Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I went to the cemetery with my mom yesterday to go visit my dad's little spot of ground. We brought along some of the younger kids and enjoyed just watching the other visitors as they came and went while we sat there at dad's grave.

Hubba was with us and he quickly recognized the name on the gravestone as his own (he is named after my dad and has been learning to write his name). "Hey, that's MY name!" he pointed out. "Yes, Hubba," I told him, "remember how I told you that you are named after my dad? This is his grave."

Hubba has heard stories about my dad many times. He knows that he died. We have brought him to the cemetery before. But apparently this time he was old enough for it to all sink in. "Grandpa Hubba died? That makes me so sad," he remarked. And then as he looked around at the cemetery, he started to cry. "All of these people died? All of the graves are for people who died? Why did so many people have to die?"

So there I sat, amidst the coming and going of so many other people who were there to visit the final resting place of their loved ones, trying to explain the inevitability, pain, unexpectedness... but also hope in death to my tender-hearted 5-year-old boy. I told him how it was amazing that he even took on the characteristics of my dad as a little boy - the white-blonde hair and spunky personality. I ended by telling him that I named him after my dad because I loved my dad so much and I wanted to be able to remember him every day. How every time I say Hubba's name or look at him it makes me happy.

Hubba wiped his eyes on his sleeve and gave me a hug. "Does it make Grandma happy, too, to see me when she misses Grandpa?" I assured him that it did.

As we stood to leave, Hubba grabbed my mom's hand to walk to the car. He looked up at her and said, "I love you, Grandma." She smiled and squeezed his hand, a way she and my dad used to communicate their love for each other. I couldn't help but be filled with emotion when I saw the two of them walking hand-in-hand.

I like to think that Dad was pleased, too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Through My Window

picture from

Who needs a television when I have a Discovery Channel wildlife series unfolding just outside my kitchen window?

I'll give you a synopsis (with NO commercial interruptions!) over at 4 Perspectives.

Birds of a Feather

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and so, by default, I spend a lot of time by my kitchen window.

Recently I have witnessed a sort of reality series unfolding in my backyard. I have been able to watch as a mama bird chose to build a nest in one of the corner posts of our cinderblock wall. Back and forth she'd travel, carrying in her beak small bits of grass and twigs and string and lint. Before too long I noticed she was instead bringing worms and other vittles to the nest. Then yesterday the babies ventured out.

All day long I watched as they sat there at the corner of our wall, chirping incessantly, just waiting for the poor mama bird to return and then fly away again to fetch another morsel to place in one of their little mouths. All day long they just demanded to be fed so she continuously made little trips here and there in search of sustenance for her little birdies.

I began to feel sorry for that mama bird, spending her whole day tending to every need of her relentless little baby birds - and only being able to carry one thing at a time.

Then my kids came home and in between my regular duties of laundry and dishes and cleaning up messes all I heard was, "What's our after-school snack? How soon is dinner? Can you help me with my homework? I need a treat for my class party tomorrow! I can't find my piano book! Can you show me how to make this work on the computer?" and off I went, one thing at a time, tending to my little birds.

Suddenly, I didn't feel so sorry for that mama bird anymore.

Early on in our marriage my husband and I chose to be parents. We chose to have a full nest and plenty of mouths to feed. We chose to live what others see as a busy, crazy life - but which we see as a very full and happy life. I find such satisfaction and joy in this family that shares my home and life despite the frustrations that can certainly arise. I do what I do because I love having a family and all that comes with it. I recognize that we are so very blessed. I love being a mother.

So instead of taking pity on that mama bird, I see things this way... she and I are a couple of lucky ladies.

We are mothers! Hear us chirp!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick Quips

From the mouths of my kids...

Me: "You want banana chips or carrots in your lunch?"
Princess: "How about chocolate chips?"

"Living with Little O is like living with Yoda. They are both cute and tiny... except Yoda has The Force and can do flips in the air."

"Does Jesus want us to hate pirates?"

Hubba: "Mom, I never want to get married to anyone."
Me: "Then you'll never have kids and I won't be a grandma."
Hubba (annoyed): "Why don't you just get your own grandkids yourself."

Curly: "I never want to get big. I will always stay little."
Me: "I like you little - you are such a cute little girl."
Curly: "No, I just mean I don't want my blue sparkly shirt to not fit me anymore."

