Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Their Finery

A gaudy peahen and a flapper.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I took the kids sledding on Tuesday. I knew Fritz wasn't feeling well when after three rides down he asked to sit in the car. That night he had a racking cough and fever. Poor guy, he was sick the week before with the stomach flu.

Jane enjoyed going sledding, but if I dared to pull her up the hill on the sled she angered. Back up the hill I went with her in my arms and the string of the sled over my shoulder. Down we went effortlessly and up we came huffing and puffing. Sledding is excellent exercise. I just hope lugging her 25 pounds up a steep incline benefited my muscles as much as her mental stability.

My three-headed monster rolled up to ward off the chill.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Daughter of the King

If you were in the presence of the Lord tonight, there would be much rejoicing. The angels are no doubt blowing their party poppers and throwing confetti. Something long prayed for has come to pass. My Emily had her spiritual birthday today. When I noticed the date it seems so fitting as now her two birthdays coincide on the 14th. She surprised me completely. I had just finished praying with the kids before giving them their goodnight kisses. Emily asked to pray which isn't all that unusual. She prays for her baby (Jane) and then tends to mumble minutes worth of gibberish. I must admit there are times I have wanted to hasten her "amen". Tonight she prayed for her baby and then said "Jesus live in our hearts. Amen." Her prayer was not prompted or worded by me. She was sincere and "our hearts" included her heart. For months I have been sharing with her what Jesus did for us and how he loves us. At times I have felt quite discouraged because she would constantly change the conversation or cut me off. Seemingly she had no interest. But the Holy Spirit was at work. After she prayed, Emily got up from her pallet on the floor to give me a big hug and Alex came over to give her a big hug. It was a moment too sweet to describe. When Daddy returns tomorrow from his conference, what news we will have for him. If he could only see the delight in my teary eyes and hear the shouts in glory, he would know his daughter is now also the daughter of a king.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rooflines to Rot

DISCLAIMER: For those few that think the source of cavities is too much time in front of the internet, it can't hurt to brush after viewing these sugary photos.

This our first year to make graham cracker houses. While the little cherub above napped the three older children built a neighborhood.

Our supply of airline cardboard made the basic structures. Then we covered them with the wax paper liners from cereal boxes.

Yes, we could have purchased individual milk cartons, but recycling is so economical and requires no trip to the grocery store. With four additional shoppers, believe me, that is worth more than the money saved.

Since candy is not usually kept on hand, this roofline to teeth rot was a view to cherish and digitally preserve.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mortar, Muscle and Moments

This past month was very busy. With the aid of my trusty chisel and safety glasses, I demoed our green tile countertops. Destruction was never so gratifying. For weeks we lived with plywood countertops as I was waiting for the granite tile to arrive. My original plans became more elaborate as I added a dresser and desk both salvaged from our neighbors' trash. The dresser is now my kitchen island and the desk a much needed work station. I feel like I've gained some arm muscles mixing 80 pounds of mortar. It is like trying to stir peanut butter with a toothpick. I was overly ambitious and thought my project would be done by now. My revised deadline is December. I still have moulding to miter and nail up, grout to smear and paint to somehow apply behind our refrigerator, etc.

The night before Ben and I escaped for a weekend in San Antonio, the kids went trick-or-treating around our circle. Since they dress up nearly everyday...not as much thought went into their costumes but they were extremely excited to show them off. Jane was Elmo. Emily was Snow White. Fritz was the Black Knight. And Alex was a policeman.

Why were we in San Antonio? Ben had a foot and ankle conference there and I gratefully tagged along. So while he learned about fixing metatarsals I shopped for cooler footwear. It was incredibly hot at 83 degrees and I had only brought running shoes. And without four kids, I just happened to find a few other special things. The conference site was a beautiful resort with custom carpets, limestone fireplaces and extensive grounds. As I sat in a rocking chair on the veranda reading, brides and grooms-to-be planned their weddings on the back lawn. Though I brought my camera I forgot to take pictures. Very me. One of the biggest highlights of our trip was eating real Mexican food and cementing the fact that Texas is calling Ben. When it snowed a few days ago on our return, even I heard the boot stomping getting louder. And let me clarify it wasn't snow boots.

A face of iron resolve.

Photos from my blogging absence in October.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sister Plays

When Fritz's team consists of 3 players and 2 of them are out of town, that leaves FRITZ. So Emily donned Alex's uniform and had her chance to glory on the soccer field by assisting her brother win the soccer game. It was E and F against 3. I lost count of how many scores F made, but he was unstoppable.

E trying to keep up with shin guards that rise past her knees.

Alex had two goals in his game. A high for him.

The Fierce Kiss

Friday, September 21, 2007

Catch up photos

Fritz scored a goal in his first soccer game.

Snow White, but where are the seven dwarfs?

The last hospital anklet. Poor Ben and Alex had fever from their final rabies shot, but the ER ordeal is over. Hooray.

Ben embellished my hair with some foliage. Thanks. I think I looked like a reindeer from the front.

Being last has developmental advantages, Jane has figured out how to draw with crayons. She even switches colors.

Since spring in Chicago, my diamond has been loose. Now my new setting dazzles on my left hand. Some months early for our tenth anniversary.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A picture of life

Emily's self-haircut has grown. Yeah! The rebellious strands stay plastered down for a brief moment after styling.

My girl with the highest threshold of pain I have ever seen. She is resilient and tough. She wins the bravery award for the rabies shots. She merely says a quick "ouch" and doesn't even cry. Maybe God is preparing her for the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

Alex looking like a Bermudan policeman. Shorts and knee socks. Thank you for your prayers! God made Alex brave and he did the best he has done on our 4th set of shots. Next Friday we will celebrate our final visit to the ER. Then selective members of our family will be for hire to catch your rabid pests; we'll be in business for the next ten years.

