Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Green" by Ted Dekker [Book Review]



This is the Publisher's Summary of Green:
At Last . . . The Circle Reborn
The story of how Thomas Hunter first entered the Black Forest and forever changed our history began at a time when armies were gathered for a final battle in the valley of Migdon. Green is a story of love, betrayal, and sweeping reversals set within the apocalypse. It is the beginning: the truth behind a saga that has captured the imagination of more than a million readers with the Books of History Chronicles.
But even more, Green brings full meaning to the Circle Series as a whole, reading as both prequel to Black and sequel to White, completing a full circle. This is Book Zero, the Circle Reborn, both the beginning and the end. The preferred starting point for new readers . . . and the perfect climax for the countless fans who’ve experienced Black, Red, and White.


"Green" is advertised as being both the beginning and the end, functioning as both a prequel and a finale to Dekker's "Black," "Red," and "White" books. So when I began reading it, having never read any of the other three before, I went into it expecting that it would indeed work as a prequel as promised. It did not. I was lost for the first 1/3 of the book and am even still confused on alot of points. Advertising this book as being one you could either begin or end the series with, was in my opinion, a mistake. It's extremely difficult to stay interested in a book when it leaves you confused far into the book. There has to be the right balance of mystery and revelation and, while it may have had the right balance for a finale, "Green" tipped the scales into frustration as a prequel.

PLOT:
To be honest I felt like the plot was missing some large important chunks that would have fleshed out the story and made it understandable and enjoyable. I imagine those tidbits would be found in "Black," "Red," and "White." Now to be clear, "Green" was not a slow book. The story was definately happening. It was that as a reader new to the series, I was bogged down by not understanding what was going on for most of the book.
SPIRITUAL ELEMENTS and CONCLUSION:
I found alot of the spiritual and moral elements in this book to be misleading and disturbing.
The character "Teeleh" seems to be representative of Satan. The head demons are referred to as "queens" and the rest are "shataiki" which are in the form of black bats.
Angels are portrayed as cute fuzzy little white bats called "roush." I was kind of offended at this since the Bible describes angels as giant fearsome warriors. The roush in "Green" seem to have the purpose of show up, say something cryptic and uncomforting, and then waddle off.
The character Elyon which seems to represent Jesus is described much like Peter Pan. A "mischeivous" water sprite who never grows up. This was very offensive to me. My savior is not some eternal child and "mischeif" (means stirring up trouble) is a character trait of the devil, NOT God.
Elyon has done something to the water in the lakes and rivers. The book seems to say that the waters used to be green but are now red with the blood of Elyon because was murdered in the water but that story is not explained.
Horde is the name for the unbelievers, who are easily recognized by their crusty scabbing skin which is a result of being infested with demon larvae. The Albinos are those who do not have the scabbing disease. They do not have the scabs because they have drowned themselves in the red lakes. (I think I know what symbolism Dekker was going for there.) The red waters keep the disease away.
Ba'al is described to a tee as Grima Wormtongue from LOTR, grotesque skin and fingernails and creeepy voice included. If you're having trouble imagining the scabbing disease, just remember the scene in LOTR where Gandalf exorcises the possessed King Theoden.
The Albinos, which seem to represent Christians, are nasty and spiteful. They treat Thomas' wife, a convert from the Horde, like she's STILL Horde. The majority of them are easily led and have no conviction of their own, just blow with whatever wind whispers doubt into their hearts. They refer to the Horde as "Scabs" because of their disease and speak of them spitefully. Granted, the Horde are ever trying to kill the Albinos, and the Albinos live in hiding in a valley out in the desert to escape the death sentence. But they preach love the Horde and then as soon as Thomas' son suggests that they instead slaughter the Horde in the name of Elyon, the majority of the Albinos don't seem to resist the idea very hard.
Then there are the Forest Guard who have characteristics of both Albiono and Horde. They claim to be on the right side like the Albinos, but they have the scabbing disease and are amassing an army to kill the Horde. They live in the forest and are also on the Horde's most wanted list with the Albinos. These are who Thomas' wayward son goes to initially with his plan to unite and slaughter the Horde. I am not sure who they are supposed to represent. Perhaps "lukewarm Christians" who claim the name but refuse to change in their hearts. This is a parallel I do appreciate the significance of. I think alot of authors leave out the middle ground because it's for God to decide who is and isn't lukewarm. I think the fact that "Green" is fictionalized leaves an opening to mention that there IS a 'middle' ground that thinks they fall on the Right side but do after all fall on the Wrong, and I'm pleased to see that Dekker took that opportunity to mention it. We need to remember that true salvation is soul deep.
One thing that was supremely disturbing was the descriptive occult ritual scenes. The first one of which described the "scab" king and queen going to the evil preist Ba'al's temple in the middle of the night. There is a sacrificed decapitated goat on the altar and the head is described as bleeding on a plate nearby. Ba'al drags his finger through the blood before enjoying a taste. Then he makes the king swear allegience to their god (who is of course the devil) by drinking a goblet full of the goat's blood. Later, the prophets of Ba'al slice themselves open repeatedly and drain their own blood on an altar to the demons. Dekker describes it in great nauseating detail.
So my final word is that I would not recommend this book to anyone, Christian or not. I would not recommend it for a non-christian due to the misleading nature of some of the spiritual elements, and I could not recommend it to a Christian due to the disturbingly graphic nature of the rituals as explained above. In a 5 star rating with 5 being buy a copy for everyone I've ever met, and 1 being put it out with the trash, I would have to give "Green" by Ted Dekker a 1.5 for the merit of a fast-paced plot.


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This review was written for Thomas Nelson Publishing and I was provided with a copy to review for free. I received no other compensation and my opinion has not been influenced in any way. This review is my personal opinion and perceptions on this book.
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After much thought I have decided to post an expanded version of this review on my other blog HERE. Version 2 does contain spoilers and is long, but there were some points I felt the need to cover that could not be addressed in V1.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Adirondack Stone Works!

When Jeremy of Adirondack Stone Works contacted me to do a review and giveaway I was wondering what exactly I would do with an engraved stone. But then I visited their websites (main | pet) and thought, "Wow! Those look great!" Go check them out - you'll see what I mean. :) Once you see them you're going to want one too! You may have even seen something similar at the front of someone's house with their address on it... but I will tell you I have never seen this high quality of work before and I have seen my share of engraved address stones.



Jeremy has been working with stone his whole life and has been engraving stones for almost 8 years. Adirondack Stone Works is located in rural upstate New York in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and is a small family business run by Jeremy and Tavia- a blessing, they say on their About page, because it allows them to be home with their 3 children.



Adirondack Stone Works makes custom engraved natural bluestones. You might like your address engraved on one at the front of your house, or a family name & wedding date, or a little phrase that means something special to you, or a memorial stone for a pet or loved one. You also have 3 sizes of stone to choose from!



What more could you wish for? Free shipping and your finished stone arriving in about a week from when you place your order? Wish granted if you live in the US! :)



I chose to review a Pet Memorial Stone. My camera battery died and I'm just about to leave for Christmas with the grandparents, so when I get back I'll try to get a picture of it up. They were so helpful and patient with me as I got all the details straightened out and placed my order, and when my stone showed up I was blown away. I liked the look of the pictures on the websites but when it showed up and I saw my new stone in person I was really floored by how beautiful it was. The stone is gorgeous. The engraving is exemplary. The natural look 'chipped' edges look positively terrific. There is nothing weak or shoddy about it and yet it is not bulky looking either. Honestly it's just so... well so beautiful that I just looked at it and ran my fingers over the engraving for about half an hour before I could put it down. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it's the highest quality stonework I've ever seen. Not that I'm an expert but really it looks amazing. Did I mention I was impressed? Lol!
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If you want to read about my dog whom I decided to get the memorial stone for, go HERE.
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To enter the GIVEAWAY please click HERE! !

