The Week in Review

nevin school photo gr 3.jpg
Let’s start with today. Today is this smiling 3rd grader’s 9th birthday. Nine years ago today, Mark was in seminary, working full-time, and generally very busy. My OB wanted to induce Nevin 10 days early, so we chose October 27 as the day because Mark was on fall break from seminary. It was a good delivery. All went well, and we had our second boy. We are so thankful for Nevin’s sweet spirit. He, like all children, is not perfect. But he’s one of our 4 gifts from God and we are grateful for him.

Since his birthday falls so close to Halloween, we decided to have his “friend” party next weekend. So today, he was allowed to choose what he wanted for dinner. Here’s the menu he requested: mozzarella sticks, salisbury steak (affectionately known at our house as “gravy meat,” and mashed potatoes. I must say that I lucked out as far as ease of preparation is concerned. We ate dinner early because I have to get Calvin over to school for his school musical.

The rest of the week:
Monday – Helped Mark with his resume; laundry.
Tuesday – Worked on press release for the children’s school; laundry; helping with school fundraiser, cleaning up vomit due to littlest girl’s stomach virus.
Wednesday – Entertaining little girl recovering from stomach flu; laundry; more work on resumes–Mark’s and mine.
Thursday– Call drain opening service to unclog our sewer line; attend women’s Bible study; buy birthday present; work on writing test for job prospect; laundry; buy thrift store items to turn into Indian costume for school musical; attend another Bible study (yes, I am super spiritual), go grocery schopping; make Indian costume, wake up an hour after going to bed to clean up daughter #2’s vomit from stomach virus.
Friday–Send package in the mail; drop by school with forgotten band instrument; quick trip to the grocery store; read to the sick girl and her younger sister; make lunch; laundry; send press release to local papers; short nap; create culinary masterpiece of gravy meat and mashed potatoes with side of mozarella sticks; review report cards; deal with school discipline issue for the birthday boy; eat supper; blog; head off to school musical.

It’s not very interesting, but listing out everything done for the week makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I am also glad to be reporting on the tasks of my home rather than the tasks of working away from home. I am thankful for all the mundane tasks this week. Even being able to comfort the sick girls. Of course, I am expecting to be comforting sick boys at some point over the next few days, too.

Teaberry Gum & Tea Berry Ice Cream

This is a picture of the teaberry plant, aka, Gaultheria procumbens. This plant grows in the area of my home town in Western PA. As a kid, I remember chewing teaberry gum and eating teaberry icecream. Some people say the flavor reminds them of peptobismo, but I think it is really much more tasty than that. It is sort of minty–like wintergreen–but it is a flavor like no other. Recently on a walk through the aisles of the dollar store, I came across teaberry gum. I have only ever eaten the ice cream in my home town. Over the years as Mark and I have moved to different parts of the country, I have never been able to find it. The gum has also seemed to be elusive, so finding it at the dollar store was pretty amazing to me.

So if you ever see a pink pack of Clark’s Teaberry Gum or if you are traveling in the Mid-Atlantic states and someone offers you teaberry icecream, you will at least now have some idea what you’re in for.


Last Monday, shortly after 8:30 pm, our phone service was disconnected. By Tuesday morning, we had a dial tone, but horrible static. With the phone line, high-speed dsl went away. I hobbled through Tuesday with no connection and without calling the phone company because I thought they would fix it on their own. They didn’t.

On Wednesday, I went to St Louis Bread Co and drank coffee and spent 2+ hours on the phone and the internet calling the phone company to report the problem, paying bills on line, and catching up on e-mail. The phone company told me it would take until today, Sunday, to fix the phone service.

I didn’t make it to Bread Co again to check e-mail until Saturday. I felt completely disconnected from the outside world. How did I function without internet banking, e-mail, and access to electronic information at my fingertips 24/7?

At last, today after church, I was pulling out of the driveway to run to the store, and the phone repair truck was approaching our house. The repair man asked if anyone was home, I gleefully answered, “Yes. My husband’s inside.” I went to the store, came home, put lunch on the table, and within 45 minutes, we had our phone service and our internet connection back.

I am spoiled. I admit it. Now the spoiled girl is just happy to have what she wants!

