SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Kid Comments

I think they were on a roll last week with funny sayings.

First, Owen was walking through the house singing a country song that should go, "I'm already taken, you spoke up too late."

His version was, "I'm already taken, you woke up too late." Maybe the theme for Rip Van Winkle.

Remember Bette Midler's song, "Give Me the Gift of Love"? Years ago Ellen altered the "Look me in the eye...." to "Poke me in the eye, say I'm the one you're dreaming of, that'd be the best surprise." Surprise indeed.

We were sitting down to supper on Friday when I heard an older boy comment, "The Pepsi looks, like, so peaceful when it's not fizzing." He'd be too embarrassed to be named publicly but we have records of him saying things like, "Mama, those dust pans look beautiful...... Um, Mama, it makes me embarrassed when I say 'beautiful'." And he once asked, "If Hawaii sunk would they take a star off the flag?"

Then on Saturday morning Owen weighed himself. He came out of the bathroom and asked, "Do you think if I stayed 81 pounds all my life I'd be able to walk on water?"

It must be the relaxing summer vacation that is giving them extra time for philosophical thought.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life with Owen

Owen is his own unintentional comedy routine. While preparing lunch he sat in one of three rooms within earshot and I listened to his random thoughts/conversations. I wrote them down, of course. Here are the day's musings from Owen.

"I hate it when I have a farting, diarrhea belly ache."

"I don't think skinny people have that many babies. I mean, ******* has the perfect size to have babies."

"Mom, if you die will you get married again." .(That would be no)

"I would hate to live in a work house where you couldn't ask for more food. (He recently watched 'Oliver Twist'.) I'm glad I have a mom and a dad AND eight older brothers and sisters." (Because without that sibling insurance he'd be sure to end up starving in a work house.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Adoration for sale

Garage sale season is in full swing and we've done a little hunting. For fractions of the retail price I've found a high chair, summer clothes for Gabe, clothes (including 3 dresses) for Lisa, shoes, a K'Nex ferris wheel set, 2 bikes, five pieces of Pampered Chef stoneware (just $6 apiece), and more.

The best part, however, is being able to say "Yes" when the children find treasures.
"Mom, can I get this car?"
"Mom, can I get this toy?"
"Mom, can I get these cowboy boots?"
"Mom, can I...."
"Yes, yes, yes!"

It feels so good not to say the N- word!

Lisa summed it all up, "This is the first best time I've had at garage sales. You haven't been this nice ever!"

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been spinning at the YMCA for the better part of four months now. I can be found on bike number 3 at 6:00 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I started out in terrible shape, unable to add any tension to the wheel, only able to stand for a 1/4 mile and very aware that my muscles had atrophied to almost nothing this past decade.

It took me two months to actually complete an "uphill mile climb" (even then, everyone else was sitting while I still had a 1/4 mile to go!). Well today, for the first time, I did not finish last! I switched my tassle and walked out of the room with my head held high.

common NONsense--Part 2

I just got off the phone with a hospital representative. This is what she had to say,

"I'm calling about the charge for a pregnancy test for your daughter. We're going to write that off. I mean, that was just a little silly."

THANK YOU! Talk about your lawsuits all you want, Joey, silly is silly is silly and it was good to hear that someone still has a little COMMON SENSE in our local medical community!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

common NONsense

I have found a number of physicians and nurses that I respect and in whom I am comfortable placing my confidence. I have found many more that I distrust completely. And the "establishment" as a whole....well, I begin to shudder.

Case in point. Last month, one of my daughters had to go in for a minor surgical procedure. Yesterday, I received the bill. I could grumble about the $275 charge for the initial office visit or about the need for TWO office visits prior to the procedure, with a second charge of $150. But I won't. What I WILL NOT tolerate, however, is a $64 pregnancy test!! On a girl who is not engaging in behavior that would make that a requirement. Upon challenging the test we were told that all girls/women (unless they have had a hysterectomy) are required to have a pregnancy test done--AT THEIR EXPENSE--prior to any surgical procedure! So, what they are saying is, "We think that anyone who says they are not engaging in se*ual behavior is a liar and we will make them pay to prove it. If it turns out that they were not lying, the cost is still theirs to bear."

They are "looking into it". Look all you want, we are NOT PAYING.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Unlikely source?

Feeling tired, a bit down, a bit weary.

Encouraged by my little Gabe grabbing my leg, smiling at me, saying "Ma....Ma" so proudly (one of the new words in his suddenly bursting vocabulary).

Further lifted up listening to my two grown daughters belting out Mark Schultz's "I Am" with piano and voices singing,

"I AM the Fount of Living Water
The Risen Son of Man
The Healer of the Broken
And when you cry
I AM your Savior and Redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The Author and Perfecter
Beginning and the End

Somehow, some of the very ones who I thought were bringing me down are lifting me up. God is good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Secret Prayer

Typically, we all pray together as a family before we eat. And, usually, those who are at home all sit down together for meals. However, sometimes we do eat a meal (typically breakfast) in shifts and everyone prays on their own.

This morning I was eating with a few of the children when my eight-year-old sat down, poured a bowl of cereal, added the milk, and then began stirring the cereal to coat it with milk--with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes (i.e. finished his prayer) I told him he should put down the spoon and just concentrate on thanking God when he prays.