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kady

It was the end of February in 2004. My husband was in the military. Stationed in Hawaii sounds great but I was far from friends and family, all alone in a new place, while my husband was deployed for weeks to months at a time. We had been married for nearly 2 years and decided that we should get a dog. We were waiting to have kids, and I was so lonely all the time and it's nervewracking being home alone all the time. We found an ad online for Sharpei puppies and went to see them. The store was this run down little skeezy place and the pups didn't look very much Sharpei. The man who showed them to us was either having a hard time with the english language or playing it up to avoid giving us any real answers. He told us all the pups were female. As soon as he was not looking I checked and there were 3 males and 1 female. He also told us the pups were Bull Terrier and Sharpei cross but got really nervous when we asked if he had a picture. We were young and naieve, knew nothing about puppy mills or dogfighting or pitbulls. But when I held that female pup I knew I had to have her. So we bought her. The creepy man gave her what he said was her first vaccine for free and my husband shoved the wrapper of it into his pocket. As we were leaving we asked him about the pups age. The ad had said something like 9 weeks but they did NOT look that old. He said 5 weeks. He'd earlier told us he'd had the pups for about a week already. It made me angry that someone took pups away from their mother at 4 weeks old. Nutritively they need their mother for 5 weeks and psychologically for 8 weeks. When we got in the truck with the pup we read the vaccine wrapper. It had been for parvo (!!) which is NOT the first vax and isn't supposed to be given to such a young puppy.
We named her Kady (pronounced Katie) and she was our baby. Everyone who met her said how smart she was and I would laugh and say I had nothing better to do all day at home alone than teach her tricks! But the too-early weaning and parvo vax did damage. Her immune system was shot. Poor dog made it to a couple months old before her hair started falling out and she was itching all the time. The nice vet we took her to said she had Demodex. Unfortunatley the treatment he tried made her better for only a short while.
Kady grew and grew. Her rolly polly Labrador-pup-with-wrinkles looking body changed. Her ears began to stick up halfway and then flop over and stick straight out to the sides. People started to ask what breed she was and when we told them she was supposed to be Bull Terrier (think the Target mascot) and Sharpei (the wrinkle dogs that look like a fuzzy towel) they would say how strange because she looks like a Pit Bull puppy! Now I had heard all my life how horrible pitbuills are, that they will just bite you for no reason and if they bite you you will die and they have locking jaws and laser beam eyes and come from a hell realm blah blah blah- I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Well I was quite upset that people thought my amazing sweet wonderful little dog was one of THOSE things! I denied it vehemently.
After just a few months my husband was deployed for half a year yet again so instead of staying lonely in Hawaii, we put our stuff in storage and I flew home to my parents farm on the mainland with Kady. Her health was declining though and after a local hicksville vet telling me I was causing her suffering by allowing her to live, my mom and I started looking up alternative treatments online.
Kady kept getting worse and one day she had pnumonia. In my research I'd learned alot about Demodex and had learned that dogs don't die from Demodex itself- they die of a secondary infection due to dogs with Demodex being immune compromised. Her pnumonia got worse and I had to carry her outside to do her business and then carry her back inside. No matter how much pain she was in and how sick or hairless she never growled or snapped at me. All her hair was gone and her skin looked like raw hamburger bleeding and scabbed and she labored to breathe and I knew this was her last night. I thought that horrid compassionless vet was right- I should be kind and put her down. I couldn't do it though because despite her being on her deathbed she would lick my hand when I was close enough to her face and she was still drinking water. I put a bowl of stew in front of her and she drank the broth out of it. She could barely lift her head but there was still a happy spark in her eye and a lick for me when she saw me. So as long as SHE refused to give up, neither could I. But I knew it was her last night. No way could she survive. I stayed up with her all night, laying on a blanket by her and dozing in and out, petting her and telling her what a good dog she was. I wanted to be there for her when she died.
But she didn't die. She stayed the same the next day, but the day after that she was standing up some. The day after that she could walk partway to the door herself. The day after that she wanted to lay outside in the sunshine for a while before coming back in.
Kady had lowpoints and high points but we finally found some herbal treatments that helped her through when she had a bad time of it. She began to get less and less sick each time. At a year old she was doing well, with her sick times being very manageable and her well times being longer. When she was about 3 years old was her highpoint. She didn't lose much hair during a sick point and just got a little itchy and acted fine and happy.

In the course of my research on Demodex when Kady was a puppy I kept running across things saying it was common in Sharpeis and Pit Bulls. I started to actually do research on dog breeds and when I saw a picture of a Bull Terrier I knew that's not what my dog's other half was. She was half Sharpei for sure with her cute little fuzzy wrinkles, but the other half was not Bull Terrier. They were cute, but she'd never looked like one. No, those random people had been right. And they had not been trying to insult my dog. I now saw the other side clearly. She was half American Pit Bull Terrier! It actually made sense. In the years we lived in Hawaii we saw Pit Bulls everywhere. Everyone had a back yard full of Pit Bulls in Hawaii. I met an old chubby brindle pit bull mix and a purebred rednose American Pit Bull Terrier puppy in Hawaii before we'd gotten Kady and they were both so sweet that after all the bad I'd heard about Pit Bulls I just assumed the two I met were the rare exception. And Kady looked just like an American Pit Bull Terrier except with a few extra wrinkles. Then when I researched I found that the majority of things said about pitbulls were just stupid urban legends. I learned that:
-The term "pitbull" is used by the general public to refer to a handfull of seprate and different bully-breed dogs that people lump together and call a "pitbull" due to miseducation and paranoia, so when something says a pitbull bit someone it could have been one of like 5 different breeds or a mutt mix or something not even a bully-breed at all that someone called a pitbull just because it bit someone.
-Despite the fact that "pitbull" is like 5 different breeds together, statistically you are about as likely to get bitten by a Golden Retreiver as you are by any of the combined category of "pitbulls" and that statistically the dog most likely to bite is the Labrador Retreiver, followed closely by several popular small-breed and toy dogs.
-The temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier and it's close cousin the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very loyal, tolerant, and loving. Everywhere reliable that I read it said they are wonderful family dogs, great with children. Can tolerate insane amounts of abuse before they snap, if at all - which is heartbreakingly why they make good fighting dogs.
-I learned about dogfighting and puppy mills and the things they do to Pit Bulls would break your heart and make you want to hunt down those responsible and do to them the horrible things they do to these poor dogs. And yet this sweet and gentle breed(s) is statistically much less likely to bite you than a Lab, even though they have much more reason to hate humans!
-Dogs are like anything else: they are a product of their environment and upbringing, not just their breed. Dogs have the mentality of a human toddler. If you locked a human toddler in a box, a yard, a room alone for 8+ hours a day almost every day... if you chained a human toddler in the back yard... well that child would be resentful and could snap. But if you raise them with love, interaction, take them with you on vacation, keep them safe and warm in the house... well then they become loyal and true family members who will stay by your side loving and defending you until their last breath.
Kady was a perfect ambassador for her breed. She was a horrible puppy, in need of CONSTANT mental stimulation to keep her from becoming bored and destructive. When we first got her she would cower and growl and snap if you moved too fast in her direction, like she may have been abused in those 5 weeks of her life before we got her. But she grew up to be the sweetest gentlest dog! 49 stocky, wrinkley pounds of pure love. She won over people who had previously never met a real pitbull and were of the opinion I had been at first- that they were some evil psychodog.
My husband got out of the military and we moved. Got a new vet who said that some dogs with Demodex never get cured but there are ways to manage it so the dog lives a happy life. This was the third vet. The first and third vets were very nice and helpful. The nowheresville middle one was the only one who said nasty things. The nowheresville vet is the same vet that I saw drag a goat with a broken leg into his clinic by it's tail as it's bleating in pain when I was a child so no surprise the jerk would rather have put her down than help her.
When I was pregnant with Chicklet I heard too many irritating times things like "Are you going to get rid of the dog?" and "You know you can't have that kind of dog around children, right? They snap around children." and "Aren't you worried she'll hurt the baby?" But I knew 2 things they did not. One, I knew the truth about Pit Bulls. And Two, I knew that responsible owners don't allow the dog and new baby to be alone together and don't allow the baby to continually hurt the dog, even accidentally or innocently pulling hair/tail/ears. And I knew my dog. I had trained her well. She could do a variety of common tricks and I would occasionally get in her face while she was eating or give her a nice juicy bone and then make her give it willingly back to me since she was a tiny puppy. By the time my daughter was crawling, Kady was trained very well not to be aggressive about her food. Chicklet would make a beeline for the dogfood and begin splashing the water or trying to eat the dogfood and the dog would not growl at her, but would instead give me this pathetic intense doggie look that said, "Mooom! She's playing in my food again! Make her stop!" And of course I always promptly put a stop to it because it is just as important for a child to learn to respect a dog as it is for a dog to learn to respect a child. A dog should not be made to take the abuse of constantly having a baby in her face while she's eating. That is just asking for long-term resentment. If the dog knows, as Kady did, that she must submit to humans getting in her bowls and in her face occasionally, but is confident that it will be made right promptly, then that dog will be happy to be non-aggressive with food. This is something that is best done from puppyhood.

