Friday, May 27, 2011

Havin' a Great Day Here...

If you were to call my home today, I'd probably answer, "Hello, we're havin' a great day here at Sam's!" And...if you called my home today and I answered the phone like that, you'd probably wonder why I thought I was at Sam's Club.

I don't think I'm at Sam's Club at all, I'm just having a super day, but I really do like how the Sam's Club folks answer the phone when you call them to ask a question. They say (or at least they used to say when telephones and not computers, were used to acquire pertinent information) "Hello, we're havin' a great day here at Sam's Club, how can we help you?" It makes me want to go on down to Sam's and see what those crazy employees are up to and maybe buy a 5 pound tub of peanut butter while I'm there.

Early last week, when I was having a great day, I answered the phone with my Sam's Club greeting. I felt very safe doing so because the caller ID on my home phone indicated that it was none other than my Mom calling.

"Hi, we're having a great day here at Sam's!" said I cheerily.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were shopping! I'll call you back later."

"Mom...I'm not really at Sam's. I'm at home, where you called me," I explained quickly.

"Why did you say you were at Sam's?"

"Because I'm having a great day!"

"Oh, okaaaaay..."

And on went our conversation, which included me relating why my day was great.  Today is a great one too, for lots of reasons, the main one being that my kids have been outside playing for most of the day.

There are three wonderful things about that last sentence:

My kids - I love 'em. I'm glad they're mine and I'm glad they are still kids.  They'll always be mine, but they won't always be kids.

outside playing - I've been doing a gob of reading lately on the topic of "living intentionally." Sounds kind of weighty I know, but the subject is fascinating to me.  Part of what I've been reading has really gotten my attention about how little time children these days, mine included, enjoy unstructured times of play especially outdoors. 

In her book Organized Simplicity, Tsh Oxenreider quotes another author, Richard Louv who says, "It takes time--loose, unstructured dreamtime--to experience nature in a meaningful way. Unless parents are vigilant, such time becomes a scarce resource, because time is consumed by multiple invisible forces; because our culture currently places so little value on natural play." 

Mr. Louv goes on to report that between 1981 and 2003, children have lost nine hours of unstructured time per week. I'd like to hand my gang back a few of those hours this summer!

most of the day -after listening to a few chapters of a book on tape and helping me with a few chores this morning, the kids were released into the wilds of our backyard, and have been out there ever since. I've got to call them in soon to get ready for our evening activities, the structured kind alas. They are sweaty and stinky and dirty, but what a super time in the fresh air and sunshine they've had.

Other reasons for this great day include, but are not at all limited to:

A small nagging project that has been accomplished.

A major project that is well on it's way to completion.

Molly in this shirt and these shoes. 

She calls the shirt "my thunny thirt" (sunny shirt) and she lives in the hot pink shoes. 
What's not to love?

Megan's summer freckles are reappearing and I adore them, and her!

Molly took a killer nap and woke up calling for me and smelling so much like a baby again, I loved the walk sniff down memory lane.

I thrilled my outside kids with strawberry smoothies and since I already had the blender out...

I found a recipe for a cold coffee drink recipe that kept me cool while, from inside, I watched the children get pink and sweaty. I'm planning on spending many a summer afternoon with it.

    Here's the recipe which I only tweaked a little...

    FIRST, send your kids outside to play. Then...

    Into a blender place:

    5 or 6 ice cubes
    1 cup of the left over coffee that remains in the pot after you've reached your morning limit
    1 cup of cold milk, the colder the better
    1 1/2 TABLESPOONS of Splenda (or sugar, but if you use sugar, you should probably dissolve it into    
          rewarmed coffee first)

    Blend thoroughly and enjoy!

    Book Notes:
    Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional LivingOrganized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
    I'm reading this one and loving it. In one word...inspiring.

    Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit DisorderLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
    This one is next on my list to read. It's been quoted by two very different books I've been reading.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    The Sunday Headlines



    A baseball game.

    A softball game.

    A piano recital.

    All of the details are a bit blurry, but the headlines go something like this...

    Entire family arrives at church in time for Sunday School.

    Half of family leaves worship service a smidge early to change clothes for the rest of the day.

    Kid #1 Dropped off 30 minutes late for warm ups for baseball game.

