Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Bible Says

Overheard by Timothy this morning as he was trying to convince Christopher to come upstairs:

Christopher, do you know what the Bible says? Do you know?! It says that you CAN'T change your mind! Now come upstairs because it's wrong to change your mind. On the count of three, come upstairs now!

Wow. They DO pick up on the things we say, don't they? Now if they just wouldn't twist and manipulate everything they hear!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bad Words

I LOVE the innocence of children! Especially my children. I want to smile and laugh and get all choked up and everything all at the same time!

This morning Timothy informed me that there are some kids at school that are saying bad, bad words! He was so upset when he was telling me this that I was getting a bit concerned myself. How does HE know what bad words are?! After a bit more probing, he told me that there are some kids that always say to the others, "Hey! Stop butting! You're butting! No butting!" "Mommy," he said to me soooo sincerely serious, "Those kids shouldn't be saying such a bad, bad word at school! That is just NOT nice!"

Here's where I wanted to smile and get teary-eyed at the same time. My little 4 year old thinks that butting is a bad word! He was really quite upset by the poor manners of these other kids.

I explained to him what butting really means in that context and he was ok with it after that. He still thinks that no one should say that word at school or anywhere, though. Oh, I just love their innocence! If only he could stay this way!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getting Rid of the Perfectionism

Well, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't posted for a week and a half. Yeah, I know some of you noticed, but I have a good reason for it! I've been too much of a perfectionist! You see, I have tons of pictures that I would love to post, all with a great story behind them, but I have NO clue how to download them and which computer I should even try to download them on IF I even knew how, so I don't post anything!

Have you heard the complaints about the home of a handyman never being repaired (I'm not talking about you, Dad!), or the mechanic's family that drives the junkers? Well, I belong to a family with one of the most computer-literate people in this country, and boy! You should see our computers here at home! We have laptops and desktops and monitors and keyboards and towers and USB keys and motherboards and mice (mouses??) galore, but do I have a clue what's going on here? NO! I repeat ... NO!!! It seems like every other day "my" computer is being replaced by another one while Mr. Computer takes the one I've just gotten used to back to it's original owner. He'll bring home another one from work "to test it out" (whatever that means) for a few days, just long enough for me to figure out where everything is, and then ZIP! It's gone and another one of a different model, shape, size, brand, speed, etc, takes it's place. I never know what's going on with these computers or if I'll even have one available to me on any given day. The sad thing is, we have so many of these pieces and parts lying around here that we could probably have 10 working computers, if only someone would have the time to put them all together.

Ok. So that was my excuse. I don't post because we have hundreds of computer parts around here, several computers to use, many miscellaneous keyboards and mice, but I have no clue which ones are digital camera compatible or not or which ones will have access to the internet. I don't know which ones are connected to our hard drive at any given time, so I can't even download pictures to save because I don't know where I'm saving them! To top this all off, Mr. Computer has been working out of the home office quite a bit the past few weeks. In order for him to tap into work more effectively, he has somehow shut down my ability to access any of my files or documents because he has redirected the paths from our own personal hard drive to go directly to his work server. Sigh. I'm so frustrated. Not only am I not able to download current pictures, I can't even access old ones that I could post and write about!

There. That's my excuse for not posting. I have no pictures. And I have no clue what to do about all these computers around here. I love Mr. Computer. I really do. I just wish I knew as much as he did sometimes so that I could get at least ONE computer working to satisfy my needs and then I wouldn't need to rely on him for this any longer. I relinquish my perfectionism of not posting unless I have current pictures to share. I will return to posting sans pictures ... as long as I can find a computer that works!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Eight and a Half Hour Vacation

I have to tell you about my vacation this weekend! Today I had the best vacation I've had for a long time ... and it lasted only eight and a half hours! Eight and a half hours of a very intense vacation, but I am renewed and energized (although not physically), just because of my morning!

This weekend was the Ontario Sing at our church. I don't know how many years this Sing has been an event, but I know that it's been an annual weekend gathering for our churches in Ontario for many years. It's been held in our Windsor church ever since I've been married, but this year with our new church building, we hosted it. I'm not sure why we still call it the Ontario Sing because it's not just for our Ontario churches anymore, but it seems to be open to anyone who wants to come practice with 100-200 other people to perform a choir program on Sunday afternoon. I didn't hear any final counts as to how many people were actually in attendance this weekend, but I know that we served around 900 for lunch today and many people didn't even stick around for lunch because of the crowd!