So my dear baby daughter and my dear fur-baby loved each other as I knew they would. When I was in labor, Kady followed me around as if attached to my ankle. When baby Chicklet would cry, the dog would pace back and forth between me and Chicklet until I had calmed the baby. When I was sick she would lay on my feet. She loved to play soccer with the neighborhood kids, until their moms found out the dog they'd been playing with was one of those pitbull dogs and forbid them to go near her. Her favorite game was tug of war with old socks... she loved it when we would pick her up by the sock and she would dangle from it with her teeth, tail wagging furiously and paws paddling air excitedly. When we let go she'd proudly shake the sock before depositing the disgustingly slobbery thing back in our lap, begging us to do it again.

But in her 5th year, sweet Kady began getting sick again. And she got sicker and sicker each time. Like her first year in reverse. Finally she did not get better. She was missing patches of hair, scabby and itchy, and acting down for more than a month. Then she started throwing up and had diarrhea all over the house. She wouldn't go outside through the doggie door, but instead would run to us shaking and vomit or defecate at our feet. I tried a whole slew of new treatments, and with the last one as with the first one it didn't work- one morning toward the end of May 2009 I found her laying in a puddle of excrement. She barely acknowleged me. It was time to let her go.
Dear sweet Kady lived 5 1/4 years. She was sweet, loving and loyal. She was sick at the beginning and the end, but happy and healthy and vibrant for years in the middle (so there, nasty compassionless vet from nowheresville!) She wanted to live, and so she did. Her heart, her spirit, were strong and true. She was a fighter. But her immune system was weak. 5 years were all she had in her, but she put her all into those 5 years. She was so smart and so opposite of the untrue urban legends I'd previously believed about her breed. She was an undercover ambassador for Pit Bulls who snuck into our lives in the guise of a Bull Terrier and educated and changed our hearts. She left us proud to have been owners of a Pit Bull and finally educated on the truth of the breed and better pet owners for the experience. She made a mark on all of us and will not be forgotten.
Some days Chicklet, who was 2 1/2 when Kady died and is now 3 1/4, remembers her. When it happened we told her that Kady lives with Jesus now. She asked every day "Where's Kady?," then every week, then rarely. We thought she'd forgotten. Then not too long ago we were in the WalMart parking lot after dark and as we were buckling the kids in their carseats a dog started barking somewhere in the parking lot. Chicklet exclaimed, "Daddy! It sounds like Kady! Daddy it's Kady! You hear it? Sounds like Kady!" We told her gently that it isn't Kady, Kady lives with Jesus now. She, and the distant dog, were quiet for a few seconds. Then the dog began to bark again and Chicklet strained against her carseat harness and insisted, "Mama!!!! It's Kady! Oh it's Kady... Daddy you hear it is Kady! We have to go get her! Daddy we have to get her!" She kept repeating 'We have to get her!' desperately for a minute while I tried to reassure her that it was not Kady, Kady is safe with Jesus. Finally she quieted and I turned back to the front windshield and silently cried the rest of the way home. I miss Kady too.




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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Depression Cooking with Clara

"Great Depression Cooking With Clara"
A grandson wanted to capture his 91 year old Nana's recipes and stories from growing up during the Great Depression. He didn't think he could adequately write everything down to convey her charming personality and so he began making videos - Great Depression Cooking With Clara was born. Clara shows you how to cook easy and thrifty meals while sharing stories and trivia from the Great Depression! And best of all it's on YouTube so you can go there and watch all the episodes right now. ;)
If you've never seen "Great Depression Cooking With Clara" before you're going to love it:
http://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionCooking

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Heart of CHRISTmas: It isn't Santamas...



When my mom was a child, she knew her mother to be the most honest person in the whole wide world. So when the kids at school told her there's no such thing as Santa Claus, my mom declared with utmost conviction that her mother told her Santa was real and "My mommy would NEVER tell a lie!"
She went home and told her sainted mother what the kids at school had had the NERVE to say- that Santa wasn't real! Her mother broke it to her that Santa really was just a tall tale and it crushed my mother. It shook her confidence in everything for a long while, that the one person she knew would never ever tell a lie had deliberately lied to her for years about Santa, the tooth fairy, and the easter bunny. Her mom assured her that Jesus was really real but I'm sure you can imagine the doubts and heartsick feelings my mom had to deal with for a long time thereafter. She vowed to NEVER do that to her own kids. And she didn't.

When I was a kid I never believed Santa was real. I actually always felt very sorry for kids whose parents would lie to them and tell then Santa was real! I thought it was terrible that proclaimed Christians would propogate Santa because
1. It's an outright boldfaced lie and it's wrong to tell lies,
2. It hurts kids when they find out the truth that their parents have been lying to them all along,
3. It takes away from Jesus because kids are so busy trying to please Santa so they get material posessions that they forget their real goal should be to please Jesus and gain eternity in heaven, and
4. It makes a mockery of a true historical character.

Then when I was a little older, probably 10 or so, I learned the story I told above, how my mom came to opt out of the great Santa conspiracy with her own kids. That was the cap on a conviction I'd been formulating throughout my childhood up to that point- to continue the herritage of TRUTH with my own kids instead of propogating the Santa myth.

My husband believed in Santa as a kid but his parents didn't push the myth and he figured out the truth quite young. He didn't have a traumatic experience but believes that it's wrong to lie to kids about Santa etc. because then they won't know when to believe you and when not to. They won't know if you're telling them the truth about Jesus or not. So even though he had Santa as a kid with no traumatic results, he as an adult believes it's wrong.

So that is the story of why we don't preach Santa to our kids. My 3 year old knows presents come from loved ones. She knows Santa is some guy in a red suit. She has not connected either thought with "Christmas" yet and when she does we'll be here to make sure she is (and later our son and any future kids are) connecting the right dots and Truth is the verdict. We have not allowed her to learn any Santa songs or watch any Santa tv shows or movies because we want her to know the truth before she knows the lie. Santa Claus is the god of xmas commercialism. When she knows that CHRIST is real and the reason we celebrate, then she will be able to see the Santa pop-culture with the knowlege of what is real and what is not.

Here are a couple other bloggers' posts regarding whether to promote Santa or not:
Cheryl @ Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama: Why We Don't Do Santa Part 1
Cheryl @ Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama: Why We Don't Do Santa Part 2
Tiana @ God Made, Home Grown: Real or Pretend?


