getting us to the Civil Rights' Museum or ArtQuest - both things I wanted to do. However, I had to get the house ready for market and we just ran out of time.

This morning my little love rolled over in her sleeping bag. She coughed quite a bit and then looked at me. Her first words of the morning, "I love you, Mommy." What a great way to start the day. If this is any indication of what is to come, I say BRING ON SUMMER!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friendship means understanding and being understood... Friendship means affirming and being affirmed... Friendship means accepting and being accepted... Friendship means helping and being helped... Friendship means forgiving and being forgiven.

-- David J. Claasen

1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : acquaintance
2 a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4 : a favored companion
1.a person whom one knows well and is fond of; intimate associate; close acquaintance
2.a person on the same side in a struggle; one who is not an enemy or foe; ally
3.a supporter or sympathizer a friend of labor
4.something thought of as like a friend in being helpful, reliable, etc.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Let there be joy in my heart today, Lord!
Fill it to the brim, burst it with adoration for You.
Let my spirit be humble
Let my eyes see nothing but You.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Video Enjoyment of Another Parent's Oops!

This is so hilarious to me, only because this is being a parent.  An innocent little statement of fact can totally temporarily destroy your child.  The attempts of the parents to try to "make it all better" followed by the Dad's last statement is just classic.

The Evil Empire Has Won

I was afraid to turn on the news today, so I didn't.  Fearful, afraid, wishing so much that a Cinderella story ended with a happy ending and that the evil stepmother did not win.  And yet, here it is.  Downcast and forlorn I am today.

I read this on one of my often frequented blogs:

"But I'll just keep it simple: I hate those (bleeps) because I hate them. Every time they win, a kitten in my heart is strangled. The only thing that could possibly lessen last year's national championship was botching the next season and then having Dook win it. My grapes are sour, my earth is scorched..."

Maybe the icing on the cake was hearing the news from my friend of some 35 years, who I love dearly, but made a terrible case in judgment when we were seniors in high school...the decision to attend the school in question.  Coincidently, her daughter had an appointment at the same orthodontist's office this morning where Sadie had her first consult.  Why did I ask her, of all people?

And so, I wait.  Wait for next year.  Revenge will be ours.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter 2010

Another family fantastic, Jesus celebrating Easter is in the books.  We have never done much for Easter in terms of the "bunny" route.  In fact, I don't think the kids even know to consider that their little piles of goodies come from anywhere other than from us.  And, when I mean little, I mean little. The kids usually get a chocolate bunny and 3-4 other small pieces of candies (surprise, they are often my favorites), and then some clothing item that they needed for the season.  This year, Sadie and Lily got flip flops which I have to return for larger sizes and Ethan got pajamas. For their little fun thing, the girls got little garden aprons because we have started our garden and Ethan received what might be the smallest lego set ever manufactured. I had forwarned the kids that we were going to start downplaying Easter as a gift-giving season because that portion of it has nothing to do with Jesus. If someone knows differently, let me know.  Imagine tonight, when Ethan donned his new pajamas how appreciative he was of them.  "Mom, I love them. They are so soft.  Thanks!"  I just wasn't expecting that from a 9 year old boy.  It was nice to go very simply and think next year we might try to pare down even more.

We had the usual spats over what to wear with Sadie.  This, despite carefully preplanning and discussing it the day before.  It all revolved around her dress.  I told her that Easter would be my choice and Sundays after would be hers. Yeah, I know.  Probably a bad decision on my part.  The only area where we agreed was her shoes.  We had purchased her first pair of "heels" the day before.  When I say heels, I am talking about an inch.  That child tip-tapped her way through the entire day with the happiest, danciest feet I have ever seen.  Oh, and let me say "thanks" to her swim team, because nothing says "Easter's finest" like a temporary tattoo on your arm sporting the Star logo. 

Church was especially uplifting.  Our church became command central for the tornado recovery efforts that effected the surrounding neighborhoods.  We fed some 1,800 people over this past week.  Crazy.  I don't know how all that food and all those people came, got fed, coordinated, organized, etc.  But, it did!  As our pastor said today, "What a real way to put into practice service.  What an incredible opportunity God provided for us to love our community."  The music just rocked and well, it was teary for me.

Lunch was at my mom's and then the kids had an egg hunt.  They were limited to "29" eggs.  Yes.  Not the 4 or 5 I was always limited to, but 29.  They were all empty, but the kids had a lot of fun trying to find them all.  I loved having my niece and nephew with us, too.  Sadie wrote letters and drew pictures for everyone on that side of the family.  That is definitely her gift - encouragement.  Her letter to Gray was so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes.  It made me realize how precious that relationship is to her.  Praise God it appears there will be more time for that now.

After arriving home, Jay and I decided we would take a nap.  The kids went outside to play.  About an hour later, I got up.  Ethan and Sadie had changed into bathing suits and were playing with the hose.  Sadie found the biggest mud puddle, of course, and I am sure the bathing suit she was sporting is ruined.  I looked around for Lily and didn't see her.  I started to get a little concerned when I saw her asleep on the trampoline, or champoline as she calls it.  Ahhh, the joys of living on 10 acres and not having to worry about neighbors who think you have abandoned your kids and who might call DSS.

Dinner was spent with my dad and stepmom.  It was a little challenging as the kids were still pretty hyped up on sugar.  However, nothing beats being able to sit outside for dinner in April when your kids are climbing the walls, spilling their waters and trying to show off their moves for an upcoming Grandparent's Day program at school.

My beautiful blessings! 

Oh! Happy Day!
The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out, Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive
He's alive!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

April Fool's Day

Another April Fool's Day in the books.  This year, I brought "grilled cheese sandwiches" to all the kids' classes.  It was actually toasted angel food cake with colored frosting.  I can't claim credit for this creative idea.  I am a huge fan of Family Fun and they always have amazing ideas. 

Anyway, I told the kids that I brought a Dutch treat called toasties and asked if they wanted to try.  Funny how some of the kids turned up their noses at first.  Then, when the gag was announced, those same kids scampered to get a little piece of cake and icing.  All the kids thought it was funny, but I would say that the kindergarteners really loved it.  Yeah, it took a bit of effort to make that many "grilled cheese" treats, but I love being known as the April Fool's Day Mom.  I love how my kids think I am pretty cool, too.
"Yellow and green are a hit, Mom." Sadie says to me this morning. I commented that her tied-dyed lime green shorts may not be the perfect match to her bright yellow Toby Mac t-shirt with black and pink logo. Does it matter for me to say something? No.