"You need to have another baby so that our neighbors can bring us dinner."

Princess: "Did you know that Han Solo and Harry Potter are the same person?"
Me: "You mean Han Solo and Indiana Jones?"
Princess. "No."

"Mom, does my breath smell kinda like poop to you?"

"What exactly does the tooth fairy do with all of those teeth? And why in the wide world does she give money for them? She must be crazy. And rich."

Me: "I need to apologize before we eat - this roast is really chewy."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Learning For Life

I got a postcard in the mail today from one of Coolister's teachers. In fact, it was the one teacher that he has mentioned before in the context of I don't think Mrs. So-and-so likes me much so I was surprised by what it said:

(click on the picture to make it larger)

When I asked him about it, he told me that she had inadvertently given him close to full credit on a 150 point assignment which he had failed to turn in. His grade in this class was a C and the points she had given him brought it up to an A. However, as soon as he noticed the discrepancy, he told her. He didn't even entertain the idea of letting the extra points slide. She thanked him for his honesty and changed the grade on the assignment back to a zero. He did not regret his decision.

Coolister is already a smart kid. I know he knows his stuff for his classes, even when his grades don't show it (he tends to procrastinate much too often). The actions which prompted this postcard are the type of thing I want him to be learning. This is the stuff that will truly make a difference in his life.

Good grades are awesome, but good character is even better.

This is the education that I desire most for my family.

These are the moments that make me proud.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Feel The Rain On Your Skin

photo found at
Yesterday was a blissful, rainy day.

First everyone around here complained that it would never stop snowing. Now they're complaining that it's raining too much. Before you know it, they'll be saying it's too hot and dry.

Some people like to wish the rain away, but I prefer to bask in it.

It's my day to write at 4P. I'd love to have you join me.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

picture found at

There is nothing quite like a rainy day.

Yesterday was an especially grand one. All day long the storm clouds would gather, burst open, repeat. I cracked the windows in order to fully enjoy the scent of the freshly washed earth and the sound of each raindrop as it met the pavement.

My 3-year-old daughter and I ventured out to the grocery store in the late afternoon. The skies were overcast and grey as we entered the store, but once our purchases were complete we noticed a crowd of shoppers gathered at the store's entrance and beyond them saw a full-on deluge from the heavens. Everyone stood there, hoping the storm would let up and allow them drier passage to their waiting vehicles.

Not us. We are rain lovers.

"Are you ready?" I asked my daughter, weaving my way through the mass of shopping carts and bodies.

"GO!" she screamed with excitement as we plunged into the parking lot, running through puddles, splashing and laughing as we made our way to the car. Sheets of rain dampened our hair and clothes, but not our spirits. We were invigorated. We spun and danced as we loaded our purchased items into the back of our suburban.

As we drove past the front of the store on our way out I looked over to the growing crowd who were still waiting for the rain to pass. I glanced into the rear view mirror at my wet hair, now plastered to my forehead, and I smiled.

I looked back at my daughter who was humming a happy tune of her own creation, following the rain with her finger on the window as it ran in patterns down the glass.

I was glad I had chosen to enjoy this gift rather than avoid it.

There is nothing quite like a rainy day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mommy Rhapsody

Talk about singing my life...

...but in the end, it's worth it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Love Technology But Not As Much As You, You See. But I STILL Love Technology.

Hey, friends! It's me, Gerb.

Oh, I'm sorry... were you in the middle of texting someone?

Well, put down your cell phone and come read about my views on text messaging.

It's my day over at 4P.

i h8 txt msgs

photo from

Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong time period? I know that I often do.

I long for slower days. I love to imagine what it would have been like to only communicate through letters, photographs and face to face interaction. Everywhere I look there are newer and better technologies which enable us to communicate faster and more efficiently. These things have their place, to be sure, but I would be just fine without most of them.

My case in point:

As I ventured into a local health food store recently I was stopped by a woman who was peddling a vitamin product. I actually stopped to listen since I had the time and I was remotely interested in her presentation. However, she completely lost me when, in the middle of her sales pitch, she pulled out her phone and read from it. Suddenly, I was unimportant because of the pull to whatever text message or phone call she was receiving. I decided that I wasn't really interested in her product, anyway. I just walked away.