So why did I have the best vacation in ages this morning? Well, simply because I was on the cooking committee for lunch today! I was picked up this morning at 7:45 to be at church by 8:00 to start the preparations for this mass feeding that we were going to be doing at noon. That was the beginning! I worked hard this morning. It was HOT and STEAMY in that kitchen, even with the muggy breezes blowing through. I have steam burns on my arms. I have smooth and sensitive fingertips now from accidentally grabbing boiling pot handles without protection. I have sore shoulders from lifting heavy pots full of meatballs and vegetables and rice. I have sore feet and a weary back from all that work, but let me tell you, I am serious when I say that I feel like I've been on vacation because I also have sore stomach muscles from laughing so hard with the other women in that kitchen! I have a heavy heart for some of the situations that my sisters in the Lord shared with me while we were washing dishes. I have eyes that were red and puffy from crying together. I shouldered some of their burdens because I could see that they were too heavy to be carried alone.

But oh, is my spirit lighter tonight! You learn things about people when you work so closely together with them in a steam room under time-pressured conditions. Sometimes you learn negative things, but today I learned many wonderful things about my fellow-kitchen crew. I learned about the joys and the reliefs of mothers whose children have made decisions to follow the Lord. I learned about the struggles of working mothers who are trying to balance work and family. I learned about the history of our church. I learned that I really, really love my husband today!

What?! Why do I say that I really learned to love my husband today? Well, you see, THIS is what made me feel the most like I had had a vacation today! While I was slaving away with sweat dripping from every pore in my body, my husband was taking care of the boys! I got Christopher dressed this morning before I left, kissed Fred good-by and that's the last responsibility I had toward my family until 4:30 this afternoon! I felt like a different woman working in that kitchen! I was managing typical kitchen tasks like washing dishes and stirring gravy without having to stop and fix a toy or zip up a pair of pants or put a toy in time out! I actually completed my jobs from start to finish without being interrupted with a "Mommy, look at this!" or "Mommy, what does this say?" I was able to listen to another adult's story without having to say with a forced smile on my face, "Excuse me for a moment (would you please stop screaming in my ear and go in another room if you're going to fight?!)"

Oh yes sir! I was on vacation today and I'm dead tired now, but I'm a happy camper! I had eight and a half hours of being a totally different person today and I'm ready to take on the world now!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another First Day of Kindergarten

Today was Timothy's first day of Junior Kindergarten. He was so excited to be going to school today that he was up and dressed by 7:05 and had his cereal poured by 7:06. At 7:15, he was finished and had his backpack on and asked how much longer until the bus would be there. Poor kid. He couldn't grasp the concept that he still had an hour and a half to go before the bus would come.

Christopher got in on the excitement, too. He zipped downstairs, still in his jammies and saggy diaper, ran to the laundry room, grabbed his shoes and stood by the front door saying, "Goolbus kumin! Goolbus kumin!" He was pretty upset when I had to pry him away from the door and forced him to get dressed and eat his breakfast.

Stephen was the only one that wasn't as excited. I had to keep prodding him along; reminding him to get dressed, to eat his breakfast, to go to the bathroom, to get his shoes on, to put on his coat, to get his backpack, etc. I felt like I had to think for him this morning.

We did make it to the bus stop on time today, as opposed to Tuesday when we had to run like crazy (because she was EARLY!!! Ok, and because we were a tad bit late, too!). Timothy had been asking me if he was going to be going on the bus by himself today. I assured him that he would be going with Stephen, but I wasn't allowed on the bus. He was ok with that. When the bus pulled around the corner, he just stood there looking at me, shivering with excitement! I told him to go get in line and he did. Then when all the kids in front of him had gotten on, I realized that he was still standing there where I had left him, with about 10 other kids standing behind him wondering what the hold up was! I finally convinced him to go climb on the bus, but I guess we never went over what would happen next: he would need to find a seat. He tried to shove into a seat with three other older girls and they told him to go to the back. I saw him try each seat, but was shooed back, all the way to the "hump" seat (you know, the one over the tire). He and Stephen sat there just grinning away, waving like crazy at us!

Coming home, he was so cute, too! The bus stopped, he saw me out the window, and he just sat there smiling away at me. I kept motioning him to get up and get off the bus, but he just sat there smiling! The kids were almost all off and he's still sitting way in the back smiling out the window! Our sweet little neighbor girl turned around and told him that he needed to get off now and she waited for him. I'm not sure what would have happened if Emily wouldn't have noticed him still sitting there.

