Sunday, June 29, 2008

Birthdays, Weddings and Fireworks

You're embarrassing me! Don't make me go out there! don't need to make a big deal out of my birthday....

Hurry up and take the picture before anyone sees me....

Muncie isn't impressed with her gift bag...

Victoria's interests definitely lie elsewhere...

But, since Muncie first became a part of our family, Miss Sophia has ALWAYS insisted on making a formal occasion out of her birthday. This year's birthday wasn't as elaborate as last years which was complete with dog-bone shaped meat loafs, a dog cake, and dog decorations everywhere.

There were other big events taking place in the family that detracted somewhat from Muncie's birthday bash.

Someone is getting married! And it isn't Seth! (Much as he wishes this were his bride, I think he's a little young for her, not to mention she is his cousin!)

BUT, he is the perfect age to be the ring bearer!

Such a BIG responsibility!

Cousin, teacher extraordinaire, bestest babysitter in the whole world

Recent college graduate (with honors!)

Today is HER day!

Here Comes the Bride! Here Comes the Bride!

And ok. I guess it's HIS day as well. Her Knight in Shining Armour,

A WONDERFUL young man and he adores her.

They look so young, but I guess they really are old enough to get married. They both graduated from college this spring, both gainfully employed, ready to embark on the rest of their lives.

But something is wrong here!

She was MY flower girl. How could MY flower girl be old enough to marry and have my son as her ring-bearer? How could this have happened? How could time have flown by so quickly?

She was just a little girl yesterday. Just a sweet, little, girl playing with my babies. Now she's all grown-up, graduated with honors from college, and her choice of teaching positions (she was blessed to get more than one job offer). NOW SHE'S GETTING MARRIED!

Can we just turn the clock back a little bit? Just to when you were a little baby carrying your baby dolls around, dragging a blanket? Next thing you know, you'll be carrying REAL babies around and dragging REAL baby blankets.....

But not your cousin!

Bachelor till the rapture is his mantra.

I can't believe you got him to wear a pink tie! A picture that I copied and presented to his mother by the way. I don't think he's worn a suit since he graduated from high school.

His mom, the sister-who-doesn't-garden, was the wedding wonder lady. Every wedding needs one. The go-to person who has all the answers, tells everyone where to be when, and intercepts emergencies before they reach the mother-of-the-bride or the bride herself. She played her part magnificently, and I know was very appreciated by all.

I always think of weddings as a kind of a happy/sad event. It's always kind of a let-down and an emotional choke watching the bride and groom drive away, so I'll save you from those pictures. It's just so symbolic of the start of their new lives together. They leave and set off on this romantic journey called life, and leave the rest of us waving good-bye. It's just such a reminder of how life is a rapidly moving journey and it's over in a blink of an eye.

But, this year, I was distracted from dwelling on the sentimental aspect of it all, because we had an important event to attend after the wedding....

The Annual Community Fireworks.

We got there a mere 3 hours early to stake out the prime spots. While we were waiting, the wedding wonder lady's (that's a term of endearment, remember) oldest son entertained the kids.

Entertainment meaning wrestling, throwing, tackling, and just good-ole rowdiness.

I don't believe Sophie wants to get in the middle of that dog-fight.

That's OK. Before long the firework display was in full bloom.


I think she's had along day.

Night-night. Sleep tight!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Carrot Juice is Murder

My friend Charlotte sent this to me. She said she was sending it to all of her gardening friends.
I personally think the meat and potatoes crowd will love it the most.......

Warning: Go potty first so you don't wet your pants.......

Thanks Char...I needed a good laugh today! Enjoy!

Happy Birthday

Oh, honey. I'm so sorry that your little mommy put that funny t-shirt on you....

I know. It's embarrassing. But hold still. You keep moving and it's making the picture fuzzy.

Why you ask? Why do you have to get dressed up and have your picture taken?

Because silly.....

Today's your BIRTHDAY!!



And yes, you're still alpha dog at the zoo!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Neighbors

Excuse me.......
Can Victoria come over and play?

Uh...I'm sorry to have to tell you, Sebastian. But Victoria went to the vet yesterday. I don't think you'll be nearly as interested in her today as you were yesterday.

She's doing great, Sebastian. Thanks for asking. You really are a sweet dog. If Victoria had wanted to get married, I'm sure she would have chose you as her mate, you're an awesome dog, Sebastian.

Sebastian, what's your mommy up to?