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If you want to share how you're keeping the heart of CHRISTmas where it belongs this year, or read more from other bloggers on CHRISTmas, please click the button below to see how you can link up! :)

Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Toddler Tales Tuesday

12/1 My husband and I decided to go with a fake Christmas tree for a few years until the kids are older. He and I always wind up having the discussion where, we are making plans for our half a day's drive to spend Christmas with my parents, and he asks me why do we need a tree here if we're not even going to be here? Then I try again to find a way to explain to him the importance of having the tree even if we're not here to open gifts under it. (I.e. why it's important to have it even if we don't open gifts under it so that the kids get the symbolism of it and don't think that all it is is a gift-receptacle which, if we aren't opening gifts under it, then it has no purpose at all.) Then he brings us home a nice tree because he loves me and not because he really "gets" why it's important to me. Plus you know how fun it is to discover you've forgotten to water the tree and there are now about 50 trillion needles in your carpet which will clog your vacuum cleaner so instead you spend all day on hands and knees with a wisk broom and dustpan, picking them out of the carpet. Add to the fun two toddlers taste testing the needles faster than you can dispose of them... and well, it just seemed like a good idea to have a fake tree until the kids are old enough to care. So last night my dear husband bought us a fake tree. Doing so made him late getting home and kids were already in bed, so Chicklet (3 years 2.5 months old) didn't see the large box until this morning. She stood there staring at it. I said, "It's a big box, huh?" She replied, "BIG big box!" I asked her, "What do you suppose is in this big big box?" I did not expect her to remember Christmas trees from last year. She was only 2 after all. Then again, she had gotten extreemly excited about Christmas lights last year and has been pointing them out whenever we drive past a home that leaves their lights up all year so maybe. Chicklet examined the side of the box for a brief second, noted the picture of somebody's living room with a Christmas tree in the center, and replied, "It's a Christmas Tree!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I open it?" I told her that we would open it as a family when Daddy gets home. So all day since then she's been talking to herself saying things like, "Daddy coming home later. Daddy will open the big box. Daddy will be home soon. When Daddy is home we can open the Christmas tree..." I think she might be a bit excited, what do you think? ;)

12/2 Last night when my hubby got home and set up the Christmas tree Chicklet hovered around her Daddy like a fly on a ... you know. She was SUPER excited and had to be in the middle of the action. Then this morning when Bug (1 1/4 years old) woke up and I brought him out to the living room, his bottle literally fell out of his mouth in shock when he saw the tree. He stared at it, pointing and opening and closing his mouth, for a minute or two. Then he proceeded to ask, "Issit?" over and over for the next hour pointing to individual lights and twigs of the tree. I dutifully sat on the couch beside the tree with him in my lap for the whole hour replying appropriately, "That is a red light. That is a branch of the Christmas tree. That is still a branch of the Christmas tree. That is a green light. That is a blue light. That is yet another branch of the Christmas tree. That is a yellow light. Yes that is even yet another part of the Christmas tree..." I don't feel it was an hour wasted. :) It was a wonderful dreamy hour with one kid in my lap and one on the floor at my feet just enjoying the Christmas tree together. That right there makes it worth the price of buying a tree.

-+-+-
If you have a sweet, cute, or funny Toddler (or kid) story, I'd love it if you'd share it! :)
If you would like to post a Toddler Tales Tuesday on your blog, please just leave a link back to my blog in your post so people can see where you got the idea. You may leave a link to your post in my Linky below on the condition that you also post a comment! No link-and-runs please! ;)
If you don't have a blog or would prefer it, you may share your toddler tales here in the comments.


Monday, December 7, 2009

White

It's snowing! It's so beautiful! I love snow but where I live (pretty much a small valley of paradise in the middle of a desert) it's rare for it to stick and rarer still for it to get deep enough to have to shovel. The soft graceful way the snow floats and swirls before landing lightly on every upward surface like lace, then like a fresh coat of paint, and finally a thick coating of fluffy frosting on the trees and rooftops.

Underneath the snow, everything is cold and dead and lifeless, but then there is the beautiful lacey snow covering all the lifelessness and imperfections that are glaringly obvious without this white blanket of hope. What some people do not know about snow is that the plants that appear so dead in winter actually NEED that beautiful covering of snow to be able to survive and bloom again in spring! Like Eskimos take refuge in igloos of snow, so the leafless vegitation takes refuge under a blanket of snow. The snow helps it not to freeze too deeply into the earth that all the plants would die, and it brings nutrients to the soil, and protects it from becoming churned up mud from the feet of people and animals. While it may all seem dead under there, it's really just a season, a time of sleeping under the protection of the snowy quilt until God sends a whisper of spring to breathe new life into the world.

For a while this morning, watching the snow fall, I was so struck by the beauty that I couldn't put it into words. Forgive me as I bumblingly try to do so now. No words could ever paint as beautiful a picture as the truth of the Christ blanketing His bride in the pure white of forgiveness made possible by a virgin birth and sinless life. No words can do justice to the amazing joy of a forgiven soul blooming into beautiful spring in love for their Saviour, or bearing the fruits of a heart dedicated to Him! And when the harvest time comes, what unspeakable beauty and joy to be gathered into Heaven to be with our Beloved for all eternity!

I think that we all go through seasons in our lives. Winters of trials and springs of hope, and summers of growth and autumns of fruitfullness. My family is going through a winter right now. Mom, if you read this know that I love you and I'm praying for you!

So I'm sitting by the window watching the sun break through and shine on the snow like diamonds, and trying to soak in the peace of it all to quell the chaos in my emotions.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Little Help Please? (UPDATED)

I need your help finding a mystery song from my childhood! When I was a child we had a tape of Christmas songs and I sang this one for a Christmas program:

"How I wish that I could have been there when,
The shepherds and the angels came to worship Him,
What a joyful night it was in Bethlehem,
How I wish that I could have been there then.

How I wish that I could have heard His cry,
And listen to His mother sing a lullaby,
As He lay there sleeping 'neath the starry sky,
How I wish that I could have heard His cry!

I would give anything
to have heard the angels sing
'Glory in the Highest!' to the newborn King...

How I wish that I could have been there when,
The shepherds and the angels came to worship Him,
What a joyful night it was in Bethlehem,
How I wish that I could have been there then...

...and yet...
In my heart I've been
Time and time again! "


Can anyone help me? I would like to know the name of the tape it was on so I can try to find it for my own kids.

***ADDED:
It was little kids singing it. I think I might remember a couple other songs on it too...

There was one about the Cristmas tree. I only remember part of it;
"Green is a sign that
will always remind us
The Father has an everlasting love
A color so gay that
no matter how gray that
the world may seem we still have plenty of
GREEEEEEENNNNN..."


It might have had Away In A Manger on it too. There are more that are just stuck in the deep dark recesses of my memory and I can't find them at the moment. This tape would have been pretty old - I think I was 11 the year I sang the one song (that would have been 1994) and we'd had the tape for years already. If I think of any other songs that were on the tape I'll add them...

UPDATE: It was called 20 Christmas Songs for Kids. It was copyrighted 1988 THE BENSON COMPANY (Benson Music/ Brentwood-Benson) and contained the songs "Little Packages," "We've Got News For You!" "How I Wish," "Snowflake," "Evergreen," "Away In a Manger," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "Christmas Bell," "Happy Birthday To You," "The Greatest Gift Of All" and 10 more. I wish I had better news: It was a really sweet album. I wonder if we all who are looking for it were to contact the company and for a re-release if they would do it? http://www.brentwoodbenson.com/contactUs.action Click on the name to email or use the phone number and phone them. Perhaps the squeaky wheels will get the grease, as my mom used to say. :)
**UPDATE AGAIN: I got a response back from someone at Benson who told me to buy the tape on Amazon and have someone convert it to CD.
:-/
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Songs-Kids-Various-Artists/dp/B00004RJRA

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Heart of CHRISTmas: O Christmas Tree




The Origins Of The Christmas Tree
Throughout history, many cultures have decorated trees ceremoniously. This has sparked many debates as to when and where and why a decorated evergreen became the Christmas tree as we know it and use it today. Depending where you look and who you ask, it may have pagan roots and was later Christianized, or it may have been a Christian symbol to begin with. One place I was reading states:
"An interesting tradition, part history, part legend and very popular in Germany, claims that the Christmas tree dates back to the eighth century. This legend is based on a historical figure, St Boniface, and even a historical event, the destruction of Odin's oak. St Boniface (675-754) was the English Bishop Winfrid who went to Germany in the eighth century, to Hesse to be precise, to preach the Christian faith as a missionary from the Church of Rome. After a period of apparently successful Gospel preaching, Boniface went to Rome to confer with Pope Gregory II (715-731). After a long absence, he returned to Geismar, Germany, for Christmas 723, and felt personally offended on discovering that the Germans had reverted to their former idolatry of pagan divinities and were preparing to celebrate the winter solstice by sacrificing a young man under Odin's sacred oak tree. Fired by holy anger, as was Moses by the golden calf, Bishop Boniface took up an axe and dared to cut down the oak. This courageous, historically documented act meant the triumph of Christianity in Germany over the pagan divinities.

