May 22, 2004

James Returns

After a delayed flight, James returned home last night after a five day business trip to San Francisco. We're so glad that he's home. Granted he did bring home some chocolate-covered berries from "Chocolate Heaven" at Fisherman's Wharf, but still we'd just rather have him here with us.

On Monday, our phone rang one solitary ring in the afternoon. I thought that was strange. Later, James told me that he had walked all the way from Fisherman's Wharf, along the shore, across the Golden Gate bridge and back. He tried to call me from the middle of the bridge on his cell phone, but the battery died after one ring!

To change the subject... I have a Josi update. She had her scope performed yesterday and everything looked normal, but they did a biopsy to check for cells which would show either signs of reflux or signs of allergies. They will get the results of the biopsy next week. Josi is doing fine.

Posted by melissa at 10:19 AM

May 20, 2004

Poor Sophie Part Two

Sometimes planning ahead is not enough... Sophie woke up looking as white as a sheet with no color even in her lips. I've come to learn to grab a container to keep handy when I see my kids looking like that. She slept most of the morning, but part of the time, I cuddled her on my lap while I read aloud to the kids. I guess the container should have been directly under her chin. We both received quite an upleasant shock. I'm just glad that the library book was spared.

She seems to be better now.

Posted by melissa at 11:28 PM

Dick and Jane by Poe

This satire was written by the blogger "Bob the Ape". Someone posted it on the Well-trained mind message board. (If you want to see his page it is at )

If Poe had written Dick and Jane:

Once upon an autumn morning, suddenly and without warning,
Came before my saddened eye a youth denominated Dick.
"Oh!" I cried in joyous wonder, "Oh, oh, oh!" No, 'twas no blunder,
My pall of sorrow rent asunder, my gladdened heart now beating quick -
Yes, my tired heart, once mired in sadness, now was beating quick -
My fevered soul no longer sick.

Oh, so gamesome his disporting, his curveting, his cavorting,
Such surcease my soul affording, that had been so sad of late.
"Look, look, look!" was all my uttering, said distinctly, with no muttering,
Wingéd words from my lips fluttering, giving thanks to kindly Fate -
With such simple words did I give thanks to beneficient Fate -
"Look!" did I reiterate.

To athletic Dick now entered sister Jane, like him engendered
In the fecund, many-splendoured womb of her whom they call Mother.
Circling, she swiftly skated; though one skate was separated
From her foot, she still gyrated, round and round about her brother -
Rapidly she still gyrated, round about her gamboling brother -
Thus they played with one another.

Two did not complete the tally, still to come was Baby Sally,
Brisk, for she disdained to dally, bearing her umbrella high.
"Look, Dick, look, Jane, look at Baby!" went the glad refrain, for maybe,
Maybe, she'd do something funny, so with sunny heart did I -
Hoping to see something funny, as my heart was leaping high -
Fix her with attentive eye.

Senses reeling, rapture-smitten, still I could descry a kitten,
"Puff" on leathern collar written, join the twosome and the tot.
Close behind her, softly panting, gleeful, gay and gallivanting,
Caracoled that regal canine whom the others knew as Spot -
Danced and pranced that noble spaniel known to all the world as Spot -
Oh, the bliss that they begot!

Woe! no sooner had elation reached its final consummation
Than a demon of vexation crept its way into my breast.
Were they of intent refraining from explicitly explaining
How I might hope for regaining her whom once I had caressed?
Brought they no hope of regaining her whom once I had caressed?
By whose love I once was blessed?

"Tell me, children, dog, or kitten, shall the lamp be ever litten
That will guide me though the shades to find the maiden I did love?"
"Look, look, look," said Dick, defiant, "Oh, oh," said Jane, uncompliant,
"See," said Sally with a sigh, and "Woof," said Spot, and "Mew," said Puff -
No one told me, neither Dick nor Jane nor Sally, Spot, or Puff -
"Oh, look, see," was their rebuff.

"Villains!" shrieked I in my madness, "bearers of deceitful gladness,
Thus to leave me in my sadness, here condemned forevermore!
Watching Dick and Jane and Sally, sundered by the dreadful valley
Of the shadow from that maiden whom I did betimes adore -
From that rare and radiant maiden whom I did betimes adore!"
"Oh," they quoth...then quoth no more.