    Kid #3 Delivered to actual softball game 45 minutes late because the field was located in a part of our fair town known only to elves and gnomes (and Kid #1's teammate's father -- thank goodness)!

    Kid #2 Had to catch a ride to her recital with her incoming grandparents and cousin and meet her mother and Kid #1 at the recital site in the next town over.

    Kid #3 Missed the victory celebration at the Dairy Queen because she and her father had to haul buggy to Kid #2's piano recital.

    Kid #2 arrived on time for her recital (probably because neither of her parents were involved in her transport to said event.) 

    Unfortunately, the buggy hauling efforts of Kid #3 and her father were no match for the short yet sweet recital of Kid #2 and they missed the recital.

    It's all good, however, because the mother of this ambitious group was able to film the stellar performance of Kid #2 with her cell phone while taking pictures with her camera (you may at this point wish to refer to the Mother's Day post from last week or, you can watch Meg's performance below.)
    (Our family theme song!)

    The "Kid #3 & Daddy" Buggy did arrive at the recital site just as the rest of the gang was leaving.
    We took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

    Kid #1, Kid#2, Kid #3 AND Cousin #1 were loaded into a Subaru with Poppy (grandfather to everyone in this story with a number after his or her name...he's an accountant, he can handle it!!)

    Next, Truck, Van, & Subaru return to our home and we bid fond farwells to Cousin #1 and Grandparents.

    Weary family gathers at entrance of home and agrees on hot dogs for dinner and then someone suggests that Kid #4 should be picked up from the-nice-lady-that-rescues-her-on-days-like-today on the way home from getting hot dog buns from the store.

    Parent #1 smacks forehead and says, "Oh yeah, Kid #4!"

    Kid #4 arrives home along with the hot dog buns.

    Dinner is a smashing ketchup-filled success during which it is decided that Kid #3 should be treated to a Dairy Queen treat. Kids #1, #2, and #4 all feel that they too should be included as does Parent #2.

    Family snags a nice outdoor table at the DQ and enjoys quickly melting ice cream deliciousness.

    Parent #2 sends Kid #2 to the car keys and cone in hand, to get the baby wipes (which Parent #2 is so very proud to have remembered to toss into the van on the way out the door...again please see Mother's Day post=-) to combat the sticky monster that always accompanies the family to the DQ.

    Kid#2 returns from the van keys and cone in hand, but was unable to gain entry to the van because her cone was melting so fast that it required her undivided attentions.

    Kid #1 was sent to the car coneless with keys in hand to get the aforementioned baby wipes.

    Kid #1 returned from the mission baby wipes and mother's cell phone (to check the score of the Red Socks game) in hand but no keys which is strange because Parent #2 just finished issuing a warning regarding that very circumstance.

    Parent #1's keys were locked in the van as were Parent #2's. 

    Happily, we did have the baby wipes and ice cream AND we knew the score of the Red Socks game, so things really weren't THAT bad...RIGHT?

    Road side assistance (a number dialed by our family only a few times less than the number to Poison Control) was notified and a tow truck was dispatched from, as it would happen, the same town as Kid #2's recital earlier in the day.

    Kid #2 and Kid #3 and Kid #4 decided that a bathroom break was necessary, unfortunately, the DQ had closed five minutes before.

    Shortly after the ice cream treats were eaten or had melted and the DQ had locked us out, the tow truck arrived.

    Parent #2 decided that the children should learn how to break into cars, and so instructed all of the children to gather 'round  Tow Truck Man#1 and watch how he unlocked our van.

    Tow Truck Man #1 quickly unlocked our doors and set off the car alarm, which sent Kid #4 into an ear plugging, eye widening episode.

    Parent #1 found the keys and turned off the car alarm. 

    Family drives home, exits the van in the driveway, and enters home. 

    Parent #2 presses button to close garage door and hears Kid #4 crying "Mommy, mommy!" from the driveway.

    Parent #2 stops descent of garage door and circles van in driveway to find Kid #4 (whom she thought was in the house with Kid #1, Kid #2, and Kid #3) standing on the opposite side of the van in tears.

    Parent #2 scoops up distraught Kid #4 who yells, "Mommy, why did you leave me outside?"(This would NOT be a good time to read last week's Mother's Day post =-( )

    Parent #1 AND Parent #2 spend a load of time trying to explain to an unforgiving Kid #4 that we thought she was in the house.

