Sorry I haven't written anything in so long!
We seem to have lost a month here and there! Life has gotten so busy. But, here are some high points and low points:
Yesterday, Mary pronounced me "the best mommy in the whole wide house!"
I don't have much competition there, do I?
Dan is still employed and his company seems to be hanging on in spite of the current market situation
We are so busy trying rent all our own empty rentals that we never seem to see each other anymore!
Mary loves Primary (church) and preschool. The kids are all doing well and Andrew made honor roll!
I guess this doesn't have one.
Sam no longer has a girl friend, got his driver's license and drives himself and Allison to school most days.
That means I don't get a car those days!
God loves us and blesses us, sometimes in spite of our own dumb decisions. We keep seeing Manna from Heaven to get us through the low times.
We keep making those dumb decisions! lol. I guess that is what his Mercy is for, but I wish we could learn and stop making dumb decisions faster!! They can hurt!
We have good friends like you and are glad to stay in touch.
I got involved in flickr.com and facebook to stay in touch with people and do photos in a more anonymous way. So now, I am not doing as well here!!
Look for me on facebook by name and under user id Marittime on www.flickr.com
Uh, I think it has been a very long time since I last wrote here. SORRY!
I am currently busy. I have tennis elbow. I don't play tennis. Especially now. But, that isn't what I wanted to share. Funny kids stuff is the order of the day.
A few simple, recent examples: Mary got a new fish as a pet. After trying for so long to get here very own pet, she is delighted. She wants so very much to play with it. I have tried at length to explain that she may not touch it or it will hurt "fishy fish." So, she responded that she would not touch "fishy fish" ever, except when she is playing freeze tag. I hope the fish survives her.
I have included a few pictures of her with her delight and enchantment with the fish. She was also very eager to feed this new beta fish. And of course, by overfeeding a fish, you can kill it. So, I would not let her do it. She informed me that the fish was starving. She also tried to take the fish food to give him more food. So, I put the food on the top shelf of the pantry. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I included a shot of my drama queen with her response.
Tonight, we had a family home night with some of the acting games that Sam and Allison have used in their drama courses to learn improv. Dan organized us, Sam instructed us, and we spoke in gibberish with other people translating our conversations. (My favorite game) and we also got to ride in a taxi and with each new passenger, we changed moods to their mood. It was fun and we were loud and silly and happy. We also did much of it on cushions on the floor so Mary liked it. We also acted out a food fight.
Afterwards, Mary showed us her "cool moves" as she copied Sam's break dancing.
Sam is good at break dancing. He is better at guitar, and has also, now taught himself how to play piano better and is doing some great composing. In addition, he is playing drums almost every day and getting pretty good at that. It is a great outlet for him, and he seems to have fun. He has his driver's license and he is loving that. A lot!
Allison is babysitting, expressing herself creatively with fashion, being brainy, getting good grades, and loving the church dances. She hangs out with friends about 3 days a week and spends about 3 hours a day texting friends. I think she needs to have he phone surgically removed. However, at least I am not excluded. I know that her friends are great kids, approve of this joke or that activity that Alli is involved in at the moment, or what they are up to.
Dan is the Great Dalmuti. Yes, you heard me right. The greatest great Dalmuti. I am the greater peon. Mary wants to be the lesser peon, but she just substitutes the word pee in there and loves to be the lesser pee. She just likes to collect all the hands that have been played when we play a fun silly card game. She is not really playing, but she yells that she won and we lost as she gathers the cards. She also plays from them and we ignore her turn. It is fun to see her energy and enthusiasm. Except at bedtime. then it is just tiring.
Speaking of, it is late, and I must sleep. Hope you are all well.
I say that with way too much sarcasm at this particular moment. I have a rental house being repaired that is causing way too much stress and time involvement. I have whiny and bickering children who are driving me crazy (crazier!) and of course, I have had yucky health and sick kids FOR-E-VER.
The Messiah Concert was last night and I think it was very nice. The soloists were great. And I could see improvment in myself over the years. I love to participate in that. I had some dear friends who came to support me.