At schools, at meetings, at church; everywhere I go I see people who are completely connected to their phones. It drives me batty. It is why I have refused to become a texter. Hello, I am a human being, and I am standing before you. Words are coming out of my mouth, directed toward you. Could you just ignore the phone for a while and allow for some human interaction?

And besides all of that, no one knows how to spell anymore! What the heck are 'cul8r' and 'thnx'? Use your vowels, for Pete's sake! Pass a note! Write a letter! Walk up to the person you want to communicate with, open your mouth, and SPEAK the words that your thumbs cannot. TRY IT!

(deep breath...)

This concludes my technology rant. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothering Sunday!

At church today one of the speakers talked about how, in England, Mother's Day is actually referred to as 'Mothering Sunday'. It is a day to honor those who mother and care for others - not only those who are mothers in the biological sense of the word.

I really like this definition, as I know of many amazing women who have never been given the opportunity to bear children on their own but have been a powerful influence for good in the lives of many.

To all of you who mother others in one way or another, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Here are some snippets of my Mother's Day...

One of the five cards I got from Cowgirl today.

Princess' teacher had them fill these out at school. I'm thinking about changing the spelling of my name to Guburdu now.

A classic picture from Curly which includes every element of her favorite drawing methods.

ElemenoB was able to get him to leave his precious Wii game to come and make this for me. Combine that with the fact that he hates to write more than he hates to sleep in his own bed and this piece of paper is a hot commodity.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quick Quips

From the mouths of my kids...

Hubba: "Mom, Curly called me a baby!"
Curly: "But I said 'just kidding' after."

"What are you screwing, dad?"

"What's a duck-poo-laughterus?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, they eat cats."

"Mom is in charge because she's the biggest kid that's awake."

Me: "I have told you not to do that a MILLION times!"
Curly: "Um, no. You only tolded me eight times."

"Little O is the cutest baby we never had."

Allen: "When are you going to start losing teeth, Hubba?"
Hubba: "When I eat a lot of cookies."

Hubba: "Mom, I love you."
Me: "I love you, too, buddy."
Hubba: "Good. Because I markered on the wall."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The One Who Got Away

There was a thief in our neighborhood this week.

I wish our story ended like this...

but we were not so lucky.

Come read the story of our lawnmower thief over here.

Finding The Silver Lining

Our lawnmower was stolen a couple of days ago.

My oldest daughter had just mowed the neighbor's lawn and had given the mower a thorough cleaning then left it to drip-dry in the driveway. I left the house at around 9:30 that evening and saw it there as I made my way to the car to run a few errands. When I returned, it was gone.

My husband and I wondered at first if it was some sort of teenage prank - you know, maybe we'd get a ransom note or some such thing the next morning - but that was not the case.

As the realization of the thievery began to set in I was angry. How dare someone take something that did not belong to them! Then frustrated. We would have to fork out the cash for a new lawnmower now. Then worried. Was it someone from our neighborhood who had stolen it? And if so, who? These emotions were eating away at me. I knew I needed to do something to remedy my annoyance or I would turn into one of those crazy I'll-stop-at-nothing-to-find-you-and-get-back-what's-mine kind of people.

So I found the humor in the situation.

In their rush to grab the mower and run, the crook had left something behind - the bag attachment. Without this, the lawnmower would leave large clumps of grass all over the lawn as it was being mowed. The bag had been removed when my daughter cleaned the mower and it remained there, propped up against the garage door where the mower had been.

I decided to generously offer the bag attachment to our mower bandit, seeing how it was no longer of any use to us, but I did not know how to get it to him (or her, I suppose). So I posted this little note on our garage:

They still haven't returned for the bag, though.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Can Help!

My cousin Kerry, a husband and father of 4 was involved in a serious ATV accident that has left him a paraplegic. Not only will the family be overwhelmed with medical bills, it will also be necessary for his family to renovate their home to make it wheelchair accessible.

This is the part where you come in. Yesterday there was an online fundraiser held with all proceeds going to the Ashby family... but many of the items have not yet sold.

Go check it out. You get some great stuff, Kerry's family gets some help with their expenses. It's a win-win situation.

So, click here:

Ashby button"/>

and start buying!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summing Up

There are so many things that I am behind on! Like telling you about everything my kids have been up to.