It brought back a memory of when he was just four and was sitting down to eat pancakes. He bowed his head and moved hip lips in the form of words. After he finished his sister asked him, “What did you pray about?” His response was, “Oh, I prayed, but I didn’t listen.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tunnels and Lights

I have felt like I'm in the tunnel looking for the light in regards to the communication between my younger set of boys (15, 13, 11, 8). We have read Bible passages on the use of the tongue, memorized Scripture on edifying others, chastised, chastened, admonished, yelled, growled (you know that sound you make when you're just plain fed up?), and banished them to separate rooms. Today, I set a price--different prices for different ages--that they have to pay to the one they've verbally offended. I am the sole judge of inappropriate communication and there is no appeal process. This is totalitarian rule.

I could feel despairing, but I don't. I have older boys (23, 21, 19) who like each other. They had their moments, days, even years of not feeling too warm and fuzzy about one another but we're through the tunnel and into the light. In fact, Joey and Keith (with their wives) just returned from a ten day vacation together.

About 20 years ago my husband announced to me, "Our children WILL love each other." I shook my head at what I immediately concluded to be his grave ignorance, but then thoughtfully considered what he said. I began to think about what makes people NOT love each other. As far as siblings go, they love the ones who are good and kind to them. They love the ones who make them feel special or treat them with respect. They DON'T like the ones who mock, ridicule, belittle, tease, or make fun of them. I realized that a lot of the trouble between my sister and I (when we were young) came as a result of my annoying behavior. I should have been stopped. So, it became my goal to make my children treat one another well, and let the feelings "fall where they may".

If our desire is to be immitators of Christ, it has to start with how we treat one another--brothers and sisters in our home. I think I've let too much slide for too long but, by the grace of God, I'm determined to redirect this second half of the family to love each other!!

You never know, if they're really stubborn about it someone might get rich in the process.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Not Again!

There are people out there, mostly friends and acquaintances, (certainly not knowing family members) who have come to some sort of conclusion that I really have it all together as a mom. Notice: having eleven children does not mean you have it all together. In fact, it most likely means you have very little together and whatever you are bold enough to think you actually do have together is certain to be quickly unraveling.

Case in point. For several years I had the bad reputation (well deserved) for forgetting my children. Yes, I really would leave them, forget them, or just plain not notice that they had not made it into the van. Chet got left at church, Dana got left at a camp ground, Troy got left at the library, Dana got left at the library, Chet got left at Wal Mart, Troy got left at home. Do you notice a pattern? Children numbers 4, 5, and 6 when we had six, seven, or eight. There were some good excuses--counted heads and then Chet ducked out to go use the bathroom, Dad was driving and I assumed he was doing the counting, counted heads on the way out of the store and Chet ducked out again to use the bathroom. I usually discovered the absence quickly--OK, except for when I left the library, stopped at the grocery store, and drove ten miles before realizing that THREE YEAR OLD Troy was still at the library. That was in the days before cell phones and I deserved the agonizing drive back to town where I found him happily entertained by a librarian who should have a license for the "evil eye of disapproval" she gave to me. My favorite response, however, was 8-year-old Chet's when he was left at Wal Mart. We were on our way to the library and then to McDonald's. I only got about 1/4 mile from the store, turned around, and pulled up to see Chet calmly waiting on a bench at the store entrance. He hopped in and I asked how he had remained so calm. He responded, "Well, I just figured you would remember me when you were done eating and you saw that you had one hamburger leftover."

I finally got the brilliant idea of having everyone number off in birth order (wasn't that tough to figure out!) and they all had to count before I put the van in drive. One of Bryce's first words was "Eight!" By the time Lisa could chime in we were often missing 1, 2, 3, and 4 and since I had to really think about who was and wasn't with me I didn't have any more trouble leaving people.

Until last Wednesday. Of course, I should have realized that when Dad walked out of the house with four children and said, "I'm leaving" and my two daughters were in their room and planning to drive separately, and I had to grab the diaper bag and then run downstairs to grab diapers because the bag was empty, and I started the dishwasher and ran out to join my husband, and his car was gone, and I assumed he wanted to get going to pick up another son from the ball park and left me to go with the girls.....then I should have realized that he only took two children and left the other two in the van for me to drive! But, I didn't. At least, not until Owen met me at church and let me know that Bryce (11) and Gabe (2) were still home.

Unlike Troy, Bryce did not try to run to church. I've hammered it in--STAY IN ONE SPOT, I WILL COME BACK FOR YOU. And he did. He stayed right there in that van with Gabe until I pulled in the driveway. I could try numbers again but 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 might just confuse Gabe when he learns to count.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lisa Language

I was trying to put a DVD in for Lisa (6) to watch and, as always, I put it in the wrong player. She just shook her head in a knowing way and said,

"Mama, you are going off traffic. You never know which one it is."

I couldn't even think of how to respond because I had no idea what she was talking about. So, I ignored her and went about the business of getting the DVD playing. Apparently, she was dissatisfied with my failure to acknowledge her growing vocabulary because she soon added,

"I know what traffic means. It’s like if you have two pockets in your jeans and you have candy in one of them but you can’t remember which pocket it’s in. That’s going off traffic."

I'll have to contact Websters.