The afternoon we spent not getting ready for the concert but visiting a dear friend in the hospital. She got ill and went to the hospital on Saturday and is scheduled for emergency brain surgery. Scary! She is one of my daughter's best friends and I love her as much as a niece! She is such a dear and fun girl. And she has set an example of love to me. We held her hand, joked with her, and enjoyed her company. I think she knows better now how much we love her, and I am only sad to think it is something like this that makes us take the time to let her know.
We have worried all day! And as we awaited the final outcome of the surgery, we found out it was delayed at least until tomorrow and possibly Wednesday. But, the surgeon was getting tired, the other surgery was complicated, and we are lucky he is here. He is one of the best pediatric neurosurgeons in the region and possibly in the US. And even 10 years ago, these kinds of procedures were tough. We are lucky for this.
I took my kids to the dentist and Santa was there. He was very nice. I had a 3 year old who screamed and ran away. I finally held her still while the dentist looked at her teeth. They weren't even clean! But, we tried. And I think she isn't afraid of the dentist anymore.
Our insurance paid for the leaks in the rental house, but the poor tenants discovered it on Thanksgiving morning with a house full of family. A good day for a water main break to be discovered under laminate flooring. It had already rotted the subfloor and much of the drywall. I am so glad insurance was there to take care of this one. It would have been tough. However, we were blessed with tenants who could do much of the work themselves, and do it well.
Dan flew to Kansas City this morning and it is SO cold there. I think he said the high is 15 degrees. Wow! It is about 15 degrees here. And that feels atrocious. I forgot how lovely our tropical weather is here.
My dear sister is about to have a baby any day or hour now. We are so excited for her. My little girl tells everyone that she is going to have a baby. It is growing in her aunt's tummy. She is very excited about it. My little Mary is 3 and tells everyone that she will name her new baby com. It is a girl.
In reality My sister's baby is a boy and I don't think they will rely on my 3 year old's opinion for choosing the name. But, we shall see. I have heard worse names. Not many, but there are some.
It reminds me of the time when my other sister was expecting her first child. I had a 6 year old daughter at the time. She made a card on pink paper for my sister. It showed a lovely stick figure ballerina on the cover which was completely recognizable after extensive interpretation. On the card she wrote, "I hope it's a girl..." And on the inside it says, "And if not, then I hope it's a boy." I hope that covers it all. Because I would not want it to be a horse or something.... Either way, it cracked us all up.
Well, we survived Sam's Birthday and Mine. They were nice with Sam going on his first date to a movie and then dinner at IHOP with his parents. We had a great time but saw a different show. I think Sam had fun. I know his date did.
Then, he was ordained to be a priest in our church the following day. It is something that is very special and it was a terrific day. It is amazing to see your children growing up and to love them so much for each age that they are and have been all at the same time. And then, when they start whining and bickering, I just want ear plugs and a lock on my bedroom door. I guess I am just a wimp. Or maybe it has just been a very stressful day for all of us.
Well, I turned the big 42 and can happily say it doesn't feel very different than 41. I can also say, that it wasn't a very remarkable day. Perfect.
Well, I hope you are having a great holiday season. And I hope you know that I think you are terrific. May it never take an emergency surgery for me to tell you that you are important to me!
My darling Sister has a blog I always enjoy reading. Actually two of my sisters do. Here is an entry I stole from one of my sister's blogs. I LOVED it! I liked what it said. But her comments were spot on!
I had to share it with all my adoring readers. (Are there any out there? Really?)
I will include some Thanksgiving pictures as well. But I must say that after we said grace on our food, immediately after our Amen, Mary choked on a LARGE bite of mashed potatoes, and everthing she had had to eat or drink that day soon decorated her plate. It was the perfect way to start our Thanksgiving feast. She was undeterred, however, and as soon as she had a clean plate, and was cleaned up, she ate a full meal and never slowed down all day long. Kids!
Now- the entry from one of my lovely sisters:
• There is no substitute for ethical, knowledgeable breeders. It pays to do your research before making your puppy purchase.