Posted by melissa at 11:15 PM

May 16, 2004

Poor Sophie

Last night, at a graduation open house, someone accidently spilled a cup of punch on Sophie's head.

Today at church, a child slammed a door in Sophie's face and now she has a big lump and a cut on her forehead.

On a lighter note... At the grad. open house, Patrick goofed off with the kids and was pretending to have a "hideout". Today, Sophie informed me that she and the boys "conquered" his hideout!

Posted by melissa at 05:27 PM

Eight is Great

Evan will be eight on Thursday. He informed me that in six more years, he will be fourteen... Aaaaaaaaagh!

Due to scheduling conflicts, we decided to celebrate his birthday early. We invited Mom, John's family and another family from church to come over Saturday afternoon.

Friday night, since I couldn't sleep, I decided to make a card. After a while, James came and helped me, because he couldn't sleep either. Evan tells us that when he grows up, he wants to live in a treehouse (the influence of My Side of the Mountain evident here) and be an inventor (maybe Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang). On the front of the card, we wrote: "For your birthday, we wanted to invent a CAKE EATING MACHINE..." Inside: "but then we realized: That's Why We Have YOU!!" I made a little collage below this of small scanned in pictures of Evan with cake at each of his previous b-days.

cake eating machine.jpg

Matthew (the next day, of course) wrote in the card: "Dear Evan, Thank you for playing with me. I made a present for you, but it melted. It was made out of ice. Happy Birthday! Love, Matthew" Sophie wrote: "Love Sophie" and drew a little picture of herself.

When the guests arrived on Saturday, we put old t-shirts on the kids, supplied them with painting paraphernalia, and gave them sticks and driftwood from Mom's yard to decorate as whatever creature they could imagine. All the kids enjoyed this activity, but Michelle and Sophie especially spent a lot of time on the details. Michelle painted a woodpecker and a chameleon into existence. Sophie's stick morphed into a "moose"(?!) and Conner took offense when we mistook his kitty-cat for a lizard.

Michelle animalitos.jpg
Sophie animalito.jpg
lizard cat.jpg

Of course, we ate cake and watched Evan open presents. We gave him an electronic snap-circuit set with which he can make "over 300 exciting projects". Right off, the boys put it together to launch a small plastic fan in the air. They also quickly figured out how to cause it to emit all sorts of loud annoying noises (James bought the present, not me! ...But seriously, I think the gift is great fun. John, Jms' bro., said that he wants one too.)

8th birthday crew.jpg

Angi ran out to buy some bottles for Josi. I came into the room as John was feeding Josi and saw her start to cry when she caught sight of the bottle. She suffers from reflux and may be developing an aversion to the bottle. I danced around and distracted her with toys so that she ate without fighting it. Prayer request: She is going into the hospital on Friday for a scope to see if they can find out what seems to be the problem and what possible solutions might be. Pray that the procedure would go smoothly, for peace for the family, and for a resolution to her eating difficulty. Thank You!

Angi and Josi.jpg

Posted by melissa at 05:14 PM

May 14, 2004

Marinated Tomatoes

Here is a delicious recipe that I received from Kathy D. at church...

6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion or sweet onion
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 T. snipped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

Place tom.'s and onions in a shallow serving bowl. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients; pour over tom.'s. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

I use the tomatoes-on-the-vine from the grocery store when on sale and they taste great in this recipe. I'm sure that garden tom.'s will be even better!

Posted by melissa at 08:23 AM

May 12, 2004

Cavy Care

The kids and I spent some time today on cavy care (guinea pigs). Evan and I cleaned out the cage and vacuumed up the floor. We gave both of them baths. Pippin is placid and no problem. Merry, however, is a fighter. He has the longest hair which involves dealing with matting. He struggled through the whole process, and at times, both Evan and I had to work with him. (And why, oh why do they still smell some after their bath?) I brushed them out and dried them partially with a hairdryer. Now they have a towel in which to burrow in their cage. They are getting so large that we need to build a new cage for them.