The little raggedy herself.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So long summer

Enjoying the last of summer outside.

We began school this week. Fritz was so excited that he wanted to do his "school work" long after Alex had closed his books. Fritz mainly colored pictures of a dinosaur with the number one on his back and a plate heaped high with spaghetti which resembled figure eights. He signs his papers with his name Firz which is too cute to correct. As long is he is of good character, his name is of little consequence. Afterall, he has been my Felix, my Fritzgerald, my Fritzsimmons, my Whit, and now my precious little furs.

Adventurous Jane is in training for her future Tarzan. She climbed/fell out of her crib this past week. I placed cushions all around her crib, because she is too young not to be contained. I expect she will come toddling downstairs one of these nights and that will be the end of my peace.

This is love. Ben having been up all night the day before, comes home at noon and works on the roof till dusk to keep his family safe from those rabid intruders. He also worked on sealing the minuscule cracks in the interior of the second closet in our bedroom. Sometimes I panic going upstairs when it is dark. And I still keep rags at the crack under the closet door.

You can pray for us, tomorrow is our fourth set of shots. Last time, Alex had to be held down by three men and the needle broke because he was so tense. The pharmacy had to prepare another shot which resulted in more time in the hospital and Alex had to be poked again. His howls had a domino effect and the other children throughout the ER began to cry (including ours).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

45 Vaccinations

This past week we received a call from the county saying the second bat we caught in our house was rabid. Since we were asleep with the first bat, there is a chance we could have gotten scratched or bit by the bat. I have been feeling a bit rabid, but my kids have a way of doing that to me. Ben jokingly told me he would tie me to the tree in the back yard. It was Ben that turned around to show me he was foaming at the mouth the other night, but toothpaste has a way of doing that. As rabies is fatal, Ben made up our minds and marched us up to the ER. After following the exposure protocol, the entire family will receive 45 vaccinations over the course of the month. We will have another round tomorrow and two more rounds after that. It is getting increasingly hard to convince the kids that shots aren't painful. The nurses are exceptional and have done their best to amuse the kids with take-home water gun syringes, stuffed animals, stickers and lollipops. God again answered prayer by removing a huge financial burden from the visits with the kindness of the doctors and staff. ER copays for six people, five times was astronomical. Due to God's grace we have in writing the 4 subsequent copays will be waived. It definitely helped that Ben works there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Bull Rider

Ben and I met a group of residents for dinner at a restaurant that has a mechanical bull. This time Ben didn't don his cowboy hat and jeans, but he still was the cutest cowboy. He rode under the Texas flag.

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is NOT a Tall Tale

Last Saturday, I went to the neighborhood picnic a few doors down. Our neighbors are very friendly and we know more of them here than anywhere else we have lived. In the summer you see neighbors chatting with cold drinks in their hands while their kids play in the yard. Other neighbors stop to say hello when they walk their dogs around the circle. Beautiful weather perhaps promotes neighborliness.

At the picnic everyone brought a dish to share, there were sack races for the kids, a bike parade, a pinata smash, a wheelbarrow full of buried pennies in sand for the children to find. Bringing home a dollar fifty in pennies and three bags of candy lit up our kids faces as if it was fifty dollars and a mobile candy store. Sadly, Ben missed the enjoyable evening as he was on-call.

That night Alex, Fritz and Emily fell asleep to dream about the candy they would eat in the morning. I stayed up late as my custom when Ben's on-call. When I did fall asleep it was with the happiest thoughts of sweet neighbors and pasta salad.

BUT at 3:30 AM my dreams became terrifying. I contributed my vivid nightmare to the heat. I heard skittering sounds of nails scratching the wood floor and fluttering sounds as if something was flying above the four poster bed. I can remember thinking this dream seems too real and that's when I opened my eyes and turned on the light. Then I screamed. A bat was circling above my head. Our room is by no means small, but the bat could circle it incredibly fast swooping under our rod iron canopy and far too close to me. I know that bats have terrible eyesight so I was relying on my screams to keep the bat away from me. Being half asleep to be woken up to that was frankly the most frightening thing to happen in my young life. There was nothing brave about me, I sweatily squeezed my favorite pillow and resolved to charge for the open door on the bat's next circle. Once in the hall I slammed the door and stuffed some rags under it, so not a crack of light could be seen and the bat could not pursue me. Being panic stricken, I gave the bat far too much intelligence.

I tried to hunker down in the empty bed upstairs. I was hot, restless and worried that the bat would fly into my lamp and start a fire or drop guano over every square inch of the room making it a toxic waste site. I went downstairs and tried to sleep on the couch. I wished Ben had been home, he would have known what to do. Then I realized I could pray about it. And pray I did. And as I finished praying the garage door began opening and Ben walked in at 4 AM, unexpected by me of little faith, but a direct answer from God. He donned leather gloves took his fishing net and matter-of-factly marched upstairs. In a brief moment he had swooped the bat into the net. He released it outside as it tried to bite his fingers with its sharp teeth.

For those who don't know, Ben use to own his own nuisance wildlife extraction service. Being a master trapper of an armadillo duet, he won my father's approval for my hand in marriage, but that is another story. Last Sunday in the wee hours of the morning, Ben won my eternal gratitude and pride as he caught the creature of my nightmare.

The Bearded Baby

Santa Baby with a yogurt beard. A twinkle in her eye and an unbelievable belly.