If you don't like those braggy-momma kind of posts, you had best just leave.

Seriously, this is your last chance.

If you enjoy reading about how awesome my kids are, go make yourself a sandwich and then read on:

Coolister went to Prom. The theme was "Forever Young" so the guys planned a day-date of just being kids. They picked up their dates, made blanket forts and ate sack lunches while watching a Disney movie then drove to a park and played on the playground. When it was time for the evening-date they took the girls for a nice dinner on the roof of the school (one of the guys in their group has access through his dad). After the dance they went and had homemade eclairs. What a great group of kids! Most recently his life has been consumed with getting ready for the 3 AP tests he is taking this week. Also, his foot is healing nicely...
Thanks for asking. The doctors have been amazed by how quickly he is healing. So have we! He only wears a brace when needed. Coolister also got his ACT scores back. He did AWESOME but I know he isn't happy with his score and plans to take the test again (perfectionist!) so I'm not going to post the numbers here unless he gives me permission. He continues to be an all-around good and happy kid with a contagious laugh.

ElemenoB beat her fastest time in the mile for track. She loves music and books. She has been experimenting a lot with her camera and is becoming quite the photographer! She stores her pictures on my computer which makes it easy for me to enjoy them. I saw this one and thought it was beautiful:
(Just Dandy by ElemenoB)

I didn't even realize it was a dandelion. She knows how to capture things from a great perspective. She sees the beauty where we don't. Funny thing is, I see the beauty in her that I don't think she even begins to see. Inside and out. ElemenoB still loves baking and has transitioned from baking cookies all the time to baking brownies all the time. She loves reading home design magazines and dreaming of how she'll decorate her future home. She told me that she wants to take some sports medicine classes. Maybe she'll serve brownies to the patients who come into her meticulously decorated office someday.

Thumbelina has been working hard to finish this dress which she started making last year. And finally... success! She wanted to make a dress with a modest length and sleeves - something unheard of in the clothing industry these days - and I think it turned out beautifully. She tried out for The Taming of the Shrew at her school and got a minor role so between the play, her choir performances and homework she stays pretty busy. Thumbelina has also taken to her camera and has a knack for capturing light and darkness, especially in the sky. (April Sky by Thumbelina)

Thumbelina is the one we love to have tend the little kids for us because we know it means we will come home to happy kids AND a clean house when we return. She knows how to bring happiness to others and loves doing it. She's a generous gift-giver when it comes to birthdays and other special occasions. What a sweet girl.

All-a-Boy turned 11 last month! He celebrated by working like crazy to pass off the requirements for his Cub Scout Arrow of Light. We let him camp in a tent in the backyard (requirement!) on a school night. We let him cook hotdogs on the grill for everyone (requirement!) and took him to Comedy Sportz (fun!). For once, All-a-Boy created his own car (with a little help from Coolister) for the Pinewood Derby. This vehicle defied every rule but met his personal specifications perfectly.
The wings were so large that they would catch on the bar above the finish line and flip the car every time. Whenever we can't find this kid it usually turns out he was hiding away to digest his latest book series or create something amazing with his Legos. He is very patient with Hubba, who idolizes his every move and laughs at every joke he makes. All-a-Boy is a smarty pants who constantly amazes me with the things his brain can process.

Cowgirl's Spock bangs don't look quite so Spock-ish with this cute new short 'do that cousin Raylene fixed her up with. If she's not busy drawing pictures or writing plays, she's singing a happy tune in the backyard while creating homes for fairies. Cowgirl does not understand why I will not allow her to bring home one of the neighbor's kitties at the amazing price of FREE. We sure do love this tender-hearted kid. She and Princess have been getting a lot out of our morning scripture reading time lately...
And speaking of Princess,
...she leads the happiest life of anyone I know. She is as busy as any 7-year-old, I suppose, but mostly I think she just loves being a ray of sunshine who literally lights up a room with her smile. I told her I didn't have many recent pictures of her and she was more than happy to come up with a few poses for the above photo shoot. This girl is the sugar in our family recipe. Unless you make her mad... then she's quite spicy.