All right, I think it's pretty illegal worldwide to purchase children so that certainly does not apply. My children all happen to come from the same gene pool and hopefully it won't set them back too much!
• By constantly rotating toys, you can prevent destructive chewing.
For me, the consistent rotation just keeps them interested in them. Never underestimate the novelty factor.
• Puppies need exercise, every day, regardless of the weather or your state of mind.
Oh yes! Ditto for the kiddos.
• Do not allow your other dogs to raise your puppy, and don't expect him to properly raise himself.
I liked this one, although sometimes the siblings are actually really helpful.
• When problems arise, don't bury your head in the sand; meet them head on, and resolve them quickly.
Good advice. How do I do that?
• Training in public will be necessary, and probably a bit embarrassing.
• The quieter you remain, the better your dog will listen.
Drat. Too late for me, I think. But I guess there's a brand new one coming...
• When you go out of your way to acknowledge and reward behavior you like, your dog will offer those behaviors more often.
• Successful puppy-raising requires you to be smarter than your dog, and dogs are pretty bright.
• Raising a puppy shouldn't mean your other dogs get less of your time.
Um, sounds good, but how does that one work? I guess I just need more than 24 hours per day.
• Use consequences sparingly: Rarely scold, so it means something when you do.
• Teaching your dog to respect you should never be confused with fearing you.
• Your spouse or others will unwittingly encourage behaviors in your puppy that you are trying to extinguish, but it often "takes a village" to raise a puppy, and you should be grateful for any and all help you get.
• Finally, remember that you chose him, and how your puppy ends up is directly related to your influence and interaction, and how you raise him.
Well, I haven't made any journal entries for a while. I need to update you a bit. I got the flu. So did my oldest child. Now, I don't have to worry about spreading germs, since we all have it, or are recovering! Yeah! It certainly took away my fear. I have not been spraying industrial quantities of lysol around anymore, and covering my mouth anytime my children cough or sneeze within 6 feet of me. So, I am relieved. I had an audition for the Messiah Solos on Sunday of last week, and Saturday night, I started to feel this coming on strong. On Sunday all day, I had a high fever and didn't get up until I crawled out of bed around 4:30 to take some tylenol. After it took effect, I added some diet coke and dragged my sorry body over to the church to try to sing. I sang pretty well, considering. I realized that I do have a great voice, but I don't have as good technique as the other singers. I could also see true progress from year to year. So, that was good. But, I know that I didn't get a solo, or he would have called me by now. And that is fine. I hope to have my voice back by then. I am pretty much over the fever and body aches part and into the sore throat, cough part. I also am borderline getting a sinus infection and am taking all measures to prevent that. Afterall, it won't be much of a holiday season if I am still sick.
I did take more tylenol and sneak out for shopping on Black Friday. Since my kids don't read this blog, I can list here all the presents I bought for them. But I won't. It was totally boring stuff that I want to make our home life more comfortable, but is things that are so totally not exciting. Things like sheets or blankets. yeah. But, the prices were outrageously low and I know because I have a store credit card at this one store. They are constantly sending me coupons for things and some are $25 store credit and such. So I go in often. Everything is usually on sale 35-50% off and they rotate what is on sale. On the day after thanksgiving, about everthing in the store was 50% off, I think. But I only bought the items I really wanted and that were 80%-90% off. I don't know if they were loss leaders, or if they are high profit items, but I know they were great prices compared to other stores.
Other than that, I plan to make a lot of presents. I have skills. (Not the kind Napoleon Dynomite wanted, but skills none-the-less.) And I can sew, carve, cook, and create something that will please each child. Also, we can make it a simple Christmas. At least that is the intent. The true meaning of Christmas is made apparent when your tenants stop paying rent for 2 consecutive months and you have to sell your guns and motorcycles to pay your mortgage and all the normal bills. I hope they can get their acts together soon. I would hate to evict someone at Christmas. But I hate paying their mortgage without assistance from them, as well.
May you not be a scrooge this holiday!
