Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Lesson in Tires

Thursday morning Roger woke up and seemed almost panicked. He said he was going to follow us to Brownwood, where the kids and I were about to go for a Homeschool Co-op we attend, and take the van in to get the tires changed. I didn't understand the sudden urgency and argued that I thought it could wait until the next day and I would take it in and save him the hassle. I thought I was being a good wife. But it seems that God must have put that urgency in his mind and I should have been a submissive wife and just said okay.

He wanted to be sure, if we were going to wait until Friday, that I knew what to do if I had a blowout and about the rattle that might happen before it. It was all new to me, so I did listen to him on that one.

We were almost to Brownwood, which is about a 30 minute drive, when I noticed the van was starting to shake funny. It did seem to be coming from the front left tire, but I thought I might be just paranoid because he'd just told me to watch for that. I slowed down though, like Roger said, and went the rest of the way to where our co-op meets which was less than 5 more minutes. Keep in mind, other than Roger waking up with this in his head, we had no reason to think they were that bad. We knew they were getting bad, but no where near that bad.

When we got there, I got out and looked at the tire. There was a section showing right on top where it was totally bald and little wires were showing! I'd never seen such a bald tire before!

We went straight to get our tires changed as soon as the co-op was over. It messed up my plans for the rest of the day--which included a prenatal appointment. I always look forward to those little "glimpses" of our baby when we hear his/her heartbeat. Of course, that wouldn't have happened if I'd listened to Roger and let him follow us and take the van in to get the tires changed. One of the guys working there glanced down at our tire and said, "You're about to have a blowout." And the bald spot wasn't even showing. Of course, that guy knows tires way better than I do.

To top it all off, since Roger didn't spend the day getting new tires on the van, he spent the day working on the hole where our new septic tank will go. He measured the already dug hole and thought it was a foot and a half too deep, so he filled it with a couple of big huge rocks and lots of dirt. Then he re-measured and discovered he messed up earlier and didn't need to fill it in at all. So he spent the rest of the day, and much of Friday along with Mitchell, Faith, and Grace, getting the big huge rocks and dirt back out. I can't help but wonder if he would have made that mistake later in the day.

So I got to learn a lot from our tires that day. I learned what to do if we have a blowout (steer into it) and to pay attention to the shaking and slow down. I even learned that if there's steel wires sticking out of your tires don't touch them or they will cut your finger. Probably the biggest lesson I learned is that God speaks to my husband even when Roger doesn't know it and I should listen when he is trying to protect me.

Melissa

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Colors

I've been having a lot of fun choosing colors for our new house. We're not quite ready to paint yet, but getting closer all the time. But that's not really what this blog is about.

The children and I are participating in a homeschool co-op in Brownwood. One of the classes I teach is Hands-On Literature to 4-8 yr olds. Tomorrow's theme is "color" and we will read books about color and then play with colors. I'm bringing food coloring so we can mix colors that way and modeling clay that they can mix colors with. Anyway, I was searching the internet for color activities and came across a Color Quiz. It's not really appropriate for children, but I enjoyed it and thought I'd share the link.

From their site: "ColorQuiz is a free five minute personality test based on decades of research by color psychologists around the world. There are no complicated questions to answer, you simply choose colors with a click of the mouse!"

So if you're interested in trying it out, take the Color Quiz!

Melissa

Friday, October 19, 2007

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

We've been overrun by little baby spiders here lately. About a month ago I was covered with them when I pulled a pair of shoes out of my closet and had the babies crawl all over me before I realized they were there. I can't stand the things.

We've mentioned before that we pray each night for safety from spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc. We have quite a list and God has been faithful. We're living with fire ants in our house, and yes, we get lots of bites or stings from them. But we're doing okay anyway. Interestingly we seem to be building up an immunity to their venom. It's rare anymore for one of us to get one of those white blisters you usually get from them. Most of the time it barely even leaves a mark now.

But we have recently discovered a different little friend we've been living with. Did you know that Black Widows aren't black with a red hour glass when they are immature? And there are some varieties that get two little black hearts on their back and may or may not get the hour glass on their tummy. It seems that we have them all. As a matter of fact, I keep glancing over at the window near my computer where there is a Black Widow with her catch right now. I just finished killing one at my feet about 15 minutes ago. This has been a regular occurrence for a while, we just didn't realize they were Black Widows.

