Cuddling on the Couch on a Friday

Today, the weather is gorgeous…like a little bit of summer before the rough of winter blows in. I had to run out to the van to grab some paperwork, and I scurried across the snow in my bare feet while the sun warmed my face. It’s the kind of day that makes you want to live outside. So, it’s no wonder that we’re all hacking a lung and clutching sore throats around here.

Tomorrow, I’m sure we’ll feel better. And tomorrow, it will probably snow. 

Snow is OK with me this year, though. It’s the first year that Papa Bear’s winter income has really depended on snow (plowing and shoveling), so I finally understand what everyone has been talking about.

Come on, winter! Bring your best!

The better (and better) the kids are reading, though, the more fun sick days and snow days are.

Of all the milestones we enjoy as parents, I’ve gotta say that reading kicks walking’s butt bottom. My older four are all reading, though on very staggered levels. And Lil Prince, who never (and when I say never, let me clarify that I mean never) pays attention in class is gaining on the older girls. I’m now convinced that when his little eyes dart from the floor to the ceiling (while I’m yelling nicely asking him to look at the board), he must be visually chasing my words around the room. When they leave my mouth, they must bounce around a lot. At least that’s the only thing I can figure.

Homeschooling rocks. And by “rocks,” I mean “accelerates gray hair and wrinkle expansion”. But with a little hair dye, a good night cream and a lot of prayer, we’ll get through alright!

It’s Friday! Weekends are so much fun. Tonight, we have a counseling appointment. And then the rest of the weekend is open. What are your plans? Is Thanksgiving coming early for anyone?

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Lessons from Dad

I just finished skimming over my little blog, and I’ve gotta say I’m surprised anyone is still reading. I haven’t had much to say, lately. Maybe you don’t think I’ve ever had much to say, but if you had a good mother, you’ll keep those kind of thoughts to yourself.

It’s actually not that I haven’t had anything to say, but it can be hard to say everything you want to…when the people you want to write about actually read. Ha.

There is a kind of theme to my life, though. Especially lately, I guess. But I might have to back up a bit and tell you a story, first.

About a year after our first date, Papa Bear and I had our second date. Our second and third were the same weekend, actually. We’d become best friends over the phone, and so while he visited his family on leave for Christmas, he made a side trip to spend a few days with me (and ask me to marry him several times…no, Oprah, I don’t plan on letting that one go).

We had a great time together, but it did get a little awkward there toward the end. I was determined not to fall for him, and he was determined to make me feel pretty awful about it. When it was time for him to leave, I drove him about two hours away to meet up with his dad (who was living in Colorado at the time).

I can’t remember what we talked about on the way. That was nine years ago next month, so I guess it’s not that strange that I don’t remember. But I do remember what he said to me as we drove up the little hill over looking the Denny’s parking lot (where his dad was already parked).

“My dad is going to hit on you, just so you know,” a skinny Marine said with a little bit of embarrassment and a little bit of jest.

I, in return, said nothing. I did cringe a bit when I stepped out of the car in my pretty yellow sweater that made my then twig-like body appear almost curvy, and Kevin announced, as he leaned in to hug me, “Wow, you smell amazing!” Of course, I wasn’t wearing any perfume.

Less than eight months later, that man in the Denny’s parking lot became my father-in-law. And I, well, I became the worst daughter-in-law in the world.

Kevin pursued our new father/daughter relationship while my Marine was overseas. He called to check on me a couple of times a week, and he was one of those rare men who could talk for hours on the phone. I was young, and my husband was away. I’m sure I would have felt a little uncomfortable, anyway. But those words from that skinny Marine kept echoing in my cute, pre-babies, twenty four year old little ego ridden head. I like to take little things and make huge issues of them, apparently.

“My father-in-law is a dirty old man. Now what in the world am I going to do with that?!”

Over time, what little relationship my father-in-law had, crumbled completely. And when my marriage began to crumble, I had a very ready scapegoat for the habits and addictions that were doing us in. I knew my enemy wasn’t my husband (plus one for me), but I missed the importance of that point (plus one for the real enemy).

Have you ever heard a sermon on forgiveness? And during the sermon one annoying name keeps echoing over and over and over again in your head? Yeah, me neither.

Yeah, right.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that forgiveness is pretty much my message. But I’m now convinced that the area we think we excel in is often (at least for awhile) the area of our biggest weakness. Maybe I thought, because I’d done such a good job of forgiving in other areas, God would let me off the hook just once.

And maybe I forgot what a wretch I am? And maybe I was a self-righteous

I’ve already written about my reaction to Kevin’s illness. I haven’t said as much since his death. I said what I needed to say to his mother, my grandmother. But what can really be said about sitting nervously on the front row of a funeral, sure everyone there knows you don’t belong?