All this is historically documented. The rest belongs to the legend which tells how, at the first blow of the axe, a strong gust of wind instantly brought down the tree. The astounded Germans fearfully recognized the hand of God in this event and humbly asked Boniface how they should celebrate Christmas. The Bishop, the legend continues, pointed to a small fir tree that had miraculously remained upright and intact beside the debris and broken branches of the fallen oak. Boniface was familiar with the popular custom of taking an evergreen plant into the house in winter and asked everyone to take home a fir tree. This tree signifies peace, and as an evergreen it also symbolizes immortality; with its top pointing upwards, it additionally indicates heaven, the dwelling place of God."
Another website I stumbled across had this to say;
"Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth."
Today the Christmas tree is more of a traditional decoration, mostly a glorified gift receptacle, than it is a tribute to the CHRIST in CHRISTmas. I believe that as Christians we need to be careful of traditions that take away from the true meaning. If you have to work too hard and force a tradition to fit in the God box, then perhaps it's time to find a new tradition. The key to giving MEANING to a tradition is repetition I believe. That is why the Christmas tree is no more than a gift holder for most people- yearly repetition of ignoring it as anything other than such! Perhaps decorating the tree together is a great family time tradition. Honestly though I think that if we don't bring something more to the table regarding the Christmas tree, then it's still just a glorified gift holder. Granted, a family tradition to decorate this glorified gift holder, but still devoid of any personal meaning that portrays Christian beliefs. So let me share with you a few symbolisms I've heard of over the course of my life regarding the Christmas tree. Perhaps a yearly tradition of sharing these Christian symbolisms with our families as we decorate the tree together will plant in our children's minds a deeper meaning for the tree than merely a gift-holder...
-The Christmas tree is an evergreen because it is the symbol of everlasting life by salvation through Jesus.
-The Christmas trees triangular shape represents the Holy Trinity.
-We decorate our tree with lights or candles to symbolize Christ being the Light of the world.
-The star at the top of the tree symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem which led the three magi to baby Jesus.
-The angels, which alternately may top the tree or just be used as decorations or other ornaments symbolize the angels which appeared throughout the story of Christ's birth, particularly the one who told the shepherds the news of Jesus' birth.
-Candy canes we hang on the tree have a beautiful story!
Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God. The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life. Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Author Unknown

Do you know of any other symbolisms related to the Christmas tree and decorations we hang on it? In Christmases past have you done anything with your family to specifically keep the Christian meanings of the Christmas tree in your childrens' minds above the gifts that wind up under it? When you were growing up what was your view of the Christmas tree? What do you want your kids to grow up remembering about it?


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If you want to share how you're keeping the heart of CHRISTmas where it belongs this year, or read more from other bloggers on CHRISTmas, please click the button below to see how you can link up! :)


Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toddler Tales Tuesday

Chicklet (3 years, 2.5 months old) caught me checking my virtual fishtank on facebook. She points to the fish and says, "Oh angelfish! It's a Mommy angelfish and a Daddy angelfish and a Buggie angelfish and a Chicklet angelfish!"

Chicklet brought me a box of paints off the kitchen island and says, handing them to me, "That will be one dollar!"

I fed Chicklet and Bug (1 1/4 years old) each a fried egg. Bug doesn't usually eat much so I gave Chicklet a second egg, but not Bug. Well Bug finished his egg and scooted closer to big sissy. Chicklet fed him a bite, then herself, them Bug, alternating back and forth, sharing until the egg was gone. I was so proud of her!

Before heading home from visiting the relatives for Thanksgiving, we were in hubby's parents' living room. My FIL gave the kids each a chocolate covered marshmallow santa. The santas weren't very big. Well then hubby's brother showed up with his daughter who is 5 months older than Chicklet. FIL gave her a chocolate covered marshmallow santa and Chicklet was giving him her best poor neglected granddaughter look. So he asked if he could give my kids another one so they wouldn't feel left out. I thought, well they're really small and the kids aren't here but 3 times a year so I said yes. Over the course of the next 10 minutes you could just see the kids turn into totally different kids. They went from being all shy and quietly playing on the floor to Bug with wide wild eyes and a goofy crooked grin squealing and stomping his feet, climbing the furniture and then flinging himself off it, and Chicklet also wide eyed and running circles, babbling on and on and crying at nothing. Yikes! What do they PUT in those marshmallow santas?!

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If you have a sweet, cute, or funny Toddler (or kid) story, I'd love it if you'd share it! :)
If you would like to post a Toddler Tales Tuesday on your blog, please just leave a link back to my blog in your post so people can see where you got the idea. You may leave a link to your post in my Linky below on the condition that you also post a comment! No link-and-runs please! ;)
If you don't have a blog or would prefer it, you may share your toddler tales here in the comments.


December Giveaways!

http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2009/12/december-giveaways.html
Scroll to bottom to link your giveaway!
Awesome giveaways I have found! Check back frequently as I will be removing the ones that are over and adding new giveaway links almost daily! [Click the end date button to go to each giveaway directly.] Green NEW! - added during my previous log-on, Blue NEW! - added during my most recent log-on.

•• Take Time To Smell The Rose is giving away a Thirsties brand cloth diaper prewash and cloth diaper detergent set! ENDS DEC. 31st!
•• Need a homeschooling planner? At The Fence is giving away a The Old Schoolhouse e-book homeschool planner! You have got to go check it out to believe how much good stuff is included! It sounds amazing! ENDS JAN. 4th!
•• Minnesota Mama's Must Haves is giving away a tea set from Green Toys! I love that their toys are made in the USA from recycled milk jugs... seriously how cool is that?! ENDS JAN. 9th!
•• Me And My Boys is giving away a wooden toy from ImagiPLAY! ENDS JAN. 13th!
•• Familylicious Reviews is giving away a pair of My Dwink Box juice box holders! ENDS JAN. 17th!


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••Other blogs' Linky lists of giveaways:
- Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest (Ongoing)
-(Sunday) Take Time To Smell The Rose and A Giveaway Everyday
-(Tuesday) Two Of A Kind Working On A Full House
-(Thursday) Piece of ME and I Thode You So


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Your turn! :) MckLinky up! You can still link your giveaways even if I have already highlighted them above. ;)
In the space that says Link Title, remember to include 3 things: YourBlogName - Giveaway Title [End date]. Does not have to be in that exact order but I do need all three in some order or another please. Link to the giveaway post specifically, not just to your blog in general.
PLEASE make sure you follow these easy instructions so it is easy for me to maintain and easy for people to view and use. Alot of people have not been doing this and it makes maintaining the list much harder and more time consuming for me. This is not an unreasonable request in the least: most giveaway linkups require this same fromat. You can use proper format and copy and paste it the same (proper) way to all the linkys you use. If this gets too hard for me to maintain due to people not doing this as I have asked, I will stop fixing them and have to instead delete any that I don't have the time to fix. So you see why it's not only courtesy but is also important to use the BlogName-GiveawayName[EndDate] format. (In any order. You can do End Date - Blog name - Giveaway or Giveaway - End date - Blog name or whatever as long as they are all in there.)
ALSO please note: I will immediately delete any entries that are innapropriate and further links from that blog will be flagged. A good way to look at it is if you wouldn't want your 13 year old daughter to have one or read the review in your words then DON'T LINK IT HERE. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog and when I've got people posting giveaways for ...um... 'romantic props' or something it is extremely embarrassing and upsetting to find that on my blog where my friends' innocent children could see it.
Your link WILL BE DELETED IF it links to a post that:
**Contains profanity, nudity, or inappropriate inuendo.
**Does not contain a blog giveaway.
**Endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Endorses a product/company that endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Is not appropriate for an innocent child to view.
This is what I believe in, and to allow links on my blog that go against that is something that I cannot do in good concience.