So I am guessing that God has been protecting us better than we realized for longer than we realized. There are so many hidden dangers in our lives. Most of them we never know about. And I don't just mean us living here in the country. I'm talking about every one of us. How many times have you driven down the highway and passed a recent accident and thought, "that could have been me?" Who knows if it really could have or not. And maybe those itsy bitsy spiders that are all over inside my house would never bite us anyway. But I'm one who believes that God is watching over me and my family and I am so grateful.

I'd still like to figure out how to get to the spider in my window so I could kill it. But for now, I will trust in God and keep using my trusty vacuum to get the ones I can!

Melissa

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Crazy Rants About a Government I Love

I don't follow the news very often. Every so often I will try because I know I should be more informed about what is going on. Especially now that I have a son training to defend our country I want to know what the country is up to.

Okay, so today I read a story about how Social Security is running out of money and the Baby Boomers are beginning to apply for their benefits. I know this already because my dear mother is one of them and will soon be eligible for benefits. But then the article went on to discuss how the money is running out. Well, DUH!! We knew that back when I was a teen. If I have been aware of this for over 20 years, and I don't keep up with what's going on and never have, then surely the powers that be should have been aware and working on a solution all this time, right? But no. The Democrats can't let the Republicans fix it because heaven forbid the Republicans get any credit for it. And the Republicans can't let the Democrats fix it because Heaven forbid the Democrats get any credit for it. So the problem continues. I just read that back in 1945 there were 47 workers for every retiree drawing benefits. Today there are only 3 workers per retiree and they estimate that will soon drop to only 2 workers per retiree. So what do we do about it? Raise the taxes of those of us still paying into it? You've got to be kidding? How can we support ourselves, support the System, AND save for our own retirement? We've always known we wouldn't be able to count on benefits, but still have to pay. Is that fair?

Anyway, I have all these crazy thoughts that really probably only make sense to me. But if I don't share them I will blow up from all the frustration I feel. I know this isn't a political blog and I really don't intend to make it one. But just bear with me, or stop reading right now.

*If SS is going to run out of money, why not let it run out sooner rather than later. Let those of us who will NEVER see a dime of it stop paying. Then we can at least be responsible with our own money. Someone is going to be starved sometime anyway, right?

*Okay, that seems too harsh? Let’s phase it out. Let the poor stop paying the rich. If the lower income people stopped paying, maybe they could start saving to support themselves someday. Meanwhile, those who don’t NEED the SS to survive could be cut off. I KNOW that’s not fair to them, but we’re not talking about fair when you have generations of people paying into a system knowing they will never see a dime from what is promised to them. So extend the dying benefits to the needy, but don’t keep forcing the poor to pay the rich.

*I think Medicaid would run out of money slower if we would take all the harmful food additives off the market. I mean really, do we need to add things like MSG to our food to make it taste better? True, the older you get the less you can taste your food so you want the msg even more. But do we really need to put unhealthy people MORE at risk for health problems by adding what is known to be virtually poison to their food? Then their alzheimer’s gets worse or their heart problems get worse and Medicaid has to pay for that. Why would the same government both allow poison to be fed to its people AND pay to fix the problems the poison creates?

*If Social Security and Medicaid are going broke, why not restrict benefits to people who refuse to eat right? Too intrusive? How about insisting we pay for health insurance? Isn’t that the same problem?

Ok, please keep in mind that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am one of those people who know just enough to be dangerous. I love my country and would still rather have the freedoms I have than to live in a communistic country. I just worry that so many things I hear are leading us closer and closer to communism. We're like the frog in the hot water. They keep turning up the heat and we don't notice the difference and jump out. If we keep throwing tax dollars at every problem we will soon have nothing left for ourselves. But then we can fix our lack of food and clothing with more government programs, right? It has to stop somewhere.

There are a lot of intelligent people working for us in congress. Really. If they could just put aside their silly politics for a while I bet they could find some good solutions. Maybe if they were required to find a solution to problems before they were allowed to retire and draw benefits . . .

I'll just shut up now since I don't know what I'm talking about anyway.

Melissa

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Evil has a name....

One of the things that is fun about kids is all of the crap they do and get into. Joy is an instigator of the highest order. I knew she was hard to catch at starting trouble, but I have only recently realized how very good she is at being bad.

American sign language is one the things that Melissa has tried to get the kids to learn. We have a bunch of “Signing Time” DVDs and the younger kids love to watch these as they are full of bright colors and songs and audience participation. Joy has been an avid watcher of these since she was very young.