…rubbing your hands raw under the dinner table, convinced someone will ask you to share your favorite memory of Dad?

“It’s one of those things we learn from,” said my gracious grandmother-in-law as she gazed into my tear-filled eyes.

“It’s the hardest lesson of my life,” I assured her. Then she hugged me, and eight and a half years late, I laid my “in-law” title down.

We categorize sin and pain. It’s a fun little first world past-time. And it would be ridiculous to assume that taking a thousand lives is on par (in consequence) to taking the Lord’s Name in vain. But it would be equally ridiculous to assume that Jesus’ blood is any less needed for the blasphemer than it is for the murderer. And it would be fantastically ridiculous to feel, though never admit, that my father-in-law used up more of Jesus’ [not quite] cleansing Blood than I did.

Maybe someone has done something terrible to us, or maybe we just think that they have. Either way, the deception lies in thinking that that grievance somehow touches putting a sinless Christ to death. In order to hold an offense, no matter the offense, our enemy requires that we diminish our own great guilt and thusly our own forgiveness. And our sins grows so great, the smaller we try to make them.

We like to say that Jesus requires forgiveness but not forgetfulness. Though, it’s on His forgetfulness that we so depend. And we might not be able to forget in the same way Jesus does, but we don’t have to make remembrance a hobby.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Just a few lessons I’ve learned from my father-in-law and my Dad.

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Pumpkins and Other Squash

Saturday was a theme day. Not many days around here have a theme, unless “mayhem” counts. But it was cold and wet and called for something a little extra.

I’ve raised my kiddos to eat everything…well, to try everything. Still, they’ve all entered a picky phase that is about to drive me crazy. I think it’s backlash from all the pb and j on whole grain that I settled for this year. But I’m bringing veggies back, baby. And Friday, that veggie was pumpkin (and other squash).

We talked about pumpkins (which didn’t really take that long).

We painted [pictures of] pumpkins (which, thankfully, did). Next time, we should actually paint pumpkins!


I snapped pictures of pumpkins punkins watching Veggies Tales.


And we cooked pumpkins (as dessert).





All in all, I think it was a pretty good day…a prelude of Thanksgiving goodness to come!

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OK, California

Yes, Papa Bear and I went out of town…out of state…and I haven’t said much about it. It was the first time we’d ever flown together. I used to fly to see him, and he’d fly to see me…but then we got married and had kiddos (a lot of them, and quickly), and the vacationing kinda ceased.

This is me at 6:00 am on November 4th. I hadn’t managed to drag Papa Bear out of bed, yet….even though the jerk said he wanted to leave at 5:30. Ha. Well, his little scheme worked like a charm, cause I was actually up and ready on time!

We made it to the airport safely, found parking easily, and arrived at our gate three minutes before boarding. It was kinda like the beginning of Meet the Fockers without all of that other stuff that comes later.
My first time to fly with Papa Bear also meant my first time to fly as a mom. Whoa, what a difference. I never thought about dying or dramatic plane crashes before having kids. But Papa Bear and I prayed through take-off, and the rest of the trip was fine. Weird, but fine.
This trip wasn’t supposed to be a vacation. Papa Bear and I had very little time alone, but we did spend many wonderful hours with his sweet family. We managed to make it into San Francisco on the afternoon before we left. We were hoping for a date night in China Town, but that will just have to wait for another time.
Here we are, enjoying the view from the top of a parking garage adjacent Pier 39. I was completely taken with Alcatraz, even though the only things I know about Alcatraz, I probably learned from The Rock. Ha.

And down by the pier…this guys was hilarious (the guy on the right was pretty funny, too)!

We spent most of the day at the park and the Japanese Tea Garden.

Which was beautiful!

I love places that make you want to whisper. I felt like Deborah Kerr. And just so you know, I didn’t pack any flats for the trip. My calves are still burning, but hey, I didn’t have kids to chase!

We had a fantastic time, and we can’t wait to take the kids someday. But I’ve gotta say, I still think cities look best at night. I think, I hope, I’m done living in them. Vacationing in them is much more fun.

Just for fun…if you could live in any city, which one would you pick? And would your “I want to visit there!” location be different from your “I can’t wait to live there!” one?

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I stuck my head out of the kids’ open bedroom window and screamed, “Get back in here RIGHT NOW” to scantily clad (pjs and snow boots) little girls. Or was that yesterday? It’s hard to tell at this point.

I dumped a large cup of “mouthwash,” that the kids had made from toothpaste and water, down the drain.

I told a certain SIX year old to stop licking her hand…three times.