Entries will stay on the list until they expire (until the giveaway ends) or until the end of the month.
I will try to delete expired giveaways daily to keep this list fresh and easy to view.
I will create a new list each month. This MckLinky list will run Dec. 1st-31st. Check back Jan. 1st for a new list. Feel free to re-add giveaways that are still going on to the new months list - providing they fall within the above guidelines of course.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Grandpop... A Strange Dream

My Grandpop, also known as PopPop when my siblings and I were tiny, passed away July 1st. He had a stroke in January of 2008, slowly recovered over many months, then had more small strokes and other problems including diabetes, complications from too many prescriptions, and finally after a mini heart attack he went to be with Jesus this July. My mom and Nana were with him when he passed away.
Grandpop was a complex man. I gather he was the youngest of many siblings, the namesake of his father, and also somewhat of a whipping boy for his older siblings. He married my Nana when he was 20 and she 19 and they had 5 children; My Uncle B., Aunt C., Mom, and Aunt W., after a baby girl who tragically only lived about a week. Grandpop was a stern man, a very religious man, and when I was a child he kind of intimidated me. But when he laughed... well when he laughed it made you warm all over it was just such a happy sound! He loved babies. He loved God. And even though he didn't always treat my Nana the best, you could tell that he loved her. As his health declined I think he began to realize how he'd been pushing people away all his life and he mellowed out alot, became more friendly and more willing to say "I love you" and "I'm sorry."
Grandpop was a talented man. You could say he could do and do well everything he set his hand to. He worked in construction, had a handyman business called "The House Doctor" and could build anything. He built an addition on a house he lived in at around 80 years old. By himself with help from my uncle B. on the weekends. He could play the organ, the harmonica, and sang some opera. He met Albert Einstein. He pastored a church. He was a true rennaisance man.

The other night I had a dream. I was at my Nana's house and saw Grandpop walking down the hallway. He looked like he had before the stroke. I saw him again later walking down the hallway, and he had again aged backwards. He walked strong and upright and his eyes had a twinkle. I went to Nana and asked her if she had seen Grandpop walking down the hall and she wouldn't answer me. I told her, "He's waiting for you you know." I have no idea why I said that. I don't believe in ghosts and in my dreams I always know that I'm dreaming. And I don't think that the dead can "wait" for the living. I believe that we go to heaven or hell when we die, end of story. Anyway, Nana responded that she couldn't think about that yet and fighting tears, she told me to leave her be. I went back down the hallway to do something and as I returned, again via the hallway toward the kitchen, there was Grandpop walking toward me. Still aging backwards; he looked about 15 years younger than the last time I saw him before he died. He was gliding toward me but he didn't see me. His face was GLOWING with joy and his bright blue eyes were fixed on something in his arms. I saw it was a tiny newborn baby girl with dark hair. At first I thought it was Chicklet but then as Grandpop got closer and walked right through me, vanishing at the end of the hallway, I saw that the baby was not Chicklet. I don't know who the baby was but I would be willing to guess it's his daughter that only lived a week. He's with her now and the radiant joy I saw on his face just blew me away. And when I woke up, instead of being creeped out, I cried with joy at seeing HIS face so full of joy. A strange dream indeed...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Judge not, lest ye be judged...

... it doesn't mean what you think it means. This is something that really bothers me and makes me so sad to see this phrase used as a scapegoat all the time! People don't even know what that means so they apply it to any occasion when they feel they are being told what to do by someone who has different beliefs. 'Judging someone' doesn't mean telling them something they're doing is sinning or is wrong or is unhealthy... Judging someone means you're deciding whether they should go to heaven or hell based on your view of their life's works. I mean think about it, what does a Judge do? A judge pronounces the final fate of the accused. The judge is not the accuser, the plaintif. Obviously it is not our place to judge who can and cannot enter the pearly gates and if we spend our lives judging in our minds whom should be allowed or barred from heaven, or what punishments people deserve for the things they do in life, then we have been too busy being legalistic to focus on the truth of God's Word and will likely not have had the time to build the relationship with Christ needed. Therefore the harsh measure of judgement which we meeted out mentally to others will wind up being our own judgement in the end. THAT is what I believe that verse means. What goes around comes around. The Bible does NOT tell us that if we see someone who is doing something that is contrary to scripture, that we are not supposed to encourage them to right that. In fact quite the opposite, we are told that we should exhort each other to do Christ's will, that if a brother(or sister) is sinning and we cannot get them to listen to us when we call their attention it that we should then take an elder with us next time. The Bible does not condone being "politically correct."
BUT, lest anyone take this to mean I actually think that we are Biblically supposed to get all preachy and start yelling at everyone from our pedestal that they're living in sin and better straighten up or else... let's not forget that without compassion and love our words are empty and meaningless, and that he who is greatest shall be least and he who is least shall be greatest. I do believe we are supposed to tell people when they are doing something God's word teaches against, but I believe that when you're confronting someone with something like that it should be done with love. And if you don't really have a Christlike love for the person whom you are confronting, then you are likely not going to make any positive impact at all and will likely do more harm than good. So before confronting someone I think you should pray for Christ's love to fill your heart for that person so that when you are speaking to them you are speaking in love as Christ wants us to do.

> PART 1: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
PART 2: Religion and Legalism
PART 3: God Bless The Pioneers of New Ideas
PART 4: Incorrectly Politically Correct
PART 5: Feel-Good Theology
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chicklet cut her own hair.

So Chicklet cut a chunk out of the top center of her hair. Thankfully it's a couple inches from her scalp and the weight of the longer hairs around it seems to hold it in place. Mostly. I don't know how she got ahold of the scissors but I went in the kids room to check on them when they were supposed to be napping and there was a long lock of beautiful Chicklet hair laying on the floor, and Bug was playing with scissors. He had them up the inside of his emptied DropIns bottle trying to snip the liner. After taking the scissors away from Bug and making sure he hadn't snipped off any fingers or other body parts, I pointed at the hair on the floor and gasped out, "Chicklet... hair?!" To which she responded sweetly, "I cut it Mama! ... Hey Mama, why are you sad?"


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If you have a sweet, cute, or funny Toddler (or kid) story, I'd love it if you'd share it here in the comments! :)
If you would like to post a Toddler Tales Tuesday on your blog, please just leave a link back to my blog in your post so people can see where you got the idea. You may leave a link to your post in my comments on the condition that you also post a comment! No link-and-runs please! ;) (I am still figuring out basic blogging so this will have to do until I am experienced enough to attempt a Mr. Linky or something.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buggie is sick.

Well Bug is sick. He sounds kinda squeaky-voiced and has a runny nose. Keeps breathing funny and crying. My poor little fellow! I'm thankful that nobody else is sick. So if I'm scarce this week it's because I'm taking care of my sick baby boy.

UPDATE:
Thank you for your prayers! He's doing much better. Wouldn't even know he was sick! I thought Chicklet was getting sick for like 3 seconds but she's always had an amazing immune system and fights off germs nearly instantly. Like she will have a full blown cold and then take a nap and wake up fine. Took a little longer than that for Bug but pretty much the next day he was sniffle-free and now he's not crabby anymore and has no sick symptoms. I woke up this morning with a sore throat though. Thanks kids. I have one of those immune systems that is a joke and doesn't work. If someone sneezes in my direction from 100 yards away outside I'm sick instantly.

Homeschoolers are threatened by Health Care Bill

LINK: Homeschoolers are threatened by Health Care Bill

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov. 15 Featured Blog!

Recently I announced I'll be featuring a fellow blogger every so often. Well it's a new week and a new featured blogger! This week I'm featuring Monica from Pixel Perfect. Click the button to visit her blog!
Click to visit Monica @ Pixel Perfect!
Pop on over to Monica's blog and see what treasures you find!
Monica, What was your main reason for beginning to blog? What is your greatest inspiration for what you write? What is one thing you know alot about? Do you have any hobbies other than blogging? If you get a chance to answer in the comments we'd love to learn more about you! :)

Would you like to be my featured friend someday? Remember that I prefer to feature blogger friends who
-follow me
-have commented recently on my blog
-update their blog frequently
-blog things that are inspirational/relevant to me personally
-do not endorse things on their blog that I'm strongly against.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How do you get blood out of the carpet?