She's over there with Grandpa.

Is she listening to a CD? Prince Charming and I were listening to that beautiful music from our deck and wondered what CD it was...

OH! Not a CD! Dad on the guitar, daughter on the violin. Maybe they should make a CD?

I was forced to take their picture because Prince Charming didn't believe me that it wasn't a CD.

Talk about great neighbors...

Since they moved in a few short months ago, they have rescued Victoria from a necklace of duct tape, came to the rescue when Grandma needed some help (we won't go into THAT story), and watched my kids when an emergency came up.

You just don't find neighbors like that too often anymore.

Aren't they cute? Not many teenagers would stroll through the neighborhood arm-in-arm with their mom.

I hope Sophie is watching......

God is good. Thanks for sending these neighbors. They are indeed a blessing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Fun Family Memory Making Day

Last weekend we were invited to my step-daughter's husband's sister's house. (Did you follow that?) It was a combined party for all sorts of reasons: birthdays, Father's Day,
Dog-Appreciation Day....
What? You don't have dog-appreciation day in your family? Well, really now. You can't have an outdoor party and not include the dogs, can you?

The invasion begins.......

Our friends have their own lake, and this is the web-footed Victoria's first real exposure to "real water." I think at this point she was a little freaked by it. Prince Charming was going to throw her off the dock, but gave in to the protests from the peanut gallery and refrained.

Let's do this slow and easy...... We'll experiment with an occasional paw in the water....

Nice and easy, and before we knew it, Victoria was in love with the water...

She's not the only one....

I believe this may have been one of Seth's first fishing experiences. He was fascinated with the 4 foot long carp that came right to the edge of the shore (they're used to being hand fed). Seth was bound and determined to catch one, although I'm not sure what he have done if he had actually succeeded. Probably freaked a little.

This is why Seth will never be a true fisherman....the worms. He LOVES worms. Loves to play with them, hold them, cuddle them. (I bet you didn't know you could cuddle a worm, did you?) The thought of putting them on a hook (does it hurt them, Daddy?) and then using them as bait (will the fish really eat them, Daddy?) sort of bothers the little guy. Oh....he has so much to find out about life. Take your time, buddy. Take your time...

Daniel wants to go for a boat ride . Come on mom, I'll drive!

Don't they look alike? They certainly act alike. They were all about the dogs. What? Water? Swimming? Fishing? Kayaking? Food?

No Thanks.

We'll just play with the dogs, thank you very much.

Wonder where Sophie gets it from?

Hey, wait a minute! Who is that way out there in the kayak? Isn't that kid a little young to be way out there by all by their lonesome? I've heard there are snakes in this lake...and beaver....and foxes around....and other ferocious beasts...

Wait a minute...there are two of them!

Hey, that's MY kid! Who let him loose? And his niece? She's younger than him! They aren't called the gruesome twosome because they are innocent-well behaved-would-never-get-into-trouble angels....

Well, at least they made a memory and docked safely.

What a fun, fun, time..... thanks for the memories daughter's husband's sister!

Bye, bye until next time....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Socialization and Camp

How many of you went to summer camp or church camp and came away with sweet memories to be cherished for a lifetime?

Or, are you like me…

I went to camp twice…the first time as a girl scout. Looking back on camp, I have two memories – getting a urinary tract infection, not knowing that’s what it was, and the teenagers who were my camp counselors yelling at me for going to the bathroom too many times (it didn’t occur to them to question why and to possibly send me to the nurse).

My second camp memory was church camp when I was in 6th or 7th grade. That experience was tarnished by memories of the girls in my cabin sneaking over to the boys’ cabin. I wasn’t cool because I didn’t join in on the fun.

Which brings me to my old boss’s memories….she got pregnant at 14 at a Baptist Church camp. She and her husband married when she was 15 and against the odds, lived happily ever after. She got her college degree and went on to have two more children. When I met her, her daughter was 28 and she could look back and laugh. But I remember my old boss stating that she would never let her own kids attend camp.

We have attended the same church for the last 6 years. For the last 3 years, they have been “strongly encouraging” the 3rd-6th graders to attend a week long camp. Each year the pressure is getting stronger and stronger to attend this camp.

If you haven’t already guessed, let me just state it right out…..We don’t send our children to camp.

Shall I go into more detail? (Since it’s my blog and this topic is really bugging me, I think I will…)

There are multiple reasons.