Becoming “Accomplished”

kniiting book.jpg

Here is one of my favorite dialogues in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

“All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?”

“Yes all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover skreens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished.”

“Your list of the common extent of accomplishments,” said Darcy, “has too much truth. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse, or covering a skreen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.”

“Nor I, I am sure,” said Miss Bingley.

“Then,” observed Elizabeth, “you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished women.”

“Yes; I do comprehend a great deal in it.”

“Oh! certainly,” cried his faithful assistant, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”

Now, I am far beyond being considered a “young lady,” but I still have an idyllic concept about being somewhat “accomplished.” That is where the photo of the book at the beginning of my entry comes in. I picked up this book from the bargain table at Barnes and Noble when I stopped there to pick up a book one of the children needed for school. I learned a little of how to knit when I was a young girl, and last spring, I picked up a couple of sets of knitting needles at a yard sale because I thought I would like to try it again. I have looked at a few knitting books since buying the needles, but this one was a great price. Besides, I might not only learn how to knit; I might also learn how to be “cool” in the process.

I can imagine myself giving up on this little endeavor before I even get started, but I hope I can make at least one thing–a scarf or something very simple. Then I can add “knitting” to my list of accomplishments.

In 2006, perhaps “blogging” can make the list of desired skills by all “accomplished young ladies.” Darcy and Bingley might approve of this suggestion, but I am certain Miss Bingley would protest such an idea.

Instead of the $1,200 – Playhouse at Sam’s Club

Instead of the $1,200 playhouse at Sam’s Club, I could . . .

put quality new flooring down in the upstairs of our house.

do a mini-remodel of the downstairs bathroom.

repair our roof 4 times over from the famed July 19 wind storm damage.

put a nice dent in the school tuition bill.

have custom built cubbies put up in the back porch/mudroom.

I have no intention of doing any of these things, but I am just awestruck that a 10 X 10 molded plastic structure could possibly cost over $1,200. Charis loves it though. She likes to visit it every time we go to Sam’s Club. I am glad that visiting it is enough 🙂

Amish School Shooting

I have been really disturbed about the shooting of the little girls in the Amish school in PA. I know that practically everyone is disturbed by it. However, I think this has bothered me more than other school shootings for some reason. Perhaps it is the fact that these children were more innocent than most (ie. naive, sheltered). Perhaps it is because three of the victims were around the same age as my oldest girl. Perhaps it is because they are from PA, where I am from. Whatever the reason, I am trying to pray for the families, and I guess I am posting about it to ask that others remember to pray for them.

What’s Up?

I had hoped to get in one more entry before September ended, but I was too slow about sitting down to write it. So here it is October already, and I thought I must post before another month gets away from me.

Here’s the news: I started a job back at the end of July. I quit the job on Friday. I have been working for a friend, so we’ve arranged for me to work for the next 2 – 3 weeks so I can help get through a couple of things. As a family, we were really thankful for the job, but it has been hard to maneuver all the family’s schedule around my working. Mostly, Mark needs me at home to manage stuff here so he can handle all his work and pursue various options for his future work. I am looking forward to being mom and manager of the home again on a full-time basis.

At the beginning of the school year I mentioned praying for the kids and their relationships at school. Mostly, I was concerned about their need for friends. I continue to pray about this. However, I should mention that I have seen some positive developments in the friendship department with the children so far this school year, and that is an answer to this ongoing prayer. A couple of weeks ago we had friends over one evening, and Evangeline said to the husband of the couple, “I have way more friends this year at school than I did last year.” This was without any prompting from us at all. We are also seeing some positive improvement in school for Evangeline and Calvin; and Nevin continues to be our steady middle child. Thank God for these blessings.

On a less serious note, I wanted to mention the acquisition of a new home appliance. In the nearly 15 years we have been married, I have never bought a new vacuum cleaner. The closest to new we’ve had was the reconditioned one I was using up until last Saturday when I bought Hoover’s Dyson clone from Sam’s Club. So far, I LOVE it! I just can’t believe how dirty the house has been! When I see all the dirt it draws out of places I have been vacuuming regularly for months, I am amazed. New and effective houshold appliances offer more emotional boosting power than one might think!

That’s all for now. It’s late, and I still have some laundry to fold.