The kids have begun listening to the unabridged version of The Hobbit on CD today.

Posted by melissa at 01:51 PM

May 11, 2004


This morning the kids and I drove 45 mins. to pick up Conner for the day. The boys did some math and reading in the van. On the way home, Sophie piped up, "Mommy I threw up." I looked around and sure enough. She looked grey with circles under her eyes. I turned the van around and dropped Conner off at his house, assuring him that we'd try again. I cleaned Sophie up and headed back home. She cried from disappointment.

She is fine now; must have been carsick. Better safe than sorry.

Last night, there were ten tornadoes on the eastern plains!!!

Posted by melissa at 01:09 PM

May 10, 2004

Mother's Day

On Saturday, Evan asked me, "When is Mother's Day?"

I told him, "Tomorrow."

He then asked if he could do a project with construction paper. I got out of the way while he and the other two made their project at the kitchen table. When they were done, they wanted to show me the surprise right away, but I told them to hide it in the basement. They did so, then posted a "Do Not Enter" sign on the door to the basement. They asked me if they could set an alarm for 6 am so that they could set it up in the kitchen to surprise me. I persuaded them that they'd be up in plenty of time to do that without an alarm! Whew!

When I came down for breakfast Sunday morning, I saw a paper chain that they had made, "inscribed" with their names, and a little poster hanging from it saying "Happy Mothers Day". I was impressed that they did all that on their own!

We invited Jms' mom over for lunch, then Cheryl called inviting us over to their house. We declined, then after some consultation, called her back and invited them (including Aunt Jean) over as well. We not only were celebrating Mother's Day, but Johanna's graduation from grad school to get her Masters in speech pathology. She already has a job lined up for the fall at a high school nearby!

In the afternoon, before church, Sophie put together a 48 piece puzzle with coaching from Grandma and me. Occasionally she got frustrated, because she was tired, but she still insisted on plugging away until it was done. I told her that she could do a puzzle with Grandpa the next time she saw him, because he loves puzzles. We haven't told the kids that their grandparents are coming in two weeks. We want them to be surprised.

Posted by melissa at 09:56 AM

May 07, 2004

Our Week

Today the kids and I painted styrofoam balls to make a model of the solar system. We all had fun. I cut "Saturn" in half and glued in a CD for the rings. When James gets home, we'll hang them from the ceiling, probably in the boys' room. I just bought a new book: The Young Christians Guide to Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright which we'll use this summer. I like it so far.

Sophie has been, on her own initiative, cutting out little pictures out of magazines and gluing them on paper. She is pretty handy with the scissors, even without me instructing her much. She learns a little more each day about reading.

For two days this week, I've called the kids back inside after they've played for an hour in the afternoon, and we've done activities all together. Fun things such as laundry, cleaning and meal prep! I was very surprised that they didn't complain! They actually liked working on what they were able. Yesterday, I demo'd how I clean the bathroom. I took them to another bathroom, had them pick it up and then "let" Evan clean it. He cleaned the toilet and the sink and mopped the floor by himself. I cleaned the tub, b/c he couldn't reach across. He enjoyed it and proudly told James about his work when Jms got home. Matthew wanted to clean the bathroom too. I told him that he could when he was as old as Evan. He did dry off the sink and put things away when it was finished. I also took the opportunity to nip any bickering in the bud and remind them about how to treat each other. (They generally get along well and enjoy playing with each other, but they do have their moments each day.)

I've been going to a Curves gym for the past two weeks (women only!) I go at 6:30 am before Jms goes to work. I really like the exercise, but last time after exercising, my right wrist started really hurting. I forgot my old tendinitis problem, b/c I haven't exacerbated it in awhile. I hope it doesn't derail my exercise. It was really nice that Evan cleaned that bathroom for me, which gave my wrist a rest.

I called Aimee's (my good friend from college) sister, Melissa and asked her if she'd be willing to teach my kids art lessons this summer. She has an art degree and years of experience with teaching children. She said yes! Though it will be an hour drive, it will be worth it. I'm so excited and I know the kids will love it!

Posted by melissa at 07:09 PM