My son has severe allergies to green and growing stuff. He’s outside for 30 minutes and then he is miserable and wants to come inside. His allergies peak in July. The camp is in July so why would I want to send him to camp knowing this? Would they care that he was miserable? Probably not.

Need another reason? They can tell you that they watch the kids closely, that they are kept busy at all times. If this is the case, does all that hazing and bullying that you hear whispered about go on in FRONT of the counselors – after all, the kids are never out of sight – right?

AND, if that isn’t enough, what about those cliques? If kids are cliquish in Sunday school, why wouldn’t that carry over to camp? What’s your plan for that Mr. Counselor? AND if you have a plan, why aren’t you implementing that each and every Sunday. Why wait for camp?

You know, the amazing thing in our society is that many people think your child is not socialized if they don’t attend public school, if they don’t attend camp, if you don’t let them explore the mall on their own….. But I beg to differ…. Tell me, what’s socially stimulating about putting a child in a room with 30 other kids their exact same age? They start to look at anyone NOT their age, NOT their socioeconomic status, as an undesirable not to be associated with. They want to dress the same as other kids, talk the same as other kids, disrespect like other kids. I know it. I read about it on the blogs. I hear friends who talk about it. I see it often when I’m out in public. Dr James Dobson said, “I have seen kids dismantle one another while parents and teaches passively stood by and observe the socialization.”

What are we doing to our children?

One of Webster’s definitions of the word to socialize is: to make fit for companionship with others

So, what makes a fit companion for society?

My kids may not go to public school, but they can carry on a conversation with a 2 year old, a 12 year old, or a 20 year old, or another 12 year old’s mom. They are comfortable with all ages because they are around all ages. NOT just other kids born in the 12 month period they were.

A classroom filled with kids of virtually the same age doesn’t have an established rank as there is in a family. In a family if you’re the oldest you are the oldest. The youngest is the youngest. Children do not need to fight, manipulate, and claw their way up the ranks.

But rank in a classroom is established by an assortment of measures: good looks, wealth, academic success, athletic ability, talents they may have, or material possessions – whatever the current cool item of the week is. Labels may be applied at an early age, never giving a child the opportunity to move out of their caste system. And, what ever group the child has been forced into, jocks, band-nerd, beauty-queens, has its own unwritten code of conduct which may include drugs, shop-lifting, pre-marital sex or whatever else they deem as cool.

I don’t get it. I find peer pressure hard to deal with, and I expect my children to be stronger and handle it better than I?

And you know what? It is NOT realistic in society that you will forever be around and work with people your exact age. On the contrary many will have bosses their parent’s age. How do you learn to deal with all ages if you’ve been segregated with people your own age 8-10 hours a day since you were 5 years old?

People who are concerned with diversity wonder about those of us who keep our children close, wonder if our children will grow up to be bigoted or intolerant – this from a system who pre-sorts children by birthdates, gender and intellectual ability from preschool on. Is it the school’s job or the church’s job to teach children to love and respect people of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds? I personally think it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach it at the kitchen table, while cleaning out a rabbit cage, or while riding bikes in the park. It’s the parent’s job to discuss this whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Families are able to teach their children to get along with siblings, with neighbors, with the grocery store clerk who bags meats with produce. The responsibility for raising children should be within the family, not the school, and definitely not by peer pressure. As a middle-aged adult, I have trouble with peer pressure, how can I expect my children not to unless I teach them to recognize it for what it is?

One form of peer pressure is the mantra that so many kids get “saved” at church camp so of course I should let my children attend.


Do these children that get “saved” at camp, profess their salvation in a moment of peer pressure and excited frenzy? Or is their salvation the same as needing that pokemon card, or the latest and greatest video game? Where is their heart? Is it a true repentance of sin, the realization of a need for the Savior, and the desire to serve Him? Hopefully it is.

But my fear is that these kids just return home to the unsaved family with no one to nurture their fledging spiritual belief. Do they return to the same social groups that put pressure on them to take drugs, or what ever? I suspect these kids are sent home with good intentions, but reality is they are often sent home with no follow-up, no support, and the spiritual fire will soon be snuffed out, maybe for a time, maybe forever.

But what if we take our resources and pour them into those same kids and nurture them on an ongoing basis, one kid at a time, one parent at a time, one family at a time? Then there is hope. Hope for our society, and hope for this world. But it starts at home. Not at school, not at camp, not with society, but with two parents and a family.