    Kid #4 not buying it, still feeling thrown out like the trash.

    Parent #1 and Parent #2 hope that someday Kid #4 will not be traumatized by her abandonment in the family driveway and that Kid #1, Kid #2 and Kid #3 are not traumatized by the day's missteps but will give their parents credit for the effort expended.

    Kid #1 hoping that the Red Socks are victorious this season.

    Kid #2 making plans to never let Kid #1 forget his flubbed mission for baby wipes.

    Kid #3 looking up phone numbers to taxi services in our town to take her to her next game.

    Kid #4 on the hunt for a spare garage door opener, just in case.

    (Photos in this post have been treated with a "retro" filter on purpose, for fun. Please don't think that your computer screen is on the fritz! As always, thanks for reading. This May begins the third year of The Wright Place! )

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Thwim Thuit Theason

    Hi! Molly Joy here and I've got a problem.

    It's all thith birthday cake for breakfast stuff. These kids around here keep havin' birthdays and we keep  eating all thith ice cream cake for breakfast!

    How'th a gal thupposed to watch her girlish figure? Every month for the last three months ice cream cake for breakfast. And it's not like I can just tell these folks, "No thankth! I had some last month! When it still wasn't my birthday...again!" They'd think I was just being jealous or something. So I graciously eat and eat and eat the stuff to make 'em all happy.  
    You'd think they'd invented ice cream cake as nuts as they go for it!

    Anyway, back to my problem. Here we are nearing the end of May, careening head-long into thwim thuit theason, and I'm thtill thportin' a good bit of that ice cream cake! 

    Daddy says I'm too little to go with him the the YMCA like Colten does, but I'm thmarter than the average bear ya know! I caught Daddy warmin' up for a jog on the very thame morning of the last ice cream caking.
    HaHA, I thought, problem solved! I'll just copy him...

    Just lay down on the floor and put my handth behind my head sit up...

    Oopth! My feet got loose! 
    Here I go again...
    ...there, almost.
    Hey are YOU at this?

    Lemme give it another shot...
    ...handth behind the head, croth my feet and...

     Goodneth that's alot more difficult that it theemth!
    I think we should be done now big fella...
    I hear there's still some ice cream cake in the freezer...
    ...or...I could hang out here while you do a few more?
    Whaddya think?
    I'm worn out, but I think this belly is coming along nicely now.
    Bring on thwim thuit theason,

    I'm ready!
    See ya at the pool!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Sticky Business

    Today around the Wright place, everything was coming up sticky notes. The yellow kind. Everywhere I turned...
    on my coffee cup...

    on the oven...

     on the phone...

    the bookshelves...

    my desk...

    on the curling iron...
    all over the place.

    What in the world could have precipitated such outpourings of affection?  
    My excellent skills as a breakfast chef? 
    No. I didn't fix breakfast this morning, it was a kind of a "fix your own" affair. 

    Was it the break from chores I granted? 
    No, everyone had piles and piles of clothes to put away and the kitchen was cleaned well and swept by the kiddos.  

    Perhaps this child missed me so much last week while we were separated one from another? 
    Probably not, half of the gang was swimming in hot tubs and eating Dilly Bars from the Dairy Queen while the other half of the gang was being treated to an unending feast of slushies and pedicures.

    I know! It was a result of reading a poignant Mother's Day blog post and then deciding to act on the pure emotion that post stirred!!  Surely that was it!!


    It might have gone something like this...

    "What are you doing??? Are you finished with your history yet?"

    "No, I'm working on my AWANA for this week."

    "Do you want me to listen to your verses?"

    "No Mom, this week I have to DO something to pass my section."

    "Well, what do you have to DO?"

    "I can't tell."

    "Ohhhhhh, okay."

     It seems that my sticky displays of affection were assigned.  
    Oh well, I'll take that kind of love...anyway I can get it!!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day!

    I'm late for Sunday School right now. I'll make it to church in plenty of time. I've already read the sermon for today and am eager to hear it "live."  Right now, I'm enjoying a moment of "Mother's Day" quietness which only happens after the kids and their Dad leave for church ahead of me.