Well, Mary just woke up wheezing, coughing, high fever and telling me she has a frog in her stomache. It is so weird that everyone was so sick, and she flew around them all twittering like a little bird with so much energy and joy. Now, she is miserable. I gave her some motrin and hope that helps with the fever. I think if she hurts less, she will be able to rest better. I also hope to keep her relaxed. She is happy, but feels lousy.
Tomorrow is the biannual audition for Messiah Solos for my church. The Stake ( like a diocese ) holds a performance each year with excerpts, solos, a small orchestra and most of the performers are from our church diocese. For the major gaps, we bring in friends that we know to try to get help. One example is musicians from the Philharmonic.
However, I wanted to audtition for a solo. I have never gotten one before. It isn't a good match for my voice type. I have a classical voice, but mine is heavy, and this is a light and airy style, so it is a stretch to start with.
Everyone in the family has now gotten sick, except Sam and Me. I cover my face each time they cough on me. I send them downstairs and to their rooms. I cower in fear of germs. And now a 3 year old has it. I suspect I will get it next, lose my voice, and not be able to sing for the Messiah. Oh Darn. I love to sing that piece more than ANY piece of music. But to put things back into perspective, I do love my sweet 3 year old much more.
This week, I had to take a child to the hospital to run a test. I remembered the many visits to the NICU to see my baby there after she was born. It was so hard to be away from my dear little one. I was so stressed and I loved her so much. I remembered that pain in such a strong way as I walked into the hospital main entrance.
The test we were there for was just to rule out potential problems. The child is fine but had to get some work done to verify that they will be fine. Low blood pressure runs in my family and if the child gets dehydrated, they can start to get dizzy and black out. So, they take salt tablets now, and have to drink more water. And along with that, comes the whole conversation with the school that "now my child needs to go to the bathroom whenever it is necessary. Really." So, all is well that is diagnosed, other problems ruled out and treated.
It has been an intense year. Lots of Challenges, and SO MANY BLESSINGS!!!
Last night we started making plans for Christmas Decorating. I love Christmas. I love the decorations. I downplay Santa in our house, but play up the Nativity, old Fashioned holiday style, and the Tree. I hope we will be able to visit Dan's parents over the Holidays, since we are missing Thanksgiving.
Fortunately, since so many have been sick, I knew it might happen, and I have been thinking ahead. When I made mashed potatoes last night, I made triple. I froze some and put others in the fridge. I figure that if I can get it all cooked in advance, I can still end up with a Thanksgiving dinner for us, since we have to stay home and I probably won't want to cook.
Years ago, we woke up the day of this holiday with plans to visit dear friends who have children with delicate health. Our youngest was throwing up and feverish. So, we had no food in the house or alternate plans. I have tried to be prepared ever since. Besides, we may eat at Grandma's most years, but then we miss out on those lovely leftovers.
Thank goodness my oldest children love to cook! I will have them put a thawed and fully cooked turkey breast in the oven, make some croutons into stuffing with butter, broth, and a little sage, and add the mashed potatoes. Maybe we can stop by Great Harvest Bread to buy some of their world class bread and rolls. That would make it a sufficient feast. AND the grocery store around the corner remodeled. They had a special. Buy one box of Breyer's Ice Cream for $6.39 and get a second and 2 frozen Mrs. Smith's pies free. So, I bought one expensive box of ice cream, got the second free, and they added the two pies as well. Phew. That gives us the official Thanksgiving with our Pumpkin and our apple. Now, I can rest. We are all set.
Well, I hope you have a fabulous holiday! Hugs from all of us, and no germs being sent your way!