So, if we should decide camp is a necessary experience for our children, we will go as a family.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bloom Day and Dads

Most of the time when working in the garden, I feel like a Gardener-Wanna-Be.
I don't know the names of alot of my plants, let alone the Latin names.
Sometimes I don't know if it's a weed or a valuable, rare, treasure. So, I'm kind of embarrassed to participate in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by my big sister, Carol of May Dreams Garden.
I don't have a green thumb, it's truly brown. BUT, I was blessed with good soil because my Prince Charming and I purchased the family homestead where my father over years and years carefully nurtured the soil and left a legacy of "garden gold." Years ago when this spot was bright and sunny, he planted this Yucca plant (it is a Yucca, isn't it Carol?)

It's ALMOST in bloom. Probably too late for this month, too early for next month's Bloom Day.

The hostas below are also just about ready to bloom.

Most of the time, I see something I like, I plant, and Oh-Well-Let's-Just-Let -It-Do-It's-Thing becomes it's life theme. I know that just makes the "real" gardener's out there cringe inside. I like the natural look where one plant ends and the next begins in unclear margins, all intertwined and kind of messy looking.

I do have a nice herb garden though. Someday when I have the time I want to learn all about the medicinal value of herbs and actually use the herbs rather than just admiring them and wondering what the heck to do with them.

Here's one of my perennials. I have several perennial beds, but I tend to weed it out in May, then just sit back and admire it the rest of the year wishing that the gardening fairies would tidy the bed up a bit when they come out to play at night.

I do know what this vine is called. Honeysuckle.

And if they ever invent smell-a-vision, this would be worthy. The smell is right up there with lilacs in my book. And, I'm pretty sure, almost certain (kinda) that this started life as a stray seedling, blown in by the wind, never weeded, never banished to the compost pile, and finally earned the role of ruler of the fence.

My dad never went for the "wild" look. He would have "sensed" this stray weed and it would never have blossomed to rule the fence. My dad was an organized gardener. Everything symmetrical, neat and tidy, color-coordinated, white 70's rock right in place where it should be. He was a science guy raised on a farm so he knew how to grow 6 foot tall zenias, and the tallest tomato plants in the land. He had a green thumb along with the instinct and knowledge and desire to make a beautiful garden paradise out of our little yard.

Sometimes I wonder if he would be mortified to see his yard now with me at the helm. I wish I would have paid attention to all of his gardening activities when we were growing up. I'm amazed at how much my sister, Carol, learned from him (which I discover from reading her blog). We grew up in the same house at the same time. Why didn't I know that beans or peas or whatever it is should be planted east to west (or is it north to south)? Oh....I know why. I was always hiding somewhere reading a book. I regret that now. It's too late though. I'll have to just glean from my sister and hope that she isn't hiding any family gardening secrets.

On a day like today when the sky is a clear blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the gentle breezes are flowing, and it happens to be Father's Day, it's a good day to look at the garden. Whenever I think of my father I think of the garden - his favorite place to be.

And sometimes when you venture out to the garden just to reminisce and see what is in bloom, you might find a surprise (or two)

And because today is not just Bloom Day but also Father's Day, here's to you Prince Charming. The dad that will go above and beyond to ensure that the Princes and Princesses are happy for ever after.....

We Love You!

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Flood

We were lucky. We only got 4-5 inches this morning.
A lot of water fell today. Our county has been declared a disaster area, and a Weather Emergency was declared. People were asked to stay in their homes. Some areas around us received up to a foot of rain today.

This is the end of our street. The last time this flooded, I was a little girl. But I remember. Still.

I think my kids will remember today's flood for a long, long time.

This is the water rushing over my shoes in the middle of our street. THE MIDDLE. Not at the curb. The middle. It was mid calf at the curb. Not since I was a little girl do I remember the water covering the middle of the road.

Here we are standing on the neighbor's porch watching a car drive down the river. This is the high end of the street where the water wasn't very deep, but you can still see that in the middle the water was ponding.

We were lucky. Our basement is dry. Our children are home safe and sound. All family members are accounted for. All animals are safe.

In the southern part of our county dams broke and a lot of communities are flooded.

Our neighbor's basement is flooded. So are many, many other basements. Many people lost everything they owned today. Some people were stupid and ventured out in the water and almost lost their lives. Thank you to those who risked their lives to save the foolish.

A boring day is a good day. Yes, boring is good.

When you say your prayers tonight, please remember south central Indiana.