    My favorite Mother's Day themed verse is Proverbs 31:28 which says, "...her children rise up and call her blessed", but really, does that ever happen in real life? I've done some pretty special things for my family a time or two and nobody, not one single body ever "rose up and called me blessed." I may or may not, after accomplishing some (at least to me) amazing tasks on behalf of my loved ones, say something that may or may not sound like, "Ok everyone, NOW is when you are to rise up and call me blessed...says so in the com'on everybody get to it....lemme hear ya...all together now!"

    That "rise up and call her blessed" verse lives in that get-all-up-in-your-face chapter of Proverbs which describes the gal often referred to as "The Virtuous Woman," and virtuous she must be because it seems that she possess every skill, talent, and characteristic known to all womankind.

     Can I tell you a secret? That virtuous woman irks me a bit. She's so obviously "all that & a bag of chips"! She does it all right.  She makes her own clothes, she is a great benefit to her husband, she doesn't sleep much, she is quite a business woman, she dresses well, she is fit, she gardens, she gives to the needy, she dresses her family in coordinating colors (I'm not kidding, check out Prov 31:21), when she spoke her words were full of wisdom and kindness, 

    ...and I bet she always made it to Sunday School on time.

    What I'd be encouraged by, is a passage about a woman who's heart, like that of Mrs. P31, loves the Lord dearly, but whose charms are a little more difficult to identify.  Give me a passage that talks about a beloved mother who though she has a bad habit of sleeping a bit too late, though she is perpetually behind on the laundry, though her sink is piled high with dishes, though she has to walk through land mines of toys to cook dinner, LOVES her job even though from all external views, she's not achieved greatness!

    Let me read about a mom who has yelled too much and too often, who hasn't a clue if she handled the 42 surprises in her day correctly or blew it completely, and who, as a result of those 42 surprises, doesn't know what her family will be eating on any given evening.  

    Give me a passage on a mother who worries a teensy bit about the future of her little ones, about who they will become, what their character will display, how they will reflect the imperfect image of their mother, and how they will reflect the holiness of their Lord.

    It occurs to me though, if I spent my time reading about a mother like that, like me, I might never aspire to better things, to more noble ways of mothering, to come closer to achieving God's ideal. The four treasures God has given me deserve the best mother that I can be, by His grace, not just the best mother I can be on my own. It also seems, that I shouldn't be the mother God has called me to be because my kids deserve it, but instead, because it is the honor due my Heavenly Father. 

    So, here's to that ol' Virtuous Woman, long may her standard endure. Perhaps she was more down to earth than I'm giving her credit for being.  The twenty-fifth verse in this Virtuous chapter is one of my most favorite verses in all of Scripture:

    "Strength and dignity are her clothing and she LAUGHS at the time to come."

    Real women laugh, they have to.  So, I've decided to begin right there laughing with Mrs. Virtue at the days to come which is lots better than worrying about the future and it accomplishes so much more. As for the children, I think that instead of insisting that they "rise up and call me blessed," I shall ask them to please "sit down and call me ...Mommy."


    Thursday, May 5, 2011


    We are exactly halfway through birthday season this week with the looooooong awaited celebration of Megan's 11th birthday. Things remained very true to Wright Place traditions...
    ...breakfast on the Birthday plate...
    ... Birthday note...

    ...Birthday note? 
    Wait a minute...that's not a normal birthday tradition!
    What was that all about?
    (We've She's been waiting a lifetime while for Daddy to come around to the idea of pierced ears...)
    Wow! Can you believe it? She couldn't quite!
    Meg was pretty surprised. Then she opened her next gift to find that...
    ...Granny wanted in on the action!!

    Fast forward a few hours to Daddy's lunch time...
    and we were off to accomplish the

    After showing my Driver's License and signing a form 4 or 5 times and initialing it 4 or 5 more times, Meg was able to climb into the chair.

    The purple dot marked the spots...
    ...Daddy was called in to consult on the evenness of the dots...
    ...and then he offered his hand for support while Kate looked on.
    Meg was tough as nails, never even squeezing her Daddy's hand 
    as was later reported by her Daddy who...
    ...decided not to watch "them inflict pain on my child".

    All done!!!
    Can you just hear that "Pheeewwww."

    Happy Birthday Young Lady!
    We love you.
    (birthday collage by Grandma!)

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