One of the other things that Joy loves is getting under Clark’s skin to the point that he hits her, which allows her to go tell a parent that Clark hit her and he gets in trouble. Her sure-fire way of getting him to react is to call him stupid or a girl. Clark will call her something in return and she’ll laugh it off and then call him stupid or a girl, again. Eventually, Clark gets frustrated and hits her.

Well, we’re on to her trick and she no longer succeeds in getting Clark in trouble like she used to. Last Tuesday Mitchell and I drove to Home Depot to get some drywall and on the way back Mitchell revealed to me Joy’s latest ploy to get Clark in trouble. She’ll look over at him and wait until he looks at her. As soon as they make eye contact she’ll sign “girl” at him. She’ll do this repeatedly until he hits her. To everyone else sitting in the room it seems like Clark got up and hit her for no reason. So, all his siblings are yelling at him for being a jerk and Joy is crying and Mom and Dad are all involved and poor little Joy is still crying. This is just flat out genius for a four-year-old to figure out.

I’m not sure if I am proud or worried.

Roger

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Art Show

Every Thursday for the last couple of months, some of our children have been painting with a woman from our church, Kathy Andrews. Kathy says she isn't teaching them. They just paint together. I know my kids love Kathy and love painting so it's something they look forward to every week. Well, Kathy is a member of the Fine Arts League of Coleman County and they had an art show that ended today. Kathy encouraged the children to enter their paintings in the show, so they did. Here are the results:

Faith got a second place ribbon in the Jr High division for her painting "Brown Horse"


Clark received an Honorable Mention ribbon (although he at first was offended because he thought it said "Horrible Mention") in the Elementary division for his painting "Lion Won"


Joy got a first place ribbon in the Elementary division for "Loyo the Frog"


Claire received Honorable Mention ribbons in the elementary division for her paintings "Deer" and "Blue". She also won the drawing for a $20 Walmart gift card!


Claire received a third place ribbon in the elementary division for her painting "Horse"


Grace received Honorable Mention ribbons in the Jr High division for her paintings "Puddle" and "Sunset"


Faith received Honorable Mention ribbons in the Jr High division for her paintings "Blue Flower" and "Yellow Sunflower"


News about the house: We have some walls. I tried to take pictures, but all you see is sheetrocked walls that are not yet taped and bedded. Not very interesting pictures, so I won't bother to post them. Instead, enjoy the artwork above.

Melissa

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Something to Consider

I was sitting with Gloria this evening. We were just playing and she stuck her hand into my mouth and I tried to get it out without just pulling it out. Kinda like when you're in middle school and someone covers your mouth with their hand and you lick their hand to get them to take it off your mouth. Well, I realized something this evening -

YOU CANNOT GROSS OUT A TODDLER.

Think about it.

Roger

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Eeewww!

The mice are back! I sent the girls to go clean out their closet because it smelled like a mouse was nesting in there. I was close. There was a nest, but it wasn't just one mouse. There were LOTS of little babies in there.

I noticed they were smaller than the big wolf spiders I've been vacuuming up so I used the vacuum and got the nest and all the babies. Most of them died in the process and we threw them all in the outside trash can. I really love my Dyson vacuum cleaner. I'm so glad I got that back when we could afford good stuff.

The question still remained though. Where's the mom? And dad? I set the girls back to work cleaning figuring all the noise scared the parents away anyway. It didn't take long before I heard a scream. They found a larger mouse. We went and got Stephen's airsoft guns since they'd worked last time we had mice. We found the mouse again, but it ran. I can't hit a tiny moving target, and apparently neither can Grace or Clark. (These guns were an obsession for Stephen so we were all well armed.) The mouse got away. We figured it went under one of the beds. Brave Grace actually crawled under the bed and moved stuff around to try to find it! I was in awe of that girl! Here I was uncomfortable with even standing bare footed on a floor that the mice are on and she is under a bed searching for it!

We never found it so the guns are in a convenient (to me, not the kids) location. I don't think the vacuum will work for the bigger mice.

And now the girls understand WHY they should keep their room clean. Okay, I should qualify that. The older girls already knew. Now the younger girls understand, too.

Melissa

Note from Grace:
I was very surprised to see what looked liked a ant hill made out of plastic bags under faiths violin case. We were getting ready to play castle Claire had to clean the closet first but here we are Joy has red face paint on, Clark has "side burns" and a "curled mustache." Then Claire half yells: "someone go get mom and get Stephens
bb guns too" so I go get mom and the vacuum we vacuum them up. and the rest mom already told.

Grace