I got to bed around 10pm last night and at 7am Chicklet came running in to snuggle. That would be great except that she doesn't actually snuggle. She has hug-ADD I think because she always wants a hug and then after a millisecond she is squirming away again. So to keep her still and quiet until baby brother wakes up I get her a sippy of milk. On my sleepily staggering way to the kitchen in the semi-dark of 7am, I stepped on something we 'round these parts like to call goatheads. Also known as puncture vine, these little devils are a seed shaped roughly like the head of a goat/sheep/cow. It had two long straight sharp needle-like thorns coming out of it making it look like the goats horns. Except that the rest of the seed is covered in shorter sharp spines as well. To step on one is to know pain. And then you have to pull it back out of your foot which hurts all over again. Not to mention your fingers get stabbed as you pull it if you're not careful. The spines I have seen have been up to half an inch long. Just the spines on the seed. The seed itself can be as big as a pea only more triangular-oblong shaped. They're not usually quite that big, but it's not exactly RARE to find a behemoth sized one in your foot. Or your flat bike tire. Yes, these little monsters can flatten a bike tire easy as pie. Just go ahead and Google "Goat Head Thorn" and you'll see what I mean. The devil's own weed, I'm tellin' ya! And they come in on my cat's mile-long fur. There's a doggie door in the laundry room which for our current purposes is actually a kitty-door. So this morning as I'm staggering along to the kitchen in the near-dark, the soft tender underside of my toe knuckle gets a piercing. I almost let out a scream. YEEEEOOWWW! It sure hurt! Then I noticed it was uncommonly difficult to pull out; must have gone in pretty deep. I tripped into the bathroom, dropped the thorn in the soap dish (without turning on the light) for later inspection, and went to get Chicklet and take her to the bathroom to pee. Then I got her sippy and lay in bed with her for the whole 30 seconds it took her to drain 9 ounces of milk. We wound up once again in the living room with her playing and me laying on the couch wondering why I'm still feeling run-over-by-a-train tired until Bug woke up.

I proceeded to answer myself, "Self, you are still tired because you are not a morning person. You never have been and you never will be. You can try and try all you want, but if after 3 years of waking up before 8am you still can't function before noon no matter how early you go to bed the previous night, you are just not cut out to be a morning person and never will be! Give up the charade!" So now you know my dirty little secret. Or one of them anyway. I am not a morning person. I think somewhere in the unwritten rulebook of homeschooling it says that to be a good homeschooling mommy you must be a morning person. At least that's the impression I get everywhere I go. So I'll keep on trying but so far... not working. Hey there's evening classes for college, why can't there be evening homeschool? Lol!

But I'm sure you're sitting there wondering what this all has to do with blood in the carpet... I'm getting there! I'm getting there! You're so impatient!

Fast forward to this afternoon. I am playing with the kids on the living room floor and the party moves toward the hallway. From my viewpoint laying on the floor with Chicklet in my face giggling and Bug climbing on my back, I notice a smear of reddish brown dried into the beige carpet. I squinted at it but couldn't figure out what it was. Figured whatever it was it didn't look or smell like poop so I'd get it out when the kids took a nap. Fast forward to an hour later when I put the kids down for a nap and finally got the first chance to use the bathroom since I woke up this morning. I'm sitting there and I notice these little dried blood squish marks all over the floor. I look closer. Yep, blood toe prints. And where my feet were as I sat on the stepstool waiting for Chicklet to pee that morning was a larger dripped on dried blood mark. Niice. So I pulled up my foot to look and the underside of my toe has a nice big hole in it courtesy of that devil thorn. *Sigh* Now I know what the smudge is in the hallway carpet. It's right where I would have put my foot back down after removing the thorn. I think PineSol will take the stain out. I hope. I checked out the thorn in the soapdish too and it's a whopper. It's one of the biggest I've ever seen. It's the biggest I can ever remember having had the misfortune to step on. And it's still got my blood on it. Gory evil thing. I'm gonna save it and show my husband. I should frame it. :p I'm kidding I'm kidding! We don't frame things that have injured us in this house. Just things like potholders and crochet hooks. But that's a story for another time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Charmed Life

Have you ever had a day where you had to bathe the kids half a dozen times? Changed your outfit more times than a teen in a mall dressing room? Done 3 loads of laundry per person in one day? Wanted to step outside and have a good scream? Well in the interest of full disclosure I thought I'd confess that I'm not always joyful and life at my house is not always charmed.
In fact, today was one of those non-charmed days. I won't bore you with all the details but it was a rough morning after a night of little sleep. I was so tired and grouchy that I was trying to nap on the couch with the kids playing on the floor in front of the couch, but for some odd reason they kept using me as a jungle gym under the guise of cuddling, and asking me to feed them and refill sippy cups. I mean, how dare they, right? ;) So the nap didn't happen. The closest I got was when Bug went down for his morning nap I put Chicklet (who does not nap) down on one couch and let her watch Dora. I know, I know, so much for No TV. I was desperate. And I lay on the other couch trying to sleep. Through the sounds of Dora and Boots and Chicklet all jabbering away. My daughter cannot ever stop talking while awake for longer than about 30 seconds. She's constantly running her mouth. I think that's a 3 year old thing though... haven't met any 3 year olds who didn't talk nonstop. *shrug* Anyway I kept almost falling asleep before she would start asking me a bazillion questions about why is Boots a monkey and where is the blue sippy cup and is baby brother takin' a nap and can she please have yogurt in her milk and does baby brother have yogurt milk too and mama I haveta pee... So when it was time to get the baby up I gave up altogether on the idea of a nap. I emptied the potty but forgot to put it back in the other room and set the kids to playing before deciding I was going to fall out of my desk chair if I tried to do anything computer related so I'd better do something standing up. So I started unloading the dishwasher and kept almost falling over. Knowing my clumsy self I decided it was safer to do something sitting before I landed in the dishwasher and broke it or myself. As soon as I sat however, I was no longer doing anything noisy. I heard splashing coming from the middle of the living room. I ran to look over the couch and there was Bug with a fish figurine of Dorie from Finding Nemo- swimming her around the potty full of pee. And there were an assortment of other wet toys laying around the potty including Nemo himself. Chicklet had put a stuffed frog on the potty to pee and was holding it in her hands looking at me with a look that said she knew she was in trouble. The frog's behind was dripping pee. I think I channeled some Incredible Hulk because I picked both kids up, Chicklet weighing in at about 36 pounds and Bug at about 25, one kid's shirt in each hand, and carried them dripping across the house and deposited them in the bathtub. All the while biting my tongue HARD so I would not say anything I would regret.
After getting them undressed and drawing the bathwater, I took the pee clothes to the hamper and proceeded to clean up the pee mess. A whopping 3-5 minutes later, having cleaned up the bulk of the mess, I stuck my head in to see what the maniacal laughter was about. The kids were up to their necks in bubbles. I had not put any soap in there... I fished around until I found my NOW EMPTY bottle of bodywash. I should have known by how nice the bubbles smelled. I didn't know Chicklet could unscrew lids. Now I know.
There were so many suds in the bath that I couldn't rinse the kids off in there. I had to turn on the shower to rinse them and then pick them up and hold them over the sea of suds in the shower stream and when it was Chicklet's turn to be showered off, she FREAKED OUT. She is afraid (read nightmare terrified) of the shower for reasons I can only imagine (She's terrified to put her head in the water, period), so she was kicking and screaming like I was killing her. I had to de-soap her though so it had to be done - which I'm sure didn't help the phobia any. :( And I wound up drenched chest to ankles.
Since my kids could obviously not control their driving need to make a mess, I put them to bed so I could finish the pee cleanup and start on the sea of suds in my bathtub. Well it was just one thing after another (one kid after another hollering for me to refill their drinks, etc.) and I finally gave up. I told the kids they'd better stay in bed (meaning Chicklet better stay in her bed since Bug can't get out of the crib), closed the door, and collapsed into bed for a 20 minute nap. After that I felt a bit more equipped to deal with life.

So there you have it, a day gone wrong! Lol! So glad it's almost over...

Giveaway winner is....

Click the "Current Giveaway" button under the header to see who won this weeks giveaway! ;)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Giveaway!