So, both boys have now had their first day at school and all is well. They're both happy and ready to go back again tomorrow. Poor little Christopher was a bit lost today without his noisy brothers around, and even Mommy was a bit lonely. I have to say, though, that I sure appreciated the chance to get the bathrooms cleaned and the kitchen floor washed without any interruptions!

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Stephen's first day of Senior Kindergarten, which in American terms, simply means "Kindergarten". Timothy is in Junior Kindergarten, or the equivelant of one year of preschool, and he officially starts next Thursday. They will go all day Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday. But yesterday was Stephen's first day of SK and as we were waiting for the bus, he asked me a very loaded question.

"Mommy, if I'm in SK this year and Timothy is in JK (looooonnnnngggg pause), that means that only Christopher will be home with you. What are you going to do all day long?!"

This is where the art of silent laughter shone in all it's beauty. I simply smiled at him and assured him that I would find something to do while they were gone, and I'd be waiting for them to come home again, too.

What am I going to do all day long?!?!?! Where in the world do I start?! I will regain control over living room. I will sort, store and pitch the toys in the basement. I will go through the bags of hand-me-downs that I've been given. I will clean out the garage. I will clean out the refrigerator. I will organize my Watkins material. I will clean up my desk. I will go shopping for smaller snack containers for the boys' lunches. I will detail clean the van. I will start getting ready for some Watkins shows coming up. I will clean for our company this weekend. I will get ready for the beginning of The Cookie Kitchen season. I will purge the overabundance of books in this house. I will clean up the yard for winter. And these are only the major projects! I don't want to continue or my list will be far too overwhelming.

The first thing I'm going to do is sit down on the couch with Christopher and read through the stack of books that he is always bringing over to me! I can't wait!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Saving Money

I have to tell you about our deal for the day! We went to a local park today just for fun and God blessed us with a wonderful surprise! The Labor Union (or actually Labour Union - we ARE in Canada, you know) was having a free picnic for the public. You had to pay for the food (we brought our own), but they had free train rides for the kids, free horse and carriage rides, free pony rides, free mini-golf and balloons and a bouncey cage thing. They also had free watermelon, free bags of chips and free tootsie-pops! Wow! Did we feel like we struck gold today! The kids were beside themselves with excitement and Fred and I felt blessed that our kids had a blast and we didn't have to pay a cent for it! I LOVE deals like this!

Most of you know by now that I am an extremely frugal person. Some of you have your own ways of describing my money-saving tendencies (like tightwad, cheap, miser, whatever!), but I'm not ashamed of it. I have always tried to use my money wisely and not to squander it (some of you think I go to the extreme when it comes to not spending money), but sometimes I have no choice. Like now.

Now that we've sold our business, I am doing my best to help the financial strain that we've been feeling. I've been working at my Watkins business to bring in some added income, but with the kids always demanding my attention, it hasn't been super easy to focus on that. I have found that the best way to save money is to not spend it. That's all fine and well, except that we live in a society where we HAVE to spend money, at least on some things.

My sister and I were talking about this subject the other day and we were laughing, and frustrated at the same time, because we've been reading all these ways-to-save-money books and articles. I'm sure you've read them, too. You know, the ones that go from "Tip #1 - Let your housekeeper and personal chef go and start cooking and cleaning for yourself" (Uhhh.... ok. I never thought of that!) to "Tip #10 - Buy two-ply toilet paper and unroll them to create two seperate rolls." Not all these articles are very practical, but some of them are just common sense:
  • Cook at home instead of eating out (Check! Already do that one. Can't remember the last time I ordered a meal to go.)
  • Borrow books and videos from the library instead of purchasing them (Check! Do this one, too!)
  • Take a walk in a local park instead of paying for an amusement park (Check! Duh! Who wouldn't think of this one?!)
  • Use re-usable containers for lunches instead of throwing away plastic bags (Check! Must do anyway, since our school is a "green" school and doesn't allow throw-away items)
  • Make your own pizza at home instead of ordering out (Check! It's a rare thing to order pizza at this house!)
So, my question to my readers is this: what are some things that YOU do to save some money here and there that are unique and may NOT be in all the books and articles written on how to save money? I can use any fresh, new tips that you may have! Pour them on!