My sweet little 8 year old has been watching Biggest loser families with me. She decided to help me. So, she took out a notepad and drew a picture of me skinny. She then set a goal for me to look like that by her birthday in 2012. Afterwards, she started interviewing me about what I can and can not eat in order to lose weight. And then she talked methods of exercise with me. Then, she even asked me what I want to weigh by New Year's eve. There is something so non-threatening about it coming from my sweet little girl. And She is asking all the right questions. So, if I have her on my side, I am sure it can help motivate me. She then insisted I step on the scale to get started. Uh, I am in my bed for the night, dear. Undeterred, I finally did it. She is so darn cute and helpful. So, I have a plan set up and hope to do it with my little coach and trainer. My goals are doable, my routines are great, and look at my sweet motivation. Being around for my kids is more important than any candy. Even rich Europeon chocolate that is rich in cocoa butter.
Well, I am off to bed. And I will keep you posted if I make progress. I just won't tell you if I backtrack. No thanks. So, you will have to guess.
We had a cooking group meeting at my house to share ideas. I made some desserts that I like to eat. I don't know how well they were received, but they must have been pretty good since people brought some home for spouses, and such. I did consider ex-lax in the brownies... just kidding.
We were talking about how to make our desserts less empty calories and more packed with nutrition. We didn't take out the fat or sugar. We changed the fat to a healthier version, we added whole wheat, flax seed, soy, oat bran, and loads of non-fat dry milk and we kept the desserts delicious enough that the kids eat them up. They are still getting the calories - as you can see, my kids need them - but they are getting nutrition, protein, fiber and flavor all at once. Now they come home and don't eat microwave popcorn. They eat some brownies and chocolate milk. But, they don't know it is full of good things. The apple Berry Crisp is a good dessert as well. It is my particular favorite because it is Apple Berry Crisp Dessert. I just think that is cool. Then, it is yummy, again has the added oat bran, milk, healthier fats, and high antioxidant blueberries. It retains the terrific flavor of a classic baked apple dessert, but it is better for us. In this case, an apple a day, MAY keep the doctor away....
Yesterday we got a NO CAVITIES clean bill of health at the dentist! Cool! And I found a dear friend who will help babysit! AND I received the help of 3 very dear friends today to help me when I was feeling as if I was in total crisis mode! It is good when friends gather around to support you.
Gotta take kids to the doctor... And Preschool. And who knows what else. And pay bills, And do laundry. I have a headache already! I hope the doctor has good news.
Rachel Took this picture and photoshopped it to emphasize the rippling of the flag with the rippling of water effect. She loves how this looks.
She entered this in a contest with the theme WOW!
Rachel lay down on the floor to take this picture and even set it at an angle. I really like how the door is centered at the end of the hall. And I love the angle she took it from. This is a wow picture. Good job Rachel!
Rachel took a picture of this flag in front of the school as it was flapping in the wind. I like the way it is flowing. She liked the stars.
Rachel took this picture and we cropped it a alittle to take out the bright building on the left. The fence in front helps to show where we are and is lighter. I liked the lit up storage spaces below, but the moon rising over the mountains was definitely my favorite part of the picture.
Rachel took this picture of the pond below the lights beside it. I like how the sunset is still glowing at the horizon although it is very dark out. We did not enter this one either.
This is an email I found unopened from a year ago and I am floored. I think it's worth the read.
Your Social Security - FYI
Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (and some older ones) didn't know this, it's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure to show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what. And it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts!!!
Our Social Security
AND MY FAVORITE:
Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
the Democrats turn around and tell you
that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness
will be planted and maybe changes will evolve. Maybe not.
Some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so.
How many people can YOU send this to?
AND CONGRESS GIVES THEMSELVES 100% RETIREMENT FOR ONLY SERVING ONE TERM!!!
A government big enough to give you everything you want
is strong enough to take everything you have.
All together now - AWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please read these. They are truly amazing.
Hey Welker Family,
We all miss you guys so much here in Virginia. And seeing all the kids grow just warms my heart!!! Hugs and Kisses, The Muses
Let me introduce myself. My name is Paula and I really enjoy your pictures. Reminds me of mine! :)
They grow up so fast. This is such a neat thing you are doing. Give them all a hug from the Paulsons!!
Please feel free to leave a comment but please keep it G rated.
And let me know what you think or what you would like to see? More pictures of the kids? Where we love to go camping? What my kitchen looks like clean? (so would I...)