I chucked a baby mouse out into the snow…and didn’t feel bad about it.

I cut school short by one subject and turned on Spiderman cartoons.

I pretended Kettle Corn passes for lunch.

I threw away ten empty cans of Coke Zero that four twins had apparently been pilfering for days. And then I [almost] cried. Because I didn’t get any.

Today hasn’t been the best of days. That always happens when I have so much paying work to do that some of it unavoidably slops over and interferes with my real job. I hate that feeling. And because I know that I’m not the only work-at-home mom around here, I thought I’d open the floor to discussion.

How do you balance wife/mom/career woman at your house?

DO tell.

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Time for Class!

I have asked Abbie to share with us today, because she is extremely knowledgeable in the area of essential oils (which is a topic I am very interested in). I have asked her to be on hand for a follow up to this post, so if you have any essential oils questions, please post them for Abbie in the comments (or over at her blog). 

Also, Abbie will be hosting an essential oils class tomorrow at 1:00 PM CST! You can catch the class at

I LOVE essential oils! A friend introduced me to high quality essential oils a little over a year ago and I have become more excited the more I study and learn about them! I am delighted that Sarah as given me permission to take over her blog to share a little with you and answer any questions you may have.


What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are defined as “aromatic volatile liquids distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds.”* They are highly concentrated and much more potent than herbs; for example, 1 drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea. Depending on the type of oil, an entire plant may only produce one drop of oil. These are different from fatty oils such as olive oil, vegetable oil, etc. They do not clog pores nor are they greasy. Fatty oils are often used to dilute certain essential oils such as oregano, clove, cinnamon, peppermint, etc.

What does the Bible say about essential oils?

One of the main reasons that I love to study and share about essential oils is that they were specifically given by God for healing and are mentioned throughout the Scriptures. Not counting olive oil, there are an estimated 1,031 references in the Bible to essential oils, the plants they are taken from and how they were used. I used to wonder about this verse and our application of it, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:”-James 5:14 I would watch as the elders in the church would gather around a sick person, pray over them and put a little dab of cooking oil on their head. It never made any sense to me until I learned about essential oils. I think that early church Christians relied on prayer, but also knew how to use essential oils either alone or mixed with olive oil as a part of their every day lives.

What are essential oils used for?

Essential oils are used to heal everything from the common cold to cancer. There are hundreds of different essential oils available. Lavender and peppermint are two oils that I try to have with me all the time because they can be used for so many different things. About a year ago, I was severely burned on my arm, badly enough that I should have a scar today. I applied lavender oil daily for several weeks and healed completely! Lavender is known for its ability to regenerate skin and prevent scarring along with a host of other things including menstrual problems/PMS, skin conditions, (eczema, acne, scarring, stretch marks) insomnia and much more. Peppermint is great for weight loss, increased energy, headaches, nausea, pain relief and much more.


How to use essential oils

Many essential oils can be applied “NEAT” which means without dilution. With most oils it is suggested that they be diluted with a non-essential oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or Young Living has a blend of coconut and other oils called “V-6”. Before you use an essential oil, you’ll want to look on the bottle for the suggested ratio of fatty oil to essential oil. Some oils, such as clove, are potent enough to burn the skin. Essential oils can be taken internally, applied directly to problem areas on the skin, on the soles of the feet, (the largest pores in our bodies are on the bottoms of our feet, so this allows for quick absorption) and with special techniques such as Vita-Flex or the Raindrop technique.

You can safely use essential oils throughout pregnancy and on infants and young children. Smaller bodies need smaller doses and when applying on small children always dilute oils if dilution is suggested on the bottle. A small child or baby may only need 1 drop whereas an adult would use 3-4 drops of the same oil. If you need to spread the oil over a large area, such as a rash (eczema, poison ivy, etc.) just dilute it with a non-essential oil. This will make sure the essential oil is applied evenly and your child will get the benefits from both oils.

Where to Get Essential Oils

I use Young Living Essential Oils. I have experimented with oils from several other companies, but did not receive the same results that I do with Young Living oils. You can usually find essential oils at your local health food store that are much cheaper, but most oils on the market have been diluted with chemicals and other additives to make them inexpensive to produce, or they have not been distilled in a way that will keep them at their highest potency. There are different classifications of essential oils depending on the tests the oils have passed. Oils that say “100% Pure” are not necessarily 100% pure, that’s just the classification. You should never use oils internally unless they are therapeutic grade. Therapeutic Grade essential oils require very careful processing in order to retain the highest benefits possible from the oil and keep out any impurities. All Young Living oils are Therapeutic Grade and safe to use.

If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils and how to use them, check me out at Abbie’s Oils! Or follow me on Facebook!

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