I have a giveaway for some lavender soap, lipgloss, and a cucumber mask HERE! It ends day after tomorrow so you should pop on over there and enter. ;)
If you're looking for some more cool giveaways, click the button above that says "Link Your Giveaways Here!" and it will take you to a page full of links to great giveaways! If you are having a giveaway on your blog I'd be tickled if you would add it to the MckLinky at the bottom of that post.
Also don't forget that there are only 6 weeks until Christmas. I am starting to get a bit stressed and alot excited and would love to have everyone join in with
Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!
Check it out! :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nov. 8th Featured Bloggy Friend!

It's a new week and I have a new featured blog for you to discover! This week I'm featuring Amy from Raising Arrows. Click the button to visit her blog!
Click to visit Amy @ Raising Arrows!
Check out her post While the Mommy's Away, The Toddlers Will Play (for some ideas about keeping the tots out of trouble while you school the bigger kids), and her Creative Writing Crash Course while you're there!

Amy, What was your main reason for beginning to blog? What is your greatest inspiration for what you write? What is one thing you know alot about? Do you have any hobbies other than blogging? If you get a chance to answer in the comments we'd love to learn more about you! :)

Would you like to be my featured friend someday? Remember that I prefer to feature blogger friends who
-follow me
-have commented recently on my blog
-update their blog frequently
-blog things that are inspirational/relevant to me personally
-do not endorse things on their blog that I'm strongly against.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicklet Chicklet

So sweet...

And so dramatic...

Chicklet has been a hard one to potty train. Nothing has worked. Until Monday. I've been trying to get her potty trained since she was about 18 months old. I knew she was ready earlier, around 1 year old, but I ignored the signs and waited too long and she went and got stubborn. Impossibly stubborn and set in her ways, refusing to be trained. I've tried everything. Really.
So Monday I went to get her up from nap and found her blankets and clothes on the floor beside the bed, covered with the contents of her diaper. On the bed she lay, wiping her bottom with her bath towel, the emptied diaper at her feet. YUCKY!!!!! And this Mama had had ENOUGH. I said if I'm going to be scrubbing poop out of the floors and furniture it had better be for a GOOD reason: NO MORE DIAPERS. Ever. That was 2:00 in the afternoon. She begged me for a diaper all day and I would not let her have one. I told her if she's smart enough to change her own diapers then she's plenty smart enough to go in the potty. And lo and behold, at bedtime, she informed us she was going to pee on the potty and she sat down and did just that. She has had very few accidents since then.
Today, Wednesday, I told her she'd better quit holding in her poo and do that on the potty too. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon she informed me she would be going poop on the potty now, and she did. And then she pranced over to where I keep the jar of potty training treats (chocolate chips) and...



"Choc'lit PLEEZE!" Sugar and spice, that's for sure! :)

How to ruin Mama's favorite marker... in 8 easy steps.


How to Ruin Mama's Favorite Sharpie... and Not Only Live To Tell The Tale, but Make Mama Feel Guilty for Ruining Your Fun Too.
by Mr. Bug

Step 1... Pretend you're chowing down on a cup full of dry cheerios so Mama will get busy and distracted. Make sure to drool cheerio goo all over for good measure.
Step 2... Sneak in under the desk chair and snag the marker before anyone notices.
Step 3... Hide behind the couch and uncap the marker.
Step 4... Color your right hand...

Step 5... Color your left hand thoroughly, including wrist... 

Step 6... Decorate your outfit with polka-dots.
Step 7... Taste test until Mama sees you and freaks out, taking the pen away and worrying over how much toxic ink you just swallowed.
Step 8... Start crying and then just give Mama the teary-eyed pathetic look as only a baby boy can...


...then she'll feel guilty for taking the marker away even though it defies logic.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Heart of CHRISTmas ♥ #2

Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!


Focus:
It's almost Collection Week! But there is still time... For a wonderful way to get the kids involved in giving this Christmas season, check out this post;
http://ontheoldpath.blogspot.com/2009/10/only-8-weeks-till-christmas.html
I'm afraid mine would not be as interesting this year due to my oldest being only 3. My kids wouldn't really be able to get into it because they won't understand what is going on. Next year when my daughter is 4 though I think she will really enjoy helping with Operation Christmas Child! She's a giver at heart - loves to give gifts. :)

Gift:
I am afraid this week's gifty project is under wraps (hehe) due to the possibility of the family member it's FOR reading this blog and spoiling the surprize. *wink* Rest assured I will take pics and save them to show you after Christmas.

Something handy:
We have a SuperyardXT which we got years ago when Chicklet was crawling. It fits around a Christmas tree so perfectly to keep the babies out of the gifts and tree water. They can still somehow always find a way to reach the ornaments though. *sigh* I'm all for teaching the kids not to touch the tree and not to open the gifts before Christmas, but this makes it a little (okay a LOT) easier because you can open it up for those character training lessons when everyone is in the same room, and then when you have other things to do and can't supervise as closely you can close it so they can't get in there. Very nice. I've been repeatedly impressed by the durability of this product too.

What helps the Christmas season to go smoothly at YOUR house?

~*~*~*~*~

If you want to share how you're keeping the heart of CHRISTmas where it belongs this year, please click the button at the top of this post to see how you can link up! :)

Mom with a mission blog award

Mom with a mission blog award!

This award is presented to a Mommy blogger who is on a mission! ;) So tell us, why do you blog and what do you love about it? And then pick a few other mom's with a mission to pass this award on to.

I blog because it's fun? Hehe. Plus I'm opinionated and don't have any IRL friends whom I actually hang out with. The only other adult I ever see in person is my husband. I blog because I believe that if a person claims to believe in something, or believe that a thing is wrong, and they don't defend their position, then they don't really believe it at all. If you believe that lying is a sin, and someone tells you that it's not, then I think you should tell them why you know it's a sin. Not to be argumentative, and you should definately pray about using Christlike words, but because if you don't ever tell people and don't stand up for what you believe in then what is the point of 'believing in' anything at all? Even the Bible says that salvation is attained by believing and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. It doesn't just stop at believing, it says you have to make it known that you believe. So my blog is my witness. A place to show my humanity, and show how God is working on me, and to tell people what I believe and why. And to keep a record of all the cute things the kids do of course. That was my main reason for starting to blog. Plus I'm not so eloquent talking one on one anyway... I stutter and freeze up and wind up saying a whole lot of nothing. I'm really super shy in person. What I love about it is that it's a good creative outlet and I get to socialize with likeminded women; kindred spirits and good mentors are very hard to come by.

To pass this award on to, I pick...
Nicki at 400 Things
Tami at A Godly Homemaker
Tiana at God Made, Home Grown
Kimberly at Raising Olives

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog Awards!





A big "Thank You!" to Monica at Pixel Perfect, and to Cheryl at On The Old Path for giving me this award!
The Rules are....
1. Answer the survey below using only 1 word answers.
2. Pass this along to 3 of your fav. bloggers
3. Alert them you gave them this award
4. Have fun


SuRvEY
1. Where is your cellphone? nonexistant
2. Your hair? frizzing
3. Your mom? motivated
4. Your dad? smart
5. Your fav. food: pizza
6. Your dream last night: grasshoppers
7. Your fav. drink: Dr. Pepper (oops not really one word... hehe)
8. Your dream/goal: accomplished!
9. What room are you in: living room
10. Your hobby? crochet
11. Your fear? alone
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? quiverfull hehe...
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something you aren't? socialite
15. Muffins? Costco
16 Wish item? computer
17. Where did you grow up? farm
18. Last thing you did? supper
19. What are you wearing? pajamas!
20. Your TV? hated
21. Your pets? Nailah
22. Your friends? online
23. Your life? sweet
24. Your mood? sad
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? Civic
27. Something your not wearing? makeup
28. Your fav. store? Carter's
29. Your fav. color? today?
30.Last time you laughed? idk
31. Last time you cried? idk
32. Your best friend? Jesus
33. Fav. place to eat? buffet
34. One person who Emails me regularly? Dad
35. Place I go over and over? WalMart


Three Blog Friends I choose to give this award to:
Aww man can't I pick more than 3? *pouts* Okay I pick...

Connie at Smockity Frocks
Stefany at I Thode You So
Amy at Buffaloes and Butterfly Wings