Here's Hubba after telling us his face was all clean from drinking a smoothie. He had an eye exam when we went for kindergarten registration. They told me that, based on his results, his vision would be 20/60 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. When the nurse asked him if she was pointing at an apple, a house or an umbrella he rolled his eyes, told her to hold her horses and then turned to me and whispered, "Which one is it?" I am pretty sure he was just bored and didn't want to play the 'name the picture' game, but we are taking him in to have his eyes checked as soon as a pediatric ophthalmologist is available. (The middle of July. Apparently lots of kids have eye problems around these parts.) He lives for Legos, Lego Star Wars on the Wii and Lego dot com. He is my first kid to refuse to learn to write his name before kindergarten. Two words which describe him well are: precocious and spirited.

In case you were unaware, the last 4 kids mentioned make up our resident ninja force. I captured them in an attempt to stealthily move in on some freshly baked brownies 2 weeks ago:Fear them.

Is it any wonder why this little doll has us wrapped around her finger? Look at those puppy dog eyes. Want to know what Curly does besides just being adorable? Mostly this...
For a good part of the day. She is the most artsy kid we have had. Want to be her best friend? Give her a new box of crayons and some paper. Actually, Hubba already holds the 'best fwend' title. They get into all sorts of mischief together. Curly has more hair than any 3-year-old I know. She has been to cousin Raylene at the hair salon a handful of times already in an attempt to manage her tresses - and she loves it. She just asked me the other day, "Will you take me to see my girl so my hair can get short?" My girl. I love it.

Speaking of Curly, check out Little O's hair! He's the curliest one we've had yet. And once Curly goes to see her my girl he'll likely be the reigning curly one.
I know, it's kind of long-ish. If it was straight, he'd totally be sporting a mullet. But I can't bear to cut the curls off. Little O's favorite phrase right now is "LET GO!" It means anything from put me down to I don't want to wear my pajamas right now to give me that sipper cup right now, lady! He's getting much too independent for my liking. But he's still a thumb-sucker... he's still my baby. Even if he did just turn TWO on May 1st. I shouldn't encourage it, but he's so dang cute I can hardly help myself.

Whew! If you're still reading at this point you deserve a nice pat on the back. Or maybe a fancy cupcake. Choose the one you prefer, and go treat yourself.

Happy May!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

I have made a decision.

After today's post, I am going to turn off my comments.

I have decided as of late that blogging is consuming way too much of my time. However, I can not give it up entirely. I love having a place to express myself, record my family's happenings and share my thoughts with others. Honestly, your comments are a large part of what makes my blog so awesome. But here is what happens. I read your comments. If you are someone new, I click over to your blog and read to get to know who you are. I sometimes leave comments on your posts. Once I have done this, I have made it known that I am a reader on your blog and I feel like I am now obligated to continue commenting.

But wait, there's more...

I also notice other commenters on your blogs. They capture my interest and I then click over to their blogs to read. I see catchy blog titles on your blog rolls and read more blogs. I comment and read and subscribe to my favorites. And then I start to wonder... why doesn't so-and-so read my blog or comment? I've read theirs and commented many times. Maybe I'm not cool enough for their blog presence. Maybe they read my comments on their blog and wonder who the heck I am and why I bother to keep coming back?

Seriously, it's like high school all over again.

So I stop commenting. Then I start again, but only sometimes. Throughout the process I find more new blogs to peruse... etcetera, etcetera. If I wrote a blog post that day, I have to keep checking throughout the day to see if I have received any new comments, making the time to respond to everyone who stops by so they will not feel the way I do when I leave comments that end up feeling all lonely and ignored.

The next thing I know it is 2 hours past time to make dinner, the laundry is undone, my stairs are littered with Legos and my smallest children have somehow managed to decorate the white wainscot in our front room with 6 colors of Sharpie while feeding themselves leftover oatmeal.

Honestly? I am embarrassed to even admit to all of this, but it is what it is. My name is Gerb, and I have a blogging addiction. (Here is where you say, "Hello, Gerb!")

I do not want to care about how many people are following my blog or how many people are leaving comments. I can not make myself worry over why I feel inferior to certain other bloggers. I do not have time for all of this silly drama I am creating for myself.

So please understand - it's not you. It's me. I hope this isn't a break-up, but an opportunity for growth. I will continue to write and I hope you will continue to enjoy what I post.

For the sake of my own sanity, this is what I need to do.

Can we still be friends?